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Gujarat riots

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 29th, 2015

by newsdigest on June 30, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Communal harmony over iftar at Delhi’s Jama Masjid (Jun 24, 2015, Twocircles.net)

…Last Saturday, I went to cover the Ramadan preparations in Old Delhi. After shooting for over an hour at the adjoining markets, I went inside the 17th century grand Mughal era mosque to capture some Ramadan moments with my camera as iftar time was drawing nearer.…

A woman with sindoor in the middle-parting of her hair (this along with her next question makes me believe that she was not Muslim) was asking a Muslim woman, “Kya mai bhi roza walon ke saath baith sakti hun? (Am I allowed to join these people who are waiting to break their fast?)”.

The other woman asked her to confirm it with a person who was offering prayers nearby. The non-Muslim lady went to the man and asked for his permission, the man replied, “Aray app bilkul baith sakti hain; rukiye,” he said, then asked a young man, “Arhey beta inko dastarkhwan pe iftar ke lie baitha do,” (“You are most welcome to join us in breaking the fast,” and ordered some persons who were serving Iftar to make her sit on the dining spread (Dastarkhwan).” The Lady with her two sons joined the rozadars and desisted from eating until azaan (call for prayer) announced the breaking of fast.

http://twocircles.net/2015jun24/1435158259.html

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US report: Gujarat govt moved against top activist Teesta Setalvad after she sought to indict Modi in 2002 riots (Jun 26, 2015, Counterview)

The latest US government’s “India 2014 Human Rights Report” has criticized Gujarat government for filing a misappropriation case against well-known human rights activist Teesta Setalvad. This, it notes, was done “after a December 2013 decision by a Gujarat lower court rejecting a protest petition “to force the state to file criminal charges against then-Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and other officials for allegedly failing to stop Hindu reprisals in Gujarat in 2002.”

The report states, “On January 5, Gujarat police filed a petition against human rights activists Teesta Setalvad, Javad Anand, Salim Sandhi, Feroz Gulzar Mohammed Pathan, and Tanvir Jafri for allegedly misappropriating funds donated to construct a memorial to the 2002 riots. The petition was filed after residents of the Gulberg Society, a housing complex, claimed that Setalvad misused 1.5 million rupees ($24,000) collected to build a memorial to the 69 persons killed during the 2002 riots.”

Pointing out that Setalvad, one of the accused, is the founder of Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), “a Mumbai-based organization responsible for numerous cases against alleged perpetrators of the 2002 Gujarat violence”, the report points to how, throughout 2014, the state government “opposed activists’ anticipatory bail applications submitted to Gujarat and Mumbai courts in addition to the Indian Supreme Court.”…

http://www.counterview.net/2015/06/us-report-gujarat-govt-moved-against.html

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Since this new govt came, I have been told to go soft on accused (Hindu extremists): Special Public Prosecutor (Jun 25, 2015, Indian Express)

Rohini Salian, Special Public Prosecutor in the case related to the Malegaon 2008 blasts in which four Muslims were killed during Ramzan and in which Hindu extremists are the accused, has said that over the past one year, since “the new government came to power,” she has been under pressure from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to go “soft” in the case.

Soon after the NDA government came to power last year, she said, she got a call from one of the officers of the NIA – the agency investigating all the alleged Hindu extremist cases – asking to come over to speak with her. “He didn’t want to talk over the phone. He came and said to me that there is a message that I should go soft,” Salian told The Indian Express.

Matters came to a head this month, on June 12, she said, when just before one of the regular hearings in the case in the Sessions Court, she was told by the same NIA officer that “higher-ups” did not want her to appear in the court for the State of Maharashtra and that another advocate would attend the proceedings.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/since-this-new-govt-came-i-have-been-told-to-go-soft-on-accused-hindu-extremists-special-public-prosecutor/

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Ramveer held for threatening to trigger blast at PM Mathura rally (Jun 24, 2015, Webindia123.com)

After month-long investigation, Uttar Pradesh police managed to arrest a youth for threatening to trigger a blast at the May 25 public meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi held on the completion of one year of the Central government.

Police sources today said the accused identified as Ramveer was arrested yesterday. Police said the youth’s mental condition was not stable as he fell ill and was admitted to a hospital immediate after his arrest.

The accused had sent a SMS to the authorities for threatening to trigger a blast at the public rally of the Prim Minister at Nagla Chandrabhan, the birth place of BJP’s ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhaya.

http://news.webindia123.com/news/Articles/India/20150624/2625720.html

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Muslim youth killed in police detention in Vellore (Jun 29, 2015, Twocircles.net)

Tension prevailed in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore district on Saturday evening after report of death of a youth from Ambur town in the district in hospital. Youth named Shameel Ahamed was allegedly taken to police station for investigation on June 15. He was allegedly kept in an unidentified location for four days and brutally attacked by Pallikonda Police Inspector Martin Premraj. On June 26, Ahamed who was admitted at Chennai Rajeev Gandhi Hospital, died.

This news created tension in Ambur as angry mob pelted stones at the police station and torched vehicles. Earlier also there has been reports of death of youth detained by police. Tameem Ansari, 14 year boy from Vettuvanggeni was taken to police station for investigation but was allegedly shot at by Chennai Neelankarai Police Inspector. Similarly, in SP Patinam of Ramanathapuram District, a youth named Syed Muhammed was taken by police for investigation but was allegedly shot and killed by Sub Inspector police Kalidass.

In Pernambut of Vellore District, Police took a boy named Riswan and had beaten him so badly that he too died at the police station. Incidentally Police Inspector Martin Premraj has been accused of killing Ahmed also. Women from Muthupettai, who went to police to lodge complain were also allegedly attacked by Traffic Sub Inspector Pitchai Muthu Kannan at Pattukottai Police Station.…

http://twocircles.net/2015jun29/1435525931.html

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Religious violence still a concern: report (Jun 26, 2015, The Hindu)

Religion-based violence in Indian society “continued to be a concern,” during the first year of Narendra Modi’s rule as Prime Minister, according to a report on worldwide human rights abuses released by the U.S. State Department.

In its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices unveiled on Thursday the Department said that the most significant human rights problems were police and security force abuses, including extrajudicial killings, torture, and rape; widespread corruption that contributed to ineffective responses to crime, including those against women and members of scheduled castes or tribes; and societal violence based on gender, religious affiliation, and caste or tribe.…

More broadly, other human rights problems of India that found mention in the report include disappearances, hazardous prison conditions, arbitrary arrest and detention, and lengthy pre-trial detention, all exacerbated by a judiciary that “remained backlogged, leading to lengthy delays and the denial of due process.”

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/religious-violence-still-a-concern-report/article7355498.ece

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Modi govt is correcting ‘errors’ in NCERT history textbooks (Jun 24, 2015, Hindustan Times)

The NDA government has set the ball rolling to correct the “errors” in NCERT history textbooks introduced by the UPA. Historians from the Indian Council of Historical Research and elsewhere perused the textbooks from classes 8 to 12 in a review meeting held by the NCERT recently.

Some recommendations that were made include adding Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s role in history and omitting a picture of a Frenchman smoking a cigar on page 44 of the Class 10 book. There were concerns over Class 9 book giving ‘greater prominence’ to cricket than the French Revolution. The NCERT will take a call on the numerous recommendations made by the participants, who divided themselves on the basis of their specializations in ancient, medieval and modern history.

The present textbooks replaced the ones introduced by the Vajpayee government. BJP’s ideological fountainhead RSS sees rewriting of history as crucial, as ideologies legitimize their present on the basis of the past. They believe that Marxists and other “secular” historians had written histories in ways that denied Hindus pride in their past.… Critics, however, say the Hindutva agenda is to communalise history and to seek to bolster the cultural pride of Hindus through exaggerated accounts.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/highschool/historians-to-correct-errors-in-ncert-textbooks/article1-1362127.aspx

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Report on Maria-Lalit Modi meet submitted, Congress slams top cop (Jun 23, 2015, Indian Express)

Maharashtra Additional Chief Secretary K P Bakshi on Tuesday submitted his report on Mumbai Police chief Rakesh Maria’s meeting with tainted ex-IPL boss Lalit Modi to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, based on which the government is soon expected to take a decision.…

Meanwhile, opposition Congress accused Maria of “inappropriate conduct” in meeting Lalit Modi, who is facing charges of financial irregularities and is currently under ED scanner. Former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who has earlier said he was not briefed by Maria of the meeting which happened during his tenure, said the senior IPS officer was guilty of “inappropriate conduct”.…

Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil of Congress said: “Maria should quit his post or be suspended from service”. “It was saddening to hear Maria saying he had informed late R R Patil, who was the Home Minister then. Patil is no more. This does not behove well for a top ranking police officer as it is an administrative matter.”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/report-on-maria-lalit-modi-meet-submitted-congress-slams-top-cop/99/

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‘Muslims must withdraw claim over Ayodhya, Kashi': VHP (Jun 25, 2015, Deccan Herald)

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has asked the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) to withdraw its claim over Ram Janambhoomi in Ayodhya, Srikrishna Janambhoomi in Mathura and Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi if it wants to “live in peace and harmony” with their Hindu brethren in the country.…

“There have been enough fights; there is now a need to rewrite history. The AIMPLB can make new history by withdrawing its claims on these places,” the VHP leader said. “Hindus and Muslims can live in harmony in the country only when the latter hand over these three places to Hindus,” Singhal added.…

“The Ayodhya issue is currently pending in court and we will abide by the court’s judgement,” said AIMPLB member Zafaryab Jilani. The oldest litigant in the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid title suits Hashim Ansari also rejected the VHP’s demand, saying that Muslims will accept the court’s verdict in the matter. There have been attempts by a section of Hindu seers in Ayodhya to arrive at an out-of-court settlement but they have not yielded any result.

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/485664/muslims-must-withdraw-claim-over.html

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“Arrest Raja for ‘purdah’ remark” (Jun 28, 2015, The Hindu)

Hitting out at Bharatiya Janata Party leader H. Raja for his reported comments on Muslim students wearing ‘purdah’ while going to school, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi leader and MLA M. H. Jawahirullah demanded his arrest under National Security Act (NSA).

In a statement issued here on Saturday, he said that the BJP leader had demanded that Muslims should be prohibited from wearing ‘purdah’ as they “misused” it for copying during examinations.

Condemning the remarks, he said that girl students wore ‘purdah’ as a fundamental religious duty and it was ridiculous on the part of Mr. Raja to make the disparaging comment. The students enjoyed the Constitutional right to wear ‘purdah’ and skull cap and the BJP leader should know that no Muslim student was caught copying with ‘purdah.’ As Mr. Raja was making such derogatory and provocative remarks, the State government should detain him under the NSA, he said.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/arrest-raja-for-purdah-remark/article7363064.ece

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BJP worker allegedly molested by party leader in UP (Jun 29, 2015, Hindustan Times)

A BJP worker was allegedly molested by a party leader and his four associates, police said on Sunday. The woman in her complaint alleged that BJP leader Anup Tiwari molested her on June 20 in his car on the pretext of dropping her home, Station Incharge of Railbazar police station Shravan Yadav said.

The woman complained about the incident to local party authorities and the next day Anup and his four associates reached party office and molested the complainant and tried to strip her too, he said. She again reported both incidents to local party leaders and then to state leadership but when no action was taken by them, she approached Senior Superintendent of Police Shalabh Mathur. Following the SSP’s order an FIR was registered on Friday night against the accused, he said.

An investigation is on in the case, the Station Incharge said, adding that soon the accused would be arrested. Meanwhile, a local BJP leader, requesting anonymity, said that its an internal matter of the party and an investigation report over the issue would be sent to state leadership.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/bjp-worker-allegedly-molested-by-party-leader-in-up/article1-1363902.aspx

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Opinions and Editorials

The main reason the BJP is afraid of saffron terror probes: they seem to point to the RSS – By Ipsita Chakravarty (Jun 26, 2015, Scroll.in)

Rohini Salian, special public prosecutor in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, has blown the cover on an open secret – the state’s reluctance to prosecute saffron terror. In an interview to The Indian Express, Salian said that, soon after the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government came to power last year, she was instructed by the National Investigation Agency to “go soft” on Hindu extremists accused in the case. This month, just as the case was to come up for a regular hearing before the Supreme Court, she was reportedly told another advocate would appear for the proceedings. The message, Salian says, was that state agencies did not want “favourable orders”.

In a raft of terror cases that emerged in the 2000s and implicated Hindu extremists, state responses followed a familiar pattern, of denial, cover-up and delay. As they swung into action after each blast, state agencies seemed to operate on the assumption that terror, by definition, has a Muslim face, is propelled by jihadist agendas and must be “anti-national”. Malegaon, 2006, Samjhauta Express, 2007, Mecca Masjid, 2007, Ajmer Sharif, 2007, and again Malegaon, 2008, all tell the same story – Muslims rounded up and arrested in a reflex reaction, fingers pointed at terror outfits like the Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, and then the appearance of an amended list of suspects, mostly Hindu.

The institutional resistance to proceed against Hindutva terror suspects, in a police force and among intelligence agencies that have few Muslim personnel, did not stop there. In the 2006 blast in Nanded, which killed two people suspected of making bombs for a Hindutva terror network, the Central Bureau of Investigations diluted the charges, initially framed under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, and the terror trail went cold as initial leads were allegedly not followed up.…

http://scroll.in/article/736886/the-main-reason-the-bjp-is-afraid-of-saffron-terror-probes-they-lead-to-the-rss

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Unholy nexus – By Venkitesh Ramakrishnan (Jul 10, 2015, Frontline)

…The Sunday Times report had deep and widespread reverberations in India, giving rise to the first major and concrete crisis for the Modi government. There were several components to this crisis. To start with, it raised serious questions about the continuance in positions of power of two senior BJP leaders, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. Both of them were seen to have misused their powers to facilitate the operations of controversial cricket organiser Lalit Modi, a fugitive from due process under Indian law.

It also emerged that the leaders and their family members had familial ties with Lalit Modi that led to allegations of conflict of interest and that some of them had got into questionable financial dealings with him. The emergence of these questions also unravelled other unseemly goings-on in which many top leaders of the BJP were involved and continue to be so.…

It is feared that all this might impact the BJP’s chances in the forthcoming Bihar Assembly elections. Amidst all this, the RSS is seeking ways and means, rather agitatedly, to maintain the balance of power in its political arm. Modi’s free-flowing articulation has been replaced by dead silence. Clearly, the carefully groomed sheen around the supreme leader and his government is getting corroded fast.

http://www.frontline.in/cover-story/unholy-nexus/article7345594.ece

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Indian Government Snooping On Citizens – By Amit Bhardwaj (Jul 4, 2015, Tehelka)

Do you stay in Delhi? If so, it’s time to recall all the mobile phone conversations you had with friends, family and associates. It’s time to recall the private messages and pictures you shared on WhatsApp and other social networking sites.

It’s time to remember the sensitive data meant for your close associates, your lawyer or chartered accountant. If you believe that the secrets you share electronically remain between you and your partner, you are probably wrong! All this while, shadowy figures have been tracking each and every detail you shared, and they work for agencies of the Government of India itself.

Taking a cue from the United States National Investigation Agency (NSA) clandestine surveillance project PRISM, the central government has developed a Central Monitoring System (CMS) in India. The project is designed for ‘lawful interception and monitoring communication’ over phone and internet.…

http://www.tehelka.com/they-know-what-you-did-this-summer/

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Is Modi’s India Safe for Muslims? – By James Traub (Jun 26, 2015, Foreign Policy)

This past March, a group of community activists in Aurangabad, an industrial city in central India, convened a morcha – a demonstration – to protest a series of blatantly anti-Muslim measures taken by the state government in Mumbai, which is controlled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).…

The leaders of the demonstration then walked up a long driveway to formally present their demands to the district commissioner, who promised to relay them to the Maharashtra state authorities. The humble folk stayed back in the tent so as not to block traffic. Quite a few of them were qureish – cattle butchers – who had lost their jobs when the government had banned the consumption of beef the week before.…

India has survived, and thrived, as a multiconfessional, multicultural nation because of a shared faith in secular principles enshrined in the country’s constitution. But India’s Muslims, who have worn that secular identity as a suit of armor in Hindu India, now feel more vulnerable than they have in many years.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/06/26/narendra-modi-india-safe-for-muslims-hindu-nationalism-bjp-rss/

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India Owes You An Apology, Vice President Ansari – By Ramesh Ramachandran (Jul 4, 2015, Tehelka)

The past week and more has not been a good advertisement for either India or the United States, the largest and the oldest democracy, respectively. On 17 June, a white supremacist killed nine people at a church in the US. The victims were all African-American. Four days later, on 21 June, a few Hindu supremacists called into question the credentials of the Vice President of India.

The victim in this case was a Muslim by the name of Mohammad Hamid Ansari, who holds the second highest constitutional office in the country. Though dissimilar, the two events highlight how pernicious race and religion could be for multicultural, multi-ethnic and multireligious societies such as the US and India.…

The unsavoury episode is a hark back to 2002 when Modi, as the chief minister of Gujarat, targeted the then Chief Election Commissioner, James Michael Lyngdoh, for delaying Assembly election in the state. It had earned Modi the opprobrium of the then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who censured him for making indecorous insinuations at Lyngdoh’s religion, Christianity.…

http://www.tehelka.com/india-owes-you-an-apology-vice-president-ansari/

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Saffron script – By Anupama Katakam (Jul 10, 2015, Frontline)

It is becoming more and more apparent that the Central government under the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is determined to paint every government institution in the country saffron. The latest victim is the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune. Gajendra Singh Chauhan, who played Yudhistir in the television serial Mahabharat, has been appointed president of the FTII and chairman of its governing council.

FTII students have gone on strike in protest against the ad hoc selection of governing council members. The post of the chairperson lay vacant for six months after the previous incumbent Saeed Mirza’s term was over, but the students are not prepared to accept Chauhan.

Vikas Urs, a final-year student and member of the FTII’s student association, explained why Chauhan’s appointment was unacceptable: “He does not have the credentials to run a place like this. Putting aside that he is a supporter of a right-wing party that has proved it has little respect for freedom of expression, Chauhan has absolutely no experience other than acting in television shows and some very ordinary films.”…

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/saffron-script/article7345862.ece

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 9th, 2015

by newsdigest on March 10, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Ex-bureaucrat speaks out on Gujarat riots (Mar 8, 2015, Deccan Herald)

The ghost of the 2002 riots continues to raise its ugly head despite the passage of over a decade. The latest is in the form of a book on the experiences of respected Gujarat-cadre retired IAS officer Alexander K Luke. In his 365-page book “Passport to Gujarat: Hazardous Journeys”, released recently, Luke recalls the days after the Gujarat riots in 2002. He appears to put the onus of the administrative collapse during the events more on his colleagues in the bureaucracy and the police than solely on then chief minister and current Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Luke writes, “No chief minister of a state, no matter how angry, would be happy to see murderous disorder on the streets, particularly when he had just taken over. Many party functionaries descended to the level of those who had set the train on fire.”

He goes on to say that the Gujarat bloodbath of 2002 “could have been blunted if the top authorities in the government had taken matters into their own hands and re-established law and order without listening to those who were emotionally unbalanced at that time”.…

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/464280/ex-bureaucrat-speaks-gujarat-riots.html

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Lawyers allege life threat to blast accused Qasmi in jail (Mar 9, 2015, Times of India)

The lawyers of Tariq Qasmi, a prime accused in the 2007 Faizabad and Lucknow court blasts, have alleged that he is facing a life threat. Lodged in Lucknow Jail, Qasmi’s lawyers have accused the jail administration and Uttar Pradesh Police of conspiring his murder. They said the “murder” of another accused, Khalid Mujahid, was also a conspiracy. Mujahid was found dead in the jail in 2013 under suspicious circumstances.

According to lawyer Mohammad Shoaib, when he visited Lucknow Jail last week to meet Qasmi, he was told that the jail administration had lodged Chandan, a dreaded criminal, in Qasmi’s barrack.

“The criminal Chandan repeatedly abuses my client and keeps challenging him to react to his provocative speeches,” said Shoaib. “We have raised the issue before jail authorities but no action has been taken. We have demanded the government sacks the jail superintendent,” he added.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/46497338.cms

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Police hand in Dimapur jailbreak suspected (Mar 8, 2015, Twocircles.net)

What can be termed as highly crucial, it is reported that Police may be complicit in the jailbreak, before the unruly mob lynched Syed Sarif Uddin Khan, the rape accused in Dimapur. Quoting high officials of home department, NDTV reported that there is a strong suspicion of ‘complicity of policemen’. The official added, “how could the mob identify Khan out of all the prisoners inside the Jail?”

Further NDTV reported that Nagaland’s Inspector General (Range) Wabang Jamir as saying, “We are in the process of identifying more people and we can expect several more arrests in the coming days. The situation is tense, but under control. Curfew is still on and there is no movement of vehicles or people”. On Sunday the last rites of Syed Sarif Uddin Khan were performed in the presence of hundreds at his hometown Bosla in Karimganj district. “This is a horrific day covered with sorrow for all of us. It was a black day for humanity,” said Mustak, a neigbour, who attended the janaza.

In the morning several thousand people thronged the road leading to his home. Ever since the news of Khan’s killing was out, the entire region was in utter shock. “We have suffered a lot in the hands of Naga miscreants. It has become difficult for us to survive in Dimapur. At this moment the governments of the both states should have to take stern action to ensure safety and security,” said a businessman from Karimganj who is based in Dimapur. He also did not wish to be named in this report fearing he might be attacked.…

http://twocircles.net/2015mar08/1425814197.html

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Indian State Bans Possession and Sale of Beef (Mar 3, 2015, New York Times)

The state that includes Mumbai, India’s financial capital, this week became the latest state to ban the possession and sale of beef, imposing fines and up to five years in prison for violations. The ban in the populous western state of Maharashtra, which was passed Monday, came as an amendment to a 1972 law prohibiting the slaughter of cows, which has been expanded to ban the slaughter of bulls, bullocks and calves. The slaughter of water buffaloes will still be allowed, subject to permission from the authorities.

The Maharashtra Animal Preservation bill, championed by right-wing Hindu organizations, was first passed in 1995 but languished for two decades under a governing coalition between the Indian National Congressand the Nationalist Congress Party. The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party was the clear winner in state elections last October after Narendra Modi, the party’s leader, took office as prime minister in May.

The law, which allows a fine of 10,000 rupees, about $162, took effect Monday night after approval from India’s president, Pranab Mukherjee. Maharashtra’s chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis, gave the president credit and expressed his thanks over Twitter.…

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/04/world/asia/indian-state-passes-ban-on-beef-championed-by-right-wing-hindus.html?_r=0

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‘Modi Govt. encouraging Hindutva forces, corporates’ (Mar 4, 2015, The Hindu)

The Communist Party of India (CPI) has flayed Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA Government at the Centre for encouraging ‘Hindutva forces’ and ‘corporate houses’.

CPI general secretary Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy charged the NDA with doling out largesse to the corporate houses in the name of reduction of taxes and other incentives. At the same time, the recent budget introduced in the Lok Sabha was devoid of any measures to alleviate the sufferings of the common man.

The budget had presented a rosy picture for the corporate houses in the name of tax rebates and other incentives while “there is nothing in it for the common man”. Allocations for key sectors including welfare, handlooms and others had been significantly cut down while there was no mention about steps on checking the spiralling rise in the prices of essentials.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/modi-govt-encouraging-hindutva-forces-corporates/article6956913.ece

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Case filed against Bajrang Dal leader for ‘defaming’ minister (Mar 9, 2015, Business Standard)

The Bantwal town police have registered a case against a local Bajrang Dal leader for allegedly defaming Dakshina Kannada district-in-charge Minister Ramanath Rai by posting a photo, in which he is donning a saffron shawl, on a social networking site.

Police said that a case was registered under section 66 (A) of the IPC (spreading offensive comments through internet) against Bhuvit Shetty, Bantwal unit co-convenor of Bajrang Dal based on a complaint from an individual, Prashant Kulal.

The photo posted on Shetty’s facebook wall received derogatory comments, which according to the complainant defamed Rai.…

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/case-filed-against-bajrang-dal-leader-for-defaming-minister-115030901316_1.html

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Muslim body objects to making ‘surya namaskar’ mandatory in schools (Mar 9, 2015, India Today)

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has claimed that the BJP-led NDA government in the Centre was preparing to make ‘surya namaskar’ mandatory in the schools which would be unacceptable to the Muslim community.

They will take up this issue in the meeting of the board to be held in Jaipur from March 20 to March 23. The board, which is the highest decision maker panel within the Muslim community, has also decided to discuss the issues related to the demand of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) to ban religious conversion and allow the Hindu organisations to continue with their ‘ghar wapsi’ (home coming) programme.

Zafaryab Jilani, a member of the AIMPLB and additional advocate general of UP, said, “We have no problem if the government introduces Geeta in school curriculum if there are references of Quran too in text books. But we have problem if they want to introduce Surya Namaskar. It may not be acceptable to our religious leaders in particular and the members of the community in general.”

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/surya-namaskar-schools-mandatory-muslim-bodies/1/422798.html

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BJP, RSS, VHP flayed for ‘stoking religious hatred’ (Mar 9, 2015, Times of India)

Cavelossim Villagers Forum (CVF) organized a candlelight protest to condemn the comments made by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Mohan Bhagwat against Mother Teresa. While exhorting people to maintain religious harmony, various speakers denounced the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for promoting religious hatred.

“BJP has a hidden agenda of eliminating Christianity from Goa,” Fr Eremito Rebello said, while speaking at the end of the protest march.

Rebello, who was born in Cavelossim, went on to explain that religious harmony in Goa, which has existed for ages, was at stake because of the RSS and Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s (VHP) antics.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/46496826.cms

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Over 30,000 people in Gujarat committed suicide in 5 years (Mar 9, 2015, Business Standard)

The Gujarat government today stated in the Assembly that as on March 2013, more than 30,000 people committed suicide across the state in five years.

Replying to a question of Congress MLA Tejashree Patel, Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, who handles the home department, stated in a written reply that 30,489 people ended their lives between 2008-13, adding that 2,529 people attempted to commit suicide during the same period.

Figures provided by her suggested that 6,181 people ended their lives in 2008-09, 5,779 people killed themselves in 2009-10, 5,787 people took their lives in 2010-11, 6,134 killed themselves in 2011-12 and 6,608 people ended their lives during 2012-13.…

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/over-30-000-people-in-gujarat-committed-suicide-in-5-years-115030901312_1.html

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On rape, ‘outraged’ politicians have been outrageous in past (Mar 6, 2015, Indian Express)

On Wednesday, many MPs were agitated over a documentary which shows one of the convicts in the December 16, 2012 Delhi gangrape making “outrageous” remarks. But this collective outrage does not fit well with the past statements on rape made by many elected representatives.

From Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav’s “boys make mistakes” quip to JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav’s smiling confession in the Lok Sabha about having stalked girls – political leaders have been guilty of insensitivity that goes beyond mere gaffe.

In April 2014, addressing an election rally in Uttar Pradesh, Mulayam Singh Yadav had told a cheering crowd, “You are hanging people for rape… Boys tend to commit mistakes.We will try to change such a law. Those who do it will be punished and the law will also have provisions for punishment of people who file false reports.”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/on-rape-outraged-politicians-have-been-outrageous-in-past/

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Opinions and Editorials

Mob (in)justice In Dimapur – By Parvin Sultana (Mar 8, 2015, Countercurrents)

Dimapur is regarded as the business capital of Nagaland, a state in the Northeastern region of India. This small town was jolted by a series of horrific incidents that took place on 5th March, 2015. A man accused of raping a college student was murdered by a mob. Videos of the 35 year old Syed Farid Khan being paraded naked and beaten to death became viral. His lifeless blood drenched body was then hanged.

A cursory look at the incident would make one feel that it is the justified outrage against the heinous crime of rape. But if one delves deeper one can see some other factors being at play. The accused is a Bengali speaking Muslim from the neighbouring state of Assam. Stories of him being an illegal immigrant from Bangladesh was doing the rounds. Ironically two of his brothers are serving in the Indian Army hence disproving these accusations. His father served in the Indian Air Force and one of his brothers lost life in the Kargil war. But the damage was already done. Despite being aware of the growing tension, administration did not put to rest such suspicions rather expressed their own doubt regarding the person’s nationality. …

In a shameful failure of law and order situation, the security apparatus failed to anticipate such an attack when 10,000 people barged into the high security Dimapur Central Jail.… The failure of the administration has emboldened the perpetrators of such vigilante justice. Leaving the women’s safety issue on the backburner they have turned their ire to people from other states who are there for their livelihood. While the murdered person’s brother accused that his brother was made a scapegoat, the incident needs to be seen closely.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/sultana080315.htm

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Gujarat’s “turnaround man” blames IAS colleagues for failing to act by constitution during 2002 riots – By Rajiv Shah (Mar 4, 2015, Counterview.net)

A Gujarat cadre IAS bureaucrat with impeccable reputation, Alexander K Luke – termed “turnaround man” by captains of industry across India in mid-2000s for pushing top public sector undertaking (PSU) Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals (GSFC) from the red – has held the state’s “top administrative level” responsible for failing to act impartially during the “2002 Gujarat bloodbath.”

In a just-released book he has authored, Luke has said, had the police and IAS officials “held firm and did what they were required to do by the constitution”, a collapse of the administration “could have been avoided.” Luke headed GSFC from 2003 to 2006. Luke was forced to resign from the IAS two years before he was to retire (2008) after he refused to follow an order to allow concession to a contractor. He recalls in the book how he was humiliated in an official report, and how the then chief minister Narendra Modi accepted his resignation without waiting three-day he had offered him to “rethink.”…

In a first-ever account by an IAS bureaucrat of state officialdom’s behaviour during those tumultuous days, Luke in his autobiographical book, “Passport to Gujarat: Hazardous Journeys”, has recalled how three days after the riots hit Gujarat, February 28, 2002, he approached the then Gujarat chief secretary G Subbarao offering his services for the relief camps which were being set-up for the victims of violence.”…

http://www.counterview.net/2015/03/gujarats-turnaround-man-blames-ias.html

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The reinvention of Hindutva – By Arvind Rajagopal (Mar 4, 2015, The Hindu)

…In the Hindu tradition, reality is beyond words and the truth has no essence. There is, in fact, no religious doctrine as such to challenge. Hinduism as conjured for the political process today surpasses dialectical materialism; it is the most expansive ‘philosophical system’ conceivable. In such a context, the category of religion presents an opportunity rather than a problem: to be “Hindu” is an artefact of publicity rather than an expression of ancient mores. It is no surprise that Arun Jaitley has stated that Hindu nationalism is an opportunistic issue for the BJP, a “talking point” rather than a core ideology. …

Political authority is the end towards which this new kind of religious identity is created, applicable across caste groupings that not long ago were excluded, prominently the former Untouchable castes that constitute about a quarter of the population. No previous party has come to power by excluding Muslims so completely. Meanwhile the situation of Muslims has steadily worsened over the last 30 years.

The exclusion of Muslims from political visibility is accompanied by the increasing political visibility of Dalits. The new basis for Hindu unification is the exclusion of Muslims, alongside the formal subsumption of Dalits. The register of exclusion shifts in the process, from untouchability to invisibility. Media expansion enables more coordinated and extensive forms of exclusion than were previously imaginable; political dynamics have both anticipated this development and furthered it. If Hindu populism is to deepen its democratic character, these are issues for it to reckon with.…

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/the-reinvention-of-hindutva/article6955945.ece

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When Corporates Take Control Of Media: Bad News In Good Days – By Anurag Tripathi (Mar 14, 2015, Tehelka)

Pankaj Srivastava could have resisted sending the SMS message that cost his job but for his convictions as a journalist. An Associate Editor with IBN7 for seven years, Srivastava on 21 January sent a message to Sumit Awasthi, deputy managing editor of the channel, reminding him of journalistic ethics. …

Within three hours of sending the message, Srivastava was summoned by the Human Resource department of the channel and was summarily asked to resign. He refused to budge. Srivastava told Tehelka that Awasthi, after reading the message, had asked him to put in his papers and find a new job. “I refused to resign and insisted that I would rather be sacked,” says Srivastava. He says that he had been constantly opposing the alleged bias news coverage of the channel and its policy to black out Kejriwal in its coverage of Delhi elections.…

“When RIL took over last year, a Town Hall meeting presided over by Rohit Bansal, an executive of RIL, and Upadhyay, president of News at Network 18, was orgsanised, where it was made very clear that we shouldn’t air any live speeches of any AAP representative,” says Srivastava. He adds that there were standing instructions to not air any story which would bring bad press to RIL and Narendra Modi.…

The account of the pain and anguish over censorship of news tells a tale of how a journalist feels choked and stifled when he is given clear instruction to toe the line of owners and eulogise ‘masters’ of the master.…

http://www.tehelka.com/bad-news-in-good-days/

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Political beef – Editorial (Mar 6, 2015, Indian Express)

It may be no exaggeration to say that beef has featured more in India’s politics than in its cuisine. The Hindu right has always found meat in the demand to ban beef, discounting the perilous social and economic impact of meddling with food habits and preferences in a multi-religious and multicultural society. The latest to join issue with beef is the Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra, which dusted up a bill the state assembly had passed 19 years ago and got President Pranab Mukherjee to sign earlier this week.…

The obsession with beef is a leftover of the communal politics of the last two centuries, when food was a marker of the religious divide and served as a pretext to mobilise communities. Historians have emphatically demolished the cultural-religious argument that beef-eating was alien to Hindus and was the import of Muslim rule.

Moreover, migration and urbanisation have transformed the eating habits of Indians. Mumbai, a melting pot of cultures and communities, best symbolises this transformation. The Fadnavis government, instead of celebrating the diversity in Maharashtra cuisine, has revived a regressive legislation that negates its multi-religious character and distorts its agrarian economy. A direct outcome of the act is that it would now become economically unviable for farmers to rear cows.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/political-beef/

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Act of cowardice – By Lyla Bavadam (Mar 20, 2015, Frontline)

Senior Communist Party of India (CPI) leader and rationalist Govind Pansare, 82, died in Mumbai on February 20, five days after he was shot at in Kolhapur. He and his wife, Uma, were out on a walk in the morning when they were shot at, near their Kolhapur home. The exact details of the incident are unclear because of a lack of credible witnesses, but some say there were two attackers on a motorcycle who shot at the couple.…

Through his career he had ruffled many feathers and so there is no dearth of suspects for his murder. His most recent and consistent campaigns were battling toll tax on road users in Kolhapur, breaking down myths about Nathuram Godse that were being perpetuated by right-wing forces, and revealing what he believed was the truth about the killing of Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare. All these crusades earned him enemies, and over the years he had received threats in various forms. It is understood that the police are investigating a threatening letter.

In December 2014, Pansare organised a function at a public hall in Kolhapur to discuss the book Who killed Karkare?. Written by the retired police officer S.M. Mushrif, the book speaks of the possibility of Karkare being killed by Indian agencies because he arrested Hindu nationalists in connection with the 2008 Malegaon blasts. There were attempts to stop the event, but Pansare went ahead with it.…

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/act-of-cowardice/article6951485.ece

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 1st, 2014

December 2, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony National Communal Harmony week concludes News Headlines ‘Jafri was last seen being dragged by accused’ Ishrat Case: Vanzara Tells Court He Only Followed Orders ‘Madrasas not breeding grounds for terrorism’ Hindu Radicals Attack Indian Pentecostal Church, Eight Injured and Pastor Arrested Ramzada vs haramzada: Outrage over Union […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 1st, 2014

September 2, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Gujarat model of harmony: Water thicker than blood News Headlines Concerned over delay in Gujarat riots cases: SC ‘Reinstatement of Cops accused of fake encounters is clear indication that administration is helping them’ Caught on camera: BJP MP asks supporters to ‘convert 100 Muslim girls for 1 […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 28th, 2014

July 30, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Hadapsar sees Hindu-Muslim unity News Headlines United Nations body recalls Gujarat riots, insists on enacting “dropped” communal violence bill Sena MP ‘force-feeds’ fasting Muslim staffer at Maharashtra Sadan Sangh sets up panel to push ‘saffronisation’ of education Rape the activist: RSS man posts on facebook UP: 3 […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 14th, 2014

July 15, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines UK fights for Britons killed in Gujarat riots Cop accused by CBI of firing at Ishrat is back at work Why give a top post to murder accused: Congress Home Ministry has destroyed over 1.5 lakh files: CPM Babri demolition case: Non-bailable warrants against 2 BJP MPs […]

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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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