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Saharanpur violence

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 26th, 2017

by newsdigest on July 5, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

‘How could they hate us so much’: Family in shock after 16-year-old Muslim boy stabbed to death on train (Jun 24, 2017, Hindustan Times)

…Junaid was allegedly stabbed to death and four others were injured on board a Mathura-bound train …. The incident took place on Thursday evening between Okhla and Asoti in Haryana, a distance of about 60 km. The four injured told Hindustan Times at Khaddawli, a small village in Haryana’s Faridabad district, the attackers repeatedly called them “anti-nationals” and “beef eaters”, threw their skull caps on the floor, caught their beards and taunted them with terms such as “mulla”.

“Junaid was so happy that he will be formally felicitated for their achievement on Eid. Since Ramzan started, he and Hashim had been reciting the Quran everyday at the mosque. They wanted to look good, so they specially went to purchase a new set of clothes to Jama Masjid. Their mother asked them to fetch the best sewaiyan and sweets to be served on the festival. He promised to reach home early, but what reached home was his dead body. How could those men be so cruel to have pierced my son’s body like that,” Jallaluddin, Junaid’s father, said.

“He was a child. He was just 16. How could they hate us so much to have killed him so brutally? When I reached the spot, my son Hashim was sitting on the station with Junaid’s body soaked in blood in his lap,” he added, even as he was being consoled intermittently by fellow villagers in Khadwali, Haryana. Jallaluddin had reached Ballabgarh station to pick up his sons so that they could go to open the fast together, but when he reached the train had already left.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/how-could-they-hate-us-so-much-family-in-shock-after-16-year-old-muslim-boy-stabbed-to-death-on-train/story-TEzAfE9atfWv0EHaXJm6JJ.html

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Man lynched in Rajasthan: Eyewitnesses say govt officials yelled ‘kill him’ (Jun 27, 2017, Hindustan Times)

… Zafar’s wife and daughter too had accompanied with him to object to the officials. “They threatened my 14-year-old daughter, said they’ll burn her father, break my face,” Rashida says in an outburst before collapsing into sobs. “It was about 6:30 am and the municipal officials were clicking photos of the women defecating, pushing them, kicking their water mugs. When my husband objected to them, they told him to stay away,” she adds.

“Then Kamal, the red haired sweeper at the municipality, started hitting him,” says Rashida. The officials held her, the daughter and other women at a distance to stall their intervention efforts, she adds. Kamal was hitting Zaffar’s head with a stone, adds Sabra Bi, Zaffar’s daughter. “The commissioner, who was sitting in the car, egged ahim on. ‘Maaro, maaro, jaan se khatam kar do’,” says the daughter, who studies in Class 10.

Shahida (30), a neighbour who too claims to be an eyewitness, adds that Kamal’s hand and shirt got stained with Zaffar’s blood during the assault. Police haven’t arrested anyone for the alleged assault but has named four civic officials – including commissioner Ashok Jain – in the FIR.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/lynched-rajasthan-man-was-protecting-wife-and-daughter-eyewitnesses-say-govt-official-yelled-kill-him/story-I6FWd0xv3JBZ7ZoeNcEavJ.html

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Talk to Modi on Human Rights Violations: Dutch Parliamentarians, India Committee of the Netherlands (Jun 27, 2017, Sabrang India)

…The close Dutch relationship with India is a good reason to address the deteriorating human rights situation in India during the discussion with the Indian Prime Minister. Under Modi’s hindu-nationalist government, the marginalization of minority groups such as Dalits (‘untouchables’), Christians and Muslims has increased significantly.

Especially these groups, together more than a third of the Indian population, are nowadays regularly victims of extremist Hindu groups who respond by violence to every alleged abuse of cows. The government of India largely ignores this violence. In April of this year, Human Rights Watch also expressed her concern about this. In that month, ‘cow protectors’ killed a 55-year-old man who was on his way with his cattle truck.

We (India Committee of the Netherlands) urge you to ask Prime Minister Modi to actively promote the rights of minorities and to speak out against the violence of the Hindu extremist groups.… Dutch Member of Parliament Mr. Joël Voordewind has raised a number of parliamentary questions on Mr. Modi’s visit to the Netherlands which are related to similar human rights concerns as the Open Letter.…

https://sabrangindia.in/article/talk-modi-human-rights-violations-dutch-parliamentarians-india-committee-netherlands

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‘They want to weaken us and snatch our bread’: India’s poorest begin to blame Modi as cattle crackdown ripples through $16 billion industry (Jun 14, 2017, Daily Mail)

…The election of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) three years ago has emboldened right-wing Hindu groups to push harder for protection of the cow, an animal they consider sacred.

Authorities in India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, started closing down unlicensed abattoirs in March, immediately hitting production and sales in the Muslim-dominated meat industry. Last month Modi’s government also banned trading cattle for slaughter, including not just cows, whose killing was already outlawed in most states, but also buffalo, an animal used for meat and leather.

Now the squeeze is spreading to others in the Muslim minority and to lower-caste Hindus who cart cattle, labour in tanneries and make shoes, bags and belts – including for big name brands such as Zara and Clarks. Frequent attacks by right-wing Hindus against workers they accuse of harming cattle have further rattled the industry.…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-4603476/Cattle-slaughter-crackdown-ripples-Indias-leather-industry.html

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‘Hindu-Muslim Problem Won’t Be Solved Without A Civil War’, Tripura Guv Quotes Mookerjee, Sparks Controversy (Jun 20, 2017, Outlook)

Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy courted controversy after tweeting a diary entry by Bharatiya Jana Sangh’s founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee that said “The Hindu-Muslim problem won’t be solved without a Civil War.”

On June 18, Roy tweeted, “Syama Prasad Mookerjee wrote in his diary on 10/1/1946: “The Hindu-Muslim problem won’t b solved without a Civil War”. So much like Lincoln!”

This soon invited sharp reactions on Twitter with some even accusing him of instigating communal violence calling for his sacking and arrest. This is not the first time Roy, who identifies himself on the twitter profile as a “Hindu” and a “Swayamsevak” among his other professional qualifications, has courted controversy.…

http://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/hindu-muslim-problem-wont-be-solved-without-a-civil-war-tripura-guv-quotes-mooke/299397

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Bulletproof jacket that failed to protect Karkare dumped in dustbin: RTI (Jun 25, 2017, Mumbai Mirror)

A substandard bulletproof jacket that failed to protect former ATS chief Hemant Karkare from the bullets of 26/11 attackers and later kicked up a massive uproar over the safety of Mumbai police personnel ended up in a dustbin at JJ Hospital.

This startling revelation has come in the form of a reply to a Right to Information application. Apparently, the police department learnt about the lapse a year after 10 LeT men brought carnage to the streets of Mumbai, but chose to keep mum.

Earlier, the force had given an evasive reply after the IPS officer’s wife Kavita sought to know its whereabouts through an RTI. Authorities had said that “the jacket was lost and could not be traced.”…

http://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/mumbai/civic/bulletproof-jacket-that-failed-to-protect-karkare-dumped-in-dustbin-rti/articleshow/59303468.cms

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Saharanpur violence: SIT exonerates eight Thakurs (Jun 15, 2017, Indian Express)

The Special Investigation Team (SIT), probing the caste violence in Saharanpur, has exonerated eight accused belonging to the Thakur community. The eight had been arrested for allegedly attacking three Dalits on May 23.

The SIT moved an application before a local court two days ago seeking their release, saying that they were found innocent during the investigation. It referred to the role of 14 others in the violence.

“During investigation, we found that these eight accused were falsely named in the FIR lodged on various charges including attempt to murder. We had moved an application in the court under Section 169 CrPC and requested their release. The court has accepted the application and also has allowed the release,” said Saharanpur SSP Babloo Kumar. He said that they were looking for the other 14.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/lucknow/saharanpur-violence-sit-exonerates-eight-thakurs-4704579/

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UP policewoman, who stood up to BJP workers, transferred; ‘done to keep the pride of party workers intact’ (Jul 2, 2017, Indian Express)

Uttar Pradesh policewoman Shrestha Thakur, who made headlines last week after a video of her standing up to BJP workers went viral, was transferred to Bahraich district on Saturday. She was transferred along with a few other deputy superintendents. Over 150 police personnel have been transferred, in a major mass shuffle by the UP government.

Thakur, who was stationed at Syana circle in Bulandshahar district, had sent five BJP workers to jail for ‘obstruction of duty’. Thakur’s transfer followed a meeting of 11 party MLAs and MPs with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath over the issue.

According to reports, BJP city president Mukesh Bhardwaj has accepted that the officer was transferred to “keep the pride of party workers intact”. The altercation between BJP workers and Thakur happened after they protested against police action on one of its leaders, Pramod Kumar. He was slapped with a fine of Rs 200 for not wearing a helmet while riding his motorcycle.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/uttar-pradesh-woman-cop-who-had-argument-with-bjp-workers-transferred-4731617/

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This is our government and we will not let you pray, Muslims in Sakatpur told (Jun 15, 2017, Ummid.com)

Amroha, a city in western Uttar Pradesh is known for two of its specialities : its Mango Orchards and the Communal Harmony.… This town and the villages around it have never allowed the fire of communal tension from outside spreading and coming close to it but some recent incidents seem to be trying to change this past character of Amroha. At a distance of about 36 kilometres from Amroha city, there is a town called Syed Nagli and from there at about five kilometres further there is a Hindu majority village known as Sakatpur, and that is in the news these days due to communal tension there.…

Sixty five years old Nasru says, ‘This is a Hindu village. Could we have built a mosque here without their consent? They contributed money to build the mosque saying that we were a poor people and needed money.’ Everything was going well. There was peace and amity here. We don’t know what has happened here so suddenly.’ Nasru’s question was responded to by the 24 year old Riyasat saying, ‘Government has changed now. They say “This is our government and things will happen as we want.”‘ Nasru added to it saying, ‘They say “We command the time now. Your time is gone. This is our government and we will not let you pray.”‘…

Villagers say that it is RSS activist Sukhpal Singh Rana who has caused all this incitement in the village. Police has registered a case against Sukhpal Singh, who is originally from Muzaffarnagar, and presently is out of bounds. Some video clips of Rana addressing a crowd, raising inciteful slogans, in Sakatpur are being circulated on WhatsApp. Rana also called a Maha Punchayat [grand meeting of Hindus] in Sakatpur but was stopped by the police. According to police personnel Brijesh Singh investigations are being conducted against Rana.…

http://www.ummid.com/news/2017/June/15.06.2017/will-not-allow-you-pray-story-of-sakatpur-uttar-pradesh.html

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Mumbai: Woman convict dies after jailors insert lathi into private parts (Jun 27, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Jailors of Byculla prison in Mumbai beat up convict Manjula Shetye, 38, brutally for complaining about two eggs and five pieces of pav (bread) missing from morning ration, says the first information report filed by the police on the basis of an eyewitness account. Hindustan Times has a copy of the FIR and the statement of the witness, which detail the inhuman behaviour of the jailors, six of whom have been booked for murder. The death triggered a violent protest by other prisoners and some 200 of them, including former media bigwig Indrani Mukerjea, who is in jail for the murder of her daughter Sheena Bora, have been booked for rioting.…

Manjula was called to the jail officer Manisha Pokharkar’s private room. The witness told police officers investigating the murder that she heard Manjula scream in pain. Manjula came back to the barrack in a while and was visibly in pain. The witness said that soon a group of jailors came to the barracks and assaulted Manjula once again. The witness said Manjula was stripped by women constables she identified as Bindu Naikade, Waseema Shaikh, Shital Shegaonkar, Surekha Gulve and Aarti Shingne.

The witness said Bindu and Surekha then held Manjula’s legs apart and Waseema inserted the lathi into her private parts. Manjula was left bleeding in the barrack, and no help was offered by the jail authorities, the witness said. It was only after Manjula fell unconscious in the bathroom that she was taken to the resident doctor at the jail who immediately asked for her to be transferred to JJ Hospital. Manjula died at the hospital. The post-mortem examination report from JJ hospital stated that Manjura had about 11 to 13 contusions all over her body. The dean of JJ hospital, TP Lahane, said the woman’s lungs were damaged.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/mumbai-jail-death-police-thrashed-inmate-inserted-lathi-in-her-private-parts-says-fir/story-vcfr8ClpqQvZZFsTTgyKRO.html

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Opinions and Editorials

Is India descending into mob rule? – By Soutik Biswas (Jun 26, 2017, BBC)

On Thursday a 15-year-old Muslim boy, returning home from Eid shopping with his three brothers, was killed in a brutal assault by a mob of about 20 men on a train in the north Indian state of Haryana. Police say that the reason for Junaid Khan’s murder – in which his three siblings were also injured by the knife-wielding mob – was mainly because of a row over seat space on the train.

But a man arrested for being part of the mob said on TV that he was goaded into it by others because Muslims ate beef. Shaqir, one of the surviving brothers, told reporters in the hospital that the attackers “flung our skull caps, pulled my brother’s beard, slapped us, and taunted us about eating beef”.

Under Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP, the cow has become a polarising animal and religious divisions are widening. Restrictions on the sale and slaughter of cows are fanning confusion and vigilantism.…

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-40402021

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As entire village shares a mother’s grief, some ask: How can we ever be happy? – By Somya Lakhani (Jun 27, 2017, Indian Express)

…Saira’s son Junaid Khan was stabbed to death in a Mathura-bound train on Thursday evening as he was returning home to Khandawli after a day of Eid shopping in Delhi. The mob that attacked him allegedly mocked his skull cap and called him a beef eater.

Outside their home, Junaid’s brothers – Ismail, Faisal and Hashim – wear black armbands as they head out for prayers on Eid morning. Grief hangs in the air, as does fear. As their father Jalaluddin begins walking towards the mosque, sympathetic eyes of the neighbourhood settle on him.

Once the prayer ends, the men gather in a field opposite the mosque and tie black bands on their arms. “We will only pray, not celebrate Eid. How can we? These black bands are a display of our sorrow; we have got support from our village and other villages as well,” says Hashim, 19, who too was stabbed in the train. Junaid’s brother Shaqir, who was stabbed five times, is yet to return home as he is recuperating at the AIIMS Trauma Centre.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/juniad-khan-khandawli-village-faridabad-train-lynch-4723620/

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A story of two lynchings – and the silence of Hindu India – By Samar Halarnkar (Jun 25, 2017, Scroll.in)

…India’s descent into primeval bloodletting is disturbing. This is not just because the victims are usually minorities, overwhelmingly Muslim and Dalit, reason enough to be disturbed.

The spate of lynchings, almost all reported after Narendra Modi rose to power in 2014, barely registers now on the mass media, elicits little attention from the government and does not move the majority or the nation’s collective conscience.

On the day Junaid died in his brother’s arms, there was another lynching to the north, and this time the Right-wing Hindu reaction was strong – a Muslim police officer was stripped and beaten to death by a Muslim mob outside a Srinagar mosque. The murder shocked even separatists in a land brutalised by death, and they did not hesitate to say so.…

https://scroll.in/article/841642/a-story-of-two-lynchings-and-the-silence-of-hindu-india

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Eid Mubarak, In solidarity, United We Stand Against the Hindu Rashtra – By Nivedita Menon (Jun 26, 2017, Sabrang India)

…There were signposts to this new land of India in 2014, when Narendra Modi’s multi-million dollar publicity machine (as well as many reasonable intellectuals) persuaded us that Modi was done with carnage, that he would establish a centrist, reasonable, growth oriented government. ‘Growth oriented’ is code, as we all know, for corporate loot of common resources and the continued trajectory of an inequitable, unjust and ecologically unsustainable capitalist agenda, but that had already been established as the agenda of all mainstream parties. But there was that other element, Hindu Rashtra as the explicit agenda, and the signposts to it were there, back in 2014, before the elections.…

What has Modi accomplished in these three years? Under his shadow and with his explicit indulgence, Hindu Rashtra is being established. Not firmly yet, still being consolidated, but it is up, it is crawling on its millipede-like feet. There is absolutely no reason why a state driven by corporate capital should need xenophobia or racism or communalism or patriarchy or casteism. There is no necessary link between the two kinds of structures at all.…

But they should be afraid. Against Hindu Rashtra we are united – we, its Other and its Intimate Enemy. We will resist relentlessly their homogenizing and disenfranchising nationalist project… And this is our strength. We are united against Hindu Rashtra, which would impose on us the peace of the grave. We will fight them, and we will fight among ourselves – cacophonous, unruly, turbulent, reckless. We will not let Hindu Rashtra proceed much further on its millipede legs. As it creeps, we will march. Together and apart.

https://sabrangindia.in/article/eid-mubarak-solidarity-united-we-stand-against-hindu-rashtra

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Why VHP’s demand for scrapping minorities panel is absurd – Editorial (Jun 27, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The Vishva Hindu Parishad’s (VHP) rabid dislike for Muslims is all too well known. So it’s not surprising to read about their latest ‘demand’: On the last day of its central governing council meeting in Gujarat, the right wing group said that the government must scrap the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) and the Union ministry of minority affairs.

It also criticised the NCM’s decision to “start a helpline number for Muslims”, and added that “this makes one feel that the atrocities against the Muslim community have reached such proportions that the extreme step of opening a helpline for the Muslims had to be taken up”. The VHP is an RSS-affiliated institution and many of its leaders are swayamsevaks. But this is probably the first instance that it has made such a demand.

The VHP’s demand is wrong on many counts. First, the organisation is making a mistake of equating the NCM with only Muslims. The NCM was set up under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992, and five religious communities – Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis) — were notified as minority communities. In 2014, Jains were added to the list. So by abolishing the NCM and the ministry, the VHP will also be denying other communities a platform to raise their grievances. … Those who believe in the country’s secular ethos, however, will agree that India needs the NCM now more than ever before.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/editorials/why-vhp-s-demand-for-scrapping-minorities-panel-is-absurd/story-eG9H9kQFlUWOmXSnqdfY1J.html

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Women’safety continues to be key challenge – By MY Siddiqui (Jun 22, 2017, Tehelka)

Women’s security and increase in cyber crimes are the new challenges facing India today. In this connection, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has been assisting the States and Union Territories to set up investigating units for crimes against women and children, utilising Nirbhaya Fund. The MHA has also extended recently the revamped Crime and Criminal Targeting Network System (CCTNS) project with an objective of fully computerizing the functioning of police stations across the country, interlinking and sharing of data amongst police, courts, prisons, prosecution and forensic laboratories.

MHA has also begun implementing Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children (CCPWC) Scheme under Nirbhaya Fund with an outlay of Rs.195.83 crore for the next three years beginning the current fiscal year 2017-18. Under the Scheme, 36 cyber forensic training centres will be established in all States and Union Territories, 40,500 police officers trained all over India and R & D Centre established for cyber crime prevention technologies.…

Nirbhaya Fund, created in the wake of brutal rape incident of December 16, 2012 in Delhi, for the safety and security of women and children, with a corpus of Rs. 1,000 crore, remains severely underutilised. MHA is yet to chalk out proper schemes for implementation under this Fund. A source in the MHA told this correspondent that as of now, the Fund is used for miscellaneous expenditure only, which does not address the safety and security concerns of women.…

http://www.tehelka.com/2017/06/womensafety-continues-to-be-key-challenge/

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 12th, 2017

by newsdigest on June 28, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Communal Harmony

Holy month of Ramzan makes the Hindu-Muslim bond stronger in Old Delhi (Jun 10, 2017, Hindustan Times)

For members of the Muslim community, the holy month of Ramzan involves fasting, devotion and charity. In Old Delhi, the month holds significance for its Hindu brethren, too. In a show of solidarity, many are choosing to not eat anything for the whole day.

Mohd. Shaan, owner of Kallan Sweet Shop in Old Delhi, tells us, “Kaushal Singh, who has been working with us for the last sixteen years, doesn’t eat anything for the whole day. Like him, we have several Hindu workers who stand in front of the ‘bhatti’ all through the day but to support us, they also skip their meals and water. And, if they want to have food or drink water, they go in the backyard.” For Kaushal, it’s not about religion, but humanity. “How can I eat or drink anything when a colleague abstains from it. I’m not a sadist. I respect all religions and value them,” he says proudly.

The story is the same for many employees at the several shops in the area, with a majority of Hindu staff showing concern for the Muslims. Mohd. Arshad, who runs a dry-fruit shop, shares, “Meva Ram, who works for me, doesn’t even talk about food in front of me. He also skips his lunch every day to eat iftari (the meal that breaks the day-long fast) with my family. Aisa bhaichara kaha dekhne ko milega?”…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/holy-month-of-ramzan-makes-the-hindu-muslim-bond-stronger-in-old-delhi/story-3NSqf1i9Alwmpj2j3N7B9K.html

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Jharkhand: Muslim man attacked by irate mob for taking ‘beef’ to Iftar party (Jun 7, 2017, Hindustan Times)

A Muslim man was assaulted by an angry mob for allegedly trying to take beef to an Iftar party at Barbadda village in Jharkhand’s Dhanbad district on Tuesday morning. The victim – identified as 35-year-old Ainul Ansari – has been admitted to the Patliputra Medical College Hospital, where he is recovering.

Police said Ansari, a resident of Murahdih, was headed to Barbadda village on a scooter when 20 people waylaid him at Loharbarba. Even as they were assaulting him, somebody informed the police. A team led by Barbadda police station officer-in-charge Dinesh Kumar reached the scene soon afterwards, and rescued Ansari. “The irate mob insisted that we search the victim’s scooter. We did so, and recovered meat – probably beef – from its storage compartment,” said Kumar.

Ansari’s wife, Sahida Begum, denied the allegation. “We planned to hold an Iftar party at our house on Tuesday evening. Ansari was bringing mutton for the event, but the villagers mistook it for beef,” she said.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/ranchi/jharkhand-muslim-man-attacked-by-irate-mob-for-taking-beef-to-iftar-party/story-q1ZXWgGoNJ9b3vksZklqEM.html

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Meghalaya Assembly demands withdrawal of cattle slaughter rules (Jun 12, 2017, India Today)

The Meghalaya Assembly today passed a resolution opposing the Centre’s controversial notification regulating the sale of cattle for slaughter and has asked for its withdrawal. At a special day-long session of the Assembly, the ruling Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance government moved a resolution against the Central government’s new rules on cattle trade for slaughter that infringes on the states’ rights.

Even the opposition parties in Meghalaya – United Democratic Party, Hill State People’s Democratic Party and even the National People’s Party, which is an ally of the BJP – had opposed the new rules and demanded their withdrawal. Three senior Meghalaya BJP leaders – Bernard Marak, Bachu Marak and Wilver Graham Danggo – resigned after senior party leaders opposed their plans to organise a “bitchi-beef party” …

Last week, the former BJP leaders organised a “bitchi-beef” fest to protest against the Central government’s new rules that aims to prevent sale of cattle for slaughter.… Over 5,000 BJP workers from Garo Hills region, which has 24 seats of Meghalaya Assembly’s 60, had resigned from the party over the issue. Many more leaders have threatened to do if the rules are not rolled-back. The BJP’s state chief Shibun Lyngdoh said: “The issue of cow slaughter is a state subject. The matter has been clarified by our leaders. There is nothing more to say.”

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/meghalaya-assembly-withdrawal-cattle-slaughter-rules/1/976842.html

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Two ‘Sangh Supporters’ Held for Disrupting Sitaram Yechury’s Press Conference (Jun 7, 2017, The Wire)

Two persons claiming to be affiliated with the RSS on Wednesday disrupted a press conference being addressed by CPI(M) chief Sitaram Yechury. According to a statement released by the Left party, the press conference was being held at the end of a two-day polit bureau meeting.

The two men allegedly entered masquerading as journalists before they went on to disrupt the event. According to reports, the men shouted slogans including “CPI(M) murdabad” and “Hindu Sena zindabad”.

“They also tried to manhandle comrade Yechury, but we came in their way and the comrade was safe,” a party worker present at the spot said. “This is typical of the RSS methodology of seeking to browbeat and intimidate the opposition. Such tactics will not be allowed to succeed,” the CPI(M) statement said. Yechury also tweeted his indignation, adding that he and his party “will not be cowed down”.…

https://thewire.in/144917/sitaram-yechury-press-conference-sangh/

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Amit Shah on Mahatma Gandhi: ‘Bahut chatur baniya tha, he could presage Congress’ bleak future’ (Jun 10, 2017, Indian Express)

BJP president Amit Shah claimed here on Friday that the Congress was never a party based on principles, it was merely a “special purpose vehicle” to secure freedom. And Mahatma Gandhi, a “bahut chatur baniya,” could presage the bleak future of the party.

In contrast, because the BJP was a party which was clear in its approach, Shah said, it had no hesitation in saying “jo deshdrohi naare lagayega, woh deshdrohi kahlaya jayega.” Shah was speaking to a collection of “eminent persons” of Chhattisgarh, on the second day of his three-day trip to the state, with a view to strengthening the party before elections in late 2018.

Saying that the Congress was an instrument to get independence, and that people from all ideologies, left and right, socialist and Communist, were part of its pre-independence movement…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/amit-shah-on-mahatma-gandhi-bahut-chatur-baniya-tha-he-knew-congress-weakness-4696862/

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Police crackdown begins in violence-hit epicentre of MP farmers’ protest (Jun 12, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Fear stalks the narrow cemented roads of Bahi Parsavnath and Balaguda, the two Patidar-dominated Madhya Pradesh villages on the Mhow-Neemuch highway, where a police crackdown is on.

The two villages, which are 15km away from Mandsaur, were the epicentre of farmers’ protest where police firing on June 6 left five people dead after which angry farmers set fire to scores of trucks along the highway. The toll rose to six after an injured farmer died on Friday.…

“More than 50 men in blue uniform in four vehicles came to the village with two policemen from the local police station and started beating people mercilessly,” says a villager. Police picked up three men, Kamlesh Patidar, the son of the local patel, Shivlal Patidar and Narendra Sharma on June 8, he says, refusing to be identified. “I fear police will target me if you write my name.”…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/police-crackdown-begins-fear-stalks-violence-hit-madhya-pradesh-villages/story-znGWRQiC1GJ9dit9Aco99N.html

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Saharanpur violence accused Chandrashekhar arrested (Jun 8, 2017, Times of India)

The main accused in the Saharanpur violence and Bhim Army founder Chandrashekhar was arrested from Himachal Pradesh on Thursday. The 30-year-old activist was nabbed from Dalhousie area of Himachal Pradesh, Additional DG (Meerut Zone) Anand Kumar told PTI over phone.…

Earlier, two members of the Bhim Army were arrested in Saharanpur for their alleged involvement in the Ramnagar caste violence on May 9 after one person was killed and several others were injured in a clash between Dalits and Thakurs at Shabbirpur village in the district on May 5.…

Chandrasekhar, who had since been evading arrest, was carrying a reward of Rs 12,000 on his head. The Uttar Pradesh police had recently constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) comprising 10 inspectors to probe 40 cases, registered between May 5 to May 23, in Saharanpur district which has seen bouts of inter-caste clashes last month.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/59049807.cms

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Video confession reveals that PFI worker was killed by the RSS in Kannur (Jun 10, 2017, Twocircles.net)

Putting its leadership in trouble, an RSS worker has confessed that he killed Fazal, a member of the Popular Front of India (PFI). A video with the confession of RSS worker Subeesh was submitted to the CBI court in Kochi on Friday. The video was submitted by CPIM leader and accused in Fazal murder case Karayi Rajan.

The video shows Subeesh revealing that Fazal was killed by four RSS activists including him on October 22, 2006 at Thalassery in Kannur district. In the video, he names the other three as Prateesh, Pramesh, and Shinoy. According to the video, the four RSS workers went to local leader Thilakan’s residence. After hearing of the attack on Fazal, Thilakan slapped Subeesh and asked the gang to keep weapons which had Fazal’s blood at his house. He further ordered not to tell anyone about the murder.

The video shows Subeesh saying two of the gang hacked Fazal with swords while he fell down from the bicycle, which he used to distribute newspapers. Subeesh had made the confession in November, 2016, when he was arrested for murdering CPIM worker Paduvilayi Mohanan in Kannur in October 2016.…

http://twocircles.net/2017jun10/411073.html

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India: school book describes Jesus as a demon; Christians demand removal (Jun 9, 2017, Catholicculture)

Christians in India’s Gujarat state are asking officials to remove a book that is currently in use in public schools, in which Jesus is described as a demon.

The book is “simply unacceptable and should be removed immediately,” said a spokesman for the Christian protesters, noting the law that bans deliberate offenses against religious faith.

Gujarat’s education minister said that reference was a typographical error, and “the mistake will soon be resolved.”

http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=31805

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Gujarat High Court concludes hearing on Zakia Jafri’s plea against Narendra Modi, others (Jun 10, 2017, Indian Express)

The Gujarat High Court has concluded hearing a petition filed by Zakia Jafri, widow of slain former MP Ehsan Jafri, challenging a clean chit to Narendra Modi, the then Chief Minister, and others in 2002 riots cases. Justice Sonia Gokani on Saturday concluded the hearing while allowing filing of a written submission by Jafri’s lawyer Mihir Desai on June 19 and a reply by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team on July 3, before pronouncing the judgement.

Zakia had moved the HC against a closure report filed by SIT on the issue of larger criminal conspiracy involving Modi and others behind 2002 riots cases. Her husband Ehsan Jafri was one of the victims of the riots as a mob had set their house in city’s Gulberg Society on fire.…

The criminal review petition by Zakia and NGO Citizen for Justice and Peace, run by activist Teesta Setalvad, has demanded making Modi and 59 others as accused on charges of criminal conspiracy behind the riots. Zakia also’ closure report of the Supreme Court appointed SIT giving clean chit to Modi and others.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/gujarat-high-court-concludes-hearing-on-zakia-jafri-plea-against-narendra-modi-others-4697801/

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UP BJP MLA attacks police over law & order, Dalit ‘atrocities’ (Jun 12, 2017, DNA India)

Already facing Opposition’s flak over law and order situation in the state, the BJP government came under attack from one of its own MLAs who accused the Gonda Police of corruption, shielding criminals and “not acting” in cases of alleged atrocities on the Dalits.

Paltu Ram, BJP MLA from Balrampur Sadar Seat, said no one listens to the Dalits when they visit police stations with their grievances. He directly attacked Gonda Superintendent of Police.

“Law and order of the Gonda district has collapsed under the present Superintendent of Police. Instead of taking action against criminal elements, police are taking bribe and shielding them,” he said in a letter, which he released to the media here.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-up-bjp-mla-attacks-police-over-law-order-dalit-atrocities-2470029

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Opinions and Editorials

India’s Battered Free Press – Editorial (Jun 7, 2017, New York Times)

Press freedom in India suffered a fresh blow on Monday when the country’s main investigative agency raided homes and offices connected to the founders of NDTV, India’s oldest television news station. The raids mark an alarming new level of intimidation of India’s news media under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.…

Since Mr. Modi took office in 2014, journalists have faced increasing pressures. They risk their careers – or lives – to report news that is critical of the government or delves into matters that powerful politicians and business interests do not want exposed. News outlets that run afoul of the government can lose access to officials. The temptation to self-censor has grown, and news reports are increasingly marked by a shrill nationalism that toes the government line.…

Praveen Swami, a reporter for The Indian Express newspaper, warned on Twitter that Monday’s raids were “a defining moment,” adding: “The last time this sort of thing happened was during the Emergency,” a reference to the strict censorship of 1975-77 when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency and ruled as an autocrat. Sadly, Mr. Swami’s warning is warranted. The Central Bureau of Investigation said on Tuesday that it “fully respects the freedom of press.” Even if that’s true, the question still outstanding is whether Mr. Modi does.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/07/opinion/india-freedom-of-press-narendra-modi.html

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Bajrang Dal training camps in Hanumangarh: A journey into the Hindutva heartland – By Asad Ashraf (Jun 13, 2017, First Post)

Barely 400 kilometres from Delhi, the Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and other Hindutva groups have been conducting training camps that put schoolchildren through the paces of using firearms and swords.… We left for Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh – one of the many places running such camps in the name of instilling patriotism into young hearts and minds.…

They confessed on the camera that they ran this camp in which they taught school children the art of handling sophisticated weapons. All this was devised to counter the threat of the Islamic State in India and the internal enemies within the country. They also confessed their role in attacks on people in the name of protecting cows and dealing with ‘love-jihadis’, clearly indicating that these men had taken the law in their own hands and were not letting the police do its duty and fulfil its responsibilities.…

When interrogated about the training camp, he firmly said, “There is nothing new about the camps as we teach people the art of self-defence; we can see terror activities are gaining ground and it is important to keep ourselves prepared for that challenges. The organisation is also running a training camp in Pali – on the border with Pakistan – right now for young girls, in which they are trained in the art of self-defence.”…

http://www.firstpost.com/india/bajrang-dal-training-camps-in-hanumangarh-a-journey-into-the-hindutva-heartland-3543821.html

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Killing The Kisan – Editorial (Jun 8, 2017, DNA India)

The protests in Mandsaur, which saw the lives of six farmers being snuffed out, have now assumed proportions of a full-blown crisis. Latest reports indicate that the protests have spread to six districts, while the violence surrounding the farmers’ demand continues unabated. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has jumped into damage control mode by declaring a price stabilisation fund of Rs 1,000 crore.

Apart from this, he has also announced compensation of Rs 1 crore to the kin of the dead and Rs 5 lakh to those injured. This hasn’t proved to be much of a salve in Mandsaur where over a dozen vehicles were set on fire, while the area Collector and Superintendent of Police faced public ire for their delay in coming to grips with the situation. Meanwhile, the state continues to be on a boil.

Apart from Mandsaur, Neemuch, Ratlam, and Indore districts have reported cases of vehicles being torched and police officers being manhandled. State Home Minister Bhupendra Singh has ordered a judicial probe, but the actual chain of events that led to police shooting still remains unclear.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/editorial-dna-edit-killing-the-kisan-2464791

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Modi’s Push for a Hindu Revival Imperils India’s Meat Industry – By Suhasini Raj and Ellen Barry (Jun 5, 2017, New York Times)

When Uttar Pradesh’s state government began a crackdown on unlicensed slaughterhouses in March, Sanjay Chaturvedi, a local veterinary inspector, celebrated. For years, Mr. Chaturvedi said, the government had protected the lucrative, predominantly Muslim-owned buffalo meat business, making it difficult for him to enforce environmental codes.

But Mr. Chaturvedi has spent the past two months watching the local economy collapse. And now he is beginning to worry. Of the 10 slaughterhouses and meat-processing factories operating in March on the stretch of road he patrols in Meerut, seven have shut down, putting much of the local population – 10,000 people, by his estimate – out of work. Migrant workers have packed up. Factory owners are defaulting on bank loans.

What alarms him most, he said, is the government’s recent announcement of stringent new regulations effectively banning the sale of cattle – a category that includes buffaloes as well as cows – for slaughter. The rules threaten to all but cut off the supply of animal products for the lucrative leather and buffalo meat industries, which together account for about $10 billion in annual exports.…

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/05/world/asia/india-uttar-pradesh-meat-slaughterhouses-cows-buffalo.html?_r=0

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Forget Modi’s Gandhi love. Shah’s ‘chatur baniya’ comment exposes RSS’s real view – By Charu Kartikeya (Jun 10, 2017, Catch News)

…While Gandhi might be popularly remembered as the Father of the Nation, Shah feels that the only man whose portrait permanently graces every government office as the guide of the morality of the Indian State was in fact a mere ‘baniya’ (a casteist reference to the trading class). A clever one, to be precise. The BJP chief’s unprecedented reference to Gandhi came at a public event in Chhattisgarh on 9 June.

Shah was essentially holding forth on why the Congress was not a party, and only an SPV or a “special purpose vehicle” for obtaining independence from British rule. Gandhi knew this, Shah said, which is why he called for disbanding the Congress after Independence. This made him a “bahut chatur baniya”, according to Shah.

The stable that Shah comes from has long carried particularly vicious hatred for Gandhi. Even though no recognised RSS leader was ever convicted for conspiring to kill the Mahatma, Nathuram Godse’s link with the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha is undeniable. There is direct evidence of even MS Golwalkar, the RSS’s second chief, threatening to kill Gandhi in 1947.…

http://www.catchnews.com/politics-news/forget-modi-s-gandhi-love-shah-s-chatur-baniya-comment-exposes-rss-s-real-view-64760.html

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Saharanpur violence result of RSS cultivating weaker castes among Dalits, OBCs, weakening solidarity – By Battini Rao (Jun 12, 2017, Counterview)

Fifty five Dalit houses were burnt down during the afternoon of May 5 in Shabbirpur village of Saharanpur in northern UP. Attackers belonged to the dominant Rajput community of the area. They were armed with swords, spears, and lathis, and numbered about three thousand. Several other houses were looted, and fifteen motorcycles were burnt. Twelve Dalits received serious injuries.…

The politics in UP is passing through a critical phase, in which the BJP has successfully shaken earlier political alignments. This situation requires utmost political wisdom by all progressive, secular, and anti-BJP forces. The RSS has cultivated economically and socially weaker castes among Dalits for many decades by organising religious functions for their specific caste deities, and popularising their separate caste histories. This has weakened solidarity among dalit castes. The same strategy has been successfully applied among OBCs too. The corruption, opportunism and misdemeanours of Dalit and OBC politicians have further helped the BJP.

All this has opened the way for the reassertion of the hegemony of the so called upper castes under Hindutva ideology. The RSS and BJP have manged to get a degree of consent for their virulent programmes from wide sections of the Hindu caste society. This is leading UP towards authoritarian use of state power, a permanent state of anti-minority violence and open attacks on citizenship rights. The BJP government in UP is also trying to browbeat administration to toe its line. The official residence of the then SSP in Saharanpur was attacked by BJP MP and his followers in April, after he had stopped their procession in a Muslim locality.…

http://www.counterview.in/2017/06/saharanpur-violence-result-of-rss.html

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Book Review

Tilting the Balance of Power: Adjudicating the RTI Act

Author: Research, Assessment and Analysis Group
Reviewed by: Alok Prasanna Kumar
Available at: Satark Nagrik Sangathan, B-76 (Garage), S.F.S. Flats, Sheikh Sarai-1, New Delhi-110017 and Rajpal and Sons, New Delhi, 2017; pp xvii + 291, ?400.. www.amazon.in/
Review:
One Decade of the RTI Act (Jun 3, 2017, EPW)

The Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 (hereafter, “the act”) is an excellent example of a grass-roots movement culminating in the promulgation of groundbreaking laws and policies to achieve its ends. … A decade after the law was enacted and the relevant institutions set up, it is now the right time to look back and take stock. Tilting the Balance of Power: Adjudicating the RTI Act has therefore come out at just the right time. Attempting a full-scale study of the act, it examines the way the provisions of the law have been applied by the information officers of the central and state governments. The book also analyses how the law has been interpreted by the judiciary, and addresses the working of the institutions set up under the act.

This book is a valuable resource for anyone who wishes to use the act or study its working in the first few years. Its six parts run the gamut from judicial interpretation of the law by the Supreme Court and the high courts, to the functioning of the information commissions, and the level of compliance with the law by various government departments among other things. This is not just a work of reference; it is also one of careful analysis and critique, accompanied by action points to improve the laws and institutions. In that sense, it is the first of its kind – a book that incorporates rigorous research about the state of the right to information law and the concerned institutions in India with commentary about case-law to outline an agenda for change.

The empirical study of the information commissions presented in this book provides some sobering insights into the way in which the act has been implemented. It is somewhat ironic, but also emblematic of some of the act’s failings, that information about the information commissions themselves is not always easily accessible. Although there is an obligation to publish annual reports, there is no consistency in the way these reports are maintained. This makes the researchers’ task much harder, but working with what is available, the authors of Tilting the Balance of Power have unearthed much that needs to be engaged with and discussed by civil society and policymakers.…

http://www.epw.in/journal/2017/22/book-reviews/one-decade-rti-act.html

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 29th, 2017

June 7, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Babri Masjid demolition case: CBI court frames ‘criminal conspiracy’ charges against Advani, Joshi, Bharti and others Cow vigilantism: RSS man arrested for torching truck, cops say vehicle had bulls Madras High Court stays Centre’s notification on sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets Human rights abuses […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 1st, 2017

May 12, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony When Muslims helped with the funeral ceremony of a Hindu man News Headlines BJP MP asked Police to ‘Fire on these Pigs’ referrring to Muslims: Samajwadi Party report on Saharanpur violence In Adityanath’s Raj, Police Officers Pay the Price for Enforcing the Law on Hindutva Mobs Kerala […]

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