IAMC Weekly News Digest – January 14th, 2019
In this issue of IAMC News Digest
- Citizenship Bill excluding Muslim immigrants taking India further into an abyss of bigotry say Indian Americans
- Citizenship Bill excluding Muslim immigrants taking India further into an abyss of bigotry say Indian Americans
- 10% Reservation for Upper Caste Poor Challenged in SC, Petitioners Demand Quashing of Bill
- No evidence of corruption, decision of PM-led panel on Alok Verma very hasty: SC’s monitor
- AIR Scrambles to Translate Sitharaman’s Defence of Rafale, Excludes Opposition Remarks
- Narendra Modi responsible for Gujarat riots, Indian General
- Gujarat Encounters 2002-07: Justice Bedi Report Finds Foul Play In 3 Cases
- Sirsa journalist murder case: Gurmeet Ram Rahim, three others convicted of murder
- CJI Gogoi Sets Aside Precedent, Overrules 3-Judge Bench Order in Surprising Ayodhya Case Decision
- A Vedic Board of Education is Coming. Here’s Why We Should Worry.
- Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal receives threat mail
Opinions & Editorials
- India’s BJP uses citizenship bill to stoke polarization and mobilize voters – By Rana Ayyub
- By announcing quotas in the general category, Modi government has admitted failure – By Ipsita Chakravarty
- Modi-Led Panel’s Decision to Remove Alok Verma as CBI Chief Is Fundamentally Flawed – By M.K. Venu
- Religious Freedom Is On The Decrease In India – By Ewelina U. Ochab
- Hindutva paranoia about cow slaughter has given India a stray cattle problem that’s here to stay – By Mridula Chari
- Why Ayodhya bench choices significant – By Seema Chishti
Citizenship Bill excluding Muslim immigrants taking India further into an abyss of bigotry say Indian Americans
IAMC calls for US Senate to conduct hearing on sustained attacks on religious freedom and human rights in India
January 09, 2019
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has called the bill passed by the lower house of India’s Parliament, granting citizenship to non-Muslim illegal immigrants from neighboring countries unconstitutional and reflective of the Modi administration’s deep animus towards Muslims and other minorities. In addition the IAMC has called on the US Senate to conduct a hearing on the sustained attacks against religious freedom of minorities in India.
The issue of illegal immigration into India has long been a political flashpoint in India, especially in the northern states bordering Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, with the BJP and others in the Hindutva fraternity using it to label even Indian Muslim citizens as illegal infiltrators. In July 2018, the government published a draft of the National Citizenship Registry that excluded four million citizens, mostly Muslims, accusing them of being illegal immigrants. The outrage was exacerbated by the fact that among those excluded from the registry was the family of the fifth President of India, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed. This week India’s ruling party went a step further in its brazen attempts to detach India from its secular moorings and turn it into a Hindu state. The lower house passed a bill granting citizenship to non-Muslim illegal immigrants from neighboring countries. The bill seeks to permit illegal immigrants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Parsi or Christian communities from neighboring countries to settle in India and avoid deportation. If the citizenship bill and the national citizenship registry are seen in conjunction, it becomes clear that the government is keen on keeping out only Muslim migrants to the country while actively seeking to strip millions of Indian Muslims of their citizenship.
Article 14 of India’s Constitution declares, “The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.” The shocking irony of Indian lawmakers attempting to legislate a violation of the Constitution has rightly generated outrage among minorities and people of conscience across India. The bill is also a violation of the Assam accord of 1985. The Accord requires that the government deport all illegal immigrants who came to the country after 1971 when Bangladesh gained independence.
There is a strong possibility that this bill, given it is such an open exercise in religious discrimination, will not stand judicial scrutiny. However, the government’s actions are part of a larger pattern of shrinking religious freedom for India’s minorities. Recently the Chief Minister of a major state called on Muslims to refrain from using public spaces to offer prayers. This stunning comment was followed by a police directive to major companiesholding them responsible if their employees were to use a public park for Friday prayers.
“The fact that India’s right-wing Hindu nationalist administration has come this far in advancing its agenda of turning Indian Muslims into second-class citizens while legislating preferential treatment of Hindus should generate international concern over the future of India as a secular, democratic polity,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. “While the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) had consistently placed India in the Tier 2 list of countries where religious freedom is at risk even before the Modi administration came to power, it is time to acknowledge that the RSS and its ideological affiliates have taken India further down into the abyss of hate and religious bigotry, ” added Mr. Khan.
IAMC has urged members of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of India’s Parliament to reject the bill outright and prevent further division and tension in the country. IAMC has also called on protesters to maintain peace while expressing their outrage against the government’s unconstitutional actions.
Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our website at: https://www.iamc.com
1. Four million people excluded from draft of India’s National Register of Citizens
2. Family of India’s former President excluded from National Register of Citizens
3. India’s lower house passes citizenship bill that excludes Muslims’
4. Times of India Editorial on Citizenship Bill
5. Haryana Chief Minister asks Muslims to not pray in public places
6. Police warn companies about their employees praying in a park
Indian American Muslim Council
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Citizenship Bill excluding Muslim immigrants taking India further into an abyss of bigotry say Indian Americans (Jan 10, 2019, Milli Gazette)
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has called the bill passed by the lower house of India’s Parliament, granting citizenship to non-Muslim illegal immigrants from neighboring countries unconstitutional and reflective of the Modi administration’s deep animus towards Muslims and other minorities. In addition the IAMC has called on the US Senate to conduct a hearing on the sustained attacks against religious freedom of minorities in India.…
The issue of illegal immigration into India has long been a political flashpoint in India, especially in the northern states bordering Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, with the BJP and others in the Hindutva fraternity using it to label even Indian Muslim citizens as illegal infiltrators.… The lower house passed a bill granting citizenship to non-Muslim illegal immigrants from neighboring countries. The bill seeks to permit illegal immigrants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Parsi or Christian communities from neighboring countries to settle in India and avoid deportation. If the citizenship bill and the national citizenship registry are seen in conjunction, it becomes clear that the government is keen on keeping out only Muslim migrants to the country while actively seeking to strip millions of Indian Muslims of their citizenship.…
“The fact that India’s right-wing Hindu nationalist administration has come this far in advancing its agenda of turning Indian Muslims into second-class citizens while legislating preferential treatment of Hindus should generate international concern over the future of India as a secular, democratic polity,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. “While the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) had consistently placed India in the Tier 2 list of countries where religious freedom is at risk even before the Modi administration came to power, it is time to acknowledge that the RSS and its ideological affiliates have taken India further down into the abyss of hate and religious bigotry,” added Mr. Khan.…
- Thousands Protest Citizenship Bill in India’s Assam (Jan 7, 2019, VOA News)
- Why Assam and other NE states are opposing Citizenship Bill (Jan 9, 2019, Times of India)
- Citizenship Bill: How it may dampen BJP’s hope in Northeast (Jan 8, 2019, Indian Express)
- Indian Citizenship is a Fundamental Right, can’t be Religion, Country of Specific: MP’s Dissent Note (Jan 9, 2019, Sabrang India)
10% Reservation for Upper Caste Poor Challenged in SC, Petitioners Demand Quashing of Bill (Jan 10, 2019, News18.com)
A petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Thursday, challenging the bill to provide 10 per cent reservation to general category poor in jobs and education.
The petition, filed by Youth for Equality organisation and Kaushal Kant Mishra, sought the quashing of the bill, saying that the economic criterion cannot be the sole basis for reservation.
The plea said the bill violates basic feature of the Constitution as reservation on economic grounds cannot be limited to the general categories and the 50 per cent ceiling limit cannot be breached.…
- 10% Quota: Manifestation of Modi’s Desperation (Jan 10, 2019, News Click)
- The 1993 SC Judgment Capping Quotas at 50%, Disallowing Them for the Poor (Jan 12, 2019, The Wire)
- Mohan Bhagwat Threatened to Scrap Caste Quotas, Modi Has Started Doing It: Tejashwi Yadav After Meeting Maya (Jan 14, 2019, News18.com)
- Amartya Sen On General Category Reservation: Muddled Thinking; May Have Serious Political, Economic Impact (Jan 9, 2019, Outlook)
No evidence of corruption, decision of PM-led panel on Alok Verma very hasty: SC’s monitor (Jan 12, 2019, Indian Express)
Justice A K Patnaik, the retired Supreme Court judge who was asked by the apex court to supervise the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) enquiry that eventually led to the ouster of CBI Director Alok Verma, on Friday said there was “no evidence of corruption” against Verma, and “what the CVC says cannot be the final word”.
He was critical of “the very, very hasty” decision of the Prime Minister-led selection committee to remove Verma from the CBI Director’s post over charges of corruption and dereliction of duty Thursday, two days after he was reinstated by the Supreme Court.
Of the three members of the selection panel, Prime Minister Modi and Justice A K Sikri were against Verma’s continuance as the CBI chief in light of the CVC report and “the extremely serious nature of observations made by the CVC against Verma”. Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, did not go with the other two members, contested the CVC report and filed a dissent note.…
- Sacked CBI chief Alok Verma resigns, says natural justice was scuttled (Jan 11, 2019, Hindustan Times)
- Sacked CBI Chief Alok Verma Refuses To Join New Post, Resigns (Jan 11, 2019, NDTV)
- CBI turmoil shows no signs of abating: Alok Verma submits resignation, Delhi HC denies relief to Rakesh Asthana (Jan 11, 2019, First Post)
- Stung by controversy, Justice Sikri turns down government offer (Jan 13, 2019, Indian Express)
AIR Scrambles to Translate Sitharaman’s Defence of Rafale, Excludes Opposition Remarks (Jan 7, 2019, The Wire)
Barely hours after the Congress accused Nirmala Sitharaman of avoiding its questions in parliament on the Rafale aircraft deal, public broadcaster Prasar Bharti scrambled to translate the defence minister’s marathon speech defending the deal – while expressly leaving out the remarks and questions of opposition MPs.
On January 5, an order to translate Sitharaman’s speech was sent by the Directorate General of All India Radio (AIR) to its programming departments in Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Srinagar, Chennai, Bangalore and Thiruvananthapuram, alerting them that the text of Sitharaman’s speech would reach their official email IDs by midnight.
These capital stations were instructed to return translations of the speech to Delhi “positively by 11 am Monday” – the following day – with a copy marked to the mail ID of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme of the prime minister. According to sources in the information and broadcasting ministry, only the minister’s speech was needed: “no need to translate the remarks and questions of other Hon’ble members or version of Hon’ble Speaker”.…
- Rafale issue: PM covering up ‘scam’, ‘fear’ making him ‘corrupt’, alleges Rahul Gandhi (Jan 14, 2019, Live Mint)
- “Nothing Will Save PM From Rafale”: Rahul Gandhi After CBI Chief Verdict (Jan 9, 2019, NDTV)
- AAP MP moves SC seeking review of Rafale verdict (Jan 14, 2019, The Tribune)
- BJP Leader’s Businesses Raided By Tax Department In Uttarakhand (Jan 13, 2019, NDTV)
Lt. Gen. (R) Zameer Uddin Shah, a retired general of the Indian army, who was sent to control the Gujarat riots that occurred in February 2002, has said that the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi (now the Prime Minister of India), was responsible for the Gujarat riots. Many hundreds of Muslims are said to have been killed in the riots. The burning of a train in Godhra on February 27, 2002, carrying Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya, is cited to have instigated the violence.
On February 28, Lt. Gen (R) Zameer Shah was ordered by the Indian Chief of Army Staff, General Padmanabhan to take as many troops as he could and put a stop to the riots taking place in Ahmedabad. Lt. Gen. (R) Zameer Uddin Shah says he arrived at the Ahmedabad airfield at 10 pm on the night of February 28 and waited for vehicles to take his troops into the city. He made repeated requests to the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, but none arrived.
The General has said in the interview that the Indian army lost crucial hours on the day communal violence began in Gujarat. The text of Lt. Gen. (R) Zameer Uddin Shah’s interview, conducted by Arfa Khanum Sherwani of the Indian TV channel, The Wire in November 2018, has been carried by SouthAsia Magazine as a part of its January 2019 cover story titled ‘Modi’s Mission.’ The interview appears under the headline “While Gujarat Was Burning” on page 25 of the magazine.…
- Madhya Pradesh: BJP leader and his three sons arrested in connection with ‘Drishyam’-inspired murder (Jan 13, 2019, Scroll.in)
- Gauri case accused linked to Sanatan Sanstha: SIT (Jan 7, 2019, The Hindu)
- Fact finding report exposes the atrocities meted out to Daikin workers and families (Jan 11, 2019, Sabrang India)
- Bogapani BJP ward member held in Digboi for provoking remarks on Whatsapp (Jan 13, 2019, The Sentinel)
Gujarat Encounters 2002-07: Justice Bedi Report Finds Foul Play In 3 Cases (Jan 12, 2019, News Click)
There is prima facie evidence of foul play in three out of 17 cases of encounter killings in Gujarat which took place between 2002 to 2007, states the report filed by Justice (Retd) H S Bedi in the Supreme Court. He has recommended prosecution of nine police officers involved in the cases.
It was on March 2, 2012 that the Supreme Court appointed Justice Bedi, a former SC judge, as Chairman of the Monitoring Committee, to monitor the investigation carried out by the Special Task Force (STF) constituted by the Gujarat government to investigate the cases of custodial deaths. The report is only regarding the 17 cases which were specifically referred to STF.
The SC intervention came in the petitions filed by journalist B G Verghese (since expired), poet-lyricist Javed Akhtar and social worker Shabnam Hashmi, who alleged that the police encounters were fake and stage-managed. Justice Bedi submitted his report in the Court in sealed cover on February 26, 2018. Earlier this week, on January 9, the CJI-led bench of the SC ordered to make the report public, overruling the objections of Gujarat government.…
- Sohrabuddin: Even When the Accused Admit to Murder, There is No Justice (Jan 7, 2019, The Wire)
- Uttar Pradesh encounters: UN human rights experts concerned about killings, call for investigation (Jan 12, 2019, Scroll.in)
- Haren Pandya Case Should be Reinvestigated Says Policeman Who First Probed Killing (Jan 9, 2019, The Wire)
- 2016 Bhopal jailbreak and encounter of SIMI men were fake: Congress MLA Arif Masood (Jan 7, 2019, New Indian Express)
Sirsa journalist murder case: Gurmeet Ram Rahim, three others convicted of murder (Jan 11, 2019, Indian Express)
The CBI court at Panchkula on Friday convicted Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and his three followers of the murder of Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chander Chattarpati (51), who was shot dead at his house on October 24, 2002.
CBI Judge Jagdeep Singh held the Dera chief, former Dera manager Krishan Lal and the Dera’s carpenters Nirmal Singh and Kuldeep Singh guilty on charges of murder and criminal conspiracy. The quantum of sentence will be announced on January 17.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim, already undergoing a 20-year sentence on charges of raping two Sadhvis, attended the court proceedings over video-conferencing from the district jail at Sunaria, Rohtak. The other accused, now convicted, were in the court during the proceedings. “I will appeal the court to sentence him [Gurmeet] with capital punishment,” Chattarpati’s son Anshul Chattarpati told The Indian Express after the verdict.…
- Jailed ‘Godman’ Gurmeet Ram Rahim Convicted In Murder Of Journalist (Jan 11, 2019, NDTV)
- A month after Jharkhand journalist’s murder, killers remain at large (Jan 9, 2019, Sabrang India)
- Bombay High Court rejects bail plea of Muslim youth’s murderer (Jan 9, 2019, Siasat)
- NSA invoked against those arrested in Bulandshahr cow slaughter case (Jan 14, 2019, The Tribune)
CJI Gogoi Sets Aside Precedent, Overrules 3-Judge Bench Order in Surprising Ayodhya Case Decision (Jan 9, 2019, News18.com)
The decision by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to set up a Constitution Bench for deciding Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri title dispute is not only surprising, but also a first of its kind.
There is perhaps no precedent in the Supreme Court when a Constitution Bench has been set up by way of an administrative order of a CJI without there being a reference by a bench of lesser composition, or questions having been framed in the matter to show its necessity.
Justice Gogoi’s order is unique also because it has apparently nullified a judicial order in the same case whereby the prayer for a Constitution Bench had been declined by a three-judge bench.…
- Ayodhya hearing deferred, SC ruling unlikely before LS polls (Jan 11, 2019, Times of India)
- After SC defers Ayodhya case, RSS ideologue demands ‘live-streaming’ of hearing in letter to Cabinet Secretary (Jan 10, 2019, Times Now)
- Triple talaq bill stuck in Rajya Sabha (Jan 9, 2019, Times of India)
- Government repromulgates Triple Talaq ordinance after Rajya Sabha snub (Jan 13, 2019, Times Now)
A body under the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has given its in-principle okay to a new national board of education centred on Vedic ideas.
According to a report in the Indian Express, the Bhartiya Shiksha Board (BSB) – as it is called – will function with the objective of “standardising Vedic education”. As an alternative to the Central Board of Secondary Education, the BSB will have the leeway to draw up its own syllabus, hold and evaluate examinations and issue certificates.
The green light was given at a meeting organised on January 11 by the Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Vedavidya Pratishthan (MSRVP), an autonomous body under the MHRD. It was chaired by HRD minister Prakash Javadekar and attended by P.P. Chaudhary, minister of state for law and justice.…
- BJP working on RSS, Hindutva agenda: Rajasthan Education Minister (Jan 12, 2019, Business Standard)
- 50 MPs demand JNU VC’s resignation over misgovernance (Jan 9, 2019, Sabrang India)
- Delhi Police files chargesheet against Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid (Jan 14, 2019, The Tribune)
- Indian Science Congress: Principal Scientific Adviser wants complaint lodged against VC’s pseudoscience talk (Jan 7, 2019, The Hindu)
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s office has received an anonymous email that threatened to kidnap his daughter, sources said Saturday.
They said the Chief Minister’s Office received an anonymous mail on January 9 following which the mail was forwarded to Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik. A Protective Service Officer has been deployed for Kejriwal’s daughter by North district Police.
A Delhi Police official confirmed that an email was received and said it has been handed over to the Cyber Cell of the Special Cell, which is analysing it and trying to ascertain the IP address from which the email originated.…
- ‘Will kidnap, harm your daughter. Do whatever you can to protect her’: Arvind Kejriwal receives email threat (Jan 13, 2019, Hindustan Times)
- CBI Arrests Another Accused In Muzaffarpur Shelter Home Case (Jan 13, 2019, NDTV)
- Uproar over ICC clean chit to JNU professor accused of sexual harassment (Jan 11, 2019, Sabrang India)
- Minor rape survivor forced to drink poison in Delhi’s Dwarka, investigation underway (Jan 12, 2019, Times Now)
Opinions and Editorials
India’s BJP uses citizenship bill to stoke polarization and mobilize voters – By Rana Ayyub (Jan 10, 2019, Washington Post)
On Jan. 8, the lower house of India’s Parliament passed controversial legislation that would grant citizenship to minority non-Muslim communities from neighboring countries. The bill intends to amend the 1955 Citizenship Act in order to provide citizenship to illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who are Buddhists, Jain, Sikh, Parsi or Christians and have lived in India for at least six years.
But a week before the bill was passed in the lower house (Lok Sabha), five Rohingyas from the northeastern region of Assam were deported to Myanmar, where the Muslim community has faced intense persecution.
The government, led by the conservative Bharatiya Janata Party, has been deporting Rohingyas despite it being a violation of India’s obligations under international laws that prohibit governments from returning individuals whose lives are under threat in their home country. Leaders of the ruling party have called Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh a national security threat, and the president of the ruling party has labeled them termites.…
- Institutionalize Discrimination Against Muslim Migrants – By Teesta Setalvad (Jan 8, 2019, Sabrang India)
- Citizenship bill an attack on the very idea of India – Yogendra Yadav with Pretika Khanna (Jan 14, 2019, Live Mint)
- Playing With Fire: Citizenship Bill Could Hurt BJP’s 2019 Prospects In Northeast – By Abdul Gani (Jan 10, 2019, Outlook)
- Cynical Politics: Citizenship Amendment bill could be disastrous for BJP in north-east – Editorial (Jan 8, 2019, Times of India)
By announcing quotas in the general category, Modi government has admitted failure – By Ipsita Chakravarty (Jan 9, 2019, Scroll.in)
As Parliament debated the 124th Constitutional Bill, which introduces 10% reservation in seats and jobs for “economically backward classes”, labour unions across the country went on strike to protest against the “repressive”, “anti-people” and “anti-worker” policies of the Narendra Modi government. While the government pitched the amendment as a measure to “uplift” the “economically deprived”, thousands agitated for minimum wage, universal social security and relief from rural distress.
While the government promised more reservations in jobs, workers protested against the increasing privatisation of the public sector. Far from the bully pulpit of Parliament, the nationwide strike included a range of interests: central and state employees, farmers’ organisations, national trade unions, workers from both formal and informal sectors.
In a way, 10% reservation in the general category was an admission of failure on the government’s part. The ebullient economy that was to bring about “sab ka saath, sab ka vikaas” under the Modi government, pulling all sections of society into greater prosperity, is a dream that has passed. Instead, it is back to the logic of government largesse, distributed from a shrinking pie. This time, reservations have replaced the subsidies and welfare schemes that proliferated in the last gasp of the United Progressive Alliance government.…
- Reservation and Narendra Modi: Here Comes Our Very Own Mr Ten Percent – By Harish Khare (Jan 9, 2019, The Wire)
- The reservation jumla – By Pratap Bhanu Mehta (Jan 8, 2019, Indian Express)
- BJP caste calculus: An election stunt – By S Sadanand (Jan 8, 2019, Free Press Journal)
- Despite the Rhetoric, the 10% Reservation Bill Does Not Aim for a Caste-Free System – By Ashwini Deshpande (Jan 10, 2019, The Wire)
Modi-Led Panel’s Decision to Remove Alok Verma as CBI Chief Is Fundamentally Flawed – By M.K. Venu (Jan 11, 2019, The Wire)
There is a fundamental flaw – both moral and procedural – in the way the committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi removed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director within 72 hours of his reinstatement by the Supreme Court. Of course the Committee violated the principles of natural justice as it did not give Verma a hearing before summarily transferring him.… The larger ethical-legal issue is the prime minister was presiding over a matter in which his office also stands accused. Shouldn’t Modi have also recused himself in the matter then? How can the prime minister sit in judgement in cases where his own office’s conduct has been called into question?…
After all, not only Alok Verma but other reputed senior CBI officers like M.K. Sinha and A.K. Sharma have cast aspersions on the PMO for subverting an impartial investigation in some important cases. Sinha, a competent and honest officer, headed the anti-corruption branch of the CBI and has named National Security Advisor Ajit Doval in the context of interference from the PMO in the bribery case filed against CBI special director Rakesh Asthana. More shockingly, Sinha has described the CBI as ‘Centre for Bogus Investigation’ and ED as ‘Extortion Directorate’ in his scathing affidavit submitted with the Supreme Court in the Alok Verma matter.
If the head of CBI’s anti-corruption branch – he was transferred after the midnight removal of Verma – describes the CBI and Enforcement Directorate in this way, it only points to something rotten in the PMO and the political establishment in general.…
- “No Evidence” Of Bribe, But Alok Verma Out As CBI Chief. This Is Why – By Sunetra Choudhury (Jan 11, 2019, NDTV)
- CVC Met Alok Verma to Request He Withdraw Adverse Comments on Asthana – By Rohini Singh (Jan 12, 2019, The Wire)
Religious freedom in India continues to deteriorate and it has been on a gradual decline for at least a decade. As a result, the plight of religious minorities is reaching new levels. This despite the fact that the right to freedom of religion or belief is clearly recognized in the 1949 Constitution of India. Also, India acceded to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and so pledged to adhere to the international standards of human rights enshrined in the treaty. Nonetheless, these guarantees prove not to be enough yet again.
In its annual report, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) identifies several limitations to the right to freedom of religion or belief and challenges faced by religious minorities in India. For example, Hindu extremism is on the rise with several of cases of harassment, intimidation and violence being committed against Hindu Dalits, Muslims, Buddhists, Jains, Christians and Sikhs. USCIRF identified groups such as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sang (RSS), Sangh Parivar and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) who are responsible for an organised campaign of alienation against non-Hindus or low-caste Hindus.
Indeed, the issue is serious. The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Hansraj Ahir, reported that in 2017 alone, 111 people were killed and 2,384 injured in communal clashes. The level of violence is expected to increase as the perpetrators continue to enjoy impunity for their crimes. Similarly, as the victims of such atrocities are forgotten by the government, they have little faith in ever seeing any justice done. This can only lead to ever-growing mistrust between the government and religious minorities in India. Nothing will change unless the government takes decisive steps to address the issue of religiously motivated violence.&hellip
- A Year After Four SC Judges’ Press Conference, Is Democracy Still in Danger? – By Kevin James (Jan 12, 2019, The Wire)
- Poison of communalism is infectious – By Amulya Ganguli (Jan 8, 2019, Free Press Journal)
- Communal incidents in 2018 may have gone down, but mob lynchings, hate crimes are up – By Neha Dabhade, Irfan Engineer, Suraj Nair, Siddhi Pendke (Jan 9, 2019, Sabrang India)
Hindutva paranoia about cow slaughter has given India a stray cattle problem that’s here to stay – By Mridula Chari (Jan 13, 2019, Scroll.in)
India’s growing stray cattle problem has been making frequent headlines. In the last week of December and first week of January, farmers across western Uttar Pradesh began to herd stray cattle into district schools to prevent them from attacking their crops. In Aligarh, farmers locked up 800 cows in district schools on the night of December 25. A few days later, farmers in Agra did the same. In Shahjahanpur, the police registered a case against 28 people for breaking open a school on the night of January 2.
The genesis of the problem lies in the paranoia created around cow slaughter by India’s ruling party and its supporters. A Bharatiya Janata Party politician from Rajasthan backs this view. He claims the party’s recent election losses in the Hindi heartland were entirely because of anger fuelled by the disruption of the rural economy on account of the party’s attitude to cattle.…
Even assuming the number of stray cattle has not increased since 2012, only 1,821 shelters are registered across India with the Animal Welfare Board of India, while there are an estimated 5,000 shelters across the country, according to a survey by the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations. Even where they exist, animal shelters are poorly run and are often lethal to cattle.…
- Uttar Pradesh’s animal farm: Anger is growing, solutions dwindling – By Sourav Roy Barman (Jan 6, 2019, Indian Express)
- Gaumata to cow menace: Adityanath’s doltish love for Hindutva angers farmers, cattle traders as bovine population explodes – By Ajaz Ashraf (Jan 7, 2019, First Post)
The four judges on the Constitution bench that will hear the Ayodhya land title case suit starting January 10, apart from Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, are all in line to head the apex court. If the senior-most judge is appointed the CJI, as has been the norm but for twice in independent India, then Justices S A Bobde, N V Ramanna, U U Lalit and D Y Chandrachud, are set to be the next four chief justices.
In their unprecedented press conference a year ago, four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court at the time had expressed fundamental differences over the CJI being the Master of the Roster and allocating matters to different benches, often seen to be in an arbitrary manner. The four judges, including current CJI Gogoi, had called for a system regarding handling of court administrative matters to help evolve a more robust institution.
In the months that followed, the four judges had at least four-five meetings with the then CJI, Dipak Misra, where a key proposal was involving “future Chief Justices” in all matters of a certain import, enabling a more consensual approach, than just decisions taken by one person, even if he was the Master of the Roster.…
- Lok Sabha polls: Will a delay in Ayodhya verdict affect BJP? – By Viju Cherian (Jan 11, 2019, Money Control)
- Modi vs the ‘Unholy Alliance’, and an Election BJP Wants Us to Forget – By Raghu Karnad (Jan 12, 2019, The Wire)
- What Will Be The Effect Of Alliances Against BJP Across India – By Aakar Patel (Jan 14, 2019, Outlook)
- If Congress Fights All 80 Seats, Can the SP-BSP Alliance Take on Modi in UP? – By Sharat Pradhan (Jan 14, 2019, The Wire)