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Sanjiv Bhatt

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 14th, 2015

by newsdigest on September 16, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Gujarat riots case: Sanjiv Bhatt moves SC, seeks to make Amit Shah a party to his petition (Sep 14, 2015, Times of India)

In a desperate bid to resurrect investigations into then chief minister Narendra Modi’s alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots, dismissed IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt on Monday requested the Supreme Court to set up a special investigation team to probe the then state law officer’s series of emails indicating a serious conspiracy to subvert justice.

Bhatt had moved the SC four year ago accusing the then Modi government of attempting to blunt his untiring efforts to expose the state’s role in fanning the riots by lodging an inspired FIR against him in 2011 accusing him of forcing a government servant to give false evidence to establish his presence during a high-level meeting called by the then CM to discuss the riots.

Bhatt moved the fresh application requesting the SC to add BJP president Amit Shah and S Gurumurthy as parties in his petition as they were “part of the larger design to subvert the course of justice”, both before the SC and the trial court in the riot cases. His application was mentioned before a bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu by senior advocate Indira Jaising.… After giving details of emails, Bhatt said, “Unless the Supreme Court directed a proper inquiry into the material submitted, the confidence of general public in free, fair and transparent trial would be eroded.”

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48953685.cms

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Justice Continues to Elude Victims of Kandhamal Violence (Sep 11, 2015, The Wire)

Nearly eight years have passed since communal violence in Kandhamal claimed the lives of 82 people, mostly Christian adivasis and dalits, damaged 6,000 houses and displaced 56,000 people in 2008. The government, however, officially recorded only 39 deaths. In addition, 395 churches were destroyed and two cases of sexual assaults against women were reported. Close to a 100,000 children in the area also dropped out from school in the area due to displacement and insecurity. Victims of the violence say that several cases have been closed without adequate justice being served and compensation provided has been much lower than is required.

The Kandhamal Nyaya, Shanti O Sadhabana Samaj, an organisation of victims, met with the President on September 7 and presented a memorandum urging immediate action. The association has also received cross party support from CPI (M)’s Brinda Karat, former Congress Minister Mani Shankar Aiyer and Kavita Krishnan of the All India Progressive Women’s Association. Addressing a press conference in Delhi on September 8, Father Ajay Singh brought to light several facts that media reports at the time of the violence did not cover.

Of the 3232 complaints lodged, only 825 FIRs were filed by the police and only 605 led to chargesheets. 302 cases were closed arbitrarily citing lack of evidence as the cause. Of the 35 murder cases that were taken into account, 33 cases were closed. 11,000 rioters named in the complaints were granted anticipatory bail, while 3,254 persons were acquitted due to the arbitrary closing of cases. Only 10 people have been convicted in two murder cases and all are currently on bail. Fr. Ajay Singh noted that not only was the violence extremely sectarian in nature, but the failure of the justice system continues to reflect the power of the communal forces in the state. Attacks by right wing groups have also been carried out on 13 NGOs that attempted to provide relief packages to the victims.…

http://thewire.in/2015/09/11/justice-continues-to-elude-victims-of-kandhamal-violence-10529/

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SC issues notice to centre for allegedly asking Salian to go soft against accused (Sep 11, 2015, Times of India)

The allegation of former special public prosecutor that she was asked to go soft against Hindu extremists allegedly involved in the Malegaon blast case has come under judicial scrutiny with the Supreme Court on Friday issuing notice to Centre and Maharashtra government.

The apex court sought response from the governments on PILs seeking independent probe in the controversy arising out of Salian revelation. The bench asked the government to file response within a week and posted the case for next week when it will decide whether the trial should be stayed or not in light of Salian’s statements.

The court will also decide whether the trial court should also be restrained from granting bail to the accused. The court was hearing a petition filed by activist Harsh Mander who alleged that the executive was attempting to influence the judicial system in breach of repeated directives by the court.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48909967.cms

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Bail pleas of Purohit, Dwivedi opposed (Sep 10, 2015, The Hindu)

The National Investigation Agency on Wednesday filed a reply opposing the bail pleas of Malegaon 2008 blast accused Lieutenant-Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit and Sudhakar Dwivedi alias Dayanand Pandey.

Seeking rejection of their applications, the NIA said there was “sufficient evidence” against them in the charge sheet and their contention that the Supreme Court had removed the provisions of the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) was incorrect.

Purohit’s claim that he had not committed any offence was “false, incorrect and misleading”. Also his period of detention of six and a half years “is not ground for bail,” the central agency said.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/bail-pleas-of-purohit-dwivedi-opposed/article7633962.ece

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Petlawad explosives were stored for Godhra II: Congress (Sep 13, 2015, Times of India)

Madhya Pradesh Congress has alleged that the BJP was planning Godhra II in Jhabua and explosives were stored in Petlawad for the same purpose. The party said main accused Rajendra Kasawa is a BJP leader and an active member of RSS.

Addressing a joint press conference here on Sunday, state Congress president Arun Yadav and leader of the opposition Satyadev Katare said large quantity of illegal explosives stored by Kasawa would have been used for ” Godhra type” violence in Jhabua before Bihar elections and Lok Sabha by-poll due for Jhabua seat. Yadav said that Petlawad is close to Gujarat.

Yadav said that Kasawa is president of traders’ unit of BJP in Petlawad which is why the party and Sangh members have not been allowing his arrest and he continues to be on the run.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48945203.cms

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Why extortion in the name of cow protection goes unreported in Madhya Pradesh (Sep 7, 2015, Scroll.in)

Madhya Pradesh government’s stringent law against cow-slaughter has become a handy tool to terrorise and extort money from innocent cattle traders. The latest in a spate of such incidents occurred on August 31 in Sanawad town of Khandwa district in west Madhya Pradesh when members of a so-called cow protection group – Gauraksha Samiti – thrashed and partially tonsured four persons, while accusing them of carrying cattle for slaughter in two pick-up vehicles.…

The four cattle buyers were booked on suspicion. They were released on bail by the Sanavad court of a first class judicial magistrate on September 2, after 24 hours in police custody and as many hours in jail. The police however, spared the assailants. Dhangaon police station personnel told journalists that a case will be registered against them but no action has followed so far, according to local media reports.…

Hooliganism and extortion in the name of cow protection has become so common in Madhya Pradesh that most such incidents go unreported in the media. Its root cause is the “Gau-Vansh Vadh Pratishedh (Sanshodhan) adhiniyam” or the Madhya Pradesh Prohibition of Slaughter of Cow-Progeny (Amendment) Act that was promulgated in December 2011.…

http://scroll.in/article/753527/why-extortion-in-the-name-of-cow-protection-goes-unreported-in-madhya-pradesh

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Police brushing matter to save cops in Nand Nagri custodial death: AAP (Sep 10, 2015, Asian Age)

The Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday alleged that the police is trying to brush the matter related to the “custodial death” of 35-year-old Shahnawaz Chaudhary in northeast Delhi’s Nand Nagri area in a bid to “shield” the policemen involved in the incident. AAP leader Ashutosh also said that the party will approach the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to seek justice if the police does not register an FIR in this connection.

On Monday, Chaudhary died under mysterious circumstances after trying to intervene in a roadside scuffle between a couple and the police in the Nand Nagri area.…

AAP’s Seemapuri MLA Rajendar Gautam, who met the deceased family, said Chaudhary’s wife Mamta had later alleged that her husband was killed by the policemen. A video clip has surfaced purportedly showing a policeman beating the man with his club, raising questions over the police’s claims that they did not enter into any scuffle with him.…

http://www.asianage.com/india/police-brushing-matter-save-cops-nand-nagri-custodial-death-aap-598

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‘Disturbing’ that killers of Dabholkar and Pansare are not nabbed : Bombay High Court (Sep 9, 2015, Times of India)

Bombay High Court on Wednesday expressed concern that the killers of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and communist leader Govind Pansare are still not apprehended.

“It is a disturbing factor,” said a bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Rajesh Ketkar who heard petitions by their respective kin expressing unhappiness with the probe being conducted by Central Bureau of Investigation in Dabholkar’s case and a special investigation team of State police in Pansare’s. They want the High Court to monitor them.…

The bench said the cases of Dabholkar and Pansare have similarities and wondered why a single agency cannot probe both cases and why they don’t share information. CBI’s advocate informed that out of the five officers deputed to assist CBI in Pune only one who is a cyber forensic expert is based in Nagpur. The bench directed him to be “made available” to CBI within a week.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48887701.cms

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5 top ‘spiritual gurus’ in India caught in sexual harassment charges (Sep 9, 2015, Newsx.com)

India tops the list of countries that believe in superstitious activities. Several names amongst the list of self-styled godmen, saints, preachers and gurus in India have been trapped in different controversies. Primarily, one reason that has trapped them all is about sexual harassment charges. However, in spite of making their deeds public, we still have a countless number of followers who believe in them blindly.

Let’s take a look on 5 most prominent names that have played with the sentiments of the innocent followers who believed in them. 74-year-old Asaram Bapu tops the list of controversial gurus in India. He is under the judicial custody since September 2013 following the charges of sexually harassment by a 16-year-old at his ashram in Rajasthan.…

Self-styled god-woman Radhe Maa is the latest controversial queen to join the league. After her images in hot-red short skirt went viral on social media, she was trolled on Twitter by different sectors of the society. 50-year-old Radhe Maa was then slapped with dowry charges by a young woman. She accused Radhe Maa of influencing her parents in law who followed her to demand dowry.…

http://www.newsx.com/national/10463-5-top-spiritual-gurus-of-india-caught-in-sexual-harassment-charges

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“RSS trying to turn Dalits against reservation policy” (Sep 12, 2015, The Hindu)

Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF) has criticised the Rahstriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for trying to turn a section of Dalits against the reservation policy.

Talking to reporters after paying homage to Dalit leader Immanuel Sekaran on the occasion of his 58th death anniversary here on Friday, TNUF State general secretary K. Samuel Raj said that the recent conference addressed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah in Madurai was part of the RSS’s ploy to make Dalits “prick their eyes with their own hands”.

“The conference was part of a larger conspiracy launched by the RSS to do away with reservation,” he alleged.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/rss-trying-to-turn-dalits-against-reservation-policy/article7643995.ece

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Opinions and Editorials

Dear BJP, I’m a Hindu and I reject Hindutva – By Suchitra Krishnamoorthi (Sep 12, 2015, Dailyo.in)

…Anyway to cut a long story short, when it was time to re-elect a new government in 2014, I, like most other urban Indians reeling under the corruption of dynastic politics and a failed Congress government, was filled with hope.… India was desperate. We needed a leader. Badly. We needed progress. We needed a semblance of honesty. We desperately needed hope again. It came in the form of Narendra Modi.… The BJP government won because we Indians had become so soooo Gandhi family intolerant – any alternative seemed like manna from heaven in comparison.…

Hinduism is a philosophy. The doctrine of which allows me the choice of acceptance or rejection. Ram or Ganpati or even atheism. Upanishads or Gita or tantra or mantra. Hindutva, on the other hand, is militant imposition of wrongly interpreted tenets of Hinduism. Hindutva is a political tool – nothing to do with the religion itself.…

To be a Hindu is to be tolerant. It’s why we have survived as a race in spite of invasion, conversion and unimaginable attempted destruction. If you do not understand that tolerance or exercise that compassion so intrinsic to our religion, you do not deserve to call yourself Hindu. Or a leader of a democratic nation. So dear BJP. I reject your Hindutva. I reject your fascism. I reject your despotism.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/hindutva-hinduism-bjp-rss-narendra-modi-congress-sonia-gandhi-rahul-gandhi-anti-national-meat-ban-beef-ban-intolerance-religion/story/1/6209.html

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A Government of the RSS, by the RSS, for the RSS – By Harish Khare (Sep 11, 2015, The Wire)

Fifteen years ago this month, a prime minister of India had travelled to the United States for the annual UN General Assembly mela. During that visit, he found time to attend a Vishwa Hindu Parishad event in Staten Island where he declared himself a swayamsevak – yes, as in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. This was music to the ears of the Nagpur gharana.… Back in New Delhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s exuberance did not last long.… After the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat, it was simply not possible for Vajpayee to maintain any civilised conversation with these comrades among the swayamsevaks. The gurus never forgave Vajpayee for wanting to draw outside the lines.…

The Nagpur bosses wanted to reaffirm the first principle: No BJP leader would be allowed any deviation. They had had enough of Vajpayee and his liberal tantrums. Last week, it was this very first principle that was re-asserted when the Sarsanghchalak summoned Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ministers. Well, if you are a swayamsevak, you do respond to summons from the superior in the hierarchy. Period. That is the code of the saffron brotherhood. Admitted, Sushma Swaraj is not an RSS bhakt. Nor is Arun Jaitley. Unless, he has managed to keep this fact away from his “moderate and decent” friends in Delhi. But neither of them had any choice.…

Whatever obedience the Prime Minister and his ministers may choose to render to the Sarsanghchalak, they need to be reminded that they are still governed and bound by something called the Constitution of India. India is still a constitutional democracy and its rulers, irrespective of the number of seats they have in the Lok Sabha, are still answerable to a robust Parliament and an independent judiciary.

http://thewire.in/2015/09/11/a-government-of-the-rss-by-the-rss-for-the-rss-10523/

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Do The Patels Want Reservation Or A Crisis? – By Kancha Ilaiah (Sep 19, 2015, Tehelka)

Why did the Patel movement for reservation start now? Is it to really get reservation for Patels or is it to abolish the Other Backward Class (OBC) reservation altogether, if not Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe reservation as well? Is it meant to strengthen the boat of Narendra Modi, who declared his OBC background during the election campaign to galvanise the OBC votes in favour of Modi’s election, which was not so much the BJP’s election? Or is it to rock Modi’s boat and see that the hold of Shudra upper castes such as Patels, Jats, Gujjars and Marathas even at the Centre would increase? Are they in a position to challenge the Brahmins and Baniyas, who are actually running the central government, though Modi appears to be a strong prime minister? Some of these questions need to be examined and possible answers should be put in the public domain.…

The core cadre of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) consists of anti-reservationists and also the supporters of caste system in the sense of Sanatan Varna Dharma. Hence the core cadre that came from the Brahmin, Baniya, Kshatriya and Shudra upper castes comprising Patels, Jats, Marathas and so on, who galvanised around Modi’s election, were given to understand that if the BJP gets a majority of its own, the OBC reservation structure would be reviewed.

Let us not forget the fact that on the social media front and in the mobilisation strategy work of “Team Modi” (at that time it was not “Team India”), the upper-caste youth, who have a hatred towards the reservation system itself, were in a majority. They now think that Modi’s victory was because of them but his government is not reviewing the much-hated reservation system.…

http://www.tehelka.com/2015/09/do-the-patels-want-reservation-or-a-crisis/

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Minorities under Siege: “Schooling” of muslims on Islam by the Hindu right – By Syed Mohammed (Sep 10, 2015, Times of India)

The curious case of right wing Hindutva groups’ “schooling” of Muslims on Islam, their own faith, doesn’t seem to end. The latest instance was reportedly that of the Gauseva and Gauchar Vikas Board. The body, according to its website, is an agency of the agriculture and co-operation department of the Gujarat government. And as if it were the recipient of wahy, the divine revelation on Prophet Muhammad, it conjured a verse from the Quran that supposedly proclaimed that beef was a cause of “several diseases” while milk products are good for the human body.

This is not a stray incident, but one of several which are construed by analysts and scholars of Islam as attempts to isolate the Muslim community by spreading misinformation about its own faith, laying them in siege. Another recent incident in Uttar Pradesh was that of the “mistranslation” of the Arabic word “Rehan” as “tulsi” by none other than the Rashtriya Muslim Manch, believed to be an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). But many scholars from across the country, including Hyderabad-based Rashid Naseem Nadwi, who heads the department of Arabic at the English and Foreign Languages University, have rejected the translation. The correct translation of the word has been recorded as “fragrance” in various exegeses of the Quran, the scholar says.…

While the Hindutva brigade’s soft attacks on minorities in the form of distortions of religious texts is a cause of concern, it is the disowning of Indian Muslims which remains a persistent and a more serious problem. At the drop of a hat, BJP parliamentarians such as Yogi Adityanath and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi have advised Muslims to go to Pakistan for harbouring differing or dissenting religious or political views. It appears that the majoritarianism of Hindu right wing groups is eager to create a scary situation for minorities, especially for the Muslims. Disowning Muslims and other minorities seems to be the simplest method to make them toe its line.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48891665.cms

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Meat bans and food fundamentalism as BJP strategy – By Smruti Koppikar (Sep 10, 2015, Hindustan Times)

It’s the season of madness in Mumbai. But it’s more than a beef ban here and a meat ban there though the bans are a part of the madness. For a start, there is a grand plan to rob the city of its most significant carto-cultural marker, its coastline. The proposed coastal road, when constructed, will forever interfere in our vision of the sea from the beaches and Marine Drive, besides further skewing the equation against public transport. But chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has staked his credibility on ensuring that the coastal road is built.

To imagine a change in Mumbai’s shoreline would have been madness till he came along. Fadnavis brought in what his experienced predecessors would have shied away from: the ban on beef. It was widely criticised and mocked at, given the multi-culturalism of the city, its vibrant food cultures and its aspiration to be the next global financial centre. The ban led to some tension and many hilarious moments when the meat with arrested traders turned out to be not that of cows.

A number of other irrational things have happened – the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) which must be the well-endowed and most hip area of the city was chosen to be a ‘smart city’ within the city; there was a fierce debate about Mumbai’s nightlife when Aaditya Thackeray presented it as his bright idea, unmindful of the fact that Mumbai has always had a nightlife without a political leader orchestrating it; there was chatter about redeveloping the Mahalaxmi Race Course and de- reserving parts of the Aarey forest, t wo oasis of green that Mumbaiites believed would never fall to the rapacious builder lobby. But the madness is most reflected in food favouritism and prejudices.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/smrutikoppikar/meat-bans-and-food-fundamentalism-as-bjp-strategy/article1-1389180.aspx

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Time to Repeal 124A – Editorial (Sep 12, 2015, EPW)

It could be just a case of words lost in translation. Or given the record of the Government of Maharashtra, it could be more than that. But the furore over a circular sent out by the state government to the police about the use of Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code relating to sedition is a relevant reminder about the danger to free speech and expression that this provision of the law represents. The circular was issued at the instance of the Bombay High Court when it dismissed sedition charges against Kanpur-based cartoonist Aseem Trivedi. The latter had been charged and arrested by the Mumbai police in September 2011 under Section 124A in relation to some of his cartoons.

While dismissing the charges, the court held that merely criticising the government could not be termed as sedition. The state government gave an undertaking to the court that it would issue clear guidelines to the police on the use of Section 124A. This circular was presented to the court in March this year and was finally sent out to police stations at the end of August. It is the Marathi version of these guidelines that has generated controversy as it has injected ambiguity and room for discretion that inevitably results in precisely the kind of misuse that the court sought to prevent.…

In 1962, the Supreme Court upheld Section 124A and held that it struck a “correct balance” between fundamental rights and the need for public order. But the record of the use of this provision has been otherwise. Far from any kind of “correct balance,” it has been used to suppress and discourage dissent and criticism in any form. In fact, the draconian nature of this law-non-bailable, non-cognisable and punishment that can extend for life – has a “chilling effect” on dissent even if it is not used. And this is precisely why governments choose to hold on to it.…

http://www.epw.in/editorials/time-repeal-124a.html

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Book Review

The Weight of Violence: Religion, Language, Politics

Author: Eds. Saitya Brata Das and Soumyabrata Choudhury
Reviewed by: Rudolf C Heredia
Available at: Oxford University Press, Ground Floor, YMCA Library Building, 1, Jai Singh Road, Post Box 43, New Delhi – 110001,India Email: northcare.in@oup.com, 2015; pp xxi + 271, Rs 895. http://www.oup.co.in/
Review:
‘Understandings of Violence’ (Sep 12, 2015, EPW)

…The secular fundamentalist has sought to rationalise religion out of the public domain. This has only politicised religion, and it gets morphed into a more aggressive avatar when its followers feel under threat. Allowing religion a civic/social space that is respected, with the state’s “principled distance” towards all of them (Bhargava 2013) would allow for an equal respect for all religions (sarva dharma samabhava). This would be a far better way of including religious communities in the national project. Earlier, the partition witnessed a nationwide massacre that shocked the world with the horrors of religious violence. Yet the possibility of another genocide is never very far – it happened in 1983 in Nellie, Assam, in 1984 in Delhi and in 2002 in Gujarat.

Learning from how we dealt with linguistic pluralism is pertinent here. India has managed to contain linguistic antagonisms by devolving governmental authority to regional linguistic states and giving these communities an inclusive and larger identity, with a real stake in the country. We need to do this now with other local and marginalised communities, with tribals, and Dalits, and especially religious minorities.…

We are losing a huge resource in marginalising Gandhi as a national icon. Now Hindutvavadis are aggressively but selectively rehabilitating Savarkar as a national hero today – not for his rationalism that rubbished caste and dietary taboos but his Hindu nationalism that sought to marginalise the religious minorities. This is a dangerous political expediency, and its further trajectory will surely lead to increased levels of violence – individual, collective and structural. The new model of development, of growth compromising equity, can only exacerbate tensions and inequalities further. The resulting injustices will inevitably undermine the legitimacy of our democratic state. This is certainly not the idea of India that the freedom fighters fought and sacrificed for and nor is it the ideal enshrined in our Constitution, which is truly a mandate for a different kind of social revolution.

http://http://www.epw.in/book-reviews/understandings-violence.html

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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

July 1, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Bhatt accuses Nanavati panel of misleading HC Trend of intolerance towards dissent under Modi: Amnesty calls for decriminalization of free speech Days after he pulled up Amit Shah, CBI judge shifted Gopal Subramanium opts out, attacks Narendra Modi government, cites Amit Shah case Why a former minister […]

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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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