IAMC Weekly News Roundup - April 27th, 2015 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 27th, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Hazaribagh: ABVP threatens two Christian schools, forces one to close (Apr 22, 2015, Indian Express)

Hazaribagh police on Tuesday detained 16 activists of the RSS-affiliated ABVP for minor vandalism outside two town-based Christian schools, forcing one of them to be closed for the day. The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad was unhappy that Holy Cross and St. Xavier’s, CBSE-affiliated, were open despite an education bandh call by the organisation.… However, only two of the 18 private educational institutions were attacked on Tuesday despite all the schools in the town being open on the day.…

The Principal of Holy Cross said that once inside the campus, the ABVP’s demands changed. “They wanted to know why we did not have a photo of Prime Minister Modi in the school, why we had a photo of St. Francis by no statues of Saraswati. They accused us of receiving money from London,” said Sr. Clerita D’Mello.

Holy Cross had to end teaching for the day and send students home. “They kicked open doors, broke a few flower pots and demanded that the school be emptied in 15 minutes. By then, our children had started crying in classrooms,” said the Principal.…



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Humanity not found! 7 Muslims alleged of forced religion conversion arrested, but the TRUTH will shock you (Apr 27, 2015, Daily Bhaskar)

Several areas of Uttar Pradesh state including Muzaffarnagar, Aligarh, Meerut and more are known for their religious sensitivity. In a recent incident, 7 Muslim men who were passing by Menth village in Aligarh were taken into custody by the police. They were accused of forced religion conversion of a Hindu family in the region. However, you will be shocked to know the truth behind the story. It was a simple humanitarian act that Surajpal, a resident of the village, executed which caused the Muslim men trouble.

While the 7 religious men were passing through the Menth village, they knocked at the door of Surajpal, in the village, hoping to get some drinking water as it was very hot outside. Out of humanity, Surajpal welcomed them inside with open arms and provided them with drinking water.

In the meanwhile, it was the time for their namaaz. The 7 men asked for Surajpal’s permission to pray to which he humbly agreed. While they were performing namaaz inside the house, one of the men from the village saw the scene and understood that the Muslim men were teaching Surajpal about how to offer prayers and he will be forcefully converted to Islam. This was enough for the miscreants.…



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‘That’s not us’: RSS steps in to deny Nepal rescue act tweet (Apr 27, 2015, Hindustan Times)

The news of more than 20,000 RSS workers participating in relief activities in earthquake-ravaged Kathmandu, doing the rounds on social media, is false and an image used is that of RSS volunteers during the Gujarat temblor of 2001.

BJP national executive member Shaina NC tweeted on Sunday: “20000 RSS swayamsevaks goin to Nepal to assist in rescue-relief operations media won’t report this @RSSorg @RSS_Org ” The post was retweeted more than 400 times and went viral. A few hours later, she tweeted about being proud of associated with the RSS, considering how 20,000 of its volunteers were helping people in Nepal.

Social media users shared the tweets hailing the good work done by the organization considered the ideological mentor of the Bharatiya Janata Party. But things changed when the RSS tweeted that reports of large numbers of its volunteers working in Nepal were false. It accused the media of reporting wrong facts.…



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VMC yet to solve row over houses for Muslims (Apr 27, 2015, Indian Express)

Even as about 500 families displaced during the Kalyannagar demolitions continue to await rehabilitation by the civic body, the VMC held a hushed meeting on Sunday evening to decide on the allotment of houses 320 families in Sayajipura, selected vide a JNNURM draw on April 8.

A meeting was held at the office of the Municipal Commissioner HS Patel and attended by MLAs Yogesh Patel and Rajendra Trivedi, Mayor Bharat Shah, executives of the VMC and representatives of the displaced families, including activists Dr JS Bandukwala, Zuber Gopalani and Shaukat Indori to decide on the fate of the allotments.

The VMC, which is trying to convince the families to relinquish their claim on the Sayajipura apartments, for which the civic body had conducted a draw earlier this month, offered that it would construct a new apartment in the Muslim neighbourhood of Tandalja.…



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More time for Gulberg Society case trial (Apr 25, 2015, The Hindu)

The Supreme Court on Friday granted another three months to the trial court in Ahmedabad to wind up the proceedings in the Gulberg Society and Naroda Gam riot cases of 2002 in Gujarat. …

In the Gulberg Society massacre case, former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri and 67 others were killed. In the Naroda Gam case in which 11 people were killed, former Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani is one of the accused.

The apex court has been monitoring nine sensitive cases on the plea of National Human Rights Commission and various non-governmental organisations. These cases were about the riots in Gulberg Society, Ode, Sardarpura, Narodao Gaon, Naroda Patya, Machipith, Tarsali, Pandarwada and Raghavapura.…



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California assembly describes 1984 riots as ‘genocide’ (Apr 22, 2015, Times of India)

The California state assembly has passed a resolution describing the 1984 riots as “genocide and recognized the responsibility of the Indian government in the alleged rape, torture and murder of thousands of Sikhs across India”.

Co-authored by Sacramento area assembly members Jim Cooper, Kevin McCarty, Jim Gallagher and Ken Cooley, the Assembly Concurrent resolution states “government and law enforcement officials organised, participated in, and failed to intervene to prevent the killings.”

Further, remarks on the floor of the assembly declared that the atrocities were a “genocide” since it “resulted in the intentional destruction of many Sikh families, communities, homes, and businesses,” said a media release issued by the American Sikh Political Action Committee.…



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Mumbai bomb blast case: Detainees forced to drink each other’s urine and have sex with a dog (Apr 27, 2015, Muslim Mirror)

The Prosecutor had to face great humiliation today in Mumbai’s Pota Court when in his testimony an approver called by him unveiled the heinous deeds of the investigative agencies. He told the court that he was forced to stand witness against the accused and during police custody the accused were forced to drink each other’s urine and an accused was also forced to have sex with a dog.

Testifying before special Pota Court judge Deshmukh, Anas Khot said that in order to get a statement from him investigative agencies kept him in illegal detention during which he was beaten and forced to register [false] statements against the accused.

The prosecutor Rohini Salian requested the court to declare Anas Khot as abstained. Accepting the request special judge declared him as abstained. Then during the cross examination by the Defence lawyer, Abdul Wahab Khan, representing the organisation, Jami’at-ul Ulema, Maharashtra (Arshad Madani), that is providing legal aid to the accused, he said that the crime branch Chambor had recorded his statement in May 2003 wherein he was forced to make a written statement that he used to go for training along with those accused, Saqib Nachin and Haseeb Mulla.…



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NHRC asks Telangana to submit details of Alair encounter (Apr 24, 2015, Times of India)

Wondering whether the Telangana police have resorted to retaliatory killings, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday directed the state government to furnish reports of inquest, post mortem and the magisterial enquiry that probed the Nalgonda encounter in which Vikaruddin and four other terror suspects were killed on April 7.

The full bench of NHRC comprising its chairman, Justice KG Balakrishnan, and members, Justice Cyriac Joseph, Justice D Murugesan and SC Sinha, was hearing complaints by Vikaruddin’s father Mohammed Ahmed and other civil rights activists seeking action against the police personnel involved in the encounter.

Ahmed wanted the commission to examine whether it is possible for a person who is handcuffed and whose legs are chained to snatch a weapon from police and attempt to kill them. Pictures of the scene of offence clearly show that it is a cold blooded murder, he said.…



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Four cops booked for custodial death (Apr 26, 2015, Times of India)

Four police officials including a sub-inspector (PSI) posted at Vanda police station in Amreli district were booked for murder on Friday night in connection with an alleged custodial death reported on Thursday.

Sources said that 35-year-old Devji Dholakia alias Devji Pataliyo of Gariyadhar town in Bhavnagar district had died in police custody after alleged torture at Vanda Police station. His family members alleged that Devji died due to police torture during questioning.

On Friday night, a complaint was lodged by Devji’s relative Odha Parmar of Palitana against PSI S B Acharya and three other police personnel at Vanda police station. Police have started investigating the matter.…



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Dalit’s Murder at Temple Fest Sparks Tension in Manapparai (Apr 28, 2015, New Indian Express)

The murder of a 20-year-old Dalit youth by a gang during a temple procession on Sunday night sparked tension near Manapparai in the district. The deceased’s relatives besieged the Manapparai government hospital, seeking action against the perpetrators and refused to accept the body after post-mortem.

Sources said that six caste Hindu youth were arrested in connection with the assault and police were trailing the gang. The police said, Muthukumar (20), a MGR Nagar resident, was walking near an illuminated chariot carrying flowers to shower the Veppilai Mariamman as part of Chithirai annual feast. He was accompanied by his friends Vignesh (23), Harikrishnan (26) and Palaniyappan (30).

While the procession was approaching Amman Marriage Hall near the temple, a gang of 10 started attacking the Dalit quartet with wooden logs. Devotees ran helter-skelter, triggering a stampede-like situation. The attackers managed to flee the spot.…



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Opinions and Editorials

For The Champions Of Hindutva, It’s Time For Some ‘Reason-Wapsi’ – By Deepa Philip (Apr 25, 2015, Tehelka)

…Impervious to any damage its statement could cause to the secular fabric of India, the Hindu Mahasabha this week stated that attacking churches is not illegal. Going a step further to substantiate its point, the right-wing outfit said it would protect and even award Hindu youths who attack churches and marry Muslim girls.

In this ‘us’ versus ‘them’ debate, it seems the Hindu fundamentalist group is brazenly overlooking what their own stalwarts have said on the issue of diversity.…

It is clear that Golwakar wouldn’t have agreed with the current crop of sadhus labelling other communities as haramzade. Asking Hindu women to have more children so as to ‘outdo’ the allegedly growing numbers of Muslims is another war cry that he would have detested.…



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Color Coding Of Communal Politics – By Ram Puniyani (Apr 22, 2015, Countercurrents)

As per the reports from Ahmadabad (12th April 2015) the uniform at Shahpur School; where most of the students are Hindus; is saffron and the color of uniform in Dani Limda school where almost all the students are Muslims; the color is green. This is absolutely shocking! One knew that the ghettoization of Muslims in Ahmadabad is probably the worst in the country but whether the things will go this far was unbelievable. The process of communalization which worsened after the 2002 Gujarat carnage is seeing a new low with incidents like this one.

Surely this is the most blatant expression of communalisation- segregation-ghettoisation physical and psychological, which the country as a whole and Gujarat in the most extreme form, is witnessing.… In Ahmadabad, particularly post 2002 carnage the majority of nearly 12% of Muslim population has been forced to live in Juhapura and Shah Alam area, both predominantly Muslim areas. Irrespective of the socio-economic profile the Muslims are not permitted to buy houses in mixed localities. The banks don’t extend their credit card facilities in these areas and neither does eating outlets deliver pizzas etc. in these localities.

In India the phenomenon of ghettoisation of Muslim community has run parallel and as an aftermath of the communal violence. Once the violence occurs in a particular city that city is affected very severely and its fallout is seen in other cities as well. In the cities where major communal violence has been witnessed, this has been the invariable accompaniment.…



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History as mythology? – Editorial (Apr 22, 2015, The Hindu)

History, they say, is always written by the winners. But could this be by even winners of elections? So it would seem from the workings of India’s premier institute of historical research and funding, the Indian Council of Historical Research, which sees a reshuffle of people and priorities every time there is a regime-change in New Delhi. Senior historian and former Chairman of the ICHR, Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, who recently resigned as the Chief Editor of Indian Historical Review, the ICHR journal, has delivered a sharp indictment of the competencies within the ICHR in its present avatar after a new family of historians was appointed by the present government.

He said: “I doubt whether you would find instances of persons, nominated by the government in power, regarding their position pro tem as a franchise to fantasise about history.” The comments of this reputed historian reinforce the concerns that many professional historians have warned of, namely, the dressing up of myth and religious belief as history. This can be seen in the priorities set by the ICHR Chairman, Y. Sudershana Rao, who is from the Akhil Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Yojana, affiliated to the Sangh Parivar.…

The problem in the ICHR today, as Professor Bhattacharya’s comments suggest, is serious precisely because of attempts to render factual evidence irrelevant. The Bharatiya Janata Party established a questionable record with regard to rewriting history textbooks during its first stint in power at the Centre. Its current efforts highlight the dangers of which many historians have warned: the replacement of history as social science, by “history” as fantasy and myth.



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Strategy to Quash Dissent – Editorial (Apr 25, 2015, EPW)

Is the Narendra Modi government cherry-picking which non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to target and destroy or at least paralyse? Or is it raising legitimate questions about the accountability of foreign-funded NGOs? If it is the latter, then the way it is going about it is decidedly odd. Few will question the need to set up structures of accountability and transparency in organisations handling large funds, including those that come from outside India. But the government appears less concerned about transparency and more about the issues these organisations have chosen to raise.

It has focused on two categories of NGOs: those raising uncomfortable questions about the environmental fallout of some of India’s energy choices, particularly nuclear and coal, and groups highlighting human rights concerns, especially around the Gujarat 2002 violence. If these NGOs happen to be partly funded from foreign sources, then inevitably the government spots a conspiracy threatening “national security.”…

Apart from Greenpeace, the other organisation being specifically targeted is the Sabrang Trust headed by Teesta Setalvad, who is known for her unrelenting pursuit of the court cases of victims of the 2002 Gujarat violence. She has been charged with misusing funds; a warrant of arrest has been issued against her and her husband, Javed Anand. Although the Supreme Court has granted them anticipatory bail, they continue to face daily harassment.…



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No Easy Acres, No Easy Answers – By Saba Naqvi (May 4, 2015, Outlook)

A man’s body swung from a tree in the national capital last week. It was disturbing, it was tragic, it was for real. Some newspaper reports have speculated on whether the man actually intended to kill himself. But in the end, he was dead. Gajendra Singh’s final moments were spent at a rally called by the Aam Admi Party (AAP) and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. In its reaction to the suicide, AAP bungled. Kejriwal had continued with his speech, not realising the man was dead.…

But the greater damage – for all the discomfort and the questions being raised about the sequence of events at the AAP rally – has been done to the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A farmer had died, and he would not be an invisible statistic from Vidarbha (the place most associated with farmer suicides). He had died at Jantar Mantar, the protest spot of Delhi, a short walk from Parliament, which is in session, and where the ruling party has been trying to get a consensus on getting changes to land acquisition laws passed in Rajya Sabha. Every action of Gajendra Singh’s was therefore recorded on television and still cameras. In a strange way, this gave the tragedy a touch of farce.

There was apparently a suicide note, in which Gajendra Singh said he was a farmer from Dausa, Rajasthan, whose crops had been damaged by unseasonal rain. Before he died from the choke-hold of his gamcha, Gajendra Singh had raised slogans of ‘Vasundhara-Modi, kisan virodhi!’ As the Modi government approaches its first anniversary, the prime minister is being encircled. The greatest performances, it seems, now happen abroad. In Apna Desh, it’s tough going.…



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As Pawns Circle Knights – By Pragya Singh (May 4, 2015, Outlook)

Minutes after Rajasthan farmer Gajendra Singh committed suicide at a political rally in Delhi, Jayant Chaudhary, grandson of peasant leader and former prime minister Charan Singh, looks visibly perturbed. The latest suicide is a stark symptom of the agrarian crisis ripping through the northern belt – an expression of the farmer’s anger, frustration and utter helplessness.…

Conventionally, ‘Jat’ and ‘farmer’ are interchangeable terms in swathes of north India, though land is owned and tilled by all communities. Gajendra, the farmer who killed himself on Wednesday, was not Jat. “But farmers always band together in a crisis and Jats can become a rallying point,” says Ashok Yadav, a former UP minister and popular leader from Shikohabad. “It is a truism that the party in power always faces the brunt of any anger, rightly or wrongly,” he says.

From Jhajjhar to Bhiwani, Muzaffarnagar to Mathura, Jats – once ardent Modi fans – are challenging his government’s might, feeling betrayed, even believing they are victims of official/political bias. Many had voted for BJP ‘as Hindus’, but their religious identity is being overridden by their occupational one – of being predominantly agricultural.…



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