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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 11th, 2017

by newsdigest on December 22, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Announcements

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Announcements

Murder of Muslim laborer in Rajasthan sparks outrage among Indian Americans

Diaspora sees direct connection between cultural of impunity and the reckless, incendiary rhetoric of the Hindutva complex

December 8 2017

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos today noted the sense of outrage among millions of Indians, both within India and across the diaspora over the heinous murder of Mohammed Afrazul, a Muslim migrant worker from West Bengal, who was hacked with a cleaver and his body set on fire in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district. The accused in the case, Shambulal Regar, is captured on video committing the crime and claiming that he committed the murder to “stop Muslims from love-jihad” – a term publicized by Hindu supremacist groups to refer to Muslim men supposedly marrying Hindu women and converting them to Islam as part of some grand conspiracy.

“We are appalled at the horrifying level of hate and violence that not only exists but is worsening by the day, particularly in the state of Rajasthan,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, the National President of IAMC. “We call upon the Rajasthan Chief Minister Ms. Vasundhara Raje to uphold her constitutional duty to protect the lives of all citizens, regardless of caste and creed. This would include reining in organizations like RSS, Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad who have been on the frontlines of spreading hate and discord against the state’s Muslim minorities,” Mr. Khan further added.

Mohammed Afrazul’s killing is the fourth hate crime against Muslims in Rajasthan in the last nine months. Earlier in April, Pehlu Khan was brutally assaulted by self-styled cow vigilantes that led to his death two days later. Later in June, Zafar Hussein was killed after he objected to city officials photographing women defecating in the open. In November, cow vigilantes attacked Mohammed Umar and his colleagues who were transporting cattle, and Umar was later found dead. The perpetrators of these hate crimes are emboldened by the failure of state administration to effectively prosecute these cases of hate crimes. In September, the Rajasthan police closed its investigation into murder of Pehlu Khan and exonerated all six individuals named by Mr. Khan in his dying declaration.

Commenting on this issue, Ms. Seema Salim, National Vice President of IAMC, expressed grave concern at the rising tide of hate crimes in Rajasthan. “The Chief Minister, Ms. Raje must demonstrate the political will to ensure security of the state’s Muslim minorities and dismantle the culture of absolute impunity and protection accorded to the perpetrators of these hate crimes,” said Ms. Seema.

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

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CONTACT:

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

References:

1. Rajasthan: Labourer burnt alive, video of the incident goes
https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/rajasthan-labourer-burnt-alive-video-of-the-incident-goes/1204300

2. As Filmed Murder of Muslim Man in Rajasthan Goes Viral, Official Culture of Impunity Towards Hate Crimes Blamed
https://thewire.in/202831/rajasthan-muslim-man-hacked-to-death-video/

3. Man hacked to death, set ablaze in Rajasthan: Nephew says Afrazul didn’t wrong anyone
http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/smoking-was-afrazul-s-only-vice-says-nephew/story-Jt7LTzCcITMDIl21DmvlsI.html

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Babri Masjid demolition: Who were the main villains? (Dec 6, 2017, Dailyo.in)

What should have been a day of reflection was picked to become a day to institutionalise lawlessness like never before. December 6, the death anniversary of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar, the drafter-in-chief of our Constitution, in 1992, became the day when they pulled Babri Masjid down, brick by communalised brick.

Multiple accounts of what happened on that day, reflections on how law was compromised at every level, as hundreds of kar sevaks, armed with iron rods, other weapons, brought down a 16th century mosque named after the Mughal emperor Babar, have been published.…

In the hall of mirrors that Indian commentary and mainstream media has now become, much of historical accuracy is lost in the din of political point-scoring. So, here’s a recap of the major names and their notorious contributions to the making of the day that sullied India’s constitutional secularism forever.…

https://www.dailyo.in/politics/babri-masjid-demolition-ram-janmabhoomi-ram-temple-lk-advani-uma-bharti-murli-manohar-joshi/story/1/20979.html

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Heinous murder of Afrajul Khan sparks outrage among Indian Americans (Dec 10, 2017, Twocircles.net)

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, noted the sense of outrage among millions of Indians, both within India and across the diaspora over the heinous murder of Mohammed Afrajul, a Muslim migrant worker from West Bengal, who was hacked with a cleaver and his body set on fire in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district.

The accused in the case, Shambulal Regar, is captured on video committing the crime and claiming that he committed the murder to “stop Muslims from love-jihad” – a term publicised by Hindu supremacist groups to refer to Muslim men supposedly marrying Hindu women and converting them to Islam as part of some grand conspiracy.

“We are appalled at the horrifying level of hate and violence that not only exists but is worsening by the day, particularly in the state of Rajasthan,” said Ahsan Khan, the National President of IAMC. “We call upon the Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje to uphold her constitutional duty to protect the lives of all citizens, regardless of caste and creed. This would include reining in organizations like RSS, Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad who have been on the frontlines of spreading hate and discord against the state’s Muslim minorities,” Mr. Khan further added.…

http://twocircles.net/2017dec10/418992.html

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‘Do we really value human rights,’ asks former CJI RM Lodha, citing cow vigilantism, ‘love jihad’ (Dec 11, 2017, Scroll.in)

India has not been able to protect human rights despite constitutional safeguards and a “strong judiciary”, former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha said at a Human Rights Day event on Sunday, citing cow vigilantism, “love jihad” and sedition charges against citizens.

Referring to the controversy over the Bollywood film Padmavati and the threats faced by its crew, Lodha said he wondered if India really values human rights. He said that the laxity in police action was “shaking me every day”, The Indian Express reported.

“In the name of cow protection, human beings were slaughtered,” Lodha said. “Cow vigilantes are mushrooming everywhere. Sedition charges are being invoked against activists. Cartoonists, actors and students were charged with sedition charges.”…

https://scroll.in/latest/861043/do-we-really-value-human-rights-asks-former-cji-rm-lodha-citing-cow-vigilantism-love-jihad

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Gujarat Assembly polls: For many Muslims, EVM the real enemy (Dec 12, 2017, Times of India)

For many Muslim voters in Gujarat, if there is an issue of concern in the coming Assembly election, it is the electronic voting machine (EVM). EVM – described as the “devil” by one worried voter – was the hot topic of discussion among the people, who, however, said they would vote in the December 14 election in the state, despite their concerns.

With the circulation of messages on social media sites about EVMs being tampered with, many in the border district of Chhota Udaipur feared their votes might be transferred to other candidates. Our vote is the only power we have and if somebody changes it, what are we left with in a democracy, asked 57- year-old Sayed Mala, a small-time construction contractor. Mala said he did not trust the electronic machines, adding that ballot papers were the more credible option – a sentiment shared by many others across the district with three Assembly constituencies.

Educated sections of the people, with access to social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook, were more worried about EVMs than the others. I know who I will vote for. But I am not assured if it will be counted in his favour. But with a ballot paper, my vote can t be changed, said Kalol college student Sultan Hussain.…

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/62039937.cms

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Narendra Modi government spent nearly Rs 3,755 crore on its publicity since 2014, reveals RTI query (Dec 8, 2017, First Post)

The Modi government has spent a whopping nearly Rs 3,755 crore in three and half years on its publicity till October this year, an RTI revealed on Friday. The expenditure on advertisements from April 2014 to October 2017 through electronic, print media and outdoor publicity is Rs 37,54,06,23,616, according to the RTI reply by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

The application was filed by Greater Noida-based social activist Ramveer Tanwar, a copy of which is with IANS. According to the information, the central government spent over Rs 1,656 crore on electronic media advertisements, including, community radio, digital cinema, Doordarshan, internet, SMS, and television. For print media, the government spent more than Rs 1,698 crore.

On outdoor advertisements, which include hoardings, posters, booklets and calendars, the central government has spent over Rs 399 crore, the RTI reveals. The amount spent on publicity blitz is more than the yearly budget allocated to some key ministries and government’s flagship programmes. The government’s allocation for “pollution abatement” in the last three years has been only Rs 56.8 crore.…

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/narendra-modi-government-spent-nearly-rs-3755-crore-on-its-publicity-since-2014-reveals-rti-query-4248835.html

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Manmohan Singh speaks out: Pained at PM Narendra Modi spreading falsehood to score political points (Dec 11, 2017, Indian Express)

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Monday expressed anguish at the “falsehood” and “canards” being spread by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “score political points”. In a statement, the former PM said “Modi is setting a dangerous precedent by his insatiable desire to tarnish every constitutional office, including that of a former Prime Minister and Army Chief”.

The former two-term PM was referring to Prime Minister Modi’s remarks at an election rally in Gujarat on Sunday, where he referred to a purported tweet by a former Pakistan army director general, who said Ahmed Patel, the political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, should be made the chief minister of Gujarat. “Why is Pakistan’s senior retired army officer exercising his brain in the Gujarat election?” Modi had questioned.…

“I reject the innuendos and falsehoods as I did not discuss Gujarat elections with anyone else at the dinner hosted by Mani Shankar Aiyar as alleged by Modi. Nor was the Gujarat issue raised by anyone else present at the dinner. The discussion was confined to India-Pakistan relations. Names of the distinguished Indian public servants and journalists present at the dinner are enclosed to this statement. None of them could be accused of indulging in any anti-national activities,” Singh said, adding that PM Modi should apologise to the nation for his ‘ill thought transgression to restore the dignity of the office he occupies’.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/pained-at-pm-modis-spreading-of-falsehood-to-score-political-points-manmohan-singh-mani-shankar-aiyar-pakistan-dinner-4977971/

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Gujarat officials “indifferent” to communal riot victims, “don’t care” to implement PM’s 15 point programme for minorities (Dec 12, 2017, Counterview)

Living in a continued state of fear even nine months after the attack on his son, allegedly by Bajrang Dal activists on March 24, 2017, Allubhai of Vadagam village in Dhansura block of Aravalli district, Gujarat, complains that no action has yet been taken against those who tried to instigate the communal divide by seeking to whip up the love jehad bogey.

A teenager, his son was listening to a Bollywood song being played in a car, says Allubhai, a daily wage worker. The boy was spotted by a local, and accusations flew high that he was seeking to molest a Hindu girl. At around 9 pm, a group of goons entered the Muslim mohalla in Vadagam, wielding iron rods and swords, hockey sticks, engaging in wanton destruction of property.

“Instead of taking our complaints, the police detained six of us”, Allubhai says, adding, “Even 79 year old Aminaben was put behind bars. On being freed, we were forced to flee our village. Badly injured, my son was picked up from the Civil Hospital in Modasa. While following a compromise with elders we have returned, wounds are still fresh in our memory.”…

http://www.counterview.net/2017/12/gujarat-officials-indifferent-to.html

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After Padmavati, Hindutva groups oppose Game of Ayodhya (Nov 30, 2017, The Hindu)

Hindu Yuva Vahini (HYV), a group founded by the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), have opposed the release of Game of Ayodhya, a film that has the Ramjanmbhoomi agitation and the demolition of the Babri mosque as its background.

The film, which is expected to be released on December 8, was initially not given a green signal by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) on the pretext that it could stoke communal passions because the subject of the temple-mosque dispute was provocative. The producers had then approached the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), which cleared it for release.

Amit Goswami, an ABVP leader from Aligarh, has threatened to kill Sunil Singh, the director of the film. He has also announced a bounty of ₹1 lakh for anyone who chops off his hands.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/after-padmavati-hindutva-groups-oppose-game-of-ayodhya/article21235326.ece

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SIT quizzes dera head in jail about violence cases (Dec 7, 2017, Times of India)

After 101 days of violence which claimed 37 lives and left over 200 injured, the special investigation team (SIT) on Wednesday finally went to Sunaria Jail in Rohtak to quiz rape convict Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in the cases of violence and waging war against the state.

Violence had erupted on August 25 when the Panchkula CBI court had convicted Gurmeet in two cases of rape. The SIT headed by assistant commissioner of police (ACP) Mukesh Malhotrashowed video footage and pictures of violence to Gurmeet and questioned him for two-and-a-half hours.

“Our main focus was the circumstances and conspiracy behind the violence. The SIT could not complete the interrogation as it started late due to some technical issues. The team will visit Sunaria again for questioning,” said Panchkula commissioner of police (CP) A S Chawla.…

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/61954495.cms

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Can even murder Kanhaiya Kumar, Sambit Patra for insulting Godse: Hindu Mahasabha (Dec 11, 2017, Times of India))

Members of Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha on Monday said that they can “even murder” student leader Kanhaiya Kumar and BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra if the latter make anti-Nathuram Godse statements.

“Recently on national television, Kanhaiya Kumar and Sambit Patra started raising pro-Gandhi and anti-Godse slogans. We want to challenge both of them via media that if they use insulting words against our leader, then we can even murder such people. Godse did a favour to the entire Hindu community by murdering Gandhi.

“These people have always acted against the Hindus. So, we want to make it clear that if they use insulting words for Godse in future, Hindu Mahsabha will be bound to murder them,” said Abhishek Agarwal, Meerut district president of the outfit. Agarwal was speaking at a press conference at Mahasabha’s Sharda road office in Meerut.…

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com//articleshow/62025041.cms

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Opinions and Editorials

The Babri Masjid Demolition Was Impossible Without RSS Foot-Soldiers Like These – By Lalit Vachani (Dec 8, 2017, The Wire)

In September and October 1992, the Wide Eye Films team and I filmed The Boy in the Branch at the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) headquarters in Nagpur. Commissioned by SOUTH, a documentary and current affairs programme on UK’s Channel 4 television channel, the film looked at the process of indoctrination and recruitment of young Hindu boys by the RSS shakha system.…

As I watched the images of the demolition, I was stunned. How had this been achieved?… When I met Sandeep, Sripad and Pururshottam, they were eager to tell me about what had happened in their lives in the intervening years. But most of all, they wanted to talk about the demolition of the Babri mosque, their contribution to the movement, and “how they made history”. There was absolutely no holding back and I was surprised at how outspoken they were. Sripad described the Ram janmabhoomi movement planning as a “war strategy where some are sent to the front while others man the base camp”. Both Sripad and Purushottam were at the front lines, while Sandeep was one of the RSS volunteers who was deputed to “stay behind and work on the foundation”.

They explained that there was detailed, meticulous organisation and deployment of personnel for months before the karsevaks were to arrive in Ayodhya. As Sandeep said, “there was micro-planning”. Groups of five karsevaks were formed and sent to Ayodhya under a leader. Purushottam was one of the group leaders. Sripad was one of ten RSS swayamsevaks from Nagpur especially selected to do ‘a job’, which he was proud to have accomplished.…

https://thewire.in/202998/rss-sangh-parivar-babri-masjid/

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A Rajasthan reminder: The targets of hate are not just Muslims and Dalits, but also vulnerable women – By Harsh Mander (Dec 9, 2017, Scroll.in)

The journey of the Karwan e Mohabbat into Rajasthan on September 15 was overcast by the violent opposition to our resolve to place flowers on the dusty kerb of the highway in Behror where dairy farmer Pehlu Khan was lynched by a vigilante mob in April.…

The determined opposition by stone-throwing mobs to my tribute to a man felled by hate-driven violence underlined a profound absence of remorse, and a sustained communal hatred. I recall the heated argument I had with a police officer as I sat on a dharna when the police blocked my path to the site where Pehlu Khan had been killed.

I told him that if the police chose, they could have easily prevented the gathering of a hundred men armed with stones. He hotly replied, “They have a constitutional right to protest.” I replied that I was not sure they had the right to protest with stones, but if they did, surely I had the right to protest with flowers.…

https://scroll.in/article/860140/a-rajasthan-reminder-the-targets-of-hate-are-not-just-muslims-and-dalits-but-also-vulnerable-women

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Justice? Fair trial? What foolish world do you live in, Sir? The victim was a Muslim – By Mazhar Farooqui (Dec 9, 2017, Twocircles.net)

In the end, justice will prevail. Nobody is above the law. Have faith in the judiciary. All these oft-repeated phrases sound good but the fact is that in India the possibility of a Muslim victim of Hindutva terror getting justice is as minuscule as the eye of a needle.

You are living in a fool’s paradise if you believe Shambhulal will be punished for hacking an innocent Muslim man to death and burning his body in the name of love jihad. For all you know, he could soon be an MLA or some such thing.

It doesn’t take rocket science to predict the outcome of Afrazul’s bone-chilling murder. All you need to do is look at the outcome of some recent and past cases. Whether it’s Akhlaq (Dadri), Pehlu Khan (Alwar), Imran (Aligarh), Imtiyaz (Jharkhand) Umar Khan (Alwar) or 16-year-old Junaid (train lynching (Ballabhgarh) in each instance the killers were let off despite clinching evidence such as dying statements.…

http://twocircles.net/2017dec09/418964.html

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Cow-Related Hate Crimes Peaked in 2017, 86% of Those Killed Muslim – By Alison Saldanha (Dec 8, 2017, The Wire)

After the recent murder of a dairy trader by cow vigilantes on the Rajasthan-Haryana border, 11 deaths have been reported in 2017, the highest toll from cow-related hate crimes since 2010, from when IndiaSpend’s database records hate crimes. The database is being launched in a new, interactive format today.

No incidents of hate crime were reported in 2010 and 2011, but over the eight years since 2012, 29 persons have been killed in cow-related hate violence, 25 of whom were Muslim.

Until 2015, 76% or 13 of 17 cow-related hate crimes were reported from northern India. Since then, during 2016 and 2017 to-date, more incidents have been reported from the east, west and south of the country.…

https://thewire.in/203103/cow-vigilantism-violence-2017-muslims-hate-crime/

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India’s plural soul – By Gopalkrishna Gandhi (Dec 6, 2017, The Hindu)

The partitioning of India broke us, shamed us.… After that traumatic year, three dates, three events, shook Indian pluralism again. Gandhi’s assassination – January 30, 1948; the Babri Masjid demolition – December 6, 1992, and the unveiling of V.D. Savarkar’s portrait in Parliament House – February 26, 2003.…

The first of these three saw a believer in the criticality of India’s pluralism being put to death. The second witnessed a pre-eminent Islamic monument reduced to rubble. The third valorised a man who believed India was meant to be a Hindu Rashtra. The first was murder, the second vandalism, the third a celebration. Those three form a triptych. All three occurrences singed India’s plural soul. Their “work” is still on. It is still affecting ways of thinking, acting, reacting.…

But hate and fear are not a normal condition; fanaticism not a natural emotion. Plain common sense and Gandhi’s miraculously still-alive spirit have staved off communal frenzy. Never more effectively than when bloodthirsty terrorists sought to mutilate life in Mumbai in 1993 and then to maim the House of India’s Parliament in 2001. All of India could have erupted then into communal frenzy, but it did not. Likewise, when Gujarat 2002 could have spread, but did not.…

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/indias-plural-soul/article21268638.ece

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Voting machines without safeguards – By Uttam Sengupta (Dec 12, 2017, National Herald)

“We have a single technology at our disposal that is invulnerable to hacking – paper” Computer Scientist who prefers paper. That is how the American magazine The Atlantic described her earlier this year. Having worked at IBM for long, Barbara Simons (76) is among the pioneers in computer science. When, therefore, she began saying that electronic voting was not safe, people took her to be a ‘crank’. But undeterred, Simons became one of the founders of American organization Verified Voters, which has been in the forefront of the movement to replace machines with paper ballots in American elections.

The idea that software can be manipulated to rig elections is still neither popular nor widely accepted. But the election of Donald Trump in 2016 as the US President and the cloud cast by allegations of Russian interference in the electoral process, has overnight changed the usually cold reception that Simons was used to from public officials and citizens alike. People are now more curious to hear her and more willing to accept that she may actually be talking sense.…

“Paper, Simons said, is the best answer to this riddle. Marked clearly and correctly, it’s a portable and transparent record of voter intent, one that voters themselves can verify, at least while the ballot is still in their possession. It’s also a permanent record, unlike computer memory, which can always be overwritten. “There’s no malware that can attack paper,” Simons said. “We can solve this. We know how to do it.”

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/national/voting-machines-without-safeguards

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 5th, 2017

by newsdigest on June 18, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Uttar Pradesh: 270 people booked for violence in Muzaffarnagar (Jun 4, 2017, Hindustan Times)

As many as 270 people have been booked here in connection with the violence at Sherpur village on Friday in which eight people, including five policemen, were injured, police said on Sunday.

The violent episode unfolded after a group of people resorted to stone-pelting when a police team raided some houses in Sherpur on information of “cow slaughter”.…

When the police did not find any suspicious item during the search, they started searching nearby houses which angered the people, who opposed the police action and started pelting them with stones.… Meanwhile, the sub-inspector of the police outpost concerned has been transfered while other personnel have also been moved out, the SP said.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/uttar-pradesh-270-people-booked-for-violence-in-muzaffarnagar/story-lRx6Plm6g3mClta0j4gV7N.html

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Journalists Detained in Rajasthan While Reporting on Bajrang Dal’s Weapons Training Camps (Jun 7, 2017, The Wire)

Asad Ashraf, a Delhi-based reporter at The Statesman, and two other journalists, Anupam Pandey and Vijay Pandey, were detained in Rajasthan on Saturday where they had gone to report on arms training camps that were being conducted by the Bajrang Dal in Hanumangarh. The youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has been conducting camps in many parts of the country in which young children are trained to use arms and ammunition.… Ashraf said that the camps in Hanumangarh, like most others, did not see the police intervening.…

These training camps are usually conducted in RSS-affiliated schools. A public appeal is made and sent to these schools, after which they start recruiting.… Ashraf could sense something was wrong. He tried to leave and went to sit in his car, but the party members made the other two journalists stay back and demanded to see their IDs. Within minutes, the police arrived and took the journalists to the police station. The police told Ashraf that one of the party members had made a complaint against him. They made sure that the three journalists sat in different cars on the way to the station. Ashraf immediately revealed his identity to the police.

He was then threatened, he told The Wire: “Main batata hun tujhe patrakar kya hota hai (I will show you who a journalist is),” the police allegedly said to him. “The police was more aggressive towards us than the Bajrang Dal members,” according to Ashraf, adding that they denied him access to his phone and interrogated him at length. One of the police officers apparently told Ashraf, “Aaj main suspend ho jaoonga, par tujhe joota zarur marunga (Even if I get suspended today, I’ll make sure I beat you up).” “The Bajrang Dal members and the police were clearly very friendly with each other,” Ashraf said.… Even after Ashraf revealed his true identity, the police tried to instigate the Bajrang Dal members to file an FIR against him. “Tum nahin karoge to main karunga (If you don’t do it, I will),” one of the officers allegedly said.…

https://thewire.in/144545/journalists-detained-in-rajasthan-when-doing-a-story-on-bajrang-dal/

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Activists demand law to stop lynching by mobs (Jun 6, 2017, Times of India)

Social activists and student leaders on Monday launched a national campaign against mob lynching, aimed at demanding a stringent law to prevent such incidents. If the government does not enact a law within a month, they said they would start a countrywide mass campaign from July 11which marks the anniversary of the Una Dalit movement.

Student leaders Kanhaiya Kumar and Shehla Rashid, social activist and lawyer Jignesh Mevani and entrepreneur Tehseen Poonawala, besides others, have formed a committee which will work on a draft legislation which they intend to convince the government for introducing in Parliament.

“People are being killed in the name of gau mata. The mob always has a face -we need to identify the face of the mob. The practice of mob lynching is growing and we too will be attacked if we do not take action now. We need to unite the voices rising against mob lynching,” said Kanhaiya.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/59010441.cms

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Kerala BJP Leader Uses Old Pic of Cow Slaughter to Decry Beef Fest (May 31, 2017, The Quint)

Senior BJP leader from Kerala, K Surendran, has come under fire for using a dated photo for a Facebook postslamming the beef festival in the state. The BJP leader posted a photo of slaughtered cows lying on a pavement along with his appeal to the state government to take strict action against the beef festival, organised in protest of the new cattle slaughter rules.

However, the photo in the post is not from the beef fest, but from 2009, Alt News found. The photo is suspected to be from Bangladesh, as the signboards in the background bear Bangla text. Facebook has hidden Surendran’s post, under the “mature content, such as graphic violence” tag.…

Surendran’s post came under fire from a number of parties, including the CPI(M). However, the BJP leader responded with another Facebook tweet, this time aimed at CPI(M) leader Devasom Minister Kadakampally Surendran.…

https://www.thequint.com/india/2017/05/30/kerala-bjp-leader-uses-old-pic-of-cow-slaughter-to-decry-beef-fest

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NDTV’s Nidhi Razdan throws BJP’s Sambit Patra out of show (Jun 2, 2017, Business Standard)

Nidhi Razdan, executive editor, and primary anchor of news channel NDTV on Thursday threw BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra out of her debate show ‘Left Right and Centre’ after Patra made a derogatory statement about her channel. Razdan was hosting a debate on the politics of cattle ban and its consequences that saw a prominent BJP leader in Meghalaya, Bernard Marak, quitting the party in protest.…

Making his point, Patra said that NDTV had some ‘agenda’, perhaps trying to indicate that the channel had some inclination towards Congress. This was something Razdan couldn’t endure. Agitated by the choice of his words, Razdan asked Patra to either apologise or leave the debate. However, Patra refused to do so and the anchor gently asked Patra to quit the show.…

Razdan stated that just because Patra was being questioned he had no right to accuse NDTV of having an agenda. She further told him that he was more than welcome to go to the channels which were ‘glorified versions of Doordarshan’.…

http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/ndtv-s-nidhi-razdan-throws-bjp-sambit-patra-out-of-show-hailed-on-twitter-117060200446_1.html

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Babri case: LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharati charged for doing criminal conspiracy (May 31, 2017, Economic Times)

In a blow to senior BJP leaders, special CBI Court in Lucknow today framed criminal conspiracy charges against senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Union Minister Uma Bharati for their alleged role in the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992.

The court also framed charges against other accused in the case – Sadhwi Ritambhara, BJP MP Vinay Katiyar and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Vishnu Hari Dalmia. Court said there are enough evidence on record against LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharati and others for framing of criminal conspiracy charges.

According to news reports, the accused have been charged under Section 120(B) of IPC, under which if convicted Advani and other may face minimum jail term of two years. In its last-attempt effort, Advani and other leaders had moved discharge application in the court for dropping of criminal conspiracy charges against them. But the court rejected their discharge application.…

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/58909347.cms

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Five killed in firing during farmers’ protest in MP’s Mandsaur, CM Chouhan blames Congress (Jun 6, 2017, Hindustan Times)

At least five farmers were killed and several injured in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur district on Tuesday when police fired on protesters demanding better prices in the drought-ravaged region that recorded a farm suicide every five hours in 2016-17.

Angry farmers ransacked and set ablaze a police outpost after the firing as the administration clamped curfew on Pipalia town, the epicentre of violence, rushed extra forces and withdrew internet services to tamp down on social media rumours fanning violence.

Throughout the day, the BJP government denied any police firing and confirmed the five deaths only in the evening.… The discontent in the foodbowl states of Madhya Pradesh and neighbouring Maharashtra, where too farmers have launched an agitation over similar demands, has come as a fresh challenge for Prime Minister Narendra Modi…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/1-dead-2-injured-as-farmers-agitations-turns-violent-in-mp-s-mandsaur/story-SfoJMNG4R1o25O0ftd1qMI.html

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Convert’s marriage: Minority outfits protest Kerala HC verdict (May 30, 2017, Indian Express)

Hundreds of Muslim people, under the banner of a coordination committee of various community organisations, on Monday marched to the high court protesting against its verdict that nullified the marriage of a Muslim woman convert.

As police lathicharged to disperse the crowd, a few protesters were injured. Subsequently, few Muslim groups called for a hartal in Ernakulam on Tuesday.

At the crux of the protest is last week’s HC order that nullified the marriage of the convert, Akhila alias Hadiya, and Shefin Jahan on the reason that the marriage would not stand legal scrutiny as it was held when a habeas corpus petition filed by the woman’s father was pending in the court. It had observed the marriage could have been considered only with parents’ involvement.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/converts-marriage-minority-outfits-protest-kerala-hc-verdict-4680223/

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Zanzarka rally: Gujarat BJP MP “admits” he is under tremendous pressure not to speak out against atrocities on Dalits (Jun 3, 2017, Counterview)

A Gujarat Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member of Parliament (MP) from Rajya Sabha is learnt to have admitted that he has been under “tremendous pressure” from his political bosses in Delhi not to speak out the way he did against the gruesome Una incident, in which four Dalit youths were tied with a chain attached to an SUV, and thrashed by cow vigilantes in a procession in the town.

Shambhunath Tundiya, a Dalit MP, considered dharmaguru in the community, had told a local TV channel that the BJP had failed to act against atrocities against Dalits in Gujarat, and the Una incident was the “last straw.” In a video which went viral, he said, Dalits would not tolerate “oppression any more”, and that the authorities should realize, the Dalits have been “forced to eat dead cow’s beef for centuries because they were forced by circumstances…”

“I was made to retract. You don’t know the type of problems I faced in the party after I made that statement. I will not speak out any more”, Tundiya is learnt to have told a Dalit delegation which went to meet him to persuade him to speak out against “attacks” on Dalits across India in the recent past, especially in Saharanpur, where 56 Dalit houses were blazed by an upper caste crowd.…

http://www.counterview.net/2017/06/zanzarka-rally-gujarat-bjp-mp-admits-he.html

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Jewar robbery, ‘rape’: Family members hold protest, demand arrest of accused (May 29, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The family members and relatives of the four women, who were allegedly robbed and gang-raped off Yamuna Expressway while on their way to Bulandshahr last Thursday, protested against the delay in arresting the accused men.

A group of around 100 people took out a silent march through the internal roads of Jewar town on Monday and staged a protest at the office of the subdivisional magistrate. Protesters said four days have passed since the incident and the police are yet to make headway in the case and nab the culprits.

“A bread earner of a family was shot dead, the women were raped and men were robbed of money. This was a brutal incident and the police have not taken it seriously. We have been given assurances, but nothing has happened,” a relative said.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/noida/jewar-robbery-rape-family-members-hold-protest-demand-arrest-of-accused/story-LkHZjUVokFEwPvlkbf059N.html

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Opinions and Editorials

The Modi govt’s new cattle trade ban may not pass legal test – By Faizan Mustafa (May 31, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The recent ban on the sale of cows and buffaloes for slaughter through animal markets has strangely been notified by the Union ministry of environment and forests though the subject of animal husbandry is under the ministry of agriculture. It is also wrong to say that these rules were framed on the directions of the Supreme Court (SC). In 2014, the SC had only directed that a panel be set up to frame rules to stop smuggling of cattle on the Indo-Nepal border. It is not surprising then that the Madras High Court on Tuesday stayed the implementation of the new rules on the ground that “several communities such as Sikhs, Muslims, backward classes and Dalits, who as a matter of worship and offering, sacrifice animals, which are covered within the expansive definition of cattle under the rules”.

India has included prohibition of cow slaughter in the directive principles of the Constitution because one community treats it sacred. But is cow reverence an ‘essential practice’ of Hinduism? If cow reverence is not an essential Hindu practice — i.e. it was not there in original Hinduism or one can be a Hindu even without revering the cow — then constitutional protection for the animal and the ban that more than 22 states have imposed on cow slaughter will not be justified. Even the Supreme Court’s 2006 upholding of total ban on slaughter of cow or cow progeny will become questionable. In fact, there is evidence that beef eating was common in the Vedic and subsequent times even among Brahmins.…

The new rules are a blot to the promise of cooperative federalism. Moreover the rules will have an effect on the freedom of trade and occupation as restrictions imposed by them will fail the test of ‘reasonableness.’ The new rules also attempt to rewrite the ownership law as it prohibits a buyer from selling the animal for slaughter within six months of its purchase. Ownership is a bundle of rights, which includes the right to alienation and even right to destruction. These arbitrary rules, which are not based on any intelligible differentia and have no rational objective to achieve, are likely to be struck down as unconstitutional.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/analysis/the-modi-govt-s-new-cattle-trade-ban-may-not-pass-legal-test/story-W2TWCVUuFCGFihHZDhcb8L.html

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Where humans are butchered and cows worshipped – By Yashica Jalhotra (Jun 2, 2017, Tehelka)

…While there is an official list of animals that cannot be bought or sold for slaughter through cattle markets, do we also need to have an official order that guarantees human beings won’t be beaten to death?

In the last few weeks, we have seen a lot more hue and cry over cow slaughtering than human lynching. Do we need more protection to animals than humans?…

Do we need an official listing for animals which are not allowed to be slaughtered or do we need a listing of severe punishments for those who take the law into their hands and dare to kill fellow humans?…

http://www.tehelka.com/2017/06/where-humans-are-butchered-and-cows-worshipped/

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Politics and propriety: on Uma Bharti’s continuance as Minister – Editorial (Jun 1, 2017, The Hindu)

With the Supreme Court invoking its extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution – to pass decrees and orders to ensure complete justice – in the case relating to the demolition of the Babri Masjid, and reviving the criminal conspiracy charges against senior BJP leaders L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and Vinay Katiyar, the CBI Special Court in Lucknow could not but have framed charges against them.… With the Supreme Court ordering this case to be clubbed with the one involving the actual demolition by unnamed kar sevaks, and directing day-to-day trials, there is hope that the years of delay are over.…

Ms. Bharti is, however, a Union Minister, and the Narendra Modi government cannot pretend that the development has no bearing on her continuance in the Council of Ministers. The BJP has tended to underplay the significance of the case on the ground that it is ‘political’ in nature. But this simply does not wash as the revival of criminal conspiracy charges against them was done at the instance of the Supreme Court.… Rather than defend Ms. Uma Bharti, the Modi government would do well to consider the example set by none other than Mr. Advani himself, who resigned as a Member of Parliament in 1996 after he was implicated in the Jain hawala case, in which the court later held that there was no material to frame charges against him.

For a government that makes much of standing for probity in public life, the application of different standards to one of its own is bound to damage its image. Ms. Bharti’s guilt or innocence is for the courts to establish. Political propriety demands that she be shown the door.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/politics-and-propriety-on-uma-bhartis-continuance-as-minister/article18683935.ece

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Three years down the lane, has the Modi Government taken the citizens for a ride? – By Ram Puniyani (Jun 5, 2017, Indian Economist)

On May 26, 2017, the Modi Government completed three years in office. Various programmes such as the Modi fest were organised at various places and there are plans to celebrate them in different cities across the country. The underlying message of these programmes is that Modi government has done remarkable work and the country is moving towards prosperity for all. Modi has been labelled as ‘Garibon ka Masiha’ (Prophet for poor) by his acolytes. Many channels and commentators gave him excellent grade citing various achievements.

As such, what has happened during last three years? Precisely, there has been centralisation of power in the hands of the Prime Minister. It seems the cabinet system has been given a go by. To begin with, one does concede that this regime scores extremely high in image creation. It has been able to sell damaging moves like demonetisation as something good for the country. While a majority of the people are living under the illusion propagated by the government and its promotion by the subservient media, the situation on ground is degrading in the cases of production, prices of daily commodities, number of jobs created and the average standard of living.

The healthcare system has taken a further beating. Farmer suicides have gone up. Protest against anti-farmer policies by peasants from Tamil Nadu has been underplayed like most of the protests in the country. The fate of electoral promises is well reflected in non-fulfillment of the promise of deposition of 15 lakh INR in accounts of all and in absolute failure of job creation. After using Ram Temple issue for polarisation, now the Holy Cow has been brought into the arena of politics. This cow worship has led to the violent lynching of Muslims and Dalits. The cow-protection policies of the government have emboldened vigilantism and killings in the name of ‘gauraksha’. While those guilty of crime are let off, the victims have been penalised on several grounds.…

https://theindianeconomist.com/three-years-down-the-lane-has-the-modi-government-taken-the-citizens-for-a-ride/

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Assam’s two-child policy is BJP targeting Muslims again in the state – By Jagriti Gangopadhyay (May 29, 2017, Dailyo.in)

Assam has drafted a policy according to which individuals with more than two children cannot have a job with the Assam government. State minister of education, health and finance Himanta Biswa Sarma of the BJP-led government specifically mentioned that “when the policy comes into effect, those who are in government jobs and already have two children should not go for a third child. If an employee will have more than two children while on job, that particular employee will lose his or her job”.

Due to the recent rise in Muslim population in nine districts of Assam, the two-child policy will be implemented to prevent people from the community from accessing government jobs. While the Government of India is yet to launch a national policy for population control, some states have implemented restrictive measures to curb population growth.

States such as Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Bihar, Gujarat, and Uttarakhand have introduced a norm which restricts individuals with more than three children from contesting the local elections. Drawing from the examples of the above mentioned states, Sarma further mentioned that in special cases, government employees with more than two children will have to take special permission from the government. Apart from restricting government jobs, the policy will also prevent individuals with more than two children from contesting the Panchayat elections.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/assam-two-child-policy-bjp-polarising-hindus-muslims/story/1/17485.html

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Shame in Saharanpur – By Mukesh Ranjan (Jun 4, 2017, The Tribune))

Rina Bhaskar is a pregnant Dalit woman, sitting outside her torched house in Shabbirpur village of the district. If you have the courage, listen to her. “On May 5 rioters snatched my two-year-old son from my lap and tossed him into the flames of my burning house. Luckily, the small child fell on the safer side. I jumped into the flames, picked him and ran away.”

Rina’s husband, Agni Bhaskar, is in the district hospital with multiple injuries. “I am here with my son, struggling for food. I have no work, and no place to live,” she says. She shows her palm, hands, legs and neck. It appears she not only suffered burns, but also wounds inflicted by a sharp weapon, maybe a sword. Other Dalit households, too, had similar stories: the males are either in hospital or have left the village for fear of being attacked again.…

Many say the fresh violence against Dalits is a tactical move by the ruling BJP ahead of the civic polls due in next couple months. Despite a massive mandate in the assembly polls, the BJP had lost both Saharanpur and Saharanpur Nagar to the SP-Congress alliance.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/sunday-special/people/shame-in-saharanpur/417179.html

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Book Review

In Rupture, Loss and Living: Minority Women Speak about Post-Conflict Life

Author: K. Lalitha and Deepa Dhanraj
Reviewed by: Sabah Hamid
Available at: Orient Blackswan Private Limited, 3-6-752 Himayatnagar, Hyderabad, Telangana, India; info@orientblackswan.com . www.amazon.in/
Review:
Women’s Narratives of Communal Conflict (May 31, 2017, The Wire)

On May 4, 2017, the Bilkis Bano gangrape case was in the news again, when the Bombay high court upheld the lower court’s order of life imprisonment for the 11 convicted persons in the gangrape. It also rejected the acquittals of five policemen and two government doctors accused of covering up evidence and testimonies. The order has been hailed as ‘historic’, the first time that state complicity, that of the police and the doctors, has been clearly acknowledged by the judiciary, even if the sentence is a mere three years. And to get this delayed justice, it took 15 years.

Justice continues to be both delayed and denied for scores of other women subjected to communal violence of one kind or another in India. Rupture, Loss and Living: Minority Women Speak about Post-Conflict Life is a collection of narratives about such women. The book is a collection of essays, transcribed from three decades of interviews with women in Mumbai, Hyderabad and various places in the state of Gujarat. In 1992-93 in Mumbai; during 1983, several times over the 1990s and in 2003 in Hyderabad; and in 2002 across Gujarat, Muslims were the target of Hindutva violence in which thousands died; many more were rendered homeless and most, in addition, lost their livelihoods overnight.

Since communalism and sexual violence go together, scores of women became targets of vicious attacks. The number is uncertain because of unreported or unregistered cases, but in Gujarat alone it is estimated that at least 250 women were gangraped during the 2002 violence. In Rupture, Loss and Living the women speak of loss of all kinds. The book is divided into four sections – ‘I Began to See the World for What it is’, ‘Loss and Trauma’, ‘Negotiating Survival and Livelihood’ and ‘Claiming Accountability, Seeking Justice’ – exploring overlapping themes and the complex nature of negotiating both the immediate distress and the long-term damage of violence. The voices featured in the work, across 19 narratives, come from different classes of women and both rural and urban locations.…

https://thewire.in/141691/review-women-communal-conflict/

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