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Ishrat Jahan

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 14th, 2015

by newsdigest on December 21, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Tarigami Addresses Rally in Vijayawada On Protection of Communal Harmony (Dec 13, 2015, Peoples Democracy)

Attempts are being made by the BJP, VHP, RSS and other Sangh Parivar forces to divide the people on the basis of religion, cautioned CPI(M) leader from Jammu and Kashmir, Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami. He was addressing a well-attended public meeting on ‘protection of communal harmony in our country’, organised by Aawaz in Vijayawada on December 6.

Tarigami, Central Committee member of the Party and a member of Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly, exhorted the people to remain alert against such divisive forces. He narrated as to how religious fanaticism is on the rise and intolerance is growing in the country, and lambasted BJP and Sangh Parivar forces for intentionally raking up communal issues in order to sidetrack the real issues concerning the masses. He underscored the need to promote communal amity.

If Hindus and Muslims are united, it will checkmate the onslaught of communal forces, he said. In northern states, dalits are being attacked everyday but Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who proclaims to be a representative of Hindus, is keeping quiet over such dastardly attacks, he said.…

http://peoplesdemocracy.in/2015/1213_pd/tarigami-addresses-rally-vijayawada-protection-communal-harmony

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Had Islam been a religion of terrorism, Hindus would not have been existed in India today, says Shankaracharya (Dec 14, 2015, India.com)

Addressing the public meeting on ‘reconstruction of the society and our responsibilities’ organised by Jamat-e-Islami (JIH), Shankaracharya Omkarananda Saraswati said had Islam been a religion of terrorism, Hindus would not have been living in India today. Stating that Muslims can never be separated from India, Shankaracharya said that Muslims and Hindus are like two hands of a body.

Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shankaracharya said that his trip to foreign countries would not serve the purpose if there would be no peace in India. “Modiji is visiting the world for global peace negotiations but I want to tell him that such a dialogue will have no meaning if there is no peace at home,” he said.

The meeting, organised by JIH as a part of its national conclave, brought together leaders of various religions, sects and Islamic schools of thought on one platform. Speaking at the event, JIH president Syed Jalaluddin Umri said solutions to all problems faced by the humanity lie in following the path shown by Islam. He also denied charges of forcible conversion saying that there was not a single incident in Islamic history of forcible religious conversion.…

http://www.india.com/news/india/had-islam-been-a-religion-of-terrorism-hindus-would-not-have-been-existed-in-india-today-says-shankaracharya-782354/

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Protests by Muslim groups continue in U.P. (Dec 16, 2015, The Hindu)

Sporadic protests by Muslim groups against a Hindu Mahasbha leader’s alleged statement denigrating Prophet Mohammad continued in western Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday.

Over 50,000 Muslims protested in Bareilly, demanding the death penalty for Kamlesh Tiwari, who claimed to be the working president of Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha. The crowd repeatedly demanded that the Hindutva leader be beheaded. The Bareily protest is not the first. Over a lakh Muslims gathered in Bijnore and demanded the death penalty for Tiwari recently. Subsequently, Muzaffarnagar too saw similar protests.

The administration is yet to act against the clerics who were shown on the media declaring their plan to behead Tiwari during the demonstration in Bijnore and announcing a bounty of Rs. 51 lakh on his head. The administration did not respond to repeated messages from The Hindu asking why the government had not talked to the community leaders and convinced them that action had been taken against the leader.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/protests-by-muslim-groups-continue-in-up/article7992885.ece

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Paragraphs “planted” in NIA report to prove Ishrat Jahaan was LET mole involved in 2004 plot to assassinate Modi (Dec 14, 2015, Counterview)

David Headley, the Pakistani American who scouted targets for the 26/11 terror attack by the Lashar-e-Toiba (LET), has been newsfor turning into an approver. He has also been news regarding the Ishrat Jahaan case, with a section of the media highlighting, on the basis of information provided by powerful sections in New Delhi, how Headley had said that Ishrat was an LET mole.…

This glaring discrepancy in the paragraphs, where Headley talks about Ishrat Jahaan and Paragraphs 17 and 28 from the original report clearly show that Headley’s Ishrat Jahaan confession was a plant. Most likely, since these paragraphs were not in consonance with the facts in rest of the report and would have compromised rest of the report, they were dropped.

IB was facing a lot of heat on Ishrat Jahaan, and when IB wants things to happen, they find their way. One can safely presume that these two paragraphs were planted, and are part of a bigger exercise to save two top ruling political leaders from Gujarat, who are alleged to have ordered these murders and their henchmen.

http://www.counterview.net/2015/12/paragraphs-planted-in-nia-report-to.html

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Police charge right-wing activist with Pansare’s murder (Dec 15, 2015, Times of India)

The police on Monday charged Sameer Gaikwad, an activist of right- wing outfit Sanatan Sanstha, with plotting and carrying out the murder of veteran CPI functionary and rationalist Govind Pansare.

They filed a 392-page chargesheet against Gaikwad, 89 days after the arrest of the only accused in the murder case. The charges were brought against him and some unidentified men for possessing and using weapons without licence.

Investigating officers said all the evidence – including the identification parade report, Gaikwad’s conversation with his friends, details about Sanatan Sanstha’s literature, CCTV footage and the statements of 72 witnesses – were included in the chargesheet.… According to the chargesheet, during the identification parade, a 14-year-old boy had identified Gaikwad and said he was riding pillion on the motorcycle and had fired at the Pansare couple.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/50179226.cms

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Hindutva agenda is not an example of tolerance: Opposition to Government (Dec 11, 2015, Economic Times)

The Left and Congress today attacked the government on the issue of intolerance saying the Hindutva agenda is not an example of tolerance and the country will not move forward with majoritarianism.…

Congress and Left claimed the Bihar poll verdict was the result of the Narendra Modi Government’s “skewed policies” and a “reverse wave” has started against BJP, which rejected it saying the opposition is unable to digest its victory.…

“If intolerance and majoritarianism is brought in, then how will India move forward. You are not an example of tolerance. Your Hindutva agenda is not an example of tolerance,” she said. Citing the example of a question on intolerance asked to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a press conference in London, she said, “First time in decades the Prime Minister had to answer such a question at an international press conference.” …

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/50137792.cms

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Do you know that nearly 3,000 RSS members eat beef and the Sangh is OK with it (Dec 10, 2015, Catchnews.com)

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has around 3,000 members in Arunachal Pradesh, many of whom do consume beef. This fact was shared by RSS representatives during a media interaction in Arunachal Pradesh on 8 December.

The RSS is apparently making an effort to ward off the image of being against beef-eaters. Eating beef cannot come in the way of becoming a member of the RSS, its all-India prachar pramukh Manmohan Vaidya was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.

Vaidya made this statement while addressing reporters during his three-day visit to Arunachal Pradesh.… Vaidya said that RSS has nothing to do with the beef ban and the organisation is only opposed to anti-national activities. “The RSS has nothing to do with the food habits of people,” he said.

http://www.catchnews.com/national-news/rss-members-eat-beef-says-manmohan-vaidya-on-beef-controversy-1449731859.html

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Give details on call to lift visa ban on Modi: US court (Dec 13, 2015, Times of India)

A US federal judge has ordered the State Department to produce all documents by February 2016 related to Obama administration’s decision to lift a ban on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s entry to the US.

“The Department of State will make an initial production of discovery in mid-January 2016, followed by another production of discovery in mid-February 2016,” judge John G. Koeltl of Southern District of New York said in his Dec 9 order.

The next conference in the case will take place on Feb 29, he directed. Modi’s previously issued tourist visa was revoked in 2005 over his alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots when he was chief minister of the state.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/50156943.cms

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Hutments razed, one dead, hundreds homeless (Dec 13, 2015, Business Standard)

Hundreds were rendered homeless in the winter chill and a six-month-old baby died after the authorities demolished hutments built on railway land in the national capital, witnesses and police said. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal accused the railways of demolishing some 500 hutments on Saturday, “in such cold”, leaving hundreds of poor – men, women and children – shivering in the open.

The Delhi government said the demolition violated judicial orders, and were carried out without informing it. Kejriwal, who visited the site at 2 a.m. on Sunday, ordered the suspension of two sub divisional magistrates for failing to provide relief to the hutment dwellers.…

The chief minister pointed out that there were court orders to raze properties of some of the rich and politicians in Delhi but those orders were never implemented. The Aam Aadmi Party blamed the central government for the demolition. The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress hit back, saying Kejriwal should have acted ahead of the razing, not later.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/hutments-razed-one-dead-hundreds-homeless-115121300611_1.html

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Muslim, minority appointments in Maharashtra police force hovers around 6% (Dec 14, 2015, DNA India)

Representation of Muslims and other minorities in the Maharashtra police force continues to be just about 6 per cent. The information was made available after an RTI application was filed to see the implementation of various suggestions of Justice Sachar’s report in the state.

The RTI application was filed by Latur-based Razaullah Khan, who is a head master in an Urdu medium school. In his application, Khan had sought details of the appointment of Muslims in the state police force, and implementation of the recommendations of the committee report.

In particular, he had sought the report prepared every June and December that talks of progress of appointments of Muslims as per the Sachar report, documents that pertain to the progress on the work done on the report along with file noting and when was the report submitted and if not submitted, when will it be submitted to the central government.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-muslim-minority-appointments-in-maharashtra-police-force-hovers-around-6-2155322

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Bhatinda IG, DC summoned over chopping off of Dalits’ limbs (Dec 14, 2015, India Today)

National Commission for Scheduled Castes on Sunday summoned IGP Bhatinda zone, Deputy Commissioner Fazilka and SSP to appear before the vice chairman on Monday in connection with the incident in which limbs of two dalits were chopped off by the gang close to the ruling Akali Dal.

“National Commission for Scheduled Castes has issued notices to IGP Bhatinda zone, Deputy Commissioner Fazilka and SSP in connection with this case and they have been asked to appear before the commission on Monday afternoon in Abhohar. The commission has also directed the police authorities to arrest the people involved in the incident within three days failing which strict action will be taken against the official concerned,” Dr Rajkumar Verka said.

Dr Verka said that the incident has shocked the entire dalit community which has alleged that efforts are being made to hushup the case as the people involved in the case are influential. He has assured the affected families that the Commission will take action against the people involved in the case.…

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/bhatinda-ig-dc-summoned-over-chopping-off-of-dalits-limbs/1/546440.html

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Opinions and Editorials

India’s Sawdust Caesar – By A. G. Noorani (Dec 25, 2015, Frontline)

A year and a half after he became Prime Minister of India on May 26, 2014, the people of India have begun to discover that Narendra Damodardas Modi is a flawed character who has proved himself unfit to sit on the chair on which Jawaharlal Nehru once sat. Nehru united the country. Modi is a quintessentially divisive figure. Even before he became Prime Minister, he had boldly nailed his colours on to the mast for all to see. The pattern is alarming.…

Those who had pinned their hopes on Modi as “The Deliverer” find little sign of his delivering on the promises he had so lavishly made. The promised acche din (good days) have turned out to be a deceptive mirage; bure din (evil days) are now upon us with highly charged communal statements and accusations; a systematic purge of cultural and educational institutions; killings, lynchings and the like without any censure by the chief executive of the nation.

Few care to understand what his meaningful and continued silence signifies. Desperate pleas by admirers – to control the “fringe elements”, curb the purveyors of hate and censure, and condemn loudly and without qualification the killings and the spread of intolerance and hate – leave Modi unmoved. For these elements comprise the core of his constituency. The record, viewed as an entire whole, provides ample warning of what lies ahead of us today.… However, there is another and more relevant lesson from Gujarat which Modi refuses to learn. The demonstrators in London last month conveyed to Modi that the world has neither forgotten nor forgiven him for his role during the pogrom of 2002.… In combating Narendra Modi and his cohorts, Indians are fighting to save India’s soul.

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/indias-sawdust-caesar/article7961470.ece

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Dictum & Diaspora: Are you going to fiddle while India burns? – By Ujjal Dosanjh (Dec 15, 2015, Indian Express)

The limbs of India continue to be constantly mutilated, raped or chopped off. One day it is Mohammed Akhlaq, murdered for allegedly killing a cow and stashing beef in his fridge, another day it is Kalburgi, for offending the religious sensibilities of the brutes and fanatics. There have been others like them who have been sacrificed at the altar of hurt religious sensibilities. Then there are Vaibhav and Divya – two Dalit children burnt alive for whatever reasons some thought gave them the rights to maim and burn children. Recently, a seven-year-old girl was gangraped in Delhi. That is not an exception. In the last three years, five minor females were raped every two days in the capital.…

If it was one murder or rape or as many as there usually are based on crime rate and the population – one may say statistically there is nothing to worry about. But what is happening in India is beyond statistics. It is beyond proportionality. Indians who think and reflect upon the truth of what India is experiencing are shaken by it; they are either moved to do something about it or are numbed in response to the need for sheer survival in the dog eat dog world of Indian polity and economy.

India will survive, you say. It has survived through the ages, you argue. India is nothing if not resilient, you reason. And all that happens to be true. But the soul of India asks what are you going to do about the barbarism and the butchery happening in the country? Are you going to be part of the millions of battles being waged in the country for the India of the future? Or are you going to fiddle while India burns?

http://indianexpress.com/article/blogs/punjab-dalit-murder-bheem-tank-abohar-india/

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A vision betrayed – By Sitaram Yechury (Dec 25, 2015, Frontline)

… what we wanted was enactment of all the laws, on the basis of which we can carry forward the vision of social justice that Dr Ambedkar stood for.

Now, instead, we have a situation where the government has come forward saying that we reaffirm our faith in the Constitution. Where is the question of reaffirming? You are here, I am here, and all of us are here on an oath on this Constitution. What is this drama of reaffirming? If the Constitution was not there, then, you wouldn’t be here. The government of the day must know, the Leader of the House – he is not here now – should know that they are there only because we affirm our faith in this Constitution. Where is this question of now saying “We will reaffirm”? And what is this Constitution Day, Sir?…

So, what is this new item that we have, Sir? … You may call it item song or whatever. It is a new item now in the Indian Constitution.… I am quoting from that speech of Dr Ambedkar. “Will history repeat itself?” That is, will we lose our Independence once again? “Will Indians place the country above their creed or will they place creed above the country, I did not know.”…

http://www.frontline.in/politics/a-vision-betrayed/article7961950.ece

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Killing In The Name Of The Indian Nation – By Malem Ningthouja (Dec 19, 2015, Tehelka)

… The government’s defence of murder by ‘security forces’ is in a piece with its stand on the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which has been widely condemned across civil society for giving impunity to men in uniform carrying out heinous crimes as part of counterinsurgency operations. The attorney general’s submission in the Supreme Court was a rationalisation of this impunity as well as a plea for further militarisation of the conflict torn region.

Opinions are divided on the timing and political wisdom of the statement, though the regime in New Delhi seems quite happy with it. For the BJP-led government, it is just a prelude to more chest-thumping “surgical” operations against “anti-nationals”. It also serves a more partisan political purpose: such “bold” words from a representative of the regime, that too in a court of law, is likely to help galvanise the support of “nationalist” zealots for a government no longer as confident of its feet on the ground as it was when it took power in May 2014. Killing in the “national interest” gives strength to those who reach out to the people in the name of an “imagined nation”.…

The attorney general’s statement was the last attempt to defend the men who killed civilians in cold blood during peacetime. So far, men in uniform have got away with murder through a tangled process that starts with denial of involvement in the crime. When that fails to pass muster with public opinion, evidence is tampered with and impunity under AFSPA is invoked. If the crime still manages to make it to the courts, the complexity of the proceedings further brings down the possibility of justice.…

http://www.tehelka.com/2015/12/killing-in-the-name-of-the-indian-nation/

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Tardy progress – By T.K. Rajalakshmi (Dec 11, 2015, Frontline)

The Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) is one of the much touted flagship programmes of the National Democratic Alliance government and was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year on October 2. Its aim is to provide 100 per cent sanitation coverage and eradicate open defecation in rural India by 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The Ministry of Urban Development’s latest progress report (October 2015) on the status of implementation by State governments of the various components of the SBM shows that in both urban and rural India not only have the coverage and use of individual and community toilets been tardy but the work of waste collection, disposal and treatment has also not progressed sufficiently. This was despite the fact that in the financial year 2015-16, rural sanitation accounted for 58 per cent of the total allocation to the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. But allocations as a whole went down by 48 per cent – from Rs.12,096 crore in 2014-15 to Rs.6,231 crore for 2015-16.…

It is evident the current approach to sanitation, focussing as it does on mindset changes and the collaborative effort of civil society, is far from adequate. Not only is the concept narrow, it is also divorced from the realities of household dwellings where the average floor area does not go beyond 40 square metres.

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/tardy-progress/article7903658.ece

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A Calcutta Chromosome – By Meetu Jain (Dec 21, 2015, Outlook)

In August 2015, the chief of the Enforcement Directorate issued a terse circular, one that turned conventional practice on its head. The ED, said acting director Karnail Singh, need not wait for other agencies such as the CBI to probe a case. If the courts have taken cognisance, ED can go ahead and start a probe on its own. In all its existence, ED, which comes under the purview of the Union finance ministry, has taken its cue from that “caged bird”, the Central Bureau of Investigation, which comes under the department of personnel (DoPT), which reports to the PMO.

But it is events leading up to the circular that are more revealing. Just days earlier, Karnail Singh, who was then ED special director, was all set to be transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) following a letter to the finance ministry written by an officer of the income-tax department. The I-T officer, rumoured to be in the race for the ED top job himself, alleged that Karnail Singh and two other officers were going slow in investigating several cases. These cases included two real estate firms, one owned by a Congress politician close to the party top brass, and the other by a BJP leader out of favour with the ruling triumvirate but close to the late Pramod Mahajan.

Around the same time came a decisive salvo fired at the PMO by Subramanian Swamy. The BJP leader accused then ED chief, Rajan Katoch, of closing the National Herald case even though there was a mountain of evidence. The fact that the CBI had not responded to repeated reminders by the ED as also the fact that it had not filed even a preliminary enquiry (PE) report was not good enough. Whether it was the Swamy missive or an administrative decision, Katoch was shifted out and Karnail Singh took over as acting ED chief.…

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/-a-calcutta-chromosome-/296121

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 16th, 2015

by newsdigest on March 17, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Puttur: CM inaugurates Mini Vidhana Soudha, stresses on communal harmony (Mar 15, 2015, Daijiworld)

Chief minister Siddaramaiah on Saturday March 14 inaugurated the newly-constructed Mini Vidhana Soudha in Puttur and Morarji Desai Model Residential School for SC/STs at Balnad. He also laid the foundation stone for an additional building for inspection bungalow.

Later, addressing a programme at Kille ground, Siddaramaiah said, “Dakshina Kannada district is home for educated, cultured and intellectual people. Do not give scope for communal unrest among you. If anybody starts such unrest, everybody should raise their voices against it.

“There should be communal harmony in society and people of all religions should co-exist as children of one god. The government does not tolerate anybody who disrupts harmony and sparks unrest. Such anti-social elements will be dealt with strictly. The police department has been asked to take strict action against those who take law into their hands in the name of moral policing,” he said. …

http://www.daijiworld.com/news/news_disp.asp?n_id=303990

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Gulberg society massacre: In final arguments, SIT seeks conviction of all 61 accused (Mar 11, 2015, Indian Express)

The Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team while seeking conviction of all the 61 accused, concluded its final arguments in 2002 Gulberg Society massacre case. Sixty-nine persons, including former Congress MP Ahsan Jafri, whose widow Zakia has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others for the riots, were killed by a mob on February 28 in the aftermath of Sabarmati Express train burning incident in Godhra.

With this the court is now likely to hear a petition by the riot survivors and victims who have sought arraignment of four police officers in this case before hearing the argument of defence lawyers. The officers include former Gujarat DGP PC Pande, then commissioner of police, Ahmedabad, PB Gondia, then Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone-IV, S S Chudasama, then A CP (Detection of Crime Branch) and former Joint Commissioner of Police M K Tandon (retired). The petitioners have accused these police officers of dereliction of duty. The SIT in its report has given clean chit to these officers citing lack of evidence.

On the other hand, concluding the arguments the SIT lawyer RC Kodekar told the court that a day after train burning incident, a mob of around 20,000 to 22,000 had gathered at the Gulberg Society, a posh Muslim locality in Meghaninagar, and gutted the society in a killing spree in which 69 people died.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/gulberg-society-massacre-in-final-arguments-sit-seeks-conviction-of-all-61-accused/

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‘Ishrat’s family living in fear’ (Mar 15, 2015, Deccan Herald)

The family of Ishrat Jahan is carefully avoiding the media in the wake of accused like former encounter specialist D G Vanzara and P P Pandey getting bail in the case of reported fake encounter of the 19-year-old Mumbra girl in 2004. But Jitendra Awhad, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA, who had been championing the cause of the family, says the legal battle would continue.

Ishrat was a resident of Mumbra suburbs in Thane district and studied in a college in Mumbai. Ishrat’s mother, Shamima Kauser, could not be reached despite repeated attempts. However, one of the aides of the family, Rauf Lala, said the family does not want to say anything. “It is wait and watch for them. They have not reacted to the recent developments. Their advocate too has advised them not to speak on the developments of the courts,” Lala said, adding that “at this stage”, they would not want to speak anything.

Ishrat, Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in an encounter by the Gujarat Police on the outskirts of the city on June 15, 2004. According to the CBI, it was a fake encounter while the Gujarat Police claimed they were part of Lashkar-e-Taiba involved in a plot to assassinate Narendra Modi, who was Gujarat Chief Minister then. Having lost her father Shamim two years before her own death, Ishrat gave tuition and did embroidery work to support her family. Since her killing, the family has been constantly under the hawk-eyed vigil of intelligence sleuths.…

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/465595/ishrats-family-living-fear.html

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Bombs hurled at Tamil TV channel Puthiya Thalaimurai’s office by bike-borne assailants (Mar 12, 2015, Financial Express)

Unidentified persons today hurled crude bombs at the office of a popular Tamil TV channel Puthiya Thalaimurai here, police said. No one was injured in the attack. The incident happened in the early hours today when four motorcycle-borne youths hurled two crude bombs packed in tiffin boxes, police said.

No one has been detained in this connection and police were examining various clues. Journalists in the Puthiya Thalaimurai channel said nobody was injured in the incident and that no major damage to property was reported. They said the incident had been caught on CCTV camera.

The incident comes close on the heels of the channel removing a controversial show about ‘Thaali’ (Mangalsutra) on Sunday when a fringe outfit, Hindu Munnani, opposed it and staged a protest during which some equipment was damaged and a video journalist allegedly attacked.

http://www.financialexpress.com/article/miscellaneous/bombs-hurled-at-tamil-tv-channel-puthiya-thalaimurais-office-by-bike-borne-assailants/52763/

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‘Love jihad’ gets a Bengal reply: Bahu lao, Beti bachao, ‘purify’ Muslim brides (Mar 13, 2015, Indian Express)

The din over the ‘ghar wapsi’ reconversion campaign in the north and west may have dropped many decibels after Prime Minister Narendra Modi underlined “the undeniable right” of an individual’s choice of religion. But in the east, the RSS and its affiliates are experimenting with another conversion programme – where, instead of hounding a Hindu-Muslim couple, they are actively facilitating their union. The only condition: the bride, in this case, is a Muslim who becomes a Hindu after a “suddhikaran” (purification) programme.

In West Bengal, especially in districts where the BJP has made significant electoral gains – at the expense of a crumbling Left and Congress – the Hindutva brotherhood, from Vishwa Hindu Parishad to Hindu Samhati, Hindu Jagran Manch to Bharat Sevashram Sangha, have stepped up a campaign they call “Bahu lao, Beti bachao” (bring a daughter-in-law, save a daughter), saying this is their answer to “love jihad.” In sharp contrast to their hounding of Hindu woman-Muslim man couples, these groups actively “shelter, arrange” the marriage of Hindu man-Muslim woman couples.

Over two months, The Indian Express travelled through South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas, Murshidabad, Howrah and Birbhum – the rise of the BJP in these areas has coincided with the spread of this campaign – and met several couples who openly credit the Hindu groups for their marriage. VHP leader Badal Das, who is in charge of his organisation’s role in the campaign, estimates that at least 500 Muslim and Christian women have “become Hindus through marriage” in the last one year. All women have adopted Hindu names and their families have been “advised” to join the BJP for their “own safety”.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/love-jihad-gets-a-bengal-reply-bahu-lao-beti-bachao-purify-muslim-brides/

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Lawyer killed, another injured in court premises in Allahabad (Mar 11, 2015, Times of India)

A police sub-inspector allegedly shot dead a lawyer and injured another inside the district court campus in Allahabad on Wednesday. Hundreds of angry lawyers later engaged in pitched battles with the police in and around the court premises. A constable received a bullet injury and about a dozen vehicles were damaged in the violence.

Sub-inspector Shailendra Singh, in-charge of Naribari police outpost, had gone to the district court in connection with a case. Witnesses said he had a heated argument with a group of lawyers near the stairs of the court building. When the lawyers allegedly threatened to thrash him, the sub-inspector took out his service weapon and opened fire.

“Nabi Ahmad (30) succumbed to his injuries on way to hospital,” a policeman said. The other lawyer, who also sustained bullet injuries, was admitted to hospital. His condition was said to be stable.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/46529184.cms

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Why is a retired, Christian tough cop feeling threatened in India today? (Mar 16, 2015, Washington Post)

Why is a retired and much-decorated Christian police officer who valiantly fought terrorist groups in the 1980s feeling threatened in India today?

In a column in the Indian Express newspaper on Monday, police officer Julio Ribeiro said recent attacks on Christian institutions in India make him feel as if he is on the “hit list” of conservative Hindu groups.

“Today, in my 86th year, I feel threatened, not wanted, reduced to a stranger in my own country,” Ribeiro wrote. “I am not an Indian anymore, at least in the eyes of the proponents of the Hindu Rashtra,” or the Hindu nation.…

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2015/03/16/why-is-a-retired-christian-tough-cop-feeling-threatened-in-india-today/

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71-year-old nun gang-raped in West Bengal, minister blames ghar wapsi (Mar 15, 2015, Times of India)

Bringing more shame for Bengal, a 71-year-old nun of a convent school was gang-raped in Ranaghat town, some 80km from Kolkata, early on Saturday. She was injured so badly that she had to undergo a surgery.

Police blamed a gang of robbers and ruled out any motive behind the rape, which triggered protests and angry reactions from Christian leaders in the state that worships Mother Teresa as a saint. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee condemned it and ordered a CID probe and her minister Firhad Hakim called it an “attack on humanity”.

“I am shocked. Such an attack on an elderly sister is a rare incident, first time in Bengal and possibly the first time in India. It is deeply distressing,” said archbishop of Kolkata Thomas D’Souza, who rushed to Ranaghat and visited the school.” The chief minister was genuinely concerned. She promised speedy action and assured security.”…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/46570004.cms

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Maharashtra beef ban flouts right to life: PIL (Mar 11, 2015, Times of India)

The ban on beef infringes on a citizen’s fundamental rights, says a PIL filed on Tuesday in the Bombay high court, asserting that the right to eat the meat of one’s choice is integral to it.

In his public interest litigation, activist Ketan Tirodkar called the recent changes in the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 1995, which provides for punishment for possessing or selling beef, “atrocious”. Consumption and sale of beef should not be criminalized. “Right to eat should not be affected,” he added.

President Pranab Mukherjee last month gave his assent to the amendments in the Act. The slaughter of cows was already banned in the state; now bulls and bullocks have been added to the list. Anyone selling beef or found in possession of it can be jailed for up to five years and fined Rs 10,000.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/46520599.cms

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Justice Markandey Katju’s latest claim: Mahatma Gandhi was a British agent (Mar 10, 2015, Indian Express)

He had first made national headlines when he famously remarked that 90% Indians are idiots. He followed that up with his ‘gay marriages are unnatural’ remark and then his wish to see Bollywood actress Katrina Kaif as the next president of India. Justice Markandey Katju, known for his contentious take on issues, however has always anticipated uproar and public acrimony over his comments.

But his latest comments might generate a little too much heat as he has now claimed in a personal blog post that Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation, was a British agent.

“I submit that Gandhi was objectively a British agent who did great harm to India,” Justice Katju, former chairman of Press Council of India, writes after admitting that he is likely to be ‘vilified and denounced by many’ after the post.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/justice-markandey-katjus-latest-claim-mahatma-gandhi-was-a-british-agent/

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Dimapur jail lynching incident helped two Nagaland’s NSCN-IM militants escape (Mar 14, 2015, IBN)

A week after Dimapur lynching incident, a detailed report submitted by the Senior Superintendent of the Dimapur Jail reveals a different story. Under the grab of ‘mob justice’ on March 5, two dreaded militants of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) were also freed from the Dimapur jail.

According to the report, the jail’s first boundary was broken by a group of Naga women protestors. The report further claims that the police commander told the constables to lower their guns when the protesters tore open the first fencing.

The jail chief’s report also records that the request for additional forces was sent at 11:30 AM but the forces took four hours and reached the jail at 4:30 PM. It took the lynching mob about five hours to find the alleged rapist who was later killed.…

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/dimapur-jail-lynching-incident-helped-two-nagalands-nscnim-militants-escape/533950-3-251.html

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Opinions and Editorials

Rewriting the nation state – By Suchitra Vijayan (Mar 17, 2015, The Hindu)

Days after Bharatiya Janata Party Member of Parliament Sakshi Maharaj called Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse, a “patriot,” the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha, an ideological affiliate of the Sangh Parivar petitioned the government to provide space for installing busts of Godse at public places across India.…

The raising of Godse’s statue is not an isolated act by fringe elements.… To retell the story of the Mahatma’s murderer, as a patriot, goes to the heart of politics seeking to manipulate, manufacture and mobilise public support to consolidate the power of the majority.…

Violence manufactured through riots, destruction of religious sites such as churches, organising religious conversion camps, beef bans, rewriting textbooks, censoring works of history, literature and fiction that challenge the ‘Hindu’ version of history, appropriating political icons, and raising monuments are all carefully enacted acts of mobilisation aimed at constructing the Hindu nation.…

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/rewriting-the-nation-state/article7000179.ece

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Rising, decreasing, no rising: Curious case of communal incidents – By Nivedita Bhardwaj (Mar 14, 2015, TwoCircles.net)

In the run up to the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, Narendra Modi, the then Gujarat chief minister, had written to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in December 2013 opposing the now withdrawn Communal Violence Bill. Among other issues, Modi – who was by then already declared as the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2014 polls – had raised objections to the lack of clarity on definition of ‘communal violence’ and also for ‘hostile environment’. …

But of course, opposing the wordings of the proposed bill and working on the ground to change the situation are two different things. Circa 2015, when Modi is firmly in saddle as the Prime Minister, things do not seem to have changed much.…

The increasing incidents of hate speech by leaders of the Hindutva organisations, the rising number of small-yet-effective-to-scare communal incidents with no casualties and last but never the least, the ill-famous ghar vapsi programmes across the country are some of the incidents which, if no case is registered, will not be counted as ‘communal incidence’ in government records. Even when all such incidents are happening, the government is claiming that the number of incidents have come down.…

http://twocircles.net/2015mar14/1426310909.html

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Creeping danger of intolerance – Editorial (Mar 13, 2015, The Hindu)

First it was the writers, now it is the turn of television channels to be assaulted in Tamil Nadu. Freedom of speech and expression has seldom been under so much threat. The bomb attack on the office of Tamil TV channel Puthiya Thalaimurai in the early hours of Thursday takes the growing intolerance in our society to new heights.

The channel showed trailers last week of a programme it intended to telecast on the relevance of the thali or mangalsutra in contemporary India. It began to receive threatening calls, with callers turning abusive when women answered the phone. The channel decided to call off the show. Even after this, parties such as the Hindu Makkal Katchi and the Hindu Munnani held protests outside its office. A cameraperson recording the protest was assaulted. The State BJP too issued unedifying statements justifying the protests.

All this culminated in the bomb attack, which might not have injured anyone but has done great harm to the country’s liberal fabric. The fringe groups behind this have thrown a challenge to the secular and tolerant ethos, and sought to use violence to intimidate liberal sections of society from debating or questioning cultural mores. While the ideological challenge will have to be met politically, the full force of the law should be used to rein in elements out to intimidate media and society.…

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/creeping-danger-of-intolerance/article6987126.ece

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Holy Cow-Beef And Indian Political Games – By Ram Puniyani (Mar 12, 2015, Countercurrents)

Can the dietary practices, the animal which is worshipped as a mother by section of population, be brought in on the political arena? While all this sounds surreal, its true as far as the role of cow is there in Indian political firmament. Recently Maharashtra Government got the Presidents assent to the bill Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill 1995 which will now ban the slaughter of bulls and bullocks as well. The defaulters will face a prison term of five years and a fine of Rs. 10000.…

A decade ago I was shocked to read that one of the outstanding scholars of ancient Indian History Professor Dwijendra Nath Jha received regular threats on phone telling him not to publish his book, ‘Holy Cow Beef in Indian Dietary tradition’. This scholarly work traces the place of beef in Indian diet from centuries.

The idea is to target the minorities for beef eating, and cow slaughter. One recalls that one of the slogans which rent the air in the run up the 2014 General elections was “Modi ko matdan, gai ko jeevadan [Vote for Modi, give life to the cow], BJP ka sandesh, bachegi gai, bachega desh [BJP’s message, the cow will be saved, the country will be saved]”. This slogan was propped up ‘Cow Development Cell’ of BJP.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/puniyani120315.htm

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Corporate spies in the corridors of power – By Sagnik Dutta and V. Venkatesan (Mar 20, 2015, Frontline)

It had all the makings of a crime thriller – spies with duplicate keys, traps laid by the police, and the car chase. On the night of February 18, officers of the Delhi Police, who had prior information about an espionage network, kept a watch on three persons coming in an Indigo car to Shastri Bhavan, the iconic “corridor of power” which houses some of the key economic Ministries in New Delhi. Two persons got down and the third remained inside the car. After about two hours, when the duo returned to the car, all three of them were caught for stealing photocopies of classified documents of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoPNG).

Corporate conglomerates influencing key economic policy decisions and having a stranglehold on the corridors of power are widely acknowledged facts about the aftermath of economic liberalisation. But, the dirty secrets of the corporate hold over key institutions of the state came literally tumbling out following the busting of an elaborate espionage network by the Delhi Police. It only got murkier later in the week with five corporate executives being arrested.

As news spread of a Reliance executive among those arrested, there were murmurs about the government finally taking on the all-powerful corporate entity which has often been in the news for allegedly cornering undue favours. The arrests of the accused have only brought to the fore the intricate ways in which corporate interests get access to the corridors of power.…

http://www.frontline.in/cover-story/corporate-spies-in-the-corridors-of-power/article6951096.ece

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Censoring a Film on Rape – Editorial (Mar 11, 2015, New York Times)

“India’s Daughter,” a documentary by the British filmmaker Leslee Udwin about a gang rape and murder in New Delhi in 2012, has unleashed a storm of controversy in India. It has also prompted protests against the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which has taken action to ban the film.

At issue are chilling remarks made by one of the convicted attackers, Mukesh Singh, who blames the victim, who had gone to see the movie “Life of Pi” with a friend, saying in the documentary that “a decent girl won’t roam around at 9 o’clock at night.” Incredibly, two defense lawyers for the attackers express similar views in the film, one saying he wouldn’t hesitate to burn his daughter alive if he found out she had engaged in premarital sex.…

Ms. Udwin’s film has increased worldwide awareness of attitudes that beget sexual violence against women. India’s government protects those attitudes by preventing its citizens from seeing this reality.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/12/opinion/censoring-a-film-on-rape.html?_r=0

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 23rd, 2013

December 24, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines 1984 riots not comparable with post-Godhra violence: Amartya Sen Gujarat files delay condonation plea in Naroda Patiya case No evidence that Ishrat Jahan a LeT operative, CBI tells PMO NIA fails in arresting Hindus among its Most Wanted List Forced to sign blank papers, suspected terrorist […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 12th, 2013

August 13, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony When Muslims escorted a Hindu baraat News Headlines Lokayukta on Modi govt: Can’t work with ‘my way or highway’ mindset Human Rights activist Shabnam Hashmi slams Narendra Modi’s ‘Gujarat model’ as myth Discrimination in Narendra Modi’s Ahmedabad CBI seeks MHA nod to arrest ex-IB boss AAP […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 8th, 2013

July 9, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Narendra Modi used officers’ mobiles during riots? ‘A narrow thinking man cannot serve India’: Maya takes a jibe at Narendra Modi Vanzara said he had Modi’s nod to kill Ishrat: Gujarat cop Kumar oversaw detention of man murdered with Ishrat In the wake of Ishrat encounter […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 18th, 2012

June 18, 2012

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines India protest over ‘unfair targeting of Muslims’ Qateel Siddiqui murder: Yerawada jail visitor records searched Gulberg riot: Court ticks off SIT, asks for probe papers State wants Centre to ban right-wing Hindu outfits Ishrat case: CBI to quiz Intelligence Bureau officials on terror alert Police station […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 2nd, 2012

April 2, 2012

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Indian American Group strongly condemns Bihar government’s stand on Forbesganj firing, reiterates demand for justice for victims Communal Harmony Punjab Intellectuals Call For Communal Harmony News Headlines US City Council passes resolution condemning 2002 Gujarat riots Both Nanavati sons are govt lawyers! Now Modi govt gets it […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 9th, 2012

January 9, 2012

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Carrom strikes communal amity in Shahpur pockets News Headlines Ensure ‘noticeably fair’ probe into Zakia’s complaint: Bhatt to Raghavan ‘Modi govt orchestrated Akshardham attack, riots’ CBI questions Amit Shah in Tulsiram Prajapati case SIT nails Gujarat government’s lie on Ishrat ‘encounter’ Malegaon blast: NIA opposes Sadhvi […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 12th, 2011

December 12, 2011

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Need directions for affidavit on Modi’s role: Bhatt Investigator of Sohrabuddin, Prajapati killing cases now gets Ishrat encounter Jaipur serial blasts: 14 alleged SIMI activists acquitted Punish those who demolished Babri Masjid: Rajasthan Muslim Forum Pragya fails to appear in court yet again High Court notice […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 28th, 2011

November 28, 2011

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Quran with Bhagavad Gita in a communal harmony class News Headlines Nanavati panel reluctant to expose Modi, says Mallika Sarabhai Examine Narendra Modi’s role in fake encounter: Ishrat’s kin 21 cops involved in Ishrat encounter Jamia teachers welcome SIT report on Ishrat; demand fair probe into […]

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