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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 10th, 2017

by newsdigest on April 22, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Hindu Cow Vigilantes in Rajasthan, India, Beat Muslim to Death (Apr 5, 2017, New York Times)

A 55-year-old man transporting cattle has died after being beaten by a mob of about 200 cow protection vigilantes in northern India, the police said on Wednesday. The vigilantes, who are Hindu and consider cows sacred, surrounded six vehicles carrying cattle on a highway connecting Jaipur to New Delhi on Saturday and pulled out five men, apparently Muslims, and beat them, said Rahul Prakash, superintendent of the police in Alwar, a city about 30 miles from the site of the attack, in Behror.

One of the men, Pehlu Khan, died of his injuries on Tuesday. An official from Mr. Khan’s village said that he was transporting cows for use in a dairy. He denied they were being transferred for slaughter, which is illegal in Rajasthan, the state where the attack took place. Video of the episode, which has circulated widely, showed men in white curled up on the roadside as they were kicked and whipped with belts and metal rods. The mob was so agitated that the police had to use force to disperse it, Mr. Prakash said.…

Mohsin, the local leader in Jaisinghpur, the village in the northern state of Haryana where Mr. Khan and his relatives lived, said the family had received all the necessary permission to transport dairy cows from Jaipur to Jaisinghpur for sale. He said the vehicles would ordinarily have been stopped at a police checkpoint where the police would have checked the paperwork. Instead, “the locals stopped Pehlu Khan’s vehicles at Behror and pulled them out,” said Mohsin, who like many Indians uses only one name. “The mob beat them ruthlessly and even robbed him of all his money.”…

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/05/world/asia/india-cow-mob-hindu-vigilantes.html

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Supreme Court asks Centre, states why cow vigilantes shouldn’t be banned (Apr 8, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The Supreme Court asked the central government and five BJP-ruled states on Friday to say within three weeks why cow protection groups shouldn’t be banned amid growing outrage against vigilantes accused of violence and even murder.

The directive came on a petition filed by Congress leaders Tehseen and Shehzad Poonawalla, who called for cow protection groups to be declared illegal, saying there has been a spike in instances of vigilantism. The court sought responses from Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jharkhand and Rajasthan – all BJP ruled – as well as Congress-run Karnataka, setting May 3 for the next hearing. It also asked the Centre to reply.

The move came as the opposition attacked the government in Parliament for a second straight day for not doing enough to curb a spike in cow vigilantism. In Rajya Sabha, the Congress demanded an apology from Union minister of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi for “denying” the lynching of a Muslim man by so-called cow protectors in Rajasthan last week. In October, the court had orally asked the states and Centre to file a response to Poonawalla’s petition. However it received no response. On Friday, Poonawalla’s counsel, Sanjay Hegde, insisted on a response, citing last week’s lynching of the Muslim man to particularly push Rajasthan to reply.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/sc-gives-centre-six-bjp-ruled-states-3-weeks-to-respond-to-plea-for-gau-rakshak-ban/story-3uXdmZVZhuNv4z1mwMXuDP.html

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Sheopur tense after RSS shakha row, 10 Muslims held (Apr 6, 2017, Indian Express)

Sheopur town of Madhya Pradesh is simmering since Sunday evening when a group of Muslims objected to a new RSS shakha in Gandhinagar locality and allegedly beat up more than 10 activists of the outfit. Police have so far arrested 10 Muslims in connection with the incident. One minor accused has been released on bail. In all, 76 Muslims, 60 of them unidentified, have been booked in four FIRs lodged in connection with the incident.

The RSS activists alleged that the Muslims did not want the shakha near a mosque. They also accused members of the community of raising anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans and uprooting the saffron flag of RSS. The activists alleged that they were stoned when they reached the police station late on Sunday night to lodge a complaint against the accused. On Monday, members of the Hindu community submitted a memorandum to the district administration and demanded immediate arrest of those named in the FIRs.

The next day, members of the Muslim community submitted a memorandum to the authorities, alleging that the community was being targeted and accused of offences it did not commit. The memorandum alleged that a group of right-wing Hindu activists had hurled stones at the mosque before they gathered for the shakha. Members of the community also said that they lodged two FIRs about separate attacks on Muslims, but the police have not acted on them. The memorandum further said that members of Muslim community wanted to take to the streets on Wednesday, but decided against it in view of the Ram Navami procession.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/sheopur-tense-after-rss-shakha-row-10-muslims-held-4601359/

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Babri demolition: CBI tells Supreme Court Advani, 12 others part of larger conspiracy (Apr 6, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Senior BJP leader LK Advani and 12 others were part of a larger conspiracy to demolish the disputed Babri Masjid, the Central Bureau of Investigation told the Supreme Court on Thursday, arguing for charges to be revived against the politicians.

India’s premier probe agency told the top court that Advani and others hadn’t faced conspiracy charges based on technical reasons. The CBI wants the trial to be held in a Lucknow court.…

Earlier this month, the SC had hinted that it might revive criminal conspiracy charges against BJP and other Hindu right-wing leaders in the demolition case that was dropped by a special trial court in Lucknow on technical grounds. Other than Advani, the accused include senior BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh, and a number of Vishwa Hindu Parishad members.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/babri-masjid-demolition-cbi-tells-supreme-court-lk-advani-12-others-part-of-larger-conspiracy/story-mAWKrjfewUSgkO730wG0OL.html

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After armed rallies on Ram Navami, Imam of Tipu Mosque asks Mamata to ‘ban RSS’ in Bengal (Apr 6, 2017, DNA India)

Never ever had the state of West Bengal seen such widespread pomp over Ram Navami. In what has been a bid to unite the Hindus of the state by Rashtriya Sayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and other wings of the Sangh Parivar, about 50 processions of different sizes were organised on the occasion of Ram Navami today in Kolkata.

Activists, bike borne and on foot, brandishing swords and chanting ‘Jay Shree Ram’ were seen in all the cases with giant size pictures of Lord Ram leading all the processions. Interestingly processions were taken out even at the Muslim-majority pockets such as Kidderpore where they also shouted slogans like ‘Hindu Raj Banayenge’ (will build Hindu rule).…

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, after an administrative meeting at Bankura district lashed out at the RSS and the BJP a public meeting and said that the celebration was aimed at dividing the state on the basis of religions.… On the other hand, Shahi Imam of Tipu Sultan Masjid, Syed Md Nurur Rahman Barkati, at another press conference said that RSS should be banned in India. “RSS is a threat to India and just as the US banned Taliban, RSS should be banned in the country. I will talk to the CM and request her to ban RSS in Bengal, because it is spreading communal tension everywhere,” Barkati said on the sidelines of the press conference.

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-after-armed-rallies-on-ram-navami-imam-of-tipu-mosque-asks-mamata-to-ban-rss-in-bengal-2382834

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BJP’s Raja Singh booked for his threat to behead those opposing Ram temple (Apr 10, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Hyderabad Police have booked controversial Bharatiya Janata Party legislator T Raja Singh for allegedly threatening to behead those who attempt to stop the construction of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh and also making inflammatory and humiliating comments against Muslims.

Following a complaint by Mohammad Amjadullah Khan, spokesperson of a local political outfit Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT), police filed a case against the BJP MLA, who represents the Goshamahal constituency in Hyderabad, late on Sunday night. Singh was booked under Section 295-A of the Indian Penal Code (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs).…

In his complaint, Khan alleged that Singh made provocative speeches during Sri Ram Shobha Yatra at Jumeraat Bazar area on April 5 targeting the Muslim community several times on the pretext of the construction of Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya. Khan alleged that Singh had openly taunted the Muslims saying, “Tum hamare pair pakadloo, kahi na kahi hum tumhare Babar ki masjid banadenge (Come and touch our feet, we shall construct Babur’s mosque at some place or the other)”. He also pointed out at another comment made by Singh in the speech that they were ready to use lathis and bullets to achieve their goal of constructing the Ram temple. “It clearly shows he is openly challenging the law,” Khan said.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/bjp-s-raja-singh-booked-for-threatening-to-behead-traitors-who-oppose-ram-temple/story-y7zwpStDdHyFL00NFNKL8I.html

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CBSE biology students asked which is better, burial or cremation? (Apr 6, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The teachers and students described the Class 12 CBSE Biology paper as tricky and moderately difficult. However one question about cremation practices in the paper led to people questioning the HRD minister.

The question under Section D was based on air pollution and asked students to justify with arguments whether one should “bury” or “burn” to control air pollution.

“How is this question relevant to Biology? Does the CBSE want to promote burial and not burning? They even asked impressionable minds to give reasons in support,” said Alok Bhatt who tagged the question paper to the HRD minister Prakash Javadekar on Twitter.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi/which-is-better-burial-or-cremation-biology-students-asked-in-cbse-paper/story-Bx63U0mD1l3TTicjEFYVYM.html

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Is the NIA Actively Working to Keep Aseemanand Out of Jail? (Apr 9, 2017, The Wire)

In what appears to be an instance of sabotage, top officials of the highest investigative body, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) allegedly scuttled plans of its Hyderabad unit to challenge the bail granted to Aseemanand, the primary accused in the Mecca Masjid blast case. He was granted bail by a Hyderabad court on March 23.… Aseemanand, who is the primary accused in a number of bomb blasts including Mecca Masjid, Ajmer, Samjhauta Express and Malegaon that occurred between 2005 and 2007, walked out of Chanchalguda jail on April 1 after the NIA chose not to challenge the trial court order of March 23.

According to an Indian Express report, senior NIA officials in New Delhi rejected a proposal made by its Hyderabad office to challenge the bail. “There were sufficient grounds to challenge the bail order of Aseemanand and the High Court was at liberty to reject the agency’s move if there were no merits in the appeal. Among investigators, the opinion to appeal was very strong,” officials in Hyderabad, who spoke on condition of anonymity, were quoted as saying. …

NIA’s dilly-dallying in matters related to Hindutva militancy and its resultant failure to build solid cases will definitely be put into question. In most cases, the top security agency in the last three years has dismissed the earlier investigations done by state-level SITs. As a result, many of the primary accused like Aseemanand and Sadhvi Pragya have been having an easy time different trial courts.

https://thewire.in/122480/nia-aseemanand-bail-sabotage/

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Ex-Gujarat BJP chief minister disputes “clean chit” on scams under Modi, cites BM Shah panel report as proof (Apr 6, 2017, Counterview)

Former BJP chief minister Suresh Mehta has said that the Gujarat government’s assertion about “clean chit” to it by the MB Shah Commission of Inquiry into 17 corruption cases has “no basis”, as the top panel, in its report says, it would “concur” with the conclusions arrived at, among others, by Supreme Court and Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on them.

Citing three instances from the voluminous 5,500 page report, tabled in the Gujarat state assembly on March 31, Mehta, flanked by senior office bearers of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), told newspersons, “In each of them, the Shah Commission refuses to give clean chit, saying it leaves the matter to high authorities for judging them.”…

The first case cited by Mehta, who was BJP chief minister in 1995-96, is of Indigold Refinery Ltd, which he said was allocated 36.25 acres of land in Kutch district for just Rs 70 lakh, even though the state revenue department officials had ruled against it. “The chief minister’s office (CMO) and revenue minister Anandiben Patel overruled the decision and ensured allocation”, he said.…

http://www.counterview.net/2017/04/ex-gujarat-bjp-chief-minister-disputes.html

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7 Bajrang Dal activists arrested for ‘misbehaving’ with woman (Mar 27, 2017, Deccan Herald)

The Karkala police on Sunday arrested seven Bajrang Dal activists on the charge of misbehaving with a woman by barging into her house at Tellar village near Karkala.

Additional Superintendent of Police Vishnuvardhan told DH that the arrested forcefully entered into the house claiming it to be a slaughterhouse. However, local residents prevented them and called the police immediately.

Meanwhile, a woman in the house lodged a complaint alleging that the activists misbehaved with her. Karkala Rural police have registered a case.…

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/603342/7-bajrang-dal-activists-arrested.html

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Opinions and Editorials

The cow as cause – Vigilantism and the BJP – By Mukul Kesavan (Apr 9, 2017, The Telegraph)

…The cow is so totemic for the BJP that the murder of human beings in this animal’s cause makes responsible leaders resort to silence, deflection, denial, defensiveness or arguments in mitigation that would shame the moral sense of a three-year old.

One BJP leader asserted that the Muslim dairy farmer killed in Rajasthan hadn’t in fact been killed by the gau rakshaks who assaulted him. In this telling, he had died of shock days afterwards, so no blame could be attached to the men who had beaten him. Rajasthan’s home minister, Gulab Chand Kataria, described the murderous assault as ‘manhandling’.

After Pehlu Khan’s killing he was prepared to argue that it was legitimate for vigilantes to stop suspicious vehicles carrying cattle, as if the cause of cow protection automatically conferred authority and legitimacy to anyone acting in its name.…

https://www.telegraphindia.com/1170409/jsp/opinion/story_145303.jsp

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‘Not my Hinduism’ should be our slogan – By Jyoti Punwani (Apr 10, 2017, Rediff)

How do we deal with the continued lynching of Muslims by gau rakshaks? In the 17 months since Mohammed Akhlaq was beaten to death in UP on suspicion of having cooked beef, eight Muslim men have been killed, two Muslim women raped, and almost 40 persons, including two women and seven non-Muslims, assaulted by gau rakshaks.

One of the eight victims, 22-year-old Minhaj Ansari, died in police custody in Jharkhand, after his arrest over a WhatsApp message on beef. That’s a rate of over two lynchings a month.… One reality we have to face is that the State will not stop such lynchings. The silence of The Leader has once again been deafening.…

Instead, why can’t rights activists — most of them happen to be Hindu – ask that the court set up a mechanism to monitor the action taken after attacks by gau rakshaks? A list of such assaults, the inadequate response of the police, justifications of these assaults by those in power, and the effect of these assaults on the lives of the survivors can be presented to the court in support of such a demand. If there can be a National Investigation Agency to deal exclusively with terrorist acts, why can’t courts set up Special Investigative Teams to monitor gAU rakshak terror?

http://inwww.rediff.com/news/column/jyoti-punwani-not-my-hinduism-should-be-our-slogan/20170410.htm

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Is this Hindutva? – By Tavleen Singh (Apr 9, 2017, Indian Express)

It is horrible to watch a man being beaten to death. And, yet I forced myself to watch the video of Pehlu Khan’s lynching more than once. Not from cheap voyeurism but because I found it hard to understand why this was happening at all. The young men who kicked him and beat him with iron rods did not look like fanatics. They looked like modern young Indians. They wore tight jeans and fancy shirts that indicated an interest in fashion. They seemed educated and middle-class and, for me, this made their savagery more horrible. More disturbing.

They took obvious pleasure in what they were doing and made it clear that their intention was not to harm Khan and his sons but to kill them. They videotaped the lynching and posted it on social media so the Prime Minister would have seen it and the Chief Minister of Rajasthan. Why did they say nothing to indicate that they were sickened by what they saw?…

The vigilantes that roam our highways are outlaws, and from official reactions to what happened in Alwar, there are signs that these lawless gangs have the patronage of powerful political leaders. Do these leaders understand that once ordinary people believe they can take the law into their hands, then the authority of the State no longer exists? As someone who believes that a Hindu renaissance is necessary and possible, it saddens me that this very grand idea has been reduced to horrible violence in the name of the cow. No renaissance can ever come from this.

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/fifth-column-is-this-hindutva-cow-vigilantism-gau-rakshaks-ajmer-lynching-4605492/

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Why Muslims in Gujarat are living in fear once again – By Rajeev Khanna (Apr 8, 2017, Catch News)

With Assembly polls approaching and the communal temperatures on the rise, there is a palpable fear among the Gujarat’s Muslims. The BJP and other Sangh Parivar affiliates like the Bajrang Dal and VHP have gone on overdrive to achieve their target of at least 150 of the total 182 seats in the state Assembly. Muslims are worried over the recent developments and the pattern that is emerging.

Emboldened by the landslide victory in the recent Uttar Pradesh polls, elements within the Sangh Parivar have upped the ante across Gujarat. “One is once again hearing the slogans on Ram Mandir. Overnight graffiti appeared on the walls in prominent localities asking Hindus to be wary of ‘Love Jihad’. It is all aimed at keeping the communal temperatures simmering that would help in polarisation,” said a senior mediaperson based in Ahmedabad. Such graffiti was recently seen in prominent localities of Ahmedabad.

Social activists among the Muslims point at the series of instances that have taken place in the last few days across the state. After the violence against the Muslims in Vadavali village in Patan district came the violent clash in Savarkundla town in Amreli district of Saurashtra. Sources say that while the riot was triggered by a trivial altercation between students from Hindu and Muslim communities, the one at Savarkundla started with some Hindu youths targeting a Muslim youth who was sitting with a Hindu girl.…

http://www.catchnews.com/india-news/why-muslims-in-gujarat-are-living-in-fear-once-again-57179.html

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Tensions High in Odisha’s Bhadrak After Communal Violence – By Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta (Apr 9, 2017, The Wire)

Several incidents of pillaging and arson allegedly committed by Hindutva groups have come to the fore in the coastal Odisha town of Bhadrak. According to reports from the region, violence escalated in the aftermath of communal tension between Hindus and Muslims triggered by a Ram Navami procession on April 5.

While there has been no direct clash between Muslims and Hindus, large-scale destruction of property over the last two days, the imposition of Section 144 (that prohibits any assembly of more than four people) has ushered in a sense of foreboding among the residents. Markets have been shut since then and offices remain closed.

According to Alok Barik, a reporter with the Odia daily Dharitri, the communal tension surfaced a day after the procession when Hindutva groups – primarily the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal – sought police action against those who had allegedly circulated blasphemous social media messages against Hindu deities Ram, Sita and Hanuman.… In all these years, no significant communal incident has been reported. However, as elections draw closer, incidents in Bhadrak can soon become a motif for religious polarisation in the state.

https://thewire.in/122418/bhadrak-odisha-communal-tensions/

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Intolerance Threatens India’s Universities – By Aftab Alam (Apr 10, 2017, US News)

Higher education in India is going through a critical phase.… This is particularly worrying as some of India’s leading institutions are now facing drastic cuts in employment and resources. The prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), for instance, has just announced an 83 percent cut in its research funds and a reduction in the number of students accepted for doctoral and masters degrees for the academic year 2017-2018. And on March 25, the Tata Institute for Social Science, another center of research excellence, issued termination letters to 25 members of its faculty.…

In fact, the very idea of what universities are meant to be is under severe attack in India. For the past couple of years, universities in the country have been the theater of various upheavals. In 2016, protests erupted in JNU after an event organized by students turned into a political controversy over the Kashmir conflict and led to a countrywide debate on nationalism.

In February 2017, Hyderabad University students, who had taken part in a national solidarity movement in 2016 when Rohith Vemula, a young Ph.D. candidate and a liberal student activist committed suicide over caste discrimination, were barred from taking exams. The same month, Ramjas College, which is part of Delhi University, witnessed violent protests by the nationalist student organization Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) against a seminar. The group is an offshoot of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its parent organization the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).… The incidents at Ramjas College and JNU are not one-off episodes. Rather, such clashes have become the new norm in Indian universities.…

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2017-04-10/growing-intolerance-threatens-open-debate-in-indias-universities

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 23rd, 2017

by newsdigest on February 2, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Assam: Hajo’s post-Babri Masjid communal harmony march enters 25th year (Jan 15, 2017, Hindustan Times)

A harmony march, started as a show of unity among different communities in Assam after the riots following the Babri Masjid demolition, and turned into an annual event, entered its 25th year on Sunday. While rest of Assam was busy celebrating the post-harvest festival of Magh Bihu, hundreds gathered at Hajo, 24km west of Guwahati, to take part in Samanway Sobha Jatra and Monikut Festival.

The procession and festival, at the small town considered Assam’s ‘oasis of communal harmony’ is symbolic of how residents of this sacred place have learnt to live in peace. Hajo is home to Hayagrib Madhab temple, a four-century-old popular Vishnu shrine. The area is also considered holy by some Buddhists who believe Buddha attained ‘Nirvana’ here.

The Powa Mecca mosque, constructed over 350 years ago, is located few kilometres away. It is believed the structure was made using soil brought from Mecca, Islam’s most sacred site. “The procession started in January 1993 to show unity among followers of different faiths in Hajo after communal riots spread across India following demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992,” Siba Prasad Sarma, ‘doloi’ (chief priest) of Hayagrib Madhab temple said.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/assam-hajo-s-post-babri-masjid-communal-harmony-march-enters-25th-year/story-VQwQdcJm9jjFEJgMB7ZpsO.html

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BJP MLA Sangeet Som booked for showing ‘riot’ documentary ahead of UP polls (Jan 19, 2017, Times of India)

Sangeet Som, the controversial BJP MLA from Sardhana in UP, has been booked for allegedly screening footage from the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots as part of a documentary. The riots left 63 people dead and over 50,000 homeless.

“A case has been filed against Sangeet Som under Section 125 (promoting enmity between classes in connection with election) in the Representation of the People Act, 1951,” Sardhana circle officer Chandra Pal Singh said. On Tuesday, police had seized a CD allegedly containing footage of the riots from Som’s campaign vehicle at Fareedpur village in Meerut’s Sardhana constituency.

A case was also filed against the driver of the vehicle and another person for violating Section 144 of CrPc. Police sources said the CD contained footage of the clashes that took place in Muzaffarnagar’s Kawal village in 2013.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/56651778.cms

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BJP’s Vinay Katiyar makes sexist comment about Priyanka Gandhi (Jan 25, 2017, Economic Times)

Senior BJP leader Vinay Katiyar today triggered a controversy by saying they were “more beautiful women star campaigners than Priyanka Gandhi.”

Priyanka is one of the star campaigners of Congress for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections and has also played an important role in forging an alliance between Congress and SP.

To a question, the BJP’s firebrand leader said, “It doesn’t matter…there are girls and women who are more beautiful than her (Priyanka) and are also star campaigners.…

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/56775387.cms

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Malegaon blasts case: ex-cop Mujawar claims ATS actually killed 3 accused (Jan 18, 2017, Catch News)

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) is getting deeper and deeper into trouble in the 2006 Malegaon blasts case. Former police officer Mehboob Mujawar, who was part of the probe and, in December 2016, filed an affidavit in a Solapur court claiming that the ATS had killed two accused in the case, has fired another salvo. He now claims that the number of accused shot down by the ATS was actually three.

The affidavit had come as a major blow to the theories propagated by the ATS. And given the gravity of the fresh claims, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which has been probing the matter since 2013, summoned Mujawar for questioning on Tuesday.

…It is suspected that the third person claimed to have been killed in custody could be Dilip Patidar. The other two ‘killed’, as per Mujawar’s affidavit, were Sandeep Dange and Ramji Kalsangra. Officially, as per NIA and ATS records, Dange and Kalsangra are ‘absconding’, while Patidar is said to be ‘missing’. However, the three do share some things in common – all of them resided in Indore, and were arrested from there. Kalsangra had been Patidar’s tenant before being arrested by the ATS.…

http://www.catchnews.com/india-news/malegaon-blasts-case-ex-cop-mujawar-claims-ats-actually-killed-3-accused-1484756211.html

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Dabholkar, Pansare murders: Bombay HC raps CBI, SIT for ‘tardy’ probe, says ‘much time, energy wasted’ (Jan 21, 2017, Indian Express)

Expressing displeasure over the “tardy” investigations by both the investigating agencies in the murder cases of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare, the Bombay High Court on Friday pulled up the CBI and SIT and said considerable time and energy had been wasted by the agencies in investigating the cases.

The agencies provided the status report of investigations and materials in sealed covers to a division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and Justices B P Colabawalla who perused the report and asked them to not disclose the contents of the report to anybody.…

The court expressed its surprise at the way the ballistic report analysis was being handled and how the case is not moving forward due to this and several adjournments sought from the court in the name of assistance from Scotland Yard.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/dabholkar-pansare-murders-bombay-hc-raps-cbi-sit-for-tardy-probe-says-much-time-energy-wasted-4484432/

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NGOs release report on India’s human rights record (Jan 18, 2017, The Hindu)

On a day when the University of Hyderabad was wracked with protests on the first death anniversary of research scholar Rohith Vemula, a clutch of NGOs released a report highlighting India’s human rights record.

Ashalatha of Rythu Swarajya Vedika and Sajaya of Caring Citizen Collective released the report which had some startling facts like India topping world hunger list with 194.6 million undernourished; having the world’s largest number of homeless and landless persons; the world’s highest number of malnourished and hungry children; 56 percent landless rural households; 30 per cent of world’s poorest people and 10.2 million working children between 5-14 years.

The Joint Stakeholder’s Report will be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council during the upcoming third Universal Periodic Review of India due to take place at Geneva in May 2017. The activists demanded a law for protection of human rights defenders.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/NGOs-release-report-on-India%E2%80%99s-human-rights-record/article17052116.ece

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Jallikattu stir bristles with anti-Modi anger (Jan 20, 2017, Asian Age)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rejection of the state’s demand for a Central ordinance on jallikattu has triggered widespread anger in Tamil Nadu. Residents geared up for massive protests on Friday, with all sections of people joining students and youth fighting to save its traditional sport and preserve Tamil culture.

Furious jallikattu protesters widened the canvass of the protests to include all issues in which the state’s rights were trampled. One of the students, Senthilnathan, who had gathered at the Marina asked, “If Narendra Modi is so concerned about respecting the Supreme Court, why had he opposed the apex court’s verdict to form the Cauvery Management Board?”.

Protesting Tamil youth vowed to return the Aadhaar cards as a sign of declaration that they are no more the citizens of India. The protesters also targeted the railways blocking the trains in several parts of the state. Traders associations announced a total shutdown on Friday and cinema theatres would remain closed to express support the agitations.…

http://www.asianage.com/india/all-india/200117/jallikattu-stir-bristles-with-anti-modi-anger.html

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Modi Government Re-Allots Land Cancelled By UPA to RSS-Backed Organisations (Jan 17, 2017, The Wire)

Nearly 13 years after the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had cancelled the allotment of institutional land to 29 right-leaning organisations by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in Delhi, the Narendra Modi government has restored the allotment of prime plots of land to most of them.…

The BJP government under Vajpayee had made 225 allotments.… Since of these 125 were made to government and political institutions, the subsequent Manmohan Singh government that came to power in 2004 did not question their allotment. However, it did constitute a committee under retired IAS officer Yogesh Chandra to review the others.… Of these, 22 were affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) or belonged to outfits backed by it such as Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, Samarth Shiksha Samiti, Sewa Bharti and Swadeshi Jagran Foundation.

In all these cases, the committee had held that the allotments were made “without due regard to the stipulated procedure.” After much deliberation between the urban development ministry and the office of the attorney general on the issue, the UPA government had finally cancelled 29 of these allotments. Thereafter, three of these institutions had returned the plots while the remaining 26 had moved the Delhi high court against the order.… With a right-wing government back in the saddle, most of these religious and socio-cultural institutions once again felt emboldened and approached the Centre for restoration of the cancelled plots. Many of them had not given up the plots and had even opened temporary offices on them.…

https://thewire.in/100783/modi-government-re-allots-land-cancelled-upa-rss-backed-organisations/

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Demonetisation like search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq: Former RBI Governor, D Subbarao (Jan 23, 2017, Financial Express)

Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) chief, Duvvuri Subbarao discussed PM Narendra Modi-ordered demonetisation drive and expressed his discomfort with it. When asked about how will he measure the success of demonetisation, Subbarao said, “I will use two metrics to measure the success of demonetisation. The first metrics is to what extent has the stock of black money been destroyed and the second is to what extent has the further regeneration of black money been prevented.”

He further stated, in an exclusive interview with CNBC TV-18’s Lata Venkatesh, that “in the first one, the initial expectation of the government was 15-20 percent of the black money (which is about 2- 3 trillion rupees) to be destroyed which would have a deadly blow to all the people who had that money and would have been a huge win for the RBI and the government could have declared moral and material victory. But nothing of that sort has happened as 97 per cent of the money has come back and now the government is looking for the recovery of black money out of the deposits.”

In D Subbarao’s view, “If 1 percent is not added to the tax-to-GDP ratio, then demonetisation would be like the search for the weapon of mass destruction in Iraq.”…

http://www.financialexpress.com/economy/demonetisation-like-search-for-weapons-of-mass-destruction-in-iraq-former-rbi-governor-d-subbarao/519364/

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BJP govt targeting only Muslims in Assam, minority body seeks intervention of Supreme Court (Jan 20, 2017, Siasat)

Assam Minority Jatiya Parishad (AMJP) has sought the intervention of Chief Justice of India (CJI) in the ongoing eviction drive carried out by the BJP government in Assam alleging that it has adopted double standards in these operations.

In a petition filed in the Supreme Court, AMJP stated that random eviction has been carried out in Assam only with a view to driving out the poor Muslims from government land who took shelter on such lands due to devastating flood and erosion on the bank of river Brahmaputra.…

The people belonging to all communities have taken shelter on government lands which are not useful for any propose. However, only the Muslims are being targeted without touching the people of other communities. He said we have submitted a petition to the Chief Justice of India seeking justice.…

http://www.siasat.com/news/bjp-govt-targeting-muslims-assam-minority-body-seeks-intervention-supreme-court-1113673/

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BJP-RSS anti-Dalit, won’t let them succeed: AAP on Manmohan Vaidya remark (Jan 20, 2017, Indian Express)

AAP on Friday came out strongly against RSS publicity chief Manmohan Vaidya’s remark favouring a review of the reservation policy and said it won’t allow the “anti-dalit” BJP and RSS suceed in their “nefarious designs”. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was quick to latch on the controversial remark, which could potentially help the party in Punjab, a state with over 30 per cent of dalit population.

“The RSS/BJP/Akalis are anti-Dalits. We will not allow their nefarious designs to succeed,” he tweeted. “The statement by RSS functionary is shameful. This is not the first example of RSS and the BJP being anti-dalit. There is no proof required after state-sponsored murder of (Dalit scholar) Rohith Vemula (who committed suicide). We condemn this,” AAP’s national spokesperson Dilip Pandey said, adding that such remarks also came up before the Bihar polls.

RSS’s publicity chief Manmohan Vaidya on Friday kicked up a row with remarks favouring a review of the reservation policy, saying even the architect of the Constitution B R Ambedkar had not favoured its continuance in perpetuity.”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/bjp-rss-anit-dalit-wont-let-them-succeed-aap-on-vaidya-remark-4484168/

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Opinions and Editorials

Pune Muslim youth murder: Is the Bombay HC bail to accused a licence to kill for sake of religion? – By Ajay Kumar (Jan 17, 2017, First Post)

The Bombay High Court on 12 January granted bail to three men accused of murdering a Muslim man in Hadapsar, Pune, in 2014 sighting an absence of “personal animosity” against the victim. The bail was granted even though the accused are alleged to have bludgeoned the victim to death with hockey sticks, bats and stones, for simply being a Muslim on 2 June 2014.

The prosecution’s case was that the accused had just attended a rally where a person called Dhananjay Desai of the Hindu Rashtra Sena had made an inflammatory speech where he had incited the passions of these accused. So, when the accused saw the victim, on his way to dinner on a motorcycle, wearing a pastel green shirt and was sporting a beard, they started assaulting him with hockey sticks, bats and stones.…

When we contrast the two orders we can see how India may have slightly changed from March 2015 to January 2017 where on the one hand a man making a hate speech is denied bail because he may be a danger to the public at large, on the other hand, three men who get incited by speeches and go around allegedly killing people by beating them with hockey sticks and stones may be excused of their behaviour because they did it because of “religion” and no out of personal enmity. The order of 12 January 2017 must give us all a reason to pause.

http://www.firstpost.com/india/pune-muslim-youth-murder-is-the-bombay-hc-bail-to-accused-a-licence-to-kill-for-sake-of-religion-3207584.html

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Why Babri Masjid, Ramjanmabhumi, Yogi Adityanath And Azam Khan Stand Muted In The Battle For Uttar Pradesh – By Betwa Sharma (Jan 17, 2017, Huffington Post)

The Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls are taking place in the 25th year of the demolition of the Babri Masjid. Election eve is a good time to reflect on how the event so large then, influencing so significantly the politics and elections of that time is viewed today. Communal polarization will depend largely on how the face off between the Samajwadi Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party shapes sentiment on the politically festering remains of the 16-century mosque.

But the pitch for Hindu resurgence is on the back-burner today with hardliners gagged. Not so long ago, the Muzaffarnagar riots had spurred BJP’s sweeping performance in the region during the parliament elections. One of the accused, Sanjeev Balyan, became a minister. The Dadri lynching and the reign of the Gau Rakshaks signaled dark clouds of further polarisation.

BJP, against expectations, has not lined up Ramjanmabhumi firebrands such as Yogi Adityanath or Sangeet Som for the UP elections. Samajwadi Party’s Azam Khan has also not stepped out to bat for the Muslims. There were posters after the ‘surgical strikes’ depicting Narendra Modi as Lord Ram and Nawaz Sharif as Ravana, coinciding with Dussehra. Such hyperbole has become muted.…

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2017/01/17/why-babri-masjid-ramjanmabhumi-yogi-adiyanath-and-azam-khan-st/

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Hindutva And Cultural Nationalism: The Missing Chapter In Netaji’s Life – By Saswat Panigrahi (Jan 23, 2017, Swarajyamag.com)

Indian historiographers have deliberately brushed aside a significant chapter on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Today, as the nation commemorates the 120th birth anniversary of the most admired nationalist-revolutionary, it is significant to lay bare the unread chapter on Netaji’s life.

A careful study of the life and times of Netaji clearly suggests that the great patriot championed the cause of Hindutva and cultural nationalism. As a quintessential Hindu, Subhas Chandra Bose considered Vedanta and Srimad Bhagavad Gita as his sources of inspiration in the fight against the British.

A young Subhas was moved by Swami Vivekananda’s teachings on universalism and his fresh interpretation of Indian scriptures. Similarly, the writings of Sri Aurobindo had a lasting impression on his mind. In addition, Bose drew influences from Bankim Chandra Chatterjee’s teachings. All those together helped shape up his social-political activism, loaded with a nationalistic fervour and driven by a religious fascination ever since his young days.…

https://swarajyamag.com/culture/hindutva-and-cultural-nationalism-the-missing-chapter-in-netajis-life

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Modi Cult Building Is Part Of Hindu Rashtra Building – By Shamsul Islam (Jan 22, 2017, Countercurrents)

There has been a universal belief among the modern historians and political scientists that history does not repeat ever. But recent happenings in the ‘largest’ democracy, India and the ‘greatest’ democracy, USA seem to have presented a challenge to the above dictum. It was in the mid-20th Century that world witnessed the rise of totalitarian ideologies like Nazism and Fascism in Germany and Italy.

Generally, we know how these two debased ideologies under the leadership of Hitler and Mussolini came to power leading to the World War II which caused unparalleled death, devastation and misery to the world. But another fact not much known is that both Hitler in Germany and Mussolini in Italy came to power through prevalent constitutional system in their respective countries. They were able to use weaknesses of the constitutional systems in their countries and turned the polities into unbridled dictatorships, themselves becoming cults.

India and USA seem to have gone through the same process and towards the same end. Narendra Bhai Modi, a seasoned pracharak (whole-timer)of the RSS who was described decades back as ‘fascist-in-making’ by a renowned Indian sociologist, and criticized even by the Supreme Court of India for his handling of the Gujarat Genocide of 2002, became Prime Minister of India in 2014 with only 30% of the polled votes.… It may be a matter of immense pleasure to our PM Modi and his team that this dictum of one flag, one leader and one ideology was directly borrowed from the programmes of Nazi and Fascist parties of Europe which RSS wants to execute in India in order to get rid of minorities.… One wishes that history does not repeat in this case.

http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/01/22/modi-cult-building-is-part-of-hindu-rashtra-building/

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Mass rape of Adivasi women in Bastar: Why are human rights body and women’s panel mum? – By Rajkumar Soni (Jan 17, 2017, Catch News)

The roles of Chhattisgarh Human Rights Commission and Women’s Commission in the mass rape of Adivasi women in Bastar, have been under scrutiny for a while. The pressure has been upped in the wake of the notice sent to the state government by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

Social workers and human rights workers have accused the government of making political appointments to major positions in the commission. And consequently, these appointees take into consideration the convenience of the government when it comes to deciding whether to take note of an incident or just ignore it.

After the rape of 16 Adivasi women from Kunna, Guler and Bellam Landra villages of district Bijapur in Bastar by police and security forces came to light, the NHRC issued a notice to state government, holding it indirectly responsible for it. After this notice the state government is being trounced thoroughly. Generally the commission recommends action only when a victim makes a complaint with facts. The commission can also take cognition of the matter looking to the gravity of the dastardly act. But in this case of Adivasi women, neither of the two commissions took note of the rape.…

http://www.catchnews.com/india-news/mass-rape-of-adivasi-women-in-bastar-why-are-human-rights-body-and-women-s-panel-mum-1484654825.html

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A Clarion Call – Editorial (Jan 21, 2017, EPW)

Even a year after Rohith Vemula’s suicide in the University of Hyderabad (UoH), it is difficult to express the anguish of lost dreams and aspirations of a young person whose death was preventable. In death, Rohith has inspired young people to come out in solidarity across the country.

In their struggle for justice for Rohith, his mother Radhika Vemula, along with the students’ Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, reached out across the country to support others in the fight against caste and communal prejudice, and discrimination. The past year has shown that a politics of wider solidarities is indeed one that is possible.

…Rohith’s legacy has become a clarion call against state oppression of underprivileged castes, minorities, and for all those who have been denied dignity and rights by the Indian state.…

http://www.epw.in/journal/2017/3/editorials/clarion-call.html

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 9th, 2017

January 20, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Muslims offer fruit juice to Hindu devotees during festival News Headlines ‘Modi has to go’: Post-2002 Gujarat riots, Atal Bihari Vajpayee wanted then CM to step down Demonetisation: 35 per cent job losses, 50 per cent revenue dip, says study by largest organisation of manufacturers Watch: BJP […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 12th, 2016

December 22, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Maratha Seva Sangh organises communal harmony rally as part of Eid ul Milad celebrations News Headlines Bengal BJP man held with Rs 10 lakh in new notes Bhaiya reference to minister Kiren Rijiju: ‘Bhaiya ka help chahiye toh humko boliye Sir’ UP polls: BJP, RSS want to […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 24th, 2016

November 3, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Hindu-Muslim meet shows humanity is above all Delhi’s own festival that promotes communal harmony News Headlines Godhra riots: Gujarat High Court upholds life term of 17, acquits 14 convicted in Sardarpura case Jharkhand policeman charged for custodial death following youth’s post-mortem report Malegaon blast: High court asks […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 11th, 2016

July 20, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Thapar slams Hindutva interpretation of nationalism MP towns shut on Eid, Hindu groups blamed for forced bandh State Intelligence Dept. gives clean chit to Naik; no arrest on his return to India BJP creating divisions in Kashmir with eye on UP elections: NC Home Ministry declines to […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 4th, 2016

April 12, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Indian Americans condemn Saudi award for Prime Minister Modi News Headlines Human Rights Watch asks European Union to tell Modi to “stop harassing” civil society, minorities, Dalits Pathankot attack ‘stage-managed’ by India, claim Pak media reports; Opposition slams Modi SIO: Cops tried to slap false charges Murder case: […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 21st, 2016

March 25, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Human chain to create sense of unity among citizens News Headlines Jharkhand: Two cattle traders hanged from tree, gau raksha activist among 5 held BJP leader offers Rs 1 crore to anyone who brings him ‘traitor’ Owaisi’s tongue Reference to circumcision in terror notice sparks ‘profiling’ charge […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 7th, 2015

December 17, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Unique display of communal harmony: Muslim group Jamaat e Islami Hind cleans Hindu temple after Chennai floods News Headlines Naroda Patiya massacre case convict’s wife accuses husband of rape, files for divorce Arrest Babri Mosque demolition accused and expedite trial: All India Muslim Personal Law Board to […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 9th, 2015

November 12, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines India’s prime minister Narendra Modi suffers embarrassing setback on eve of UK visit Global media finds BJP’s debacle in Bihar a setback for Modi Former Indian PM expresses concern over rising religious intolerance in India Extremism, Intolerance Not an Expression of a Religion Called Islam, Says Ansari […]

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