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Ishrat Jahan encounter

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 20th, 2016

by newsdigest on June 28, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Indian court jails 11 for life over Gujarat massacre of Muslims (Jun 17, 2016, The Telegraph)

An Indian court jailed 11 Hindu attackers for life on Friday for murdering dozens of Muslims in one of the most notorious massacres of the 2002 Gujarat riots that shook India at a time Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the state’s chief minister. The court sentenced 12 others to seven years in jail over the killing of 69 Muslims, while another was handed a 10-year sentence, prosecutors told local television channels after the sentencing.

A Hindu mob scaled the boundary wall of the Gulbarg housing society in Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s largest city, in February 2002 before torching the homes in which Muslim families were trapped. Several victims were children and women who were burned to death. The massacre was one of a series of riots that flared for two months in western Gujarat, killing more than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims.

The riots dogged Mr Modi’s political career for years after he was accused of not doing enough to stop the violence. Mr Modi, a Hindu, denies any wrongdoing and in 2013 a panel appointed by the Supreme Court said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him. An Indian court this month convicted 24 Hindus for their role in the massacre at the Gulbarg housing society while acquitting 36. The trial began in 2009. Zakia Jafri, whose husband and former Congress party legislator, Ehsan, died in the blaze, said Friday’s sentences were insufficient.…

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/17/indian-court-jails-11-for-life-over-gujarat-massacre-of-muslims/

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Gulberg verdict: SIT to approach High Court on ‘lenient’ sentencing (Jun 17, 2016, Economic Times)

Special Investigation Team (SIT) counsel in the 2002 Gulberg massacre case, R C Kodekar today expressed dissatisfaction about court’s verdict in the case and announced to approach the High Court, as he felt the sentence was too “lenient”.

Kodekar was upset especially after the court’s refusal to add “till death” clause in the life sentence awarded to 11 convicts in the case. “Today’s verdict is not that satisfactory. We feel the sentence is lenient and inadequate. During arguments, we had appealed to the court that life imprisonment till death should given to all. We are not convinced with the penalty awarded,” said Kodekar. “12 convicts were given only seven years, which is very lenient too. It should be either ten years of life imprisonment,” he said. “We will appeal in the High Court,” said Kodekar.…

The Gulberg Society massacre, which took place here on February 28, 2002 when Narendra Modi was the Gujarat Chief Minister, shook the nation when a mob of 400 people set about attacking the society in the heart of Ahmedabad and killed the 69 residents including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri. It was one of the nine cases of the 2002 Gujarat riots probed by the Supreme Court-appointed SIT.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/52796052.cms

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Ishrat Jahan missing papers: ‘Mere ko ye poochna hai ki aapne ye paper dekha? Aapko kehna hai ki maine ye paper nahi dekha – seedhi si baat hai’ (Jun 17, 2016, Indian Express)

B K Prasad, the Union Home Ministry official who headed the probe into the “missing documents” in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, not only told a witness the questions he would ask but also suggested to him what answers he should give — that he had not seen any of the documents. This coaching of a witness by the man heading the investigation puts a question mark on the integrity of the probe announced in Lok Sabha by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on March 10.…

Prasad then told the officer: “Aapko kehna hai ki ‘Maine ye paper nahi dekha.’ Seedhi si baat hai (You have to say, ‘I have not seen that paper.’ It’s as simple as that).” Prasad told Kumar that the consequences of giving a different reply would be that doubts would be raised about the officer having played a role in the disappearance of the papers.

“Aapko itna toh kehna hoga ki ya toh woh file hi maine kabhi zindagi mein deal nahi kiya, kabhi file ko dekhne ka kabhi mauka hi nahi mila (You will have to, at least, say that either you have never dealt with that file in your life, or have never had a chance to see it)… I don’t think you have seen that file at any point… Bas, that is what I want from you: ‘I have not seen that file at all’,” Prasad told the officer. Prasad also told the officer: “And another question will be, ‘Did anybody give you these documents to be kept separately with you?’ Aap bologe, ‘Nahi, mere ko kisi ne nahi diya.’ (You will say, ‘No, nobody gave them to me’).”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/ishrat-jahan-fake-encounter-case-inquiry-ashok-kumar-2855542/

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Amnesty slams govt decision on Teesta-led NGO (Jun 19, 2016, Deccan Herald)

Amnesty International India on Saturday said the government decision to cancel Teesta Setalvad’s NGO’s licence was due to her work in seeking justice for the victims of the Gujarat riots. The Centre on Thursday cancelled NGO Sabrang Trust’s licence on violation of various FCRA rules, which means it will not be able to collect foreign funds.

Seeking revocation of the decision against Teesta Setalvad-led NGO, Amnesty said it was “not a coincidence” that the most prominent use of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010, has been against NGOs “who seek to hold the government accountable” for its actions.

“The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) appears to be persecuting Sabrang for its founders’ work in seeking justice for the 2002 Gujarat riots’ victims,” Amnesty executive director Aakar Patel said in a statement. “This pattern of using the FCRA as a pretext to go after NGOs that don’t toe the government line needs to stop. The government must end its NGO witch-hunt,” Patel said. Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand were among those who had helped a section of victims fight the then Gujarat government then led by Narendra Modi.…

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/553112/amnesty-slams-govt-decision-teesta.html

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Malegaon blast: Victims object to Pragya’s bail plea (Jun 17, 2016, Hindustan Times)

The court set up to hear the 2008 Malegaon blast case on Friday allowed an application by the victims, objecting to Pragya Singh’s bail application. Advocate Sharif Shaikh, representing the victims also questioned the probe of the National Investigation Agency (NIA). On May 13, the NIA had submitted a supplementary chargesheet giving a clean chit to six accused, including Pragya, and also recommended that all the charges against them be dropped.

The central agency said the shoddy probe by Maharashtra authorities forced the U-turn. It added that the provisions of the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) were not applicable to the case. After getting a clean chit from the NIA, Pragya had applied for bail. Her advocate J P Mishra had on May 30 filed a bail application on the ground that the NIA had not pressed charges against her owing to a lack of evidence, and because of her deteriorating health.

The defense pleaded that she had no knowledge of how her motorbike was used in the blast and said she had never given her consent for this. He said that the bike had been sold long before the incident. Meanwhile, 64-year old businessman Nisar Bilal had on June 8 moved an application before the special court seeking to include the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) as a party to the case and to hear the agency that had booked Pragya in the blast case.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai/malegaon-blast-victims-object-to-pragya-s-bail-plea/story-lGOer0pcET88YepKFdCkEM.html

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Sangeet Som’s yatra: SP corners PM Modi, rakes up Gujarat riots (Jun 17, 2016, Times of India)

Uttar Pradesh PWD Minister Shivpal Singh Yadav on Friday attempted to corner Prime Minister Narendra Modi over BJP MLA Sangeet Som’s “Paidal Nirbhay Yatra” across Uttar Pradesh to assure safety to the Hindu families from Kairana village of Shamli district and said that the duo must worry about bringing back the people, who fled during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

“Many people migrated after the Gujarat riots. Sangeet Som and Prime Minister Narendra Modi should first worry about them. Prime Minister Modi must first bring back the people, who fled during the Gujarat riots,” Yadav told a press conference here. He claimed the Uttar Pradesh Government has intelligence reports which suggest that there was no exodus from Kairana.

“The people have left the place in search for jobs. We will not let the BJP vitiate the atmosphere here. We have intelligence reports to prove that there was no exodus in Kairana,” he added. Yadavb further said the BJP MLA was attempting to vitiate the atmosphere in Uttar Pradesh, adding strict action would be initiated against such elements.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/52794695.cms

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Seers visit Kairana, slam BJP’s ‘politics of hate’ (Jun 20, 2016, Times of India)

A team of Hindu seers on Sunday visited Kairana to probe allegations by BJP MP Hukum Singh that 346 Hindu families had fled the small town due to persecution. Swami Chakrapani, one of the five seers who visited Kairana, slammed BJP for playing the “communal card”.

Swami Chakrapani, president of Akhil Bharatiya Sant Mahasabha, told TOI that Hindus and Muslims alike had been worried about rising crime there. Samajwadi Party member and UP cabinet minister Shiv pal Yadav on Friday had suggested that a team of “apolitical” Hindu seers ascertain the facts on the ground.

The team of seers also included Akhil Bharatiya Sant Mahasabha’s Haryana president Swami Kalyan, president of Sant Samiti Devendranand Saraswati, founder of Shri Kalki Foundation Pramod Krishnam and Swami Chinmayanand of the Sant Mahasabha.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/52825810.cms

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Latest gem from BJP leader: Saffronisation and sanghwad are inevitable, says Union Minister Katheria (Jun 19, 2016, First Post)

At a time when the Narendra Modi-led central government has come under immense criticism over Raghuram Rajan’s announcement in his farewell letter that he will not be renewing his term after September, this BJP leader is not making matters any easier for the party.

In a classic foot-in-mouth situation, Union Minister Ram Shankar Katheria on Saturday said that ‘bhagwakaran’ (saffronisation) of education will definitely take place in India. Speaking at an event, Katheria, who is Minister of State in the HRD ministry, went on to say that saffronisation and ‘sanghwad’ will be good for the country and is inevitable.

“Reporters told us that some people are saying that our government is saffronising education in the country. I am saying this today: Saffronisation will definitely take place in education and in the country,” said Katheria.…

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/saffronisation-and-sanghwad-are-inevitable-says-union-minister-rs-katheria-2843654.html

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Smriti Irani Heckled and Boo-ed in Bhagalpur Bihar: Rohith Vemula Haunts the Modi Regime (Jun 18, 2016, Sabrang India)

When Smriti Irani visited Bhagalpur town in Bihar, people protested against her visit and shouted slogans of ‘Amar Rahe, Rohith Vemula’. This happened on June 16, 2016 it is reported.

Protesters in Bhagalpur said Smriti Irani is as responsible as the other five culprits booked for Rohith’s death because she misused her position of responsibility and exerted pressure on University administration to persecute the five Dalit research scholars. Smriti Irani acted upon the letter given to her by the BJP Union Minister Bandaru Dattatraya in which he labelled University of Hyderabad as “a den of casteists, extremists and anti-nationals”.

Smriti Irani should be sacked from the MHRD minister’s post immediately and all the five culprits must be arrested immediately, the protesters demanded. The students movement across the country has been calling the minister ‘Manusmriti Irani’ since the ‘institutional murder’ of Rohith Vemula.

https://www.sabrangindia.in/ann/smriti-irani-heckled-and-boo-ed-bhagalpur-bihar-rohith-vemula-haunts-modi-regime

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Police officer suspended for third degree interrogation of girl in Jharkhand (Jun 18, 2016, Businesss Standard)

In a case of alleged police brutality, a Class 10 girl student fell unconscious and had to be hospitalised after she was interrogated for more than 10 hours at a police station in Jharkhand’s Latehar district. The girl remained unconscious for more than 70 hours after the questioning by police on June 14 at Manika Police Station in Latehar.

According to doctors treating the girl, she may take some more days to recover. “She may take two to four days to recover,” said Umesh Kumar, a doctor treating the girl in RIMS.

Latehar Superintendent of Police Anup Birthare has suspended Sub-Inspector Ram Pravesh Sharma posted at Manika Police Station after he was found guilty of questioning the girl for more than 10 hours inside the police station without the presence of a woman police constable or even her parents.…

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/police-officer-suspended-for-third-degree-interrogation-of-girl-in-jharkhand-116061800348_1.html

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Opinions and Editorials

US-Modi Bonhomie – By Abdul Majid Zargar (Jun 15, 2016, Countercurrents)

There has been a steady increase in Indo-US bonhomie ever since Narendra Modi took over as the Prime Minister of India. During his two years in chair, he has taken long strides than his predecessors in reducing the distance and increasing convergence in the strategic perspectives of the two supposedly democracies. During his latest visit to US, Modi has received a thunderous applause to his forty five minute speech to the joint session of US congress during which he is reported to have received extraordinary number of clappings & standing ovations.

The rousing reception begs a very important question. Has the US, which positions itself as a champion of human rights around the world, forgotten or forgiven Modi for his complicit role in killing minority Muslims thus committing grave crimes against humanity during Gujarat riots 2002. The question is important because in its answer lies the future survival of democracy as a best model which respects human rights.…

Modi’s Complicity in Gujarat riots is well researched & adequately documented. The latest addition to the existing implicative material on the subject is Rana Ayub’s book ‘Gujrat files- Anatomy of a cover-up’. Prior to that Manoj Mitta’s book ‘The fiction of fact finding’ & Sreekumar’s Book ‘Gujrat behind the Curtain’ have provided ample evidence of Modi’s involvement through his acts of omission & commission. Not to speak of Teesta Setalvad’s material compiled after untiring efforts and Tehlka’s sting operations conducted in 2007.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/zargar150616.htm

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As election season approaches in UP, BJP moves in to communalise everything it can – By Shoaib Daniyal (Jun 20, 2016, Scroll.in)

On Saturday, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ram Shakar Katheria said that it was inevitable that saffronisation will proceed, both in the education sector as well as of India as a whole – and that this is a fine thing. Katheria is no ordinary leader. He is a minister in the Narendra Modi government. His words, like the exculpation of the Dadri beef murder by Union minister Mahesh Sharma, carry some significance. Clearly, this sort of statement is a prelude to the keenly contested 2017 Assembly election in Uttar Pradesh.

And this isn’t the only indication of the party’s strategy for the state. The BJP is continuing to attempt to make the alleged exodus of Hindus from Kairana a point of contention. The controversy was sparked last fortnight when a party MP produced a list of people who had purportedly been forced out of the town by Muslim criminals. Pro-government media such as Zee News went to town with these claims, comparing the situation to Kashmir in the 1990s. The only problem? There was no exodus.…

Uttar Pradesh is the country’s largest state, home to one out of six Indians. It is also desperately poor. Even Bihar, the poster boy of India’s poverty for much of the recent past, seems to have turned the corner. In such an environment, it seems naked communalisation is the only way to do politics in the state. It was true when the BJP was rising on the back of the Ram Janmabhoomi campaign to demolish the Babri Masjid in the late 1980s. Today, three decades later, even with a BJP government in Delhi, it still seems to hold true.

http://scroll.in/article/810261/the-daily-fix-as-election-season-approaches-in-up-bjp-moves-in-to-communalise-everything-it-can

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Gulberg Judgment: It’s doubtful that punishments handed out match up to the magnitude of the crime – Editorial (Jun 20, 2016, Times of India)

…While the court found 24 out of the 60 accused guilty in the horrific rampage that tortured and murdered 69 people, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, it said that the accused deserved “a second chance to reform and rehabilitate”. Indian authorities are often not sufficiently tough on supposedly ‘spontaneous’ communal riots, which is one reason why they recur. It’s difficult to say this judgment has broken with that tradition of leniency.

In contrast to the strong words expressed in the Naroda Patia verdict, criminal conspiracy has been ruled out in the Gulberg case, as though it was a spontaneous eruption of anger after the Godhra killings. The judgment has also held that Jafri’s firing of a gun was what triggered the mob’s violent frenzy, thus denying him the right to self-defence.…

This paper has reported eyewitness accounts of how Jafri was stripped, his fingers and limbs methodically chopped off, before he was thrown into a fire. Even if Jafri fired in self-defence when faced with an armed mob, it strains credulity that one man’s gun provoked violence on this scale. The Gujarat carnage of 2002 has resulted in 140 convictions, but the process has been tortuous and opaque. The lower judiciary, police and administrators were complicit in tampering with evidence, destroying trails and forcing witnesses to turn hostile. This judgment is unlikely to bring a sense of closure to victims of the Gulberg massacre.

http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/toi-editorials/gulberg-judgment-its-doubtful-that-punishments-handed-out-match-up-to-the-magnitude-of-the-crime/

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Sacking Raghuram Rajan: It is intolerance again – By Anil Sharma (Jun 20, 2016, Free Press Journal)

As the RBI governor Raghuram Rajan conveyed to the central bank’s employees in a letter that was placed on the bank’s website for wider circulation: “… I want to share with you that I will be returning to academia when my term as Governor ends on September 4, 2016”, he was in effect announcing his dismissal by the Modi Sarkar. To interpret this as anything else is to rob the BJP’s battering ram Subramanian Swamy of his rightful claim to brag that he has had the RBI governor, a mere government employee, dismissed. For Swamy it was a command performance executed at the behest of his boss the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Lest anyone has any doubts on this count as well, Swamy provided the clinching evidence by acknowledging on twitter that “…. my admiration for Namo has gone up hugely: media, industrialists, and international bureaucrats piled on him for R3 but he did not bend.” For the uninitiated ones R3 is swamyspeak for Raghuram Rajan. The reference “did not bend” prompts a query as to when the decision to sack Rajan was taken? Before Swamy got into the act or after?…

It was not difficult to visualise the strong disapproval of such a person. This was the intolerance of another variety. It is something that places conformism over merit. It is neither difficult to see the logic. “We can find brilliant men dime a dozen, but they have to be conformists,” is the way it runs. Lest, we may forget one such classmate of the ‘sacked governor’ happens to be Jayant Sinha, the minister of state for finance.…

http://www.freepressjournal.in/editorspick/sacking-rajan-it-is-intolerance-again-anil-sharma/874440

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BJP’s Doublespeak on Terror – By Gurpreet Singh (Jun 21, 2016, Sabrang India)

…The Hindu ‘nationalist’ (read supremacist) Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) which is currently in power was in the opposition at that time. The so called secular Congress government too tried to play down the involvement of Hindu extremists initially as it wanted to isolate Pakistan internationally for sponsoring terrorism. The truth however cannot and could not be buried. As the complicity of the Hindu extremists became apparent, the BJP reacted sharply and accused the Congress government of defaming the Hindu community.…

Notably, the BJP government is known for its tough anti terror stance, but this is weakened or stands exposed when it comes to dealing with the terrorists from within their lot. It is pertinent to mention that the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi was seen in the company of one of the Samjhauta blast accused Swami Aseemanand in Gujarat where he was previously the Chief Minister.

Aseemanand is an ascetic who ran a camp in Gujarat that worked aggressively to covert Christians into Hinduism. It was during Modi’s tenure as chief minister that an anti Muslim massacre took place in 2002. Modi had also publicly opposed the arrests of Hindu extremists in connection with terrorism.…

https://www.sabrangindia.in/article/bjp%E2%80%99s-doublespeak-terror

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Ishrat Jahan: After the Fake Encounter, a ‘Phoney’ Probe – By Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta (Jun 16, 2016, The Wire)

If there is one case that exposes the fragility of Indian democracy in recent times, it is the killing of Ishrat Jahan in 2004.… Human rights activists have decried her killing as a fake encounter; the Congress’s flip-flop – initially calling her a terrorist and then a victim of a fake encounter – has triggered suspicion over its intentions. The BJP, quite naturally, has been the only party to support the Gujarat government’s action, given the fact that party president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat at the time of Ishrat’s killing, have directly or indirectly been implicated in the case since the probe began.

At no point of time has the probe functioned in a transparent manner. Depending on their political agenda, officials and politicians have leaked selective information about the case to establish their views, leading to highly polarised and uninformed opinions on the matter. This opacity showed of yet again when a senior home ministry official, B.K. Prasad, who headed an official probe into the case documents that have gone missing, was captured on tape by an Indian Express reporter trying to doctor his own investigation. Prasad retired from service after his probe began but has been given an extension.…

Even 12 years after Ishrat’s killing, the case is still in limbo, despite an SIT probe and a magistrate’s report implicating the Gujarat police. As long as they are not found, the ‘missing documents’ will allow the BJP to turn what is a straightforward case of custodial murder into a political football that can be kicked around to discredit the Congress and divert attention away from the original crime. The question the BJP will have to answer is why it had to manipulate the probe into the missing papers if it was certain the Congress’s second affidavit was false and politically motivated.…

http://thewire.in/43322/ishrat-jahan-after-the-fake-encounter-a-phoney-probe/

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 10th, 2014

by newsdigest on February 11, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

NRG sisters’ film records lingering trauma of 2002 (Feb 7, 2014, Times of India)

Two sisters, Sheena and Sonum Sumaria, born in London to a Gujarati-Jain family, have made a movie on the communal divide that has plagued Gujarat in the aftermath of the communal riots of 2002. The two sisters, both graduates of Cambridge University, had come to the state in 2012 on a visit to their grandfather’s place of birth in western Gujarat. But once here, they realized that they had entered a divided society polarized along communal lines over the ruling BJP and its leader.

“We were born in London to a Gujarati-Jain family. Our grandparents were born in Gujarat while our parents were born in Kenya. We come from a multi-cultural environment and are passionate about justice. As we delved into Gujarat’s recent history, we could sense the lingering effects of the 2002 riots. We knew that this state was once very inclusive. This is how our effort to make a film on Narendra Modi, Hindu nationalism and the suffering of Muslims after 2002 began,” said Sheena, a student of economics at Cambridge and of globalisation and development at University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

Interestingly, the film called, ‘Even the Crows’, was crowd-funded. “Around 56 people from across the world backed our project. We collected over Rs 8 lakh for the movie’s production,” said Sonum, who studied Spanish and Russian at Cambridge University and film at Escuela de Cine y Television, Cuba.

The movie has moving accounts of the Gujarati-American, Nishrin, whose father, a former MP and prominent Muslim leader, was killed during the riots; of Nishrin’s husband, Najid Hussein; and British-Gujarati, Imran, who was the sole survivor when he and two of his uncles were attacked while on a holiday in the state. Political psychologist Ashis Nandy, danseuse and activist Mallika Sarabhai and Prasad Chako of St Xaviers have contributed to the film with their insights.

Mallika Sarabhai said that the people ruined by the 2002 violence have not received justice. “Every reminder – even if it is in the form of a film – that justice has not been done is welcome, as it gives hope that someone will take note,” she said. …

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/29966168.cms

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Cops ignored Hindu terror leads, says officer who arrested Aseemanand (Feb 7, 2014, DNA India)

The Andhra Pradesh police had information about the existence of a “Hindu terror network” after the 2007 Hyderabad Mecca Masjid blasts, a former CBI officer told dna in the wake of a media report claiming the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was behind multiple blasts.

During four rounds of interviews to Caravan magazine, arrested accused Swami Aseemanand said that the blasts were supported and funded by the RSS’ top level, according to the magazine. The RSS, which is the Bharatiya Janata Party’s ideologue, questioned the veracity of Aseemanand’s statements.

A former CBI officer, who unearthed the “Hindu terror network” and arrested Aseemanand, said that although the Congress-led Andhra Pradesh government had leads on the existence of such a network after the 2007 blasts, the AP police went after 70 Muslim youth, who were arrested, tortured and implicated in the case. The officer said he was able to draw a link between the Malegaon, Ajmer and Mecca Masjid blasts, which were all triggered by mobile phones, after 12 days of intense investigations.

“When I told my seniors, we should look at Hindu fundamentalists, they told me I am mad,” said the former CBI officer. “The AP police also had information, but they chose not to pursue the lead. With considerable evidence that my team had gathered, we got a go-ahead. When my colleague shared the information with (Anti-Terrorism Squad’s) Hemant Karkare, he immediately took the lead and arrested Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and the rest is history.” The CBI later arrested Assemanand, who is currently in Ambala jail.

Meanwhile, RSS spokesman Ram Madhav questioned the interview’s authenticity saying Aseemanand had denied giving any such interview. “This is a political conspiracy,” said Madhav. “One has to bear in mind the timing of this information so close to the election. Similar flase allegations to defame the RSS leadership were made earlier too, and have been proved to be incorrect.”

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-cops-ignored-hindu-terror-leads-says-officer-who-arrested-aseemanand-1959897

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Shinde hints at conducting probe in Samjhauta Express blast case (Feb 6, 2014, Business Standard)

Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Thursday hinted at conducting a probe in the Samjhauta Express blast case after allegations surfaced about RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s alleged involvement in the attack that killed 68 people, mostly Pakistani nationals, in February 2007. The accusations were levelled after a magazine published audio tapes and transcripts of an interview with Indian monk Swami Aseemanand, in which he allegedly blames Bhagwat for playing a role in the Samjhauta Express (Attari Express) bi-weekly train attack, the Hyderabad Mecca Masjid and theAjmer Dargah blasts in 2007.

Shinde said: “Now let us see in the matter, if they have revealed it then their must be some truth.” Earlier in 2011, the National Investigative Agency had filed its charge sheet against Aseemanand and four others, but the NIA officials could not prove charges against him. Meanwhile, RSS leader M.G. Vaidya dismissed the allegations, saying there was no authenticity. … Two homemade bombs exploded aboard a train bound from India to Pakistan burning to death at least 64 passengers in 2007.

Most of the victims were Pakistanis but included some Indians. Two other unexploded homemade bombs were also found on the train and the track. The Samjhauta Express was carrying around 527 passengers. The dead included three railway policemen. Samjhauta is Hindi for understanding or agreement. The rail link was restored in 1976, but severed again after an attack on New Delhi’s parliament in late 2001. It started up again in 2004.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/shinde-hints-at-conducting-probe-in-samjhauta-express-blast-case-114020601050_1.html

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Ishrat Jahan encounter case: CBI charges former IB special director, 3 serving officers (Feb 6, 2014, India Today)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday filed a supplementary chargesheet in Ishrat Jahan encounter case. The agency charged former Intelligence Bureau special director Rajinder Kumar along with three serving officers – P. Mittal, M.K. Sinha and Rajiv Wankhede – in a special court in Ahmedabad.

It, however, did not mention the then Gujarat minister of state for home and close aide of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Amit Shah. The foursome has been charged under IPC section 120B and Sections 27 and 28 of the Indian Arms Act.

Ishrat, 19, was killed along with three other suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba militants on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on 15 June, 2004 by the Gujarat Police’s crime branch in an alleged fake encounter. The state police had claimed that the operation was carried out on the information provided by the IB, which was then headed by Rajinder Kumar in the state.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/ishrat-jahan-encounter-case-amit-shah-not-named-in-cbi-chargesheet/1/342078.html

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Government forced to defer Communal Violence Bill (Feb 5, 2014, The Hindu)

The UPA government faced a major embarrassment on the first day of the extended winter session of Parliament on Wednesday as a united Opposition forced the government to defer the Communal Violence Bill in the Rajya Sabha. As the Opposition parties, including the BJP, Samajwadi Party, CPI(M), AIADMK and DMK, stepped up their attack on the government, accusing it of going against the spirit of federalism and encroaching upon States’ rights, Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien deferred the Prevention of Communal Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2014, in view of the “mood of the House.”

The Bill was to replace the Communal Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill, 2005, withdrawn by Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde. Earlier, the House had a brief debate on whether Parliament had the jurisdiction to enact such a Bill that violates the spirit of federalism. Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley and Law Minister Kapil Sibal engaged in heated arguments.

Mr. Jaitley said: “The Central government has absolutely no jurisdiction in bringing such a Bill … This Bill is entirely beyond the legislative competence of Parliament. I am … convinced that objections raised by Opposition have … substance.” Mr. Sibal said the Bill would not violate the federal structure and that any action by the Union government under the Bill would be with the consent of State governments. He attacked the BJP by referring to the 2002 Gujarat riots, and said the Bill was necessary to tackle “state-sponsored communal activity… like it happened in Gujarat.”

“If it is state-sponsored communal activity, then it is not a law-and-order issue … Like what happened in Gujarat is not a law-and-order issue,” he said. Sitaram Yechury of the CPI(M) said the Bill could not be introduced as the legislative competence of the Centre was in question. Trinamool Congress’ Derek O’Brien said that “the UPA has butchered the concept of federalism” and accused the government of encroaching upon the rights of States. V. Maitreyan of the AIADMK said as law and order was a state subject.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/opposition-scuttles-communal-violence-bill-rs/article5656766.ece

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1984: Giani Zail Singh’s daughter says PM, govt ignored his pleas for help (Feb 3, 2014, India Today)

“The year 1984 was the most painful year for my father,” says Dr Gurdeep Kaur, daughter of former president Dr Giani Zail Singh. In an interview with PTC News here yesterday, Dr Gurdeep Kaur who now lives here with her engineer husband Surinder Singh Virdi, maintained that her father was deeply hurt both by Operation Bluestar and the anti-sikh riots. The agony of Giani Ji, she says, was that despite being the supreme commander of Indian defense forces, he was neither consulted before Operation Bluestar nor could he, in spite of his best efforts, stop the riots against innocent Sikhs.

“Giani Ji was a very strong man and he could fight his own battles, but the Operation Bluestar was one that shook him and brought tears to his eyes”. Four days after Operation Bluestar, when he visited Golden Temple and Akal Takhat Sahib, he came back devastated and in deep anguish. He was shaken by the damage caused to the sanctum sanctorum, revealed Dr Gurdeep Kaur.

Dr Kaur while giving the firsthand account of events that unfolded at Rashtarpati Bhavan on the night of October 31, 1984, said that her father was deeply perturbed over breaking out of riots. He tried calling the PMO, the then Home Minister and other concerned authorities in a concerted effort to stop the atrocities being committed on innocent Sikhs. She claimed that either his calls were not returned or lines were getting disconnected for reasons unknown, thus revealing helplessness at that time of ‘the Most Powerful Man’ of independent India who also happened to be the supreme commander of Indian defense forces.

Dr Gurdeep Kaur maintained that her father was restless and had sleepless nights as riots against Sikhs continued unabated. She claimed that with no help or support coming from those who held authority, he tried to utilise his own limited resources including, sending out his bodyguards to rescue the victims. He also tried to send vehicles from Rashtarpati Bhavan for evacuating victims. She said that Giani Ji was also very upset as many of the conventions and practices were being violated with impunity. She stresses that in the first 48 to 72 hours, no one including the Prime Minister turned up at Rashtarpati Bhavan to brief the President as is the convention even now in India.

She lamented that though her father was the supreme commander of Indian defense forces, he could not pass an executive order to call even a soldier to stop the riots. Dr Kaur also made a revelation that when pressure was built on her father by various Sikh organisations to quit, he called a meeting of his advisors and family members. It was he who took the conscious decision in the larger interest of the nation in general and Sikh community in particular to stay put. “Had he as supreme commander resigned at that time, there would have been chaos and Sikhs would have suffered immensely. It was because of his decision that Sikhs could become army heads and PM now” she said.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/giani-zail-singh-daughter-says-pm-govt-ignored-his-pleas-for-help/1/341471.html

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Accused pressuring us to withdraw cases: Muzaffarnagar riot victims (Feb 6, 2014, Times of India)

Victims and witnesses of communal violence in Muzaffarnagar have lodged a complaint alleging riot accused are pressuring them to withdraw cases and turn hostile. They have submitted audio tapes in support of their allegations and have asked police to register a case, arrest accused and take their voice samples for verification. Shahid Hasan and Shaukeen, who have filed cases as victims and witnesses of the horrific killings in Lisadh village, have lodged a complaint with the special investigation team (SIT) which is probing the riots.

They have submitted recordings of telephonic conversations with Rajendra, son of Baba Harikishan, head of Gathwala Khap panchayat. Harikishan has been accused of delivering hate speeches at a mahapanchayat in Muzaffarnagar on September 7, following which the riots broke out. They have submitted a copy of the complaint and audio tapes in the Supreme Court which is hearing a PIL demanding CBI probe into riots.

Asad Hayat, Muzaffarnagar-based lawyer and petitioner in the case, told TOI that Rajendra called up several victims and witnesses of the killings in Lisadh village and asked them to either withdraw the case or turn hostile. Asad claimed many accused have resorted to similar tactics. The callers, he added, also claimed that they had named several Muslims of the village in a murder case only to build pressure and are ready to withdraw cases as quid pro quo. Asad alleged 13 Muslims were killed and their houses set afire in Lisadh during riots.

The application filed before SIT also claimed that several victims have already withdrawn their complaints or turned hostile in cases reported from Lisadh, Bahawadi, Lakh, Fugana and Kutba-Kutabi villages. It also states that leaders of Ghathwala Khap panchayat recently declared they would not allow police to arrest accused in gang-rape cases. Reports of victims and witnesses withdrawing cases or turning hostile were reported earlier as well, Asad said, and added that if police failed to take action, he will seek intervention of the Supreme Court. The next hearing is on February 12.

When contacted, SIT in charge Manoj Jha confirmed receiving the complaint and said they probing the allegations. “It’s a delicate issue and we will verify recordings and match them with voice samples before proceeding further,” Jha said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/29920722.cms

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HC asks cops to file fresh report in Arunachal student case (Feb 5, 2014, Indian Express)

Pulling up the Delhi Police for failing to submit post-mortem report in the Arunachal Pradesh student case, the Delhi High Court today said infrastructure in the city for examining scientific evidence in criminal cases is at a “primitive” stage. The court was reacting to the Delhi Police submission that it will require more time to submit the post-mortem report in the case.

“If you are unable to give post-mortem report in so many days in Delhi in a fast tracked case like this, what is the status of other cases. We must say the infrastructure (to examine evidence in criminal cases) is at a primitive stage in national capital,” a bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justice R S Endlaw said. The bench returned the status report filed by Delhi Police in the case and directed it to file a fresh one along with post-mortem findings by February 7.

The high court had on Monday taken suo motu cognisance of media reports about the killing of Arunachal Pradesh student, Nido Taniam, who was allegedly beaten by some shopkeepers here, and had asked the Centre and Delhi Police to file a report on the incident. The probe agency’s report was returned as Delhi Police’ counsel Dayan Krishnan said the nature of injuries and death of victim can’t be correlated till they receive post-mortem report which will take time.

He also said the toxicology and viscera of the victim has been sent to FSL, which is must faster. However, after the bench returned the report and directed to file a fresh one by Friday, Krishnan said that he will coordinate with AIIMS to ensure the process is speeded up. The bench had earlier also sought details of the steps taken for safety of people from North East staying in the capital.

Appearing for the Centre, Additional Solicitor General Rajeeve Mehra and advocate Sumeet Pushkarna today said the Ministry of Home Affairs will be filing a report regarding the measures taken for safety and security of people from North East who are staying in Delhi. 19-year-old Nido Tania, son of an Arunachal Pradesh MLA, was allegedly thrashed by some shopkeepers in Lajpat Nagar area of south Delhi when he retaliated after they made fun of his hairstyle. He subsequently died on January 30. …

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/hc-asks-cops-to-file-fresh-report-in-arunachal-student-case/

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2 cops held, 3 missing after probe finds they threw body from police jeep (Feb 5, 2014, Indian Express)

Two constables – Amarpal and Amit – were arrested and three others, including the station officer (SO) of Moradabad’s Mudhapandey police station, are absconding after a case was registered against them following investigations in which they were found to have carried a dead body in the police jeep before throwing it in Rampur.

The police is now investigating if the five were also involved in the kidnapping and murder of Satendra Rastogi, a jeweller, whose body they had dumped in patwai police station area last week. Some school boys claimed to have seen Rastogi’s body being thrown out from the jeep and noted down the vehicle’s number. The vehicle was found to be that of Mudhapandey police station.

Among the five policemen, constables Amarpal and Amit were arrested Monday. They were produced before a court Tuesday and sent to jail. The others, including SO Syed Mansoor and constables Muninder and Rahul, are absconding. Inspector General (IG), Law and Order, Amrendra Kumar Sengar said the investigations so far have found all five policemen accused of destruction of evidence. The police is probing their role in kidnapping and murder of the jeweller.

Station officer (SO) of Majhola police station in Moradabad, Rajendra Singh, who is also the investigating officer in the case, said there are three eyewitness to the incident. The policemen have been named in the case on the basis of statements of the eyewitnesses and other evidences, which include the cellphone records of the personnel.

Singh said, the accused had claimed to have gone to Surajanpur village in Rampur to trace a criminal. The general diary (GD) of the Mudhapandey police station, also mentions the time when they left for Rampur on police jeep and the time when they returned to the police station, he confirmed. …

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/2-cops-held-3-missing-after-probe-finds-they-threw-body-from-police-jeep/

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MPPEB scam: A day in STF custody, Sharma aide sings name of four BJP leaders (Feb 9, 2014, Times of India)

A day after his arrest, former state higher education minister Laxmikant Sharma’s aide OP Shukla allegedly named four BJP leaders, including three ministers of the ruling BJP in multi-crore Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board Scam (MPPEB) scam.

During questioning on Friday, he, however, has denied his own involvement in PMT-2012 scam for which he was arrested. But, STF officials are tight-lipped about it. Shukla, who served as Sharma’s officer on special duty (OSD) for long was on the run after his name surfaced in the MPPEB scam, had surrender at STF office in a dramatic manner on Thursday.

Shukla had surrendered to STF two days after his family was tipped off about a possible threat to his life by people who introduced themselves as agents of the Intelligence Bureau (IB). “Two IB officers met Shukla’s wife on February 1. They informed her that Shukla could be eliminated by those involved in the scam so it was better for him to surrender,” said one of his family members.

On February 3, Shukla’s wife reportedly met STF ADG Sudhir Sahi with proposal from her husband to surrender. Sahi agreed and asked her to send him to the office. She returned assuring the officer that he would surrender at STF office in a week. Later, the couple consulted a priest for an auspicious time. The astrologer suggested him to surrender by 11.15 am.

After intense interrogation of 8 hours, Shukla was arrested for his alleged role in the PMT-2012 case contrary to his fears that he would be nabbed for his role in contractual teachers recruitment scam. Shukla allegedly said Dr Pankaj Trivedi, the MPPEB exam controller had given him Rs 84 lakh. …

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2014-02-09/bhopal/47168138_1_dr-jagdish-sagar-pmt-scam-dr-pankaj-trivedi

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Opinions and Editorials

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – By Manoj Mitta (Feb 17, 2014, Outlook)

When Narendra Modi visited the office of the SIT (Special Investigation Team) in Gandhinagar on March 27, 2010, it was exactly 11 months after the Supreme Court had directed it to “look into” a criminal complaint. Modi’s visit in response to an SIT summons was a milestone in accountability—at least in potential. It was the first time any chief minister was being questioned by an investigating agency for his alleged complicity in communal violence. The summons were on the complaint by Zakia Jafri, the widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who had been killed in the first of the post-Godhra massacres in 2002.

Jafri’s complaint, which had been referred to it by the Supreme Court on April 27, 2009, tested the SIT’s independence and integrity more than any of the nine cases that had been originally assigned to it a year earlier. Jafri’s complaint called upon it to probe allegations against 63 influential persons, including Modi himself. The complaint named Modi as Accused No. 1 for the alleged conspiracy behind the carnage that had taken place in 14 of Gujarat’s 25 districts.

A Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat, authorised the SIT not only to “look into” Jafri’s complaint but also to “take steps as required in law”. The legal steps that needed to be taken immediately were self-evident. The SIT was required to examine whether the information contained in Jafri’s complaint amounted to, as Section 154 CrPC put it, “the commission of a cognizable offence”. If so, the SIT would be obliged, under the same provision, to register a first information report (FIR), which is a statutory prelude to an actual investigation. …

http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?289455

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The Unending Amnesia Over Hindutva Terror – By Subhash Gatade (Feb 6, 2014, Countercurrents)

… ‘Law is an ass’ a phrase which was used by Charles Dickens in ‘Oliver Twist’ in a completely different context today finds a deep resonance in this part of South Asia. And nothing illustrates this better than the predicament of what is popularly known as Hindutva terror.

The manner in which people who supposedly have been planners, masterminds, funders of the whole operations have been allowed to go scot free, the way in which one finds acquittal of accused case after case, the manner in which a supposedly secular government at the hustings has declined to ban proto-fascist organisations who were found to be involved in criminal terrorist operations or the apathy with which the media – which calls itself watchdog of democracy – has preferred to softpedal the threat it poses to the foundations of the Republic itself is unprecedented.

And the less said about the curious case of Lt Col Purohit, it is better. This gentleman, who was with the Military Intelligence Wing, is languishing in jail since last more than five years as an accused/key figure in many terror attacks, involving many RSS and other Hindutva activists but has yet not been suspended by his bosses and is in an uneviable situation the world has rarely witnessed where he is regularly receiving his salary with all the doles involved. (As an aside it need be mentioned here that this information was made available to the outside world by one of his co-accused himself – an ex army man Ramesh Upadhyaya – who filed RTI application to get the information.) And the Supreme Court has blocked the National Investigating Agency (NIA) from questioning him.

But the most urgent thing on the agenda is the fresh revelation that top leaders of the Hindutva brigade were not only very much in the know of this violent phase but were in fact its real patrons. …

http://www.countercurrents.org/gatade060214.htm

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In Narendra Modi, big money backs the wrong man in India – By Pankaj Mishra (Feb 10, 2014, Livemint)

There is a great, virtual storm blowing through India today, and the most frantic people in the country seem to be those trimming their sails to it. I refer to the shrewdly concerted campaign to make Narendra Modi seem like India’s natural and inevitable leader – a veritable miracle worker who, emerging triumphant in elections due by May, will raise despondently low growth rates and restore the country’s pride and international reputation.

The chief minister of Gujarat is trailed by accusations of his complicity – and that of his closest aides – in the massacre of hundreds of Muslims in 2002, and barred, consequently, from travel to the US It is far from clear if Modi can jettison India’s unique model of collaborative capitalism and unleash entrepreneurial energies in the stagnant manufacturing sector, let alone push through much-needed investments in infrastructure and agriculture.

Furthermore, three months is a long time in politics. The rise of Modi seems much less inevitable after the stunning performance of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in New Delhi state elections. Even a favourable recent poll puts Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at least 80 seats short of a majority in the Indian Parliament; a BJP-led coalition may prove to be even more inefficient than the tottering regime under current Congress Party Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Nevertheless, Modi already seems to have been anointed in many moist eyes as India’s redeemer. The perception is a triumph of network power, involving chieftains of sectarian religious groups, politically ambitious columnists and corporate-owned TV anchors as well as the public-relations firm APCO. Armies of cyberthugs rampaging through Twitter and the comment sections of online articles have synergistically contributed to it as much as the man himself with his superb oratory and admirable hair transplant. …

As it turned out, what was good for General Motors was not good for America, or indeed the values of free societies everywhere. “It is easy to see,” as The Economist has written, “why firms are drawn to pragmatism.” But the purely pecuniary motive is not the same as sound political instinct. And shareholder value, even if boosted across several quarters, will not outweigh posterity’s damning judgment on all those guilty of a lethal abdication of moral responsibility.

http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/Ft667DfOmDQKRGbHQZWu6M/In-Narendra-Modi-big-money-backs-the-wrong-man-in-India.html

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Riots and wrongs – Editorial (Feb 6, 2014, Indian Express)

The communal violence bill championed by the Congress-led UPA has been unanimously rejected by state governments and political parties. It has been nearly 10 years since the UPA first floated the bill, not very long after the 2002 Gujarat riots. It was meant to enforce accountability of the police and administrative machinery, and establish clear terms for relief and reparation. But that first version has undergone several revisions.

The NAC’s ill-conceived draft in 2011 tilted dangerously towards the Centre, overriding the states’ control of law and order. Many objected to the way the proposed law exerted all its pressure on civil servants, and sought to set up a special riots bureaucracy of “clear moral character”. Some parties objected to the way its defaults seemed to be set in favour of religious and linguistic minorities, pre-emptively assigning victimhood and responsibility.

Some of those clauses have now been amended – the central committee has been replaced with the NHRC, and the bill addresses all acts of group violence. But the bill’s fate in the Rajya Sabha has made it clear that no opposition party is willing to accept it. The government insists that the NHRC can only act with the state government’s permission, and that “control of law and order” could not apply in cases of state-sponsored violence, but opposition parties maintain that it is an incursion on states’ rights. It is clear that the UPA should stop wasting valuable parliamentary time on this project now.

This is not to say that communal violence does not need urgent attention. Muzaffarnagar, Gopalgarh and other troubled places have demolished complacencies about the waning of these tensions or the likelihood of them flaring into active conflict. Home ministry data shows a sharp 30 per cent rise in such incidents in the last year alone. The fact that these communal tensions can be used as political tinder, even now, shows that the state needs to devise new ways to contain them. The argument is about how best to do so. Does a longstanding social problem disappear by creating a new, specially named law?

A communal violence bill is no remedy if the political resolve is weak and the government dithers instead of taking prompt action. A new law will not solve the underlying issue – of making sure that in incidents of communal violence, FIRs and investigations are acted upon and followed through seriously.

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/riots-and-wrongs/

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‘The Police Would Intimidate Photographers Taking Pictures Of The Riots’ – Ashok Vahie with G Vishnu (Feb 15, 2014, Tehelka)

During a recent TV debate on Rahul Gandhi’s statement on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots,HS Phoolka, advocate for the victims of the massacre for 30 years, kept waving pictures that showed the then president Giani Zail Singh’s damaged car. Apparently, a mob had pelted stones at Singh’s car on the afternoon he was on his way to AIIMS to check on then prime minister Indira Gandhi, who would soon breathe her last.

Then, as now, various Congress leaders have repeatedly asserted that the riots started “spontaneously” after news of Gandhi’s death broke at 5.30 pm on 31 October 1984. These photographs would, however, indicate a different narrative. Among the many who had witnessed the horrific riots in Delhi, photographer Ashok Vahie, 65, too remembers it as if it happened only yesterday. As a 35-year-old freelancer, he captured on his camera an event that would go down as one of the most shameful episodes in Indian history.

Thirty years later, in his small office in the narrow by-lanes of Bhagat Singh Market in Central Delhi, Vahie is reluctant to talk about the riots. His mind, unlike his camera, has captured those images of horror that can never be erased. On a February evening in his office, Vahie talks to G Vishnu of the pogrom he does not like talking about. …

http://www.tehelka.com/the-police-would-intimidate-photographers-taking-pictures-of-the-riots/

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What the Death of Nido Taniam Tells Us About Racism in India – By Nilanjana Bhowmick (Feb 6, 2014, Time)

Nido Taniam was a young man from Arunachal Pradesh in northeastern India. The son of a state legislator, Taniam was like 20-year-olds anywhere, with his trendy haircut and love of music. Last Friday, he stopped at a shop in a market in Delhi to ask for directions. The shopkeeper and his friends made fun of Taniam’s hair and clothes and a brawl began. It ended with Taniam’s death.

This wasn’t a senseless fight over a haircut, however. It was Taniam’s East Asian features that marked him out for attack, and his death highlighted the racism that many from India’s beautiful but impoverished northeastern states are subjected to.

While not every incident ends in such a horrific manner, assaults on young men from the northeast are commonplace in Delhi. Alana Golmei, founding member of the Northeast Support Centre and helpline, says she gets half a dozen distress calls a week. “This was waiting to happen,” Golmei tells TIME.

It isn’t just physical differences that make people from the northeast stand out in a big city like Delhi. The fact that they hail from societies that are culturally more permissive than mainstream India highlights their otherness in the eyes of other Indians. A series of separatist insurgencies being waged by the indigenous peoples of the northeast also exacerbates tensions. Then there’s the fact that the northeast is geographically distinct from the rest of the country, connected to it by just a narrow strip of land known as the Siliguri Corridor.

“The identity of an Indian man [or woman] is culturally defined, and anyone who doesn’t fit that mold is an outsider,” says Pradip Phanjoubam, a fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study. “Once you are out of the northeast, you have to renegotiate the question of being an Indian, as physically the northeast is a part of India but culturally it isn’t.” …

http://world.time.com/2014/02/06/nido-taniam-india-racism/

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Book Review

26/11 probe: Why Judiciary also Failed

Author: SM Mushrif
Reviewed by: Ram Puniyani
Available at: Pharos Media & Publishing Pvt Ltd, D-84 Abul Fazl Enclave – I, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi-110 025, India, 218 pp; Rs 275. http://www.pharosmedia.com/
Review:
Mumbai’s Black Book (Feb 15, 2014, Tehelka)

Mumbai has been a victim of terrorist attacks a number of times, especially in the aftermath of the ghastly post-Babri demolition violence. The most horrific terrorist attack that shook Mumbai, however, was undoubtedly the terrorist siege on 26 November 2008 in which 126 people died and 327 people got injured. The attack was deadly and apart from other victims, Hindus and Muslims both, it took away the life of one particular police officer Hemant Karkare — the Maharashtra ATS chief, who was investigating the acts of terror in which the involvement of Hindutva groups was also coming to the surface steadily. The police version of the incident had lots of holes. The then minority affairs minister AR Antulay and many others started having serious doubts about the sequence of events presented by the police. Later, two more glaring things happened: the bulletproof jacket of Karkare went missing, and his postmortem report was not made public. An intense hue and cry was orchestrated to hang the lone terrorist survivor, Ajmal Kasab. He had the key to unravelling some of these vital queries and there were elements who wanted him hanged without a trial.

It is in this backdrop that SM Mushrif does a commendable job of collating all the available evidence and coming out with a revelatory book, Who Killed Karkare: The Real Face of Terrorism in India. In summary, Mushrif challenges the theory put forward by police and argues that apart from eight terrorists who landed from Pakistan, there were two more who were from the Hindutva groups, who had, in collaboration with the Intelligence Bureau (IB), taken advantage of the knowledge that Pakistani terrorists were coming to Mumbai. But instead of alerting the Navy and other authorities concerned, who could have averted the attack, the IB played a different game. Hindutva groups swung into action and planned to eliminate Karkare. When he was doing his job meticulously, the Hindutva political group Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece Saamna wrote in the editorial that they’d spit on the face of Karkare. The present prime ministerial candidate from BJP, Narendra Modi, called Karkare anti-national.

Mushrif pieces together all the evidences and demolishes the theory presented by the police, and proves that “the CST-Cama Hospital-Rangbhavan lane operation was planned, scripted, directed, choreographed and executed jointly by Brahminists involved in a nationwide terror plot, as disclosed in the Malegaon blast investigation”.

This book challenges the State version upfront. While several editions of the book came out, along with its multiple translations, the IB accused of masterminding the plot kept quiet about the whole thing. No challenging of the theory of the book, no banning of the book! The plan might have been to kill the book’s theory by ignoring it. A phobia was created not to talk about the theory put forward in the book. The IB seemed to have made this phobia percolate to the judiciary, with the result that the courts ignored many crucial arguments raised in the book. Still, though the case ended with the conviction of Ajmal Kasab, a careful scrutiny of the 1,588-page judgment revealed that many findings of the judgment vindicated Mushrif’s theory. Radhakant Yadav, a 77-year-old veteran socialist leader of Bihar and three-time member of the Bihar Assembly, picked up the threads of the arguments of Mushrif’s book and the positive findings of the judgment; and then went on to file a criminal writ petition in the Bombay High Court. Important points of the petition are reproduced verbatim in the book under review.

The intervention of the Court is a major hope in the case, but the State and the authorities concerned are not responding in an adequate manner. The Ram Pradhan Committee report, which went into the role of the police and other authorities concerned in the terror attacks, is being kept under wraps. The DVD enclosed in the book also has valuable footage drawn from TV channels and other sources. One major point shown by the footage is about how Karkare, the prime target of the ‘native conspirators’, was trapped. Surely, Mushrif’s first book and this brilliant sequel, are crying out for answers. Populist notions about terrorism have influenced our investigations too far. If truth is to be unravelled, an honest examination of the arguments of this book is highly imperative. It is a powerful indictment of the IB and the Hindutva groups, and should compel the authorities to give an honest answer.

http://www.tehelka.com/Mumbais-Black-Book/

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 25th, 2013

November 26, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Vice president calls for communal harmony News Headlines Sex CD forced Modi govt to tail woman, SC told US lawmakers move anti-Modi resolution Trouble for Modi? Damning details of Ishrat killing given to SC Karnataka panel orders damages to 3 held in Bangalore blast case Ahead […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 30th, 2013

October 2, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Post Riots, Samajwadi Party committee to strengthen communal harmony in Muzaffarnagar News Headlines Criminal Charges Which Narendra Modi Faces Caught on tape: Praful Patel admits influencing Ishrat probe, CBI likely to grill Narendra Modi for inspiring, guiding and monitoring every police action CBI grills BJP Rajya […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 23rd, 2013

September 24, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines ‘No anguish on Modi’s face when he talks about riots’ I wouldn’t want to live in India if Modi becomes PM, author Ananthamurthy says Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case: CBI quizzes principal secretary to Modi, top cop BJP MLA Suresh Rana arrested for role in Muzaffarnagar […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 9th, 2013

September 10, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Muzaffarnagar riots: 4 BJP MLAs, Cong leader booked for inciting mob ‘Attempts to stoke communal tension around Deoband’ Communal tension grips Belgaum in Karnataka ahead of Ganesha festivities ‘Attack on 2002 Gujarat riot protesters planned’ Prosecute Narendra Modi, asks Coalition Against Genocide Prajapati encounter: Sting CD […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 26th, 2013

August 27, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Function on communal harmony News Headlines 02 riots: Let court, not SIT, decide Gujarat government role Narendra Modi following Hitler’s tactics to grab power: Digvijaya Singh CBI to confront IB ex-officer in Ishrat case again Yatra ban: We won’t let UP become Gujarat, says SP Shiv […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 19th, 2013

August 20, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines HC confirms conviction of 9 for post-Godhra riots Hindu supremacist Narendra Modi should not be invited to the Commons Narendra Modi’s attack on PM on I-day leaves some BJP leaders squirming CBI finds common link in Haren Pandya murder, Ishrat encounter Karat sees BJP, RSS role […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 29th, 2013

July 30, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines It’s State-sponsored conspiracy from day-1 but SIT ignored it, says Zakia 65 MPs write to Obama against a visa for Modi Modi’s Hindutva a double-edged sword, analysts warn Facebook page of ‘BJP Gujarat’ takes nasty, ‘bikini-clad’ dig at Amartya Sen RSS, IB are ‘biggest terror’ outfits: […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 22nd, 2013

July 23, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Enough evidence to put Modi on trial for 2002 riots: Zakia Don’t want Modi as my PM: Amartya Sen Blow to Modi: SC rejects review of Lokayukta’s appointment BJP, RSS behind communal tensions in Rajasthan, says Brinda Karat NCP questions BJP on Ayodhya temple donations Poison […]

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