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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

by newsdigest on January 20, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Communal Harmony

Muslims offer fruit juice to Hindu devotees during festival (Jan 6, 2017, Times of India)

Murders, attacks on innocent youths, communal tension and hate speeches might have made Ullal in Mangaluru a sensitive region. However, there are instances that make the region famous for communal harmony too.

On Friday, Muslim brethren in Ullal showed an exemplary gesture that herald the message of communal harmony. While members of the Hindu community were celebrating annual festival at Sri Ullalthi Dharma Arasara Temple, Uliya in Ullal, Muslims in the region welcomed devotees by offering fruit juice. Muslim brethren not only offered soft drinks to Hindu devotees, but also extended festival wishes.…

The initiative was well-praised by people in general and the police department in particular. Usually, police department is at the receiving end whenever incidents of communal clashes and murders report in Ullal. Deputy Commissioner of police (crime) M Sanjeev Patil posted the pictures of Muslim brethren distributing fruit juice to Hindu devotees at the temple premises.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/56378488.cms

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‘Modi has to go’: Post-2002 Gujarat riots, Atal Bihari Vajpayee wanted then CM to step down (Jan 7, 2017, First Post)

…All the killing and pillaging in Gujarat had given Vajpayee a bad name, the more so because Gujarat had a BJP government in place, with a chief minister who had reportedly not risen enough to the occasion to rein in the violence. Vajpayee was blamed for his failure as PM to get rid of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who reportedly shouted back at a Muslim leader on the phone for seeking help after a mob had gathered outside his house. Some hours later, the Muslim leader was lynched, and Modi is alleged to have asked the police forces to let the violence continue. At that moment, Modi seemed to be the villain who brought a lot of shame to the central government.

Modi had also dared to publicly snub Vajpayee at a press conference where he was seated alongside the prime minister. The reporter wanted to know Vajpayee’s message for the chief minister in the wake of the riots. In controlled displeasure, Vajpayee stated that Modi should ‘follow his Rajdharma’. He explained that Rajdharma was a meaningful term, and for somebody in a position of power, it meant not discriminating among the higher and lower classes of society or people of any religion.…

Three days before his foreign tour in April, when Vajpayee visited the Shah Alam camp in Ahmedabad, which housed 9,000 Muslims displaced by the riots, he was deeply touched when a woman told him that he alone could save them from the hell that their lives had become. Now, on the flight to Singapore, Vajpayee was worried he would expose himself to more humiliation while outside the country. His grouse was: why am I being paraded abroad at such a time? Shourie suggested that the PM speak to Advani, who had by now become the deputy prime minister, about the possibilities of salvaging the situation — it could even mean replacing Modi. But even after the ‘pep talk’ with Shourie, Vajpayee appeared cheerless.…

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/modi-has-to-go-post-2002-gujarat-riots-atal-bihari-vajpayee-wanted-then-cm-to-step-down-3191210.html

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Demonetisation: 35 per cent job losses, 50 per cent revenue dip, says study by largest organisation of manufacturers (Jan 9, 2017, Indian Express)

In the first 34 days since demonetisation, micro-small scale industries suffered 35 per cent jobs losses and a 50 per cent dip in revenue, according to a study conducted by India’s largest organisation of manufacturers.

The study, conducted by the All India Manufacturers’ Organisation (AIMO), has also projected a drop in employment of 60 per cent and loss in revenue of 55 per cent before March 2017. The AIMO represents over 3 lakh micro, small scale, and medium and large scale industries engaged in manufacturing and export activities.

The study stated that almost all industrial activities have come to a standstill, with the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) sector worst-hit. “While AIMO understands certain immediate repercussions of such a bold step (demonetisation) by the government, it did not anticipate or was prepared for such a jolt to industries even after one month,” said the study.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/demonetisation-35-per-cent-job-losses-50-per-cent-revenue-dip-says-study-by-largest-organisation-of-manufacturers-4465524/

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Watch: BJP Delhi Chief Manoj Tiwari Mocking People Queuing Up Before ATMs (Jan 3, 2017, Huffington Post)

In an undated news video clip, Bhojpuri superstar-turned-politician, Manoj Tiwari, who was recently appointed president of the Bharatiya Janata Party unit in Delhi, is seen making fun of people compelled to stand in long queues at ATMS following the Modi government’s decision to scrap the ₹500 and ₹1000 notes.

The video clip, tweeted out by a Bahujan Samaj Party handle on Tuesday evening, shows Tiwari sitting around a table with several people including Sudhanshu Trivedi, a national spokesperson for the BJP. Tiwari, who represents the North East Delhi constituency, tells the others how he had belted out a song to boost the morale of people standing in a queue, and then goes on to mock them.

“I said desh bhakt hain kataar mein. Everyone started smiling…they said we will keep standing till the 30th,” Tiwari said in jeering tone, while the others started laughing.…

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2017/01/03/watch-bjp-delhi-chief-manoj-tewari-mocking-people-queuing-up-be/

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BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj booked for ‘population control’ remark (Jan 7, 2017, Indian Express)

An FIR has been filed against controversial Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Sakshi Maharaj on Saturday for his remark on population control. A case has been registered in Meerut under section 298 of IPC, among others. Earlier on Friday in Meerut, Sakshi, in a veiled attack on the Muslim community, blamed them for the population explosion in the country.

He said, “Those with four wives and 40 children are responsible for the population increase in the country. Hindus are not responsible for the increase in population,” he said. He added, “Strict laws are required in this country if we really want to curb population. Parties need to rise above politics and take decision for the sake of the country,” he added.

The controversial remark by the MP in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh drew strong condemnation from opposition parties. The Election Commission sought a report from the Meerut district administration while the BJP distanced itself from the statement.… Congress leader KC Mittal said Sakshi’s speech is “offensive” as it is based on caste and religion and goes against the recent Supreme Court judgement.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/bjp-mp-sakshi-maharaj-booked-for-population-control-remark-4463703/

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How Justice JS Verma’s Hindutva judgment is often misinterpreted by BJP (Jan 3, 2017, Inuth.com)

The Supreme Court’s verdict that seeking votes in the name of religion is illegal—is undoubtedly a big blow to all those political parties and politicians, who thrived on this practice. However, the recent judgement of the apex court also brings us the memory of the 1995 ruling, in which a bench headed by Justice JS Verma had defined ‘Hindutva’ ‘as a way of life’.

The apex court ruling gave the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena a considerable legal ground to justify their ‘ultra-nationalistic politics’. The BJP owe its rise to the 1995 Supreme Court ruling as it concluded that Hinduism and Hindutva in election campaigns was actually fine despite Section 123(3) of the Representation of People’s Act prohibiting the use of religion during election campaigning.

After Justice JS Verma defined Hindutva as a way of life, political parties contesting polls on Hindutva plank got a point to defend themselves by saying that they were seeking votes on the basis of (concept of) way of life and not on religion.…

http://www.inuth.com/india/politics/how-js-vermas-hindutva-judgment-is-often-misinterpreted-by-bjp/

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Chhattisgarh HC issues notice to govt, police over ‘fake encounter’ (Jan 7, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Chhattisgarh high court on Friday issued notices to the state government and top police officials in connection with the alleged fake encounter of a person, claimed to be Maoist, in Kondagaon in November last year.

The Bilaspur bench of the court issued notices to state chief secretary, director general of police, inspector general of police (Bastar) and SP Kondagaon on a petition filed by the wife of the deceased, Bal Singh Sori, and local Congress MLA Mohan Markam.

Satish Verma, counsel of the petitioners, told Hindustan Times that the officials have been asked to respond to the notice within four weeks.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/chhattisgarh-hc-issues-notice-to-govt-police-over-fake-encounter-of-maoist/story-UKqqKq0aEKPWYDKcovN1qO.html

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‘It’s easy to brand any Muslim a terrorist’: Exonerated ‘terrorist’ Irshad Ali (Jan 9, 2017, Siasat)

It does not take much to brand any suspect as a terrorist. But it can take years to ascertain the veracity of the allegations. The media, as well as society, don’t wait for any trial to pass their verdict. However, there is hardly a whimper if the accused if finally proved innocent after years of judicial struggle.

Few can recount the horror of facing false charges of terrorism as well as Irshad Ali. A driver by profession, Irshad is lucky to have survived the ordeal he faced for years.

His story is that of an unjust system, a society with a religious bias that does not think twice before labelling a citizen a criminal and a terrorist. This inept system simply incarcerates people when it fails to justify this discrimination.…

http://www.siasat.com/news/its-easy-brand-any-muslim-terrorist-exonerated-terrorist-irshad-ali-1104916/

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Fazal murder: Internal strife in RSS led to ‘revelations’ (Jan 3, 2017, Times of India)

A key evidence, which pointed to the role of RSS activists in the murder of NDF (now PDF) leader Muhammad Fazal had surfaced, thanks to the internal strife within the Sangh Parivar in Thalassery.

It has been learnt that Parivar activists themselves handed over the audio clip of a conversation between RSS worker Subeesh and another party worker to the police. In the audio clip, Subeesh speaks of the entire operation which culminated in the murder of Fazal in 2006. He repeated it in his confession later to the police when he was arrested in a case related the murder of a CPM worker a few months ago.…

Even before Subeesh’s revelation, the Crime Branch had received an anonymous letter stating the role of the Sangh Parivar in the case. Later it became known that it was written by a Sangh Parivar leader from Kannur.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/56320246.cms

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Indian police accused of raping women in restive Chhattisgarh state (Jan 10, 2017, The Guardian)

The Indian government’s human rights watchdog has accused police of raping and beating at least 16 women from tribal communities in Chhattisgarh, a central state racked by a 50-year Maoist insurgency.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said there were 20 alleged attacks still to be investigated, but that in 16 cases the “human rights of the victims have been grossly violated by the security personnel”.

It was investigating a report published in the Indian Express that police had committed abuses against women in several villages in Bijapur district during an operation against rebels in October 2015.…

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/10/indian-police-accused-of-raping-women-in-restive-chhattisgarh-state

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Mumbai University bars bearded Muslim student from boxing event (Jan 10, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The University of Mumbai (MU) pulled out a Muslim student from a boxing competition because he refused to shave off his beard.

Sayyed Imran Ali is a national-level taekwondo and kick-boxing player and a second-year BCom student at GR Patil College in Mumbra. When he reached University Sports Pavilion in Marine Lines for his match last Monday, the university officials told him that he won’t be allowed to compete unless he shaves off his beard.…

Imran Ali, a Mumbra resident who sports a goatee, said he was unaware of the rule as this was his first competitive boxing. “I have been participating in kick-boxing, karate and taekwondo competitions at the state and the national level for the past seven years. My small beard was never an issue,” said the boxer, who runs a martial arts training centre in Mumbra.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/mumbai-universi-bars-bearded-muslim-student-from-boxing-event/story-BxY7wI4i4hAALqJ2z0s5NN.html

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Opinions and Editorials

The decline of Modi – By A.G. Noorani (Jan 20, 2017, Frontline)

…Just half-way through his term in office as Prime Minister, Narendra Modi faces disenchantment to a high degree. Demonetisation only served to remind the people of lapses they had overlooked. He hugely personalised demonetisation. The gamble failed. The slide downwards has begun. The Emperor has no clothes on him.

Modi’s hysterical performances reveal his panic at the wide public disenchantment in the wake of his quixotic decision on demonetisation of Rs.1,000 and Rs.500 currency notes on November 8. This was the first major test of his mettle and he has been found wanting. Slogans, his favourite ploy, do not help (vikas, vishwas, et al). People want answers; they demand accountability for the havoc he created. But the concept is foreign to him.

He has deployed every trick in the book to build himself up as a mass leader, above the party (Bharatiya Janata Party) and even its parent (the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh), and above institutions, Parliament and the judiciary. His technique was continuous electioneering, doling out slogans, impugning the integrity of critics and opponents without a thought for accountability to Parliament. He began by going over the heads of Cabinet colleagues to civil servants (vide the writer’s article “Modifying Democracy”, Frontline, July 11, 2014). He is now reduced to embarking on a course of cheap demagogy. It will not work.…

http://www.frontline.in/cover-story/the-decline-of-modi/article9456807.ece

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The Cost of India’s Man-Made Currency Crisis – Editorial (Jan 9, 2017, New York Times)

Two months after the Indian government abruptly decided to swap the most widely used currency notes for new bills, the economy is suffering. The manufacturing sector is contracting; real estate and car sales are down; and farm workers, shopkeepers and other Indians report that a shortage of cash has made life increasingly difficult.…

But the swap was atrociously planned and executed. Indians had to line up for hours outside banks to deposit and withdraw cash. New notes have been in short supply because the government did not print enough of them in advance. The cash crunch has been worst in small towns and rural areas. The amount of cash in circulation fell by nearly half, from 17.7 trillion rupees ($260 billion) on Nov. 4 to 9.2 trillion ($135 billion) on Dec. 23, according to the Reserve Bank of India.

No economy can lose that much currency in a few weeks without creating major hardship – certainly not one like that of India, where cash is used for about 98 percent of consumer transactions by volume. And while a growing number of people have debit cards and cellphones that can be used to transfer money, most merchants are not set up to accept such electronic payments.…

http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/09/opinion/the-cost-of-indias-man-made-currency-crisis.html

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How BJP used the Gujarat co-operative bank sector to ‘re-monetise’ its funds – By Charu Kartikeya (Jan 6, 2017, Catch News)

It is becoming increasingly clear that while ordinary citizens were forced to endure endless agony over their hard-earned money following demonetisation, BJP used its position in power to manage its own money quite conveniently. Between early days after demonetisation and now, several reports have surfaced that point out how the party may have converted old notes worth hundreds of crores into new ones without attracting any scrutiny.

First, reports of BJP leaders knowing about demonetisation in advance came out. Then it was reported that the party indulged in a massive land-buying spree in many states, using cash. Now, much evidence is coming to light that indicates that BJP may have used co-operative banks run by its own leaders to keep its money safe.

An investigation done by The Hindustan Times has pointed out that cash deposits in 285 district cooperative banks (DCBs) across the country saw a six-fold surge in less than a week after the demonetisation announcement of 8 November. Leading these banks in this unbelievable surge was Amreli Jilla Madhyastha Sahakari Bank Ltd (AJMSBL) in Gujarat’s Saurashtra region, whose Chairman is not just a senior BJP leader in the state but also a cabinet minister. The bank’s cash deposits on 7 November were to the tune of Rs 1.3 crore but over the next four working days, the deposits surged to Rs 209.15 crore, a 200-fold jump. How unusually high is this figure for the bank can be gauged from the bank that the highest deposit in the last quarter was a meagre Rs.6.2 crore.…

http://www.catchnews.com/politics-news/how-bjp-used-the-gujarat-co-operative-bank-sector-to-re-monetise-its-funds-1483710659.html

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India: Modi, Money, Minorities And The Year That Was – By John Dayal (Dec 31, 2016, Sabrang India)

The last flicker of 2016 sees an India devalued, its reputation in tatters, its people in pain. It also marks the mid-term of the regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has already reserved his place in the country’s political history as the man whose headlong rush to imagined personal glory has plunged India’s famed foreign policy into a friendless abyss, its development process on a reverse path, its security left fraught.

With a tongue-tied and invisible council of ministers and the Planning Commission shrunk to nothingness, he should be a Dictator. He remains but a caricature of one, seen in advertisements of PayTM, the half-Chinese payment portal, and on TV, both arms semaphoring bile and spite. It is to the sangh parivar headquarters in Nagpur that Ratan Tata and fellow tycoons go when in trouble, and where generals, spymasters, administrators pay court.…

Crops failed as farmers could not get the cash to buy the seeds and the fertilisers. The small vegetable farmers found their harvest rotting on the road for want of purchasers. Patients requiring surgery died in transit as their parents or children pleaded with hospitals. The sight of a former soldier, now old and frail, weeping after he was edged out of a snaking queue at a bank, went viral, as the new phrase goes. He was trying to get his own money, not borrowing from the bank. Statistics cannot assist in visualising those tears. Though figures show that Modi’s claim of eradicating black money is not merely misleading, it is criminally false. His threat to do worse in the new year may be very real.…

https://sabrangindia.in/article/india-modi-money-minorities-and-year-was

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Narendra Modi’s Crackdown on Civil Society in India – By Rohini Mohan (Jan 9, 2017, New York Times)

…The Lawyers Collective, an advocacy group in New Delhi run by the prominent lawyers Indira Jaising and Anand Grover, has for three decades provided legal assistance to women, nonunion workers, activists and other marginalized groups, often without charge. In December, the Modi government barred it from receiving foreign grants. The political reasons were obvious: The Collective had represented critics of Mr. Modi’s sectarian record and environmental vision.

Under Indian law, nongovernmental groups that seek foreign donations have to register under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act, which prohibits the use of overseas funds for “activities detrimental to the national interest.” Although accountability in the nongovernmental sector is necessary to control malpractice, the foreign funding law is better known as a tool of political retribution than transparent auditing.

It’s not just the Collective that has been punished. The Home Affairs Ministry recently revoked the licenses of around 10,000 other nongovernmental organizations. Even groups whose funding licenses were renewed are worried about the future. “It is activism on thinning ice from now on,” an education activist told me.…

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/09/opinion/narendra-modis-crackdown-on-civil-society-in-india.html

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RSS, BJP and Communal Polarisation in Uttar Pradesh Polls – By Radhika Ramaseshan (Dec 31, 2016, EPW)

In July 2016, when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) hosted a week-long annual meet of its kshetriya pracharaks (literally translates as regional propagandists, but the RSS calls them regional minders) at Bithoor, the choice of a small town, 55 km away from Kanpur, as the venue was deliberate. Uttar Pradesh (UP) would be going to polls in early 2017. It was critical for the RSS to message early on that its role would be central and not supplementary and “constructive” towards the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The element of positivity was required to be emphasised to dispel the doubts and misgivings that persisted about the part the RSS had played in the 2015 Bihar assembly elections, arising from certain remarks that the sarsanghachalak (head), Mohan Bhagwat, had made on the reservations policy.…

With the Dalits, the script went awry long before the BJP could regroup their votes. Sensing early on that Mayawati was working hard at recovering those sections of the Dalits, including the Jatavs, who had left the BSP for the BJP in 2014 and adding their votes with those of the Muslims to add up a formidable social combine, the RSS and the BJP worked assiduously on the Dalits. The mobilisation strategies faltered soon enough, because as with the MBCs, for the Dalits too communal polarisation, pitting them against Muslims, had a limited shelf life.…

http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/53/uttar-pradesh%E2%80%94vortex-change/rss-bjp-and-communal-polarisation-uttar-pradesh-polls

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Book Review

Fascism: Essays on Europe and India

Author: Ed. Jairus Banaji
Reviewed by: Radhika Desai
Available at: Three Essays Collective, B-957 Palam Vihar, GURGAON (Haryana), 122 017 India. www.amazon.in/
Review:
Hindutva and Fascism (Dec 31, 2016, EPW)

Comparisons between the Sangh Parivar and interwar European fascisms are inescapable. The founders of the Sangh were inspired by, and emulated and adapted, those fascisms (Casolari 2000). The Parivar’s proliferating role in Indian politics also periodically suggested the comparison, whether to politicians such as Indira Gandhi in the 1970s or to intellectuals after the demolition of the Babri Mosque (Sarkar in the volume being reviewed; Ahmad 1993; Basu et al 1993).

Other scholars have questioned the relevance of the comparison (Vanaik 1994; Jaffrelot 1993), though not very successfully (Desai 2016). While political parties have often engaged in similar political tactics – let us confine ourselves to Sanjay Gandhi’s Youth Congress and the 1984 massacre of Sikhs or the Shiv Sena’s long record of union and basti-busting – no party’s activities have so systematically elicited comparisons with fascism as those of the party of Hindutva.…

This mass base did not mean that most Germans actively supported the Third Reich just as Modi government does not mean all Indians support it (Desai 2014). However, Banaji does emphasise that there was a certain “moral indifference” or “passive complicity” (p 218). Today in India, this would include the refusal to use the concept of fascism as a critical part of an understanding of the Modi government for the purposes of opposing it. As Banaji emphasises, the Sangh Parivar’s pogroms in India have already exceeded anything that the Nazis did barring the holocaust. …

http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/53/review-article/hindutva-and-fascism.html

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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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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 12th, 2015

October 14, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Indian community protests against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK Indian activist Sudheendra Kulkarni hit by Shiv Sena ink attack Dadri lynching pre-medidated by Hindutva forces: DU, JNU fact-finding committee Police see right-wing plot behind Mainpuri violence RSS sympathiser loses column for saying ‘RSS leaders […]

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