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Hindu Extremists

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 30th, 2016

by newsdigest on June 11, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Sting claims political pressure in Gujarat riots (May 28, 2016, Indian Express)

Officials of the then Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government alleged political pressure in connection with the 2002 riots and the various alleged fake encounters in the state. They made these claims in a sting operation by former Tehelka journalist Rana Ayyub who has self-published what she calls excerpts from these purported conversations in “Gujarat Files – Anatomy of a cover up”.…

Ayyub, who has said that she recorded Modi, too, at his Gandhinagar residence – wearing a camera in her watch – did not release the sting tapes saying she would give them to investigating agencies if they asked for it.… Ayyub alleged that Tehelka, which had sent her on the assignment, refused to publish the story later citing “political pressure”.…

Ayyub claims in the book that she asked Ashok Narayan, who was additional chief secretary (home) in 2002: “You must have gone red in the face when the CM asked you to go slow (while controlling the riots).” She claimed that Narayan purportedly replied: “He would never do that. He would also never write anything on paper. He had his people and through them the VHP and then through them (it would) trickle down through informal channels to the lower-rung police inspectors.”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/sting-claims-political-pressure-in-gujarat-riots-narendra-modi-govt-2822765/

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Modi “decided” to bring dead bodies from Godhra to Ahmedabad, triggering 2002 riots: Gujarat bureaucrat (May 25, 2016, Counterview)

A book by a well-known investigative journalist has claimed that a top Gujarat bureaucrat had told her during a sting operation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as Gujarat chief minister, had made the “decision” of bringing 58 dead bodies, charred to death in the S-6 Sabarmati Express coach, from Godhra to Ahmedabad on February 27, 2002, triggering the riots in which at least 1,000 people died.

Pointing out that this gave the immediate reason for the riots to spread, the bureaucrat told journalist Rana Ayyub, who posed as Maithili Tyagi from the prestigious American Film Institute Conservatory in Los Angeles for the sting: “See, bringing the bodies to Ahmedabad flared up the whole thing but he was the one who took the decision”.

The sensational revelation has been made in “Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover-Up”, already being described as “a racy memoir of reporting undercover in Modi’s Gujarat.”… Ayyub reveals, through twitter, that “very few editors in this country can deny that they refused to publish the transcripts, citing political pressure”, adding, ‘Gujarat Files’ has been “self-published by me after topmost publishers eased out citing political pressure.”…

http://www.counterview.net/2016/05/modi-decided-to-bring-dead-bodies-from.html

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Scribe’s Book ‘Validates Cbi’s Evidence’ In Guj Fake Encounters (May 28, 2016, Mumbai Mirror)

Independent journalist Rana Ayyub’s new book on Gujarat fake encounters once again validates the CBI’s evidence against cops linked to the shootings, including the operation in which Mumbra’s Ishrat Jahan was killed, noted lawyer Indira Jaisingh said on Friday.

Jaisingh, who was the CBI’s counsel in the cases from 2009 to 2014, said the agency had gathered strong evidence, including phone records, against many Gujarat police officers involved in the encounters of Jahan, Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsi Prajapati. Some of the cops were let off, while others are currently out on bail.

Jaisingh made the comments at the launch of Ayyub’s book, Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up, in a small but packed basement hall of Delhi’s India Habitat Centre on Friday. Five publications had reportedly rejected the book, which also touches on the events of the 2002 Gujarat riots, prompting Ayyub to self-publish it four days ago.…

http://www.mumbaimirror.com/mumbai/others/Scribes-book-validates-CBIs-evidence-in-Guj-fake-encounters/articleshow/52472990.cms

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AAP minister alleges RSS members threatened street artists in Delhi (May 26, 2016, Hindustan Times)

Delhi culture minister Kapil Mishra has complained to the Delhi Police commissioner that members of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) allegedly intimidated an artist commissioned by the government.

On May 20, Akhlaq Ahmad was commissioned by the Delhi government to paint the walls along with French artist Swen Simon at the DJB office on GT Road in Shahdara.

“Suddenly a mob of over a hundred people gathered around the artists and intimidated them because they were writing in Urdu. These people who were led by several Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) members and leaders forced the artists to paint ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’ over the text they had been working on. They were shouting slogans of Jai Shri Ram and Narendra Modi and called the artists Lahoris,” Mishra alleged in a letter to commissioner Alok Verma.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi/aap-minister-alleges-rss-members-threatened-street-artists-in-delhi/story-2kChtke76HWMdONc2v1KcP.html

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Tripura textbook omits Indian history of freedom-fighting; gives way to Hitler, Marx (May 27, 2016, Business Standard)

After former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was dropped from Class 8 social science textbooks in BJP-ruled Rajasthan, Government schools run by the Tripura Left front state government will teach Class 9 students the history of Hitler, the Nazis, and the French and Russian revolutions in their history books, while omitting the Indian history of freedom-fighting.

The only national icon that figures in the book is Mahatma Gandhi, not for his contribution to India’s freedom movement but for his views on cricket.

The book penned by Kalyan Chaudhuri, former head of history department in Kolkata’s Maharaja Manindra Chandra College, features the Russian and French revolutions. It also devotes pages to the birth of cricket in England and IPL, Nazism and the rise of Adolf Hitler, and the history of agriculture.…

http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/tripura-textbook-omits-indian-history-of-freedom-fighting-gives-way-to-hitler-marx-116052700540_1.html

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After 23 years in jail, I am free but what you see now is a living corpse, says Nisar (May 30, 2016, Indian Express)

He could not walk, he could not sleep. That’s what 23 years in prison had done when they came to an end 17 days ago, in a Jaipur prison late in the evening. Nisar-ud-din Ahmad says when he stepped out, he saw his brother, two years older than him, Zaheer-ud-din Ahmad, waiting. “I felt a terrible heaviness in my legs. I froze. For a moment, I had forgotten I was free,” said Nisar.

Nisar was among three men who walked out from Jaipur jail after the Supreme Court acquitted them of all charges, setting aside their life sentence and ordering their immediate release on May 11. They were booked for five blasts onboard trains – on the first anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition – that killed two passengers and injured eight.

By the time they were acquitted, their families had been left shattered by the fight to prove their innocence. “I have clocked 8,150 days of the prime of my life inside the jail. For me, life is over. What you are seeing is a living corpse.”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/babri-masjid-demolition-train-blast-tada-supreme-court-acquitted-in-babri-anniversary-train-blasts-case-nisar-2824883/

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Ayodhya: Bajrang Dal leader arrested over holding weapons training camp (May 26, 2016, Indian Express)

Days after a video purportedly showing Bajrang Dal volunteers receiving weapons training in Ayodhya went viral, Faizabad police Wednesday arrested Mahesh Mishra, convenor of the outfit’s Faizabad and Ayodhya units. Mishra has been charged with hurting religious sentiments of Muslims and spreading communal hatred.

The arrest comes after an FIR against unidentified Bajrang Dal workers was lodged at Ayodhya police station late on Tuesday night. On May 14, a ‘self-defence’ camp was organised at Karsevakpuram, the VHP workshop in Ayodhya. In the video that went viral Monday, volunteers wearing skull caps were reportedly seen brandishing firearm, swords and lathis.…

The complainant in the case is sub-inspector Shri Niwas Pandey, in-charge of Naya Ghat police outpost in Ayodhya police station area. The FIR has been filed at Ayodhya police station under IPC section 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony).…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/mahesh-mishra-faizabad-bajrang-dal-chief-held-over-holding-weapons-training-camp-2819283/

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Christian pastor arrested by Hindu extremists for alleged forceful conversion in India (May 29, 2016, Christian Times)

A Christian pastor and two Christian women were put behind bars on Sunday, May 22, in Madhya Pradesh in Central India by a group of Hindu extremists on charges of forceful conversion and violations of a religious Indian Penal Code. Pastor V A Antony of the Brethren Church in Aber village, his wife Prabha, church member Praveen Choudhary, and the latter’s four-year-old son Paarth, were driving in the pastor’s car after the Sunday service when they were blocked by an SUV driven by four plain clothes policemen who asked the pastor to step out of his car, according to Barnabas Fund.

“They stopped me after we had traveled about 5 kilometres, slapped me and then asked me to leave for Satna,” Antony told Barnabas Fund. Antony recalled that he had met two of the four policemen seated in the car that same morning together with three Hindu extremists who accused him of forcing people to convert. He said the men told him “not to conduct Church service in the village, as there are no Christians here.” The men only left when policemen intervened after they started shouting at him in “the vilest language.”

The SUV kept tailing Antony’s car until they were joined by another car full of activists who belong to the Bajrang Dal and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a right-wing, Hindu nationalist, paramilitary, volunteer organization. The three Hindu extremists who met Antony that morning were also in the car.…

http://www.christiantimes.com/article/christian-pastor-in-india-arrested-by-hindu-extremists-for-alleged-forceful-conversion/56132.htm

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After communal clash, Petlad remains on edge (May 26, 2016, Times of India)

Four days after a communal clash, Petlad town of Anand district turned tense on Wednesday again after members of the minority community complained of police atrocities on some of the accused arrested for Sunday’s violence.

Police arrested 15 accused from both the communities in connection to the communal clash that had left seven persons including three cops injured. The clash had erupted in the town on Sunday evening after two groups of people from two communities came face to face over a petty issue.…

On Wednesday, the situation turned tense again when the cops were taking the accused to Anjanawada to identify other accused involved in the crime. The locals alleged that the cops had paraded the accused and even beat them while parading them bare foot. Soon, all the shops in the locality shut down their businesses while members of the minority community entered into heated arguments with the cops.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/52442664.cms

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Govt of India “blocking” international Dalit network to freely associate with UN for eight long years: NGO letter (May 26, 2016, Counterview)

More than 230 NGOs have called on members of the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to reform the practice of the Committee of NGOs that prevents certain human rights organisations, including the International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN), from associating freely with the United Nations (UN).

IDSN, posting a statement on its website, said, “This practice has turned the ECOSOC Committee on NGOs from a largely administrative body into a stumbling block for NGO access to the UN.”

It added, “One of the most extreme examples of obstruction is IDSN’s application for consultative status with ECOSOC. It has been effectively blocked for the past eight years by India, which has asked more than 70 questions in order to delay the process”.…

http://www.counterview.net/2016/05/govt-of-india-blocking-international.html

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Opinions and Editorials

#Modiversary: Harsh Mander on why he worries about the next three years of Modi government – By Harsh Mander (May 29, 2016, Scroll.in)

This blistering summer of 2016, two years have passed since Prime Minister Narendra Modi triumphantly assumed office, heading the first Bharatiya Janata Party-led national government with a comfortable majority in Parliament. Today the country he leads is even more bitterly divided than it was two years earlier, and ordinary people are visibly wearied with the unceasing bluster of false claims accompanied by little real improvement in the conditions of their hard lives.…

I believe that when this government is remembered in later years, it will be above all remembered as a “republic of lies”. It seems that people in the leadership of this government believe that simple-minded ordinary people would be convinced that the government is working for their welfare not by tangible evidence of improvement in the conditions of their lives, but instead by unceasing aggressive campaign-mode hectoring by the prime minister and massive expenditures on government advertising.…

I worry intensely about the three years ahead of Mr Modi’s continued stewardship of the country. I am convinced that a government like his that fails to deliver outcomes of a better life to the poor masses will be elected out of power eventually. But before it leaves, I agonise about how permanent and entrenched will be its assaults on the age-old traditions of peaceful coexistence that have been the civilisational hallmark and greatest cultural strength of this ancient unequal land.

http://scroll.in/article/808908/modiversary-harsh-mander-on-why-he-worries-about-the-next-three-years-of-modi-government

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On Eve of PM Modi US Visit Senators Express “Deep” Worry About Religious Intolerance in India – By Natasha Singh (May 26, 2016, The Citizen)

It is not going to be a cakewalk for Prime Minister Narendra Modi who will be in the United States for a second bilateral for a ‘working visit’ with US President Barack Obama. The Prime Minister was denied a state visit, despite considerable effort by the Indian Foreign Office, and had to finally settle for a working dialogue that will focus on hard issues and not be diverted by atmospherics and chemistry.

A major issue of concern before the US State Department is religious bigotry and intolerance in India. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal was quizzed at length less than two days ago by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Several Senators expressed deep concern about rising religious intolerance in India, and sought an assurance that the US State Department that it was taking this up with the Modi government.

Biswal repeatedly assured the Senators that the Obama Administration was well aware of these issues, was as concerned, and had been taking them at the highest level with India. “We are always looking for new ways to partner with India to advance human rights, strengthen democratic institutions, and support societies that are more inclusive, secular, and tolerant,” she said. This is unusual on the eve of a Prime Ministerial visit,…

http://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/OldNewsPage/?Id=7802&On/Eve/of/PM/Modi/US/Visit/Senators/Express/

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‘Gujarat Files’ review: Rana Ayyub’s book must be read by both sides of the political divide – By Pradeep Menon (May 29, 2016, First Post)

…In 2010, an independent filmmaker (and more important, an upper caste Hindu girl from the American Film Institute Conservatory in LA) interviewed a number of people, many of them high profile members of the law-and-order machinery of Gujarat in 2002, during research for a film about the state. That girl happened to be Rana Ayyub, undercover. Ayyub, who was with Tehelka at that time, clandestinely managed to record videos of her conversations over months, excerpts from which form the core of the book.…

Then-CM Narendra Modi’s alleged complicity in fanning the flames of the 2002 Gujarat riots has been hotly debated for nearly a decade and a half now, so talking about that would be akin to flogging the hypothetical dead puppy that (hopefully never) came under Modi’s car.

While the Godhra train burning and subsequent communal riots, remain a ghastly blot on the nation’s conscience, it would be unwise to look at these events in isolation. One of the things you’re reminded of while reading the book, as you assimilate the words of former top cops – those entrusted with the safety of citizens – is that Gujarat has always been a troubled, uneasy state vis-à-vis communalism. Multiple riots over decades festered a strained atmosphere, making the state a communal tinder box. All one needed to do, really, was strike a match.…

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/gujarat-files-review-rana-ayyubs-book-must-be-read-by-both-sides-of-the-political-divide-2804126.html

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When I Went Into Times Now TV Studio as a Journalist And Came Out Branded an Extremist! – By Asad Ashraf (May 27, 2016, The Citizen)

…Initially, when I got an invitation to join him on the debate on Batla House-ISIS, I was reluctant and said no to the desk coordinator of Times Now. But on her insistence and assurance that I will be given a fair chance to put across my points, I finally agreed, knowing little about how shallow this promise is going to turn out to be.

However, I was very clear about the consequences of my presence over there considering the fact that I am no bigwig of the industry and recalling what the same man had done to JNU student Umar Khalid and his comrades recently. But in the other side of my head, there was something else going on, something that has kept me disturbed since the last 8 years, an incident which caused me sleepless nights for weeks. This incident was none other than the Batla house encounter itself.…

As for the ISIS, I strongly oppose any such ideology that engages in mindless violence. But why should I be asked to condemn it? Surely like all sane Indian citizens my condemnation of such extremism and terror should be taken for granted. I do not ask Goswami and his ilk to stand up and condemn the violence in Gujarat by his co-religionists. Or the Christians to condemn Hitler just because he came from that religion? So why now as a Muslim am I being held responsible for all crimes of terror and extremism, to the point where I am being branded as one also?…

http://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/OldNewsPage/?Id=7809&When%20I%20Went%20Into%20Times%20Now%20%20TV%20Studio%20as%20a%20Journalist%20And%20Came%20Out%20Branded%20an%20Extremist!

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Beef it is, but what about the guardians of culture, Dadri killers? – By Lalita Panicker (May 31, 2016, Hindustan Times)

…Instead of focusing on apprehending the criminals who not only killed Aklaq but also grievously injured his son Danish, the whole debate shifted to whether the meat in question was actually beef. Could the poor man have actually been done in even though he was storing meat other than beef, asked breathless television channels. For heaven’s sake, the man has every right to store whatever meat he wants in his own fridge in his own house for his own consumption without some self-righteous upholder of bovine rights barging in and attacking him.…

Then we were told that the poor man lost his life for no reason at all, the meat in question was mutton. Now, the meat in question is apparently beef. The clever bit of interchangeability could well work in justifying the heinous crime. But the real question is why it was necessary in the first place to devote so much attention to the meat. Has anyone any right to dictate what you can store in your fridge? If it was the meat of an endangered species, maybe the wildlife authorities could confiscate it.

The issue at hand is that under the guise of some misplaced religious zeal and cow protection, vigilante groups are taking the law into their own hands. The fact that these people can enter homes to examine the contents of one’s fridge is only a step away from them entering our personal lives and dictating our preferences not just in food but in our very lifestyles.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/opinion/opinion-beef-it-is-but-what-about-the-guardians-of-culture-dadri-killers/story-dm6tMhNQ2ibWYibx6cBsgK.html

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History revisited: Was Veer Savarkar really all that brave? – By Aijaz Ashraf (May 28, 2016, Scroll.in)

…Savarkar died in 1966. During his 83 years, he was involved in the political murder of three British officials. From the nationalist perspective, these murders have been cited as examples of Savarkar’s revolutionary zeal to violently uproot British rule, unmindful of the consequences.

Savarkar was also chargesheeted in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi but was subsequently exonerated, largely because no corroborative evidence of his involvement was furnished. It has helped perpetuate the myth of Savarkar the brave.

But this myth has been shattered because of the new evidence gathered over the years. He manipulated his followers to assassinate British officials, yet took care to conceal his links to the crimes he conceived. He did not hesitate to betray his acolytes, as he did Nathuram Godse, the man who assassinated Gandhi. His famed fortitude was rarely on display during his years of imprisonment in the Andamans. He tendered craven apologies to the British, willing to bargain for his own freedom, not the country’s.…

http://scroll.in/article/808709/the-hollow-myth-of-veer-savarkar

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Book Review

Gujarat FIles: Anatomy of a Cover Up

Author: Rana Ayyub
Reviewed by: Somi Das
Available at: Self published, Pages: 204; Price: Rs 295. https://www.amazon.com
Review:
Rana Ayyub’s book Gujarat Files is a tale of gritty journalism, with a heart (May 27, 2016, Catch News)

Investigative journalist Rana Ayyub’s book, Gujarat Files: An Anatomy of a cover up, has created a storm online.… Given Ayyub’s earlier work on fake encounters in Gujarat, the book was bound to create a buzz. And so it has. Just that much of this online buzz borders on abuse. Earlier, Catch had reported on how a whopping 410 reviewers on Amazon gave her book a rating of one star without even reading the book. The low rating was accompanied by abusive comments.

Ayyub tweeted about how she self-published braving several attempts at censorship. The book indeed deals with a very controversial subject: fake encounters in Gujarat under the watch of the then chief minister Narendra Modi. What makes it even more explosive is Ayyub’s goosebumps-inducing interviews with some of the most prominent and important figures who were in the thick of things in the state at that time.

Maya Kodnani, GL Singhal, Geeta Johri are among several others who speak to an undercover Ayyub. The result? Candid interviews divulging details of how things function in the highest echelons of power, where bureaucracy merely becomes a puppet in the hands of political masters, where the caste of an IPS officer decides his assignment and where religious bigotry drives administrative decisions.…

http://www.catchnews.com/narendra-modi/quickreview-rana-ayyub-s-book-gujarat-files-is-a-tale-of-gritty-journalism-with-a-heart-1464338163.html

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 4th, 2016

by newsdigest on January 12, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Urdu fest to promote communal harmony (Jan 3, 2016, Times of India)

…Many memories will come alive when television actor Neha Sharad reads letters of Safia Ak-htar (poet-lyricist Javed Akhtar’s mother) to her husband Jan Nisar Akhtar while ghazal expon-ent Pooja Gaitonde sings some of Jan Nisar Akhtar’s famous film songs, including the immensely romantic Main tumhi se poochhti hoon mujhe tumse pyaar kyun hai (Black Cat). “This festival dispels many myths and one of them is that Urdu belongs to Muslims alone,” explains Gaitonde.

“The idea is to tell people what Bhendi Bazaar symbolized and can still offer if earnest efforts are made,” says Zubair Azmi, director of Urdu Markaz and the festival. The festival maintains its “secular” character. So, apart from a mushaira featuring non-Muslim poets of Urdu, a discussion titled “Celebrating Urdu” will see non-Muslim intellectuals like Jnanpith Awardee novelist Bhalchandra Nemade and Sudheendra Kulkarni talk about Urdu’s contributions to our celebrated composite culture.

“The festival is fast becoming a platform to showcase Bhendi Bazaar’s cultural ethos and promote communal harmony,” says local MLA Amin Patel. While admitting Patel’s “critical facilitation” to host the fest, Azmi agrees with him that the fest needs to be held on a larger scale.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/50420698.cms

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Marathi author slams Modi over 2002 riots (Jan 2, 2016, The Hindu)

Marathi author Shripal Sabnis has criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a man forever “smeared with the taint of the 2002 Gujarat riots.” Speaking at a function here, Dr. Sabnis said Mr. Modi was not fit to be Prime Minister.

Censuring his “impromptu” visit to Pakistan, he said: “It is hard to swallow that the Prime Minister, a hardcore RSS worker, visits Pakistan on an ad hoc basis to offer birthday greetings to his counterpart Nawaz Sharif… and this is a man who has his hands tainted by the Gujarat riots.”

But Mr. Sabnis endorsed talks with Pakistan and said cultural ties must continue. “Ghulam Ali should be allowed to sing anywhere in India,” he said, in a veiled rebuke to the Shiv Sena, the BJP’s ally, accused of pressuring the organisers of the ghazal maestro’s concerts to cancel them.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/marathi-author-slams-modi-over-2002-riots/article8055136.ece

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Raid on RSS worker’s shop: Six swords seized in Kannur (Jan 5, 2016, The Hindu)

The police seized six swords from a furniture shop of a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker during a raid on Monday in and around the area where a Communist Party of India (Marxist) worker was seriously injured in a bomb attack near Chakkarakkal on Sunday.

The swords were recovered during the raid on the furniture shop of Laneesh, who is one of the suspected RSS workers involved in hurling bombs on CPI(M) workers T. Samesh and O.K. Rajesh at Chembilode under the Chakkarakkal police station limits on Sunday. The left leg of Samesh was nearly severed in the attack. He has been rushed to a hospital in Kozhikode. The police said that all the six accused in the attack were absconding.

In a retaliatory attack, a BJP worker and bus driver Udayakumar, 40, was stabbed near Anjarakkandy at around 10 p.m. on Sunday. The assailants, allegedly CPI(M) workers, stopped the bus and stabbed the driver, the police said.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/raid-on-rss-workers-shop/article8067043.ece

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Kamlesh Tiwari row: Tension in West Bengal’s Malda after mob torches police station (Jan 4, 2016, DNA India)

A day after a mob torched the entire Kaliachawk police station in Malda district of West Bengal and several vehicles including those of the BSF and the police, tension prevailed in the area on Monday.

While the section 144 continues to be imposed since Sunday night, no arrests have been made so far. “The situation is under control now and we have not yet made any arrests,” IG Law and Order, West Bengal Police, Anuj Sharma told dna.

On Sunday, a massive counter rally was organised by a group against the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha leader Kamlesh Tiwari for his alleged derogatory remarks on Prophet Muhammad.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-kamlesh-tiwari-row-tension-in-west-bengal-s-malda-after-mob-torches-police-station-2162167

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Shamli ‘abduction’ case: After woman’s statement, court quashes charges, accused brothers to walk free (Jan 5, 2016, Indian Express)

The court of Chief Judicial Magistrate in Muzaffarnagar Monday ordered for the release of Mohammad Asif and his brother Arshad who were arrested for the alleged abduction of a 23-year-old woman from Shamli, days after she told the court she had married Asif of her own will and was not kidnapped, police officials said.

The allegations that the woman, a Hindu who now identifies herself as Aksa Rani, was abducted had led to a mahapanchayat in Shamli on December 25 where alleged hate speeches were delivered in the presence of BJP and Congress leaders, and local Bajrang Dal and VHP activists, causing tension in the area and registration of FIRs by the police.

On January 1 (Friday), however, the woman who was traced by the police in Delhi and brought back to Shamli along with Asif after reported missing since December 1, recorded her statement before the CJM, rejecting allegations of her abduction.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/lucknow/shamli-abduction-case-after-womans-statement-court-quashes-charges-accused-brothers-to-walk-free/

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15 Christians arrested after prayer meeting interrupted by Hindu extremists (Jan 5, 2016, Christian Today)

Fifteen Christians were arrested for alleged forced conversions in Karnataka, India after the church they were praying in was surrounded.

Christians had gathered on 31 December for a prayer meeting to usher in the New Year at an evangelical protestant church called Believers Church. The police interrupted the gathering, arresting those inside. The police justified their arrests as an act of protection from the dozens of Hindu extremists who had surrounded the church building, according to Asia News.

The Hindu radicals surrounding the church came from two ultra-nationalist groups called the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. They had intended to raid the church, but locked doors prevented them until the police were able to intervene.…

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/15.christians.arrested.after.prayer.meeting.interrupted.by.hindu.extremists/75650.htm

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Revoke NSA case on VHP man, MHA tells UP (Jan 4, 2016, Times of India)

A day after the Union home ministry sent instructions to Shamli district administration to revoke the National Security Act (NSA) against Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) functionary Vivek Premi, the VHP’s Shamli unit is emboldened by their “success”. VHP leaders are likely to seek time to meet home minister Rajnath Singh to demand that the NSA be revoked against Hindu ascetic Maharaj Yashvir too, who was booked under the stringent law on Saturday for an alleged hate speech.

In a video which went viral in June, Premi was seen beating and parading a Muslim man through the streets of Shamli, claiming he was a “cow slaughterer”. Yashvir, during a mahapanchayat on December 25, had allegedly made controversial statements against Islam.

Shamli district magistrate OP Singh had confirmed to TOI that he received instructions from the ministry of home affairs (MHA) that the NSA charges against Premi should be revoked. “Now if there is no other charge against him, he will be released, but if he was booked under some other charges, he will have to go through the legal process,” Singh had said.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/50432075.cms

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Sena corporator’s husband held (Jan 3, 2016, The Hindu)

The husband of a Shiv Sena corporator was on Saturday arrested for allegedly opening fire during a function held to celebrate the New Year at Manpada.

Four others have also been apprehended for allegedly being involved in an assault following a heated argument between two groups at the function, a police official said. “Cross complaints were registered by the groups involved in the incident,” he said.

Shiv Sena corporator in Kalyan Dombivili Municipal Corporation Pramila Patil and her husband Mukesh were present at the function held to celebrate the New Year, police said.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/news/sena-corporators-husband-held/article8060630.ece

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“Two-thirds of 2015-16 budget for minorities still unspent”, says Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (Jan 2, 2016, Times of India)

Demanding swift disbursal and proper utilisation of budget for minorities, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) drew upon facts presented in the Rajya Sabha in winter session of Parliament to point out that almost two-thirds of the budgetary allocations for 2015-16 have not been utilised by the Union ministry of minority affairs.

The Jamat-e-Islami Hind’s president Syed Jalaluddin Umri said, “In the current financial year, 70.16% of the Budget Estimates (BE) is unutilised as on date. The Ministry of Minority Affairs has earmarked budget of Rs 3,712.78 crore at the budget estimate stage for the year 2015-16. Out of this, Rs 1,955.20 crore (52.66% of the BE) was earmarked for scholarship schemes and Rs 1,757.58 Crore (47.34% of the BE) for other welfare and development schemes for minorities.”

Umari said that this information came to light when Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, minister of state for minority affairs replied to a question on the subject in Rajya Sabha on December 15. “The expenditure as of date under the scholarship budget is low i.e. Rs 37.08 crore only. This means that only around 2% of allocation for scholarships has been utilised,” a statement from the minority organization reads.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/50420248.cms

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Yogi Adityanath’s Hindu Yuva Vahini involves in abducting, raping teenage Muslim girls: Mushawerat (Jan 5, 2016, Ummid.com)

The All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat (AIMMM), an umbrella body of Indian Muslim organisations, in a shocking revelation has confirmed that BJP MP Yogi Adityanath’s Hindu Yuva Vahini is involved in abducting, raping and frocing the teenaged Muslims girls to live with Hindu boys.

After a visit to Kushinagar district in eastern Uttar Pradesh, the renowned Muslim organisation has asked the state government to take notice of these atrocities, send a high-level committee to the district to examine the situation, reassure its harassed Muslims and issue strict orders to the local police and administration to act impartially and in accordance with law.

“A team of the All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat (AIMMM) found that reports of kidnappings of Muslim girls, sometimes as young as 12 years, are true. Many of such girls have vanished, some are known to be living with their Hindu “husbands” while some have succeeded to run away and return to their families”, the NGO said after visiting the district.…

http://ummid.com/news/2016/January/05.01.2016/yogi-adyanath-persecuting-muslims.html

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Dalit youths allege police torture in Bathinda village (Dec 30, 2015, Hindustan Times)

Three Dalit youth set free from illegal police detention on Tuesday following directions of a judicial magistrate have alleged that they were tortured in custody. However, the police have denied the allegations.

Showing their injury marks, the trio from Burj Kahan Singh Wala village, who had come for a medical examination at the Bathinda civil hospital, said they were beaten up with sticks in the Bhucho police post.

Father of one of the youths said his son Gurpreet Singh (17), Inderjit Singh (18) and Amritpal Singh (18) were picked by the police on December 27 around 4:30pm after they had a verbal spat with another group during a cricket tournament and were taken to the Bhucho police post. “We kept requesting the cops to register a case against the youths instead of keeping them in illegal custody, but in vain,” he alleged, adding that the youths were tortured at the behest of people of upper caste.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/punjab/dalit-youths-allege-police-torture-in-bathinda-village/story-49JL5Ot2fhWHEAkbx6XBuM.html

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Opinions and Editorials

Head to head with hate – By Mehdi Hasan (Dec 31, 2015, Indian Express)

“Anger and intolerance,” observed the greatest of Indians, Mohandas Gandhi, “are the enemies of correct understanding”. So what would the Mahatma say if he were alive today, in modern India, with his own Twitter account and Facebook page? What would he make of the anger and intolerance of the country’s right-wing internet trolls, long ago dubbed the “bhakts”, and condemned by the former Indian intelligence official B. Raman for their “abuse, vituperation, disinformation [and] character assassination”?

To witness from afar the angry antics of the bhakt army – or the Modi toadies to quote Salman Rushdie – is one thing; to be on the receiving end of their relentless hate and bile is another. Over the past three years, on my show, Head to Head, on Al Jazeera English, I have interviewed more than 30 high-profile guests from around the world, ranging from Israeli settler leader Dani Dayan to “New Atheist” scientist Richard Dawkins to the former Pakistani ISI chief Asad Durrani.

Yet never have I experienced the sort of backlash that I have had to endure online over the past few days, in the wake of my headline-grabbing interview with Ram Madhav, national general secretary of the BJP and former spokesperson for the RSS.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/ram-madhav-mehdi-hasan-al-jazeera/

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Is Modi’s India Moving From Democracy To Dictatorship? – By Parul Verma (Dec 31, 2015, Countercurrents)

In a political system that filters and denies the existence of basic human rights of speech, movement, biological functions (eating/sexuality), there lay a common man’s fear that becomes their psychological weapon and order of the day. Fear of imprisonment, fear of annihilation, fear of torture, fear of death, fear of loss of property or means of livelihood, fear of poverty, fear of fear itself….It is not easy for a common man who is conditioned by fear to free himself from the enervating miasma of fear. This fear precisely becomes the psychological tool of a dictator to mass govern the population.…

Since the rise of the Modi government, the promotion of the right-wing Hindutva ideologies have escalated. The landslide use of power to promote the Hindutva religious ideologies by BJP (ruling Hindu national party) is plaguing the nation, at the cost of oppressing anything and everything that do not comply with their religious ideologies. The power play of the privileged religious ideologues over others is becoming a common phenomenon across India. Hindu religion being abused by the Hindutva to dictate its political power by paralyzing the minorities. The unconscious attempt of Hinduizing India has seeped the conscious and is very well being implemented.…

What needs to be questioned is power of the impunity. What is plaguing the nation is the power to abuse and the abuse of the power without the fear of its consequences (another symptomatic condition of a Dictatorship regime). The implementation of endorsing one privileged religion over another is an act of religious bigotry. If the condition is not intervened with just policies that operate with the zero-tolerance towards any civilian exgravating the communal riots, India shall foresee a tragic future.

http://www.countercurrents.org/verma311215.htm

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2015: The year India discovered intolerance – By Amrith Lal (Dec 31, 2015, Indian Express)

Early January, Tamil writer Perumal Murugan put up on his Facebook wall the first notice of a growing trend in India society. Pummelled to submission by caste groups who took exception to his treatment of social relations in his novel, Mathorubagan (One-part Woman), Murugan announced the death of his authorial self.…

A mute state administration had allowed voices of intolerance to successfully silence one of the most powerful writers in Tamil. Murugan’s retreat into silence was a powerful indictment of the civil and political society that failed to stand up for the rights of a writer. In his protest lay a warning: The barbarians are due here.

Over the next months, we saw them. Under many names, different banners. Emboldened by the advent of a friendly government at the Centre, they launched an ideological offensive against diversity in faith, tradition, texts, food and what not. With the political power won in 2014, culture became the battleground to shape Modi’s India.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/2015-the-year-india-discovered-intolerance/

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Freedom Of Dissent Vis-à-Vis Contempt Of Court – By Biswapriya Kanungo & Trijeeb Nanda (Dec 29, 2015, Countercurrents)

The initiation of criminal contempt proceeding vide an order dated 23rd December 2015 by an Hon’ble single judge bench of Bombay High Court, Nagpur Bench, against Booker prize winning writer Arundhati Roy, has again evoked a debate on the laxmanrekha of both freedom of speech and expression and contempt power of the court in our democratic constitution.…

It is not in dispute that the court enjoys ‘Contempt Power’. At the same time, a citizen has a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19(1) (a), i.e., freedom of speech and expression, which is subject to only “reasonable restrictions” as provided under Art.19 (2) of the constitution of India. In the instant case, the hon’ble single judge bench, did not dispute the issue of parity which was raised by Mrs. Roy in her article published in the “Outlook”. The author with her lucid writing method cited some examples of bail of Babu Bajarangi who was convicted for life imprisonment for his conspiratory role in 2002 Naroda Patiya massacre in which 97 people were murdered, was released on bail for an urgent eye-operation.

Another convict Maya Kodananai, a former minister of the then Modi government in Gujarat, was convicted as a kingpin in Naroda Patiya massacre and sentenced to 28 years imprisonment, but her sentence was suspended. The author in her article also raised the matter of Amit Shah, the then minister of Gujarat in Modi Government, who was accused in a ‘fake encounter’, in which three persons were brutally murdered. Here, it’s pertinent to note that the accusation against Amit Shah was punishable with death; whereas accusation against Dr. Saibaba is not punishable with death.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/nanda291215.htm

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A disaster for democracy – By Jayati Ghosh (Jan 8, 2016, Frontline)

The recent Supreme Court ruling in Rajbala and Others vs the State of Haryana, by a two-judge bench of Justices J. Chelameswar and Abhay Manohar Sapre, must rank as one of the most retrograde judgments in the history of that august court. It dismissed the challenge to the constitutionality of the Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act of 2015.

In effect, it can be interpreted as a direct attack on democracy, with extremely adverse implications for the process of making our political system more inclusive, accountable and representative. Indeed, it goes against the very spirit of the Constitution and the founding vision of Dr B.R. Ambedkar, ironically the man whom the Central government has belatedly chosen to honour.…

These are extremely serious issues for anyone concerned with the fate of Indian democracy. The necessity of an appeal against this judgment and consideration by a full bench of the Supreme Court is obvious. But if even the Supreme Court fails to uphold the spirit of the Constitution, it is important for people across the country to mobilise themselves for legislative changes that will prevent such attempts at elite control.

http://www.frontline.in/columns/Jayati_Ghosh/a-disaster-for-democracy/article8018058.ece

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On the Question of Backwardness – By Satish Kumar (Jan 2, 2016, EPW)

The demand of the Patels or the Patidar community of Gujarat for inclusion in the list of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) is a potential threat to the constitutional basis of identifying a group/class as “backward” – a classification that leads to a community being included in the appropriate beneficiary list. Widespread and virulent public agitation with anti-reservation slogans is not a new phenomenon in India.…

Given the publicly known fact that the Patels of Gujarat are a politically and economically powerful community, their demand for inclusion in the list of OBCs requires careful examination of the criteria of identifying backwardness. The proclamation of the Patel community about its backwardness, and its demand – that has taken coercive proportions – to be counted among the socially and economically weaker communities in Gujarat challenges the very foundation of the reservation policy: the criteria for identification of backwardness. …

The present movement is just an indication of the potent anti-reservation agitation and the perceived feeling of reverse discrimination. It does, however, signal the dearth of sustainable livelihood opportunities and the failure of the government to create adequate employment opportunities for all citizens.

http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/1/commentary/question-backwardness.html

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IAMC Urges Central Government to Ban Terror Outfits Sanatan Sanstha and Abhinav Bharat

October 1, 2011

Saturday, October 1st, 2011 The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – http://www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has called upon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to act on the request of the Maharashtra State Government to ban right-wing terrorist organization Sanatan Sanstha. In a letter to the Prime Minister, IAMC […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 15th, 2011

August 15, 2011

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Indian Americans celebrate Independence Day News Headlines Some intel records destroyed, says riots probe panel Gujarat govt chargesheets ‘whistle-blower’ IPS officer Rahul Sharma Gujarat: Another officer drops glove to hit back at Modi govt India: Gujarat policemen charged with misconduct ‘Policemen involved in fake encounters should be […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 8th, 2011

August 8, 2011

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Godhra riots: Call for CBI probe gets louder Ishrat encounter: New SIT chief grills constable on retraction UP tops fake encounters list, Manipur follows: NHRC Mumbai Urdu dailies scream at bail to saffron terror accused Court seeks police report on Swamy’s article Bhuria slams order allowing […]

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‘Have clinching evidence of RSS training people to make bombs’ (Jul 24, 2011, Hindustan Times)

July 25, 2011

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh reiterated on Sunday that he had clinching evidence of the RSS’ involvement in training people in bomb-making. He also accused the Madhya Pradesh government of interfering with the police probe, rejecting the charge that he was ‘communalising’ terror. Singh, however, denied that he had said Hindu outfits could be responsible for […]

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American Hindu Extremists Fail in Media Intimidation Campaign

September 21, 2002

September 21, 2002

Hindu extremist groups in the U.S failed in their attempts to intimidate PBS. PBS refused to scrap or make changes in its documentary, “Soul of a Nation” that aired on September 19th. The documentary dealt with the Gujarat pogrom in which more than 2000 Muslim civilians were butchered or burnt alive and more than 600 girls and women gang-raped before being burnt and hacked to death. The documentary raised disturbing questions about the spread of Hindutva hate schools all over India.

Militant Hindu websites have been urging their supporters to contact PBS masquerading as Christians and threaten to harm PBS financially.

Indian Muslim Council, a nationwide advocacy group for a pluralistic India, launched a successful campaign in support of the Freedom of Speech and PBS. Moderate Hindus and other Indian minority groups helped IMC -USA in its campaign.

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IMC-USA Condemns Media-Intimidation Campaign by Hindutva-Fascists

September 15, 2002

September 16, 2002

Indian Muslim Council- USA condemns the campaign of intimidation against the US media by extremist Hindu organizations based in the US.

PBS will be showing a documentary, “Soul of a Nation”, on the recent ethnic cleansing in Gujarat, India in which over 2000 Muslims were killed, more than 600 women were raped and burnt alive and over 150,000 Muslims displaced. This violence was perpetrated by the right wing Hindu ruling party in India that claims the subjugation of minorities as its “Hindutva “ideology.

The Hindutva-fascist fronts are well organized in the United States. Recently they have launched a massive campaign to condemn and stop the showing of this PBS documentary “Soul of India” that exposes their involvement in the carnage. The documentary is to air on September 19th at 9pm ET (Soul of a Nation http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/about/film10.html)

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