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Zakia Jafri

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 28th, 2015

by newsdigest on January 2, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup 

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

They pray for peace and communal harmony (Dec 26, 2015, The Hindu)

The bells tolled, the priests led special mass, the faithful recited prayers and there was a measured celebration all round as Christians heralded the birth of Christ in a revered manner in the dioceses of Thanjavur and Kumbakonam.…

Children dressed as angels brought the icon of Infant Jesus and handed over to the Rector who placed it in the crib. Thousands of devotees offered prayers during the midnight mass when world peace was sought and the victims of the recent floods were remembered.

Significantly, separate mass were held in Tamil, English, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi. Hundreds of faithful from the region congregated at the Poondi Madha Basilica where Rector A. Amirthasamy celebrated the special midnight Christmas Mass in the presence of Vice-Rector Rev. Alphonse. Those who gathered for the prayers shared sweets even as they prayed for world peace and communal harmony.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/they-pray-for-peace-and-communal-harmony/article8030653.ece

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Congress didn’t let Sonia meet Zakia Jafri after riots: 2002 ‘whistleblower’ (Dec 28, 2015, Indian Express)

Congress president Sonia Gandhi planned to visit Zakia Jafri, widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the post-Godhra riots of 2002, but was prevented from doing so by party leaders, claims retired DGP R B Sreekumar, in his book Gujarat: Behind the Curtain which was released last week.…

Terming the conduct of the Congress leadership at the state and Centre during the course and aftermath of the riots as “quite vacillatingly obnoxious”, Sreekumar writes, “Soulless secularism and over-sensitivity to Hindu sentiments presumably prompted Congress leaders to block the plans of Congress president Sonia Gandhi to visit Zakia Jafri… during her Gujarat visit after the riots, for expressing condolence.”…

The former police officer accuses the UPA government of “not releasing copies of letters sent by President K R Narayanan to Prime Minister A B Vajpayee on Gujarat riots”, and of not providing reports of the Central intelligence bureau to the judicial commission probing the riots. He alleges that the Manmohan Singh regime also ignored demands for a separate judicial commission to probe the chief minister (Modi).…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/congress-didnt-let-sonia-meet-zakia-jafri-after-riots-2002-whistleblower/

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BJP MLA & MP involved in spreading communal tensions in Shamli; were present on dais when Prophet Muhammad was ridiculed (Dec 28, 2015, India.com)

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) unit in Uttar Pradesh faces yet another allegation of stoking communal tensions in the state, as two of its senior most leaders are reported to be lately involved in spreading hatred against Muslim community in the sensitive region of Shamli. BJP MP Hukum Singh and MLA Suresh Rana are accused of being involved in the mahapanchayat organized on Friday, where an influential sadhu Jasveer Maharaj went on to make defamatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad, apart from ridiculing the local Muslims.

Uttar Pradesh police swung into action, after infuriated Muslims gheraoed the Kandhla police station, demanding FIR against Hukum Singh, Suresh Rana and Jasveer Maharaj. Local Muslim cleric Ahtramul Hasan demanded demanded charges of NSA being labelled against them.

Kairana MP Singh, and Thana Bhawan MLA Rana (both constituents of Shamli) were present on dais when, Swami Jasveer Maharaj went into vitriolic mode and delivered inflammatory speech against Prophet Muhammad.…Jasveer Maharaj, who heads the Hindu ashram in Shamli warned Muslims in the locality of dire consequences if they do not mend their ways. “They should remember what Hindus did to them in Kawal and Meerapur (during 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots) where thousands of Muslims were rushed into refugee camps within 16 hours.”

http://www.india.com/news/india/bjp-mla-were-present-on-dais-when-prophet-muhammad-was-ridiculed-817822/

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BJP leader’s son Vishal Rana and cousin named ‘main conspirators’ in Dadri lynching chargesheet (Dec 24, 2015, First Post)

Nearly three months after Mohammed Akhlaq, 52, was beaten to death and his son almost crippled by a mob in Dadri for allegedly storing beef in their refrigerator at home, Gautambudh Nagar police on Wednesday filed a chargesheet against 15 people, including a minor, but there was no mention of beef in it. What is there though, is the name of Vishal Rana, son of a local BJP leader, and cousin Shivam as the main conspirators who led the mob to Akhlaq’s house and assaulted the family, reports The Indian Express.

Akhlaq died in a Noida hospital. Danish is recovering after severe head injuries and complicated surgery. Akhlaq’s daughter, Shaishta, has been made the prime witness in the case. “Charge sheet has been filed against 15 persons. Additional charge sheet will be filed against few more persons whose names figured in the statement of Akhlaq’s daughter, Shaishta, recorded before the court. Two persons were arrested today while two others are absconding,” deputy superintendent of police Anurag Singh said.

“Forensic report is yet to be received on whether the meat sample taken from the fridge of the deceased’s house was that of goat or cow. In the chargesheet it is stated that the accused persons had attacked the house of Akhlaq after announcement from the temple about cow slaughtering. The accused had found pieces of meat stored in fridge and they had claimed it to be that of beef,” Singh said.…

http://www.firstpost.com/india/bjp-leaders-son-vishal-rana-named-in-dadri-lynching-chargesheet-2557944.html

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Worry About ‘Your ISIS’, BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav Tells Muslim Al Jazeera Anchor (Dec 26, 2015, Huffington Post)

BJP’s national general secretary Ram Madhav may have set the party up for embarrassment during an interview with Al Jazeera presenter and journalist Mehdi Hasan. Ironically, Madhav had clearly agreed to be a part of a segment titled, ‘Is Modi’s India flirting with fascism?’ to defend the government against such allegations.

During the course of the interview, Madhav told the Muslim anchor, ‘your ISIS’ while trying to make a point about his apprehensions about the terror group acquiring nuclear weapons. Hasan, not willing to let go easily, exclaimed, ‘My ISIS’ thrice, as Madhav fumbled and tried to correct his course. The BJP leader didn’t apologise but went on to explain, ‘What I was trying to say is ISIS…’ However, the damage had been done.…

At the beginning, Hasan asked about the instances of communal violence in the country and atrocities against minorities, citing government data. However, Madhav sought to correct him saying it was wrong data. When Hasan retorted that he was quoting government data, the BJP leader said that the anchor had old data and new figures showed that violence against minorities had declined during Modi’s tenure. Hasan persisted with his argument and reminded Madhav that the National Crime Records Bureau had questioned the said ‘new’ data.…

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2015/12/26/ram-madhav_0_n_8878510.html

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Bajrang Dal leader arrested for threatening on Facebook to rape and kill social worker (Dec 29, 2015, First Post)

A local Bajrang Dal leader has been arrested for allegedly posting hate comments on Facebook against a social worker who had filed a police complaint against the outfit for ‘stalling’ the screening of Shah Rukh Khan-starrerDilwale at three theatres in Mangaluru. Mangaluru East (Kadri) police arrested Puneet Raj Kottari, the city co-convener of Bajrang Dal, following a complaint against him and 21 others by Vidya Dinker, said police commissioner S Murugan.

Activists of the right-wing outfit had stopped the screening of the film at theatres here from 20 December in protest against Khan’s comments on intolerance in the country. Dinker, in her complaint, said that the Facebook page ‘Veera Kesari’ and its followers had uploaded remarks threatening to physically assault, rape and kill her.

Based on the complaint, a case was registered at the Kadri police station and the arrest came on Saturday last. Dinker, the co-ordinator of Citizens Forum for Mangalore Development, had lodged a complaint against unidentified Bajrang Dal activists for disrupting the screening of Dilwale.…

http://www.firstpost.com/india/bajrang-dal-leader-arrested-for-threatening-on-facebook-to-rape-and-kill-social-worker-2563426.html

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UP Min says there was a pact between RSS and then PM in Babri demolition (Dec 25, 2015, UNI India)

Uttar Pradesh Minorities Welfare Minister and Samajwadi Party’s firebrand leader Mohammad Azam Khan today alleged that there was a confidential pact between the then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao and Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) over the subject of demolition of Babri mosque in Ayodhya.

Mr Khan, while talking to mediapersons here, said security persons were on the spot on December 6, 1992, when the mosque was being demolished but due to this pact they did not do anything.

“I am not accusing the security persons but this is a historical fact,” said Mr Khan.

http://www.uniindia.com/up-min-says-there-was-a-pact-between-rss-and-then-pm-in-babri-demolition/states/news/320794.html

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‘BJP is wiping off Muslim culture’ from textbooks (Dec 26, 2015, Times of India)

Congress national minorities president Khurshid Ahmed accused the state BJP for wiping off the culture and history of Muslims from state textbooks in Ajmer on Friday. Ahmed is on a tour of Rajasthan to consolidate minorities votes which drifted away to BJP in state assembly and Lok Sabha polls.

“This is very disturbing to hear that state education department has dropped most of the chapters by Muslim and foreign authors. Rajasthan government is following the line of Central government’s saffronization of education agenda,” said Ahmed who vowed to challenge every unconstitutional move made by this government.

He charged the state government of neglecting the rights of minorities, scheduled tribes and scheduled caste. “This government is working on vengeance by silently spoiling the developmental work carried out by the Gehlot government like free medicines, laptops to students and tribal development,” said Ahmed who hinted that Congress central leadership will not leave the Union finance minister Arun Jaitley scam involving DDCA.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/50329575.cms

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Minority groups unhappy with Maha’s de-radicalisation of youth plan (Dec 25, 2015, Hindustan Times)

The Maharashtra government has run into opposition from Muslim scholars and social activists to its ‘de-radicalisation’ programme aimed at youth from the community. Much of the opposition is to the term “de-radicalisation”, which critics say amounts to labelling a community.

“De-radicalisation implies that Muslim youth are radicalised. This is something unacceptable as we do not think any particular community has been radicalised,” was the common refrain at a meeting the government held with Muslim scholars at Mantralaya, the state secretariat, recently. Among those present were MahmoodUr-Rahman, PA Inamdar, Abdul Shaban, and Maulana Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi.

Inamdar, a noted educationist, said, “We are not against the measures being taken to bring the community into mainstream, but our objection is to the way it is projected. I don’t think the youth from any particular community are radicalised. Extremism does exist among youth to a certain extent, irrespective of community and religion. Fringe instances of youth running away from home for various reasons cannot be termed radicalisation.”…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/minority-groups-unhappy-with-maha-s-de-radicalisation-of-youth-plan/story-fMLvUPuGOLepSI2IwaYh0O.html

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Press Council notice to Organiser for ‘mocking’ Kerala on beef issue (Dec 23, 2015, The Hindu)

When the RSS mouthpiece Organiser published an article, Kerala: God’s Own Country or Godless Country, on November 15, its contents caused a furore in the State, with parties across the board condemning the article. Many saw it as mocking the people and fomenting communal trouble in the State.

On a complaint from the Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad, the Press Council of India served a show-cause notice on Prafulla Ketkar, Editor of Organiser, on December 16. He has been given 14 days to respond.

The article, written by Surendra Nathan, a Mumbai-based lawyer, not only mocked the “irreligious” attitude in the State but also cast aspersions on the youth, especially the Muslim community.…

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/press-council-notice-to-organiser-for-mocking-kerala-on-beef-issue/article8019515.ece

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SC/ST bill passed in RS: Barring Dalits from temples is now a crime (Dec 22, 2015, Hindustan Times)

Calling a Dalit person publicly by the name of his or her caste, stopping a Dalit or a tribal person from entering a temple or even forcing them to vote in favour of a particular candidate will soon land the perpetrator behind bars.

The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2014 became one of the few pieces of legislation to buck the deadlock in Parliament when the Rajya Sabha passed it on Monday.

The bill, earlier passed by the Lok Sabha, is touted as a major step to curb crime against Dalits and tribals in a country where atrocities against these the vulnerable sections frequently hit the headlines.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/sc-st-bill-passed-in-rs-barring-dalits-from-temple-is-now-a-crime/story-6WfG8xMmDmNiaY2BeDtNYI.html

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Opinions and Editorials

It’s Time to Recall the Other Gujarat Model – By Sarim Naved (Dec 28, 2015, The Wire)

The real opposition during Narendra Modi’s tenure as chief minister of Gujarat did not come from the Congress party. The Congress, famously absent from the ground in Gujarat, abdicated the opposition space to civil society. Members of civil society who were activists, journalists, lawyers and people from all walks of life, used the judicial system to bring home their charges against the then Gujarat government, which now forms the core of the Central government. They received unexpected support from Gujarat government officials, especially police officers like Rahul Sharma, R.B. Sreekumar and later Sanjeev Bhatt, who deposed before the Commission of Inquiry regarding the government’s culpability in the 2002 riots.

These officers were later joined by other police officers like Satish Verma (member, SIT for the Ishrat Jahan Encounter case and seconded to the Central Bureau of Investigation for the investigation as per High Court orders), Rajnish Rai (initial investigator for the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case and responsible for the first arrests of high ranking police officers) and Kuldip Sharma (responsible for pursuing a corruption case which involved Amit Shah – the Rs 1200 crore Madhavpura Mercantile Co-operative Bank case).…

The reason so many cases are filed against the official and unofficial opposition is to simply tire the government’s opponents out. All the officers mentioned above challenged the treatment meted out to them and won. This was the reason for repeated allegations and proceedings against them. The idea is to wear down the opponent, drain him or her physically and financially so that there is no energy left to oppose. The fact that the government is seeking to prosecute somebody is also used as an excuse to discredit them when they speak against the government. These are early days but it does seem as if the Gujarat model of dealing with opponents and critics is becoming a part of the Modi government’s armoury at the Centre.

http://thewire.in/2015/12/28/its-time-to-recall-the-other-gujarat-model-17555/

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Stones and strategies – Editorial (Dec 25, 2015, The Tribune)

Since Uttar Pradesh is due to have its state assembly polls in or before February 2017, no one should be surprised over reports of renewed ‘mandir construction activity’ in Ayodhya. A promise of a much-promised ‘Ram Mandir’ in Ayodhya has been the BJP’s principal electoral ruse, especially in Uttar Pradesh. The BJP leadership now finds itself in a bind.

On the one hand it has to appease the Hindutva right-wing, whose raw energy and anger it had harvested cynically and calculatedly for electoral purposes. In its politics of Hindu vote-bank, the BJP has to keep humouring the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and other aggressive hard-line outfits; from time to time, various BJP leaders assert that the party remains unwaveringly committed to a ‘grand’ temple in Ayodhya. On the other hand, in order to move out of its political isolation, post-Babri Masjid demolition, the BJP has promised its National Democratic Alliance partners to shift the ‘mandir’ issue on to the back-burner.

All these years the BJP could conceitedly tell its ultra-ardent Hindutva fringe that this back-burnering of the ‘Ram Mandir’ was a compulsion because the party lacked a parliamentary majority. However, now the BJP does command an impressive majority in the Lok Sabha. Uttar Pradesh had contributed handsomely to Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha tally. Hence, the reported ‘construction activity’ at Ayodhya has to be seen as the Mandir crowd’s growing desire to encash its IOU. Just as the BJP has played games with the Mandir activists, they too sense a chance in view of the assembly elections.…

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/editorials/stones-and-strategies/174871.html

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What Dadri tells us about the toll that intolerance can take on friendship – By Maaz Bin Bilal (Dec 26, 2015, Scroll.in)

Minutes before Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched by a mob baying for his supposedly beef-nourished blood, he called up childhood friend Manoj Sisodia for help.

Sisodia, as the name suggests, is a Hindu. That Akhlaq, a Muslim who feared death at the hands of Hindus, chose to call his Hindu friend says something about the social fabric on which India was mapped.

We cannot emphasise enough the significance of this friendship in the current milieu – not only to enhance its constitutive value for Indian democracy, but also to understand and make majoritarian fundamentalists understand how they are consistently hacking away even at what they consider their own.…

http://scroll.in/article/774194/what-dadri-tells-us-about-the-toll-that-intolerance-can-take-on-friendship

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Communal bias – By T. K. Rajalakshmi (Jan 8, 2016, Frontline)

…Mohammad Aamir Khan, accused of masterminding the bomb blasts that occurred in Delhi, Ghaziabad and Rohtak in 1996-97, has spent 10 years in the Tihar Jail (Delhi), three and a half years in the Dasna jail (Ghaziabad) and, lastly, six to eight months in the Rohtak jail (Haryana). He has been acquitted in two cases for want of evidence. His incarceration since the age of 18 has made him understand what is wrong with Indian prisons and why there is little scope for prison reform. “I have been asked about my conviction and how I plan to rehabilitate myself, but no one has asked me about life inside prison. When I think about it, there is a lot to say,” he said.…

The refrain of the undertrials Frontline spoke to was that there was an unholy nexus between jail administrations and local police stations. They wondered how in spite of multiple layers of security, deadly weapons were smuggled into prisons. One of them even said that many murders had taken place in the jails, but there was no way of cross-checking them. “How is it that surgical blades, smack, mobiles and knives reach the inmates?” one of them asked.…

According to a report on prisons, Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis make up more than half of India’s jail population. While the proportion of these three communities as a percentage of the overall population is only 39 per cent, they comprise around 53 per cent of the prisoner population. Jail reforms are one crucial component of the overall justice delivery system, and no society calling itself civilised can afford to ignore that.

http://www.frontline.in/cover-story/communal-bias/article8017665.ece

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Horror and holy cows – By Tavleen Singh (Dec 27, 2015, Indian Express)

This is the last column of 2015. So I planned to analyse the achievements and failures that marked Narendra Modi’s second year as Prime Minister. But on the morning of my deadline, an account of the murder of Mohammad Akhlaq appeared on the front page of this newspaper in the words of his daughter Shaista. She described how 15 or 20 men came into their house on the night of September 28 and started sprinkling kerosene around, before they dragged her father and brother out into the street. “They were saying if you tell the police we will kill you too,” she said in a statement given to a magistrate.

Shaista has identified 15 of the people who came that night, and confirmed that her father was killed because of a rumour spread from the village temple that a cow had been killed. Mohammad Akhlaq was not killed by a mob. His killers have been identified and some are related to local BJP leaders. If these leaders continue to remain in the BJP, then the fear that the hysteria over beef had the Prime Minister’s tacit support will be horribly proved.…

It was not just the murder of Mohammad Akhlaq that damaged India’s image as a nation, but the hysteria in general. As someone who has written before in this space that the whole ‘growing intolerance’ debate was fraudulent, may I end the year by saying as clearly as possible that it shamed me as an Indian to have to discuss cows in a political column. So please Prime Minister can you begin the year by throwing out of the BJP the local leaders in Dadri whose relations killed Mohammad Akhlaq. It will help assuage the anger we felt at your silence over so awful a killing.

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/fifth-column-horror-and-holy-cows-narendra-modi-dadri-lynching-beef-ban-hindutva-violence-mohammad-akhlaq/

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How Modi Validated Vendetta – By R.K. Misra (Dec 23, 2015, Outlook)

Cold Delhi sizzled on December 15 as the Central Bureau of Investigations(CBI) sought to ‘marinate’ the Delhi Chief Minister’s Office in a controversial raid that saw temperatures soaring in Parliament and fingers pointed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for resorting to such a practice. After Himachal Pradesh, this is the second Chief Minister or his office to be targeted by the Narendra Modi led BJP government in its less than two-year-long tenure.

Interestingly just around the time that the CBI was pursuing the raid on the Delhi chief minister’s office, far away in Gujarat’s capital of Gandhinagar, a court was issuing a bailable warrant against minister Purshottam Solanki in an alleged Rs 400 crore fisheries scam during the time when he was a minister in the government headed by chief minister Narendra Modi. In fact, two of his ministers figure in this case, the other being Dilip Sanghani who was then agriculture minister.…

It would be in order for those in high places to pause and ponder, for the politics of vendetta is the only scrip that guarantees manifold ‘returns’ . What goes around, eventually comes around.

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/how-modi-validated-vendetta/296217

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 21st, 2015

by newsdigest on September 23, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Indian widow fights Modi in ‘final’ court battle over deadly riots (Sep 22, 2015, CNA)

Zakia Jafri, a frail 76-year-old, has begun what may be the last legal battle to pin blame on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for deadly riots that shook the state of Gujarat when he was chief minister, and claimed her husband’s life.…

None of that deterred Jafri, whose late husband, a lawmaker for the Congress party now in opposition, was hacked to death by a Hindu mob in riots that killed at least 1,000 people, most from India’s sizeable Muslim minority. “My case is not just against the foot soldiers,” said Jafri, worn down by 13 years of campaigning, including her failed Supreme Court bid to prosecute Modi two years ago. Hers is the last case still in the court system filed after the riots that tries to implicate Modi.

“It is against those who allowed the foot soldiers to operate,” she told Reuters in an interview in Ahmedabad, commercial capital of Gujarat where her husband was slain. “It is against those who created the situation for the foot soldiers to get provoked and enabled them to operate. It is against Modi.”…

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/indian-widow-fights-modi/2142566.html

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Sanatan Sanstha under scanner: Hindu outfit man held for killing of veteran CPI leader Govind Pansare (Sep 17, 2015, Indian Express)

It was the frequent change of SIM cards that made Kolhapur police suspicious of Sameer Vishnu Gaikwad (32), a “full-time member” of radical Hindu organisation Sanatan Sanstha who was arrested Wednesday in connection with the murder of veteran CPI leader Govind Pansare.

Following Pansare’s death in February, Gaikwad’s phones were put under surveillance and for six months, his calls were monitored. As investigators found that Gaikwad frequently discussed Pansare with his wife, their suspicion grew. “There were uncanny similarities in the manner in which rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and Pansare were murdered. In the Dabholkar case, we suspected the involvement of the Sanatan Sanstha but were unable to nab the assailants. Witnesses had helped us track the likely route the accused might have taken, and in both the cases, the accused fled to Goa or Karnataka,” a senior police officer told The Indian Express on condition of anonymity.

“Pansare considered Dabholkar his mentor. We had also recovered recordings of some events held in western Maharashtra, especially in Kolhapur, in which Pansare supported Dabholkar’s view on rationalism. The members of the group were, therefore, kept on surveillance and when there were frequent exchanges between Gaikwad and his wife relating to Pansare, we decided to arrest him,” the officer added. Dabholkar was shot dead by two youths while he was on a morning walk on August 20, 2013. Not just Dabholkar, police also believe there could be links between the murders of Pansare and Kannada scholar and researcher M M Kalburgi, who was shot dead outside his residence in Dharwad, north Karnataka, on August 30.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/one-arrested-in-cpi-leader-govind-pansare-murder-case/

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Sunil Joshi murder: charges framed against Sadhvi Pragya, 7 others (Sep 20, 2015, The Hindu)

A local court has framed charges against eight people, including 2008 Malegaon blast case accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, in connection with the murder of former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ‘pracharak’ Sunil Joshi.

Second Additional Sessions Judge Rajendra Kumar Verma on Saturday framed the charges under Section 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) and other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, Vasudev Parmar and Anand Raj Kataria.

The court also framed charges under Sections 120 (B) and 302 (murder) of the IPC against other accused – Harshad Solanki, Lokesh Sharma, Rajendra Chaudhary, Ram Chandra Patel and Jitendra Sharma.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/murder-charges-framed-against-sadhvi-pragya-7-others/article7671079.ece

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Jhabua blast accused Rajendra Kasawa arrested: Report (Sep 16, 2015, DNA India)

After detaining his family members, police have reportedly arrested the prime accused of an explosion in Petlawad town in Madhya Pradesh’s Jhabua district. According to a report in a leading daily, accused Rajendra Kaswa has been arrested from Maharashtra. The report also said that the police are neither accepting nor denying Kaswa’s arrest.

Kasawa has been booked for keepinggelatin sticks in his house, which resulted in the explosion. All residences and godowns of Kasawa have been sealed.

At least 89 people were killed and nearly 100 injured after a massive blast that took place in the building of Rajendra Kasawa, who has a licence to use explosive material for digging wells in rocky areas. Kasawa had stored the explosive material, including gelatin sticks, in huge quantity in the residential building, which also houses two shops, and is situated close to the busy Sethia Restaurant in new bus stand area, a police official said.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-jhabua-blast-accused-rajendra-kasawa-arrested-report-2125610

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Hindu Yuva Vahini president, 3 others booked for calling AMU ‘nursery of terror’ (Sep 19, 2015, DNA India)

…Additional District Magistrate Awdhesh Tiwari said that a case was registered against the state president of the Hindu Yuva Vahini and three others under various sections of the IPC yesterday for hurting “religious sentiments” and posing threat to public peace. He said that the case had been registered on an official complaint by the Aligarh Muslim University authorities charging the Vahini leaders of “deliberately issuing communal statements designed to create unrest amongst AMU students”.

AMU spokesperson Rahat Abrar, who had filed the complaint on behalf of the university, today alleged that vahini leaders had described AMU as a “nursery of terror” on Wednesday at a press conference here. Abrar said that the “vahini leaders also made a wild, baseless and highly provocative allegation stating that AMU students are in touch with terror outfit Islamic State (IS).”

He said that the vahini leaders allegation was not only the result of a “distorted” view of history but seeks to undermine the stellar role played by AMU alumni in the freedom movement of the country.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-hindu-yuva-vahini-president-3-others-booked-for-calling-amu-nursery-of-terror-2126671

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Targeted by Vasundhara Raje govt for acting against VHP, Bajrang Dal rioters: IPS officer (Sep 17, 2015, Indian Express)

An IPS officer has accused the Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government in Rajasthan of targeting him after he refused to let rioters from the VHP and Bajrang Dal go free last year despite “pressure from all levels of government”.

Former Bundi SP Pankaj Chaudhary said that he was removed from the post for resisting pressure from the administration, including senior IAS and IPS officers, to let the rioters go and “register false cases” against Muslims instead. On Monday, Chaudhary, who now heads the 11th Battalion of the Rajasthan Armed Constabulary in New Delhi, was served a chargesheet by the Rajasthan government, which accused him of not acting in time to tackle the riots in Bundi’s Nainwa and Khanpur on September 12, 2014.…

“Riots don’t just happen. They are made to happen, and if the police is allowed to act freely, nothing can go wrong. But there are traitors within the government who could even sell the country for their selfish gains,” Chaudhary told The Indian Express.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/targeted-by-vasundhara-raje-govt-for-acting-against-vhp-bajrang-dal-rioters-ips-officer/

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Warangal ‘encounter’ rattles Ministers (Sep 19, 2015, The Hindu)

A sense of unease has gripped the Ministers as well as other people’s representatives in the North Telangana over the recent “encounter of Maoists” in Warangal district. The people’s representatives are worried about adverse public reaction as the general perception among people is that the so-called encounter was unprovoked and unwarranted as there had been no attacks by the Maoists.

According to sources, a few Ministers took up the issue with Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao on Thursday evening. They were believed to have conveyed to the Chief Minister that it might prove counter-productive to them personally apart from causing a dent to the Telangana Government’s image.

They feel the ‘encounter’ could have been avoided and it has put them under tremendous pressure unnecessarily when the Government is keen on making its impact felt in the villages that supported them during the Telangana agitation.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/warangal-encounter-rattles-ministers/article7667680.ece

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Outrage over top cop’s letter on mosques (Sep 16, 2015, The Hindu)

Majlis Bachao Taheerk (MBT) petitioned the State Minorities Commission on Tuesday demanding an explanation from the Commissioner of Police Cyberabad, C.V. Anand for ordering the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) to take action against 17 ‘illegally constructed’ mosques in Rajendernagar mandal.

MBT’s petition was supported by religious leaders of the mosques. Based on the Commissioner’s letter, GHMC had served notices to mosque authorities this month. The Minorities Commission would seek an explanation from Mr. Anand on Wednesday, Commissioner Abid Rasool Khan said.

Mr. Anand had in April requested GHMC to ‘take necessary action against the illegally constructed mosques and tighten measures’. The mosques are located across three housing colonies established by Shastripuram Housing Society. The letter had not specified the nature of complaint based on which the enquiry was ordered.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/outrage-over-top-cops-letter-on-mosques/article7657547.ece

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Meat ban can’t be forced down people’s throat: Supreme Court (Sep 18, 2015, Hindustan Times)

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a plea against a Bombay high court order staying a ban on the sale of meat in Mumbai during a Jain festival saying there should be a spirit of “tolerance and accommodation”.

“These are issues which cannot be forced down somebody’s throat… There has to be the spirit of tolerance and anything should not be thrust on a particular class,” the SC said while noting that the high court order seems to be elaborate and that compassion for animals need not be observed only on festivals.…

Even good teaching cannot be forced upon others and people reap what they sow, said one of the judges, who cited a couplet of legendary poet Kabir. The remark came when the counsel for the petitioner said non-violence and compassion towards animals have been a part of good teachings and observing two days ban on the sale of meat is not going to harm anybody.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/meat-ban-can-t-be-forced-down-people-s-throat-observes-sc/article1-1391034.aspx

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Asaram Bapu’s daughter-in-law alleges torture by godman, husband (Sep 19, 2015, Times of India)

The daughter-in-law of self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, who along with his son Narayan Sai are lodged in jail in connection with separate rape cases, has accused the father-son duo of mentally torturing her.

Janki (38), who is separated from Sai, has also sought protection from police alleging that her family members and relatives were being threatened over phone to withdraw cases of domestic violence and alimony that she had filed against Sai in various local courts earlier, her counsel Rohit Yadav told reporters.…

In her complaint to Khajrana police station, Janki stated that after she got married to Narayan (Harpalani) Sai on May 22, 1997, the latter established illicit relations with other women causing her mental torture. “When I objected to my husband’s illicit relationship with other women, Sai used to threaten me to keep quiet,” Janki told reporters at the police station.… She also accused Asaram of pressurising her late father Devraj Krishnani to ‘donate’ a valuable property in Bhopal to the godman.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/49027704.cms

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Opinions and Editorials

India is being led to the brink – By Sitaram Yechury (Sep 22, 2015, Hindustan Times)

The BJP government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi can be faulted for betraying every promise that they had made to the people during the 2014 general elections, except one. This is the relentless pursuit of sharpening communal polarisation to establish the RSS project of a rabidly intolerant, fascistic ‘Hindu Rashtra’ in place of our present constitutional republic.…

The 2014 BJP election manifesto begins by stating ‘India is the most ancient civilization of the world…’ (not one among others). The time has come to ‘pick up the thread from the point where the continuum of our civilizational consciousness was lost and reorient the polity in consonance with those strong points of Indian psyche which will be the engine for our future glory’. And this psyche, it says, is ‘one country, one people and one nation’. Thus, echoing the RSS and negating the rich plurality of our country.…

The RSS and Modi today are carrying forward such gross distortions of history as assertions of ‘faith’. In the bargain, the intensity of the attacks on religious minorities, particularly Muslims, is increased to accomplish their project. History is being rewritten in order to control the present and shape the future. Can we permit such a metamorphosis of our modern secular democratic republic to succeed?

http://www.hindustantimes.com/sitaramyechury/india-is-being-led-to-the-brink/article1-1392247.aspx

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Unwarranted pettiness – Editorial (Sep 19, 2015, The Hindu)

Nothing could be more ironical than the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government fighting over the secularist legacy of Jawaharlal Nehru institutionalised in the form of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in the heart of New Delhi. And nothing could be more insulting to the memory of Nehru than the sordid slugfest between the BJP and the Congress over the appointment of Mahesh Rangarajan as the director of the NMML.

Dr. Rangarajan, a respected scholar and academic, was eventually forced to tender his resignation after an unseemly controversy over irregularities in the process of his appointment. The NMML is a tribute to independent India’s first Prime Minister, his vision and dreams for the country; it was intended to inspire generations of people who walk in to get glimpses of the making of a nation. Despite assurances from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to revere the memory of Nehru, it is now quite apparent that members of his Cabinet, who draw their strength and inspiration from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, are not willing to let the Museum be.…

The significance of the controversy over the appointment of the NMML director thus goes beyond personalities, and touches on the future of public institutions and the dangers of officially sanctioned manipulation of historiography. Questions will be asked of the UPA too, as to why the previous government demonstrated such a tearing hurry to appoint Dr. Rangarajan. Clearly, the party thinks of the Memorial as its fiefdom and thought nothing of rushing through the appointment process just before the country went into election mode.…

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/unwarranted-pettiness/article7665651.ece

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Hindutva Lite? – By Aakar Patel (Sep 20, 2015, Outlook ()

…I was in my 20s when I actually read Savarkar’s text ‘Hindutva’ and it disappointed me. I couldn’t understand why he was thought to be so great. I thought it was a very ordinary text and had nothing of originality. Savarkar was himself not well read and there were few references to the works of others. His main idea was unconditional love of nation, but that is something, as I have said, that comes to most of us quite easily in India.

Encountering Vivekananda’s writing (his collected works, mainly speeches and letters, are in 8 volumes) continued my puzzlement. It was after I finished reading Golwalkar (also mainly speeches and interviews) and the slim works of the RSS ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyaya that it dawned on me that this was all there was to Hindutva. It was an ideology for those who were closed of mind, and it was more about passion than intellect.

This discovery was a relief, because by now I had come to dislike its essence. I began to see how Hindutva was shaped by negatives. Its three main demands were: Ram Janmabhoomi (Muslims should not keep their mosque), Uniform Civil Code (Muslims should not keep their family law) and removing Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir (Muslims should not keep their constitutional autonomy). None of the three demands offered anything positive to Hindus.…

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/hindutva-lite/295368

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Murder of reason – By Vikhar Ahmed Sayeed (Oct 2, 2015, Frontline)

…In one of his articles published at the time, Kalburgi attributed the parentage of Channabasavanna to a low-caste “dohaara” (leather tanner), on the basis of his primary research of vachana literature and examination of folklore.… Much of the framework of Lingayat discourse was provided by Channabasavanna, and a section of Lingayats were greatly offended by Kalburgi’s claims.

This was the first time that Kalburgi received a murder threat and it was not to be the last. It was common then to hear statements in Dharwad like: “Who is this Kalburgi? All we need is two litres of petrol to finish him off!” Humiliatingly, for a scholar who had acquired great repute by then, Kalburgi was summoned like a criminal to a prominent Lingayat mutt in Dharwad and forced to recant his statement with folded hands. When he returned from the mutt, in response to a journalist’s query, a terse Kalburgi had said: “Today, I have committed intellectual suicide.”…

Speaking to Frontline, Megha Pansare said that there must be a link between the three murders as all of them were progressive thinkers who spoke out against superstitious practices. “It has been two years since the killing of Dabholkar and six months since the brutal killing of Pansare and there has been no headway. I request the Karnataka government to take this investigation seriously,” she said. Two weeks after Kalburgi’s killing, the Karnataka Police have still not apprehended the killer or his accomplice.…

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/murder-of-reason/article7645680.ece

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Mumbai meat ban: The politics behind the city’s veg vs non-veg divide – By Manasi Phadke (Sep 20, 2015, Indian Express)

…The recent outrage over the ban on sale of meat in Mumbai for four days during the Jain festival of Paryushan (the High Court later stayed it, and on Thursday, the Supreme Court refused to quash the stay) has exposed a faultline that goes to the gut of the matter – the vegetarian versus non-vegetarian divide in the city and how politicians have made a meal of it. In several parts of cosmopolitan Mumbai, this divide has been the cause of simmering tension for years, an undercurrent that runs through areas such as this part of Lalbaug.…

“In the olden days, everyone lived next to each other in chawls – Gujaratis, Jains and Maharashtrians, both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. They didn’t have a problem then. But these are the same people who now stay in high-rises, who think fish and meat smell. This attitude only disturbs communal harmony,” says Nerkar. “There cannot be separate rules or concessions for different communities. We will never be able to co-exist in Mumbai this way.”

Gopal Shetty, BJP MP from Mumbai North, which has a sizeable Jain population, doesn’t echo his party’s line in favour of the ban. As someone who likes fish on his plate “at least two times a week”, he says, “A ban or any such decision has to happen after a thorough dialogue and discussion so that it doesn’t seem oppressive to a part of the population.”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/sunday-story-meat-ban-2/

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Hindutva 2.0’s new caste challenge – By Varghese K. George (Sep 21, 2015, The Hindu)

…The Patel rebellion in Gujarat is not unprecedented. Mr. Modi’s ascent in Gujarat after 2002 was deeply resented by the Patels, first because he booted out Keshubhai Patel, and, later, Mr. Modi’s governance style crushed their patronage network. Ahead of the 2007 Gujarat elections, they erupted in rebellion, and one of the reasons cited by a Patel leader was how the drive against electricity pilferage was taking a heavy toll on the community. “For minor violations, farmers are going to jail and most of them are Patels,” he had said.…

The Sangh Parivar’s strategy of sidelining the dominant caste in favour of a leader from a numerically insignificant caste and aggregating minor castes continues. The party has appointed a Brahmin Chief Minister in Maharashtra, something that the former CM Prithviraj Chouhan had said during the elections, would be, “unthinkable”. The Brahmins constitute only four per cent of population in the State, where politics has been firmly in the grip of Marathas. The Parivar deployed the same approach in Haryana, where the dominance of the Jats has been upset by the elevation of a Punjabi as the Chief Minister, as is also the case in Jharkhand, where a CM whose caste is less than four per cent of the population has been appointed to the top job.

All this while, both the Parivar and Mr. Modi have maintained a certain ambiguity on the question of reservations. A resolution of the RSS Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha (ABPS) in 1981, recently pasted on the homepage of the RSS website, is instructive of its dilemma in dealing with caste questions.…

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/hindutva-20s-new-caste-challenge/article7671217.ece

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Book Review

India’s 2014 Elections, A Modi-led BJP Sweep

Author: Paul Wallace (ed.)
Reviewed by: Ranbir Singh
Available at: SAGE Publications India Pvt Ltd, B 1/I-1 Mohan Cooperative Industrial Area, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110 044, India; 2015; pages xxiv + 427; Price: Rs 1250..http://www.sagepub.in/
Review:
Understanding National Politics Post-2014 (Sep 20, 2015, Mainstream)

…The 2014 elections brought about a qualitative change in the party system of India. It was converted from a bipolar multi-party system to a dominant one-party system after a gap of more than three decades. But it is dominance with a difference. Paul Wallace has rightly attributed the BJP’s landslide victory to three factors: Economy, Corruption and Presidential Campaign. However, he has not taken into account the role of Big Business in this context.

The book has been divided into two parts – Thematic Studies and Analytical State Studies. Part-II has further been sub-divided into (a) Northern Cluster, (b) Kashmir and Western Cluster, and (c) Eastern and Southern Cluster. Part-I includes highly scholarly articles by the editor and other eminent scholars on ‘Introduction: Single Party and Strong Leadership’; ‘The Resistance of Regionalism: BJP’s Limitations and the Resilience of State Parties’; ‘The Bharatiya Janata Party: A Victory for Narendra Modi’; Gender Narratives and Elections: Mandate for Safety, Development, or Rights’; ‘Civic Scrutiny, Organised Action, and Democratic Consolidation’.…

This well-researched work undoubtedly helps us in providing a comprehensive understanding of the pattern of national politics that has emerged in 2014. It has competently tried to answer the questions: How did it all happen? What was the extent of the Modi magic? What went wrong with the oldest political party, the Indian National Congress, that it could not even form a formidable Opposition? And what does this have in store for regional leaders and State politics? However, it does not provide adequate analysis of the changes that are likely to take place in the nature of power structure and political economy in India at the national and State levels.…

<ahref=”http: www.mainstreamweekly.net=”” article5924.html”=””>http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article5924.html

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 24th, 2015

August 25, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony Communal harmony pledge administered News Headlines 2002 Godhra riots: IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt who took on Gujarat govt is sacked Act as human bombs, Sena tells Hindus Mosque in Faizabad torched, SP MLA blames ‘youths with saffron headgear’ Rattling the cage Five ABVP activists booked for assaulting […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 14th, 2013

April 15, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines US: Anti-Modi Congressional resolution now has 51 co-sponsors Modi’s India TV interview ‘Fixed’? Editorial Director QW Naqvi resigns in protest In his nomination, Narendra Modi finally admits Jashodaben is his wife Gujarat police has no evidence against Maulana Abdul Qavi: Paracha ‘Wajid victim of political plot’, […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 24th, 2014

March 25, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Death threats to Advocate Pracha and intimidation of online media are unacceptable, say Indian Americans News Headlines Rakesh Maria should be arrested for conducting activities which are terror related: Advocate Pracha Two Haryana policemen get life sentence for fake encounter ‘Reject The Closure Report Filed By SIT’ […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 17th, 2013

March 18, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines Minority panel removed my riot report against Modi: Ex-Secy Zakia moves Gujarat High Court against clean chit to Modi Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case: Javed Sheikh’s father moves CBI court against Amit Shah, ex-DGP; wants them arraigned Three detained for threatening to blow up Bodh Gaya […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 27th, 2014

January 28, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony National communal harmony award for CSSS News Headlines 2002 Gujarat riots: Zakia Jafri to move HC against clean chit to Modi CBI may soon file charges against IB officers in Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case Samjhauta blasts: Aseemanand, three others charged with sedition, murder ATS chief […]

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Witch-hunt against Teesta Setalvad an indictment of Gujarat government say Indian Americans

January 17, 2014

January 15, 2014 The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has condemned attempts by the Gujarat government to use the state security apparatus to harass and intimidate noted human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, and the organization she represents, Citizens for Justice and Peace. Teesta […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 30th, 2013

December 31, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Announcements Lower court goes along with dirty SIT’s clean chit to Modi News Headlines Criminal Charges against Modi and 59 others ‘Shaken to the core’ but Modi does not offer apology Gujarat riots: Nanavati Commission gets 21 extension till June 30 to submit report Snoopgate went on even […]

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Lower court goes along with dirty SIT’s clean chit to Modi

December 26, 2013

Indian Americans renew commitment to secure justice for victims of Gujarat pogroms Thursday, December 26, 2013 Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy organization dedicated to preserving India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has called into question a dubious verdict of the lower court in the Narendra Modi Gujarat pogroms case. A Magistrate’s court in […]

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