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Gujarat riots

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 4th, 2016

by newsdigest on April 12, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Announcements

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Announcements

Indian Americans condemn Saudi award for Prime Minister Modi

Award defies logic given Mr. Modi’s record before and after taking office as Prime Minister

April 04, 2016

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has condemned the Saudi government’s decision to confer Indian Prime Minister Modi with the nation’s highest civilian award.

“It is expected that the Indian Prime Minister is accorded the respect befitting a head of state. However, conferring of the highest civilian award on Mr. Modi by those who claim to be the custodians of the two Holy Mosques is a slap in the face of survivors of the Gujarat pogroms of 2002. It is also a demonstration of indifference to the increased attacks and threats against the religious minorities and Dalits in India,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of IAMC.

Mr. Modi and the Saudi monarchy have much in common. As Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr. Modi presided over one of the worst episodes of sectarian violence in independent India, when over 2,000 people were massacred by mobs instigated by the Hindu-supremacist groups. The horrific killings were accompanied by rape and pillage, resulting in the displacement of over 150,000 Muslims from their homes, many of whom are still struggling to pick up the pieces of their lives. Mr. Modi continues to have a case pending against him in the Gujarat High Court and a tainted Special Investigation Team failed to initiate prosecution of Mr. Modi. The handful of convictions in the cases related to the pogroms in Gujarat have happened as a result of tireless and courageous work by activists and whistleblowers, whom the Modi government has harassed and intimidated.

Since coming to power, the Modi administration has worked steadily to erode religious freedom and India’s long-cherished traditions of tolerance among its diverse populace. Ranging from attacks on churches and mob violence against Muslims and Dalits, to felicitating the killer of Mahatma Gandhi, Mr. Modi’s administration and its supporters have relentlessly pursued a divisive agenda, that is antithetical to the country’s Constitution and its egalitarian ideals. The demonization of intellectuals, the vigilantism encouraged by the state, and the weakening of institutions are all indications of a besieged Indian democracy.

Saudi forces are conducting indiscriminate airstrikes in Yemen that are widely acknowledged to have caused huge loss of civilian lives, creating an ongoing humanitarian catastrophe. Incidentally, the monarchy had conferred the same award given to Mr. Modi, on Mr. Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi of Egypt.

“Coming from the Saudi monarchy, which is known for its repressive domestic policies and human rights violations, the award itself is of dubious value. It diminishes, rather than enhances the office of the Prime Minister of India,” added Mr. Malick.

Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://www.iamc.com

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

REFERENCES:

1.Indian government failed to address attacks on minorities: Human Rights groups
http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2016-01-27/news/70120366_1_meenakshi-ganguly-human-rights-watch-rights-groups

2. India Gov’t Turning a Blind Eye to Religious Attacks
http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2016/march/india-govt-turning-a-blind-eye-to-religious-attacks

3. India’s Refusal to Admit U.S. Religious Freedom Watchdog Seen As Attempt to Hide ‘Crimes’ Against Religious Minorities
http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/patrick-goodenough/indias-refusal-admit-us-religious-freedom-watchdog-seen-attempt-hide

4. Two Muslim Cattle Traders Hanged To Death In Jharkhand By Suspected ‘Cattle-Protection Vigilantes’
http://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/two-muslim-cattle-traders-hanged-to-death-in-jharkhand-by-suspected-cattle-protection-vigilantes-252255.html

5. Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighting the “growing attacks” on the minority community, including the latest Latehar killings
http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/latehar-killings-ghulam-nabi-azad-letter-pm-modi-jharkand-cattle-traders/

6. The BJP has Unleashed the Bhasmasura of Aggressive Nationalism. Good Luck Controlling It
http://thewire.in/2016/02/25/the-bjp-has-unleashed-the-bhasmasura-of-aggressive-nationalism-good-luck-controlling-it-22643/

7. Modi government’s AYUSH ministry says ‘we don’t recruit Muslims’
info@http://www.milligazette.com/news/13831-we-dont-recruit-indian-muslims-modi-govts-ayush-ministry

8. Rohith Vemula’s death sparks outrage within Indian diaspora
http://twocircles.net/2016jan28/1453995780.html

9. Human Rights Advocates: U.S.-Backed Saudi Offensive in Yemen a “Dark Mark” on Obama’s Presidency
http://www.democracynow.org/2016/4/1/human_rights_advocates_us_backed_saudi

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Human Rights Watch asks European Union to tell Modi to “stop harassing” civil society, minorities, Dalits (Mar 30, 2016, Counterview)

Human Rights Watch (HRW), in a letter to the European Union (EU), written amidst EU-India summit on March 30, has said that even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks “greater foreign investment in the private sector for initiatives such as Make in India, showcasing Indian democracy and diversity abroad, it uses laws such as the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act to restrict foreign funding for civil society groups.”

Addressed to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, and Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, HRW has said, “Civil society groups face increased harassment and government critics face intimidation and lawsuits. Free speech has come under threat as the authorities target those critical of the government, including students and academics.” Modi reached Brussels for the summit on March 30 for talks.

The letter said, “Activists that question government infrastructure and development projects or seek justice for victims of the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat have come under particular pressure”, adding, giving the example of how in January 2015 the government barred Priya Pillai, a Greenpeace India activist, from boarding a flight to London where she was to speak to members of the British Parliament, alleging that her testimony would have portrayed the government in a negative light.”…

http://www.counterview.net/2016/03/human-rights-watch-asks-european-union.html

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Pathankot attack ‘stage-managed’ by India, claim Pak media reports; Opposition slams Modi (Apr 5, 2016, Indian Express)

Opposition parties on Tuesday targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over Pakistan media reports that Pathankot attack was “stage-managed” by India and that its JIT was not provided with evidence of involvement of Pak-based terrorists, drawing a sharp response from the BJP.

Attacking the prime minister, the Congress tweeted, “Did Modiji invite the Pakistani JIT so that they could insult the memory of our brave martyrs?” while Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the “invitation” amounted to giving a “clean chit” to ISI for the terror attack in January.

Kejriwal also demanded that Modi tender an “apology” for the “monumental” foreign policy failure. An ISI official was part of the five-member JIT that was in India last week.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/pm-narendra-modi-must-apologize-over-pathankot-probe-says-delhi-cm-arvind-kejriwal/

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SIO: Cops tried to slap false charges (Mar 30, 2016, Times of India)

The Students Islamic Organisation (SIO) has alleged that the police tried to implicate the activists of the organisation who took part in a protest held in the city on Saturday under false charges.

In a press conference here on Tuesday, SIO state president Nahas Mala said that the FIR submitted by the police against activists who took out a protest march to the head post office demanding the resignation of Hyderabad Central University vice-chancellor Appa Rao had the false charge that they chanted the slogan ‘Down Down Hindustan’. He said it was later corrected as ‘Down Down Hindutva’.

“It was an attempt to falsely implicate students under the charge of raising anti-national slogans, similiar to attempts made in JNU,” he added. Nahas said that the organisation has provided the printed copy of all the slogans which were raised at the meeting to the police which clearly mentioned the slogan as ‘Down Down Hindutva’.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/51609756.cms

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Murder case: 5 RSS workers get life imprisonment (Mar 31, 2016, The Hindu)

Five workers of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) were sentenced to life imprisonment by an additional district court here on Wednesday for hacking to death two CPI(M) workers over political differences in 2007.

Pronouncing the verdict in a packed court hall, Judge Suresh Kumar Paul imposed a fine of Rs.2 lakh on each of the convicts. The court acquitted two RSS activists giving them the benefit of doubt. The prosecution said it would go on appeal against the decision to acquit the fourth and sixth accused.

Delivering the judgment in the politically sensitive case, the judge expressed the hope that the verdict would help end the growing trend of political murders in the State. He also hoped that political parties would settle their differences through democratic negotiations.…

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/murder-case-5-rss-workers-get-life-imprisonment/article8416021.ece

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47 Indian policemen get life sentences for 1991 Sikh killings (Apr 4, 2016, Deutsche Welle)

A court in northern India has sentenced 47 policemen to life in prison over the massacre of Sikh pilgrims 25 years ago. The killings were committed during an insurgency by Sikh militants in the region.

The court in Uttar Pradesh state announced Monday it had found the policemen guilty of murder, abduction and criminal conspiracy for their role in the killings on July 12, 1991. Prosecutor Satish Jaiswal told reporters that 57 police officers had originally been charged in the case, but 10 of them had died during the trial.

According to court documents, the policemen stopped a bus of Sikh pilgrims in the Pilibhit region and ordered 10 male passengers to get off. The men were then divided into groups and taken into the jungle where they were shot and killed “in cold blood,” the charge sheet said. Police later claimed the men were armed and dangerous Sikh militants.…

http://www.dw.com/en/47-indian-policemen-get-life-sentences-for-1991-sikh-killings/a-19163431

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Set up people’s tribunal for terror cases of Muslim youths: Prashant Bhushan (Apr 4, 2016, Muslim Mirror)

Supreme Court senior lawyer and Convener of Swaraj Abhiyan Prashant Bhushan suggested that a people’s tribunal or commission of eminent retired judges should be constituted for reviewing the cases of Muslim youth who have been languishing in jails under terror charges.

Speaking at a conference on “Indian Muslims in Democratic India” here on Sunday, the noted lawyer and activist Bhushan said innocent Muslims were put behind bars on trumped-up terror charges by the police and their trials would stretch at least 20 years. In such a situation, he said, there is need of constituting a people’s tribunal, headed by retired judges having impeccable secular and judicial credentials, for expeditious disposal of all terror cases.

Making scathing attack on Sangh Parivar, Bhushan said since the advent of present government, the Constitution and minorities are under constant attack. During his speech, he made a host of suggestions for combating the fascist assault on the Constitution and minority communities. He also asked Muslims to shun ‘orthodoxy’ and to make demand for ‘Uniform Civil Code’ as he felt that demand from the community’s may blunt the edge of Sangh Parivar.…

http://muslimmirror.com/eng/set-up-peoples-tribunal-for-terror-cases-of-muslim-youths-prashant-bhushan/

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Targeted because of attire: Muslim youth who refused to say Jai Mata Ki (Mar 31, 2016, Hindustan Times)

“They clearly targeted us because of our attire,” said Mohammad Dilkash, one of the three Muslim youths allegedly beaten up by a group of men for refusing to say “Jai Mata Ki”.

Dilkash, Mohammad Ajmal and Mohammad Naeem – students from a Madrasa (Muslim religious seminary) in Outer Delhi’s Begumpur – were allegedly beaten by five youths. The attack on Saturday left Dilkash with a broken arm.…

He said they were thrashed mercilessly. They managed to run out of the park and call their teacher Mohammad Azhar. “We called up our head who then the police. Police came after sometime and took us to Sanjay Gandhi hospital,” he said. Azhar and others from the mosque alleged the police registered an FIR three days later, claiming to be “busy”. “Even now they are trying to downplay the incident by not mentioning in the FIR the part about skull caps of students trampled,” he said.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi/targeted-because-of-attire-muslim-youth-who-refused-to-chant-jai-mata-ki/story-LCXh8O9JFP2GRaxGQG2KgP.html

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Hindutva Groups Fail to Push Caste Oppression Out of California Textbooks (Apr 3, 2016, Sabrang India)

Hindutva groups fail to omit caste oppression – California Education Commission denies anti-Dalit revisions in favor of academic-backed positions on history of caste-based violence

“It is important to recognize the elements of creeping Hindu fundamentalist revisionism,” said Bhajan Singh, Director of the Stockton-based Sikh Information Centre. “We’ve experienced how these beliefs inspire people to view others as untouchable, deviant, and deserving of whatever suffering assigned to their birth caste, including death.”

California Education Commission denies anti-Dalit revisions in favor of academic-backed positions on history of caste-based violence.…

https://www.sabrangindia.in/article/hindutva-groups-fail-push-caste-oppression-out-california-textbooks

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V-P Hamid Ansari calls on SC to help clarify and strengthen secularism, composite culture (Apr 3, 2016, Indian Express)

Quoting from a report calling upon the Supreme Court to reflect how to protect minorities from majoritarianism, Vice-President Hamid Ansari Saturday urged the court to clarify contours within which secularism and composite culture should operate so as to remove ambiguities.

Addressing the 16th convocation of Jammu University here, Ansari also wondered whether a more complete separation of religion and politics might not better serve Indian democracy.

He said that a few years ago, in a volume published on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of the Supreme Court, lawyers Rajeev Dhavan & Fali S Nariman had observed that “as we transit into the next millennium, the Supreme Court has a lot to reflect upon, and not least on how to protect the minorities and their ilk from the onslaught of majoritarianism”.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/vice-president-hamid-ansari-calls-for-more-complete-separation-of-religion-and-politics/

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After forced to migrate following rape, threat to life, 23 Gujarat Dalits seek internal displacement status (Apr 5, 2016, Counterview)

Twenty three Dalits, belonging to the Rohit community, are sitting in front of the Amreli district collector’s office since early January 2016, seeking a new status for themselves: They want to be declared as forced migrants, as they faced internal displacement following the rape of an 18-year-old Dalit girl and threat from dominant castes to take back the case. The incident took place in Vadali village, situated in Rajula taluka of Amreli district of Gujarat’s Saurashtra region.

In a letter sent to the Amreli district collector, senior Gujarat Dalit rights activist Kantilal Parmar of Navsarjan Trust has complained that the approach of the government authorities, including the police, regarding the forced migration suffered by Dalits has been highly indifferent, suggesting none of those who are in power seem to appreciate the threats these Dalits face at their original place of living, in Vadali following the rape incident.

Pointing out that things have been tense for the 100-odd Dalit families living in the higher caste Darbar Rajput-dominated village ever since the murder of a Dalit youth on January 14, 2011, Parmar said, the situation turned particularly pathetic for Laljibhai Bhimabhai Babariya’s family after his daughter was kidnapped late at night on December 25, 2015 and raped.…

http://www.counterview.net/2016/04/after-forced-to-migrate-following-rape.html

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Opinions and Editorials

Gujarat Riots: Closing the door on 2002 – By Aditi Raja (Apr 3, 2016, Indian Express)

…Additional Sessions Judge N T Solanki acquitted the 107 surviving accused (11 died during the course of the trial) due to “lack of evidence” as none of them or even the 35 police witnesses testified against anyone.

While the riots happened in four Nadiad areas, two predominantly Hindu and two Muslim, on February 28, 2002, a single FIR was filed with all the accused (84 Hindus, 34 Muslims), booked on charges of “assisting each other” in abetting the riots. Several shops were burnt in the violence that day while two people were killed. In their testimonies, all the accused and 35 police witnesses said they “didn’t know” the people who indulged in arson that day. The killings are being tried separately, and locals attribute the deaths to police firing.

Majid Pathan, the lawyer for the Muslim accused, says, “It was a strange case as the accused belonging to both communities were clubbed in one FIR and 35 police witnesses belonging to both communities were named as testifying against the accused.”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/closing-the-door-on-2002/

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A Hinduism that is the mirror opposite of Hindutva – By Anand Patwardhan (Mar 31, 2016, Scroll.in)

In 1984 after her Sikh bodyguards assassinated Indira Gandhi, a revenge pogrom took the lives of over 3,000 Sikhs on the streets of Delhi. Many killer mobs were led by Congress Party members, but some were led by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Bharatiya Janata Party as well. This is a fact forgotten by history but recorded in newspaper headlines of the day. It was this massacre that set me on to the road to fight communalism with my camera. For the next decade I recorded different examples of the rise of the religious right, as seen in diverse movements from the Khalistani upsurge in Punjab to the glorification of Sati in Rajasthan and the movement to replace the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya with a temple to Lord Ram.

The material I filmed was very complex and if I had tried to encompass it all into a single film, it would have been too long and confusing. Eventually three distinct films emerged from the footage shot between 1984 and 1994, all broadly describing the rise of religious fundamentalism and the resistance offered by secular forces in the country.…

Back in 1991 our première had been held in Lucknow, capital of UP. Pujari Laldas came for the screening and asked for several cassettes of the film. When I asked about his own safety, he laughed and said he was happy that now his views would circulate more widely. As he put it, if he had been afraid, he would not have spoken out in the first place. A year later, a tiny item on the inside pages of The Times of India noted, “Controversial priest found murdered.” Pujari Laldas had been killed with a country-made revolver. The newspaper article never told us that the real “controversy” was the fact that this brave priest believed in a Hinduism that is the mirror opposite of Hindutva.

http://scroll.in/article/802453/a-hinduism-that-is-the-mirror-opposite-of-hindutva-anand-patwardhan-on-the-making-of-ram-ke-naam

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Not chanting ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ is not disrespecting India – By Karan Thapar (Apr 3, 2016, Hindustan Times)

…The BJP’s National Executive has passed a resolution stating: “Our Constitution describes India as Bharat also; refusal to chant victory to Bharat tantamounts to disrespect to our Constitution itself.” I’m sorry, but that’s simply not true.

First, the Constitution speaks of Bharat and not Bharat mata. Second, it does not require Indian citizens to chant any slogan including BMKJ. Third and most importantly, the Supreme Court ruled in the 1986 Jehovah’s Witnesses case that refusal to sing the national anthem – provided you stand in respect – is not disrespect to the Constitution or the anthem. And Jana Gana Mana is more sacrosanct than BMKJ.

What the BJP has forgotten is that India’s Constitution not only grants each citizen freedom of speech but also the freedom to be silent. So whilst I may be happy to chant BMKJ if some Muslims don’t wish to they have the right to refuse. Pratap Bhanu Mehta says it would be “objectionable” to coerce them. More importantly, that would be disrespect to our Constitution.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/columns/not-chanting-bharat-mata-ki-jai-is-not-disrespecting-india/story-7WC9K4jLJ0bCYfR9196WxM.html

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You are anti-national, should be killed: Cop to Hyd varsity student – By Sreerag Poickadath (Apr 5, 2016, Hindustan Times)

As a son of a retired police officer, I remember the day of our arrest and police brutality as a serious human rights violation. I was one among the 25 arrested and jailed students. On that day, police were dragging and beating peacefully protesting students without any provocation. They threatened girl students with rape. I was taken to the police van when I questioned why they were dragging our professor Dr KY Ratnam.

I was made to sit in the first row of the seat and one policeman came to me slapped on my face saying “Oh , are you a Muslim?”, by seeing my beard without a moustache. I was shocked for a moment because it all happened in a minute. I did not respond to his question; he started hitting my neck and back with fists and elbow.

They started the van after 5 minutes and I was shifted to the second row of two seats. When the van reached Gobs (a shopping complex inside University of Hyderabad) the van suddenly stopped. One policeman standing near the door caught a student taking a video of the police van; he was also dragged and pushed into the police van, his phone was snatched and he was slapped mercilessly.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/cops-threatened-to-rape-questioned-religion-hyd-varsity-student/story-S7XvRDER1J7IarpmK1SwoK.html

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Assam a Muslim populous state with under-representation of Muslims – By Wahidul Islam (Mar 30, 2016, TwoCircles.net)

Amidst the paranoia and degrading level of politics, Muslims have always been most vulnerable and politically exploited section of the society. Assam is no difference from other parts of India which has largest proportion of Muslim population after Jammu and Kashmir and Lakshadeep. However, most of the Muslims are economically and educationally lagging behind the majority with under-representation in public and private sector. Political representation of Muslims is also very negligible.

Although Muslims of Assam have thousand years of history dating back to 13th century when local tribes chieftain Ali Mes converted to Islam at the invitation of Mohammad bin Bakhtiyar Khilji in 1205. Subsequently, Mughal invasion and later British rule had brought many Muslims to Assam as labourers and traders. During the British rule, Muslims from the then East Bengal were brought to work in Assam’s tea gardens and farmland. With time most of these migrated populations assimilated with the local Assamese population and adopted indigenous cultures.

However, post independence era with large influx of Hindu minorities from then East Pakistan in 70s had resulted into Assam agitation against immigration which later turned into mostly Muslim bashing by collectively singling out the community as illegal Bangladeshis. Under the leadership of All Assam Students Union (AASU) leaders like Samujjal Bhattacharya and Sarbananda Sonowal, students’ wing then started to put all its efforts to brand every Muslim as foreigners.…

http://twocircles.net/2016mar30/1459361428.html

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Is Chhattisgarh A ‘Police State’ Of Democratic India? – By Pushkar Raj ( ()

A ‘police state’ is said to be one where citizens experience living, freedom of movement and expression of opinion subject to police monitoring and control. The mineral rich state of Chhattisgarh in India aptly qualifies for this notorious title as the events of the recent past demonstrate.

After its creation in 2000, Chhattisgarh enacted its own police Act in 2007 on the direction of the Supreme Court of India. The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), an organization advocating for police reform in the country, considered the new law worse than the previously prevailing 1861 police Act that it replaced due to the poor supervision and accountability provisions under the new law.

Justifying its character, while the police arrested 60,279 persons in 2007 (before the new police Act came into operation), it initiated police action against 7, 39,435 people in 2014 – a twelve times jump. Out of these 1, 44,017 people were served with the bail-able warrant and 81,329 were sent to jail under non-bail able warrant. 4, 88,366 people were made to come to the police station for questioning (National Crime Research Bureau Report, 2008, 2014).…

http://www.countercurrents.org/raj290316.htm

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 28th, 2016

by newsdigest on April 3, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Gurbani Samagam depicts communal harmony (Mar 23, 2016, Times of India)

India is a country where the people of different faiths have coexisted in harmony for centuries. Recently, New Delhi hosted a three-day long ‘Gurbani Samagam’, a spiritual music festival which brought two faiths together. The event witnessed the participation of both Sikh and Muslim communities and painted a picture of religious harmony.

“Gurbani sends across the message that the universe is one whole and that all humans are one, the children of God. No one is good or bad. Gurbani does not discriminate between castes and communities, it is above all biases. It advises the people to stay in harmony and brotherhood and spread peace in the world. We also wish to send this message of peace to everyone through Gurbani,” said Bhai Davender Singh, singer, Gurbani Samagam.…

“We have been participating in this event for the past two years, as it spreads the message of communal harmony. Truth is not limited to one person, it belongs to everyone. We would like to send the message that irrespective of the religion, region or language of a person, the prime truth is for everyone,” said Muhammad Iqbal, a singer from Patiala. The Sikh tradition of Gurbani helps to bring people of all faiths under one roof and celebrate oneness.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/51526605.cms

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Modi under fire as middle-class India still awaits ‘Achhe din’ (Mar 23, 2016, Hindustan Times)

‘Achhe din aayenge’. The slogan that spearheaded the election campaign promising the “good days” of lower costs, better health care and livelihood opportunities seems to be hounding the common man of India. Sharp rises in education and healthcare costs in the last two years have hit India’s burgeoning middle class hard, denting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity among the relatively well-off ahead of a series of state elections.

Price increases for services deemed a luxury for most Indians could also complicate the central bank’s plans to cut borrowing costs, with decades of low investment in schools and hospitals meaning they will remain expensive for some time.…

Education costs have risen 13%, housing 10%, healthcare 14% and electricity 8% since Modi took charge in May 2014, time series data on CPI inflation collected by the ministry of statistics showed. That puts a disproportionate strain on middle class incomes, with education costs accounting for 7% of urban households’ monthly spend compared with 3.5% of rural households, data showed.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/pm-modi-under-fire-as-middle-class-india-still-awaits-achhe-din/story-zTM7i6bj2dP9bUMJrNWDvK.html

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Kanhaiya compares ‘onslaught on universities’ to Gujarat riots (Mar 29, 2016, The Hindu)

JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar on Monday drew a comparison between the alleged onslaught on Indian universities and the 2002 Gujarat riots, alleging that both the attacks were carried out with the “support” of the State machinery.

He also asserted that there was a difference between the 2002 riots and the 1984 Sikh massacre, as the “violence in Gujarat was carried out through the State machinery, and the anti-Sikh riots were a result of mob frenzy”. “There is a difference between Emergency and Fascism. During Emergency, goons of one party are engaged in goondaism, while in the case of Fascism the State machinery turns to goondaism. There is a difference between the riots of 2002 and 1984. There is a fundamental difference between a mob killing a common man and a massacre through State machinery,” the JNUSU president said.

Mr. Kumar expressed these views during a discussion on “Voices of Azaadi” at the “Jashne-e-azaadi” festival organised to celebrate the birth anniversary of late Professor Bipan Chandra. Noting that the present time was an era of “Islamophobia”, Mr. Kumar emphasised on the need to understand history before.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/kanhaiya-compares-onslaught-on-universities-to-gujarat-riots/article8407347.ece

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Was Delhi dentist Dr Narang lynched to death by Muslims? Or is RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal giving it a communal spin? (Mar 26, 2016, India.com)

Vikaspuri region of West Delhi is still left in a shocked situation following the death of 40-year-old dentist Dr Narang. The dentist was lynched to death after a road rage incident on Wednesday night. The gruesome incident has instilled fear among the residents. However, compounding to their concerns is the communal tension, which has been created since the past couple of days by Hindutva groups active in the area.

Volunteers of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal have been propagating that the lynching was done by a group of Bangladeshi Muslims, who are residing in the unregularized jhuggis of the Delhi. They further accused Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of defending them by using his political clout. The fringe groups claim that Bangladeshi Muslims form an essential vote bank of Kejriwal, hence, his government is attempting to shield the accused.

However, according to Vikaspuri DCP Monika Bhardwaj, out of the nine accused who have been arrested so far, five are Hindus and four are Muslims. Thus the case could not be probed through communal angle. “All of the accused are from Uttar Pradesh, not Bangladesh,” she added.…

http://www.india.com/news/india/was-delhi-dentist-dr-narang-lynched-to-death-by-muslims-or-is-rss-vhp-bajrang-dal-giving-it-a-communal-spin-1059631/

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Madrassa Student’s Arm Broken Allegedly For Not Chanting ‘Jai Mata Ki’ (Mar 30, 2016, Huffington Post)

Three young students from a madrasa in outer Delhi’s Begumpur area have complained that they were beaten up by a group of men inside a park for refusing to chant ‘Jai Mata Ki’, according to media reports. The men even broke an arm of 18-year-old Dilkash – one of the three assaulted – during the incident.

“My friends and I had gone to Bans Wala park, some 300 metres from the madrasa, when we were attacked by a group of young men. They spotted us because we were wearing caps and asked us to say Jai Mata Ki,” Dilkash told The Indian Express. The men have been drinking, according to this report, when they saw the three students approach the park during the school break, and asked them to chant the slogan. When they refused, the men roughed them up.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Vikramjit Singh told the Express that a case was registered under sections 323 (causing hurt), 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 34 of the Indian Penal Code at Begumpur police station.…

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2016/03/30/bharat-mata-ki-jai_n_9570196.html

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Ground report from Red Zone: Is Chhattisgarh becoming a police state? (Mar 30, 2016, India Today)

On Rajdeep Sardesai’s show NewsToday, lawyer and social activist Teesta Setalvad and PK Mishra, former ADG, BSF, concurred with each other on gross human rights violations in Chief Minister Raman Singh’s Chhattishgarh. In Maoist-affected areas of Chhattisgarh, it is the doctors and journalists who are bearing the brunt of the police forces.

Speaking on police atrocity, Teesta Setalvad said, “…I am really shocked at the attacks on journalists in Bastar. Are we going to tolerate a situation where journalists are going to be openely threatened by the police and then we accept the police version to say, “Are these journalists also reporting the Maoist’s version? Are we going to have no independent witnesses in Bastar or in the Red corridor?”

On being questioned about the role of the police force which is allegedly muzzling of the voice of the people in Chhattishgarh, PK Mishra said the police and paramilitary forces should operate in the maoist-affected area under the Constitution.…

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/ground-report-journalists-doctors-caught-in-bastar-crossfire/1/630406.html

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Cow vigilantism: Families contest Jharkhand government’s claims on Latehar lynchings (Mar 23, 2016, Scroll.in)

…Latehar police maintain that the murders were for cattle robbery, and can be traced to a dispute between Ansari and one of the accused, whom the police did not name. The police have arrested all eight accused, including two who are members of “Gau Raksha Samiti” [Cow Protection Organisation]. Six of the eight oxen were recovered from one of the accused, while the remaining two were abandoned by the attackers.

On March 20, speaking to journalists, even while the investigation was still on, Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das said the murders could have been linked to cattle smuggling, “like Uttarakhand, in Jharkhand too no one can take animals outside the state,” he stated.

Two days later, on March 22, when the chief minister announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh each, the families of the victims refused to accept it and demanded a judicial probe into the murders. “When the chief minister justifies lynching and murder, falsely accusing of cattle smuggling, then what justice can we expect?” said one of Majloom Ansaris’ four brothers.…

http://scroll.in/article/805548/latehar-lynchings-good-step-to-stop-cow-slaughter

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NIA failed to produce evidence against Muslim youths in Malegaon Blast Case (Mar 27, 2016, Siasat)

National Investigation Agency admitted before the court that it does not have any concrete proof against the nine Muslim youths about their involvement in Malegaon Bomb Blast Case.

It may be noted that before the investigation of NIA, ATS and CBI have already filed charge sheets. Before pronouncing any judgment, the confession statement of NIA would be taken into consideration. NIA’s advocate told that nine Muslim youths who were arrested in this case may get relief very soon. They have already spent more than 5 years behind the bars. At present they are on bail.…

When NIA started investigations, secrets were exposed one by one. In 2008, a bomb was blast at Bhiku Chowk in which Sadhavi and her guru were taken into police custody along with Col. Purohit. When Swami Aseemanand’s statement was recorded, the investigating agencies got an opportunity to probe further. NIA did not oppose the bail petitions of nine Muslim youths at that time.

http://www.siasat.com/news/nia-failed-produce-evidence-muslim-youths-malegaon-blast-case-937949/

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I told NIA about Ishrat Jahan, don’t know why didn’t they record the statement: David Headley to court (Mar 26, 2016, First Post)

On the fourth day of his cross-examination in the 26/11 Mumbai attack case before the court, Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley claimed that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had not recorded his statements accurately and that he had no personal knowledge of Ishrat Jahan.

Headley on Saturday claimed that LeT commander Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi had told him about Ishrat Jahan ‘operation’ though he had also learnt about the case through the media. He said that he had told NIA that “a female member who had died in an encounter in India was Ishrat Jahan” and other things but could not say why they were not recorded by the agency.…

On whether NIA read out the statement to him, Headley said, “No” and added that the agency just took down the notes. To a question, the Lashkar operative, who has been convicted in the US for his role in the 26/11 attacks, said neither he had requested the NIA for a copy of the statement nor did they provide it to him. He also said that this is for the first time that he was being shown his statement in the court.…

http://www.firstpost.com/india/i-told-nia-about-ishrat-jahan-dont-know-why-didnt-they-record-the-statement-david-headley-to-court-2696934.html

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32 cops booked in custodial death case (Mar 23, 2016, The Tribune)

Following directions of the district sessions judge, the city police have booked around 33 government officials, including policemen, in connection with the custodial death of a jail inmate, Raju Chand.…

The police have booked 32 government officials posted at the local Central Jail and related departments for their role in the custodial death of Raju, who died in 2013. Her mother, Manjit Kaur, filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court alleging that Raju died due to inhuman torture in the jail by the police.

Among those booked include superintendent, jail, BS Bhullar, superintendent Amrik Singh, assistant superintendent, jail, Gurbinder Singh, assistant superintendent Tasvir Singh, assistant superintendent Jagtar Singh, medical officer Dr Gunam Singh and naib tehsildar Harvinder Singh.…

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/amritsar/32-cops-booked-in-custodial-death-case/212924.html

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Gujarat: Charges framed against Asaram Bapu in rape case in Gandhingar (Mar 28, 2016, DNA India)

A court in Gandhinagar on Monday framed charges against self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, paving the way start of trial, more than two years after the police filed a charge-sheet against him and six others in a rape case.

A Surat-based woman has accused Asaram of raping her repeatedly during her stay in his ashram here. The framing of charges was delayed because the police could not bring Asaram to the court as he is in a Jodhpur jail in connection with another rape case.…

The younger sister of the complainant has levelled the allegation of rape against his son Narayan Sai who too has been arrested by Surat police. The elder sister has accused Asaram of sexual assaults between 1997 and 2006 when she was living in his Ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad city.

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-charges-framed-against-asaram-bapu-in-rape-case-in-gandhingar-2195150

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Opinions and Editorials

A letter to Modi: Why is there such a gap between your wonderful words and your actions? – By Kiran Nagarkar (Mar 29, 2016, Scroll.in)

On March 17, you outdid yourself on the first day of the World Sufi Forum hosted in Delhi. What could one say except “What a speech, how moving.” You had done your homework and you obviously have total recall (it would also be interesting to find out who your speechwriters are) but the fact remains that you are able to reproduce their amalgam of fact and rhetoric into an extempore mix.…

You had some genuinely wise things to say, like: “We must reject any link between terrorism and religion. Those who spread terror in the name of religion are anti-religious.” What noble sentiments.… And yet there was this low whisper telling me again and again something that the British Underground, along with the local train stations in Mumbai, have told us for years – mind the gap, mind the gap, mind the gap. That is the gap between the trains and the platforms where so many fall and are injured or die. In your case, Prime Minister it’s the credibility gap – the chasm between your wonderful words and zero action.…

How come, Dear Prime Minister, you have not read the riot act to your Islamophobic ministers, legislators, parliamentarians or the rest of the Parivar even once since you came to power? Some folks believe that it is because of these tirades and hate-filled actions that the BJP did not win the Delhi and Bihar elections, and predict that the elections in the four or five states due in the coming months will not be a walkover.…

http://scroll.in/article/805696/a-letter-to-modi-why-is-there-such-a-gap-between-your-wonderful-words-and-your-actions

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For Urdu Publications, the Government’s Default Setting is Suspicion – By Akhil Kumar (Mar 20, 2016, The Wire)

“Does this mean people writing in Urdu are the ones who will write anti-national things?” asks Shahnaz Nabi, head of the Urdu department at the University of Calcutta. Nabi received an unusual form earlier this week when the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) undertook to bulk purchase her book on literary criticism.

The form, which has been criticised by many writers for a controversial clause which requires them to declare that their work is not critical of government policies.…

It further states that the council could take legal action against the writers, and ask them to return the financial assistance they have been provided, if they do not abide by the declaration. It also requires the writers to get their form signed by two witnesses.…

http://thewire.in/2016/03/20/ncpul-urdu-writers-declaration-form-25324/

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Nationalism, then and now – By K.N. Panikkar (Apr 15, 2016, Frontline)

A welcome consequence of the recent despicable incident of slapping sedition charges on the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is the widespread discussion it generated on the complex and multilayered character of Indian nationalism.…

That even after about 70 years of independence from colonial rule, wrested after a popular and protracted struggle for civil liberties, it is rather ironical that the independent state should invoke the same laws which the colonial rulers had used to suppress dissent and deny freedom of expression. It is not fortuitous, though.

It is occasioned by the communal right-wing takeover of the government of India by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the consequent resurgence of Hindu religious fundamentalism directed by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and its affiliates.…

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/nationalism-then-and-now/article8409074.ece

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Sri Sri is lying and misleading all about my Yamuna assessment – By Gopal Krishna (Mar 23, 2016, Dailyo.in)

The recently concluded World Culture Festival (WCF) on the banks of Yamuna is a classic case of how we govern our rivers and its floodplains, rather misgovern them. The fact that the Art of Living (AOL) festival was planned after clearing, compacting, dumping of earth and construction debris over some 1,000 acres of the flood plain of Yamuna and by clearing the reeds and grasses underlines how it has joined the unwise assaults beginning with the construction of samadhis, Akshardham temple, Delhi Secretariat, Millennium Bus Depot, Delhi Metro and Commonwealth Games village that has devastated the floodplains.

Floodplain waters contain hundreds of plant and animal species and they are dependent on floodplains. These assaults constitute unpardonable encroachments. The role of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in mere condoning the violations of law and ironically also granting permission to further plunder the floodplains through WCF exposes its structural weaknesses and intent.

Issues of water quality, quantity and land use are interlinked because one cannot deal with them as if they are separate from the river basin but this is precisely what is being done. NGT’s approach has been no different. There is no alternative to genuine river basin approach.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/world-culture-festival-sri-sri-ravi-shankar-art-of-living-yamuna-delhi-metro-pollution-environment-aol-ngt/story/1/9698.html

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Why And What Happened In University of Hyderabad – By Omkar Nadh (Mar 27, 2016, Countercurrents)

University of Hyderabad has been worst hit by the ruling classes to suppress the dissenting voices that were being raised shaming the discriminatory practices in the society and the role of state machinery in perpetuating such discrimination. The entire episode of Rohit Vemula, who is a victim of institutional killing by the NDA government at the centre and the Vice-Chancellor (VC) of the University, is the worst form that this discrimination has been manifested.

Even the interim report of the two member committee appointed by the MHRD suggests this. Given this situation the VC of University has gone on leave for almost 2 months and then Mr.Periasamy has took over as acting VC of University and the University was functioning normal with students getting ready for their end semester examinations.

The return of Mr. Apparao at this point of time raises various questions like, since the enquiry in Rohit Vemula’s case is still under process where Mr. Apparao was prime accused, his occupancy of position which can tamper the evidences related to the case was a concern raised by the students.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/nadh270316.htm

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Message from Udumalpet – Editorial (Mar 26, 2016, EPW)

The ghastly murder of V Shankar, a 22-year old Dalit youth on the streets of Udumalpet in western Tamil Nadu on 13 March 2016, is indeed yet another instance of the manifestation of ugly casteism in the state. It is not enough to see this as merely a problem on the law and order front or one of uncivilised behaviour.

Insofar as it is a case of murder, the perpetrators of the criminal act and those behind them will have to be punished. But then, given the track record of the state police and its prosecutorial wing, such crimes in the past have not led to conviction of the guilty in any of the cases. Tamil Nadu has witnessed as many as 81 such killings in the guise of “honour” in the past couple of years alone, according to one report.

In this instance, as it was earlier, the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) has not even come out with a ritualistic condemnation while the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has chosen to term it as evidence of the government’s failure on the law and order front.…

http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/13/editorials/message-udumalpet.html

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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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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 17th, 2015

August 18, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Indian Americans celebrate India Independence Day, call for unified action to secure life, liberty and justice for all News Headlines Gujarat riots: SIT opposes Zakia Jafri’s demand for further probe BJP workers held for ‘posing’ as census officials in Muslim areas One killed while making bombs at BJP […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 17th, 2015

August 18, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Indian Americans celebrate India Independence Day, call for unified action to secure life, liberty and justice for all News Headlines Gujarat riots: SIT opposes Zakia Jafri’s demand for further probe BJP workers held for ‘posing’ as census officials in Muslim areas One killed while making bombs at BJP […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 29th, 2015

June 30, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Communal harmony over iftar at Delhi’s Jama Masjid News Headlines US report: Gujarat govt moved against top activist Teesta Setalvad after she sought to indict Modi in 2002 riots Since this new govt came, I have been told to go soft on accused (Hindu extremists): Special Public […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 9th, 2015

March 10, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Ex-bureaucrat speaks out on Gujarat riots Lawyers allege life threat to blast accused Qasmi in jail Police hand in Dimapur jailbreak suspected Indian State Bans Possession and Sale of Beef ‘Modi Govt. encouraging Hindutva forces, corporates’ Case filed against Bajrang Dal leader for ‘defaming’ minister Muslim body […]

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