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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 14th, 2015

by newsdigest on December 21, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Tarigami Addresses Rally in Vijayawada On Protection of Communal Harmony (Dec 13, 2015, Peoples Democracy)

Attempts are being made by the BJP, VHP, RSS and other Sangh Parivar forces to divide the people on the basis of religion, cautioned CPI(M) leader from Jammu and Kashmir, Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami. He was addressing a well-attended public meeting on ‘protection of communal harmony in our country’, organised by Aawaz in Vijayawada on December 6.

Tarigami, Central Committee member of the Party and a member of Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly, exhorted the people to remain alert against such divisive forces. He narrated as to how religious fanaticism is on the rise and intolerance is growing in the country, and lambasted BJP and Sangh Parivar forces for intentionally raking up communal issues in order to sidetrack the real issues concerning the masses. He underscored the need to promote communal amity.

If Hindus and Muslims are united, it will checkmate the onslaught of communal forces, he said. In northern states, dalits are being attacked everyday but Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who proclaims to be a representative of Hindus, is keeping quiet over such dastardly attacks, he said.…

http://peoplesdemocracy.in/2015/1213_pd/tarigami-addresses-rally-vijayawada-protection-communal-harmony

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Had Islam been a religion of terrorism, Hindus would not have been existed in India today, says Shankaracharya (Dec 14, 2015, India.com)

Addressing the public meeting on ‘reconstruction of the society and our responsibilities’ organised by Jamat-e-Islami (JIH), Shankaracharya Omkarananda Saraswati said had Islam been a religion of terrorism, Hindus would not have been living in India today. Stating that Muslims can never be separated from India, Shankaracharya said that Muslims and Hindus are like two hands of a body.

Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shankaracharya said that his trip to foreign countries would not serve the purpose if there would be no peace in India. “Modiji is visiting the world for global peace negotiations but I want to tell him that such a dialogue will have no meaning if there is no peace at home,” he said.

The meeting, organised by JIH as a part of its national conclave, brought together leaders of various religions, sects and Islamic schools of thought on one platform. Speaking at the event, JIH president Syed Jalaluddin Umri said solutions to all problems faced by the humanity lie in following the path shown by Islam. He also denied charges of forcible conversion saying that there was not a single incident in Islamic history of forcible religious conversion.…

http://www.india.com/news/india/had-islam-been-a-religion-of-terrorism-hindus-would-not-have-been-existed-in-india-today-says-shankaracharya-782354/

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Protests by Muslim groups continue in U.P. (Dec 16, 2015, The Hindu)

Sporadic protests by Muslim groups against a Hindu Mahasbha leader’s alleged statement denigrating Prophet Mohammad continued in western Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday.

Over 50,000 Muslims protested in Bareilly, demanding the death penalty for Kamlesh Tiwari, who claimed to be the working president of Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha. The crowd repeatedly demanded that the Hindutva leader be beheaded. The Bareily protest is not the first. Over a lakh Muslims gathered in Bijnore and demanded the death penalty for Tiwari recently. Subsequently, Muzaffarnagar too saw similar protests.

The administration is yet to act against the clerics who were shown on the media declaring their plan to behead Tiwari during the demonstration in Bijnore and announcing a bounty of Rs. 51 lakh on his head. The administration did not respond to repeated messages from The Hindu asking why the government had not talked to the community leaders and convinced them that action had been taken against the leader.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/protests-by-muslim-groups-continue-in-up/article7992885.ece

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Paragraphs “planted” in NIA report to prove Ishrat Jahaan was LET mole involved in 2004 plot to assassinate Modi (Dec 14, 2015, Counterview)

David Headley, the Pakistani American who scouted targets for the 26/11 terror attack by the Lashar-e-Toiba (LET), has been newsfor turning into an approver. He has also been news regarding the Ishrat Jahaan case, with a section of the media highlighting, on the basis of information provided by powerful sections in New Delhi, how Headley had said that Ishrat was an LET mole.…

This glaring discrepancy in the paragraphs, where Headley talks about Ishrat Jahaan and Paragraphs 17 and 28 from the original report clearly show that Headley’s Ishrat Jahaan confession was a plant. Most likely, since these paragraphs were not in consonance with the facts in rest of the report and would have compromised rest of the report, they were dropped.

IB was facing a lot of heat on Ishrat Jahaan, and when IB wants things to happen, they find their way. One can safely presume that these two paragraphs were planted, and are part of a bigger exercise to save two top ruling political leaders from Gujarat, who are alleged to have ordered these murders and their henchmen.

http://www.counterview.net/2015/12/paragraphs-planted-in-nia-report-to.html

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Police charge right-wing activist with Pansare’s murder (Dec 15, 2015, Times of India)

The police on Monday charged Sameer Gaikwad, an activist of right- wing outfit Sanatan Sanstha, with plotting and carrying out the murder of veteran CPI functionary and rationalist Govind Pansare.

They filed a 392-page chargesheet against Gaikwad, 89 days after the arrest of the only accused in the murder case. The charges were brought against him and some unidentified men for possessing and using weapons without licence.

Investigating officers said all the evidence – including the identification parade report, Gaikwad’s conversation with his friends, details about Sanatan Sanstha’s literature, CCTV footage and the statements of 72 witnesses – were included in the chargesheet.… According to the chargesheet, during the identification parade, a 14-year-old boy had identified Gaikwad and said he was riding pillion on the motorcycle and had fired at the Pansare couple.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/50179226.cms

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Hindutva agenda is not an example of tolerance: Opposition to Government (Dec 11, 2015, Economic Times)

The Left and Congress today attacked the government on the issue of intolerance saying the Hindutva agenda is not an example of tolerance and the country will not move forward with majoritarianism.…

Congress and Left claimed the Bihar poll verdict was the result of the Narendra Modi Government’s “skewed policies” and a “reverse wave” has started against BJP, which rejected it saying the opposition is unable to digest its victory.…

“If intolerance and majoritarianism is brought in, then how will India move forward. You are not an example of tolerance. Your Hindutva agenda is not an example of tolerance,” she said. Citing the example of a question on intolerance asked to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a press conference in London, she said, “First time in decades the Prime Minister had to answer such a question at an international press conference.” …

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/50137792.cms

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Do you know that nearly 3,000 RSS members eat beef and the Sangh is OK with it (Dec 10, 2015, Catchnews.com)

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has around 3,000 members in Arunachal Pradesh, many of whom do consume beef. This fact was shared by RSS representatives during a media interaction in Arunachal Pradesh on 8 December.

The RSS is apparently making an effort to ward off the image of being against beef-eaters. Eating beef cannot come in the way of becoming a member of the RSS, its all-India prachar pramukh Manmohan Vaidya was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.

Vaidya made this statement while addressing reporters during his three-day visit to Arunachal Pradesh.… Vaidya said that RSS has nothing to do with the beef ban and the organisation is only opposed to anti-national activities. “The RSS has nothing to do with the food habits of people,” he said.

http://www.catchnews.com/national-news/rss-members-eat-beef-says-manmohan-vaidya-on-beef-controversy-1449731859.html

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Give details on call to lift visa ban on Modi: US court (Dec 13, 2015, Times of India)

A US federal judge has ordered the State Department to produce all documents by February 2016 related to Obama administration’s decision to lift a ban on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s entry to the US.

“The Department of State will make an initial production of discovery in mid-January 2016, followed by another production of discovery in mid-February 2016,” judge John G. Koeltl of Southern District of New York said in his Dec 9 order.

The next conference in the case will take place on Feb 29, he directed. Modi’s previously issued tourist visa was revoked in 2005 over his alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots when he was chief minister of the state.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/50156943.cms

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Hutments razed, one dead, hundreds homeless (Dec 13, 2015, Business Standard)

Hundreds were rendered homeless in the winter chill and a six-month-old baby died after the authorities demolished hutments built on railway land in the national capital, witnesses and police said. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal accused the railways of demolishing some 500 hutments on Saturday, “in such cold”, leaving hundreds of poor – men, women and children – shivering in the open.

The Delhi government said the demolition violated judicial orders, and were carried out without informing it. Kejriwal, who visited the site at 2 a.m. on Sunday, ordered the suspension of two sub divisional magistrates for failing to provide relief to the hutment dwellers.…

The chief minister pointed out that there were court orders to raze properties of some of the rich and politicians in Delhi but those orders were never implemented. The Aam Aadmi Party blamed the central government for the demolition. The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress hit back, saying Kejriwal should have acted ahead of the razing, not later.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/hutments-razed-one-dead-hundreds-homeless-115121300611_1.html

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Muslim, minority appointments in Maharashtra police force hovers around 6% (Dec 14, 2015, DNA India)

Representation of Muslims and other minorities in the Maharashtra police force continues to be just about 6 per cent. The information was made available after an RTI application was filed to see the implementation of various suggestions of Justice Sachar’s report in the state.

The RTI application was filed by Latur-based Razaullah Khan, who is a head master in an Urdu medium school. In his application, Khan had sought details of the appointment of Muslims in the state police force, and implementation of the recommendations of the committee report.

In particular, he had sought the report prepared every June and December that talks of progress of appointments of Muslims as per the Sachar report, documents that pertain to the progress on the work done on the report along with file noting and when was the report submitted and if not submitted, when will it be submitted to the central government.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-muslim-minority-appointments-in-maharashtra-police-force-hovers-around-6-2155322

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Bhatinda IG, DC summoned over chopping off of Dalits’ limbs (Dec 14, 2015, India Today)

National Commission for Scheduled Castes on Sunday summoned IGP Bhatinda zone, Deputy Commissioner Fazilka and SSP to appear before the vice chairman on Monday in connection with the incident in which limbs of two dalits were chopped off by the gang close to the ruling Akali Dal.

“National Commission for Scheduled Castes has issued notices to IGP Bhatinda zone, Deputy Commissioner Fazilka and SSP in connection with this case and they have been asked to appear before the commission on Monday afternoon in Abhohar. The commission has also directed the police authorities to arrest the people involved in the incident within three days failing which strict action will be taken against the official concerned,” Dr Rajkumar Verka said.

Dr Verka said that the incident has shocked the entire dalit community which has alleged that efforts are being made to hushup the case as the people involved in the case are influential. He has assured the affected families that the Commission will take action against the people involved in the case.…

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/bhatinda-ig-dc-summoned-over-chopping-off-of-dalits-limbs/1/546440.html

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Opinions and Editorials

India’s Sawdust Caesar – By A. G. Noorani (Dec 25, 2015, Frontline)

A year and a half after he became Prime Minister of India on May 26, 2014, the people of India have begun to discover that Narendra Damodardas Modi is a flawed character who has proved himself unfit to sit on the chair on which Jawaharlal Nehru once sat. Nehru united the country. Modi is a quintessentially divisive figure. Even before he became Prime Minister, he had boldly nailed his colours on to the mast for all to see. The pattern is alarming.…

Those who had pinned their hopes on Modi as “The Deliverer” find little sign of his delivering on the promises he had so lavishly made. The promised acche din (good days) have turned out to be a deceptive mirage; bure din (evil days) are now upon us with highly charged communal statements and accusations; a systematic purge of cultural and educational institutions; killings, lynchings and the like without any censure by the chief executive of the nation.

Few care to understand what his meaningful and continued silence signifies. Desperate pleas by admirers – to control the “fringe elements”, curb the purveyors of hate and censure, and condemn loudly and without qualification the killings and the spread of intolerance and hate – leave Modi unmoved. For these elements comprise the core of his constituency. The record, viewed as an entire whole, provides ample warning of what lies ahead of us today.… However, there is another and more relevant lesson from Gujarat which Modi refuses to learn. The demonstrators in London last month conveyed to Modi that the world has neither forgotten nor forgiven him for his role during the pogrom of 2002.… In combating Narendra Modi and his cohorts, Indians are fighting to save India’s soul.

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/indias-sawdust-caesar/article7961470.ece

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Dictum & Diaspora: Are you going to fiddle while India burns? – By Ujjal Dosanjh (Dec 15, 2015, Indian Express)

The limbs of India continue to be constantly mutilated, raped or chopped off. One day it is Mohammed Akhlaq, murdered for allegedly killing a cow and stashing beef in his fridge, another day it is Kalburgi, for offending the religious sensibilities of the brutes and fanatics. There have been others like them who have been sacrificed at the altar of hurt religious sensibilities. Then there are Vaibhav and Divya – two Dalit children burnt alive for whatever reasons some thought gave them the rights to maim and burn children. Recently, a seven-year-old girl was gangraped in Delhi. That is not an exception. In the last three years, five minor females were raped every two days in the capital.…

If it was one murder or rape or as many as there usually are based on crime rate and the population – one may say statistically there is nothing to worry about. But what is happening in India is beyond statistics. It is beyond proportionality. Indians who think and reflect upon the truth of what India is experiencing are shaken by it; they are either moved to do something about it or are numbed in response to the need for sheer survival in the dog eat dog world of Indian polity and economy.

India will survive, you say. It has survived through the ages, you argue. India is nothing if not resilient, you reason. And all that happens to be true. But the soul of India asks what are you going to do about the barbarism and the butchery happening in the country? Are you going to be part of the millions of battles being waged in the country for the India of the future? Or are you going to fiddle while India burns?

http://indianexpress.com/article/blogs/punjab-dalit-murder-bheem-tank-abohar-india/

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A vision betrayed – By Sitaram Yechury (Dec 25, 2015, Frontline)

… what we wanted was enactment of all the laws, on the basis of which we can carry forward the vision of social justice that Dr Ambedkar stood for.

Now, instead, we have a situation where the government has come forward saying that we reaffirm our faith in the Constitution. Where is the question of reaffirming? You are here, I am here, and all of us are here on an oath on this Constitution. What is this drama of reaffirming? If the Constitution was not there, then, you wouldn’t be here. The government of the day must know, the Leader of the House – he is not here now – should know that they are there only because we affirm our faith in this Constitution. Where is this question of now saying “We will reaffirm”? And what is this Constitution Day, Sir?…

So, what is this new item that we have, Sir? … You may call it item song or whatever. It is a new item now in the Indian Constitution.… I am quoting from that speech of Dr Ambedkar. “Will history repeat itself?” That is, will we lose our Independence once again? “Will Indians place the country above their creed or will they place creed above the country, I did not know.”…

http://www.frontline.in/politics/a-vision-betrayed/article7961950.ece

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Killing In The Name Of The Indian Nation – By Malem Ningthouja (Dec 19, 2015, Tehelka)

… The government’s defence of murder by ‘security forces’ is in a piece with its stand on the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which has been widely condemned across civil society for giving impunity to men in uniform carrying out heinous crimes as part of counterinsurgency operations. The attorney general’s submission in the Supreme Court was a rationalisation of this impunity as well as a plea for further militarisation of the conflict torn region.

Opinions are divided on the timing and political wisdom of the statement, though the regime in New Delhi seems quite happy with it. For the BJP-led government, it is just a prelude to more chest-thumping “surgical” operations against “anti-nationals”. It also serves a more partisan political purpose: such “bold” words from a representative of the regime, that too in a court of law, is likely to help galvanise the support of “nationalist” zealots for a government no longer as confident of its feet on the ground as it was when it took power in May 2014. Killing in the “national interest” gives strength to those who reach out to the people in the name of an “imagined nation”.…

The attorney general’s statement was the last attempt to defend the men who killed civilians in cold blood during peacetime. So far, men in uniform have got away with murder through a tangled process that starts with denial of involvement in the crime. When that fails to pass muster with public opinion, evidence is tampered with and impunity under AFSPA is invoked. If the crime still manages to make it to the courts, the complexity of the proceedings further brings down the possibility of justice.…

http://www.tehelka.com/2015/12/killing-in-the-name-of-the-indian-nation/

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Tardy progress – By T.K. Rajalakshmi (Dec 11, 2015, Frontline)

The Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) is one of the much touted flagship programmes of the National Democratic Alliance government and was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year on October 2. Its aim is to provide 100 per cent sanitation coverage and eradicate open defecation in rural India by 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The Ministry of Urban Development’s latest progress report (October 2015) on the status of implementation by State governments of the various components of the SBM shows that in both urban and rural India not only have the coverage and use of individual and community toilets been tardy but the work of waste collection, disposal and treatment has also not progressed sufficiently. This was despite the fact that in the financial year 2015-16, rural sanitation accounted for 58 per cent of the total allocation to the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. But allocations as a whole went down by 48 per cent – from Rs.12,096 crore in 2014-15 to Rs.6,231 crore for 2015-16.…

It is evident the current approach to sanitation, focussing as it does on mindset changes and the collaborative effort of civil society, is far from adequate. Not only is the concept narrow, it is also divorced from the realities of household dwellings where the average floor area does not go beyond 40 square metres.

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/tardy-progress/article7903658.ece

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A Calcutta Chromosome – By Meetu Jain (Dec 21, 2015, Outlook)

In August 2015, the chief of the Enforcement Directorate issued a terse circular, one that turned conventional practice on its head. The ED, said acting director Karnail Singh, need not wait for other agencies such as the CBI to probe a case. If the courts have taken cognisance, ED can go ahead and start a probe on its own. In all its existence, ED, which comes under the purview of the Union finance ministry, has taken its cue from that “caged bird”, the Central Bureau of Investigation, which comes under the department of personnel (DoPT), which reports to the PMO.

But it is events leading up to the circular that are more revealing. Just days earlier, Karnail Singh, who was then ED special director, was all set to be transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) following a letter to the finance ministry written by an officer of the income-tax department. The I-T officer, rumoured to be in the race for the ED top job himself, alleged that Karnail Singh and two other officers were going slow in investigating several cases. These cases included two real estate firms, one owned by a Congress politician close to the party top brass, and the other by a BJP leader out of favour with the ruling triumvirate but close to the late Pramod Mahajan.

Around the same time came a decisive salvo fired at the PMO by Subramanian Swamy. The BJP leader accused then ED chief, Rajan Katoch, of closing the National Herald case even though there was a mountain of evidence. The fact that the CBI had not responded to repeated reminders by the ED as also the fact that it had not filed even a preliminary enquiry (PE) report was not good enough. Whether it was the Swamy missive or an administrative decision, Katoch was shifted out and Karnail Singh took over as acting ED chief.…

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/-a-calcutta-chromosome-/296121

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 4th, 2015

by newsdigest on May 5, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Announcements

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Announcements

Indian Americans urge India, US to heed USCIRF’s recommendations on safeguarding religious freedom in India

USCIRF Report for 2015 documents forced conversions of minorities to Hinduism, rising attacks on their places of worship and other restrictions on religious freedom

April 30, 2015

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has welcomed the recommendations on India in thereport released today by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), and called on India to heed its recommendations. IAMC has also urged the US State Department to take cognizance of the report when issuing its own report on international religious freedom, and to act on USCIRF’s multiple recommendations on including religious freedom concerns in bilateral talks with India.

Of particular significance is the fact that the USCIRF report again places India on the Tier 2 list of countries where religious freedom is at risk. India has been on this list every year since 2009. The Chapter on India in the report documents violence as well as the sharp increase in hate campaigns against religious minorities, including Christians, Muslims and Sikhs. It notes with concern the renewed calls for legislating on a national level, anti-conversion laws that have been used to restrict freedom of religion in some states. The report has also cited physical violence, arson, desecration of churches and attempts to forcibly “reconvert” thousands of Christians and Muslims to Hinduism. It clearly points to Hindu supremacist forces for most of the religiously motivated violence and attacks on freedom of religion. “The perpetrators are often individuals and groups associated with the RSS and VHP and operate with near impunity,” the report stated.

“The USCIRF report represents international recognition of the growing attacks on minorities in India by Hindutva forces, including those that are part of the ruling dispensation,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC). “India remaining on USCIRF’s Tier 2 list of countries since 2009 is an unfortunate but inevitable fact, given the ground realities in India. Instead of taking steps to address concerns about religious minorities, the BJP administration’s sectarian and divisive agenda has only resulted in a worsening of India’s record on religious freedom. The international community is rightly concerned about India’s religious minorities, given the attacks have targeted them, their institutions and places of worship and their ability to practice their religions. In the case of Sikhs, Hindutva elements have even targeted the community’s right to self-identification as a distinct religious community,” added Mr. Malick.

Although India’s traditionally pluralist society has seen a decline in religious freedom in the last two decades due to the growing influence of the supremacist ideology of Hindutva, the deterioration since the movement’s political wing came to power last year has been dramatic. From programs known as “ghar wapsi,” intended to forcibly convert Christians and Muslims to Hinduism, to hate campaigns calling for the disenfranchisement of Muslims and the forced sterilization of Christians and Muslims, the situation of minorities under the BJP rule has become precarious.

IAMC has urged the US government to accept the report’s recommendation to integrate concern for religious freedom in its bilateral talks with India. “We believe the report’s recommendation is best fulfilled through an inclusion of religious freedom and human rights in the US-India Strategic Dialogue,” stated Mr. Khalid Ansari, Vice-President of IAMC.

Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our website at:http://www.iamc.com

CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email:info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:
USCIRF Issues its 2015 Annual Report
http://www.uscirf.gov/news-room/press-releases/uscirf-issues-its-2015-annual-report

USCIRF Report 2015: Chapter on India
http://www.uscirf.gov/sites/default/files/India%202015.pdf

Indian Political Party Advocates the Denial of Voting Rights for Muslims
http://time.com/3819055/shiv-sena-india-saamana-editorial-muslim-voting-rights/

Hindu Mahasabha leader calls for forcible sterilization of Christians and Muslims
http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-impose-emergency-and-sterilise-muslims-christians-forcibly-says-hindu-mahasabha-leader-2076735

‘Reconversion’ of Religious Minorities Roils India’s Politics
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/24/world/asia/india-narendra-modi-hindu-conversions-missionaries.html

RSS body seeks donations to fund Christmas ‘conversions’ in Aligarh
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/45484672.cms

UN Official: India’s ‘Conversion’ Laws Threaten Religious Freedom
http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2014/03/10/un-official-indias-conversion-laws-threaten-religious-freedom/

Shocking: Plans to name flyover after Gandhi’s assassin
http://www.indiatvnews.com/news/india/alwar-flyover-was-about-to-named-after-nathuram-godse-47187.html

How India is assassinating Gandhi’s legacy
http://www.progressive.org/news/2015/01/187982/how-india-assassinating-gandhis-legacy

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Communal Harmony

A worthy example for communal harmony (Apr 30, 2015, The Hindu)

The devotees of Ugra Lakshmi Narasimha Perumal Temple in Thammampatti town near here have set a worthy example for communal harmony and national integration by extending invitation to the members of the Muslim community in connection with the forthcoming Chithirai car festival.

The Chithirai car festival in this famous temple, attached to the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) Department, is scheduled to be held for May 3 and May 4. The car festival is being conducted after a gap of seven years.…

The members of the organising committee decided to invite the members of the Muslim community for the car festival in an effort to strengthen the bond prevailing between both the communities for centuries together. As such, they visited the big mosque on Thammampatti bazar street on Tuesday and extended formal invitation to the members of the jamath to participate in the temple festival. The jamath leaders, who accepted the invitation, promised to participate in the festival, said a senior member of the organising committee. A cross-section of people of Salem district commended the gesture. They said that such initiative would go a long way in promoting communal harmony in the whole State.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/a-worthy-example-for-communal-harmony/article7156471.ece

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Bid to evoke ‘Godhra’ in UP town (May 4, 2015, The Hindu)

Days after Muslims in the Kandhla area of Shamli district in Uttar Pradesh clashed with the police over alleged assault of Tablighi Jamaat workers, the social media and local Whatsapp groups were abuzz with messages claiming a Muslim conspiracy to perform “another Godhra” in Shamli.

An angry crowd from Kandhla, a Muslim majority town, blocked the rail track on Saturday protesting against the alleged ill-treatment of a few Tablighi Jamaat volunteers on a local train near Badaut, in Baghpat.

The crowd threw stones at trains at Kandhla after which the Railway Police had to resort to lathi charge. After the clash, hundreds of social media users, mainly from western Uttar Pradesh, and led by those ideologically affiliated to the right of centre, alleged that Muslims in Kandhla captured and detained Hindu passengers at the railway station in an attempt to portray the incident as “another Godhra”. Mass messages were circulated mainly by numbers originating in western Uttar Pradesh claiming that “another Godhra” was enacted by Muslims at the Kandhla railway station on Saturday and alleged that the police and the media remained silent.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bid-to-evoke-godhra-in-kandhla-town-of-ups-shamli-district/article7167483.ece

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US panel questions RSS, VHP over attacks against minorities; slams “ghar wapsi” (Apr 30, 2015, Times of India)

A US panel tracking international religious freedom has, in its latest report on India, noted that religious minorities in the country were exposed to “derogatory” comments by leaders of the ruling BJP as well as “violent attacks and forced conversions by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)” since the Narendra Modi government took over last year.

It has also slammed the “ghar wapsi” campaign and accused the “Hindu nationalist groups” of offering monetary inducements not only to Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism but also to Hindus who carry out such “forced” conversions.

The findings of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), largely based on the accounts of religious leaders of the minorities and non-government organisations in India, have led it to place India on its Tier 2 list of countries for the seventh year in a row.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47108267.cms

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US asks India to explain action against 2 NGOs (Apr 26, 2015, Asian Age)

The US has expressed concern over India’s crackdown on funding to foreign NGOs operating in the country, Ford Foundation and Greenpeace, and said it is seeking a “clarification” in the matter. Talking to reporters in Washington on Friday, state department deputy acting spokesperson Marie Harf said, “We are aware that the (Indian) ministry of home affairs suspended the registration of Greenpeace India and has placed the Ford Foundation on a prior permission watchlist. We remain concerned about the difficulties caused to civil society organisations by the manner in which the Foreign Contributions Regulations Act has been applied.”

“We are concerned that this recent ruling limits the necessary and critical debate within Indian society and we are seeking a clarification on this issue with the appropriate Indian authorities,” Ms Harf said. However, sources in the government justified the latest move and maintained that a system of checks and balances has been put in place to ensure that no organisation is able to influence the country’s public and economic interests.

The MHA recently put Ford Foundation on its watchlist and ordered that all funds coming from the organisation have to be routed only with its nod, citing national security concerns. The MHA said it wanted to ensure that funds coming from Ford Foundation are utilised for “bona fide welfare activities without compromising on concerns of national interest and security”.…

http://www.asianage.com/india/us-asks-india-explain-action-against-2-ngos-484

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BJP MLA booked for ‘attacking’ policemen (May 3, 2015, The Hindu)

The police on Saturday registered a case against BJP MLA from Goshamahal Raja Singh for allegedly assaulting and threatening a constable after the cop asked some persons to stop playing loud music at a marriage procession last night.

The police said that at around 2 a.m., following complaints of sound pollution, a Blue Colt’s team reached the spot and asked the organiser, Vijendar Singh, to stop the music. “Instead, Vijendar along with few of his friends picked up an argument and obstructed the policemen,” Mangalhat Inspector R. Srinivas said.

As the baaratis did not stop the music, more policemen were rushed to the area. One of the constables switched off the DJ system following which a group of youngsters went to the house of MLA Raja Singh and complained to him. “Raja Singh along with a few of his followers came to the spot and abused the policemen. He then pushed a Sub Inspector and hit constable Chandrasekhar after threatening him,” Mr. Srinivas said.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/bjp-mla-booked-for-attacking-policemen/article7166331.ece

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Seven years later, 17 ‘SIMI men’ acquitted (May 1, 2015, Indian Express)

Seven years after 17 Muslim men, many of them medical students and engineers, were arrested by the Karnataka police on charges of terrorism and criminal conspiracy, for allegedly being associated with the proscribed Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), a trial court in Hubli on Thursday acquitted all of them.…

The investigations into the activities of the alleged SIMI men began in January 2008, following the arrests of Raziuddin Nasir and Asadullah Akhtar in the north Karnataka town of Honnali, after they were found to be using a motorcycle with a fake numberplate. Investigations led the police to an alleged larger conspiracy involving organisation of Muslim youth to take up arms under the banner of the proscribed SIMI. The case was handed over to the erstwhile Corps of Detectives of Karnataka. The COD probe reportedly found that over a dozen youths from Karnataka, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh had been attending meetings in different parts of south India, including Karnataka, prior to the arrests.…

In a dramatic development during the trial, a bomb exploded in a court hall in Hubli on May 10, 2008 – a day before the accused were set to be produced in court. Investigations later revealed that rogue elements linked to right wing Hindutva groups were involved in the blast.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/former-simi-chief-nagori-16-other-suspected-activists-acquitted-by-court/

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‘Encounter’ of five Muslim UTs: Inquest Panchnama shows over a dozen bullets and other mysterious injuries on victims’ bodies (May 3, 2015, Twocircles.net)

The new official details emerging from the encounter of five under trial Muslim prisoners is likely to further drag the Telangana police and its government in more embarrassing position. The Inquest Panchnama report available with TwoCircles.net details injuries on dead bodies of the gory shoot-out. …

The Inquest Panchnama began with the dead body of Lucknow resident Izhar Khan, described as the D1 or Deceased 1. Izhar’s body had 18 bullet injuries. The injuries description on the Panchnama report details: 1) Three bullet injuries on the right leg 2) Three bullet injuries on right thigh 3) Three bullet injuries on left thigh 4) left and right front knee one bullet injury each 5) stomach left side one bullet injury and on right side two bullet wounds 6) Left shoulder one bullet injury.

Besides the above, the injuries which raise the eyebrows are: 7) Back head right side one bullet injury 8) Body lower back one bullet injury 9) Back of head on the above one more bullet injury. The above mentioned wounds clearly suggest that deceased was shot to kill from behind.…

http://twocircles.net/2015may03/1430652850.html

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Cop gets life term for killing robber in ‘fake encounter’ (May 1, 2015, Times of India)

A fast-track court in Tiruvallur on Thursday awarded life sentence to a police constable for killing a robber in a fake encounter inside a police vehicle at Kanagamma Chathiram in 2009.…

Recalling the incident, a police officer said Murugan, head constable Alagesan and four other police personnel were escorting six undertrials, including Dhanasekar and Seemon, in a vehicle. When the vehicle was nearing Kanagamma Chathiram, Murugan entered into an argument with Dhanasekar and opened fire, killing him on the spot. Murugan was arrested based on Alagesan’s report.

As the encounter raised several doubts, the case was transferred to the CBI. Seemon and the four other undertrials were named witnesses. However, Seemon, who was released on bail, disappeared in 2011. After a long search, he was finally nabbed from a tea estate in Andhra Pradesh. Fast-track court judge Vetri Selvi pronounced the judgment on Thursday, convicting Murugan for the murder.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47115633.cms

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Farmers who commit suicide are ‘cowards’, ‘criminals’: Haryana agriculture minister Dhankar (Apr 29, 2015, Indian Express)

As the debate on farmer suicide gathers momentum, a minister in Haryana has made shocking remarks that could put the Narendra Modi-led ruling dispensation in a dilemma. Agriculture Minister OP Dhankar told reporters on Wednesday that the farmers who commit suicide are ‘cowards’ and ‘criminals’. Since ‘suicide is a crime as per Indian laws’, he said the state government could not support those who were committing suicide as they were criminals under the rule of law.

Dhankar added that ‘coward’ farmers, who were committing suicide, were running away from their responsibilities and leaving their families with liabilities. Dhankar, who previously headed the BJP’s Kisan cell, often used to condemn the earlier UPA administration for not doing enough for farmers, leading to them committing suicides.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday vowed to raise voice for farmers on every platform and said the government should take into account their concerns and not just extend monetary assistance. Gandhi, who met farmers hit by unseasonal rains in Punjab and stayed here overnight after travelling by train to the NDA-ruled state, also took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking whether the farmers are not contributing to ‘Make in India’ by providing food to the entire country.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/farmers-who-commit-suicide-are-cowards-haryana-agriculture-minister/

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Beef Ban: Police should not invade the privacy of citizens, says Bombay HC (Apr 29, 2015, Indian Express)

The Bombay High Court Wednesday refused to stay the provision of new beef ban law which restricts people from procuring beef from outside Maharashtra, but directed the state government not to take any coercive action for its possession for three months in the state.

“No FIRs will be registered for possession of beef. At most, if any illegal slaughter is made, then an FIR shall be registered,” said Justices V M Kanade and M S Sonak. “We are of the view that the state not having granted reasonable time for disposing of beef products is admittedly unwarranted,” the court said.

Rapping the government for an “overnight” ban, the court said, “What was legal for 30 years has been declared illegal, even possession and import of beef, inviting serious consequences.”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/maharashtra/beef-ban-police-should-not-invade-the-privacy-of-citizens-says-bombay-high-court/

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Villagers claim cops tortured 20-year-old Dalit to death (Apr 21, 2015, Times of India)

A 20-year-old student of Class 12, a Dalit, was tortured, given electric shock in the police station, and hanged from a tree so his death could be passed off as suicide, villagers of Jalalpur in Moradabad have said. The youth was allegedly tortured at the police chowki in the village on Sunday. His body was discovered hanging from a tree later.

Examining the wounds on the body, angry villagers said there was no doubt he had been tortured. Some residents of the village pelted stones at police personnel in protest. On Tuesday, the district commissioner ordered a probe into the matter by a magistrate.

On the complaint of the youth’s kin, police registered an FIR against sub-inspector Ratnesh Kumar of the police chowki. Police officials said that Hari Singh Jatav, a resident of Tumadia Kala village, has complained that his 20-year-old son Sonu was arrested for breach of peace on Friday, after a village woman complained against him. On Saturday, the youth was produced before the court of the Thakurdwara SDM, and granted bail in the afternoon.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47004336.cms

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Opinions and Editorials

Why PM hates some NGOs – By Bharat Bhushan (Apr 26, 2015, Deccan Chronicle)

The Narendra Modi government has suspended the registration of Greenpeace India under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010, (FCRA) for 180 days, preventing it from receiving any foreign funds. Earlier it had frozen the bank accounts of Greenpeace for alleged financial irregularities. It has also placed the Ford Foundation on its watch list for allegedly funding organisations not registered under the FCRA. This came after the Gujarat government sought action against the agency for “direct interference… in internal affairs of the country and also of abetting communal disharmony in India.”…

Perhaps Mr Modi’s dislike of “five-star NGOs” stems from his experience of activists taking up the cases of the 2002 Gujarat riots and of extra-judicial murders of alleged terrorists in the state. It could also be that Mr Modi, who came on a pro-corporate platform, does not want “people-centric issues” to hamper development. It may also come from the fact of his being roundly defeated in Delhi by a ragtag group of NGO activists who formed the Aam Aadmi Party.…

However, choking their sources of funds, deriding them and eroding their legitimacy – as the BJP and Prime Minister Modi himself are trying to do – can only shrink the democratic space in society. India is not a “Hindu” society as imagined by the RSS and try as they might, the votaries of Hindutva do not represent the diverse identities with their myriad problems that make up this amazing democratic nation of India.

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/150426/commentary-op-ed/article/why-pm-hates-some-ngos

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Short circuits and communal violence – By John Dayal (May 4, 2015, TwoCircles.net)

…Modi’s government says there was violence against Christians even during the government of the United Progressive Alliance, chaired by a person of Italian catholic descent, with a Sikh as Prime Minister.

How does that minimise the undercurrents if communalism and hatred that are, unfortunately such a deep part of the landscape, and escalating with each passing year? Governments have come and gone, and even the Congress has a strong section that says the party should not be seen as “appeasing” or being sympathetic to Christians and Muslims.

But the common factor is the pungent hatred spewed by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh and the organisations that are collected in its Sangh Parivar. Modi has said everyone should feel safe in the country; but not once has he named the Sangh. Perhaps he cannot. Many of the hate mongers are in his party in the Parliament. At least two are in his council of ministers. It is difficult to believe that they do not have his permission, or at least, his indulgence.

http://twocircles.net/2015may04/1430733308.html

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Scrapping the UGC: Corporate Agenda under Knowledge Economy – By Rajan Gurukkal (May 2, 2015, EPW)

Reports about a Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) committee’s recommendation for scraping the University Grants Commission (UGC) have excited varied responses. Though officials dismiss the reports as incorrect, saying that the ministry has only constituted a committee of “experienced and credible academicians” to recommend restructuring and strengthening of the UGC for attaining its avowed goals, we cannot accept all this without being apprehensive. Presumably, the committee has submitted its report, so tailored as to be in perfect alignment with the bureaucratic agenda that hardly makes any difference between the previous and the current governments.

This is only the latest in the series of incarnations along the ongoing process of structural adjustments since the 1990s, with an added aggressiveness after the nation’s surrender to General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) in 2005 requiring legislative reforms (apparently) to gain from trade in services (in effect to benefit developed countries). In fact, its groundwork was over way back in 1985 itself by changing the name of the ministry of education into that of human resource development.…

Shrouded in controversies even over their constitutional validity, all of them have been pending legislation. Being sure about the withdrawal of HE&R Bill 2011, the government had constituted a UGC review committee on 30 July 2014 itself to re-examine the commission’s regulatory function.…

http://www.epw.in/perspectives/scrapping-ugc.html

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Crying Shame – justice delivery for minorities in India – By Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam (Apr 17, 2015, Milli Gazette)

How do we judge the justice delivery system in India? Is it good, shoddy, or great? In fact, it is all the three at different times and levels. To be fair to it, its shoddiness does not always come from within it, but mostly from outside: the political culture, the police, the state itself.

Before coming to the crying shame part, let us mull over a rather comical point. After coming out of jail where he had languished for years on charge of killing innocent people in false encounters, Gujarat Police officer DG Vanzara declared: “Achche din aa gaye” (Good days are here), which was a take on a BJP electoral promise “Achche din aaen gay” (Good days are coming).

One wonders whether with the achche din of criminally-oriented policemen, bure din (bad days) for law-abiding citizens have also come. The vicious criminality and partiality of elements in the Gujarat state, including the state judiciary, had forced the Supreme Court to shift several cases of anti-Muslim violence out of the state in the interest of justice. That was a reasonable move on the part of the apex court as it did lead to some victims getting justice, after all.…

http://www.milligazette.com/news/12173-crying-shame-justice-delivery-for-minorities-in-india

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After RSS men attacked us, police forced us to forego legal action, say Sonepat Dalits – By Dhirendra K Jha (May 2, 2015, Scroll.in)

It is hard to say what left a bigger scar on the Dalit residents of Rajendra Nagar locality in Sonepat recently: a violent attack on them by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh men that injured over a dozen people, or the compromise they were driven to sign promising not to seek any legal remedy against their assailants.

Though the episode occurred not far from Delhi’s border with Haryana, it has failed to attract national media attention. But in Rajendra Nagar, there is no mistaking the atmosphere of fear and helplessness it has created among the residents, all of whom belong to the Valmiki caste. …

“What was most distressing was the manner in which the police sought to save the RSS men,” said Mahipal, another victim of the attack. “Despite the CCTV footage [procured from a shop outside the locality] clearly showing the RSS men on the rampage wielding lathis and rods, the police did not make a single arrest. Nor did it register any case against them. What it did instead was to force us to sign a peace agreement with the RSS men on April 25.”…

http://scroll.in/article/724632/after-rss-men-attacked-us-police-forced-us-to-forego-legal-action-say-sonepat-dalits

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Will The Opposition Unite To Stop The BJP? – By Qamar Waheed Naqvi (May 2, 2015, Tehelka)

Blame it on Modi’s ‘corporate sarkar’, Sangh Parivar’s aggressive Hindutva campaign or Kejriwal’s emphatic victory in Delhi, a political renaissance seems inevitable in the country. Rising from the ignominy of General Elections 2014, the opponents are finally getting back on their feet to give a tough fight yet again.

If Rahul Gandhi’s return after a 56-day-long sabbatical and formation of Janata Parivar(JP) were not enough, then Sitaram Yechury taking over as general secretary of the CPM added more spice to the proceedings. Lohia’s rhetoric of ‘Tata-Birla ki sarkar’ has found a resonance in Rahul’s ‘corporate sarkar and suit-boot ki sarkar’.

With the battlelines clearly drawn, the forthcoming Assembly elections of Bihar and West Bengal are evidently going to be a rich-versus-poor contest. The Congress, the Left Front and the Samajwadi Party(SP) will certainly think of a coalition to check the BJP juggernaut. It is the same formula on which the Deve Gowda-Gujral government was formed nearly two decades ago. Though the government did not last long, there is no harm in trying a tried-and-tested method to check BJP’s advances. Besides, is there an option?…

http://www.tehelka.com/will-the-opposition-unite-to-stop-the-bjp/

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Book Review

Destruction of the Babri Masjid – A National Dishonour

Author: A.G. Noorani
Reviewed by: V. Krishna Ananth
Available at: Tulika Books, 35 A/1 Shahpur Jat, New Delhi-110049. Rs. 995.. http://www.amazon.in/
Review:
The courts and the demolition (May 3, 2015, The Hindu)

The political discourse in India since the mid-1980s, dominated by the revanchist campaign involving the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya, has been marked by rhetoric, invocation of myths and the juridical. It is idle to argue that any one of the democratic institutions – the legislature, the executive or the judiciary – had acted in a manner it ought to have in this. That the canker of communal fascism has eaten into the vitals of our Republican Constitution – in other words, the idea of India – is indeed a fact.…

The period was marked by three important developments or events and all those in the realm of the judiciary: the instances of how the perpetrators of the criminal act of demolition and those who conspired to do it were allowed to go scot-free with the CBI and the trial court judges refusing to follow the rule of law; the Liberhan Commission of Enquiry submitting its report in 2009, after many years since it began enquiring into the demolition, simply refraining from pinning down the guilty; and the judgment by the Special Full Bench of the Allahabad High Court on the civil suits before it on September 30, 2010, where some established canons of the CrPC, the Indian Evidence Act and principles of justice were thrown in to the bin and the judges revealed what could happen to a Constitution based on lofty principles when individuals in high positions decide to compromise on those principles.…

This book is indeed an important addition especially in terms of the documents that are reproduced and will be of immense help to scholars, researchers and anyone interested in knowing one of the tragic events that contemporary India witnessed and to learn that it happened because too many people abdicated their duty.

http://www.thehindu.com/books/books-reviews/the-courts-and-the-demolition/article7165025.ece

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 20th, 2014

October 21, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines BJP behind Meerut ‘love jihad’ case? Woman says party worker paid family Rs 25,000 SI guns down youth in police station in Ramanathapuram No law permits police to fabricate false evidence: Court Three Manipuri youths attacked in Bangalore for not speaking in Kannada Villagers prevent police […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 28th, 2014

July 30, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Hadapsar sees Hindu-Muslim unity News Headlines United Nations body recalls Gujarat riots, insists on enacting “dropped” communal violence bill Sena MP ‘force-feeds’ fasting Muslim staffer at Maharashtra Sadan Sangh sets up panel to push ‘saffronisation’ of education Rape the activist: RSS man posts on facebook UP: 3 […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 17th, 2013

March 18, 2014

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

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 29th, 2013

April 30, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines SIT has 9 versions of Narendra Modi’s meeting after 2002 Godhra riots Modi’s Karnataka visit:’Modi go back’ slogans rent the air Ishrat Jahan case: Gujarat govt shielding top policeman PP Pande, say sources Bangalore blast: TN Muslim groups doubt police claims Ajmer blast accused says right-wing […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 19th, 2012

November 19, 2012

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Riots, encounters: Cong keeps heat on Modi Muslim bodies gear up to take on SP govt over Faizabad riots Police ‘atrocities’ anger Muslims Muslim doctors Thackeray’s last sentinels Bodoland Territorial Council member held with weapons, 5 more killed In WB funds meant for minority concentrated areas […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 27th, 2012

August 27, 2012

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony In bad weather, Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus make good friends News Headlines Cops turned a blind eye to tell-tale signs of tension Ruling BPF legislator arrested for Assam violence 20% of banned hate sites put up by Hindu groups Raj Thackeray shows his Hindutva colours as […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 21st, 2012

May 20, 2012

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Reinvestigate Narendra Modi’s Role Keshubhai says Modi rule a terror FIR against Yeddyurappa, sons and in-law Brutal Khaki – Bilal Sheikh sent to jail two days after he came out of ICU Masjid blast probe leaves acquitted ‘accused’ for life Mayawati’s parks, elephants and a Rs […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 7th, 2012

May 7, 2012

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Modi NOT eligible for diplomatic visa: US embassy 9 get life term in Ode riots case ‘4 Maharashtra blasts, Malegaon linked’ Advani must be tried for Babri Masjid conspiracy: CBI to SC Staged shootout: Charges framed against Rajasthan IPS officer BJP MLA booked for inciting communal […]

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