IAMC Weekly News Roundup - December 12th, 2011 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 12th, 2011

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Need directions for affidavit on Modi’s role: Bhatt (Dec 10, 2011, Hindustan Times)

Suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt on Wednesday appealed to the Nanavati Commission to either formally summon him or direct him to file a detailed affidavit regarding the alleged role of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi in undermining a petition filed by the social activist Mallika Sarabhai after 2002 riots. Bhatt had last month made a similar request to the panel, probing the communal riots, when he was called during a hearing on an application moved by the danseuse. Sarabhai had sought Bhatt’s cross examination with regard to alleged role of Modi in sabotaging the court proceedings in Sarabhai’s petition by allegedly bribing her lawyer.

“It has been time and again reiterated before the Honourable Commission that I am privy to these details as an Intelligence Officer and would therefore be able to disclose those details only when I am officially directed to appear and depose before the Honourable Commission and not otherwise,” Bhatt said in his written request underlining his willingness to depose before the Nanavati Commission. He requested the probe panel to summon and examine him regarding his allegation of the gross misuse of Secret Service Funds (SSF) of the state government by Modi for undermining the proceedings of Sarabhai’s petition in 2002, or may direct him to file a detailed affidavit bringing out the relevant and germane facts within his knowledge.

Bhatt wrote to the Commission in reply to its letter of December 1, informing him that he was free to file a detailed affidavit with regard to Sarabahi’s application. Bhatt has further stated in the letter that despite him being posted as Deputy Commissioner (Intelligence) in-charge of Internal Security with the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB) during 2002 riots, the Gujarat government has, till date, not instructed him to file any affidavit before the Nanavati Commission. He has further said in the letter that an amount of Rs 10 lakh from SSF was delivered to Modi as instructed in 2002, and was handed over to former minister Amit Shah in his presence, for further disbursal and execution of plans as per Modi’s instructions.

During his questioning by the Central Relief Committee advocate BM Mangukia on May 23 before the commission, Bhatt had alleged that Modi had tried to undermine the proceedings in the petition filed by Sarabhai in the Supreme Court with regard to 2002 riots. The Commission has reserved its order on Sarabhai’s application seeking cross examination of Bhatt with regard to this matter.

Sarabhai had contended in her plea that since Bhatt was no longer constrained by the Zakia Jaffery’s petition in the apex court, as it has been disposed of, the panel should summon Bhatt for giving details of the role of Modi and others with regard to her 2002 petition. She had further said that what Bhatt had stated in May has been supported by the affidavit filed by former DGP and Bhatt’s superior during 2002 riots, R B Sreekumar, before the commission.



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Investigator of Sohrabuddin, Prajapati killing cases now gets Ishrat encounter (Dec 12, 2011, Indian Express)

The investigation of the 2004 fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan and three others has been handed over to CBI Superintendent of Police Vinay Kumar, who is also probing into the alleged staged encounter killings of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati. “The Special Crime Branch (of CBI), Delhi will supervise the case and the Mumbai SCB has been handed over the investigation. The investigating officer in the Sohrabuddin-Tulsiram encounter cases was replaced, and the same officer (Kumar) would probe into the Ishrat case,” a source in the CBI, Delhi told The Indian Express over the phone.

A DIG rank officer from SCB Delhi will supervise the investigation. Kumar was made the investigating officer of the Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram encounter cases in April 2010 after the Supreme Court handed over the Tulsiram case to the CBI. Earlier, DIG P Kandswamy was supervising the Sohrabuddin case which was being investigated by SP Amitabh Thakur of the Mumbai SCB. Kumar, a 1997 batch IPS officer from Delhi, had earlier cracked the fake encounter of a Haryana businessman who was shot dead at Connaught Place in New Delhi in 1997.

Meanwhile, the Gujarat High Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) – which has found the encounter of Ishrat and three others to be fake – is likely to file a fresh FIR in the case on Monday. “After the FIR is filed, there are more reports and records to be handed over to the CBI. We are still preparing the case file for the new agency and this would take us another 10 days to hand over the probe to them completely,” said a senior SIT member.

Sources said the CBI will have to re-investigate the entire case to find out the motive and key men behind the killing of Ishrat, Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Zishan Johar and Amzad Ali Rana. Besides, the agency is likely to investigate the reason and mode of arrival of Ishrat and her aides to Gujarat, intelligence input which reportedly said that Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists had entered the state to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi, besides the credentials of the two alleged Pakistani aides of Ishrat – Johar and Rana.



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Jaipur serial blasts: 14 alleged SIMI activists acquitted (Dec 10, 2011, Times of India)

A fast track court on Friday acquitted 14 people who had been put behind bars after the May 2008 Jaipur serial blasts on charges of being SIMI activists and giving shelter to some terrorists including Sajid Mansoori. The court’s orders have once again brought to the fore the goofed-up detentions made by the special investigation team (SIT) formed to probe the blasts which claimed the lives of about 70 people and left 150 others injured.

The arrests had been made from Kota, Jodhpur, Baran and Madhya Pradesh in September 2008. “The fast track court of additional district judge – I has acquitted all the 14 people who were accused of being SIMI activists,” said Packer Farooq, lawyer of the defendants. Those who were acquitted include Sohail Modi and Azam Gajdhar from Jodhpur, Imran alias Raja, Mahandi Hassan, Mohammad Ishaque Qureshi, Nazakat Hussain, Mohammad Toufique Qureshi, Aman alias Amanullah, Mohammad Yunus, Atiq-ur-Rahman and Munnawar Hussain and Nadeem Akhtar from Kota, Mohammad Iliyas from Baran and Imam-ur-Rahman from Khandaka in Madhya Pradesh. All are aged between 27 and 55 years.

The lawyer said that the fast track court observed that prosecution failed to establish accused links with banned organisation SIMI. The court also found that prosecution has not submitted any substantial documentary evidence proving accused direct involvement in any terror act. The court observed that the testimony submitted by eyewitness doesn’t hold enough account to convict the accused in the charges leveled against them and the allegation of arranging funds, hatching terrorist conspiracy and harbouring accused of Jaipur and Ahmedabad serial blast case were found to be baseless.

The SIT had made serious allegations against some of the defenders. After the detentions, it had claimed that Sajid Mansoori, who was considered one of the key accused in the Jaipur serial blasts at that time, was in Kota between 2002 and 2006 after giving Gujarat police the slip in the 2001. During this period, Sajid, the SIT claimed, had been to Jaipur, Baran, Bundi and Sawai Madhopur several times, to spread his network. He had also gone back to Bharuch in Gujarat in 2006, said SIT.

SIT claimed that Sajid prepared a core group and Rajasthan’s command was given to Munnavar. He used to work there as a tailor. Ateeq alias Atiq-ur-Rahman was given the post of secretary and Raja alias Imran was made treasurer. “The group was to carry out destructive activities and collect funds,” SIT had said. The SIT had also claimed that Dr Ishaque Qureshi, his son Toufique Qureshi and another relative, Nazakat Hussain, were the main agents of the Jaipur blasts. All of them, residents of Waqf area, were detained in Kota. “Dr Ishaque Qureshi provided shelter to Sajid and he knew about his real identity. His son Toufique Qureshi, who studies at a Jaipur-based unani medicine institute, also knew Sajid’s real identity,” the SIT had claimed.



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Punish those who demolished Babri Masjid: Rajasthan Muslim Forum (Dec 7, 2011, Twocircles.net)

Rajasthan Muslim Forum, an umbrella body of prominent Muslim organizations in Rajasthan, on Tuesday demanded punishment to those who demolished the 16th century mosque in Ayodhya of Uttar Pradesh on 6th December 1992. On the occasion of the 19th anniversary of demolition of Babri Masjid, the Forum organized a prayer meeting at Muslim Musafir Khana on 6th December in Jaipur.

Addressing the audience, Er. Mohammad Saleem, National Secretary, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, wondered that the demolition culprits are celebrating their act today and taking out rallies and yatras eying the high posts of the country. “We want justice at any cost,” Er. Saleem said. Presiding over the program, Forum convenor Qari Moinuddin said that Muslim fears only from Allah, not anyone else but he is a civilized citizen and wants his rights in a peaceful way.

Others who spoke on the occasion were secretary of the Musafir Khana, Shaukat Qureshi, Rajasthan Jamaat Islami president, Er. Khurshid Hussain and its secretary Qasim Rasool Falahi. At the end the Forum in a unanimous resolution demanded: – Punishment to those guilty of demolishing the mosque – Hearing of all cases related to Babri Masjid at one place and at the same time – Ban on inflammatory statements/speeches.



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Pragya fails to appear in court yet again (Dec 9, 2011, Times of India)

Prime accused in former RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi murder case, Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, who is lodged in a Mumbai jail, failed to turn up at special designated National Investigation Agency (NIA) court here for the second time. Harshad Solanki, a suspect in Ajmer Dargah blast and Samjhauta Express bombing incident also followed her suit by not appearing in the court of additional district judge Chandra Mohan Garg, government advocate Anand Tiwari told TOI. Solanki too is in judicial custody.

This time, Sadhvi didn’t even send any communication regarding her non-appearance in the trial court for Joshi murder case of December 2007. On November 25, Sadhvi had faxed an application stating that she was suffering from severe backache problem hence she could not make it to the court. Pragya and Joshi were part of the alleged Hindu terror group that had orchestrated blasts across the country.

However, the three accused Vasudev Parmar, Anandraj Kataria and Ramcharan Patel, who are now out on bail, appeared in the court and registered their presence. The five accused have been charged under section 302 for murder, 201 for causing disappearance of evidence, 120 b and 34 of IPC for criminal conspiracy with common intention and sections 25, 27 of Arms Act. Mohan and Ghanshayam, two more accused in Joshi murder case, are absconding and have not yet been charge-sheeted. The court has fixed December 22 as the next date of hearing in the case.

A local court in Dewas district had transferred the entire case to the NIA court on November 22 following a Madhya Pradesh High Court’s administrative order. The NIA took over Joshi murder case from Madhya Pradesh police a few months back. Earlier, Madhya Pradesh showed reluctance to the NIA intervention in the case, but later it budged.



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High Court notice to Narendra Modi for remarks against Jawaharlal Nehru (Dec 8, 2011, Times of India)

The Rajasthan High Court has issued a show cause notice to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, seeking his explanation as to why he should not be booked for criminal defamation for his remarks against the country’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The court has fixed February 6, 2012 for the next hearing in the case.

Justice Mahesh Chandra Sharma issued the notice on a petition filed by Charmesh Sharma, a Youth Congress activist in Bundi district. During a public rally at Gandhinagar on June 5 this year, Modi had said that Nehru had “done nothing for children”. The court on Wednesday observed, “Before passing any order, we wish to hear Narendra Modi.”

Sharma has said in the petition that he and other admirers of Nehru were “deeply hurt and pained” by Modi’s comments, which he had heard on a private television channel and read on a website. He also pointed out that Nehru’s birth anniversary on November 14 is observed as Children’s Day across the country because of his contribution to children’s welfare. Sharma had enclosed video recording of the telecast and photocopies of the website report with his petition.

The petitioner approached high court after his petition was rejected by the lower courts in Bundi. The chief judicial magistrate and additional sessions judge of Bundi had dismissed the plea of the complainant, who had alleged that Modi committed offence of criminal defamation under Section 500 of the IPC. They were of the view that the lower courts had no jurisdiction to commit a person for trial for criminal defamation under Section 500 of IPC as the words spoken had no consequence at any place falling in the jurisdiction of the courts in Bundi.



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Minorities victim of targeted violence: Teesta lectures at AMU (Dec 9, 2011, Twocircles.net)

Ms. Teesta Setalvad, an eminent human rights activist, delivered a lecture on “Human Rights Education” at a special session of ongoing Refresher Course on Human Rights for University/College teachers at the UGC Academic Staff College, Aligarh Muslim University.

Setelvad focused on children’s rights and said that human rights discourse and policies in India are adult-centric. She emphasized that children cannot be ignored by any society while formulating policies and programmes. The shrinking space for children is a matter of great concern for us.

She also highlighted the plight of minorities in India and observed that they are the victims of targeted violence in the country. There must be effective institutional and legal measures for safeguarding the interests of minority communities in a multicultural democracy, she observed.

Expressing concern on the opposition of the proposed Communal Violence Draft Bill 2011, Setelvad said that it creates an effective institutional and legal measure against communal and targeted violence towards linguistic, religious and other minorities. She stressed the need of the early ratification of the Bill by the Parliament. Teesta Setalvad has been associated with the drafting of the said Bill.

Besides eighty-one participants of the Course hailing from all parts of the country, Professor A. R. Vijapur and Professor Asmer Beg, Coordinators of the Refresher Course, Dr. Reshma Jamal and Dr. M. Mohibul Haque were present during the lecture.



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Gujarat: Woman alleges rape by MLA, 17 others (Dec 9, 2011, IBN)

A woman member of a village panchayat in Amreli district has alleged that she was gangraped by a BJP MLA and 17 others six months ago, police said on Friday. The allegation has been made by husband of the woman, a member of Dhari village panchayat, in two applications submitted to the police. The victim’s husband has alleged that 18 persons, including Dhari BJP MLA Manshukh Bhuva, had gangraped his wife six months ago, Amreli Superintendent of Police HR Muliyana said.

In the applications, only six persons have been named, while 12 others have been shown as unidentified, he said. “Since the incident, as claimed by the complainant, took place six months ago, we need to first verify the veracity of the complaint,” Muliyana said. “We are sending the woman for a medical check-up after which there would be further investigation,” he said.

When contacted, the BJP legislator dismissed the rape charge as politically motivated and termed it as a blackmail tactics. Bhuva said the police were free to investigate the complaint and take action against those found guilty. Meanwhile, Dhari on Friday observed a bandh against the allegation made by the woman. No untoward incident was reported during the shutdown, police said.



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No police action taken in Dalit atrocity case filed in Gujarat village (Dec 6, 2011, DNA India)

It seems the Sanand police are taking the issue either too lightly or they lack the willingness to act. The Dalits of Goraj village in Sanand had filed an atrocity case with the police in October first week and expected a fair investigation in the same. But the police are yet to take any action on the two complaints filed on the same issue.

Kalpesh Dabhi, one of the victims of the atrocity caused by the upper caste people in Goraj on October 4, told DNA the police are not at all interested in investigating their case. “Since we filed the complaint, the police have not recorded a single statement of ours till date,” he said. It seems the cops are under someone’s pressure to not follow the regular procedure, Dabhi alleged.

There were several other Dalits, along with Dabhi, who were wounded during the tussle. “We have mentioned the names of 109 people. However, the police have not questioned even a single person in the matter,” said another victim, Mehul Makwana. Many Dalit families have shifted out of Goraj following harassment by the upper caste people in the village. “If the police do not act, where should we go? We have no option left than to leave our village,” said Gautam Vankar, another victim.

While one complaint was filed by the Dalits on October 1, the other was filed on October 4. The investigating officer in the case, MM Malek, was transferred to Vadodara a few days ago. He told DNA that he had been transferred and was no longer responsible for the investigations. Malek was investigating the case filed on October 4. The new investigating officer, KV Savani, who took the charge over a week before, told DNA that the accused in the case are absconding and “we will arrest them very soon”. Savani also said he took charge just before a few days and will take prompt action in this regard.



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Opinions and Editorials

Sharma Brothers vs Narendra Modi – Victimization saga continues – By Sayema Sahar (Dec 4, 2011, Twocircles.net)

“Narendra Modi is the worst form of human material walking on this planet earth,” says a senior IPS Officer of Gujarat cadre, at present on deputation in New Delhi. Indeed a very strong statement for the poster boy of BJP by an aware, responsible and extremely efficient police officer of India! The Gujarat genocide, planned and executed by Modi, brought a scale of atrocity which was never previously known. The statistics of Gujarat carnage, by far, is the most heinous atrocity in all recorded history of independent India. Modi’s conduct, during and after the riots, was partisan, communal and influenced by political and communal agenda. All of us here, on the threshold of the 10th anniversary of 2002 carnage, are waiting to see Modi’s acts of omission and commission getting nailed in a court of law. This blatant arrogant use of power to thwart truth and democracy must stop.

Mr. Modi, you owe an explanation to me, to my readers and to all those who love their freedom and their country and more than us, to the ghosts of 2002 carnage; the frail ghosts, the pregnant ghosts, the faceless ghosts of the bodies charred beyond recognition. Mr. Modi, you owe an explanation to all the nameless ghosts who wander through the land of Gandhi awaiting justice. Do you ever get to hear the curse and bellows of the unborn babies who were killed in the womb of their mothers? How do you sleep in peace is what I wonder. And yet Modi boasts of praises, accolades and appreciation galore! All minds must be blurred and darkened to be praising such a ruthless, arrogant and selfish man. What is being overlooked is the fact that Gujarat has always been a progressive and prosperous state, with a generally peaceful law and order situation with high levels of public safety for many decades before Modi’s time. Actually, both Modi and the BJP are (mis)using Gujarat’s tradition of relative peace and prosperity as Modi’s poster child for political capital.

Modi has very immaculately ensured the suspension of human rights through anti-minority pogroms and then demonized the social activists whoever tried to speak about his misdeeds. His policy has been very simple: crush the identity of minorities beyond recognition, so that they can never dare to speak against him or his atrocities and persecute any and every officer working under the constitutional framework, and refused to be party to the planners and perpetrators of violence during the riots. This is exactly what he did when he orchestrated the 2002 carnage of Gujarat, where he completely silenced the minority by his terror keeping alive his parallel strategy of putting all officers of state in place by persecuting them in false concocted charges. Modi could not stand any officer who was upright, and who did not collaborate in anti minority action. Fortunately for Gujarat, and for India but unfortunately for Modi the number of such officers is really significant in Modi’s land. Modi’s script of victimizing such officers, is so overused that it gets easy to predict his line of action when he picks on any officer. First, harassment and threats followed by cases and charge sheet and finally the arrest. Modi has followed this script on many officers in Gujarat. Pradeep Sharma an IAS officer of Gujarat cadre, is one such officer. Pradeep Sharma also happens to be the younger brother of an equally dynamic and popular IPS officer Mr. Kuldip Sharma, again from Gujarat cadre.

Mr. Kuldip Sharma was targeted by Modi’s government as he did not abide by the illegal instructions of him and the then Minister of State (Home), Amit Shah. The Chief Minister downgraded the ACRs of Mr. Kuldip Sharma with the mala fide intention of denying him promotion. Mr. Kuldip Sharma was privy to the involvement of one of Modi’s ministers in a criminal conspiracy. In fact during the carnage of 2002 Pradeep Sharma got a call from Modi to ask his brother Mr. Kuldip Sharma to go slow on rioters. Kuldip Sharma had also alleged that Modi and former Home Minister Amit Shah put pressure on him to arrest danseuse Mallika Sarabhai in an alleged human trafficking case. Mr. Pradeep Sharma’s case is a sad tale of the obscenely rampant subversion of the rule of law and a person’s democratic rights by the Modi government for petty personal politics with the Sharma brothers. All the cases hence got registered against Pradeep Sharma at the behest of the Chief Minister to falsely implicate and persecute him and to deprive him of his personal life and liberty. He is at present in jail for over 10 months apparently on a false case of land scam though the fact of the matter is that all his decisions and actions were within the state government guidelines and vetted and officially approved by the highest authorities in Gandhinagar.

Mr. Pradeep Sharma has an unblemished record of outstanding performance throughout his career. He has received numerous accolades for his work including the President’s Medal from the Republic of Poland for proactive collaboration on joint urban development projects in Jamnagar, Gujarat, between 2001 and 2003 where he served as the Municipal Commissioner. His seminal contribution to rebuilding Bhuj city and the rest of Kutch district after the devastating 2001 earthquake in that region was applauded both nationally and internationally, by the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the BBC as well as the domestic media including India Today and Indian Express. His tireless efforts in rebuilding the district of Kutch in 2004 and 2005, has been really commendable. Mr. Pradeep Sharma in his writ petition states that the persecution unleashed on him by the state chief minister, Mr. Narendra Modi is essentially due to two major reasons apart from host of other supporting factors: Firstly, the Petitioner happens to be the younger brother of Kuldip Sharma, a highly-decorated and currently the senior-most IPS officer in the Gujarat state cadre, who has unmasked many misdeeds of Narendra Modi since the 2002 Godhra riots and also of his henchman Shri Amit Shah, the ex-Home Minister of State, Gujarat. The two siblings have very close to each other right from childhood and share very strong fraternal bonds. Secondly and more immediately the petitioner is suspected of having stumbled upon some intimate secrets of Narendra Modi’s illicit escapades with a woman.



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Babri Masjid demolition 1992: A look at the countdown to disaster – By Dilip Awasthi (Dec 5, 2011, India Today)

The scenes will return, like deranged ghosts, to haunt those of us who were at the graveside to witness the burial of a secular dream. The screams of exultation with each blow of a pickaxe, each thrust of a rod, each dome that came crashing down. If there were no implements, the frenzied hordes would have used their bare hands to the same effect, so powerful was the poison that coursed through their veins in those few hours of madness. There were others. The maniacal look in the eyes of the kar sevaks as they triumphantly held aloft Babar’s bricks or smashed cameras, attacked journalists and taunted the bovine policemen. The provocative exhortations over the loudspeakers that rose even above the roar of the crowds. The forest of gleaming trishuls raised high in militant victory. And, the twin plumes that snaked to the skies: the dust from the demolished structure, and smoke from nearby Muslim houses torched in the orgasmic fever. Religion was their opium and it returned Ayodhya to the medieval ages.

Ultimately, it may have seemed like the pebble that started an avalanche, the lone man who broke through the security cordon, followed by ten others, and then hundreds and finally, thousands. But quite a few warning signs had been there earlier, as the initial trickle of kar sevaks swelled over the past three days, into close to two lakhs. Many of these were docilelooking sadhus and sants, pot-bellied shopkeepers from Delhi, rustics from Punjab and Haryana, excited students from Pune. There were, however, others, their number running into hundreds, who had come with one fanatical obsession-the destruction of the disputed Babri Masjid. But even at the dawn of that Barbaric Sunday, few among the moderates or even the large media contingent believed that before sundown, and in the space of a few hours, the triple domes that loomed so securely on the horizon would be razed to the ground. The mood among the kar sevaks had been sullen but not overly aggressive and even the occasional outbursts of anger or militant slogans seemed like aberrations against the backdrop of the solemn rituals and the singing of bhajans. Kar sevaks were even frisked and made to pass through metal detectors before entering the temple area.

But the inaction of the past few days as they waited for D-Day, December 6, had made them restive. By December 5, the mood had started to change, the indecision of the leadership on whether to allow construction, had stirred the hornets’ hive. Harcharan Singh, 32, a strapping kar sevak from Haryana echoed an increasingly held view when he flatly stated: “After all this if the leaders do not allow kar seva, they will face our ‘maar seva’ (beating).” The afternoon of December 5 was the turning point. That was when it was finally announced that there would be a symbolic kar seva. Ayodhya simmered with suppressed anger and frustration. Hundreds of kar sevaks stormed the Maniram Chavani where two of the religious leaders-Mahant Ram Chandra Paramhans and Mahant Nrit Gopal Das-were subjected to a volley of angry questions. In the narrow, serpentine lanes of Ayodhy a, the slogans were becoming more menacing. “JisHindukakhoonnakhaula, khoonnahin wopaanihai” (If a Hindu’s blood doesn’t boil, then it’s water, not blood). In the Karsevakpuram area, thousands converged to express their wrath against the leadership. The Frankenstein’s monster had been born. And its creators were now its immediate victims.

Ashok Singhal, general secretary of the VHP, pleaded with the mahants to bridge the ominous chasm that had suddenly opened up between the Janki Mahal Trust-the camp headquarters of the leaders- and Karsevakpuram, where angry kar sevaks were clustered in open defiance. The mahants, sensing the ugly mood, stayed put. Only Vinay Katiyar, Bajrang Dal chief and Faizabad MP, dared to cross over to Karsevakpuram, where the hostile mob immediately surrounded him demanding that the leaders reconsider their decision of a symbolic kar seva. Katiyar’s message about the militant mood was passed on to L.K. Advani and company. But by now, the movement had been clearly hijacked by the hotheads. As a worried Paramhans said:’ ‘Who except Ram Lalla can know about the kind of kar seva which will be undertaken tomorrow.”…



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A ‘Thappad’ (Slap) For Mr Subramaniam Swamy! – By Subhash Gatade (Dec 8, 2011, Countercurrents)

Mr Subramaniam Swamy, must not have imagined in his wildest dreams that his alma mater would decide to ‘dump him’. The Harvard University faculty recently delivered its own ‘slap’ for one of its ex students who also happened to be its visiting faculty. In its recent meeting for the approval of the 2012 summer school course catalog it was decided to exclude Mr Swamy’s Economics S -110 and Economics 1316 from the catalog and thus effectively removing him from the faculty. (http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2011/12/7/faculty-final-meeting). It may be underlined here that in the said meeting Mr Swamy received enough opprobrium for his op-ed in the Indian newspaper DNA (Daily News and Analysis, 16 th July 2011) wherein he had openly called for destruction of mosques, the disenfranchisement of non-Hindus in India who do not acknowledge Hindu ancestry, and a ban on conversion from Hinduism.

As noted elsewhere the said article which was written in the aftermath of the 13 th July bombings in Mumbai, had promoted a vision of Indian society based on Hindu Supremacy and also cast suspicion on the entire Muslim community. It talked of “declar[ing] India a Hindu Rashtra in which non-Hindus can vote only if they proudly acknowledge that their ancestors were Hindus”; “[r]emov[ing] the masjid in Kashi Vishwanath temple and the 300 masjids at other temple sites”; “[e]nact[ing] a national law prohibiting conversion from Hinduism to any other religion”; and “[p]ropagat[ing] the development of a Hindu mindset.”. Terrorising and stigmatising a whole community it added “Muslims of India, are being programmed by a slow reactive process to become radical and thus slide into suicide against Hindus.” Not some time ago Harvard had decided otherwise and chose to stand by Mr Swamy supposedly to affirm its ‘commitment to free speech’ but later they seem to have realised that it was not a product of free speech but of hate speech and it also amounted to incitement of violence. Professor Sugata Bose, history professor at Harvard put it succinctly “[Swamy’s position on disenfranchisement] is like saying Jewish Americans and African Americans should not be allowed to vote unless they acknowledge the supremacy of white Anglo Saxon Protestants. It is worth emphasising that the campaign by a group of Harvard students calling on the University to sever ties with Swamy, which was joined in by hundreds of students played an important role in galvanizing opinion against him. Calling on the university to terminate its association with him as it seriously compromises the University’s integrity, undermining its commitment to diversity and tolerance the petition declared:

While free expression and the vigorous contest of ideas are essential in any academic community, so, too, are respect and tolerance for human difference. By advocating measures that would grossly violate freedom of religion and the unqualified right to vote for different religious groups, and by aggressively vilifying an entire religious community, Swamy breaches the most basic standards of respect and tolerance. More specifically, Swamy’s comments cast doubt on his ability to treat a diverse community of students with fairness and respect. The highly insulting and stereotypical nature of his comments suggest that he cannot be trusted to regard Muslims – and no doubt other groups-with anything but a jaundiced eye. Swamy’s views are deeply offensive; they are also dangerous. The measures he proposes-far out of step with the everyday secularism and tolerance embodied by most Indians-would threaten to tear apart the basic fabric of India’s pluralist democracy. And, as Indians know too well, the brand of rhetoric that he employs has fueled violence against religious minorities in the past. While one witnessed consternation in the Harvard community about this hatespeech – which cut across community lines – it was worrying to note that barring some minority groups or stray individuals this hate speech failed to generate any revulsion in what is popularly called as ‘civil society’ in the country. Not that people have been unaware that people making such statements which cause disaffection between communities can easily be prosecuted and nor the provisions in law have been left unambiguous so that no action can be taken against them.

Under Indian Law promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion is a recognized criminal offence. According to a news release issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International ( dated 16 th October 2002) “… the Indian Penal Code (IPC) prescribes criminal prosecution for “wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot” (section 153); “promoting enmity between different groups ongrounds of religion” (section 153A); “imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration” (section 153B); “utteringwords with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings ofany person” (section 298); “statements conducing to publicmischief” (section 505 (1), b and c); and “statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes (section505(2). Section 108 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, inaddition, allows an Executive Magistrate to initiate actionagainst a person violating section 153A or 153B of the IPC.” The “Guidelines to promote communal harmony” issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs in October 1997 also point at the precise responsibility of the state machinery to deal with potentially inflammatory statements in the context of communal tension.Guideline 15 states that “effective will needs to be displayed by the district authorities in the management of such situations so that ugly incidents do not occur. Provisions in section 153A,153B, 295 to 298 and 505 of IPC and any other Law should be freely used to deal with individuals promoting communal enmity”. Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which India ratified in 1979, affirms that “Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law”.

Forget other silences, it took around three weeks for the National Commission for Minorities to take cognizance of this hatespeech. The NCM ultimately decided to take action against Swamy on three specific grounds. One, a criminal case to be filed against Dr. Swamy under Sections 153A, 153B (promoting enmity between two groups on grounds of religion and assertions prejudicial to national integration) and 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings). Two, a recommendation to the Election Commission to de-recognise the Janata Party of which Dr. Swamy is the president. And three, notice to the newspaper and its website for publishing the article. The police also took its own time in recommending action him.. It took three months for the Delhi Police to register a case under relevant section of IPC. Despite the grave implications of the relevant provisions one is yet to see any concrete action against Mr Swamy. He is still roaming free. It is worth underlining that as far as kid-glove treatment by the police is concerned Mr Swamy is not alone. Not sometime ago Praveen Togadia, international general secretary of VHP had made similar provocative statements and he was also allowed to go scot free. Reports tell us that at the three day Akhil Bhartiya Dharmaprasar Karyakarta Sammelan-2011 event at Ahmedabad, the secretary general of the right-wing outfit, Togadia, called for a new Constitution that allows for “anyone who converts Hindus to be beheaded”. (10 th Nov 2011) In his fiery speech, Togadia reportedly questioned the past of Muslims and Christians, and further gave a call to Hindus to capture the Islamic holy places in Arab and Vatican of Europe.Besides Muslims and Christians, Togadia also attacked the UPA Government saying it was targeting Hindus through its draft Bill of Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence Bill, 2011. Imagine a person from the minority community or one of their leaders making similar statements, whether the reaction of the police had been similar or the gentleman(woman) had been hauled up long ago.



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Do we need “Anna Hazare kind of campaigns” to see Communal Violence Bill through? – By Aziz A. Mubaraki (Dec 4, 2011, Twocircles.net)

At the recently concluded meet of National Integration Council (NIC) the discussions on The Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparation) Bill loomed large. Not too many members of the council were seen speaking in favour of the bill, resentment of all political parties were out in the open, the credibility of ruling alliance was in tatteres as the partners in governance were not generous on numerous issues with the proposed draft. The unfortunate part was the treasury benches kept mute while most of the opposition leaders tore apart the proposed draft with criticism. The opposition’s disapproval was more out of prejudice and misconceptions rather than out of what the Bill contains and intends to put right. The communal forces aiming for a Hindu Rashtra often spread venom against the religious minorities creating a sense of insecurity with the majority community, consequently aggravating a communal rift between two co-existent peaceful neighbors. The Catastrophe of partition should be etched in the moral values of the sub-continent; lessons should be learnt from the horrors of sectarian politics and communal propaganda from either side.

Post Independence, the organizations which kept aloof from the mainstream struggle for independence and were responsible for murdering Mahatma Gandhi, actively indulged into spreading hatred towards religious minorities (Muslims), the Muslims were often cornered into throwing the first stone, which was then used as a pretext for unleashing violence against them. Thus initiation and facilitation of the communal politics against religious minorities came into existence. Communal politics with communal propaganda gradually became somewhat the “social common sense” of the majority community against Muslims in the country. Regrettably most of the state institutions are influenced by the infectious communal prejudice, the police in particular have become the tool for the biased attribution towards Muslims, who all remained vulnerable and the nastiest affected during any violence. Successive governments have set up various commissions to secure this objective – commission for minorities, for preventing atrocities against SC/STs, for protecting human rights and women’s rights. But most of them have been toothless and have failed to prevent violence and protect the vulnerable groups from systematic and targeted violence. While Gujarat provides one example, the violence unleashed against Christian tribals in Kandhamal, Odisha is another example.

The continuous violence against tribals in the Northeast by armed forces, and against Dalits by upper castes in almost every state cannot be ignored. The history of post-independence India is strewn with numerous cases where the ruling governments and the commissions constituted by it have failed in their duty to protect these groups. Almost all the fact finding inquiry commissions constituted after every untoward incident reveals that the most of the spontaneously-looking riots are always part of larger conspiracies, a systematized plan of the communal forces. The reports further make public that the targeted violence are for political goals duly assisted by the attitude of the political leadership which would otherwise be impossible without the cordial help from the incumbent bureaucrats and forces. And it fetches no brownies in guessing that, it’s the rightwing politicians who then benefit from the same by polarizing the majority community votes in their favour. And most predictably the proposed draft has been dubbed as ‘anti-majority’ by the BJP and has been criticized as a kneejerk response to the Gujarat violence of 2002-03. They also fear that it may alter the federal structure and adversely impact the autonomy of the states.

But protection of minorities and vulnerable groups like tribals and Dalits is well within the Constitutional scheme. Hence, any provision to protect the secular fabric of the nation and the right of vulnerable groups to live in peace and harmony cannot be dubbed as an ‘anti-majority’ measure. The picture is very complicated and muddled but the undertones are very clear, about this opposition! It’s because the Hindutva forces are opposed to any affirmative action where the weaker section of the society be it the minorities, schedule caste or OBC is identified and given protection. The main opposition party has openly opposed the bill because of its vested interests attached, as it wants to promote their kind of political agenda with the continuation of existing political pattern of discrimination and biasness against religious minorities and other weaker & oppressed sections of the society.

Mahatma Gandhi, who symbolized the animosity to communal politics, laid down his life opposing it, his sacrifice must not go in vain. Hence if the intension of the ruling government is sanctimonious, it is unusual as to why the ruling party or its allies are not sticking its neck out to bring peace and prevent violence through this bill by suitable agreement and an appropriate debate in parliament. Therefore whatever the outcome be, it’s bound to have an adverse effect on the government’s sincerity and secular credentials.



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Andhra Govt. to take compensation amount from Mecca Masjid funds – By Mohd Ismail Khan (Dec 10, 2011, Twocircles.net)

There is yet another game being played by the Andhra Pradesh government with the Muslims. The much-publicized ‘historic’ and ‘unprecedented'(as put by mainstream media) move of the state government to pay compensation to the innocent Muslim youths who were arrested, tortured and falsely implicated in Mecca Masjid bomb blast case, is now showing its true face. The ‘poor’ government has ordered to pay the compensation amount of Rs 70 lakh which will be debitable to the administration of Mecca Masjid itself besides that of Shahi Masjid-public garden. Like the whole bomb blast case and its further investigation, the government order for compensation also looks faulty. The state Congress government on 6th December issued G.O.Rt.No. 4268, for the administrative sanction of Rs 70,00,000 as a “confidence building measure and compensation for 20 cases affected in Mecca masjid bomb blast case”. This G.O. (government order) explicitly affirms that the expenditure sanctioned shall be debitable from the funds of administration of Mecca Masjid and public garden (shahi masjid). “In pursuance of the Orders issued in the G.O … Government after careful examination hereby accord Administrative Sanction for an amount of Rs. 70.00 Lakhs (Rupees Seventy Lakhs only) towards expenditure to be incurred in connection with Confidence Building Measures and Compensation for 20 cases affected in Mecca Masjid Bomb Blasts in 2007. These orders were issued in relaxation of Treasury Control and quarterly regulation orders subject to providing funds by way of obtaining Supplementary Grants during 2011-12 at the appropriate time under the Non-Plan. The Expenditure sanctioned above shall be debitable to the “2225 – 80 – MH 800 – SH (08) – Administration of Mecca Masjid and Public Garden 310/312 – Other Grant-in-Aid (To be Opened)”, reads the government order.

Dr. Mohd Ali Rafat, principal secretary to the government and head of minority welfare department, is the person who has issued the G.O. TCN spoke to Mr. Rafat to know why government had to pay compensation amount from the funds of masjids. He downplayed the whole issue, saying it is a procedural thing. “Minority welfare department is out of funds so it had to choose any administrative department to provide compensation, administrative funds of Mecca Masjid and Shahi Masjid in public garden were just chosen from options, government will return back the amount as grant-in-aid as it was referred in G.O. sooner or later,” said Mr. Rafat. But he failed to explain whether the government was hit by so severe economic downturn that they can’t pay the compensation amount directly, but chose the administrative funds of mosques which struggle to pay remunerations to its workers. TCN asked about the list of Muslim youths who are going to be paid compensation. He said one more G.O. is going to be issued regarding this. Meanwhile, officials in the government department are telling the media that 70 youths are going to be paid compensation of 70 lakhs – 20 each will get the amount of Rs 3 lakhs and rest of 50 will get Rs 20,000 each. According to the government those 20 were youths who were booked in false cases and spent time in jails, and the rest of 50 are those who were arrested by the police for interrogation. This figure is highly disputable. After the event of Mecca Masjid and two other bomb blasts in the city, more than 50 Muslim youths were put in illegal custody and framed in false charges in different bomb blast related cases and more than 100 youths were arrested for the interrogation by the police.

The decision of government of A.P. to pay compensation was welcomed by everyone in Hyderabad and elsewhere, saying that the government is finally implementing the recommendations of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) for this case. But the fact is that the government has not implemented even a single recommendation of NMC. The first and foremost recommendation of the NCM was: Proceed against the Policemen guilty of unwarranted detention of innocent youths under the law with immediate effect. This has not yet been done. The second recommendation was: The Govt of AP should immediately provided Govt jobs to the victims according with their qualifications. This has also not been implemented. Third was that the state govt should consider paying compensation deducting the salaries of guilty and communal biased police men. The government has not done that. Instead, it has allotted compensation to the victims from the maintenance fund of Mecca Masjid and the Shahi Masjid at public garden. Fourth was the state government should provide good character certificate to the youths to enable them to return to normal life free from the suspicion of being criminal. This is also gathering dust. Fifth was to revive AP state minorities commission to make it more active and to deter the cases of harassment of Muslim youths by the police. Till now no action has been taken on even a single recommendation except for the one on compensation which is going to be given from maintenance funds of masjids which hardly get enough funds.

Not all are happy with the mere compensation offer. They want punishment to the erring officials so that others could be kept from repeating it. Jamiat Ulama Andhra Pradesh said this move of the government will going to be a bad example. Jamiat president Maulana Mufti Ghayasuddin Rehmani Qasmi said it will lay down a bad precedent. Police can arrest innocent Muslims, torture them, implicate them in false cases, and destroy their reputation in the society, harass them for five years and then the government will give them few lakhs and asked them to forget all and move on. He said compensation is paid for accidents but this not an accident, it was a deliberate attempt by the communal minded police officers to target Muslims, and the proper justice can only be served when those guilty police officers get punished.

Khaki terror victims too are not much happy. They want the government to admit their guilt and punish the police officers. More importantly, they want closure of their cases first. TCN spoke to some of the acquitted Muslim youths. Dr Ibrahim Ali Junaid said: “Compensation has no meaning for us because the government is not admitting their guilt, the cases which were put on me and many Muslim youths are still open, government should have first closed the false cases against us, then they should talk about compensation. The police officers who had detained us illegally and tortured us are being promoted. This is a mockery of justice.” “Government is even not serious about providing compensation in a proper way. In the G.O. they have not mentioned that we are the victims of police bias instead they had put us as “affected party”, in other words government is not admitting that we have being wrongly implicated, and even the compensation amount is going to be given from the maintenance funds of masjids, I cannot accept it. Taking money which belongs to mosque is against the tenets of Islam, and it is haraam”. …



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The ‘J’ Factor? – By Smruti Koppikar (Dec 12, 2011, Outlook)

It’s a distinction no one would want but one which Jigna Vora will have to live with. She became the first woman journalist ever to be arrested and charged under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act (MCOCA). Vora, 38, deputy bureau chief of The Asian Age, was arrested on November 25 in connection with the murder of veteran crime reporter J. Dey on June 11 this year. Ten people, including sharpshooter Rohit Thankkapan alias Satish Kalia, have been arrested so far, most of them owing allegiance to underworld fugitive don Rajendra Nikhalje, better known as Chhota Rajan. Jigna, a familiar figure on the courts and crime reporting circuits in Mumbai, was picked up from her mother’s house in Ghatkopar and charged with IPC sections 302 (murder), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 3 (common intention), read with the Indian Arms Act sections 3, 25 and 27, in addition to MCOCA sections 3(1), 3(2) and 3(4). This makes it difficult for Jigna to be discharged even if the MCOCA sections are dropped later.

According to the police case against her, Jigna had passed on details about Dey’s address, the registration number of his motorbike—which he was riding at the time he was shot—and other information to Rajan via phone and e-mail. Based on Rajan’s conversations with a few of the other accused—during which he allegedly regretted ordering the shooting and mentioned Jigna as the one who had poisoned him against Dey—the police say she had brought to Rajan’s notice some of Dey’s stories early this year that were supposedly against the don’s interests. Police sources add that she had sparred with Dey over exclusive access to underworld source and Rajan aide, Farid Tanasha, who himself was shot dead last year. Dey had a number of good sources in the Rajan gang, including access to the don himself.

“The arrest is not an indication of her guilt,” says Mumbai police commissioner Arup Patnaik. However, a section of the police believe she is the link to help establish the motive behind the crime. Relevant and salacious details of her custodial interrogation were being fed to the Mumbai media all week: that she had four mobiles; that she had spoken with Rajan about a dozen times immediately prior to and after Dey’s murder; that she had been called by arrested accused Paulson Joseph to his flat from where she spoke to Rajan; the allegedly threatening SMS she sent Dey and so on. Jigna’s lawyer Girish Kulkarni argued the case against her was “totally vague because the police didn’t know what exact role she played”. How then can she be charged under MCOCA, he asked. “Is she conspirator or abettor of the crime?” Her family and employers have stood by her, suggesting she was framed.

Speaking with underworld dons and sources is par for the course for reporters on the crime beat; besides, why would Rajan depend on her for Dey’s details when he has a gang of committed goons, ask a section of Mumbai journalists. Too many questions persist: why did she flip-flop in her statements; why did she not come clean on Joseph getting her to talk to Rajan all these months; why, if indeed, did she speak to Rajan a number of times if it was not for a story she was doing. But the most troubling question is: did she become a victim of possessing too much information on the underworld, the police and the nexus between them, information that she did not reveal as a journalist but information that threatens either the gang or the police or both?



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