IAMC Weekly News Roundup - August 15th, 2016 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 15th, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Amnesty International booked for sedition over Kashmir event (Aug 16, 2016, Indian Express)

Sedition charges have been filed against Amnesty International India on Monday, following alleged slogans uttered against India and the Indian Army at an event held by the organisation in the city on Saturday.… The event organised by Amnesty at The United Theological College on Saturday on human rights violations in Kashmir had spiralled into a controversy after right-wing organisations objected to remarks made at the event.

Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) staged a protest during the programme and on the following day, had filed a complaint with the JC Nagar police.… Condemning the sedition charges slapped on it, representatives of Amnesty International India said the organisation, as a matter of policy, does not take any position in favour of or against demands for self-determination.

The human rights group said that the Bengaluru Police were informed about the event well in advance. It also invited representation from the Kashmiri Pandit community in Bengaluru at the event to speak about the human rights violations faced by members of the community.…



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Naxal-infected Bastar region being turned into laboratory of Hindu nation, as RSS seeks to “purify” it: Report (Aug 13, 2016, Counterview)

An eight-person fact-finding team under the auspices of the All-India People’s Forum (AIPF) has found an unprecedented atmosphere of mutual suspicion and insecurity among the villagers of the Naxal-infected regions of Chhattisgarh it visited – Bastar, Dantewada, Sukma and Bijapur districts – with the region fast turning into a Hindutva laboratory.…

“In areas where Christian minorities are present”, the report says, “RSS outfits are acting as a law unto themselves, terrorizing the minorities. They have no fear of stern action by the police because they feel they enjoy patronage of the government and the ruling party.”

Saying the region is turning into a “laboratory for Hindu nation”, the report says, testimonies of Christians in Bastar district showed “systematic attempts to persecute Christian minorities; foment communal division and violence in adivasi villages; bend pro-adivasi laws to communal ends; and allow Hindutva groups to dictate to the police and administration.…



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‘I want to kill off Muslims one by one’: Photographer relates Islamophobia experience (Aug 10, 2016, Asian Age)

Bengaluru-based photographer Kabir Ahmed on Wednesday shared an incident on his Facebook account which could reveal a very worrying mindset among sections of Indian society. According to a report, Ahmed was at the receiving end of anti-Muslim hatred when he interacted with a few people at a hotel on Tumkur Road in Karnataka.

On his way back from Hampi, Ahmed stopped at the hotel to relieve himself, and was joined in the loo by three men. One of the men looked at him with ‘utter disdain’ and asked him about the style of his beard. “No style, and all guru..i simply let it grow,” he responded. The guy didn’t stop at that and questioned him further about his beard. Ahmed still tried to continue in his jocular vein, making up a story about wanting to go to ‘sanyaas’. Not satisfied, the man asked Ahmed his name, says the report. Ahmed, sensing the man’s mindset, replied that his name was Ragul – a Hindu name.

Ahmed then asked the man why he was so angry. The response was shocking. “He said because they have ruined everything and continue to, the bastards … and every time I see a Muslim, I want to beat them black and blue, without mercy…kill them off one by one. The two other men hanging around the mirror, vehemently agreed,” Ahmed said.…



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Nagpur: ‘Akhand Bharat Divas’ for first time on RSS premises (Aug 14, 2016, Indian Express)

The RSS is hosting “Akhand Bharat Smruti Divas” on its premises on August 14, after refraining from being identified with the occasion all these years despite being explicit about its dream of ‘Akhand Bharat’.

Although, the RSS isn’t positioning itself as the organiser, a press note for the programme was issued by the Vishva Samvad Kendra, the communications wing of the RSS, and the main speaker will be Indresh Kumar, RSS executive committee member and convener of Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), an RSS-inspired front.

The programme will be held in the huge Maharshi Vyas Sabhagruha on the RSS premises of Smruti Mandir in Reshimbag locality of the city. The Smruti Mandir is the regular venue for all major annual functions of the RSS, including the Dussehra programme. The press note names Yuva Ayam as the organiser of the programme.…



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Ahead of Independence Day celebrations, ‘police’ raid Jamia Millia Islamia hostels: Students see a dangerous pattern (Aug 14, 2016, First Post)

Hundreds of students gathered outside the main campus of Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi on Saturday and shouted slogans against the Delhi police and the University administration. The students alleged that Special Cell of the Delhi police and some officials in the civil dress barged into the hostel campus of the University and started shooting videos on the afternoon of Saturday.

This came after hostel residents of the University purported that during a raid the night before, hostel officials had warned them of an NIA raid in their residential complex in the wake of Independence Day celebration in the National Capital.

The students who had gathered to protest in Delhi on the campus alleged that at 2 PM on Saturday, two cars with black shields entered the hostel premises and started clicking pictures and shooting videos. When the students asked ‘who they were’, the “officials” said they had the permission to do so from University authorities.…



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40 percent Gujarat ministers face criminal cases (Aug 10, 2016, Business Standard)

Ten out of 25 ministers in Gujarat’s new cabinet have criminal charges, with half of them accused of murder, attempt to murder and robbery, according to the Gujarat Election Watch and ADR.

The Gujarat Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) analysed the self-sworn affidavits of all 25 ministers including Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, the ADR said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Of the 10 ministers who have declared criminal cases, five have declared serious criminal cases. These include murder, attempt to murder, robbery and dacoity,” it said.…



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Arrest by Mumbai cops shocks mosque officials (Aug 15, 2016, Times of India)

The arrest of Mohammed Haneef alias Haneef Moulavi, former khatib of the Salafi masjid at Kalikkadavu in Kasaragod, for alleged IS links has been met with widespread incredulity by the local community.

“Haneef has no links with any extremist group. In his sermons he spoke only about Islam not terror,” said TP Muhammdali Haji, custodian of the Salafi Masjid in Kalikkadavu. “I used to stay in the mosque the whole of Ramadan month, and have not seen any stranger visiting him,” he added.

The parents of some youngsters reported missing from Kasargod too could not believe he has links with terrorists. “The parents of Dr Ijas and Shiaz told me they didn’t have any suspicions about Moulavi. Mumbai police had called Dr Ijaz’s father to ask whether he has any complaints against the Moulavi and he replied in the negative,” said BC Abdrehman, local leader of the IUML in Padne.



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US conveyed concerns to India over religious violence:official (Aug 10, 2016, Business Standard)

The US today said it has been clear in conveying its concerns whenever the Indian government was “slow” in reacting to incidents of religious violence and cow vigilantism.

“We have been clear in our engagement with India about our concerns about those times when the government has been slow to react when violence has taken place, and some of those controversies over the cows – are an example of that,” US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, Rabbi David Nathan Saperstein, told reporters at a news conference.

“There have been other times where (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi has spoken out and has spoken out very forcefully about the need to protect religious freedom for all and security for all,” Saperstein said in response to a question on religious freedom in India after releasing the annual report on International Religious Freedom in 2015.…



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Narendra Modi’s appeal goes unheeded in Gujarat; Dalits attacked in Una again, 8 seriously injured (Aug 16, 2016, India.com)

Independence Day celebration for 20 Dalits in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat on Monday turned out to be nightmare when they were attacked by a mob leaving 8 people from the community seriously injured. The incident comes close on Modi’s appeal to stop atrocities against Dalits across the nation following a number of such incidents reported from across the country.

The victims were returning after attending a flag hoisting event at Samter village in Una district. Una was the centre of controversy after seven people from the community were brutally beaten on July 11. Jawaharlal Nehru University student union president Kanhaiya Kumar and mother of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula’s mother Radhika Vemula also attended the flag hoisting event.

Claiming that the attackers were residents of Samter village, the victims said the attackers wanted to “avenge” the arrest of 12 persons in connection with last month’s Una Dalit flogging case. The members of the community alleged that the police did not take any action against the culprits, while the officials denied the charge and said cops lobbed teargas shells to disperse the crowd and resorted to mild lathi-charge.…



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Muslim organisations demand complete ban on beef exports from India (Aug 11, 2016, Times of India)

Condemning attacks by cow vigilantes, minority organisation Ittehad-e-Millat Council (IMC) arranged a seminar to highlight the problems and demanded a complete ban on beef export from India and stop illegal slaughter to curb cruelty against cattle. They also sought to clarify that “beef” which is associated with cow was being incorrectly used to define export of buffalo meat and hence the government also needs to bring in clarity on the matter to prevent misuse of the word.

The demands, put out in a memorandum addressed to Union home minister Rajnath Singh, were endorsed by representatives from Muslim and dalit communities at a packed Mavlankar Hall in Constitution Club. It was also announced that if these demands were not met by the government, the protesters will take their agitation to the streets and Ramlila Grounds.

“We would like to express our apprehensions with respect to the atrocities, suppression and discrimination meted out to the Muslim minority, on the pretext of cow protection, beef eating, terrorism, national security, etc. Since the death of a man beaten to death after being accused of eating beef last September in Dadri, vigilante groups of cow protectors have flourished,” said a statement released by the IMC.…



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Opinions and Editorials

Amnesty booked for sedition: Supreme Court against applying law without sufficient cause – By Maneesh Chhibber (Aug 16, 2016, Indian Express)

On Monday, the Bengaluru police lodged an FIR against Amnesty International India under the sedition laws. This was done after “independence” and “pro-freedom” slogans were raised at an event organised by Amnesty International.

While the organisation had been booked under various others sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), … it is the use of sedition that has, once again, brought back into focus the much-abused law. Incidentally, a debate on this section, a legacy of the British, became very vocal after JNU Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and others were arrested in February for having committed the crime of sedition. Things returned to normal within days with Kanhaiya and others released on bail.

Much has been written about how the British rulers (mis)used this clause to stifle dissent and the independence movement. However, despite demands, including by the first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru, to remove this controversial clause from the statute books, it continues to be remain there and is used very often to stifle dissent against the Indian government by Indians.…



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Narendra Modi, The Machiavellian Prince Of India – By Sukumaran C V (Aug 13, 2016, Countercurrents)

The18th chapter of Niccolo Machiavelli’s famous work The Prince is titled “How a Prince Should Keep His Word” and the very beginning of the chapter is as follows: “How praiseworthy it is for a prince to keep his word…nevertheless the princes who have accomplished great deeds are those who have cared little for keeping their promises and who have known how to manipulate the minds of men by shrewdness.”

Doesn’t the image of our Prime Minister come to your mind when you read the above quoted sentences of Machiavelli? The gau rakshaks publicly flogged four Dalits in Una on July 11, and nearly one month after, Narendra Modi reacted ‘sternly’ by saying that the government will not tolerate atrocities against the Dalits… Modi doesn’t want the gau rakshaks hear his criticism and the gau rakshaks don’t mind his criticism either, because the ‘criticism’ is meant to satisfy those who are against such vigilantism.

Narendra Modi is a consummate politician who has used the politics of silence to look the other way when violence is perpetrated on the hapless people by those who are the part and parcel of the political organization or party he represents. He has used this silence in 2002 when hundreds of innocent people were being butchered on the streets of Gujarat.… He has used this silence when Muhammad Akhlaq was lynched in 2015, and when the Dalit youths were flogged in 2016. After using the silence of politics very fruitfully, he would use his rhetoric to ‘condemn’ the ‘anti-social elements’ in order to reiterate his distance from them. Of course, he keeps his safe distance from them.…



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The Violence of Silence: Why Modi Treats the M-Word as Radioactive – By Sidharth Bhatia (Aug 9, 2016, The Wire)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has come out angrily against “fake” cow protection vigilante groups for their violent tactics.… The speech comes in the wake of rising Dalit anger all over the country after incidents of lynching of Dalits in Una, Gujarat, for skinning a cow. Conscious that the wrath of the community could prove expensive for the BJP in the 2017 elections in the state and elsewhere too, the party is in damage control mode. Modi’s speech has been seen as one effort towards mollifying Dalits.

But cow related violence is not new; in September 2015, Mohammed Akhlaq was lynched to death in Dadri and his son’s skull was broken on the mere suspicion that they had beef in their refrigerator. There has been a spate of cases, big and small in other places too. Why didn’t the prime minister – who takes to the radio for his Mann ki Baat programme every month and tweets about all kinds of things daily, including condoling violent incidents elsewhere – even refer to the brutal death of a fellow citizen, let alone condemn it?

To many, the answer is obvious. Akhlaq was a Muslim and Muslims are not BJP voters. Dalits, on the other hand, could be, more so since the Sangh parivar has been working hard to get them into the overarching fold of Hindutva. This suggests that Modi never does anything without considering its political and especially electoral implications.… With his latest statements aimed solely at condemning those attacking Dalits, Modi has demonstrated yet again that the Sangh’s vision of India does not include the Indian Muslim. Rhetoric, hatred and even violence against the community is therefore a non-issue – a subject that the prime minister need not spend any time on.



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Why are authorities harassing Outlook and Narada journalists instead of examining their stories? – By Geeta Seshu (Aug 8, 2016, Scroll.in)

Journalists are in the crosshairs of authorities for their investigative reports – yet again. Instead of the spotlight being trained on the truths they have tried to uncover, journalists are being targeted and harassed, detained and charged with various misdemeanours. Consider the two separate instances last week:

On August 6, Narada News Chief Executive Officer and Editor Mathew Samuel was detained at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport following a lookout notice issued against him. On August 4, in response to its last week’s cover story a First Information Report was registered against Indranil Roy (Publisher), Krishna Prasad (Editor) of Outlook and Neha Dixit, the freelance journalist who investigated and wrote the story.

In both these cases, the message their reports purported to convey is undermined and belittled, as the journalists and the publications are sought to be silenced.…



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Reality Check: Is Modi Turning Into a Caricature of Himself? – By M.K. Venu (Aug 15, 2016, The Wire)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort on Independence Day was both tedious and tiring. It repeated for the umpteenth time many of his pet developmental themes which have travelled little beyond being smart slogans. But then they must be repeated ad nauseam in the absence of any concrete progress on the ground in critical areas such as jobs and rural incomes.

Modi knows things are far from satisfactory when you look at employment growth and rural incomes.… Nevertheless, on the 70th anniversary of India’s independence, the prime minister chose to coin another slogan to cap all previous slogans – “Reform, Perform and Transform”. And then he proceeded to describe the performance of his government on various fronts. He seemed so anxious to list achievements that he chose to talk about such micro issues as Air India having come into operational profits and BSNL turning the corner.…

Unfortunately, Modi’s famed communication skills are falling into a pattern which can only be described as a caricature of the riveting speaker who aroused the masses during and after the 2014 general elections. All forms of good caricature end up producing a grotesque and comic effect. Modi must think hard over how to avoid this trap.



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Remember the Lokpal? Modi Just Made It Clear He Doesn’t Want One – By Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar (Aug 13, 2016, The Wire)

The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013 was notified on January 1, 2014, to cover all public servants in and outside India. The Act had provided for setting up of a Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta at the level of the states.…

Questioning the haste behind how the amendment Bill was introduced and passed, Anjali Bhardwaj of National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) had stated in a note that “the Lokpal law that was enacted after decades of debate and demand for an anti-corruption institution was dealt a severe blow as the amendment bill was introduced and passed by Parliament in less than 24 hours.… She insisted that the Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Amendment) Bill, 2016 which was passed on July 28 had “fundamentally diluted the Lokpal Act as it has done away with the statutory requirement of public servants to disclose the assets of their spouses and dependent children. The bill has also dispensed with the statutory requirement of public disclosure of these statements.”…

Bhardwaj also alleged that the Narendra Modi government has no intention of implementing the Lokpal Act. She bases this on the premise that the amendment that was essential to operationalise the law – a provision that allowed the leader of the single largest party in opposition to be included in the selection panel for appointing the Lokpal, in the absence of a recognised leader of opposition – had not been included in the bill.…



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