IAMC Weekly News Roundup - December 14th, 2015 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 14th, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Tarigami Addresses Rally in Vijayawada On Protection of Communal Harmony (Dec 13, 2015, Peoples Democracy)

Attempts are being made by the BJP, VHP, RSS and other Sangh Parivar forces to divide the people on the basis of religion, cautioned CPI(M) leader from Jammu and Kashmir, Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami. He was addressing a well-attended public meeting on ‘protection of communal harmony in our country’, organised by Aawaz in Vijayawada on December 6.

Tarigami, Central Committee member of the Party and a member of Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly, exhorted the people to remain alert against such divisive forces. He narrated as to how religious fanaticism is on the rise and intolerance is growing in the country, and lambasted BJP and Sangh Parivar forces for intentionally raking up communal issues in order to sidetrack the real issues concerning the masses. He underscored the need to promote communal amity.

If Hindus and Muslims are united, it will checkmate the onslaught of communal forces, he said. In northern states, dalits are being attacked everyday but Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who proclaims to be a representative of Hindus, is keeping quiet over such dastardly attacks, he said.…


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Had Islam been a religion of terrorism, Hindus would not have been existed in India today, says Shankaracharya (Dec 14, 2015, India.com)

Addressing the public meeting on ‘reconstruction of the society and our responsibilities’ organised by Jamat-e-Islami (JIH), Shankaracharya Omkarananda Saraswati said had Islam been a religion of terrorism, Hindus would not have been living in India today. Stating that Muslims can never be separated from India, Shankaracharya said that Muslims and Hindus are like two hands of a body.

Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shankaracharya said that his trip to foreign countries would not serve the purpose if there would be no peace in India. “Modiji is visiting the world for global peace negotiations but I want to tell him that such a dialogue will have no meaning if there is no peace at home,” he said.

The meeting, organised by JIH as a part of its national conclave, brought together leaders of various religions, sects and Islamic schools of thought on one platform. Speaking at the event, JIH president Syed Jalaluddin Umri said solutions to all problems faced by the humanity lie in following the path shown by Islam. He also denied charges of forcible conversion saying that there was not a single incident in Islamic history of forcible religious conversion.…



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Protests by Muslim groups continue in U.P. (Dec 16, 2015, The Hindu)

Sporadic protests by Muslim groups against a Hindu Mahasbha leader’s alleged statement denigrating Prophet Mohammad continued in western Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday.

Over 50,000 Muslims protested in Bareilly, demanding the death penalty for Kamlesh Tiwari, who claimed to be the working president of Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha. The crowd repeatedly demanded that the Hindutva leader be beheaded. The Bareily protest is not the first. Over a lakh Muslims gathered in Bijnore and demanded the death penalty for Tiwari recently. Subsequently, Muzaffarnagar too saw similar protests.

The administration is yet to act against the clerics who were shown on the media declaring their plan to behead Tiwari during the demonstration in Bijnore and announcing a bounty of Rs. 51 lakh on his head. The administration did not respond to repeated messages from The Hindu asking why the government had not talked to the community leaders and convinced them that action had been taken against the leader.



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Paragraphs “planted” in NIA report to prove Ishrat Jahaan was LET mole involved in 2004 plot to assassinate Modi (Dec 14, 2015, Counterview)

David Headley, the Pakistani American who scouted targets for the 26/11 terror attack by the Lashar-e-Toiba (LET), has been newsfor turning into an approver. He has also been news regarding the Ishrat Jahaan case, with a section of the media highlighting, on the basis of information provided by powerful sections in New Delhi, how Headley had said that Ishrat was an LET mole.…

This glaring discrepancy in the paragraphs, where Headley talks about Ishrat Jahaan and Paragraphs 17 and 28 from the original report clearly show that Headley’s Ishrat Jahaan confession was a plant. Most likely, since these paragraphs were not in consonance with the facts in rest of the report and would have compromised rest of the report, they were dropped.

IB was facing a lot of heat on Ishrat Jahaan, and when IB wants things to happen, they find their way. One can safely presume that these two paragraphs were planted, and are part of a bigger exercise to save two top ruling political leaders from Gujarat, who are alleged to have ordered these murders and their henchmen.



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Police charge right-wing activist with Pansare’s murder (Dec 15, 2015, Times of India)

The police on Monday charged Sameer Gaikwad, an activist of right- wing outfit Sanatan Sanstha, with plotting and carrying out the murder of veteran CPI functionary and rationalist Govind Pansare.

They filed a 392-page chargesheet against Gaikwad, 89 days after the arrest of the only accused in the murder case. The charges were brought against him and some unidentified men for possessing and using weapons without licence.

Investigating officers said all the evidence – including the identification parade report, Gaikwad’s conversation with his friends, details about Sanatan Sanstha’s literature, CCTV footage and the statements of 72 witnesses – were included in the chargesheet.… According to the chargesheet, during the identification parade, a 14-year-old boy had identified Gaikwad and said he was riding pillion on the motorcycle and had fired at the Pansare couple.



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Hindutva agenda is not an example of tolerance: Opposition to Government (Dec 11, 2015, Economic Times)

The Left and Congress today attacked the government on the issue of intolerance saying the Hindutva agenda is not an example of tolerance and the country will not move forward with majoritarianism.…

Congress and Left claimed the Bihar poll verdict was the result of the Narendra Modi Government’s “skewed policies” and a “reverse wave” has started against BJP, which rejected it saying the opposition is unable to digest its victory.…

“If intolerance and majoritarianism is brought in, then how will India move forward. You are not an example of tolerance. Your Hindutva agenda is not an example of tolerance,” she said. Citing the example of a question on intolerance asked to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a press conference in London, she said, “First time in decades the Prime Minister had to answer such a question at an international press conference.” …



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Do you know that nearly 3,000 RSS members eat beef and the Sangh is OK with it (Dec 10, 2015, Catchnews.com)

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has around 3,000 members in Arunachal Pradesh, many of whom do consume beef. This fact was shared by RSS representatives during a media interaction in Arunachal Pradesh on 8 December.

The RSS is apparently making an effort to ward off the image of being against beef-eaters. Eating beef cannot come in the way of becoming a member of the RSS, its all-India prachar pramukh Manmohan Vaidya was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.

Vaidya made this statement while addressing reporters during his three-day visit to Arunachal Pradesh.… Vaidya said that RSS has nothing to do with the beef ban and the organisation is only opposed to anti-national activities. “The RSS has nothing to do with the food habits of people,” he said.



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Give details on call to lift visa ban on Modi: US court (Dec 13, 2015, Times of India)

A US federal judge has ordered the State Department to produce all documents by February 2016 related to Obama administration’s decision to lift a ban on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s entry to the US.

“The Department of State will make an initial production of discovery in mid-January 2016, followed by another production of discovery in mid-February 2016,” judge John G. Koeltl of Southern District of New York said in his Dec 9 order.

The next conference in the case will take place on Feb 29, he directed. Modi’s previously issued tourist visa was revoked in 2005 over his alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots when he was chief minister of the state.…



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Hutments razed, one dead, hundreds homeless (Dec 13, 2015, Business Standard)

Hundreds were rendered homeless in the winter chill and a six-month-old baby died after the authorities demolished hutments built on railway land in the national capital, witnesses and police said. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal accused the railways of demolishing some 500 hutments on Saturday, “in such cold”, leaving hundreds of poor – men, women and children – shivering in the open.

The Delhi government said the demolition violated judicial orders, and were carried out without informing it. Kejriwal, who visited the site at 2 a.m. on Sunday, ordered the suspension of two sub divisional magistrates for failing to provide relief to the hutment dwellers.…

The chief minister pointed out that there were court orders to raze properties of some of the rich and politicians in Delhi but those orders were never implemented. The Aam Aadmi Party blamed the central government for the demolition. The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress hit back, saying Kejriwal should have acted ahead of the razing, not later.



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Muslim, minority appointments in Maharashtra police force hovers around 6% (Dec 14, 2015, DNA India)

Representation of Muslims and other minorities in the Maharashtra police force continues to be just about 6 per cent. The information was made available after an RTI application was filed to see the implementation of various suggestions of Justice Sachar’s report in the state.

The RTI application was filed by Latur-based Razaullah Khan, who is a head master in an Urdu medium school. In his application, Khan had sought details of the appointment of Muslims in the state police force, and implementation of the recommendations of the committee report.

In particular, he had sought the report prepared every June and December that talks of progress of appointments of Muslims as per the Sachar report, documents that pertain to the progress on the work done on the report along with file noting and when was the report submitted and if not submitted, when will it be submitted to the central government.…



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Bhatinda IG, DC summoned over chopping off of Dalits’ limbs (Dec 14, 2015, India Today)

National Commission for Scheduled Castes on Sunday summoned IGP Bhatinda zone, Deputy Commissioner Fazilka and SSP to appear before the vice chairman on Monday in connection with the incident in which limbs of two dalits were chopped off by the gang close to the ruling Akali Dal.

“National Commission for Scheduled Castes has issued notices to IGP Bhatinda zone, Deputy Commissioner Fazilka and SSP in connection with this case and they have been asked to appear before the commission on Monday afternoon in Abhohar. The commission has also directed the police authorities to arrest the people involved in the incident within three days failing which strict action will be taken against the official concerned,” Dr Rajkumar Verka said.

Dr Verka said that the incident has shocked the entire dalit community which has alleged that efforts are being made to hushup the case as the people involved in the case are influential. He has assured the affected families that the Commission will take action against the people involved in the case.…



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Opinions and Editorials

India’s Sawdust Caesar – By A. G. Noorani (Dec 25, 2015, Frontline)

A year and a half after he became Prime Minister of India on May 26, 2014, the people of India have begun to discover that Narendra Damodardas Modi is a flawed character who has proved himself unfit to sit on the chair on which Jawaharlal Nehru once sat. Nehru united the country. Modi is a quintessentially divisive figure. Even before he became Prime Minister, he had boldly nailed his colours on to the mast for all to see. The pattern is alarming.…

Those who had pinned their hopes on Modi as “The Deliverer” find little sign of his delivering on the promises he had so lavishly made. The promised acche din (good days) have turned out to be a deceptive mirage; bure din (evil days) are now upon us with highly charged communal statements and accusations; a systematic purge of cultural and educational institutions; killings, lynchings and the like without any censure by the chief executive of the nation.

Few care to understand what his meaningful and continued silence signifies. Desperate pleas by admirers – to control the “fringe elements”, curb the purveyors of hate and censure, and condemn loudly and without qualification the killings and the spread of intolerance and hate – leave Modi unmoved. For these elements comprise the core of his constituency. The record, viewed as an entire whole, provides ample warning of what lies ahead of us today.… However, there is another and more relevant lesson from Gujarat which Modi refuses to learn. The demonstrators in London last month conveyed to Modi that the world has neither forgotten nor forgiven him for his role during the pogrom of 2002.… In combating Narendra Modi and his cohorts, Indians are fighting to save India’s soul.



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Dictum & Diaspora: Are you going to fiddle while India burns? – By Ujjal Dosanjh (Dec 15, 2015, Indian Express)

The limbs of India continue to be constantly mutilated, raped or chopped off. One day it is Mohammed Akhlaq, murdered for allegedly killing a cow and stashing beef in his fridge, another day it is Kalburgi, for offending the religious sensibilities of the brutes and fanatics. There have been others like them who have been sacrificed at the altar of hurt religious sensibilities. Then there are Vaibhav and Divya – two Dalit children burnt alive for whatever reasons some thought gave them the rights to maim and burn children. Recently, a seven-year-old girl was gangraped in Delhi. That is not an exception. In the last three years, five minor females were raped every two days in the capital.…

If it was one murder or rape or as many as there usually are based on crime rate and the population – one may say statistically there is nothing to worry about. But what is happening in India is beyond statistics. It is beyond proportionality. Indians who think and reflect upon the truth of what India is experiencing are shaken by it; they are either moved to do something about it or are numbed in response to the need for sheer survival in the dog eat dog world of Indian polity and economy.

India will survive, you say. It has survived through the ages, you argue. India is nothing if not resilient, you reason. And all that happens to be true. But the soul of India asks what are you going to do about the barbarism and the butchery happening in the country? Are you going to be part of the millions of battles being waged in the country for the India of the future? Or are you going to fiddle while India burns?



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A vision betrayed – By Sitaram Yechury (Dec 25, 2015, Frontline)

… what we wanted was enactment of all the laws, on the basis of which we can carry forward the vision of social justice that Dr Ambedkar stood for.

Now, instead, we have a situation where the government has come forward saying that we reaffirm our faith in the Constitution. Where is the question of reaffirming? You are here, I am here, and all of us are here on an oath on this Constitution. What is this drama of reaffirming? If the Constitution was not there, then, you wouldn’t be here. The government of the day must know, the Leader of the House – he is not here now – should know that they are there only because we affirm our faith in this Constitution. Where is this question of now saying “We will reaffirm”? And what is this Constitution Day, Sir?…

So, what is this new item that we have, Sir? … You may call it item song or whatever. It is a new item now in the Indian Constitution.… I am quoting from that speech of Dr Ambedkar. “Will history repeat itself?” That is, will we lose our Independence once again? “Will Indians place the country above their creed or will they place creed above the country, I did not know.”…



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Killing In The Name Of The Indian Nation – By Malem Ningthouja (Dec 19, 2015, Tehelka)

… The government’s defence of murder by ‘security forces’ is in a piece with its stand on the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which has been widely condemned across civil society for giving impunity to men in uniform carrying out heinous crimes as part of counterinsurgency operations. The attorney general’s submission in the Supreme Court was a rationalisation of this impunity as well as a plea for further militarisation of the conflict torn region.

Opinions are divided on the timing and political wisdom of the statement, though the regime in New Delhi seems quite happy with it. For the BJP-led government, it is just a prelude to more chest-thumping “surgical” operations against “anti-nationals”. It also serves a more partisan political purpose: such “bold” words from a representative of the regime, that too in a court of law, is likely to help galvanise the support of “nationalist” zealots for a government no longer as confident of its feet on the ground as it was when it took power in May 2014. Killing in the “national interest” gives strength to those who reach out to the people in the name of an “imagined nation”.…

The attorney general’s statement was the last attempt to defend the men who killed civilians in cold blood during peacetime. So far, men in uniform have got away with murder through a tangled process that starts with denial of involvement in the crime. When that fails to pass muster with public opinion, evidence is tampered with and impunity under AFSPA is invoked. If the crime still manages to make it to the courts, the complexity of the proceedings further brings down the possibility of justice.…



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Tardy progress – By T.K. Rajalakshmi (Dec 11, 2015, Frontline)

The Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) is one of the much touted flagship programmes of the National Democratic Alliance government and was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year on October 2. Its aim is to provide 100 per cent sanitation coverage and eradicate open defecation in rural India by 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The Ministry of Urban Development’s latest progress report (October 2015) on the status of implementation by State governments of the various components of the SBM shows that in both urban and rural India not only have the coverage and use of individual and community toilets been tardy but the work of waste collection, disposal and treatment has also not progressed sufficiently. This was despite the fact that in the financial year 2015-16, rural sanitation accounted for 58 per cent of the total allocation to the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. But allocations as a whole went down by 48 per cent – from Rs.12,096 crore in 2014-15 to Rs.6,231 crore for 2015-16.…

It is evident the current approach to sanitation, focussing as it does on mindset changes and the collaborative effort of civil society, is far from adequate. Not only is the concept narrow, it is also divorced from the realities of household dwellings where the average floor area does not go beyond 40 square metres.



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A Calcutta Chromosome – By Meetu Jain (Dec 21, 2015, Outlook)

In August 2015, the chief of the Enforcement Directorate issued a terse circular, one that turned conventional practice on its head. The ED, said acting director Karnail Singh, need not wait for other agencies such as the CBI to probe a case. If the courts have taken cognisance, ED can go ahead and start a probe on its own. In all its existence, ED, which comes under the purview of the Union finance ministry, has taken its cue from that “caged bird”, the Central Bureau of Investigation, which comes under the department of personnel (DoPT), which reports to the PMO.

But it is events leading up to the circular that are more revealing. Just days earlier, Karnail Singh, who was then ED special director, was all set to be transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) following a letter to the finance ministry written by an officer of the income-tax department. The I-T officer, rumoured to be in the race for the ED top job himself, alleged that Karnail Singh and two other officers were going slow in investigating several cases. These cases included two real estate firms, one owned by a Congress politician close to the party top brass, and the other by a BJP leader out of favour with the ruling triumvirate but close to the late Pramod Mahajan.

Around the same time came a decisive salvo fired at the PMO by Subramanian Swamy. The BJP leader accused then ED chief, Rajan Katoch, of closing the National Herald case even though there was a mountain of evidence. The fact that the CBI had not responded to repeated reminders by the ED as also the fact that it had not filed even a preliminary enquiry (PE) report was not good enough. Whether it was the Swamy missive or an administrative decision, Katoch was shifted out and Karnail Singh took over as acting ED chief.…



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