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Muzaffarnagar riots

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 18th, 2017

by newsdigest on December 26, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Essay competition for students on communal harmony takes a back seat (Dec 13, 2017, Hindustan Times)

As the debate on nationalism and patriotism continues to dominate public discourse, an initiative by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government to promote communal harmony and national integration appears to have taken a back seat.

In 1998, the Vajpayee government had introduced a scheme under which essay competitions on themes of secularism, communal harmony, and national integration were to be organised every year in educational institutions across the country.

After a panel of judges selects the best three essays in their schools or colleges/universities, the internal security division of the ministry of home affairs (MHA) releases funds to be distributed among students for their prize-winning essays. However, 2017 became the third year in a row when the Centre did not release any funds due to “poor response” from states.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/essay-competition-for-students-on-communal-harmony-takes-a-back-seat/story-xgLXmKPICD2CgIuCkp8mlL.html

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BJP Wins Gujarat With Smallest Margin In 22 Years (Dec 18, 2017, India Spend)

For the sixth time in a row, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has won the Gujarat state assembly elections by a margin of 22 seats, down from 54 seats or a 59% drop from five years ago. The BJP won 99 of 182 seats–the least it has since it first came to power in 1995 with 121 seats, showed an IndiaSpend analysis of election data of the last 22 years.

Though the Congress is now in the opposition for another term, the party has made significant gains, garnering 77 seats–the most it has in 22 years since it won 45 seats in 1995, an analysis of election data showed.

On December 15, 2017, BJP party president Amit Shah had predicted that BJP would win 150 seats by 11 am on the day of the results. At 5.22 pm today, the BJP had won 84 seats with leads to win 15 more, election data showed. Since the BJP first came to power in Gujarat in 1995, state elections have mainly been a two-party battle that it fights with the Congress. The former has consistently won a majority of the seats and bagged most of the vote share.…

http://www.indiaspend.com/cover-story/bjp-wins-gujarat-with-smallest-margin-in-22-years-14817

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Hindu man raised £3,500 after video of him ‘murdering a Muslim man’ went viral (Dec 14, 2017, The Telegraph)

Police in India’s western Rajasthan state have frozen the bank account of a Hindu zealot who received public donations of around £3,500 days after he is alleged to have brutally murdered a Muslim labourer, burnt his body and circulated videos of the incident on social media.

Police officials said Shambhulal Regar, a resident of Rajasamand, 208 miles southeast of the state capital Jaipur, had received this money from some 516 ‘sympathisers’ in an account being operated by his wife Sita Regar.

Two local businessmen were arrested on Wednesday for running the WhatsApp campaign seeking to raise money for Mr Regar, who was arrested on 6 December, accused of viciously killing migrant labourer Mohammad Afrazul.…

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/14/hindu-man-raised-3500-video-murdering-muslim-man-went-viral/

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Rajasthan HC sets guidelines to check ‘forced conversion of religion’ (Dec 16, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The Rajasthan high court on Friday ruled that anyone wanting to change their religion would have their name put up on a government notice board for a week and people would be allowed to file objections before permission was granted. The court did not specify who was eligible to object.

The decision was part of a set of guidelines issued by the court to check what it called the “forcible conversion of religion”. The court also said that any conversion or inter-faith marriage that did not adhere to the directives could be struck down if challenged.

The guidelines came in the wake of a Rajasthan government plea to clarify the legal status of religious conversions and inter-faith marriages.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/rajasthan-hc-sets-guidelines-to-check-forced-conversion-of-religion-in-marriages/story-IeMamuQo7bEVoyAnBTZ27J.html

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Muzaffarnagar riots: Non-bailable warrants against ex-Union Minister, BJP MP and MLA (Dec 17, 2017, DNA India)

A former Union minister, BJP MP and MLA are among 15 accused who have been issued non-bailable warrants (NBWs) by a Court in connection with 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots in which about 62 people, including 42 Muslims were killed.

The BJP MP Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, who was former Union Minister for State for Agriculture and Food Processing and later moved to MoS for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation is among the accused who have been issued NBWs by a Muzffarnagar Court.

Prominent among others included BJP MP from Bijnore Kunwar Bhartendu Singh, BJP MLA from Budhana Umesh Malik, Sadhvi Prachi etc. Taking a serious view of their non-appearance in person, the Court has issued NBWs against them. The court has fixed January 19 as the next date for hearing the case.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-muzaffarnagar-riots-non-bailable-warrants-against-ex-union-minister-bjp-mp-and-mla-2568296

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Film ‘inspired’ by Muzaffarnagar riots: Govt against screening in five districts, says producer (Dec 1, 2017, Indian Express)

The movie Muzaffarnagar – The Burning Love is not being screened in the five western UP districts of Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Bijnor, Saharanpur and Baghpat. Except Bijnor, all these districts were affected by the 2013 riots, to which the film reportedly refers.

While film producer Manoj Kumar Mandi accused the district administrations of ordering theatre owners not to screen the movie, officials denied the same. However, a single-screen theatre owner in Muzaffarnagar claimed they have received an oral directive from the district administrations not to run the film until urban local body polls, beginning November 22, are concluded.

“It is a commercial film inspired by the 2013 riots. Officials in the Muzaffarnagar administration had seen the film and found nothing objectionable,” said Mandi. “An unwritten directive has been sent to cinema hall owners from the administrations of Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Bijnor, Saharanpur and Baghpat districts not to run the film,” he alleged.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/film-inspired-by-muzaffarnagar-riots-uttar-pradesh-govt-against-screening-in-five-districts-says-producer-4947169/

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BSP Corporator Booked After Taking Oath in Urdu, But No Action Against BJP Leaders Who Allegedly Beat Him (Dec 15, 2017, The Wire)

The lone Bahujan Samaj Party corporator in the Aligarh Municipal Corporation, Musharraf Hussain, has been booked for trying to ‘hurt religious sentiments’ after he decided to take his oath of office in Urdu.

The case was registered under Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at the Bannadevi police station last night, based on a complaint filed by BJP corporator Pushpendra Singh, police station in-charge Jitendra Dikshit said. IPC Section 295A pertains to deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.

However, police are yet to register a case based on a complaint filed by Hussain, who alleged that he was beaten up on the day of the oath-taking ceremony. Dikshit said they were looking into Hussain’s complaint.…

https://thewire.in/205131/bsp-corporator-booked-after-taking-oath-in-urdu-but-no-action-against-bjp-leaders-who-allegedly-beat-him/

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Malegaon blasts: Bombay HC rejects Purohit’s challenge to prosecution under UAPA (Dec 19, 2017, One India)

The Bombay High Court has rejected petitions filed by Lt Col Purohit and Sameer Kulkarni challenging the sanction for prosecution granted under the UAPA in the Malegaon blasts case of 2008.

The duo challenged the sanction for prosecution granted by the Maharashtra government under the UAPA. They contended that the sanction for prosecution was given without the appointment of an appropriate authority.

The sanction was given by the state law and judiciary department in the case without having received a report from the appropriate authority, they argued.… The National Investigation Agency, however, objected to the petition and said that the same is not maintainable. The agency said that the same contention was raised in the trial court…. The court accepted the contention of the NIA and rejected the petitions.

https://www.oneindia.com/india/malegaon-blasts-bombay-hc-rejects-purohits-challenge-to-prosecution-under-uapa-2604894.html

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Why is a new law needed for triple talaq, asks WCD Ministry (Dec 17, 2017, Indian Express)

The Ministry of Women and Child Development is learnt to have expressed certain reservations about the triple talaq Bill before the union cabinet approved it on Friday.

The proposed Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill criminalises talaq-e-biddat (instant triple talaq) and proposes a three-year jail term for a Muslim man who divorces his wife in this way. A copy of the draft Bill was circulated among the concerned ministries. While most ministries concurred, the WCD Ministry dissented on some issues.

The WCD Ministry questioned the need for separate legislation, arguing that divorce by triple talaq amounted to cruelty and hence, fell within the purview of Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code.… The WCD Ministry also flagged the issues of payment of maintenance, and the custody of children. The proposed Bill provides for maintenance to be paid to the wife through a magistrate, and for her to get custody of the couple’s child. Both of these provisions would legitimise the talaq, the WCD Ministry argued.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/why-is-a-new-law-needed-for-triple-talaq-asked-wcd-ministry-4986137/

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Police detain carol-singing group in Madhya Pradesh’s Satna (Dec 15, 2017, The Hindu)

The Satna Police late on Thursday evening detained a group of priests and seminarians conducting “routine” carol singing during the Christmas season, alleging a conversion bid.

According to the police, they detained some people on the basis of a complaint lodged by 21-year-old Dharmedra Dohar, resident of village Bhumkahar. In his complaint, Mr. Dohar alleged that some people were appealing to him to convert to Christianity.

A statement from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) expressed concern over the incident, adding that vehicles of priests were also torched by “goons”.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/police-detain-carol-singing-group-in-madhya-pradeshs-satna/article21716250.ece

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Dowry Death Social Crime, Can’t Convict Husband Without Proof: Court (Dec 4, 2017, News18.com)

It is a heinous crime to hang one’s wife to death but a husband cannot be convicted without any reliable evidence, a Delhi court has said while acquitting a man and his family members in a murder and dowry death case.

The court freed the man, his father and two sisters, all residents of east Delhi, saying there was no cogent evidence that the woman was subjected to cruelty or harassment for demand of dowry.…

The court absolved the four accused of the charges under sections 304B (dowry death), 498A (subjecting woman to harassment by husband and in-laws), 302 (murder) and 34(common intention) of the IPC. The court said prosecution has failed to prove its case against the accused beyond reasonable doubt, benefit of which must go in favour of the accused.…

http://www.news18.com/news/india/dowry-death-social-crime-cant-convict-husband-without-proof-court-1319047.html

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Opinions and Editorials

A Dangerous Turn – Editorial (Dec 16, 2017, EPW)

Politicians are not expected to tell the truth during elections. In fact, bombast, hyperbole and plain old lies have become the sum and substance of electioneering. But when a politician is also the Prime Minister, you could not be faulted for expecting something a little better. For Indians, that expectation was shattered last week with the utterances of Narendra Modi on 10 December at Banaskantha in Gujarat.

Even going by the standards of theatrics and exaggerated rhetoric that Modi has established as his inimitable style, his speech on that day surpassed all limits of decorum expected of an elected head of state. In plain words, Modi accused a former Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, a former Vice President, Mohammad Hamid Ansari, and a former Army Chief, Deepak Kapoor, of treason. In what would appear a flight of fancy, but in fact is a calculated move to communalise the last phase of campaigning in the closely fought Gujarat election, Modi accused them of secretly plotting with the “enemy,” namely Pakistan, to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat and install a Muslim, Ahmed Patel of the Congress, as the chief minister.…

Even if no one believes what Modi said, it is the random association of Pakistan, Congress and Muslim that is at the heart of this preposterous lie. And that is where the danger lies.…There is more to worry in the way the Gujarat election campaign was conducted. With every succeeding state election, what is also evident is the manner in which the personality cult around Modi is being built.… What has also become evident by the depths to which Modi’s election rhetoric has sunk in this Gujarat campaign, is that vikas was and will remain a front to sell Hindutva. All the talk about development for all has finally boiled down to grand and dramatic gestures.…

http://www.epw.in/journal/2017/50/editorials/dangerous-turn.html

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Win without the shine: on BJP’s win in Gujarat and Himachal – Editorial (Dec 19, 2017, The Hindu)

If winning were the only thing, then the BJP has plenty to cheer about in Gujarat, where it recorded a sixth straight victory in what was practically a straight fight with its principal rival, the Congress. Together, with a comfortable win in Himachal Pradesh, this may, on the face of it, seem like another step towards its stated goal of a “Congress-mukth Bharat”.

But, no. Whatever the BJP leaders may say, the victory – by an extremely slim majority and well short of the 150-plus seats it aimed to win – is a setback. After all, Narendra Modi’s home State was the centrepiece of the BJP’s campaign in the last Lok Sabha election, where it was sold to the rest of India as the model for development. If Gujarat was the launch pad for the BJP’s national-level ambitions, it now seems to have held out a ray of hope for a Congress desperately looking to revive its political fortunes.

Not having won in the State since 1985, the Congress put up its best showing in 32 years. Admittedly, the BJP was ahead by almost eight percentage points, but at the end of the day – thanks largely to the swing towards the Congress in the Saurashtra region – only about 20 seats separated the two parties.…

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/win-without-the-shine/article21865064.ece

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Citizen Shambhulal Is the New Face of Hindutva – By Shiv Visvanathan (Dec 13, 2017, The Wire)

https://thewire.in/204622/citizen-shambhulal-new-face-hindutva/

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What Communalism in Gujarat Looks Like – By Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta (Dec 12, 2017, The Wire)

As Manik Bhai, a travel agent and a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, came out of the party’s booth-level meeting in Ahmedabad’s Ellis Bridge area on November 21, he had a clear plan. “Logon ko batana hai ki har Muslim is taak mein baitha hai ki Congress ki sarkaar aaye aur woh dangon ka badla le sake (We have to tell people that Muslims are waiting for a Congress government in the state to get their revenge for the 2002 riots),” he said with palpable assurance.

Is this true? Why would Muslims unnecessarily disrupt peace? “The party has information and we go by it. We know Muslims harbour an inherent dislike for the Hindus,” he said. The conversation was a trigger for Manik Bhai to continue talking – and gradually but excitedly he revealed his sentiments.…

While the BJP has tried to cement prejudices against Muslims, the Congress has been trying to puncture the narrative, although only indirectly. “Why is Gujarat ranked third in women trafficking, fifth in acid attacks and tenth in the rape of minor girls… Why are the two most important cities, Ahmedabad and Surat, ranked among the top ten in crime against women in India?” Congress president Rahul Gandhi claimed in a tweet.…

https://thewire.in/204081/gujarat-elections-communalism/

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Divorce as crime: on instant triple talaq – Editorial (Dec 18, 2017, The Hindu)

The Centre’s proposal to make instant triple talaq an offence punishable with three-year imprisonment and a fine is an unnecessary attempt to convert a civil wrong into a criminal act.…

Instant triple talaq is viewed as sinful and improper by a large section of the community itself. Therefore, there can be no dispute about the need to protect Muslim women against the practice. But it is also well established that criminalising something does not have any deterrent effect on its practice.…

Regardless of whether instant talaq would fall under any of these forms of cruelty or domestic violence, criminalising it risks defeating the objective of preserving the husband’s legal obligations, and the payment of maintenance. The Centre would do well to reconsider its draft and limit its scope to providing relief to women, instead of creating a new offence out of a civil matter.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/divorce-as-crime-on-instant-triple-talaq/article21827644.ece

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Aadhaar and Food Security in Jharkhand – Pain without Gain? – By Jean Dreze & Others (Dec 16, 2017, EPW)

The public distribution system (PDS) plays an important role in the lives of poor people in Jharkhand. They tend to keep their ration cards safely, go to the ration shop every month without fail, and get angry when the local PDS dealer cheats them. The reason is not difficult to understand: in their fragile and uncertain lives, the PDS provides a modicum of food and economic security.

This is a relatively new development. As recently as 10 years ago, the bulk of PDS foodgrain in Jharkhand was siphoned off by corrupt dealers and sold in the open market. Further, the issue price was not much below the market price, so that, PDS rations had little value even for those who could buy them. It took a series of PDS reforms, recently intensified with the roll-out of the National Food Security Act (NFSA) 2013, to address this situation and put the system on a better footing.

The latest move, however, carries some dangers. We are referring to the imposition of Aadhaar-based biometric authentication (ABBA) on the PDS. This new system was first introduced in Ormanjhi block of Ranchi district a few years ago, and then extended to other parts of Ranchi district, where it is mandatory since August 2016: no authentication, no food. From then on, ABBA was gradually extended to other districts of Jharkhand.…

http://www.epw.in/system/files/pdf/2017_52/50/SA_LII_50_161217_Jean_Dr%C3%A8ze.pdf

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 11th, 2017

by newsdigest on October 8, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

BJP MLA Jeevaraj says Gauri Lankesh would’ve been alive if she had not written against RSS (Sep 8, 2017, Free Press Journal)

D.N. Jeevaraj, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Karnataka, has suggested that senior journalist Gauri Lankesh would have been alive if she had not spoken against Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

In a video going viral, Sringeri BJP MLA D.N. Jeevaraj made a statement saying, “If she had not written ‘chaddis’ maaranahoma’ (Death of RSS) in her paper that day, would she still be alive today?” Jeevaraj made the statement in reference to an article written by Lankesh titled, ‘Chaddigala Maaranahoma’ meaning ‘Death of the RSS’.

The BJP MLA added, “Gauri Lankesh used harsh words against the RSS workers, and I respect that. But that might have been the reason for her death.” The statement from the BJP MLA has stirred a new wave of controversy, while reports of a complaint being filed against the MLA have also surfaced.…

http://www.freepressjournal.in/india/bjp-mla-d-n-jeevaraj-says-gauri-lankesh-wouldve-been-alive-if-she-had-not-written-against-rss/1133832

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Probe finds clues that point to link between Gauri Lankesh, M M Kalburgi killing (Sep 12, 2017, Indian Express)

Investigations have revealed that the “mechanics of the crime” in the September 5 killing of journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh, 55, by an unidentified gunman is identical to that of the August 30, 2015 murder of Kannada literary scholar M M Kalburgi in Dharwad in north Karnataka.

More than one official familiar with the probe into Lankesh’s killing said that although the investigation remained open in terms of tracking down the killers – and formal forensics and ballistics reports are awaited – there has been a “significant finding” that suggests a link between the killings of Kalburgi and Lankesh.

While an official declined to give details, he said that this finding goes beyond just the speculation so far that both the deaths involved a similar type of weapon. In fact, Karnataka Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy had said on Saturday that the SIT set up to probe the murder had obtained important clues. Senior police sources have, over the last couple of days, said that they are “very sure” that the killings in Karnataka are linked to each other along with two murders in Maharashtra.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/probe-finds-clues-that-point-to-link-between-gauri-lankesh-m-m-kalburgi-killing-4839283/

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Prime Minister Modi’s ‘New India’ About Silencing Dissent, Says Congress (Sep 6, 2017, NDTV)

Condemning the murder of senior journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh, the Congress on Wednesday said “muzzling the voice of ordinary citizens and silencing dissent” is the slogan of ‘New India’ under the Narendra Modi government.

The party said “India is in the throes of a violent clash” between advocates of freedom of speech and the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is determined to “silence dissent and throttle democracy”.

It also said gagging media and often subjecting them through torture is often a sign of dictatorial regimes. “The shocking murder of senior journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh is a grim reminder of the times we live in. This mindless and cowardly assassination has not only shaken our conscience but is also an extremely sad moment for our democracy,” said Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi.…

http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/pm-modis-new-india-about-silencing-dissent-says-congress-1746856

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Pray to stay alive, Hindu outfit leader tells secular writers in Kerala (Sep 11, 2017, Indian Express)

Kerala Hindu Aikya Vedi state president K P Sasikala Teacher has advised “secular writers in the state to do mrityunjaya homam (held to avoid untimely death)” otherwise they could also become victims like Gauri Lankesh. The Vedi is a platform of various pro-Sangh Parivar outfits.…

On Sunday, Congress state vice-president and legislator V D Satheesan complained to the Kerala police chief, demanding that a case be registered against Sasikala. “Her challenge is not only to secular writers in Kerala, but to the very secular values of the country,” Satheesan said.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said: “This kind of tendency would upset our society.” BJP state spokesman M S Kumar said he did not know “under which circumstances” she has spoken, and hence, it would be “immature to react at this stage”.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/pray-to-stay-alive-hindu-outfit-leader-tells-secular-writers-in-kerala-4837691/

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M’nagar riots: Court charges BJP MLA, 27 others with attempt to murder (Sep 8, 2017, Times of India)

As many as 28 people, including ruling BJP’s MLA Vikram Saini, were charged with attempt to murder by a court in Muzaffarnagar for their role in Kawal violence of 2013, which had triggered widespread communal clashes in the district and led to the death of 50 people and displacement of over 50,000.

Additional district and sessions judge Himanshu Bhatnagar framed the charges under various sections of IPC, including 307 (attempt to murder) against the Khatauli legislator and 27 others on Thursday.

The next hearing in the case has been fixed for October 5. The case was registered against 28 people of both the communities at Jansath police station of Muzaffarnagar in 2013.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/60430282.cms

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Bombs Recovered from RSS-controlled Temple Premises in Kannur, Kerala (Sep 8, 2017, News Click)

Seven high-explosive steel bombs have been recovered from a Rashtriya Swayamvsevak Sangh (RSS) local centre at Keezhur in Kannur district of Kerala. The bombs were found in buckets covered with sacks, near the Vaireeghaathakan Bhagavathi temple at Kottathe Kunnu locality, Punnad in Keezhur-Chavassery panchayat. Local sources who talked to Newsclick said that the temple is managed by the RSS.…

On examination, it was discovered that the bombs were made recently. Last year in August in the run-up to Sri Krishna Jayanti celebrations, Deekshith, an RSS worker, had been killed while manufacturing crude bombs at Thalassery in Kannur district. The police had recovered a big cache of weapons from his house.… Several incidents of RSS workers being killed or being caught while making bombs in the run-up to religious festivals have occurred in the recent years.

Temples with managing committees led by the RSS are often used by the Hindutva outfit as centres for arms training and ideological propaganda. Political observers say that the attempt of the RSS has been to foment communal tension by indulging in acts of violence and then blaming it on people belonging to minority communities.…

https://www.newsclick.in/bombs-recovered-rss-controlled-temple-premises-kannur-kerala

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Illegal explosive factory discovered inside Dera headquarters on day 2 of search operation, gets sealed (Sep 9, 2017, Indian Express)

The search team comprising of Haryana police officials, paramilitary forces and the army, discovered an illegal explosives factory inside the 700-acre Dera Sacha Sauda complex in Sirsa district on the second day of the operation.

Speaking to reporters, Deputy Director of Haryana PR Department, Satish Mehra said the illegal factory was shut down on discovery. “Illegal explosives factory inside Dera Sacha Sauda premises sealed. Explosives and fire crackers were seized,” Mehra said. Later on in the day, Mehra said that a window-like path leading from Dera Awas to Sadhvi Niwas was found inside the complex. “We found a window-like path leading from Dera Awas to Sadhvi Niwas. Team is investigating the same,” he said.

The search operation continued on Saturday amid heavy security stationed at Satnam Chowk and other nearby areas. On Friday, the search teams had discovered plastic cash tokens which were used as a “parallel currency”, along with unlabeled Ayurvedic medicines, an OB van and a luxury vehicle estimated to be around Rs 1 crore inside the Dera headquarters in Sirsa. According to sources, around Rs 12000 in cash, along with computers and hard drives were also confiscated by the police. The teams also found Rs 7000 demonetised currency.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/dera-sacha-sauda-headquarters-search-operation-sirsa-explosive-factory-sealed-ram-rahim-singh-4835405/

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Asaram, Gurmeet Ram Rahim on fake baba list: Meet the 14 faces Hindu sadhus want boycotted (Sep 11, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Prompted by recent controversies surrounding self-styled godmen, the apex body of Hindu sadhus – the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad – has released a list of 14 ‘fake babas’ and demanded a crackdown on “rootless cult leaders” by bringing in a legislation.

Giving out the list, the parishad’s president Swami Narendra Giri said: “We appeal to even the common people to beware of such charlatans who belong to no tradition and by their questionable acts, bring disrepute to sadhus and sanyasis.”

The 76-year-old white-bearded man was arrested in 2013 after a teenage devotee accused him of raping her at a religious event. Another female follower later also accused him of rape. He has been in jail since 2013 on charges of rape and criminal intimidation. Yet Asaram continues to have thousands of supporters flock to court when he appears for hearings. Several local newspapers have reported on the mysterious killings of three witnesses in the criminal cases he faces.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/asaram-gurmeet-ram-rahim-on-fake-baba-list-meet-the-14-faces-hindu-sadhus-want-boycotted/story-JYEQQkSYOOBFFQzKfbD7UP.html

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Government Bans Internet in Sikar as Massive Farmers’ Protests Rock Rajasthan (Sep 11, 2017, News Click)

Internet services were blocked in Sikar district of Rajasthan on Monday, September 11, as thousands of farmers took to the streets in protest for remunerative crop prices, complete loan waiver and other demands.

The farmers’ agitation reached its eleventh day, after the All India Kisan Sabha gave a call on September 1 for a massive indefinite mahapadav (gherao) of District Collectorates in Rajasthan. The All India Kisan Sabha had called for a state-wide bandh (shutdown) to be observed on September 11.

The bandh was strictly observed in Sikar district. A Newsclick correspondent currently in Sikar reports that more than 300 points across the district were blocked and fiercely guarded by women farmers holding an agricultural tool called ‘jeli’ as weapons.…

https://www.newsclick.in/government-bans-internet-sikar-massive-farmers-protests-rock-rajasthan

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Karnataka’s well of shame: Upper caste man mixes endosulfan in water to kill Dalits (Sep 5, 2017, IB Times)

In a remote village in Karnataka, where untouchability is a reality for Dalits, the scare of death looming over their heads has become a new matter of concern. An upper caste person reportedly tried to kill Dalits of Channur village, located about 640 km from Bengaluru in Kalaburgi district, by mixing endosulfan into the water in an open well, according to the Times of India.

The well, which is 200 metres from the village, is the only source of drinking water for Dalit families. The seven other wells in the village are allegedly used by the upper caste families.

Four years ago, Gollalappa Kallappagouda Kukanur had leased his farmland to a Dalit. A pump was fixed in the well to draw water and supply it to the Dalits colonies. For four years, Gollalappa did not allow Dalits to draw water from the well.…

http://www.ibtimes.co.in/karnatakas-well-shame-upper-caste-man-mixes-endosulfan-water-kill-dalits-740918

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Opinions and Editorials

The Murder of an Indian Journalist – Editorial (Sep 7, 2017, New York Times)

The murder on Tuesday of the Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh, a fearless critic of rising Hindu-nationalist militancy, has all the hallmarks of a hit job.…

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has let a climate of mob rule flourish in India, with his right-wing Hindu supporters vilifying “secularists.” The venom that reactionary social media trolls direct at journalists, or “presstitutes” as they call them, is especially vicious… Ms. Lankesh’s murder shocked India’s news media and set off protest marches in several Indian cities.…

Ms. Lankesh had voiced concern about the climate of menace against journalists who didn’t toe the Hindu-nationalist line. If Mr. Modi doesn’t condemn her murder forcefully and denounce the harassment and threats that critics of Hindu militancy face daily, more critics will live in fear of deadly reprisal and Indian democracy will see dark days.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/07/opinion/murder-indian-journalist.html

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‘Hindutva’ has a long tradition of celebrating the ‘vadh’ of opponents – By Shamsul Islam (Sep 8, 2017, National Herald)

The Information and Technology minister in Narendra Modi’s Cabinet, Ravi Shankar Prasad, a seasoned RSS follower, slammed online trolls for expressing their happiness over the killing of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh. On Twitter, Prasad expressed his anger against those who were celebrating Lankesh’s killing.…

That was very kind of this minister! But Ravi Shankar Prasad must be specific as to who he is advising. Those trolls celebrating the ‘vadh’ of Gauri Lankesh on social media and elsewhere are hardened Hindutva practitioners who are for turning the democratic-secular India into a ‘Hindu’ Pakistan. In fact, it has been an old practice of Hindutva practitioners to celebrate the killing of opponents as ‘vadh’. They did it after the killings of Narender Dhabolkar, Govind Pansare and Professor MM Kalburgi too.

Not only this, they exhibited the same sadistic tendencies in the wake of assassination of Mahatma Gandhi by ‘Hindu nationalists’. This twisted practice was first brought to notice by the first Home Minister of India, Sardar Patel. Patel, in a letter dated September 11, 1948, to RSS head MS Golwalkar wrote: “The RSS men expressed joy and distributed sweets after Gandhiji’s death.”…

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/national/celebrating-the-vadh-of-opponents-has-a-long-tradition-in-hindutva

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Cow vigilantism: SC rap must shame states into tackling the menace – Editorial (Sep 8, 2017, Hindustan Times)

India has been on the boil over cow vigilantism for some time now. Taking note of the disturbing climate in the country, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked state governments to appoint in every district a senior police officer whose job will be to stop violence in the name of cow protection.

Proposing measures to stem what it called growing violence by so-called cow protection groups, the SC said the nodal officers would have to ensure that vigilantes did not become a law unto themselves. States have a week to comply with the court’s order.

The focus on cow protection, especially by vigilante groups, has risen since the BJP-led government took power in 2014, and several states ruled by the party made laws to punish cow slaughter. Emboldened by the State’s lack of will to tackle them, these vigilantes have targeted cattle and meat traders, transporters and even farmers walking with their cattle. Along with deaths and injuries, such attacks have played havoc with the rural economy.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/editorials/cow-vigilantism-sc-rap-must-shame-states-into-tackling-the-menace/story-gGoIxpOfZL4BSOtd9Pk46M.html

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Those Who Breed Hate Are Now Doing So With Impunity – By Ashish Khetan (Sep 6, 2017, The Wire)

In July 2016, I received an anonymous mail that told me that I had “crossed all limits when I abused Sanatan Sanstha and well respected Hindus. You conspired to defame Sanatan and asked for banning it. It’s time to give a hisaab of all your filthy activities.” After a long rant about my “sins” which included my testimony as a prosecution witness in the Naroda Patiya and Gulberg Society cases, the letter concluded with these words: “As you can see, we know where you live and what you are upto. Get ready to meet the same fate as Dabholkar and Pansare.”

On receiving this threat, I complained to the Delhi police but they didn’t respond and I subsequently forgot all about it. In May 2017, a year later, I received another threatening letter, written in Hindi, claiming that my death was imminent.…

The CBI raid on Sanatan Sanstha’s offices in Maharashtra led to the discovery of a hit list with names of many journalists and activists. But there was no follow up by the agencies. Several members of Sanatan Sanstha, who are suspected to be involved in bomb blasts in Goa and Maharashtra and murder cases like that of Dabholkar and Pansare, have been on the run for a decade. The bomb makers of the Malegaon and Hyderabad Mecca Masjid blasts have not been caught for ten years.… The UPA may have been incompetent but was not ideologically aligned with these groups. The present regime draws support from these groups.…

https://thewire.in/174728/gauri-lankesh-hindutva-right/

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Whither India: Good terrorism of December 1992 vs. Bad terrorism of January 1993 at Bombay – By Shamsul Islam (Sep 9, 2017, Milli Gazette)

With the announcement of the quantum of punishment to the perpetrators of January 1993 serial blasts in Bombay by Judge GA Sanap of the special Terrorism and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act [TADA] court on September 7, 2017, probably, the longest terror case trial in India came to a close. In the first phase of this trial, Judge PD Kode of Special TADA Court had sentenced 12 convicts to death and 20 to life terms on September 12, 2006. With the latest judgment, 100 of the 123 accused have been punished.

WELL-DONE! The Muslim terrorists who killed 257 and maimed hundreds of innocent residents of Bombay in January 1993 have been punished. Many of them have been sent to the gallows, awarded life or long jail sentences. But what about those terrorists who butchered 575 and maimed hundreds of people of the minority in December 1992 in the same city? In fact, some of the instigators later occupied high constitutional offices in democratic-secular India. This is true of “Khalistani terrorists” also. They were hanged or killed on roads but for the 1984 massacre of Sikhs, the Indian State is yet to conclude its process of finding the real culprits.

Sadly, with regards to communal and caste violence, India has two kinds of laws, one for minority/Dalits and the other for majority/high castes. Whenever the former suffer, the Indian State plays a game of forming COMISSIONS after COMMISSIONS to ensure that the heinous crimes against minorities and Dalits disappear from the public memory. In this regard the 1992-93 Bombay violence can be an interesting case for study. But if violence is believed to be perpetrated by minorities/Dalits, the punishment is instant. This latest judgment ensures punishment for January 1993 perpetrators but despite Justice BN Srikrishna Commission Report holding almost all Hindutva organizations responsible for the killings of minority people in December 1992, the indicted perpetrators were not even questioned, what to talk of arresting and punishing them.…

http://www.milligazette.com/news/15858-whither-india-good-terrorism-of-december-1992-vs-bad-terrorism-of-january-1993-at-bombay

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Amid Growing Communalism, ‘Karwan-e-Mohabbat’ Aims to Spread Message of Peace – By Mari Marcel Thekaekara (Sep 8, 2017, The Wire)

…As Keralites celebrated Onam, Karwan-e-Mohabbat – a peace yatra – began in faraway Assam with the goal of urging fellow Indians to proactively fight the cancerous communalism enveloping our country. The brain child of former IAS officer, writer and activist Harsh Mander, this peace-building movement has attracted and caught the attention of ordinary women and men who worry about what lies ahead for future generations. Most people want to make the country safe for their children and grandchildren. Karwan-e-Mohabbat invites the people of India to participate in the movement and to forge links of love and not hate.

While riots have been a terrible part of our history, the new spate of hate crimes and increasing incidents of lynching with impunity imply that lawlessness and vigilante action is the new normal. Karwan-e-Mohabbat began on September 4 with a group of people meeting, condoling with and offering support to two young mothers, Halima Khatoon and Rumeena, in Assam’s Nagaon. Mander, along with activists John Dayal and Ram Puniyani, lead the yatra.…

We cannot afford to ignore what’s happening in our country. We cannot any longer feign ignorance. It is imperative, that all Indians lend their active support to these initiatives to prevent the nation from descending into Kosovo or Rwanda-like chaos. Minorities cannot be killed or wiped out in any ‘Final Solution’ without the entire population being affected and engulfed by violence and terror. It’s not merely a moral imperative. It’s a logical, pragmatic necessity. The time to act is now.… It’s probably the biggest challenge ahead of us, 70 years after independence.

https://thewire.in/174138/amid-growing-communalism-karwan-e-mohabbat-aims-spread-message-peace/

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 30th, 2017

February 9, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines UP election: Politics over Muzaffarnagar riot victims leaves Kairana polarised UP Polls: Shocking admission! Independent candidate admits entering politics only for money BJP MLA, five others booked for extortion in Mira Road The Indian Church remembers the missionary Graham Staines, burned alive by Hindu radicals Missing JNU […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 16th, 2016

January 27, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines How AB Vajpayee was foiled in his bid to have Narendra Modi removed as Gujarat chief minister Months Before Sahara Was Granted Immunity, Tax Panel Member Was Abruptly Transferred Bombay High Court cites Muslim man’s religion as provocation, subsequent murder RBI note exposes govt. bluff on note […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 19th, 2016

September 28, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Gujarat: Man thrashed by suspected cow vigilantes, dies in Ahmedabad Muslim women ganged raped by Hindu gang ‘for eating beef’ RSS coup? Una victims may join Sangh Dalit rally Bijnor violence: ‘Before firing, made 12 calls to cops, MLA but no action taken’ Three killed in communal […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 12th, 2016

September 23, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines The mahapanchayat that changed fortunes of BJP leaders named in riots Haryana beef row: Opposition parties accuse Khattar government of creating communal conflict for electoral gain Haryana double murder and gang rape : One accused RSS man another Modi Bhakt Una Dalit flogging: CID says cops turned […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 25th, 2016

August 4, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Indian Americans demand CBI inquiry into atrocities against Dalits and Muslims under the pretext of cow protection News Headlines Dalit Family Attacked In Karnataka Allegedly Over Rumours Of Eating Beef In Gujarat, 95 of 100 suspects in crimes against Dalits acquitted ‘Police baton’ used by cow vigilantes in […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 13th, 2016

June 23, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Human rights, religious freedom deteriorating in India: Human Rights Watch All eyes on Sanatan Sanstha after ENT specialist’s arrest Head of Samjhauta Express blasts probe says the Centre is ‘erasing evidence’ in a bid to clear prime suspect Purohit Kairana exodus: BJP list of ‘Hindus’ forced out […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 21st, 2016

March 25, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Human chain to create sense of unity among citizens News Headlines Jharkhand: Two cattle traders hanged from tree, gau raksha activist among 5 held BJP leader offers Rs 1 crore to anyone who brings him ‘traitor’ Owaisi’s tongue Reference to circumcision in terror notice sparks ‘profiling’ charge […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 14th, 2016

March 20, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Teen Muslim girl gets bravery award for saving Hindu classmate from kidnappers News Headlines RTI Response By Ayush Ministry Says It Is Against Government Policy To Hire Muslims: Report 5 crore becomes 5 per cent the day after Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says he won’t pay NGT […]

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