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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 14th, 2013

by newsdigest on April 15, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

US: Anti-Modi Congressional resolution now has 51 co-sponsors (Apr 11, 2014, Hindustan Times)

A controversial Congressional resolution, which among other things asks the American administration to maintain its policy of not issuing visa to BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, now has more than 50 co-sponsors. Rush Holt from New Jersey and Barbara Lee from California are the two lawmakers to have signed onto the resolution (H Res 417), thus taking the number of co-sponsors to 51. The bipartisan resolution was introduced by Congressmen Keith Ellison from the Democratic Party and Joe Pitts from the Republican Party last November.

Since then it has not only become an issue of contention among various Indian American groups, but also several lawmakers have questioned the intention of introducing such a resolution. Several Congressmen have withdrawn too as its co-sponsors, but with Holt and Lee this week being the latest entrants, the total number of sponsor to this controversial resolution yesterday stood at 51 from nearly 30 states, of which 26 are Republican and 25 are from the Democratic Party. The resolution also asks to include religious freedom and human rights as part of the Strategic Dialogue between the two countries. It praises India’s “rich religious diversity and commitment to tolerance and equality,” while raising concerns over the “erosion” of religious freedom.

The resolution, the bipartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) in its summary, recognises the suffering of Indian citizens who have been victims of religious violence, and also highlights the alleged role of Modi in the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat. It declares that the House of Representatives shares the opinion of the Department of State and the US Commission on International Religious Freedom that the Gujarat government has not adequately pursued justice for the victims of religious violence in 2002 and expresses concern regarding reports about the alleged complicity of local officials.

It commends the US government for exercising its authority in 2005 under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to deny a US visa to Narendra Modi on the grounds of religious freedom violations, and encourages it to review the applications of any individuals implicated in such violations under the same standard, the CRS said. The resolution commends the role of India’s National Human Rights Commission and the Indian Supreme Court, which has led to some convictions in Gujarat riot cases and the arrest of high-level leaders in the Gujarati administration.


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Modi’s India TV interview ‘Fixed’? Editorial Director QW Naqvi resigns in protest (Apr 14, 2014, Daily Bhaskar)

Senior journalist and editorial director at India TV, Qamar Waheed Naqvi resigned from his position, in a mark of protest, against the Modi’s interview telecasted a few days back on the channel. Going by the sources, Naqvi sent his resignation in form of email to the management on Sunday night.

Talking to Daily Bhaskar Naqvi said ” I have put in papers, rest will be disclosed later.” He resigned so as to protest against the interview that he termed as ‘fixed.’ Rajat Sharma, editor-in-chief of India TV, conducted the interview in his popular program “AAP Ki Adalat.”

Naqvi was working as a news director in the channel for a long time. Reportedly, Naqvi can’t be accessed on social networking sites as well, meaning thereby, he has deleted his accounts on the same.


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In his nomination, Narendra Modi finally admits Jashodaben is his wife (Apr 10, 2014, IBN)

Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi in an affidavit filed before the Election Commission showed himself as a married man revealing that his wife’s name is Jashodaben. In an affidavit submitted along with his nomination papers filed on Wednesday for Vadodara Lok Sabha seat, Modi for the first time stated that he is married.

So far, Modi used to leave the column of spouse which is to be filled in an affidavit as blank. He had kept the column as blank in 2012 Assembly elections as well. However, for the 2014 Lok Sabha election affidavit, in the column where he has to declare assets in the name of his wife, Modi has written that he has no information on it.

Though he had filed the nomination papers, the Vadodara district election authority put the affidavit on the display board of the Collectorate at midnight. The affidavit has not been uploaded on the website of the Chief Electoral Officer of Gujarat till late in the night. Earlier, the Congress had said that Modi should come clean on his marital status while filing nomination papers for the Lok Sabha elections.

The Vadodara Lok Sabha seat which has been chosen by Modi from 26 constituencies of Gujarat is considered to be one of the safest seat. Modi is also contesting election from Varanasi where he is challenging Aam Aadmi Party candidate Arvind Kejriwal and Congress’ local MLA Ajay Rai.


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Gujarat police has no evidence against Maulana Abdul Qavi: Paracha (Apr 10, 2014,

Renowned Islamic scholar Maulana Mohammed Abdul Qavi who was arrested on 23rd March from New Delhi airport in a joint operation by Gujarat ATS and Delhi police special cell in a decade old case of conspiracy to assassinate Narendra Modi and other Sangh leaders. He was yesterday produced before POTA court in Ahmedabad after the completion of 14 days of police custody. The special POTA court remanded him to 7 days of judicial custody and ordered Crime Branch Jamalpur to lodge him in Sabarmati prison of Ahmedabad where many high profile accused persons are lodged.

During the court proceedings many Muslim leaders were present along with representing lawyers and family of Maulana Abdul Qavi. Among the lawyers prominent Supreme Court Adv. Mahmood Paracha was also present who was called in to defend Maulana Abdul Qavi by the Jamiat Ulema Maharashtra. Adv. Paracha along with Adv. Pathan argued before the court in defense of Maulana Abdul Qavi and questioned the sudden arrest of Maulana in a decade old case that too in the absence of any valid court warrant. They also questioned the basis of his arrest for the case in which almost everyone who was accused and arrested including cleric Maulana Naseeruddin has already been acquitted by the court.

The special court asked police to show 14 day police diary but they could not show it due to which the special court came down heavily on them and strictly ordered to produce the diary before 9th April morning. After the court proceedings Adv. Paracha told media that he elaborated special court how illegally he was arrested without a warrant and that on the first hearing itself the truth of the case was evident where the police did not even bring the 14 day police diary before court. He informed that his panel shall file bail application of Maulana soon and that he is very much sure to secure bail for him.

Adv. Tahur Pathan told TCN, “There are many faults in the police case and his arresting itself is illegal therefore I have strong belief that he (Maulana) will be released soon on bail”. Maulana Hafiz Nadeem Siddique, President of Jamiat Ulema Maharashtra appealed well-wishers and Jamiat members to supplicate Allah almighty for the early release of Maulana Abdul Qavi. Maulana Hakeemuddin Qazi, Secretary of Jamiat Ulema and Hafiz Khaliq representative of Jamiat Ulema Andhra Pradesh were also present in the special POTA court. They also had a talk with family of Maulana and assured them of full support from the Jamiat.

53 year old Maulana Abdul Qavi is the founder and rector of Madrasa Ashraful Uloom who have a big name in the religious circles of Hyderabad. As a renowned theologian he wrote many books on Islamic fiqh. Apart from Jamait Ulema he is also considered close to many bigwigs of Tabligee Jamat. His arrest by Gujarat ATS has shocked everyone who knew him even distantly because he is a prominent person who keeps attending gatherings throughout the country and was never absconding.


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‘Wajid victim of political plot’, dead youth’s father says (Apr 14, 2014, Times of India)

Despite the district administration claiming that the clashes between two communities in Nakanpur in Punahana last Thursday and the death of a 28-year-old Meo-Muslim man a day later are not related, his family members have said that their son was a victim of a political conspiracy to flare up communal tension. “We don’t blame any political party but Wajid was killed in a follow-up act of the clash on the polling day. Why would anyone kill him. He had no personal rivalry with anyone in the village or outside,” said Majid, the victim’s father, a cook at a police station here.

Mewat SP Anil Kumar Dhawan however maintained that both the incidents were not related and Wajid was a victim of some personal rivalry. When asked why few of the accused in both the incidents were same, he said, “It could be a coincidence.” Calling their son’s death an attempt to disturb the religious harmony in the area, nurtured here for generations, Majid said, “My eldest son was killed in cold blood for no fault of his. He was not even present at the polling booth where clashes between the two groups took place.”

Somebody who has been with Haryana police for close to 25 years, Majid always wanted his son to join the police force. “Now I want Wajid’s son to fulfill my wish and ensure justice to the poor,” he said. Survived by his wife and three children, Wajid had his son admitted to a nearby private school days before his death.


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Bail plea of Muzaffarnagar riot accused rejected (Apr 12, 2014, Statesman)

A local court here has rejected the bail plea of an accused in a Muzaffaranagar riots case related to the killing of eight persons, including a woman, in Kutba village.

Additional district sessions judge Mr Jitendra Kumar yesterday rejected the bail plea of Kunwar Pal, one of the 50 accused in the Kutba village violence case.

According to the prosecution, eight persons including a woman, were killed and 20 people were injured during riots in Kutba village in the district last year. The police had registered a case against 110 rioters and arrested two persons, added sources.


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TDP Muslim leaders, cadres quit party over BJP alliance (Apr 9, 2014, Times of India)

Trouble is brewing within the Telugu Desam as many Muslim leaders and workers resigned en masse on Tuesday protesting the party’s rekindled friendship with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Describing the alliance between the parties as “opportunistic”, the leaders, including presidents and workers of minority and Scheduled Caste cells of the party, expressed anger with the TDP leadership. They recalled that in April 2002, soon after the riots in Gujarat, Narendra Modi had come in for sharp criticism from party president N Chandrababu Naidu.

“The TDP politburo had then passed a resolution which stated that the incident could not be seen as an internal issue of the state as its impact had tarnished India’s secular image. The resolution also held that the party had put the strong condition of secularism before the NDA government which was later violated,” said Shahbaz Ahmed Khan, who resigned from the post of president of TDP’s minority cell. Stating that the TDP had betrayed the trust of Muslims and secular people, he claimed that 17 vice-presidents of various party committees, six official spokespersons, 30 organising secretaries and 32 secretaries had all resigned in protest.

“We will be meeting again tomorrow to decide our next course of action. We have not ruled out joining other political parties or using our cadre to support candidates from other parties,” Khan said. The party’s decision has also put many leaders, including party MLAs from the Old City, on the back foot with many refusing to contest a second time on the TDP ticket. Sources said that while Mohammed Muzaffar Ali Khan, who fought on a TDP ticket in 2009 from Malakpet and lost by a margin of 8.26 per cent to Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) sitting MLA Ahmed Balala, is likely to contest independently.

Charminar candidate Ali Masqati, who is rumoured to be deliberating joining other political parties, has decided against entering the fray. “I will not contest this time. I was in the TDP and I am still with the party,” Masqati said. Meanwhile, unhappy with being denied a ticket, Congress member Feroz Khan, who had contested against MIM Nampally MLA Virasat Rasool Khan on a Praja Rajyam Party ticket before its merger with Congress, has reportedly joined the TDP. An official announcement is expected shortly.


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Minority community names missing in electoral list in Kavalbyrasandra (Apr 13, 2014, DNA India)

Despite registering their names for the electoral list well on time, a section of the minority community (Muslims) in Kavalbyrasandra do not have their name in the electoral list. All these came to light when many people from the Muslim community started approaching Aga Foundation, an NGO which has been working in the area for the upliftment of women and children. On a daily basis the NGO has been receiving about 5-6 people coming in with similar complaints everyday.

On Sunday when volunteers of the Foundation went to a single lane in Kavalbyrasandra area (Ward No 32), of the 23 houses they surveyed, 60 names who are in the voting age group were missing. According to the Foundation member there are over 2,000 voting age group people from Muslim community in Kavalbyrasandra. For the past one week, there were almost about six people from Kavalbyrasandra area walking to us everyday saying that their names are not there in the voting list.

Taking their names and contact numbers I went to the area BBMP Office and met the Area Regional Officer (ARO) and told him about the problem. I also asked the religious head of the mosque to announce in the mosque that if their names are not there in the electoral list they should inform the ARO in the BBMP office and get it checked said, Mufeeda Begum, President, Aga Foundation. An enthusiastic 20 year old Masoom, resident of Kavalbyrasandra had applied for the voters ID card a year ago but still she could not get hold of it and her name was also not there in the electoral list. More surprisingly, for the religious head of the mosque in the area, Ikram Ullah Haq, though his name is there in the electoral list but he is still to get his voters ID card.

He has applied about three years ago and he has been running around since then but still he has not got it. Few days ago when he went to the area BBMP office and checked for his name in the electoral list there was a tick mark against his name saying that he has collected his voters ID card but Haq has not received any voters Id card. However his signature wasn’t there. Mufeeda said: “I have spoken to the ARO, BBMP office and he said that today he will check properly for the final list of people. We will see, if nothing is being done then we will need to approach the election commissioner.”


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Cop arrested for raping woman in Ghaziabad (Apr 14, 2014, Times of India)

A 53-year-old sub-inspector of Delhi Police was arrested on Saturday night for raping a woman for over four years on the pretext of implicating her in a wrong case. Based on the woman’s complaint, UP Police arrested Preetam Singh posted at Lajpat Nagar police station in Delhi.

Police said the 45-year-old woman victim alleged in her complaint that in 2008 she was an accused in a case in Sangam Vihar. “The accused cop was the investigating officer and used to threaten her to implicate her if she didn’t have a physical relationship with him. She alleged that Singh raped her for several years,” said a senior police officer.

The accused, who is married, is a resident of Chanderlok. Police said the accused used to take her to a flat in Babudham of Kavinagar area of Ghaziabad and rape her. Police said the victim has been sent for medical examination and her statement recorded. “We have lodged an FIR and further investigation is on,” the official added.


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Hindu converted to Islam doesn’t lose backward class status: Madras HC (Apr 10, 2014, Times of India)

The Madras high court has ordered the Tamil Nadu government to instruct its officials to issue backward class (BC) community certificates to people who embrace Islam, categorically saying that a BC member would get all the benefits meant for BCs even after conversion to Islam. “I have no hesitation to come to the conclusion that a person belonging to Hindu backward class community, on conversion to Islam, would get the benefit of backward class status if the person is covered under List III of the government order no. 85,” said Justice D Hariparanthaman on Wednesday. The list contains seven sects of ‘backward class’ Muslims. They are: Ansar, Dekkani Muslims, Dudekula, Labbais (including Rawthar and Marakayar speaking Tamil or Urdu), Mapilla, Sheik and Syed, the judge pointed out.

In his 88-page order tracing the origin of caste-resistance movements by various communities and the prevalence of two-tumbler system in several parts of the state, Justice Hariparanthaman trashed two government communications sent in February 2010 and August 2012 asking collectors not to issue BC certificates to converted Muslims. Describing it as persecution of Muslim brothers and akin to ‘untouchability’ practised on dalits, the judge said, “Denial of BC community certificate to converted Muslims amounts to deprivation of fundamental rights.”

The judge was passing orders on a petition filed by M U Aariffaa, who was a Nadar (a BC community) before her conversion to Islam in 2006. Though she cleared the TNPSC examination for village administrative officer (VAO) in 2012, she was not selected as she was treated as ‘others’. Later in the same year, she was not appointed station officer in fire service department citing the same reason. On both occasions she moved the high court and obtained an order directing the respective departments to keep one post vacant.

Justice Hariparanthaman said: “Counsel for the TNPSC does not dispute the genuineness of the conversion of Aariffaa to Labbai Muslim. According to her, ‘converted’ Labbai Muslim is not on List III which covered only ‘born Labbai Muslim’. This is, in fact, doing violence to the List. The only thing that has to be seen is whether the candidate has genuinely converted to any one of the sects in List III. If it is so, there ends the matter.” While accepting amicus curiae M Ajmalkhan’s stance that there is no such a thing as ‘converted’ Muslim, Justice Hariparanthaman disagreed with his claim that unlike in the case of Christianity, a convert’s original caste status is erased on embracing Islam.

The judge also flayed the Tamil Nadu Backward Class Commission for its stand that no convert to Islam is entitled to get BC community certificate and that all such existing certificates are bogus. “The view expressed by the commission has no basis and it has to be rejected, as it would result in the denial of community certificates to all converts to Islam,” Justice Hariparanthaman said. Directing the government to appoint Aariffaa to either of the posts she had qualified immediately, the judge said she should be placed at the appropriate place in the seniority list meant for BC Muslims.


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Opinions and Editorials

The woman calling for Narendra Modi to take responsibility for mass murder – By Dean Nelson (Apr 13, 2014, The Telegraph)

Minutes before he was hacked to death by a Hindu mob, veteran Muslim politician Ehsan Jafri reached for his phone and dialled one last number. For the dozens of neighbours also cowering in his home, it seemed like their only chance. At the other end of line, Mr Jafri told them, was Narendra Modi, the powerful Hindu politician who is widely expected to become India’s new prime minister next month.

Back in 2002, though, he was the chief minister of Mr Jafri’s home state of Gujarat, and arguably the only man who could save them from the crowds outside. By the time Mr Jafri finished the phone conversation, however, he knew they were doomed. Far from offering help, Mr Modi had taunted him and even expressed surprise that he was still alive, Mr Jafri told those around him in his final moments. “No help will come,” Mr Jafri added.

Shortly afterwards, Mr Jafri’s wife, Zakia, watched in horror from a balcony as rioters marched her husband naked from their home and chopped off his fingers, hands, arms and head. 12 years after the riots which left more than 700 Muslims dead, Mr Modi is cruising to become the leader of the world’s largest democracy, which will declare results from its mammoth nine-phase general election on May 18. Mrs Jafri, however, wants him prosecuted for abetting mass murder, over what was one of India’s worst-ever outbreaks of communal violence.

Now 75 and crippled with diabetes, she seems a feeble opponent to Mr Modi, 63, who is already being courted by other world leaders. He might, however, be unwise to underestimate her. On Friday she won another round in her fight to reopen a judicial inquiry that exonerated him of any responsibility for the riots. Last week, she and her former neighbours held a campaign meeting in the charred ruins of their abandoned homes in the Gulbarg Housing Society in the Gujarati city of Ahmedabad. It was here, on February 28, 2002, that the mob attacked, following rumours that Muslims had been responsible for the deaths of 58 Hindu pilgrims in a train fire at Godra the previous day.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mrs Jafri told how she saw the mob trying to force her husband to sing Hindu prayers. When he resisted “they beat him with swords,” she said. “They chopped his hands and arms bit by bit.” Her claim that Mr Modi should be held to account for the massacres is based on conversations with Indian police officers, who told her they had been ordered to stay at home during the rioting. Admittedly, some fellow Muslims question the point of pursuing the case now. They point out that Mr Modi had only been in his post as minister of Gujarat for a few days when the riots broke out, and had yet to master the levers of government. …


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Regarding fascism – By Pratap Bhanu Mehta (Apr 11, 2014, Indian Express)

The rise of Narendra Modi has brought the “F” word into promiscuous use. The spectre of fascism is said to be haunting India. It is easy to dismiss this concern over fascism as the hyperbole of a crumbling elite that has often used moral outrage as a substitute for addressing genuine political challenges. It might be tempting to engage in an argument over the historical specificity of fascism. Can the the combination of military power, total mobilisation and eliminationism that marked fascism really be reproduced in India?

But take the core concern beneath the hyperbole seriously. The communal atmosphere in some parts of the country is fragile. Dozens of riots in UP testify to this. As Suhas Palshikar had argued, the BJP has regionally varied strategies. In UP, in particular, it involves fishing in troubled communal waters. Whatever Narendra Modi’s intentions or change of heart might be is besides the point. India still has a communal challenge and ultimately the quality of its democracy will be judged by how it deals with it. You don’t have to subscribe to analytically otiose invocations of fascism to wonder what this election means for India’s prospects as a country where no one is targeted for being who they are. All sides speak about minorities, but few speak to them.

Whatever Amit Shah’s organisational genius might be, his track record should make you nervous about the kind of intimidation he could create. If we end up voting for them, the morning after we will need to think of the kinds of structures that can mitigate the damage they might do. BJP supporters, who might bristle at being called fascist, would do well to act reassuringly on these concerns. The best way to respond to accusations of fascism is not to dismiss them. It is to make them look silly by your own exemplariness.

But those scare-mongering on fascism also need self-reflection. Many of those dropping the “F” word also betray a will to simplification that tells you more about those making the accusations than it does about politics. The Indian Left is incapable of any dialectical thinking; there is not a trace of reflection on the forces that have brought us to this pass. There should be no complacency over the communal question.

But what is it about the structures of our thinking about communalism that 60 years after Independence, we seem to be revisiting the same questions over and over again? Is there some deeper phenomenon that the BJP-Congress system seems two sides of the same coin to so many, even on this issue? The point is not about the political equivalence of two political parties. People will make up their own minds. But is there something about the way we have conceptualised the problem of majority and minority, trapped in compulsory identities, that makes communalism the inevitable result?…


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Inexplicable reticence – Editorial (Apr 15, 2014, The Hindu)

As a candidate in the 2002, 2007 and then the 2012 elections for the Gujarat Assembly, Narendra Modi chose not to make his marital status clear in his nomination papers. Now, having set his sights on becoming the next occupant of 7 Race Course Road, the BJP’s prime ministerial nominee has for the first time acknowledged in his election papers the existence of a wife, Jashodaben Modi, who he appears to have distanced himself from almost half a century ago to become an RSS pracharak. Jashodaben, apparently at Mr. Modi’s urging, continued with her education after they parted. She became a village schoolteacher, but the reality of the social milieu she lived in was such that she had to rely on her brothers to give her a home.

By itself, this belated revelation should have been of little consequence, especially as this had already been reported on in the press. In India, unlike in the West, details of a politician’s personal life normally have little impact on the electorate unless they have criminal implications. But what caused consternation in this case was why Mr. Modi should have suppressed for so long the fact that he was married. Further, in a country where women have a robust public presence, keeping his wife hidden away from the public eye, suggested a regressive view on Mr. Modi’s part of a woman’s place in this country.

Indeed, this delayed disclosure of the crucial personal detail dents Mr. Modi’s credibility as a prime ministerial candidate. With the socially conservative RSS driving the BJP’s campaign, there is the apprehension of a resurgence of a patriarchal mindset reflecting restrictive approaches to the issue of further empowerment of women. The Gujarat model that Mr. Modi is assiduously marketing in his bid to become Prime Minister does not inspire much confidence in his ability to promote gender equality. The 2011 census says there are 918 women for every 1,000 men in the State, below the national average of 940, indicating an unacceptable trend of male-preference, lower rates of school enrolment for girls, and higher levels of malnutrition among children than in the rest of India.

The State’s conviction rate for rape and abduction of women is also among the lowest in the country. Mr. Modi’s political opponents have naturally seized upon this disquieting impression of a regressive impulse, seeking to make political capital out of it. The onus is on him, given his prime ministerial aspirations, to be more transparent about what prompted this somewhat misogynist reticence in disclosing his marital status. This will put to rest fears that we are about to enter an era of renewed social conservatism, should Mr. Modi become Prime Minister.


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The murky past of Narendra Modi’s right-hand man – By Andrew Buncombe (Apr 13, 2014, The Independent)

Last spring, a year ahead of the election now gripping India, Amit Shah was dispatched by Mr Modi to Uttar Pradesh with instructions to build support for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in the nation’s largest and politically most-important state. He set about identifying candidates and meeting local leaders in an effort to deliver Mr Modi the “wave” he will need to become India’s next prime minister. But while Mr Shah has cemented support for Mr Modi, he has also run into problems. Over the weekend, one week into the five-week voting process to elect a new government, the Election Commission (EC) banned Mr Shah from addressing public meetings in the state, and ordered that charges be filed against him after he was accused of stoking communal tensions.

In speeches in western Uttar Pradesh, which last year saw deadly clashes between Hindus and Muslims, Mr Shah told a gathering of Hindus they should vote for the BJP as a means of “revenge for the insult” inflicted last year. The EC also banned a senior figure from the local Socialist Party, Azam Khan, for making similar speeches to Muslims. “The commission has been observing with serious concern that Azam Khan and Amit Shah have been making highly inflammatory speeches,” said the EC. “These statements are promoting feelings of enmity, hatred and ill-will, and creating disharmony between…religious communities.” It is not the first time Mr Shah, 50, has been under scrutiny. The man said to be a highly skilled political operative, also has a long and controversial history.

In 2010, he was charged with murder and kidnapping over the alleged extrajudicial killing of three people in Gujarat five years earlier and banned from the state while the inquiry went ahead. Out on bail for more than 18 months, he has denied the charges and claimed they were politically motivated. Mr Modi and Mr Shah first met in the 1980s when they were young members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a conservative Hindu nationalist group linked to the BJP. In the early 1990s, Mr Shah, who comes from a wealthy Gujarat family and who has a degree in biochemistry, took charge of the election campaign of a senior party leader, LK Advani.

He secured Mr Advani’s landslide victory and subsequently rose through the ranks. One crucial task he was given was to oversee the party’s representation over constituency realignment. According to Vidyutkumar Anantray Joshi, an academic who has studied the process, the move created more urban constituencies, something that helped the BJP. Mr Shah, who has been elected four times to the Gujarat provincial assembly, became a minister in Mr Modi’s state government in late 2001, shortly before the massacre of hundreds of Muslims by Hindu mobs. Mr Modi has always denied claims that he took insufficient steps to stop the killings. The murder charges against Mr Shah relate to the killing of an alleged gangster, Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife and a witness, at a time when the aide was a junior home minister.

At the time of the killings in 2005, it was claimed Mr Sheikh was a jihadi terrorist dispatched by Pakistan’s intelligence service to assassinate Mr Modi and that he had been killed in a shootout with police. But two years later, the state government’s lawyer, KTS Tulsi, stated to India’s Supreme Court that the killings took place while the three were in police custody. Mr Tulsi resigned his position after Mr Modi was perceived to have bragged about the killings during the 2007 state-election campaign. According to the Reuters news agency, the charge sheet filed by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation stated that in his position as home minister Mr Shah headed an extortion racket with Gujarat police officers and Mr Sheikh. They fell out and police snatched Mr Sheikh from a bus with his wife, then staged a gun-battle. Mr Sheikh was killed and his wife’s cremated body was found in the village of one of the policemen. A witness was killed later. …


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The Rich And The Infamous – By Imran Khan (Apr 19, 2014, Tehelka)

Politics and crime go hand in hand. In India, the trend is on the rise: individuals with criminal background continue to enter politics as the assets of serving politicians soar exponentially by the end of their terms. Even after the recent brouhaha over corruption and criminalisation of politics, a recent analysis of backgrounds and financial details of candidates by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), in partnership with the Karnataka Election Watch (KEW), shows as many as 55 candidates contesting in the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies of Karnataka with criminal cases lodged against them. Not surprisingly, the report says, the average asset of contesting MPs grew by 200 percent between 2009-14.

ADR’s analysis establishes that politics is a lucrative business for aspirants. Across the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies in Karnataka, 434 candidates are trying their luck in the General Election. According to the analysis, of the 55 candidates who have criminal records, six are from the Congress, nine from the BJP, eight from former prime minister HD Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal (Secular) and 14 are independents. Of the 55 candidates, 35 face serious criminal cases related to attempt to murder and crimes against women. Pramod Muthalik, who recently joined the BJP only to be denied the party membership the next day, and B Sriramulu, former health minister who quit the BJP to form the BSR Congress before returning to the party’s fold, top the list of candidates who have declared cases related to attempt to murder.

Topping the list is the BS Yeddyurappa of the BJP, who not only toiled and built the party for 40 years but also helped it come to power in 2008, becoming its first chief minister in south India. His term is most remembered for corruption scandals. He had to step down after being indicted in the multi-crore mining scam. According to the affidavits filed with the Election Commission, there are nine cases pending against Yeddyurappa, who is contesting from Shimoga district. Most cases against him are related to land scams that happened during his tenure as chief minister, including denotification of land in favour of his kith and kin. Subsequently, he has been charged for criminal breach of trust by a public servant (IPC Section 406), forgery for purpose of cheating (IPC Section 468) and IPC Section 420 (dishonestly inducing delivery of property). There are also eight charges related to criminal conspiracy (IPC Section 120B), six under IPC Section 471 (using forged documents) and five related to forgery under IPC Section 463. While the charges have been framed in most cases, he is yet to be convicted.

Second on the list is Muthalik, chief of the extreme right-wing outfit Sri Ram Sene. His outfit gained notoriety in 2009 when his activists in Mangalore attacked women in pubs. Muthalik, who is contesting as an independent candidate from Bangalore South against Nandan Nilekani of the Congress and Ananth Kumar of the BJP, has eight pending cases against him. He has been booked under 34 Sections of the IPC. Most cases are related to his political activism that helped him gain notoriety over the years: from causing enmity between different religious groups to moral policing to causing disturbance to communal harmony to criminal intimidation and even attempt to murder. Even though some of the cases go as far back as 2004, he hasn’t been convicted in any of them.

Former BJP minister and mining baron Sriramulu faces eight cases. Most of them are from 2008-13, when he was jailed in the Karnataka iron ore mining scandal. They include cases of rioting armed with a deadly weapon (IPC Section 148), criminal conspiracy (IPC Section 120B), criminal trespass, hurt by dangerous weapons, criminal intimidation and attempt to murder. While the BJP is clearly ahead on the list, the Congress and the JD(S) are not far behind. The tainted Congress candidates include former CM N Dharam Singh and youth leader Rizwan Arshad. Dharam Singh, who was chief minister in 2004, has one case registered against him with charges of forgery, cheating and destruction of evidence. On the other hand, Arshad, who was handpicked by Rahul Gandhi for the Bangalore Central constituency, has two cases registered against him related to criminal intimidation and rioting. …


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India’s pro-rapist lobby – Editorial (Apr 12, 2014, The Hindu)

“Boys will make mistakes,” Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav said of rape, on Thursday. His remarks making light of such a heinous crime illustrate just why the feminist battle in India has barely begun. Mr. Yadav believes new rape laws, introduced after the 2012 rape-and-murder of a Delhi woman, are being misused by women to punish their boyfriends. “When their friendship ends,” Mr. Yadav asserted, “the girl complains she has been raped.” Mr. Yadav’s lieutenant, Abu Asim Azmi, meanwhile invoked shari’a law to call for the death penalty – but, for the victim. “Even the woman is guilty,” he told a Mumbai newspaper. Mr. Azmi believes that if “any woman, whether married or unmarried, goes along with a man, with or without her consent, she should be hanged.”

The sad truth, though, is that these kinds of attitudes aren’t exclusive to the Samajwadi Party. From the Rajasthan legislator who thinks rape happens because schoolgirls wear skirts to the Puducherry Minister who wants them covered up in overcoats; from Shiv Sena leaders who blame migrants to Delhi community leaders who scapegoat Africans; from Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat who thinks “western values” provoke rape to the Haryana khap panchayat leader who says it happens because of hormonal excesses he attributed to chowmein – there is no shortage of Indians willing to blame rape on anything and everyone other than the rapist.

Mr. Yadav’s words, we can be reasonably certain, were no mistake. In the midst of a bruising election campaign, he spoke as he did because he knew there is political gain to be had from this stand. The hideous truth is that in India, as in many other countries, there is something that can only be described as a pro-rapist lobby that extends beyond political pulpits into streets and homes. The renewed feminist activism of the last year has left patriarchy scrambling for new bogeys and new ways to protect itself. Ill-informed scaremongering about the “draconian” provisions of the new amendment to sexual assault laws has been a handy tool. For India’s women, rape is part of a continuum of violence that begins in the womb.

Also, contrary to the myth that rural “Bharat” is safer than westernised India, of the 24,923 cases registered in 2012 by police, 3,035 took place in major cities. The data also tell us the typical rapist isn’t a feral juvenile, crazed by raging hormones or bad upbringing. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the perpetrator was known to the victim. Mr. Yadav’s words have rightly caused outrage. They should also lead to some hard introspection into how many of us believe an only slightly more benign version of those very words to be true.


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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 24th, 2014

by newsdigest on March 25, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup


News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review


Death threats to Advocate Pracha and intimidation of online media are unacceptable, say Indian Americans

Attempt to force news portal to withdraw interview critical of Police chief undermines freedom of press

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC –, an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, condemned the threats to senior lawyer Mr. Mehmood Paracha by vested interests operating through underworld goons. IAMC has demanded the state administration nab the culprits and take immediate measures for the safety and security of the senior lawyer. Advocate Paracha is representing German bakery bomb blast case convict Mirza Himayat Baig.

Besides fighting to prove Himayat Baig’s innocence, Mr. Paracha has been fighting many terror related cases of Muslim youth across the country. Mr. Paracha reported he is getting threatening messages from the underworld don Ravi Pujari since his recent interview appeared on the TCN site. In the exclusive interview to online news portal TwoCircles.Net (TCN – Advocate Paracha, had courted controversy by demanding that that the current Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria be “arrested as a terrorist” and tried under anti-terror laws.

The senior lawyer had stated, “The fact remains that three investigating agencies (NIA, Delhi Police’ Special Cell and Central Crime Branch, Bangalore), my own understanding of the case, the charge sheet and the subsequent events, all point to one fact that the Maharashtra ATS led by Mr. Rakesh Maria was responsible in not only falsely implicating Himayat Baig, but also in the process actively saving the real terrorists,” adding, “the police officers involved, including Mr Rakesh Maria should be arrested for conducting activities which are terror related. He has committed offense prima facie which are terror cases and he should be arrested as a terrorist.”

Mr. Paracha’s case is following the same pattern as the case of late Advocate Shahid Azmi, who was killed in broad daylight in his office by vested interests inimical to the rule of law. “The fact that there are threats to the life of the senior advocate demonstrates how the rule of law is disregarded with impunity when those struggling for justice start to take on the mighty and powerful,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC.

IAMC also condemned the Mumbai police department’s attempt to intimidate the online news portal TCN by demanding the removal of Mr. Paracha’s interview wherein he made the bold and stunning revelation about the dubious role of Police Commissioner and former Maharashtra ATS chief Rakesh Maria in terror related cases. “The Mumbai Police’s demand that the online portal withdraw the interview with Mr. Paracha is an unacceptable attack on the freedom of the press. It strikes at the very roots of our existence as a democracy where the state security apparatus is supposed to operate under the law and help uphold it, ” added Mr. Khan.

IAMC has called on the media, civil society institutions, legal fraternity and people of conscience, to strongly resist attempts by the Mumbai Police to infringe on the due process of law and on the freedom of media institutions.

Indian-American Muslim Council (formerly Indian Muslim Council-USA) is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with 15 chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our new website at:


Rakesh Maria should be arrested for conducting activities which are terror related: Advocate Paracha

Block articles against Maria: Police to US site

Mumbai Police wants TCN articles removed; Support for TCN comes from all quarters

Remove Maharashtra ATS Chief Rakesh Maria: JTSA

6/11 call record issue may suffer under Maria: Kamte’s wife

Ishaq Syed
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270

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Rakesh Maria should be arrested for conducting activities which are terror related: Advocate Pracha (Mar 18, 2014,

Senior lawyer Mehmood Pracha, who is defending German bakery bomb blast case convict Mirza Himayat Beg for his innocence, has demanded that the current Mumbai Police Commissioner should be “arrested as a terrorist” and tried under anti-terror laws. In an exclusive interview to TCN, Advocate Pracha said, “The fact remains that three investigating agencies (NIA, Delhi Police’ Special Cell and Central Crime Branch, Bangalore), my own understanding of the case, the charge sheet and the subsequent events, all point to one fact that the Maharashtra ATS led by Mr Rakesh Maria was responsible in not only falsely implicating Himayat Baig, but also in the process actively saving the real terrorists,” adding, “the police officers involved, including Mr Rakesh Maria should be arrested for conducting activities which are terror related. He has committed offense prima facie which are terror cases and he should be arrested as a terrorist.”

Besides Himayat Baig, Advocate Pracha has been trying to secure bail for another high profile terror accused Mansoor Peerbhoy and has been frontally attacking current Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria for his conduct as ATS Chief. He also alleged that the Mumbai top cop is using underworld don Ravi Pujari to coerce him to leave those sensitive terror cases. Advocate Pracha has been receiving threat calls from international telephone numbers. Advocate Pracha is now planning to petition in court to lodge FIR against him. He told TCN, “In Himayat Baig’s case what has come out is that the Maharashtra ATS, led by Mr Rakesh Maria – who was then the Chief of the ATS – they not only implicated an innocent called Mr Himayat Baig, but they also saved the real terrorists, as three other agencies have also stated.”

He hence feels that as a law abiding citizen, it is his “duty to inform for a cognizable offence to the relevant authority and the court.” Not shying away from calling Maria a “terrorist” for his alleged misconduct, the out-spoken lawyer added, “It is my duty to inform the terrorist activities of Mr Rakesh Maria, then head of the Maharashtra ATS, and his entire team.” Elaborating further, he said, “When I say, that these police officers are acting like terrorists because they are aiding and abetting the real terrorists and catching hold of the innocent people to save the real terrorists. Under section 15 to 20 of the UAPA, these are terrorist activities, be it whether they are committed by the police officers or common citizens because law is equal for all.”

Pointing that Maria is not the only police officer who have implicated innocent Muslims, Advocate Pracha said, “This is true not only for Mr Rakesh Maria, but for many other officers against whom I have conclusive evidence to at least register an FIR against them. Law should take its own course, because nobody is above law. Mr Rakesh Maria’s case came up because the NIA filed the additional charge-sheet which once again points to the fact that Himayat Baig was innocent.” He added, “Mr Rakesh Maria has managed to bring himself to the limelight by brining Ravi Pujari (the underworld don, whose men purportedly threatened Pracha over phone) that is why I have to take his name again and again, but there are so many other police officers who are going the same way. But none of them has actually threatened with the underworld. He has got this invited on himself. If you threaten me like this I am going to fight back, by legal means.”

Elaborating further he said, “The fact remains that there many police officers in many states, who are acting along with the real terrorists and implicating these innocent in false cases. And we are duty bound as citizens to catch hold of each one of them and hand them over to the investigating agencies.” “Unfortunate part is both the police officers who are supposed to be neutral investigating agencies and the public prosecutors, supported by the respective governments, have acted in an adversarial and vindictive manner in these cases,” he added. Questioning the very credentials of Maria for acting in such a manner and using underworld don to threaten him, Pracha said, “But he has taken it in a manner, which I think, is not suitable for a police officer, if at all he is, because I do not find any of the characters of a police officer in him, going through the evidences I am seeing in all the charge-sheets, which have been filed under his leadership. So he has started threatening me through the underworld. But these things don’t scare me at all.” …


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Two Haryana policemen get life sentence for fake encounter (Mar 21, 2014, Hindustan Times)

Two Haryana policemen have been sentenced to life imprisonment by a special CBI court for killing two criminals in a fake encounter in 1994 even as it acquitted the then DGP of the state. The then Inspector Nar Singh and Constable Ramesh Chander were sentenced yesterday for their involvement in the Jitender Pahal encounter case and slapped with a fine of Rs. 10,000 each. The then Director General of Haryana Police Lachman Dass and two other policemen have been acquitted.

The case relates to Pahal and Randhir Singh, both known criminals, who were killed while being taken from Jind to Sonepat in police custody on October 25, 1994. On the petition of Pahal’s mother, Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed CBI to take over probe in the matter as the petitioner had alleged the role of Haryana Police officials in the killing of the two. During the probe, CBI found that Pahal and Singh were were lodged in the prisons while Lachman Dass was serving as DG Prisons in the state. In 1991, a friend of Dass’ son Bunty Budh Ram was involved in a clash with Pahal.

In November 1991, Bunty visited Ambala prison where Pahal was lodged and both threatened each other with dire consequences. “The CBI investigation disclosed that during the period from August 24, 1994 to April 30, 1995, Dass while posted as DGP Haryana entered into a criminal conspiracy with Ved Prakash Verma, Nar Singh, Ramesh Chander, Sube Singh and Mangat Singh Gill and in pursuance of the said criminal conspiracy eliminated both Jitender Pahal and Randhir Singh,” CBI had alleged in its charge sheet. The agency charged Dass along with others with murder and furnishing false evidence. Gill died during the trial.


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‘Reject The Closure Report Filed By SIT’ (Mar 18, 2014, Outlook)

Survivor of the 2002 carnage and widow of eminent Parliamentarian Smt Zakia Ahsan Jafri has filed a Criminal Revision Application before the Gujarat High Court challenging the Order of the Magistrate rejecting her Protest Petition seeking to arraign powerful accused Narendra Modi, chief minister Gujarat and 59 others on charges of criminal conspiracy, abetment etc to commit mass murder, arson and rape and also tamper with evidence and destroy valuable records of the Gujarat home department. The Revision appeal was filed on Saturday, March 15, 2014 and will come up for hearing on March 20, 2014.

The applicant Zakia Jafri also prays for the rejection of the closure report of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) dated 8.2.2012. The Magistrate had, on 26.12.2013 rejected the Protest Petition filed by Smt Zakia Jafri, assisted by Citizens for Justice and Peace, on 15.4.2013. Substantive arguments seeking to establishing strong suspicion of a conspiracy committed at the highest level were made by the Petitioner’s advocates and detailed Written and Oral Submissions submitted on 25.9.2013.

The Criminal Revision Application that runs into about 540 pages laid out substantive grounds for rejection of the Order of the Magistrate BJ Ganatra dated 26.12.2013. At the outset it points out the double faced role played by the SIT once the matter stopped being monitored by the Supreme Court and was completely handed over to the Crime Branch, Ahmedabad. In the substantive grounds laid down in the Criminal Revision Application to challenge the Order of the Magistrate are the following:

The Metropolitan Magistrate committed a fundamental error in law and on facts in failing to exercise his jurisdiction. By not dealing with the substantive arguments laid down by Smt Jafri in written and oral submissions, the Judge has simply accepted the contentions in the closure report with a non-application of mind. That the Learned Metropolitan Magistrate has failed to consider the following material that was put to establish prima facie the involvement of Accused No. 1 in serious crimes of conspiracy and abetment and which was sufficient to establish his involvement in the conspiracy and abetment of crimes of murder, arson and rape: …


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‘Incorruptible’ Narendra Modi faces accusations of using fake WikiLeaks endorsement to raise fund (Mar 18, 2014, Financial Express)

A controversy erupted over a claim that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange endorsed Narendra Modi as “incorruptible” even as the whistle-blower website disclosed a secret cable by a senior US diplomat eight years ago that described him as a “distrustful person” who reigns more by “fear and intimidation”. The website while denying in a series of tweets that it had called the Gujarat Chief Minister “incorruptible” tweeted details of a number of observations made by the then Mumbai-based Consul General Michael S Owen on Narendra Modi’s leadership in a cable after his visit to the state in 2006.

“No WikiLeaks document say Modi is ‘incorruptable’, rather he is popular because ‘viewed’ as ‘incorruptable’,” WikiLeaks said. Wikileaks said the term “incorruptible” was apparently used by a Gujarat Congress leader Manoharsinh Jadeja. “The Narendra Modi “incorruptable” quote comes from Rajkot Congress party leader Manoharsinh Jadeja,” it said. In another tweet, WikiLeaks accused BJP of using the “fake Assange-Modi endorsement” to raise funds.

The website today accused Priti Gandhi, Co-Convener of Maharashtra BJP Communication Cell, of pushing the “fake endorsement” by WikiLeaks. Its clarification came against the backdrop of some BJP supporters circulating posters in Ahmedabad quoting Assange, saying that “America is scared of Modi because he is incorruptible.” BJP, however, downplayed the WikiLeaks tweets. “We don’t need a certificate from WikiLeaks or Assange on Modiji,” BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had said.

WikiLeaks went on to tweet a secret cable sent by the US Embassy in 2006 which criticised Narendra Modi’s style of functioning. “Views remain divided on whether Modi’s leadership style will help or harm him if he enters national politics. In public, Modi can be charming and likable. By all accounts, however, he is an insular, distrustful person… He reigns more by fear and intimidation than by inclusiveness and consensus, and is rude, condescending and often derogatory to even high level party officials. He hoards power…,” one such diplomatic cable under a sub-heading “Modi’s Leadership Style” said.

The US Consulate, however, added that all of its interlocutors acknowledged that Narendra Modi is a modest man “who, unlike many elected officials in India, has not used his position to enrich himself or his family”. “Most contacts also say that he has purged the state administration of petty corruption at the mid and lower levels of the bureaucracy. However, several people tell us that big ticket corruption is still common,” it added. The secret cable following Owen’s visit also stated that the US Embassy in Delhi had cleared the document.


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Video containing graphic details of 2002 Gujarat riots goes viral on social media (Mar 20, 2014, Daily Bhaskar)

Days after s victim of 2002 Gujarat riots, Zakia Jafri, wife of slain Congress MP Ehsan Jafri moved an application before the Gujarat High Court challenging the clean chit given by SIT to Chief Minister Narendra Modi, a contentious video clip, which supposedly contains graphic details of the deadly riots is making the rounds on social media.

According to reports, the video clipping, “& rioter” has been edited by one Sayed Mohammed Raqeem SM, contains graphic details of the communal riots that struck Gujarat in 2002. Times of India reports: The video – ‘& Rioter’, edited by one Sayed Mohammed Raqeem SM – contains visuals of charred bodies, hooliganism and riot victims, and calls RSS leaders and Modi ‘dharm ke numayinde’ (patrons of religion).

Local Samajwadi Party leader and corporator Varun Singh has also uploaded the video clip on a social-networking site. Singh said one of his friends shared the video with him, following which he realized that “making others aware about the truth of Gujarat was a must” and he shared the video with others. Singh said he “forwarded it to 24 of my friends”, some of whom are his party colleagues.


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Documentary sheds light on Amit Shah’s link in Muzaffarnagar riots (Mar 19, 2014, Indian Express)

Gopal Menon’s documentary The Killing Fields of Muzaffarnagar, that was screened at St Xavier’s college in Ahmedabad on Tuesday, shows incidents behind riots in Muzaffarnagar, pointing out that riots were instigated by right-wing Hindu politicians after Gujarat minister Amit Shah was sent to UP for Lok Sabha elections. The 50-minute documentary showed lives of riot-affected families living in refugee camps. The Supreme Court has taken into cognizance Menon’s documentary as one of the five DVDs submitted to the apex court by petitioners seeking justice to show the incidents of riots.

After the screening, Menon told this newspaper, “Muzaffarnagar has a history of keeping peace. There was not a single clash reported in the wake of the Partition or during the Babri Masjid demolition. However, a small motorbike accident between two boys of two communities led to such a big riot? All local politicians who called for sabhas before riots were in the Shah’s shadow. The riots were manufactured by them to settle their feet in UP before elections.”

The documentary has live footage of panchayat sabhas, with politicians inciting communities. Menon said, “We’ve also spoken to a local group prepared in UP called ‘Narendra Modi Army’ that was one of the most active groups that committed atrocities on Muslims during the riots.”


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Terror suspect Fasih Mehmood allegedly attacked in Tihar Jail (Mar 22, 2014, IBN)

Fasih Mehmood, a terror suspect in the 2010 Bangalore Chinnaswamy Stadium blast and the Jama Masjid shooting in Delhi, was allegedly beaten up by fellow cell-mates in Tihar jail on Saturday. Mehmood reportedly got into a brawl with fellow prisoners after which he got injured and was rushed to the AIIMS trauma centre.

However, Tihar Jail authorties have rebutted claims of Mehmood getting attacked by the fellow cell-mates. Fasih Mehmood was held in Saudi Arabia and was deported to India. He was wanted by both the Delhi and Bangalore police.

Security agencies have claimed he knows all top operatives of the Indian Mujahideen including Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal. But his family insists he is innocent.


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School books says BJP ‘communal’, Election Commission begins probe (Mar 18, 2014, DNA India)

The Election Commission has begun an inquiry into an allegation by the BJP that the party has purportedly been branded as communal in a class IX text book in Left Front-ruled Tripura. “We have received a complaint from BJP here and asked the state education department to file a report on the allegation. After receiving the report, we would send it to the EC for appropriate action,” chief electoral officer Asutosh Jindal said.

Prasenjit Chakraborty, convener of BJP’s Intellectual Cell here, complained to chief election commissioner V S Sampath on Sunday that the Bengali medium political science book, in its chapter on ‘India’s party system’, said one of the important characteristics of this system was the existence of communal parties.

“Muslim League, Hindu Mahasabha and Shiv Sena are among such parties, besides BJP. Parties like the BJP, though not based on religion, succeeded in capturing power through communalisation of politics,” the book purportedly said. Chakraborty also claimed that on the basis of the book, a school here recently set a question for students to identify the communal party from four parties – Congress, CPI-M, BJP and BSP. The party demanded immediate action against the guilty.


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No special concern for minority districts: Sachar review panel (Mar 20, 2014, Indian Express)

The Congress-led UPA created a multi-sectoral development programme for 90 Minority Concentrated Districts (MCD) in the country but a review panel scrutinising implementation of the Sachar Committee recommendations did not perceive any special concern for these districts. The panel said the government neither properly assessed development deficit in these districts, nor made adequate financial resources available.

“There has not been any systematic assessment of development deficits in MCDs for determination of targets under different schemes,” the evaluation panel’s interim report said. Soon after the Sachar Committee Report was submitted, the Centre decided to identify Minority Concentrated Districts and give special attention to their development. One of the criteria for an Minority Concentrated Districts was it should have a combined minority population of over 25 per cent.

The report said financial resources and physical targets available to minorities, especially Muslims, were meagre and in some schemes has not been utilised, reflecting lack of coordination and absence of systematic planning. “Investments in any part of minority concentrated towns have been mentioned without ascertaining whether the minority community resides there,” the report points out. The review panel, headed by Amitabh Kundu, professor (economics) at Jawaharlal Nehru University, submitted its report on March 14 to the Ministry of Minority Affairs.

Among the recommendations was a special sub-quota for Muslims within the OBC and including Muslims in SC category, a law on the lines of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes Prevention of Atrocity Act, and incentives to public/ private sector institutions for promoting communal diversity. It called for development of institutional support system to help unemployed Muslim youth take up jobs in manufacturing and service sectors.

It stated that all government agencies should be directed to incorporate socio-religious categorisation of beneficiaries in their information system designed for government programmes. “The committee found no special efforts by the Centre in addressing concerns of minority districts,” sources said.


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Cops filed wrong FIR: Rape survivor (Mar 21, 2014, Times of India)

A teenaged girl has accused the Dahisar police of filing an incorrect FIR and applying milder charges against her perpetrator. The 19-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a youth from her neighbourhood. The accused had promised to marry her before committing the crime. But when she approached the Dahisar police station in January, they recorded a complaint of assault and molestation against the 21-year-old youth. Out on bail, the youth and his relatives have begun intimidating her.

“I lost my father eight years ago and live with my mother and elder brother at Dahisar (E). The accused was my senior in school. Last year, he told me that he was interested in me, but I did not want to get into a relationship. He threatened to kill himself. I finally gave in when he promised to tie the knot,” the survivor said. During an outing at Gorai beach, the youth got intimate with her against her wishes. “Many times thereafter, he would threaten me or, at times, hit me and get intimate. Unable to take it anymore, I decided to approach the police,” she said.

In the FIR recorded on January 25, the investigating officer wrote that the girl had been assaulted and abused. The accused was booked under sections 354, 509 and 323 of IPC for molestation and assault but he soon got out on bail. “Now, he mocks me whenever I step out of home and his family has started intimidating me. I want graver charges of rape and cheating to be applied against him,” she said. ACP (Dahisar) Dilip Roopvate said, “I have asked for the case papers. We need to ascertain if there were two separate incidents of assault and of rape. Action will be taken accordingly. A fresh statement of the girl has been recorded.”


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Opinions and Editorials

Ghost of Godhra – Editorial (Mar 19, 2014, Times of India)

The course the law has taken so far in cases related to the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat is nowhere near a point of closure. That provides Narendra Modi’s rivals with an opportunity to ensure that the ghost of Godhra will continue to haunt him through the election campaign. In his interview to Press Trust of India, Rahul Gandhi has driven home this intent in an unusually spirited manner. He has sought “legal accountability” for the “clear and inexcusable failure” of governance during the riots, while pooh-poohing Modi’s claim that he has emerged unscathed after an exhaustive judicial scrutiny.

What are the facts? The Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) didn’t charge the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate with the slightest complicity, direct or otherwise, in instigating or perpetrating the horrific bloodshed. A lower court in Ahmedabad upheld the SIT’s findings. Is that the end of the matter? It is not. Post-Godhra violence cases will continue to be heard in the high court and later in the apex court. The judges will have to take into account a number of recent writings that have found serious lapses in the SIT’s report. On this score, Rahul Gandhi’s diatribe isn’t without merit.

Whether it would fetch the Congress electoral dividends – even from large sections of Muslims – is however far from clear. Every opinion poll has revealed that voters have other fish to fry. Modi seems to recognise this better than his adversaries. But that would be of little avail unless he eschews divisive rhetoric – something he has done until now – and expresses genuine remorse for the loss of innocent lives under his watch – which, alas, he hasn’t.


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The banality of evil – By Nissim Mannathukkaren (Mar 22, 2014, The Hindu)

German-American philosopher Hannah Arendt gave the world the phrase, “the banality of evil”. In 1963, she published the book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, her account of the trial of Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi military officer and one of the key figures of the Holocaust. Eichmann was hanged to death for war crimes. Arendt’s fundamental thesis is that ghastly crimes like the Holocaust are not necessarily committed by psychopaths and sadists, but, often, by normal, sane and ordinary human beings who perform their tasks with a bureaucratic diligence.

Maya Kodnani, MLA from Naroda, handed out swords to the mobs that massacred 95 people in the Gujarat riots of 2002. She was sentenced to 28 years in prison. She is a gynecologist who ran a clinic, and was later appointed as Minister for Women and Child Development under Narendra Modi.

Jagdish Tytler was, allegedly, one of the key individuals in the 1984 pogrom against the Sikhs. He was born to a Sikh mother and was brought up by a Christian, a prominent educationist who established institutions like the Delhi Public School. A Congress Party leader, he has been a minister in the Union government. The supposedly long arm of law has still not reached him. Guess they never will, considering that the conviction rate in the cases for butchering nearly 8000 Sikhs is only around one per cent.

For every “monstrous” Babu Bajrangi and Dara Singh, there are the Kodnanis and Tytlers. Evil, according to Arendt, becomes banal when it acquires an unthinking and systematic character. Evil becomes banal when ordinary people participate in it, build distance from it and justify it, in countless ways. There are no moral conundrums or revulsions. Evil does not even look like evil, it becomes faceless.

Thus, a terrifyingly fascinating exercise that is right now underway in the election campaign is the trivialisation and normalisation of the Gujarat pogrom, to pave the way for the crowning of the emperor, the Vikas Purush. If there was some moral indignation and horror at the thought of Narendra Modi becoming prime minister until recently, they have been washed away in the tidal wave of poll surveys, media commentaries, intellectual opinion, political bed-hopping, and of course, what the Americans think, all of which reinforce each other in their collective will to see Modi ascend to power. Banalisation of evil happens when great human crimes are reduced to numbers. …


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Blaming the ‘other’ – By Harsh Mander (Mar 22, 2014, The Hindu)

The on-going suffering of traumatised Muslim families in Muzaffarnagar was spurred by reports of a Muslim young man stalking a Jat girl. The story spread like a forest fire from village to village that Shahnawaz had long harassed a Jat girl in his village and that her brother Sachin and cousin Gaurav defended her honour by killing the boy. In retaliation, a mob lynched the brothers. A graphic video depicting the brutal lynching made the rounds from cell phone to cell phone.

Jat elders met in khap panchayats, enraged by these accounts and a mahapanchayat was convened. Thousands participated, and speaker after speaker railed against the duplicity of their Muslim neighbours. The next day mobs of Jat men attacked settlements in which lived the families of Muslim farm workers who had cultivated their fields for many generations. The state administration stood by as homes were torched and looted, women raped and men killed. Terrified children, women and men fled to the safety of Muslim-majority villages.

Both village squares and social media were rife with stories that the incident was not an isolated one. Instead Shahnawaz’s pursuit of Sachin’s sister was part of a much larger conspiracy of ‘love jihad’ in which Muslim boys enticed Hindu girls in romantic traps to convert them to Islam. Few paid notice when, early on, one English television channel carried an interview with Sachin’s sister in which she said that, far from being harassed by the murdered Shahnawaz, she did not even know him. Some days later it emerged that the video of Sachin and Gaurav being lynched was fake. It was actually a video of a murderous mob attack on two brothers in Sialkot, Pakistan. This video was uploaded by BJP MLA Sangeet Som to deliberately create hatred against local Muslims. But even this did not shake the popular conviction – not just in Muzaffarnagar but across UP and the country – that the attack was justified retribution against Muslims.

Six months later, police has completed its investigations and filed the chargesheets related to the murders of Shahnawaz, Sachin and Gaurav. The records reveals that the initial FIR filed after the killing of the Jat brothers did not even mention stalking. The investigation reveals a very different trajectory. What transpired was a road rage encounter after the motorcycle of one accidentally touched the bicycle of the other. This led to an overheated exchange of words. Shahnawaz went to the Muslim enclave for afternoon prayers in the mosque. Meanwhile Sachin with his cousin Gaurav and seven other men surrounded and stabbed Shahnawaz, and then tried to flee. The others escaped but Sachin and Gaurav were caught. People rushed Shahnawaz to the hospital, but news came that he had died. Sachin and Gaurav were killed.

This story did not serve the political objectives of those who sought to profit from popular anger against Muslims. An emotive alternative narrative was constructed of sexual predation and honour. It served its purpose of generating mass hatred among Jats against their Muslims neighbours. Murderous hate attacks, arson, rapes and the mass exodus that followed were the harvest of the deliberately propagated falsehoods. Thousands spent a bleak winter under tents and continue to live in abject fear of returning to their homes. …


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No country for Muslims – By Kanchan Srivastava (Mar 20, 2014, DNA India)

Justice Rajinder Sachar in his report in 2006 said the Muslims in the country face enormous economic deprivation, social exclusion and political under-representation. Following this, the Union government created a ministry of minority affairs, revamped the prime minister’s 15-point programme and launched multi-sectoral development programmes targeted at Muslims.

The seven-year exercise, however, did not bring about any significant change in the socio-economic condition of the community, says an interim report, which was submitted to the ministry of minority affairs on March 13. The 10-member committee headed by JNU professor Amitabh Kundu was appointed by the UPA government in August 2013 to evaluate developments in political, social and economic spheres focusing on the period since the acceptance of the Sachar committee report in 2006 and also to propose measures for the upliftment of Muslims.

The Kundu committee has now recommended the inclusion of some of the most backward Muslims castes (Ajlaf) under the Other Backward Class (OBC) quota, shifting of Muslim Dalits (Arzal) from OBC to the Scheduled Caste (SC) quota and the passing of an “Anti-Muslims Discrimination Act” on the lines of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The report also criticises the UPA government for not passing the Communal Violence Bill.

“Many politicians wear skull caps and boast about being the champions of the Muslim community. However, a lot needs to be done for inclusive India,” professor Kundu told dna. The government has given a six-month deadline to the committee in the hope of gaining some brownie points before the 2014 elections. The contents of the interim report are bound to create embarrassment for the government and may affect the poll outcome. Hence, the interim report has been kept under wraps. The final report is expected in June.

The report says the schemes targeted at Muslim-concentrated districts did not yield desired results due to lack of comprehensive approach of the agencies. The participation of Muslims in workforce in the formal sector continues to be low. Over 18 per cent of the educated urban Muslim youth are unemployed. However, their participation in informal sectors like construction, trade and manufacturing was higher than other religious groups. “This is because they leave education early,” said Abdul Shaban, professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences and one of the members of the committee. …


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The message from speedy trials – Editorial (Mar 22, 2014, The Hindu)

If there is one message in the Mumbai Sessions Court’s judgment in the Shakti Mills gang rape cases, it is that the pervasive cynicism about the country’s criminal justice system, especially in rendering justice to victims of sexual violence, may not always be justified. The verdict of Judge Shalini S. Phansalkar-Joshi, sentencing four convicts to life terms for the gang rape of a telephone operator in the abandoned mill compound eight months ago, is noteworthy for meting out speedy justice as well as for imposing the maximum punishment available in law under the recently amended and strengthened penal provisions.

There was much shock and anger when a photo-journalist was sexually assaulted by a group of youngsters, including a juvenile, on August 22 last year. The fact that she went to the police immediately encouraged another woman, the telephone operator, to come forward and disclose that she too had been gang-raped some weeks earlier at the same spot. A key response of the government after the Delhi gang rape of December 2012 was to amend the penal provisions relating to sexual violence. The Shakti Mills episode provided an opportunity to the judiciary to make use of the provision for enhanced punishment.

It is significant that the judge has sentenced the four convicts under Section 376D, which deals with gang rape, to the maximum punishment of imprisonment for the remainder of their natural life. The sentence in the second incident involving the photo-journalist has been deferred after the prosecutor, invoking Section 376E, which provides for the death penalty for repeat offenders, demanded capital punishment. Three of the convicts participated in both the crimes, but it is debatable whether there is any case for awarding death, when life-long incarceration, which comes with the possibility of repentance and introspection, can serve the ends of justice.

There were moments in the last year or so when many believed that the national outcry since December 2012 may have been in vain, as sexual crimes continued to be reported, and no part of the country seemed safe for women. Yet, even if the larger malaise of sexual violence against women appears entrenched in society, it is of some comfort to know that there is no question of impunity. There is a fair degree of certitude now that timely complaints and disclosures would help the police to undertake a proper investigation, while public opinion and activism keep the issue alive so that the case is not derailed at the trial stage. As the Shakti Mills trials demonstrate, the way forward is in fostering trust in the system of criminal administration by efficient investigation and speedy trials.


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Money For Jobs, Impunity For Free? – By Priyanka Kaushal (Mar 8, 2014, Tehelka)

Government servants and doctors in Madhya Pradesh are running for cover. Every police personnel, lower revenue official and student who qualified to study MBBS in the state, has come under the scanner of a government instituted probe panel that is looking into a massive recruitment scam that has allegedly been running for the past nine years.

The multi-crore scam, estimated to run into nearly Rs 2,000 crore, is being compared to the Bihar Fodder Scam in its breadth and simplicity of operation. A public interest litigation in the Jabalpur Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court alleges that theMadhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) has duped lakhs of candidates by setting up proxy candidates to clear various examinations for recruitment to state government jobs. While the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led state government set up a Special Task Force (STF) to probe the allegations, he has so far refused to hand over the case to the CBI.

The PIL alleges that in the past nine years, the MPPEB has made Rs 125 crore by charging fees for 150 recruitment examinations, whose results were fixed. In 2011-12 alone, the MPPEB made Rs 83 crore by charging examination fees but jobs were given to candidates who paid bribes to politicians and other middlemen. According to the plaintiff KK Mishra, the entire scam is to the tune of Rs 2,000 crore, including Rs 500 crore made fraudulently through Pre-Medical Tests (PMT) for admission to MBBS courses. …


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Book Review

The Fiction of Fact-Finding – Modi and Godhra

Author: Manoj Mitta
Reviewed by: Amit Baruah
Available at: HarperCollins Publishers, A-53, Sector 57, Noida-201301. Rs. 599..
1984 & 2002: narratives of official collusion (Mar 17, 2014, The Hindu)

Those familiar with the recent history of communal violence in India will have no trouble in placing Trilokpuri (Delhi, 1984) and Naroda Patiya (Ahmedabad, 2002) as uppermost and amongst the most brutal in the country’s poor record of protecting minorities. In a highly polarised debate, the credentials of senior editor and The Times of India journalist Manoj Mitta to write “The Fiction of Fact-Finding – Modi and Godhra” are second to none. In 2007, Mitta co-wrote “When a Tree Shook Delhi”, which the jacket of the current book says, was received as a “critically acclaimed book on fact-finding done by official agencies in the wake of the 1984 anti-Sikh carnage”. “Out of the official death toll of 2,733 in the 1984 Delhi carnage, about 400 Sikhs were estimated to have been killed in and around Block 32 [Trilokpuri]…this was close to the death toll in Ahmedabad during the 2002 riots, which was pegged at 442,” Mitta writes.

Rather than seeing a break in approach between 1984 and 2002, Mitta sees continuity in official collusion, inaction and apathy in this book, which is unsparing of the police, judiciary and civil administration. “With a death toll of ninety-six, Naroda Patiya saw the single largest massacre in 2002. While Trilokpuri is about 10 kilometres from the Delhi police commissioner’s office, Naroda Patiya is less than 5 kilometres from the office of the Ahmedabad police commissioner.” Drawing a parallel between the late Union Minister H.K.L. Bhagat’s role in Trilokpuri and that of the convicted Mayaben Kodnani, who was a BJP legislator in 2002, the author says that Kodnani’s role in Naroda Patiya was “more visible” since she “visited the scene of offence”. Though Mitta rightly focuses on 1984 and 2002 in his book, and terms the Congress as “opportunistically” communal and the BJP “ideologically” communal, one wishes his gaze had also travelled to Nellie (1983, Assam), where 2,191 people were hacked to death in a span of six hours in 14 villages on February 18, 1983.

My point in this is only to stretch the issue of impunity. Connivance is worse in acts of communal violence, but apathy on the part of those responsible for maintaining law and order leads to the same result – the death of innocents. In the Naroda Patiya killings, Mitta is critical of the trial court letting off K.K. Mysorewala, inspector from the Naroda police station. “In effect, the judge [Jyotsna Yagnik] held that in the face of mob violence, a police officer could behave in a ‘most surprising and shocking manner’, not be ‘neutral’, not take ‘even elementary and routine steps’ and avoid doing ‘investigation altogether’ and yet, believe it or not, be without a trace of ‘malice or criminality’!” Mitta believes that Yagnik’s verdict while setting a benchmark for political accountability by convicting former Minister Kodnani in a case of communal violence, “proved woefully inadequate when it came to police accountability”. “The finding on the magnitude of private firing in Naroda Patiya showed that, like in the Trilokpuri violence of 1984, the police were in cahoots with the miscreants. The trial court held that Mysorewala’s claim to have ‘done lots of police firing’ was ‘extremely doubtful’.”

Mitta also refers to another parallel between the Delhi and Gujarat killings. “For much in the spirit of Rajiv Gandhi’s tree metaphor [in 1984], Modi came up with his own Newtonian twist. He tried to pass off the post-Godhra killings as a ‘chain of action and reaction’.” The author, who devotes an entire chapter to Modi’s interrogation in the Ehsan Jafri case, takes the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) to task for not asking the “right questions” to him in March 2010. “Whatever its legal infirmities, the SIT’s closure report on Jafri’s complaint has had far-reaching political implications. It served as a green signal for Modi’s transition to the national stage,” Mitta writes. The author is unsparing of the Nanavati Commission, which gave its report on the Godhra train killings in 2008, six years after it was appointed. In 2008, the Commission said it had completed the “scrutiny of the material in respect of the post-Godhra events”. However, Mitta points out that the report is still to see the light of day.

Attacking the Commission for not calling Modi to be cross-examined, he says that the Misra Commission also conducted its inquiry into the 1984 carnage without questioning Rajiv Gandhi or any other senior Congress functionary. “In contrast, three successive Chief Ministers of Maharashtra – Sudhakar Naik, Sharad Pawar and Manohar Joshi – were cross-examined before the Justice Srikrishna Commission, which probed the Bombay riots of 1992-93,” the book says. Even Gujarat Chief Minister Hitendra Desai faced a similar panel after the 1969 riots in the State. Mitta has meticulously pieced together a compelling narrative comparing State responses both after 1984 and 2002. It shows, clearly, that in the absence of aggressive accountability for communal riots and violence, the culture of impunity can only grow.


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 –, 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 –, 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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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 2nd, 2013

September 3, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines ‘File chargesheet against Narendra Modi, others in 2002 post-Godhra riots case’ British Sikhs to oppose any Narendra Modi visit to UK PIL plea alleges bid by BJP leaders to derail Prajapati case against Amit Shah Asaram gets 14-day taste of jail, Jodhpur Police say case against […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 5th, 2013

August 6, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup Communal Harmony UGC Academic Staff College gets special grant to promote communal harmony News Headlines Conclusions of SIT extremely perverse meant to facilitate state gov case: Zakia Jafri’s counsel Coalition Against Genocide representative meets Kerry, urges to continue the visa ban on Modi Gujarat cop’s balancing act: A […]

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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 29th, 2013

July 30, 2013

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup News Headlines It’s State-sponsored conspiracy from day-1 but SIT ignored it, says Zakia 65 MPs write to Obama against a visa for Modi Modi’s Hindutva a double-edged sword, analysts warn Facebook page of ‘BJP Gujarat’ takes nasty, ‘bikini-clad’ dig at Amartya Sen RSS, IB are ‘biggest terror’ outfits: […]

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