IAMC Weekly News Roundup - August 1st, 2016 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 1st, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Operation #BetiUthao (Aug 8, 2016, Outlook)

…On June 9, 2015, two days after Babita’s demand for crab curry was met, she and 30 other tribal girls – aged 3-11 years – were made to board a train by two women, Korobi Basumatary and Sandhyaben Tikde, of two Sangh parivar outfits, the Rashtra Sevika Samiti and Sewa Bharati, on the promise of education in Punjab and Gujarat. The girls were from five border districts of Assam, Kokrajhar, Goalpara, Dhubri, Chirang and Bongaigaon. A year has passed since Babita left. The monsoons are back and so are the crabs. In all this time, the girls’ parents haven’t been able to contact them.

In a three-month-long investigation, Outlook accessed government documents to expose how different Sangh outfits trafficked 31 tribal girls as young as three years from tribal areas of Assam to Punjab and Gujarat. Orders to return the children to Assam – including those from the Assam State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights, the Child Welfare Committee, Kokrajhar, the State Child Protection Society, and Childline, Delhi and Patiala – were violated by Sangh-run institutions with the help of the Gujarat and Punjab governments.…

Besides violating the SC guideline of 2010 not to take any child outside Assam and Manipur for any purpose including studies, Sewa Bharati, Vidya Bharati and Rashtra Sevika Samiti also violated the Juvenile Justice Act by not producing the girls bef¬ore CWCs in Assam or obtaining NOCs from them before taking them away to Gujarat and Punjab.…



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Shiv Sena leader is main conspirator in Gujarat Dalit flogging case: CID (Aug 1, 2016, Indian Express)

A senior CID official leading the investigation into the Una flogging incident Sunday said that Pramodgiri Goswami, who claims to be Shiv Sena’s district unit chief, was the key conspirator behind the attack on seven Dalits by “gau rakshaks” for allegedly killing a cow.

“Evidence gathered, so far, suggested that Promodgiri was key conspirator of the attack. He was leading the mob that assaulted the Dalits at Mota Samadhiyala village (in Una taluka of Gir Somnath district),” said DSP Keshavji Saradava.…

However, who informed Pramodgiri and his group about the alleged cow slaughter remains a matter of investigation. Investigations by The Indian Express have revealed that Una police had received an input from state police control room about beef being allegedly transported to Una.…



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‘Gau Rakshaks’ strike again? Fresh video from Rajasthan surfaces (Jul 30, 2016, Indian Express)

Amid a rising debate and protests over incidents of violence against minorities including Muslims and Dalits from various parts of the country, a new video has surfaced on social media which shows four-five self-acclaimed ‘Gau Rakshaks’ mercilessly beating a man for allegedly carrying cow meat.

The video, uploaded by one Pratik Sinha on Facebook, shows a group of men beating up another man in the middle of what looks like a highway road. Shouts of ‘will you kill my mother (cow)’ in local dialect can also be heard in the background. On the other hand, the man who is being targeted can be heard continuously asking for ‘forgiveness’ from perpetrators.…

This video has come up just a couple of days after another video of two Muslim women being cornered and beaten up at Mandsaur railway station in Madhya Pradesh on the suspicion that they were carrying beef. The issues was raised in Parliament also. The BJP-led state government faced a lot of criticism for not being able to ‘contain’ such elements who target minorities in the name of ‘Gau Raksha’.…



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Mob beats Muslim women in MP over beef rumour, Oppn corners govt in House (Jul 27, 2016, Hindustan Times)

A mob slapped, punched and kicked two Muslim women on suspicion they were carrying beef in Madhya Pradesh, an incident that spurred the Opposition to attack the BJP-led government at the Centre in Parliament over increasing violence by cow vigilantes.

A veterinary test later revealed the 30kg of meat seized from the women at Mandsaur railway station on Tuesday was buffalo and not beef, state home minister Bhoopendra Singh said on Wednesday.…

The incident came two weeks after four Dalit men were beaten up by gau rakshaks (cow protection activists) in Gujarat, allegedly for skinning a dead cow. It brought back memories of the mob lynching of Mohammad Ikhlaq over rumours of eating beef in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri district in December.…



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No water supply and electricity for Muslim families in Vadodara (Jul 28, 2016, Indian Express)

At Kapurai in Vadodara, about 130 odd families, mostly Muslims, who were allotted homes under the Basic Services to Urban Poor (BSUP) scheme after the demolition of the their slums at Sulemani Chawl, have been living without electricity and water supply since they moved in about a month ago.

On May 31, the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) had demolished 318 homes in the Muslim-populated Sulemani Chawl as part of “Slum free Vadodara” project and started working on resettling them in Kapurai area on Dabhoi Road, where upper caste Hindus reside. Kapurai is located near Hanuman Tekri, where the infamous best bakery burning case occurred during the 2002 riots in which 14 people were killed.…

On the eve of demolition of the Sulemani Chawl, the VMC officials carried a survey and identified 318 families staying in the area. On verification of their documents, the VMC zeroed down on 232 families that were eligible to get alternative housing in a housing scheme for the urban poor. Officials said that the civic body also conducted a draw to allocate houses to the beneficiaries from Sulemani Chawl.…



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Phagwara clash: Panel wants Sena workers arrested (Jul 30, 2016, Times of India)

Representatives of Muslim, Sikh and Dalit organizations who had confronted Shiv Sena members when they attacked a mosque in Phagwara on July 22, on Fridaty announced the formartion of an 11-member coordination committee to pressure the administration to arrest the accused.

In a press conference on Friday, the committee announced that if Sena leaders booked by the police were not arrested by August 4, they would announce further course of action the next day. The committee said withdrawing and downscaling security given to some Shiva Sena leaders was not enough.

Punjab Congress secretary Jarnail Nangal, who is a part of the committee, said while Phagwara deputy superintendent of police (DSP) K P S Chahal had been suspended following the demand of Shiv Sena and the superintendent of police (SP) was also transferred, the real culprits who created trouble were still roaming free. Phagwara mosque imam Avaim-ur-Rehman said withdrawal of gunmen of those named in the FIR was not enough. “They had been targeting the community repeatedly and want to vitiate the atmosphere of the whole state,” they said.…



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Rajya Sabha MPs up in arms after SP leader sought to name ‘RSS leader accused in Malegaon’ (Jul 26, 2016, First Post)

Rajya Sabha saw a brief uproar on Tuesday when a Samajwadi Party member sought to name an RSS functionary, saying he was named by the accused in the Malegaon case.

The trouble started when Javed Ali Khan spoke in Zero Hour about his experience at a recent function on promotion of Urdu, Arabic and Persian languages. Khan said he was surprised to see the RSS functionary, “who has been named by accused persons in Malegaon blast and pointed at by CBI in Ajmer blast case, delivering sermons on patriotism and the number of wives which a Muslim man should have”.

As he named the RSS functionary, BJP members were on their feet vociferously protesting it. Deputy chairman PJ Kurien said the name has been expunged. However, SP members, along with those from other opposition parties including the Left, insisted that the name of the RSS functionary should not be expunged. Kurien said he would go through the records and decide.…



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Concerned by ‘rising intolerance’, US asks India to protect citizens (Jul 30, 2016, Hindustan Times)

The United States has asked India to do “everything in its power” to protect its citizens, expressing concern over reports of “rising intolerance and violence” in the country. “We stand in solidarity with the people and government of India in supporting exercise of freedom of religion and expression and in confronting all forms of intolerance,” US state department spokesperson John Kirby said.

He was responding to questions on reports of increasing incidents of violence over beef in India. Most recently, two Muslim women in Madhya Pradesh were thrashed by cow protection vigilantes on the suspicion of carrying beef, which was revealed to be buffalo meat on forensic examination. A few days earlier, four Dalit youths were tied up and thrashed allegedly for skinning a dead cow. This resulted in widespread protests by the Dalit community in Gujarat.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government has repeatedly been accused by opposition parties of adopting a kid gloves treatment when dealing with Right-wing extremist groups, who openly dispense mob justice, mostly on member’s of minority communities.…



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Hindutva supporters protest over teaching Arabic to kids (Jul 30, 2016, Times of India)

Irked over an aided government school teaching foreign languages, especially Arabic during the weekends, members of Hindutva outfit illegally entered the school and created a ruckus on Saturday.

M Chandra Sekhar, city police commissioner told STOI that as many as 10 people barged into St Thomas Higher Primary School at Padu Bandanthila while the classes were going on. They protested against the school management’s decision to conduct special Arabic classes for students, along with other foreign language classes.

According to the sources, justifying the act, local leader of Sene claimed that they had received complaints that Arabic language was forcibly taught in the school. Before leaving, the miscreants snatched Arabic text and other materials from the children and warned the Arabic teacher from visiting the school in future.…



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Kashmir protests: Treat them as your own people, High Court tells Centre (Aug 2, 2016, Indian Express)

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday asked the Centre to treat protesters in the Valley as “their own”, and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to explain why most of the injured had been wounded above the knees and in the eyes.

“They are your own people. They are not aliens. They have not descended from outer space with their own pellets,” a division bench of the High Court said during the hearing of a PIL. “Treat them as your own people. You are not treating them as your own people.”

The division bench, comprising Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar, said, “It is a problem for the state. They use pellet guns, their own people suffer and they have to get doctors from outside.”…



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Opinions and Editorials

RSS’ India model comes to Gujarat – By Ramachandra Guha (Jul 31, 2016, Hindustan Times)

To understand the present politics of the cow in India, the place to start is an article written in October 1952 by MS Golwalkar, the long-serving sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS). Earlier that year, the RSS’s political affiliate, the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, had won a mere three seats in the first Lok Sabha elections. Seeking to stem demoralisation amongst his flock, Golwalkar made a public appeal through the press, asking young Hindus to ‘revive the fundamental values and ideas’ of their faith’.

What issue would prompt Hindus to, as Golwalkar put it, “be readily prepared to sacrifice our all for the honour and glory of the motherland?” The RSS chief believed that “such a point of honour in our national life is none else but MOTHER COW, the living symbol of the Mother Earth – that deserves to be the sole object of devotion and worship. To stop forthwith any onslaught on this particular point of our national honour, and to foster the spirit of devotion to the motherland, [a] ban on cow-slaughter should find topmost priority in our programme of national renaissance in Swaraj”.

Orthodox Hindus venerated the cow, but Muslims and Christians ate its flesh. For Golwalkar and the RSS, cow worship thus became another stick to beat the minorities with, to make them accept that India was essentially a Hindu nation. In the 1950s the aura of Jawaharlal Nehru and the Congress was such that this RSS campaign never took off. However, after Nehru’s death, the RSS organised a nation-wide movement on the issue of cow protection, culminating in a mob of angry Hindutvawadis storming Parliament in November 1966. Beaten back by the police, the mob then burnt buildings and homes, as well as hundreds of vehicles.…



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Narendra Modi govt’s defence of cow vigilantism as social work is ridiculous – By Monobina Gupta (Jul 29, 2016, First Post)

The reasons for the underlying increase in cases of violence surrounding cow protection are not difficult to detect when one sees the union minister for social justice and empowerment in the Narendra Modi government virtually certifying gau raksha samiti-sponsored vigilantism as a legitimate activity.

Talking to The Indian Express, Thawar Chand Gehlot said: “… These are all social organisations. It could be for gau raksha sewa dal, it could be for eliminating social evils; people keep forming these social groups and doing things. Someone may have informed them (about cow slaughter) and they would have rushed. What they need to do is find out its veracity and then go.”

Gehlot was responding to the question about whether the Centre has any plans to rein in the gau rakshaks. His answers made it obvious that it didn’t. In fact, Gehlot’s description of gau rakshak dals – that they are like other “social organisations that are formed for a cause” – reinforces the perception that the government is being unduly benevolent and suspiciously indulgent towards the gau rakshaks.…



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Muslims under Modi: The dark side to India’s prime minster – By Peter Speetjens (Jul 28, 2016, Middle East Eye)

A special court in the city of Ahmedabad, the capital of western India’s Gujarat state, in June condemned 11 people to life for their role in deadly inter-religious riots in 2002. This and the fact that 13 others were also given to up to 10 years in jail may seem good news for survivors of the carnage in Gujarat. However, many do not feel justice has been done. Not a single politician or civil servant was put behind bars, and there was not even an admonishment for the prominent figure many Muslims hold responsible for the bloodletting – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Today, the 56-year-old leader of India likes to present himself as a moderate whose pro-business agenda is a blessing to all Indians. His looks help, with his neatly trimmed beard and perfect smile, he seems everyone’s favourite uncle. However, below the cuddly surface lurks a dark past. A long-serving member of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Modi was chief minister of Gujarat at the time of riots which produced the worst sectarian violence since the 1947 partition that created the Hindu-dominated state of India and its Muslim counterpart Pakistan.…

Modi has always maintained that he did everything in his power to contain what he calls an outbreak of spontaneous violence. However, numerous reports and witness accounts sketch a far more sinister picture: that the violence was orchestrated by a core of Hindu nationalist outfits, and the state authorities dominated by Modi’s BJP played a supporting role before, during and after the massacre. For example, immediately after the train burning, Modi did nothing to curb the rising tensions. Instead, he threw oil on the fire by declaring the incident a “premeditated terrorist attack,” although there was no evidence for the claim. He had the 58 burnt corpses put on public display in Ahmedabad.… While Modi will arguably never be prosecuted, he will forever be linked to one of India’s darkest hours since independence.



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No discussion on who killed Mahatma Gandhi is complete without addressing idea of a Hindu Rashtra – By Teesta Setalvad (Jul 28, 2016, Scroll.in)

The murder of Mahatma Gandhi, or more dramatically put, the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi was the first act of terror committed in independent India, as I wrote in the introduction to the volume, Beyond Doubt-A Dossier on Gandhi’s Assassination (2015, Tulika). It was also, I wrote, a declaration of war and a statement of intent.

It was a declaration of war by a section of society which remained largely on the fringes during the independence struggle and was committed to religion-based nationhood, and wanted India to become a Hindu rashtra.This was a section that bore visceral dislike toward the idea of composite culture and inclusive nationhood advocated by the Mahatma.

It is this ideology that unashamedly rules India today. Any discussion on the assassination, therefore, needs to address the issues around the killing, the motives of the assassins. It should also examine further why Gandhi and what he stood for posed such a dire threat to the worldview of the killers.…



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ISIS a tool for Indian agencies to harass Muslim youths – By A Mirsab (Aug 1, 2016, Twocircles.net)

Islamic State or ISIS, as it is commonly known, declared in June 2014 the establishment of ‘global caliphate’ for Muslims. Muslims across the world rejected this ‘Caliphate’ and the organisation was denounced in the strongest possible manner and Indian Muslims too joined the rest of the world in rejecting the IS calling it anti-Islamic. However, this has not stopped a surge in Indian Muslims witnessing harassment at the hands of security agencies under the pretense of alliance with ISIS.

In last two years, the National Security Agency (NIA) and the Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) have arrested scores of youth across the country for being sympathizers and for being in touch with terrorists based in Iraq. Some have been arrested for having pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the most wanted terrorist in the world and the leader of ISIS while others have been arrested for being members of Al-Qaida in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) or Ansarul Tauhid Fee Biladil Hind.

In fact, the number of such cases has only risen with each passing day, with security agencies claiming to have unearthed massive terror conspiracies that could have resulted in the deaths and loss of property. However, the truth remains that India has never witnessed terror attack from ISIS or AQIS but under the guise of it many youths have been sent to prison.…



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The very lonely and very long battle of Irom Chanu Sharmila – By Chitra Ahanthem (Jul 27, 2016, Dailyo.in))

Every 15 days, Irom Sharmila, who has been on an epic fast since November 4, 2000 demanding repeal of the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), is escorted by jail authorities under security cover in an ambulance from the special ward at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Science that acts as her prison, to the chief judicial magistrate’s court (Imphal East). There in court, she is asked only two questions: “Are you continuing your fast?” and, “Is there anything you want to say?”

To the first question, Sharmila has always said one word, “Yes”; and to the second question, she makes certain requests from time to time: a change of newspaper subscription, permission to talk to media or other people who sometimes wait to meet her on the sidelines of her appearance at the court.

It was one such appearance on July 26 where local journalists had assembled when she made the announcement that she would discontinue her fast from August 9 onwards, the date of her next court appearance.…



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Book Review

Being The Other: The Muslim in India

Author: Saeed Naqvi
Reviewed by: M R Narayan Swamy
Available at: Aleph Book Company, 161, B-4, Ground Floor, Gulmohar House, Yusuf Sarai Community Centre, New Delhi – 110049 INDIA; Pages: 299; Price: Rs 599.http://www.amazon.in/
Hindutva and India’s growing Hindu-Muslim divide (Jul 28, 2016, Business Standard)

This was intended to be a memoir but ended up being a ‘procession of images’ with a bearing on Muslims in India, more specifically on the rapid ‘Othering’ of the community after independence in 1947. Veteran journalist Saeed Naqvi’s “Being The Other” is a truly remarkable account of all that has gone wrong with Hindu-Muslim relations in the world’s largest Hindu-majority country.…

Unlike many others, the scholarly Naqvi blames both the Congress and the BJP for the worsening Hindu-Muslim ties although its greatest beneficiaries were hardcore Hindu fundamentalists.… Naqvi takes us into the sorry saga of Hindu-Muslim killings in the country, starting from 1947. It has become commonplace to blame Muslims for all sectarian conflicts although they are invariably its worst sufferers. But communalization in India, Naqvi warns, did not take place unthinkingly. It was a deliberate step towards saffronized nation building.

What really shattered the Indian Muslim’s confidence in the Indian political class was the Babri Mosque’s 1992 razing in Ayodhya. It dealt crippling blows to centuries of syncretism.… Today, the Hindu-Muslim separation of the mind is deeper than anything preceding it. Naqvi warns that Muslims and non-Muslims have been parcelled into hostile camps. Today, there is no public outcry when Muslim innocents are picked up by security agencies on dubious charges.… A victory for political Hindutva will not be a victory for Hindus. Muslims would not be the only ones to lose; every Indian will.… “Being The Other” is a book for every thinking Indian.