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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

by newsdigest on June 23, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Human rights, religious freedom deteriorating in India: Human Rights Watch (Jun 9, 2016, Indian Express)

Observing that the two years of Modi government have resulted in deterioration in human rights and religious freedom in India, rights activists have called for making the issue as part of the US’ regular dialogue with India.

“Progress on human rights in India will continue to falter unless the Modi administration takes better steps to ensure justice and accountability for all citizens, protect vulnerable communities, and protect the free exchange of ideas and dissent,” said John Sifton, Asia Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch.

Lack of effective implementation of laws and policies remain a persistent challenge, Sifton said, during a hearing on “Challenges & Opportunities: The Advancement of Human Rights in India” organised by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on Tuesday. Government officials are not held accountable and impunity persists for police and other security personnel who are shielded by laws from being prosecuted for serious human rights abuses, he claimed.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/human-rights-freedom-of-religion-deteriorating-in-india-2843106/

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All eyes on Sanatan Sanstha after ENT specialist’s arrest (Jun 12, 2016, Times of India)

The arrest of Dr Virendrasinh Tawade, an ENT specialist, by CBI on Friday in the murder of rationalist and anti-superstition campaigner Narendra Dabholkar in 2013, has thrown the spotlight once again on Sanatan Sanstha, a Hindu right-wing organization headquartered in Ramnathi, Ponda in Goa, about 30km from Panaji.

Tawade joined the sanstha at Kolhapur, Maharashtra and visited Sanstha headquarters in Goa only before 2004, a member of the sanstha claimed adding, he did not visit later.

The sanstha has enjoyed political patronage and support in Goa. Responding to demands for a ban on the organisation in September 2015, Goa chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar had ruled out banning the organisation. Also, wives of two ministers in the coalition BJP government in the state – PWD minister Ramkrishna (Sudin) Dhavalikar and craftsmen training minister Pandurang (Deepak) Dhavalikar, both of the Maharastrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) are sadhaks of the sanstha, and are said to be actively supporting its activities.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/52708332.cms

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Head of Samjhauta Express blasts probe says the Centre is ‘erasing evidence’ in a bid to clear prime suspect Purohit (Jun 7, 2016, Daily Mail)

Vikas Narain Rai, head of the SIT that probed the Samjhauta Express blasts, has accused the government of trying to give Colonel Purohit and the other accused in the case a clean chit.…

The former SIT chief claimed that a concerted attempt was being made to give the accused a clean chit by destroying evidence, cooking up alibis and coercing witnesses.

“Evidence is being erased, witnesses are being forced to turn hostile, documents are being fabricated to help people due to their Right wing linkages,” Rai alleged.…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/article-3630225/Head-Samjhauta-Express-blasts-probe-says-Centre-erasing-evidence-bid-clear-prime-suspect-Purohit.html

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Kairana exodus: BJP list of ‘Hindus’ forced out includes those who died, migrated for better job (Jun 16, 2016, Indian Express)

A list of 346 ‘Hindus’ that BJP MP Hukum Singh claimed had left Kairana in western UP over “threats and extortion by criminal elements belonging to a particular community (read Muslims)” has quite a few discrepancies, an investigation by The Indian Express has found.

While it does have names of some who have left alleging harassment by “gangs”, the list includes names of people who have died, of those who left Kairana more than 10 years ago and still others who say that they migrated for a better school for their children or a better job.

The Indian Express tracked down 22 people who figure in Singh’s list and found five had died, four had moved out of Kairana looking for better opportunities, 10 left more than 10 years ago, three had moved fearing “local criminals”.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/kairana-mass-exodus-shamli-hindu-exodus-akhilesh-yadav-up-elections-bjp-hukum-singh-2851411/

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FIR against Sadhvi Prachi ‘for inciting communal passions’ (Jun 14, 2016, DNA India)

An FIR has been registered against controversial VHP leader Sadhvi Prachi for inciting communal passions, police said on Tuesday.

The FIR was registered against Prachi based on a complaint lodged by Sandeep Kumar of Bahujan Mukti Morcha who alleged that her statement in which she had pitched for a “Muslim free country” in Uttrakhand recently, hurt communal feelings, they said.…

Known for courting controversies, the Sadhvi had claimed the mission of a Congress-free country has already been “accomplished” and it is now time to make India free of Muslims.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-fir-against-sadhvi-prachi-for-inciting-communal-passions-2223754

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Right-wing arms training aims at Ram Temple in Ayodhya (Jun 7, 2016, Hindustan Times)

Volunteers of right-wing Hindu groups are getting arms training primarily to prevent and counter terrorist attacks, but the exercise has an additional motive. This is apparently preparation for construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya in election-bound Uttar Pradesh.

The Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and its women’s wing, Durga Vahini, are conducting self-defence training camps in which members brandish lathis, swords and firearms as part of the routine.

The participants at the camps on the outskirts of Bhopal have been told to be “ready for any situation” that might impede the construction of the temple in Ayodhya.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/bhopal/mp-right-wing-arms-training-aims-at-ram-temple-in-ayodhya/story-nSKaNb9dzRNtVx0cqHMbNL.html

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SC refuses urgent hearing on plea for restrain on statements by AIMPLB (Jun 7, 2016, Indian Express)

Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to give an urgent hearing to a plea seeking direction to restrain the All India Muslim Personal Law Board from giving alleged “misleading messages” to the public till the hearing of a plea on Muslim women’s rights on issues concerning marriage and divorce.

A vacation bench of Justices P C Ghose and Amitava Roy while declining to give an urgent hearing asked petitioner advocate Farha Faiz, who is also party to the suo motu petition being heard by the apex court, to first respond to the writ petition and then mention the fresh plea for hearing.

Faiz said that direction should be passed to restrain media trial, which is being done on the contentious issue of Muslim women’s rights and members of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) from issuing misleading statements. “How can we stop media trial? Is their any mechanism in any part of the world to stop media trial,” the bench observed.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/all-india-muslim-personal-law-board-triple-talaq-media-trial-urgent-hearing-plea-2839875/

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Lack of documents forcing Muzaffarnagar riot victims to migrate as manual labourers (Jun 9, 2016, Times of India)

Displaced from their homes after the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013, over a thousand men who had first settled in neighbouring Shamli district have slowly migrated to other states such as Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan for employment. Some have even gone as far as Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Afkar India Foundation, an organisation working for the rehabilitation of riot victims, said that most displaced families lost all their documents after the riots, which made them ineligible for government schemes. As a result, they have had to migrate to other states and work as labourers.

“After the riots, over 50,000 people were displaced. Around 6,000 families were uprooted from their homes and were forced to shift base. Of these, close to 2,800 families came and settled in the neighbouring Shamli district. Some of these families were from Shamli district itself. It’s been almost three years since the riots and most of these families don’t even have ration cards yet. Many don’t even have water or power connections. They live in deplorable conditions and they resort to manual labour to make ends meet,” said Akram Akhtar, project manager at Afkar India Foundation, an NGO that works for the rehabilitation of riot victims.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/52676830.cms

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Sohrabuddin case returns to haunt Amit Shah (Jun 11, 2016, Mid Day)

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah is again being linked with the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, from which he was discharged in December 2014. A writ petition was filed in the Bombay High Court yesterday claiming that Shah influenced court proceedings to get a clean chit in the case.

The petitioner, Rajesh Kamble, owner of Yash Foundation, in his petition, also claimed that Shah threatened Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin to withdraw the appeal he had filed in HC against Shah’s discharge by a lower court in November 2015. Kamble’s petition will come for hearing next week.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had named Shah as the prime accused in their chargesheet in 2012 in the fake encounter case of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi. CBI had alleged that Shah, the then Gujarat home minister, had hired Sheikh to extort money for him and after they had a fallout, he got him killed in November 2005 and made it look like an encounter.…

http://www.mid-day.com/articles/sohrabuddin-case-returns-to-haunt-amit-shah/17324193

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Protect us from cow vigilante groups, trade hit: Punjab soap industry to police (Jun 12, 2016, Indian Express)

Soap factory owners have requested the Punjab Police to save them from the “ire of cow vigilante groups” who, they claim, are hampering their business in the name of cow protection.

The Indian Express had earlier reported that a number of tankers were impounded by the state police following complaints that they were carrying buffalo tallow mixed with cow tallow. The complaints were filed by cow vigilante groups like Gau Raksha Dal (GRD).

On June 6, representatives from soap units had met with Punjab DGP Suresh Arora and demanded that the police stopped harassing them.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/protect-us-from-cow-vigilante-groups-trade-hit-punjab-soap-industry-to-police/

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Opinions and Editorials

Finding judicial closure in Gulbarg – Editorial (Jun 3, 2016, The Hindu)

…After the SIT gave a clean chit to Narendra Modi and repudiated allegations by Ehsan Jafri’s widow that, as Chief Minister of Gujarat, he had instructed the police to let the mob run riot, the Gulbarg Society case became a rallying point for those pleading that the Modi administration be implicated in the riots. The SIT included a police inspector and a BJP councillor in the charge sheet, but both are among the 36 now acquitted.

The prosecution was unable to prove any conspiracy behind the communal violence with the court finding insufficient evidence of pre-planning, never easy to establish in a case such as this. The collapse of the conspiracy angle does not imply an acceptance of the narrative that the Gujarat riots were an angry, reflexive response to the Godhra train carnage. The lines between spontaneity and subtle orchestration are hard to delineate.

Likewise, there is a difficulty in assessing the varying degree of moral culpability between commission and wilful omission. It would be well to remember this as the Gujarat riot cases reach their judicial closure.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/finding-judicial-closure-in-gulbarg/article8682578.ece

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The ghost of Malegaon – By Harsh Mander (Jun 9, 2016, Indian Express)

…I spoke to Noor-ul-Huda, a power-loom worker who was the first to be arrested. He said these 10 years had destroyed his health, his dignity, his reputation, and his family. “Who can return these years to me?”… The initial breakthrough was achieved by tracing the owner of the motorcycle to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, a former ABVP activist. Even more sensational was the alleged role of a serving Army officer Lt Col Shrikant Purohit and retired Major Ramesh Upadhyay in the conspiracy. Others indicted were sadhus and mahants, as well as persons associated with the Sangh affiliates like the Bajrang Dal, belonging to a shadowy organisation Abhinav Bharat, named after the terror-based formation established by V. D. Savarkar in 1904.

These arrests and investigations further uncovered the role of the Abhinav Bharat and other Hindutva organisations in several other terror attacks, including the Malegaon blasts of 2006 and 2008, the explosions in the Samjhauta Express, the Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad and Ajmer Sharif Dargah. Bajrang Dal activists were found manufacturing bombs in makeshift factories in Nanded, Kanpur, Bhopal and Goa.

What lay exposed was a deeply worrying communal mindset in India’s police and security establishment. Clear leads pointing to Hindutva terror groups were ignored; instead, trans-border Islamist groups were blamed, and Indian Muslim men arrested under terror laws, tortured and forced to sign “confessions”.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/malegaon-blast-case-mumbai-hemnat-karkare-islamist-terror-hindutva-terror-2841902/

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The BJP’s Defensiveness on ‘Kairana Exodus’ Exposes its Hindutva Agenda – By Sharat Pradhan (Jun 15, 2016, The Wire)

When its veteran leader and member of parliament Hukum Singh spoke about an ‘exodus’ of Hindus from Kairana, his pocket of western Uttar Pradesh, it was evident that the Bharatiya Janata Party was up to its old games. The suspicion that his words were yet another attempt to arouse Hindu passions turned out to be true.… The problem was clearly criminal in nature, and demonstrative of what happens in large parts of the state, which is known to some as the “wild west”. …

The BJP’s urge to engage in the politics of polarisation must be understood in the context of the Muzaffarnagar riots, which worked to its benefit in 2014. Over the past two years, while the party has been in power in the Centre, the flame of polarisation has been kept burning through issues like ‘love jihad’, ‘ghar wapsi’ and ‘beef politics’, which were played up repeatedly in Dadri.

With the realisation that Ayodhya had outlived its vote potential, these ideas brewed in the saffron ranks. That the BJP has repeatedly taken these issues to the extreme reflects its failure to move beyond Hindutva – which Shah perhaps considers indispensable to the party’s poll agenda, even as Modi discreetly shuns it. The double-speak apparently aims to appeal to the multitudes who believe in Modi’s aspirational politics, while also keeping the party’s traditional vote bank in good humour.

http://thewire.in/2016/06/15/hukum-singhs-defensiveness-on-the-kairana-exodus-exposes-the-bjps-hindutva-agenda-42897/

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The ban on cow slaughter – By A.G. Noorani (Jun 24, 2016, Frontline)

The Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 1995, received the assent of President Pranab Mukherjee on March 4, 2015. For 20 years, none of his predecessors in office thought it fit to accord the assent.…

If the history of the Constituent Assembly’s adoption of the pertinent provisions of the Constitution on the subject is recalled, it will be seen that a monumental fraud has been perpetrated on the clear intent of the framers of the Constitution by the champions of a ban on cow slaughter.…

Article 48 was conceived in deceit and executed through fraud. Bhargava’s two assurances – “without using any sort of coercion” and he did not want that “non-Hindus should complain that they have been forced to accept a certain thing against their will” – were flouted by the man himself in his pleas to the Supreme Court. And as for the record of the Supreme Court of India on cow slaughter bans, the less said the better.

http://www.frontline.in/social-issues/the-ban-on-cow-slaughter/article8700526.ece

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RSS is not just antithetical to Muslims, but to a democratic-secular India as well – By Shamsul Islam (Jun 10, 2016, Indian Express)

JS Bandukwala, a renowned academician, thinker and fighter for communal harmony in India has rightly expressed his anguish on the deteriorating relationship between RSS and Indian Muslims which must be a cause of serious concern for all those who wish a happy and prosperous India (‘I forgive, I hope’, IE May 27, 2016).

This aspect becomes enormously critical in a situation where RSS cadres are ruling India. I am afraid his take that RSS has problems with Muslims or vice versa is over-simplification of a far more serious issue. The future of Muslims or common Indians, 80.5% of whom are Hindus, depends on the survival of democratic-secular polity. It is more a critical issue for 135 million….

A country where 5-6% population controls 65% of the national wealth, an egalitarian constitution only can provide hope to the poor whether Muslims or Hindus. Unfortunately, RSS is committed ideologically to undo it.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/blogs/rss-is-not-just-antithetical-to-muslims-but-to-a-democratic-secular-india-as-well-2845298/

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Two years and waiting – By Venkitesh Ramakrishnan (Jun 24, 2016, Frontline)

…Sangh Parivar activists admit that central to the political dip and the consequent sense of incertitude about its prospects is the gap between the promises and performance of the Modi government. It is 80 per cent rhetoric and 20 per cent implementation, they say. An analysis by independent experts and members of the Frontline team of different sectors of the economy and governance in the past two years underscores this perception.…

Panwar’s observation has many takers across the political spectrum, including Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and S.P. leader Akhilesh Yadav. “Modi and the BJP use glitzy propaganda laden with empty rhetoric to cover up governance failures and parallelly unleash communal aggression and intolerance to polarise people.…

These are indeed brave and confident words, and political observers like Panwar say that this could well be the reality. However, they wonder what price the people will have to pay before they deliver a lasting rebuttal to the authoritarian and fascist tendencies of the current regime.

http://www.frontline.in/cover-story/two-years-and-waiting/article8700511.ece

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Book Review

Communal Violence, Forced Migration and the State: Gujarat since 2002

Author: Sanjeevini Badigar Lokhande
Reviewed by: Rudolf C Heredia
Available at: Cambridge University Press India Private Limited, 4843/24, 2nd Floor, Ansari Road Daryaganj, New Delhi – 110002, 2015; pp xii + 215, price not indicated. http://www.amazon.in/
Review:
Rehabilitating Riot Victims (Jun 11, 2016, EPW)

…Gujarat has a history of such communal riots, chauvinistically used to consolidate vote banks. The post-Godhra violence in 2002 escalated out of control into a planned state-sponsored pogrom. This book examines the social, cultural and economic costs of the forced migration, and the disrupting displacement in its aftermath, which turns rights-bearing citizens into homeless refugees.

The author begins by setting the context of the study with a description of “Demography and Population Movements in Gujarat” (p 21). The state’s development model has for decades accentuated relative inequalities. Continuing communal conflicts have segregated communities, ghettoised Muslims in cities like Ahmedabad. Once it was in power, the Bharatiya Janata Party took advantage of this to make the state a laboratory for its Hindu nationalist agenda.…

This study is a competent description and an incisive analysis of the aftermath of the pogrom of 2002 in the state. It implies sharp questions to the parties and politicians responsible. Is this the “good governance” so repeatedly proclaimed by them? Acche din aane wale hain! (Good times are here!) Can we expect more of the same now that the same people are in power at the centre? Will the Gujarat model be re-enacted on a national level and bring bure din (hard times) on a national scale, especially for the minorities and the marginalised? Will Gandhi’s “least and last Indian” find respect and security there? The Bihar elections of October–November 2015 has given a decisive answer to this kind of saffron neo-liberalism. Its people have spoken, they must now be heard by all concerned about a collective future as a decent and fair society, and not as aggressive and partisan.…

http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/24/book-reviews/rehabilitating-riot-victims.html

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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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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 11th, 2013

November 12, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Godhra is a stain on Narendra Modi, Vajpayee’s niece says Patel would not have recognized Modi as ideological heir: Rajmohan Gandhi CBI to spread net, may trouble Narendra Modi 3 RSS men held for CPM worker’s murder Several Hindu youths arrested for Patna serial bomb blasts […]

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