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UP Election

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 6th, 2017

by newsdigest on February 16, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

50,000 Gujarat riot victims still displaced, lack housing rights, 20% women face triple talaq: Janvikas book (Jan 28, 2017, Counterview)

A new book released on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Janvikas, one of the premier civil rights organisations of India, has estimated that around 50,000 Gujarat 2002 riot-affected Muslims should be qualified to be considered internally-displaced persons (IDPs) – a term coined by the United Nations to identify those ravaged by violent social conflicts.

Giving a graphic picture of their living conditions and empowerment, especially among women, the book, titled “Creating Spaces: Nurturing Leadership” – which focuses, among other issues, on the impact of the 2002 communal carnage on Gujarat’s IDPs – believes, many of them live in an “extremely vulnerable” condition in several of the 86-odd colonies in seven districts.

The most pressing issue of these IDPs, insists the book, is housing ownership. The religious trusts which earlier gave lands for housing, are now reluctant to give them housing rights, the book regrets, adding, what is now being assured is residential rights and not ownership rights, which has brought them much current insecurity.…

http://www.counterview.net/2017/01/50000-gujarat-riot-victims-still.html

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After 13 years in jail, SC acquits two accused (Feb 3, 2017, Times of India)

The Supreme Court on Thursday acquitted two persons and upheld conviction of two others in connection with the 2002 tiffin-bomb blast case, in which the state government had invoked the Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota).

Habib Hawa and Hanif Pakitwala will walk out declared innocent, after spending 13 years in jail. The apex court also ended the imprisonment of two others – Anas Machiswala and Kalim Ahmed – and ordered their release by treating the 13 years they spent in jail as punishment already undergone. All four were convicted to life imprisonment by Gujarat high court, their advocate Khalid Shaikh said.

These four men were convicted in relation to five bombs planted in tiffin boxes aboard Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Service (AMTS) buses on May 29, 2002. Three of the bombs went off, injuring 13 persons. The blasts were shown to be a reaction to the 2002 riots.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/56942779.cms

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Sadiq Jamal Encounter: CBI court reserves order on discharge plea of accused cop (Feb 5, 2017, Indian Express)

A special CBI court on Saturday reserved its verdict on the discharge application moved by retired Deputy Superintendent of Police K M Vaghela, an accused in the Sadiq Jamal Mehtar encounter case. The court is likely to pronounce the order on February 28.

This is the first discharge application moved by an accused in this case. Vaghela has claimed that there is evidence against him in the case. He has also claimed that the CBI has not taken mandatory sanction from the state government under section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for prosecuting a government servant.

Vaghela is among the eight policemen, including DySP Tarun Barot, who were chargesheeted by the CBI in December 2012. All the accused are out on bail. The second chargesheet is being awaited as the investigation is not yet over.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/sadiq-jamal-encounter-cbi-court-reserves-order-on-discharge-plea-of-accused-cop/

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Husband jailed for rioting, wife gets BJP ticket for UP election (Feb 3, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Suchi Chaudhury, the Bharatiya Janta Party’s candidate for Bijnor City, sat beside a giant stuffed teddy bear embroidered with the words “So Sweet”, and explained why she was contesting one of the tightest seats in Uttar Pradesh’s pivotal election.…

Chaudhury’s husband, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) member Aishwarya “Mausam” Chaudhury, is one of 31 people currently in jail for allegedly inciting a communal riot between Jats and Muslims in the villages of Peda and Nayagaon in September 2016 in which three Muslims were shot dead and scores were injured. The violence was part of a string of similar clashes that have polarised the region’s Jats and Muslims into opposing camps.

Forty three percent of Bijnor’s population is Muslim, 20 percent is Dalit, the remaining are land-owning Jats and assorted general castes, making this seat a bellwether for the many forces that have made Uttar Pradesh’s election so hard to call.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/assembly-elections/husband-jailed-for-rioting-wife-gets-bjp-ticket-for-up-election/story-BDh1Kln3ghF0hjzLbfoZ0I.html

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BJP and RSS targeting SCAM – SCs and minorities: Sitaram Yechury (Feb 6, 2017, First Post)

Attacking the BJP-led central government, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury on Sunday alleged minorities and people belonging to the Scheduled Castes were being targeted by the Sangh Parivar outfits under the watch of the Narendra Modi government.

“Yesterday, the Prime Minister, speaking at a rally in Uttar Pradesh where elections are going on, said the BJP and RSS are in a big struggle against what he called the SCAM.” “…If the Prime Minister is saying that he is fighting the SCAM, the RSS and the BJP are fighting the SCAM – Scheduled Castes and Minorities – in our country,” he told a rally organised by the DYFI here as part of its national conference. Modi had on Saturday said the election in Uttar Pradesh was BJP’s fight against ‘scam’; ‘S’ for Samajwadi, ‘C’ for Cong, ‘A’ for Akhilesh, ‘M’ for Mayawati.

Referring to the incidents of attack against Dalits and minorities in the country after the Modi government assumed office, Yechury alleged that the BJP government was completely against the Dalits and minorities.…

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/bjp-and-rss-targeting-scam-scs-and-minorities-sitaram-yechury-3268252.html

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Congress seeks parliamentary probe into Ahamed’s death (Feb 6, 2017, The Hindu)

Led by their leader Rahul Gandhi, Congress MPs on Monday demanded a parliamentary probe into the death of IUML leader and Kerala MP E. Ahamed. The MPs demonstrated in the Parliament complex, accusing the Modi government of hushing up the veteran MP’s death in a hospital ahead of the annual Union Budget’s presentation on February 1.

Holding a placard that read “We are Ahamed Sahib,” Mr. Gandhi along with Congress colleagues staged the protest near the Mahatma Gandhi statue that faces Parliament. Former Union Minister and Indian Union Muslim League leader Ahamed was declared dead hours before Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the union budget in Parliament on February 1. The opposition has said that he died a day earlier, but the Modi government kept the news under wraps to ensure that the budget presentation was not disrupted.

“Ahamed was unnecessarily kept on life support when he had already expired. They wanted to hide this fact, they hushed up his death. That is why we are demanding a Parliamentary Committee to be formed to probe the matter,” Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge told the media.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Congress-seeks-parliamentary-probe-into-Ahameds-death/article17201593.ece1

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Attack on top academic: Why Chhattisgarh govt isn’t acting against unruly mob, cops, ask Medha Patkar, Aruna Roy (Jan 30, 2017, Counterview)

A group of 35 well-known activists led by Narmada Bachao Andolan’s Medha Patkar and Magsaysay award winning right to information campaigner Aruna Roy have said that Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh’s assurance of safety following the recent attack on top academic Bela Bhatia has not followed with “any strong action”.

Singh “assurance” comes a day after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s support to Bela Bhatia. Meeting her, Singh, who met her in in Jagdalpur, assured her of “all protection and the freedom to continue her work among the tribals”, adding, she could “continue to live at her present location”, and if feeling insecure, she could be “alternative accommodation in Bastar.”

Insisting that there has not been “any strong action on unruly mobs and abusive, law-breaking police officers” who were responsible for the mob attack on Bhatia’s house, situated in Parpa village near Jagdalpur in Bastar region, the statement says, failure to take firm action suggests there would be no let down in threats on activists who are fighting for tribals’ cause.…

http://www.counterview.net/2017/01/attack-on-top-academic-why-is.html

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Maharashtra Textbook Shocker: ‘Ugliness’ Leads to Dowry (Feb 2, 2017, The Wire)

The sociology textbook prescribed by the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Education for class XII students lists ‘ugliness’ as a cause of dowry.

Reflecting a deeply regressive mindset, the textbooks claims, “If a girl is ugly and handicapped, then it becomes difficult for her to get married.” Following this line of argument, the section suggests that when “such girls” have to get married, the bridegroom’s family demands more dowry, and the girl’s parents “become helpless” and pay the demanded dowry.

The book, Sociology Standard XII, authored by six people and published by the state board, discusses dowry under the chapter ‘Major Social Problems in India’, which also includes sections of gender inequality, domestic violence and farmer suicides among other things.…

https://thewire.in/105146/maharashtra-sociology-textbook-blames-ugliness-dowry/

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Has BJP’s Hindutva campaign ‘using’ Shah Rukh Khan reached health ministry? (Feb 7, 2017, Dailyo.in)

While whipping up passion on communal lines, the BJP government not just seems to be turning a blind eye to a health campaign, but also playing a sly game of dividing Bollywood. According to a report in The Indian Express, the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) is awaiting approval from the health ministry for videos it shot in December with Shah Rukh Khan to promote awareness about eye ailments – “Eye Hear You” campaign.

Union health minister JP Nadda is reportedly unhappy that he had not been consulted at an earlier stage when it could have been shot with someone else. And this someone else is none other than Hrithik Roshan.… So, is it true that the Raees versus Kaabil frenzy was not merely a box-office battle but an attempted Hindu versus Muslim hysteria by the BJP? Because that kind of explains why BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya entered the pre-release campaign (of the two movies), and tweeted: “Jo Raees desh ka nahi, wo kisi kaam ka nahi. Aur ekj Kaabil deshbhakt ka saath, toh hum sabhi ko dena hi chahiye (The rich who don’t belong to the country are of no use. The able patriot is the one we should all support)”. …

Muslim actors like Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan have been attacked as “anti-nationalist” in the past as well because of their religion. The BJP general secretary had asked his supporters to boycott Dangal because Aamir Khan had spoken about Kiran Rao’s fears of growing religious intolerance in India.…The party surely seems to be losing its vision, forget bad and worse governance.

http://www.dailyo.in/variety/bjp-shahrukh-khan-hindu-muslim-hrithik-roshan-kailash-vijayvargiya-health-ministry-ad/story/1/15535.html

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Pune techie murder: HC asks Maha to produce all evidence against Hindu Rashtra Sena leader (Feb 2, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The Bombay high court on Wednesday asked the state to place on record the charge sheet and all adverse evidence against the main accused in the murder of Pune techie Mohsin Shaikh.

The HC is hearing a plea filed by the accused, Hindu Rashtra Sena leader Dhananjay Desai, asking for the charges of murder and attempt to murder charges against him be dropped. The case generated much furore recently, when another bench of the high court granted bail to the other men accused in the case, saying they had been “provoked in the name of religion”.

IT professional Shaikh was attacked on June 2, 2014, by a mob in Pune’s Hadapsar during violence that erupted over a social media post. Around half-an-hour before the attack, Desai was allegedly addressing a meeting that instigated the audience to violence.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/pune-techie-murder-hc-asks-maha-to-produce-all-evidence-against-hindu-rashtra-sena-leader/story-okffoarKqxcFMO0LRGq8uO.html

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Opinions and Editorials

UP Elections 2017: BJP’s Divisive Agenda – By Ram Puniyani (Feb 7, 2017, The Citizen)

The forthcoming UP Assembly Elections (2017) are regarded as very crucial for all the political parties and more so for the future of secularism and democracy in the country. BJP’s rise on the national scene began at a higher pitch with the Ram Temple agitation and the consequent rise in communal violence. Since then it has been adding more divisive issues and with greater vehemence to reap electoral benefits.

Even before the elections in UP were declared many BJP leaders had been raising issues like Ram Temple, Love Jihad and exodus of Hindus from Kairana. In Gujarat, during the Gujarat carnage used the infamous ‘action-reaction’ theory and the statement that refugee camps have become ‘child production centers’ and so should be closed down. In due course to give a neutral cover to the underlying communal agenda the government then under Chief Minister Narendra Modi did shift to the ‘development agenda’, which was more of an eye wash.

Along with the media blitz and a clever publicity the state government tried to sell his image of ‘development man’ and took the policies to woo the Corporate World. But the slip always kept showing. Even during the creation of euphoria of ‘Acche Din’ during 2014 General elections, PM Modi raised the issue of Pink revolution (relating to beef) and Bangladeshi immigrants in the context of saving Rhinos in Assam. His associates did keep talking of issues related to Hindutva agenda like Ram Temple, Triple Talaq, Article 370 at the same time. The propaganda of development and communal message carried the day for BJP during 2014 elections as it managed to get simple majority on its own in Lok Sabha. Now Election Commission has censured BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj for his remarks where he blames Muslims for the rise in population.…

http://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/NewsDetail/index/4/9879/UP-Elections-2017-BJPs-Divisive-Agenda

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Hype without Substance – Editorial (Feb 4, 2017, EPW)

The Union Budget for 2017–18, the fourth presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of the Narendra Modi government, … has been pitched as “pro-poor,” benefiting farmers, and one that would lead to a more “progressive” tax structure and a reduction in the generation of black money. However, the chances of the budget alleviating the plight of the disadvantaged, reducing inequality, creating jobs, bringing down the bad loans advanced by public sector banks, and significantly improving the working of social welfare programmes, seem rather remote.

A close look at the budget documents reveals that none of these claims may hold good, that the budget is more hype than substance and, importantly, appears to be trying hard to assuage the hurt and pain suffered by ordinary Indians, in particular the poor, on account of the massive disruption caused to the country’s economy by demonetisation.…

There is no explicit acknowledgement in the budget that the rate of growth of the economy is decelerating and that there is a case for expansionary fiscal policy. To sum up, despite the hype and the rhetoric surrounding the allegedly “pro-poor, anti-rich” stance of the budget, it comprises a set of proposals that underwhelm and is unlikely to reduce inequalities nor make a big difference to the lives of the country’s underprivileged.

http://www.epw.in/journal/2017/5/editorials/hype-without-substance.html

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The show limps on – By Divya Trivedi (Feb 17, 2017, Frontline)

…Vibrant Gujarat, considered the biggest public relations exercise of all time, sadly, failed to live up to the hype. Local newspapers wrote about how farmers from nearby villages were brought to the event wearing suits to fill up the seats. Nobel laureates had to fend for their own seats, with Venkatraman Ramakrishnan walking out in frustration.

Reporters’ movements were controlled and they were not provided access to the events they wanted to attend. “This is Modi showing us our place in his grand scheme of things. As he and his cronies control most of our owners, he can seat or unseat us as he pleases,” said an exasperated reporter who was prevented from entering a tent serving tea while waiting for more than an hour for Modi’s arrival.

There was even an ATM inside the venue and several attendees flocked to it but got scared when it debited the money from their accounts without dispensing cash. “Waah re Modi’s digital India!” quipped a victim.…

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/the-show-limps-on/article9511607.ece

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The BJP’s Social Media Armies Seek To Divide – By Derek O’Brien (Feb 5, 2017, NDTV)

…As it happens, the only party that has consistently attacked the government on economic issues is the Trinamool Congress. We have paid for it. Central agencies have targeted Bengal and arrested our party MPs on trumped-up charges, without sufficient evidence. The social media armies of the BJP have systematically threatened religious harmony and social peace in Bengal. I stressed this in the Rajya Sabha, explaining how “Digital India” was being turned into “Divisive India”.

The examples I gave should be scary and worrying for anybody in government. Out of nothing, a Twitter trend was created by manipulating timelines and using hashtags like ‘#BengalIsBurning’. A mischief-maker uses Photoshop to concoct an incident and his cohorts ensure it goes viral. They pretend it is an organised religious attack. Actually, it is a made-up case, a hoax.

Who is behind all this? What connection do some of the Twitter handles and social media accounts associated with such campaigns have with the ruling party in Delhi? Why is Bengal being singled out? Is it because Trinamool has taken such an adamant and principled stand against the BJP regime’s whimsical and irresponsible policies?

http://www.ndtv.com/opinion/alert-digital-india-is-actually-divisive-india-1656222

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Why Bombay HC granting bail to Hindu Rashtra Sena men in Mohsin Shaikh murder case is worrisome – By Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves (Feb 3, 2017, Dailyo.in)

Proceedings in Justice Mridula Bhatkar’s courtroom at Bombay High Court are conducted briskly, even brusquely. A speedy pace of case disposal leaves scant cause for complaint due to delay. However, one of the cases disposed in January 2017 has been the subject of much comment and criticism by the legal fraternity and other sections of civil society. A group of lawyers from Pune has even petitioned the Chief Justice of the court to take suo-moto cognisance and quash the order, which they feel gives sufficient ground for doubting the court’s religious impartiality.

The court had granted bail, an act normally worth commending in a country where courts often do not implement the principle of “bail not jail” laid down 40 years ago by the Supreme Court. It was not the fact of grant of bail but the reasoning given by the court that was at issue. The accused were three persons of the Hindu Rashtra Sena, charged with the murder of a Muslim engineer, Mohsin Shaikh. It was in the nature of a hate crime, with the religion of the deceased being the only reason for his killing. However Justice Bhatkar’s reasoning was that the religious motivation for the crime was a factor in favour of the accused, which entitled them to bail.…

Rather, there is a distinct possibility of other courts selectively advancing along the jurisprudential direction indicated by Bhatkar, to provide succour to those involved in similarly inspired hate and terror attacks. The devilish consequences for our society and polity can well be imagined.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/mridula-bhatkar-judgment-hindu-rashtra-sena-mohsin-shaikh-maya-kodnani-nia-jihadis/story/1/15465.html

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The tyranny of populism – By Sashi Kumar (Feb 17, 2017, Frontline)

…Those of us nonplussed and upset by the public upsurge this Pongal season in Tamil Nadu in defiance of the May 2014 ruling by the Supreme Court, which effectively banned jallikkattu, and provided the state with a handle, which it eagerly seized, to undo the court order, can only seek solace in the hope that it is a long habit of not thinking the thing wrong that gave this cruel sport the false prestige or gravitas of tradition and fomented the widespread public resentment against its ban, and that with time its inhumane, cruel and lethal manifestation and consequences will speak to the Tamil collective conscience and change hearts.

That, though, would be an excruciatingly gradualist move towards a modern, rational and progressive social order, towards realising the scientific temper and humaneness enshrined in the Constitution. Excruciating, because many more bulls will be tortured and maimed and killed, and many more people will be injured and lose their lives before we consensually let go of this primitive practice.…

The way closure, at least for now, has been applied on the jallikkattu imbroglio may lead to different, perhaps undesirable, outcomes in similar situations where the judiciary, a section of the people and the government are involved in a three-way face-off.

http://www.frontline.in/columns/Sashi_Kumar/the-tyranny-of-populism/article9512009.ece

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Book Review

Foot Soldier of the Constitution: A Memoir

Author: Teesta Setalvad
Reviewed by: Binu Mathew
Available at: Amazon-Kindle Direct Publishing. http://www.amazon.in/
Review:
Teesta Setalvad: Foot Soldier Of The Indian Constitution (Feb 7, 2017, Countercurrents)

…When Teesta Setalvad’s memoir “Foot Soldier of the Constitution” appeared I simply could not resist. Her indomitable spirit in spite all the wild allegations, smearing of reputation, false cases, public humiliation, personal attacks and trolling amazed me. I wanted to know what keeps her growing. Thankfully, this book has all the answers.

We all know Teesta Setalvad as the face of the Gujarat justice movement. In fact, she is the engine that powers this movement. Without her, could there have been fight for justice for the victims of Gujarat pogrom? Without Teesta and her team at “Citizens for justice and Peace” I sincerely doubt that there could have been so many convictions including that of a minister.

But Teesta’s work for justice and communal harmony doesn’t start in 2002. It started way back in 1984 communal violence in Bombay. She also was also at the forefront reporting and organising for peace and harmony in the post Babri-Masjid riots in Bombay during 1992-93. It was these experiences that shaped Teesta the “Foot Soldier of the Constitution”.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/02/07/teesta-setalvad-foot-soldier-of-the-constitution/

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 30th, 2017

by newsdigest on February 9, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

UP election: Politics over Muzaffarnagar riot victims leaves Kairana polarised (Jan 29, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Abdul Sattar was just 12 years old when India was partitioned in 1947, yet it was the macabre of 2013 riots in western Uttar Pradesh that has shaken him to the core. “In 1947, the violence lingered on for over two months, but it was never so bad that we would have to leave our homes,” the octogenarian said. Sattar was among the thousands of people who shifted from the villages of Muzaffarnagar to neighbouring Kairana after the Jat-Muslim riot broke out in August 2013.

“Houses around ours were set on fire and we were forced to leave our village Ranagana,” he said. Nearly 5,000 families had moved out from the violence- stricken western UP district never to return. An estimated 3,000 victims landed in makeshift tents in the Malakkpur refugee camp on the outskirts of Kairana.

Now, two years later, the camp has been disbanded and its residents moved to two colonies that have come up with the help of the local MLA, Samajwadi Party’s Nahid Hassan. The one that Sattar lives in has been named Manawwar Hassan colony after the MLA’s father and has 128 brick houses and around 230 huts.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/up-election-politics-over-muzaffarnagar-riot-victims-leaves-kairana-polarised/story-4ulkDn0QSSj9hzq4lK21QI.html

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UP Polls: Shocking admission! Independent candidate admits entering politics only for money (Jan 28, 2017, New Indian Express)

In what can be called as flabbergasting, a video going viral on social media shows an independent candidate from Agra openly admitting that his only motive to enter politics is to earn money. Indirectly hinting towards the rest of the people coming into this field with the same motive, the candidate said he would follow the footsteps of those people.

“My only reason for coming into politics is money, I’ll fool people,” Chaudhary said.

Taking one step further, the candidate commented on Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that if a person can become the head of the country by fooling people, so would he. “By fooling people if somebody can become the Prime Minister, he must be having some talent. I will also follow the same footsteps,” he said.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2017/jan/28/up-polls-shocking-admission-independent-candidate-admits-entering-politics-only-for-money-1564413.html

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BJP MLA, five others booked for extortion in Mira Road (Jan 27, 2017, Times of India)

Sitting Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Mira-Bhayander and corporator Narendra Mehta and five officers of the Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC) have been booked for demanding Rs 2 crore extortion from a builder in 2015.

The Naya Nagar police in Mira Road filed the FIR on January 25 following the Bombay high court order on Monday. Last year, the complainant Vinod Trivedi (45) had filed a criminal writ petition alleging that the police failed to take his complaint against Mehta and the officers.

Mehta refuted the charges saying that the builder had been asked to stop work as he had submitted fake documents. “The builder has mentioned in his police statement that he has no proof. It is easy for anyone to make allegations,” said Mehta.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/56814996.cms

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The Indian Church remembers the missionary Graham Staines, burned alive by Hindu radicals (Jan 24, 2017, Herald Malaysia)

Monday the Indian Church remembers the murder of the Australian missionary Graham Staines, killed by Hindu radicals in 1999 along with his two youngest children.…

On the night between 22 and 23 January 1999, Hindu extremists burned the pastor Staines and his sons Philip and Timothy (9 and 7 years of age) alive, while they were asleep in their station wagon in Manoharpur village (district of Keonjhar, Orissa).…

The brutal murder of the Australian missionary was the prelude of the violence against Christians in Orissa triggered in 2008 by Hindu fundamentalists. John Dayal says that in that period “the Sangh targeted Christians once again, especially in Kandhamal district”.…

http://www.heraldmalaysia.com/news/the-indian-church-remembers-the-missionary-graham-staines-burned-alive-by-hindu-radicals/34414/2

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Missing JNU student’s family accuse cops of intimidation (Jan 29, 2017, DNA India)

Anger broke out at the home of the maternal uncle of missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, as the Delhi Crime branch, along with Uttar Pradesh police, carried out a search at his residence on Saturday. Alleging high-handedness by the police, Najeeb’s family said that the police had misbehaved with him.

“At 4:30 am, around 40 police personnel, of both Delhi police and UP police, stormed my uncle Ashraf Qadri’s resident in Badaun and treated him like a criminal. They misbehaved with him and asked him inappropriate questions regarding Najeeb’s disappearance,” said Najeeb’s brother Mujeeb Ahmed.

The family claimed that it was not just Najeeb’s uncle’s house that was searched. According to them, police also searched the house of his uncle’s friend Tarruf Shujat. “They (police) had checked my brother’s cellphone from which the last call was made to his friend Tarruf Shujat, who lives near my brother’s place,” said Najeeb’s mother Fatima Nafees. “They stormed into his house. They have checked their phones (Najeeb’s uncle and his uncle’s friend) and taken their SIM cards along with them,” she alleged.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/delhi/report-missing-jnu-student-s-family-accuse-cops-of-intimidation-2297982

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3 years on, wounds of riots still raw in Muzaffarnagar (Jan 30, 2017, Asian Age)

Raisa Bano, 48, sits under a shed with only a tarpaulin to save her five children from icy winds. Hasan, her husband, works as a daily wage labourer in a farmhouse and the owner has allowed the family to live in the shed.

“We lived in Kutba village, but during the riots (in 2013), our house was burnt down and my father-in-law and brother-in-law were hacked to death. We took refuge here and have been staying here ever since,” she said. Her children – three daughters and two sons – do not go to school, and she does not know what life holds for her family in the coming days.

Ask her about elections and her patience gives way. “The BJP people slaughtered my family and the government (controlled by the Samajwadi Party) did nothing to save us. We were denied compensation because we did not have money to bribe local officials. Hamare liye to sab chor hain (For us, all of them are thieves),” she said.…

http://www.asianage.com/india/politics/300117/3-years-on-wounds-of-riots-still-raw-in-muzaffarnagar.html

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Sanjay Leela Bhansali Assaulted On Padmavati Sets in Jaipur, Bollywood Demands Action (Jan 28, 2017, NDTV)

Bollywood is furious and actors and filmmakers are demanding action against protesters who assaulted veteran filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali on the sets of his film Padmavati in Jaipur on Friday. Mr Bhansali was slapped and his hair was pulled at the Jaigarh Fort by members of the Rajput Karni Sena who stormed the film sets and vandalised equipment.…

The Jaipur Police has been quoted by the Press Trust of India as saying that Mr Bhansali has decided to stop filming in the area. “The filmmakers have assured that they will not shoot here and will pack up,” senior police officer Anshuman Bhomia told PTI.

Fellow filmmaker Karan Johar said he is appalled at what has happened with Sanjay Bhansali. “This is the time for all us as an industry to stand by our people and fraternity,” he said. “The film industry has to abandon its politics of silence, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt said on Twitter, adding, “Silence is now tantamount to betrayal”. Actor and filmmaker Farhan Akhtar said there was enough evidence and he is waiting to see how many people are punished for what happened to Mr Bansali and his crew. “This is mockery of democracy.…

http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/sanjay-leela-bhansali-slapped-on-padmavati-sets-in-rajasthan-1653338

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As Calamity-Hit Farmers Continue To Commit Suicide, SC Asks Govt Why There’s No Policy To Help Them (Jan 28, 2017, India Times)

Having dealt with the issue of farmers’ suicide raised in many PILs earlier, the Supreme Court on Friday found it strange that there was no national policy to compensate tillers for crop failure or indebtedness, two major reasons for them to take their lives.

A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice N V Ramana was dealing with a three-year-old appeal filed by an NGO led by Mallika Sarabhai questioning the rationale behind Gujarat high court’s decision not to entertain its PIL seeking relief for farmers, nearly 600 of whom had committed suicide between 2004-2012.

The CJI said, “It is rather strange that there have been several incidents of farmers’ suicide yet there is no national policy to protect them from crop failure leading to their indebtedness. There must be a policy to compensate farmers for crop failure. This is a national issue and of larger public interest.” Petitioner’s counsel Colin Gonsalves and Gujarat counsel Pritesh Kapur agreed with the bench. The bench suo motu decided to convert the appeal into a PIL and issued notices to the Centre, states and Union Territories.…

http://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/as-calamity-hit-farmers-continue-to-commit-suicide-sc-asks-govt-why-there-s-no-policy-to-help-them-270418.html

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Asaram Bapu case: Supreme Court denies bail, orders fresh FIR (Jan 30, 2017, Indian Express)

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the bail application of self-styled godman Asaram Bapu and ordered a fresh FIR against him for attaching a false medical document along with his plea. He was also slapped with Rs 1 lakh in fine for filing a “frivolous petition”.

Asaram, who is facing allegations of sexual assault, moved the apex court for bail on medical grounds. Refusing to modify its earlier order that had declined him interim bail, the Supreme Court bench observed that the instant plea was devoid of merit and, therefore, dismissed.

This was the seventh bail application of the 74-year-old that has been rejected by the court. He was sent to jail in August 2013 for allegedly sexually assaulting a 16-year-old school girl.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/supreme-court-denies-bail-sought-on-medical-grounds-to-self-styled-godman-asaram-bapu-4498611/

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Gujarat Dalit rally in Surendranagar takes strong exception to calling human rights NGO Navsarjan anti-national (Jan 25, 2017, Counterview)

Scores of poor people from several towns and villages gathered in Gujarat’s Surendranagar town on Wednesday to protest against the cancellation of foreign funding license of Gujarat’s most well-spread-out Dalit rights NGO, Navsarjan Trust, taking strong exception to the reason for the Government of India order – “undesirable activities of the association detrimental to national interest.”

Demanding reversal of the order on Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) license, the protest took place to mark the 31st anniversary of the massacre of four Dalits in village Golana in Central Gujarat on January 25, 1986.

The event became the main reason for founding Navsarjan as a Dalit rights organization in Gujarat. A separate commemorative gathering took place at Golana, where Dalits paid homage to their colleagues who were killed three decades ago. “Are we anti-nationals because we struggle for our rights?”, was the general view among those who had gathered at the well-organized meet in Surendranagar.…

http://www.counterview.net/2017/01/gujarat-dalit-rally-in-surendranagar.html

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Opinions and Editorials

BJP at its game of communal polarisation in UP – By T R Ramachandran (Jan 25, 2017, Free Press Journal)

…Worried by the SP-Congress truck, the BJP is once again at its game of communal polarisation. In a three-cornered contest, the BJP might well be pushed to the wall with the minority Muslim vote ranged against it.

It is in this context that the Lotus party is seeking to project itself as a saviour of the other backward classes in a desperate bid to regain power in UP after 14 years. Notwithstanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s diktat of steering clear of giving tickets to the relatives of party leaders, the party has just done that. The saffron brigade appears to have alienated its supporters of small traders as well as the Brahmins.…

Judging by the BJP’s first list of candidates it has not given a single seat to a Muslim candidate along with banking on communal polarisation in riot affected western UP. Tickets have been distributed to leaders involved in communal incidents including sitting MLAs Sangeet Som and Suresh Rana, both of whom are accused in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots. The wife of the BJP/RSS leader accused in last September’s Bijnor incident has also been fielded.… The BJP has again resorted to playing the communal card amid reports that the dominant Jat community is disillusioned with it.…

http://www.freepressjournal.in/analysis/bjp-at-its-game-of-communal-polarisation-in-up/1008090

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We, the other – By Abdul Khaliq (Jan 26, 2017, Indian Express)

So inured to injustice have we become as a society that the Mumbai High Court’s outrageous judgment in the Mohsin Shaikh murder case has been largely ignored. The honourable judge has granted bail to three of the accused in the gruesome killing of the young IT professional on the extenuating grounds that the victim belonged to a different religion which provoked the killers to murder him. The short point made is that being a Muslim is sufficient provocation and justification for inviting retribution and death.

I cringe but am not surprised at this mindset, which I believe is pervasive in every walk of life. I have a dear friend – a God-fearing, educated Hindu, who would put his life on the line to protect me from harm. Paradoxically, he also believes that the mass killings of Muslims post-Godhra in 2002, in Muzzaffarnagar in 2013, were justified, that the eight unarmed, alleged SIMI terrorists who were gunned down in an “encounter” in Bhopal met their just deserts. How does one explain this contradiction?

Obviously for my friend, our affinity transcends core beliefs but the fact that he harbours such deep animosity against Muslims in general only reinforces the view that seven decades after Partition, there is no let-up in the pathological hate and distrust that separate Hindus and Muslims.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/mumbai-high-court-mohsin-shaikh-murder-muslims-islamophobia-4491674/

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Uncompassionate Hindutva: ‘World’s Largest Democracy’ Clamps Down on Christians – By Eric Metaxas (Jan 30, 2017, CNS News)

Why would India block foreign donations to help poor children? The answer is Hindutva. On January 13th, Compassion International told the sponsors of 130,000 Indian children that, barring an unlikely turn of events, it would cease operations in India in mid-March.

The announcement came a year after the Indian government told the organization that “it could no longer receive funding from outside the subcontinent.”

While the news dismayed Compassion’s donors, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to those familiar with the deteriorating state of religious freedom in India.…

http://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/eric-metaxas/uncompassionate-hindutva-worlds-largest-democracy-clamps-down-christians

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RSS training also produces a Shanmuganathan – By Anil Sharma (Jan 30, 2017, Free Press Journal)

Meghalaya governor V Shanmuganathan, 68, a RSS pracharak has resigned after 80 staff members of the Raj Bhavan wrote a letter to President Pranab Mukherjee that he had converted the place into a young ladies club.

Trouble began for the bachelor governor when he had invited a young aspirant for the PRO’s job on the Raj Bhavan for ‘one-to-one’ interview, and touched her inappropriately. (He reportedly complimented her and compared her looks with that of Bollywood star Deepika Padukone). This happened in December and the RSS pracharak may have been smug in the belief that the incident had passed over without any bad forebodings for him when nothing happened in its immediate aftermath.

But the issue got exposed when the lady concerned shared the details with a journalist friend who was also one of the aspirants for the PRO’s job. In the BJP, appointments to the posts that are made at the government’s discretion are an exclusively organisational affair with the RSS having an upper hand. Usually, the organisational secretary Ram Lal and the party president Amit Shah call the shots with inputs from concerned persons. This is often a time consuming process that tests the patience of the aspirants but the saffron bosses insist on it.…

http://www.freepressjournal.in/analysis/anil-sharma-rss-training-also-produces-a-shanmuganathan/1009869

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1984 anti-Sikh riots: Can the Centre deliver justice to victims of mass violence? – By Aakar Patel (Jan 29, 2017, First Post)

How serious is the Indian government about giving justice to the victims and survivors of the Sikh massacre of 1984? It is a question that all Indians should be interested in, because it will clarify whether or not this country can ever deliver justice in acts of mass violence.

In the slaughter that followed the assassination of Indira Gandhi, 3,325 people were murdered, of whom 2,733 were killed in Delhi alone. Powerful leaders from the Congress were named as having participated in the killings. Some of them, like HKL Bhagat, have since died themselves without facing trial. Others like Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler and Kamal Nath are still around. The Ranganath Misra commission that first inquired the massacre recorded their statements in private, in the absence of the victims, and absolved Rajiv Gandhi’s government of responsibility.

A dozen Congress and non-Congress governments at the Centre have come and gone in these 32 years, while little progress was made on the cases. The Vajpayee regime instituted the Nanavati commission, whose report was tabled by Manmohan Singh’s government. This report made public a lot of material that was shocking, and Singh apologised to the country on behalf of Congress. Tytler lost his ministry but no justice was forthcoming.…

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/1984-anti-sikh-riots-can-the-centre-deliver-justice-to-victims-of-mass-violence-3225598.html

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Why are gau-rakshaks supporting Jallikattu? – By Anusha Ravi (Jan 21, 2017, Oneindia.com)

Pro-right wing organisations across the country have been hailing protests in support of Jallikattu, these are the same groups that are up in arms against cow slaughter earning them the name cow-vigilante.

The Supreme Court banned Jallikattu owing to cruelty to animals during the sport, but for those who brand themselves as protectors of the holy cow, nothing about Jallikattu is cruel.

Members of the Bajrang Dal have time and again been in the news for either assaulting others for alleged illegal transport of cattle or assisting police in intercepting vehicles transporting cows largely in the coastal belt of Karnataka.…

http://www.oneindia.com/india/why-are-gau-rakshaks-supporting-jallikattu-2323622.html

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 17th, 2016

October 27, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Communal harmony lessons in J’khand textbooks to foster love, combat hatred News Headlines Modi “advised” ex-DGP to go soft on Sangh Parivar, said 2002 Gujarat violence was “natural, uncontrollable” Bahraich: 2 cops suspended, 34 arrested for clashes during Durga Puja Real threats to India are communal and […]

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