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Narendra Modi

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 17th, 2016

by newsdigest on October 27, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Communal harmony lessons in J’khand textbooks to foster love, combat hatred (Oct 11, 2016, Hindustan Times)

Jharkhand will include lessons on communal harmony highlighting symbiosis between different communities in government school textbooks for classes 3 to 8 from the academic year 2017 in a bid to foster love and brotherhood among children of different societies.

The new lessons which will be part of moral science are expected to bridge communal barriers among children and instill respect in them for their classmates who belong to other communities, officials from the state school education and literacy department said.

“The lessons will help the students know about the strength of communal unity and the drawbacks of disharmony between different communities. They will also teach the children about how different communities in India are inter-dependent on each other and should live peacefully together,” said state school education and literacy secretary Aradhana Patnaik.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/ranchi/communal-harmony-lessons-in-j-khand-textbooks-to-foster-love-combat-hatred/story-gnjOpqvxsHB0oUxSX1vgaN.html

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Modi “advised” ex-DGP to go soft on Sangh Parivar, said 2002 Gujarat violence was “natural, uncontrollable” (Oct 17, 2016, Counterview)

In a glaring instance of how Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then chief minister of Gujarat, continued justifying the 2002 communal riots more than two months after they began, retired DGP RB Sreekumar has recalled, Modi told him in a one-to-one conversation in that violence by Hindus after the February 27 Godhra train burning was “a natural and uncontrollable reaction and no police could control and contain it.”

On February 27, Sreekumar says, Modi had justified, during a meeting with cop officials, the need for allowing people to vent their anger. Modi, according to Sreekumar, had told them, “In communal riots, police normally takes action against Hindus and Muslims on one-to-one proportion, this will not do now, allow Hindus to give vent to their anger.”

Revealing this in his recent book, “Gujarat behind the Curtain” (Manas Publications), Sreekumar, who served as additional DGP in the Police Bhawan in 2002, says, his meeting with Modi took place on May 7, 2002, and it was about “the communal situation in Ahmedabad city, where stray communal incidents, i.e. stabbing in bylines and lonely areas, were reported.”…

http://www.counterview.net/2016/10/modi-advised-ex-dgp-to-go-soft-on-sangh.html

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Bahraich: 2 cops suspended, 34 arrested for clashes during Durga Puja (Oct 15, 2016, Hindustan Times)

Two policemen were suspended and 34 people were arrested on Friday in connection with clashes during a Durga idol immersion procession here that led to the death of a 6-year-old girl.

“SHO Devanand and SI Pappu Yadav of Fakharpur police station have been suspended for laxity in connection with clashes between members of two communities during the procession,” SP Saligram Verma said.

“FIR has been lodged against 54 persons, of whom 34 have been arrested. 300 to 400 unnamed people have also been mentioned in the FIR,” the SP said. They have been booked under sections of the IPC related to arson, scuffle, murder and attempt to murder, he added.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/bahraich-2-cops-suspended-34-arrested-for-clashes-during-durga-puja/story-3CVJIFPtJ6k8HuM0IUvMZM.html

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Real threats to India are communal and social violence, not Pakistan or China: Former NSA (Oct 13, 2016, First Post)

The real threats to India are “internal” and emanate from communal and social violence, not from outside forces such as Pakistan or China, former national security advisor Shivshankar Menon has said.

Asked if Pakistan or China pose an existential threat to India, Menon said: “No”. “There’s no existential threat to India’s existence today externally, unlike in the 50s or when we were formed. And for many years till late 60s there were actual internal separatist threats, not any more. I think that we have actual dealt with,” Menon said.

His long career in public service spans diplomacy, national security, and India’s relations with its neighbours and major global powers. Menon served as national security advisor to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from January 2010 to May 2014.…

http://www.firstpost.com/india/real-threats-to-india-are-communal-and-social-violence-not-pakistan-or-china-former-nsa-3048990.html

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PM Modi’s estranged wife Jashodaben takes centre stage as debate on triple talaq heats up (Oct 17, 2016, Ummid.com)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s marital life and his estranged wife Jashodaben once again took centre stage – this time in Urdu press and social media, as the debate on reform in the Muslim personal law, especially a ban on concurrent talaq and polygamy, heated up citing women’s rights and gender equality.

The first to launch salvo against Prime Minister Modi and his marital life was the firebrand Muslim Personal Law Board General Secretary Mohammad Wali Rahmani. In a no-holds-barred attack on the prime minister on Thursday, Rahmani while addressing a press conference with other Muslim leaders in New Delhi, raked up the issue saying Modi should first keep his own house in order before worrying for Muslim women.

“There are people who are talking of women’s rights. They should first keep their own house in order”, Mohammad Wali Rahmani, former Deputy Speaker Bihar assembly, said. As soon as Rahman’s speech went viral on the internet, a huge number of posts with similar comments started flooding the social networking sites and the Urdu press. One article which singled out is written by Shakeel Rasheed and is published in today’s Mumbai Urdu News.…

http://ummid.com/news/2016/October/16.10.2016/modis-marital-life-jasodha-ben-takes-centre-stage.html

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Kerala: Two RSS workers arrested in connection with CPM activist’s murder (Oct 14, 2016, First Post)

Two RSS workers were on Friday taken into custody in connection with the murder of a CPI-M local committee member in Kannur district on 10 October. Toddy shop worker Mohanan, 40, was hacked to death by a six-member gang. He was the CPI(M)’s Paduvilayi local committee member. Police said the the activist died on the way to the hospital.

The attack took place in the morning when he was inside the shop. Another worker, Ashokan, was also injured, police said. Roopesh (23) and Rahul (22) were picked up from RSS office at Kannur, police said on Friday. Police had registered cases against seven persons in connection with the incident.

Within 48 hours of the murder of the CPI(M) activist Mohanan BJP activist Remith was hacked to death in the home town of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday.…

http://www.firstpost.com/india/kerala-two-rss-workers-arrested-in-connection-with-cpm-activists-murder-3050954.html

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Jharkhand man dies in custody after he was arrested for a WhatsApp message on beef (Oct 12, 2016, Scroll.in)

A 22-year-old man from Jharkhand’s Jamtara district died after being held in police custody for sending a WhatsApp message that allegedly had an “objectionable message on beef”, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday. Minhaj Ansari’s family has accused the police of torturing him and a sub-inspector has been booked for murder, though the police said Ansari had also been diagnosed with encephalitis.

Police officers said Sub-Inspector Harish Pathak, who was supposed to oversee proceedings at Narayanpura police station, had been negligent in his duties. He has been suspended, the report added.

According to Jamtara Deputy Commissioner Ramesh Kumar Dubey, Ansari was arrested on October 3 after the WhatsApp message started circulating locally. His family was informed two days later that he had been shifted to Dhanbad after sustaining injuries while in custody. The family filed a complaint against Pathak and were involved in an altercation with him, after which he was booked for attempt to murder. The charge was changed to murder after Ansari died on October 7.…

http://scroll.in/latest/818826/jharkhand-man-dies-in-custody-after-he-was-arrested-for-a-whatsapp-message-on-beef-indian-express

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Chaos in JNU Campus After BTech Student Najeeb Ahmed Goes Missing (Oct 18, 2016, Outlook)

Chaos prevailed in JNU campus today with various student groups staging protests over the issue of a student missing from the varsity hostel under mysterious circumstances.

A student of School of Biotechnology, Najeeb Ahmed, allegedly went missing on Saturday following a brawl on the campus the night before. An FIR for kidnapping and wrongfully confining a person was lodged at Vasant Kunj North police station yesterday after the police received a complaint from the student’s guardians.

Najeeb’s mother and local guardians also joined the protest today alleging that they were not informed by the administration about him going missing.…

http://www.outlookindia.com/newswire/story/chaos-in-jnu-campus-after-btech-student-najeeb-ahmed-goes-missing/958826

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‘It’s clear that it’s a political strike not surgical’: Kamaal R Khan’s review on Indian Army’s surgical strikes (Oct 18, 2016, Financial Express)

Following Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar’s statement linking the surgical strikes with RSS teachings, controversial actor Kamaal R Khan today expressed disbelief on the action taken by the Indian Army. The actor tweeted a video ‘reviewing’ the surgical strikes by the Army on different terror launch pads along the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan, killing at least 38 terrorists.

“After statement of defence minister, it’s clear that it’s a political strike not surgical,” Kamaal tweeted along with the video review.

Kamaal R Khan, also known as KRK, is often in the news for making controversial comments and movie reviews. In his video, the actor questioned the Indian army’s stand to repeatedly claim the existence of the surgical strikes, even after the neighbouring country denying any such attack.…

http://www.financialexpress.com/india-news/its-clear-that-its-a-political-strike-not-surgical-kamaal-r-khans-review-on-indian-armys-surgical-strikes/422574/

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HC turns down PIL seeking SC status for Dalit converts to Islam (Oct 18, 2016, The Hindu)

The Madras High Court Bench here has refused to entertain a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by the secretary of a Muslim jamath seeking a direction to the State Government to declare the caste to which Dalit converts to Islam would belong and issue community certificates to them mentioning the appropriate caste.

The First Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice S. Nagamuthu said it could not entertain the petition since the same issue had been raised before the Supreme Court way back in 2004 and a three judge Bench of the apex court had referred the matter to a larger Bench on January 21, 2011 considering its importance.

“Petitioner seeks to raise the issue of the status of persons who convert to Islam from the Scheduled Caste community and as to whether they are entitled to the benefit of reservation as Scheduled Caste…We see no purpose in entertaining the petition as the very question is under the consideration before the Supreme Court and the law laid down would be applicable to all,” it said.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/hc-turns-down-pil-seeking-sc-status-for-dalit-converts-to-islam/article9231988.ece

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Mother to return slain Dalit soldier’s gallantry awards (Oct 15, 2016, Indian Express)

Jethiben Rathod (65), a Dalit woman from Surendranagar district, who has been sitting on indefinite hunger strike at Satyagraha Chhavni here to protest the killing of her son, who was in the Indian Army, allegedly by upper-caste men, Friday sought the appointment with Gujarat Governor O P Kohli to return four gallantry awards that her son had received from the Army. Her son was allegedly killed by the upper-caste members of her village, Karadi in Sayla taluka, after he rebuked them for gambling and creating nuisance near his house.

Jethiben has been sitting on protest, along with 15 other Dalits, mainly from Saurashtra region, who are allegedly the victims of caste-based atrocities, like rape, abduction, murder and forced migration. The protesters are united by their common demand for “justice”. Jethiben has urged the state government to reopen the case and get it re-investigated by CBI. She has also sought Rs 10 lakh as compensation.

Jethiben’s son, Dinesh, was in the Indian Army and in March 2010 he had come home on leave. According to Jethiben, some upper-caste men (Kathi Darbars) were gambling near their house and Dinesh had rebuked them not to do so. Keeping this in mind, she added, these men shot dead Dinesh in broad daylight the next day.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/dalit-soldier-gujarat-mother-return-slain-gallantry-awards-3083322/

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Opinions and Editorials

Saffron light – Editorial (Oct 13, 2016, The Telegraph)

The term, “anti-national”, has become an ever-expanding hold-all. All that the government and its promoters, stretching from Nagpur to other parts of India, do not like or approve of is branded as anti-national.

It is an ineradicable stigma and the saffron parivar’s worst form of abuse. Any criticism of the government, its motives, policies and actions, is open to this branding. It is an instrument for isolating individuals and groups and then to direct official wrath or non-official violence against them. Nothing whets the Indian appetite for vengeance more than patriotism.…

The government of Narendra Modi, even though it professes commitment to the process of liberalization, has significantly enhanced the purview of the State. It has done so directly and implicitly. By remaining silent on various forms of vigilantism – from what people should eat or sell to attacks on minorities and Dalits – Mr Modi has given his tacit consent to various forms of Hindu fundamentalism. He and his supporters have brought into play a most insidious kind of majoritarianism that is slowly strangling dissent. India has entered, without fanfare, an era of undeclared emergency.

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1161013/jsp/opinion/story_113071.jsp

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Politics of the Guarded Agenda of National Education Policy 2015-16 – By Vikas Gupta (Oct 15, 2016, EPW)

…The consultative framework of the new NEP appears to be imbedded within the ideas of “minimalist expansionalism” and “tapered inclusionalism.” Therefore, the present paper is an attempt to restore the lens or the doctrine of equality as a parameter for the finalisation of the new NEP.…

Since the agenda of the new NEP champions the politics of cultural uniformity, it is also adversarial to all forms of diversity. It revives the model of “integrationalism” with the added flavour of religious “majoritarianism” of the 1950s and 1960s, and the cultural revivalism of the 19th century. It only uses the technological facade to create the illusion of its democratic nature and proclaims to have entered in “grass-roots” consultations within a stiff structure and predetermined and constrained agenda so that it can continue to serve the interests of the dominant classes.…

These detachments of the policy framework from the voices and the plight of stakeholders call for a serious examination of the nature of governance itself. While the above-sketched foundational weakness, at best, the drive of making the state “an invisible hand,” as the father of mercantilism, Adam Smith, conceived in 1776 (1976: 709- 10) might be continued within the current framework of “minimalist expansionalism” and globalisation, the hope for a substantive transformation of the sphere of education is completely belied at the outset.…

http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/42/special-articles/politics-guarded-agenda-national-education-policy-2015-16.html

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The UP Election and Riot Politics – By Athar Husain (Oct 15, 2016, Sabrang India)

The Justice Vishnu Sahai Commission report on the September 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots was tabled on the floor of the Uttar Pradesh (UP) State Assembly early this year. The Akhilesh Yadav-led government knew that in the forthcoming elections they would have to answer lot of difficult questions pertaining to the law order situation during his tenure especially with regard to the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar and then, the lynching to death of Mohammad Akhlaque at Dadri (2015).

Both these bouts of violence have had far reaching political impact for the Samajwadi Party’s (SP’s) political fortunes specially when it’s key opponent, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has an eye on the Samajwadi Party’s core vote base, that is Muslims; this collective vote base which at one time, almost blindly supported Mulayam Singh Yadav’s SP has felt the deep and lasting scars of betrayal, since 2013.…

The Justice Sahai report on the Muzaffarnagar violence (2013) when made public had conclusions that were shocking: it completely absolved the state government and worse: the inquiry report said nothing about the key players who engineered the rioting and violence against the Muslim minority. The commission only held two police officers accountable for what the former judge found, predictably, an ‘intelligence failure’.…

https://sabrangindia.in/article/election-and-riot-politics

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Triple Talaq phobia; what about prostitutes, victims of alcohol and female infanticide – By Dr. Javed Jamil (Jul 10, 2016, Muslim Mirror)

…The BJP Government came to the power with a clear Corporate-Communal agenda, and the last two and a half years have provided more than ample evidence that it has been aggressively pursuing both without any dilution of sincerity or effort. Hardly any day passes without a communal issue having hit the media.

But when the corporate agenda faces a threat from a religious or communal agenda, it is the corporate agenda which ultimately prevails. Otherwise, what will explain the fact that a Government in control of a party which boasts of Hindu Dharma as its driving force has never felt concerned about the hugely adverse effects of alcohol and ever rising nakedness and prostitution in the country? All these affect women more than anyone else.

Why then is there no support to a blanket ban on alcohol and prostitution? Why has the Government not taken any action to ensure that women including Hindus get their shares in the properties of their parents? Why has the Government not launched an all-out offensive against Female Foeticide? Why is their concern limited to the victims of Triple Talaq alone?…

http://muslimmirror.com/eng/too-much-concern-about-the-victims-of-triple-talaq-none-for-prostitutes-victims-of-alcohol-female-infanticide-and-women-deprived-of-ancestral-property-rights/

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Lack Of Journalistic Ethics, Now Blinded By Nationalism – By Prof Ranjit Goswami (Oct 13, 2016, Countercurrents)

The context of nationalism in India has lately been supercharged- post India’s ‘Surgical Strike inside PoK’ in view of repeated Pakistan-sponsored terror attacks in India – the latest of which, in a significant way, was Uri terror attack. The so-called claims, counterclaims and ‘independent’ global media coverage have made it complex and confusing for the ordinary citizens, considering both the big picture and the specific event.…

The minorities have become an endangered species, in the fear of the populace driven by hysteria togovernment diktats. The quality of journalism itself can be the service journalists pay to the nation, Mother India. Unfortunately, today, those who have an open record of unethical journalism in its various forms, be through media organizations or individuals, tend to cheerlead nationalism by being in a perpetual race to the bottom nationalistic journalism.

And that surely is even more worrisome! A nationalistic media, or an unethical media can be bad in itself; however, when they join hands – citizens to those serving Indian defence forces or guarding our borders/paramilitary forces have more reasons to be worried. It would be wrong to presume, without supporting evidence and trend that recently Indian media, in general, has converted itself from being an unethical to ethical one, under the influence of the new-found nationalism wave!…

http://www.countercurrents.org/2016/10/13/lack-of-journalistic-ethics-now-blinded-by-nationalism/

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The BJP’s fascination with a Dalit icon – By Omar Rashid (Oct 13, 2016, The Hindu)

The Bharatiya Janata Party has revamped its Uttar Pradesh headquarters into a neat corporate-style office. There’s wi-fi, an all-new digital library with block-wise electoral data of the State, election war rooms, and strategy rooms. However, the most engaging bit is the decoration in the large hall on the ground floor where press conferences and meetings are held.

Glossy frames of prominent BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh stalwarts, along with social icons, adorn its walls. We have Shyama Prasad Mookherjee, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, Kushabhau Thakre, B.R. Ambedkar and Swami Vivekananda. Rani Laxmi Bai and Vijaya Raje Scindia are the women present.

But there’s one frame that would surely tickle the curiosity of any visitor. It’s the portrait of a warrior-king in a combative pose on a horse. One could mistake it for the popular sketch of 16th-century Rajput king Maharana Pratap. But it isn’t him. It is Maharaja Suheldev, a little-known 11th-century Bhar-Pasi king. How did Suheldev find a place among the BJP’s icons? “His image will inspire Dalit party workers who visit the office from various districts,” a BJP spokesperson explained to me.…

http://www.thehindu.com/thread/politics-and-policy/article9193345.ece

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 30th, 2016

by newsdigest on June 11, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Sting claims political pressure in Gujarat riots (May 28, 2016, Indian Express)

Officials of the then Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government alleged political pressure in connection with the 2002 riots and the various alleged fake encounters in the state. They made these claims in a sting operation by former Tehelka journalist Rana Ayyub who has self-published what she calls excerpts from these purported conversations in “Gujarat Files – Anatomy of a cover up”.…

Ayyub, who has said that she recorded Modi, too, at his Gandhinagar residence – wearing a camera in her watch – did not release the sting tapes saying she would give them to investigating agencies if they asked for it.… Ayyub alleged that Tehelka, which had sent her on the assignment, refused to publish the story later citing “political pressure”.…

Ayyub claims in the book that she asked Ashok Narayan, who was additional chief secretary (home) in 2002: “You must have gone red in the face when the CM asked you to go slow (while controlling the riots).” She claimed that Narayan purportedly replied: “He would never do that. He would also never write anything on paper. He had his people and through them the VHP and then through them (it would) trickle down through informal channels to the lower-rung police inspectors.”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/sting-claims-political-pressure-in-gujarat-riots-narendra-modi-govt-2822765/

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Modi “decided” to bring dead bodies from Godhra to Ahmedabad, triggering 2002 riots: Gujarat bureaucrat (May 25, 2016, Counterview)

A book by a well-known investigative journalist has claimed that a top Gujarat bureaucrat had told her during a sting operation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as Gujarat chief minister, had made the “decision” of bringing 58 dead bodies, charred to death in the S-6 Sabarmati Express coach, from Godhra to Ahmedabad on February 27, 2002, triggering the riots in which at least 1,000 people died.

Pointing out that this gave the immediate reason for the riots to spread, the bureaucrat told journalist Rana Ayyub, who posed as Maithili Tyagi from the prestigious American Film Institute Conservatory in Los Angeles for the sting: “See, bringing the bodies to Ahmedabad flared up the whole thing but he was the one who took the decision”.

The sensational revelation has been made in “Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover-Up”, already being described as “a racy memoir of reporting undercover in Modi’s Gujarat.”… Ayyub reveals, through twitter, that “very few editors in this country can deny that they refused to publish the transcripts, citing political pressure”, adding, ‘Gujarat Files’ has been “self-published by me after topmost publishers eased out citing political pressure.”…

http://www.counterview.net/2016/05/modi-decided-to-bring-dead-bodies-from.html

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Scribe’s Book ‘Validates Cbi’s Evidence’ In Guj Fake Encounters (May 28, 2016, Mumbai Mirror)

Independent journalist Rana Ayyub’s new book on Gujarat fake encounters once again validates the CBI’s evidence against cops linked to the shootings, including the operation in which Mumbra’s Ishrat Jahan was killed, noted lawyer Indira Jaisingh said on Friday.

Jaisingh, who was the CBI’s counsel in the cases from 2009 to 2014, said the agency had gathered strong evidence, including phone records, against many Gujarat police officers involved in the encounters of Jahan, Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsi Prajapati. Some of the cops were let off, while others are currently out on bail.

Jaisingh made the comments at the launch of Ayyub’s book, Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up, in a small but packed basement hall of Delhi’s India Habitat Centre on Friday. Five publications had reportedly rejected the book, which also touches on the events of the 2002 Gujarat riots, prompting Ayyub to self-publish it four days ago.…

http://www.mumbaimirror.com/mumbai/others/Scribes-book-validates-CBIs-evidence-in-Guj-fake-encounters/articleshow/52472990.cms

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AAP minister alleges RSS members threatened street artists in Delhi (May 26, 2016, Hindustan Times)

Delhi culture minister Kapil Mishra has complained to the Delhi Police commissioner that members of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) allegedly intimidated an artist commissioned by the government.

On May 20, Akhlaq Ahmad was commissioned by the Delhi government to paint the walls along with French artist Swen Simon at the DJB office on GT Road in Shahdara.

“Suddenly a mob of over a hundred people gathered around the artists and intimidated them because they were writing in Urdu. These people who were led by several Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) members and leaders forced the artists to paint ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’ over the text they had been working on. They were shouting slogans of Jai Shri Ram and Narendra Modi and called the artists Lahoris,” Mishra alleged in a letter to commissioner Alok Verma.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi/aap-minister-alleges-rss-members-threatened-street-artists-in-delhi/story-2kChtke76HWMdONc2v1KcP.html

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Tripura textbook omits Indian history of freedom-fighting; gives way to Hitler, Marx (May 27, 2016, Business Standard)

After former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was dropped from Class 8 social science textbooks in BJP-ruled Rajasthan, Government schools run by the Tripura Left front state government will teach Class 9 students the history of Hitler, the Nazis, and the French and Russian revolutions in their history books, while omitting the Indian history of freedom-fighting.

The only national icon that figures in the book is Mahatma Gandhi, not for his contribution to India’s freedom movement but for his views on cricket.

The book penned by Kalyan Chaudhuri, former head of history department in Kolkata’s Maharaja Manindra Chandra College, features the Russian and French revolutions. It also devotes pages to the birth of cricket in England and IPL, Nazism and the rise of Adolf Hitler, and the history of agriculture.…

http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/tripura-textbook-omits-indian-history-of-freedom-fighting-gives-way-to-hitler-marx-116052700540_1.html

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After 23 years in jail, I am free but what you see now is a living corpse, says Nisar (May 30, 2016, Indian Express)

He could not walk, he could not sleep. That’s what 23 years in prison had done when they came to an end 17 days ago, in a Jaipur prison late in the evening. Nisar-ud-din Ahmad says when he stepped out, he saw his brother, two years older than him, Zaheer-ud-din Ahmad, waiting. “I felt a terrible heaviness in my legs. I froze. For a moment, I had forgotten I was free,” said Nisar.

Nisar was among three men who walked out from Jaipur jail after the Supreme Court acquitted them of all charges, setting aside their life sentence and ordering their immediate release on May 11. They were booked for five blasts onboard trains – on the first anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition – that killed two passengers and injured eight.

By the time they were acquitted, their families had been left shattered by the fight to prove their innocence. “I have clocked 8,150 days of the prime of my life inside the jail. For me, life is over. What you are seeing is a living corpse.”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/babri-masjid-demolition-train-blast-tada-supreme-court-acquitted-in-babri-anniversary-train-blasts-case-nisar-2824883/

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Ayodhya: Bajrang Dal leader arrested over holding weapons training camp (May 26, 2016, Indian Express)

Days after a video purportedly showing Bajrang Dal volunteers receiving weapons training in Ayodhya went viral, Faizabad police Wednesday arrested Mahesh Mishra, convenor of the outfit’s Faizabad and Ayodhya units. Mishra has been charged with hurting religious sentiments of Muslims and spreading communal hatred.

The arrest comes after an FIR against unidentified Bajrang Dal workers was lodged at Ayodhya police station late on Tuesday night. On May 14, a ‘self-defence’ camp was organised at Karsevakpuram, the VHP workshop in Ayodhya. In the video that went viral Monday, volunteers wearing skull caps were reportedly seen brandishing firearm, swords and lathis.…

The complainant in the case is sub-inspector Shri Niwas Pandey, in-charge of Naya Ghat police outpost in Ayodhya police station area. The FIR has been filed at Ayodhya police station under IPC section 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony).…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/mahesh-mishra-faizabad-bajrang-dal-chief-held-over-holding-weapons-training-camp-2819283/

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Christian pastor arrested by Hindu extremists for alleged forceful conversion in India (May 29, 2016, Christian Times)

A Christian pastor and two Christian women were put behind bars on Sunday, May 22, in Madhya Pradesh in Central India by a group of Hindu extremists on charges of forceful conversion and violations of a religious Indian Penal Code. Pastor V A Antony of the Brethren Church in Aber village, his wife Prabha, church member Praveen Choudhary, and the latter’s four-year-old son Paarth, were driving in the pastor’s car after the Sunday service when they were blocked by an SUV driven by four plain clothes policemen who asked the pastor to step out of his car, according to Barnabas Fund.

“They stopped me after we had traveled about 5 kilometres, slapped me and then asked me to leave for Satna,” Antony told Barnabas Fund. Antony recalled that he had met two of the four policemen seated in the car that same morning together with three Hindu extremists who accused him of forcing people to convert. He said the men told him “not to conduct Church service in the village, as there are no Christians here.” The men only left when policemen intervened after they started shouting at him in “the vilest language.”

The SUV kept tailing Antony’s car until they were joined by another car full of activists who belong to the Bajrang Dal and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a right-wing, Hindu nationalist, paramilitary, volunteer organization. The three Hindu extremists who met Antony that morning were also in the car.…

http://www.christiantimes.com/article/christian-pastor-in-india-arrested-by-hindu-extremists-for-alleged-forceful-conversion/56132.htm

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After communal clash, Petlad remains on edge (May 26, 2016, Times of India)

Four days after a communal clash, Petlad town of Anand district turned tense on Wednesday again after members of the minority community complained of police atrocities on some of the accused arrested for Sunday’s violence.

Police arrested 15 accused from both the communities in connection to the communal clash that had left seven persons including three cops injured. The clash had erupted in the town on Sunday evening after two groups of people from two communities came face to face over a petty issue.…

On Wednesday, the situation turned tense again when the cops were taking the accused to Anjanawada to identify other accused involved in the crime. The locals alleged that the cops had paraded the accused and even beat them while parading them bare foot. Soon, all the shops in the locality shut down their businesses while members of the minority community entered into heated arguments with the cops.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/52442664.cms

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Govt of India “blocking” international Dalit network to freely associate with UN for eight long years: NGO letter (May 26, 2016, Counterview)

More than 230 NGOs have called on members of the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to reform the practice of the Committee of NGOs that prevents certain human rights organisations, including the International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN), from associating freely with the United Nations (UN).

IDSN, posting a statement on its website, said, “This practice has turned the ECOSOC Committee on NGOs from a largely administrative body into a stumbling block for NGO access to the UN.”

It added, “One of the most extreme examples of obstruction is IDSN’s application for consultative status with ECOSOC. It has been effectively blocked for the past eight years by India, which has asked more than 70 questions in order to delay the process”.…

http://www.counterview.net/2016/05/govt-of-india-blocking-international.html

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Opinions and Editorials

#Modiversary: Harsh Mander on why he worries about the next three years of Modi government – By Harsh Mander (May 29, 2016, Scroll.in)

This blistering summer of 2016, two years have passed since Prime Minister Narendra Modi triumphantly assumed office, heading the first Bharatiya Janata Party-led national government with a comfortable majority in Parliament. Today the country he leads is even more bitterly divided than it was two years earlier, and ordinary people are visibly wearied with the unceasing bluster of false claims accompanied by little real improvement in the conditions of their hard lives.…

I believe that when this government is remembered in later years, it will be above all remembered as a “republic of lies”. It seems that people in the leadership of this government believe that simple-minded ordinary people would be convinced that the government is working for their welfare not by tangible evidence of improvement in the conditions of their lives, but instead by unceasing aggressive campaign-mode hectoring by the prime minister and massive expenditures on government advertising.…

I worry intensely about the three years ahead of Mr Modi’s continued stewardship of the country. I am convinced that a government like his that fails to deliver outcomes of a better life to the poor masses will be elected out of power eventually. But before it leaves, I agonise about how permanent and entrenched will be its assaults on the age-old traditions of peaceful coexistence that have been the civilisational hallmark and greatest cultural strength of this ancient unequal land.

http://scroll.in/article/808908/modiversary-harsh-mander-on-why-he-worries-about-the-next-three-years-of-modi-government

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On Eve of PM Modi US Visit Senators Express “Deep” Worry About Religious Intolerance in India – By Natasha Singh (May 26, 2016, The Citizen)

It is not going to be a cakewalk for Prime Minister Narendra Modi who will be in the United States for a second bilateral for a ‘working visit’ with US President Barack Obama. The Prime Minister was denied a state visit, despite considerable effort by the Indian Foreign Office, and had to finally settle for a working dialogue that will focus on hard issues and not be diverted by atmospherics and chemistry.

A major issue of concern before the US State Department is religious bigotry and intolerance in India. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal was quizzed at length less than two days ago by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Several Senators expressed deep concern about rising religious intolerance in India, and sought an assurance that the US State Department that it was taking this up with the Modi government.

Biswal repeatedly assured the Senators that the Obama Administration was well aware of these issues, was as concerned, and had been taking them at the highest level with India. “We are always looking for new ways to partner with India to advance human rights, strengthen democratic institutions, and support societies that are more inclusive, secular, and tolerant,” she said. This is unusual on the eve of a Prime Ministerial visit,…

http://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/OldNewsPage/?Id=7802&On/Eve/of/PM/Modi/US/Visit/Senators/Express/

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‘Gujarat Files’ review: Rana Ayyub’s book must be read by both sides of the political divide – By Pradeep Menon (May 29, 2016, First Post)

…In 2010, an independent filmmaker (and more important, an upper caste Hindu girl from the American Film Institute Conservatory in LA) interviewed a number of people, many of them high profile members of the law-and-order machinery of Gujarat in 2002, during research for a film about the state. That girl happened to be Rana Ayyub, undercover. Ayyub, who was with Tehelka at that time, clandestinely managed to record videos of her conversations over months, excerpts from which form the core of the book.…

Then-CM Narendra Modi’s alleged complicity in fanning the flames of the 2002 Gujarat riots has been hotly debated for nearly a decade and a half now, so talking about that would be akin to flogging the hypothetical dead puppy that (hopefully never) came under Modi’s car.

While the Godhra train burning and subsequent communal riots, remain a ghastly blot on the nation’s conscience, it would be unwise to look at these events in isolation. One of the things you’re reminded of while reading the book, as you assimilate the words of former top cops – those entrusted with the safety of citizens – is that Gujarat has always been a troubled, uneasy state vis-à-vis communalism. Multiple riots over decades festered a strained atmosphere, making the state a communal tinder box. All one needed to do, really, was strike a match.…

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/gujarat-files-review-rana-ayyubs-book-must-be-read-by-both-sides-of-the-political-divide-2804126.html

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When I Went Into Times Now TV Studio as a Journalist And Came Out Branded an Extremist! – By Asad Ashraf (May 27, 2016, The Citizen)

…Initially, when I got an invitation to join him on the debate on Batla House-ISIS, I was reluctant and said no to the desk coordinator of Times Now. But on her insistence and assurance that I will be given a fair chance to put across my points, I finally agreed, knowing little about how shallow this promise is going to turn out to be.

However, I was very clear about the consequences of my presence over there considering the fact that I am no bigwig of the industry and recalling what the same man had done to JNU student Umar Khalid and his comrades recently. But in the other side of my head, there was something else going on, something that has kept me disturbed since the last 8 years, an incident which caused me sleepless nights for weeks. This incident was none other than the Batla house encounter itself.…

As for the ISIS, I strongly oppose any such ideology that engages in mindless violence. But why should I be asked to condemn it? Surely like all sane Indian citizens my condemnation of such extremism and terror should be taken for granted. I do not ask Goswami and his ilk to stand up and condemn the violence in Gujarat by his co-religionists. Or the Christians to condemn Hitler just because he came from that religion? So why now as a Muslim am I being held responsible for all crimes of terror and extremism, to the point where I am being branded as one also?…

http://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/OldNewsPage/?Id=7809&When%20I%20Went%20Into%20Times%20Now%20%20TV%20Studio%20as%20a%20Journalist%20And%20Came%20Out%20Branded%20an%20Extremist!

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Beef it is, but what about the guardians of culture, Dadri killers? – By Lalita Panicker (May 31, 2016, Hindustan Times)

…Instead of focusing on apprehending the criminals who not only killed Aklaq but also grievously injured his son Danish, the whole debate shifted to whether the meat in question was actually beef. Could the poor man have actually been done in even though he was storing meat other than beef, asked breathless television channels. For heaven’s sake, the man has every right to store whatever meat he wants in his own fridge in his own house for his own consumption without some self-righteous upholder of bovine rights barging in and attacking him.…

Then we were told that the poor man lost his life for no reason at all, the meat in question was mutton. Now, the meat in question is apparently beef. The clever bit of interchangeability could well work in justifying the heinous crime. But the real question is why it was necessary in the first place to devote so much attention to the meat. Has anyone any right to dictate what you can store in your fridge? If it was the meat of an endangered species, maybe the wildlife authorities could confiscate it.

The issue at hand is that under the guise of some misplaced religious zeal and cow protection, vigilante groups are taking the law into their own hands. The fact that these people can enter homes to examine the contents of one’s fridge is only a step away from them entering our personal lives and dictating our preferences not just in food but in our very lifestyles.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/opinion/opinion-beef-it-is-but-what-about-the-guardians-of-culture-dadri-killers/story-dm6tMhNQ2ibWYibx6cBsgK.html

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History revisited: Was Veer Savarkar really all that brave? – By Aijaz Ashraf (May 28, 2016, Scroll.in)

…Savarkar died in 1966. During his 83 years, he was involved in the political murder of three British officials. From the nationalist perspective, these murders have been cited as examples of Savarkar’s revolutionary zeal to violently uproot British rule, unmindful of the consequences.

Savarkar was also chargesheeted in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi but was subsequently exonerated, largely because no corroborative evidence of his involvement was furnished. It has helped perpetuate the myth of Savarkar the brave.

But this myth has been shattered because of the new evidence gathered over the years. He manipulated his followers to assassinate British officials, yet took care to conceal his links to the crimes he conceived. He did not hesitate to betray his acolytes, as he did Nathuram Godse, the man who assassinated Gandhi. His famed fortitude was rarely on display during his years of imprisonment in the Andamans. He tendered craven apologies to the British, willing to bargain for his own freedom, not the country’s.…

http://scroll.in/article/808709/the-hollow-myth-of-veer-savarkar

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Book Review

Gujarat FIles: Anatomy of a Cover Up

Author: Rana Ayyub
Reviewed by: Somi Das
Available at: Self published, Pages: 204; Price: Rs 295. https://www.amazon.com
Review:
Rana Ayyub’s book Gujarat Files is a tale of gritty journalism, with a heart (May 27, 2016, Catch News)

Investigative journalist Rana Ayyub’s book, Gujarat Files: An Anatomy of a cover up, has created a storm online.… Given Ayyub’s earlier work on fake encounters in Gujarat, the book was bound to create a buzz. And so it has. Just that much of this online buzz borders on abuse. Earlier, Catch had reported on how a whopping 410 reviewers on Amazon gave her book a rating of one star without even reading the book. The low rating was accompanied by abusive comments.

Ayyub tweeted about how she self-published braving several attempts at censorship. The book indeed deals with a very controversial subject: fake encounters in Gujarat under the watch of the then chief minister Narendra Modi. What makes it even more explosive is Ayyub’s goosebumps-inducing interviews with some of the most prominent and important figures who were in the thick of things in the state at that time.

Maya Kodnani, GL Singhal, Geeta Johri are among several others who speak to an undercover Ayyub. The result? Candid interviews divulging details of how things function in the highest echelons of power, where bureaucracy merely becomes a puppet in the hands of political masters, where the caste of an IPS officer decides his assignment and where religious bigotry drives administrative decisions.…

http://www.catchnews.com/narendra-modi/quickreview-rana-ayyub-s-book-gujarat-files-is-a-tale-of-gritty-journalism-with-a-heart-1464338163.html

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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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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 24th, 2015

August 25, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Communal harmony pledge administered News Headlines 2002 Godhra riots: IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt who took on Gujarat govt is sacked Act as human bombs, Sena tells Hindus Mosque in Faizabad torched, SP MLA blames ‘youths with saffron headgear’ Rattling the cage Five ABVP activists booked for assaulting […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 27th, 2015

July 28, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Irony of ironies: Judge afraid for her life after convicting Modi’s minister in Gujarat riots! Teesta Setalvad accuses Modi govt of ‘vendetta’ to silence her 1500 ‘encounter’ deaths under glare Will perpetrators of Babri masjid demolition be hanged too, asks Owaisi India Sees a Sharp Rise in […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 8th, 2015

June 9, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Naroda Gam post-Godhra riots case: Court seeks SIT officer’s reply on missing CD Ishrat Jahan Fake Encounter: Centre Denies Permission To Prosecute IB Officials Muslim leaders oppose Yoga, say Suryanamaskar against the basic teaching of Islam Aam Aadmi Party report blames ML Khattar’s rally for Ballabhgarh riot […]

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