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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 24th, 2017

by newsdigest on August 4, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Soul of India resides in pluralism, need to eschew violence: President (Jul 24, 2017, The Tribune)

Outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee said on Monday that soul of India resides in pluralism and tolerance and the country must free its public discourse from all forms of violence, physical as well as verbal. In his farewell address broadcast to the nation, he said creation of an inclusive society has to an article of faith. He called for resurrecting the power of non-violence.…

He said multiplicity in culture, faith and language is what makes India special. “We derive our strength from tolerance. It has been part of our collective consciousness for centuries. There are divergent strands in public discourse. We may argue, we may agree or we may not agree. But we cannot deny the essential prevalence of multiplicity of opinion. Otherwise, a fundamental character of our thought process will wither away,” he said.…

“At the heart of this violence is darkness, fear and mistrust. We must free our public discourse from all forms of violence, physical as well as verbal. Only a non-violent society can ensure the participation of all sections of the people, especially the marginalised and the dispossessed in the democratic process. “Power of non-violence has to be resurrected to build a compassionate and caring society,” he said. Mukherjee said Mahatma Gandhi saw India as an inclusive nation where every section lived in equality and moved forward unitedly in ever-widening thought and action.…

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/soul-of-india-resides-in-pluralism-need-to-eschew-violence-president/441483.html

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Chhattisgarh minister’s wife buys state forest land to build a resort, his dept says we can do nothing (Jul 25, 2017, Indian Express)

Raising questions of propriety and conflict of interest, Sarita Agrawal, wife of Chhattisgarh Minister and BJP leader Brijmohan Agrawal, acquired 4.12 hectares of forest land which was owned by the government and is now, along with her son, building a resort on it.

The purchase, in September 2009, was red-flagged by several officials of the Raman Singh government, as recently as June 30 this year, but her husband’s Ministry put down in writing that “it’s not possible to take any action in the matter,” an investigation by The Indian Express has revealed.…

The resort, called Shyam Vatika, is being developed near Sirpur in the Mahasamund district of Chhattisgarh…. Not just the wife, his son, too, is involved with the project. Two companies, Aditya Srijan Private Limited and Purbasa Vanijya Private Limited, have acquired land for the same project. Registrar of Companies records show that the former company has both Sarita Agrawal and her son Abhishek Agrawal as directors while Purbasa Vanijya has Abhishek Agrawal as one of its directors.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/chhattisgarh-ministers-wife-buys-state-forest-land-to-build-a-resort-his-dept-says-we-can-do-nothing-4765761/

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‘Modi’s election, like Trump’s, has unleashed violence against minorities’ (Jul 22, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Drawing parallels between US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Martin Luther King III, the son of American civil rights movement icon Martin Luther King Jr, said here on Friday that both have limited regard for the poor and for law and order.

King III, a human rights advocate and community activist was speaking at the inauguration of the three-day conference “Quest for equity – Reclaiming social justice, revisiting Ambedkar”, in which around 300 scholars, activists and policymakers will discuss the ideas of Dr BR Ambedkar.

“Like Donald Trump’s campaign, the election of Narendra Modi has unleashed a ferocious animosity against minorities,” King said drawing unflattering parallel between the two leaders. The government has consistently denied that there is any intolerance in the country. “We must find a way to bring together the best minds in the world to find solutions,” he stressed.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/modi-s-election-like-trump-s-has-unleashed-violence-against-minorities/story-fyq4HW0RCSJpLPoqnP4sIK.html

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Lynch mobs seem to know nothing will happen to them, they’re implicitly meeting approval from higher-ups: UCLA scholar (Jul 18, 2017, Indian Express)

…These lynchings are a form of communal violence that is different from what we have seen before. Firstly, they are apparently decentralised. Earlier, organised acts of mass violence were repetitive in character and there was a pattern, e.g. processions were attacked or the violence was timed with public festivals.…

But what we are seeing now is not at a single place, there are fewer numbers attacked and it is decentralised, done by little groups all over the place. These groups are either being told, or imagine that they have been told to act in this way. Further, after the event, no one in authority is clearly telling them the contrary. There is also an aspirational quality to the violence. It is low-level… if journalists don’t choose to report it, it may not even register if one isn’t vigilant.

But the curious thing is that the perpetrators want it to be known. After all, some of the people doing this are even videotaping it. They make sure the information is circulating, intended as a warning, as a signal and controlling device for the social behaviour expected of minorities. It is a form of violence which can pop up here one day and there on another. It is never mass killings, but based on the existence of grassroots kind of organisations which believe in doing this, and also to an extent on copycat behaviour. So even if it is decentralised, there is a larger context.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/lynch-mobs-seem-to-know-nothing-will-happen-to-them-sanjay-subrahmanyamucla-scholar-4755228/

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Adani Group ‘SLAPP’ Pushes EPW Editor Out of His Job (Jul 18, 2017, The Wire)

Economic & Political Weekly (EPW) editor Paranjoy Guha Thakurta became the first top-level editorial casualty of corporate India’s increasing tendency to file multi-crore defamation cases as a means of countering critical reporting, resigning after the directors of the trust which runs the storied journal ordered him to take down an article on the Adani group.

Last month, Adani Power Ltd. sent a letter via its lawyers to EPW, the article’s four authors (which included Thakurta) and Sameeksha Trust, which owns and runs the journal. The lawyer’s letter demanded that immediate steps be taken to “remove/delete and unconditionally retract” an article ‘Modi Government’s Rs 500-Crore Bonanza to the Adani Group'(June 24, 2017) that they said was defamatory and harmful to the reputation of their client. The letter also objected to the publication of an earlier article,’Did the Adani Group Evade Rs 1,000 Crore in Taxes?’ (January 14, 2017), but did not specifically ask for it to be removed.

The letter said that unless this was done, “our clients shall be constrained to take such action as they may be advised”. On Tuesday, the Sameeksha Trust board, which met in Delhi, ordered the editorial department to take the article down (alongside which Thakurta had also posted a copy of the Adani letter and a legal response by EPW). Thakurta resigned soon after the meeting.…

https://thewire.in/159090/adani-group-slapps-epw-editor-job/

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Maharashtra Collector Confirms EVM Malfunctioning In RTI Reply, Votes Went To Lotus Symbol (Jul 22, 2017, Outlook)

Contrary to the claim by the Election Commission of India (ECI), an RTI response from Maharashtra’s Buldhana district collectorate has confirmed malfunctioning of electronic voting machine (EVM), reported IANS.

According to the report, Buldhana collectorate’s election department has replied to an RTI query confirming that votes of an independent candidate had gone to BJP’s lotus symbol.

The “EVM fraud” happened during February 16 elections to Buldhana Zilla Parishad from Lonar, at a polling station in Sultanpur village of the district, said RTI activist Anil Galgali.…

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/maharashtra-collector-confirms-evm-tampering-in-rti-reply-votes-went-to-lotus-sy/299695

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SC questions reappointment of Gujarat cops involved in ‘fake encounters’ (Jul 21, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The reappointment by the Gujarat government of two cops, allegedly involved in fake encounter cases, has come under the Supreme Court scanner.

A bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar on Friday issued notice to the state on a petition filed by retired IPS officer, Rahul Sharma, who claimed the appointments are in violation of the law laid down by the apex court in the police reforms case. Sharma’s plea was not entertained by Gujarat high court following which he moved the SC.

The two cops are NK Amin and Tarun Barot. Amin was accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case but was discharged. He is yet to get a clean chit for allegedly killing Ishrat Jehan in a staged encounter.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/sc-questions-reappointment-of-gujarat-cops-involved-in-fake-encounters/story-QjdMRjQg8x6YE6eFLdWagM.html

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Modi’s false promises on crop MSP exposed, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh makes a u-turn in Lok Sabha (Jul 21, 2017, Twocircles.net)

On Wednesday, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh again misled the country by making a completely false statement by claiming that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had never promised to offer a minimum support price to farmers but had instead promised to give a profit of 50% to farmers on the production cost.

All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) has said that not only is this a completely false statement, but the agricultural minister also did not clarify how the farmers can gain a profit of 50% without having an MSP in place.

Defying Singh’s claim, social activist and founder of Swaraj Abhiyan Yogendra Yadav tweeted a video dated April 4, 2014. The video clearly shows that Modi had promised to fix the crops’ MSP at above 50% of the production cost.…

http://twocircles.net/2017jul21/413381.html

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Modi government policies are burning Kashmir: Congress VP Rahul Gandhi (Jul 22, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi reiterated his charge on Friday that the Modi government’s policies are “burning” Jammu and Kashmir, asserting that no third party intervention was required to resolve India’s internal matters.

“India is Kashmir and Kashmir is India,” Gandhi told reporters in the Parliament House Complex. “It is being said there should be discussion on Kashmir with China and Pakistan, but this is our internal matter… our internal business and no one should interfere in it,” he said.…

“I have been saying this for a long time that Modi’s and the NDA’s policies are burning Jammu and Kashmir,” the Congress vice president said.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/modi-government-policies-are-burning-kashmir-congress-vp-rahul-gandhi/story-sJk78n4Pfo2pcvhpUUJLVO.html

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Ambedkar meet: Resolution adopted against ‘regressive forces’ (Jul 24, 2017, Indian Express)

Regressive political and social forces which are in positions of power are undermining the foundations of Indian society and pose “a grave threat to the idea of India espoused by the freedom movement and spelt out in the Constitution”, said a resolution called the Bengaluru Declaration that was passed at the end of a three-day international conference on Dr B R Ambedkar.

Regressive forces with state power “are systematically dismantling the institutions that are the foundations of our society, by undermining India’s holistic welfare and affirmative action architecture and by destroying the pluralistic fabric of our nation”, read the declaration, put together by academics and participants at the conference organised by the Congress government in Karnataka. The conference ended on Sunday.

While assiduously avoiding direct references to BJP, RSS, PM Narendra Modi or recent incidents of violence over food habits, the Bengaluru Declaration has called for all governments in the country to uphold constitutional values and the rule of law. “The State must be unequivocal in its protection of fundamental rights and constitutional values. Irrespective of religious identities or institutional affiliations, the State needs to strictly reassert political and legal accountability for any violence. This is the only way to prevent lynchings and uphold the rule of law,” it said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/resolution-adopted-against-regressive-forces-4764029/

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Opinions and Editorials

India’s Turn Toward Intolerance – Editorial (Jul 17, 2017, New York Times)

Narendra Modi’s landslide victory as prime minister of India in 2014 was borne on his promises to unleash his country’s economic potential and build a bright future while he played down the Hindu nationalist roots of his Bharatiya Janata Party.

But, under Mr. Modi’s leadership, growth has slowed, jobs have not materialized, and what has actually been unleashed is virulent intolerance that threatens the foundation of the secular nation envisioned by its founders.

Since Mr. Modi took office, there has been an alarming rise in mob attacks against people accused of eating beef or abusing cows, an animal held sacred to Hindus. Most of those killed have been Muslims. Mr. Modi spoke out against the killings only last month, not long after his government banned the sale of cows for slaughter, a move suspended by India’s Supreme Court. The ban, enforcing cultural stigma, would have fallen hardest on Muslims and low-caste Hindus traditionally engaged in the meat and leather industry.…

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/17/opinion/indias-turn-toward-intolerance.html

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Muslims Still Consigned to Gujarat’s Slums 15 Years After 2002 Riots – By Rina Chandran (Jul 25, 2017, The Wire)

Shahjahan Bano was a young boy in February 2002, selling vegetables with his mother in a market in Ahmedabad in the western Indian state of Gujarat, when some of the worst communal riots in the country’s history broke out.

For days mobs rampaged the city, burning houses, looting shops, raping women and killing men, women and children. More than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, died in the violence. Bano and his mother, who hid in the market the first night, were taken to a relief camp the next day where other Muslims huddled, awaiting news of their families and homes.…

“As a result, Muslims are confined to the filthiest corners, with no hope of upliftment. Development and progress are for everyone else in the state, but not for Muslims,” he said. The division is so marked that Juhapura, a teeming township in Ahmedabad of about 400,000 people, many who moved there after the 2002 riots, is referred to by local Hindus as “Little Pakistan”. Conditions there and in other Muslim settlements in Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s largest city, are similar: residents lack proper roads, streetlights, adequate drinking water, sewage pipes, and access to public clinics and schools.…

https://thewire.in/161532/muslims-gujarat-riots/

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Why Dina Nath Batra wants Tagore, Urdu, Mughals removed from school books – By Shougat Dasgupta (Jul 24, 2017, Dailyo.in)

Ideological warriors like Dina Nath Batra should have no part to play, no influence to wield in the writing of Indian textbooks or on the content of the national syllabus. As a reporter, I met Batra in 2014 when Penguin India, to general bemusement, agreed to pulp extant copies of scholar Wendy Doniger’s award-winning book The Hindus: An Alternative History.

I went to the school he ran in southwest Delhi and he proved, for the record, to be a genial companion. He is a man of considerable experience and achievement. But he is, without question, a crank.

Our discussion, apart from Batra’s digressions into the existence of nudist colonies in Calfornia, mostly centred around the lack of cultural education imparted to Indian schoolchildren. But no one who is thinking critically would accept Batra’s version of Indian culture and history. His myriad objections to passages in books amount to one overall objective – a desire to eliminate complexity.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/dina-nath-batra-tagore-urdu-remove-school-textbooks-rss/story/1/18562.html

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Ram Nath Kovind’s election was fixed. It brings no honour to India – By Rajeev Dhavan (Jul 23, 2017, Dailyo.in)

No one can seriously claim that India has had a proper presidential election. Ram Nath Kovind’s election was fixed. That brings no honour to a nation that claims to be a democratic republic.

The election was a non-starter because the votes were pre-determined. If Meira Kumar provided a temporal moment which could provide the possibilities of a contested match, it was dashed into the ground by majority politics.…

As things stand, the president has interesting powers. The Constitution gives him the right to access all government information (Article 78), to remand matters (Article 78 (3) and 74 (1)) for reconsideration, especially after post-Emergency changes to the Constitution. He can block President’s Rule and ordinances. He has a role in the appointment of governors. He is not a mere symbol but can be the powerful conscience keeper for the nation. This is why his post is important and should go beyond appointing stooges bereft of dignity.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/ram-nath-kovind-president-presidential-elections-2017-modi-amit-shah/story/1/18536.html

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Trump and Modi’s silence on hate crimes provides shelter for criminals – By Rachana Kamtekar (Jul 17, 2017, TRT World)

…In May the Modi government proposed a nation-wide ban on cow slaughter in deference to extremist Hindu “cow protectors”, despite the fact that Muslims and Christians, and quite a few Hindus and Sikhs besides, might choose to eat beef. Since then India has seen seven lynchings of Muslims on the pretext of beef eating or cow slaughter. One of the bloodiest was the June 22 lynching of fifteen year-old Junaid Khan and his teenage friends as they were heading home on a suburban train from some Delhi Eid shopping.

“Beef-eater!”, “Anti-national!”, “Mullah!”, the twenty-odd assailants taunted the boys as they began slapping them around before stabbing them repeatedly and throwing Junaid onto the platform where he bled to death. India has seen a dozen lynchings of Muslims since the BJP came to power in 2014. Yet the BJP-led government has been silent about them. The Trump regime has also been reticent about condemning the rising tide of anti-Muslim hate crimes in the US (260 since 2015).…

In India, criminalising what Muslims might ordinarily eat – and what they must, for fear of their lives, give up or at least deny eating – doesn’t just license criminals to attack Muslims.…

http://www.trtworld.com/opinion/trump-and-modis-silence-on-hate-crimes-provides-shelter-for-criminals-402668

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Cow Is Mother As Long As It Gives Milk – Editorial (Jul 19, 2017, Nav Hind Times)

…Most lynchings have taken place in the BJP-rules states. There has been a spurt in the number of cases of attacks by the pseudo cow vigilantes over the last two years and scores of cases have been reported in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Jharkhand.

The states did not take the Prime Minister’s first warning seriously. Let us hope that they would act strongly and arrest and prosecute the offenders as well as take steps to prevent lynching of people in the name of cow protection. The Prime Minister’s advice to the states to open dossiers to see how many of the self-proclaimed vigilantes were criminals should be followed.

BJP President Amit Shah recently alleged that there were more lynchings during the UPA regime. It cannot be anybody’s case that violence was not taking place during the Congress-led regime. Lynchings by mobs of criminals are quite a gory, but common phenomenon in India. There have been lynchings of eve teasers and boys in love with a girl whose family did not like him to see her. However, the difference between those lynchings and the lynchings taking place in the BJP-ruled states is that it is being done in the name of Hindu religion.…

http://www.navhindtimes.in/cow-is-mother-as-long-as-it-gives-milk/

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 17th, 2017

by newsdigest on July 28, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Announcements

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Announcements

Indian Americans express outrage over mob lynchings in India through protests across US

Government’s inaction and cruel politics of Hindutva focus of protests; protesters demand immediate action to restore the rule of law

July 16, 2017

The Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA), an umbrella coalition of progressive organizations across the United States and various coalition partners today held protests in three cities across the US, to express their outrage over the growing mob rule against minorities in India and the policies of the government that are emboldening such forces. Protests were held in Washington, DC, San Diego and San Jose. A fourth protest is scheduled to be held in New York City on July 23, 2017.

These protests are similar to the “Not In My Name” protests that have been held across various cities in India. Besides the AJA coalition, the protests in San Jose were jointly organized with the “Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice.” The South Asia Solidarity Initiative (SASI), will be part of the protests in New York City on July 23rd.

The last few years has seen brutal killings of mostly Muslims and Dalits in the name of cow protection, over a dozen of them only since September last year. These killings have been orchestrated by Hindu supremacist groups ideologically aligned with the BJP-led federal government and drawing inspiration from the beef ban imposed by the governments in various states. The increasing hostility towards minorities displayed by even central ministers in the form of incendiary rhetoric has only added fuel to the fire. Since 2010, 97% of beef related violence has taken place after the BJP-led Hindu nationalist government came to power. Since 2015, an increasing number of Muslims have been lynched, hanged or brutalized in the most cruel manner on mere suspicion of possessing or cooking beef.

Protests in San Jose, CA

Protesters carried signs, such as “India – Hostage to Hindutva?” and “Beef Ban is Cultural Fascism.” They came from various communities in the diaspora and were united in their condemnation of the killings and the beef ban.

Protest in downtown San Diego, CA near the USS Midway Museum

“The reign of terror unleashed by Hindu supremacist cow “vigilantes” is clearly targeted at browbeating the nation’s religious minorities into the status of second class citizens,” said Mr. Suhail Syed, one of the organizers of the protests in Washington, DC. “How can the government of India respond so casually to the mob lynchings of Muslims and Dalits?,” asked San Uddin, one of the organizers of the protests in New York. “That shows the killings are not spontaneous but executed with a tacit approval of Hindu supremacists that are an integral part of the ruling party,” added Ms. Sana.

In a recent statement, Amnesty International India expressed deep worry over the “pattern of hate crimes committed against Muslims with seeming impunity – many of them in states where the Bharatiya Janata Party is in power.”

Protest in Washington, DC

In April 2017, a mob beat a 55-year-old Muslim man, Pehlu Khan, to death in Rajasthan after accusing him of transporting cows for slaughter. An exposé by a television news station showed the attackers belonged to the BJP and its affiliates. In a recent killing that shook India, 15-year-old Junaid Khan was stabbed to death on board a train in northern India as he headed home from Eid shopping. While such killings have drawn international condemnation, the suffering of millions who have lost their source of livelihood as a result of the beef ban has not received adequate attention. In a bizarre and shocking expose of the Sangh Parivar’s hypocrisy, the BJP and RSS joined hands to sell beef in Kerala, the very act for which they are enabling the lynching of Muslims.

The Alliance for Justice and Accountability has pledged to work with people of all faiths to defend India from the onslaught of hate and divisiveness.

Contact:
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Email: info@iamc.com
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‘Kill Them. They Are Muslims’: Family of 10 Beaten With Iron Rods Inside Train (Jul 14, 2017, Outlook)

…A Muslim family of 10 including women, children, elders and a handicapped teenager were assaulted and beaten with iron rods and sticks by a mob on Wednesday evening, reports Times Now.

According to the report, the incident took place on the Shikohabad-Kasganj passenger train when the family was on its way back from attending a marriage ceremony. The family was attacked by a mob of 30-35 people who broke down the emergency window of the train and also reportedly hurled abuses at them and screamed ‘Kill them. They are Muslims.’

The family have also alleged the mob of groping the women, tearing their blouses and salwars and snatching their jewelry. An FIR has been lodged under IPC section 395 and based on the video of the incident, special operation group and other police teams have detained three men and are questioning them, the report adds. The incident comes in the wake of growing intolerance and violence towards the Muslim community, amidst the intensified approach by the central government to ban cow slaughter in the country.…

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/kill-them-they-are-muslims-family-of-10-beaten-with-iron-rods-inside-train/299569

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This BJP MLA is threatening to stop Haj pilgrims from UP if Ayodhya temple isn’t built (Jul 13, 2017, India Today)

A BJP MLA from Uttar Pradesh has put up a Facebook video openly saying that he will stop Haj yatris to go on the pilgrimage if the Ram temple is not built in Ayodhya.

BJP MLA Brijbhushan Rajput said, “If our Ram temple is not built then why should they be allowed to go to Haj Yatra? They should also be stopped from going to Haj Yatra. The subsidy should stop”.…

The Charkhari MLA called upon 100 crore Hindus to take a vow to construct Ram temple in Ayodhya. In a fiery speech taken in a moving car, the BJP legislator raised the issue of minority reservation on religious lines for Muslims saying that since Muslims are 20 crore in number they should not be given reservation.…

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/bjp-mla-brijbhushan-rajput-haj-pilgrims-uttar-pradesh-ayodhya-ram-temple/1/1001619.html

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14 years in jail if you kill cow, 2 if you kill people: Judge in BMW case (Jul 16, 2017, Hindustan Times)

When a Delhi judge sentenced the son of a Haryana-based industrialist to two years’ imprisonment on Saturday for mowing down a motorcyclist with his luxury car in 2008, he couldn’t help but observe how present-day laws provide more stringent punishment to perpetrators of cattle-related crimes than errant drivers who take human lives.

“The sentence for killing cow is five, seven or 14 years in different states, but the sentence for causing the death of a human being through rash or negligent driving is only two years,” additional sessions judge Sanjeev Kumar said.

The court held the accused, 30-year-old Utsav Bhasin, guilty of rash driving, voluntarily causing hurt on provocation and causing death by negligence. It also announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the family of the deceased and Rs 2 lakh for the injured.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/14-years-in-jail-if-you-kill-cow-2-years-if-you-kill-people-judge-in-bmw-hit-and-run-case/story-eMqMLutd7oIGUln5pPiM5K.html

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RSS thinker, DU professor booked for inciting violence in Bengal (Jul 18, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The Kolkata Police have registered an FIR against RSS vicharak (thinker) and Delhi University professor Rakesh Sinha for allegedly fanning communal hatred through social media posts on violence that rocked West Bengal’s Basirhat.

Sinha, who often articulates the viewpoint of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Singh, the ideological parent of the BJP, in television debates, has been accused of promoting communal disharmony and attempting to hurt a community’s religious feelings.…

Sinha is the fourth person to faces charges of inciting violence through using social media. Three of them are either from the RSS and or the BJP, which has been accused by chief minister Mamata Banerjee of stoking trouble. BJP’s Asansol district IT cell chief Tarun Sengupta was arrested on July 13, three days after the Kolkata Police booked BJP’s Delhi spokesperson Nupur Sharma for allegedly circulating fake images of Basirhat violence.… Banerjee has accused RSS and BJP supporters of circulating “inflammatory material” on social media to create trouble in Basirhat.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/rss-thinker-du-professor-booked-for-inciting-violence-in-bengal/story-4VGz6RCpCmQbDTWPifhb1N.html

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Gujarat’s Dainik Bhaskar Plays Communal Card in Reporting Amarnath Terror Attack (Jul 13, 2017, Sabrang India)

A report in the July 12 edition of Dainik Bhaskar published from Surat carried this provocative headline: “As Terrorists Fired Bullets at Us, Bystanders were Laughing Gleefully”, completely mis-reporting the incident and the circumstances around the terror attack last Monday.

The news story is in reference to the recent attack on Amarnath pilgrims and the headline translates to “Terrorists were firing at us while bystanders laughed”. The headline is from a quote in the report, from one Rajesh Naval, a resident of Valsad in Gujarat who was apparently on the bus. Naval’s quote is neither prefaced nor followed by any explanation of how or where he spotted shopkeepers laughing at the passengers’ plight while the bus was under attack (all of this while presumably, ducking for cover).

The report also contradicts several accounts in the press of Kashmiris condemning the attacks, helping survivors and vowing not to let terror affect their hospitality or assistance – something even the Home Minister Rajnath Singh has applauded.…

https://sabrangindia.in/article/gujarat%E2%80%99s-dainik-bhaskar-plays-communal-card-reporting-amarnath-terror-attack

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Modi govt planning to replace PTI, UNI with RSS-backed news agency for Prasar Bharati (Jul 16, 2017, South Live)

In what is considered as latest attempt by the government to gain more control over the media and information flow, the BJP government is believed to be mulling to replace subscription of news agencies like the Press Trust of India and United News of India for Prasar Bharati with RSS backed Hindusthan Samachar.

In a most explicit attempt to influence news flow, the Centre has apparently directed the public broadcaster – which runs Doordarshan and All India Radio – to rely the Hindusthan Samachar for basic news.

The information was revealed earlier this week by the former I&B minister and current Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari, who tweeted that his “sources in the ministry” told him that the government has instructed Prasar Bharati to terminate the services of largest, old and most reliable news agencies. Tewari further alleged that “pressure” was being exerted on both the news agencies to provide “slanted” feeds, which, in other words, means news which depicts the government only in a positive light.…

http://en.southlive.in/media/2017/07/16/modi-govt-planning-to-replace-pti-uni-with-rss-backed-news-agency-for-prasar-bharati

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Mamata Banerjee irked over VHP arms training for its women cadres in Assam (Jul 10, 2017, India Today)

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee today hit out against the BJP and the Sangh Parivar for spreading violence across the country. Speaking at a public event in East Midnapore district, Banerjee said organisations like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad were openly giving arms training to its cadres.

Mamata was referring to last week’s VHP camp at Hojai in Nagaon district of Assam where young girls were given rifle training during Praveen Togadia’s visit to the town. The video, accessed by India Today shows around fifty girls of the VHP womens’ wing “Durga Vahini” being trained in the use of rifles at a VHP run “self defence” camp.

“I saw a video clip from Assam where women are being given rifle training by VHP, which is linked to BJP. But can they do this? Are they the army?” Banerjee asked. Banerjee said, right wing groups had tried the same in Bnegal’s Coochbehar district but the state government was alert and did not allow such exercises.…

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/mamata-banerjee-vhp-arms-training-women-cadres-assam/1/998773.html

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Shabnam Hashmi Seeks Probe into Death Threats to Her by a Delhi Cop (Jul 15, 2017, India Tomorrow)

Eminent social activist Shabnam Hashmi has sought a thorough probe into death threats to her allegedly by a Delhi policeman over phone. She has written a letter to the Delhi Police Commissioner and sent its copy to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

“I was directly threatened that I will be killed in an encounter,” Hashmi told reporters at a press conference at the Constitution Club here on Saturday. She informed that a man who claimed to be Sub Inspector Sandip Malik from Lajpat Nagar police Station threatened her over phone Friday night.

The cop told her that there is the new law according to which whoever doesn’t have an Aadhaar card and address proof should be surrounded and killed.… At the press conference, Shabnam released the audio recording of her conversation with the policeman. In the audio, the policeman is clearly heard saying that there was instruction to policemen cornor and kill those who don’t have Aadhaar and address proof.…

http://www.indiatomorrow.net/eng/shabnam-hashmi-seeks-probe-into-death-threats-to-her-by-a-policeman

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Goa BJP vice-president, wife and son booked in dowry case (Jul 13, 2017, The Hindu)

The Panaji Police on Wednesday booked Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) State vice-president Anil Hoble, his wife and son, Milind, for assaulting his daughter in-law and harassing her for dowry.

According to a First Information Report filed at the Women’s Police Station in Panaji following a complaint by the victim’s mother, Suchita Shirodkar, Mr. Hoble and the two others have been booked under Sections 498 (a), 323 (domestic violence causing hurt) 506 (ii) (criminal intention) and Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.

“An FIR has been registered following a complaint by Ms. Shirodkar, who is based in Mumbai. The case is under investigation,” Superintendent of Police(Crime) Karthik Kashyap told The Hindu.… The complainant has alleged that Mr. Hoble and his family had been demanding dowry from her daughter since she married his son, Milind, in 2009.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/goa-bjp-vice-president-wife-and-son-booked-in-dowry-case/article19266968.ece

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Dalit Youth Attacked And Beaten Up By Man Said To Be Bajrang Dal Member (Jul 15, 2017, Huffington Post)

Three men were detained in Mumbai after they allegedly beat up a Dalit youth and hurled invectives at him. One of the men has been identified as Jatin Suraj Singh and claims to be a Bajrang Dal worker. However, the organisation has denied he has links with them.

According to Mumbai Mirror, a 23-year-old man called Pritesh Tribhuvan, a resident of Samrat Ashok Chawl in Ramabai Ambedkar Nag, was riding around on a bike at 11 pm on Wednesday, when Singh, his brothers and a mob of 30 people attacked him. Tribhuvan told Mirror that they insisted that people were only allowed to display the orange Hindutva flag and not the blue Ambedkarite flags.

Mirror reports: “According to the FIR, the Singh brothers have been booked for intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace (Section 504), deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs (295 A), voluntarily causing hurt (323), and under provisions of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015. “…

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2017/07/15/dalit-youth-attacked-and-beaten-up-by-man-said-to-be-bajrang-dal_a_23031132/

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Opinions and Editorials

Firebrand Hindu Cleric Ascends India’s Political Ladder – By Ellen Barry & Suhasini Raj (Jul 12, 2017, New York Times)

…During the first five years after the vigilante group was formed, 22 religious clashes broke out in the districts surrounding Gorakhpur, a city in Uttar Pradesh, in many cases with Adityanath’s encouragement, said Manoj Singh, a journalist. In 2007, Adityanath was arrested as he led a procession toward neighborhoods seething with religious tension.…

For India’s frenetic 24-hour cable television world, Adityanath’s first months as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh were a windfall.… His first orders were unabashedly populist. The police were dispatched in “anti-Romeo squads” to detain youths suspected of harassing women. Inspectors shut down dozens of meat-processing plants, a major source of revenue for area Muslims, for regulatory problems. …

Sonu Yadav, 24, of Gorakhpur, who has served in the group for five years, said he had been disappointed by Mr. Modi’s tenure. “We voted for Modi because Yogi endorsed him, but we are disillusioned,” he said. He went on to refer to the 2002 riots in the state Mr. Modi led, which his critics say he allowed to rage for several days, leading to more than 1,000 deaths. “All of us in our colony felt that Modi would allow us to kill Muslims,” he said. “Muslims were scared. But nothing happened. When Yogi became chief minister, they were scared again.”…

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/12/world/asia/india-yogi-adityanath-bjp-modi.html

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March of Hindu Rashtra – By Venkitesh Ramakrishnan (Jul 21, 2017, Frontline)

…In the past three years, Modi has referred to the barbaric assaults in the name of cow protection only thrice. Each time, the references were made only after public sentiment had built up to such levels that the government’s publicity managers and the BJP leadership realised that further silence would damage the personal and political image of Modi and his government.

Equally significantly, in each of these references there was no specific condemnation of the perpetrators of the attack or specific individual condolences offered to the victims. All the references were essentially rhetorical.…

The proponents of Hindu Rashtra, and those who believe that they are close to establishing it, however, have no faith in the gross pursuit of all happiness in all people’s lives. The series of lynchings and the oppressive social climate imposed on minorities underscore this appalling and calamitous violation of rules and propriety of democratic governance.

http://www.frontline.in/cover-story/march-of-hindu-rashtra/article9748006.ece

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Gujarat, Hindutuva Holy Cows – By Atul Cowshish (Jul 17, 2017, Asian Tribune)

Suman Ghosh, the maker of a documentary on Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen may need to thank Pahlaj Nihalani, chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), for making his work known to a world-wide audience by ordering that six words be beeped out from it. Without it, the documentary, the Argumentative Indian, might not have travelled very far from ‘liberal’ and intellectual audiences.

The documentary is based primarily on a dialogue between Sen, recipient of the Bharat Ratna award, and another eminent economist, Kaushik Basu. Words like ‘Gujarat’, ‘Cow’, ‘Hindu’ and ‘Hindutva view of India’, uttered by the Nobel Laureate, and were considered objectionable by the CBFC. They supposedly show contempt for ‘Indian culture’ and ‘democracy’. They have been found to be insulting to both politicians and religious sentiments. In addition, they also have the potential to disturb communal peace and social harmony, it has been said. Gujarat, of course, is God’s Own Country.

The charge sheet against the documentary film is long but some questions arise straightaway. By suppressing freedom of expression, who, Sen or the CBFC, is endangering ‘democracy’? Nihalani’s appointment as the ‘censor board’ (the name by which CBFC is commonly known) a year ago was seen as a reward for his loyalty to prime minister, Narendra Modi. Nihalani had no hesitation in admitting that he was a big admirer of Modi and his beliefs when perhaps he should have been talking about respecting things like artistic freedom and expression.…

http://www.asiantribune.com/node/90716

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After a Hindu mob lynches a Muslim teenager in India, his family asks, ‘Why are they allergic to us?’ – By Shashank Bengali (Jul 11, 2017, Los Angeles Times)

…The brothers said they were targeted for being Muslim, a large but increasingly beleaguered minority in a country dominated by Hindus and led by a powerful Hindu nationalist party. A mob of passengers called Junaid and his brothers “beef-eaters” – a slur among orthodox Hindus, who regard the cow as sacred.…

The week after Junaid’s stabbing, demonstrators organized vigils in several Indian cities, prompting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare that killing in the name of cows is “unacceptable.” But within hours of Modi’s speech, another Muslim man, a meat trader, was beaten to death in Jharkhand state because of rumors that he was selling beef. India’s nearly 200 million Muslims are finding their status in this country of 1.3 billion ever more precarious.…

Hearing the story of Hashim’s friends, Jalaluddin’s eyes welled. “My sons are scared of even going to the next village,” he said finally. “I can’t understand why the prime minister can’t stop what happened to Junaid, or why he doesn’t want it to stop. We are Muslims born in this land; we have nothing else but this land. Why are they allergic to us?”

http://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-india-lynching-2017-story.html

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What it means to be Muslim in secular India who saw 2002 Gujarat massacre – By Seema Mustafa (Jul 14, 2017, Dailyo.in)

A Facebook post on September 11, 2011 just after Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi decided to sit on a three-day fast for “Peace and Communal Harmony” said: “The Ugly Indian (Modi) who has violated everything that Gandhi tried to stand for is now sitting on a fast! What a laugh, had it not been so pathetic and sinister at the same time. The fast might just about de-toxify his body, but certainly not his soul.”

This was after the Supreme Court had urged the trial courts to take up the petition of Zakia Jafri, the widow of Congress leader Ahsan Jafri who was brutally massacred along with 69 others by rampaging mobs in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002.

The comments came pouring in. From Hindus and Muslims, there was no difference. “I find it disgusting! (him fasting!) – what’s he up to I wonder!” “Pathetic…agree totally with you.” “He has blood on his hands, can never become clean, whatever he may do or whatever he may become.” It did seem that Modi had not been forgiven by secular India, and despite endorsement by communal forces, sections of the media and of course the corporate honchos, he was still not off the hook. Gujarat smashed into secular India.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/2002-gujarat-riots-narendra-modi-hindutva-indian-muslims-secularism/story/1/18379.html

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Fears Around Misuse of Aadhaar by the State Start Coming True – By Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar (Jul 16, 2017, The Wire)

Well-known social activist Shabnam Hashmi held a press conference to say she was threatened on the telephone by a police officer at the Lajpat Nagar police station warning her that the government had launched a ‘surround and eliminate’ campaign against people whose addresses are not known and who do not possess Aadhaar numbers or cards. This is now a standing instruction to all police stations, Hashmi was told.

Moreover, the officer – accused of threatening and abusing Hashmi when she called him on the night of July 14 to know why the husband of a woman, who learns stitching at a training centre run by the NGO Pehchan at Jaitpur in south-east Delhi, had been summoned at a late hour – insisted that police personnel were well within their rights to act in this way.

The police may brush aside this assertion as the concerned officer’s personal opinion, or they may deny the veracity of the conversation, which Hashmi recorded and shared with the media; but she and other anti-Aadhaar activists say the interaction raises questions about the consequences – intended or unintended – of the Centre’s stress on making Aadhaar mandatory for the personal liberty and civil rights of ordinary residents. Many Aadhaar critics have, in the past, expressed the fear that the irresponsible use or misuse of Aadhaar could lead to India becoming a ‘surveillance state’ or ‘police state’ by placing enormous discretionary powers in the hands of unscrupulous state officials.…

https://thewire.in/158107/fear-around-misuse-of-aadhar-by-the-state-coming-true/

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Book Review

The Political Economy of Beef Ban

Author: Binu Mathew
Reviewed by: Binu Mathew
Available at: Peoples Book Shop, KH3/13/404, Sector 17, Kharghar 410210 India +91 9004308889 mail@peoplesbookshop.com. http://peoplesbookshop.com/
Review:
Indian Fascism: Radicalization or Entropy? The Choice Is Ours! (Jul 13, 2017, Countercurrents)

The second book from Countercurrents.org publishing is out. It is a book on the cow politics in India and the resultant lynchings that’s happening around the country. It is titled “The Political Economy Of Beef Ban”.

This volume contains 57 articles on beef and the politics around it, how it has affected the social fabric of India and the people, their lives and economy.

It highlights the idea of India, the constitutional India and how the nation is turning to a fascist regime.…

<ahref=”https: www.countercurrents.org=”” 2017=”” 07=”” 13=”” indian-fascism-radicalization-or-entropy-the-choice-is-ours=”” “=””>https://www.countercurrents.org/2017/07/13/indian-fascism-radicalization-or-entropy-the-choice-is-ours/

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Indian Americans express outrage over mob lynchings in India through protests across US

July 17, 2017

Government’s inaction and cruel politics of Hindutva focus of protests; protesters demand immediate action to restore the rule of law July 16, 2017 The Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA), an umbrella coalition of progressive organizations across the United States and various coalition partners today held protests in three cities across the US, to express […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 3rd, 2017

July 15, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines When mob frenzy becomes irrational, we have to pause and reflect: President Mukherjee on lynchings BJP leader arrested in Muslim trader’s lynching case; prime accused surrenders Protesters across India hit the streets, say outraged over attacks on human life Centre’s cattle slaughter restrictions violates fundamental rights, says […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 26th, 2017

July 5, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines ‘How could they hate us so much’: Family in shock after 16-year-old Muslim boy stabbed to death on train Man lynched in Rajasthan: Eyewitnesses say govt officials yelled ‘kill him’ Talk to Modi on Human Rights Violations: Dutch Parliamentarians, India Committee of the Netherlands ‘They want to […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 12th, 2017

June 28, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Holy month of Ramzan makes the Hindu-Muslim bond stronger in Old Delhi News Headlines Jharkhand: Muslim man attacked by irate mob for taking ‘beef’ to Iftar party Meghalaya Assembly demands withdrawal of cattle slaughter rules Two ‘Sangh Supporters’ Held for Disrupting Sitaram Yechury’s Press Conference Amit Shah […]

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