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Three years of Modi government

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 21st, 2017

by newsdigest on September 10, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

UK Indians March For Communal Harmony (Aug 16, 2017, Countercurrents)

In a massive show of strength hundreds of Indians living in United Kingdom gathered at Tavistock Square to express their disapproval of the politics of hatred and growing incidents of mob lynching against minorities, Dalits and other marginalised sections in India. They expressed their horror how the constitutional values of secularism, pluralism, democracy and dissent are under the assault by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and other Sangh Parivar affiliates.

There were different civil society and human rights organisations who participated in the march. They include South Asian Solidarity, Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organisations, Caste Watch, Voice of Dalit International, Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance, Dalit Solidarity Network and others.

At the Tavistock square, Ms Amrit Wilson spoke of the growing threat to minorities, Dalits and others in India and why we need to disapprove the culture of mob violence. The marchers then marched silently nearly about two kilometers passing through Central London’s important streets and reached the India House, Indian High Commission. They shouted slogans at the India House against the mob lynching and Narendra Modi’s government’s absolute freedom to these goons in the name of cow protection.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/08/16/uk-indians-march-for-communal-harmony/

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Govt ‘protecting all RSS-connected accused’, says Cong after Purohit’s bail (Aug 21, 2017, Deccan Herald)

The Congress today accused the BJP government of “protecting” all the accused “connected to the RSS” after the Supreme Court granted bail to 2008 Malegaon serial blasts case accused Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit.

The opposition party also raised questions over National Investigation Agency (NIA) chief Sharad Kumar getting two extensions and hoped that justice would be done in the Malegaon serial blasts case “without fear or favour”.

“Col Purohit gets Bail. It was expected as the present BJP Govt is protecting all the accused connected with RSS in all Bomb Blast cases (sic),” Congress leader Digivijaya Singh wrote on Twitter.…

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/629172/govt-protecting-all-rss-connected.html

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‘Democracy under threat from pseudo-nationalism, right-wing fanaticism’ (Aug 19, 2017, Business Standard)

Indian democracy is under threat from “pseudo-nationalism” and “right-wing fanaticism masquerading as nationalism”, a column published in Renovacao, a Goa Church periodical, has said.c”Quo Vadis India?” by Father Savio Fernandes in the latest edition of the pastoral bulletin of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman, also bemoans efforts to make India a Hindu Rashtra by 2020 and rues the “political rhetoric” which is triggering hate crimes against dalits and members of the minority community.

“Competition for political and economic power has encouraged pseudo-nationalism, which uses religion as a tool to gain acceptance,” Fernandes said in the column.… The constitution, the Catholic priest says, is under threat from “right-wing” ideology, which coincides with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ascent to power.… “With the political climate change after the year 2014, the very guiding purpose and principles spelt in the preamble of the Indian constitution – Democratic, Secular, Socialist and Republic – appear to be under the worse threat for the first time after independence.”…

“Christians and Muslims are especially targets of demonisation through false propaganda. Muslims are portrayed as terrorists and loyal to Pakistan while Christians are portrayed as being agents of Portugal and anti-nationals and seeking to convert members of other religious communities through fraud/ inducement,” a statement issued by Fernandes’ Council for Social Justice and Peace had said in July.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/democracy-under-threat-from-pseudo-nationalism-right-wing-fanaticism-117081900364_1.html

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US religious freedom report highlights cow protection violence in India (Aug 15, 2017, Yahoo)

The US State Department has highlighted attacks in India by cow protection groups against people accused of bovine trafficking or having beef in its annual report on religious freedom, while attempting a measure of balance by also including critical mention of practices by minority religions.

The International Religious Freedom Report for 2016 (IRFR) released on Tuesday by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said: “There was an increase (during 2016) in violent incidents by cow protection groups against mostly Muslim victims, including killings, mob violence, assaults, and intimidation.”…

“There were reports of religiously motivated killings, assaults, riots, discrimination, vandalism, and actions restricting the right of individuals to practice their religious beliefs and proselytize,” the report said. “The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) reported 751 conflicts between religious communities, which resulted in 97 deaths and 2,264 injuries in 2015.”…

https://in.news.yahoo.com/us-religious-freedom-report-highlights-cow-protection-violence-164603073.html

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A Gujarat BJP MLA Wants To Ban Muslims From Buying Houses In Predominantly Hindu Neighbourhoods (Aug 21, 2017, India Times)

Sangita Patil, a BJP MLA in Gujarat, has demanded imposition of ‘Disturbed Areas Act’ in her constituency of Limbayat to prevent Muslims from acquiring residential properties of Hindus.

Patil has sent her written request for the imposition of the Act to the district collector after Hindu residents of Limbayat area of Surat city have made several representations about the issue.

‘The Gujarat Prohibition of Transfer of Immovable Property and Provision for Protection of Tenants from Eviction from Premises in Disturbed Areas Act, 1991’, known as the ‘Disturbed Areas Act’, bans sale of property by a member of one religious community to a member of another community, without the prior approval of the district collector.…

http://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/a-gujarat-bjp-mla-wants-to-ban-muslims-from-buying-houses-in-predominantly-hindu-neighbourhoods-328272.html

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NIA probe into Kerala ‘love jihad’ is another blow to individual autonomy (Aug 17, 2017, Hindustan Times)

India at 70 is indeed doing well in terms of everything and one takes pride in seeing her coming of age as a major global power. But if the success of a liberal democracy is assessed on the basis of individualism and rights of the individual, then it seems we are going in the opposite direction. Freedom of speech is being curtailed in the name of sedition even in violation of the Supreme Court’s order that mere words do not amount to sedition. Books are banned and films are censored because we do not trust individuals anymore. The right to privacy is being curtailed in the name of the Aadhaar card and now even freedom to marry a person of one’s choice is under threat and may be termed as terrorist activity to be probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Authoritarian governments the world over do not believe in the rights discourse. They always talk in terms of larger ‘public interest’ and their jurisprudence is generally duty-centric. Indira Gandhi thus inserted Article 51A on fundamental duties.

Strangely even the apex court does not attach much significance to individual autonomy – in overruling the progressive Naz Foundation judgment of the Delhi High Court striking down the archaic Section 377 of Indian Penal Code, in not taking up the aadhaar challenge for over two years, in the kinds of questions that came from the nine-judge privacy bench and, now, in ordering an NIA probe into the marriage of a 24-year-old BHMS graduate.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/opinion/nia-probe-into-kerala-love-jihad-is-another-blow-to-individual-autonomy/story-fGCLp7YHXNUqrqttz8ukhM.html

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Kerala collector who barred Mohan Bhagwat from hoisting tricolour transferred (Aug 17, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The Palakkad collector, whose orders were defied by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat by hoisting the national flag at an aided school, was transferred, though the chief minister on Thursday maintained it was a routine exercise.

The collector’s orders were apparently based on the guidelines which, among other things, stipulates that only the school principal or elected representatives could hoist the national flag in the school. Bhagwat had, however, gone ahead with hoisting the flag at the government-aided school in Palakkad district on Independence day, triggering a controversy.…

The district collector and education additional director conducted an inquiry into the matter and submitted a report. “As per the report, Vande Mataram was recited during the Independence day function at the Karnagi Amman School, in which Bhagwat participated. The national anthem was sung later when somebody pointed it out,” he said. It was also found in the inquiry that the school principal had also hoisted the national flag after Bhagwat’s function there, he said. The flag was hoisted in two locations at the school premises, Vijayan said adding that it was done violating the government directive.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/kerala-collector-who-barred-mohan-bhagwat-from-hoisting-tricolour-transferred/story-ct5187XMPjtZmfRWSuBkjP.html

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Principal heckled for hoisting tricolour with shoes on (Aug 17, 2017, India Today)

The Nizamabad police arrested 16 persons for allegedly obstructing the principal of a government college from hoisting the national flag on the Independence Day on August 15. They demanded that the principal remove his shoes before unfurling the tricolour.…

According to Armoor (Rural) police inspector Narashimha Swamy, the group of men allegedly gheraoed and heckled Mohammed Yaqeenuddin, the principal of the government Junior College in Ailapur village near Nizamabad, for hoisting the national flag with shoes on.…

Reacting to the incident, MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi tweeted, “Every BJP chief Minister was wearing shoes, will they protest and assault them only because the principal is a Muslim…

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/principal-heckled-for-hoisting-tricolour-with-shoes-on/1/1027955.html

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Gorakhpur tragedy: Allegations against Kafeel Ahmed are false, reveal Hindutva brigade’s bigotry (Aug 16, 2017, First Post)

His name is Kafeel Ahmed Khan. So, how could he have been a hero? The sustained attack on Khan, hailed as a hero by the media for trying to save lives of children at Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College, once again underlines the bigotry burning the soul of India. It tells us how the battle for imagined grievances, settling communal scores has numbed our senses. We have come to a point where, for some, the sound of applause for an Indian Muslim is so unbearable that it immediately needs to be buried under louder chants of “traitor, thief, and criminal”.

We will look at some of the baseless and fictitious charges hurled at Khan later; dissect them on the basis of evidence on record. But, first, the demands for Khan’s evisceration and public shaming need to be understood for what they are: a diseased section’s refusal – verging on hysteria – to let anything counter the propaganda that India’s religious minorities are incapable of being conscientious citizens of India (or anywhere in the world).…

It is, of course, a classic red-herring, a diversionary tactic. The Gorakhpur tragedy is a blot on India. More than 70 (and counting) infants died within a week because the Uttar Pradesh government and BRD Medical College administration allowed it to turn into a death trap by not paying in time for maintaining the supply of oxygen. In any other country with a conscience, morals and a rule of law, this would have been unequivocally called murder by dereliction of duty.… The reaction of the government has been both appalling and mind-boggling. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, known for timely tweets on tragedies even in Europe, has been unusually silent.…

http://www.firstpost.com/india/gorakhpur-tragedy-allegations-against-kafeel-ahmed-false-reveals-hindutva-brigades-bigotry-3933405.html

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2,700 booked for Vadodara clash in Gujarat (Aug 12, 2017, Indian Express)

A day after communal clash in the old city area of Vadodara, police on Friday booked 2,700 people for rioting and also planned a public rally in the presence of MoS Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja to instil “a sense of law and order” among the public. Commissioner of Police (CP) Manoj Sashidhar said the rally would be organised on Saturday ahead of the upcoming festivities in the city.

According to police inspector M D Puwar, unidentified person pelted stones from Masum Chember Lane on a Ganesh procession on Mandvi-Panigate road, which triggered the clash. Police said the dispute was over playing loudspeaker in the procession.…

Assistant Commissioner of Police V P Gamit said several vehicles were damaged, including torching of seven two-wheelers. “A shop was also torched. Police had to lob 39 tear gas cells. Nine people, including four policemen, sustained minor injuries,” said Gamit. Puwar said a probe had been initiated. “We are checking CCTV footage of the area. We are also trying to find out how the electricity supply got disconnected,” said Puwar.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/2700-booked-for-vadodara-clash-in-gujarat-4792867/

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SC forces 2 Gujarat cops in Ishrat and Sohrabuddin cases to quit (Aug 18, 2017, Times of India)

In a repeat of the process that displaced Gujarat DGP P P Pandey four months ago, the Supreme Court on Thursday forced police officers N K Amin and Tarun Barot, who like Pandey were accused in fake encounter cases, to resign from post-retirement posts.

Amin was an accused in the Sohrabuddin encounter case. Given a clean chit by the trial court last year after being accused of disposing of the body of Sohrabuddin’s wife, Kausarbi, in 2005, Amin retired as superintendent of police in August 2016 but was re-appointed SP of Mahisagar district by the Gujarat government for a period of one year.

Barot, who was an accused in the Ishrat Jahan encountercase, was re-appointed as deputy SP with Western Railways in Vadodara for a year after his retirement. Both the cases were probed as “fake encounters”. On March 29, the Gujarat HC had dismissed a PIL filed by former IPS offi cer Rahul Sharma, who had challenged the one-year service extension to Amin and Barot -specialists in encounters -after their retirement.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/60111484.cms

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Opinions and Editorials

Three years of Modi government goes in vain – By Bharat Jhunjhunwala (Aug 19, 2017, Free Press Journal)

While assuming the command of the country as Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi had promised MPs of his party that he will return with his report card in five years, that is, before the 2019 general elections. Now, three years later, he has said from the ramparts of the Red Fort that he will double the incomes of the farmers in the next 5 years, that is, by 2022.

two statements read together indicate that Mr. Modi expected to give results in 5 years in 2014; he continues to expect to give results after the same 5 years in 2017. The time frame has shifted forward by three years in three years; or that nothing substantial has happened in the last 3 years. One reason is that the economic policies implemented by Mr. Modi are pushing Indian economy into a long-term stagnation.…

The fact that the growth rate is declining under the stewardship of Mr. Modi means that the national income is being used more for consumption and less for investment. This decline is wholly due to increased consumption by the Government because there is a shift in income from the people to the Government. The investment by private businesses is declining due to higher tax collection; and the Government is consuming more. Thus there is stagnation in growth rates.…

http://www.freepressjournal.in/analysis/bharat-jhunjhunwala-three-years-of-modi-government-goes-in-vain/1123994

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India at 70: bigotry rules – By N. Jayaram (Aug 16, 2017, Sabrang India)

As India marks 70 years of independence today (August 15), two events of the past week illustrate the predicament a country that often preens itself as the world’s largest democracy finds itself in. One was a vitriolic and graceless speech by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a farewell ceremony for Mohammad Hamid Ansari, who was stepping down after two terms as Vice-President.

The other a prominent television anchor declaring that a panellist’s mention of the deaths of dozens of children in a hospital in Uttar Pradesh state was an attempt to divert attention from the real issue, which in her opinion was the rectitude of the state government’s order to Muslim schools to celebrate Independence Day with the recitation of a nationalist song entitled Vande Mataram (salute the motherland).…

It encapsulated in a few moments, along with Modi’s venom-filled speech, all that has gone wrong with India over the past 70 years. Instead of emerging as a vibrant, modern democracy, it is being led down an antediluvian path towards medieval bigotry.

https://sabrangindia.in/article/india-70-bigotry-rules

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Patriotism does not need ‘song’ test – By SS Dhawan (Aug 18, 2017, Free Press Journal)

Patriotism is too sublime and spontaneous an emotion to inhabit the narrow confines of a song; or to be tethered to catchwords; to be held captive by a political discourse that is tribal and toxic; and to be anchored to an idiom of hate. Provoking a community – which took a conscious decision not to migrate to Pakistan at the time of partition – and subjecting it to a patriotic ‘song test’ is absurd; you are almost questioning the implicit relationship of trust that citizens have with their country.

A citizen’s patriotism is a ‘given’ in this template for which he does not have to furnish a certificate; and we are all bound not by religion or any other identity but by our allegiance to the Constitution. Muslims like to wear religion up their sleeve but that is not a good enough reason to question their patriotism. Because such chest thumping demands by jingoists – that, for instance, pit the ‘national song’ against the national anthem by suggesting that one is more patriotic than the other – is a manifestation of their own scorn for the Constitution.

So, it will be equally ludicrous of me to beseech, in a ‘patriotic moment,’ any organisation and ask it to replace their morning prayer with ‘Ae mere watan ke logon’ – my daily morning chant. Because I cannot question their lyrical idiosyncrasies, just as they cannot question mine! Nor can I make the outlandish demand: why don’t they sing the national anthem or the ‘national song’ rather than recite a prayer in an archaic language that I cannot understand?…

http://www.freepressjournal.in/analysis/ss-dhawan-patriotism-does-not-need-song-test/1123350

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Reclaiming the Freedom Fighters’ Past Won’t Take the BJP Very Far – By Manjari Katju (Aug 11, 2017, The Wire)

BJP’s 70 Saal Azadi, Yaad Karo Kurbani campaign on the 75th year of the Quit India Movement is ironic and interesting for two reasons, if not more: the historic events of the freedom struggle invoked by the BJP and the spirit of sacrifice of freedom fighters recalled by it. It is well known that the BJP does not have freedom fighters in its pantheon.

Also, the relationship of its founder president with the freedom struggle as also of some of the leaders it revers was fraught with problems, to say the least. While the BJP now is calling upon Indians to remember the freedom struggle, a look at the history of this struggle reveals that the BJP’s ideological roots were never in this soil of struggle and sacrifice.

To begin with, the leadership of the freedom struggle strove for a secular nation at independence rather than the establishment of some Hindu Raj. Even Gandhi’s spiritualised quest for Ramrajya did not signify a move towards theocracy. In fact, as the struggle for freedom intensified, the goal of secular nationalism, based on the unity of all communities, became increasingly etched on the banner of the national movement.…

https://www.thequint.com/opinion/2016/08/14/reclaiming-the-freedom-fighters-past-wont-take-bjp-a-long-way-70-saal-azadi-zara-yaad-karo-kurbani-bhagat-singh

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There Should Be No Place in India for Modi’s Uncivil Words Against Hamid Ansari – By Jawhar Sircar (Aug 17, 2017, The Wire)

…Mohammed Hamid Ansari is a seasoned diplomat, he also knows the value of each word. So when he decided to state in his last interview as vice president that there is a sense of insecurity among India’s Muslims with “the breakdown of the ability of the authorities” to enforce the law, he was very serious. He bemoaned the fact that traditional Indian values of tolerance are not visible today, when mobs are lynching Muslims on the beef ban issue.

Can we see what it was in these sentiments that could provoke the prime minister to get so personal and dismiss the brilliant career of one of India’s most dignified public figures as “just” a West Asia specialist? As a prime minister who decides to look into each and every senior posting much more than anyone else before him, and thereby delays these orders for months and years, he knows perfectly well that diplomats and civil servants do not decide their own postings.…

The message was an extension of the one the BJP put out before the Uttar Pradesh polls, when it did not put forth even a single Muslim candidate. This message is that ‘Muslims just do not matter and we do not care about them’. We have to see how long this ruthless, immoral electoral calculus will continue to work for them. What such repeated messages will instigate in the less patient section of the 18 crore Muslims of India is yet to be seen. While extremists on both sides may soon be ready for more violence, the great civilisation called India will not be.

https://thewire.in/168765/narendra-modi-hamid-ansari/

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Gorakhpur is What Happens When a Communal Agenda is Passed Off as ‘Good Governance’ – By Swati Chaturvedi (Aug 17, 2017, The Wire)

…Adityanath – a five term MP from Gorakhpur, where he is still the incumbent parliamentarian – has led a shambolic government for the past four months. The still unfolding tragedy at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur, where more than 60 children suffering from encephalitis and other ailments died over the past five days, is a pointer to his disastrous governance.

The BJP went to the polls in UP with Modi’s face and did not declare a chief ministerial candidate. Party president Amit Shah also signalled the party’s indifference towards Muslims – who form 19% of the state’s population – by not giving a single ticket to a Muslim candidate. In its election campaign, the BJP blatantly sought to consolidate Hindu votes by using ‘dog whistle’ issues to polarise views against the community.…

Consider Adityanath’s track record and his four months in office, and it’s clear that we need to hold him and the BJP accountable. Dog whistles being passed off as “good governance” are a recipe for tragedy. As Arun Shourie once observed, “Modi thinks by managing headlines he’s managing events. Events have a terrible way of overtaking us”.

https://thewire.in/167971/adityanath-modi-gorakhpur-deaths/

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 5th, 2017

by newsdigest on June 18, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Opinions and Editorials

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Book Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 29th, 2017

June 7, 2017

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

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 22nd, 2017

June 3, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines This Powerful Film Shows How 2002 Gujarat Riots Helped BJP Win The Elections Jharkhand lynching: Two officers, 30 policemen watched the four murders BJP leader among nine arrested for running online sex racket in Bhopal Idea of fair, tall, customized baby “rooted” in Nazi Germany, RSS’ Golwalkar […]

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