IAMC Weekly News Roundup - April 24th, 2017 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 24th, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Saharanpur violence over Ambedkar rally: 2 FIRs lodged against BJP MP Raghav Lakhanpal (Apr 22, 2017, India Today)

Two FIRs have been registered against BJP MP Raghav Lakhanpal Sharma and several others in connection with two cases of violence in Saharanpur’s Janakpuri.… Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Love Kumar said, “A First Information Report (FIR) was registered against over 300 people in connection with stone pelting by members of two communities on Thursday during a rally to mark Ambedkar Jayanti at Sadak Dudhali village.”

They were booked under IPC Section 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), Section 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) and Section 336 (endangering life or personal safety of others) among others. The second FIR was lodged in connection with the protest outside the SSP’s house in which a CCTV camera was damaged and his “nameplate removed”, Kumar said.… The SSP said, “According to both the FIRs, local MP Raghav Lakhanpal Sharma was present at both the spots.”…

BJP MP Raghav Lakhanpal, along with his supporters, reached outside the SSP’s official residence demanding that the rally be allowed to take place. Lakhanpal also demanded suspension of the SSP. The protesters damaged a CCTV camera outside the SSP’s residence. Police force was deployed at SSP’s residence to bring the situation under control. The SSP said that permission for the rally was not given by the administration.



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Kerala: 14 BJP-RSS men booked for attack over cow slaughter (Apr 19, 2017, Indian Express)

Ernakulam rural police have registered a case against 14 BJP and RSS workers on the charge of attacking a house where a cow was allegedly slaughtered on the eve of Easter. Police said the case was registered following a complaint from a person named Kallarackal Jose of Karumallor.

Jose and another person had bought a cow to slaughter it for Easter. They wanted to distribute the meat among relatives and friends. Cow slaughter is not illegal in Kerala.

The police said the alleged accused who face charges of trespassing, threatening and rioting, have not surrendered.… Local BJP leader P R Pramod said although all of them were BJP workers, the attack has no political angle. “Some assailants wanted to get a chunk of cow meat. Since they did not get it, they threw mud on the meat,” he said.…



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Alwar lynching: call for united fight against fascism (Apr 20, 2017, The Hindu)

Incidents such as lynching of dairy farmer Pehlu Khan in Alwar show that not just minorities, but livelihoods of the poor are at stake in this country, was the common refrain among protesters staging a dharna against the recent incident, at Jantar Mantar on Wednesday.…

While the focus was on demanding justice for Pehlu Khan’s family, the speakers lambasted the ruling BJP for “not only allowing such acts of crime but also actively participating in them from Dadri to Latehar and now Alwar”.

“A united struggle against this fascism is the only way forward to fight this (Union) government. These Gau Rakshaks are destroying lives and livelihoods of millions, attacking everyone linked to the business of cattle in any way, be it in the milk trade or tanneries. (Prime Minister) Mr. Narendra Modi talks about generating two crore jobs a year, but this is one way of taking away whatever the farmers have as an alternative income,” said CPM leader Brinda Karat.…



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Bajrang Dal men attack Agra police station to rescue 5, S-I injured (Apr 23, 2017, Indian Express)

A police official was attacked in Agra on Saturday and his vehicle set ablaze by a mob that attempted to rescue five men believed to be associated with the Bajrang Dal detained at the Sadar Bazaar Police Station. The Assistant Superintendent of Police, Agra City, Ghule Sushil Chandrabhan, said the incident took place after BJP Fatehpur Sikri MLA Udaybhan Singh, who was among the protesters, left the spot.

Assistant Superintendent of Police Shlok Kumar said “the protesters were Bajrang Dal workers”. The five men had been detained in the morning after Bajrang Dal workers gheraoed the Fatehpur Sekri police station demanding that an FIR registered against nine Hindu men for allegedly beating up people of a minority community be expunged. The protesters also demanded that a case be registered against people of the minority community.

During the protest, the agitators reportedly misbehaved with a senior police officer, following which police used mild force to disperse the crowd. Five persons were later caught and detained at the police station. They were later sent to Sadar Bazaar Police Station.…



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Cop In Madhya Pradesh Gets Thrashed Brutally For Issuing A Fine To A BJP Leader’s Relatives (Apr 23, 2017, India Times)

…The constable was thrown on the ground, punched, kicked and repeatedly beaten by a group of 4-5 men, as spectators watched. The incident happened yesterday, in Guna, about 200 kilometres from Bhopal. The savage attack, which was captured on cell phone cameras, was led by the family members of a local BJP leader.

The accused politician here is Shobhna Raghuvanshi, the BJP block president and three girls belonging to her family. As these girls violated a traffic rule, the cop decided to fine them, however, it turned out to be an absolute nightmare for him instead. The girls immediately called their family members and they arrived at the spot within minutes of the call. The gang included BJP leader’s husband, Rajiv Raghuvanshi and some of his supporters.

A scuffle broke out in which constable Ashutosh Tiwari was pushed to the ground and roughed up. As another policeman tries to intervene, Mr Raghuvanshi is seen in a video threatening him. As of now, the police has filed two cases – obstructing a government officer from doing his duty and another of beating up a government officer on duty.



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Hindu villagers foiled MMRDA bid to demolish mosque, threaten to vandalise temples (Apr 23, 2017, Siasat)

In a village adjacent to Kalyan, Hindus saved a mosque from demolition. On Tuesday, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) team reached Kona village adjacent to Kalyan to bull dozed the mosque but the people from the Hindus community stopped them from doing so saying that if they raze the mosque they would also vandalise their temples.

The mosque of Kona village was construction in the year 2003. MMRDA had sent a notice on 7 April to mosque committee regarding the demolition. On Tuesday, the team of MMRD reached with 500 police force, two JCB and Poke Lane Machine machines. As soon as the villagers received the information, they reached the mosques in large number.

The Hindu villagers, including the Sarpanch, told the officials that if they slide even a brick of the mosque, they would themselves demolish the temple and its whole charge would be the head of the administration. The members of the Hindu community said that the mosque was constructed on NA plot and the village panchayat has given permission regarding this.…



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Jharkhand tribal students protest ‘saffronisation’ of higher education (Apr 18, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Hundreds of tribal students took out a ‘funeral procession’ of the BJP state government on Tuesday, accusing it of saffronising higher education and ‘killing’ democracy to please the party’s ideological mentor, the RSS.

The students took out the procession in the state capital after an uproar of over a month against the Raghubar Das government rechristening Ranchi’s oldest college – Ranchi College as Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee University.

Mukherjee was the founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangha, the forerunner to the BJP. Amidst slogans of “RSS Ka Jor Chatron Pe Kyu (Why force RSS ideology on students?)” and “Jharkhand Ke Mahapurushon Ka Apman Bandh Karo (Stop disrespecting Jharkhand heroes)”, the students also burnt an effigy of the BJP government in Jharkhand.…



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Need law in national interest to prevent custodial torture: SC (Apr 24, 2017, Times of India)

Pointing out that there was no law on torture, the Supreme Court today said there was “extreme urgency” in national interest to frame an effective law to prevent torture and inhuman treatment of individuals in custody.

“We do not have a law on torture. This is a matter of national interest,” a bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud said. “Several issues are pending with the Law Commission. This is a matter which is required to be dealt with in extreme urgency. This is a matter of human rights,” the bench further said. The remarks were made after Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar told the court that Law Commission was examining the issue.

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by senior advocate and former law minister Ashwani Kumar, who has sought directions to frame an effective law on the issue and empower agencies like NHRC with necessary enforcement capabilities and mechanisms to implement its orders and directions.…



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How can you make Aadhaar mandatory when we passed order saying it’s optional: SC to Centre (Apr 21, 2017, Indian Express)

The Supreme Court on Friday said that it will decide on whether Aadhaar card can be made mandatory, for filing of Income Tax (I-T) returns, next week. The apex court asked the government to justify the need for making Aadhaar card mandatory for filing I-T returns.

News agency ANI quoted the Supreme Court bench as asking: “How can you make Aadhaar card mandatory when we have passed an order to make it optional?” In reply, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said the government now has an Act to use the Unique Identification Number. “We found a number of PAN cards being used to divert funds to shell companies. To prevent it, the only option is to make Aadhaar card mandatory,” he said, according to ANI.

The Union government, last month, made providing one’s Aadhaar number a compulsory detail for filing IT returns and for obtaining and retaining the permanent account number (PAN). Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the move was aimed to link PAN cards with Aadhaar and to identify those who avoided taxes by having duplicate PANs.…



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Socially boycott men who misuse triple talaq: JIH (Apr 24, 2017, Times of India)

“Shariat is not just a legal system but a way of life. The Indian constitution has permitted us to practice our religion and we must approach the Shariat courts to resolve disputes,” said Sufiya Khan to a group of women at Godavari Nagar on Sunday. Giving an insight about Islamic law she urged them to fight against the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) to protect Shariat.

As part of the nationwide awareness campaign on Muslim Personal Law, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) is reaching out to Muslims in city belonging to all sections of society. Starting from April 23 to May 7, the jamaat will go door-to-door, conduct activities and distribute journals about appropriate implementation of Shariat and legal remedies. The book titled ‘Instructions for Talaq’ will be distributed in the 250 registered mosques, so that imams can read it out after Friday prayers to spread the word, said members.…

Unit president (west), Umar Khan said, “We don’t have right to punish people who break the laws but on April 16, All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) had called for social boycott of those men who misuse triple talaq and use it arbitrarily without a valid reason.”… Senior member Najma Khan advised women that they should turn to Muftis in Darul Qaza (Islamic Judiciary) or counselling centres for settlements and cognisance of grievances.



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Opinions and Editorials

Anatomy of a Lynching – By Aatish Taseer (Apr 16, 2017, New York Times)

…The hysteria that now surrounds the cow in India has been engineered. It was Mr. Modi who, during his election campaign in 2014, whipped crowds into frenzy over “a pink revolution,” an alleged conspiracy by his political opponents to promote cow slaughter and beef export. “We’ve heard of the Green Revolution,” he thundered, “we’ve heard of the White Revolution, but today’s Delhi government wants neither; they’ve taken up arms for a Pink Revolution,” he said, presumably evoking the pink color of beef. “Do you want to support people who want to bring about a Pink Revolution?”…

Vasundhara Raje, the chief minister of Rajasthan, is someone I grew up around in Delhi and have known all my life. She is aristocratic and is educated. She had many Muslim friends and even a Muslim boyfriend.… That someone like her would now refuse to speak up for a poor Muslim farmer with small children who was lynched in her state is an indication of how poisoned the air has become in three short years since the B.J.P. came to power.

India is slipping beyond the pale. It is unfathomable that the ancient Hindu horror at the taking of life, any life – the very same doctrine of ahimsa, or nonviolence, that governed the beliefs of men like Mahatma Gandhi and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – should in our time be used as a justification for murder. And not merely a murder in which one man is implicated, but rather a great televised spectacle in which a whole nation, through its silence, is complicit.



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As Hindutva Toughs Run Riot in UP, Will Adityanath Enforce the Law on His Own Cadre? – By M.K. Venu (Apr 23, 2017, The Wire)

Yogi Adityanath took over as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh amidst claims by the Bharatiya Janata Party that keeping a strict watch on the maintenance of law and order would be his forte. However, on Saturday a group of men drawn from militant Hindutva parivar outfits like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and Hindu Yuva Vahini, which was founded by Adityanath himself, attacked the Fatehpur Sikri police station in Agra, pelted stones at police personnel and slapped the deputy superintendent of police who had filed an FIR against some of their activists for assaulting and robbing a Muslim vegetable vendor.…

What happened in Fatehpur Sikri is not an isolated incident. Just two days earlier, on April 20, a communal riot broke out in Saharanpur in which dozens were injured and the house of a senior superintendent of police, Luv Kumar, was attacked by a mob led by a local BJP MP.… How do these two incidents square with the BJP’s claim that Adityanath is very strong and resolute on the law and order front? Will Adityanath proceed against the members of the BJP, Bajrang Dal and Hindu Yuva Vahini who have been named in the two serious cases of mob violence which occurred in the past one week?…

If the Saharanpur and Fatehpur Sikri violence had occurred during the tenure of the earlier regime, the BJP would have gone to town with the charge of “goonda raj” against the Samajwadi Party. Now, the boot is on the other leg. Whether it is the Saharanpur rioting or the killing of dairy farmer Pehlu Khan in Rajasthan, the prime minister, the BJP and the Centre are all answerable as such violence is happening in BJP-ruled states. People are watching closely to see whether justice is being dispensed without fear or favour.



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Babri demolition case: Blow to Advani, but BJP stands to gain from SC order – By DK Singh (Apr 20, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Wednesday’s Supreme Court order restoring criminal conspiracy charges against LK Advani, MM Joshi and Uma Bharti in the 1992 Ayodhya Babri masjid demolition case might be a blow to these leaders individually, but the BJP is unlikely to be unduly worried about its political costs.

For one, the trial – to be completed in two years as per the apex court’s directions – will keep the Hindutva pot boiling, not an undesirable situation for a party that blended it with development to win a series of elections over the past three years. If the demolition of the disputed structure in Ayodhya alienated a section of people including the middle class and liberals from the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has brought them back into the party fold with his persona and development narrative.…

In the immediate context though, the BJP and Narendra Modi will have to take some tough calls, which are rather administrative in nature. The Prime Minister has to decide whether he wants to retain a minister, Hindutva mascot Uma Bharti, who will be facing a court trial. Another question confronting him and the ruling party is about the propriety of keeping Kalyan Singh in the Jaipur Raj Bhawan. The Supreme Court has said that since he enjoys Constitutional immunity in his capacity as Governor, he can be tried after he ceases to be in office.…



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Only the BJP Stands to Gain from Inciting Communal Riots in Saharanpur – By Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta (Apr 24, 2017, The Wire)

Images of arson and destroyed property flooded social media in the aftermath of communal clashes in Saharanpur last week. The riots triggered by BJP MP Raghav Lakhanpal Sharma’s ill-timed call for a “shobha yatra” (a procession) in memory of social justice icon B.R.Ambedkar, and Hindutva groups’ insistence to take it through communally-sensitive areas of Saharanpur… left major parts of the town blighted for the second time in the last few years.

Saharanpur also witnessed a Muslim-Sikh riot in 2014 over a land dispute. The Muslim leadership of the town had stoked the fears of the community, which was already demoralised by the rise of the BJP. In the days following the clash, the BJP further polarised the city along communal lines and exacerbated the already tense environment of the city.

This time around, however, the riots in this volatile town broke out quite tactically, just a month ahead of the civic body polls, which will take place for the first time in May 2017. Saharanpur was declared a municipal corporation around ten years ago but elections for it kept getting stalled for one reason or another. Despite an unprecedented victory for the party in the recent assembly election, the BJP failed to make a mark in the city.… This means that Sharma, the MP, remained the only electoral representative for the party in the politically and economically-significant town. The civic body polls, therefore, have become the only chance for the saffron party to register its electoral presence in the city.…



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The end of privacy: Aadhaar is being converted into the world’s biggest surveillance engine – By Saikat Datta (Mar 24, 2017, Scroll.in)

Democracies survive on the delicate balance of power between the ruling class – the executive, generally known as the government – and the citizens. The more power citizens get, the more robust the democracy. As the ruling class accrues more power to itself, it erodes democracy to a point where it ceases to exist.

This axiom has always held true. The fast expanding remit of the Unique Identity number project, Aadhaar, has now taken a giant leap with an amendment to the Finance Bill making it a mandatory requirement for filing Income Tax returns.

The way the move was sought to be pushed in Parliament is part of a trend that is now becoming a clear and present danger to India’s democracy.…



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Adityanath’s 2014 Article Equating Women With Demons Comes Back to Haunt Him – By Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta (Apr 19, 2017, The Wire)

With Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath joining the BJP’s strident campaign against triple talaq in the name of women’s rights, a 2014 essay by him on the role of women in Indian culture has come back to haunt him.

On April 17, Adityanath attacked the opposition for keeping mum on the triple talaq issue and said they were also responsible for the injustice meted out to Muslim women.

… Annie Raja, Communist Party of India (CPI) leader and renowned women’s rights activist, raised doubts over the BJP’s intentions in the triple talaq debate.… She attributed a “hidden agenda” to the BJP for singling out the issue of triple talaq. “Even the prime minister is talking about it. This is nothing but using it for political gains. If they are really concerned about injustices meted out to women, they should take it up in a holistic way. Why are they singling out one issue? Do they mean to say that interests of women from other religions have already been safeguarded? It is sad that the government is trying to gain out of the pathetic conditions of women. Women have been discriminated in all the religious personal laws. Why can they not talk about women’s issues, irrespective of their caste and religious loyalties,” she asked.



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Book Review

Kandhalmal: Introspection for Initiative for Justice 2007-2015

Author: Vrinda Grover and Saumya Uma
Reviewed by: Ram Puniyani
Available at: Media House Delhi, Mayur Vihar Phase 1, Delhi and United Christian Forum, Delhi; 2017. Rs. 595.00. www.amazon.in/
Kandhamal: Whither Justice for Violence Victims? (Apr 19, 2017, Mainstream)

Violence is the bane of the Indian society and a manifest agenda of the communal forces which thrive on divisive politics and polarisation. This is part of their political agenda. While Hindu-Muslim violence during the British period had a particular beginning and characteristics, the same violence became anti-Muslim violence after independence.

The principal brunt of communal violence has been borne by the Muslim community while Sikhs also became a major victim in 1984. The Christian community was not under attack till practically 1999 when Pastor Stains was burnt alive in a brutal way. Following that anti-Christian violence kept dogging the society in Gujarat (Dangs), MP (Jhabua) and many other places, the peak of this having been witnessed in Kandhamal in August 2008, when on the pretext of murder of Swami Laxmananand anti-Christian violence was unleashed.…

The book does confirm the finding of other researchers like Dr. V. N. Rai that no violence can continue beyond 48 hours unless the state is complicit in it. The book also reaffirms the findings of outstanding scholars like Asghar Ali Engineer and Paul Brass about the ‘institutional riot mechanism’ in India where riots are not only orchestrated but are made to appear as if minorities have begun the violence.…