IAMC Weekly News Roundup - August 20th, 2018 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 20th, 2018

In this issue of IAMC News Digest

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Supreme Court asks UP govt why Yogi Adityanath should not be prosecuted for alleged hate speech in 2007 (Aug 20, 2018, First Post)

The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government in connection with an alleged hate speech delivered by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in 2007. A Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra asked the government to reply as to why he should not be prosecuted for allegedly giving a hate speech in 2007, according to ANI. The bench issued the notice while hearing a plea challenging Allahabad High Court’s decision in the case, according to India Today.

The Allahabad High Court on February dismissed a writ petition which sought a CBI probe into Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s involvement in 2007 Gorakhpur riots case. In November 2008, the petition was filed by Mohammad Asad Hayat and Parvez, who said a hate speech by the chief minister had triggered the riots in which one person was killed. Parwaz was a resident of Gorakhpur and had filed an FIR in connection with the riots and Hayat was a witness in the case.

In January 2007, an altercation involving a group of Hindus and Muslims broke out during a Muharram procession in Gorakhpur which led to the hospitalisation of a young Hindu, Raj Kumar Agrahari. The district magistrate had made it clear that Adityanath should not visit the site as it may incite tensions. He initially agreed but after Agrahari died, he disobeyed the magistrate and travelled to the site with a group of his followers. Adityanath then started a non-violent dharna on the site. However, inflammatory speeches were made and some of his followers even set fire to a nearby mazar (Muslim mausoleum).…



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Umar Khalid’s attackers: It was an I-Day gift to Indians (Aug 17, 2018, India Today)

Two youths, hailing from Haryana, have taken the responsibility of broad daylight firing at JNU student leader Umar Khalid on Monday outside Constitution Club in central Delhi. The alleged accused identified themselves as Darvesh Shahpur and Naveen Dalal, claimed the responsibility in the video, which went viral on social media platforms.

“Though we respect the Supreme Court, the Constitution of India and the judiciary, but we request Indian government to amend law so that such mad dogs and anti-nationals like Umar Khalid can be punished. Anti-national gangs in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), of which Khalid is a part, are vitiating the atmosphere of country. We should stop them,” one of the two men said in the video.

“We are responsible for the attack on Umar Khalid which was meant to be as a gift to our countrymen before the Independence Day. We would also like to appeal the police to not to punish any innocent youngster for our crime,” they added.…



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Arms haul: More weapons seized in Maharashtra (Aug 14, 2018, New Indian Express)

Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) on Monday seized more materials, including weapons, in connection with the recent explosives haul while busting a purported pistol manufacturing factory at Nalasopara in Palghar district, around 60 km from Mumbai, A team from the Karnataka SIT probing the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh has arrived in Mumbai as Vaibhav Raut, the principal accused in the Nalasopara arms haul, has been found to have had contact with some of the accused in the Lankesh murder case.

From Nalasopara, police have seized five country-made pistols, three partially ready country-made pistols, 11 rounds of 9 mm, bullets, 30 rounds of 7.65 mm bullets, springs, triggers and several other kinds of materials including pistol spares.”It appeared like a ‘karkhana’ (factory),” officials said. Apart from this, a laptop, hard disk, pen drives, a cell phone, several SIM cards, wi-fi dongles, a motorcycle, a car and several documents have been seized during raids in Pune, the officials said.

The ATS arrested Vaibhav Raut (40), Sharad Kalaskar (25) and Sudhanav Ghondalekar (39) last week. They have been booked under provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.Last week, when Raut was arrested, the ATS seized eight crude bombs and explosive material sufficient for making another 15.…



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Four people filed PIL seeking ban on Sanathan Sanstha (Aug 18, 2018, DNA India)

It was way back in the year 2011, that four persons, one doing private service, a housewife, agriculturist and a retired school teacher, moved the Bombay High Court, seeking directions to the State and Central government, to ban, the right wing organisation Sanathan Sanstha.

The public interest litigation, spearheaded by Vijay Rokde, claimed that they were sufferers of the terrorist activity committed by the Sanstha and its members and therefore had approached the court to protect the interest of other individual citizens of India.

The four of them in the petition narrate stories about how, their wife, young daughters, who were well educated, simply left their homes leaving, after being influenced by the Sanstha and its members. The plea claims that in Serbia, the activity of the Sanatan Sanstha, is declared as Terrorist activity and is banned.…



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Mob lynching should be categorised as a class of hate crimes (Aug 14, 2018, Hindustan Times)

…The current crisis of mob violence is not the absence of substantive provisions but their lack of implementation. Available evidence suggests that in almost all documented cases, the police have been found wanting. They consistently fail to lodge FIRs or charge sheets on time. In many cases, allegations of collusion have been made against them.

Poor investigation and reluctance of public prosecutors to pursue cases have resulted in bails for alleged culprits. The victims, often socio-economically weak, are unable to pursue criminal cases. They are subjected to counter-cases and threats, and often pressured to compromise.

These factors have impaired the criminal justice response in individual cases. In order to create even an opportunity for effective implementation, the new law against mob violence must strengthen official accountability and facilitate victim empowerment.…



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NRC draft: People whose names are missing are being sent to detention camps, alleges Mamata Banerjee (Aug 14, 2018, Scroll.in)

…West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Assam was targeting those who were protesting against the National Register of Citizens draft or those who failed to find a mention in the list. She alleged that the government was sending such people to detention camps.

The Assam government on July 30 published the final draft of the register. Out of 3.29 crore applicants, more than 40 lakh people did not find a mention in the list. A day after the draft was published, the Supreme Court ordered the Centre to not take any coercive action against those whose names were excluded from the list. The court reiterated that the document was only a draft.

“Around 1,200 people, including children and women, have been sent to detention camps,” she told reporters at the state secretariat. The West Bengal chief minister said her allegations were based on her interactions with locals in Assam. “Bengali speaking people are tortured in Assam,” Mumbai Mirror quoted Banerjee as saying. “If someone protests against NRC, they are put into detention camps. People are named as refugees forcefully.”…



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Save Constitution yatra to campaign against Modi’s “undeclared” Emergency starting Oct 2 at Dandi (Aug 13, 2018, Counterview)

The National Alliance of People’s Movements’ (NAPM), one of India’s top civil rights network led by well-known social activist Medha Patkar, has organized what it has called Samvidhan Samman Yatra, starting at Dandi, Gujarat, on October 2, Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, and ending in Delhi on December 10, the International Human Rights Day.

The aim of the “yatra”, says NAPM, is to highlight the need for safeguarding India’s Constitutional values, democracy, secularism, diversity, equity and justice, even as campaigning against what it calls the atmosphere of hate, inequality, violence and loot of resources allegedly created by the government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

…Over the past 70 years, our democracy, based on our Constitution, has survived numerous elections as well as social, economic and political upheavals and has managed to sustain to this day, despite being beseeched with numerous challenges. However, the last four years of political journey and churning in this country has in numerous and fundamental ways shaken the ethos and fabric, which many of us probably took for granted as secure.…



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Assam: Supreme Court notice to Centre, state on ‘fake encounter’ (Aug 14, 2018, Indian Express)

The Supreme Court Monday issued a notice to the Union of India and the State of Assam in connection with allegations of a fake encounter carried out in Chirang district of Assam by a joint team of the Army, Assam Police, CRPF and SSB on March 30, 2017.

The Indian Express was the first to report on May 24 that CRPF IG Rajnish Rai had sent a report to his headquarters and written to the chiefs of all the forces exposing how the encounter was staged.

In his report sent to CRPF headquarters in Delhi, Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rajnish Rai, then posted in Shillong with CRPF as IG, North East Sector, had alleged that the encounter – near Simlaguri village under Amguri police station – that led to the death of two suspected members of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit), or NDFB(S) faction, was staged.…



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Congress urges EC to suspend Amit Shah’s Rajya Sabha membership over false affidavit (Aug 13, 2018, New Indian Express)

The Congress on Monday urged the Election Commission to suspend Rajya Sabha membership of BJP president Amit Shah saying he had submitted a false affidavit before the poll panel.

In its petition, the Congress charged that at the time of filing his nomination papers for election to the Upper House, Shah had already mortgaged two of his properties (in 2016) to Kalupur Commercial Cooperative Bank for his son Jay Shah’s company Kusum Finserve LLP.

The properties were mortgaged in lieu of a large and substantial loan of Rs 25 crore extended by the bank to his son’s company. The properties constitute a liability that should have been declared and Shah, who became a Rajya Sabha member in 2017, had wilfully and deliberately concealed significant liabilities from his declaration, the Congress charged.…



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Madhya Pradesh hostel rape case: Congress suspects cover-up to save politicians, officials (Aug 13, 2018, New Indian Express)

Madhya Pradesh Congress Media Cell Chief Shobha Oza today alleged that the state government is trying to shield political leaders and officials involved in the rape and sexual exploitation of inmates in a state capital-based ‘divyang’ hospital and demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the matter.

“The Social Justice Department was providing a grant for technical education of 75 ‘divyang’ children to accused hostel director Ashwini Sharma in spite of the fact that students had made complaints against him earlier,” Ms Oza told a press conference here.

Raising questions on the credibility of the Special Investigation Team constituted to probe the matter, she said that statements of 70 other children are still not recorded. “The accused’s connection to ruling party leaders needs to be probed. However, the SIT is not carrying out an impartial investigation.…



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Opinions and Editorials

Let Us Not Forget the Glimpse We Got of the Real Vajpayee When the Mask Slipped – By Siddharth Varadarajan (Aug 18, 2018, The Wire)

Perhaps the most significant elaboration of the Golwalkar-Savarkar thesis of India as a Hindu nation beset by Muslim trouble-makers in recent times was that provided by Atal Bihari Vajpayee in his speech to the BJP national executive meeting in Goa on 12 April 2002. The speech is remarkable for the manner in which a prime minister attempts to justify the murder of Muslim citizens in Gujarat by referring to Godhra and contrasting the supposed ‘traditional tolerance’ of Hindus with the alleged ‘intolerance’ of Muslims.…

Turning immediately to the burning issue of the day, he asked: “What happened in Gujarat? If a conspiracy had not been hatched to burn alive the innocent passengers of the Sabarmati Express, then the subsequent tragedy in Gujarat could have been averted. But this did not happen. People were torched alive. Who were those culprits? The government is investigating into this. Intelligence agencies are collecting all the information. But we should not forget how the tragedy of Gujarat started. The subsequent developments were no doubt condemnable, but who lit the fire? How did the fire spread?”

Here, in as unsophisticated a fashion as Narendara Modi had stated it earlier, we find Vajpayee presenting his own version of Newton’s Third Law. There is no remorse about the killing of hundreds of innocent people, no apologies for the failure of the government to protect its citizens. He makes no attempt to distinguish between the criminal perpetrators of the Godhra attack and the innocent victims of the ‘subsequent tragedy in Gujarat’. For him, Muslims are an amorphous, undifferentiated lot who collectively ‘lit the fire’. They were to blame, not his party men who took part in the ‘subsequent developments’.…



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Arrests lead to Hindutva terror network, say authorities – By Varsha Torgalkar (Aug 14, 2018, Asia Times)

Three Hindutva activists carrying 25 crude bombs and explosives were arrested on Aug. 10 by the Anti-Terrorism Squad of the Indian state of Maharashtra. Vaibhav Raut, Sudhanwa Gondhalekar and Sharad Kalaskar had enough explosives to make more 35 bombs, authorities said.

The arrests are being touted as the first during the rule of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, himself a champion of Hindutva politics. With the arrests being made in a BJP-ruled state, police claim to have uncovered a major network that could be linked to other groups involved in the murders of rationalists and journalists.

Vaibhav Raut was a co-founder of a cow protection group, Hindu-Govansh Raksha Samiti, set up in 2014. The group is allegedly associated with Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and Sanatan Sanstha, both radical Hindutva organizations. They are also suspects in the murders of rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar in 2013 and Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi in 2015 as well as journalist Gauri Lankesh in 2017.…



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The Hate that Threatens to Destroy Indian Democracy – By Mohan J. Dutta (Aug 16, 2018, The Citizen)

I am tired of writing about the politics of hate in India after each incident of violence. Each iteration of the systemic deployment of hate greatly exceeds the grotesque violations of the previous iterations.… The attack on student-activist Umar Khalid in front of the Constitution Club in the heart of Delhi’s highly securitised power alleys by a gun-wielding miscreant, who then disappeared into the crowd ought to wake you up from your silence. Khalid was joining other activists at an event titled ‘Freedom from Fear’.

That this attack follows the murders of journalist Gauri Lankesh and of the rationalists Narendra Dabholkar, M.M. Kalburgi and Govind Pansare at Hindutva terrorists’ hands ought to wake you from your stupor. That Hindutva terror forces have been circulating the names of critical voices to be targeted for assassination ought to rally you to action.…

Organised violence has long been a systemic strategy of the Hindutva fringes. The attack on Umar Khalid reiterates the tropes of violence seeded in the murder of Mahatma Gandhi, the Gujarat pogrom, the Muzaffarnagar riots, the murders of rationalist thinkers, and the series of mob lynchings of Muslims and lower-caste Hindus catalysed across India.… The idea of India as the largest democracy needs its citizens to stand up for that which is decent.



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Guns out – Editorial (Aug 15, 2018, The Telegraph)

It seems that the gun jammed. Therefore, the question whether Umar Khalid, a former student of Jawaharlal Nehru University against whom the still unproven charge of sedition was brought in 2016, was about to be shot or was being merely threatened cannot be answered.

There is another question. Since Mr Khalid slipped away from his assailant’s grasp, will this be considered a hate crime? Already Meenakshi Lekhi, the Bharatiya Janata Party member of parliament, has suggested that the police must discover whether this was a “propaganda mechanism” or a “security threat”. Propaganda for what? And whose security?…

The incident is steeped in a number of ironies. The meeting to unite against hate and fear, peopled by victims and families of victims of hate crimes and negative propaganda – Mr Khalid has been repeatedly threatened, together with others, and also roughed up as an ‘anti-national’ – began with a show of the power of hatred. Recent threats had been reported to the police. Yet not only did the attacker manage to catch hold of Mr Khalid, but he could also run away in a high-security area. This argues a fearlessness on his part that comes with the confidence of doing something that the highest circles would approve of.…



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Narendra Modi – A Dream Merchant Extraordinaire at Work – By Harish Khare (Aug 15, 2018, The Wire)

…For four years as prime minister, Narendra Modi has made reasonably good use of the pulpit, crafting for himself the veneer of a national steward. It has, arguably, been a struggle these last four years. The Narendra Modi who spoke from the Red Fort’s ramparts this morning for the last time was a man deeply conscious that both his credibility and respectability as a national leader were frayed; in the event, he made a sensible choice and avoided extreme partisanship. He avoided bitter malice – there were no ugly jumlas, no running down of national icons, no pointed name calling. In avoiding these, he may have just salvaged a bit of his endangered ‘decency quotient’.

But he still came off as a man desperate to position himself as a prime minister presiding over the most welfarist state India has known since independence; in his telling, he was a king who would provide health, power, water, sanitation, education, housing, skills, insurance, connectivity. For a man who began his prime ministerial quest with the slogan of “minimum government, maximum governance,” this morning’s roll-call of promises and proffered dreams was an amazing relapse into populism, once decried so vehemently by the very ideologues of the ‘New India’.

Yet, most revealing were the last ten minutes of his 90 minute-long oration in which listeners were served an extremely massive overdose of the Narendra Modi persona. No prime minister of India had ever before spelled out national greatness as a personal project, as did Modi in those last ten minutes. No prime minister before had so blatantly appropriated national nobility for himself and presented this appropriation as the necessary and sufficient condition for national glory and greatness. As long as Narendra Modi is presiding over the Indian state, we are set on course for a national renaissance. A clear and concise manifesto for megalomania. There was this endless invocation of “my country,” “my honest tax-payers,” “my jawans” etc. Chilling. The country has been served notice of the psychological longings lingering in the authoritarian closet.…



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A Crackdown on Minorities in Northeast India Threatens to Strip 4 Million People of Citizenship – By Rohini Mohan (Aug 14, 2018, Time)

Even before the family introduce themselves by name, they produce a thick file with documents that go back 80 years. “Evidence before conversation,” the youngest son says as he arranges chairs outside his village house for the large family and visitors. “We are Indians. We’ll show you proof.”

Shajahan Ali Ahmed, a 29-year-old social worker, part-time journalist and YouTuber, displays the documents out on a plastic table in the middle of his courtyard. Here are the names of the grandfather, father, mother, and brothers on the electoral lists for decades. Here are tattered land deeds from 1934 issued in the sweeping cursive of a British colonial bureaucrat. Here – laminated with pride – is Shajahan’s college certificate. Sisters’ birth certificates. Brothers’ school admission cards. Driving licenses. Paperwork tracing the lifetime of an Indian family.

And yet, nearly every member of Shajahan’s family is on the brink of losing his or her Indian citizenship – along with 4 million other people in the northeastern state of Assam, excluded from a draft list of citizens released by the Indian government on July 30. “I’m not even sure what that would mean,” says Shajahan’s older brother Humayun Islam, a vegetable vendor. “What would it be to not be Indian?”…



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Book Review

Dismantling India: A Four Year Report

Author: edited by John Dayal, Leena Dabiru, Shabnam Hashmi
Reviewed by: Tania Chakravartty
Available at: Media House, Delhi; 2018; pages 355; Price: Rs 600. . https://www.amazon.in
Insightful Exposure of the Four Years of Modi Regime (Aug 18, 2018, Sabrang India)

A recently published 355-page book titled Dismantling India: A Four Year Report with documented accounts, edited by John Dayal, Leena Dabiru and Shabnam Hashmi, gives an insight into the reality of whatever has been happening in our country in the last four years with a definite agenda of the BJP focussed through its governance.

The 25 thought provoking and informative articles by well-known experts on varied issues ranging from onslaught on culture, communalisation of the political space, attack on women’s rights, distress of peasants and economic hardship to neighbourhood foreign policy, assault on judiciary, to mention a few, explore the huge amount of damage done by the Modi regime that would bound to have far-reaching negative impact on our society, polity and economy.

A major onslaught has been on human rights and the pertinent issue of freedom of faith. The worst victims are the poorer sections of the Muslim community, the Dalits, the adivasis and women. Social media with its ‘most advanced communication and marketing technology’ through the network of internet, smartphone and WhatsApp – which was introduced by the Congress ‘as signs of modernity’ – has been misused by the present ruling dispensation as ‘instruments of the targeted hate in a manner that even Goebbels looked like a bumbling novice’.…