IAMC Weekly News Roundup - August 27th, 2018 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 27th, 2018

In this issue of IAMC News Digest

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Muslim man’s house, village namaz ghar vandalised in Rohtak on suspicion of cow slaughter (Aug 23, 2018, Hindustan Times)

An unruly mob on Wednesday vandalised the house of a Muslim man at Titoli village in Rohtak over suspicion that he killed a cow on the occasion of Eid. Yamin Khokhar, his family and neighbouring Muslim families fled the village to save their lives before the mob armed with lathis also vandalised the namaaz ghar of the village.

According to villagers, a calf hit Yamin’s niece on Wednesday when she was playing outside his house, leaving her injured. “To shoo away the calf, Yamin hit it with a lathi. The calf walked a few steps and died on the corner of the road. But some anti-social elements spread the rumour that Muslims killed it for Bakrid. Yamin and his family fled the village apprehending trouble,” said Naseerudin, Yamin’s neighbour.

He said while some Muslim families fled, the others remained inside their homes when a group of people attacked Yamin’s house. Angered over the incident, the villagers forcibly buried the carcass of the calf at the Muslim burial ground and announced that they will now build a gaushala there. Meanwhile, Yamin and his neighbours reached the police station for protection, where the police arrested him, his brother Yasin and his neighbour Shokeen and booked them under the Punjab Prohibition of Cow Slaughter Act, besides Section 429 of the Indian Penal Code.…



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On Kerala flood, Hindu Mahasabha chief Chakrapani Maharaj’s shocking words: ‘Sin to help those who eat beef’ (Aug 21, 2018, DNA India)

At a time when the entire nation is helping flood-hit Kerala, a self-styled Godman has made a shocking statement regarding relief work that reeks of bigotry. Self-styled Godman Swami Chakrapani Maharaj on Wednesday said that the flood relief should be provided only to vegetarians. The Hindu Mahasabha president claimed that ‘it will be sin to help those who eat beef.’

‘I am also appealing for help in Kerala. But help should be given to those who respect nature and creatures. When roti was available to people in Kerala, they were slaughtering the cow to eat her meat. So, what I mean is that Hindus should provide help to those who avoid cow meat,’ Chakrapani was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

The divisive statement comes at a time when Kerala is battling the worst flood in the century. Meanwhile, with operations to rescue stranded people from flood-affected areas nearing a close, the Kerala government has turned its attention to cleaning of houses and public places which were damaged in the unprecedented rains which ravaged the state.…



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BJP using Vajpayee’s name to win Assembly polls, alleges former PM’s niece Karuna Shukla (Aug 23, 2018, India Today)

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s niece Karun Shukla slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh for using her uncle’s name for narrow political gains.

In a video message, which has gone viral, Karuna Shukla alleged that though the BJP governments are in power at the Centre and several states, these leaders never uttered Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s name. “In the last nine years where Assembly elections were held, no mention was made of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s name or his achievements,” she said.

For the first time, she said, PM Modi took Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s name on Independence Day at the Red Fort. “PM Modi did that because he had gone to see Vajpayee in AIIMS on August 14. He had perhaps realised that the former PM’s condition was quite delicate. Perhaps therefore, he took his name,” she said.…



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Kandhamal Anti-Christian Violence: 10 years on, guilty still escape justice (Aug 24, 2018, Sabrang India)

Today is the tenth anniversary commemoration of the Kandhamal anti-Christian communal violence. Ten years ago, this violence started in Kadhamal district and continued for two months. The perpetrators were, in large part, allegedly, cadres of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). Today, many people have come back to the district. However, there are still some families who have not yet come back home.

They live in Bhubaneswar, Berhampur and other parts of Odisha. There are still families who are internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in a rehabilitation colony, Shanti Nagar, near G Udayagiri in Kandhamal.

The victims of this violence had filed 3232 criminal cases against 11,000 perpetrators. But the police only registered 827 cases. Out of those cases the police closed 315 cases citing those as ‘lack of evidence’. Out of rest of 362 cases convictions were secured in only 78 cases! Out of 30 murder cases, conviction happened only in two cases. The Supreme Court had instructed the government of Odisha to reopen those 315 cases in 2016. But nothing has been done in local courts. Will the guilty ever be punished?…



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Ambedkar’s great-grandson demands ban on RSS (Aug 25, 2018, The Hindu)

Holding Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its affiliated outfits responsible for the murders of Gauri Lankesh, M.M. Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar, Dalit activist Rajaratna Ambedkar, the great-grandson of B.R. Ambedkar, demanded that the government impose a ban on all right-wing Sangh Parivar outfits led by the RSS.

“All the accused so far arrested in Gauri Lankesh and other rationalists’ murder cases belonged to right-wing outfits such as Sanatan Sanstha. Banning those organisations that are directly linked to these murders alone wouldn’t help. Since they are the wings of RSS, a non-registered organisation, we demand the government to ban the RSS itself along with its affiliated organisations,” he told mediapersons here on Saturday. He was here to participate in a public rally against the recent burning of a copy of the Constitution near Jantar Mantar, New Delhi.

“RSS never accepted the Constitution drafted by B.R. Ambedkar. It has its own Manusmriti-based Constitution. It has been opposing Ambedkar-Constitution which is committed to safeguarding the interests of marginalised sections. BJP leaders have been talking against the Constitution and Narendra Modi, who became the Prime Minister thanks to the same Constitution, never utters a word. He did not open his mouth even when a copy of the Constitution was burnt right outside Parliament.”…



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Blast plot: Ex-Shiv Sena leader held, party’s MoS says he had hinted at ‘explosions’ (Aug 20, 2018, Indian Express)

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Sunday arrested a former Shiv Sena corporator, Shrikant Pangarkar, as part of its investigation into plans to carry out attacks in five cities of Maharashtra by radical Hindu groups. Three persons were earlier arrested in the case, with Pangarkar’s being the first political arrest.

Sources said during interrogation, the other accused said Pangarkar had helped assemble the explosives and store them. While the Shiv Sena said it didn’t have any links with Pangarkar now, senior leader and Minister of State Arjun Khotkar admitted several party leaders were in touch with him, and that he had talked about his Sanatan Sanstha links and even “explosion” plans.

Twenty-two crude bombs and 21 country-made weapons have so far been recovered from the accused in the case, who were allegedly planning to carry out attacks in Mumbai, Solapur, Satara, Pune and Nalasopara.…



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Broad opposition to EC: Return to paper ballots for 2019 polls (Aug 27, 2018, The Tribune)

The Election Commission on Monday said it would provide a “satisfactory solution” to the concerns raised on the infallibility of electronic voting machines (EVMs), as the Congress-led Opposition demanded return to paper ballots for the 2019 General Election.

Talking to mediapersons after an all-party meeting convened by the poll panel to discuss a host of electoral issues ahead of state elections later this year and the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat said: “We will definitely look into all suggestions given by them (political parties) and there will be a satisfactory solution to them.”

Even as the issue of EVM was not part of the agenda of the meeting, which was attended by representatives of 41 recognised national and state parities, several participants from the Opposition block raised the issues of voting machine tampering and technical glitches in the voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) system.…



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Critics Say India Citizenship Test Unfairly Targets Muslims (Aug 25, 2018, VOA News)

India’s government is requiring documentation from people to prove they are legal citizens. Some critics of the policy say it discriminates against a local minority Muslim population. The policy is being carried out in India’s northeastern state of Assam. The Hindu nationalist BJP party of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi won state legislative elections in Assam in 2016.

Modi had promised to take action against illegal immigrants that some people accuse of stealing jobs and resources. The Assam government recently began expanding its work on the National Register of Citizens (NRC). People must be listed on the NRC to be considered legal citizens of India.

About four million people in Assam were left off the NRC list and are being asked to provide documents to prove their citizenship. One of them is 33-year-old Riyazul Islam, who spoke to Reuters about his situation. He said he and his mother have no documents left to prove they are Indians. But his father and many others in his family are already listed in the NRC.…



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Before Mallya left India, he met senior BJP leaders: Rahul (Aug 26, 2018, The Tribune)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi said that Indian prisons are “difficult places” but fugitives like Vijay Mallya should not be treated differently. Interacting with the members of the Indian Journalists’ Association here, Gandhi said that “before Mallya left India, he met senior BJP leaders, that is documented. I won’t name them”.

Asked whether Indian jails are up to scratch as regards to Mallya’s deportation case, he said “Indian prisons are difficult places”. “Indian prisons are pretty decent as far as Mr Mallya is concerned. Justice should be same for Indian people. Just because he is Vijay Mallya who defrauded banks to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore and ran away and he needs a difficult jail” is not acceptable.…

Gandhi said the Modi government is pretty lenient to Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehjul Choksi, who have defrauded Indian banks. “Punjab National Bank scam accused Nirav Modi took Rs 35,000 crores and Chokshi defrauded the banks. The question is job creation. How many jobs Nirav Modi created?,” Gandhi asked. The Congress president said “there is a relationship between Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and the Prime Minister. No action is taken against them”.…



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Dalits In Rajasthan’s Barmer Accused Upper Caste On Social Boycott (Aug 24, 2018, NDTV)

Seventy Dalit families in the Barmer district have alleged that they were ostracised and harassed by ‘upper caste’ members in Kaludi village, Rajasthan, following a row over social media post.

Police said they were probing the matter. Additional security personnel have been deployed in the area in view of the prevailing tension.

Rawta Ram, a dalit, had lodged a complaint against few boys belonging to ‘upper caste’ under SC/ST Act for posting objectionable content on social media. Annoyed over this, the ‘upper caste’ people called a meeting and decided to socially boycott the Dalit families, according to police.…



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Opinions and Editorials

‘Disaster Fascism’ Being Unfolded In Kerala – By Binu Mathew (Aug 24, 2018, Countercurrents)

Naomi Klein coined the term ‘Disaster Capitalism’. After the devastating flood of Kerala the fascist BJP and their parent organisation RSS are coining a new term, ‘Disaster Fascism’.

It’s nothing new to them. This is a tried and tested method for them. Awaaz – South Asia Watch Ltd in a report pointed out in a report, titled “In Bad Faith? British Charity and Hindu Extremism”, RSS branches in the UK have been raising large funds in the name of Gujarat Earthquake Orissa Supercyclone. This fund was used for organising the 2002 Gujarat pogrom.

The RSS and Sangh Parivar have been using this tried and tested method in the Kerala floods too. The Sangh elements were campaigning in social media not to donate to Chief Minister’s relief fund. In the initial days of the Kerala floods, when people were risking their lives to save people, RSS elements were nowhere to be seen engaging in relief work. On the otherhand, they were campaigning in North India that RSS were active in rescue works. They even went on to claim that 10 of their cadres died during relief work. This is a total lie.…



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The Importance of Being a Gently Spoken Prime Minister – By Jawhar Sircar (Aug 21, 2018, The Wire)

…The much reviled Pandit Nehru was known to possess a short temper, but in public life he was the epitome of dignity. Frankly, it was he who set the benchmark and Atal Bihari Vajpayee took this decorum to new heights. It is in this context that we note with pain how the second prime minister from his party appears so insensitive to his responsibility to be gentle in public communication.

Never before has any prime minister’s statement in the Parliament been so hurting as to be expunged from its records.… Someone else may have been ‘condoned’ but Narendra Modi appears to be a serial offender where insulting opponents is concerned. We can start with his long tenure in Gujarat but we would not like to remember the most tragic riots in which 790 Muslims (this is the official figure) were killed, reportedly without any support from the police or the administration. When asked about it in July 2013, Modi responded by saying that the driver or the passenger of a car cannot be blamed “if a puppy comes under the wheel”.

This terribly insensitive remark and the unfortunate comparison with the victim community created an uproar, but people soon moved on. He was a bit more cautious during his historic campaign for the 2014 elections but his numerous rallies were really tests of stamina and proof of his excellence as a mesmerising orator. Then came the Bihar elections in 2015 where he lost out to the Nitish Kumar-Lalu Yadav combine, but some BJP leaders were unhappy at Modi’s unwarranted aggression. Bhola Singh, BJP MP, openly declared that the prime minister’s “unparliamentary language” during the election campaign was one of the reasons why the BJP lost the Bihar battle.…



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‘They don’t feel sorry’: Revisiting Kandhamal 10 years after the violence against Christians – By Priya Ramani (Aug 26, 2018, Scroll.in)

When the madness hit Kandhamal in August 2008, its ripples spreading swiftly to other districts of Odisha, the family of four fled their village, Tiangia, and went into the forest. Parikhita Nayak hid there for two days with his wife and two children before the mob found them. They bludgeoned Nayak with an axe, dragged him with a bicycle chain around his neck, tortured him, murdered him and cut his body to pieces, according to his brother Surendra Nayak.

In an archived account of the murder, Parikhita Nayak’s wife narrates how the killers wore her husband’s intestines around their necks. Before they did this, they told him what they told every Christian they attacked: give up Christianity, say you are a Hindu.

…Surendra Nayak, who looks permanently worried and sat with his fingers locked, said, “They don’t feel sorry or apologise. Their heart is not clear.” As the national debate swirls around why Christians, like many Muslims, feel unsafe in Narendra Modi’s India (earlier this year, a Christian mission ranked India 11th in a list of 50 most unsafe countries for Christians), nationalist commentators argue that the community has never had reason to feel threatened.…



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The Maze – By Rashmi Rajput, Johnson T A (Aug 26, 2018, Indian Express)

Four murders, a terror plot, two state police forces, multiple crack teams, numerous suspects and a diary that connects them all. This diary, recovered from the Pune residence of Amol Kale, a former Hindu Janajagruti Samiti convenor and an accused in the September 2017 murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, contained coded entries and numbers, which, investigators claim, has brought them close to cracking the 2013 murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.

In the process, sleuths claim to have unearthed a terror module whose members, affiliated to fringe Hindu radical groups, were allegedly planning to carry out bomb blasts across Maharashtra. On August 10, the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) announced the arrests of three members of this module – Vaibhav Raut, 40, an alleged member of the Hindu Govansh Raksha Samiti and an alleged sympathiser of the Goa-headquartered Sanatan Sanstha; Sudhanva Gondhalekar, 39, who hails from Satara and is a member of the Shri Shivpratishthan Hindustan; and Sharad Kalaskar, 25, a follower of Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS).

The ATS also went on to arrest former Shiv Sena corporator Shrikant Pangarkar and another alleged member of Shri Shivpratishthan Hindustan Avinash Pawar. During interrogation, Kalaskar is said to have confessed that he and Sachin Prakashrao Andure shot Dabholkar. Following this, the CBI, which is investigating the case, arrested Andure, a member of the HJS.…



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In Sushil Modi’s Bihar, ‘Mob-Gathbandhan’ Trumps Rule of Law – By Apoorvanand (Aug 26, 2018, The Wire)

Sushil Modi, I am writing this article to inform you that Sanjay Kumar is alive. His skull is intact. He can move his limbs. He can walk on his own. He can even see. Forget the persisting pain in his neck, abdomen, his thighs, the hurt in his eyes and his blurred vision. Forget the fever that keeps returning.

All this, after all, is superficial. You say he is faking his injuries. You even doubt that the All India Institute of Medical Sciences has admitted him. You accuse him of exaggerating his injuries to “evoke sympathy of the media and the left-liberals.”

You also accuse him of dramatising the attack on him. To attract sympathy of the left and liberals. Dear deputy chief minister, it was not Kumar who dramatised the attack on him. He was simply sitting in a room in his third floor house where the goons who are your nationalist friends, descended. They dragged him down the stairs, pushing, punching, hitting him with an iron rod. Then he was dragged on the road and while being dragged, constantly attacked.…



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Selling Aadhaar: What the UIDAI’s Advertisements Don’t Tell You – By Anandita Thakur and Karan Saini (Aug 23, 2018, The Wire)

For the last four years, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the bureaucratic machine that governs India’s biometric authentication programme, has been extremely defensive. The authority’s CEO regularly uses one of the country’s most-respected newspapers as a platform to unilaterally dismiss the security and privacy concerns emanating from the Aadhaar project as “Luddite paranoia”. He has also dismissed concerns raised over reports of large-scale exclusion, especially in welfare schemes, as anecdotal evidence and a narrative pushed forth by corrupt people looking to “demonise Aadhaar”.

Where carefully-crafted op-eds don’t work, police cases do. The UIDAI has filed three FIRs against critics who have documented security flaws and data breaches within the larger Aadhaar ecosystem, two of them being journalists. The original tech architect behind the initiative staunchly believes that most Aadhaar critics are part of an “orchestrated campaign” to malign the biometric authentication programme.

It is unsurprising, therefore, that the advertisements the UIDAI has commissioned over the last few years come from a moralistic high-ground, where nothing is wrong in Aadhaar-land and everything works as it’s supposed to. As we show below, these advertisements masquerade under the guise of serving a public good while conveniently sidestepping legitimate concerns regarding failures of the project.…



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