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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 13th, 2017

by newsdigest on February 23, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

ISI agents arrested in Madhya Pradesh linked to BJP (Feb 10, 2017, India Today)

The arrest of 11 alleged ISI operatives by the Madhya Pradesh Anti Terrorist Squad on Thursday has come to bite the ruling BJP after allegations surfaced that one of the arrested operatives was a relative of a sitting BJP corporator.

The Congress has now alleged that Dhruv Saxena – another arrested operative – was the district coordinator of the party’s IT cell in Madhya Pradesh. Saxena was also seen attending an event that was addressed by state Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Pictures of Saxena attending the event in saffron robes have gone viral on social media.

Congress on Friday held a protest where demonstrators burnt effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, and raised anti-ISI slogans. “They talk about character and culture but now ISI agents have been arrested from across the state and they are BJP leaders. They have connections with top BJP leader,” PC Sharma of the Bhopal district Congress said.…

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/isi-agents-arrested-in-madhya-pradesh-linked-to-bjp-party-leaders-privately-express-anguish-over-possible-infiltration/1/880043.html

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How a Murder Victim’s Family Prevented Communal Clashes in Poll-bound Bijnor (Feb 13, 2017, News18.com)

…Police was deployed in Peda and Nayagaon villages and communal tensions were high. Leading the protests were local BJP leaders, who demanded the arrest of all the accused.… On Saturday afternoon, while 15 districts in western UP were heading to polls, BJP workers blocked one of the main crossings in the city for five hours and demanded “Justice for Vishal”. Traders, too, downed their shutters in protest. That is when Vishal’s family realized the situation could get out of control.

“Some people who were protesting were asking us to bring Vishal’s body on to the main crossing so that we could all protest together. When I went out, I noticed that the crowd was getting aggressive. In fact, a couple of people in the crowd were even drunk and started shouting expletives at the other community. We realized that the situation could soon get out of control. We decided to just go back home instead of joining the protest. If we had gone there with Vishal’s body, passions would have erupted and there would be riots in Bijnor. I am glad that better sense prevailed over our family. We don’t want any more bloodshed,” Rajiv Singh says.

…Two days after the clashes broke out, police investigations revealed that Aishwarya Chuadhary, the district president of the RSS-affiliated Adhivakta Sangh, had been accused of leading the violence. Statements of the accused, police had said, named both Chaudhary and his gunner. According to reports, the violence had died down after an initial flare up but Aishwarya Chaudhary had instigated the mob to return and fire upon members of the other community. Cops also recovered evidence, including pictures of Chaudhary at the scene. Interestingly, Chaudhary’s wife Shuchi Chaudhary is the BJP candidate for the Bijnor assembly constituency.…

http://www.news18.com/news/india/how-the-victims-family-prevented-clashes-in-poll-bound-bijnor-1348391.html

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Sunil Joshi murder case: Prosecution questions Sadhvi Pragya Singh’s acquittal, says ‘no ground for appeal’ (Feb 9, 2017, Financial Express)

Soon after the acquittal of Sadhvi Pragya Singh in the Sunil Joshi murder case, the prosecution has written to the Madhya Pradesh government that ‘there is no ground for appeal’.… Sadhvi along with seven other accused were acquitted by the First Additional Sessions Judge, Dewas, earlier this month.… Joshi’s sister-in-law Shailaja questioned Sadhvi’s acquittal a day after the verdict came out. She also indicated that the family was indifferent to the verdict or to an appeal.

As per records, the probe into the murder of Joshi was linked with a larger plot of terror by alleged Hindu extremists and the case took several twists and turns which prompted the judge to remark, “The analysis of entire evidence reveals that either out of prejudice or some unknown reasons the agencies did not seriously investigate the case and collected weak and mutually contradictory evidence that is not enough to prove the charges. The contrary nature of evidence has cast a serious doubt over the prosecution story.”

The judge had also highlighted certain glaring contradictions. Even after 2 years of Joshi’s murder, the MP police was not able to file a closure report. In 2010, ATS in Rajasthan (under the Congress regime) made the first arrest in the case, that of Harshad Solanki. The arrest was made in connection with the Ajmer blast and was later brought to Dewas on transit demand. As per Dewas police Solanki was also accused in Gujarat’s Best Bakery case, who shot Joshi. According to the chargesheet filed by the police in the Dewas court in February 2011, Sadhvi was a conspirator and both Solanki and Ramesh on whose two-wheeler he was riding pillion at the time of murder had confessed to the crime.…

http://www.financialexpress.com/india-news/sunil-joshi-murder-case-prosecution-questions-sadhvi-pragya-singhs-acquittal-says-no-ground-for-appeal/544302/

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Trump told: US-based Hindutva groups funding hatred against India’s Christians, Muslims under FCRA cover (Feb 11, 2017, Counterview)

US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has asked newly-appointed President Donald Trump to put “religious freedom and human rights at the heart of all trade, aid, and diplomatic interactions with India” and urge the Government of India “to push Indian states that have adopted anti-conversion laws to repeal or amend them to conform to international norms.”

An independent, bipartisan US federal government commission, in its latest recommendations, which have also been sent to the US Secretary of State, and the Congress, USCIRF, referring to the clampdown on NGOs under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 1976, has sought their intervention to “urge the Indian government to immediately lift its sanctions against NGOs working for the welfare of the minorities in India.”

In an unusually sharp critique of the BJP-led NDA government, the USCIRF wants the US administration to identify and act against “Hindutva groups that raise funds from US citizens and support hate campaigns in India”, adding, “Such groups should be banned from operating in the US if they are found to spread hatred against religious minorities in India.” Referring to the March 2016 amendment to the FCRA, introduced “to legalize funding by foreign entities to political parties”, the USCIRF states, “The amendment enables foreign Hindu organizations to send money to India-based radical Hindu organizations”.…

http://www.counterview.net/2017/02/trump-told-us-based-hindutva-groups.html

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Religious minorities, Dalits face discrimination in India, says US body (Feb 9, 2017, Business Standard)

The religious minority communities and Dalits face discrimination and persecution in India where hate crimes, social boycotts and forced conversion have escalated dramatically since 2014, an independent bipartisan American body has claimed, asking the US to put human rights at the heart of trade and diplomatic interactions with India.

“Under Congress Party and BJP-led governments, religious minority communities and Dalits, both have faced discrimination and persecution due to a combination of overly broad or ill-defined laws, an inefficient criminal justice system, and a lack of jurisprudential consistency,” said a report released by US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) that monitors violation of religious freedom abroad.

“In particular, since 2014, hate crimes, social boycotts, assaults, and forced conversion have escalated dramatically,” says the report ‘Constitutional and Legal Challenges Faced by Religious Minorities in India’ which has been authored by Iqtidat Karamat Cheema, who is director for Institute for Leadership and Community Development, in Birmingham, England.…

http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/religious-minorities-dalits-face-discrimination-in-india-says-us-body-117020900336_1.html

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Mathura BJP candidate booked for hate and communal speech (Feb 6, 2017, Times of India)

Mathura police has registered a case of communal and hate speech against BJP Yuva wing state general secretary and party’s candidate from Maat constituency of Mathura, Kunwar Singh Nishad.

Confirming the move, ADM, Ravindra Kumar, said cases have been registered against two people, including the BJP candidate, for using indecent words and communal and hate language during public meeting at Ashok Kumar Mishra Girls Degree College on Sunday.

According to police while addressing the meeting Nishad dubbed himself to be a true follower of “bharat mata” (mother India) and said he would not tolerate any “khilwad” with her.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/56997279.cms

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35% of Muzaffarnagar riot victims not registered with EC as voters: Survey (Feb 9, 2017, Times of India)

At least 35% of people who were displaced after the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots are not registered as “voters” with the Election Commission, finds a survey conducted by NGO Afkar India Foundation. With elections in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli just a couple of days away (February 11), a complaint in this regard has been filed with the EC.

While the study was conducted after the local administration concluded its voter ID drive, the survey findings suggest that there are colonies in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli where nearly 40% people don’t have a voter ID. For instance, in Shamli’s Alflan colony, out of 900 residents eligible to cast their ballot, only 11 have voter ID cards. The survey reveals that 19,000 “voters” were displaced after the 2013 riots and 6,650 of them don’t have voter IDs.…

Akram Akhtar, who runs Afkar India Foundation and is the co-author of “Living Apart: Communal Violence and Forces Displacement”, a field report which was brought to fore by social activists in September last year, said, “I have filed a complaint with the Election Commission of India and the State Election Commission and hope that action is taken. Voting is the right of all Indians and keeping riot victims aloof is not a good sign.”…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/57046456.cms

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Year after sedition row, JNU rejects ABVP request for lecture (Feb 8, 2017, DNA India)

The JNU administration has turned down a request by ABVP for a “nationalism lecture” tomorrow fearing it may lead to tension on campus on the first anniversary of the sedition row.

After a year of controversies following the arrest of student leader Kanhaiya Kumar for sedition on JNU campus, the varsity administration is treading cautiously to maintain “peace and harmony” on “crucial” days.

The event against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru last year triggered a nationalism debate across the country hogging all the “negative” limelight for JNU, which has led the administration to turn down ABVP’s request for a “nationalism lecture” tomorrow fearing it may disrupt peace on campus.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/academy/report-year-after-sedition-row-jnu-rejects-abvp-request-for-lecture-2316499

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Delhi High Court seeks polygraph tests to trace missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed (Feb 11, 2017, New Indian Express)

The Delhi High Court on Friday said that it had asked the city police to explore methods like lie-detector tests for those who are connected with the disappearance of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Najeeb Ahmed, as all other leads have failed to yield any result so far.

Najeeb, 27, has been missing since October 15 last year, following an altercation with Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) students at his hostel the night before. Later, Najeeb’s mother Fatima Nafees had moved a habeas corpus plea in the court seeking help to trace her son.…

“The student had gone missing in October (2016), it is February now. Nearly four months have gone by and none of the leads is going anywhere. We asked for polygraph tests as the other leads have not yielded any results,” said a Bench comprising Justices G S Sistani and Vinod Goel.…

http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/delhi/2017/feb/11/delhi-high-court-seeks-polygraph-tests-to-trace-missing-jnu-student-najeeb-ahmed-1569329.html

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RSS leader arrested for murder of convert (Feb 9, 2017, Indian Express)

An RSS leader has been arrested in Kerala’s Malappuram district in connection with the murder of an upper-caste Hindu man months after he converted to Islam. Madathil Narayanan, 47, is an RSS pracharak and saha karyavahak of the organisation in Tirur taluk. Earlier, 14 other workers of BJP or RSS have been arrested in connection with the murder of P Faizal, a native of Tirur.

Police have identified Narayanan as the key conspirator in the murder of Faizal, who was hacked to death on November 19, a day before he was to return to Gulf where he was employed. Faizal, an upper caste Hindu Nair, had converted to Islam a few months before he was murdered.

Police said Narayanan was also an accused in the murder of a priest Ayyappan after he converted to Islam in 1998. A trial court had acquitted Narayanan and five others, but the high court sentenced them to life imprisonment. But on July 20 last year, the Supreme Court acquitted all the accused. Narayanan allegedly plotted Faizal’s murder four months after the apex court order set him free.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/rss-leader-arrested-for-murder-of-convert-p-faizal/

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Opinions and Editorials

ISI spies and sex rackets: BJP’s MP unit has become a haven for criminals – By Rahul Noronha (Feb 15, 2017, Dailyo.in)

In a major embarrassment to the ruling BJP in Madhya Pradesh, two persons arrested by the police’s Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) during an investigation into a spy ring turned out to have strong links with the party. The party that is known to wear its nationalism on its sleeve initially responded by not reacting to the arrests and then moved on to give clarifications on how those arrested had peripheral roles before finally acknowledging the action and congratulating the ATS for its work.

If this were not enough, two BJP office bearers were also nabbed by the police in separate cases of running sex rackets. The ongoing crackdown against illegal mining in the state also had some relatives of BJP leaders in the net. The penetration of the party by criminal elements should be a cause for concern to the party. In November 2016, Satvinder and Dadu were arrested in Jammu for supplying classified information to their handlers across the border. The MP ATS had been alerted after a state link was found in it. After mounting surveillance on the suspects, ATS arrested 11 people from Gwalior, Bhopal, Satna and Jabalpur.…

Close on the heels of the spy ring, the Bhopal police cracked a sex racket in which another BJP leader was found involved. The Shivpuri police arrested Rajji Randhawa, a local BJP leader on charges of pushing a girl in Indore in the flesh trade.… The embarrassment was evident when BJP state president Nand Kumar Singh Chauhan told state delegates that he was reprimanded by BJP president Amit Shah for the involvement of criminals in the party. Whether that happened or not, one doesn’t know but it is up to the party leadership to weed out criminal elements. It, however, seems improbable in the MP BJP unit as of now given the welcoming-with-open-arms policy which the party seems to be following in the state.

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/bjp-isi-agant-dhruv-saxena-pakistan/story/1/15670.html

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Who Paid for the Pro-BJP Exit Poll that Dainik Jagran Published? – By Siddharth Varadarajan (Feb 15, 2017, The Wire)

Many sins were committed when the owners of Dainik Jagran decided to run an exit poll on their website on February 12, 2017 claiming the BJP had a massive lead over its rivals in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.

The publication and dissemination of the poll in the middle of a multi-phase set of elections was a violation of explicit guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India… since we know the poll was a form of paid news, the individual or party that has paid the bill needs to disclose the amount and method of payment as part of their formal returns to the Election Commission.…

how did Dainik Jagran end up crediting ‘Resource Development International’ with the poll? This is a question the police and the EC need to ask the owner of the newspaper. Curiously, there is another organisation with the same initials, RDI – short for ‘Research and Development Initiative’ – that not only has a history of conducting election surveys but has links to the Bharatiya Janata Party as well.…

https://thewire.in/109087/who-paid-for-the-pro-bjp-exit-poll-that-dainik-jagran-published/

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Rewriting history to suit Hindutva: The Vasundhara Raje govt is insulting the legacy of Maharana Pratap – By Sandipan Sharma (Feb 11, 2017, First Post)

…A few years ago, for instance, the department of public relations of the Rajasthan state government came up with a unique explanation for Raje’s election as chief minister. In a “fan-ticle” published in its official publication, the department said Raje’s ancestor Jayappa Scindia, a ruler of Gwalior, was killed in a battle in Rajasthan’s Nagaur in 1759. The magazine claimed his dying words were that his soul will get mukti (salvation) only when a Scindia becomes Rajasthan’s ruler. Thus the ascension of Maharani Vasundhara Raje Scindia to the democratic throne, even though it took a good three centuries.

If history can be rewritten for the benefit of the winners of electoral battles, imagine how followers of the royalty would be itching to control the narrative around some of their legendary warriors and kings, especially the big three – Prithviraj Chouhan of Ajmer, and Rana Sanga and Maharana Pratap of Mewar.

The Rajasthan government’s latest attempt to rewrite history is to announce Maharana Pratap as the winner of the Battle of Haldighati fought in 1576. The post-truth was proposed by a BJP legislator from Jaipur and readily forwarded by the vice-chancellor of the University of Rajasthan for appropriate action. While the verdict on the new winner of the battle is awaited, some Rajput leaders and legislators have joined the chorus for rewriting history and declaring Rana Pratap as the winner.…

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/bjps-vasundhara-raje-govt-distorts-fact-around-maharana-pratap-to-suit-hindutva-politics-3277604.html

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Rijiju’s Hindu conversion tweet is a mischievous attempt to twist facts – By Aasheesh Sharma (Feb 14, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Union minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju has invited the wrath of Opposition parties with his remark about the depleting Hindu population. In a tweet on Monday, Rijiju said: “Hindu population is reducing in India because Hindus never convert people. Minorities in India are flourishing unlike some countries around (sic).”

Rijiju is not the first member of the saffron brigade in the country to whip up passions by raising the spectre of majority Hindus being outnumbered by the minorities owing to conversion or much higher rates of population growth.…

Not just is Rijiju’s tweet the latest in the litany of alarmist statements saffron organisations such as the Vishva Hindu Parishad want to propagate, it couldn’t have been further from reality, if Census data and projections are anything to go by. According to the 2011 Census, in absolute numbers, the population of Hindus stood at 966 million, rising from 828 million in 2001. In comparison, the absolute population of Muslims in the 2011 Census was 138 million.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/analysis/rijiju-s-hindu-conversion-tweet-is-a-mischievous-attempt-to-twist-facts/story-IoS3SK0BVDDqKwP5DuoQHL.html

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I lost 13 years, my wife and my mother because of false terror charges: Hanif Pakitwala – By Amit Kumar (Feb 12, 2017, Twocircles.net)

…Hanif was one of the two people absolved of all charges last week by the Supreme Court in relation to the May 2002 Ahmedabad tiffin bomb blast case. For the past 13 years, Hanif had been labeled a terrorist; he had never been to the police station in his life until the fateful night of April 28, 2003.… To his horror, he found that he along with 21 others had been accused of bomb blasts in the city when he was presented in the court on May 1, 2003.

“Since then, I have been wondering. Why me?” Hanif says. To make matters worse for Hanif, he along with others were implicated under the now defunct law POTA, which denied bail. But, Hanif says, he knew that since he was innocent, there was nothing that could go wrong. At least that is what he thought.…

Over the next week, as his release papers were getting ready, Hanif could barely sleep. Finally, on Wednesday when he was released, he stepped out and hugged his family in the open air for the first time. “We cried…we cried a lot. I cried thinking of my departed mother, wife, who were waiting for this day.…

http://twocircles.net/2017feb12/404601.html

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In Its Third Month, India’s Cash Shortage Begins to Bite – By Geeta Anand and Hari Kumar (Jan 24, 2017, New York Times)

First, Yashpal Singh Rathore’s marriage was delayed by his future in-laws, who, like most Indians, ran short of cash after Prime Minister Narendra Modi banned the country’s largest currency notes in November. Then the 29-year-old lost his job when the ensuing cash crunch hit demand for motorcycles and scooters sold by the company where he worked, Hero MotoCorp Ltd. After that, the prospective in-laws refused to let the wedding go forward until he found another job. “So I lost my job and I lost my marriage,” he said in an interview at a protest, where he shouted slogans with more than 100 red-flag-waving workers let go by Hero.

Mr. Rathore is one among a large number of Indians – the precise number is not known – who have lost their jobs since Nov. 8, when Mr. Modi abruptly banned 86 percent of the country’s currency in a bid to eliminate “black money,” currency on which taxes had not been paid. For the sake of secrecy, the government largely avoided printing replacement notes in advance. So there has been an acute and protracted shortage of cash as the government struggles to catch up. That, in turn, has proved economically damaging.

Exactly how harmful remains hard to determine, but the available data is not reassuring. Demand for vegetables is declining because people don’t have the money to pay for them, for example, and some service industries are reporting steep job losses. The International Monetary Fund this month cut its projected growth rate for India by one percentage point for the current fiscal year, to 6.6 percent. While the full impact is still difficult to discern, there is little doubt who is suffering the most. “This has actually hurt the poor enormously,” said Nasser Munjee, chairman of DCB Bank and a company director at HDFC and Tata Motors.…

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/24/world/asia/in-its-third-month-indias-cash-shortage-begins-to-bite.html

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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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