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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 24th, 2015

by newsdigest on August 25, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Communal harmony pledge administered (Aug 21, 2015, The Hindu)

District Collector S. Malarvizhi on Thursday administered communal harmony pledge on the occasion of the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Ms. Malarvizhi administered the ‘Sadbhavana pledge’ to the officers and the Collectorate staff to work for the oneness and harmony of all people, regardless of caste, region or religion.

District Revenue Officer (DRO) T. Ilango and Collector’s personal assistant (general) Kalimuthu were among others took the pledge.

In Ramanathapuram, DRO M. Ali Akbar administered the pledge to his colleagues and collectorate staff.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/communal-harmony-pledge-administered/article7563997.ece

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2002 Godhra riots: IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt who took on Gujarat govt is sacked (Aug 20, 2015, Indian Express)

IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who had taken on the Gujarat government over its handling of the 2002 riots, has been dismissed from service for “flagrantly” flouting rules “with complete disregard to discipline”. The Union Home Ministry order, dated August 13, followed a recommendation from the Gujarat government for Bhatt’s removal on 11 charges.…

Bhatt has been under suspension since 2011 after he took on the then state government under Narendra Modi over the 2002 Gujarat riots. A 1988 batch IPS officer, Bhatt had filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court, claiming that he had attended a meeting on February 27, 2002 at Modi’s residence in Gandhinagar, where he claimed the then CM allegedly told his officers to “allow Hindus to vent their anger”.

However, his claim was rejected by the Supreme Court appointed-Special Investigation Team, which probed nine major incidents related to the riots. Bhatt is also facing a couple of criminal cases, including one related to a custodial death in Jamnagar in 1998. In 2011, he was arrested by Ahmedabad police after a constable lodged an FIR against him claiming that Bhatt forced him to file a false affidavit related to the 2002 riots.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/2002-godhra-riots-suspended-ips-officer-sanjiv-bhatt-sacked-says-decision-came-after-sham-inquiry/

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Act as human bombs, Sena tells Hindus (Aug 19, 2015, The Hindu)

In highly controversial remarks, the Shiv Sena has exhorted Hindus to act as “human bombs” and invade Pakistan, and said that its founder, Bal Thackeray, had instilled the “fear of Hindus” in other Indians.

The comments came in the context of the controversy over the latest issue of the weekly magazine Tehelka depicting Thackeray as a terrorist. Taking umbrage at the cover story, the Sena, in an editorial in its mouthpiece, Saamna, on Tuesday lambasted the magazine, and said publishing the objectionable article against the Sena founder was as good as “spitting at the sun”. The editorial eulogised his strong-arm Hindutva ideology.

The Tehelka cover pictures don Dawood Ibrahim, 1993 blasts convict Yakub Memon, who was hanged recently, Sikh extremist Jarnail Singh Bindranwale and Bal Thackeray, with a primer, “Who is the biggest terrorist?”…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/act-as-human-bombs-sena-tells-hindus/article7554547.ece

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Mosque in Faizabad torched, SP MLA blames ‘youths with saffron headgear’ (Aug 22, 2015, Twocircles.net)

A mosque in Faizabad district situated nearly 100 kilometers from state capital Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh was torched by some unidentified miscreants on the night of August 19. Ruling Samajwadi Party MLA from Ayodhya assembly seat Tej Narain Pandey alias Pawan Pandey has blamed “youths wearing saffron headscarves” behind the act.…

Locals claim that some inflammable substance filled in a bottle was thrown inside the mosque. A delegation of local Muslims had met the district administration demanding action against the culprits. Meanwhile the incident found its echo in state assembly on Friday. Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey had allowed two hour debate on law and order in the assembly. Speaking on behalf of the government, Samajwadi Party’s Ayodhya MLA Pawan Pandey blamed BJP for inciting communal tension in the state.

“One can easily check who is inciting communal violence. Just see who has been arrested during riots,” he said. Pandey also cited Madani mosque incident. “It is in my district. Some youths who sport saffron headgear move around during night and threw pepsi bottle filled with petrol in mosque which caught fire. It is an attempt to incite communal tension in Faizabad,” Pandey said pointing towards the benches where BJP MLAs were sitting.

http://twocircles.net/2015aug22/1440262692.html

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Rattling the cage (Aug 14, 2015, Indian Express)

In the public imagination, the CBI has superhero powers. It is the agency of last resort, which is clamoured for when the public is distrustful of the police and the local administration, or when cases are so coloured by political interests that the apparatus of law and order freezes. But in reality, it is scarcely infallible, with a strike rate of about 65 per cent. And the “caged parrot” has an extraordinary capacity for appearing to be a punitive weapon of the government.

This week, it has been embarrassed twice in court. On Tuesday, the Bombay High Court granted anticipatory bail to Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, rejecting the CBI’s claim that their activities compromised national security. And on Wednesday, the Supreme Court extended interim protection from arrest to Dayanidhi Maran. In both matters, the courts questioned the agency’s eagerness to make arrests on slender grounds.…

The CBI seeks to limit itself, arguing that its sanctioned strength of 1,264 officers is unequal to the workload of almost 2,000 cases. But would a human resource overhaul alone create an agency that is equal to its reputation?

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/rattling-the-cage/

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Five ABVP activists booked for assaulting college principal in Shimla (Aug 22, 2015, Times of India)

Five ABVP activists were booked for allegedly assaulting the principal of a government college in the district, police said here today. The principal of Government College (Sanjauli) Joginder Singh Negi was dragged out of his car as he was about to enter the college premises and was roughed up and assaulted.

Five persons, including a girl were booked for rioting and assault under sections 147, 148, 149, 332, 353 and 506 of IPC and three persons have been arrested, DSP Balbir Jaswal said. The girl Ankita, named by the principal has not been arrested as she has already filed a complaint against the principal yesterday in women police station and her complaint is being verified, Jaswal added.

Principal alleged that about 60 to 70 ABVP activists including college students and some outsiders armed with sticks and other weapons shouted slogans against him and dragged him out of his car, assaulted him and inflicted injuries. Negi said that his wife, who is also a teacher in the college, tried to save him but she was also manhandled and virtually molested by the mob.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48617252.cms

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Report sought on Alair encounter (Aug 21, 2015, The Hindu)

The National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO) has urged the Telangana government to submit a complete report on the Alair encounter to the Union government. Five under trail prisoners including Viqar Ahmed were killed in an ‘encounter’ at Alair in Warangal district on April 7.

Mohammed Abid, State coordinator, NCHRO, Telangana said that a report prepared by a fact-finding team comprising members of different human rights organisation was forwarded to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in May demanding a CBI inquiry into the encounter.

“Following the representation, the Human Rights Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) asked the Chief Secretary Telangana to furnish a factual report. But it has been not done so. It clearly shows that the State government is trying to cover up its misdeed,” Mr. Abid said at a press conference here on Thursday.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/report-sought-on-alair-encounter/article7564192.ece

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Religious minority groups unite in face of ‘BJP’s discrimination’ (Aug 21, 2015, Hindustan Times)

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and several organisations representing minorities came together on Friday to counter an onslaught on religious freedom by the ruling BJP and affiliated groups.

The AIMPLB and groups such as the Buddhist Society of India and Lingayat community unveiled a common minimum programme and announced they will launch a nationwide movement to create awareness about the curbing of religious freedom and attacks on secularism.

“The past one-and-a-half years have seen efforts to disturb the basic fundamentals of the Constitution. The state cannot force things like surya namaskar and Vande Mataram on people,” AIMPLB leader Kamal Faruqui told a news briefing at the Press Club in Delhi.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/religious-minority-groups-unite-in-face-of-bjp-s-discrimination/article1-1382675.aspx

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Chhattisgarh police botched up nun rape probe: NHRC (Aug 20, 2015, Times of India)

In a major blow to the BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh, the National Human Rights Commission has found several deficiencies in the investigation of the case related to the rape of a nun in the state capital and directed the state police to formulate a Standard Operating Procedure on rape investigation containing recent guidelines of the Supreme Court and amendments in CrPC.

The commission also described as “hasty and irresponsible” the statements made by inspector general of police (Raipur range) in the media expressing doubts about the survivors narration on the incident. “These statements were totally unwarranted and exposed the lack of sensitivity and understanding of rape survivors rights”, an NHRC press release said.

Finding that Chhattisgarh government did not take any measures for relief and rehabilitation of the survivor, NHRC has directed the state police and chief secretary to take action on the specific points as recommended and submit the action taken report within six weeks.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48559079.cms

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Crime branch cops slap fresh FIR against godman Sarathi Baba (Aug 22, 2015, Indian Express)

A fresh case of sexual abuse has been filed against arrested self-proclaimed godman Sarathi Baba alias Santosh Roul. The case was registered on Friday following a complaint made by an erstwhile woman inmate of his ashram in Kendrapara district, police said.

The unmarried woman along with her mother came to the police headquarters for the second time on Friday to register their complaint. Similarly, three other women have earlier brought criminal charges against Roul with intent to outrage their modesty.

Earlier booked for several charges of cheating, forgery and fraud, Roul is currently lodged in Choudwar circle jail in Cuttack. Meanwhile, Roul’s adopted son Satyam, who was arrested on Wednesday, was being interrogated by the crime branch police. He was questioned for over ten hours on Friday.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/crime-branch-cops-slap-fresh-fir-against-godman-sarathi-baba/

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Rape Those Two Dalit Girls, UP Khap Panchayat Orders Villagers (Aug 20, 2015, New Indian Express)

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/Rape-Those-Two-Dalit-Girls-UP-Khap-Panchayat-Orders-Villagers/2015/08/20/article2984588.ece

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Opinions and Editorials

Will Zakia Jafri’s fresh plea for justice take Gujarat riot investigations to Modi’s doorstep? – By Darshan Desai (Aug 20, 2015, Scroll.in)

The quiet steel in Zakia Jafri’s eyes hasn’t dimmed despite her 76 years, nor has her quest for justice. Around 13 years after her husband, former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, and 68 of their neighbours in Ahmedabad’s Gulberg Society were killed by a mob, her legal battle over the massacre continues to haunt Narendra Modi despite his ascendance from chief ministership to prime ministership.

Zakia Jafri is unwilling to give up even after an Ahmedabad metropolitan court’s verdict on December 26, 2013, rejected her protest petition seeking to penalise Modi, who was then the chief minister, and 59 others on charges of state-sponsored criminal conspiracy during the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat that killed over a thousand people, mostly Muslims. She has filed a criminal revision application in the Gujarat High Court. The hearings began on August 4.

The application has sought the court’s directive to reject the closure report of the Special Investigation Team of February 8, 2012. While some have interpreted this to mean that Modi has been given a clean chit, in reality the SIT said it did not have enough evidence against Modi to proceed. Her protest petition in April 2013 is the last criminal case in the 2002 communal carnage in Gujarat in which Modi has been accused.…

http://scroll.in//article/749408/will-zakia-jafris-fresh-plea-for-justice-take-gujarat-riot-investigations-to-modis-doorstep

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Muslims fear rising tide of Hindu nationalism in Modi’s India – By Rama Lakshmi (Aug 17, 2015, Wshington Post)

Since India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power last year, the country’s Muslims have expressed growing concerns about a spate of inflammatory statements made by Hindu nationalist leaders and activists.…

Sakshi Maharaj, a lawmaker from the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said that Hindu women must have at least four children each to keep up with the growth in the population of Muslims in India.…

Members of the World Hindu Council launched a campaign last year urging Hindu families to be on guard against what they called “love jihad” – romantic relationships between young Hindus and Muslims. They accused Muslim men of coercing Hindu women into love in order to convert them to Islam.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/08/17/how-life-in-india-has-changed-under-modi-and-why-some-muslims-arent-happy-about-it/

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IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt sacked: Shame-then-frame trend part of Gujarat’s vendetta politics? – By Sandipan Sharma (Aug 21, 2015, First Post ()

…there is no gainsaying that Bhatt riled Modi, first with his campaign and then by propping up his wife as the Congress candidate from Maninagar against the then CM in the 2012 election. By design or default, or because of sheer bad luck or karma, not many get away after taking on Modi in Gujarat.

Sex videos, by some weird coincidence, are always part of the plot. In 2005, Sanjay Joshi, Sangh’s blue-eyed boy and Modi’s rival, figured in a controversial CD. He was immediately removed from all posts in the BJP. The video was later revealed to be doctored; a police officer later testified that the CD was given to him by controversial police officer DG Vanzhara. But, by then, Joshi had fallen from his perch.…

And now, Bhatt is facing the heat of a ‘sex scandal’. Could the shame-and-frame trend be part of Gujarat’s vendetta politics; the defining feature of a revenge plot where the state first tarnishes the character of its opponents to strip them of public sympathy and then throws them at the ruthless investigating agencies? Or, by some sheer coincidence, the state’s enemies have perfected a formula to fall on their own to doom and humiliation?

http://www.firstpost.com/india/ips-officer-sanjiv-bhatt-sacked-shame-then-frame-trend-part-of-vendetta-politics-of-gujarat-2400796.html

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Demanding the sky – Editorial (Aug 24, 2015, DNA India)

The demand for OBC reservation raised by Gujarat’s politically and economically dominant Patidar (Patel) community threatens to reduce the idea of affirmative action to a mere farce.

Reservations were envisaged as a social justice mechanism to mitigate millennia-old caste-based discrimination and oppression. But with hitherto weaker sections succeeding in getting a foothold in political, bureaucratic and educational spheres, it has triggered new anxieties and fresh competition between social groups.

When Madhavsinh Solanki introduced 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in Gujarat in 1985, it was the Patels who unleashed a fierce anti-reservation protest and shifted their loyalties to the BJP leading to the Hindutva party’s ascent in the state. The wheel has come full circle now with the Patidars demanding the fruits of the very same reservation they opposed.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/editorial-dnaedit-demanding-the-sky-2117355

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The Sena and its twisted logic – Editorial (Aug 20, 2015, The Hindu)

It is difficult to say whether the Shiv Sena takes offence or feels proud when its founder Bal Thackeray is spoken of as a terrorist with a religious cause. After the weekly Tehelka carried a cover story with pictures of Thackeray, Dawood Ibrahim, Yakub Memon and Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale above the legend, ‘Who is the biggest terrorist?’, the Sena responded in a rather strange manner.

While condemning the depiction of Thackeray alongside those who engaged in violence in the name of religion, the Sena organ Saamna, in an editorial, asked Hindus to act as “human bombs” and invade Pakistan. Thackeray, the editorial wrote approvingly, had instilled the “fear of Hindus” in Indians of other faiths. Far from defending the Sena founder against the charge of being a Hindu terrorist, the editorial appeared to be defending his support of violence in the name of Hinduism.

What differentiated Thackeray from the others? According to the editorial’s reasoning, the Sena founder was a dharmabhimaani, a person who took pride in his faith, and not dharmaandh, someone who was motivated by blind faith. This line of defence, whether true to the facts or not, would have been fine but for the editorial’s exhortation to Hindus to turn themselves into human bombs and attack Pakistan. In one stroke, the disputes between India and Pakistan were turned into a Hindu-Muslim issue. By arguing that Hindus would have to be highly religious if they wanted to respond to Pakistani extremists, the editorial, in effect, identified nationalism with Hinduism.…

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/the-sena-and-its-twisted-logic/article7558125.ece

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Grinding Wheels of Justice – Editorial (Aug 22, 2015, EPW)

Thirteen years after 25-year-old Nitish Katara was killed, the Supreme Court recently upheld the conviction of his killers. Judicial delays, unfortunately, are only too predictable in India. Just days after the Katara ruling, the apex court gave its final ruling in the Uphaar cinema hall fire case that had killed 59 people (23 of whom were minors) in New Delhi, 18 years after the event.

The responses to the two judgments, however, were vastly different. In both cases, the mothers and parents of the victims who were predominantly middle class had waged a long and tedious legal battle against rich and influential opponents. But while in the Katara murder case, the Court said that it was “a classic example of how the rich and powerful people try to influence the justice delivery system,” the other ruling was seen as punishing the theatre owners, who are real estate tycoons, too little and too late.…

More significantly, they show the ability of the powerful to ensure that legal proceedings drag on interminably to grind down the morale and resources of those taking them on. Whether the judgment is welcomed or not, even these high-profile cases show that justice delayed is justice denied.

http://www.epw.in/editorials/grinding-wheels-justice.html

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 27th, 2015

by newsdigest on July 28, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Irony of ironies: Judge afraid for her life after convicting Modi’s minister in Gujarat riots! (Jul 23, 2015, Daily Bhaskar)

Former judge Jyotsna Yagnik has accused the Gujarat government of turning a deaf ear to her requests to enhance her security. She has reportedly been receiving threats in the form of calls and letters. In August 2012, Yagnik, who was the judge of special trial court, had convicted 31 accused persons including BJP leader and former minister Mayaben Kodnani and a Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Babu Bajrangi under the charges of criminal conspiracy for killing 97 people at Naroda Patiya area here.

“They (state government) have turned a deaf ear to my request. As it is said in court – status quo, so there is status quo,” Yagnik, who recently received threat calls and letters, said when queried on whether government has taken any action on her demand. Yagnik said she has been receiving threat calls and letters for a long time and repeatedly requested the state government to upgrade her security to “Z” level from the present “Y” level.

Yagnik also commented on the issue of some convicts approaching High Court judges when their appeals were pending. “When they (convicts of Naroda Patiya riot case) can approach the High Court judges, you people may imagine under what pressure, a trial court judge would have delivered the judgment,” she said.…

http://daily.bhaskar.com/news/NAT-TOP-riots-case-judge-in-gujarat-fears-for-her-security-5061514-NOR.html

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Teesta Setalvad accuses Modi govt of ‘vendetta’ to silence her (Jul 24, 2015, Hindustan Times)

Activist Teesta Setalvad, a long-time critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Gujarat riots 13 years ago, says an investigation into allegations she received illegal funding is a “vendetta” designed to silence her.

Setalvad told AFP she was being targeted by the government because of her fierce criticism of Modi following deadly violence in Gujarat in 2002 when he was the chief minister.

“It’s nothing short of a vendetta because even if it were to be seen as an offence, it’s an economic offence if at all, and it should be examined by the courts,” she said.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/teesta-setalvad-accuses-modi-govt-of-vendetta-to-silence-her/article1-1372637.aspx

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1500 ‘encounter’ deaths under glare (Jul 14, 2015, The Telegraph)

The Supreme Court today said it might order the CBI to probe as many as 1,500 extra-judicial killings carried out under a controversial law that gives security personnel sweeping powers, or refer them to trial courts under whose jurisdiction the alleged fake encounters took place.

All the alleged encounters took place in insurgency-affected Manipur, one of the states where the Armed Forces Special Powers Act is in force.

A three-member panel the top court had appointed had earlier submitted a preliminary report that said at least six of the cases it had taken up as a sample survey clearly indicated they were all staged.…

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1150714/jsp/nation/story_31454.jsp

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Will perpetrators of Babri masjid demolition be hanged too, asks Owaisi (Jul 24, 2015, The Hindu)

Triggering controversy over capital punishment to Yakub Memon in Mumbai blasts case, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi on Friday sought to know whether the perpetrators of demolition of disputed structure in Ayodhya, communal riots of Mumbai and Gujarat and other such sensational cases would get a similar punishment.

“Why have not perpetrators of demolition of Babri Masjid been convicted and will they also be given capital punishment as that is the original sin?” the Hyderabad MP said while addressing a gathering here. Alleging that the recommendations of Sri Krishna Commission have been put in cold storage both by the BJP-Shiv Sena and Congress-NCP governments in Maharashtra, he wondered how many have been convicted in the Mumbai riots of December, 1992 and January, 1993. …

He claimed that the Narendra Modi government did not allow SIT investigating the case of Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi, convicted for life in a Gujarat riots case, to appeal and enhance it to death sentence. “Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi convicted to life for killing 97 Muslims were given conviction for life and Narender Modi’s government did not allow SIT investigating the case to appeal and enhance it to death. SIT dropped its plans for both Kodnani and Bajrangi,” he alleged.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/will-perpetrators-of-babri-masjid-demolition-be-hanged-too-asks-owaisi/article7460484.ece

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India Sees a Sharp Rise in Communal Violence in the First Five Months of 2015 (Jul 21, 2015, Time)

Incidents of communal violence in India rose by nearly a quarter in the first five months of this year compared to the same period in 2014, the Economic Times reports. The newspaper, citing data from India’s Home Ministry, also reported a rise in deaths from communal violence, which rose from 26 between January and May 2014 to 43 over the same period this year.

Outbreaks of communal violence, meanwhile, rose from 232 during the first five months of 2014, when a Congress Party-led coalition government was in power in New Delhi, to 287 over the same period this year. The Congress Party–led administration was displaced in last year’s national elections in May by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party led by the country’s current Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

Overall, 2014 saw a decline in communal violence, with the number of incidents dropping to 644 from 823 the previous year. The number of related deaths also fell, declining to 95 in 2014 from 133 in 2013.…

http://time.com/3965515/india-communal-violence-rise/

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Video shows Rajasthan BJP MLA Shimla Bawri saying she gave money to journalists (Jul 22, 2015, Indian Express)

A BJP MLA from Rajasthan has reportedly claimed that she sent ‘envelopes’ containing cash to all journalists in her constituency before the 2013 Assembly polls. Anupgarh MLA Shimla Bawri reportedly made the revelation at a recent event organised by local journalists to honour her for facilitating allotment of plots of land for journalists in the district.

The video of her speech, a copy of which is with The Indian Express, shows the MLA saying she had sent “envelopes” containing cash to all journalists in the constituency. Three of the journalists returned the envelopes saying they would take the money from her after she won, she added.

The MLA went on to lament the “fall” in standards of journalism. When contacted, Bawri rubbished the allegations and said the video had been “edited” and doctored. She said she would raise the issue in the Assembly.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/video-shows-rajasthan-bjp-mla-saying-she-gave-money-to-journalists/

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SC upholds ban on hijab and long sleeves in pre-medical test (Jul 25, 2015, Times of India)

The Supreme Court on Friday firmly declined to entertain the trend of flaunting religious beliefs to seek immunity from dress code, asking three Muslim girls and little-known Students Islamic Organization of India to follow the code prescribed by CBSE for the All India Pre-Medical Test.

Buoyed by the Kerala high court’s recent order allowing two Muslim girls to wear head scarf during examination, SIOI and the students requested the SC to grant similar relaxation to all Muslim girls during AIPMT by permitting them to wear full-sleeved dress with head scarf.

Appearing for them, senior advocate Sanjay Hegde said, “It is a matter of religious belief. Muslim women and girls are required by religion to be attired in full-sleeve clothing and scarf whenever they appear in public. If the relaxation in dress code is not granted, these Muslim girls may have to drop out of the examination.”…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48209334.cms

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UP beautification plan near Babri site irks Muslims (Jul 25, 2015, Times of India)

The Akhilesh government has chalked out an elaborate plan to improve amenities and beautify the areas around the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya. However, even before the government can implement its plan, Muslims, particularly the litigants in the title suit, have opposed the proposal saying any maintenance activity at and around the disputed site would violate Supreme Court’s order for maintaining status quo and also hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims.…

Opposing the proposal, Khaliq Ahmad Khan, nominee of Maulana Fazlur Rahman, one of the main litigants from the Muslim side in the Supreme Court, told TOI: “It is not a picnic spot. It is a disputed land and the title suit is sub-judice before the Supreme Court. There was a mosque before December 6,1992, which was pulled down unlawfully by a gathering of communal mob, so beautifying it will hurt the sentiments of Muslims worldwide. The government should only ensure the security of the site and not try to turn it into a tourist attraction.”

Senior lawyer and vice chairman of Babri Masjid Action Committee, Mushtaq Ahmad Siddiqi, said, “The Supreme Court in its order of March 30, 2003, has made it very clear that status quo would be maintained both on the disputed site and acquired land. So, why is the government so keen on beautifying such a disputed place?”…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48209355.cms

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Asaram rape case: UP recommends CBI probe into witness murder (Jul 25, 2015, Indian Express)

Uttar Pradesh government on Friday recommended a CBI probe into the murder of Akhil Kumar Gupta, a key witness in a rape case against self-proclaimed godman Asaram Bapu. Gupta (38), who worked as a cook and personal aide of Asaram, was shot dead in Muzaffarnagar on January 11. “A CBI probe has been recommended to facilitate investigation into the murder of witness Akhil Gupta,” said Debashis Panda, principal secretary (Home) in Lucknow.

Muzaffarnagar resident Gupta was questioned by Gujarat Police in 2013 in connection with the alleged rape of two sisters in Surat, and had given a statement against Asaram. Both Asaram and his son have been booked in the case.

Gupta was the second witness to be killed after Amrut Prajapati who was shot dead in June 2014. Another witness Kripal Singh was killed earlier this month. Gupta’s wife Varsha, also a witness in the case, had written to the state government requesting for CBI probe.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/asaram-witness-murder-case-up-govt-recommends-cbi-probe-in-akhil-guptas-death/

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Dalit-upper caste brawl in Gujarat town off Ahmedabad: Police refuse protection to victims, says letter to CM (Jul 22, 2015, Counterview)

In a gruesome incident in a town situated situated just about 60 kilometres from one of India’s topmost business hubs, Ahmedabad, Dalits were badly beaten up, with authorities remaining “indifferent”. In a letter to Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel, one of the members of the family which claimed to have become “victim” of the brawl caused by objections to occupying a public space for private function has complained that, despite strong plea, the Dalits were “refused” police protection.…

“The way to our house was totally blocked. There was no space for us to go out”, Chauhan said, adding, “When our family members requested them to remove the vehicles, first the upper castemen started abusing us, and when we objected to using such language, they badly beat three our family members, including my mother, Champaben.”

Suggesting that those who beat them up had strong political connections, as one of them was a local councillor of Viramgam municipality, Chauhan said, “They were around 200 to 250 persons, while we just just a handful. We phoned up the police from the spot, when they were beating us up, but nobody came to our rescue.”…

http://www.counterview.net/2015/07/dalit-upper-caste-brawl-in-gujarat-town.html

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Opinions and Editorials

Hindutva In Hurry – By Shamsul Islam (Jul 25, 2015, Countercurrents)

Political arm of the RSS, BJP could secure only 31% of the total votes polled in the 2014 parliamentary elections (if this percentage is analyzed in context of the total voters in the country this percentage would further drop down to less than 17 percent). This clearly showed that 69% of the Indians; 80% of whom were Hindus did not vote for BJP. However, overlooking this reality the masters of BJP; the RSS top brass boasted that BJP’s victory put “an end to 800 years of slavery” and by 2020 “entire country will be Hindu”. The VHP patron Ashok Singhal went to the extent of declaring that by “2030 the entire world will be Hindu”.

With this frame of mind RSS is getting more myopic and accelerated its game of turning a democratic-secular India into a Hindu theocratic polity. In fact, such over-bearing attitude may be the outcome of feeling of insecurity of the Hindutva leadership which knows that the Hindus of this country do not subscribe to their kind of theocratic politics and in the next elections they may be shown the door by the India electorate. After getting political power they seem to be in hurry and resorting to all kinds of tricks to capture national institutions specially belonging to the realms of art, culture and academia. This clique knows that time is running out fast and they need to bulldoze.

After appointing a twelfth class pass as HRD minister, the eminent national institutions have been brought under the clutches of RSS cadres. The Indian Council of Historical Research witnessed the appointment of Y Sudershan Rao, an old RSS cadre, a votary of ‘sanatan’ Hindu religion, as its chairperson. The National Book Trustwas given under the charge of Baldev Sharma, former editor of RSS Hindi mouthpiece Panchajanya. Lokesh Chandra was crowned as head of The Indian Council for Cultural Relations. Chandra while talking of Narendra Modi says: “Woh bhagwan ke avatar hain (He is reincarnation of God)”. He goes to the extent of claiming that Modi “from a practical point of view supersedes the Mahatma”. The list is endless but all have not succumbed to the Hindutva juggernaut.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/islam250715.htm

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Modi, Terrorism and Indian Muslims – By Irfan Engineer (Jul 21, 2015, Muslim Mirror)

In an interview to CNN’s Freed Zakaria ahead of his US visit, Prime Minister Modi said that Indian Muslims would live and die for India and would not want to do anything bad for India. (Express News Service, 2014).…

However, in the year 2001, Narendrea Modi had claimed, “All Muslims are not terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims” (Varadarajan, 2002). Later the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi used this statement extensively in his subsequent election campaigns. Following the 2002 massacre of Muslims and sexual assaults on Muslim women in many districts of Gujarat, there was anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic frenzy being whipped up by Gujarati Media. Modi did nothing to assuage this frenzy.…

The massacre of Muslims in Gujarat was followed a gaurav yatra undertaken by Modi invoking “Gujarati pride”, which he claimed was hurt by the secularists who stigmatized all Gujaratis for the 2002 carnage. He would typically ask the people he was addressing – “Are you all murderers?” The next State Assembly elections after the riots were fought against not the opposition Congress Party, but “the Mian Musharraf” mentality of Muslims.… While Modi was the Chief Minister of the state, Gujarat Police gunned down several Muslims alleging them to be terrorists belonging to outfits across the border.… Prime Minister Modi is not offering any explanation as to which of his numerous assessments of Indian Muslims really represents his honest opinion? Or have his opinions changed? What new information he received which led to the change?…

http://muslimmirror.com/eng/modi-terrorism-and-indian-muslims/

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The missing conservative intellectuals – By G. Sampath (Jul 25, 2015, The Hindu)

The appointment of actor Gajendra Chauhan – described by some sections of the media as a “C-lister” – to the chairmanship of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) has once again raised questions about the scarcity of credible, right-wing intellectuals.

It is no secret that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has been struggling to find intellectuals to head various academic and cultural institutions. According to media reports, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) had even set up an informal committee to come up with saffron-friendly candidates for some 680 positions. But it could come up with only 160 names. Even these 160 people, one presumes, included the likes of Mr. Chauhan…

None of these names has inspired much confidence in the constituencies these bodies serve. Many have charged the NDA with not just saffronising but also degrading the country’s premier institutions by appointing underqualified candidates to the post.…

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/the-missing-conservative-intellectuals/article7461274.ece

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Justice or vengeance? – By Lubhyathi Rangarajan (Jul 24, 2015, The Hindu)

There is a worrying certainty around the hanging of Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, convicted for planning and executing the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts. The Maharashtra government seems determined to execute him on July 30 despite several omissions on its part and constitutional options still remaining open for Memon. These concerns have gone unaddressed, given the obsession with both the manner in which Memon is likely to be executed and his demeanour on hearing his fate.…

In Memon’s case, the death warrant that was issued on April 30, 2015 scheduling his execution for July 30, 2015 was unnecessary and invalid in law. The Maharashtra government should have known that Memon still had the option of filing a curative petition. Before proceeding to execute an individual, it is the government’s obligation to ensure that all legal options have been explored. Moving for an execution in a clandestine manner, hoping that the prisoner would not exercise his constitutional options, reeks of vengeance. The fact that the Maharashtra government thought it fit not to give notice of the death warrant proceedings to Memon or his lawyers casts a serious shadow over the manner in which the government sought to proceed on the matter.…

Constitutional safeguards allow prisoners on death row, regardless of the offence they may have committed, to exhaust all legal remedies and to be spared hurried, arbitrary and secret executions. Yakub Memon cannot be denied the opportunity to exercise his legal options, and it would be a dangerous precedent to preclude him from doing so. The taking of life by the state must be subject to the highest levels of constitutional scrutiny. To deny someone fundamental rights on the basis of public demands for revenge would cast serious questions over our claim of being a modern constitutional democracy.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/yakub-memons-death-warrant-suffers-from-serious-constitutional-flaws/article7457166.ece

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Silencing Teesta Setalvad – By Julio Ribeiro (Jul 24, 2015, Indian Express)

The “caged parrot” that sings to its master’s tune is at it again. Twelve “parrots” searched Teesta Setalvad’s home and office in Mumbai for proof that she had used foreign donations to her NGO for private purposes. I would think that the CBI has weightier matters to deal with but Setalvad has offended those in power with her single-minded devotion to the cause of justice for Gujarat’s Muslims. If not for this intrepid woman, the injustices of Delhi 1984 would have been repeated in Gujarat.

Setalvad has fought the case almost single-handedly. I, for one, would not have had the patience and perseverance to fight for so many years through the maze of our judicial system. She kept vigil over grovelling police investigators, partisan prosecutors and timid adjudicators to finally force the system to convict a few of the murderers, including a minister in the state’s cabinet and a notorious thug of the extreme right. This required guts and determination that only she could muster.

The allegation that Setalvad has diverted funds supplied by the Ford Foundation for personal use has been summarily discarded by all who know her and her husband, Javed Anand. Both live simply and frugally, have no social life outside their one overarching interest of “communal harmony”, and have no taste at all for the good life. Setalvad hails from an old, respected Gujarati family settled in Mumbai for more than a century. Her family has a long tradition in the legal profession. Teesta was born with the proverbial silver spoon and could have lived a life of leisure, but instead chose to stand up and fight for causes. It is inconceivable that she could have misused any money she had sourced from foreign donors to sustain the work of her NGO. If the government wants to ferret out acts of non-compliance with the laws of the land it will be able to silence any citizen.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/silencing-teestathe-courts-must-step-in-when-governments-persecute-individuals-like-setalvad/

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Rot Runs Deeper In MP – By Ankush Vats (Aug 1, 2015, Tehelka)

A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team is in Bhopal to probe the Vyapam scam, following the Supreme Court directive. The central investigative agency will look into the alleged rigging in Pre-Medical Test (pmt) and corrupt practices involved in offering government jobs across Madhya Pradesh. However, the improprieties are not limited to Vyapam examinations alone. Some of the accused involved in the Vyapam scam have also had a role to play in corruption at various levels in other government institutes as well.

It seems that an unholy nexus reigns supreme in the state that looks after all the recruitments and postings in colleges, bypassing all the eligibility norms. Sources tell Tehelka that the education mafia includes state government officials, local goons and governor’s office staff.

Few professors working with reputed engineering colleges tell Tehelka that most of the recruitments in government colleges at Madhya Pradesh (both central as well as state government) have been challenged in various courts. They (education mafia) recruit their own people, in return for a hefty sum (bribe). This is the case with most of the government colleges in the state.…

http://www.tehelka.com/2015/07/rot-runs-deeper-in-mp/

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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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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 25th, 2015

May 25, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Diamond exporter charged for denying Muslim a job 2002 riots call records: SIT court summons officer Himanshu Shukla to explain misplaced CDs Teesta Setalvad: Modi’s Silence on Attacks on Minorities Shows Tacit Consent Saffron trade union snubs RSS, to join protest against govt PMO Not Disclosing Foreign […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 16th, 2015

February 17, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines US media sees Modi ‘brought down to earth’ An open letter to Ms Kiran Bedi from Shabnam Hashmi Justice denied, she recalls: they cut off my hands Withdraw ‘concocted’ case against Teesta Setalvad: CPM to Gujarat govt Convent school vandalised in Delhi, sixth such attack in 4 […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 3rd, 2014

November 4, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony He repaid debt of 1984 to Muslims News Headlines Godhra riots: Nanavati Commission’s final report likely by November 15 Ex-BJP MLA under scanner for a meeting before violence stepped up ‘India failed to prosecute anti-Sikh riot perpetrators’ Outer Delhi tense as mahapanchayat ‘bans’ Muharram march Communal clash: […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 27th, 2014

October 28, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Muslim man arranges cremation of Hindu ‘sister’ Sangam Vihar residents prevent clash, show communal harmony Patna stampede: Muslim woman saves Hindu child News Headlines US court lets US group challenge Modi immunity VHP hand seen in post-Modi Gujarat’s communal incidents AAP, Congress, accuse ‘Hindutva elements’ of stoking […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 29th, 2014

September 30, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony ‘Walk for harmony and love’ organized in Delhi on International peace day News Headlines Congressmen urge Obama to discuss religious tolerance with Modi Narendra Modi fans beat up TV anchor Rajdeep Sardesai at Madison Square Garden event Jail official asked me to cut beard, terror accused tells […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 15th, 2014

September 16, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony J&K floods: Hyderpora mosque a symbol of communal harmony News Headlines RSS bomb explodes prematurely, suspected Hindutva terrorist injured Election Commission orders hate speech FIR against Yogi Adityanath BJP leaders rake up ‘love jihad’ in U.P. poll campaign Hindu nationalist group seeks to ‘cleanse’ Christian population in […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 18th, 2014

August 19, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements India’s 68th Independence Day – A time to renew communal harmony and safeguard secularism Communal Harmony On 68th independence Day IAMC urges to renew communal harmony and safeguard secularism Muzaffarnagar organizes marathon to spread communal harmony News Headlines Petition seeks stay on Modi election from Varanasi ‘Since Narendra […]

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