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Malegaon Blast

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 18th, 2016

by newsdigest on May 1, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Children told to spread communal harmony (Apr 16, 2016, The Tribune)

With the aim to sensitise children about causes and consequences of radicalism and casteism, Guru Nanak Sewa Mission launched a movement to spread awareness about religious tenets of various religions.

Maintaining that founders and preachers of all religions taught to adopt principles of communal harmony and universal fraternity, specialists from various sections of society highlighted various facts about origin and background of different religious functions including Ram Navmi, Diwali, Shivratri, Baisakhi, Guruparabs and Eid.

Elaborating on the subject, Darshan Singh Khalsa argued that the tenth guru of Sikhs Guru Gobind Singh laid foundation of Khalsa by inviting five devoted and committed persons from different castes, who offered to give sacrifice.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/ludhiana/community/children-told-to-spread-communal-harmony/223052.html

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US report notes Gujarat govt “failure” to provide justice to 2002 riot victims, “curb” on Patels’ right to agitate (Apr 16, 2016, Counterview)

Revising the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat, the US state department’s new 67-page report on human rights situation in India has expressed “concern” over the Gujarat government’s “failure to hold accountable those responsible for the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat that resulted in the deaths of more than 1,200 persons, the majority of whom were Muslim.”

Referring to the slow process of justice, the report states, “On September 16, the Gujarat High Court’s acting Chief Justice assembled a new bench to hear the appeals from Maya Kodnani, Babu Bajrangi, along with others who authorities had sentenced to imprisonment for their role in the 2002 Gujarat riots. This was the fifth bench to hear these petitions.”

It says, this happened even as Zakia Jafri “appealed the rejection by the Gujarat High Court of a petition challenging a special investigative tribunal’s conclusion finding insufficient evidence to prosecute 63 individuals, including police, security, and other senior state government officials accused of complicity or dereliction of duty in the 2002 Gujarat riots.”…

http://www.counterview.net/2016/04/us-report-notes-gujarat-govt-failure-to.html

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Delhi University refuses to reply to RTI plea on PM’s BA degree (Apr 14, 2016, Times of India)

Delhi University has declined to give information under RTI related to PM Narendra Modi’s bachelor of arts degree. The university cited inability to find information without a roll number as reason for the denial. The plea was accepted by the central information commission (CIC), which has dismissed the case.…

This is not the first time details of Modi’s educational qualifications have been sought, and denied, under RTI. Earlier, Gujarat University refused to make information related to the PM’s masters degree public, saying that the marksheet and other details were personal information. An RTI plea was also filed with the PMO on his MA degree. It was turned down because authorities said that they did not have the information.

Delhi resident Hans Raj Jain had sought information on how many persons bearing the name of “Mr. Narendra Modi” had passed BA in 1978 as external students. According to the order given by information commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu, the chief public information officer said that admission is given based on a candidate’s roll number and the university would have to manually search for the candidate’s name, which was impossible.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/51819529.cms

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2006 Malegaon blast: NIA does volte face, opposes acquittal of nine Muslims (Apr 13, 2016, Scroll.in)

The National Investigation Agency on Tuesday told a Mumbai court it opposed discharging nine Muslims accused in the 2006 Malegaon blasts case. The move came two years after the NIA said it had no evidence linking these men to the attacks, The Indian Express reported.

The blasts took place in Malegaon, around 300 km north of Mumbai, in September 2006, killing 37 people and injuring more than 100. There are two different sets of people accused in the case – the nine Muslim men who were arrested by the state Anti-Terrorism Squad soon after the attacks, and four Hindus arrested by the NIA after they took over the investigation in 2011.…

In April 2014, the NIA had said there was no evidence supporting the ATS’ report recommending that the nine men be prosecuted. Before that, in 2011, then prosecutor for the NIA, Rohini Salian, had said the agency would review evidence in the Malegaon blasts after fresh revelations were made by an accused in another case. Salian then acknowledged that based on new information, right-wing extremists were also involved in the 2006 blasts, The Indian Express said.

http://scroll.in/latest/806569/2006-malegaon-blast-nia-does-volte-face-opposes-acquittal-of-nine-muslims

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Ishrat Jahan case: PM, BJP chief hindering judicial process, claims Congress (Apr 19, 2016, First Post)

The Congress on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah of obstructing the judicial process by blocking the trial of accused in Ishrat Jahan’s alleged staged shootout case pending in a Ahmedabad court.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah are shamelessly misleading the country and obstructing judicial process by blocking trial of accused in Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case,” party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a statement.

Surjewala also asserted that Modi and Shah need to tell 125 crore Indians about the real motive behind their desperation to shut down the trial in Ishrat Jahan case. “What is it that they (Modi and Shah) seek to hide or are scared of? They need to place these things before the nation. Modi government is relying upon patent falsehood to hide the facts of the case,” he said.…

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/ishrat-jahan-case-pm-bjp-chief-hindering-judicial-process-claims-congress-2737626.html

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Riot, arson after Hindu-Muslim clash in Jharkhand town (Apr 18, 2016, Hindustan Times)

Around 30 shops were set ablaze on Sunday when riots broke out in Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh that had been on the edge for the past two days after a Ram Navami procession by Hindus passing through a Muslim-dominated area sparked violence.

Hazaribagh, roughly a two-hour drive from state capital Ranchi, was put under curfew as shop owners from both communities were targeted in the arson. Around 200 people arrived at the district hospital with injuries from the stone-pelting at the procession that led to a stampede.

Deputy commissioner Mukesh Kumar said trouble started when objectionable recorded slogans were played at a Ram Navami procession triggering clash between two groups of people at the nearby Kud Rewali village near Hazaribagh railway station, according to news agency PTI.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/riot-arson-after-hindu-muslim-clash-in-jharkhand-town/story-4Mh3WXyQ99moQW5lTIpNlO.html

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Family shocked over arrest of relative for NIA officer’s murder (Apr 13, 2016, The Hindu)

The Uttar Pradesh police claims to have solved the murder of National Investigating Agency (NIA) officer Tanzil Ahmed with the arrest of his relative Mohammad Rehan.… The development comes as a shock to Ahmed’s Shaheen Bagh-based family, as none of them suspected Rehan’s role in the incident.

Talking to The Hindu , Ahmed’s elder brother Raghib said the possibility of a relative being involved in the shooting was always a remote one since the deceased had never expressed any apprehensions or threat from Rehan. “No, he never said anything about a threat from Rehan or anyone else in the extended family,” said Mr. Raghib Ahmed.…

Another relative Safdar Ali said Rehan wouldn’t have dared to approach the victim for help in criminal cases. “Had Tanzil bhai known about it, he would have ensured that Rehan was sent to jail immediately,” he said.…

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-newdelhi/family-shocked-over-arrest-of-relative-for-nia-officers-murder/article8468758.ece

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Amreli BJP MP gets 3-year jail in assault case (Apr 14, 2016, Times of India)

Amreli BJP MP Naran Kachhadiya and four others, including a woman, were sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for assaulting a government doctor in civil hospital three years ago.

Additional sessions judge B R Bhatt found Kachhadiya, his driver Ramesh, office in-charge Kirit Vamja, local BJP members Madhu Joshi and Ravi Joshi, guilty of the crime. The five were convicted under sections 186 (obstructing public servant from discharging his public functions), section 332 (deterring public servant from his duty) and section 143 (unlawful assembly).…

Dr B L Dabhi, medical officer at Amreli civil hospital, had lodged a complaint against Kachadiya and others on January 1, 2013. Dabhi had told police that a person with a mobile handset had approached him when he was attending an emergency case at the trauma centre and asked him to talk to Kachhadiya. However, Dabhi refused saying that he was attending an emergency case. After some time, Kachadiya and his accomplices reached the hospital and one of the persons slapped Dabhi. The medical officer had also alleged that Kachadiya had threatened him of dire consequences.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/51819931.cms

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Meeting with Modi: some Muslim delegates deny Centre’s claim (Apr 16, 2016, The Hindu)

A government press release, dated April 13, announcing that “eminent Muslim citizens” had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to congratulate him on “his recent successful visit to Saudi Arabia”, has provoked strong reactions from some members of the delegation, who have disputed the public relations spin given to the interaction.

Expressing unhappiness at the manner in which the note put out by the Press Information Bureau (PIB) was worded, journalist Qurban Ali told The Hindu, “We were invited to discuss the trust deficit between the Muslim community and the government, and what could be done to end this.”

Editor of Nai Duniya and former MP Shahid Siddiqui, who was also present on the occasion, also confirmed this: “I was told that we would discuss the economic and educational backwardness of Muslims … I made concrete suggestions for the community’s uplift and pointed out that the benefits of many government schemes for minorities are not reaching them.”…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/muslim-delegates-deny-centres-claim/article8481362.ece

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ABVP activist throws slipper at Kanhaiya in Nagpur, roughed up (Apr 14, 2016, Hindustan Times)

An activist of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, a right-wing student organisation, was beaten up by a mob after he hurled a slipper at the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union president, Kanhaiya Kumar, here on Thursday.

The incident occurred when Kanhaiya had started his speech after paying a tribute to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar at Deekshabhoomi on the occasion of his 125th birthday. Although the activist missed the target, the organisers and Kanhaiya’s supporters took on the attacker, identified as Haridas Shinde, who is a Dalit.

Earlier, when Kanhaiya shared the dais with other dignitaries, several Bajrang Dal activists shouted slogans against him and tried to disrupted the meeting. They were also roughed up by organisers and handed over to the police.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai/abvp-activist-throws-slipper-at-kanhaiya-in-nagpur-roughed-up/story-bot3nGHQzGuarpG0Z8l0BJ.html

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Dalit set to embrace Islam alleges threat from ‘Bajrang Dal’ (Apr 15, 2016, Indian Express)

The Dalit in-charge sarpanch of a Porbandar village on Thursday alleged that he was threatened by “Bajrang Dal members” hours before his planned conversion to Islam in public, which could not take place after police denied permission for the ceremony.

Suman Chavda (40), in-charge sarpanch of Vinzarana village who had moved to Porbandar town two years ago alleging threats from the then sarpanch, was allowed to convert to Islam by the district collector on April 12 under the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act. Following the permission, Chavda announced to embrace Islam Thursday during a ceremony slated to be held at Ambedkar Park near Nava Fuvara in Porbandar.

Police, however, denied permission for the ceremony, citing security reasons and events to mark the 125th birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar, but booked three people for allegedly threatening Chavda.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/dalit-set-to-embrace-islam-alleges-threat-from-bajrang-dal-2754093/

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Opinions and Editorials

The Beast Before Us – By Peggy Mohan (Apr 12, 2016, The Wire)

…The events of the past few months on Indian university campuses – FTII, JNU, Hyderabad, and now NIT in Srinagar – have thrown up a basket of terms that similarly obscure the bigger picture of what is happening here. Majority. Uniformity. Development. Hindutva. Dissent. Intolerance. Nationalism. These have become issues to be addressed separately, dissipating the struggle and forcing us all onto the back foot to justify our bona fides in terms set by our opponent.…

Are we headed for the big blowout, after which we restart our journey on scorched earth? Does the beast before us cannily back off and buy itself time? Is there a chance of compromise that spares us all the trauma and dislocation of thinking afresh and charting a new course? We don’t know.

If we believe at all in reversal, and a climb down to a less controlled world closer to ground state, we need not so much to confront and assert as to look out for the new currents slightly beyond the range of our vision and give them strength. We need to keep depriving the beast of its oxygen, and work to win away its human shields. And we need to become better at reading its behaviour to be alert to signs that things are about to turn, so that we are ready with new ideas to pick ourselves up and start again.

http://thewire.in/2016/04/12/the-beast-before-us-27098/

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Why Baba Ramdev would do well to go into vanvaas – By Swami Agnivesh (Apr 7, 2016, Indian Express)

Ramdev shocks me. Truly. Utterly. Un-bearably. His saffron shocks me. It makes his words all the more shocking. Saffron is the colour either of self-sacrifice or of inspired bravery. He seems light years away from both. It is blatant cowardice to say one would love to cut off the heads of millions of people but for the small inconvenience that stands in the way. There is, he laments, that irksome thing called the rule of law.…

Ramdev’s version of patriotism, please note, is choked by the law. That is to say, it is unlawful. Refraining from scandalously unlawful lusts and longings only due to fear of unpleasant consequences is cowardice.… What Ramdev has done is criminal. He is sowing seeds of horrendous violence in the minds of unsuspecting people within an ambience of faith.

This is incitement of the most dangerous kind. Knowing the outlook and agenda of the current dispensation, I have no hope that the government either at the Centre or in Haryana will take cognisance of this challenge to the rule of law and insult to the Constitution. I pray, therefore, to the chief justice of India to take suo moto cognisance of this and initiate appropriate action.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/baba-ramdev-patanjali-patriotism-india/

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Signboard of Hindutva: Why Gurgaon was renamed Gurugram – By Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay (Apr 14, 2016, Dailyo.in)

It is common knowledge that the more the number of syllables in a word, the more difficultly it sits on the tongue. Take this test and decide which is easier for you to mouth: Gur-gaon, Gur-gram or Gu-ru-gram. Say it slowly and then swiftly as in the course of a normal conversation. Even amateur experts in phonetics would conclude that the first of these three names is easiest to pronounce.…

Mythology has been treated as history by votaries of Hindutva for decades. Among the first tasks that the BJP government in Haryana directed after being elected was in March 2015 when it began excavations to bring the myth of Saraswati River to life. The initiative of the state government added to years of research to uncover the palaeochannels of the extinct mythological river.…

There is a certain design behind this. Aurangzeb Road in Delhi has been renamed APJ Abdul Kalam Road because of uni-dimensional interpretation of history which frames the Mughal king solely as a villain.

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/gurugram-gurgaon-bjp-narendra-modi-hindutva-eklavya-guru-dronacharya-babri-masjid-rss-aurangzeb-road/story/1/10081.html

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Mohammed Aamir Khan, living in dread after acquittal – By Sidharth Bhatia (Apr 15, 2016, Free Press Journal)

Despite Indians being proud of their democracy and rule of law, it is a sad fact of life that there are several miscarriages of justice and there is no way to correct or compensate for them. Instances of innocent people being picked up, held for a long time in jail and then finally released because they are found innocent, with neither monetary help nor rehabilitation, is one such example.

One had heard of such instances, but it is only when one meets someone who has actually been through this situation that the sheer horror of it all becomes apparent. Earlier this week I got an opportunity to meet and interview, on stage, Mohammed Aamir Khan, who was held in jail for nearly 14 years on charges of terrorism. One by one, all charges against him proved false – not a single witness identified him – and he is now out of jail, (two cases are still pending) but his story holds a mirror to our society.…

The story is tragic enough, but more important is that there are few checks and balances to ensure that such things are not repeated. There is no way to make good anyone who has lost 14 years of his life, but surely there could be some monetary help to put them back on their feet? And what kind of systems can be put in place so that innocent people are not just picked up and charged with false allegations, which they could take years to disprove?…

http://www.freepressjournal.in/mohammed-aamir-khan-living-in-dread-after-acquittal-sidharth-bhatia/826139

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Malda is tense, but is it communal? Ground reality suggests otherwise – By Parth MN (Apr 17, 2016, DNA India)

The market is bustling with activity. Shopkeepers are busy interacting and bargaining with customers as cars keep honking in the background. Security forces patrol the streets ahead of the polling. Merely, three and a half months ago, this locality had been engulfed in violence and turbulence. Today, however, the spectacle in Malda has “business as usual” written all over it.

A closer look, though, indicates that normalcy had returned the very evening after the unrest erupted on the morning of January 3. “I opened my shop at around five in the evening,” says Dipal Sinha, who runs a medical store right across the Kaliachak Police Station, which was burnt by the hostile mob. “The attack was confined to the police station.”

Immediately after the incident, reports on social media suggested a communal riot in West Bengal’s Malda district, which goes to polls on Sunday. The episode had pitted the Muslims against Hindus. However, shopkeepers in close proximity to the police station say no human being was targeted or no shop was vandalised. “We have never experienced communal tension and neither have I been at the receiving end of minority persecution,” says 67-year-old Sinha, who has lived right behind his shop all his life. “My relations with my Muslim neighbours are extremely pleasant. In fact, when I was wondering whether I should open my shop in the evening, my Muslim friends asked me to go ahead without any hesitation.”…

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-malda-is-tense-but-is-it-communal-ground-reality-suggests-otherwise-2202920

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On Baba Saheb’s 125th Birth Anniversary Let’s Remember What He Said About The Hindutva Gang – By Shamsul Islam (Apr 14, 2016, Countercurrents)

The RSS is terribly busy re-writing history these days. It will be more appropriate to call it guillotining of history, as these are facts and realties of history which are being sacrificed in this process at the altar political ambitions of the Hindutva gang.

So far this creativity was restricted to the works and words of Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh and Sardar Patel but of late Baba Saheb Ambedkar appears to have become the latest victim of malafide manufacturing of history by the flag-bearers of Hindutva. Dr Ambedkar becomes a newest victim of RSS game plan being presented as a leader in league with K.B. Hedgewar and M.S. Golwalkar defending the cause of Hindu Rashtra in India.

In 2003 it was Vinay Katiyar, the former head of Bajrang Dal and a diehard RSS cadre who declared that Ambedkar was great supporter of Hindutva and Hindu Rashtra like KB Hedgewar, the founder of RSS. In the recent past this attempt for hijacking of Dr. Ambedkar got accelerated with the coming of power of RSS/BJP in India in 2014. In the true Hindutva tradition, the RSS ‘thinkers’ started manufacturing history and shamelessly went to the extent of penning words which Baba Saheb never spoke wrote or believed.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/islam130416.htm

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 14th, 2015

by newsdigest on September 16, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Gujarat riots case: Sanjiv Bhatt moves SC, seeks to make Amit Shah a party to his petition (Sep 14, 2015, Times of India)

In a desperate bid to resurrect investigations into then chief minister Narendra Modi’s alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots, dismissed IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt on Monday requested the Supreme Court to set up a special investigation team to probe the then state law officer’s series of emails indicating a serious conspiracy to subvert justice.

Bhatt had moved the SC four year ago accusing the then Modi government of attempting to blunt his untiring efforts to expose the state’s role in fanning the riots by lodging an inspired FIR against him in 2011 accusing him of forcing a government servant to give false evidence to establish his presence during a high-level meeting called by the then CM to discuss the riots.

Bhatt moved the fresh application requesting the SC to add BJP president Amit Shah and S Gurumurthy as parties in his petition as they were “part of the larger design to subvert the course of justice”, both before the SC and the trial court in the riot cases. His application was mentioned before a bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu by senior advocate Indira Jaising.… After giving details of emails, Bhatt said, “Unless the Supreme Court directed a proper inquiry into the material submitted, the confidence of general public in free, fair and transparent trial would be eroded.”

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48953685.cms

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Justice Continues to Elude Victims of Kandhamal Violence (Sep 11, 2015, The Wire)

Nearly eight years have passed since communal violence in Kandhamal claimed the lives of 82 people, mostly Christian adivasis and dalits, damaged 6,000 houses and displaced 56,000 people in 2008. The government, however, officially recorded only 39 deaths. In addition, 395 churches were destroyed and two cases of sexual assaults against women were reported. Close to a 100,000 children in the area also dropped out from school in the area due to displacement and insecurity. Victims of the violence say that several cases have been closed without adequate justice being served and compensation provided has been much lower than is required.

The Kandhamal Nyaya, Shanti O Sadhabana Samaj, an organisation of victims, met with the President on September 7 and presented a memorandum urging immediate action. The association has also received cross party support from CPI (M)’s Brinda Karat, former Congress Minister Mani Shankar Aiyer and Kavita Krishnan of the All India Progressive Women’s Association. Addressing a press conference in Delhi on September 8, Father Ajay Singh brought to light several facts that media reports at the time of the violence did not cover.

Of the 3232 complaints lodged, only 825 FIRs were filed by the police and only 605 led to chargesheets. 302 cases were closed arbitrarily citing lack of evidence as the cause. Of the 35 murder cases that were taken into account, 33 cases were closed. 11,000 rioters named in the complaints were granted anticipatory bail, while 3,254 persons were acquitted due to the arbitrary closing of cases. Only 10 people have been convicted in two murder cases and all are currently on bail. Fr. Ajay Singh noted that not only was the violence extremely sectarian in nature, but the failure of the justice system continues to reflect the power of the communal forces in the state. Attacks by right wing groups have also been carried out on 13 NGOs that attempted to provide relief packages to the victims.…

http://thewire.in/2015/09/11/justice-continues-to-elude-victims-of-kandhamal-violence-10529/

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SC issues notice to centre for allegedly asking Salian to go soft against accused (Sep 11, 2015, Times of India)

The allegation of former special public prosecutor that she was asked to go soft against Hindu extremists allegedly involved in the Malegaon blast case has come under judicial scrutiny with the Supreme Court on Friday issuing notice to Centre and Maharashtra government.

The apex court sought response from the governments on PILs seeking independent probe in the controversy arising out of Salian revelation. The bench asked the government to file response within a week and posted the case for next week when it will decide whether the trial should be stayed or not in light of Salian’s statements.

The court will also decide whether the trial court should also be restrained from granting bail to the accused. The court was hearing a petition filed by activist Harsh Mander who alleged that the executive was attempting to influence the judicial system in breach of repeated directives by the court.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48909967.cms

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Bail pleas of Purohit, Dwivedi opposed (Sep 10, 2015, The Hindu)

The National Investigation Agency on Wednesday filed a reply opposing the bail pleas of Malegaon 2008 blast accused Lieutenant-Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit and Sudhakar Dwivedi alias Dayanand Pandey.

Seeking rejection of their applications, the NIA said there was “sufficient evidence” against them in the charge sheet and their contention that the Supreme Court had removed the provisions of the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) was incorrect.

Purohit’s claim that he had not committed any offence was “false, incorrect and misleading”. Also his period of detention of six and a half years “is not ground for bail,” the central agency said.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/bail-pleas-of-purohit-dwivedi-opposed/article7633962.ece

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Petlawad explosives were stored for Godhra II: Congress (Sep 13, 2015, Times of India)

Madhya Pradesh Congress has alleged that the BJP was planning Godhra II in Jhabua and explosives were stored in Petlawad for the same purpose. The party said main accused Rajendra Kasawa is a BJP leader and an active member of RSS.

Addressing a joint press conference here on Sunday, state Congress president Arun Yadav and leader of the opposition Satyadev Katare said large quantity of illegal explosives stored by Kasawa would have been used for ” Godhra type” violence in Jhabua before Bihar elections and Lok Sabha by-poll due for Jhabua seat. Yadav said that Petlawad is close to Gujarat.

Yadav said that Kasawa is president of traders’ unit of BJP in Petlawad which is why the party and Sangh members have not been allowing his arrest and he continues to be on the run.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48945203.cms

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Why extortion in the name of cow protection goes unreported in Madhya Pradesh (Sep 7, 2015, Scroll.in)

Madhya Pradesh government’s stringent law against cow-slaughter has become a handy tool to terrorise and extort money from innocent cattle traders. The latest in a spate of such incidents occurred on August 31 in Sanawad town of Khandwa district in west Madhya Pradesh when members of a so-called cow protection group – Gauraksha Samiti – thrashed and partially tonsured four persons, while accusing them of carrying cattle for slaughter in two pick-up vehicles.…

The four cattle buyers were booked on suspicion. They were released on bail by the Sanavad court of a first class judicial magistrate on September 2, after 24 hours in police custody and as many hours in jail. The police however, spared the assailants. Dhangaon police station personnel told journalists that a case will be registered against them but no action has followed so far, according to local media reports.…

Hooliganism and extortion in the name of cow protection has become so common in Madhya Pradesh that most such incidents go unreported in the media. Its root cause is the “Gau-Vansh Vadh Pratishedh (Sanshodhan) adhiniyam” or the Madhya Pradesh Prohibition of Slaughter of Cow-Progeny (Amendment) Act that was promulgated in December 2011.…

http://scroll.in/article/753527/why-extortion-in-the-name-of-cow-protection-goes-unreported-in-madhya-pradesh

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Police brushing matter to save cops in Nand Nagri custodial death: AAP (Sep 10, 2015, Asian Age)

The Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday alleged that the police is trying to brush the matter related to the “custodial death” of 35-year-old Shahnawaz Chaudhary in northeast Delhi’s Nand Nagri area in a bid to “shield” the policemen involved in the incident. AAP leader Ashutosh also said that the party will approach the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to seek justice if the police does not register an FIR in this connection.

On Monday, Chaudhary died under mysterious circumstances after trying to intervene in a roadside scuffle between a couple and the police in the Nand Nagri area.…

AAP’s Seemapuri MLA Rajendar Gautam, who met the deceased family, said Chaudhary’s wife Mamta had later alleged that her husband was killed by the policemen. A video clip has surfaced purportedly showing a policeman beating the man with his club, raising questions over the police’s claims that they did not enter into any scuffle with him.…

http://www.asianage.com/india/police-brushing-matter-save-cops-nand-nagri-custodial-death-aap-598

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‘Disturbing’ that killers of Dabholkar and Pansare are not nabbed : Bombay High Court (Sep 9, 2015, Times of India)

Bombay High Court on Wednesday expressed concern that the killers of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and communist leader Govind Pansare are still not apprehended.

“It is a disturbing factor,” said a bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Rajesh Ketkar who heard petitions by their respective kin expressing unhappiness with the probe being conducted by Central Bureau of Investigation in Dabholkar’s case and a special investigation team of State police in Pansare’s. They want the High Court to monitor them.…

The bench said the cases of Dabholkar and Pansare have similarities and wondered why a single agency cannot probe both cases and why they don’t share information. CBI’s advocate informed that out of the five officers deputed to assist CBI in Pune only one who is a cyber forensic expert is based in Nagpur. The bench directed him to be “made available” to CBI within a week.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48887701.cms

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5 top ‘spiritual gurus’ in India caught in sexual harassment charges (Sep 9, 2015, Newsx.com)

India tops the list of countries that believe in superstitious activities. Several names amongst the list of self-styled godmen, saints, preachers and gurus in India have been trapped in different controversies. Primarily, one reason that has trapped them all is about sexual harassment charges. However, in spite of making their deeds public, we still have a countless number of followers who believe in them blindly.

Let’s take a look on 5 most prominent names that have played with the sentiments of the innocent followers who believed in them. 74-year-old Asaram Bapu tops the list of controversial gurus in India. He is under the judicial custody since September 2013 following the charges of sexually harassment by a 16-year-old at his ashram in Rajasthan.…

Self-styled god-woman Radhe Maa is the latest controversial queen to join the league. After her images in hot-red short skirt went viral on social media, she was trolled on Twitter by different sectors of the society. 50-year-old Radhe Maa was then slapped with dowry charges by a young woman. She accused Radhe Maa of influencing her parents in law who followed her to demand dowry.…

http://www.newsx.com/national/10463-5-top-spiritual-gurus-of-india-caught-in-sexual-harassment-charges

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“RSS trying to turn Dalits against reservation policy” (Sep 12, 2015, The Hindu)

Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF) has criticised the Rahstriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for trying to turn a section of Dalits against the reservation policy.

Talking to reporters after paying homage to Dalit leader Immanuel Sekaran on the occasion of his 58th death anniversary here on Friday, TNUF State general secretary K. Samuel Raj said that the recent conference addressed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah in Madurai was part of the RSS’s ploy to make Dalits “prick their eyes with their own hands”.

“The conference was part of a larger conspiracy launched by the RSS to do away with reservation,” he alleged.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/rss-trying-to-turn-dalits-against-reservation-policy/article7643995.ece

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Opinions and Editorials

Dear BJP, I’m a Hindu and I reject Hindutva – By Suchitra Krishnamoorthi (Sep 12, 2015, Dailyo.in)

…Anyway to cut a long story short, when it was time to re-elect a new government in 2014, I, like most other urban Indians reeling under the corruption of dynastic politics and a failed Congress government, was filled with hope.… India was desperate. We needed a leader. Badly. We needed progress. We needed a semblance of honesty. We desperately needed hope again. It came in the form of Narendra Modi.… The BJP government won because we Indians had become so soooo Gandhi family intolerant – any alternative seemed like manna from heaven in comparison.…

Hinduism is a philosophy. The doctrine of which allows me the choice of acceptance or rejection. Ram or Ganpati or even atheism. Upanishads or Gita or tantra or mantra. Hindutva, on the other hand, is militant imposition of wrongly interpreted tenets of Hinduism. Hindutva is a political tool – nothing to do with the religion itself.…

To be a Hindu is to be tolerant. It’s why we have survived as a race in spite of invasion, conversion and unimaginable attempted destruction. If you do not understand that tolerance or exercise that compassion so intrinsic to our religion, you do not deserve to call yourself Hindu. Or a leader of a democratic nation. So dear BJP. I reject your Hindutva. I reject your fascism. I reject your despotism.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/hindutva-hinduism-bjp-rss-narendra-modi-congress-sonia-gandhi-rahul-gandhi-anti-national-meat-ban-beef-ban-intolerance-religion/story/1/6209.html

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A Government of the RSS, by the RSS, for the RSS – By Harish Khare (Sep 11, 2015, The Wire)

Fifteen years ago this month, a prime minister of India had travelled to the United States for the annual UN General Assembly mela. During that visit, he found time to attend a Vishwa Hindu Parishad event in Staten Island where he declared himself a swayamsevak – yes, as in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. This was music to the ears of the Nagpur gharana.… Back in New Delhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s exuberance did not last long.… After the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat, it was simply not possible for Vajpayee to maintain any civilised conversation with these comrades among the swayamsevaks. The gurus never forgave Vajpayee for wanting to draw outside the lines.…

The Nagpur bosses wanted to reaffirm the first principle: No BJP leader would be allowed any deviation. They had had enough of Vajpayee and his liberal tantrums. Last week, it was this very first principle that was re-asserted when the Sarsanghchalak summoned Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ministers. Well, if you are a swayamsevak, you do respond to summons from the superior in the hierarchy. Period. That is the code of the saffron brotherhood. Admitted, Sushma Swaraj is not an RSS bhakt. Nor is Arun Jaitley. Unless, he has managed to keep this fact away from his “moderate and decent” friends in Delhi. But neither of them had any choice.…

Whatever obedience the Prime Minister and his ministers may choose to render to the Sarsanghchalak, they need to be reminded that they are still governed and bound by something called the Constitution of India. India is still a constitutional democracy and its rulers, irrespective of the number of seats they have in the Lok Sabha, are still answerable to a robust Parliament and an independent judiciary.

http://thewire.in/2015/09/11/a-government-of-the-rss-by-the-rss-for-the-rss-10523/

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Do The Patels Want Reservation Or A Crisis? – By Kancha Ilaiah (Sep 19, 2015, Tehelka)

Why did the Patel movement for reservation start now? Is it to really get reservation for Patels or is it to abolish the Other Backward Class (OBC) reservation altogether, if not Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe reservation as well? Is it meant to strengthen the boat of Narendra Modi, who declared his OBC background during the election campaign to galvanise the OBC votes in favour of Modi’s election, which was not so much the BJP’s election? Or is it to rock Modi’s boat and see that the hold of Shudra upper castes such as Patels, Jats, Gujjars and Marathas even at the Centre would increase? Are they in a position to challenge the Brahmins and Baniyas, who are actually running the central government, though Modi appears to be a strong prime minister? Some of these questions need to be examined and possible answers should be put in the public domain.…

The core cadre of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) consists of anti-reservationists and also the supporters of caste system in the sense of Sanatan Varna Dharma. Hence the core cadre that came from the Brahmin, Baniya, Kshatriya and Shudra upper castes comprising Patels, Jats, Marathas and so on, who galvanised around Modi’s election, were given to understand that if the BJP gets a majority of its own, the OBC reservation structure would be reviewed.

Let us not forget the fact that on the social media front and in the mobilisation strategy work of “Team Modi” (at that time it was not “Team India”), the upper-caste youth, who have a hatred towards the reservation system itself, were in a majority. They now think that Modi’s victory was because of them but his government is not reviewing the much-hated reservation system.…

http://www.tehelka.com/2015/09/do-the-patels-want-reservation-or-a-crisis/

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Minorities under Siege: “Schooling” of muslims on Islam by the Hindu right – By Syed Mohammed (Sep 10, 2015, Times of India)

The curious case of right wing Hindutva groups’ “schooling” of Muslims on Islam, their own faith, doesn’t seem to end. The latest instance was reportedly that of the Gauseva and Gauchar Vikas Board. The body, according to its website, is an agency of the agriculture and co-operation department of the Gujarat government. And as if it were the recipient of wahy, the divine revelation on Prophet Muhammad, it conjured a verse from the Quran that supposedly proclaimed that beef was a cause of “several diseases” while milk products are good for the human body.

This is not a stray incident, but one of several which are construed by analysts and scholars of Islam as attempts to isolate the Muslim community by spreading misinformation about its own faith, laying them in siege. Another recent incident in Uttar Pradesh was that of the “mistranslation” of the Arabic word “Rehan” as “tulsi” by none other than the Rashtriya Muslim Manch, believed to be an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). But many scholars from across the country, including Hyderabad-based Rashid Naseem Nadwi, who heads the department of Arabic at the English and Foreign Languages University, have rejected the translation. The correct translation of the word has been recorded as “fragrance” in various exegeses of the Quran, the scholar says.…

While the Hindutva brigade’s soft attacks on minorities in the form of distortions of religious texts is a cause of concern, it is the disowning of Indian Muslims which remains a persistent and a more serious problem. At the drop of a hat, BJP parliamentarians such as Yogi Adityanath and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi have advised Muslims to go to Pakistan for harbouring differing or dissenting religious or political views. It appears that the majoritarianism of Hindu right wing groups is eager to create a scary situation for minorities, especially for the Muslims. Disowning Muslims and other minorities seems to be the simplest method to make them toe its line.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48891665.cms

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Meat bans and food fundamentalism as BJP strategy – By Smruti Koppikar (Sep 10, 2015, Hindustan Times)

It’s the season of madness in Mumbai. But it’s more than a beef ban here and a meat ban there though the bans are a part of the madness. For a start, there is a grand plan to rob the city of its most significant carto-cultural marker, its coastline. The proposed coastal road, when constructed, will forever interfere in our vision of the sea from the beaches and Marine Drive, besides further skewing the equation against public transport. But chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has staked his credibility on ensuring that the coastal road is built.

To imagine a change in Mumbai’s shoreline would have been madness till he came along. Fadnavis brought in what his experienced predecessors would have shied away from: the ban on beef. It was widely criticised and mocked at, given the multi-culturalism of the city, its vibrant food cultures and its aspiration to be the next global financial centre. The ban led to some tension and many hilarious moments when the meat with arrested traders turned out to be not that of cows.

A number of other irrational things have happened – the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) which must be the well-endowed and most hip area of the city was chosen to be a ‘smart city’ within the city; there was a fierce debate about Mumbai’s nightlife when Aaditya Thackeray presented it as his bright idea, unmindful of the fact that Mumbai has always had a nightlife without a political leader orchestrating it; there was chatter about redeveloping the Mahalaxmi Race Course and de- reserving parts of the Aarey forest, t wo oasis of green that Mumbaiites believed would never fall to the rapacious builder lobby. But the madness is most reflected in food favouritism and prejudices.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/smrutikoppikar/meat-bans-and-food-fundamentalism-as-bjp-strategy/article1-1389180.aspx

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Time to Repeal 124A – Editorial (Sep 12, 2015, EPW)

It could be just a case of words lost in translation. Or given the record of the Government of Maharashtra, it could be more than that. But the furore over a circular sent out by the state government to the police about the use of Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code relating to sedition is a relevant reminder about the danger to free speech and expression that this provision of the law represents. The circular was issued at the instance of the Bombay High Court when it dismissed sedition charges against Kanpur-based cartoonist Aseem Trivedi. The latter had been charged and arrested by the Mumbai police in September 2011 under Section 124A in relation to some of his cartoons.

While dismissing the charges, the court held that merely criticising the government could not be termed as sedition. The state government gave an undertaking to the court that it would issue clear guidelines to the police on the use of Section 124A. This circular was presented to the court in March this year and was finally sent out to police stations at the end of August. It is the Marathi version of these guidelines that has generated controversy as it has injected ambiguity and room for discretion that inevitably results in precisely the kind of misuse that the court sought to prevent.…

In 1962, the Supreme Court upheld Section 124A and held that it struck a “correct balance” between fundamental rights and the need for public order. But the record of the use of this provision has been otherwise. Far from any kind of “correct balance,” it has been used to suppress and discourage dissent and criticism in any form. In fact, the draconian nature of this law-non-bailable, non-cognisable and punishment that can extend for life – has a “chilling effect” on dissent even if it is not used. And this is precisely why governments choose to hold on to it.…

http://www.epw.in/editorials/time-repeal-124a.html

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Book Review

The Weight of Violence: Religion, Language, Politics

Author: Eds. Saitya Brata Das and Soumyabrata Choudhury
Reviewed by: Rudolf C Heredia
Available at: Oxford University Press, Ground Floor, YMCA Library Building, 1, Jai Singh Road, Post Box 43, New Delhi – 110001,India Email: northcare.in@oup.com, 2015; pp xxi + 271, Rs 895. http://www.oup.co.in/
Review:
‘Understandings of Violence’ (Sep 12, 2015, EPW)

…The secular fundamentalist has sought to rationalise religion out of the public domain. This has only politicised religion, and it gets morphed into a more aggressive avatar when its followers feel under threat. Allowing religion a civic/social space that is respected, with the state’s “principled distance” towards all of them (Bhargava 2013) would allow for an equal respect for all religions (sarva dharma samabhava). This would be a far better way of including religious communities in the national project. Earlier, the partition witnessed a nationwide massacre that shocked the world with the horrors of religious violence. Yet the possibility of another genocide is never very far – it happened in 1983 in Nellie, Assam, in 1984 in Delhi and in 2002 in Gujarat.

Learning from how we dealt with linguistic pluralism is pertinent here. India has managed to contain linguistic antagonisms by devolving governmental authority to regional linguistic states and giving these communities an inclusive and larger identity, with a real stake in the country. We need to do this now with other local and marginalised communities, with tribals, and Dalits, and especially religious minorities.…

We are losing a huge resource in marginalising Gandhi as a national icon. Now Hindutvavadis are aggressively but selectively rehabilitating Savarkar as a national hero today – not for his rationalism that rubbished caste and dietary taboos but his Hindu nationalism that sought to marginalise the religious minorities. This is a dangerous political expediency, and its further trajectory will surely lead to increased levels of violence – individual, collective and structural. The new model of development, of growth compromising equity, can only exacerbate tensions and inequalities further. The resulting injustices will inevitably undermine the legitimacy of our democratic state. This is certainly not the idea of India that the freedom fighters fought and sacrificed for and nor is it the ideal enshrined in our Constitution, which is truly a mandate for a different kind of social revolution.

http://http://www.epw.in/book-reviews/understandings-violence.html

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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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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 8th, 2012

October 9, 2012

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Narendra Modi trained by RSS in ‘Nazi tradition’: Digvijaya Singh Missing Patia convict caught, jailed for 31 years Gujarat govt blocked RTI info on Narendra Modi’s own foreign jaunts Sohrabuddin encounter: Amin’s bail plea rejected 1,528 victims of fake encounters in Manipur: PIL Cops to be […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 30th, 2012

July 30, 2012

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Sectarian violence in Uttar Pradesh and Assam should be dealt with through stern action says Indian American Muslim Council Communal Harmony Humanity overrides differences as Bodos, Muslims help each other News Headlines ‘Planned ethnic cleansing of Muslims’ going on in Assam: Mumbai Muslim leaders Road becomes a […]

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