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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 17th, 2014

by newsdigest on November 18, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

2002 Gujarat riots: Supreme Court for winding up proceedings within three months (Nov 13, 2014, Indian Express)

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked a trial court in Ahmedabad to wind up within three months the proceedings in Gulberg Society massacre case of 2002 Gujarat riots in which former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri and 67 others were killed.

Expressing concern over the accused languishing in jail due to delay in trial, a special bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu asked the Special Investigating Team (SIT), which probed the nine riot cases, to expeditiously proceed in the case.

The bench, however, said that judgement should not be pronounced by the trial court without its permission. Former CBI Director R K Raghvan, who is heading the SIT, said that it would be difficult to wind up the proceedings within three months. The bench, thereafter, asked him to proceed expeditiously and allowed him to approach the court in case it is not completed within three months.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/gujarat/2002-gujarat-riots-supreme-court-for-winding-up-proceedings-within-three-months/

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BJP-RSS Trying to Force Communal Ideologies on Country: Left (Nov 13, 2014, New Indian Express)

Lashing out at BJP and RSS, 16 Left parties on Thursday adopted a resolution against communalism and accused the Centre of trying to force “Hindutva ideologies” on the entire country. The 16 Left parties including ten constituents of the Left Front in West Bengal led by CPI-M and other Left parties like SUCI(C), CPI(ML-Liberation), CPI(ML-Santosh Rana) and PDS today organised a convention and adopted a resolution against spread of communalism in the country and the state.

“Due to communal polarisation throughout the country, a threat is looming large over secularism and democracy. BJP, after achieving majority, has sped up this communal polarisation,” the adopted resolution stated. …

“Bengal, which has been known as a stronghold of secularism, is too under threat of majority and minority polarisation and communalism. The misrule of Trinamool Congress due to its narrow-minded politics has provided space for communal polarisation in the state,” it stated.…

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/BJP-RSS-Trying-to-Force-Communal-Ideologies-on-Country-Left/2014/11/13/article2521639.ece

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‘BJP using Hindutva to divide people, push reforms’ (Nov 16, 2014, The Hindu)

Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury on Saturday alleged that the BJP government was dividing the working class using Hindutva so that it could push its ‘reforms’, which would help corporate entities and foreign investors.

Inaugurating the 4th conference of the Bank Employees’ Federation of India – Karnataka here, Mr. Yechury said bankers should see through the “cocktail of economic reforms and Hindutva” and stay united.

His party would raise the issue in Parliament, while workers should create awareness about it as reforms and Hindutva was “the weapon that India has created under (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi”.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/bjp-using-hindutva-to-divide-people-push-reforms/article6603376.ece

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Akshardham attack: Supreme Court junks Gujarat review plea (Nov 16, 2014, Indian Express)

Months after six persons were acquitted of all charges in the 2002 Akshardham Temple attack case, the Supreme Court has now dismissed the review petition filed by the Gujarat government against the acquittal.

In an order issued on November 5, the Bench of Justices Anil R Dave and V Gopala Gowda said the court was “convinced that the order, of which review has been sought, does not suffer from any error apparent warranting its reconsideration”. …

The court had also said, “Instead of booking the real culprits responsible for taking so many precious lives, the police caught innocent people and got imposed the grievous charges against them.”

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/akshardham-attack-supreme-court-junks-gujarat-review-plea/

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Fact finding reports blame ‘communal forces’ for Trilokpuri riots; police for one-sided action (Nov 12, 2014, Twocircles.net)

Two weeks after the riots during Diwali days in East Delhi’s Trilokpuri, two separate Fact Finding teams on Tuesday came out with scathing findings: one has blamed the “communal outfits” for instigating the riots while the other has blamed Delhi police for “one sided action” against Muslims.

“Communal outfits were involved in engineering riots at Trilokpuri and these communal organizations attacked with a preconceived conspiracy against minorities,” the Fact Finding report by NCHRO claimed.

The second report, by a joint team of APCR, PUCL and JIH, said: “Initially, police was very casual which lead the violence to go on and later, when the police did become active, it took one sided action against the Muslim community.”…

http://twocircles.net/2014nov12/1415774967.html

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No record, no compensation: Remembering the 1980 riot (Nov 17, 2014, Times of India)

Justice MP Saxena Commission report on the Moradabad riots of August 13, 1980 has not been tabled in the Uttar Pradesh assembly 34 years after the incident. Victims of the violence, which occurred on the eve of Eid that year, at the Eidgah, left 284 people dead. The violence occurred as Muslims in the area clashed with personnel of the Provincial Armed Constabulary. Not a single prosecution has occurred so far.

ADM City DP Singh was killed in the violence, while superintendent of police Vijay Nath Singh was injured. Relatives of the dead – whether securitymen or Muslims – have demanded compensation for their loss from the government, to no avail. Many victims blame the Congress government in the state at the time, which had VP Singh at the helm, as chief minister.

The carnage occurred two days before the celebration of Independence Day in 1980. A large crowd had gathered at Eidgah in the morning of August 13. During the prayers, some minority community leaders say, pigs were led into the Eidgah by some miscreants. Many Muslims in the area with a memory of that violence still hold that the presence of pigs set off the spiral of violence. …

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/45180709.cms

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2010 Machil fake encounter case: Army convicts 7 personnel, including commanding officer (Nov 13, 2014, Times of India)

Army has handed life sentence to seven of its personnel, including two officers, in connection with the Machil fake encounter killing of three youths in Jammu & Kashmir in 2010, chief minister Omar Abdullah has said.

“The Army has handed out life sentences to seven inc(luding) the Commanding officer in the Machil fake encounter case of 2010. This is indeed a very welcome step,” Omar said in a tweet on Thursday.

Hailing the verdict of the general court martial, Omar tweeted, “This is a watershed moment. No one in Kashmir ever believed that justice would be done in such cases. Faith in institutions disappeared.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/45131618.cms

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200 hurt as hell breaks loose; ‘godman’ Rampal supporters attack cops (Nov 18, 2014, Hindustan Times)

After days of tense standoff, bloody clashes involving gunfire erupted between self-styled godman Rampal’s supporters and the police when they tried to arrest him in Haryana on Tuesday, leaving over 200 people including security and media personnel injured. Rampal’s supporters reportedly opened fire on police personnel who arrived to arrest him from his ashram at Barwala in Hisar, about 164 km northwest of New Delhi. Shots were heard near Rampal’s Satlok Ashram.

As the area turned into a battlefield, the police halted the operation in the evening, but said they were determined to arrest the self-styled godman and there was “time limit for the operation”. The police have so far failed to produce the controversial godman in court in connection with a contempt of court case. Rampal is on bail in another case in connection with the killing of a man in firing from his ashram in Rohtak in 2006.

“Rampal supporters attacked us with lathis, acid pouches and petrol bombs,” Haryana director general of police (DGP) SN Vashisht said. “We initially practiced restraint as we didn’t want innocent people to get injured.” Tension mounted earlier in the day as supporters of Rampal refused to heed to repeated announcements by the police over loud speakers to allow them to enter the premises in order to arrest him. … “Some people from inside the ashram said that they were being forced to stay inside,” Vashisht said.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print/1287358.aspx

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Sexual assault: Kambaleshwar Math chief remanded (Nov 18, 2014, The Hindu)

Someshekar Shivacharya Swami, who is alleged to have sexually assaulted an 11-year-old girl at his Kambaleshwar Math in Chitapur town in Kalaburagi district, was arrested on Monday by the police on the outskirts of Jewargi town from a car in which he was proceeding towards Vijayapura.

A special police team, which arrested the swami, brought him to Kalaburagi and subjected him to medical test before producing in a special court dealing with crime against women and children. The swami was remanded in judicial custody till November 29.

The police have filed cases under different sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. Meanwhile, the girl, who was in the government general hospital here for medical check-up, was brought to the special court where a magistrate recorded her statement in camera . The girl, who was working as a help in the Kambaleshwar Math, was sexually assaulted allegedly by the swami on October 30.…

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/sexual-assault-kambaleshwar-math-chief-remanded/article6610135.ece

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Caste prejudice in Gujarat? Report finds over 30 per cent of state’s prisoners are Dalits (Nov 14, 2014, Daily Mail)

Around 32.9 per cent of all convicts and 23.4 per cent of under-trials in Gujarat’s prisons are Dalits, a community that forms just about 6.7 per cent of the state’s overall population.

The statistics are part of a recently released National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report titled ‘Prison Statistics India 2013′, which relates to different aspects of prisons and prison inmates in Indian jails.

The data suggests that the proportion of Dalits among Gujarat’s convicts is nearly 4.9 times higher than their share in the state’s population, with its under-trial numbers up to 3.5 times higher. …

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2833761/Caste-prejudice-Gujarat-Report-finds-30-cent-state-s-prisoners-Dalits.html

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Opinions and Editorials

How the Sangh Parivar systematically attacks the very idea of India – By Anand Patwardhan (Nov 13, 2014, Scroll.in)

Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse was a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. He was also in the Hindu Mahasabha like his mentor VD Savarkar. Nathuram’s brother, Gopal Godse, was a co-conspirator in the case. After serving his prison term, Gopal conceded in interviews that neither he nor Nathuram had ever left the RSS but told lies in court to protect the RSS as well as Savarkar. …

The population of Muslims has marginally increased since Independence to the present 13.4 % but the cause is not conversion or “love jihad” or because Muslim men are allowed four wives, as Hindutva forces would like us to believe. The fact is that the Muslim by every conceivable yardstick is impoverished. The Sachar Committee report makes it clear that Muslims in India are less educated, poorer and fewer of them can be found in the national and state legislatures and in the bureaucracy, leave alone in the military and paramilitary. With the BJP occupying the centre and many states, Muslims in government have become even more scarce.

The routine demonisation of the Muslim remains the very raison d’etre of Hindutva. Historic myths of their cruelty, of temple destruction and rape are part of a steady diet fed since childhood. The Muslim’s allegiance to a foreign god and foreign holy shrine and the barbaric practice of eating beef is a source of unmitigated rage in the hearts of those indoctrinated by Hindutva. Onto this tinderbox, if you throw a match by starting a rumour that a Muslim male has abducted or raped a Hindu female, no one will wait to ascertain if the rumour is true. Deadly pogroms are that easy to ignite.…

http://scroll.in/article/689584/how-the-sangh-parivar-systematically-attacks-the-very-idea-of-india

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In The Darkness, Speak Up For Light – By Kiran Nagarkar (Nov 24, 2014, Outlook)

It’s unsettling, if not astounding, the speed with which new scientific discoveries, or rather ancient scientific discoveries, are coming to light. Some months ago, thanks to one Dina Nath Batra, we learnt that Rama was the first to fly in an aeroplane. And our BC (as in Before Christ) ancestors were familiar with stem cell research. But that was nothing compared to what our august prime minister revealed while inaugurating perhaps the subcontinent’s most advanced medical facility in Mumbai. Imagine, all these years, along with billions of people, I too believed that the first and last virgin birth was the monopoly of the Catholic faith.

But thanks to our new intrepid Hindutva archaeologists, we now learn that Karna was the result of artificial insemination, and thus a case of a virgin birth long before the Angel whispered the Annunciation in Mary’s ear. I need hardly add that the prime minister’s teacher in this matter seems to be Batra, whose works have been made standard supplementary reading in all schools in Gujarat. It is a wonderful irony that Batra’s organisation is called Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti. Indeed, if this is what we mean by saving learning and education, then the country, and especially the younger generation, is in dire trouble.&hellip

There’s something intriguing, if not bizarre, happening in our country. What terrible malaise has put our intelligentsia into a comatose state? Has the impact of the coming of Modiji and his song of development made even the most sensible people insensible to the damage being done to the fabric of our education system? Aren’t their horizons too shrinking with the mythification of science? Aren’t their children going to suffer enormously because their parents refused to stand up for their rights and for the truth?…

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/In-The-Darkness-Speak-Up-For-Light/292578

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Abandoning the idea of India – By R. Sudarshan (Nov 12, 2014, The Hindu)

On May 28, 1964, I was a 10-year-old carried across by waves of mourners in Delhi, from the ramparts of Red Fort towards the Yamuna, to see flames rising from the funeral pyre of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Twenty years later, I was again a part of several processions for peace near my home in Jangpura Extension, this time fearfully watching flames leap out of shops and homes belonging to Sikhs, which had been singled out and become the target of arson in the aftermath of the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In those 20 years, the idea of India, embodying diversity and democracy, tolerance and self-confidence, had given way to a closing of the Indian mind and an upsurge of xenophobia. The “foreign hand” phobia was particularly strong during Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s many years in office, especially during the internal state of Emergency.

In June this year, an Intelligence Bureau (IB) report accused some “foreign-funded” non-governmental organisations, including Greenpeace, of “serving as tools for foreign policy interests of western governments,” by sponsoring agitations against nuclear and coal-fired power plants across the country. Their actions, according to the IB, had a negative impact on India’s GDP growth!

The death of Nehru signalled an end to an era of open-mindedness. The Planning Commission’s collaborative project with the MIT Center for International Studies ended in 1964. Sukhamoy Chakravarty, Kirit Parikh, Henri Lefebvre, Richard Eckhaus, Alan Mann, all scholars of impeachable integrity, came under the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) cloud. This was the moment when the Planning Commission became fearful of foreigners. It remains to be seen if India will ever recover a Nehruvian self-confidence and recreate an institution which in its heyday brimmed with brilliant ideas. …

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/opinion-on-nehruvian-ideas-and-idea-of-india/article6587610.ece

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Flames of hatred – By Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta (Nov 28, 2014, Frontline)

In the aftermath of the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom, the liberal intelligentsia of the city had made fairly successful attempts to prevent communal tensions. Over the past two years, however, Delhi, like other parts of north India, witnessed small incidents of communal tension. These went largely unreported, and the tension petered out after the initial provocations because of interventions by secular-minded individuals from all communities.

When Trilokpuri erupted on Deepavali, many were not surprised. Ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pitched Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate two years ago, there has been a regular stream of reports of the Sangh Parivar inciting religious sentiments among Hindus and directing these against Muslims. However, that such frequent incidents of communal violence would occur in Delhi immediately after the BJP captured power came as a surprise for many who had thought of Modi as a non-dogmatic Hindutva leader.…

The tried and tested formula of polarising votes in the name of religion or caste overcomes organisational and leadership failures. Polarisation of the Valmikis in favour of the BJP could yield good results for the party not just in Trilokpuri but in all of Delhi. However, the divisions such electoral tactics create will mark a permanent dent in India’s multicultural social fabric.…

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/flames-of-hatred/article6586175.ece

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Minorities at the Crossroads: Comments on Judicial Pronouncements – By F S Nariman (Nov 15, 2014, EPW)

The elections in April-May 2014 have put a strong majoritarian government in power at the centre. While I welcome a single-party majority government, I also fear it. I fear it because of past experience with majoritarian governments in the 1960s and 1970s. The Congress government unjustifiably imposed an internal Emergency in June 1975 and rode roughshod over the liberties of citizens.

Traditionally, Hinduism has been the most tolerant of all Indian faiths. But recurrent instances of religious tension fanned by fanaticism and hate speech have shown that the Hindu tradition of tolerance is showing signs of strain. Frankly – my apprehension is that Hinduism is somehow changing its benign face because it is believed and proudly proclaimed by a few (and not contradicted by those at the top) that it is their faith and belief that has put “Hindus” in the driving seat of governance.…

And after the BJP included its resolve to amend Article 30 in its election manifesto for the general elections of May-June 1991, “minority rights” have been less protected by courts (including the Supreme Court) than they were before. A large number of judges of the Supreme Court today no longer pay much attention to what Chief Justice Das said at the end of his judgment in the Kerala Education Bill case.…

http://www.epw.in/perspectives/minorities-crossroads.html

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Is India’s sterilisation programme barbaric and anti-women? – By Deborah Doane (Nov 12, 2014, The Guardian)

The terrible tragedy of the deaths of women undergoing sterilisation in India’s Chhattisgarh state should inspire anger about the much larger issue of the anti-women and barbaric nature of controlling population in the country.

Local and international media reported it as a result of poor hygiene and the use of out of date medicines. Few referred to the fact that sterilisation is the blunt instrument used on women, either by coercion or by alleged choice (encouraged through ‘incentives’ – in this case, a meagre 1,400 rupees – about £14) or that it has been used as a form of bio-political control for many years in India. Indira Gandhi’s government famously imposed sterilisation on about 10 million people in the 70s – mainly men – for which there was eventually severe backlash. After that, the focus switched to sterilising women.

Now, sterilisation of women and even full hysterectomies are the birth control tactic most practiced in India. I visited a rural clinic recently and asked about birth control offerings and the doctors proudly stated that many women come there for sterilisation.…

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2014/nov/12/indias-sterilisation-drive-is-barbaric-and-disproportionately-targeted-at-women

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Book Review

2014: The Election that Changed India

Author: Rajdeep Sardesai
Reviewed by: Pradyot Lal
Available at: Penguin Books India, 7th Floor, Infinity Tower – C, DLF Cyber City, Gurgaon 122002, Haryana, India, 356 pp; Rs 599. http://www.amazon.in/
Review:
Modi Above All Else (Nov 22, 2014, Tehelka)

From paternalistic governance to an undisguised personality cult, Indian politics has had a huge paradigm shift. The anointment of the ‘Supreme Leader’ has been swift and dramatic, and not everybody has been comfortable with the sheer ease with which the transition has taken place. This has to be internalised in depth rather than accepted uncritically, and to Rajdeep Sardesai’s credit, he has tried to do so in 2014: The Election That Changed India. What follows is a racy narrative that goes beyond recording immediate political history to also reflect on what ails India’s woefully shallow electronic and print media. The story traces the rise of Narendra Modi and the decline of the Congress in graphic terms. …

“Like a true Gujarati, he calculates the cost and benefit of each move,” writes Sardesai, who paints an unflattering portrait of Modi’s governance during the 2002 Gujarat riots. The author believes that the Gujarat government under Modi was “utterly incompetent because it was aware that the Godhra violence could set off a cycle of vengeance and yet did not do enough to stop it”. Modi is shown as having been governed by the communal-fascist street logic of the Praveen Togadias, whom he could not rein in.

Sardesai mentions a chilling incident soon after the riots when things appeared to be back to normal. One night, he was returning after recording an interview with Modi, when, not far from the CM’s house, his car was stopped by a mob that wanted all occupants to drop their trousers to check if there were Muslims among them. Sardesai’s parents had got him circumcised in childhood for hygiene’s sake and the driver, too, was Muslim. This was trouble. When entreaties didn’t work, Sardesai flashed his press card and showed the mob the interview he had just recorded. Only then did they let them pass. …

http://www.tehelka.com/book-review-2014-the-election-that-changed-india-rajdeep-sardesai-narendra-modi-bjp-politics-media/

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 27th, 2014

by newsdigest on October 28, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Muslim man arranges cremation of Hindu ‘sister’ (Oct 26, 2014, Indian Express)

In a heartwarming display of communal harmony, a Muslim man in a village near here made the arrangements for the cremation of a Hindu widow, whom he treated as his sister and had been supporting for a long time. The unique story is from Moondha Pandey village, about 10 km from Rampur.

After the death of her husband, Yashodha Devi had been living in a hut with her mother and son in an extremely pitiable condition in Maualagarh in Moondha Pandey, according to reports in the village. Moved by her ordeal, Aslam Beg of the same village made Yashodra her ‘rakhi sister’ and urged her to treat him as her elder brother. Thereafter, Aslam arranged a house for Yashodha’s family and even provided her with financial assistance. For 15 years, the two shared the relationship and participated in each other’s festivities, they said.

However, on Saturday, while Aslam was about to go to Yashodha’s house for ‘Bhai Dooj’, she passed away due to illness. Yashodha’s relatives had planned to cremate her at Maulagarh itself, but Aslam insisted on taking the body to Garhmukteshwar. Bearing all expenses, Aslam took Yashodha’s body and her relatives to the banks of Ganga in Garhmukteshwar and got her last rites performed there.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/muslim-man-arranges-cremation-of-hindu-sister/

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Sangam Vihar residents prevent clash, show communal harmony (Oct 27, 2014, DNA India)

Even as communal tension remains high on the fourth consecutive day in East Delhi’s Trilokpuri, many samaritans in South Delhi’s Sangam Vihar have been showing strength of communal harmony. A day before Diwali, when local goons attacked the RWA chairperson Ravi Kumar along with other residents of L-1st A area of Sangam Vihar, the fight could have resulted into the breakout of a fierce clash. But residents, like Iqbal and his brother Chiddu who saved Ravi’s life, stood in solidarity to counter the attempts of flaring up tension in the area.

On October 22, the street was lit and decorated for Diwali. People were busy shopping from the makeshift vendors when a speeding car drove in the locality. Anticipating that the rushing car might injure someone, Iqbal and his brother Chiddu stopped the car. “Ravi told them not to drive rashly as it could lead to accident. I slapped one of them as they misbehaved with him and asked them to leave,” Chiddu recalls. The accused, a group of bootleggers, came back with a dozen people welding meat cleavers, knives, choppers and baseball bats.

“They would have slashed my throat had Iqbal not come to my defence. I took a stone when I saw them attacking Iqbal and Chiddu. They attacked everyone who was present. I have never seen anything like this before except in the Bollywood movies. I am totally aghast,” Ravi confesses. Iqbal and Chiddu received injuries during the scuffle while they were trying to save Ravi and others. Chiddu received minor injuries on belly, shoulder and leg.

Meanwhile, residents have been together facing the repercussions. “The group of bootleggers threatened the locals of dire consequences if the police was informed,” Om Vir Singh, another local points out. “The local police, however, swung into action and cooperated with us,” he adds. However, this is not the first time that the goons have wreaked havoc in the area. According to the locals, the group of bootleggers, who live nearby, have been at the helm of all the criminal activities in the area. “They sell obnoxious drugs and liquor even to the minors. They harass women whenever they see them and pass lewd comments,” a female resident of the locality highlights. …

http://www.iamin.in/en/south-delhi/news/sangam-vihar-residents-prevent-clash-show-communal-harmony-44990

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Patna stampede: Muslim woman saves Hindu child (Oct 4, 2014, IBN)

CNN-IBN’s Prabhakar Kumar met the family of four-year-old girl Chahat who went missing during the stampede in Gandhi Maidan in Patna.

She was found by a Muslim lady who took chahat to her house.

The rescuer said, ‘I found her on the road. I took her to my house and gave her medicine for the fever.’

http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/503814/patna-stampede-muslim-woman-saves-hindu-child.html

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US court lets US group challenge Modi immunity (Oct 22, 2014, India Today)

A US court has asked a human rights group to respond by Nov 4 to the US government’s “suggestion of immunity” in a case against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for alleged crimes against humanity. US federal Judge Analisa Torres Tuesday issued an order asking the American Justice Center (AJC) to file its response to suggestion of immunity for Modi filed by US prosecutor Preet Bharara’s office on Sunday at the request of the State Department.

The State Department in a letter to the US justice department had conveyed the Indian government’s request to have the case against Modi “dismissed on the basis of his immunity from jurisdiction as a sitting foreign head of government.” …

However AJC legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun contended that the ‘suggestion of Immunity’ filed by Bharara’s office is not binding on the court as Modi’s alleged human rights violations before becoming Prime Minister are not immune.…

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/us-court-lets-us-group-challenge-modi-immunity/1/397089.html

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VHP hand seen in post-Modi Gujarat’s communal incidents (Oct 21, 2014, Deccan Herald)

Ahead of Id-al-Adha in the first week of October, violence rocked the communally sensitive Shahpur area. Violence erupted after Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists allegedly led cops to an illegal slaughter house resulting in clashes between two groups. Clashes arose in the Navsari area in South Gujarat after another complaint was lodged by VHP activists on cow slaughter. …

The incidents have also fuelled suspicion that the sudden eruption of violence could be political in nature. Given that the VHP has been at the centre of these skirmishes in some of the incidents, political observers point out there could be an attempt by the right wing group to regain its ground in the state which it had lost in the last one decade. Under the Modi regime, the VHP had been marginalised to a large extent with Narendra Modi distancing himself from its leaders such as Pravin Togadiya.

Observers point out a pattern in the run up to the recent spate of violence in the state. The VHP first created a din when it decided to prevent Muslim youths from participating in the Navratri festivals in the communally sensitive Godhra town. Then there were pamphlets circulated by the organisation cautioning parents of young girls about love jihad.…

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/437036/vhp-hand-seen-post-modi.html

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AAP, Congress, accuse ‘Hindutva elements’ of stoking violence (Oct 26, 2014, Indian Express)

With the communal violence in Trilokpuri, East Delhi, escalating on Saturday, leaders of the Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) accused the local BJP of sustaining the riot in an attempt to polarise votes in the Trilokpuri Assembly segment. …

On Saturday, the AAP and the Congress closed ranks to accuse the BJP, the RSS and the Bajrang Dal of inciting violence in the area. AAP MLA Raju said, “Every time the violence subsides, BJP workers round up locals with exaggerated tales. People in this area voted for the AAP in the Assembly polls last December. The BJP is attempting to consolidate the Dalit vote here the way it did in UP.”

Congress leader Harnam Singh, who contested elections in 2013, alleged that the violence was instigated by a BJP leader. “He came to Trilokpuri around 2 pm and members of Hindu groups began chants of ‘Har Har Mahadev’. This made things worse. Two hours after he came, the violence began again,” he said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/aap-congress-accuse-hindutva-elements-of-stoking-violence/

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Godse should have targeted Nehru, says RSS mouthpiece (Oct 25, 2014, Indian Express)

Even as the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre is trying to own up Mahatma Gandhi, the Malayalam mouthpiece of the RSS has suggested that Nathuram Godse, instead of assassinating Gandhi, should have targeted Jawaharlal Nehru as he was responsible for Partition and never had any genuine attachment with the Father of the Nation.

“Nehru’s selfish politics was behind all national tragedies, including Partition and Gandhi’s assassination. After an honest evaluation of Nathuram Godse’s arguments and historical documents related to Partition, if history students feel Godse aimed the wrong target, they cannot be blamed. Nehru was solely responsible for Partition of the country,” says an article written by B Gopalakrishnan who was the BJP candidate in Chalakudy in the recent Lok Sabha election. It appeared in Kesari’s latest issue.

Gopalakrishnan, who argued in a two-part series that the RSS had nothing to do with the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and it was Nehru’s idea to put the blame on the Hindu organisation, went on to say: “Nehru, whose ambition was to become a world leader, was closer to (Winston) Churchill, (Franklin D) Roosevelt and Chiang Kai-shek than he was to Gandhi.”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/godse-should-have-targeted-nehru-says-rss-mouthpiece/99/

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Sadhvi Pragya Thakur planned RSS man Sunil Joshi’s murder 15 days in advance: NIA (Oct 22, 2014, India Today)

The 2007 murder case of former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak Sunil Joshi was planned a fortnight before by Lokesh Sharma and Rajendra Chaudhary in connivance with Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, states the supplementary chargesheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Elaborating the role of Pragya, the chargesheet says that on the day of the murder, “Pragya was present at Koti Chandi Yagya Dussehra ground at Indore.” She stayed at Indore from December 25, 2007 to January 5, 2008.

It has also been alleged by NIA in the chargesheet that she had held captive Anandraj Kataria, an associate of Joshi, in a flat in Indore for 10 days, after the murder. Kataria was charged by MP police for the murder of Joshi but NIA did not name him. A day after the murder, on Dec 30, 2007, “Pragya called Kataria to a flat and later took him to the residence of late Laxman Singh Gaur. He was held captive since Pragya apprehended that Kataria was immature and if questioned by police he may reveal the facts about the earlier criminal act carried out by late Sunil Joshi and herself, as Kataria was closely associated with Joshi and her as well,” the chargesheet filed before a court in August this year states. …

The chargesheet also states that “Pragya after the murder of Joshi had met Lokesh and Rajender at the flat where Kataria was held captive and congratulated the two for the task.” It further says, “Witnesses statements establish that at MGH hospital, Dewas (where Joshi was admitted after being shot), she (Pragya) was handed over a mobile phone of Sunil Joshi which was picked up from the crime scene by Ramcharan Patel,” one of Joshi’s associates. …

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/sadhvi-pragya-thakur-planned-rss-sunil-joshis-murder-15-days-in-advance-nia/1/397179.html

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Madrasa played critical role in integration, don’t malign them, say clerics in Bengal (Oct 23, 2014, Twocircles.net)

A mega rally was organised by Muslim clerics here in Burdwan on October 20 against maligning of religious institutions in the wake of the recent blast in the town that has brought the needles of suspicion on some madrasas. While condemning all acts of terror unequivocally, the clerics appealed to the members of the two communities to maintain communal harmony.

“Madrasas are as patriotic institutions as any others and have played critical role in national integration and promoting brotherhood,” said the Secretary of Jamiat Ulama e Hind, West Bengal Maulana Siddiqullah Chowdhury, while addressing the rally, adding that there is no place for terrorism in Islam.

Criticising a section of media who are fanning communal agenda, Maulana Chowdhury said, “A section of media is circulating propaganda against Madrasas to strengthen anti-Muslim and communal forces, which is very dangerous for the state.” …

http://twocircles.net/2014oct23/1414075020.html

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Bastar Christians attacked by right-wing activists (Oct 27, 2014, Times of India)

After the controversial gram sabha resolutions banning non-Hindu religious activity in villages in tribal Bastar, there was fresh tension in Madota village after local Christians were assaulted allegedly by right-wing activists, leaving 12 people injured late on Saturday.

Eleven of the injured are still undergoing treatment at a hospital in Jagdalpur, where they were brought in a truck. While the police recorded their statement, senior civil and police officials are tight-lipped about the clash.

Chhattisgarh Christian Forum (CCF) president Arun Pannalal told TOI that the manner in which the attack was orchestrated raises suspicion that local officials were hand in glove with attackers.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/44943987.cms

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ADR: 61% Maharashtra BJP MLAs have criminal records (Oct 23, 2014, Indian Express)

Seventy four of the 122 BJP MLAs elected to the Maharashtra Assembly in the just concluded elections have criminal cases against them. Of them, 46 have declared serious cases in their poll affidavits such as murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping and crimes against women, according to an analysis done by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR).

Shiv Sena, the second largest party in the Assembly with 63 MLAs, has 48 with criminal records, and 35 of them are facing serious charges. In NCP, 19 of the 41 MLAs have criminal records with serious charges pending against 18. The Congress has the least number of MLAs with criminal records – 15 of the 42. Out of them, 10 are facing serious charges.

Of the total 165 MLAs who have declared pending criminal cases against them, 86 have said that charges have been framed. This time, the number of MLAs with criminal charges has also increased – 40 per cent MLAs across political parties have declared criminal cases against them. In 2009, the percentage was 33 per cent.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/politics/adr-61-maharashtra-bjp-mlas-have-criminal-records/

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Woman alleges abduction, forcible marriage to Bajrang Dal activist (Oct 24, 2014, Times of India)

A woman from Elyarpadavu, about 15km from here, who had married a Bajrang Dal activist, filed charges of abduction and attempt to outrage the modesty of a woman against several Dal activists. She also alleged that Jagadeesh Shenava, president, Mangalore district unit of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, had threatened to harm her parents if she didn’t marry the activist.

The complainant in her twenties, who married Rajesh Shetty on October 16 at the Arya Samaj here, complained to Konaje police that she was drugged and coerced into the marriage.

In the complaint, she stated that Shetty, who she knew on Facebook through her elder sister, called her and told her he wanted money. After she gave him Rs 6,000 at his shop, Laxmi Fancy on Market Road here, she alleged that Shetty had given her juice spiked with a sedative. Shetty made her get into a van driven by Praveen Kuthar and they allegedly took her to a finance firm run by Dinesh, where about 10 persons threatened her to get married to Shetty and get converted. When she refused, they threatened to harm her parents.hellip;

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/44919989.cms

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Temple priest smashes 8-year-old Dalit boy’s head for prasadam (Oct 21, 2014, Deccan Chronicle)

If you’re hungry and a Dalit, don’t go to a temple to eat free prasadam, or you might get beaten to within an inch of your life! At least that’s what eight year old Santosh discovered when he went to Rudreshwara Swami Temple on Bazaar road in the city, where prasadam was being distributed.

At the sight of the boy, the angry priest bashed the little boy’s head repeatedly against a pillar in the temple, causing him to bleed. The priest suspected that the boy was a thief.

Bhaskar Prasad, a Dalit Sangharsh Samiti (DSS) leader however says that the boy was targeted because his parents were cobblers by profession and belonged to the scheduled caste. “Why would an 8-year-old boy go to a temple on a Sunday morning if it was not for prasadam.”…

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/141021/nation-crime/article/temple-priest-smashes-8-year-old-dalit-boys-head-prasadam

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Opinions and Editorials

Modi’s Idea of India – By Pankaj Mishra (Oct 24, 2014, New York Times)

…Narendra Modi, India’s new prime minister and main ideologue of the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, is stoking old Hindu rage-and-shame over what he calls more than a thousand years of slavery under Muslim and British rule. Earlier this month, while India and Pakistan were engaging in their heaviest fighting in over a decade, Mr. Modi claimed that the “enemy” was now “screaming.” …

A Harvard-trained economist called Subramanian Swamy recently demanded a public bonfire of canonical books by Indian historians – liberal and secular intellectuals who belong to what the R.S.S. chief in 2000 identified as that “class of bastards which tries to implant an alien culture in their land.” Denounced by the numerous Hindu supremacists in social media as “sickular libtards” and sepoys (the common name for Indian soldiers in British armies), these intellectuals apparently are Trojan horses of the West. They must be purged to realize Mr. Modi’s vision in which India, once known as the “golden bird,” will “rise again.” …

Mr. Modi doesn’t seem to know that India’s reputation as a “golden bird” flourished during the long centuries when it was allegedly enslaved by Muslims. A range of esteemed scholars – from Sheldon Pollock to Jonardon Ganeri – have demonstrated beyond doubt that this period before British rule witnessed some of the greatest achievements in Indian philosophy, literature, music, painting and architecture. The psychic wounds Mr. Naipaul noticed among semi-Westernized upper-caste Hindus actually date to the Indian elite’s humiliating encounter with the geopolitical and cultural dominance first of Europe and then of America. …

Such crude xenophobia, now officially sanctioned in Mr. Modi’s India, seems only slightly less menacing than the previous R.S.S. chief’s wishful thinking about one more Mahabharata against demonic anti-Hindus.… One can only hope that India’s democratic institutions are strong enough to constrain yet another wounded elite from breaking out for geopolitical and military manhood.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/25/opinion/pankaj-mishra-nirandra-modis-idea-of-india.html

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The Trilokpuri riots in Delhi – By Mukul Kesavan (Oct 27, 2014, The Telegraph)

The Hindu-Muslim violence that began on Friday in Trilokpuri in East Delhi, is trivial compared to the riots and pogroms that disfigure India’s recent history. A couple of bullet wounds, a dozen or so injuries, pitched street fights where young men and boys threw stones and bricks at each other and dispersed, seems to be the extent of the violence. While the area is still tense, prohibitory orders and riot police seem to have brought the violence under some sort of control. But Trilokpuri isn’t just any neighbourhood in Delhi. Exactly thirty years ago, almost to the week, Trilokpuri was one of the two most gruesome killing fields in the pogrom of the Sikhs organized by the Congress and its goons after the assassination of Indira Gandhi. The other murderous basti, also in East Delhi, was Kalyanpuri. …

So, what we are seeing here is local ‘Hindu’ assertion in the form of the Mata ki Chowki, following up on the election of Modi sarkar and in anticipation of possible assembly elections in Delhi, given that the suspension of the present assembly can’t extend beyond January. Three-quarters of Trilokpuri’s population is Dalit. A substantial part of this electorate voted for the winning Aam Aadmi Party candidate the last time round. Given the way the Muzaffarnagar riots led to the consolidation of the Jat vote in the BJP’s favour in the general elections, the communal polarization that invariably follows upon rioting wouldn’t harm the BJP’s chances in the Trilokpuri assembly constituency. There’s reason, therefore, for local Hindu activists to believe that their belligerence has the implicit sanction of the new powers-that-be, even if the BJP has nothing to do with the staging of the confrontation.

Newspapers have begun to report that families, mainly Muslim, have begun leaving the neighbourhoods in anticipation of further trouble. There are the customary complaints of the police singling out Muslim men as responsible for the troubles. One middle-aged Muslim woman, old enough to remember 1984, is haunted by her memories of the scale of the Indira-kaand.…

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1141027/jsp/opinion/story_18966898.jsp

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Election Results Show Need for Radical Electoral reforms – Editorial (Oct 26, 2014, Peoples Democracy)

Following the recent elections to the state assemblies, the BJP is all set to form a government on the basis of its own strength in Haryana and a government led by it in Maharashtra. These results have come after the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) were in government for a long fifteen years and a Congress government in Haryana for two successive times lasting ten years. This has been the people’s verdict in these assembly elections which was, by far, fair and free given that there were no major complaints by any of the contesting parties. Under a democracy like ours, thus, such people’s verdict is the final authority. …

Such are the anomalies of the ‘first-past-the post’ system, which we had discussed earlier in these columns in the wake of the parliamentary elections. The urgency to enforce radical changes in our electoral system, including, moving towards a proportional representation through may be, initially, a ‘partial proportional representation’ system that is practiced in several western democracies today. The results of these state assemblies have, once again, underlined the urgency to initiate such reforms in order to strengthen our system of parliamentary democracy and make it truly democratic – rule of the majority. Instead, we now have continuously at the centre and in a majority of states, a situation when parties/coalitions control the government polling less votes in their favour than the votes polled against them. Such a distortion of democracy needs urgent correction. …

The truth is that the RSS is “expanding its base” precisely by sharpening communal polarisation in the country. It is, thus, ably ensuring its political arm, the BJP, to reap electoral benefits by practicing the worst form of ‘vote bank politics’ – seeking the consolidation of the majority Hindu vote through sharpening communal polarisation. Unless resisted and resoundingly isolated, the unity and harmony of our society of rich socio-cultural-religious-linguistic diversity will be seriously threatened. The Indian people will, therefore, have to unitedly resist such an assault on the secular democratic foundations of our Republic.

http://peoplesdemocracy.in/2014/1026_pd/election-results-show-need-radical-electoral-reforms

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No Toilets, Little Education – By Priyanka Kaushal (Nov 1, 2014, Tehelka)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech impressed many, but for some, his statement that most schools in India do not have toilets served as a painful reminder of harsh realities. “I felt as if the prime minister was talking about me,” says Sunita, 13, who lives in Dhamtari district of Chhattisgarh. “No one understands what girls here have to undergo in these schools without toilets.” Sunita was referring to what girls across her state face every day, but her own story is enough to expose a critical lacuna in our schooling system. Until a year ago, Sunita studied in Class VII in a government school. The school does not have toilets for girls.

They have to go to some ruins nearby to relieve themselves. Girls avoid going there alone and usually take a friend along. Unfortunately, one day Sunita had to go there alone. When she was relieving herself, some boys turned up and grabbed her. They had probably been keeping an eye on the movement of girls. Sunita was lucky as some other girls arrived right then and raised an alarm. The boys fled and Sunita was saved. However, she never went back to school. Her parents are not ready to send their daughter to such a school. …

It’s been nearly 14 years since Chhattisgarh was carved out of Madhya Pradesh. Now, as the state government seems to have finally woken up to the problem of lack of toilets in schools, it remains to be seen how soon its declared intentions are transformed into reality. Until then, girls like Sunita, Radha and Fauzia will continue to suffer.

http://www.tehelka.com/no-toilets-little-education/

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Love, Jihad And Political Lust: Colonising India’s Muslims – By Farzana Versey (Oct 19, 2014, Countercurrents)

Chanting hymns and spraying holy Ganga water, a group of religious leaders and students from the rightwing conducted the purification ritual of a 26-year-old woman inside a police station in Dehradun, Uttar Pradesh. Her crime was that she married a Muslim and was allegedly forced to convert to Islam. Her saviours felt that bringing her back home and into the fold was not enough; she needed to be cleansed of any traces of Muslimness to be acceptable again. This took place inside a police station with the cops around. It should tell us how political perceptions are brainwashing social attitudes in India.

We may laud the “U-turn” of an alleged victim denying she was a victim, but will such extempore anger have any effect? In Meerut a 22-year-old managed to get nine people arrested on the basis of a false charge of kidnapping, gangrape, and conversion. For many, the conversion seemed to be the real crime that made the state BJP ring alarm bells about Muslim men going around with a seduction to conversion blueprint. After two months, it turns out that she was forced to make these serious allegations. …

Fringe outfits are on national television speaking in a quasi-government tone. Its members distribute pamphlets against Muslims and nobody is arrested for it. Even if it is a political move prior to polls it reveals how society thinks or how they expect society to start thinking.

http://www.countercurrents.org/versey191014.htm

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Bihar Stares At A New Phase Of Caste Wars – By Arun Srivastava (Nov 1, 2014, Tehelka)

Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi has been targeted by the media for his unsavoury remark against doctors. On 17 October, while inaugurating a six-bed hospital in Motihari, Manjhi said: “Agar garibon ke ilaaj ke saath khilwaad hua, main haath kaat dunga (If there is any negligence in the treatment of the poor, I will chop off the doctor’s hands).” His latest comment came just a few days after his outburst against doctors at the Patna Medical College and Hospital (Robin Hood mirth for poor patients in Bihar, 18 October). Though Manjhi later clarified that he was using the words only as a metaphor, the damage had been done. The doctors refused to calm down and demanded an apology from the chief minister. …

A fortnight ago, more than 300 Mahadalits had to flee Pura village in the chief minister’s home district of Gaya. The exodus was triggered by the murder of their leader Arjun Majhi by upper-caste goons. Arjun was killed in order to stop his brother, Vakil Majhi, from contesting the election for the post of the president of the Primary Agriculture Cooperative Society. The Mahadalits who fled the village took shelter at the block headquarters for three days and returned only after the district administration assured their safety. The police are yet to arrest most of the murder accused. Just imagine the audacity of the upper-caste goons, who had little fear of the law in a state ruled by a Mahadalit chief minister.

On 15 October, Sai Ram, a 15-year-old Mahadalit boy from Mohanpur village in Rohtas district, was burnt alive by an upper-caste landlord, Kunkun Singh. Three of Sai’s goats had strayed into the landlord’s fields and nibbled at the paddy crop. An enraged Kunkun rushed to Sai’s home and thrashed him as well as his mentally challenged brother. When Sai resisted, he doused him with kerosene and set him on fire. The villagers were too scared to intervene and watched the gory incident as mute spectators.

http://www.tehelka.com/bihar-stares-at-a-new-phase-of-caste-wars/

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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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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 27th, 2012

August 27, 2012

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony In bad weather, Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus make good friends News Headlines Cops turned a blind eye to tell-tale signs of tension Ruling BPF legislator arrested for Assam violence 20% of banned hate sites put up by Hindu groups Raj Thackeray shows his Hindutva colours as […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 25th, 2012

June 26, 2012

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Communal violence erupts in Pratapgarh of UP Gulberg: Court raps SIT, asks for probe report NDA’s disarray has to do with the BJP’s Hindutva parochialism ‘Tulsiram saw policemen picking Sohrabuddin, wife’ (Jun 23, 2012, Indian Express Fake Encounter by ATS, Claims Mumbai Blast Accused Police, administration […]

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