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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 6th, 2015

by newsdigest on April 7, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar demands BJP’s explanation for 2002 Gujarat riots (Apr 4, 2015, Economic Times)

Launching a scathing attack on the BJP for its “jungle raj 2″ barb, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today asked “what were the 2002 Gujarat riots?” “Godhra ka 2002 ka danga kya tha iska jawab de (They should answer what were the 2002 communal riots at Godhra in Gujarat)?” Kumar told reporters in a strong retort to BJP President Amit Shah over his “jungle raj 2″ remarks at BJP National Executive meeting in Bengaluru.

“What moral right do they have to talk over the law and order situation in other places?” he asked coming out of a function of the state Road Construction Department here. Kumar, who assumed reins of the state for the fourth time on February 22, said the rule of law prevailed in Bihar.

On Shah’s claim that BJP would rule for more than 10 years, Kumar in a sarcastic comment said it has started losing steam and is drawing the anger of people even before the completion of a year in power. The Bihar CM said the BJP was an expert in making such tall claims in a bid to “hide its failure” and added the party was good in making “jumblebazi” (superlative sayings). …

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/46804908.cms

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1992 Jalandhar fake encounters: 8 ex-cops get life sentence (Apr 1, 2015, Hindustan Times)

Pronouncing its verdict in two 1992 fake encounter cases, the special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Tuesday awarded life sentence to eight retired policemen, including a former superintendent of police (SP).

Personnel of the Nakodar police in Jalandhar district had killed constable Baljit Singh in a fake encounter on September 1, 1992 and shot dead constables Rajwinder Singh and Mukhtiar Singh on September 6 that year. Baljit’s body was found, but not those of the other two.

While eight retired police officials were convicted and sentenced, 17 others were acquitted by the court due to lack of evidence. Those convicted in the Baljit Singh case are retired SP Ram Singh, Ajit Singh, Ajaib Singh, Amrit Singh and serving inspector Harbhajan Singh.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/patiala/1992-jalandhar-fake-encounters-8-cops-get-life-sentence/article1-1332589.aspx

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Main accused in Patna blast case arrested (Apr 4, 2015, The Hindu)

The main accused in the March 30 bomb blast here was arrested in Nalanda district on Friday. Two other accused are still at large. Police officers told The Hindu that Kundan Kumar was arrested at Ekangarsarai.

“It was a joint operation by a special team of the Patna police and the Anti-Terrorist Squad. We’ve been keeping track of his movement for long,” Patna Senior Superintendent of Police Jitendra Singh Rana said. The other accused are Hemant Kumar and Ashok Kumar.

Two improvised bombs were recovered after a low-intensity blast at a residential flat in Bahadurpur here. The bombs were wired to the same ‘Lotus’ brand timer as those used in the 2013 serial blasts at Bodh Gaya and the Gandhi Maidan blast during a BJP rally. “With the arrest of the prime accused, we hope to arrest the other two soon,” Mr. Rana told The Hindu.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/main-accused-in-patna-blast-case-arrested/article7066425.ece

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Babri Masjid demolition case: Courts are ‘the only way ahead when accused are in govt’, says Haji Mehboob (Apr 1, 2015, Indian Express)

Haji Mehboob, 77, is a well-known figure in Ayodhya for residents as well as the journalists who travel there every so often to report on the mandir-masjid dispute.

A member of the Aman Committee, he is held in high regard but his standing was not able to prevent the arson and looting that accompanied the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992. He fled to a neighbouring village relatively untouched by the tension. His Ayodhya home is just a stone’s throw from what used to be the Babri Masjid.

Asked what prompted him to petition the Supreme Court at a time when the BJP was in a full majority in the Centre and L K Advani had been awarded the Padma Bhushan just hours earlier, he replied, “I believe that there is justice and I have full faith in the Supreme Court.”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/babri-masjid-demolition-case-courts-are-the-only-way-ahead-when-accused-are-in-govt-says-haji-mehboob/

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Muslims have been massacred during RSS-induced riots: Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind president (Mar 31, 2015, Oneindia.com)

Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JUH), one of the largest Muslim organisations in India, has claimed that the country is ‘on the verge of partition’ due to the ruling BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) leaders.

“The BJP and RSS leaders are making such (communal) statements to create terror in the mind of the Muslim community, but the PM is silent as he is under pressure from the RSS. We are observing the Sangh for the last 70 years and know its true agenda. They cannot mislead us by their occasional sympathetic statements,” JUH president Arshad Madani was quoted by an India Today report as saying in Deoband, Saharanpur, on Monday.

He said the country would be divided again if these people are not stopped. “The RSS is harmful not only for the Muslim community, but also for the Hindus. The country was divided in the past because of the same communal forces. We fear that India will once again be divided if such forces are not stopped from their design to communalise the entire country,” the JUH chief added. Madani demanded stern action from the Modi Government against those who make hate speeches to terrorise any community.…

http://www.oneindia.com/india/muslims-have-been-massacred-during-rss-induced-riots-jamiat-ulama-i-hind-president-1701536.html

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Hardline Hindutva hurts Modi sarkar: 300 days after he stormed into Delhi durbar, PM’s popularity has been hit by ‘ghar wapsi’ (Apr 2, 2015, Daily Mail)

The perceived communal overtones dominating the political space in the form of the saffron outfits’ ghar wapsi programme are beginning to hurt the Narendra Modi-led NDA government. The latest India Today Group-Cicero Mood of The Nation Survey shows that the BJP would lose at least 27 Lok Sabha seats from its current tally if elections were held today.

In the opinion poll, 38 per cent of the 12,000 respondents rated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s performance as ‘good’. Of those who participated in the opinion poll, 22 per cent categorised it as ‘excellent’ and only 11 per cent said they were ‘unhappy’ with the first 10 months of the National Democratic Alliance government.

The findings of the opinion poll should come as a wake-up call for the Union government as people might be satisfied overall with its performance on the counts of governance, economy and foreign affairs, but the communal tag is pulling its image down.…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-3023689/Hardline-Hindutva-hurts-Modi-sarkar-300-days-stormed-Delhi-durbar-PM-s-popularity-hit-ghar-wapsi.html

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BJP leader, 11 others booked for threatening Sama resident (Mar 26, 2015, Times of India)

BJP leader Dharmendrasinh Vaghela and 11 others were booked late on Tuesday night for abusing and threatening a Sama resident. Deepak Chauhan registered an FIR at Sama police station wherein he stated that Vaghela and other accused threatened him thrice in last two months and pressurized him to vacate his property.

The police action came after the Gujarat high court on March 20 issued an order to the police to register FIR against the accused. Chauhan had approached the high court and complained of police inaction.

Chauhan has said in his FIR that the accused first abused and threatened him on February 6 and February 12 this year. The accused again approached him on March 17 and threatened him before asking him to vacate the home he stays in.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/46697224.cms

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Why beef ban in Indian state undermines secularism (Apr 4, 2015, BBC)

…Many Muslims see the extension of the beef ban as evidence of an assault on one of the key principles on which independent India was founded – secularism. Secularism in India means something a little different from elsewhere. It doesn’t mean the state stays out of religion, here it means the state is committed to supporting different religions equally.

India’s secularism was a response to horrors of the partition when millions of people were murdered as Hindus and Muslims fled their homes. The country’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, argued equal treatment was a reasonable concession to the millions of Muslims who’d decided to risk all by staying in India. But India is now governed by a Hindu nationalist party, the BJP. It sees India as a Hindu nation.…

That’s why while the idea of cow mug shots may be amusing, the beef ban is deadly serious. India’s triumph has been forging a nation in which Hindus and Muslims can live happily together. The fear is that the beef ban is part of a process that is gradually undermining the compromises that made that possible.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-32172768

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FIR registered against 3 police officers in Mathura for alleged gangrape of a woman (Mar 31, 2015, First Post)

An FIR has been registered against three police personnel, including a sub-inspector, for allegedly raping a woman in Goverdhan town in Mathura, police said on Monday.

According to a complaint filed by the woman, Sub-Inspector Ganga Prasad and two constables gangraped her on 12 December last year and also threatened her of dire consequences if she narrates the incident to anyone, Dy SP Anil Yadav said.

A case has been registered against the accused under section 376 (rape), 120b (criminal conspiracy), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), and 506 (criminal intimidation) on the intervention of the court, he said.…

http://www.firstpost.com/india/fir-registered-3-police-officers-mathura-alleged-gangrape-woman-2180675.html

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Two Dalit women thrashed inside police station; 4 cops suspended (Apr 4, 2015, DNA India)

In an alleged case of police brutality, two Dalit women were purportedly beaten up by a sub-inspector and his subordinates inside outer Delhi’s Rohini south police station, following which four police personnel were suspended. The women, in their complaint, have alleged that the sub-inspector and some women police personnel thrashed them inside the police station on Friday, forcing them to confess in a case of robbery. The victims, who are in their early twenties, were taken to the police station for questioning at 9:30 AM yesterday and left around 5 PM.

The women were later taken to Ambedkar Hospital for treatment where a large number of locals created ruckus over the alleged custodial brutality. Heavy police deployment had to be made to bring the situation under control. …

Four police personnel, including sub-inspector Rajveer who had allegedly beaten the two women, were today suspended, Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat told PTI. The other three suspended are women constables deputed at the police station.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/delhi/report-delhi-two-dalit-women-thrashed-inside-police-station-4-cops-suspended-2074762

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Opinions and Editorials

How the State kills and buries the truth – By Saurav Datta (Apr 1, 2015, DNA India)

…As was already known for too long, and as is being brought to the fore again, successive governments of Uttar Pradesh and their law enforcement agencies tried every trick in the book to subvert the trial, and boy, what a success they have achieved! In his Order acquitting all the 19 PAC personnel charged with the unprovoked and deliberate killing of 42 Muslim men, Jindal is constrained to observe that the case is essentially all about circumstantial evidence, because, in 28 years, the prosecution hadn’t managed to produce any material evidence which could be deemed credible in the eyes of law.…

Would an appeal against the Hashimpura judgement be an exercise in futility, now that 28 years have passed, and all material evidence crucial to the case must have been destroyed, and that three of the 19 accused are no more alive? It most likely will, unless of course the courts compel disclosure of the CID report. It would also ensure that the real names are brought forth, because many a time and oft, lower-ranking policemen (the highest-ranking among the Hashimpura accused was a sub-inspector) are made scapegoats for the deviousness of their superior officers.

Till date, all UP governments – Congress, BJP, SP and BSP- have resolutely claimed legislative privilege (and the specious plea of disturbance of communal harmony) to not disclose that damning report. An appeal to the appropriate high court, or if not, the Supreme Court, directed not against the 16 PAC men, but the state of UP, could well be the first step towards complete justice for Hashimpura.

http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/standpoint-how-the-state-kills-and-buries-the-truth-2073910

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A Festering Sore On Indian Democracy – By Pradyot Lal, NK Bhoopesh & Anurag Tripathi (Apr 11, 2015, Tehelka)

… If ever a comprehensive study is undertaken to determine the role of law-enforcing agencies in ‘helping’ spreadcommunal riots in free India, what happened in somnolent Moradabad where all that glitters is brass is instructive. Around 3,000 namazis had turned up at the idgah to render Friday prayers when some pigs mysteriously found their way among them causing instant commotion. What followed was even more macabre, as the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel who were on duty failed to chase away the offending animals in time.

Instead, as brickbatting of the police and PAC personnel ensued, they indiscriminately opened fire causing several in the congregation to die instantly. There was already enough tension between the factory owners and the artisans who were usually drawn from different communities. The demographic structure of the city, however, was not reflected in its political representation. Two generations after the riot, the scars are yet to heal.

As sociologist Satish Sabherwal and historian Mushirul Hasan averred a couple of months after the riots, neither the then UP chief minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh nor the leaders at the Centre went beyond offering palliatives to the victims. This was ‘democratic’ India’s second tryst with the PAC after the revolt in its ranks in the mid-1970s had threatened to upstage the Congress in Uttar Pradesh.…

http://www.tehelka.com/a-festering-sore-on-indian-democracy/

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Ominous legislation – Editorial (Apr 3, 2015, The Hindu)

The Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime (GCTOC) Bill 2015carries disturbing echoes of draconian anti-terror laws such as the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) and the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). Both were considered failed experiments that led to gross abuse. More specifically, the Bill seems to be modelled on the provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) that was implemented in 1999 and continues to be in force today.

In fact, since 2002 it has also been in force in Delhi after the police insisted that such a law was needed as ‘organised crime has no limits’. The common thread running through all these controversial pieces of legislation is the notion that regular process, as outlined by the Code of Criminal Procedure, is not enough to deal with a changed internal security situation.…

Knee-jerk reactions lead to severe laws. The focus should rather be on better resources and training for investigators who can continue to work under the existing Code of Criminal Procedure, which is already comprehensive in scope.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/ominous-legislation/article7061854.ece

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Church under attack – By T.K. Rajalakshmi (Apr 17, 2015, Frontline)

Even as reports of attacks on churches in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and elsewhere began pouring in, causing wide consternation, the report of an “under-construction” church being vandalised at Kaimri village in Hisar district of Haryana was received with surprise.…

On March 15, the day before the Bharatiya Janata Party government got the Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gau Samvardhan Bill, 2015, passed in the Assembly, some village residents climbed on to the roof of the church and broke the cross. They then installed a statue of Hanuman inside the main hall. One person was arrested in connection with the incident and a complaint was registered against 14 people, including the sarpanch of the village, and a first information report (FIR) was filed.…

A social activist from the village, requesting anonymity, told Frontline that a month ago, local leaders of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal visited Kaimri and told the residents that the church should not be built. “They incited the villagers who had hardly bothered until then about it. This was not a gram sabha matter but the sarpanch got involved because the panchayat elections are a few months away,” he said. The issue of the church, the bogey of conversions, and the panchayat elections all fell into place.…

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/church-under-attack/article7048426.ece

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NaMo’s Minimalist Wave – By Mihir Srivastava (Apr 13, 2015, Outlook)

…a hyperactive PMO seems to have put off a section of bureaucrats, who are now reluctant to leave states and move to the Centre in a reversal of the earlier trend of bureaucrats lobbying for central deputation. “The fear factor is at play,” says a joint secretary, who agreed to talk at a coffee shop in Noida. “We are just carrying out instructions. We get very specific instructions, several times not in writing. You can’t afford to not act on such verbal communications and you can’t act on it unless due process is followed,” he says of the dilemma.

The prime minister’s frequent travel – he’s been on foreign trips for 40 days in his first nine months in office – has also taken a toll on governance: the number of vacancies rises, but there is no reshuffle in sight. Ajit Kumar Seth, cabinet secretary of the former UPA regime, still remains in office. He has been given extensions. Asked about the delays, Manmohan Vaidya, national prachar pramukh or propaganda head of the RSS, shot back: “I will not say a word on this. I understand the media is trying to create a misunderstanding. We know our work. Government is doing their work.”

K.N. Govindacharya, a former RSS pracharak who used to share a room with Modi in 1989-90 at the party office on Akbar Road in Delhi, is openly critical. He points to hypocrisy disguised as ideology. The RSS and the government, he says, are dealing in “half-truths, or sometimes, convenient truths”. Is the national interest above party interest or the interest of the rss? This arrangement of hypocrisy and compromises is not sustainable, he warns.

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/NaMos-Minimalist-Wave/293881

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The Ides of March – By T. K. Rajalakshmi (Apr 17, 2015, Frontline)

If the outcome of the Delhi Assembly elections came as a shocker to the Bharatiya Janata Party, the broad opposition, inside and outside Parliament, to the promulgation of the land acquisition ordinance and the government’s decision to amend the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Act, 2013, also called the LARR Act, has stumped it.

The bugle of protest was sounded in early January itself, with political parties like the Congress taking to the streets and mass organisations of the Left and other people’s movements making their resentment vocal in separate forums. Moves to defend the ordinance, first by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and then by Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, had little impact as the government was viewed as increasingly obdurate.

The three-day protest in the national capital in mid-March by thousands of farmers from western Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and even Karnataka, led by the Bharatiya Kisan Union of Rakesh Tikait, was perhaps a signal to the government about the widespread resentment. The BKU had lent its support to the BJP during the Lok Sabha elections.…

http://www.frontline.in/cover-story/the-ides-of-march/article7048326.ece

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 9th, 2015

by newsdigest on March 10, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Opinions and Editorials

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 17th, 2014

November 18, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines 2002 Gujarat riots: Supreme Court for winding up proceedings within three months BJP-RSS Trying to Force Communal Ideologies on Country: Left ‘BJP using Hindutva to divide people, push reforms’ Akshardham attack: Supreme Court junks Gujarat review plea Fact finding reports blame ‘communal forces’ for Trilokpuri riots; […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 27th, 2014

October 28, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Muslim man arranges cremation of Hindu ‘sister’ Sangam Vihar residents prevent clash, show communal harmony Patna stampede: Muslim woman saves Hindu child News Headlines US court lets US group challenge Modi immunity VHP hand seen in post-Modi Gujarat’s communal incidents AAP, Congress, accuse ‘Hindutva elements’ of stoking […]

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India’s 68th Independence Day – A time to renew communal harmony and safeguard secularism

August 15, 2014

Friday, August 15, 2014 The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has called on Indians across the world, to mark the occasion of India’s 68th Independence Day by finding ways to strengthen pluralism, and to renew communal harmony, in order to defeat the designs […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 3rd, 2014

March 4, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Gujarat pogrom commemorated by Indian Americans Communal Harmony March for communal harmony youth awareness News Headlines Bring Narendra Modi to justice, urges meeting hosted by UK parliamentarians No change in US stand on the communal violence in Gujarat, Jen Psaki says Gulbarg society riot victims move court, […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 2nd, 2013

September 3, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines ‘File chargesheet against Narendra Modi, others in 2002 post-Godhra riots case’ British Sikhs to oppose any Narendra Modi visit to UK PIL plea alleges bid by BJP leaders to derail Prajapati case against Amit Shah Asaram gets 14-day taste of jail, Jodhpur Police say case against […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 1st, 2013

April 2, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines US lawmakers paid Rs 9 lakh each to praise Modi: report Did aggressive Hindutva agenda cost BJP dear? Police make 5 dead accused in Dhule riots Mumbai police face defamation suit for false terror circular Eight policemen convicted in Gonda fake encounter case Civil group to […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 18th, 2013

February 19, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony ‘Inter-faith dialogue only way out for communal harmony and social stability’ News Headlines Wrote on Modi as a citizen of India, Jaitley twists facts: Katju Zakia Jafri told to challenge SIT report by April 15 Saffron terror exposed? Sunil Joshi was mastermind behind all blasts between […]

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Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary is a time to renew the struggle against hate and sectarianism say Indian Americans

January 31, 2013

January 30, 2013 Indian American Muslim Council (http://www.iamc.com) an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has paid respects to the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi on the occasion of his death anniversary today. IAMC has called on secular forces to join hands in the struggle against the same hateful and divisive forces […]

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