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Narendra Modi

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 16th, 2016

by newsdigest on January 27, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

How AB Vajpayee was foiled in his bid to have Narendra Modi removed as Gujarat chief minister (Jan 13, 2017, Scroll.in)

7 April 2002. Vajpayee was in a pensive mood when he spoke to reporters in New Delhi hours before he left for Singapore and Cambodia on a five-day official tour… Shortly after take-off, Arun Shourie, Vajpayee’s disinvestment minister, was approached by Ranjan Bhattacharya in the plane. “Shourieji, please go and meet him. Baapji is terribly upset.” Shourie found the PM deeply disturbed, not looking up, his face grave. He appeared crestfallen. Soon, Shourie realised that the PM was upset for one major reason: Gujarat.…

All the killing and pillaging in Gujarat had given Vajpayee a bad name, the more so because Gujarat had a BJP government in place, with a chief minister who had reportedly not risen enough to the occasion to rein in the violence. Vajpayee was blamed for his failure as PM to get rid of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who reportedly shouted back at a Muslim leader on the phone for seeking help after a mob had gathered outside his house. Some hours later, the Muslim leader was lynched, and Modi is alleged to have asked the police forces to let the violence continue. At that moment, Modi seemed to be the villain who brought a lot of shame to the central government.

Modi had also dared to publicly snub Vajpayee at a press conference where he was seated alongside the prime minister. The reporter wanted to know Vajpayee’s message for the chief minister in the wake of the riots. In controlled displeasure, Vajpayee stated that Modi should “follow his Rajdharma”.… Seeing things take a different turn, Vajpayee kept mum, opting against a confrontational stance. Perhaps, for all his bravery, he was worried about younger leaders publicly questioning his authority.…

https://scroll.in/article/826433/how-ab-vajpayee-was-foiled-in-his-bid-to-have-narendra-modi-removed-as-gujarat-chief-minister

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Months Before Sahara Was Granted Immunity, Tax Panel Member Was Abruptly Transferred (Jan 9, 2017, The Wire)

Five months before the Income Tax Settlement Commission (ITSC) granted Sahara India immunity from any future prosecution and penalty over the Sahara diaries, a member of the bench that eventually heard the company’s application was transferred under less than normal circumstances.

According to a report in The Hindu, IRS officer Baldip Singh Sandhu was appointed in March 2016 as a member of the ITSC in Delhi and was appointed to the principal bench headed by the chairman of the tax settlement commission.

The bench that Sandhu was appointed to was the same bench that, on November 10 2016, issued the immunity order for the Sahara group. However, before that, on July 19, Sandhu “was transferred out to Chennai” even though his appointment was “location-specific and non-transferable”. The Hindu reports that on July 19, Sandhu was relieved of his duties and a finance ministry official came to the commission to serve him his transfer order.…

https://thewire.in/98125/sahara-income-tax/

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Bombay High Court cites Muslim man’s religion as provocation, subsequent murder (Jan 17, 2017, Sabrang India)

Bombay High Court’s recent decision to grant bail to murder accused and the rationale used by judge has left the family of 28-year-old Mohsin Shaikh utterly stunned. While granting bail on 12, Justice Mridula Bhatkar observed that the victim’s fault was that he belonged to another religion.

“I consider this factor in favour of the applicants/accused. More-over, the applicants/accused do not have any criminal record and it appears that in the name of the religion, they were provoked and have committed the murder,” Justice Bhatkar observed.

Shaikh was brutally murdered by members of Hindu Rashtra Sena in June 2014 while he was on his way back from a mosque after offering prayers. 14 of 21 accused have already been granted bail by the court. A case of murder was registered against the members of HRS at the Hadapsar police station and 21 HRS members, including their leader Dhananjay Jayram Desai alias Bhai, were arrested.…

https://sabrangindia.in/article/bombay-high-court-cites-muslim-man%E2%80%99s-religion-provocation-subsequent-murder

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RBI note exposes govt. bluff on note ban, says Opposition (Jan 10, 2017, The Hindu)

A note prepared by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that indicates it was the government that “advised” it to consider demonetisation of ₹500 and ₹1,000 currency notes – rather than the other way around – has raised questions about the autonomy of the central bank while drawing the ire of opposition parties.

“Section 26(2) of the RBI Act says that on the recommendation of the RBI, the government may demonetise a particular series of a currency note,” Congress spokesperson and former Union Minister Manish Tewari told The Hindu on Tuesday, stressing, “A strict reading of the Act, therefore, makes it plain that it does not give the RBI the power to demonetise an entire denomination, and the RBI has done a command performance without basic application of mind. It is a sad commentary on the inability of the central bank to maintain its autonomy.”

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, too, was scathing in his criticism. “This exposes the bluff of the government that this was an RBI decision. This was a government decision. The RBI was pressured to endorse it. And that explains the RBI’s flip flops ever since,” he told The Hindu. Another CPI(M) Politburo member, Brinda Karat, said, “This is an example of a lack of transparency and the snatching away of the autonomy of the RBI. The government is destroying institutions. It is also a case of a straight lie. The government must give an answer.”…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/RBI-note-exposes-govt.-bluff-on-note-ban-says-Opposition/article17019425.ece

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Narendra Modi Replaced Gandhi in an Iconic Calendar and India Can’t Handle It (Jan 13, 2017, Time)

Indian government workers have been protesting after Mahatma Gandhi’s picture was replaced with images of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in their department’s official calendar.

Staff at the government’s Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) are reported to have staged a “a silent soul-cleansing” at the Mumbai headquarters.

The Khadi department works to support village-level industries, a scheme close to Gandhi’s heart. Khadi itself – a hand-spun, hand-woven Indian cloth – was used by Gandhi, the preeminent leader of the Indian independence movement, as a symbol for unity, empowerment and liberation.…

http://time.com/4634256/narendra-modi-gandhi-iconic-calendar-india-kvic/

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‘Quest to establish Hindu Rashtra will not succeed’ (Jan 16, 2017, The Hindu)

The quest by the right wing to establish a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ in India will not succeed as people will stand against it, and the Constitution of India, a great document, will not allow it to happen, speakers at The Hindu Lit for Life’s session on ‘Dreams of a Hindu Rashtra’, moderated by N. Ram, Chairman, Kasturi & Sons Ltd, said on Sunday.

Akshaya Mukul, author of ‘Gita Press and The Making of Hindu India’, and Saeed Naqvi, author of ‘Being The Other: The Muslim in India’, concurred that it was not going to be easy to establish a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ (Hindu nation).

“It is not going to be easy. But this quest for a Hindu raj, which has other dimensions to it, will continue and will disrupt us; it will impede our emergence as a nation of the stature that we deserve,” Mr. Naqvi said.…

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/%E2%80%98Quest-to-establish-Hindu-Rashtra-will-not-succeed%E2%80%99/article17042918.ece

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Ishrat Jahan encounter case: Mother Shamima Kauser moves special court to oppose discharge plea of Gujarat DGP (Jan 12, 2017, Indian Express)

A special CBI court on Thursday issued notice to CBI on the discharge application moved by Director General of Police P P Pandey, the senior most accused in Ishrat Jahan encounter case, who is currently out on bail. Pandey is also the in-charge police chief of Gujarat.

On the other hand, Shamima Kauser, mother of Ishrat Jahan, has also moved an application in the court seeking permission to join the proceeding as a party in order to challenge the discharge application. Her lawyer, I H Syed confirmed the move and said, “there is a statutory provision for victims to join the proceedings as party. We are going to oppose the discharge application for sure.”

The special judge MK Pandya issued the notice to CBI and sought agency’s reply by January 20. Pandey has sought relief on the ground that no case is made out against him and the CBI has not charged him with any specific role in the case. This is the first instance in Ishrat Jahan case, in which an accused has sought discharge from the trial court.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/ishrat-jahan-encounter-case-mother-shamima-kauser-moves-special-court-to-oppose-discharge-plea-of-gujarat-dgp-4470875/

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Muzaffarnagar riots: Two years on, SIT yet to get govt’s nod to chargesheet 602 accused (Jan 14, 2017, Indian Express)

Two years after it requested the state government’s sanction to file chargesheets in 57 cases against 602 accused including leaders from the BJP, Congress and BSP, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the state government itself to investigate the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots is yet to get a nod for the same.

On Wednesday, a meeting was held in the home department where SIT officers placed evidence against the accused before a four-member committee. “We are examining the evidence produced by the IOs to take a final decision,” Joint Secretary Chhedi Lal Gupta, who heads the committee, told The Indian Express.

Those facing charges include BJP MP from Bijnor Kunwar Bhartendra Singh and his party MLAs Suresh Rana and Sangeet Singh Som, former BSP MP Kadir Rana, BSP MLAs Noor Saleem Rana and Maulana Jameel from Muzaffarnagar and Congress leader Saeed-uz-Zama.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/muzaffarnagar-riots-two-years-on-sit-yet-to-get-govts-nod-to-chargesheet-602-accused-4473393/

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EC issues notice to BJP’s Sakshi Maharaj for ‘four wives, 40 children’ remark (Jan 10, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Controversial BJP parliamentarian Sakshi Maharaj on Tuesday faced possible disciplinary action with the Election Commission issuing notice to him over his comments that appeared to blame the Muslim community for India’s population growth. The Lok Sabha MP from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh has been asked to reply by Wednesday morning.

Read in entirety, his remarks “have (the) effect of promoting enmity between classes of society…” and prima facie violates the model code of conduct which came into force on January 4 following announcement of assembly polls in five states, including Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress and other political parties have accused Maharaj of fanning communal tension ahead of the seven-phase polls in the state. Speaking in Meerut last week, Maharaj had urged all political parties to come together to frame “population control” laws.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/ec-issues-notice-to-bjp-s-sakshi-maharaj-for-four-wives-40-children-remark/story-JlrnLSaWs6SWqjW93UFECK.html

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Radhika Vemula Detained by Police at HCU, VC Refuses Her Right to Pay Homage (Jan 17, 2017, Sabrang India)

At about 8 p.m. on the night of January 17, the first anniversary of the date of Dalit Research scholar, Rohith Vemula’s “institutional murder” a callous Telangana police detained his mother Radhika Vemula, who had expressed her wish to pay homage at the Veliwada within the University of Hyderabad Campus.

Even as students at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) had planned to hold a largescale protest on January 17, commemorating the death anniversary of Rohith Vemula, the university administration had told the media that it will not let them go ahead with their plans.

Pro-VC Vipin Srivastava, said, “It is our prerogative as to who we can let inside the campus and who we can’t. We will take a decision based on the law and order situation. If they refuse to comply, we also have a High Court order.”…

https://sabrangindia.in/article/radhika-vemula-detained-police-hcu-vc-refuses-her-right-pay-homage

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Opinions and Editorials

Modi’s Man-Made Calamity: How Many Will Die? – By Walt Gelles (Jan 15, 2017, Countercurrents)

At this point, every sane and responsible person in India should be asking: How many tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, or millions of people in India are going to die from hunger, starvation, malnutrition and disease as a result of Modi’s demonetisation?

Reports from the rural and semi-rural areas of India, from towns and villages, already indicate that hunger is widespread because of the nonexistence of cash. This artificial crisis was created on November 8, 2016 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi arbitrarily declared 86% of the nation’s currency worthless as legal tender – a draconian diktat taken without any prior discussion with his cabinet, Parliament, or the people.

The so-called demonetisation policy has had devastating effects across all sectors of Indian society, crippling businesses and farmers, causing retail stores and vendors to shut down, increasing unemployment, and forcing ordinary people to lose billions of man-hours and woman-hours waiting in endless queues at banks to exchange unusable currency notes or to withdraw the meager cash allowed.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/01/15/modis-man-made-calamity-how-many-will-die/

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Godse only killed Gandhi, present day’s Hindutva icon Modi is killing the soul of Gandhi – By Apoorva Pathak (Jan 15, 2017, Janta Ka Reporter)

In a move that has shocked many, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ejected Mahatma Gandhi from the wall calendar and table diary published by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission.

This attempt to marginalise Mahatma Gandhi from public mind is a clear manifestation of Modi’s narcissism. It’s Modi’s bid to create a cult around himself at the cost of stalwarts of Indian history. It also makes for bad marketing strategy as it is nobody’s case that Modi is in the same league as Gandhi in terms of appeal within and outside India. Moreover, Modi for all his followers, has large number of detractors and does not have the same bipartisan fandom as Gandhi’s.

The regressive move should alarm us about a much more fundamentally sinister plot that it has inadvertently exposed. It is a dangerous attempt to erase Gandhi’s legacy from Indian ethos. While the Hindutva icon Nathuram Godse only killed Gandhi, the present day’s Hindutva icon Modi is killing the soul of Gandhi.…

http://www.jantakareporter.com/blog/modi-gandhi-soul-godse/94387/

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Anti-National RSS: Documentary Evidences From RSS Archives – By Shamsul Islam (Jan 17, 2016, Countercurrents)

Friends from India and abroad who are concerned about the increasing threats to the democratic-secular Indian polity from the Hindutva organizations have been feeling the need for a concise document on the anti-national game-plan of the RSS and other like-minded offshoots. The need of such a document is rightly felt for countering the Hindutva propaganda at all levels.

The following document is an attempt to accomplish this objective. It is hoped that equipped with this document all those who love India as a democratic-secular nation and want to save our beloved country from the Hindutva onslaught would be able to challenge the fountain-head of the Hindutva politics; RSS. This document is based solely on the documents drawn from the RSS archives.

The editorial (titled ‘Glorious Hindu Nation’) in the maiden issue of the English organ of RSS dated July 3, 1947 strongly rejected any talk of an Indian nation where Hindus and Muslims would stay as equal partners. It branded the concept of a composite Indian nation as a British conspiracy and went on to decry Mr. Hume (one of the founders of the Indian National Congress) for advancing the theory…

http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/01/17/anti-national-rss-documentary-evidences-from-rss-archives/

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Confusion About ‘Nation-State’ Is Dangerous For Sikhs in India – By Jaspal Singh Sidhu (Jan 12, 2017, Free Press Journal)

Of late, some thinkers of the Sikhs, a minority constituting less than two per cent of India’s population, are praising and advocating for a separate ‘nation-state’ as the best political solution for the emancipation of the besieged community. Such thinkers go to the extent of harrying and hounding those Sikh intellectuals who oppose the concept of ‘nation-state’, a Western construct.

The latter category of intellectuals suggest that a lot of water has flowed down the rivers since Western educated and influenced leaders of Indian independence struggle succeeded in setting up two ‘nation-states’ in 1947 – India and Pakistan,. Six decades old ‘nation-states’ set-up in Indian sub-continent, have been the cause of untold miseries, internal-external conflicts, bloodshed and further fragmentation in form of Bangladesh, which the founding fathers could never fathom in their dreams even.

Critics of ‘nation-state’ also argue that the unprecedented bloodshed and the forced migration of millions of people, witnessed during the Partition days was the direct consequence of Nehru and Jinnah’s insistence on establishing their separate ‘nation-states’.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/01/12/confusion-about-nation-state-is-dangerous-for-sikhs/

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An Unambiguous Indictment – Editorial (Jan 14, 2017, EPW)

The face of Chhattisgarh is the smiling visage of its chief minister, Raman Singh, which appears with unabated frequency in advertisements, including in the EPW, extolling the progress the state is making under his 13-year reign. The reality, as became evident with the latest report of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), is vastly different. It confirms what is already known but which Singh and his police force stubbornly refuse to acknowledge, that the tribal population of this state lives in constant fear of violence at the hands of the state police even as it continues to struggle with the unrelenting burden of poverty.

The tragedy of Chhattisgarh is not just the impunity with which the police and security forces continue to operate in the name of fighting the Maoists, but that nothing seems to dent the pursuit of these actions that have led to rapes, murders, harassment and wrongful imprisonment of ordinary people.

Taking suo motu cognisance of a 2 November 2015 news report in the Indian Express about 40 women from five villages who had alleged that they had been assaulted, harassed and that two women had been gang-raped, reportedly by the state police, the NHRC initiated an investigation. The newspaper story was based on inquiries carried out by a women’s human rights group, Women Against Sexual Violence and State Oppression a month earlier.…

http://www.epw.in/journal/2017/2/editorials/unambiguous-indictment.html

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The Death of a “Velivada Scholar”- Rohith Vemula – By Raju Hanumanta Chalwadi (Jan 17, 2017, Sabrang India)

The death of Rohith Vemula, a PhD scholar, at the Hyderabad Central University shook the country on January 2016. It was a loss of a brilliant child to his mother and loss of an intellectual to his community. ‘My birth is my fatal accident’ is what he wrote in his suicide letter, the meaning of these words can only be understood by one who did not want him/her to be what he wrote in the same letter “be reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility”. Further, he writes “Never was a man treated as a mind”, illustrates the injustice being done historically by the country on the Dalits by treating them as slaves and behaving with them as worst as possible.…

On 18th of December 2015, a letter was written to the Vice Chancellor of the University by the scholar asking VC to fulfil the following demands as a solution for the Dalit problems. He said “Please serve 10mg Sodium Azide to all the Dalit students at the time of admission. With direction to use when they feel like reading Ambedkar and supply a nice rope to the rooms of all Dalit students”. Further, he requested for a facility of “EUTHANASIA” for a student like him. This letter was written exactly 30 days before he committed suicide. Any sensible person could have taken such a letter with utmost urgency but the VC of UoH did not take it.…

Had the Ministry of HRD instead of writing letters after letters done the work for which the ministry had been constituted i.e., providing quality education and making education accessible to all, had the government not appointed Casteist VC Appa Rao Podile – who expelled 10 Dalit student’s way back in 2000 when he was a warden. Had Modi taken an unbiased stand on the issue by inquiring the case instead of providing lip service of achieving goal of equal India envisage by Dr BR Ambedkar, the Velivada scholar could have got justice. Most recently, PM Modi has awarded vice- chancellor Appa Rao Podile with a “Millennium Plaque of Honour” award at the Indian Science Congress held in Tirupati.

https://sabrangindia.in/article/death-%E2%80%9Cvelivada-scholar%E2%80%9D-rohith-vemula

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 9th, 2017

by newsdigest on January 20, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Communal Harmony

Muslims offer fruit juice to Hindu devotees during festival (Jan 6, 2017, Times of India)

Murders, attacks on innocent youths, communal tension and hate speeches might have made Ullal in Mangaluru a sensitive region. However, there are instances that make the region famous for communal harmony too.

On Friday, Muslim brethren in Ullal showed an exemplary gesture that herald the message of communal harmony. While members of the Hindu community were celebrating annual festival at Sri Ullalthi Dharma Arasara Temple, Uliya in Ullal, Muslims in the region welcomed devotees by offering fruit juice. Muslim brethren not only offered soft drinks to Hindu devotees, but also extended festival wishes.…

The initiative was well-praised by people in general and the police department in particular. Usually, police department is at the receiving end whenever incidents of communal clashes and murders report in Ullal. Deputy Commissioner of police (crime) M Sanjeev Patil posted the pictures of Muslim brethren distributing fruit juice to Hindu devotees at the temple premises.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/56378488.cms

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‘Modi has to go’: Post-2002 Gujarat riots, Atal Bihari Vajpayee wanted then CM to step down (Jan 7, 2017, First Post)

…All the killing and pillaging in Gujarat had given Vajpayee a bad name, the more so because Gujarat had a BJP government in place, with a chief minister who had reportedly not risen enough to the occasion to rein in the violence. Vajpayee was blamed for his failure as PM to get rid of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who reportedly shouted back at a Muslim leader on the phone for seeking help after a mob had gathered outside his house. Some hours later, the Muslim leader was lynched, and Modi is alleged to have asked the police forces to let the violence continue. At that moment, Modi seemed to be the villain who brought a lot of shame to the central government.

Modi had also dared to publicly snub Vajpayee at a press conference where he was seated alongside the prime minister. The reporter wanted to know Vajpayee’s message for the chief minister in the wake of the riots. In controlled displeasure, Vajpayee stated that Modi should ‘follow his Rajdharma’. He explained that Rajdharma was a meaningful term, and for somebody in a position of power, it meant not discriminating among the higher and lower classes of society or people of any religion.…

Three days before his foreign tour in April, when Vajpayee visited the Shah Alam camp in Ahmedabad, which housed 9,000 Muslims displaced by the riots, he was deeply touched when a woman told him that he alone could save them from the hell that their lives had become. Now, on the flight to Singapore, Vajpayee was worried he would expose himself to more humiliation while outside the country. His grouse was: why am I being paraded abroad at such a time? Shourie suggested that the PM speak to Advani, who had by now become the deputy prime minister, about the possibilities of salvaging the situation — it could even mean replacing Modi. But even after the ‘pep talk’ with Shourie, Vajpayee appeared cheerless.…

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/modi-has-to-go-post-2002-gujarat-riots-atal-bihari-vajpayee-wanted-then-cm-to-step-down-3191210.html

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Demonetisation: 35 per cent job losses, 50 per cent revenue dip, says study by largest organisation of manufacturers (Jan 9, 2017, Indian Express)

In the first 34 days since demonetisation, micro-small scale industries suffered 35 per cent jobs losses and a 50 per cent dip in revenue, according to a study conducted by India’s largest organisation of manufacturers.

The study, conducted by the All India Manufacturers’ Organisation (AIMO), has also projected a drop in employment of 60 per cent and loss in revenue of 55 per cent before March 2017. The AIMO represents over 3 lakh micro, small scale, and medium and large scale industries engaged in manufacturing and export activities.

The study stated that almost all industrial activities have come to a standstill, with the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) sector worst-hit. “While AIMO understands certain immediate repercussions of such a bold step (demonetisation) by the government, it did not anticipate or was prepared for such a jolt to industries even after one month,” said the study.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/demonetisation-35-per-cent-job-losses-50-per-cent-revenue-dip-says-study-by-largest-organisation-of-manufacturers-4465524/

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Watch: BJP Delhi Chief Manoj Tiwari Mocking People Queuing Up Before ATMs (Jan 3, 2017, Huffington Post)

In an undated news video clip, Bhojpuri superstar-turned-politician, Manoj Tiwari, who was recently appointed president of the Bharatiya Janata Party unit in Delhi, is seen making fun of people compelled to stand in long queues at ATMS following the Modi government’s decision to scrap the ₹500 and ₹1000 notes.

The video clip, tweeted out by a Bahujan Samaj Party handle on Tuesday evening, shows Tiwari sitting around a table with several people including Sudhanshu Trivedi, a national spokesperson for the BJP. Tiwari, who represents the North East Delhi constituency, tells the others how he had belted out a song to boost the morale of people standing in a queue, and then goes on to mock them.

“I said desh bhakt hain kataar mein. Everyone started smiling…they said we will keep standing till the 30th,” Tiwari said in jeering tone, while the others started laughing.…

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2017/01/03/watch-bjp-delhi-chief-manoj-tewari-mocking-people-queuing-up-be/

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BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj booked for ‘population control’ remark (Jan 7, 2017, Indian Express)

An FIR has been filed against controversial Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Sakshi Maharaj on Saturday for his remark on population control. A case has been registered in Meerut under section 298 of IPC, among others. Earlier on Friday in Meerut, Sakshi, in a veiled attack on the Muslim community, blamed them for the population explosion in the country.

He said, “Those with four wives and 40 children are responsible for the population increase in the country. Hindus are not responsible for the increase in population,” he said. He added, “Strict laws are required in this country if we really want to curb population. Parties need to rise above politics and take decision for the sake of the country,” he added.

The controversial remark by the MP in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh drew strong condemnation from opposition parties. The Election Commission sought a report from the Meerut district administration while the BJP distanced itself from the statement.… Congress leader KC Mittal said Sakshi’s speech is “offensive” as it is based on caste and religion and goes against the recent Supreme Court judgement.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/bjp-mp-sakshi-maharaj-booked-for-population-control-remark-4463703/

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How Justice JS Verma’s Hindutva judgment is often misinterpreted by BJP (Jan 3, 2017, Inuth.com)

The Supreme Court’s verdict that seeking votes in the name of religion is illegal—is undoubtedly a big blow to all those political parties and politicians, who thrived on this practice. However, the recent judgement of the apex court also brings us the memory of the 1995 ruling, in which a bench headed by Justice JS Verma had defined ‘Hindutva’ ‘as a way of life’.

The apex court ruling gave the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena a considerable legal ground to justify their ‘ultra-nationalistic politics’. The BJP owe its rise to the 1995 Supreme Court ruling as it concluded that Hinduism and Hindutva in election campaigns was actually fine despite Section 123(3) of the Representation of People’s Act prohibiting the use of religion during election campaigning.

After Justice JS Verma defined Hindutva as a way of life, political parties contesting polls on Hindutva plank got a point to defend themselves by saying that they were seeking votes on the basis of (concept of) way of life and not on religion.…

http://www.inuth.com/india/politics/how-js-vermas-hindutva-judgment-is-often-misinterpreted-by-bjp/

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Chhattisgarh HC issues notice to govt, police over ‘fake encounter’ (Jan 7, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Chhattisgarh high court on Friday issued notices to the state government and top police officials in connection with the alleged fake encounter of a person, claimed to be Maoist, in Kondagaon in November last year.

The Bilaspur bench of the court issued notices to state chief secretary, director general of police, inspector general of police (Bastar) and SP Kondagaon on a petition filed by the wife of the deceased, Bal Singh Sori, and local Congress MLA Mohan Markam.

Satish Verma, counsel of the petitioners, told Hindustan Times that the officials have been asked to respond to the notice within four weeks.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/chhattisgarh-hc-issues-notice-to-govt-police-over-fake-encounter-of-maoist/story-UKqqKq0aEKPWYDKcovN1qO.html

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‘It’s easy to brand any Muslim a terrorist’: Exonerated ‘terrorist’ Irshad Ali (Jan 9, 2017, Siasat)

It does not take much to brand any suspect as a terrorist. But it can take years to ascertain the veracity of the allegations. The media, as well as society, don’t wait for any trial to pass their verdict. However, there is hardly a whimper if the accused if finally proved innocent after years of judicial struggle.

Few can recount the horror of facing false charges of terrorism as well as Irshad Ali. A driver by profession, Irshad is lucky to have survived the ordeal he faced for years.

His story is that of an unjust system, a society with a religious bias that does not think twice before labelling a citizen a criminal and a terrorist. This inept system simply incarcerates people when it fails to justify this discrimination.…

http://www.siasat.com/news/its-easy-brand-any-muslim-terrorist-exonerated-terrorist-irshad-ali-1104916/

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Fazal murder: Internal strife in RSS led to ‘revelations’ (Jan 3, 2017, Times of India)

A key evidence, which pointed to the role of RSS activists in the murder of NDF (now PDF) leader Muhammad Fazal had surfaced, thanks to the internal strife within the Sangh Parivar in Thalassery.

It has been learnt that Parivar activists themselves handed over the audio clip of a conversation between RSS worker Subeesh and another party worker to the police. In the audio clip, Subeesh speaks of the entire operation which culminated in the murder of Fazal in 2006. He repeated it in his confession later to the police when he was arrested in a case related the murder of a CPM worker a few months ago.…

Even before Subeesh’s revelation, the Crime Branch had received an anonymous letter stating the role of the Sangh Parivar in the case. Later it became known that it was written by a Sangh Parivar leader from Kannur.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/56320246.cms

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Indian police accused of raping women in restive Chhattisgarh state (Jan 10, 2017, The Guardian)

The Indian government’s human rights watchdog has accused police of raping and beating at least 16 women from tribal communities in Chhattisgarh, a central state racked by a 50-year Maoist insurgency.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said there were 20 alleged attacks still to be investigated, but that in 16 cases the “human rights of the victims have been grossly violated by the security personnel”.

It was investigating a report published in the Indian Express that police had committed abuses against women in several villages in Bijapur district during an operation against rebels in October 2015.…

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/10/indian-police-accused-of-raping-women-in-restive-chhattisgarh-state

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Mumbai University bars bearded Muslim student from boxing event (Jan 10, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The University of Mumbai (MU) pulled out a Muslim student from a boxing competition because he refused to shave off his beard.

Sayyed Imran Ali is a national-level taekwondo and kick-boxing player and a second-year BCom student at GR Patil College in Mumbra. When he reached University Sports Pavilion in Marine Lines for his match last Monday, the university officials told him that he won’t be allowed to compete unless he shaves off his beard.…

Imran Ali, a Mumbra resident who sports a goatee, said he was unaware of the rule as this was his first competitive boxing. “I have been participating in kick-boxing, karate and taekwondo competitions at the state and the national level for the past seven years. My small beard was never an issue,” said the boxer, who runs a martial arts training centre in Mumbra.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/mumbai-universi-bars-bearded-muslim-student-from-boxing-event/story-BxY7wI4i4hAALqJ2z0s5NN.html

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Opinions and Editorials

The decline of Modi – By A.G. Noorani (Jan 20, 2017, Frontline)

…Just half-way through his term in office as Prime Minister, Narendra Modi faces disenchantment to a high degree. Demonetisation only served to remind the people of lapses they had overlooked. He hugely personalised demonetisation. The gamble failed. The slide downwards has begun. The Emperor has no clothes on him.

Modi’s hysterical performances reveal his panic at the wide public disenchantment in the wake of his quixotic decision on demonetisation of Rs.1,000 and Rs.500 currency notes on November 8. This was the first major test of his mettle and he has been found wanting. Slogans, his favourite ploy, do not help (vikas, vishwas, et al). People want answers; they demand accountability for the havoc he created. But the concept is foreign to him.

He has deployed every trick in the book to build himself up as a mass leader, above the party (Bharatiya Janata Party) and even its parent (the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh), and above institutions, Parliament and the judiciary. His technique was continuous electioneering, doling out slogans, impugning the integrity of critics and opponents without a thought for accountability to Parliament. He began by going over the heads of Cabinet colleagues to civil servants (vide the writer’s article “Modifying Democracy”, Frontline, July 11, 2014). He is now reduced to embarking on a course of cheap demagogy. It will not work.…

http://www.frontline.in/cover-story/the-decline-of-modi/article9456807.ece

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The Cost of India’s Man-Made Currency Crisis – Editorial (Jan 9, 2017, New York Times)

Two months after the Indian government abruptly decided to swap the most widely used currency notes for new bills, the economy is suffering. The manufacturing sector is contracting; real estate and car sales are down; and farm workers, shopkeepers and other Indians report that a shortage of cash has made life increasingly difficult.…

But the swap was atrociously planned and executed. Indians had to line up for hours outside banks to deposit and withdraw cash. New notes have been in short supply because the government did not print enough of them in advance. The cash crunch has been worst in small towns and rural areas. The amount of cash in circulation fell by nearly half, from 17.7 trillion rupees ($260 billion) on Nov. 4 to 9.2 trillion ($135 billion) on Dec. 23, according to the Reserve Bank of India.

No economy can lose that much currency in a few weeks without creating major hardship – certainly not one like that of India, where cash is used for about 98 percent of consumer transactions by volume. And while a growing number of people have debit cards and cellphones that can be used to transfer money, most merchants are not set up to accept such electronic payments.…

http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/09/opinion/the-cost-of-indias-man-made-currency-crisis.html

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How BJP used the Gujarat co-operative bank sector to ‘re-monetise’ its funds – By Charu Kartikeya (Jan 6, 2017, Catch News)

It is becoming increasingly clear that while ordinary citizens were forced to endure endless agony over their hard-earned money following demonetisation, BJP used its position in power to manage its own money quite conveniently. Between early days after demonetisation and now, several reports have surfaced that point out how the party may have converted old notes worth hundreds of crores into new ones without attracting any scrutiny.

First, reports of BJP leaders knowing about demonetisation in advance came out. Then it was reported that the party indulged in a massive land-buying spree in many states, using cash. Now, much evidence is coming to light that indicates that BJP may have used co-operative banks run by its own leaders to keep its money safe.

An investigation done by The Hindustan Times has pointed out that cash deposits in 285 district cooperative banks (DCBs) across the country saw a six-fold surge in less than a week after the demonetisation announcement of 8 November. Leading these banks in this unbelievable surge was Amreli Jilla Madhyastha Sahakari Bank Ltd (AJMSBL) in Gujarat’s Saurashtra region, whose Chairman is not just a senior BJP leader in the state but also a cabinet minister. The bank’s cash deposits on 7 November were to the tune of Rs 1.3 crore but over the next four working days, the deposits surged to Rs 209.15 crore, a 200-fold jump. How unusually high is this figure for the bank can be gauged from the bank that the highest deposit in the last quarter was a meagre Rs.6.2 crore.…

http://www.catchnews.com/politics-news/how-bjp-used-the-gujarat-co-operative-bank-sector-to-re-monetise-its-funds-1483710659.html

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India: Modi, Money, Minorities And The Year That Was – By John Dayal (Dec 31, 2016, Sabrang India)

The last flicker of 2016 sees an India devalued, its reputation in tatters, its people in pain. It also marks the mid-term of the regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has already reserved his place in the country’s political history as the man whose headlong rush to imagined personal glory has plunged India’s famed foreign policy into a friendless abyss, its development process on a reverse path, its security left fraught.

With a tongue-tied and invisible council of ministers and the Planning Commission shrunk to nothingness, he should be a Dictator. He remains but a caricature of one, seen in advertisements of PayTM, the half-Chinese payment portal, and on TV, both arms semaphoring bile and spite. It is to the sangh parivar headquarters in Nagpur that Ratan Tata and fellow tycoons go when in trouble, and where generals, spymasters, administrators pay court.…

Crops failed as farmers could not get the cash to buy the seeds and the fertilisers. The small vegetable farmers found their harvest rotting on the road for want of purchasers. Patients requiring surgery died in transit as their parents or children pleaded with hospitals. The sight of a former soldier, now old and frail, weeping after he was edged out of a snaking queue at a bank, went viral, as the new phrase goes. He was trying to get his own money, not borrowing from the bank. Statistics cannot assist in visualising those tears. Though figures show that Modi’s claim of eradicating black money is not merely misleading, it is criminally false. His threat to do worse in the new year may be very real.…

https://sabrangindia.in/article/india-modi-money-minorities-and-year-was

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Narendra Modi’s Crackdown on Civil Society in India – By Rohini Mohan (Jan 9, 2017, New York Times)

…The Lawyers Collective, an advocacy group in New Delhi run by the prominent lawyers Indira Jaising and Anand Grover, has for three decades provided legal assistance to women, nonunion workers, activists and other marginalized groups, often without charge. In December, the Modi government barred it from receiving foreign grants. The political reasons were obvious: The Collective had represented critics of Mr. Modi’s sectarian record and environmental vision.

Under Indian law, nongovernmental groups that seek foreign donations have to register under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act, which prohibits the use of overseas funds for “activities detrimental to the national interest.” Although accountability in the nongovernmental sector is necessary to control malpractice, the foreign funding law is better known as a tool of political retribution than transparent auditing.

It’s not just the Collective that has been punished. The Home Affairs Ministry recently revoked the licenses of around 10,000 other nongovernmental organizations. Even groups whose funding licenses were renewed are worried about the future. “It is activism on thinning ice from now on,” an education activist told me.…

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/09/opinion/narendra-modis-crackdown-on-civil-society-in-india.html

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RSS, BJP and Communal Polarisation in Uttar Pradesh Polls – By Radhika Ramaseshan (Dec 31, 2016, EPW)

In July 2016, when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) hosted a week-long annual meet of its kshetriya pracharaks (literally translates as regional propagandists, but the RSS calls them regional minders) at Bithoor, the choice of a small town, 55 km away from Kanpur, as the venue was deliberate. Uttar Pradesh (UP) would be going to polls in early 2017. It was critical for the RSS to message early on that its role would be central and not supplementary and “constructive” towards the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The element of positivity was required to be emphasised to dispel the doubts and misgivings that persisted about the part the RSS had played in the 2015 Bihar assembly elections, arising from certain remarks that the sarsanghachalak (head), Mohan Bhagwat, had made on the reservations policy.…

With the Dalits, the script went awry long before the BJP could regroup their votes. Sensing early on that Mayawati was working hard at recovering those sections of the Dalits, including the Jatavs, who had left the BSP for the BJP in 2014 and adding their votes with those of the Muslims to add up a formidable social combine, the RSS and the BJP worked assiduously on the Dalits. The mobilisation strategies faltered soon enough, because as with the MBCs, for the Dalits too communal polarisation, pitting them against Muslims, had a limited shelf life.…

http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/53/uttar-pradesh%E2%80%94vortex-change/rss-bjp-and-communal-polarisation-uttar-pradesh-polls

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Book Review

Fascism: Essays on Europe and India

Author: Ed. Jairus Banaji
Reviewed by: Radhika Desai
Available at: Three Essays Collective, B-957 Palam Vihar, GURGAON (Haryana), 122 017 India. www.amazon.in/
Review:
Hindutva and Fascism (Dec 31, 2016, EPW)

Comparisons between the Sangh Parivar and interwar European fascisms are inescapable. The founders of the Sangh were inspired by, and emulated and adapted, those fascisms (Casolari 2000). The Parivar’s proliferating role in Indian politics also periodically suggested the comparison, whether to politicians such as Indira Gandhi in the 1970s or to intellectuals after the demolition of the Babri Mosque (Sarkar in the volume being reviewed; Ahmad 1993; Basu et al 1993).

Other scholars have questioned the relevance of the comparison (Vanaik 1994; Jaffrelot 1993), though not very successfully (Desai 2016). While political parties have often engaged in similar political tactics – let us confine ourselves to Sanjay Gandhi’s Youth Congress and the 1984 massacre of Sikhs or the Shiv Sena’s long record of union and basti-busting – no party’s activities have so systematically elicited comparisons with fascism as those of the party of Hindutva.…

This mass base did not mean that most Germans actively supported the Third Reich just as Modi government does not mean all Indians support it (Desai 2014). However, Banaji does emphasise that there was a certain “moral indifference” or “passive complicity” (p 218). Today in India, this would include the refusal to use the concept of fascism as a critical part of an understanding of the Modi government for the purposes of opposing it. As Banaji emphasises, the Sangh Parivar’s pogroms in India have already exceeded anything that the Nazis did barring the holocaust. …

http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/53/review-article/hindutva-and-fascism.html

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 26th, 2016

January 7, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Another mosque returned to Muslims in Punjab News Headlines Demonetisation: “What India has done is commit a massive theft of people’s property – a shocking move for a democratically elected government”, says Steve Forbes MP: Ailing old man forced by bank to be personally present for money […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 17th, 2016

October 27, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Communal harmony lessons in J’khand textbooks to foster love, combat hatred News Headlines Modi “advised” ex-DGP to go soft on Sangh Parivar, said 2002 Gujarat violence was “natural, uncontrollable” Bahraich: 2 cops suspended, 34 arrested for clashes during Durga Puja Real threats to India are communal and […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 30th, 2016

June 11, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Sting claims political pressure in Gujarat riots Modi “decided” to bring dead bodies from Godhra to Ahmedabad, triggering 2002 riots: Gujarat bureaucrat Scribe’s Book ‘Validates Cbi’s Evidence’ In Guj Fake Encounters AAP minister alleges RSS members threatened street artists in Delhi Tripura textbook omits Indian history of […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 1st, 2016

February 16, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Information on Modi’s, Anandiben Patel’s educational qualifications not in “public interest”: Gujarat CM office President’s rule in Arunachal: Murder of democracy, Emergency-like situation, says Oppn Centre sends back anti-terror bill to Gujarat government U.P. police destroyed papers on Hashimpura massacre “Why doesn’t anybody talk about Sangh leaders’s […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 25th, 2016

February 1, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines RSS Goons Attack Rohith Vemula Solidarity Rally In Mumbai Rohith Vemula’s mother: Don’t want your Rs 8 lakh or Rs 8 crore, Tell me why my son died Modi as CM failed to protect Muslims, his Buddha model held in suspicion by Dalits: Shripal Sabnis Do Hindu […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 14th, 2015

December 21, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Tarigami Addresses Rally in Vijayawada On Protection of Communal Harmony News Headlines Had Islam been a religion of terrorism, Hindus would not have been existed in India today, says Shankaracharya Protests by Muslim groups continue in U.P. Paragraphs “planted” in NIA report to prove Ishrat Jahaan was […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 9th, 2015

November 12, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines India’s prime minister Narendra Modi suffers embarrassing setback on eve of UK visit Global media finds BJP’s debacle in Bihar a setback for Modi Former Indian PM expresses concern over rising religious intolerance in India Extremism, Intolerance Not an Expression of a Religion Called Islam, Says Ansari […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 26th, 2015

October 28, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Narendra Modi UK visit: Cameron urged to raise human rights with Indian PM Muslim family in UP alleges boy taken from school to attend RSS camp Muzaffarnagar riots case: Bailable warrant against Union minister, BJP leaders BJP, Sri Rama Sene activists held for communal clashes in Karnataka […]

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