IAMC Weekly News Roundup - August 14th, 2017 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 14th, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Home for everyone: Breaking bread and communal walls (Aug 14, 2017, Times of India)

There are no religious divides here: on the contrary, you will find Hindus and Muslims living under the same roof, sharing meals – and their lives. Welcome to ‘Sabka Ghar’ – a home at Gaffar Manzil in Okhla – run by a non-profit organisation called Khudai Khidmatgar with the express aim of promoting communal harmony.

Its doors are open to everyone, irrespective of religion, gender, caste or region. When this correspondent visited the home, he found one Hasnain Beg – with his skull cap on and a flowing beard – sitting crosslegged and sharing lunch with his new friend, Swami Anand Rajneesh. In the current politically charged atmosphere, it could have been a scene out of a Bollywood film; only, these otherwise deeply religious people are as real as the roof over their head. Beg and Rajneesh, like several others, have been staying at Sabka Ghar for several days now and have got used to each other’s company. While they go and pray at their respective places of worship, their debates and discussions are held with mutual respect and admiration for each other. “Living here among Muslims, I don’t feel any difference. It seems that I am living with my brothers,” said Rajneesh, who hails from Motihari in Bihar and is currently pursuing a diploma course from Aligarh Muslim University.

Rajneesh said he joined the organisation after he became disillusioned with politics. “Here, I realised that people can come together despite differences.” Beg concurred: “It is only after you spend time together can you get rid of pre-conceived notions. Often, the ground reality is quite different.”…


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Independence Day for cows as hospitals massacre children says AHRC (Aug 15, 2017, Milli Gazette)

How exactly can one react to a republic that lets more than 60 of its children die in just 48 hours for the want of oxygen as the company supplying oxygen to the hospital had stopped it after repeated warnings for the same over non-payment of Rs. 68 Lakhs? How exactly one must feel after learning that these deaths are not the only one, that 114 children have died this year in the same hospital, and more than 25,000 since 1978.

These are merely the reported instances. Civil society organisations allege that the real death toll would in fact be more than 50,000 – most of them children who never managed to reach the hospital. How exactly one must feel after realising that the killer disease, Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) and its major form that affects the area Japanese Encephalitis has an effective vaccine against it?

To top it all, the disease doesn’t attack unannounced – the dance of death occurs every single year, and gets really bad after the onset of the monsoons. This is exactly what is happening in Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur year after year, with the toll crossing 1000 in particularly bad years.…



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Hamid Ansari criticises rising intolerance, hypernationalism (Aug 10, 2017, Asian Age)

Outgoing vice-president Hamid Ansari said that India was becoming an “intolerant society”. “Breakdown of Indian values, breakdown of the ability of the authorities at different levels in different places to be able to enforce what should be normal law enforcing work and overall the very fact that the Indianness of any citizen is being questioned is a disturbing thought,” he said.

In a 52-minute interview to a television channel, covering a range of subjects, he also said this propensity to be able to assert your nationalism day in and day out was unnecessary. He was speaking on the issues of cow vigilante attacks, mob lynchings and people not shouting “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” being told to leave the country.

He added that India had been a plural society for centuries, not for seventy years, and that it had a certain ambience of acceptance “which is under threat”. The vice-president told the television channel that he raised the concerns of growing intolerance in the country with the Prime Minister and other ministers, also.… He also criticised the imposition of hyper-nationalism on the masses. “This propensity to be able to assert your nationalism day in and day out is unnecessary. I am an Indian and that is it,” he added.…



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12 years on, court acquits all accused in Hyderabad blast case (Aug 11, 2017, The Hindu)

A local court here on Thursday acquitted all the 10 accused of involvement in the suicide bomber attack on Hyderabad police Task Force office carried out 12 years ago.

The Seventh Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge T. Srinivasa Rao delivered the verdict at the Nampally Criminal Courts Complex here. The judge said the prosecution had failed to prove the charges against the accused and hence they were acquitted.

Among the 10 acquitted, five were from Hyderabad, three from Bidar and the remaining two belonged to West Bengal. Hyderabadis Mohammed Abdul Khaleem, Abdul Zahed, Shakeel Ahmed, Syed Hazi and Mohammed Qazi and Syed Azmath, Mohammed Mahmood and Azmath Ali of Bidar in Karnataka were likely to be released from the Chanchalguda central prison on Thursday itself.…



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UP witnesses 60 communal incidents in 2017, highest so far (Aug 9, 2017, Indian Express)

The current year has seen 296 incidents of communal violence so far, with 44 deaths, according to data released by the home ministry in Parliament. The previous two years in their entirety saw 703 deaths (2016) and 751 (2015), with 86 and 97 deaths respectively.

Uttar Pradesh has seen the highest number of incidents with 60, while Karnataka, MP, Rajasthan and Bengal too figure high on the list. In Uttar Pradesh’s 60 incidents, 16 people have been killed and over 150 injured. In 2016, UP had 162 incidents and 29 deaths.

Bengal, which recently witnessed communal violence in Basirhat, has had 26 incidents and 3 deaths until May, as compared to 32 incidents (4 deaths) for entire 2016.…



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Ahmed Patel says Narendra Modi ruined Gujarat and was now ruining the country (Aug 10, 2017, First Post)

Two days after winning yet another term in the Rajya Sabha, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Thursday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had ruined Gujarat and was now ruining the country. Patel, who got a fifth Rajya Sabha term in the 8 August elections from Gujarat after a tough fight from the Bharatiya Janata Party, said the BJP would be defeated in the state assembly elections this year.

“Only two persons are ruling the country and the party (BJP) – you know who they are. Even BJP people are upset. One is a constitutional authority (Modi) and the other extra-constitutional authority (BJP President Amit Shah),” Ahmed Patel told Youth Congress workers rallying at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.

“All the agencies are being misused. Three years ago, when they came to power, they made big promises. They misled our youths by saying that two crore jobs will be created every year. Not a single job has been created.” The Congress leader said the BJP had also promised farmers 50 percent profit over their cost of production. “Nothing has been given. They (farmers) are committing suicide. They had also promised to bring down inflation, curb corruption. But women are being exploited, there is no law and order.…



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BJP MLA, SP leader booked in connection with death of farmer (Aug 12, 2017, DNA India)

A case has been filed against a BJP MLA, his brother and a former legislator belonging to the Samajwadi Party in connection with alleged illegal confinement of a farmer who reportedly died later here in UP, police said. The farmer Jaswant Singh’s family has filed a complaint in which they have alleged that the 61-year-old was tortured after being illegally detained.

On the basis of the complaint, a case has been registered against BJP MLA Lokendra Singh, his brother CP Singh, former SP MLA Ruchi Vira, as also some policemen under sections 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 304 (causing death by negligence), police said.

Police said that on August 6, a mob allegedly attacked Lokendra following which an FIR was registered by his supporters. Several people were named in the FIR, including Nirpendra Singh, son of Jaswant Singh. Nirpendra got his father released on bail last evening after which Jaswant died of heart attack, according to the family members.…



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Supreme Court questions Centre’s rules on cattle slaughter (Aug 11, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The Supreme Court on Friday questioned the Centre for framing rules banning sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets, saying the regime it has formulated is an attempt to regulate livestock market, which only state governments can do under the Constitution.

A bench of Chief Justice JS Khehar and justice DY Chandrachud also felt the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulations of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017, notified by the Centre on May 23, impinged on the right to carry out free trade.

As per one of the rules, a seller has to certify that he or she is not selling an animal for slaughter. It even mandates an assurance from the buyer that the animal purchased shall not be sold for the next six months. “Doesn’t this restrict a person from carrying out trade,” the bench asked.…



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Maharashtra textbooks tone down role of Mughals, draw flak (Aug 10, 2017, Indian Express)

History textbooks for class 7 and 9 students in Maharashtra will no longer have chapters on Mughals and Muslim rulers before them, a move that provoked an opposition attack on the BJP-led government for promoting the “RSS agenda”. The Devendra Fadnavis government came in the line of the opposition’s fire after the state education board revised the textbooks which would now focus mainly on the Maratha Empire founded by Chhatrapati Shivaji. Chapters from the previous edition on the Mughals, and Muslim rulers in India before them such as Razia Sultana and Muhammad bin Tuqhlaq, have been expunged from the new books for students of government schools. At least five chapters on the rise and fall of major dynasties in India have been condensed into one chapter – India before the times of Shivaji Maharaj.…



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Attacks against Christians in India reaches record high in first half of 2017 (Aug 10, 2017, Christian Times)

The attacks against Christians in India have reached record high in the first half of 2017, with 410 reported incidents, nearly reaching the number of attacks in all of 2016.

Figures compiled by partners of persecution watchdog group Open Doors indicated that there have been 410 reported incidents of harassment, threats and attacks against Indian Christians in the first six months of 2017.

The number of incidents during that period is almost as many as the total for the whole of 2016, when there were 441 reported cases.…



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Another woman complains of being stalked in Chandigarh (Aug 15, 2017, The Tribune)

Barely over a week after the incident of stalking of an IAS officer’s daughter here, another woman has complained of being chased by three men in a car.

In her complaint, the woman alleged that last night while returning home from market in a two-wheeler she was chased by three men in a car from Sector 36 till Sector 40 here last night, the police said on Tuesday.…

Earlier, on August 5, a 29-year-old disc jockey and daughter of a senior IAS officer was allegedly stalked by the son of Haryana BJP chief and his friend.…



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Opinions and Editorials

Guilty men of Gorakhpur: Yogi & Co. avoid blame for 60 deaths in 5 days – By Sadiq Naqvi (Aug 13, 2017, Catch News)

Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi has called it a ‘massacre’. BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj has labelled it a ‘genocide’. And yet, the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government continues to try and cover up the deaths of 60 patients, mostly children, between 7-11 August, at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur.

Many of the patients who died between 10-11 August are said to have choked to death, as the hospital ran out of oxygen. And while the government has now accepted that the supply of oxygen to the hospital was affected, it still denies that this was the cause of the deaths.

For now, RK Mishra, the principal of the college, has been made the sole fall guy for the tragedy. The government says he has been suspended, while Mishra himself has resigned, taking ‘moral responsibility’. But does the responsibility lie solely with him? What happened to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise during the 2014 election campaign that “no child will be allowed to die an untimely death”?…



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Does Hamid Ansari need freedom to speak or is it Narendra Modi who craves it? By Apoorvanand (Aug 14, 2017, Scroll.in)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s short speech last week on the occasion of the farewell of Hamid Ansari, the 12th vice-president of India, was characterised by impoliteness and churlishness. Some called it uncivil. But those who have been following him know that and were neither surprised nor startled by his words.…

Most importantly, was it Hamid Ansari, a long-time adherent of the Constitution and also its interpreter, who needs freedom, or is it Modi, whose essential being seems to be chafing at the Constitutional straitjacket in which it is imprisoned, who craves it?

Ansari must have listened to Modi with amusement. After all, he has a sense of history. Ansari knows that the unease of the speaker made him attack him. However, Modi’s words were ultimately not aimed at Ansari. The purpose of his words was to generate more viciousness and venom among the majority community. You could hear the snarling. This is what’s alarming.



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India at 70, and the Passing of Another Illusion – By Pankaj Mishra (Aug 11, 2017, New York Times)

…India, which turns 70 next week, seems to have missed its appointment with history. A country inaugurated by secular freedom fighters is presently ruled by religious-racial supremacists. More disturbing still than this mutation are the continuities between those early embodiments of postcolonial virtue and their apparent betrayers today.…

Mr. Modi’s rule represents the most devastating, and perhaps final, defeat of India’s noble postcolonial ambition to create a moral world order. It turns out that the racist imperialism Du Bois despised can resurrect itself even among its former victims: There can be English rule without the Englishman. India’s claims to exceptionalism appear to have been as unfounded as America’s own.

And so one can, of course, mourn this Aug. 15 as marking the end of India’s tryst with destiny or, more accurately, the collapse of our exalted ideas about ourselves. But a sober reckoning with the deep malaise in India can be bracing, too. For it confirms that the world as we have known it, molded by the beneficiaries of both Western imperialism and anti-imperialist nationalism, is crumbling, and that in the East as well as the West, all of us are now called to fresh struggles for freedom, equality and dignity.



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When textbooks forget history – By Dyuti Basu (Aug 9, 2017, Asian Age)

…This is not the first instance of History getting a biased gloss in school textbooks. The Rajasthan board also changed the narrative on their Maharana Pratap history a while back. Instead of stating the fact that the ruler lost the battle of Haldighati to Akbar, books there now say that he won. The suffix of ‘the great’ has also been removed from Akbar’s name.

Though the members of the Maharashtra education board have denied any political motives behind the move, historians are not quite satisfied with their explanation. “It is like deleting a massive chunk of history and you simply cannot do that. The sign of a mature culture is being able to tolerate views other than your own. You cannot just erase facts from text books or relegate events that took up so much of our history to tiny amounts of space,” says an outraged Tasneem Zakaria Mehta, director of the Bhau Daji Lad museum.

The historian adds that it is ridiculous to change the narrative in an era where the Internet makes any information available at the tips of one’s fingers. “You can just look up alternative narratives online within minutes, so putting a skewed perspective in texts is pointless,” she adds.…



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Deendayal Upadhyaya colleges: Assam govt’s misplaced enthusiasm may dilute credentials of Hindutva ideologue – By Mayur Bora (Aug 11, 2017, First Post)

…The recent decision of the BJP led coalition government in Assam to name five newly established colleges after Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya has raised the hackles of the majority of the people including many in the party itself. On top of this, state education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced that another seven colleges, proposed to be set up in the state in the next few years would also be named after Deendayal Upadhyaya.

Any objective observer of the Assamese society from outside would possibly agree that the Assamese people are by and large sober, gentle and respectful to others. But if their patience and initial reticence are considered as weaknesses, they tend to get swayed by a profound identity-centric emotion, which can easily transform an inchoate sense of disgruntlement to a concrete form of agitation on the streets in no time.

Sarma due to his past association with the powerful student body of Assam – All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) knows that sentiment of the people very well. Therefore the question on many lips in Assam today is plain and simple – is there any other motive behind this decision of the government? As an astute politician, Sarma is aware that once such decision involving the name of Deendayal Upadhyaya is taken, it would be well-nigh impossible for anyone to overturn it as reversal would not be taken very lightly by the high command of the party.…



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Ahmed Patel’s victory – a turning point in Indian politics – By Naim Naqvi (Aug 10, 2017, Meri News)

The general election of 2014 constituted a ‘turning point’ in Indian politics and the victory of Congress party in the recent Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat could be the next defining moment if the thinkers in India’s oldest party still survive or exist.

Ahmed Patel, a person who had mastered the art of back-stage politics so far, could become the harbinger of positivity, balance and hope for Congress party and the nation. Patel’s re-entry into Rajya Sabha is a virtual Waterloo for Amit Shah & Co.…

The fence sitters or turn-coats can’t always save the situation as it was proved yesterday with the victory of Ahmad Patel.… I believe that the magical wand of Modi would turn into a scrunched up flute if Congress recalls the politics of Jawaharlal Nehru in deeds and words.…



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