IAMC Weekly News Roundup - April 6th, 2015 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 6th, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar demands BJP’s explanation for 2002 Gujarat riots (Apr 4, 2015, Economic Times)

Launching a scathing attack on the BJP for its “jungle raj 2” barb, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today asked “what were the 2002 Gujarat riots?” “Godhra ka 2002 ka danga kya tha iska jawab de (They should answer what were the 2002 communal riots at Godhra in Gujarat)?” Kumar told reporters in a strong retort to BJP President Amit Shah over his “jungle raj 2” remarks at BJP National Executive meeting in Bengaluru.

“What moral right do they have to talk over the law and order situation in other places?” he asked coming out of a function of the state Road Construction Department here. Kumar, who assumed reins of the state for the fourth time on February 22, said the rule of law prevailed in Bihar.

On Shah’s claim that BJP would rule for more than 10 years, Kumar in a sarcastic comment said it has started losing steam and is drawing the anger of people even before the completion of a year in power. The Bihar CM said the BJP was an expert in making such tall claims in a bid to “hide its failure” and added the party was good in making “jumblebazi” (superlative sayings). …



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1992 Jalandhar fake encounters: 8 ex-cops get life sentence (Apr 1, 2015, Hindustan Times)

Pronouncing its verdict in two 1992 fake encounter cases, the special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Tuesday awarded life sentence to eight retired policemen, including a former superintendent of police (SP).

Personnel of the Nakodar police in Jalandhar district had killed constable Baljit Singh in a fake encounter on September 1, 1992 and shot dead constables Rajwinder Singh and Mukhtiar Singh on September 6 that year. Baljit’s body was found, but not those of the other two.

While eight retired police officials were convicted and sentenced, 17 others were acquitted by the court due to lack of evidence. Those convicted in the Baljit Singh case are retired SP Ram Singh, Ajit Singh, Ajaib Singh, Amrit Singh and serving inspector Harbhajan Singh.…



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Main accused in Patna blast case arrested (Apr 4, 2015, The Hindu)

The main accused in the March 30 bomb blast here was arrested in Nalanda district on Friday. Two other accused are still at large. Police officers told The Hindu that Kundan Kumar was arrested at Ekangarsarai.

“It was a joint operation by a special team of the Patna police and the Anti-Terrorist Squad. We’ve been keeping track of his movement for long,” Patna Senior Superintendent of Police Jitendra Singh Rana said. The other accused are Hemant Kumar and Ashok Kumar.

Two improvised bombs were recovered after a low-intensity blast at a residential flat in Bahadurpur here. The bombs were wired to the same ‘Lotus’ brand timer as those used in the 2013 serial blasts at Bodh Gaya and the Gandhi Maidan blast during a BJP rally. “With the arrest of the prime accused, we hope to arrest the other two soon,” Mr. Rana told The Hindu.…



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Babri Masjid demolition case: Courts are ‘the only way ahead when accused are in govt’, says Haji Mehboob (Apr 1, 2015, Indian Express)

Haji Mehboob, 77, is a well-known figure in Ayodhya for residents as well as the journalists who travel there every so often to report on the mandir-masjid dispute.

A member of the Aman Committee, he is held in high regard but his standing was not able to prevent the arson and looting that accompanied the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992. He fled to a neighbouring village relatively untouched by the tension. His Ayodhya home is just a stone’s throw from what used to be the Babri Masjid.

Asked what prompted him to petition the Supreme Court at a time when the BJP was in a full majority in the Centre and L K Advani had been awarded the Padma Bhushan just hours earlier, he replied, “I believe that there is justice and I have full faith in the Supreme Court.”…



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Muslims have been massacred during RSS-induced riots: Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind president (Mar 31, 2015, Oneindia.com)

Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JUH), one of the largest Muslim organisations in India, has claimed that the country is ‘on the verge of partition’ due to the ruling BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) leaders.

“The BJP and RSS leaders are making such (communal) statements to create terror in the mind of the Muslim community, but the PM is silent as he is under pressure from the RSS. We are observing the Sangh for the last 70 years and know its true agenda. They cannot mislead us by their occasional sympathetic statements,” JUH president Arshad Madani was quoted by an India Today report as saying in Deoband, Saharanpur, on Monday.

He said the country would be divided again if these people are not stopped. “The RSS is harmful not only for the Muslim community, but also for the Hindus. The country was divided in the past because of the same communal forces. We fear that India will once again be divided if such forces are not stopped from their design to communalise the entire country,” the JUH chief added. Madani demanded stern action from the Modi Government against those who make hate speeches to terrorise any community.…



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Hardline Hindutva hurts Modi sarkar: 300 days after he stormed into Delhi durbar, PM’s popularity has been hit by ‘ghar wapsi’ (Apr 2, 2015, Daily Mail)

The perceived communal overtones dominating the political space in the form of the saffron outfits’ ghar wapsi programme are beginning to hurt the Narendra Modi-led NDA government. The latest India Today Group-Cicero Mood of The Nation Survey shows that the BJP would lose at least 27 Lok Sabha seats from its current tally if elections were held today.

In the opinion poll, 38 per cent of the 12,000 respondents rated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s performance as ‘good’. Of those who participated in the opinion poll, 22 per cent categorised it as ‘excellent’ and only 11 per cent said they were ‘unhappy’ with the first 10 months of the National Democratic Alliance government.

The findings of the opinion poll should come as a wake-up call for the Union government as people might be satisfied overall with its performance on the counts of governance, economy and foreign affairs, but the communal tag is pulling its image down.…



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BJP leader, 11 others booked for threatening Sama resident (Mar 26, 2015, Times of India)

BJP leader Dharmendrasinh Vaghela and 11 others were booked late on Tuesday night for abusing and threatening a Sama resident. Deepak Chauhan registered an FIR at Sama police station wherein he stated that Vaghela and other accused threatened him thrice in last two months and pressurized him to vacate his property.

The police action came after the Gujarat high court on March 20 issued an order to the police to register FIR against the accused. Chauhan had approached the high court and complained of police inaction.

Chauhan has said in his FIR that the accused first abused and threatened him on February 6 and February 12 this year. The accused again approached him on March 17 and threatened him before asking him to vacate the home he stays in.…



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Why beef ban in Indian state undermines secularism (Apr 4, 2015, BBC)

…Many Muslims see the extension of the beef ban as evidence of an assault on one of the key principles on which independent India was founded – secularism. Secularism in India means something a little different from elsewhere. It doesn’t mean the state stays out of religion, here it means the state is committed to supporting different religions equally.

India’s secularism was a response to horrors of the partition when millions of people were murdered as Hindus and Muslims fled their homes. The country’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, argued equal treatment was a reasonable concession to the millions of Muslims who’d decided to risk all by staying in India. But India is now governed by a Hindu nationalist party, the BJP. It sees India as a Hindu nation.…

That’s why while the idea of cow mug shots may be amusing, the beef ban is deadly serious. India’s triumph has been forging a nation in which Hindus and Muslims can live happily together. The fear is that the beef ban is part of a process that is gradually undermining the compromises that made that possible.



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FIR registered against 3 police officers in Mathura for alleged gangrape of a woman (Mar 31, 2015, First Post)

An FIR has been registered against three police personnel, including a sub-inspector, for allegedly raping a woman in Goverdhan town in Mathura, police said on Monday.

According to a complaint filed by the woman, Sub-Inspector Ganga Prasad and two constables gangraped her on 12 December last year and also threatened her of dire consequences if she narrates the incident to anyone, Dy SP Anil Yadav said.

A case has been registered against the accused under section 376 (rape), 120b (criminal conspiracy), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), and 506 (criminal intimidation) on the intervention of the court, he said.…



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Two Dalit women thrashed inside police station; 4 cops suspended (Apr 4, 2015, DNA India)

In an alleged case of police brutality, two Dalit women were purportedly beaten up by a sub-inspector and his subordinates inside outer Delhi’s Rohini south police station, following which four police personnel were suspended. The women, in their complaint, have alleged that the sub-inspector and some women police personnel thrashed them inside the police station on Friday, forcing them to confess in a case of robbery. The victims, who are in their early twenties, were taken to the police station for questioning at 9:30 AM yesterday and left around 5 PM.

The women were later taken to Ambedkar Hospital for treatment where a large number of locals created ruckus over the alleged custodial brutality. Heavy police deployment had to be made to bring the situation under control. …

Four police personnel, including sub-inspector Rajveer who had allegedly beaten the two women, were today suspended, Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat told PTI. The other three suspended are women constables deputed at the police station.…



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Opinions and Editorials

How the State kills and buries the truth – By Saurav Datta (Apr 1, 2015, DNA India)

…As was already known for too long, and as is being brought to the fore again, successive governments of Uttar Pradesh and their law enforcement agencies tried every trick in the book to subvert the trial, and boy, what a success they have achieved! In his Order acquitting all the 19 PAC personnel charged with the unprovoked and deliberate killing of 42 Muslim men, Jindal is constrained to observe that the case is essentially all about circumstantial evidence, because, in 28 years, the prosecution hadn’t managed to produce any material evidence which could be deemed credible in the eyes of law.…

Would an appeal against the Hashimpura judgement be an exercise in futility, now that 28 years have passed, and all material evidence crucial to the case must have been destroyed, and that three of the 19 accused are no more alive? It most likely will, unless of course the courts compel disclosure of the CID report. It would also ensure that the real names are brought forth, because many a time and oft, lower-ranking policemen (the highest-ranking among the Hashimpura accused was a sub-inspector) are made scapegoats for the deviousness of their superior officers.

Till date, all UP governments – Congress, BJP, SP and BSP- have resolutely claimed legislative privilege (and the specious plea of disturbance of communal harmony) to not disclose that damning report. An appeal to the appropriate high court, or if not, the Supreme Court, directed not against the 16 PAC men, but the state of UP, could well be the first step towards complete justice for Hashimpura.



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A Festering Sore On Indian Democracy – By Pradyot Lal, NK Bhoopesh & Anurag Tripathi (Apr 11, 2015, Tehelka)

… If ever a comprehensive study is undertaken to determine the role of law-enforcing agencies in ‘helping’ spreadcommunal riots in free India, what happened in somnolent Moradabad where all that glitters is brass is instructive. Around 3,000 namazis had turned up at the idgah to render Friday prayers when some pigs mysteriously found their way among them causing instant commotion. What followed was even more macabre, as the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel who were on duty failed to chase away the offending animals in time.

Instead, as brickbatting of the police and PAC personnel ensued, they indiscriminately opened fire causing several in the congregation to die instantly. There was already enough tension between the factory owners and the artisans who were usually drawn from different communities. The demographic structure of the city, however, was not reflected in its political representation. Two generations after the riot, the scars are yet to heal.

As sociologist Satish Sabherwal and historian Mushirul Hasan averred a couple of months after the riots, neither the then UP chief minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh nor the leaders at the Centre went beyond offering palliatives to the victims. This was ‘democratic’ India’s second tryst with the PAC after the revolt in its ranks in the mid-1970s had threatened to upstage the Congress in Uttar Pradesh.…



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Ominous legislation – Editorial (Apr 3, 2015, The Hindu)

The Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime (GCTOC) Bill 2015carries disturbing echoes of draconian anti-terror laws such as the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) and the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). Both were considered failed experiments that led to gross abuse. More specifically, the Bill seems to be modelled on the provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) that was implemented in 1999 and continues to be in force today.

In fact, since 2002 it has also been in force in Delhi after the police insisted that such a law was needed as ‘organised crime has no limits’. The common thread running through all these controversial pieces of legislation is the notion that regular process, as outlined by the Code of Criminal Procedure, is not enough to deal with a changed internal security situation.…

Knee-jerk reactions lead to severe laws. The focus should rather be on better resources and training for investigators who can continue to work under the existing Code of Criminal Procedure, which is already comprehensive in scope.



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Church under attack – By T.K. Rajalakshmi (Apr 17, 2015, Frontline)

Even as reports of attacks on churches in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and elsewhere began pouring in, causing wide consternation, the report of an “under-construction” church being vandalised at Kaimri village in Hisar district of Haryana was received with surprise.…

On March 15, the day before the Bharatiya Janata Party government got the Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gau Samvardhan Bill, 2015, passed in the Assembly, some village residents climbed on to the roof of the church and broke the cross. They then installed a statue of Hanuman inside the main hall. One person was arrested in connection with the incident and a complaint was registered against 14 people, including the sarpanch of the village, and a first information report (FIR) was filed.…

A social activist from the village, requesting anonymity, told Frontline that a month ago, local leaders of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal visited Kaimri and told the residents that the church should not be built. “They incited the villagers who had hardly bothered until then about it. This was not a gram sabha matter but the sarpanch got involved because the panchayat elections are a few months away,” he said. The issue of the church, the bogey of conversions, and the panchayat elections all fell into place.…



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NaMo’s Minimalist Wave – By Mihir Srivastava (Apr 13, 2015, Outlook)

…a hyperactive PMO seems to have put off a section of bureaucrats, who are now reluctant to leave states and move to the Centre in a reversal of the earlier trend of bureaucrats lobbying for central deputation. “The fear factor is at play,” says a joint secretary, who agreed to talk at a coffee shop in Noida. “We are just carrying out instructions. We get very specific instructions, several times not in writing. You can’t afford to not act on such verbal communications and you can’t act on it unless due process is followed,” he says of the dilemma.

The prime minister’s frequent travel – he’s been on foreign trips for 40 days in his first nine months in office – has also taken a toll on governance: the number of vacancies rises, but there is no reshuffle in sight. Ajit Kumar Seth, cabinet secretary of the former UPA regime, still remains in office. He has been given extensions. Asked about the delays, Manmohan Vaidya, national prachar pramukh or propaganda head of the RSS, shot back: “I will not say a word on this. I understand the media is trying to create a misunderstanding. We know our work. Government is doing their work.”

K.N. Govindacharya, a former RSS pracharak who used to share a room with Modi in 1989-90 at the party office on Akbar Road in Delhi, is openly critical. He points to hypocrisy disguised as ideology. The RSS and the government, he says, are dealing in “half-truths, or sometimes, convenient truths”. Is the national interest above party interest or the interest of the rss? This arrangement of hypocrisy and compromises is not sustainable, he warns.



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The Ides of March – By T. K. Rajalakshmi (Apr 17, 2015, Frontline)

If the outcome of the Delhi Assembly elections came as a shocker to the Bharatiya Janata Party, the broad opposition, inside and outside Parliament, to the promulgation of the land acquisition ordinance and the government’s decision to amend the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Act, 2013, also called the LARR Act, has stumped it.

The bugle of protest was sounded in early January itself, with political parties like the Congress taking to the streets and mass organisations of the Left and other people’s movements making their resentment vocal in separate forums. Moves to defend the ordinance, first by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and then by Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, had little impact as the government was viewed as increasingly obdurate.

The three-day protest in the national capital in mid-March by thousands of farmers from western Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and even Karnataka, led by the Bharatiya Kisan Union of Rakesh Tikait, was perhaps a signal to the government about the widespread resentment. The BKU had lent its support to the BJP during the Lok Sabha elections.…



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