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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 15th, 2014

by newsdigest on September 16, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

J&K floods: Hyderpora mosque a symbol of communal harmony (Sep 12, 2014, Times of India)

It is evening time and the maulvi here just sounded the ‘azaan’, the call for prayer and devouts rush inside to offer ‘namaaz’. Shortly thereafter, scores of people assemble in the tented courtyard of the mosque to have food. This is Jama Masjid in Hyderpora area which has turned into a major relief centre for those affected by the devastating floods in the Kashmir valley, housing hundreds of people, including women and children.

Significantly, in this hour of tragedy, this mosque has become a symbol of communal harmony as a number of Hindus, who had come from outside the state for work, are also taking shelter here. The inmates of this camp at the mosque, which remained unaffected by the floods, have come from various parts of the valley and each one PTI talked to had a story of horror and pain to tell. …

At the mosque premises, community kitchen is being run and donation of clothes is pouring in. The inmates are housed in the three-storeyed building. Around 2400 people eat food every day at the masjid, says Haji Ghulam Nabi Dar, president of the Hyderpora Jama Masjid Committee. Affected people from far off places like Baramulla, Kupwara and Sopore have come here for shelter, he says. …

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/42339851.cms

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RSS bomb explodes prematurely, suspected Hindutva terrorist injured (Sep 11, 2014, Coastal Digest)

A suspected Hindutva terrorist was severely injured when a bomb was prematurely exploded at his house at Kooleri under the Mattannur police station limits in Kannur on Wednesday. The injured suspected terrorist has been identified as 21-year-old Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker Nikhil, son of Kunnummal Pavithran.

A large cache of explosives was found at his damaged house after the blast. It is suspected that he was making bombs to carryout terror attacks in the region. Both the palms of the suspected terrorist Nikhil were nearly severed in the blast that occurred in the house at around 4 p.m., the police said. He has been rushed to a hospital in Kozhikode.

The explosion was suspected to have occurred when he was making country-made bombs at the veranda of the house. The house also suffered damage in the blast. No one was in the house at the time of the explosion, the police added.

http://coastaldigest.com/index.php/news/68235-rss-bomb-explodes-prematurely-suspected-hindutva-terrorist-injured

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Election Commission orders hate speech FIR against Yogi Adityanath (Sep 12, 2014, Indian Express)

Two days after issuing a notice to BJP MP Yogi Adityanath for allegedly violating the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct by invoking religion to garner votes during a poll meeting in Noida, the Election Commission on Thursday reprimanded the Gorakhpur MP and cautioned him to be careful.

“In the commission’s considered view, you have violated the provisions of MCC as mentioned in the commission’s notice dated September 9, 2014. The commission reprimands you for the said misconduct and cautions you to be careful in future in making public utterances during election speeches to avoid any further violation of the Model Code of Conduct,” the EC said in its order. The words “reprimand” and “cautions” were marked in bold and underlined.

The EC also directed the Uttar Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer to ensure that an FIR is filed against Adityanath. “Kindly intimate if any FIR has been filed in the matter. If not, then the concerned district authorities should be directed to file case under Section 125 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and Section 153 A, Section 295 A and Section 505 of the Indian Penal Code,” it said. It has sought a compliance report by 5 pm on Friday.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/politics/ec-orders-hate-speech-fir-against-yogi/99/

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BJP leaders rake up ‘love jihad’ in U.P. poll campaign (Sep 10, 2014, The Hindu)

Though the top national leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party has been silent on “love jihad,” party leaders in charge of the campaign for the September 13 by-elections in Uttar Pradesh have been consistently alleging that Muslim men are “forcing” Hindu women to convert after courting and marrying them.

As the campaign gains momentum in the State, particularly in the communally charged western region, BJP leaders have been openly talking about “love jihad” and urging Hindu voters to “understand the conversion plot being hatched inside madrasas.” Leaders like the firebrand MP from Gorakhpur, Yogi Adityanath; party State unit chief Laxmi Kant Bajpai; national vice-president and Lucknow Mayor Dinesh Sharma; and Unnao MP Harisakshi Maharaj have been making the allegation.

Addressing a meeting in Bijnore on Sunday, Adityanath said “love jihad” was a “social evil,” and the State government was giving huge monetary aid to madrasas, instead of focussing on improving power supply in the State. Referring to the alleged “conversion plot,” he spoke of the marriage of Akbar to a Hindu princess, Jodhabai. “No Jodhabai would now go to Akbar,” he said apparently referring to the BJP leaders’ allegation that Muslim men were marrying Hindu girls for conversion.

Another saffron leader, Harisakshi Maharaj, alleged that Muslim men were being given “monetary reward” for the “conversion plot.” “It [love jihad] is a deep-rooted controversy … Muslim youths get money from the Gulf [for luring Hindu girls],” he told a news channel. Mr. Sharma alleged that “love jihad” was more deadly than a bomb.

Addressing a meeting in Noida on Sunday, Mr. Bajpai said the Samajwadi Party government was pursing the politics of appeasement. “On the one hand, the game of conversion is continuing on a large scale in Uttar Pradesh and, on the other, the government is conspiring to release terrorists who are in jail, just for gaining a few votes,” he said.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-otherstates/bjp-leaders-rake-up-love-jihad-in-up-poll-campaign/article6395859.ece

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Hindu nationalist group seeks to ‘cleanse’ Christian population in India (Sep 9, 2014, UCA News)

International Christian Concern (ICC) has warned that Sangh Parivar, an umbrella Hindu nationalist group, is inflicting suffering and looking to cleanse the minority Christian population in India, much like terror group ISIS is doing in Iraq and Syria.

The watchdog group said in a press release that the nationalist group and its associate organizations have been directing hate speech toward Christians and leading attacks on pastors and churches in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. Believers are reportedly worried that radical Hindu nationalism and persecution of minorities will escalate.

John Dayal, a member of the Indian government’s National Integration Council, said: “There has been a sharp rise in hate campaigns against Christians by political organizations. This threat of purging Christians from villages extends from Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh to now Uttar Pradesh, and to the borders of the national capital of New Delhi.”…

http://www.ucanews.com/news/hindu-nationalist-group-seeks-to-cleanse-christian-population-in-india/71895

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‘No “Jai Hind”, salute by saying “Ram, Ram” and “Jai Mata Di” Muslims in army got the notice (Sep 11, 2014, Muslim Mirror)

‘The task of army’s religious teacher is to enthuse the spirit of patriotism, zeal and unity in the jawans [lads] while the slogan of ‘Jai Hind’ [Long live India] sends a message of religious hatred and extremism. If you do not rise above narrow-mindedness and do not salute by shouting “Ram, Ram” and “Jai Mata di” [slogans invoking Hindu deities], as per the rules of the battalion disciplinary action will be taken against you’. This notice has been issued by a high ranking army officer to Subedar Ishrat Ali who has been serving in the army for the last 22 years as a Maulvi [Muslim priest].

Subedar Ishrat Ali’s wife has filed a written complaint to National Minority Commission urging it to help her husband in getting rid of the discriminatory attitude of the officers. In a letter sent to National Minority Commission, Shehnaz Bano, the wife of Subedar Ishrat Ali, transferred from Raj Rif Centre Delhi to Rajputana Rifles (3 Raj Rif bikaneer), has alleged that her husband is being continually subjected to mental torture. According to her Ishrat Ali’s Commandant Officer Chitra Sen says that as long as he is in his regiment he will have to follow its rules and will not be allowed to salute with the slogan of ‘Jai Hind’ but, instead, will have to salute his superiors by saying ‘Ram, Ram’ and ‘Jai Mata di’.

Shehnaz Bano quotes her husband as saying that during his 22 years’ service he had always saluted with the slogan ‘Jai Hind’ and as a Muslim it is impossible for him to utter ‘Ram, Ram’ or ‘Jai Mata di’. Because of this her husband has been served an official notice. The notice issued on 31 August and signed by Major Lalit Shering reads, ‘Your commanding officer has ordered you not to utter ‘Jai Hind’ as long as you are in this battalion. The C.O. had directed you to salute by saying ‘Jai Hind’ when you are outside the battalion but while within the battalion, following its rules you will have to address your superiors by saying ‘Ram, Ram’ and “Jai Mata di.” In this connection a copy of a letter, No B/42120/AG/CW-1, dated 25 September 2012, received from the Military Headquarter that outlines the rules of saluting a superior, is being sent to you for your information.’…

http://muslimmirror.com/eng/no-jai-hind-salute-by-saying-ram-ram-and-jai-mata-di-muslims-in-army-got-the-notice/

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Muzaffarnagar riots accused arrested, sent to judicial custody (Sep 13, 2014, DNA India)

An absconder, accused of murder and arson during Muzaffarnagar riots, has been arrested and sent to judicial custody, police said on Saturday. Praveen Kumar was arrested from Bahawdi village in the district on Friday, SIT inspector BL Yadav said. Kumar was involved in four cases of murder and two of arson during the riots that took place last year, Yadav said, adding, he has been absconding since then.

Three persons of a family were murdered and their houses burnt, while one person was murdered in another incident and his house burnt by the rioters at Bahawdi village under Phugana Police Station in the district on September 8, 2013, police said.

Praveen was involved in all of these cases, they said. He was sent to 14 days judicial custody by Chief Judicial Magistrate Narender Kumar, the inspector said.

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-muzaffarnagar-riots-accused-arrested-sent-to-judicial-custody-2018378

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Hinduism losing its benign face, no one at top stepping in: Fali S Nariman (Sep 12, 2014, Indian Express)

Hinduism is losing its traditional tolerance because some Hindus have started believing that it is their faith that has brought them political power – and because this belief is not being challenged by “those at the top”, Fali S Nariman, one of India’s most celebrated jurists, said on Friday. Nariman said he agreed that the “majority government at the Centre” had done nothing to stop the recent repeated tirades by individuals or groups against members of minority communities.

The eminent constitutional expert delivered the Annual Lecture at the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), titled ‘Minorities at Crossroads: Comments on Judicial Pronouncements’. Nariman, who began the lecture by saying that he welcomed the single-party majority government at the Centre but also feared it because of “past experience with majoritarian government(s)”, said Hinduism has traditionally been the most tolerant of all Indian faiths.

“But – recurrent instances of religious tension fanned by fanaticism and hate speech has shown that the Hindu tradition of tolerance is showing signs of strain. And let me say this frankly – my apprehension is that Hinduism is somehow changing its benign face because, and only because it is believed and proudly proclaimed by a few (and not contradicted by those at the top): that it is because of their faith and belief that HINDUS have been now put in the driving seat of governance,” he said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/hinduism-losing-its-benign-face-no-one-at-top-stepping-in-nariman/99/

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Sangh’s overt Hindutva thrust must be countered (Sep 15, 2014, Economic Times)

The government that the Sangh Parivar worked hard to put in place cannot continue to pretend it does not see that the Parivar and its activists are putting the nation’s minorities on the edge. This is the import of what eminent jurist Fali S Nariman said when he delivered the annual lecture of theNational Minorities Commission last Friday. The top echelons of the government must step in and voice their opposition to the divisive discourse being carried out on the ground by workers of the BJP and other Sangh Parivar organisations. This discourse, ably supplemented by those who see gains in fanning minority communalism, will eventually lead to violence and schism whose proportions no one wants to know or estimate.

Hinduism is losing its benign face, said Nariman. Hinduism remains, at the popular level, the polycentric, eclectic, diverse system it has been, pursuing spirituality that can accommodate endless variety, dismissing the very idea of theological deviance. It is the attempt to forge a new Hindutva, which seeks to give its exclusivist and intolerant urges an organised, political form, that poses a danger to traditional Hinduism, to India’s genius for celebrating unity in diversity and, thereon, to the cohesion of 125 crore people as a nation. Even as pamphlets circulate against ‘love jihad’ and hate speeches stir up controversy, national-level leaders refuse to take cognisance of such activities and what they can lead up to, instead of squelching them through strong intervention.

It is unlikely that appeals to the most successful political leaders of Hindutva would help put brakes on it. Other political parties, civil society organisations, artists, writers, filmmakers and all those who have a stake in India living up to its constitutional vision of treating all citizens alike without discrimination need to act for unity and against division. Industry, with the greatest stake in stability that is a prerequisite for prosperity, must come out clearly against sectarianism and champion an inclusive India. The matter transcends party politics.

http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-09-15/news/53942838_1_sangh-parivar-hinduism-hindutva

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‘Chased’ by CBI for refusing to frame seniors, former MHA official tells SC (Sep 12, 2014, Indian Express)

The row between CBI and Intelligence Bureau (IB) over Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case has witnessed another twist, as a former Home Ministry official alleged in the Supreme Court that he was being “continuously chased and stalked” by CBI officials, including a recently posted woman IPS officer, for his refusal to frame his seniors.

Former under-secretary in Internal Security Division R V S Mani, said in his affidavit that he was “mentally and administratively harassed continuously” after he filed a note in June 2013. In this note, he disclosed he was allegedly coerced by Gujarat cadre IPS officer Satish Chandra Verma – who was a part of the CBI-SIT team probing the fake encounter case – to sign a false statement to implicate his seniors.

“I state that from the very beginning viz the deponent (Mani) placing the above referred note in the official records till now, the deponent was continuously called, chased and stalked by many senior CBI officers, including one senior-level IPS officer recently posted in the CBI,” read his affidavit, which would be taken up by the court Friday.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/chased-by-cbi-for-refusing-to-frame-seniors-former-mha-official-tells-sc/

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Policeman suspended for ‘helping’ Maoists (Sep 10, 2014, The Hindu)

A police head constable posted in Narayanpur district of south Chhattisgarh has been put under suspension for allegedly revealing the movement of security forces to a Maoist informer, which resulted in the killing of 16 people near Tahakwada village of Sukma district in March this year.

Eleven CRPF men, four policemen and a civilian were killed in the Maoist ambush on March 11 near Tahakwada village, hardly a few kilometres from the Tongpal police station. “Mahadev Nag has been put under suspension pending inquiry,” S.R. Kalluri, the Inspector General (IG) of Police, Bastar range, told The Hindu .

“Mahadev Nag was posted in Tongpal when the incident took place. He provided information about the troops’ movement to a Maoist informer Manjhiram Kashyap who was recently arrested by the Bastar police,” revealed a senior police officer posted in Bastar, requesting anonymity. The suspension of the head constable comes after the CRPF suspended its 17 personnel last week for inaction in the same incident.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/policeman-suspended-for-helping-maoists/article6395841.ece

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Opinions and Editorials

‘Gujarat model’ of communal politics flourishing in UP – By Harsh Mander (Sep 11, 2014, Hindustan Times)

‘There is nothing, nothing which can persuade us to return to our villages. They burned and looted our homes: We could barely save our lives, as we desperately ran with our children in our arms and just the clothes we were wearing. What is there for us to return to?’ Words I heard over and over again in a harrowing journey through the districts of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli, exactly a year after a storm of hate overnight tore this peaceful countryside apart.

As I travelled from village to village, everywhere one bore witness to a social landscape ravaged by communal hate – just a year old, but already settled like the crusted burdens of generations. An old man said sadly, “No one has come this full year to call us back, neither the village elders, nor people we grew up and worked with.” “No village cricket team was complete without a Muslim lad or two,” said another. “And now they don’t care if we live or die”. “Look at this camp in which we live now,” said a third, pointing to leaking, soiled plastic sheets stretched over bamboo sticks affording each family a few square feet of minimal shelter, surrounded by black cesspools and mosquitoes. “We know we can die here as well. But at least here we are assured that our loved ones will bury us. Not like our village where our people were killed and burned.”

Contrary to claims of the state government that all camps are emptied, we found over 10,000 women, men and children still living in camps in around 25 villages. Even in the immediate months after the conflagration, state support was restricted to food supplies or a few blankets in many camps, and only after national outrage following the death of many children in the winter cold, occasional visits by medical teams. Now even this has become a distant memory. Charitable organisations, mainly faith-based Muslim associations, have also closed their offices. Compassion also wearies. The unhappy people – fugitives from the hate which pervades the villages of their birth – are left to fend for themselves. They have just survived the monsoon showers, and are gearing up to endure another long winter.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print/1263032.aspx

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‘The Hindu Tradition Of Tolerance Is Showing Signs Of Strain’ – By Fali S. Nariman (Sep 14, 2014, Outlook)

…Traditionally Hinduism has been the most tolerant of all Indian faiths. But – recurrent instances of religious tension fanned by fanaticism and hate-speech has shown that the Hindu tradition of tolerance is showing signs of strain. And let me say this frankly my apprehension is that Hinduism is somehow changing its benign face because, and only because it is believed and proudly proclaimed by a few (and not contradicted by those at the top): that it is because of their faith and belief that HINDUS have been now put in the driving seat of governance.

Jawahar Lal Nehru was a Hindu. But he never looked upon the diverse and varied peoples of India from the stand point of Hinduism. He wrote in that most inspiring book The Discovery of India that “it was fascinating to find how the Bengalis, the Canarese, the Malayalis, the Sindhis, the Punjabis, the Pathans, the Kashmiris, the Rajputs, and the great central block comprising of Hindustani-speaking people, had retained their particular characteristics for hundreds of years, with more or less the same virtues and failings, and yet they had been throughout these ages distinctively Indian, with the same national heritage and the same set of moral and mental qualities.

Ancient India, like ancient China (he wrote), was a world in itself. Their culture and civilization gave shape to all things. Foreign influences poured in and often influenced that culture, but they were absorbed. Disruptive tendencies gave rise immediately to an attempt to find a synthesis. It was some kind of a dream of unity that occupied the mind of India, and of the Indian, since the dawn of civilization. And that unity was not conceived as something imposed from outside. It was something deeper; within its fold, the widest tolerance of beliefs and customs was practiced and every variety was acknowledged and even encouraged. This was Nehru’s great vision of the diversity and unity of India.…

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/The-Hindu-Tradition-Of-Tolerance-Is-Showing-Signs-Of-Strain/291947

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Slippery ground of the secularism debate – Sanjay Nirupam (Sep 15, 2014, Indian Express)

Narendra Modi’s political narrative, first developed in Gujarat and now offered at the national level, is here to stay. One needs to understand the narrative well to expose it and to offer a counter. Old ideas of secularism and social justice are not enough to fight Modi; an innovative package of new and non-conventional ideas and practices is necessary to oppose him.

Economic arguments more than socio-political analysis would help to puncture Modi’s communal agenda. For instance, Modi won office promising growth, good governance, national security and financial stability. The last would include controlling prices, generating employment and developing infrastructure. The claims were bogus, but he did succeed in convincing voters that he would deliver on his promises. Has he delivered?

Modi promised growth and employment, but look at the impact of communal riots in Uttar Pradesh on the economy. Take, for instance, the riots in Moradabad, a hub of the brassware industry that annually exports products worth Rs 2,500 crore. Muslims constitute a majority of the labour force in this industry while the factories are mostly owned by non-Muslims. The Hindu-Muslim tension, engineered by the BJP in view of the bypolls, has divided the society on religious lines.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/slippery-ground-of-the-secularism-debate/99/

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A mirage called ‘Modi Magic’ – By Sitaram Yechury (Sep 8, 2014, Hindustan Times)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has just concluded his much tom-tomed visit to Japan, which received euphoric coverage in the Indian media. He returned to receive Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Soon he will receive Chinese President Xi Jinping before he sets off to the United Nations General Assembly and meets United States President Barack Obama on the sidelines.

In Japan, he thundered, that in his first 100 days as prime minister, he has performed miracles. Stating that he was new to national politics, apprehensive of moving to Delhi, he had nevertheless reversed the ‘paralysis’ that had gripped India under the earlier government. Justifying this claim, he quoted statistical data pompously announced by the Union finance minister a couple of days earlier. This was received with universal applause by the Indian media, with at least two leaders of India Inc publicly lauding his government’s first 100 days. It was precisely these sections that had once lauded Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for having broken India’s nuclear isolation, gloating over his rubbing shoulders with world leaders at the G20 high table. They are now the chief propagandists of Modi overcoming such ‘paralysis’. Is Prime Minister Modi doing anything different on this score than what Prime Minister Singh did?

Read what Japan Times published on September 6 by Jeff Kingston: “Overall the Japanese media coverage was oddly muted despite all the fanfare” in contrast to the Indian media coverage. “But on Japan’s evening news (television) that night, this historic encounter merited barely a minute of coverage”. As Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is preparing to reshuffle his Cabinet and fend off various criticisms, the Indian prime minister’s visit was described thus: “The optics may have been the highlight as both leaders have crack PR teams and know the importance of good photo opportunities, starting with a welcome bear hug, temple tours and a tea ceremony, and Modi showing off his drumming and chopstick skills. Both leaders bonded just the way their handlers choreographed …”. “But at the end not much happened. The two sides were unable to overcome the impasse over the civilian nuclear energy deal”. India’s hopes that Japan would cave in because it offers a potential $85 billion market for new reactors were belied.

Japan’s leading media house Asahi Shimbun speculated on why Modi was reluctant to upgrade regular talks on foreign policy and security affairs to the Cabinet level – 2+2 model of talks between foreign and defence ministers. Little do they know that in the Modi government, it is only the prime minister who, as per the responsibilities assigned by the Rashtrapati Bhavan at the time of his swearing-in, is solely responsible for “all important policy decisions”. The prime minister is simply unwilling to share responsibilities with his Cabinet colleagues. This reminds us of a king of France, Louis XV, who famously thought that there was no history before him and remarked “after me the deluge”!…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print/1261701.aspx

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Ghar wapsi – By Somesh Goyal (Sep 5, 2014, IBN)

Love Jihad and conversions have seen an open public debate in all kinds of media in recent weeks. Re-conversion of Hindus, particularly, Dalits from Islam or back to Hinduism called ‘ghar wapsi’ has increasingly been reported in media and points to the malaise that afflicts our socio-religious fabric. The recent re-conversion of some dalits in Shivpuri in M.P. and slitting of wrists of a dalit lad for wearing a watch scream in one’s face and point to a grave issue that has not been addressed so far.

The four converts of a Jatav family claimed that they had converted to Islam to escape discrimination by upper castes. Forceful or voluntary conversions and re-conversions may take place but the unresolved issue is of discrimination based on the varna system of Hinduism. Hinduism was regarded as one of the most open-minded religions of the world which provided refuge to enjoy religious freedom to Christians, Jews, Bahais and Zorastrians who fled their native places due to religious persecutions.

Dr. Rajni Kothari has observed, “India is a country built on the foundation of a civilization that is fundamentally non-religious”. India is the only country in the world where minorities have found equal place under the Sun and have thrived unlike in our nieghbourhood. Three of our Presidents have been Muslims. Dalai Lama lauded this religious tolerance when he said “Not only Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism which are native religions but also Christianity and Islam have flourished here. Religious tolerance is inherited in Indian tradition”.…

http://ibnlive.in.com/group-blog/the-india-blog/3450/ghar-wapsi/65376.html

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The Forgotten Ones – Editorial (Sep 13, 2014, EPW)

Eight years ago Section 436A was inserted in the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), following what was considered a landmark amendment that had been passed in 2005. If under-trial prisoners had been in detention for more than half the term that would be awarded if they were convicted and if the crimes did not warrant life imprisonment or the death penalty, they would have to be freed. It was hoped then that tens of thousands of undertrials in India’s prisons – many of them behind bars for years without witnessing even a day’s trial – would be able to walk free. This “radical” amendment, however, has remained on paper.

Now the Supreme Court has ordered the implementation of Section 436A in response to a public interest litigation (PIL). Once again hopes have been raised that the ruling will bring freedom to those languishing in prison for an interminably long period without their trial being completed. Just a week before the Court’s directive on 5 September, there were media reports that the Ministry of Home Affairs had initiated measures towards implementing Section 436A. Will this renewed attempt at the gargantuan changes needed in India’s criminal judicial system bear fruit this time around?

According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), in 2012 there were 2.54 lakh undertrials in the country’s jails. In the union home ministry’s statistics, less than a lakh of the undertrials had been charged with serious offences like rape, murder or terror acts. How many of the other 1.5 lakh-plus undertrials have completed more than half the term their crime would have invited upon conviction is not known. In 2006 the estimate was that there were 50,000 such prisoners. In Uttar Pradesh alone nearly 20,000 prisoners are now expected to benefit from the Court’s directive. Most of the undertrials are in jail for petty crimes and would have served the full term their crimes invite without being taken to court even once.…

http://www.epw.in/editorials/forgotten-ones.html

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 18th, 2014

by newsdigest on August 19, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Announcements

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Announcements

India’s 68th Independence Day – A time to renew communal harmony and safeguard secularism

Friday, August 15, 2014

 

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC - www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has called on Indians across the world, to mark the occasion of India’s 68th Independence Day by finding ways to strengthen pluralism, and to renew communal harmony, in order to defeat the designs of divisive and destructive ideologies.

The fact that Indians professing different faiths, belonging to varied ethnic groups and speaking many different languages, have continued to live together as one nation, is emblematic of the core strength of the idea of India. It is the vast majority of Indians, whose commitment to our cherished tradition of tolerance and whose unflinching loyalty to the nation’s founding principles holds the country together, who should be proud on the occasion of the Independence Day. It is their tenacity in safeguarding India’s secular Constitution that must be saluted on this day.

Yet, the occasion of the Independence Day is also a grim reminder of the profound challenges faced by the nation. Sectarianism, and an insidious, destructive ideology that masquerades as nationalism, have brought the country to a juncture where its very future as a secular nation is at risk. Violence against women, minorities and lower castes and the subversion of secular institutions of the state, threaten to take away from us what we gained through blood and toil over the centuries.

Secular Indians of all faiths and ideological persuasions are particularly anguished by the fact that large sections of India’s population are still struggling to safeguard their civil liberties and religious freedom. The recent spate of inflammatory and hurtful statements, such as those made by RSS Supremo, Mr. Mohan Bhagwat, brings to the fore a deliberate attempt to foster sectarian hate. “The cultural identity of all Indians is Hindutva and the present inhabitants of the country are descendants of this great culture,” Mr. Bhagwat is reported to have said, while speaking at the Golden Jubilee function of an Odia weekly in Cuttack. Such a mis-characterization of Indian culture is no less than a threat to the right of self-identification by the religious minorities.

 

 

“India is the product of many faiths, and a crucible of many cultural influences. This is what makes us unique as a nation. This Independence Day, we call on all Indians to renew their commitment to protecting the fruits of the freedom struggle,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. “The spirit that brought us freedom from colonialism, can once again defeat the designs of hate ideologies that prey upon our fears and differences, ” added Mr. Khan.

It is alarming that dozens of Muslim youth have been arrested on trumped-up terror charges and continue to languish in prisons, for crimes they had not committed. In some cases, like the infamous Akshardham case and the Surat 1993 blasts case, justice was served after more than a decade, when their innocence was upheld by the Supreme Court.

IAMC takes this opportunity to commemorate the countless freedom fighters, including countless Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Parsis who were killed in the freedom struggle. They offered the ultimate sacrifice, but died believing that their collective identity as Indians was something they wanted to defend with their own lives.

Indian-American Muslim Council (formerly Indian Muslim Council-USA) is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with 13 chapters across the nation.

For more information please visit our new website at: http://www.iamc.com/

CONTACT:
Ishaq Syed
phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
email: info@iamc.com
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REFERENCES
India’s Shrinking Religious Freedom
http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/rfp/blog/modi-s-victory-and-the-future-of-religious-freedom-in-india/responses/india-s-shrinking-religious-freedom

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat under attack
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/40068439.cms
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Communal Harmony

On 68th independence Day IAMC urges to renew communal harmony and safeguard secularism (Aug 15, 2014, Twocircles.net)

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has called on Indians across the world, to mark the occasion of India’s 68th Independence Day by finding ways to strengthen pluralism, and to renew communal harmony, in order to defeat the designs of divisive and destructive ideologies.

The fact that Indians professing different faiths, belonging to varied ethnic groups and speaking many different languages, have continued to live together as one nation, is emblematic of the core strength of the idea of India. It is the vast majority of Indians, whose commitment to our cherished tradition of tolerance and whose unflinching loyalty to the nation’s founding principles holds the country together, who should be proud on the occasion of the Independence Day. It is their tenacity in safeguarding India’s secular Constitution that must be saluted on this day.

Yet, the occasion of the Independence Day is also a grim reminder of the profound challenges faced by the nation. Sectarianism, and an insidious, destructive ideology that masquerades as nationalism, have brought the country to a juncture where its very future as a secular nation is at risk. Violence against women, minorities and lower castes and the subversion of secular institutions of the state, threaten to take away from us what we gained through blood and toil over the centuries.

Secular Indians of all faiths and ideological persuasions are particularly anguished by the fact that large sections of India’s population are still struggling to safeguard their civil liberties and religious freedom. The recent spate of inflammatory and hurtful statements, such as those made by RSS Supremo, Mr. Mohan Bhagwat, brings to the fore a deliberate attempt to foster sectarian hate. “The cultural identity of all Indians is Hindutva and the present inhabitants of the country are descendants of this great culture,” Mr. Bhagwat is reported to have said, while speaking at the Golden Jubilee function of an Odia weekly in Cuttack. Such a mis-characterization of Indian culture is no less than a threat to the right of self-identification by the religious minorities.

“India is the product of many faiths, and a crucible of many cultural influences. This is what makes us unique as a nation. This Independence Day, we call on all Indians to renew their commitment to protecting the fruits of the freedom struggle,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. “The spirit that brought us freedom from colonialism, can once again defeat the designs of hate ideologies that prey upon our fears and differences,” added Mr. Khan. …

http://twocircles.net/2014aug15/68th_independence_day_iamc_urges_renew_communal_harmony_and_safeguard_secularism.html

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Muzaffarnagar organizes marathon to spread communal harmony (Aug 13, 2014, Business Standard)

In a bid to unite people from all faiths in riot-hit Muzaffarnagar city of Uttar Pradesh, a marathon was organised on Tuesday to spread the message of peace and communal harmony. Muzaffarnagar is a flashpoint in Uttar Pradesh in which some 60 people were killed in Hindu-Muslim riots last year.

The marathon saw participation of around 4,000 children, along with journalists, police officials, and members of various women and civil society organisations. The event concluded with a cultural function featuring Independence Day-themed programmes.

The five-kilometre marathon is an annual event and was organised for the third time in a row. An activist, Satyaprakash Reshu said the marathon would cross all religious institutions with religious heads taking part in it.

http://www.business-standard.com/video-gallery/general/muzaffarnagar-organizes-marathon-to-spread-communal-harmony-10202.htm

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Petition seeks stay on Modi election from Varanasi (Aug 12, 2014, The Hindu)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spent crores as a candidate from Varanasi during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections campaign, thereby violating rules of expenditure, a writ petition filed before the Bombay High Court on Tuesday has claimed.

The petition filed by a Pune-based social activist against Mr. Modi, the Election Commission of India and the Union of India, has sought a stay on the election result from Varanasi till the plea is heard. It has also sought investigation and legal action against Mr. Modi.

Petitioner Hemant Patil has alleged that Mr. Modi took support of “various capitalists including Ambani, Adani, etc., and expended in large with violation of provisions of law.” He has said the expenditure resulted in giving full majority to the BJP and getting Mr. Modi the position of a Prime Minister.

“The Election Commission has allowed only Rs. 70 Lakh for one candidate in Lok Sabha election but Mr. Modi has never considered the same and (has) expended more than Rs. 5 to 10 crores on each and every candidates including himself,” the petition has claimed. It has accused Mr. Modi of spending crores on the media campaign as well.

Mr. Patil has claimed that he had sent a written complaint to the Government of India and to the Election Commission, elaborating the election malpractices of Mr. Modi. But, he said he hasn’t yet heard from any one of them about the action initiated against the Prime Minister.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/petition-in-bombay-high-court-seeks-stay-on-election-of-narendra-modi-from-varanasi/article6308530.ece

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‘Since Narendra Modi turned PM, 600 riots struck India’; Sangh too under attack over communal riots (Aug 13, 2014, Financial Express)

Congress and other Opposition parties today accused Sangh parivar outfits, including VHP and Bajrang Dal, of “inciting” communal violence in the country to “polarise” the society, a charge stoutly rejected by the ruling BJP with counter allegations. Congress alleged that since the Narendra Modi government took over two months back, 600 riots had taken place in various parts of the country, particularly in the states like Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, where elections are due.

Initiating the discussion in Lok Sabha on ‘Need for more effective mechanisms to deal with communal violence’, Leader of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge suggested that BJP and its affiliates were trying to “divide the society” to retain power and warned that if it was not controlled, “we will repent”. Amid strong protests by ruling benches, he said BJP should not “incite” riots and added “Only because you got government does not mean that you will suppress others.”

Naming VHP and Bajrang Dal and referring to certain comments made by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, Kharge said the “communal forces” had got emboldened after BJP came to power as they feel that they have “political power” now and would be protected. He said while BJP was accusing Congress of indulging in “vote bank politics”, the truth was the other way round.…

http://www.financialexpress.com/news/since-narendra-modi-turned-pm-600-riots-struck-india-sangh-too-under-attack-over-communal-riots/1279121/0

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RSS practicing politics of hatred: SP attacks Bhagwat for controversial remarks (Aug 18, 2014, IBN)

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Monday came under attack from Samajwadi Party for his controversial remarks that India is a Hindu nation and Hindutva is its identity. It accused the Sangh of practising politics of “hatred and separatism.” “They use such words and language to fan social tension,” SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said.

Mohan Bhagwat had on Sunday said India is a Hindu nation and Hindutva is its identity. “Hindustan is a Hindu nation… Hindutva is the identity of our nation and it (Hinduism) can incorporate others (religions) in itself,” he said. He was in Mumbai on Sunday on the occasion of Krishna Janmashtami to attend the inauguration programme of the golden jubilee celebrations of the VHP, that was founded in Mumbai on August 29-30, 1964.

He said the goal of VHP in the coming five years would be to ensure equality among the Hindus of the nation. “For the next 5 years we have to work with the aim of bringing equality among all the Hindus in the country. All Hindus should be drinking water at one place, should be praying at one place and after their death, their bodies should be burnt at the same place,” he said.

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/rss-practicing-politics-of-hatred-sp-attacks-bhagwat-for-controversial-remarks/492773-3-242.html

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Saharanpur riots report: Committee questions role of BJP (Aug 17, 2014, Indian Express)

A five-member committee headed by UP minister Shivpal Yadav, which probed the communal violence in Saharanpur that left three persons dead, has blamed administrative lapses for the incident and questioned the role of BJP. “The report has been submitted by the committee to chief minister in which a BJP MP has also been named besides laxity of administrative officers”, Samajwadi Party’s National General Secretary Naresh Agarwal said. …

The report of the committee has blamed laxity of some officers and said the government should take stern action against them to give a message to the bureaucracy, Agarwal said. “As role of a BJP MP has also come to the fore, we can say that the party (BJP) has a role in the Saharanpur incident”, he said. The committee in its report, sources said, has alleged that a local BJP MP provoked the rioters which led to attempts to torch shops.

It alleged that the administration became active only after the violence broke out. As the holy month of Ramzan was going on, the administration should not have allowed any construction at the disputed site or members of opposite community to assemble, the report said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/saharanpur-riots-report-committee-questions-role-of-bjp/

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Cop surrenders in Muzaffarnagar riot case (Aug 14, 2014, Free Press Journal)

A police constable, allegedly involved in arson and loot during the communal riots here last year, has surrendered in a local court. The constable, who had been absconding in the case, was later released on interim bail till August 26, said SIT Inspector Ramreten Singh.

Constable Anuj Kumar, posted with the Delhi Police, surrendered in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Narender Kumar yesterday, the Inspector said. His bail plea was also rejected by the court. Later, he was released on interim bail by the Sessions Court. His regular bail plea will be heard on August 26, he said.

In the investigation by SIT, the constable was found involved in incidents of arson and loot in Lisadh village in the district during the riots last year and the court had issued an arrest warrant against him, the Inspector said. The constable, who is a native of the village, had gone there at the time of the riots during his holiday.

http://freepressjournal.in/cop-surrenders-in-muzaffarnagar-riot-case/

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Communal tension grips Khandwa again; one shot (Aug 14, 2014, Hindustan Times)

Two armed men first shot at two friends and then stabbed one of them to death on a busy street in Khandwa district on Thursday, rekindling communal tensions that appeared to have died down after a burst of religious violence a fortnight ago. Since both men belong to the minority community, the police have been deployed to prevent a communal flare-up in the town where the authorities had lifted Section 144, which prohibits assembly of more than four people, only today.

Khandwa additional superintendent of police Gopal Khandel said two bike-born masked men first shot at Javed, a resident of Gulshan Nagar, and his friend Saleem, who hails from Bikangaon, with a country-made pistol. The assailants then stabbed Javed who died on the spot. Saleem has been taken to a hospital where his condition is stated to be serious.

“Section 144 has been again been imposed in the city. We are investigating the murder and police are maintaining a vigil to prevent any untoward incident,” Khandel told HT. The ASP said that Independence Day programmes in the town have been not been cancelled.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print/1252210.aspx

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Ex-CAG punctures a temple tale: No King Cobras guard the vault (Aug 13, 2014, Indian Express)

Like all treasure trove stories, Kerala’s Shree Padmanabhaswamy Temple also has one striking tale of yore, dipped in curse and realms of imagination. That hooded King Cobras with forked tongues – coiled and ready to strike at lightning speed – protect one of its secret treasure chambers. And this is the vault that spells disaster for those who dare open it.

The mysterious Vault-B kept everyone at bay although five other vaults were opened in 2011 by a team mandated by the Supreme Court. The stocktaking had unveiled a treasure trove worth more than Rs 1 lakh crore – in the form of jewellery, idols, weapons, utensils and coins. The myth of Vault-B, however, has now been shattered. Dismissing all apprehensions and fear of bad omen, former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai has informed the Supreme Court that Vault-B had been opened at least seven times to his knowledge since 1990.

Rai, who has been appointed as special auditor in the wake of the “disturbing facts” disclosed in a report by the court-appointed amicus, Gopal Subramanium, cited all the occasions as to when Vault-B was opened. Illustrating the fact from the record kept by the temple authorities, Rai pointed out that Vault-B was opened twice in 1990 and five times in 2002. “Silver ingots were taken out and GOLD vessels were deposited and subsequently taken out, as evidenced from the entries in the Mahassar Books and other registers maintained by the treasurer of the temple and as produced before the audit team,” he said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/ex-cag-punctures-a-temple-tale-no-king-cobras-guard-the-vault/99/

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Fake encounter cases: Court warns Amit Shah, says will act against accused absent without valid reason (Aug 14, 2014, IBN)

A Central Bureau of Investigation court has hit out at the accused remaining absent from the hearings into the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case. The court has said that if the accused are absent from the hearing and valid reason is not given, then appropriate action will be taken against them.

The court was hearing an application by Sohrabuddin Sheikh’s brother Rubabuddin about Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah’s absence from court hearings. Shah was earlier exempted from some hearings, but continues to remain absent from further hearings.

The court had on issued summonses to Shah and other accused in the case, which had been transferred from Gujarat to Mumbai earlier this year. The CBI had chargesheeted Shah and 18 others, including several police officers, in the case last September.…

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/fake-encounter-cases-court-warns-amit-shah-says-will-act-against-accused-absent-without-valid-reason/492113-37-64.html

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Pracharak Sunil Joshi killed after he made sexual advances on Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur: NIA (Aug 17, 2014, Financial Express)

Probing the 2007 murder of RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has concluded that one of the reasons for his killing was the alleged “sexual advances” he made towards Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, already named an accused in the case by police in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh.

The ailing Sadhvi, who is also an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, is set to figure in a NIA chargesheet to be filed next week in the Joshi murder case. She and four others are expected to be charged under provisions of the Arms Act and not the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. She is the only one to be named in both chargesheets – of the Dewas police and NIA – in the case.

The NIA claimed that one of the motives for the murder was the “sexual advances” made by Joshi. According to the agency, Pragya was wary of Joshi, believing he would spill the beans on the terror plots. The NIA chargesheet is likely to mention that in a bid to prevent Joshi from speaking about the Ajmer blasts, Pragya kept Anandraj Kataria in her house for almost 10 days. Although Dewas police named Kataria as an accused, he does not figure in the final NIA list of accused in the Joshi murder case.…

http://www.financialexpress.com/news/pracharak-killed-after-he-made-sexual-advances-on-sadhvi-nia/1280005

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UP police officer held guilty of raping Dalit girl (Aug 14, 2014, IBN)

A local court has held a deputy superintendent of police guilty of raping a Dalit girl in Kanpur two years ago. According to a complaint lodged in 2012 by the victim’s father with the police, Deputy SP Amarjeet Shahi during his posting in Kanpur had lured his daughter and raped her.

Shahi was suspended with immediate effect after the incident. He was lodged in jail for 18 months and later released on bail. The accused has been held guilty on charges of abduction and rape under SC and SC Act. The court would pronounce the quantum of sentence on August 16, the prosecution said.

Later outside the court, the victim and her family members raised slogans against the accused and demanded a death penalty for him.

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/up-police-officer-held-guilty-of-raping-dalit-girl/492208-3-242.html

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Opinions and Editorials

A Twisted Idea Of India – By Pradyot Lal (Aug 23, 2014, Tehelka)

It cannot be described as his moment of epiphany because Mohanrao Bhagwat has not said anything that had not been said by his ideological progenitors before. … For the likes of Bhagwat, however, the idea of India’s pluralism is a romantic myth. The Modi establishment is making conscious efforts to saffronise the educational system, and the assertions by Bhagwat cannot be taken to mean as some kind of individual ramblings alone. By saying that all Indians have the same DNA irrespective of their specific background, Bhagwat is paraphrasing his mentors without a hint of originality, but he is also being as dangerously ahistorical as Dinanath Batra and YS Rao have been in recent weeks. Barely a few days after the Modi regime took over, the ‘one nation, one language’ schema of which Rajnath Singh is an avowed proponent came up to cause serious disquiet.

All these things suggest that it is not just saffron’s ideological fringe that is threatening to assume ascendancy but the moves have the direct and active participation of leading busybodies. The timing of Bhagwat’s babble could not have been more ominous. One recalls that less than two years ago, his sexist mindset had come strikingly to the fore when he spoke in the wake of the Nirbhaya episode. Among other things, he had said then that rapes were rampant in India and not Bharat, thereby leading critics to snigger that he knew nothing about either India or Bharat.

This time round, Bhagwat has been rapped for not adhering to the basics of the Constitution, which speaks of India that is Bharat and which at no point implies that all Hindustanis are Hindus. Bhagwat is neither a charismatic figure nor a conspicuous ideologue. But he happens to head the brigade of which the BJP is a part. His worldview may smack of narrow nationalism, Brahminism and half-digested modernity, but taken together, it constitutes a lethal combination. There are many in the Modi regime who take his word to be the gospel truth.…

http://www.tehelka.com/a-twisted-idea-of-india/

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Will Modi’s own camp accept his I-Day advice? – By Amulya Ganguli (Aug 15, 2014, Business Standard)

Perhaps the most important part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech from the ramparts of New Delhi’s Red Fort was his call for a 10-year moratorium on caste-based and communal violence. As it follows President Pranab Mukherjee’s condemnation of the “poison-drips” of bigotry in his broadcast on the eve of Independence Day, it is evident that the government is focussing on the rising communal temperature, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, which has been discussed in parliament.

The emphasis is understandable because no development, which is Modi’s primary objective, can take place unless there is social peace. However, the point to ponder is how far the government can go to check this disquieting trend, especially because elements associated with the saffron brotherhood are involved in fomenting tension.

The government may crack down on its opponents who whip up communal feelings, but will the saffronites heed Modi’s counsel of restraint? And, what will be the government’s response if they don’t? Among those who has long been an offender in this respect is the saffron-robed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP, Yogi Adityanath, who said during the debate on communal violence that Hindus who feel threatened must “fight back”.…

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/will-modi-s-own-camp-accept-his-i-day-advice-column-political-circus-114081500334_1.html

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Selective Justice – By Abdul Majid Zargar (Aug 12, 2014, Countercurrents)

Maya Kodnani, convicted for killing ninety five Muslims, in 2002 Naroda Patiya & Naroda Gaam case, has been released on bail by Gujrat High Court. In so-called Secular India, The delivery of Justice has been most communal & selective against minorities particularly Muslims. Many such persons convicted of crimes of far less magnitude are languishing in jails without any relief and few of them even awaiting for being sent to gallows.

How was Kodnani nailed in the two wanton massacres of Muslims in the first instance, after having been set free earlier by the trial Court, is an interesting story in itself. After all the vital limbs of democracy, namely the executive, Judiciary & media, colluded with each other to shield the culprits of great carnage, it was left to some divine intervention to bring them to book. And that intervention came through the fall of BJP led Coalition Government in the 2004 Lok Sabha election and a vital piece of evidence in the form of mobile telephone records originally secured by a valiant Police officer, Rahul Sharma, much to the chagrin of his superior officers. …

The story does not end here. Rahul Sharma instead of being applauded & awarded for his heroic work was harassed & hounded by Modi Govt. In 2011, his Govt. initiated disciplinary action against him with four charges of collecting call data record without authorization, storing data in his personal computer without authorization, not informing the original investigating officer about the copies of data in his possession and finally for submitting the data to Nanavati Commission without prior approval of higher authorities.

http://www.countercurrents.org/zargar120814.htm

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This is the stage where all Muslim tropes live – By Mushirul Hasan (Aug 25, 2014, Outlook)

…The NDA’s electoral victory has lent coherence to the Sangh parivar’s ideology, but it has made the Muslim communities spend sleepless nights. This had not happened before. Notwithstanding their litany of complaints against the Congress, they have been wedded to the Indian way of life. They have done nothing whatsoever to undermine the Constitution or repudiate the Nehruvian consensus on secular democracy. However, today’s political and intellectual climate has weakened their confidence in the state system and, what is more, heightened their insecurities. Among other things, the clamour for a uniform civil code has caused consternation. Given its track record, one wonders what is next on the Sangh parivar’s divisive agenda!

Historiography must not follow the great impulses of public life; yet, the HRD ministry’s project is to view the far distant age through contemporary conceptions. The electronic media, on the other hand, debates the imperative of jehad for contemporary Indian Muslims and the theoretical roots of ‘Islamist political terror’. Based on false principles, this exercise is undertaken without realising that India is neither a centre of jehadi terrorism nor the battlefield for Islam’s future. Islam exists in harmony with other religious traditions and Muslims live in peace with followers of other religions. Why is there so much resistance to this reality? Why is plurality of living not accepted as a fact of life? …

Finally, in a society where religion plays a dominant role in virtually every walk of life, it is the historian’s task to bring secularism into our discussions and to affirm its validity as a principle guiding the nation’s life. To renounce this claim is to surrender the Nehruvian project to the protagonists of right-wing ideologies—recipe for a national disaster.

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/Project-History/291658

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Misunderstanding secularism – By Christophe Jaffrelot (Aug 11, 2014, Indian Express)

Speaking as the chief guest at a conference at Gujarat University’s convention hall on August 2, Supreme Court judge Justice Anil R. Dave said, “Had I been the dictator of India, I would have introduced Gita and Mahabharata in Class I. That is the way you learn how to live life. I am sorry if somebody says I am secular or I am not secular. But we have to get good things from everywhere.”

These words reflect some of the current misunderstandings about Indian secularism. It is in consonance with Indian secularism to borrow “good things from everywhere”, including the Gita and the Mahabharata. This “ism” does not imply the secularisation of society. On the contrary, whereas French laïcité involves a clear separation between public and religious spaces, far from excluding religion from the public sphere, Indian secularism officially recognises all faiths, as evident from the Constitution and its implementation in the first decades of the Indian republic.

Jawaharlal Nehru himself wrote in 1961: “We talk about a secular state in India. It is perhaps not very easy even to find a good word in Hindi for ‘secular’. Some people think it means something opposed to religion. That obviously is not correct. What it means is that it is a state which honours all faiths equally and gives them equal opportunities.”

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, president of India when Nehru was prime minister, expressed a similar vision in these eloquent terms: “When India is said to be a secular state, it does not mean that we as a people reject the reality of an unseen spirit or the relevance of religions to life or that we exalt irreligion. It does not mean that secularism itself becomes a positive religion or that the state assumes divine prerogatives. Though faith in the supreme spirit is the basic principle of the Indian tradition, our state will not identify itself with or be controlled by any particular religion.” …

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/misunderstanding-secularism/99/

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It’s Not About The Numbers – By Gyanendra Pandey (Aug 25, 2014, Outlook)

… Majorities and minorities, like nation-states, are means of organising societies, and channeling and distributing cultural, economic and political power. Associated with electoral politics, the terms minority and majority are also used in conjunction with religion or ethnicity or culture-with troublesome results. Used thus, they produce the claim that members of some cultures truly belong to particular politically defined places, while others-recent migrants, ancient inhabitants, people of a different religion-do not. They also freeze population groups into narrow boxes and undifferentiated histories. …

Democracy has increasingly moved from being the voice(s) of the people to that of political parties, and particularly influential pressure groups with fat wallets. Meticulous calculations of ethnic and caste distribution, great propaganda machines and big MONEY determine the outcome of elections. Ruling groups always claim to be the majority, but they never are. They are characteristically a minority-against the poor, against women, and against the world’s Dalits.

In this context, majoritarianism is perhaps the exact opposite of democracy. For if democracy cannot be a daily plebiscite – an ideal that would make the pursuit of large and complex social, economic and political projects exceedingly difficult, if not impossible-it nevertheless needs to be a continuous struggle to prevent the monopolisation of political, economic or social power by those who find themselves temporarily in charge of the state.

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/Its-Not-About-The-Numbers/291654

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 11th, 2014

August 12, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Another Euro leader questions Narendra Modi’s record As trial begins, all eyes on defence lawyer with RSS links RSS ideology damaging India’s peace, says Digvijaya Singh AIDWA fact finding team reiterates lose ends in Meerut rape case, says case is being exploited to incite communal violence Were [...]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 7th, 2014

July 8, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Over 150 Hindu inmates keep Roza with 2,300 Muslims at Tihar News Headlines 12 years on, Gujarat riots probe panel gets 22nd extension Ishrat case: CBI gives more proof to MHA Karnataka Congress Govt drags 23 terror acquits rotting in jail since 14 years to Supreme Court [...]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 30th, 2014

July 1, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Bhatt accuses Nanavati panel of misleading HC Trend of intolerance towards dissent under Modi: Amnesty calls for decriminalization of free speech Days after he pulled up Amit Shah, CBI judge shifted Gopal Subramanium opts out, attacks Narendra Modi government, cites Amit Shah case Why a former minister [...]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 16th, 2014

June 17, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony BARTI to take communal harmony lessons to schools, may train teachers News Headlines Rise of communal tensions after BJP Government formed at center Online posts against Narendra Modi spell trouble Gujarat HC directs Nanavati panel to allow Sanjiv Bhatt examine intel reports during 2002 riots IB’s NGO-scare [...]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 9th, 2014

June 10, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Muslims safeguard Hindus in Hadapsar post the Pune Muslim techie murder News Headlines ‘Hinduize politics, militarize Hindus’ is slogan of group suspected of Pune techie’s murder First wicket has fallen, say killers of Pune Muslim youth 18 policemen guilty in fake encounter case Delhi policeman found involved [...]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 2nd, 2014

June 3, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Bigoted accusations against Fr. Cedric Prakash condemned by Indian Americans Communal Harmony ‘Open dialogue needed between Hindus and Muslims to dispel misconceptions’ News Headlines ‘Even your Allah cannot help you; I am your Allah here’ Muslims in Malegaon burn effigy of new Minority Minister Najma Heptullah It’s Batra [...]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 26th, 2014

May 27, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements All Indians need to be vigilant in safeguarding secularism say Indian Americans News Headlines The SC release of Akshardham suspects raises questions about PM Modi ‘They asked me to choose: Godhra, Pandya or Akshardham’ Goa professional booked for anti-Modi post, people call it an attempt to muzzle free [...]

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All Indians need to be vigilant in safeguarding secularism say Indian Americans

May 26, 2014

Muslim community urged to work towards development and pursuit of justice May 26, 2014 Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has called on all Indians to be vigilant in safeguarding the secular institutions under the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) administration. It has also [...]

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