IAMC Weekly News Roundup - August 28th, 2017 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – August 28th, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

“Safe Zones”, Hindu-Muslim Harmony and Life as a Kashmiri Pandit (Aug 22, 2017, The Quint)

Daanish Bin Nabi, a Srinagar-based journalist, explores the ground realities of being a Kashmiri Pandit in Kashmir. He interviews Kashmiri Pandits to reveal their refusal to accept “safe zones” for the community, which they believe will not only lead to further ghettoisation, but also encourage communal activities.

Further interaction reveals an enduring friendship between a Kashmiri Pandit and a Muslim. Nabi’s piece therefore further emphasises the harmony Hindu and Muslim communities enjoy in Kashmir. Here’s a breakdown of the article, published in three parts.

Violence in any part of a conflict zone ultimately affects the common people. When armed conflict began in late 80s and early 90s in Kashmir against the Indian state, the Kashmiri Pandits were the first to bear the brunt.


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Ram Rahim Singh enjoyed BJP’s patronage (Aug 25, 2017, The Hindu)

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, chief of Dera Sacha Sauda, whose supporters went on the rampage in Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan to protest the court verdict convicting him of rape, had enjoyed the patronage and support of the BJP government in Haryana as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On October 29, 2014, Mr. Modi lauded the Dera chief for the Swachh Bharat (clean India) mission. “Appreciable effort by Baba Ram Rahim ji & his team. Will motivate people across India to join Swachch Bharat Mission,” he had tweeted.…

The Dera chief supported the BJP in the 2014 Assembly elections and Haryana Chief Minister M.L. Khattar’s association with the self-appointed cult leader is an open secret. On May 6, Mr. Khattar launched a special cleanliness drive with the Dera chief at his constituency in Karnal.…

Haryana’s Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma said last week that the Dera followers were peace-loving people. A few months ago he handed a cheque for ₹51 lakh to the Dera chief as a mark of support. A year ago, Health and Sports Minister Anil Vij drew flak from the Congress for donating ₹50 lakh to the Dera chief.



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‘He Is PM Of India, Not BJP,’ Says Furious High Court After Haryana Riots (Aug 26, 2017, NDTV)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not spared as a furious court on Saturday reprimanded Haryana and the central governments over the deadly rioting by self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s followers after his conviction for rape. “He is the Prime Minister of not the BJP but of India,” said the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The court was responding to Additional Solicitor General Satya Pal Jain, who is representing the centre, saying that Friday’s violence was a matter of the state. “Is Haryana not a part of India? Why are Punjab and Haryana treated like step children?” the court questioned.… “You let the situation escalate. You surrendered to the situation,” said court, admonishing the state government over a Panchkula police officer being sacked this morning. “You are trying to crucify a small DCP of Panchkula what about those political masters who have been giving wrong directions?” the judges said to the Haryana government.…

Chief Minister ML Khattar… appeared to shield Ram Rahim’s followers as he said criminals had infiltrated the crowd of Dera Sacha Sauda devotees. The comments were not missed by the court, which said: “Your Chief Minister said miscreants got mixed up with Dera people, giving the impression that they didn’t do anything, you’re still supporting them, you are the ones who made this happen.”



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Only ‘RSS hatao’ will help dist. see development: CM’s media adviser (Aug 28, 2017, The Hindu)

Rather than “Mangaluru Chalo” there should be “RSS hatao” programme. Only if Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh moves out from Dakshina Kannada, one can see development here, said Dinesh Amin Mattu, media adviser to Chief Minister, here on Sunday.

Speaking at the 11th Mangaluru city conference of the Democratic Youth Federation of India, Mr. Mattu said that the RSS was actively involved in the politics of Bharatiya Janata Party. “What we are seeing is the rule of those who are not elected by people. What is the stature of B.L. Santosh (RSS activist and BJP National Joint Organising Secretary), Mohan Bhagwat and Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat, who have an active role in the BJP,” he said.

Mr. Mattu accused the RSS of holding campaigns to polarise voters on caste and religious lines that will help the BJP. Citing reports of Mr. Santosh leading the proposed “Mangaluru Chalo”, from September 5 to Spetmber 7, by the BJP Yuva Morcha, Mr. Mattu said that the people of the region should demand RSS hatao.…



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Life has become ‘difficult’ for minorities under Modi govt: Azam (Aug 26, 2017, Indian Express)

Muslims are being “harassed” and it has become “difficult” for minorities to lead a normal life since the Narendra Modi dispensation assumed office, senior Samajwadi Party leader and Rampur MLA Azam Khan has alleged.

Talking to reporters here last evening, the former Uttar Pradesh minister said, “Muslims are being harassed – sometimes in the name of cow (slaughter) and sometimes in the name of religion.” “Life has become difficult for minorities since the Narendra Modi-led BJP came to power,” he added.

He also alleged that the BJP government was trying to “redefine” Shariat laws, in the wake of a Supreme Court verdict invalidating the Muslim practice of instant divorce -‘talaq-e-biddat’. On the Supreme Court’s judgement holding privacy a fundamental right under the Constitution, he said, “It will foil the BJP’s nefarious designs to generate a vicious atmosphere of hatred in the country.”…



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Cows dying of starvation in BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh shows how flawed gau raksha governance is (Aug 19, 2017, Dailyo.in)

The great cow governance conundrum has finally begun to manifest itself. And the moral of the story is that cow-driven state agenda ends up harming the very animals it’s trying to protect. At least 200 cows have died – allegedly of starvation, lack of medicine and general neglect – in a cow shelter in BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh, in Rajpur village of the state’s Durg district. A BJP leader, who owns the shelterhouse, Harish Verma, has been arrested in this regard.

According to a Hindustan Times report, “The officials have, so far, confirmed 30 starvation-related deaths. Villagers, however, alleged that the number of deaths would be 200 and most of them have been buried near the shelter. Several carcasses, other than those buried, were found in the vicinity, they alleged.”

Moreover, 100 more cows have been reported to have died in Bemetera district of Chhattisgarh, and the villagers have blamed negligence from authorities and lack of food and maintenance at the cow shelter for the deaths. The arrested BJP leader, however, “blamed” the BJP government of chief minister Raman Singh for the deaths. Verma, who has been running the shelter for the past seven years, says that over-capacity by over 300 per cent has resulted in lack of food, medicine, care for sick and hungry cows, resulting ultimately in their painfully prolonged deaths.…



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Maharashtra Board’s ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ For History: No Mughals, Shivaji ‘Ideal Ruler’ (Aug 8, 2017, Huffington Post)

Months after the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education decided to teach students of class X that Maharana Pratap defeated Mughal emperor Akbar in the 16th-century Battle of Haldighati, the Maharashtra Board education department has said that there’s no need for students to learn about Mughal history at all.

Sadanand More, chairman of the History subject committee of the Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbook Production and Curriculum Research, told Mumbai Mirror that the revisions were made to orient the curriculum with a Maharashtra-centric view of history.

Now, students of class VII and IX will be taught history that revolves around the Maratha empire and warrior king Shivaji, besides Indian politics post 1960, reports Indian Express. The three line mention of the Mughal emperors will have a new description too. Akbar, earlier known as a “liberal and tolerant administrator,” will now be the ruler who “tried to bring India under a central authority” but faced opposition from Maharana Pratap and others.…



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Lt Col Purohit walks out of jail: Here’s a status check of 7 Hindutva terror cases (Aug 23, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The National Investigation Agency investigated seven terror cases in which Hindu right-wing groups are suspects. These cases – involving attacks where Muslims were targeted – were handed to the federal agency by the previous UPA government. This is also when the NIA made most of the arrests, including that of Swami Aseemanand and Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit.

After remaining in jail for nine years, Purohit – one of the prime accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast – walked out of the Taloja prison on Wednesday.

There have been allegations that over the past three years, the pace of investigations in these cases has slackened and witnesses have turned hostile where the accused belonged to organisations close to the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.…



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Gujarat Riots: Supreme Court Asks Trial Court To Decide Case In 4 Months (Aug 25, 2017, NDTV)

The Supreme Court has asked the lower court in Gujarat to decide within four months the trial in a 2002 Gujarat riots case related to the Naroda Gam incident in which 11 persons were killed.

A bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar was informed that the trial was in progress in the matter and defence evidence was being recorded by a special court in the state.

The top court asked the lower court to complete recording of evidence of the remaining defence witnesses in two months.…



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Explain delay in Asaram Bapu trial, SC tells Gujarat govt (Aug 29, 2017, Asian Age)

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Gujarat government to explain the inordinate delay in the trial of self-styled “godman” Asaram Bapu in a rape case for which he was arrested in 2013.

A bench comprising justices N.V. Ramana and Amitava Roy asked additional solicitor general (ASG) Tushar Mehta, appearing for Gujarat, to explain why the victim has not been examined so far. The ASG pleaded that some more time may be required for examination of the victim and other witnesses. The bench asked the ASG to file an affidavit in this regard and posted the matter for further hearing after Diwali.

The court had in April directed the trial court in Gujarat to expedite the examination of prosecution witnesses while rejecting the Asaram’s bail plea. The godman was asked to seek bail after the conclusion of the examination of key witnesses as well as the trial in Rajasthan, which is being held on a day-to-day basis.…



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Man gets 5-year jail for dowry harassment (Aug 23, 2017, Times of India)

A city court on Tuesday convicted a person for dowry harassment and sentenced him to five years of imprisonment.

The deceased, Sharvani, a daily wage labourer, married Ramani Praveen Kumar (29), a construction labourer and resident of Borabanda in 2011.

After one year of marriage, she was harassed by her husband for more dowry. She committed suicide by setting herself on fire in 2014, following which the family filed a case against Praveen. She was admitted at Osmania General Hospital with 84% burn injuries and succumbed to burns in two days.…



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Opinions and Editorials

Why should BJP fall head over heels for rape convict Ram Rahim? – By SS Dhawan (Aug 28, 2017, Dailyo.in)

…Sure, the party had benefited from a last-minute surge in 2014 when Dera Sacha Sauda – with its offering of Dalit voters – had jumped onto the BJP bandwagon. But how many rapes will it take the BJP to overcome its deep sense of gratitude and indebtedness to someone who is not even fit to be a comic underling of Johnny Lever? And, mind you, this is the same party that has, over the years, put us to sleep with its mindless drone about minority appeasement; that was crying itself hoarse, until the other day, about Muslim women’s empowerment, virtually taking credit for a court decision liberating them from the obnoxious triple talaq practice!

But, curiously, it has no lurid tales to tell about the two sadhvis who were raped by their repository of trust, whom they reverentially addressed as “pita ji!” The BJP spokespersons are not part of any such brouhaha in the TV studios; rather they scampered for cover when provoked by an anchorperson into calling Ram Rahim a rapist!…

Voters, Mr Prime Minister, care more about actual societal progress than the fortunes of a particular political party. Ironically, the state of Haryana is under ML Khattar’s thumb rule and the BJP has a non-Jat social coalition well entrenched until the next election. Where then was the need to fall heads over heels for a rape accused?…



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From Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh to Asaram Bapu, India’s Obsession with Rape Accused Babas – By Bhavdeep Kang (Aug 26, 2017, News18.com)

Murder, rape, castration, abduction – a rap sheet as long as his arm and yet Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insan’s followers are ‘ready to die’ for him. Many of those who sought to intimidate the state government and judiciary by converging in large numbers on Haryana’s Panchkula town in support of the ‘Love Charger’ guru, are well-educated, wealthy and socially prominent; certainly not wild-eyed fanatics.

The question of why mentally sound individuals are willing to sacrifice their health, wealth, family and friends at the behest of a godman continues to puzzle social psychologists. It is not that such people are chronically depressed or don’t value their lives; it is just that they value their guru more. In contrast with political or social activists, they are unconcerned with the social outcomes (constructive or destructive) of their actions. The guru is an end in himself.…

Some analysts see the growing clout of spiritual entrepreneurs as a consequence of the increasing religiosity in Indian society. Meera Nanda, in The God Market, observes that “India is not free of the forces of politicised religiosity which expresses itself in a growing sense of Hindu majoritarianism”. Globalisation, she contends, has sharpened religious identities, fuelled by a state-temple-corporate nexus.…



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Haryana violence is Modi’s fault for hand-picking RSS stooge Khattar as chief minister – By SS Dhawan (Aug 26, 2017, Dailyo.in)

This, Mr Prime Minister, is the folly of picking handpicked attendants of the RSS and parachuting them into the party; and then allowing them to masquerade as chief ministers. How the dream of fraternity with a spurious god man can turn into a nightmare of servility is a lesson one needs to learn from the Haryana government which had earlier fanned the Jat agitation in a similar fashion.

That the simmering fires could reach the national capital region did not even strike the perceptive prime minister for whom the violence must have been like a familiar echo from a distant past when he was the chief minister of Gujarat.…

Kalyan Singh may have got away with it but Khattar will find the Punjab and Haryana High Court a hard nut to crack. The court responded with scathing strictures on Saturday blaming the political establishment for acts of commission and omission that “allowed the city of Panchkula to burn for political gains”.…



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Hindutva Rule & Anarchy are Two Sides of the Same Coin – By Shamsul Islam (Aug 26, 2017, Sabrang India)

In December 1992 despite restrictions imposed by the Supreme Court and the ‘undertakings’ given by the BJP-ruled government to the court and the government of India, that peace would be maintained in Ayodhya during the ‘kar seva’, thousands were allowed to gather at Ayodhya, India still witnessed mob rule and the demolition of a 400 year-old mosque. This criminal act, even as 3,000 paramilitary forces looked mutely on, deeply fractured Indian society, causing a schism even the worst enemies of India could not accomplish.

In 2002, in Gujarat a similar, sinister pattern was repeated. Mobs led by Hindutva criminal organizations were allowed free reign. The result? A genocidal carnageof Muslims. What happened in Gujarat in 2002 was editorially commented by leading English daily, Hindustan Times (March 21, 2002) in the following words: “Daughters were gang raped in front of their fathers and then their heads bashed in. their fathers were doused with petrol and set on fire. Their property was looted. Their businesses were destroyed. And the police stood by and did nothing.”

In February 2016, the violence allowed to spill over in Haryana was another example of this trait of BJP governance. Haryana turned into a war zone as caste wars were allowed free reign. The mobs were allowed to burn public property and Haryana simmered –held to ransom by the rule of the mob- for 11-12 days. The Army had to be called which fired on its own people, 30 people were killed in the violence.…



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BJP’s Hypocrisy Over Its Passion For Hinduism Exposed – By Gurpreet Singh (Aug 27, 2017, Countercurrents)

Shortly after the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders of his ruling Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) extended greetings to the nation on Ganesh Chaturthi, violence started by the followers of a controversial god man convicted for rape left more than 30 people dead.

The arson took place in BJP ruled state of Haryana where a court had convicted the head of a sect Dera Sacha Sauda Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for rape in 1997. While his devotees began the violence, a number of BJP leaders openly sided with the self styled god man. So much so, one BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj- who is a seer himself stated that a court cannot be above the belief of thousands of devotees.

The BJP which is known for its right wing ideology has a desire to turn India into Hindu theocracy. To harbour an ambition to establish Hindu state is one thing and to be an honest Hindu is something else. If their response to the violence of Singh’s followers is any indication their passion for Hindu religion is full of hypocrisy and contradictions.…



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Encounters of a Dark & Sinister Kind: Gujarat – By Keki Daruwalla (Aug 24, 2017, Sabrang India)

Encounters are safe bets for those policemen who are averse to risk. Get the right information, know the number and colour of the car or of the bus he or she is travelling in (we are talking terrorists here), drag the fellow (s) out, get the info from him and shoot the blighter. The boss, a DIG no less, will pat your back, the reward will be yours, if not the medal. But in this case the DIG, Mr. Vanzara was himself involved! Who can pat a DIG except the Home Minister. And after a decade old war in the press between nouveau liberals and die hard nationalists, we find the court ‘discharging’ the accused.

Not surprisingly people in Gujarat can’t make out what the hullabaloo is about – this talk of genuine and spurious encounters. As long as you shoot the guy all encounters are genuine, Pal. So you can depend on it that people received with considerable glee the news about the CBI Court ‘discharging’ Mr. Vanzara and another officer of all guilt. Your premier investigating agency, under orders and supervision of the highest court charged the accused.…

Remember Malegaon bomb blast cases and the statement of the fine prosecutor Ms. Rohini Salian that she was pressurised to go slow against the accused Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and Col. Shrikant Purohit, now, ludicrously enough, posing as an ‘army mole’! The bomb was placed on the Sadhvi’s motor cycle, incidentally, killing Muslims.…Lastly what I have mentioned is the tip of the iceberg. Things are worse and need to come out in the open – the court for instance.



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