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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 16th, 2016

by newsdigest on January 27, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

How AB Vajpayee was foiled in his bid to have Narendra Modi removed as Gujarat chief minister (Jan 13, 2017, Scroll.in)

7 April 2002. Vajpayee was in a pensive mood when he spoke to reporters in New Delhi hours before he left for Singapore and Cambodia on a five-day official tour… Shortly after take-off, Arun Shourie, Vajpayee’s disinvestment minister, was approached by Ranjan Bhattacharya in the plane. “Shourieji, please go and meet him. Baapji is terribly upset.” Shourie found the PM deeply disturbed, not looking up, his face grave. He appeared crestfallen. Soon, Shourie realised that the PM was upset for one major reason: Gujarat.…

All the killing and pillaging in Gujarat had given Vajpayee a bad name, the more so because Gujarat had a BJP government in place, with a chief minister who had reportedly not risen enough to the occasion to rein in the violence. Vajpayee was blamed for his failure as PM to get rid of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who reportedly shouted back at a Muslim leader on the phone for seeking help after a mob had gathered outside his house. Some hours later, the Muslim leader was lynched, and Modi is alleged to have asked the police forces to let the violence continue. At that moment, Modi seemed to be the villain who brought a lot of shame to the central government.

Modi had also dared to publicly snub Vajpayee at a press conference where he was seated alongside the prime minister. The reporter wanted to know Vajpayee’s message for the chief minister in the wake of the riots. In controlled displeasure, Vajpayee stated that Modi should “follow his Rajdharma”.… Seeing things take a different turn, Vajpayee kept mum, opting against a confrontational stance. Perhaps, for all his bravery, he was worried about younger leaders publicly questioning his authority.…

https://scroll.in/article/826433/how-ab-vajpayee-was-foiled-in-his-bid-to-have-narendra-modi-removed-as-gujarat-chief-minister

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Months Before Sahara Was Granted Immunity, Tax Panel Member Was Abruptly Transferred (Jan 9, 2017, The Wire)

Five months before the Income Tax Settlement Commission (ITSC) granted Sahara India immunity from any future prosecution and penalty over the Sahara diaries, a member of the bench that eventually heard the company’s application was transferred under less than normal circumstances.

According to a report in The Hindu, IRS officer Baldip Singh Sandhu was appointed in March 2016 as a member of the ITSC in Delhi and was appointed to the principal bench headed by the chairman of the tax settlement commission.

The bench that Sandhu was appointed to was the same bench that, on November 10 2016, issued the immunity order for the Sahara group. However, before that, on July 19, Sandhu “was transferred out to Chennai” even though his appointment was “location-specific and non-transferable”. The Hindu reports that on July 19, Sandhu was relieved of his duties and a finance ministry official came to the commission to serve him his transfer order.…

https://thewire.in/98125/sahara-income-tax/

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Bombay High Court cites Muslim man’s religion as provocation, subsequent murder (Jan 17, 2017, Sabrang India)

Bombay High Court’s recent decision to grant bail to murder accused and the rationale used by judge has left the family of 28-year-old Mohsin Shaikh utterly stunned. While granting bail on 12, Justice Mridula Bhatkar observed that the victim’s fault was that he belonged to another religion.

“I consider this factor in favour of the applicants/accused. More-over, the applicants/accused do not have any criminal record and it appears that in the name of the religion, they were provoked and have committed the murder,” Justice Bhatkar observed.

Shaikh was brutally murdered by members of Hindu Rashtra Sena in June 2014 while he was on his way back from a mosque after offering prayers. 14 of 21 accused have already been granted bail by the court. A case of murder was registered against the members of HRS at the Hadapsar police station and 21 HRS members, including their leader Dhananjay Jayram Desai alias Bhai, were arrested.…

https://sabrangindia.in/article/bombay-high-court-cites-muslim-man%E2%80%99s-religion-provocation-subsequent-murder

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RBI note exposes govt. bluff on note ban, says Opposition (Jan 10, 2017, The Hindu)

A note prepared by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that indicates it was the government that “advised” it to consider demonetisation of ₹500 and ₹1,000 currency notes – rather than the other way around – has raised questions about the autonomy of the central bank while drawing the ire of opposition parties.

“Section 26(2) of the RBI Act says that on the recommendation of the RBI, the government may demonetise a particular series of a currency note,” Congress spokesperson and former Union Minister Manish Tewari told The Hindu on Tuesday, stressing, “A strict reading of the Act, therefore, makes it plain that it does not give the RBI the power to demonetise an entire denomination, and the RBI has done a command performance without basic application of mind. It is a sad commentary on the inability of the central bank to maintain its autonomy.”

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, too, was scathing in his criticism. “This exposes the bluff of the government that this was an RBI decision. This was a government decision. The RBI was pressured to endorse it. And that explains the RBI’s flip flops ever since,” he told The Hindu. Another CPI(M) Politburo member, Brinda Karat, said, “This is an example of a lack of transparency and the snatching away of the autonomy of the RBI. The government is destroying institutions. It is also a case of a straight lie. The government must give an answer.”…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/RBI-note-exposes-govt.-bluff-on-note-ban-says-Opposition/article17019425.ece

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Narendra Modi Replaced Gandhi in an Iconic Calendar and India Can’t Handle It (Jan 13, 2017, Time)

Indian government workers have been protesting after Mahatma Gandhi’s picture was replaced with images of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in their department’s official calendar.

Staff at the government’s Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) are reported to have staged a “a silent soul-cleansing” at the Mumbai headquarters.

The Khadi department works to support village-level industries, a scheme close to Gandhi’s heart. Khadi itself – a hand-spun, hand-woven Indian cloth – was used by Gandhi, the preeminent leader of the Indian independence movement, as a symbol for unity, empowerment and liberation.…

http://time.com/4634256/narendra-modi-gandhi-iconic-calendar-india-kvic/

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‘Quest to establish Hindu Rashtra will not succeed’ (Jan 16, 2017, The Hindu)

The quest by the right wing to establish a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ in India will not succeed as people will stand against it, and the Constitution of India, a great document, will not allow it to happen, speakers at The Hindu Lit for Life’s session on ‘Dreams of a Hindu Rashtra’, moderated by N. Ram, Chairman, Kasturi & Sons Ltd, said on Sunday.

Akshaya Mukul, author of ‘Gita Press and The Making of Hindu India’, and Saeed Naqvi, author of ‘Being The Other: The Muslim in India’, concurred that it was not going to be easy to establish a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ (Hindu nation).

“It is not going to be easy. But this quest for a Hindu raj, which has other dimensions to it, will continue and will disrupt us; it will impede our emergence as a nation of the stature that we deserve,” Mr. Naqvi said.…

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/%E2%80%98Quest-to-establish-Hindu-Rashtra-will-not-succeed%E2%80%99/article17042918.ece

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Ishrat Jahan encounter case: Mother Shamima Kauser moves special court to oppose discharge plea of Gujarat DGP (Jan 12, 2017, Indian Express)

A special CBI court on Thursday issued notice to CBI on the discharge application moved by Director General of Police P P Pandey, the senior most accused in Ishrat Jahan encounter case, who is currently out on bail. Pandey is also the in-charge police chief of Gujarat.

On the other hand, Shamima Kauser, mother of Ishrat Jahan, has also moved an application in the court seeking permission to join the proceeding as a party in order to challenge the discharge application. Her lawyer, I H Syed confirmed the move and said, “there is a statutory provision for victims to join the proceedings as party. We are going to oppose the discharge application for sure.”

The special judge MK Pandya issued the notice to CBI and sought agency’s reply by January 20. Pandey has sought relief on the ground that no case is made out against him and the CBI has not charged him with any specific role in the case. This is the first instance in Ishrat Jahan case, in which an accused has sought discharge from the trial court.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/ishrat-jahan-encounter-case-mother-shamima-kauser-moves-special-court-to-oppose-discharge-plea-of-gujarat-dgp-4470875/

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Muzaffarnagar riots: Two years on, SIT yet to get govt’s nod to chargesheet 602 accused (Jan 14, 2017, Indian Express)

Two years after it requested the state government’s sanction to file chargesheets in 57 cases against 602 accused including leaders from the BJP, Congress and BSP, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the state government itself to investigate the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots is yet to get a nod for the same.

On Wednesday, a meeting was held in the home department where SIT officers placed evidence against the accused before a four-member committee. “We are examining the evidence produced by the IOs to take a final decision,” Joint Secretary Chhedi Lal Gupta, who heads the committee, told The Indian Express.

Those facing charges include BJP MP from Bijnor Kunwar Bhartendra Singh and his party MLAs Suresh Rana and Sangeet Singh Som, former BSP MP Kadir Rana, BSP MLAs Noor Saleem Rana and Maulana Jameel from Muzaffarnagar and Congress leader Saeed-uz-Zama.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/muzaffarnagar-riots-two-years-on-sit-yet-to-get-govts-nod-to-chargesheet-602-accused-4473393/

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EC issues notice to BJP’s Sakshi Maharaj for ‘four wives, 40 children’ remark (Jan 10, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Controversial BJP parliamentarian Sakshi Maharaj on Tuesday faced possible disciplinary action with the Election Commission issuing notice to him over his comments that appeared to blame the Muslim community for India’s population growth. The Lok Sabha MP from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh has been asked to reply by Wednesday morning.

Read in entirety, his remarks “have (the) effect of promoting enmity between classes of society…” and prima facie violates the model code of conduct which came into force on January 4 following announcement of assembly polls in five states, including Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress and other political parties have accused Maharaj of fanning communal tension ahead of the seven-phase polls in the state. Speaking in Meerut last week, Maharaj had urged all political parties to come together to frame “population control” laws.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/ec-issues-notice-to-bjp-s-sakshi-maharaj-for-four-wives-40-children-remark/story-JlrnLSaWs6SWqjW93UFECK.html

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Radhika Vemula Detained by Police at HCU, VC Refuses Her Right to Pay Homage (Jan 17, 2017, Sabrang India)

At about 8 p.m. on the night of January 17, the first anniversary of the date of Dalit Research scholar, Rohith Vemula’s “institutional murder” a callous Telangana police detained his mother Radhika Vemula, who had expressed her wish to pay homage at the Veliwada within the University of Hyderabad Campus.

Even as students at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) had planned to hold a largescale protest on January 17, commemorating the death anniversary of Rohith Vemula, the university administration had told the media that it will not let them go ahead with their plans.

Pro-VC Vipin Srivastava, said, “It is our prerogative as to who we can let inside the campus and who we can’t. We will take a decision based on the law and order situation. If they refuse to comply, we also have a High Court order.”…

https://sabrangindia.in/article/radhika-vemula-detained-police-hcu-vc-refuses-her-right-pay-homage

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Opinions and Editorials

Modi’s Man-Made Calamity: How Many Will Die? – By Walt Gelles (Jan 15, 2017, Countercurrents)

At this point, every sane and responsible person in India should be asking: How many tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, or millions of people in India are going to die from hunger, starvation, malnutrition and disease as a result of Modi’s demonetisation?

Reports from the rural and semi-rural areas of India, from towns and villages, already indicate that hunger is widespread because of the nonexistence of cash. This artificial crisis was created on November 8, 2016 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi arbitrarily declared 86% of the nation’s currency worthless as legal tender – a draconian diktat taken without any prior discussion with his cabinet, Parliament, or the people.

The so-called demonetisation policy has had devastating effects across all sectors of Indian society, crippling businesses and farmers, causing retail stores and vendors to shut down, increasing unemployment, and forcing ordinary people to lose billions of man-hours and woman-hours waiting in endless queues at banks to exchange unusable currency notes or to withdraw the meager cash allowed.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/01/15/modis-man-made-calamity-how-many-will-die/

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Godse only killed Gandhi, present day’s Hindutva icon Modi is killing the soul of Gandhi – By Apoorva Pathak (Jan 15, 2017, Janta Ka Reporter)

In a move that has shocked many, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ejected Mahatma Gandhi from the wall calendar and table diary published by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission.

This attempt to marginalise Mahatma Gandhi from public mind is a clear manifestation of Modi’s narcissism. It’s Modi’s bid to create a cult around himself at the cost of stalwarts of Indian history. It also makes for bad marketing strategy as it is nobody’s case that Modi is in the same league as Gandhi in terms of appeal within and outside India. Moreover, Modi for all his followers, has large number of detractors and does not have the same bipartisan fandom as Gandhi’s.

The regressive move should alarm us about a much more fundamentally sinister plot that it has inadvertently exposed. It is a dangerous attempt to erase Gandhi’s legacy from Indian ethos. While the Hindutva icon Nathuram Godse only killed Gandhi, the present day’s Hindutva icon Modi is killing the soul of Gandhi.…

http://www.jantakareporter.com/blog/modi-gandhi-soul-godse/94387/

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Anti-National RSS: Documentary Evidences From RSS Archives – By Shamsul Islam (Jan 17, 2016, Countercurrents)

Friends from India and abroad who are concerned about the increasing threats to the democratic-secular Indian polity from the Hindutva organizations have been feeling the need for a concise document on the anti-national game-plan of the RSS and other like-minded offshoots. The need of such a document is rightly felt for countering the Hindutva propaganda at all levels.

The following document is an attempt to accomplish this objective. It is hoped that equipped with this document all those who love India as a democratic-secular nation and want to save our beloved country from the Hindutva onslaught would be able to challenge the fountain-head of the Hindutva politics; RSS. This document is based solely on the documents drawn from the RSS archives.

The editorial (titled ‘Glorious Hindu Nation’) in the maiden issue of the English organ of RSS dated July 3, 1947 strongly rejected any talk of an Indian nation where Hindus and Muslims would stay as equal partners. It branded the concept of a composite Indian nation as a British conspiracy and went on to decry Mr. Hume (one of the founders of the Indian National Congress) for advancing the theory…

http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/01/17/anti-national-rss-documentary-evidences-from-rss-archives/

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Confusion About ‘Nation-State’ Is Dangerous For Sikhs in India – By Jaspal Singh Sidhu (Jan 12, 2017, Free Press Journal)

Of late, some thinkers of the Sikhs, a minority constituting less than two per cent of India’s population, are praising and advocating for a separate ‘nation-state’ as the best political solution for the emancipation of the besieged community. Such thinkers go to the extent of harrying and hounding those Sikh intellectuals who oppose the concept of ‘nation-state’, a Western construct.

The latter category of intellectuals suggest that a lot of water has flowed down the rivers since Western educated and influenced leaders of Indian independence struggle succeeded in setting up two ‘nation-states’ in 1947 – India and Pakistan,. Six decades old ‘nation-states’ set-up in Indian sub-continent, have been the cause of untold miseries, internal-external conflicts, bloodshed and further fragmentation in form of Bangladesh, which the founding fathers could never fathom in their dreams even.

Critics of ‘nation-state’ also argue that the unprecedented bloodshed and the forced migration of millions of people, witnessed during the Partition days was the direct consequence of Nehru and Jinnah’s insistence on establishing their separate ‘nation-states’.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/01/12/confusion-about-nation-state-is-dangerous-for-sikhs/

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An Unambiguous Indictment – Editorial (Jan 14, 2017, EPW)

The face of Chhattisgarh is the smiling visage of its chief minister, Raman Singh, which appears with unabated frequency in advertisements, including in the EPW, extolling the progress the state is making under his 13-year reign. The reality, as became evident with the latest report of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), is vastly different. It confirms what is already known but which Singh and his police force stubbornly refuse to acknowledge, that the tribal population of this state lives in constant fear of violence at the hands of the state police even as it continues to struggle with the unrelenting burden of poverty.

The tragedy of Chhattisgarh is not just the impunity with which the police and security forces continue to operate in the name of fighting the Maoists, but that nothing seems to dent the pursuit of these actions that have led to rapes, murders, harassment and wrongful imprisonment of ordinary people.

Taking suo motu cognisance of a 2 November 2015 news report in the Indian Express about 40 women from five villages who had alleged that they had been assaulted, harassed and that two women had been gang-raped, reportedly by the state police, the NHRC initiated an investigation. The newspaper story was based on inquiries carried out by a women’s human rights group, Women Against Sexual Violence and State Oppression a month earlier.…

http://www.epw.in/journal/2017/2/editorials/unambiguous-indictment.html

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The Death of a “Velivada Scholar”- Rohith Vemula – By Raju Hanumanta Chalwadi (Jan 17, 2017, Sabrang India)

The death of Rohith Vemula, a PhD scholar, at the Hyderabad Central University shook the country on January 2016. It was a loss of a brilliant child to his mother and loss of an intellectual to his community. ‘My birth is my fatal accident’ is what he wrote in his suicide letter, the meaning of these words can only be understood by one who did not want him/her to be what he wrote in the same letter “be reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility”. Further, he writes “Never was a man treated as a mind”, illustrates the injustice being done historically by the country on the Dalits by treating them as slaves and behaving with them as worst as possible.…

On 18th of December 2015, a letter was written to the Vice Chancellor of the University by the scholar asking VC to fulfil the following demands as a solution for the Dalit problems. He said “Please serve 10mg Sodium Azide to all the Dalit students at the time of admission. With direction to use when they feel like reading Ambedkar and supply a nice rope to the rooms of all Dalit students”. Further, he requested for a facility of “EUTHANASIA” for a student like him. This letter was written exactly 30 days before he committed suicide. Any sensible person could have taken such a letter with utmost urgency but the VC of UoH did not take it.…

Had the Ministry of HRD instead of writing letters after letters done the work for which the ministry had been constituted i.e., providing quality education and making education accessible to all, had the government not appointed Casteist VC Appa Rao Podile – who expelled 10 Dalit student’s way back in 2000 when he was a warden. Had Modi taken an unbiased stand on the issue by inquiring the case instead of providing lip service of achieving goal of equal India envisage by Dr BR Ambedkar, the Velivada scholar could have got justice. Most recently, PM Modi has awarded vice- chancellor Appa Rao Podile with a “Millennium Plaque of Honour” award at the Indian Science Congress held in Tirupati.

https://sabrangindia.in/article/death-%E2%80%9Cvelivada-scholar%E2%80%9D-rohith-vemula

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 24th, 2016

by newsdigest on November 3, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Communal Harmony

Hindu-Muslim meet shows humanity is above all (Oct 17, 2016, Times of India)

Humanity is above all. That is what members of Hanuman Mandir Trust and Jamat-e-Islami Hind demonstrated at a gathering held on Mankapur temple premises on Sunday. The gathering was a clear show of harmony the two communities enjoy here.

Sitting under the shade of a peepal tree on a sunny morning, members of these two organizations set an example for others to emulate and called to forego misunderstanding and ensure communal harmony.

Ayub Khan, a professor of English at Women’s College said, “While I was passing through this temple, I took a leap of faith and entered the premises to share my idea on peace. The trust officials welcomed the idea and readily agreed to join us in our endeavour to promote peace between the two communities.”…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/54886549.cms

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Delhi’s own festival that promotes communal harmony (Oct 19, 2016, Hindustan Times)

Delhi’s oldest secular festival, Phool Waloon Ki Sair, has managed to survive the test of time. The festival which was initiated by the Mughals in 19th century, has come a long way. It came to a halt though when the country was under the British rule. It was revived by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1961.

This annual week-long celebration in the Capital organised by Anjuman Sair-E-Gul Faroshan, brings together communities to promote communal harmony. “What happens over the border can’t stop us from holding this festival,” says Usha Kumar, general secretary, Anjuman Sair-E-Gul Faroshan. She adds that the younger generation is oblivious to this more than a century-old tradition. But she adds, “The response has been increasing every year.”

Since its inception, the festival has been known for promoting peace and oneness among Hindus and Muslims. “Keeping the grudges aside, people from both the communities will visit the Dargah of Khwaja Bakhtiar Kaaki near Qutub Minar on October 20 to offer floral chadar and panka. The next day, they will head to the Yogmaya Temple in Mehrauli to offer a floral chatra and panka (fan),”…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/art-and-culture/delhi-s-own-festival-that-promotes-communal-harmony/story-8SggWs1eSW8c5m5rWeLvOJ.html

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Godhra riots: Gujarat High Court upholds life term of 17, acquits 14 convicted in Sardarpura case (Oct 21, 2016, Scroll.in)

The Gujarat High Court on Thursday upheld the life imprisonment terms of 17 people and acquitted 14 more convicted for the 2002 Sardarpura riots case where 33 Muslims were killed, PTI reported. A division bench of the court comprising Justices Harsha Devani and Biren Vaishnav also dismissed the appeal of the Special Investigation Team and the Gujarat government against the acquittal of 31 other people by the trial court in the case.

The bench acquitted the 14 convicted in the case on the grounds of lack of evidence and contradictions in witness accounts. It cited the “two-witness test” prescribed by the Supreme Court as the basis for its acquittal. The test calls for having at least two witnesses testifying against an accused in a riots to allow the court to convict that person. The bench also upheld the trial court’s rejection of the argument that the attack was the result of a planned conspiracy after the Sabarmati Express train burning incident at Godhra on February 27, 2002.

While 11 of the 14 were given the “benefit of doubt”, three people were given a clean chit, according to The Indian Express. SIT lawyer KB Anandjiwala said the body would take a call on challenging the high court’s decision after it received a copy of the order. Meanwhile, the lawyer for the victims said that there was a possibility of them filing an appeal. “We believe there are several legal points which can be challenged,” said Yusuf Sheikh.…

http://scroll.in/latest/819590/godhra-riots-gujarat-high-court-upholds-life-term-of-17-acquits-14-convicted-in-sardarpura-case

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Jharkhand policeman charged for custodial death following youth’s post-mortem report (Oct 22, 2016, IB Times)

A murder case has been filed against a Jharkhand Police sub-inspector after the post-mortem report of a 22-year-old man said that he allegedly died due to custodial torture.

Minhaj Ansari had injury marks on his body when he was admitted to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Ranchi on October 6. The post-mortem report says that he died due to “haemorrhage and shock” and that the injuries were caused with a “hard and blunt substance.”

On the basis of the report, Jamtara Deputy Commissioner of Police Ramesh Kumar Dubey said that a murder case has been filed against the sub-inspector posted with Narayanpur police station.… The sub-inspector was suspended after Minhaj’s death.

http://www.ibtimes.co.in/jharkhand-cop-charged-custodial-death-over-youths-post-mortem-report-700773

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Malegaon blast: High court asks NIA to file additional affidavit against Lt Col Purohit’s bail plea (Oct 20, 2016, Hindustan Times)

The Bombay high court (HC) on Wednesday directed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to file an additional affidavit countering the bail plea filed by 2008 Malegaon blast accused Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Purohit.

A bench of justice Naresh Patil and justice PD Naik have tagged Purohit’s plea with the one filed by his co-accused Sadhvi Pragya Thakur seeking similar relief.

In July, the bench had dismissed Purohit’s appeal and asked him to file a fresh bail plea before the special NIA court in light of the supplementary charge sheet filed by NIA in June, which dropped the stringent MCOCA charge against all accused in the case.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/malegaon-blast-high-court-asks-nia-to-file-additional-affidavit-against-lt-col-purohit-s-bail-plea/story-ltaztu9qIpkr3IwvKOinOM.html

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MP cops accuse government of shielding unruly RSS members (Oct 20, 2016, Hindustan Times)

Millions across India may be cheering the onset of the festive season but there is gloom in the police barracks in Madhya Pradesh. Dejected cops say the morale of the force is low as the government has sided with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and punished police officers who take any action against the Hindu group members.

An example of this alleged favouritism played out around two weeks ago, when a senior RSS leader Suresh Yadav accused the police of thrashing him in custody. A medical report ruled out life-threatening injuries but the state government charged 10 policemen with attempt-to-murder, triggering widespread anger among the forces.

The case has now turned into a full-blown political war following the transfer of two senior officers for “wrongly handling the case”. The Congress says the BJP administration is acting on behalf of its ideological parent, the RSS, and demoralising the police – a charge many in the force agree with.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/bhopal/mp-cops-accuse-government-of-shielding-unruly-rss-members/story-lh85U5nCNq4hrUJYHFKlqI.html

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Hindu Mahasabha member, Swami Om facing charges under Arms Act, TADA? (Oct 23, 2016, Financial Express)

It has only been a week since Bigg Boss season 10 aired on TV and Swami Om, Hindu Mahasabha contestant supported by BJP is already making headlines. Swamiji’s behaviour on the show is reflecting a character which all the other contestants are finding difficult to deal with.…

According to a report, Swami is facing charges under the Arms Act, Terrorist and Disruptive Activities in addition to non-bailable warrants in a theft case filed by his own brother, Pramod Jha who has a bicycle shop. Swami had been accused of stealing 11 bicycles, expensive spare parts and important documents. The reports also say that his sister has also filed a case against him in Delhi’s Lodhi Colony.

It seems that Swami already has a long list of accusations against him, why then is he creating more trouble in the house, stealing perfumes and asserting misogyny?…

http://www.financialexpress.com/lifestyle/showbiz/bigg-boss-10-hindu-mahasabha-member-swami-om-facing-charges-under-arms-act-tada-bjp/427396/

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Ban use of ‘Hindutva’ in polls: Teesta (Oct 21, 2016, Times of India)

Social activist Teesta Setalvad has moved the Supreme Court to intervene in the ongoing debate over nexus between candidates and religious leaders and sought a ban on the use of “Hindutva” interchangeably with Hinduism in elections.

Setalvad along with retired professor and theatre activist Shamsul Islam and journalist Dilip C Mandal moved a joint intervention application before a 7-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur requesting reconsideration of a December 1995 SC judgement that had ruled that ‘Hindutva’ was a way of life and could not be equated with any religion.

The current petition would affect BJP directly as the party has held up the SC ruling in support of its claim that it is not seeking votes on religious lines and is rather advocating a cultural identity and nationalism.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/54968047.cms

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Polygamy more common among Hindus than Muslims: S Jaipal Reddy (Oct 20, 2016, Siasat)

Strongly opposing the Uniform Civil Code, Senior Congress leader and ex-Union Minister Mr. S Jaipal Reddy claimed that practice of polygamy is more common in Hindu religion than among Muslims. He added that Hindu women face more oppression than Muslim women.

Addressing a public meeting following presentation of Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana Award ex-MP said BJP is endangering peace of the country for its political gains. It is attempting to create distance between Hindus and Muslims thus damaging secular structure of the country. Mr. Reddy asserted that Congress party strongly condemns this.

He said constitution of India guarantees freedom of religion and every citizen has right to follow his own religion and propagate it. But BJP having Hindutva agenda is harassing and worrying Muslims to appease maturity community. He said Congress party is totally with Muslims on this issue and will remain same in the future. Mr. Jaipal Reddy advised BJP to first focus on oppressions on women of Hindu religion and seriously ponder over the injustices meted out to them.…

http://www.siasat.com/news/polygamy-common-among-hindus-muslims-s-jaipal-reddy-1045714/

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Adivasis knock on SC door over civil code (Oct 21, 2016, Deccan Herald)

A group representing interests of tribals has approached the Supreme Court, contending that any direction to impose Uniform Civil Code would affect their distinct customs, culture, heritage and religious practices, including their right to practice polygamy and polyandry.

The Rashtriya Adivasi Ekta Parishad said the adivasis (tribals), numbered about 11 crore in the country, had their own personal laws and do not come in the category of Hindus as they worshipped nature instead of idols and performed burial of the dead.

The marriage ceremony of the tribals was also different from the Hindus, it submitted. The application by the group, which claims to be working for the upliftment of scheduled tribes for 25 years, has added a new dimension to the controversy relating to a suo motu petition “Muslim Women’s Quest for Equality” being considered by the Supreme Court where the issue of declaration of uniform civil code has arisen.…

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/576933/adivasis-knock-sc-door-over.html

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JNU student claims that attempts were made to kill the missing student Najeeb Ahmed (Oct 22, 2016, Indian Express)

Attempts were made to kill JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, who has been missing from campus since a week, a fellow student who was present when he had a brawl with few ABVP supporters, has claimed. A student of School of Biotechnology, Najeeb Ahmed, went missing on last Saturday following a brawl on the campus allegedly with members of ABVP, the night before. An FIR for kidnapping and wrongfully confining a person was lodged at Vasant Kunj North police station after the police received a complaint from the student’s guardians.

“I heard some noises from the first floor. When I rushed down I saw Najeeb was bleeding from the mouth and nose. We called the warden and took Najeeb to help him wash himself in the bathroom.

“But few students came and thrashed Najeeb inside the bathroom. They were shouting that he should not be spared,” said Shahid Raza Khan, an M Phil student at JNU’s School of International Studies (SIS).…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/jnu-student-claims-that-attempts-were-made-to-kill-the-missing-student-najeeb-ahmed-3097273/

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Modi govt “increasing interfering” in freedom of association, expression, assembly: Global civil society alliance (Oct 24, 2016, Counterview)

Civicus Monitor, a global civil society alliance based in Johannesburg, South Africa, in its first-ever online tracking of 104 countries, has noted that the “civic space” in India is being “increasingly constrained because of government interference with the freedoms of association, expression, and peaceful assembly.”

Placing India under the “obstructed” category in the company of 21 other countries, including Armenia, Bhutan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Indonesia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Malaysia, Moldova, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, and Ukrain, Civicus regrets, “India’s many civil society organizations have until recently enjoyed an enabling operating environment.”

“Local and foreign civil society organizations describe an uneasy atmosphere under the current government of Narendra Modi”, it says, adding, “This has been caused by the government’s targeting of CSOs, including Greenpeace India, as well as statements leaked to the media indicating that civil society is receiving large sums of money to pursue foreign agendas in India.”…

http://www.counterview.net/2016/10/modi-govt-increasing-interfering-in.html

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Opinions and Editorials

4 cases Modi govt must look at before talking about Muslim women & triple talaq – By Aditya Menon (Oct 27, 2016, Catchnews.com)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke out on the triple talaaq issue on Monday, indicating his intention to push through a Uniform Civil Code in India. Addressing a rally in Mahoba, Uttar Pradesh, PM Modi said: said, “if someone says talaaq thrice on phone, the lives of Muslim daughters can be destroyed”.

First things first, triple talaaq is a regressive practice. It demeans women, belittles the institution of marriage and by most accounts, it isn’t even based on the Quran. Here, PM Modi is clearly trying to use the triple talaaq issue to push for a Uniform Civil Code, an issue that has time and again been used to create a communal polarisation.

But if indeed he has developed a sudden concern for Muslim women, perhaps he or his government should speak to some of these women. And we haven’t even begun talking about Ishrat Jahan.…

http://www.catchnews.com/politics-news/4-cases-modi-must-look-at-before-talking-about-muslim-women-triple-talaaq-1477321410.html

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Triple talaq debate: Why does the BJP raise the need for modernity only when referring to Muslims? – By Ajaz Ashraf (Oct 20, 2016, Scroll.in)

Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu’s article, A practice against modernity, published in The Indian Express on Tuesday begins thus: “‘The times they are a-changin’,’ sang Bob Dylan many years ago.” Its readers would have felt reassured because one would think that anyone listening to, and citing, Dylan would bring a touch of the avant-garde to his writing. But that hope is dashed in the next sentence itself as Naidu echoes what every other Bharatiya Janata Party leader has been articulating with tremendous zeal ever since the Supreme Court decided to determine the Constitutional validity of triple talaq.

Let us face it, Naidu wishes to debate the issue of triple talaq because it suits the BJP. He and other BJP leaders know that attempts to reform Muslim Personal Law will provoke the Muslim Personal Law Board to join the slanging match in television studios. Soon, you will see them organise street protests.

The BJP will argue that since Hindu law has been altered, Muslim law should be too and that secularism demands it. BJP leaders will clamour, as Naidu has, that Muslim women must experience the balmy breeze of changing times. The furious debate will turn triple talaq into an electoral issue before Uttar Pradesh goes to the Assembly poll early next year, thereby creating the political ambience for Hindu and Muslim consolidation.… Naidu’s modernity is politically expedient. It is a stick to goad Muslims in order to build a Hindu vote bank.

http://scroll.in/article/819451/naidu-uses-modernity-for-political-expediency-in-the-same-way-akbar-used-conservatism-30-years-ago

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How politics is diluting the case of missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed – By Shalini Lobo (Oct 22, 2016, Dailyo.in)

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in the national capital has once again turned into a battleground. Outrage against anti-national sentiments and sexual assault charges has been national headlines, and now the case of a missing student has stirred this hot cauldron.

The mysterious disappearance of 27-year-old Najeeb Ahmed, an MSc student, has led to massive outrage at the varsity. “Justice for Najeeb” is what students address it as, but over all the commotion the cause is lost. The matter has taken a political and communal turn and leaders and political factions are working hard to expand their votebanks.

Left-ruled student groups allege that the scuffle that took place between Najeeb and ABVP members was a planned one. Najeeb was in the hostel for 20 days, the ABVP group assaulted him and there was also a case of mob-lynching.… And most importantly, the blame-game should stop. Votebanks should be the last priority now. Students should be united on the issue, not bully each other.… But once again, I must stress that losing and winning is restricted to elections.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/najeeb-ahmed-jnu-abvp-media-bjp-umar-khalid-left-jnusu/story/1/13563.html

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RSS and its affiliates should not influence the education policy – Editorial (Oct 21, 2016, Hindustan Times)

Getting the education system to conform to its ideology has been a goal of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for much of its existence. So it comes as no surprise that with the ministry of human resource development all set to formulate the new education policy, the RSS-affiliated Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas is trying to influence its content. It wants the medium of instruction from elementary to higher levels in schools to be in the mother tongue and not English, in fact it says English should not be mandatory at any level.

All research work, according to it, should be linked to national requirements and those which are not should not get UGC scholarships. And of course, there is the usual demand that references that insult Indian culture, traditions, sects, thoughts, eminent persons and offer wrong explanations should be removed from textbooks. The ministry should firmly resist this.…

The education policy must be aimed at getting children the best education that can enable them to compete in a globalising world. Our netas certainly understand the benefits of English, their children study in English medium schools and invariably attend college abroad. The education policy is too important for it to be tinkered with by those with little knowledge of the subject. The RSS should leave well alone.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/editorials/rss-and-its-affiliates-should-not-influence-the-education-policy/story-2HAq0P5wCAy5ukftHwnTZJ.html

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For Better or For Worse, the BJP Is Turning to Hindutva (Again) – By Sharat Pradhan (Oct 20, 2016, The Wire)

… it is not a sheer coincidence that Hindutva finds resonance, particularly at poll time. Now that elections are round the corner in Uttar Pradesh, the saffron brigade is finding ways and means to bring it back to the fore in some form or the other.

It was, therefore, no surprise to now find references by different Bharatiya Janata Party leaders to the much-debated Ram temple in Ayodhya. The reason is not too tough to see. Having tried and tested various other ways to whip up Hindutva passions, BJP rabble-rousers have reverted to what they think may be their trump card – the Ayodhya temple.

Why they continue to see it as a trump card is not entirely clear. Anyone who has been following the temple movement would easily understand how the issue lost its vote-catching potential a long while ago.…

http://thewire.in/74617/bjp-modi-hindutva-up/

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As the State Continues to Fail Dalits in Gujarat, Another Life is Lost – By Damayantee Dhar (Oct 20, 2016, The Wire)

Sandha, a village in the Mangrol taluka of Gujarat’s Junagadh district, is home to about 35 Dalit families. For generations, the only way they have earned two square meals a day has been by working as labourers on the land of ‘upper caste’ landlords. The Dalits have no say in their wages. Usually, the landlord who owns the most land decides how much the labourers will be paid in a given year. This been the system in Sandha for years now.

Since October 13, a group of Dalits had been camping in front of the collector’s office as a mark of protest against the government, demanding that they be given the farm land that they say was allotted to them years ago. When no official from the office of the Junagadh collector came to meet them, three of the protestors attempted suicide by consuming pesticide on October 17.

While one of them, 50-year-old Prabhatbhai Munjabhai Parmar, passed away at the Rajkot civil hospital around midnight, the other two, 25-year-old Jignesh Rathod and 33-year-old Chandu Parmar, have recovered and were discharged from the hospital on October 19. According to the protestors, nobody from the government or district administration has met the family of the deceased yet.…

http://thewire.in/74529/gujarat-dalits-suicide-protest-land/

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Book Review

Modi and His Challenges

Author: Rajiv Kumar
Reviewed by: Arvind Krishnaswamy
Available at: Bloomsbury India, Bloomsbury Publishing India Pvt. Ltd., DDA Complex, LSC, Building No. 4, Second Floor, Pocket C-6&7, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi 110070, India; Email: marketing-in@bloomsbury.com. http://www.amazon.in/
Review:
Modi: From Gujarat to Delhi (Oct 22, 2016, EPW)

Rajiv Kumar, a senior fellow of the Centre for Policy Research and a noted economist has embarked on the difficult task of evaluating Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s challenges, midway through his term.… Kumar then takes on the 2002 Gujarat riots and absolves Modi of being anti-Muslim by presenting a eight-point list that mentions the dropping of Gordhan Zadafia, the home minister during the 2002 riots for incompetence, the sidelining of Praveen Togadia, the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader and the convictions of Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi.

This ignores the fact that all this happened only after civil society activists took the matter to the Supreme Court and some cases were transferred outside Gujarat, thereby casting aspersions on Gujarat’s ability to be judicious and neutral. A special investigative team had to be formed by the Supreme Court to help bring cases to court.…

The subsequent analysis also does not explain why after 12 years under Modi, Gujarat’s human development indices are below that of a state like Tamil Nadu which has experienced multiple changes in government accompanied by allegations of wide-ranging corruption.… In summary, this book is neither here nor there. It is neither a deeply-researched piece on the economic performance of Modi in Gujarat and Delhi, nor it is a deeply-perceptive psychological piece on what drives and influences Modi.…

http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/43/book-reviews/modi-gujarat-delhi.html

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 13th, 2016

June 23, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Human rights, religious freedom deteriorating in India: Human Rights Watch All eyes on Sanatan Sanstha after ENT specialist’s arrest Head of Samjhauta Express blasts probe says the Centre is ‘erasing evidence’ in a bid to clear prime suspect Purohit Kairana exodus: BJP list of ‘Hindus’ forced out […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 29th, 2016

March 6, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines AUDIO: Muslims warned of ‘final battle’ at Sangh Parivar meeting, MoS Katheria says ‘we’ve to show our strength’ 34 US lawmakers express concerns over violence against minorities, write to Modi GK Pillai claims intel mole lured Ishrat group to Gujarat, UPA faces heat ‘Were Your Men Sleeping?’ […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 15th, 2016

February 26, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Bishop House in Kerala opens doors for Muslims to perform prayers Hindus take care of a mosque in UP’s communal cauldron News Headlines Sedition case against JNUSU president: Lawyers, BJP MLA take law in their fists ABVP members raised anti-India slogans: AAP submits video clip proof to […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 25th, 2014

August 26, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines RSS is threat to the nation, says MPCC Activists demand FIR against Bhagwat over Hindu comment PUCL seeks probe into inflammatory Rajasthan police intelligence note 567 FIRs, countless promises later, riot victims still wait for justice Quarrel between children sparks communal clashes in Hapur Woman killed in […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 10th, 2013

March 11, 2014

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

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 24th, 2014

February 25, 2014

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

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 3rd, 2014

February 4, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Not possible to forget Modi’s role in 2002 riots: Congress Sohrabuddin Case: SC Notice to Amit Shah and Other Accused Saffron terror attacks: Swami Aseemanand implicates RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat Andhra Christian leaders demand govt. to ban Hindu Vahini 1984 riots: Court queries police on destruction […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 18th, 2013

November 19, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony The unsung heroes of Muzaffarnagar – an untold story News Headlines Gujarat riots return to haunt Modi as US writers brand him ‘the poster child of India’s failure to punish the violent’ US Republicans deny they invited Modi to address party Congressional leaders Snooping charges leveled […]

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