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Narendra Modi

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 21st, 2014

by newsdigest on April 22, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Narendra Modi should own up responsibility for 2002 riots: CPI (Apr 16, 2014, Financial Express)

CPI today accused BJP leader Narendra Modi and his government in Gujarat of connivance in the 2002 “genocide” and demanded he own up moral responsibility for the riots. “What had happened in 2002 in Gujarat was a genocide, a massacre. It could never have happened without the connivance of the state authorities and Modi,” party National Secretary D Raja said here.

He said even the then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, “had to speak up about ‘raj dharma’ because someone had violated it. Who was it? It was none other than Narendra Modi.” Maintaining that history will “always question the role of Modi and his government” on the 2002 riots, Raja said the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate had “never apologised” for the happenings.

“He should own up moral responsibility for what had happened then under his rule.” The CPI leader said Modi’s talk about democracy “does not mean anything because no one can accept his definition of democracy. We are a secular democracy after all.”


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Gujarat police register FIR against Pravin Togadia for his ‘remarks on Muslims’, EC seeks report (Apr 21, 2014, Times of India)

Congress and several other parties on Monday came down heavily on Pravin Togadia for “spreading venom” through his reported remarks that Muslims should be stopped from buying property in Hindu areas and said that the VHP leader should be “hospitalised” for treatment. Meanwhile, the Gujarat police on Monday registered an FIR against Pravin Togadia for his ‘hate speech’, NDTV reported. The Election Commission has sought the recording of the speech made by Togadia. “They (EC officials) are in the process of acquiring the recording of the statement made by Togadia and after listening to it they will decide the future course of action,” Bhavnagar district collector and returning officer P K Solanki said in Rajkot today.

While NDA ally Shiromani Akali Dal said the Indian society has no place for such people, RSS dismissed the report, saying that “no swayamsevak thinks on such divisive lines.” “He always spreads venom, you know that. And he belongs to that category of people in this country who do not believe in the unity and the integrity of India. What can you say about people like this?,” Congress leader and Union minister Kapil Sibal said. “It (statement) spreads venom and it is for the authorities to decide,” he said. Togadia had reportedly joined a group of VHP and Bajrang Dal members in a street protest in Rajkot on Saturday outside a house purchased by a Muslim businessman. Togadia reportedly told the gathering to take forcible possession of the house.

Condemning the statement, Congress leader Rashid Alvi said, “I think Togadia should be given treatment. He should be hospitalised. “In this country, if Hindus stay in a Hindu area and Muslims in a Muslim area, and they are not allowed to buy property in each other’s areas, it will be against the Constitution,” Alvi said. Naresh Gujaral of Shiromani Akali Dal said while he is not aware of what Togadia has exactly said, India has survived because of its democracy. “Democracy can survive only if there is accommodation and acceptance for each other….We can’t be rigid about these things and anybody who speaks this kind of language has no place in our society,” he said.

Denying the reports that Togadia has made such a statement, RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav said, “I have spoken to Praveen Togadia. He completely denies making such comments. It is fabricated. “No Swayamsevak thinks on such divisive lines. They think of all people as one. One people, one nation,” he said. Slamming the statement, JD(U) leader K C Tyagi said, “Togadia seems to be influenced by Taliban mentality….No action has been taken against him due to a weak government”. Fatehpuri mosque’s Mufti Mukkaram said the VHP leader should be arrested immediately.

The “government should take action against him. The Election Commission should also take action against him. This is conspiracy to spread riots. He should be booked for spreading communal tension,” he said. CPM lashed out at the VHP leader for his “hate speech” and sought his immediate arrest, saying that Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, who also holds the Home portfolio, should take this action. “As the home minister of Gujarat, Modi should himself act (against Togadia) for his hate speech. If he doesn’t, then it is clear that Togadia said all this with his blessings,” CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said. …


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FIR against Giriraj for Modi-Pak remark, BJP pulls him up (Apr 21, 2014, Hindustan Times)

An FIR was filed against Bihar BJP leader Giriraj Singh by Jharkand police on Sunday over his inflammatory remark that those opposing Narendra Modi should go to Pakistan for which he was also pulled up by the party leadership. Giriraj, who is a Lok Sabha candidate from Nawada, however, remained unfazed and stood by his controversial comment that has been condemned by rival parties as violation of Model Code of Conduct.

Deoghar SDM Jay Jyoti Samanta, who is also the deputy Returning Officer, said an FIR has been registered against Giriraj under several IPC sections and the Representation of People’s Act, 1951. Deoghar Superintendent of Police Rakesh Bansal said the FIR was filed at the Mohanpur police station on the directions of Samanta. Former BJP President Nitin Gadkari and its Godda Lok Sabha candidate Nishikant Dubey were also present on the stage during the poll rally at Mohanpur yesterday when Giriraj made the controversial comments.

Quoting the CD of Giriraj’s speech, Samanta mentioned that he had said that those who oppose the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate have a place in Pakistan and not in India, which promotes enmity. The Bihar Preservation And Improvement of Animals Act was also invoked in the FIR for Giriraj’s remark that the Centre gave subsidy to those who exported beef and taxed those who reared cows. Congress and JD(U) also complained to Election Commission and demanded criminal action against him.

Distancing itself from Singh’s remark, BJP sought to undo the damage with president Rajnath Singh saying the party believes in the politics of “justice and humanity” and taking everybody along. Party sources said Giriraj has been conveyed the party’s displeasure over his statement and asked to refrain from stoking any further row. The comment had left BJP red-faced besides inviting sharp criticism from rival parties who said his comments were directed at Muslims.

In an apparent disapproval of the former Bihar minister’s comments, Rajnath said, “BJP believes in the politics of justice and humanity and taking everybody along”. Senior Bihar BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi termed the statement “irresponsible” and said the party does not approve of it. “BJP doesn’t approve of irresponsible statement given by Giriraj Singh,” he tweeted. “I stand by my statement that those trying their best to stop Modi from coming to power have no place in India and should go to Pakistan whose interests these Modi-baiters have sought to espouse by opposing him in the polls,” Giriraj told PTI in Patna.


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Baba Ramdev caught on camera discussing money with BJP candidate (Apr 18, 2014, Indian Express)

In what comes as an embarrassment for the BJP and Narendra Modi, yoga guru Baba Ramdev has been caught on camera purportedly discussing some money transaction with the party’s Alwar candidate Mahent Chandnath.

The video was recorded reportedly just before a press conference started. In the video, the BJP candidate is heard telling the yoga guru about trouble that’s faced while bringing money from somewhere. Responding immediately to the statement of the BJP leader, Ramdev stops him from speaking further and goes on to call him a fool.

Ramdev has already declared his stand to support Modi in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, and has announced that he would campaign for the BJP’s PM candidate in Vadodara. The Congress party has filed a complaint in this regard with the Election Commission.


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NIA to court: Delhi Police frustrating probe in terror cases (Apr 16, 2014, Indian Express)

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) Tuesday argued in a court here that the Delhi Police was trying to “frustrate” their ongoing probe against alleged Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives by seeking further custody of Tehseen Akhtar and Zia-ur-Rehman alias Waqas.

The tug of war between the two probe agencies was seen in the court after the Special Cell of the Delhi Police sought 25 days police custody of Tehseen and Waqas in connection with a case regarding the conspiracy of IM and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) to carry out terror strikes in the national capital.

The NIA told the court that the Special Cell was again seeking remand of these two accused to “frustrate the investigation so far done by the NIA with respect to accused in different FIRs”. The NIA also said their probe into these cases were “held up” due to want of interrogation of these accused.

The Special Cell, however, countered the NIA’s submissions saying their probe into the case regarding the conspiracy of IM and LeT to carry out terror strikes in Delhi was going on. It also argued the interrogation of these two accused was necessary to “verify the nexus between LeT and IM”.

The court, after hearing the arguments, remanded both the accused to custody of the Special Cell for 20 days while brushing aside the contentions of the NIA seeking its permission to formally arrest and interrogate these two accused.


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UP Police arrest 13 for Muzaffarnagar riots (Apr 17, 2014, Hindustan Times)

At least 13 people were arrested for their role in the Muzaffarnagar riots, after the Supreme Court directed the Uttar Pradesh government to expedite the process of bringing the accused to justice, police said on Thursday. Two murder accused, four accused of stoning, and seven others were arrested on Wednesday from Bahawdi, Basikala, Shahpur and Kotwali areas of the district, a police official said.

A drive has been launched to arrest the riot accused after the direction of the apex court to expedite the process. According to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) which is probing the riot cases, nearly 800 people were found to be involved in rioting, gang rape, and murder, and many of them are still absconding.

Of the 50 accused in Kutba killing case, only three have been arrested, police said, adding, eight persons including a woman were killed and several others injured by rioters in the village. The communal clashes that took place in Muzaffarnagar in September last year left 62 people dead and more than 40,000 homeless.


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Don’t rely purely on police report to assess riot damages: HC (Apr 17, 2014, Business Standard)

The Maharashtra government expressed its willingness before the Bombay High Court today, to withdraw a collector’s order asking Raza Academy, which had organised a 2012 rally at Azad Maidan, to pay Rs 2.74 crore for damages caused to public property due to riots. The government said it would ask the Mumbai Collector to withdraw his April 16, 2014 order, asking rally organisers to pay damages and instead issue a fresh order after a probe.

A statement to this effect was made by government pleader Aruna Kamat-Pai after a bench headed by Justice Naresh Patil observed that the collector’s order issued on April 16 was not proper and was bad in law. The matter has been adjourned to April 30 so as to enable the Mumbai Collector to pass a fresh order. The Court said that the order seemed to have been passed in a “haste” yesterday (April 16) because the hearing in this case was slated for today.

The judges said that the Collector had relied purely upon a police report while assessing damages caused to property. They opined that no effort was made to assess the damages from independent sources like insurance companies. The court suggested that the state could find out from insurance companies about how many claims they had received and how much these companies had paid out as damages to their policy claimants. On this basis, damages or losses caused to property could be assessed, judges said.

The court also said that in order to assess damages, the version of purely the accused should not be relied upon. In such cases, the version of the victims should also be taken into account, judges said. These are suggestions made by the court while hearing a PIL filed by Sanket Satope, who sought a direction to the Maharashtra government to recover damages to public properties from organisers of the rally at Azad Maidan, where the riots took place in 2012.


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Controversy dogs Sambhal’s Babri mosque (Apr 17, 2014, DNA India)

The Sambhal mosque, built by a Mughal general, Mir Hindu Beg, in 1528, is the only surviving Mughal building constructed during the time of Babar. Even as Uttar Pradesh (UP) grapples with communal polarisation of votes, which experts say is unprecedented since the Ram mandir movement that culminated in the demolition of the Babri masjid in Ayodhya in 1992, miscreants are busy raking up a controversy related to another Babri masjid that stands tall in the heart of Sambhal city, some 200km southeast of Delhi. Residents believe the mythological Sambhal tehsil is the place where, in Kalyug, Lord Vishnu will be reincarnated in the avataar of Kalki. Several organisations have been working behind the scene to encourage a section of kanwariyas (devotees of Lord Shiva) to perform jalabhishek (a ritual water offering) at the Jama Masjid of Sambhal, also known as the Babri masjid.

The Sambhal mosque, built by a Mughal general, Mir Hindu Beg, in 1528, is the only surviving Mughal building constructed during the time of Babbar; two other structures from the Babbar era, one in Panipat that was built in 1526 is in ruins while the mosque at Ayodhya, built in 1528, remains demolished. Muslims make up about 40-55 per cent of the electorate in Sambhal and its neighbouring towns, Moradabad, Amroha and Rampur. The underlying communal tension has now come full circle after the Samajwadi Party (SP) changed its candidate mid-way to field former BSP member Shafiq-u-Rahman Barq. Barq represented the seat in the 15th Lok Sabha but is now contesting on a SP ticket, who had earlier fielded Javed Ali Khan. Annoyed at being denied a ticket, Khan is playing a spoiler, even though Mulayam Singh Yadav managed to get both of them to shake hands on stage.

Barq says fanatic forces have exploited the issue of the mosque in the past, but had been lying dormant and it is possible for them to use such tactics again for political gain. “It’s not religion that they are aiming for. If some Hindus are trying to build an environment to turn the mosque into a temple, it’s an outright political move,” he said, reminding that a Parliamentary Act mandates a status quo on all religious structures from before 15 August 1947. “And this mosque is also under protection of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).” He also says that Hindus lost a claim case over the site in 1877.

Congress candidate Acharya Pramod Krishnam says that while Sambhal is the only town in the world where mythological conditions necessary for the birth of the Kalki avataar hold true, he disputes that the Lord will reincarnate near the mosque. Some distance away from the mosque stands the Raniwala Mandir devoted to Sri Kalki Vishnu; it was constructed by Rani Ahilyabai Holkar. The temple’s caretaker, Mahendra Sharma, refuses to have any conversation, fearing he will get into trouble, but he does say that local Muslims saved the temple from being torched during the bloody riots of 1976.

Krishnam organises a Kalki mela in a small village, Gram Aachora Kambhu, near Sambhal every year. The place has attained the status of a pilgrimage site in the last three years, and has been visited by union ministers Dr Farooq Abdullah, Sriprakash Jaiswal, Salman Khurshid, Subodh Kant Sahay, Sachin Pilot, and actresses Hema Malini and Monica Bedi.


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UP: Woman ‘gangraped’ by husband, brother-in-law, cops (Apr 18, 2014, Indian Express)

A married woman forced to return to her mother four months ago by her in-laws for not meeting dowry demands, was gangraped in Jitauli village under Kankarkheda police station, allegedly by her estranged husband, brother-in-law and four sleuths of the Crime Branch on Tuesday night. The woman said she was dumped near Jitauli Railway crossing early on Wednesday. Two days after a complaint was lodged by the woman, Kankarkheda police failed to make any arrest though she had named the four sleuths for sexually assaulting her.

Alka Singh, in-charge of the police station, told The Indian Express, “The SSP asked me to investigate the complaint of the woman but later directed me to concentrate on incidents of eve-teasing in the town and this was why I lost track of the case. The FIR in this connection has been lodged with Kankarkheda Police station.” “Investigation is under way and we will take action only after confirming if the woman was actually raped or the charges were aimed at settling scores with her husband,” said Mahaveer, SHO of the police station.

The woman stated in her complaint that she filed a case against her husband and in-laws four months ago for mental and physical torture. “On Tuesday, two sleuths of the Crime Branch, Nawab and Veerpal, directed me to accompany them to the station to settle the issue with my husband to which I refused. They came again in the evening and this time I saw my husband accompanying them. I decided to go with them on seeing my husband,” the complaint said. “I was taken to a house in Jitauli village where six persons including my husband, brother-in-law and four sleuths of Crime Branch raped me… I was thrown out of a moving car like a plastic bag at Jitauli railway crossing,” she told the SSP. SSP Onkar Singh said, “I have formed a joint team of Kankarkheda police and sleuths of the woman police station to ensure the guilty are nabbed soon.” The woman has been getting threats on her mobile phone to withdraw the case.


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BJP leader booked for allegedly molesting, beating dalit voter (Apr 17, 2014, Times of India)

A 45-year-old dalit woman was molested at her residence allegedly by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) city president and four other unidentified men when she refused to take money from them for voting for the party, the city police said here on Thursday. According to a complaint filed by the Dalit woman Savita Maroti Ballal, a case has been registered against BJP city president Jugal Kishore Lohiya and four other unidentified men under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Parli city police said.

The incident occurred at Gautam Nagar in Parli city on Wednesday and an FIR was filed on the same day, the police said. According to a police report, BJP city president Jugal Kishore Lohiya and other four unidentified men went to the Dalit woman’s house on Wednesday. As per the FIR, at night at around 10.30 pm they went to the Dalit woman’s residence and allegedly asked her about how many voters were there in her family, after which they allegedly “offered” her Rs 5000.

However, when she refused to accept their money, Lohiya allegedly told her that they had distributed money to lower caste people, after which he allegedly abused her caste, molested her as well as threatened her. Her son was also beaten up and threatened after he tried to resist them, the FIR said. After the news of the incident spread, local organisations called for a Parli bandh tomorrow, sources told.


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Opinions and Editorials

Being Muslim Under Narendra Modi – By Basharat Peer (Apr 18, 2014, New York Times)

…It was on his watch as chief minister that more than 1,000 people, many of them Muslims, were killed throughout Gujarat in 2002, when rioting erupted after some 60 Hindus died in a burning train in Godhra. A Human Rights Watch report that year asserted that the state government and local police officials were complicit in the carnage.

Mr. Modi has not visited the camps of the Muslims displaced by the violence or apologized for his government’s failure to protect a minority. Instead, he has described the reprisal killings of Muslims that year as a simple “reaction” to an “action,” namely the deaths of the Hindu train passengers — and has said he felt as sad about them as would a passenger in a car that accidentally ran over a puppy. His only regret, he once told a reporter for this paper, was failing to manage the media fallout.

Even as candidate for prime minister, Mr. Modi has not given up his sectarian ways. Nor has his party, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. Of the 449 B.J.P. candidates now running for seats in the lower house of Parliament, all but eight are Hindu. The party’s latest election manifesto reintroduces a proposal to build a temple to the Hindu god Ram on the site of a medieval mosque in the northern town of Ayodhya, even though the destruction of that mosque by Hindu extremists and B.J.P. supporters in 1992 devolved into violence that killed several thousand people.

Amit Shah, a former Gujarat minister and Mr. Modi’s closest aide, is awaiting trial for the murder of three people the police suspect of plotting to assassinate Mr. Modi. (Mr. Shah calls the charges a political conspiracy.) He has made speeches inciting anti-Muslim sentiment among Hindu voters, including in Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India, despite an outbreak of sectarian violence there last September.

The problem isn’t just about rhetoric. Judging by the evidence in Gujarat, where Mr. Modi has been chief minister since 2001, a B.J.P. victory in the general election would increase marginalization and vulnerability among India’s 165 million Muslims. …


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Jobless Growth In Gujarat: Some Statistics – By Sanjeev Kumar (Apr 21, 2014, Countercurrents)

One can imagine the concern of a State for providing employment for her citizen, has there not been a single Public Service Commission exam held in last 10 years. NSSO’s data shows that the growth rate of employment in Gujarat during 1993-94 to 2004-05 was 2.43% which reduced to near zero per cent during 2005 to 2010. The stagnant employment growth in the last five years in Gujarat is better than negative employment growth rate at the national level but lags far behind other equally well off states such as Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Unemployment rate in Gujarat in 2009-10 was 9.9% while the national figure was 9.3% and 5.8% for Tamil Nadu, 5.9 for Maharashtra and 8.6 for Haryana. It rose to 10% in 2011-12 for Gujarat.

The increase in number of factory during 2000-01 to 2009-10 was 10.54% while in employment it was only 54% while increase in net value added was 434.10%. Gujarat account, 14% of India’s manufacturing gross value added, 18.6% of fixed capital, 10% of total number of factories but only 9% of employment generated in India. Gujarat’s contribution to India’s total employment generation is 10.14% but her contribution to value of output is 17.22% while only 12.55% in net value added. This means Gujarat gives priority to increase in production over increase in net value added while priority to employment generation has been least. Question could also be asked, if Gujarat’s output is 17.22% but she adds only 12.55% value to India’s wealth, where does other 4.7% (17.22 – 12.55 %) go? Of course, it goes to capitalist in form of subsidies. However, it was not always the case. In 2002-04 the value of output was 16.07% while the Net Value Added was 19.77% of the Indian total. This change in priority cannot be considered as the good indication for an welfare economy.

The CAG’s report on “Performance Audit of MGNREGA” indicates poor performance of Gujarat. In terms of its benefits to the female worker Gujarat’s performance is 50% lesser then national average. In terms of awareness among the worker about the number of days they worked or entitlement they have, the performance of Gujarat is worst then even Odisha and Bihar. Gujarat ranks first in terms of issuing direct industrial license but ranks seventh in employment generation; Tamil Nadu ranks seventh in investment in IEMs (Industrial Entrepreneur Memorandum) but ranks first in its share of creating employment from this investment. During 2006-10, Gujarat signed MoU worth Rs 5.35 lakh crore with potential of 6.47 lakh jobs. But Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu with Rs 4.20 lakh crore and Rs 1.63 lakh crore worth MoUs, expected to create about 8.63 lakh and 13.09 lakh jobs.

The above figures make it clear that Gujarat is producing employment lesser then her real potential. It has been so despite the fact that she has more attraction for the investors. The explanation for this unnatural relation between investments without employment can be found in Gujarat Government policy of encouragement to capital intensive sector of economy and capital intensive production system. Nearly 50% of net employment generated in Gujarat in the last two decades has come from service sector and followed by 30% from agriculture but Government is ignoring these sectors continuously. During 1993-94 to 2009-10, the employment in agriculture increased by 76% in rural Gujarat while in case of Manufacturing it was reduced by 17% in rural and increased by 28% in urban Gujarat. The highest growth rate of employment at national level has been seen in construction sector but in case of Gujarat it is agriculture. In 2004-04, 49.9% of employment was in primary sector which increased to 54.4% in 2008-09. This means dependence of people of Gujarat on agriculture and its allied sector has been increasing while the contribution of secondary and tertiary sector is decreasing.

The contribution of Gujarat’s manufacturing sector in generating employment remained stagnant while share of Gujarat’s manufacturing sector in India’s total manufacturing increased rapidly. On the other hand, Tamil Nadu did well in this aspect with a balanced growth of both employment and production. In second half of 2000s employment generation in manufacturing sector of Gujarat became negative with -2.6%. In addition to poor gains in employment, the manufacturing sector in the State is also characterised by slow growth in wages (1.5 per cent in the decade of 2000 when the all-India wages grew by 3.7 per cent), increasing use of contract workers (from 19 to 34 per cent between 2001 and 2008), and overall reduced position of workers (with the lowest share of wages in Gross Value added in the decade of 2000s in comparison to Haryana, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu).…


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Hatemongers speaking on behalf of BJP are undermining its image – Editorial (Apr 21, 2014, Hindustan Times)

This is an albatross round the BJP’s neck that it needs to jettison double quick. We mean the motley crew of self-styled Hindutva proponents who have done nothing by embarrass the party with extreme and unacceptable pronouncements. The BJP and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi have rightly understood that the Indian voter will, by and large, cast his or her lot in with a moderate and secular political party. This is what the BJP has been trying to project itself as, putting behind some unfortunate episodes in its past.

But the latest salvo allegedly from Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Pravin Togadia has once again put the onus on the BJP to disassociate itself from his remarks. In a bid to make himself relevant, Mr Togadia has reportedly asked his followers to drive out a Muslim businessman who has purchased a house in Rajkot by confronting him with stones, tyres and tomatoes. Mr Togadia apparently assured his supporters that “there is nothing wrong in it. Killers of Rajiv Gandhi have not been hanged…there is nothing to fear.” Mr Togadia has subsequently denied having said all this.

Then we have Bihar BJP leader Giriraj Singh saying that those who do not vote for Mr Modi should go to Pakistan and that they would be considered traitors. There have been calls to expel him, but he should have been shown the door the minute he made these remarks. The RSS, which is in the vanguard of the BJP’s efforts to gain power, has urged the majority community to vote in strength, hinting that to do otherwise would amount to encouraging minority appeasement.

While it is true that none of these have the sanction of the BJP, all these organisations are part of the right wing Hindutva lobby. The BJP should have made it clear at the very outset that no one, but its authorised spokespersons, can speak on its behalf or with the misplaced notion that such remarks will help it. If, however, the likes of these hatemongers cannot be contained, then the BJP leadership at the highest level should roundly and publicly condemn these divisive tactics. Mr Modi and the top BJP leaders have scrupulously avoided raising religion as this is an issue which is misused to stoke sectarian passions.

The BJP president, Rajnath Singh, has time and again sought the help of the Muslims in these elections with assurances that they will not be targeted in any manner. The same goes for other minorities. Yet, the BJP is being tarred with the same brush as the VHP and other fringe organisations that claim to speak for all Hindus. Now is the time for the BJP as the party which was once the ruling party, and which aspires to be that again, to firmly distance itself from these elements and take action against those in its ranks who are giving it a bad name.


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Bombers For A Cause? – By Subhash Gatade (Apr 10, 2014, Countercurrents)

Bombs always make news – even when they do not explode. Terrorists of various stripes as well as criminals know it very well. And they time their actions accordingly. Bombs – even if they do not explode – or even when they cause symbolic damage have an added traction for the politicos of the right. They pay rich dividends. It is one of the easiest thing to stigmatise, terrorise a community, a people. In an ambience where all such anti-human acts are projected as handiwork of the ‘other’ it takes very less time to polarise the ‘us’. It is common knowledge that the vitiation of atmosphere is so immediate and complete that all talk of harmony and composite heritage can just evaporate in a fraction of a second and the saner elements within can suddenly find themselves on the margins.

Kagal, a town in Kolhapur district, was witness to such an incident, where the police discovered a bomb making factory in the Lakshmi Hill near MIDC area. The culprits involved in this action could be nabbed before they could ‘operationalise their bomb’. The gravity of the situation could be understood by the fact that police could bust this criminal module on the eve of Narendra Modi’s proposed rally in that area. It has arrested four youths who were involved in the operation. While Ajinkya Manohar Bhopade(22) and Aniket Bhivaji Mali(22) belong to Chokak village in Hatkananagale, Nilesh Babanrao Patil (20) is from Male Mudshingi, in Hatkanangale and Anil Popat Kharase (26) hail from Kabnur-Ichalkaranji in Hatkanangale. Patil and Kharase supplied material for bomb making and Bhopade – who has a diploma in electronics and Mali – who works as wireman have been arrested for making bombs.

Apart from diagram notes police have confiscated material including gelatin sticks, remotely handled switches, remote control devices, five screw drivers, steel clips, wire-cutters, hacksaws, scissors, hammers, buzzers, door bells, six battery cells, power control equipment, energy circuit wiring, switch cord and paper pieces with diagram notes, among others. It has also confiscated four live bombs and equipment worth Rs 25,69,575. The bombs confiscated were ones that could be detonated with a remote control. According to newspaper reports the police has ‘refuted ‘[a]ny political or extremist hand behind the bombs the four made.Kolhapur district superintendent of police Manojkumar Sharma said that the youths were “trying to make easy money”. ( The FIR registered by the police states that “[i]t had received a tip-off that some persons were going to bring bombs in the MIDC area. Acting on the tip-off, a trap was laid on the Kagal town and the four accused persons were nabbed on the Saturday night. The arrested were carrying the four bombs and other explosive materials on two bikes.”

It is possible that the police – with good intentions – is in a hurry to individualise the incident and localise the act and does not want to aggravate further tension in an already surcharged atmosphere. But it’s claim that no political or extremist hand was visible behind these bombers and they were ‘trying to make easy money’ sounds unconvincing. One can look at the enormous amount of money involved – the equipment cost itself was more than Rs. 25 lakhs – and it is difficult to comprehend how a group of these four people, one a wireman, one a diploma holder and other two doing similar odd jobs could raise so much mony on their own to ‘start this business’.

Police’s claim that all the four had no previous background of ‘criminal activities’ is an added reason to think that they were not acting on their own but were merely cogs in some wider conspiracy. It is important to find out the real masterminds, the real planners, financers behind their act. And there have been many such incidents where activists associated with rightwing fanatic groups – most of them without any previous criminal record – have been found to be involved in making bombs, storing explosives and chalking out plans to put it at crowded places to cause maximum damage to the ‘other’. …


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Whither Community Profiling – By Subhash Gatade (Apr 21, 2014, Countercurrents)

Adam Goldman, a journalist who with the help of his colleague Matt Apuzzo first broke the story about New York Police Department’s Muslim Spy Programme in a series of articles he wrote for Associated Press must be a happy man these days. News has come in that NYPD (New York Police Department) has finally decided to disband its DemographicUnit which was engaged in spying on Muslim neighborhoods, infiltrating groups and eavesdropping on conversations across the northeastern United States, In the years following the Sept. 11 attacks. It has finally admitted that its secret Demographics Unit failed to yield a single terrorism investigation or even a single lead. Senior police officers of the department confirmed that the police gathered information on people even when there was no evidence of wrongdoing, simply because of their ethnicity and native language.

It was quite a coincidence that when the world at large was discussing how NYPD tried to stigmatise a community and terrorise a people, reports about the ‘informer-cop nexus behind Islamic Fundamentalism in Tamil Nadu’. ( were already making rounds. What is important to note here is that a (retd) senior police officer’s confidential correspondence with higher officials formed a key evidence in this unfolding drama. Not very many people would remember today that during Lal Krishna Advani’s tour of Tamil Nadu in the year 2011 police had discovered a plot to cause mayhem supposedly by Islamic militants. It was told that pipe bombs were discovered on the route which Advani’s cavalcade was to follow. Police had even arrested two ‘terrorists’ Syed Wahab and Ismath and presented them before the media.

A petition before the Madras Highcourt which has sought a CBI probe into the various bomb planting cases in Madurai alleging that the real accused were not arrested is revisiting this particular high profile case as well. Madras Highcourt ( Madurai bench) is expected to give its opinion on the 21 st April.The said letters written by former Madurai SP V Balakrishnan to the DGP and Additional DGP in March and August 2013 and were presented before the court in the second week of April. According to Balakrishnan police informers belonging to the Muslim community were themselves indulging in subversive activities by abusing the faith the police had placed on them and also due to their alleged nexus with some corrupt intelligence sleuths. …

Definitely this could not be said to be the first investigation of its kind where the role of the police and investigating agencies has come under a scanner. There are a number of cases where law and order people have badly fumbled and have received enough opprobrium from the judiciary. Not some time ago ‘ Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association’ had brought out a report ‘Framed, Damned and Acquitted’ which looks at the operations of the Special Cell of the Delhi police, the stereotypical manner in which they conducted investigations in cases arresting Muslims for being part of terrorist outfits and how in most of these cases the accused were acquitted by the courts.

The developments in the Malegaon bomb blast case 2006 where a terror module of RSS workers was finally chargesheeted, was also a pointer to the prejudices entertained by the police and the role of informers in helping people nab innocents. One still remembers the bomb explosions in Malegaon on the day of Shab-e-Barat (Sep 2006) and the manner in which nine Muslim youth were apprehended and had to spend more than five years behind jail because of biased investigation. Here also role of one Abrar Ahmad had proved crucial – who worked for the police – who had provided ‘evidence’ against these nine youth. Later he had submitted an affidavit before the court recounting the false evidence. We have a number of such examples where the actual perpetrators were never caught and innocents were apprehended, tortured badly and asked to ‘confess’ a crime which they had not committed. …


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A modern-day enlightenment – By Ananya Vajpeyi (Apr 17, 2014, The Hindu)

In recent months there has been a vociferous demand from some sections of Dalit intellectual and Ambedkarite opinion that the ideas of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi not be compared, contrasted, or put into any kind of conversation with one another. In this view, to mention Gandhi in the same breath as Ambedkar is to take attention and importance away from Ambedkar, and to blunt the radical edge of Ambedkar’s contribution, to make him part of the same national mainstream of modern political thought in which Gandhi, Nehru, Tagore and many others belong. In other words, there is a type of exceptionalism that attaches itself to Ambedkar. Proponents of this exceptionalism bristle at any attempt to discuss Ambedkar together with his peers and contemporaries, starting with Gandhi and including all kinds of thinkers and leaders, especially those who happened to be caste Hindus.

There is no doubt that Ambedkar was indeed exceptional in many respects – as an intellectual, a politician and a human being. He fought unimaginable odds to become one of the greatest men of the historical era in which he lived. But this does not mean that he existed, thought or worked in isolation, apart from a climate of ideas, cut off from a rich inter-subjective context of teachers, mentors, benefactors, patrons, friends, comrades, followers, critics, adversaries, supporters, interlocutors, commentators and interpreters. Like any historically significant individual in the thick of public life, with a long and complex career in law, politics, scholarship and religion, Ambedkar too was surrounded by other people, some of whom helped him while others hindered him. Moreover, even today, long after his death, many different groups continue to vie for his legacy. Dalits and Neo-Buddhists are of course at the forefront of staking a claim to this inheritance, and so they should be, but they are not alone. Anyone who wants to understand the political foundations of India’s modernity has to engage seriously with Ambedkar and all that he stood for.

To think of Gandhi and Ambedkar as paired figures is not a new discursive move. By the early 1990s, the late D.R. Nagaraj had developed a nuanced understanding of their tortured dialogue, reluctant complementarity and intimate enmity. In his classic essay, “Self-Purification v/s Self-Respect: On the Roots of the Dalit Movement” (1993), Professor Nagaraj made several important points: first, that it was Gandhi who initially grasped untouchability as a political problem (albeit his own concerns were spiritual and not material); second, that Gandhi and Ambedkar debated their divergent approaches to the problem of untouchability in a vigorous manner both before and after the Poona Pact of 1932; and third, that by the end of their long encounter with one another, Gandhi and Ambedkar had internalised one another’s ideas. Thus, Gandhi could recognise the village, which he had romanticised as a kind of indigenous utopia, to be a socio-economic space of exploitation and oppression. Ambedkar meanwhile could acknowledge that the yearning for equality and recognition is not answered by a struggle for political rights and social justice alone, but ultimately must assume the dimensions of a deeper quest for transcendent religious truth.

Ambedkar exposed the swamp of caste prejudice that lay beneath the veneer of Gandhi’s instinctive traditionalism. Gandhi alerted Ambedkar to the dangers of fundamentalist modernism: violence against the self, estrangement from an organic community, loss of cultural memory, the return of repressed pasts in frightening, haunting forms, and the erosion of all bulwarks against the onslaught of capitalism. The arch-critic of modernity, Gandhi, and the arch-critic of tradition, Ambedkar, both transformed one another’s views. The truth is that if caste is dehumanising, technology too, can be anti-human. If rural life is steeped in darkness, urban life too, can be hellish. (“Peepli Live” (2010), Anusha Rizvi and Mahmood Farooqui’s brilliant film about farmer suicides and migrant labour, was a wryly ironic comment on this bitter reality.) India today, as we know it, bears out the truth of both Gandhi and Ambedkar’s views. On the one hand, electoral democracy has reinvented caste as an empowering vector of collective identity, and on the other hand, environmentally-aware social movements have shown up aggressive technological advancement and neo-liberal globalisation as impediments to human flourishing and political emancipation.

But Professor Nagaraj’s abiding insight was to explain how the difference between “Harijan” and “Dalit” is the difference between the caste Hindu’s struggle for self-purification and the outcaste’s struggle for self-respect. The “self” in the two situations is not the same. Ambedkarites today are right to point out that because Gandhi’s Harijan is a completely discredited and defunct category, which no longer has nor has had, in fact, for decades, any moral traction or political appeal, it is not necessary to invoke Gandhi together with Ambedkar in our ongoing discussions about caste. The caste system in Gandhi’s polemics – a web of social relations typical of India, with an attendant set of basically benign religious beliefs and effective economic practices, minus any built-in or inevitable ideology of inequality – is non-existent as an empirically verifiable reality. No one experiences caste in this way; especially not those at the receiving end of its structural violence. Ambedkar raised this objection early on: today, nobody disputes that he was right.…


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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 14th, 2013

by newsdigest on April 15, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

US: Anti-Modi Congressional resolution now has 51 co-sponsors (Apr 11, 2014, Hindustan Times)

A controversial Congressional resolution, which among other things asks the American administration to maintain its policy of not issuing visa to BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, now has more than 50 co-sponsors. Rush Holt from New Jersey and Barbara Lee from California are the two lawmakers to have signed onto the resolution (H Res 417), thus taking the number of co-sponsors to 51. The bipartisan resolution was introduced by Congressmen Keith Ellison from the Democratic Party and Joe Pitts from the Republican Party last November.

Since then it has not only become an issue of contention among various Indian American groups, but also several lawmakers have questioned the intention of introducing such a resolution. Several Congressmen have withdrawn too as its co-sponsors, but with Holt and Lee this week being the latest entrants, the total number of sponsor to this controversial resolution yesterday stood at 51 from nearly 30 states, of which 26 are Republican and 25 are from the Democratic Party. The resolution also asks to include religious freedom and human rights as part of the Strategic Dialogue between the two countries. It praises India’s “rich religious diversity and commitment to tolerance and equality,” while raising concerns over the “erosion” of religious freedom.

The resolution, the bipartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) in its summary, recognises the suffering of Indian citizens who have been victims of religious violence, and also highlights the alleged role of Modi in the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat. It declares that the House of Representatives shares the opinion of the Department of State and the US Commission on International Religious Freedom that the Gujarat government has not adequately pursued justice for the victims of religious violence in 2002 and expresses concern regarding reports about the alleged complicity of local officials.

It commends the US government for exercising its authority in 2005 under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to deny a US visa to Narendra Modi on the grounds of religious freedom violations, and encourages it to review the applications of any individuals implicated in such violations under the same standard, the CRS said. The resolution commends the role of India’s National Human Rights Commission and the Indian Supreme Court, which has led to some convictions in Gujarat riot cases and the arrest of high-level leaders in the Gujarati administration.


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Modi’s India TV interview ‘Fixed’? Editorial Director QW Naqvi resigns in protest (Apr 14, 2014, Daily Bhaskar)

Senior journalist and editorial director at India TV, Qamar Waheed Naqvi resigned from his position, in a mark of protest, against the Modi’s interview telecasted a few days back on the channel. Going by the sources, Naqvi sent his resignation in form of email to the management on Sunday night.

Talking to Daily Bhaskar Naqvi said ” I have put in papers, rest will be disclosed later.” He resigned so as to protest against the interview that he termed as ‘fixed.’ Rajat Sharma, editor-in-chief of India TV, conducted the interview in his popular program “AAP Ki Adalat.”

Naqvi was working as a news director in the channel for a long time. Reportedly, Naqvi can’t be accessed on social networking sites as well, meaning thereby, he has deleted his accounts on the same.


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In his nomination, Narendra Modi finally admits Jashodaben is his wife (Apr 10, 2014, IBN)

Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi in an affidavit filed before the Election Commission showed himself as a married man revealing that his wife’s name is Jashodaben. In an affidavit submitted along with his nomination papers filed on Wednesday for Vadodara Lok Sabha seat, Modi for the first time stated that he is married.

So far, Modi used to leave the column of spouse which is to be filled in an affidavit as blank. He had kept the column as blank in 2012 Assembly elections as well. However, for the 2014 Lok Sabha election affidavit, in the column where he has to declare assets in the name of his wife, Modi has written that he has no information on it.

Though he had filed the nomination papers, the Vadodara district election authority put the affidavit on the display board of the Collectorate at midnight. The affidavit has not been uploaded on the website of the Chief Electoral Officer of Gujarat till late in the night. Earlier, the Congress had said that Modi should come clean on his marital status while filing nomination papers for the Lok Sabha elections.

The Vadodara Lok Sabha seat which has been chosen by Modi from 26 constituencies of Gujarat is considered to be one of the safest seat. Modi is also contesting election from Varanasi where he is challenging Aam Aadmi Party candidate Arvind Kejriwal and Congress’ local MLA Ajay Rai.


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Gujarat police has no evidence against Maulana Abdul Qavi: Paracha (Apr 10, 2014,

Renowned Islamic scholar Maulana Mohammed Abdul Qavi who was arrested on 23rd March from New Delhi airport in a joint operation by Gujarat ATS and Delhi police special cell in a decade old case of conspiracy to assassinate Narendra Modi and other Sangh leaders. He was yesterday produced before POTA court in Ahmedabad after the completion of 14 days of police custody. The special POTA court remanded him to 7 days of judicial custody and ordered Crime Branch Jamalpur to lodge him in Sabarmati prison of Ahmedabad where many high profile accused persons are lodged.

During the court proceedings many Muslim leaders were present along with representing lawyers and family of Maulana Abdul Qavi. Among the lawyers prominent Supreme Court Adv. Mahmood Paracha was also present who was called in to defend Maulana Abdul Qavi by the Jamiat Ulema Maharashtra. Adv. Paracha along with Adv. Pathan argued before the court in defense of Maulana Abdul Qavi and questioned the sudden arrest of Maulana in a decade old case that too in the absence of any valid court warrant. They also questioned the basis of his arrest for the case in which almost everyone who was accused and arrested including cleric Maulana Naseeruddin has already been acquitted by the court.

The special court asked police to show 14 day police diary but they could not show it due to which the special court came down heavily on them and strictly ordered to produce the diary before 9th April morning. After the court proceedings Adv. Paracha told media that he elaborated special court how illegally he was arrested without a warrant and that on the first hearing itself the truth of the case was evident where the police did not even bring the 14 day police diary before court. He informed that his panel shall file bail application of Maulana soon and that he is very much sure to secure bail for him.

Adv. Tahur Pathan told TCN, “There are many faults in the police case and his arresting itself is illegal therefore I have strong belief that he (Maulana) will be released soon on bail”. Maulana Hafiz Nadeem Siddique, President of Jamiat Ulema Maharashtra appealed well-wishers and Jamiat members to supplicate Allah almighty for the early release of Maulana Abdul Qavi. Maulana Hakeemuddin Qazi, Secretary of Jamiat Ulema and Hafiz Khaliq representative of Jamiat Ulema Andhra Pradesh were also present in the special POTA court. They also had a talk with family of Maulana and assured them of full support from the Jamiat.

53 year old Maulana Abdul Qavi is the founder and rector of Madrasa Ashraful Uloom who have a big name in the religious circles of Hyderabad. As a renowned theologian he wrote many books on Islamic fiqh. Apart from Jamait Ulema he is also considered close to many bigwigs of Tabligee Jamat. His arrest by Gujarat ATS has shocked everyone who knew him even distantly because he is a prominent person who keeps attending gatherings throughout the country and was never absconding.


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‘Wajid victim of political plot’, dead youth’s father says (Apr 14, 2014, Times of India)

Despite the district administration claiming that the clashes between two communities in Nakanpur in Punahana last Thursday and the death of a 28-year-old Meo-Muslim man a day later are not related, his family members have said that their son was a victim of a political conspiracy to flare up communal tension. “We don’t blame any political party but Wajid was killed in a follow-up act of the clash on the polling day. Why would anyone kill him. He had no personal rivalry with anyone in the village or outside,” said Majid, the victim’s father, a cook at a police station here.

Mewat SP Anil Kumar Dhawan however maintained that both the incidents were not related and Wajid was a victim of some personal rivalry. When asked why few of the accused in both the incidents were same, he said, “It could be a coincidence.” Calling their son’s death an attempt to disturb the religious harmony in the area, nurtured here for generations, Majid said, “My eldest son was killed in cold blood for no fault of his. He was not even present at the polling booth where clashes between the two groups took place.”

Somebody who has been with Haryana police for close to 25 years, Majid always wanted his son to join the police force. “Now I want Wajid’s son to fulfill my wish and ensure justice to the poor,” he said. Survived by his wife and three children, Wajid had his son admitted to a nearby private school days before his death.


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Bail plea of Muzaffarnagar riot accused rejected (Apr 12, 2014, Statesman)

A local court here has rejected the bail plea of an accused in a Muzaffaranagar riots case related to the killing of eight persons, including a woman, in Kutba village.

Additional district sessions judge Mr Jitendra Kumar yesterday rejected the bail plea of Kunwar Pal, one of the 50 accused in the Kutba village violence case.

According to the prosecution, eight persons including a woman, were killed and 20 people were injured during riots in Kutba village in the district last year. The police had registered a case against 110 rioters and arrested two persons, added sources.


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TDP Muslim leaders, cadres quit party over BJP alliance (Apr 9, 2014, Times of India)

Trouble is brewing within the Telugu Desam as many Muslim leaders and workers resigned en masse on Tuesday protesting the party’s rekindled friendship with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Describing the alliance between the parties as “opportunistic”, the leaders, including presidents and workers of minority and Scheduled Caste cells of the party, expressed anger with the TDP leadership. They recalled that in April 2002, soon after the riots in Gujarat, Narendra Modi had come in for sharp criticism from party president N Chandrababu Naidu.

“The TDP politburo had then passed a resolution which stated that the incident could not be seen as an internal issue of the state as its impact had tarnished India’s secular image. The resolution also held that the party had put the strong condition of secularism before the NDA government which was later violated,” said Shahbaz Ahmed Khan, who resigned from the post of president of TDP’s minority cell. Stating that the TDP had betrayed the trust of Muslims and secular people, he claimed that 17 vice-presidents of various party committees, six official spokespersons, 30 organising secretaries and 32 secretaries had all resigned in protest.

“We will be meeting again tomorrow to decide our next course of action. We have not ruled out joining other political parties or using our cadre to support candidates from other parties,” Khan said. The party’s decision has also put many leaders, including party MLAs from the Old City, on the back foot with many refusing to contest a second time on the TDP ticket. Sources said that while Mohammed Muzaffar Ali Khan, who fought on a TDP ticket in 2009 from Malakpet and lost by a margin of 8.26 per cent to Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) sitting MLA Ahmed Balala, is likely to contest independently.

Charminar candidate Ali Masqati, who is rumoured to be deliberating joining other political parties, has decided against entering the fray. “I will not contest this time. I was in the TDP and I am still with the party,” Masqati said. Meanwhile, unhappy with being denied a ticket, Congress member Feroz Khan, who had contested against MIM Nampally MLA Virasat Rasool Khan on a Praja Rajyam Party ticket before its merger with Congress, has reportedly joined the TDP. An official announcement is expected shortly.


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Minority community names missing in electoral list in Kavalbyrasandra (Apr 13, 2014, DNA India)

Despite registering their names for the electoral list well on time, a section of the minority community (Muslims) in Kavalbyrasandra do not have their name in the electoral list. All these came to light when many people from the Muslim community started approaching Aga Foundation, an NGO which has been working in the area for the upliftment of women and children. On a daily basis the NGO has been receiving about 5-6 people coming in with similar complaints everyday.

On Sunday when volunteers of the Foundation went to a single lane in Kavalbyrasandra area (Ward No 32), of the 23 houses they surveyed, 60 names who are in the voting age group were missing. According to the Foundation member there are over 2,000 voting age group people from Muslim community in Kavalbyrasandra. For the past one week, there were almost about six people from Kavalbyrasandra area walking to us everyday saying that their names are not there in the voting list.

Taking their names and contact numbers I went to the area BBMP Office and met the Area Regional Officer (ARO) and told him about the problem. I also asked the religious head of the mosque to announce in the mosque that if their names are not there in the electoral list they should inform the ARO in the BBMP office and get it checked said, Mufeeda Begum, President, Aga Foundation. An enthusiastic 20 year old Masoom, resident of Kavalbyrasandra had applied for the voters ID card a year ago but still she could not get hold of it and her name was also not there in the electoral list. More surprisingly, for the religious head of the mosque in the area, Ikram Ullah Haq, though his name is there in the electoral list but he is still to get his voters ID card.

He has applied about three years ago and he has been running around since then but still he has not got it. Few days ago when he went to the area BBMP office and checked for his name in the electoral list there was a tick mark against his name saying that he has collected his voters ID card but Haq has not received any voters Id card. However his signature wasn’t there. Mufeeda said: “I have spoken to the ARO, BBMP office and he said that today he will check properly for the final list of people. We will see, if nothing is being done then we will need to approach the election commissioner.”


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Cop arrested for raping woman in Ghaziabad (Apr 14, 2014, Times of India)

A 53-year-old sub-inspector of Delhi Police was arrested on Saturday night for raping a woman for over four years on the pretext of implicating her in a wrong case. Based on the woman’s complaint, UP Police arrested Preetam Singh posted at Lajpat Nagar police station in Delhi.

Police said the 45-year-old woman victim alleged in her complaint that in 2008 she was an accused in a case in Sangam Vihar. “The accused cop was the investigating officer and used to threaten her to implicate her if she didn’t have a physical relationship with him. She alleged that Singh raped her for several years,” said a senior police officer.

The accused, who is married, is a resident of Chanderlok. Police said the accused used to take her to a flat in Babudham of Kavinagar area of Ghaziabad and rape her. Police said the victim has been sent for medical examination and her statement recorded. “We have lodged an FIR and further investigation is on,” the official added.


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Hindu converted to Islam doesn’t lose backward class status: Madras HC (Apr 10, 2014, Times of India)

The Madras high court has ordered the Tamil Nadu government to instruct its officials to issue backward class (BC) community certificates to people who embrace Islam, categorically saying that a BC member would get all the benefits meant for BCs even after conversion to Islam. “I have no hesitation to come to the conclusion that a person belonging to Hindu backward class community, on conversion to Islam, would get the benefit of backward class status if the person is covered under List III of the government order no. 85,” said Justice D Hariparanthaman on Wednesday. The list contains seven sects of ‘backward class’ Muslims. They are: Ansar, Dekkani Muslims, Dudekula, Labbais (including Rawthar and Marakayar speaking Tamil or Urdu), Mapilla, Sheik and Syed, the judge pointed out.

In his 88-page order tracing the origin of caste-resistance movements by various communities and the prevalence of two-tumbler system in several parts of the state, Justice Hariparanthaman trashed two government communications sent in February 2010 and August 2012 asking collectors not to issue BC certificates to converted Muslims. Describing it as persecution of Muslim brothers and akin to ‘untouchability’ practised on dalits, the judge said, “Denial of BC community certificate to converted Muslims amounts to deprivation of fundamental rights.”

The judge was passing orders on a petition filed by M U Aariffaa, who was a Nadar (a BC community) before her conversion to Islam in 2006. Though she cleared the TNPSC examination for village administrative officer (VAO) in 2012, she was not selected as she was treated as ‘others’. Later in the same year, she was not appointed station officer in fire service department citing the same reason. On both occasions she moved the high court and obtained an order directing the respective departments to keep one post vacant.

Justice Hariparanthaman said: “Counsel for the TNPSC does not dispute the genuineness of the conversion of Aariffaa to Labbai Muslim. According to her, ‘converted’ Labbai Muslim is not on List III which covered only ‘born Labbai Muslim’. This is, in fact, doing violence to the List. The only thing that has to be seen is whether the candidate has genuinely converted to any one of the sects in List III. If it is so, there ends the matter.” While accepting amicus curiae M Ajmalkhan’s stance that there is no such a thing as ‘converted’ Muslim, Justice Hariparanthaman disagreed with his claim that unlike in the case of Christianity, a convert’s original caste status is erased on embracing Islam.

The judge also flayed the Tamil Nadu Backward Class Commission for its stand that no convert to Islam is entitled to get BC community certificate and that all such existing certificates are bogus. “The view expressed by the commission has no basis and it has to be rejected, as it would result in the denial of community certificates to all converts to Islam,” Justice Hariparanthaman said. Directing the government to appoint Aariffaa to either of the posts she had qualified immediately, the judge said she should be placed at the appropriate place in the seniority list meant for BC Muslims.


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Opinions and Editorials

The woman calling for Narendra Modi to take responsibility for mass murder – By Dean Nelson (Apr 13, 2014, The Telegraph)

Minutes before he was hacked to death by a Hindu mob, veteran Muslim politician Ehsan Jafri reached for his phone and dialled one last number. For the dozens of neighbours also cowering in his home, it seemed like their only chance. At the other end of line, Mr Jafri told them, was Narendra Modi, the powerful Hindu politician who is widely expected to become India’s new prime minister next month.

Back in 2002, though, he was the chief minister of Mr Jafri’s home state of Gujarat, and arguably the only man who could save them from the crowds outside. By the time Mr Jafri finished the phone conversation, however, he knew they were doomed. Far from offering help, Mr Modi had taunted him and even expressed surprise that he was still alive, Mr Jafri told those around him in his final moments. “No help will come,” Mr Jafri added.

Shortly afterwards, Mr Jafri’s wife, Zakia, watched in horror from a balcony as rioters marched her husband naked from their home and chopped off his fingers, hands, arms and head. 12 years after the riots which left more than 700 Muslims dead, Mr Modi is cruising to become the leader of the world’s largest democracy, which will declare results from its mammoth nine-phase general election on May 18. Mrs Jafri, however, wants him prosecuted for abetting mass murder, over what was one of India’s worst-ever outbreaks of communal violence.

Now 75 and crippled with diabetes, she seems a feeble opponent to Mr Modi, 63, who is already being courted by other world leaders. He might, however, be unwise to underestimate her. On Friday she won another round in her fight to reopen a judicial inquiry that exonerated him of any responsibility for the riots. Last week, she and her former neighbours held a campaign meeting in the charred ruins of their abandoned homes in the Gulbarg Housing Society in the Gujarati city of Ahmedabad. It was here, on February 28, 2002, that the mob attacked, following rumours that Muslims had been responsible for the deaths of 58 Hindu pilgrims in a train fire at Godra the previous day.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mrs Jafri told how she saw the mob trying to force her husband to sing Hindu prayers. When he resisted “they beat him with swords,” she said. “They chopped his hands and arms bit by bit.” Her claim that Mr Modi should be held to account for the massacres is based on conversations with Indian police officers, who told her they had been ordered to stay at home during the rioting. Admittedly, some fellow Muslims question the point of pursuing the case now. They point out that Mr Modi had only been in his post as minister of Gujarat for a few days when the riots broke out, and had yet to master the levers of government. …


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Regarding fascism – By Pratap Bhanu Mehta (Apr 11, 2014, Indian Express)

The rise of Narendra Modi has brought the “F” word into promiscuous use. The spectre of fascism is said to be haunting India. It is easy to dismiss this concern over fascism as the hyperbole of a crumbling elite that has often used moral outrage as a substitute for addressing genuine political challenges. It might be tempting to engage in an argument over the historical specificity of fascism. Can the the combination of military power, total mobilisation and eliminationism that marked fascism really be reproduced in India?

But take the core concern beneath the hyperbole seriously. The communal atmosphere in some parts of the country is fragile. Dozens of riots in UP testify to this. As Suhas Palshikar had argued, the BJP has regionally varied strategies. In UP, in particular, it involves fishing in troubled communal waters. Whatever Narendra Modi’s intentions or change of heart might be is besides the point. India still has a communal challenge and ultimately the quality of its democracy will be judged by how it deals with it. You don’t have to subscribe to analytically otiose invocations of fascism to wonder what this election means for India’s prospects as a country where no one is targeted for being who they are. All sides speak about minorities, but few speak to them.

Whatever Amit Shah’s organisational genius might be, his track record should make you nervous about the kind of intimidation he could create. If we end up voting for them, the morning after we will need to think of the kinds of structures that can mitigate the damage they might do. BJP supporters, who might bristle at being called fascist, would do well to act reassuringly on these concerns. The best way to respond to accusations of fascism is not to dismiss them. It is to make them look silly by your own exemplariness.

But those scare-mongering on fascism also need self-reflection. Many of those dropping the “F” word also betray a will to simplification that tells you more about those making the accusations than it does about politics. The Indian Left is incapable of any dialectical thinking; there is not a trace of reflection on the forces that have brought us to this pass. There should be no complacency over the communal question.

But what is it about the structures of our thinking about communalism that 60 years after Independence, we seem to be revisiting the same questions over and over again? Is there some deeper phenomenon that the BJP-Congress system seems two sides of the same coin to so many, even on this issue? The point is not about the political equivalence of two political parties. People will make up their own minds. But is there something about the way we have conceptualised the problem of majority and minority, trapped in compulsory identities, that makes communalism the inevitable result?…


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Inexplicable reticence – Editorial (Apr 15, 2014, The Hindu)

As a candidate in the 2002, 2007 and then the 2012 elections for the Gujarat Assembly, Narendra Modi chose not to make his marital status clear in his nomination papers. Now, having set his sights on becoming the next occupant of 7 Race Course Road, the BJP’s prime ministerial nominee has for the first time acknowledged in his election papers the existence of a wife, Jashodaben Modi, who he appears to have distanced himself from almost half a century ago to become an RSS pracharak. Jashodaben, apparently at Mr. Modi’s urging, continued with her education after they parted. She became a village schoolteacher, but the reality of the social milieu she lived in was such that she had to rely on her brothers to give her a home.

By itself, this belated revelation should have been of little consequence, especially as this had already been reported on in the press. In India, unlike in the West, details of a politician’s personal life normally have little impact on the electorate unless they have criminal implications. But what caused consternation in this case was why Mr. Modi should have suppressed for so long the fact that he was married. Further, in a country where women have a robust public presence, keeping his wife hidden away from the public eye, suggested a regressive view on Mr. Modi’s part of a woman’s place in this country.

Indeed, this delayed disclosure of the crucial personal detail dents Mr. Modi’s credibility as a prime ministerial candidate. With the socially conservative RSS driving the BJP’s campaign, there is the apprehension of a resurgence of a patriarchal mindset reflecting restrictive approaches to the issue of further empowerment of women. The Gujarat model that Mr. Modi is assiduously marketing in his bid to become Prime Minister does not inspire much confidence in his ability to promote gender equality. The 2011 census says there are 918 women for every 1,000 men in the State, below the national average of 940, indicating an unacceptable trend of male-preference, lower rates of school enrolment for girls, and higher levels of malnutrition among children than in the rest of India.

The State’s conviction rate for rape and abduction of women is also among the lowest in the country. Mr. Modi’s political opponents have naturally seized upon this disquieting impression of a regressive impulse, seeking to make political capital out of it. The onus is on him, given his prime ministerial aspirations, to be more transparent about what prompted this somewhat misogynist reticence in disclosing his marital status. This will put to rest fears that we are about to enter an era of renewed social conservatism, should Mr. Modi become Prime Minister.


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The murky past of Narendra Modi’s right-hand man – By Andrew Buncombe (Apr 13, 2014, The Independent)

Last spring, a year ahead of the election now gripping India, Amit Shah was dispatched by Mr Modi to Uttar Pradesh with instructions to build support for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in the nation’s largest and politically most-important state. He set about identifying candidates and meeting local leaders in an effort to deliver Mr Modi the “wave” he will need to become India’s next prime minister. But while Mr Shah has cemented support for Mr Modi, he has also run into problems. Over the weekend, one week into the five-week voting process to elect a new government, the Election Commission (EC) banned Mr Shah from addressing public meetings in the state, and ordered that charges be filed against him after he was accused of stoking communal tensions.

In speeches in western Uttar Pradesh, which last year saw deadly clashes between Hindus and Muslims, Mr Shah told a gathering of Hindus they should vote for the BJP as a means of “revenge for the insult” inflicted last year. The EC also banned a senior figure from the local Socialist Party, Azam Khan, for making similar speeches to Muslims. “The commission has been observing with serious concern that Azam Khan and Amit Shah have been making highly inflammatory speeches,” said the EC. “These statements are promoting feelings of enmity, hatred and ill-will, and creating disharmony between…religious communities.” It is not the first time Mr Shah, 50, has been under scrutiny. The man said to be a highly skilled political operative, also has a long and controversial history.

In 2010, he was charged with murder and kidnapping over the alleged extrajudicial killing of three people in Gujarat five years earlier and banned from the state while the inquiry went ahead. Out on bail for more than 18 months, he has denied the charges and claimed they were politically motivated. Mr Modi and Mr Shah first met in the 1980s when they were young members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a conservative Hindu nationalist group linked to the BJP. In the early 1990s, Mr Shah, who comes from a wealthy Gujarat family and who has a degree in biochemistry, took charge of the election campaign of a senior party leader, LK Advani.

He secured Mr Advani’s landslide victory and subsequently rose through the ranks. One crucial task he was given was to oversee the party’s representation over constituency realignment. According to Vidyutkumar Anantray Joshi, an academic who has studied the process, the move created more urban constituencies, something that helped the BJP. Mr Shah, who has been elected four times to the Gujarat provincial assembly, became a minister in Mr Modi’s state government in late 2001, shortly before the massacre of hundreds of Muslims by Hindu mobs. Mr Modi has always denied claims that he took insufficient steps to stop the killings. The murder charges against Mr Shah relate to the killing of an alleged gangster, Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife and a witness, at a time when the aide was a junior home minister.

At the time of the killings in 2005, it was claimed Mr Sheikh was a jihadi terrorist dispatched by Pakistan’s intelligence service to assassinate Mr Modi and that he had been killed in a shootout with police. But two years later, the state government’s lawyer, KTS Tulsi, stated to India’s Supreme Court that the killings took place while the three were in police custody. Mr Tulsi resigned his position after Mr Modi was perceived to have bragged about the killings during the 2007 state-election campaign. According to the Reuters news agency, the charge sheet filed by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation stated that in his position as home minister Mr Shah headed an extortion racket with Gujarat police officers and Mr Sheikh. They fell out and police snatched Mr Sheikh from a bus with his wife, then staged a gun-battle. Mr Sheikh was killed and his wife’s cremated body was found in the village of one of the policemen. A witness was killed later. …


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The Rich And The Infamous – By Imran Khan (Apr 19, 2014, Tehelka)

Politics and crime go hand in hand. In India, the trend is on the rise: individuals with criminal background continue to enter politics as the assets of serving politicians soar exponentially by the end of their terms. Even after the recent brouhaha over corruption and criminalisation of politics, a recent analysis of backgrounds and financial details of candidates by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), in partnership with the Karnataka Election Watch (KEW), shows as many as 55 candidates contesting in the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies of Karnataka with criminal cases lodged against them. Not surprisingly, the report says, the average asset of contesting MPs grew by 200 percent between 2009-14.

ADR’s analysis establishes that politics is a lucrative business for aspirants. Across the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies in Karnataka, 434 candidates are trying their luck in the General Election. According to the analysis, of the 55 candidates who have criminal records, six are from the Congress, nine from the BJP, eight from former prime minister HD Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal (Secular) and 14 are independents. Of the 55 candidates, 35 face serious criminal cases related to attempt to murder and crimes against women. Pramod Muthalik, who recently joined the BJP only to be denied the party membership the next day, and B Sriramulu, former health minister who quit the BJP to form the BSR Congress before returning to the party’s fold, top the list of candidates who have declared cases related to attempt to murder.

Topping the list is the BS Yeddyurappa of the BJP, who not only toiled and built the party for 40 years but also helped it come to power in 2008, becoming its first chief minister in south India. His term is most remembered for corruption scandals. He had to step down after being indicted in the multi-crore mining scam. According to the affidavits filed with the Election Commission, there are nine cases pending against Yeddyurappa, who is contesting from Shimoga district. Most cases against him are related to land scams that happened during his tenure as chief minister, including denotification of land in favour of his kith and kin. Subsequently, he has been charged for criminal breach of trust by a public servant (IPC Section 406), forgery for purpose of cheating (IPC Section 468) and IPC Section 420 (dishonestly inducing delivery of property). There are also eight charges related to criminal conspiracy (IPC Section 120B), six under IPC Section 471 (using forged documents) and five related to forgery under IPC Section 463. While the charges have been framed in most cases, he is yet to be convicted.

Second on the list is Muthalik, chief of the extreme right-wing outfit Sri Ram Sene. His outfit gained notoriety in 2009 when his activists in Mangalore attacked women in pubs. Muthalik, who is contesting as an independent candidate from Bangalore South against Nandan Nilekani of the Congress and Ananth Kumar of the BJP, has eight pending cases against him. He has been booked under 34 Sections of the IPC. Most cases are related to his political activism that helped him gain notoriety over the years: from causing enmity between different religious groups to moral policing to causing disturbance to communal harmony to criminal intimidation and even attempt to murder. Even though some of the cases go as far back as 2004, he hasn’t been convicted in any of them.

Former BJP minister and mining baron Sriramulu faces eight cases. Most of them are from 2008-13, when he was jailed in the Karnataka iron ore mining scandal. They include cases of rioting armed with a deadly weapon (IPC Section 148), criminal conspiracy (IPC Section 120B), criminal trespass, hurt by dangerous weapons, criminal intimidation and attempt to murder. While the BJP is clearly ahead on the list, the Congress and the JD(S) are not far behind. The tainted Congress candidates include former CM N Dharam Singh and youth leader Rizwan Arshad. Dharam Singh, who was chief minister in 2004, has one case registered against him with charges of forgery, cheating and destruction of evidence. On the other hand, Arshad, who was handpicked by Rahul Gandhi for the Bangalore Central constituency, has two cases registered against him related to criminal intimidation and rioting. …


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India’s pro-rapist lobby – Editorial (Apr 12, 2014, The Hindu)

“Boys will make mistakes,” Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav said of rape, on Thursday. His remarks making light of such a heinous crime illustrate just why the feminist battle in India has barely begun. Mr. Yadav believes new rape laws, introduced after the 2012 rape-and-murder of a Delhi woman, are being misused by women to punish their boyfriends. “When their friendship ends,” Mr. Yadav asserted, “the girl complains she has been raped.” Mr. Yadav’s lieutenant, Abu Asim Azmi, meanwhile invoked shari’a law to call for the death penalty – but, for the victim. “Even the woman is guilty,” he told a Mumbai newspaper. Mr. Azmi believes that if “any woman, whether married or unmarried, goes along with a man, with or without her consent, she should be hanged.”

The sad truth, though, is that these kinds of attitudes aren’t exclusive to the Samajwadi Party. From the Rajasthan legislator who thinks rape happens because schoolgirls wear skirts to the Puducherry Minister who wants them covered up in overcoats; from Shiv Sena leaders who blame migrants to Delhi community leaders who scapegoat Africans; from Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat who thinks “western values” provoke rape to the Haryana khap panchayat leader who says it happens because of hormonal excesses he attributed to chowmein – there is no shortage of Indians willing to blame rape on anything and everyone other than the rapist.

Mr. Yadav’s words, we can be reasonably certain, were no mistake. In the midst of a bruising election campaign, he spoke as he did because he knew there is political gain to be had from this stand. The hideous truth is that in India, as in many other countries, there is something that can only be described as a pro-rapist lobby that extends beyond political pulpits into streets and homes. The renewed feminist activism of the last year has left patriarchy scrambling for new bogeys and new ways to protect itself. Ill-informed scaremongering about the “draconian” provisions of the new amendment to sexual assault laws has been a handy tool. For India’s women, rape is part of a continuum of violence that begins in the womb.

Also, contrary to the myth that rural “Bharat” is safer than westernised India, of the 24,923 cases registered in 2012 by police, 3,035 took place in major cities. The data also tell us the typical rapist isn’t a feral juvenile, crazed by raging hormones or bad upbringing. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the perpetrator was known to the victim. Mr. Yadav’s words have rightly caused outrage. They should also lead to some hard introspection into how many of us believe an only slightly more benign version of those very words to be true.


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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 7th, 2014

April 8, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Police discover bomb making factory in Kolhapur, four Hindutva terrorists held HC denies bail to Sadhvi Pragya in Malegaon blast case Babri demolition planned; Advani, P V Narasimha Rao knew of plot: Cobrapost sting An EVM that ‘votes’ only for BJP stuns poll staff in Assam [...]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 31st, 2014

April 1, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Modi, Media And Terror Threats Notice to V.K. Malhotra over Batla House remarks Narendra Modi must answer why my brother arrested just before elections: Mufti Abdul Mughni SC holds Akhilesh govt guilty of negligence, orders arrest of all Muzaffarnagar accused Modi’s remark on 2002 Gujarat riots [...]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 24th, 2014

March 25, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Death threats to Advocate Pracha and intimidation of online media are unacceptable, say Indian Americans News Headlines Rakesh Maria should be arrested for conducting activities which are terror related: Advocate Pracha Two Haryana policemen get life sentence for fake encounter ‘Reject The Closure Report Filed By SIT’ [...]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 17th, 2013

March 18, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Minority panel removed my riot report against Modi: Ex-Secy Zakia moves Gujarat High Court against clean chit to Modi Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case: Javed Sheikh’s father moves CBI court against Amit Shah, ex-DGP; wants them arraigned Three detained for threatening to blow up Bodh Gaya [...]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 10th, 2013

March 11, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines I hope for justice: daughter of Ehsan Jafri, 2002 riot victim A Warning For Siddharth Varadarajan Himachal BJP MP booked, caught taking cash on camera NHRC ‘indicts’ home ministry, cops for Delhi encounter NHRC issues notices to MHA, Delhi Police on wrongful confinement of youth in [...]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 3rd, 2014

March 4, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Gujarat pogrom commemorated by Indian Americans Communal Harmony March for communal harmony youth awareness News Headlines Bring Narendra Modi to justice, urges meeting hosted by UK parliamentarians No change in US stand on the communal violence in Gujarat, Jen Psaki says Gulbarg society riot victims move court, [...]

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Gujarat pogrom commemorated by Indian Americans

February 28, 2014

Justice for Gujarat victims is pivotal in the struggle to save India’s secular tradition Friday, February 28, 2014 The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC -, an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, joined human rights activists, survivors and people of conscience across the world in commemorating the Gujarat pogrom of 2002 [...]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 24th, 2014

February 25, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Modi failed to announce relief for Gujarat Sikhs: Partap Singh Bajwa Naroda Patiya massacre case: SC dismisses Maya Kodnani’s bail application NHRC seeks report on man’s custodial death in Odisha 26/11 call record issue may suffer under Maria: Martyr’s wife ‘Baig clean chit puts question mark [...]

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