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Malegaon Blast

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 13th, 2016

by newsdigest on June 23, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Human rights, religious freedom deteriorating in India: Human Rights Watch (Jun 9, 2016, Indian Express)

Observing that the two years of Modi government have resulted in deterioration in human rights and religious freedom in India, rights activists have called for making the issue as part of the US’ regular dialogue with India.

“Progress on human rights in India will continue to falter unless the Modi administration takes better steps to ensure justice and accountability for all citizens, protect vulnerable communities, and protect the free exchange of ideas and dissent,” said John Sifton, Asia Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch.

Lack of effective implementation of laws and policies remain a persistent challenge, Sifton said, during a hearing on “Challenges & Opportunities: The Advancement of Human Rights in India” organised by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on Tuesday. Government officials are not held accountable and impunity persists for police and other security personnel who are shielded by laws from being prosecuted for serious human rights abuses, he claimed.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/human-rights-freedom-of-religion-deteriorating-in-india-2843106/

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All eyes on Sanatan Sanstha after ENT specialist’s arrest (Jun 12, 2016, Times of India)

The arrest of Dr Virendrasinh Tawade, an ENT specialist, by CBI on Friday in the murder of rationalist and anti-superstition campaigner Narendra Dabholkar in 2013, has thrown the spotlight once again on Sanatan Sanstha, a Hindu right-wing organization headquartered in Ramnathi, Ponda in Goa, about 30km from Panaji.

Tawade joined the sanstha at Kolhapur, Maharashtra and visited Sanstha headquarters in Goa only before 2004, a member of the sanstha claimed adding, he did not visit later.

The sanstha has enjoyed political patronage and support in Goa. Responding to demands for a ban on the organisation in September 2015, Goa chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar had ruled out banning the organisation. Also, wives of two ministers in the coalition BJP government in the state – PWD minister Ramkrishna (Sudin) Dhavalikar and craftsmen training minister Pandurang (Deepak) Dhavalikar, both of the Maharastrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) are sadhaks of the sanstha, and are said to be actively supporting its activities.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/52708332.cms

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Head of Samjhauta Express blasts probe says the Centre is ‘erasing evidence’ in a bid to clear prime suspect Purohit (Jun 7, 2016, Daily Mail)

Vikas Narain Rai, head of the SIT that probed the Samjhauta Express blasts, has accused the government of trying to give Colonel Purohit and the other accused in the case a clean chit.…

The former SIT chief claimed that a concerted attempt was being made to give the accused a clean chit by destroying evidence, cooking up alibis and coercing witnesses.

“Evidence is being erased, witnesses are being forced to turn hostile, documents are being fabricated to help people due to their Right wing linkages,” Rai alleged.…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/article-3630225/Head-Samjhauta-Express-blasts-probe-says-Centre-erasing-evidence-bid-clear-prime-suspect-Purohit.html

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Kairana exodus: BJP list of ‘Hindus’ forced out includes those who died, migrated for better job (Jun 16, 2016, Indian Express)

A list of 346 ‘Hindus’ that BJP MP Hukum Singh claimed had left Kairana in western UP over “threats and extortion by criminal elements belonging to a particular community (read Muslims)” has quite a few discrepancies, an investigation by The Indian Express has found.

While it does have names of some who have left alleging harassment by “gangs”, the list includes names of people who have died, of those who left Kairana more than 10 years ago and still others who say that they migrated for a better school for their children or a better job.

The Indian Express tracked down 22 people who figure in Singh’s list and found five had died, four had moved out of Kairana looking for better opportunities, 10 left more than 10 years ago, three had moved fearing “local criminals”.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/kairana-mass-exodus-shamli-hindu-exodus-akhilesh-yadav-up-elections-bjp-hukum-singh-2851411/

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FIR against Sadhvi Prachi ‘for inciting communal passions’ (Jun 14, 2016, DNA India)

An FIR has been registered against controversial VHP leader Sadhvi Prachi for inciting communal passions, police said on Tuesday.

The FIR was registered against Prachi based on a complaint lodged by Sandeep Kumar of Bahujan Mukti Morcha who alleged that her statement in which she had pitched for a “Muslim free country” in Uttrakhand recently, hurt communal feelings, they said.…

Known for courting controversies, the Sadhvi had claimed the mission of a Congress-free country has already been “accomplished” and it is now time to make India free of Muslims.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-fir-against-sadhvi-prachi-for-inciting-communal-passions-2223754

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Right-wing arms training aims at Ram Temple in Ayodhya (Jun 7, 2016, Hindustan Times)

Volunteers of right-wing Hindu groups are getting arms training primarily to prevent and counter terrorist attacks, but the exercise has an additional motive. This is apparently preparation for construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya in election-bound Uttar Pradesh.

The Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and its women’s wing, Durga Vahini, are conducting self-defence training camps in which members brandish lathis, swords and firearms as part of the routine.

The participants at the camps on the outskirts of Bhopal have been told to be “ready for any situation” that might impede the construction of the temple in Ayodhya.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/bhopal/mp-right-wing-arms-training-aims-at-ram-temple-in-ayodhya/story-nSKaNb9dzRNtVx0cqHMbNL.html

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SC refuses urgent hearing on plea for restrain on statements by AIMPLB (Jun 7, 2016, Indian Express)

Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to give an urgent hearing to a plea seeking direction to restrain the All India Muslim Personal Law Board from giving alleged “misleading messages” to the public till the hearing of a plea on Muslim women’s rights on issues concerning marriage and divorce.

A vacation bench of Justices P C Ghose and Amitava Roy while declining to give an urgent hearing asked petitioner advocate Farha Faiz, who is also party to the suo motu petition being heard by the apex court, to first respond to the writ petition and then mention the fresh plea for hearing.

Faiz said that direction should be passed to restrain media trial, which is being done on the contentious issue of Muslim women’s rights and members of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) from issuing misleading statements. “How can we stop media trial? Is their any mechanism in any part of the world to stop media trial,” the bench observed.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/all-india-muslim-personal-law-board-triple-talaq-media-trial-urgent-hearing-plea-2839875/

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Lack of documents forcing Muzaffarnagar riot victims to migrate as manual labourers (Jun 9, 2016, Times of India)

Displaced from their homes after the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013, over a thousand men who had first settled in neighbouring Shamli district have slowly migrated to other states such as Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan for employment. Some have even gone as far as Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Afkar India Foundation, an organisation working for the rehabilitation of riot victims, said that most displaced families lost all their documents after the riots, which made them ineligible for government schemes. As a result, they have had to migrate to other states and work as labourers.

“After the riots, over 50,000 people were displaced. Around 6,000 families were uprooted from their homes and were forced to shift base. Of these, close to 2,800 families came and settled in the neighbouring Shamli district. Some of these families were from Shamli district itself. It’s been almost three years since the riots and most of these families don’t even have ration cards yet. Many don’t even have water or power connections. They live in deplorable conditions and they resort to manual labour to make ends meet,” said Akram Akhtar, project manager at Afkar India Foundation, an NGO that works for the rehabilitation of riot victims.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/52676830.cms

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Sohrabuddin case returns to haunt Amit Shah (Jun 11, 2016, Mid Day)

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah is again being linked with the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, from which he was discharged in December 2014. A writ petition was filed in the Bombay High Court yesterday claiming that Shah influenced court proceedings to get a clean chit in the case.

The petitioner, Rajesh Kamble, owner of Yash Foundation, in his petition, also claimed that Shah threatened Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin to withdraw the appeal he had filed in HC against Shah’s discharge by a lower court in November 2015. Kamble’s petition will come for hearing next week.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had named Shah as the prime accused in their chargesheet in 2012 in the fake encounter case of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi. CBI had alleged that Shah, the then Gujarat home minister, had hired Sheikh to extort money for him and after they had a fallout, he got him killed in November 2005 and made it look like an encounter.…

http://www.mid-day.com/articles/sohrabuddin-case-returns-to-haunt-amit-shah/17324193

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Protect us from cow vigilante groups, trade hit: Punjab soap industry to police (Jun 12, 2016, Indian Express)

Soap factory owners have requested the Punjab Police to save them from the “ire of cow vigilante groups” who, they claim, are hampering their business in the name of cow protection.

The Indian Express had earlier reported that a number of tankers were impounded by the state police following complaints that they were carrying buffalo tallow mixed with cow tallow. The complaints were filed by cow vigilante groups like Gau Raksha Dal (GRD).

On June 6, representatives from soap units had met with Punjab DGP Suresh Arora and demanded that the police stopped harassing them.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/protect-us-from-cow-vigilante-groups-trade-hit-punjab-soap-industry-to-police/

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Opinions and Editorials

Finding judicial closure in Gulbarg – Editorial (Jun 3, 2016, The Hindu)

…After the SIT gave a clean chit to Narendra Modi and repudiated allegations by Ehsan Jafri’s widow that, as Chief Minister of Gujarat, he had instructed the police to let the mob run riot, the Gulbarg Society case became a rallying point for those pleading that the Modi administration be implicated in the riots. The SIT included a police inspector and a BJP councillor in the charge sheet, but both are among the 36 now acquitted.

The prosecution was unable to prove any conspiracy behind the communal violence with the court finding insufficient evidence of pre-planning, never easy to establish in a case such as this. The collapse of the conspiracy angle does not imply an acceptance of the narrative that the Gujarat riots were an angry, reflexive response to the Godhra train carnage. The lines between spontaneity and subtle orchestration are hard to delineate.

Likewise, there is a difficulty in assessing the varying degree of moral culpability between commission and wilful omission. It would be well to remember this as the Gujarat riot cases reach their judicial closure.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/finding-judicial-closure-in-gulbarg/article8682578.ece

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The ghost of Malegaon – By Harsh Mander (Jun 9, 2016, Indian Express)

…I spoke to Noor-ul-Huda, a power-loom worker who was the first to be arrested. He said these 10 years had destroyed his health, his dignity, his reputation, and his family. “Who can return these years to me?”… The initial breakthrough was achieved by tracing the owner of the motorcycle to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, a former ABVP activist. Even more sensational was the alleged role of a serving Army officer Lt Col Shrikant Purohit and retired Major Ramesh Upadhyay in the conspiracy. Others indicted were sadhus and mahants, as well as persons associated with the Sangh affiliates like the Bajrang Dal, belonging to a shadowy organisation Abhinav Bharat, named after the terror-based formation established by V. D. Savarkar in 1904.

These arrests and investigations further uncovered the role of the Abhinav Bharat and other Hindutva organisations in several other terror attacks, including the Malegaon blasts of 2006 and 2008, the explosions in the Samjhauta Express, the Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad and Ajmer Sharif Dargah. Bajrang Dal activists were found manufacturing bombs in makeshift factories in Nanded, Kanpur, Bhopal and Goa.

What lay exposed was a deeply worrying communal mindset in India’s police and security establishment. Clear leads pointing to Hindutva terror groups were ignored; instead, trans-border Islamist groups were blamed, and Indian Muslim men arrested under terror laws, tortured and forced to sign “confessions”.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/malegaon-blast-case-mumbai-hemnat-karkare-islamist-terror-hindutva-terror-2841902/

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The BJP’s Defensiveness on ‘Kairana Exodus’ Exposes its Hindutva Agenda – By Sharat Pradhan (Jun 15, 2016, The Wire)

When its veteran leader and member of parliament Hukum Singh spoke about an ‘exodus’ of Hindus from Kairana, his pocket of western Uttar Pradesh, it was evident that the Bharatiya Janata Party was up to its old games. The suspicion that his words were yet another attempt to arouse Hindu passions turned out to be true.… The problem was clearly criminal in nature, and demonstrative of what happens in large parts of the state, which is known to some as the “wild west”. …

The BJP’s urge to engage in the politics of polarisation must be understood in the context of the Muzaffarnagar riots, which worked to its benefit in 2014. Over the past two years, while the party has been in power in the Centre, the flame of polarisation has been kept burning through issues like ‘love jihad’, ‘ghar wapsi’ and ‘beef politics’, which were played up repeatedly in Dadri.

With the realisation that Ayodhya had outlived its vote potential, these ideas brewed in the saffron ranks. That the BJP has repeatedly taken these issues to the extreme reflects its failure to move beyond Hindutva – which Shah perhaps considers indispensable to the party’s poll agenda, even as Modi discreetly shuns it. The double-speak apparently aims to appeal to the multitudes who believe in Modi’s aspirational politics, while also keeping the party’s traditional vote bank in good humour.

http://thewire.in/2016/06/15/hukum-singhs-defensiveness-on-the-kairana-exodus-exposes-the-bjps-hindutva-agenda-42897/

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The ban on cow slaughter – By A.G. Noorani (Jun 24, 2016, Frontline)

The Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 1995, received the assent of President Pranab Mukherjee on March 4, 2015. For 20 years, none of his predecessors in office thought it fit to accord the assent.…

If the history of the Constituent Assembly’s adoption of the pertinent provisions of the Constitution on the subject is recalled, it will be seen that a monumental fraud has been perpetrated on the clear intent of the framers of the Constitution by the champions of a ban on cow slaughter.…

Article 48 was conceived in deceit and executed through fraud. Bhargava’s two assurances – “without using any sort of coercion” and he did not want that “non-Hindus should complain that they have been forced to accept a certain thing against their will” – were flouted by the man himself in his pleas to the Supreme Court. And as for the record of the Supreme Court of India on cow slaughter bans, the less said the better.

http://www.frontline.in/social-issues/the-ban-on-cow-slaughter/article8700526.ece

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RSS is not just antithetical to Muslims, but to a democratic-secular India as well – By Shamsul Islam (Jun 10, 2016, Indian Express)

JS Bandukwala, a renowned academician, thinker and fighter for communal harmony in India has rightly expressed his anguish on the deteriorating relationship between RSS and Indian Muslims which must be a cause of serious concern for all those who wish a happy and prosperous India (‘I forgive, I hope’, IE May 27, 2016).

This aspect becomes enormously critical in a situation where RSS cadres are ruling India. I am afraid his take that RSS has problems with Muslims or vice versa is over-simplification of a far more serious issue. The future of Muslims or common Indians, 80.5% of whom are Hindus, depends on the survival of democratic-secular polity. It is more a critical issue for 135 million….

A country where 5-6% population controls 65% of the national wealth, an egalitarian constitution only can provide hope to the poor whether Muslims or Hindus. Unfortunately, RSS is committed ideologically to undo it.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/blogs/rss-is-not-just-antithetical-to-muslims-but-to-a-democratic-secular-india-as-well-2845298/

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Two years and waiting – By Venkitesh Ramakrishnan (Jun 24, 2016, Frontline)

…Sangh Parivar activists admit that central to the political dip and the consequent sense of incertitude about its prospects is the gap between the promises and performance of the Modi government. It is 80 per cent rhetoric and 20 per cent implementation, they say. An analysis by independent experts and members of the Frontline team of different sectors of the economy and governance in the past two years underscores this perception.…

Panwar’s observation has many takers across the political spectrum, including Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and S.P. leader Akhilesh Yadav. “Modi and the BJP use glitzy propaganda laden with empty rhetoric to cover up governance failures and parallelly unleash communal aggression and intolerance to polarise people.…

These are indeed brave and confident words, and political observers like Panwar say that this could well be the reality. However, they wonder what price the people will have to pay before they deliver a lasting rebuttal to the authoritarian and fascist tendencies of the current regime.

http://www.frontline.in/cover-story/two-years-and-waiting/article8700511.ece

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Book Review

Communal Violence, Forced Migration and the State: Gujarat since 2002

Author: Sanjeevini Badigar Lokhande
Reviewed by: Rudolf C Heredia
Available at: Cambridge University Press India Private Limited, 4843/24, 2nd Floor, Ansari Road Daryaganj, New Delhi – 110002, 2015; pp xii + 215, price not indicated. http://www.amazon.in/
Review:
Rehabilitating Riot Victims (Jun 11, 2016, EPW)

…Gujarat has a history of such communal riots, chauvinistically used to consolidate vote banks. The post-Godhra violence in 2002 escalated out of control into a planned state-sponsored pogrom. This book examines the social, cultural and economic costs of the forced migration, and the disrupting displacement in its aftermath, which turns rights-bearing citizens into homeless refugees.

The author begins by setting the context of the study with a description of “Demography and Population Movements in Gujarat” (p 21). The state’s development model has for decades accentuated relative inequalities. Continuing communal conflicts have segregated communities, ghettoised Muslims in cities like Ahmedabad. Once it was in power, the Bharatiya Janata Party took advantage of this to make the state a laboratory for its Hindu nationalist agenda.…

This study is a competent description and an incisive analysis of the aftermath of the pogrom of 2002 in the state. It implies sharp questions to the parties and politicians responsible. Is this the “good governance” so repeatedly proclaimed by them? Acche din aane wale hain! (Good times are here!) Can we expect more of the same now that the same people are in power at the centre? Will the Gujarat model be re-enacted on a national level and bring bure din (hard times) on a national scale, especially for the minorities and the marginalised? Will Gandhi’s “least and last Indian” find respect and security there? The Bihar elections of October–November 2015 has given a decisive answer to this kind of saffron neo-liberalism. Its people have spoken, they must now be heard by all concerned about a collective future as a decent and fair society, and not as aggressive and partisan.…

http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/24/book-reviews/rehabilitating-riot-victims.html

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 2nd, 2016

by newsdigest on May 18, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Communal Harmony

‘All-faith meet in Varanasi to strengthen Hindu-Muslim unity’ (Apr 29, 2016, Times of India)

The Maulana Arshad Madani led faction of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, is all set to go to Prime minister Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi with the message of Hindu-Muslim unity and the need to recognise and reject fundamentalist and divisive forces trying to divide the two communities on religious lines. Interestingly, this congregation planned from Monday will bring together heads of various major temples of Varanasi in a first of its kind all-faith meet for unity.

As he heads for Varanasi to attend the all-religion unity conference being organized by Shri Ramlila Samiti, Nadesar in Varanasi, the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind chief says he is clear that his message to those who will assemble there will seek to warn them against falling in the trap of divisive forces.…

Madani said this conference will be a first of its kind as it is will bring together heads of some of the major temples of Varanasi and the Jamiat on one platform to unite against divisive forces and raise their voice against those trying to spread terror in the name of religion.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/52042793.cms

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US religious freedom report names BJP chief Amit Shah, endorses rejection of Modi’s visa during 2005-14 (May 3, 2016, Counterview)

The just-released 2016 annual report of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), expressing serious concern over “negative trajectory” on religious freedom in India, has warned that it may, in future, seek to downgrade India’s status from Tier II countries to “country of particular concern”.…

Especially targeting the ruling BJP, RSS and other Sangh Parivar organizations for using “religiously-divisive language to further inflame tensions”, it says, the problem has got aggravated following “longstanding problems of police bias and judicial inadequacies”, creating a “pervasive climate of impunity, where religious minority communities feel increasingly insecure, with no recourse when religiously-motivated crimes occur.” Recalling how it recommended and succeeded in barring Prime Minister Narendra Modi to enter the US for nine years, from 2005 to 2014, on the basis of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) “for systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom”, the report says this was done for Modi’s “complicity in riots” in 2002 Gujarat riots that resulted in the deaths of “an estimated 1,100 to 2,000 Muslims.”…

http://www.counterview.net/2016/05/us-religious-freedom-report-names-bjp.html

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RTI activist’s murder: NaMo Brigade founder in constant touch with killers, says police (Apr 27, 2016, Indian Express)

The Mangaluru police on Tuesday opposed the anticipatory bail plea of NaMo Brigade founder Naresh Shenoy claiming that his call details revealed he was in constant touch with the men already arrested for the murder of an RTI activist on March 21.

It said the presence of a Toyota Qualis linked to him near the crime scene and the statements of the three arrested accused clearly showed Shenoy’s involvement in the murder. Shenoy (39) is the prime suspect in the murder of RTI activist Vinayak Baliga. He has been missing for a month, and has sought anticipatory bail.

The 51-year-old RTI activist was hacked to death barely 75 metres from his house while he was out for his customary morning visit to the city’s Venkatramana temple. The alleged hired killers, Nishith Devadiga (23) and Vinith Poojary (26), were arrested by the Mangaluru police on March 28. The probe further revealed that the killers were allegedly hired through two individuals, Shiva P and Shrikant M. While Shrikanth was found to be an employee of Shenoy, the investigations also showed that one Vignesh, another employee of Shenoy, was allegedly present at the crime scene in a Toyota Qualis to facilitate a getaway.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/rti-activists-murder-namo-brigade-founder-in-constant-touch-with-killers-says-police-2771987/

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CIC Orders PMO, Universities To Furnish Narendra Modi’s Graduation Details (Apr 29, 2016, Huffington Post)

The Central Information Commission (CIC) on Friday asked the Prime Minister’s Office and the Delhi and Gujarat Universities to disclose Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s graduation details ‘as soon as possible’.

In its response to an RTI application filed by Arvind Kejriwal, the commission ordered the Central Public Information Officers (CPIO) of Delhi and Gujarat Universities to provide the Delhi chief minister with Modi’s graduation details. Gujarat University and Delhi University had in the past denied RTI requests seeking information about Modi’s educational qualifications.

“There are allegations that Narendra Modi does not have any degree. The people of the country want to know the truth. Despite that you have refused to make records regarding his degree public. Why did you do this? This is wrong,” Kejriwal said in the letter.…

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2016/04/29/cic-prime-narendra-modis-_n_9806514.html

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Retired IPS officer files petition against appointment of cop accused in Ishrat Jahan Fake Encounter as Gujarat DGP (Apr 29, 2016, Twocircles.net)

Julio Ribeiro, former Mumbai Police Commissioner has filed a petition in Gujarat High Court against IPS officer, PP Pandey’s appointment as in-charge Director General of Police (DGP), Gujarat. Pandey, who was out on bail in the alleged fake encounter case of Ishrat Jahan, has been appointed as the in-charge Director General of Police (DGP) of Gujarat after the incumbent P C Thakur was transferred to Delhi on April 16, 2016.…

“It is ridiculous. How can a person, who is facing trial for four murders, be appointed to the top post, as the person facing trial has to be under suspension, according to the All India Services (Conduct) Rules,” top cop, Ribeiro was quoted as saying by news website Sabrang.

Pandey was re-inducted into service after he secured bail from CBI court in Ishrat Jahan case in February last year. Four days after his release on bail, Gujarat government revoked his suspension and reinstated him in service.…

http://twocircles.net/2016apr29/1461945514.html

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Malegaon blasts case: Petitions allege bias by investigating agencies (Apr 30, 2016, Indian Express)

Following a special court discharging Muslim youth in the 2006 Malegaon blasts case, the issue of bias on the part of investigating agencies during investigation of terror cases was raised before the Bombay High Court on Friday. The court said the “matter will have to be heard”, and asked for the orders in the case to be submitted before them.

A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Prakash Naik has asked state and investigative agencies to produce orders in the case. The court was hearing several petitions which alleged that there was a pattern of investigative agencies picking up Muslim men as accused in terror cases, including the Pune German Bakery blasts, 7/11 blasts and the 2006 Malegaon blasts.

With regard to the 7/11 case and confirmation of death sentence in the German Bakery case, which have concluded recently, the court said, “all aspects cannot be gone into at this stage when proceedings of the trial is not concluded. Order of this court will affect proceedings arising out of trial court,” said the HC.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/malegaon-blasts-case-petitions-allege-bias-by-investigating-agencies-2777157/

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Sangh Parivar’s propaganda writ large over JNU ‘wild sex-drugs’ dossier (Apr 27, 2016, Dailyo.in)

From 1925 onwards, when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was formed, it preached a militant Hinduism. In the pre-independence period, however, from 1925-47, the only stalwart it could cite was VD “Veer Savarkar” who was not with the RSS but the Hindu Mahasabha. He did not accept the RSS dietary restrictions, and was a big supporter of beef-eating as he believed this was a cheap source of protein for the poor.…

The assault on JNU “started” from February 9, 2016, in which the Hindu Right spread atrocious rumours including those of being “anti-national” about secular students, teachers and karamcharis. Almost every one of us was shocked, not least of us those who had heard first-hand reports of the freedom struggle from our elders. Clearly, there was a struggle for secular India. The slogan, “Bharat Mata ki jai,” was sought to be made mandatory. The Maharashtra Assembly, in fact, suspended an AIMIM MLA Waris Pathan for only voicing the famous secular slogan “Jai Hind”.

But JNU was in for special treatment. Some 11 faculty members and students of the Right, including the ABVP and BJP, brought out a “dossier” consisting of published pamphlets, short articles, several of which were spurious, accusing students of wild sex, consumption of alcohol and drugs. The faculty was accused of being anti-national, supporting separatist movements in the Northeast and Kashmir. No evidence was adduced, since no theoretical or rigorously-worded document was included in the so-called dossier.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/jnu-kanhaiya-kumar-umar-khalid-anirban-bhattacharya-rusticated-sangh-parivar-emergency-doctored-videos/story/1/10295.html

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Attack orchestrated on self: Police withdraw security to Shiv Sena leader (May 1, 2016, Hindustan Times)

A day after police claimed that Shiv Sena (Uttar Bharat) district in-charge Deepak Kamboj (35) had orchestrated the February 16 attack on self with two friends to gain publicity and maximum security cover, the city police on Saturday withdrew the six gunmen attached with Kamboj.

Four cops of constable rank, along with an escort vehicle from city police, were guarding the leader, who has also been booked under the conspiracy charges. The police had arrested his two friends on Friday night. Gaurav Sondhi, owner of a printing press at Dhan Mohalla; and Supinder Singh, a property dealer at Maqdoompura; recorded their statements before the court of the chief judicial magistrate. They have been sent to police custody till May 3.

The police claimed that they had to recover the clothes worn by the accused at the time of the incident as captured by the CCTV cameras. The police said the clothes would be sent to the forensic laboratory at SAS Nagar for examination.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/punjab/attack-orchestrated-on-self-police-withdraw-security-to-shiv-sena-leader/story-UxdGp9m80hgfz9Z2ethFJM.html

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Two years of Narendra Modi govt: Survey says nearly half feel ‘no change’ (May 1, 2016, Financial Express)

With the Modi government close to completing its two years in office, a new survey today said nearly half of the respondents (49 per cent) feel “no change” in their living standards while another 15 per cent feel the situation has actually worsened.

The survey, conducted by the Centre for Media Studies (CMS), further claimed that “a significant percentage (43 per cent) feels that poor people are not benefitting from programmes and schemes under the Modi government.”…

The survey, of around 4,000 respondents across rural and urban areas of 15 states, still observed that less than one third feel the Prime Minister has fulfilled promises while around 48 per cent felt the promises have been met partially.…

http://www.financialexpress.com/article/economy/two-years-of-narendra-modi-govt-survey-says-nearly-half-feel-no-change/246218/

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Caught on Camera: BJP leader Babulal Gaur touches woman inappropriately (Apr 21, 2016, Deccan Chronicle)

Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Babulal Gaur, who had earlier stirred a hornet’s nest after describing rape as a social crime, courted controversy yet again on Thursday as he was caught on camera inappropriately touching a woman as she was climbing on to a bus during an event in Bhopal.…

This is not the first time Gaur has courted controversy, as in 2013, the senior minister was seen enjoying a dance performance by skimpily clad women on a ferry in Goa. Besides such incidents, Gaur has also made headlines through several sexist and controversial comments.…

Recently, while commenting on the Shani Shingnapur row, Gaur landed in a soup for saying that women can worship from home instead of entering the temple.

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/210416/caught-on-camera-bjp-leader-babulal-gaur-touches-woman-inappropriately.html

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30 pc Waqf property encroached by DDA, others: Board (Apr 29, 2016, Indian Express)

Delhi Waqf Board chief Amanatullah Khan Thursday claimed the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) was the biggest “encroacher” of its properties in the national capital.

The Board has also released a list of its properties on its new website along with a list of tenants and will soon put out gazette notifications that provide the Waqf ownership of such properties.

“We have nearly 2,000 properties in Delhi. Of that, 70 per cent are in our possession and as much as 30 percent have been encroached by government agencies, primarily the DDA,” Khan told The Indian Express.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/30-pc-waqf-property-encroached-by-dda-others-board-2775504/

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Opinions and Editorials

Fascism In Many Hues: Attack On Judiciary – By Rakesh Sharma (May 2, 2016, Countercurrents)

…Within the last week or two, there have been reports about sacking of the Chief Judicial Magistrate Prabhakar Gwal at Sukma in Chhatisgarh – apparently, the BJP government wasn’t happy that instead of rubber stamping, he was applying his mind and the law ( among other cases, refusing to brand scores of tribals as ‘extremists’).…

Last year, there were a set of rather disturbing reports about threats and harassment of Retd Judge Jyotsna Yagnik, who delivered the landmark judgement in the Gujarat 2002 Naroda Patiya massacre case, wherein she convicted Modi’s ministerial colleague Maya Kodnani and the butcher of Patiya, Babu Bajrangi, who’d openly boasted about ‘help’ from his political masters in evading arrest and then getting bail. Despite the stinging judgment and harsh terms therein (in lieu of the death penalty that the Judge didn’t wish to impose), Kodnani has been out on a long parole and Bajrangi has been out of jail 6-8 times in the last 3-4 years.

In 2014, just a couple of months after BJP came into power, Special CBI judge presiding over the Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter (a multiple murder case, in which a totally innocent woman Kausarbi was apparently raped, killed and burnt) found himself suddenly transferred – he’d been rather tough on the lawyer for the main accused ( the current BJP President Amit Shah). Now comes this report about the transfer of eminent Justice of the Bombay High Court Abhay Thipsay. Justice Rajiv Shakdher of the Delhi High Court was also transferred, despite protests from senior lawyers in February. Is it sheer coincidence that both passed judicial orders that the ruling party has been less than happy with? Once again, Gujarat carnage cases figure here – Justice Thipsay handled the landmark Best Bakery case!…

http://www.countercurrents.org/sharma020516.htm

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A slogan is no reference point for patriotism – By Nilofar Suhrawardy (Apr 28, 2016, Hindustan Times)

A lot of noise has been made over the nationalism of Indian Muslims who have chosen not to chant a controversial slogan on grounds of their religious sentiments. How can they be forced to chant any slogan to prove their nationalism? The Constitution does not demand this. A few extremist leaders have reacted aggressively to Muslims’ refusal to chant the slogans; one has even stated that if he could, he would have beheaded them for refusing to do so.

As an Indian Muslim, this writer is tempted to ask by what right have these extremists raised questions about my nationalism and that of others. Are they legally, ethically, socially and politically permitted to indulge in a practice which seems hardly appropriate in the national interest?…

The extremists have abused freedom of speech and expression by making aggressive noise against Muslims’ refusal to chant the controversial slogan. By not following constitutional principles, the extremists have certainly raised questions about their own patriotism and nationalism!

http://www.hindustantimes.com/analysis/a-slogan-is-no-reference-point-for-patriotism/story-cBm70sF7Ze5xtW8JJeok5K.html

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‘Revolutionary’, not ‘terrorist’ Bhagat Singh scares the right-wing – By Abhinav Kumar (May 2, 2016, Dailyo.in)

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologue Dinanath Batra is seeking a ban on the famous book India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra, Mridula Mukherjee, Aditya Mukherjee, Sucheta Mahajan, and KN Panikkar. According to a recently published report in The Hindu, Batra has written a letter to the Union HRD ministry complaining about Bhagat Singh being labelled a “revolutionary terrorist” in the book.…

Batra’s belief that it is a description of a terrorist was further strengthened where the book emphasises that Bhagat Singh, along with Sukhdev, organised students for political actions. In the current political scenario of India Marxism, mass movements, and student politics are enough to shape Batra’s views about people who associate themselves with these ideas.

The book also discusses Bhagat Singh’s view on communalism and how he considered it as one of the biggest problems India was facing. This might jeopardise the plan of appropriating Bhagat Singh by the BJP for its political benefits. It quotes the freedom fighter and other revolutionaries at length about the meaning of revolution. It tells us that revolution for them was not militancy and violence but the change of an unjust order and abolition of capitalism and class domination. This description of Bhagat Singh must have made some of Batra’s patrons uncomfortable.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/bhagat-singh-rss-dinanath-batra-bjp-wendy-doniger-nationalism-indian-freedom-struggle/story/1/10399.html

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How the State makes Muslims pay for Hindutva terror – By Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves (Apr 29, 2016, Dailyo.in)

…The ATS case rested on the confessions extracted from eight of the accused, one of whom was targeted to be made approver against the rest. When the case was handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) the confessions were all shown to be obtained under duress, making them worthless as evidence under section 24 of the Indian Evidence Act.

It was found by the NIA that the confessions in most cases could not be true as there was conclusive proof that the accused were actually at places other than they were shown to be in the confessions. Accused number two, Shabbir Ahmad, was actually in judicial custody at the time he was shown in the chargesheet to be participating in actions relating to the blasts. The obtaining of such false confessions, under duress, is an offence punishable with imprisonment up to seven years under section 195A and section 330 of the IPC.…

Such a discovery which has been upheld by the court is an extremely serious finding amounting to an offence committed by Raghuvanshi and his investigating team of fabricating evidence with intent to procure conviction for a crime, which is punishable under section 194 of the IPC with life imprisonment. It also raises questions regarding the source of the RDX shown, pointing to possible offences under explosives and terror laws. This would require a separate investigation.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/hindutva-malegaon-blasts-narendra-modi-mcoca-ats-kp-raghuvanshi-ipc-hemant-karkare-muslims-simi/story/1/10339.html

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A case of aggravated impunity – By John Dayal (May 3, 2016, Indian Express)

…Several Christian groups, including the United Christian Forum and its national helpline, the Evangelical Fellowship of India, maintain records of the daily reports of persecution. They meticulously record the unabated hate campaign, including the voices of several honourable members of Modi’s council of ministers. Wada Na Todo, Anhad and other civil society groups publish annual reports in this regard. Newspapers, Indian and foreign, are the primary source of data, other than field reports and helpline complaints.

A report published by Anhad at the end of the first 300 days of the Modi government noted that hate in the election campaign had mutated to a more coercive and threatening phenomenon that had percolated to universities and colleges, and villages and small towns over much of the country. The hate, inevitably, leads to violence. “Ghar Wapsi” and “Love Jihad” cries turned to stones and lathis. In Chhattisgarh, villages have passed orders banning the entry of priests of faiths other than Hinduism.…

Modi refers to it tangentially in controlled appearances at specially organised meetings of the friendlier elements of groups of religious minorities. Communal violence does not form the core theme of his Mann ki Baat. He has not sacked the hate mongers among his ministers. He never names the goons responsible for violence. Neither do the columnists speaking in his defence.

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/narendra-modi-hate-campaign-against-christians-a-case-of-aggravated-impunity-2781286/

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The Kanhaiya Phenomenon – By Vijaya Kumar Marla (Apr 28, 2016, Countercurrents)

As one commentator said a few days back, “it is not easy to escape the limelight, if you happen to be Kanhaiya Kumar.” Well said, but why? Why at all, a student leader has been catapulted into the center stage of Indian politics, whether he likes it or not?

There is a surfeit of opinions, accusations, abuses, open threats, praises, adoration, and good and bad advise heaped in the last 2 months on this young man from an obscure Bihat village in Begusarai, Bihar, whom only his fellow students, faculty and a few of the AISF and CPI cadres knew before the tumultuous February 9th event at JNU, Delhi.

The question keeps on haunting the press, politicians as well as general public, as to why it is so that Kanhaiya is still in the limelight even after more than 75 days of the fateful February 9th episode. Mr. Chandan Mitra, the BJP MP had commented a week after Kanhaiya’s release on bail on 3rd March that he will fade away in a few days. Many who are vociferously against him as well as those that had developed a soft corner for the boyish looking young man thought that all this attention and publicity is just a flash in the pan and rightly so!…

http://www.countercurrents.org/marla280416.htm

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Book Review

Hindutva Or Hind Swaraj

Author: U.R. Ananthamurthy
Reviewed by: Aakar Patel
Available at: Publisher: Harper Collins India, 75, Block A, Near Petrol Pump, Sector 57, Noida, Uttar Pradesh 201307. http://www.amazon.in/
Review:
U.R. Ananthamurthy’s response to nationalism (Apr 30, 2016, Live Mint) This slim work is the best book I have read since May 2014. Hindutva Or Hind Swaraj by U.R. Ananthamurthy is a response to Hindutva, and to our increasing nationalism, which this remarkable author anticipated.… It is the distilled effort of a lifetime spent in absorbing, reading, writing and observing. Ananthamurthy died in August 2014 and says in the book that “this writing, born in the current Modi era, should be viewed as an attempt to swim against the tide”.…

And though he died before our current inane Jawaharlal Nehru University debate began, Ananthamurthy, as has been mentioned before, anticipated it. He writes: “The patriot Gandhi, during his final fast, saw the growing hubris of nationalism in his beloved (Jawaharlal) Nehru and (Vallabhbhai) Patel. More on this later. An examination of how Napoleonism gives rise to the desire for nation building, evident in the histories of every country, allows us to understand why Gandhi and Tagore were opposed to the idea of nationhood. Our belief in nationalism leads to a loss of our everyday morality.”…

Steeped in our traditions, Ananthamurthy captures the reality as nobody else can. Take this with you as you go: “How did Gujarat produce a pan-Indian hero? The Gujarat massacre took place when he was chief minister. To say that he tried to prevent it but failed would mean he was weak. Nobody can say that. One is reminded of an image used by the poet Adiga. When yajnas are conducted, everyone present is involved in some task or the other. But a mantrajnya, an expert in the mantras, does not participate. He is known as the ‘brahma’, and is crucial to the ritual. The brahma does nothing. “Modi was the brahma. Whatever happened has happened.”…

<ahref=”http: www.livemint.com=”” leisure=”” 9xet2etznbucgehs63c1gn=”” ur-ananthamurthys-response-to-nationalism.html”=””>http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/9XEt2EtZnBUCgehS63c1GN/UR-Ananthamurthys-response-to-nationalism.html

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 18th, 2016

May 1, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Children told to spread communal harmony News Headlines US report notes Gujarat govt “failure” to provide justice to 2002 riot victims, “curb” on Patels’ right to agitate Delhi University refuses to reply to RTI plea on PM’s BA degree 2006 Malegaon blast: NIA does volte face, opposes […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 14th, 2015

September 16, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Gujarat riots case: Sanjiv Bhatt moves SC, seeks to make Amit Shah a party to his petition Justice Continues to Elude Victims of Kandhamal Violence SC issues notice to centre for allegedly asking Salian to go soft against accused Bail pleas of Purohit, Dwivedi opposed Petlawad explosives […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 2nd, 2013

September 3, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines ‘File chargesheet against Narendra Modi, others in 2002 post-Godhra riots case’ British Sikhs to oppose any Narendra Modi visit to UK PIL plea alleges bid by BJP leaders to derail Prajapati case against Amit Shah Asaram gets 14-day taste of jail, Jodhpur Police say case against […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 24th, 2013

June 25, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Godhra Muslim trust to help poor Hindu widows News Headlines Modi’s rally strong message against minorities: Bajwa CBI looking into allegations of Modi hand in 2003 encounter IB officer had hand in Ishrat killing: CBI Malegaon blasts: RSS pracharak used code names during training PIL seeks […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 17th, 2013

June 18, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Hindu tenant gets separate water line News Headlines Pandya widow ‘closer to truth’ NDA splits as JD-U leaves, BJP hits back at Nitish ‘Mahalkar part of Malegaon and Mecca Masjid blasts’ Ishrat Jahan case: CBI says it has evidence against IB officer Ex-DGP KR Kaushik now […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 31st, 2012

January 1, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines RSS member in NIA net for 2006 Malegaon blast Two ‘saffron terror’ hideouts identified in Indore; NIA in action Communal elements in the IB, Home Ministry and Police should be purged: Mushawarat One-third of Gujarat MLAs face criminal cases, including rape Ishrat encounter: HC pulls up […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 3rd, 2012

December 3, 2012

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Naroda Patia: SIT clean chit for cops Justice sought for innocents jailed in terror cases “Honest citizens punished, powerful traitors applauded as patriots” SC seeks CBI’s response to missing Malegaon blast case suspect Politics of pardon in Maharashtra: Govts drop cases against rioters, embolden them Prajapati […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 15th, 2012

October 16, 2012

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines ‘Gujarat 2002 an assault on secularism, democracy and republicanism’ Activists read ‘between the lines’, say UK pushing Modi for justice Add legal grounds to plea, HC tells Malegaon blast accused Cops mum on Dayanand Patil; hasn’t returned home, say kin Stop witch-hunt of educated Muslim youths: […]

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