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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 24th, 2015

by newsdigest on August 25, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Communal harmony pledge administered (Aug 21, 2015, The Hindu)

District Collector S. Malarvizhi on Thursday administered communal harmony pledge on the occasion of the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Ms. Malarvizhi administered the ‘Sadbhavana pledge’ to the officers and the Collectorate staff to work for the oneness and harmony of all people, regardless of caste, region or religion.

District Revenue Officer (DRO) T. Ilango and Collector’s personal assistant (general) Kalimuthu were among others took the pledge.

In Ramanathapuram, DRO M. Ali Akbar administered the pledge to his colleagues and collectorate staff.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/communal-harmony-pledge-administered/article7563997.ece

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2002 Godhra riots: IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt who took on Gujarat govt is sacked (Aug 20, 2015, Indian Express)

IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who had taken on the Gujarat government over its handling of the 2002 riots, has been dismissed from service for “flagrantly” flouting rules “with complete disregard to discipline”. The Union Home Ministry order, dated August 13, followed a recommendation from the Gujarat government for Bhatt’s removal on 11 charges.…

Bhatt has been under suspension since 2011 after he took on the then state government under Narendra Modi over the 2002 Gujarat riots. A 1988 batch IPS officer, Bhatt had filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court, claiming that he had attended a meeting on February 27, 2002 at Modi’s residence in Gandhinagar, where he claimed the then CM allegedly told his officers to “allow Hindus to vent their anger”.

However, his claim was rejected by the Supreme Court appointed-Special Investigation Team, which probed nine major incidents related to the riots. Bhatt is also facing a couple of criminal cases, including one related to a custodial death in Jamnagar in 1998. In 2011, he was arrested by Ahmedabad police after a constable lodged an FIR against him claiming that Bhatt forced him to file a false affidavit related to the 2002 riots.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/2002-godhra-riots-suspended-ips-officer-sanjiv-bhatt-sacked-says-decision-came-after-sham-inquiry/

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Act as human bombs, Sena tells Hindus (Aug 19, 2015, The Hindu)

In highly controversial remarks, the Shiv Sena has exhorted Hindus to act as “human bombs” and invade Pakistan, and said that its founder, Bal Thackeray, had instilled the “fear of Hindus” in other Indians.

The comments came in the context of the controversy over the latest issue of the weekly magazine Tehelka depicting Thackeray as a terrorist. Taking umbrage at the cover story, the Sena, in an editorial in its mouthpiece, Saamna, on Tuesday lambasted the magazine, and said publishing the objectionable article against the Sena founder was as good as “spitting at the sun”. The editorial eulogised his strong-arm Hindutva ideology.

The Tehelka cover pictures don Dawood Ibrahim, 1993 blasts convict Yakub Memon, who was hanged recently, Sikh extremist Jarnail Singh Bindranwale and Bal Thackeray, with a primer, “Who is the biggest terrorist?”…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/act-as-human-bombs-sena-tells-hindus/article7554547.ece

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Mosque in Faizabad torched, SP MLA blames ‘youths with saffron headgear’ (Aug 22, 2015, Twocircles.net)

A mosque in Faizabad district situated nearly 100 kilometers from state capital Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh was torched by some unidentified miscreants on the night of August 19. Ruling Samajwadi Party MLA from Ayodhya assembly seat Tej Narain Pandey alias Pawan Pandey has blamed “youths wearing saffron headscarves” behind the act.…

Locals claim that some inflammable substance filled in a bottle was thrown inside the mosque. A delegation of local Muslims had met the district administration demanding action against the culprits. Meanwhile the incident found its echo in state assembly on Friday. Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey had allowed two hour debate on law and order in the assembly. Speaking on behalf of the government, Samajwadi Party’s Ayodhya MLA Pawan Pandey blamed BJP for inciting communal tension in the state.

“One can easily check who is inciting communal violence. Just see who has been arrested during riots,” he said. Pandey also cited Madani mosque incident. “It is in my district. Some youths who sport saffron headgear move around during night and threw pepsi bottle filled with petrol in mosque which caught fire. It is an attempt to incite communal tension in Faizabad,” Pandey said pointing towards the benches where BJP MLAs were sitting.

http://twocircles.net/2015aug22/1440262692.html

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Rattling the cage (Aug 14, 2015, Indian Express)

In the public imagination, the CBI has superhero powers. It is the agency of last resort, which is clamoured for when the public is distrustful of the police and the local administration, or when cases are so coloured by political interests that the apparatus of law and order freezes. But in reality, it is scarcely infallible, with a strike rate of about 65 per cent. And the “caged parrot” has an extraordinary capacity for appearing to be a punitive weapon of the government.

This week, it has been embarrassed twice in court. On Tuesday, the Bombay High Court granted anticipatory bail to Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, rejecting the CBI’s claim that their activities compromised national security. And on Wednesday, the Supreme Court extended interim protection from arrest to Dayanidhi Maran. In both matters, the courts questioned the agency’s eagerness to make arrests on slender grounds.…

The CBI seeks to limit itself, arguing that its sanctioned strength of 1,264 officers is unequal to the workload of almost 2,000 cases. But would a human resource overhaul alone create an agency that is equal to its reputation?

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/rattling-the-cage/

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Five ABVP activists booked for assaulting college principal in Shimla (Aug 22, 2015, Times of India)

Five ABVP activists were booked for allegedly assaulting the principal of a government college in the district, police said here today. The principal of Government College (Sanjauli) Joginder Singh Negi was dragged out of his car as he was about to enter the college premises and was roughed up and assaulted.

Five persons, including a girl were booked for rioting and assault under sections 147, 148, 149, 332, 353 and 506 of IPC and three persons have been arrested, DSP Balbir Jaswal said. The girl Ankita, named by the principal has not been arrested as she has already filed a complaint against the principal yesterday in women police station and her complaint is being verified, Jaswal added.

Principal alleged that about 60 to 70 ABVP activists including college students and some outsiders armed with sticks and other weapons shouted slogans against him and dragged him out of his car, assaulted him and inflicted injuries. Negi said that his wife, who is also a teacher in the college, tried to save him but she was also manhandled and virtually molested by the mob.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48617252.cms

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Report sought on Alair encounter (Aug 21, 2015, The Hindu)

The National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO) has urged the Telangana government to submit a complete report on the Alair encounter to the Union government. Five under trail prisoners including Viqar Ahmed were killed in an ‘encounter’ at Alair in Warangal district on April 7.

Mohammed Abid, State coordinator, NCHRO, Telangana said that a report prepared by a fact-finding team comprising members of different human rights organisation was forwarded to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in May demanding a CBI inquiry into the encounter.

“Following the representation, the Human Rights Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) asked the Chief Secretary Telangana to furnish a factual report. But it has been not done so. It clearly shows that the State government is trying to cover up its misdeed,” Mr. Abid said at a press conference here on Thursday.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/report-sought-on-alair-encounter/article7564192.ece

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Religious minority groups unite in face of ‘BJP’s discrimination’ (Aug 21, 2015, Hindustan Times)

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and several organisations representing minorities came together on Friday to counter an onslaught on religious freedom by the ruling BJP and affiliated groups.

The AIMPLB and groups such as the Buddhist Society of India and Lingayat community unveiled a common minimum programme and announced they will launch a nationwide movement to create awareness about the curbing of religious freedom and attacks on secularism.

“The past one-and-a-half years have seen efforts to disturb the basic fundamentals of the Constitution. The state cannot force things like surya namaskar and Vande Mataram on people,” AIMPLB leader Kamal Faruqui told a news briefing at the Press Club in Delhi.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/religious-minority-groups-unite-in-face-of-bjp-s-discrimination/article1-1382675.aspx

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Chhattisgarh police botched up nun rape probe: NHRC (Aug 20, 2015, Times of India)

In a major blow to the BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh, the National Human Rights Commission has found several deficiencies in the investigation of the case related to the rape of a nun in the state capital and directed the state police to formulate a Standard Operating Procedure on rape investigation containing recent guidelines of the Supreme Court and amendments in CrPC.

The commission also described as “hasty and irresponsible” the statements made by inspector general of police (Raipur range) in the media expressing doubts about the survivors narration on the incident. “These statements were totally unwarranted and exposed the lack of sensitivity and understanding of rape survivors rights”, an NHRC press release said.

Finding that Chhattisgarh government did not take any measures for relief and rehabilitation of the survivor, NHRC has directed the state police and chief secretary to take action on the specific points as recommended and submit the action taken report within six weeks.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48559079.cms

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Crime branch cops slap fresh FIR against godman Sarathi Baba (Aug 22, 2015, Indian Express)

A fresh case of sexual abuse has been filed against arrested self-proclaimed godman Sarathi Baba alias Santosh Roul. The case was registered on Friday following a complaint made by an erstwhile woman inmate of his ashram in Kendrapara district, police said.

The unmarried woman along with her mother came to the police headquarters for the second time on Friday to register their complaint. Similarly, three other women have earlier brought criminal charges against Roul with intent to outrage their modesty.

Earlier booked for several charges of cheating, forgery and fraud, Roul is currently lodged in Choudwar circle jail in Cuttack. Meanwhile, Roul’s adopted son Satyam, who was arrested on Wednesday, was being interrogated by the crime branch police. He was questioned for over ten hours on Friday.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/crime-branch-cops-slap-fresh-fir-against-godman-sarathi-baba/

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Rape Those Two Dalit Girls, UP Khap Panchayat Orders Villagers (Aug 20, 2015, New Indian Express)

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/Rape-Those-Two-Dalit-Girls-UP-Khap-Panchayat-Orders-Villagers/2015/08/20/article2984588.ece

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Opinions and Editorials

Will Zakia Jafri’s fresh plea for justice take Gujarat riot investigations to Modi’s doorstep? – By Darshan Desai (Aug 20, 2015, Scroll.in)

The quiet steel in Zakia Jafri’s eyes hasn’t dimmed despite her 76 years, nor has her quest for justice. Around 13 years after her husband, former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, and 68 of their neighbours in Ahmedabad’s Gulberg Society were killed by a mob, her legal battle over the massacre continues to haunt Narendra Modi despite his ascendance from chief ministership to prime ministership.

Zakia Jafri is unwilling to give up even after an Ahmedabad metropolitan court’s verdict on December 26, 2013, rejected her protest petition seeking to penalise Modi, who was then the chief minister, and 59 others on charges of state-sponsored criminal conspiracy during the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat that killed over a thousand people, mostly Muslims. She has filed a criminal revision application in the Gujarat High Court. The hearings began on August 4.

The application has sought the court’s directive to reject the closure report of the Special Investigation Team of February 8, 2012. While some have interpreted this to mean that Modi has been given a clean chit, in reality the SIT said it did not have enough evidence against Modi to proceed. Her protest petition in April 2013 is the last criminal case in the 2002 communal carnage in Gujarat in which Modi has been accused.…

http://scroll.in//article/749408/will-zakia-jafris-fresh-plea-for-justice-take-gujarat-riot-investigations-to-modis-doorstep

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Muslims fear rising tide of Hindu nationalism in Modi’s India – By Rama Lakshmi (Aug 17, 2015, Wshington Post)

Since India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power last year, the country’s Muslims have expressed growing concerns about a spate of inflammatory statements made by Hindu nationalist leaders and activists.…

Sakshi Maharaj, a lawmaker from the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said that Hindu women must have at least four children each to keep up with the growth in the population of Muslims in India.…

Members of the World Hindu Council launched a campaign last year urging Hindu families to be on guard against what they called “love jihad” – romantic relationships between young Hindus and Muslims. They accused Muslim men of coercing Hindu women into love in order to convert them to Islam.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/08/17/how-life-in-india-has-changed-under-modi-and-why-some-muslims-arent-happy-about-it/

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IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt sacked: Shame-then-frame trend part of Gujarat’s vendetta politics? – By Sandipan Sharma (Aug 21, 2015, First Post ()

…there is no gainsaying that Bhatt riled Modi, first with his campaign and then by propping up his wife as the Congress candidate from Maninagar against the then CM in the 2012 election. By design or default, or because of sheer bad luck or karma, not many get away after taking on Modi in Gujarat.

Sex videos, by some weird coincidence, are always part of the plot. In 2005, Sanjay Joshi, Sangh’s blue-eyed boy and Modi’s rival, figured in a controversial CD. He was immediately removed from all posts in the BJP. The video was later revealed to be doctored; a police officer later testified that the CD was given to him by controversial police officer DG Vanzhara. But, by then, Joshi had fallen from his perch.…

And now, Bhatt is facing the heat of a ‘sex scandal’. Could the shame-and-frame trend be part of Gujarat’s vendetta politics; the defining feature of a revenge plot where the state first tarnishes the character of its opponents to strip them of public sympathy and then throws them at the ruthless investigating agencies? Or, by some sheer coincidence, the state’s enemies have perfected a formula to fall on their own to doom and humiliation?

http://www.firstpost.com/india/ips-officer-sanjiv-bhatt-sacked-shame-then-frame-trend-part-of-vendetta-politics-of-gujarat-2400796.html

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Demanding the sky – Editorial (Aug 24, 2015, DNA India)

The demand for OBC reservation raised by Gujarat’s politically and economically dominant Patidar (Patel) community threatens to reduce the idea of affirmative action to a mere farce.

Reservations were envisaged as a social justice mechanism to mitigate millennia-old caste-based discrimination and oppression. But with hitherto weaker sections succeeding in getting a foothold in political, bureaucratic and educational spheres, it has triggered new anxieties and fresh competition between social groups.

When Madhavsinh Solanki introduced 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in Gujarat in 1985, it was the Patels who unleashed a fierce anti-reservation protest and shifted their loyalties to the BJP leading to the Hindutva party’s ascent in the state. The wheel has come full circle now with the Patidars demanding the fruits of the very same reservation they opposed.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/editorial-dnaedit-demanding-the-sky-2117355

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The Sena and its twisted logic – Editorial (Aug 20, 2015, The Hindu)

It is difficult to say whether the Shiv Sena takes offence or feels proud when its founder Bal Thackeray is spoken of as a terrorist with a religious cause. After the weekly Tehelka carried a cover story with pictures of Thackeray, Dawood Ibrahim, Yakub Memon and Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale above the legend, ‘Who is the biggest terrorist?’, the Sena responded in a rather strange manner.

While condemning the depiction of Thackeray alongside those who engaged in violence in the name of religion, the Sena organ Saamna, in an editorial, asked Hindus to act as “human bombs” and invade Pakistan. Thackeray, the editorial wrote approvingly, had instilled the “fear of Hindus” in Indians of other faiths. Far from defending the Sena founder against the charge of being a Hindu terrorist, the editorial appeared to be defending his support of violence in the name of Hinduism.

What differentiated Thackeray from the others? According to the editorial’s reasoning, the Sena founder was a dharmabhimaani, a person who took pride in his faith, and not dharmaandh, someone who was motivated by blind faith. This line of defence, whether true to the facts or not, would have been fine but for the editorial’s exhortation to Hindus to turn themselves into human bombs and attack Pakistan. In one stroke, the disputes between India and Pakistan were turned into a Hindu-Muslim issue. By arguing that Hindus would have to be highly religious if they wanted to respond to Pakistani extremists, the editorial, in effect, identified nationalism with Hinduism.…

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/the-sena-and-its-twisted-logic/article7558125.ece

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Grinding Wheels of Justice – Editorial (Aug 22, 2015, EPW)

Thirteen years after 25-year-old Nitish Katara was killed, the Supreme Court recently upheld the conviction of his killers. Judicial delays, unfortunately, are only too predictable in India. Just days after the Katara ruling, the apex court gave its final ruling in the Uphaar cinema hall fire case that had killed 59 people (23 of whom were minors) in New Delhi, 18 years after the event.

The responses to the two judgments, however, were vastly different. In both cases, the mothers and parents of the victims who were predominantly middle class had waged a long and tedious legal battle against rich and influential opponents. But while in the Katara murder case, the Court said that it was “a classic example of how the rich and powerful people try to influence the justice delivery system,” the other ruling was seen as punishing the theatre owners, who are real estate tycoons, too little and too late.…

More significantly, they show the ability of the powerful to ensure that legal proceedings drag on interminably to grind down the morale and resources of those taking them on. Whether the judgment is welcomed or not, even these high-profile cases show that justice delayed is justice denied.

http://www.epw.in/editorials/grinding-wheels-justice.html

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 30th, 2014

by newsdigest on July 1, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Bhatt accuses Nanavati panel of misleading HC (Jun 25, 2014, Indian Express)

Accusing the Nanavati-Mehta Commission, appointed by the Gujarat government, of misleading the Gujarat HC on the issue related to inspection of intelligence records pertaining to the 2002 riots, suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt wrote to the Commission Monday to take appropriate measures to clarify the “misrepresentation” before the HC.

The issue pertains to a related to Bhatt’s demand to inspect some documents. On June 16, a division bench of the HC had ordered the Commission probing the 2002 riots to let Bhatt inspect at least 38 documents since the state had stated that nine of those documents had been “destroyed” by it.

But when Bhatt went to inspect the documents at the office of the Commission in Ahmedabad, the Commission did not allow him to inspect them. Accordingly, on June 18, the Commission moved a review petition before the HC, seeking to quash the June 16 order.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/bhatt-accuses-nanavati-panel-of-misleading-hc/

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Trend of intolerance towards dissent under Modi: Amnesty calls for decriminalization of free speech (Jun 27, 2014, Counterview)

In an important submission before the Law Commission of India, the Amnesty International India has insisted on the need to undertake critical legal reforms to better defend the right to free speech. Saying that this is important against the backdrop of a “growing trend of intolerance towards dissent and criticism” in the recent weeks, elucidating the submission, Amnesty’s senior policy adviser Shailesh Rai said, “Authorities have shown a worrying eagerness to arrest and detain people for the lawful exercise of their constitutional rights to free speech, especially when it concerns the new Prime Minister.”

Giving reasons for the submission, Rai said, “In May 2014, police in Bangalore arrested a man for sending a photograph on his phone depicting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a funeral pyre. The same month, police in Panaji, Goa filed a First Information Report against a man who said in an online post that if Narendra Modi came to power, it would lead to a holocaust.”

Rai added, “In both cases, police relied partly on section 66A of the Information Technology Act, which criminalises online communication that is ‘grossly offensive’, and persistent sending of information known by the sender to be false, to cause ‘annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will”.

Rai further said, “In June, police arrested students and staff at a college in Kunnamkulam, Kerala, over an article that featured the Prime Minister in a list of ‘negative faces’ in a college magazine. The next week, police in Guruvayur, Kerala arrested students and staff at a different college over a crossword puzzle that used derogatory language to refer to the Prime Minister and other political leaders.In both cases, the police said that the expressions amounted to criminal defamation, among other offences”.

“While these expressions may be offensive to some, they certainly do not merit arrests and criminal cases,” said Rai, adding, “Unfortunately, some Indian laws, including those on defamation and online speech, fall short of international standards on freedom of expression and enable the criminalizing of opinion. The government must act to urgently amend these laws.” Amnesty’s submission follows the Law Commission of India’s request for comments in May 2014 on a consultation paper on aspects of media laws. …

http://www.counterview.net/2014/06/trend-of-intolerance-towards-dissent.html

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Days after he pulled up Amit Shah, CBI judge shifted (Jun 26, 2014, Indian Express)

Days after special CBI judge J T Utpat pulled up BJP general secretary Amit Shah for failing to make an appearance before the court hearing the case pertaining to the alleged fake encounter of Tulsiram Prajapati in Gujarat in December 2006, the judge received his transfer order on Wednesday.

Sessions judge Utpat, who was transferred to Pune, has been replaced by judge B H Loya. The transfer order came on the day the special CBI court was expected to pass an order on the discharge application filed by Shah, a close aide of prime minister Narendra Modi and one of the key accused in the alleged fake encounter case.

When contacted, Utpat declined to comment. Registrar general of the Bombay High Court Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi told The Indian Express that the High Court had acceded to a request made by Utpat towards the end of May or early June.

“He had made a representation to the High Court for a transfer to Pune because of his daughter’s education. We often get such requests from judicial officers who seek transfers because of personal or family reasons,” Joshi said. She said apart from Utpat, three other judges had also been transferred.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/days-after-he-pulled-up-shah-judge-shifted/

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Gopal Subramanium opts out, attacks Narendra Modi government, cites Amit Shah case (Jun 25, 2014, Financial Express)

Eminent lawyer Gopal Subramanium today opted out of being considered for appointment as Supreme Court judge after lashing out at the Narendra Modi government accusing it of ordering CBI to “scrounge” for “dirt” against him to scuttle his elevation. Subramanium, who had assisted the Supreme Court in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case in which Amit Shah, a close aide of Prime Minister Narender Modi is now an accused, said that he was being “targeted” because of his independence and integrity.

He suggested that his role as amicus curiae, a friend of the court, in the Sohrabuddin case, could have been the reason for government opposing his elevation, although he had no direct evidence. Subramanium, a former Solicitor General, sent a 9-page letter to the Chief Justice of India R M Lodhawithdrawing his consent to be appointed as a judgesaying that he did not want his elevation to be “the subject matter of any politicisation”.

His name had been recommended for appointment to the Supreme Court bench by its collegium along with three others, Chief Justices of Calcutta and Odisha High Courts Arun Mishra and Adarsh Kumar Goyal respectively and senior advocate Rohinton Nariman. Recent reports have suggested the NDA government’s reluctance to Subramanium’s appointment while it is said to have cleared the other three names. The CBI and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) are said to have given adverse reports against him.

Subramanium said that he had been informed by the Chief Justice on May 15 that he had been given a clean chit by both IB and CBI.But in the past two weeks media reports had spoken about alleged adverse reports against him by the two agencies. The events of the past few weeks “have raised serious doubts in my mind as to the ability of the executive government to appreciate and respect the independence, integrity, and the glory of the judicial institution”, he wrote to the Chief Justice, adding, “I do not expect this attitude to improve with time”.

He said that he had never met Modi except once when he was the Solicitor General and the former was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. He had been greeted “with a measure of respect” by Modi who had invited him and his wife to Gujarat as his guests of honour although he had not availed of that hospitality. Subramanium said that he had never met Amit Shah and had only seen his photographs in newspapers recently. In the course of hearing on Shah’s bail application, he had said that his liberty should not be infringed and he may be allowed bail but asked to remain outside Gujarat. …

http://www.financialexpress.com/news/gopal-subramanium-opts-out-attacks-narendra-modi-government-cites-amit-shah-case/1264167/0

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Why a former minister is making BJP, RSS leaders uneasy (Jun 25, 2014, First Post)

Many senior BJP and RSS functionaries in the country find their heartbeats linked to the fate of former minister Laxmikant Sharma, once a key aide to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

Sharma, now in the custody of the special task force (STF) for his pivotal role in the Professional Examination Board scam, is being treated with kid gloves while over 150 students and young professionals apprehended through a couple of days’ swoop were treated like hard core criminals. The detainees include many girls.

Sharma is expected to confront his former aide OP Shukla, who spilled the beans on Sharma’s omissions and commissions. Shukla’s confessions include details of how the former overlooked merit to promote acolyte Pankaj Trivedi as controller of PEB examinations. Sharma has alleged that three bureaucrats have framed him at the instance of a senior BJP leader. He has not elaborated. Bureaucrats are closely watching Sharma’s interrogation as more skeletons might tumble out.

The Jabalpur high court had warned it would hand the case to the CBI if STF continues to soft-pedal it. Chouhan is facing the heat after Sharma’s arrest spurred the proceedings. Sharma headed the higher education ministry during the vital period covering the scam. He quit the party on his arrest. The BJP accepted his resignation through a terse SMS.

Though Laxmikant Sharma was named among the core culprits over six months ago, the STF avoided arresting him. With his proximity to senior RSS and BJP members, Sharma wielded immense power. Many party bigwigs ate out of his hand. He even nurtured chief ministerial ambitions. …

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/mp-former-minister-making-bjp-rss-leaders-uneasy-1588183.html

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Rightwing groups call upon Hindus to prepare physically, spiritually to fight against Muslims (Jun 26, 2014, Daily Bhaskar)

In a move that can cause embarrassment to the Narendra Modi government, some rightwing organisations, as per reports, have intensified their efforts to expand their base in the country and called upon Hindus to “prepare themselves physically and spiritually to fight against Muslim terrorists”.

In a convention – All India Hindu Convention – being organised under the banner of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti at Ponda in Goa, around 125 organisations from India and abroad (as claimed by organisers) are set to give a “call for establishment of India as a Hindu nation”, an ideal “long abandoned by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)”,Business Standard reported.

“To think that the recent change of power at the centre is conducive for the establishment of the Hindu Nation is a delusion, because the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the offspring of the RSS, which distances itself from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Swatantryaveer Savarkar, will never take up the mission of the Hindu nation. The struggle for the liberation of the Hindus that commenced in the year 711 is not yet over,” the report quotes Charudatta Pingale, national guide of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, as saying.

“A time has come for Hindus to restart the freedom struggle with the same old exceptional will-power and unmatched bravery to protect our self-respect and seats of pride. Mind you, the Hindu Nation is not going to be established through the ballot, it will simply be the culmination of a battle; and hence, Hindu sects and organisations have to blow the bugle for the second freedom struggle,” he added.

According to the report, Advocate Harishankar Jain, who is fighting Ayodhya’s Ram temple case in the Supreme Court, told the gathering, “This is the ideal time to make our country a Hindu nation. It is time to implement the slogan ‘Jo Hindu hit ki bat karega, vahi desh pe raj karega’ (Whoever talks about the welfare of the Hindus will rule the nation).” …

http://daily.bhaskar.com/article-ht/NAT-TOP-rightwing-groups-call-upon-hindus-to-prepare-themselves-physically-spiritually-t-4659503-NOR.html

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National Commission for Minorities expresses concern over “delay” in arrest of Muzaffarnagar riots accused (Jun 28, 2014, IBN)

The National Commission for Minorities on Saturday expressed concern over the “delay” in arrest of accused in Muzaffarnagar riot cases, but said it was satisfied with the relief works in the affected areas.

Chairman of the Commission Naseem Ahmad on Saturday held a meeting here with district magistrates and district police chiefs of riot-affected districts of Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Meerut, Saharanpur and Baghpat to review the progress of relief and rehabilitation works.

“Even after more than nine months of the riots, all the accused have not been arrested,” Ahmad said while talking to reporters after the meeting. “Though some accused have been arrested in several cases related to the riots, the Commission is not satisfied with the delay in the arrest of all the accused,” he said.

“The Special Investigation Team (SIT) and court have initiated attachment proceedings against people who were found involved in the riot cases by the SIT, but they have not been arrested,” he added. …

He said he has directed officials to take prompt action to gain confidence of both the communities, especially the riot-affected people. Ahmad along with a member of the Commission Farda Abdulla Khan also visited Palda village in Muzaffarnagar district. …

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/national-commission-for-minorities-expresses-concern-over-delay-in-arrest-of-muzaffarnagar-riots-accused/482398-3-242.html

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Inspector suspended for Titlagarh violence (Jun 30, 2014, The Hindu)

Normalcy returned to the western Odisha town of Titlagarh a day after violence erupted over death of a person allegedly due to police torture. Heavy police bandobast was made in the tiny town to ensure that locals do not take to the streets over the issue. There was no report of any untoward incident from the town on Sunday. Prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC were also lifted from many places.

Agitating locals had set Titlagarh police station on fire and attacked police personnel after Basant Pradhan, a shop keeper, died on Saturday. Locals had alleged that victim’s health condition had deteriorated after prolonged torture by police.

To bring the situation under control, the State government has ordered a crime branch probe into the death and placed inspector-in-charge of Titlagarh and Bolangir police stations under suspension.… “The situation is under control. Fourteen platoons of police have been deployed in Titlagarh,” said Sunil Joshi, Additional Superintendent of Police of Bolangir.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-otherstates/inspector-suspended-for-titlagarh-violence/article6161786.ece

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CBI files FIR against entire police station for murder, sexual assault (Jun 27, 2014, Mumbai Mirror)

The Central Bureau of Investigation late on Wednesday night filed an FIR against all policemen working in the Wadala railway police station for the alleged murder of detainee Agnelo Valdaris and sexual assault of a minor, among other charges.

This is also a rare case where alleged sexual assault perpetrated by policemen on detainees has been documented in detail in a First Information Report. While naming the 10 policemen identified by the victims, the specially constituted CBI team has also charged all the other personnel attached to the station.

The premier investigation agency has booked the policemen for murder, falsifying evidence, wrongful confinement, using force to get confession, kidnapping, unnatural sex. They have also been booked under the stringent Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act for aggravated penetrative sexual assault on a minor.

The CBI action follows a strongly-worded high court order in a petition filed by Agnelo’s father Leonard Valdaris and his three friends who were also allegedly tortured in custody on the night of April 15 after they were picked up on suspicion of chain snatching. …

http://www.mumbaimirror.com/articleshow/37274408.cms

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Balad Kalan village clash: SFS protests cops’ ‘anti-Dalit’ action (Jun 29, 2014, Hindustan Times)

The members of Students for Society (SFS) staged a protest against the alleged police action at Balad Kalan village of Sangrur district in Punjab, at the student centre in Panjab University on Saturday. The members raised slogans claiming that police action was anti-Dalit.

SFS president Arishdeep Singh said they strongly condemned the inhumane action of the police and these incidents reflected ‘bitter realities’ of the society, where the oppressed were unable to avail of even their legal and constitutional rights.

“We demand inquiry into the incident so that erring officials can be brought to trial and strict action should be taken against the erring policemen,” he said.

Nearly 23 persons, including 11 cops, received injuries in a clash between police and members of the Dalit community in Bhawanigarh in Sangrur on Friday. The Dalits had gathered in Balad Kalan village to get auction of panchayat land, reserved for Scheduled Castes, cancelled.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print/1234852.aspx

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Opinions and Editorials

India’s New Prime Minister: Does He Belong To The Times? – By Graham Peebles (Jun 23, 2014, Countercurrents)

The landslide election earlier this month of Narendra Modi does not bode well for the 800 million or so Indians living in destitution, or the 120 million minority Muslims in the country, or the Adivasi (indigenous) people and Dalit groups sitting on resource-rich land in Orissa, Jharkhand and elsewhere. He may well come from a humble background, but Mr. Modi’s loyalties lie firmly with the corporations of India, not the chai wallahs working the train station at Vadnagar in Gujarat State like his father once did.

And certainly not the Adivasi families being forced from their homes to make way for multi national bulldozers, or the marginalized millions on the fringes of India’s cities living in tin shacks with no sanitation or health care, where children play alongside open sewers, and women work on mountains of refuse collecting Chinese plastics for a few rupees a day.

Modi is a far right Hindu Nationalist whose election suggests India is “entering its most sinister period since independence.” [The Guardian] Hindu nationalism is an exclusive club made up of upper-caste Hindus who form the ruling elite; it is of course closed to the devout worshipers from the lower castes. The Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP) openly promotes the ideal of an India run by and for Hindus. It is “quite open about its belief in the Hindu India…where everybody else lives…as second-class citizens.” Modi’s rise to electoral stardom is a “terribly sad thing and something to be ashamed of.” [ Arundhati Roy ]

His election campaign was the most expensive ever staged in India, funded as all these political games are by the men with the money. The billionaires and millionaires, the rupee resplendent corporations that own India; her sacred putrid rivers; the forests and bauxite rich mountains; the media – print, radio, Television, the schools, hospitals and water ways. Everything of value, catalogued within the business portfolios of a tiny few, whilst the majority starve, defecate in public, are violated, exploited, ignored. Nobody knows the precise cost of the new PM’s campaign: it is estimated to have exceeded Rs. 5,000 crore – that’s about $840 million. …

Massive exposure facilitated by the corporate media that avoided asking probing questions, or ” pointing to some of the clear dishonesty in the claims made about his success in Gujarat.” [The Guardian] Such are the benefits of being in bed with the corporations. Big business rightly saw in Modi someone who would deliver all the benefits they have become used to.

http://www.countercurrents.org/peebles230614.htm

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Environment, Development and Corporate Hindutva – By Archana Prasad (Jun 29, 2014, Peoples Democracy)

Almost a year before it came to power at the centre, the present minister for environment, Prakash Javadekar termed environmental clearances as a new form of “license raj.” This comment was made in the context of the slowdown of the economy and he accused the ministry of environment and forests of being a “roadblock” in the path of development.

Then, following this very line of argument, the BJP manifesto promised that it would relook into the procedures for environmental clearances and reframe the environment clearance laws in a manner so that there is no confusion and there are “transparent and time bound clearances.” This has been reiterated by the new environment minister who aims to provide clearances to 200 infrastructural projects on a priority basis – literally within the first hundred days.

His counterpart in the power and coal ministry is adding to the pressure by vocally stating that one time expansion plans for existing coal mines and power projects should get “automatic clearances.” Though this thrust is not new in this drive, it has acquired a new meaning today as the Modi government has used the rhetoric of nationalism and religious symbolism to showcase its priorities in the environment and development debate. …

Rather than studying the best way of water use for local needs along the 2500 km long banks of the Ganga, the plan aims to develop a tourist hub along the bank. This is clearly inspired by Gujarat’s Sabarmati project which displaced at least 5,000 local families and became a conduit for the sale of prime real estate to corporate developers. Not surprisingly, many eminent ecologists have termed this plan as old wine in a new bottle. The newness of this plan is precisely that it is intended to be linked with Hindutva revivalism. Hence the term being used is not river development but river rejuvenation, by which they mean restoration of the spirituality of the river, along with its purity.

From the above discussion it is clear that the environmental agenda of the Modi led BJP government is meant to serve the interests of corporate Hindutva. While regulations are being eased in the name of national economic security, the genuine issue of environmental protection is being used, in fact misused, as a cover for religious mobilisation. In this situation, compliance with and strengthening of environmental regulations can serve as a good political instrument to stop the corporate penetration in conflict ridden but natural resource rich regions.

http://peoplesdemocracy.in/2014/0629_pd/environment-development-and-corporate-hindutva

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Mohsin Sadique’s Murder And The Solapur Jigsaw – By Siddharthya Roy (Jun 25, 2014, Countercurrents)

The murder of 28 year old computer technician Mohammad Mohsin Sadique Shaikh, on Monday the 2nd of June 2014 in Pune has been called shocking by many on more accounts than one. For one the crime was a ghastly violent one. After being severely with hockey sticks and thick wooden staves, his head was smashed in with a heavy stone to finish the job.

Secondly, despite its proximity to Mumbai which has seen repeated communal violence, the biggest one being the 1992 riots which killed many hundreds and displaced over two million people; and despite being a well known hub of extreme Hindu Right wing groups, Pune has little history of communal riots. So the hate crime enacted at around 8:30 pm in the Hadapsar area of the city, wherein two dozen odd motorbike riding people bludgeon a young man to death is a troubling exception.

But what seems to have struck people most is the sudden and unfortunate tragedy that befell a random innocent citizen. As was his daily routine Mohsin came back from work, freshened up and went for the Isha Namaz and collecting his tiffin from the mess next door was headed home for dinner with his roommates when this gang of two dozen odd men belonging to a hitherto unknown group, the eponymous Hindu Rashtra Sena, came riding on eight motorbikes and even though completely unprovoked, chose a man randomly picked out from the street and bludgeoned him to death. The randomness of the killing and the question it entails “who next?”, has been hard to digest for many. …

While it may be too early to take a call on whether there will be communal for sure, the political air in Solapur is tense. With nearly 40% Muslim voters in Solapur and the state assembly elections just round the corner, the Muslims are wary that all of these stray episodes may well be adding up to a widespread communal flare up.

http://www.countercurrents.org/sroy250614.htm

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Malegaon blasts case: Political patronage of ATS investigation – By A. Mirsab (Jun 27, 2014, TwoCircles.net)

The 2006 Malegaon bombings were a series of bomb blasts that took place on September 8, 2006 in Malegaon, a town in the Nashik district of the Indian state of Maharashtra, located at some 290 km to the northeast of state capital Mumbai. The explosions – which resulted in at least 37 fatalities and 125 injuries – took place in a Muslim cemetery, adjacent to a mosque, at around 13:15 local time after Friday prayers. A stampede ensued after the devices exploded.

Though the site (a compound housing a mosque and Muslim cemetery), the date (Alvida Juma) and the time (during afternoon prayers on Friday) of the bomb blasts clearly indicated that Muslims were the target, but the ATS promptly blamed Muslim terrorists and arrested nine persons from the community. Even at that time, ATS investigation met with skepticism and disbelief by many NGOs, but the ATS explicitly ruled out the involvement of Hindu right-wing groups although there were leads suggesting Hindu radicals’ involvement in the case.

ATS investigation of implicating and blaming Muslims for the bomb blasts at a Muslim cemetery was strongly condemned by Muslim community and who called ATS investigation as illogical and against the victim which was carried out with predetermined and jaundiced perspective. …

The present case was investigated under R R Patil’s supervision and another controversial case of Pune Germany Bakery blast; for which Himayat Baig was convicted; was also investigated under his supervision. Investigations of both these cases by ATS have been blatantly rejected by central agency NIA and have termed ATS accused as innocent.

Even the case of 7/11 train blasts in Mumbai was also investigated by ATS in 2006 under full eyes of R R Patil which has also come to the stage of controversy after the alleged confessional statements given voluntarily by Indian Mujahideen suspects after their arrests by Crime branch in 2008.

http://twocircles.net/2014jun27/malegaon_blasts_case_political_patronage_ats_investigation.html

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Stirring up a judicial storm – Editorial (Jun 27, 2014, The Hindu)

Gopal Subramanium might have sought to give a quietus to the controversy surrounding the NDA Government’s opposition to his nomination as a judge of the Supreme Court by withdrawing his consent, but the episode has raised troubling questions over the roles of the executive and the judiciary in judicial appointments, and the process of their interaction. In his statement, Mr. Subramanium has suggested that the reason for his exclusion from a list of four names recommended for appointment by the collegium headed by the Chief Justice of India was that he was considered too independent to toe the government’s line. He has also faulted the judiciary for failing to stand up for him.

It is understandable that he should feel let down after being invited by the collegium to be a judge of the Supreme Court, in a rare instance of a member of the Bar being sought to be directly elevated to the Bench of the highest court. However, his claim that the splitting of the list by sending three of the four names to the President for appointment compromised the appointment process is debatable.

Sending a recommendation back to the collegium is part of the consultative process and there is no reason why the appointment of those about whom no issues had been raised should be held up, particularly if seniority within the list would not be affected. More serious is his allegation that his independent role as amicus curiae in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case may have been the real reason behind the Narendra Modi government’s rejection of his candidacy.

The government’s silence has not helped its case, as the nature of its reservations about Mr. Subramanium remains unknown. Now that the matter is in the public domain, it may have to clarify whether it had communicated to the collegium why it considered him unsuitable. The collegium had the option of reiterating its recommendation, a move that will be binding on the executive, but Mr. Subramanium has chosen not to wait for its decision. By voicing his “sense of unease over the judiciary failing to assert its independence,” he is actually charging the collegium with meekly acquiescing in the rejection of its own recommendation.

It implies that even a valid recommendation could be circumvented by unverifiable intelligence reports and unproven allegations in an opaque process. It also raises the question whether the present legal position that accords primacy to the Chief Justice’s opinion has goaded the executive to find other means of having its way. The present opaque procedure needs to be replaced by an appointments process that is genuinely consultative and transparent, so that the best legal brains are attracted to the bench.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/stirring-up-a-judicial-storm/article6152401.ece

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The IB Report: A Potential Threat To The Real National Interest And Security – By Sukumaran C. V. (Jun 30, 2014, Countercurrents)

The following is the first paragraph of the notorious IB report (IR/IS No. 002): “A significant number of Indian NGOs (funded by some donors based in US, UK, Germany and Netherlands) have been noticed to be using people centric issues to create an environment which lends itself to stalling development projects. These include agitations against nuclear power plants, uranium mines, Coal Fired Power Plants (CFPPs), Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), mega industrial projects (POSCO and Vedanta), hydel projects (at Narmada Sagar; and in Arunachal Pradesh) and extractive industries (oil, limestone) in the North East. The negative impact on GDP growth is assessed to be 2-3% p. a.”

If you peruse the 20 page IB report, you will feel that even if the IB is very poor in its linguistic skills, it is very rich in its unconditional support to the corporate giants that destroy the Environment and the livelihood of the vast majority of common people of this nation and are potential threats to the national security and wellbeing, if national security means the security and wellbeing of the common people.

On the 7th page of the report, the IB says that ‘Greenpeace expanded its activities to oppose Coal Fired Power Plants (CFPP) and coal mining activity… While its efforts to raise obstacles to India’s coal-based energy plans are gathering pace, it has also started spawning mass-based movements against development projects and is assessed to be posing a potential threat to national economic security.’ …

Does the IB have the intelligence to see that the words of the INSAF will turn to be prophetic if the largest democracy’s Intelligence Bureau and Government behave as if they are the advocates of the likes of CIL, VAL, Essar and POSCO that undermine the safety and security of the people of this great nation?

http://www.countercurrents.org/sukumaran300614.htm

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 16th, 2014

June 17, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony BARTI to take communal harmony lessons to schools, may train teachers News Headlines Rise of communal tensions after BJP Government formed at center Online posts against Narendra Modi spell trouble Gujarat HC directs Nanavati panel to allow Sanjiv Bhatt examine intel reports during 2002 riots IB’s NGO-scare […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 29th, 2012

October 30, 2012

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Bhatt moves HC to summon Narendra Modi before Nanavati panel ‘Modi gave Rs 5.27 cr to RSS NGO in Tamil Nadu from CM relief fund’ Income Tax department begins probing Gadkari’s companies HC asks ex-BJP minister Rathore to surrender 4 killed, 5 hurt in Akot riots […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 1st, 2012

October 2, 2012

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements India’s response to its Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations disappoints human rights groups – India refuses to agree to adequate steps to protect members of minority religions Communal Harmony Communal harmony delegation visiting Faizabad and Ayodhya Seminar in Chandigarh focuses on role of education in […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 24th, 2012

September 25, 2012

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony When young hearts beat fast for peace and communal harmony News Headlines Make Hitler your idol instead of Vivekananda: Sanjiv Bhatt to Narendra Modi Naroda Patia case: Judge raps RK Raghavan over missing convict Tulsi fake encounter case: CBI’s ex-ADG is accused No. 17 Batla House […]

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Coalition Against Genocide condemns SIT’s shoddy report on Gujarat violence

May 11, 2012

May 11, 2012 Coalition Against Genocide (CAG – http://coalitionagainstgenocide.org/), a broad coalition of over 40 organizations dedicated to the cause of justice and accountability, condemns the report filed by the Special Investigations Team (SIT) as shoddy investigation and a deliberate distortion of evidence. The Supreme Court appointed SIT’s closure report, on the complaint brought forth […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 5th, 2012

March 6, 2012

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Gujarat still starved of justice 10 years after carnage says Indian American Muslim group Indian American Group welcomes Congressional Resolution on Gujarat Violence of 2002 News Headlines U.S. House concerned at reports of Modi’s ‘complicity’ in riots Gujarat riot victims still awaiting justice: Amnesty Ten years on, […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 30th, 2012

January 31, 2012

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Narendra Modi’s fast in Godhra an exercise in political chicanery, says Indian American group Mahatma Gandhi’s Death Anniversary should be an occasion for National Introspection says Indian American group Communal Harmony They spring a unique approach to harmony News Headlines Prosecute CM or not? SIT seeks legal […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 16th, 2012

January 16, 2012

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Gujarat CM, HM culpable in 2002 riots: Ex-DGP Amid bouts of amnesia, Zadaphia puts Modi in dock CBI grills Amit Shah for 8 hrs in Tulsi case Justice eludes victims falsely arrested in Mecca Masjid blast case Batla House encounter returns to haunt Congress Surya Namaskar […]

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