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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

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

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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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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