IAMC Weekly News Roundup - December 1st, 2014 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 1st, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

National Communal Harmony week concludes (Nov 26, 2014, The Hindu)

The National Communal Harmony week culminated on Tuesday with children from various schools participating in a daylong cultural event that was lined up with various competitions such as patriotic songs, debate and elocution.

Over 150 children from about 20 schools participated in the programme that was organised at Dr. Deen Shaadi Khana in the Old Town area by the National Foundation of Communal Harmony (NFCH) under the aegis of the Andhra Pradesh State Minorities Finance Corporation. …

On the occasion, Yuva Bharati Force also organised a rally in the Old Town area from the Old Post building. A good number of school children participated in the rally. According to Mohammed Sadiq of Yuva Bharati Force, the rally was organised to create awareness among school children and others on communal harmony and peace.



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‘Jafri was last seen being dragged by accused’ (Nov 29, 2014, Indian Express)

Recounting the 2002 Gulberg Society massacre, the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) lawyer told a specially designated court in Ahmedabad that former Congress MP Ahsan Jafri “was last seen being dragged by some accused out of his house… his body was never recovered…”

The trial began before the fourth judge, on the directions of and following a deadline set by the apex court, on Friday. Nowhere in the 45-odd minutes of narration did the special public prosecutor defending SIT, R C Kodekar, say that Jafri opened fire on the mob, a premise that has been stated by investigators as having provoked the mob to kill Jafri and 68 others that day.…

Kodekar said on February, 28, 2002, the tension escalated in certain localities in the Meghaninagar area. He began by describing “…some shops were torched by an unruly mob, but not here at Gulberg Society. However, tension mounted further and mob of some 20,000 to 22,000 gathered near Gulberg Society.” Kodekar wrapped up the case by saying, “39 persons were burnt alive while 30 persons went missing. Seven years later, they were declared dead. In all, 69 persons were killed in the incident. Jafri was last seen being dragged by some accused, but his body was not found.”

The SIT did not mention the closure report it filed on the preliminary inquiry into the petition by Jafri’s widow, Zakia, who has accused the then chief minister and now Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 61 others for their failure to contain the riots. The special court may hear next week a plea filed by victims seeking to arraign four retired IPS officers in the case.



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Ishrat Case: Vanzara Tells Court He Only Followed Orders (Nov 28, 2014, New Indian Express)

In a fresh attempt to get bail before the CBI judge K R Upadhyaya, Gujarat IPS officer D G Vanzara has taken a stand that he simply followed his superiors’ orders while executing the 2004 Ishrat Jahan encounter and questioned why the CBI has not made the then police commissioner K R Kaushik and IB officials as accused in the case.

Vanzara’s counsel V Gajjar argued on Friday that he was not aware about IB’s inputs and he only acted for the operation on the orders of his superior Kaushik, but the CBI, instead of booking the latter too, made him a witness thereby selectively sparing him while booking the subordinate officers.

He also argued that CBI did not make four IB officials linked to the case viz. Rajendra Kumar, Tarun Mittal, M K Sinha and Rajiv Wankhede as accused giving reason that CBI did not receive sanction from the Union Home Ministry – as required under Section 197 of CrPC for prosecution against the IB officers – where as CBI did not opt for any such permission before naming Vanzara or any other senior Gujarat Police officer in the charge sheet.…



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‘Madrasas not breeding grounds for terrorism’ (Nov 30, 2014, The Hindu)

Retaliating against the West Bengal government for allegedly branding madrasas as ‘breeding grounds for terrorist activities’ after the accidental blast at Khagragarh in the Bardhaman district, Islamist organisation Jamiat Ulama i Hind leaders demanded at a public meeting here on Saturday that the secular nature of the Indian Constitution must be upheld.

Stating that terrorist activities and madrasas were two different entities, State secretary of the Jamiat Ulama i Hind Siddiqullah Chowdhury said madrasas and terror activities were separate. … “Madrasas are not centres where terrorist activities are taught. We feel insulted comments that blame Islamists for terrorist activities in the State. This is driving a wedge between the Hindus and Muslims,” Mr. Chowdhury said.

“There is no place for terror in Islam. India is our country and we will sacrifice our lives for this nation, like our predecessors have,” said Jamiat i Ulama Hind general secretary Mahmood Madani. “Those who label us as terrorists are spreading terror, not us. There is no place for terror in Islam. At a time when there is terror all around the world, why are Indian Muslims not engaging in it? It is because these madrasas have prevented them from taking the wrong path. There are terrorist forces which are trying to taint us and force us into treading the wrong path,” Mr. Madani said.…



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Hindu Radicals Attack Indian Pentecostal Church, Eight Injured and Pastor Arrested (Nov 24, 2014, Christian Daily)

A group of Hindu radicals have attacked a Pentecostal church in Karnataka, India leaving eight injured, adding to the numerous attacks that have taken place in India this year against Christian communities. The attack took place during a prayer service at the Calvary Apostolic Church where Hindu radicals interrupted the service and attacked worshippers, Asia News reports. Among the eight that were injured, two were reported with broken legs from the incident.

Rev. D’Souza, a pastor in the community, was brought to the local police station for questioning after police investigated the incident. The Global Council of Indian Christians’s (GCIC’s) president, Sajan George, told Asia News that the police “did not stop the aggressors” when they arrived at the scene of the incident.

George condemned the latest attack, saying that “religious fundamentalists are a threat to the rule of law.” “The violations of public law and order by Hindu radicals endanger religious freedom and threaten the lives and property of Christians in Karnataka” George said to Asia News on behalf of the GCIC.…



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Ramzada vs haramzada: Outrage over Union Minister Sadhvi’s remark (Dec 2, 2014, Indian Express)

Launching the BJP’s campaign in Delhi, Union Minister of State Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti told voters here on Monday that they must choose between ‘Ramzadon’ (those born of Ram) and ‘haramzadon’ (illegitimately born). Meanwhile, another Union Minister of State, Giriraj Singh, compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Ram.

Addressing a rally in West Delhi’s Shyam Nagar area, Jyoti, the BJP MP from Fatehpur in Uttar Pradesh, said, “Aapko tay karna hai ki Dilli mein sarkar Ramzadon ki banegi ya haramzadon ki. Yeh aapka faisla hai (You must decide whether you want a government of those born of Ram or of those born illegitimately).”…

Reacting sharply to Jyoti’s comments, former Delhi Minister and AAP leader Manish Sisodia said, “The BJP clearly wants to vitiate the atmosphere. Comments like these from senior ministers show that their concept of elections is divisive and based on hooliganism.” Former Congress minister Haroon Yusuf said, “This is what the BJP has been doing in Delhi for the past few months. They have been trying to polarise Delhi on the basis of religion, this is what they did in Trilokpuri and Bawana. This politics of religious polarisation is very dangerous and spreads hatred. But Delhi won’t accept this.”…



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Smriti Irani interfering, assertive, says UGC member M M Ansari (Nov 27, 2014, Indian Express)

University Grants Commission (UGC) member M M Ansari has slammed HRD Minister Smriti Irani for her “excessive interference” in the functioning of the commission and for taking “arbitrary and abrupt” decisions, while depending entirely on a “well-planted bureaucracy” and the RSS for running the ministry.

The first such attack on the minister by a serving UGC member comes at a time when she is in the eye of a storm for her ministry’s decision to scrap German as a third language in Kendriya Vidyalayas. …

The former CIC termed Irani’s decisions as being “very arbitrary” and “abrupt” and claimed she was “too assertive”. Ansari, who has been a UGC member since 2012, also questioned Irani’s capabilities to lead the crucial education sector.…



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AMU Vice Chancellor slams BJP, says can’t celebrate every donor’s birth anniversary (Nov 28, 2014, IBN)

A fresh controversy is brewing in the Aligarh Muslim University where the varsity authorities and Bharatiya Janata Party have got into a war of words over a piece of land. The Vice Chancellor Zameeruddin Shah responding to the controversy said, “I don’t oppose the celebrations and we ourselves had offered to celebrate Raja Mahendra Pratap’s at a pre-decided venue.”

BJP had asked the university to celebrate the birth anniversary of Raja Mahendra Pratap, a freedom fighter, who according to them had donated land to AMU. A meeting between the AMU V-C and the leaders of BJP and student wing ABVP took place on Thursday in this concern. “There are hundreds of donors, we can’t go on celebrating days of donors,” the V-C said.

The AMU has rejected the claims made by BJP and had approached the Union HRD Ministry to prevent politics from trickling into the matter.…



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Why is liberal Hindu majority silent, asks Kuldip Nayar (Dec 1, 2014, India Tomorrow)

While the socio-political situation in the country is fast getting saffronized, but liberal Hindus are silent, lamented veteran journalist and author Kuldip Nayar.

“Today liberal voice of Hindus has gone low. See the newspapers. I do not say they all have become communal, but very few of them are taking on the challenges of communal politics,” said Nayar at the launch of a book on eminent Muslim leader Jawed Habeeb on Friday. Habeeb, founder-member of the Babri Masjid Action Committee, passed away in October 2012.

“I feel that even those who took part in the freedom movement have turned silent or they have got tired. No doubt, Hindus are majority, but this country is ruled by Constitution which gives equal rights to all whether they are Hindu or Muslim,” said eminent columnist Nayar. He was talking about the changed political situation in the country following the May 2014 election.…



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Muzaffarnagar riots: Charges framed against 6 accused in murder case (Dec 2, 2014, Indian Express)

Charges have been framed against six accused by the district court in Muzaffarnagar in connection with the killing of a villager during the communal clashes last year.

Additional District and Sessions Judge Jitender Kumar has framed charges under Sections 302 (murder), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon) and 149 and 153a (promoting enmity between different groups and carrying out acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) of IPC against the accused, identified as Karan Bhgoda, Bablu, Bittu, Niraj, Ashok and Amit here yesterday.

The court fixed Dec. 18 as the date for the prosecution to present its evidence in the case. According to the prosecution, the victim, identified as one Sagir of Kharad village of the district, was murdered while several houses were burnt by rioters on September 8, 2013.…



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Owaisi seeks SC status for all minorities, govt says no (Nov 28, 2014, Times of India)

Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) headAsaduddin Owaisi on Thursday dubbed the Presidential order of 1950 limiting Scheduled Caste status to Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists as “communal”, and sought that dalit status be opened to other religious minorities, only to see the government turn down the demand.

Seizing the opportunity offered by an innocuous legislation for inclusion of new communities in Sikkim in the SC list, Owaisi asked how SC status could be limited to three religions. “This is violation of the right to equality… This is discrimination against Muslims and Christians. The Presidential order (defining SCs) is a communal order,” he said.

Demanding SC status for other minorities, Owaisi said the Rangnath Misra Commission had recommended that dalit category should be made religion-neutral. The MIM chief lamented that the Centre had over eight years refused to file an affidavit spelling out its stand on the issue in the Supreme Court which is hearing a related petition. “The government should file a reply in the apex court,” he said.…



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Opinions and Editorials

A Conspiracy to Erase the Gory Memory of the Gujarat Riots – By Archana Prasad (Nov 30, 2014, Peoples Democracy)

The Gujarat government appointed Nanavati Commission has finally submitted its final report on the Godhra incident and the post-Godhra carnage, 2002. Media reports state that the Commission has found no reason to summon the then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi in order to probe the responsibility and role of the state government in the riots.

This reported conclusion contradicts the evidence provided to different committees and commissions set up in the last decade to investigate the pre-planned character of the riots. It also explicitly contradicts the significant observations made in the Naroda Patiya case where a then minister of the state government was convicted for her role in the riots.

Thus the apparent conclusion of the Nanavati Commission appears to be an attempt to succumb to political pressure and contribute to the project of erasure of memory of 2002 Gujarat Carnage. This is a politically important exercise as it establishes the false reputation of Modi as a secular leader who is interested only in development. In this context, keeping the memory of Gujarat and the struggle for justice of its victims alive is itself a politically crucial task.…



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Ink On Your Hands – By Sharat Pradhan, Pavithra S. Rangan (Dec 8, 2014, Outlook)

When Congress nominee Ajay Rai moved an election petition against PM Narendra Modi before the Allahabad High Court in June this year, it was treated as one of the many routine election petitions filed by losing candidates. Modi had won the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat in an exciting multi-cornered election in May 2014 with a margin of 3,71,784 votes. His closest contender, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal, polled 2,09,238 votes but had not only showered allegations of irregularities on ‘Team Modi’ but had also accused the Election Commission of taking sides. Ajay Rai had polled 75,614 votes.

But a seemingly innocuous revelation made by the EC appears to have lent some credibility to Rai and Kejriwal’s concerns now. In ordinary times, the astounding news of 6,40,000 duplicate voters identified in a VVIP constituency, one whose MP is now the prime minister, would have hit headlines and hogged prime-time air space and sparked off much furious debate. (To talk of a precedent, back in 1975, when the election of a sitting prime minister was set aside for corrupt electoral practices, Indira Gandhi declared a state of Emergency.)

However, these are extraordinary times. The news of duplicate voters in such large numbers has elicited little response, leave alone outrage, from the national and electronic media. The news first broke on the Navbharat Times website and was followed by a report in Dainik Jagran. The initial figure of 3,00,000 reported by both has since then increased to 6,47,000 duplicate voters, confirmed district officials.…



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The Moditva model of inclusiveness – By Amitabha Pande (Nov 26, 2014, The Hindu Businessline)

Those waiting for Narendra Modi to show his true khaki/ saffron colours must be hugely disappointed. Instead of articulating muscular Hindutva, he sounds like a Congressman making noises about ‘inclusive’ vikas, democracy, pluralism, non-violence and Swaccha Bharat. He showers praise on Indian Muslims for their commitment to the idea of India.

The Sangh Parivar icons – Savarkar, Hedgewar and Golwalkar – are replaced by Gandhi, Patel and Nehru. He junks his oldest partner in Project Hindutva, the Shiv Sena and allows Sharad Pawar to cosy up to him! So, what the hell is going on?

It is generally believed that anyone who has ever been through the ideological mills of the Sangh Parivar is committed to the Hindu Rashtra agenda unflinchingly and that once the initial liberal antics are over, the remote control from Nagpur will ensure that the ‘real’ agenda comes back into focus.…



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Saffronising The Green – By Irfan Khan (Nov 30, 2014, Outlook)

It could well be called an “extraneous noise”, using a recently coined phrase, when Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) leaders claim that without the generous donation of land by Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) alumnus Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh, the university’s existence would have been impossible. For it is well known that AMU was established much before Raja Mahendra Pratap’s birth. The land, given on a lease of Rs 2 per year by Raja Mahendra Pratap, undoubtedly proved to be a big help in the extension and expansion of the varsity. AMU has a long list of donors and illustrious alumni who have generously contributed to the cause of setting up a University at Aligarh. However, it is not possible to commemorate all of their birthdays, as their number figures in thousands.

The latest controversy created by the local BJP unit in the name of Jat leader Raja Mahendra Pratap or Peter Peer Pratap is unfounded and baseless. This time RSS and BJP have not done their home work well. In a hurry to create a controversy at AMU, they have wrongly selected a very secular and left-leaning leader who always advocated the doctrine of communal harmony and peace, something that seems to be diametrically opposite to the world view propounded by the saffron outfits.

AMU has never been a platform for political clashes as we see now. It has always promoted the feeling of universal brotherhood and development of the nation. The root of this well-orchestrated drama lies somewhere else. Such politically immature efforts by communally extremist forces to demolish the secular fabric of this great seat of learning and education would have larger ramifications, and may lead to student unrest.…



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RSS’ grand saffron plan for education hits a stumbling block: A reluctant Modi sarkar – By Sandip Roy (Nov 25, 2014, First Post)

The RSS played a big part in being the wind beneath Narendra Modi’s wings in his rise to the top. But once he became PM, pundits wondered whether he would clip the RSS’ wings. Modi is not known to be a man who likes to share power or be dictated to. The popular wisdom was Modi would be fine giving the RSS free rein in areas such as education and culture as long as it kept its nose out of areas like economy and foreign policy and defence.

And that’s exactly what it seems to have done according to an in-depth feature story by Shyamlal Yadav in the Indian Express – Sangham: How the RSS is charting out changes in education. On 30th October delegates from 11 RSS-affiliated outfits spent six hours with Union HRD minister Smriti Irani, her sixth meeting with RSS leaders in six months.

Now she has as Minister of State, former RSS pracharak Ram Shankar Katheria. Watch for more “recommendations” coming out of the RSS-affiliated meet in Ujjain on December 13-14. Education will be a big part of the three-day RSS meeting in Ahmedabad. But if you read between the lines, the story seems to more about sound and fury, signifying as of yet, not so much.…



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Burdwan Blast: That House In Burdwan – By Ajit Sahi (Dec 8, 2014, Outlook)

Dead men tell no tales. But those they leave behind can, and do. In the case of Karim Sheikh, the tale his family has to tell blasts a cannonball through investigators’ claims about the provenance of an explosion in a house in Burdwan town of West Bengal on October 2. Indeed, the family’s claims, made to Outlook in videographed interviews, threaten to upend the narrative—of Bangladesh-based Islamic terrorism waiting to rip apart West Bengal—offered by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the centre’s terror investigator. The family’s testimony puts a big question mark over the integrity of the NIA’s probe.

In the NIA’s telling, Karim was one of the five people inside an apartment in Khagragarh, a low-income, largely Muslim locality of Burdwan town, 110 km northwest of Calcutta, when a bomb went off in it shortly before noon on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary. When the local police arrived and broke into the room of the explosion, they found a man blown to pieces, a youth critically wounded, and another man badly injured. The youth would die at the hospital within three hours of reaching there. A month and ten days later, the NIA said his name was Karim Sheikh.

On November 12, a Burdwan police officer named Gautam Halder wrote to the government hospital, where the youth’s body had lain at the morgue since the post-mortem on October 3, that the “deceased has been identified as Karim Sk s/o Jamshed” and that the “dead body has been identified by Jamshed Sk” and, therefore, “the dead body of Karim Sk may kindly be handed over to Jamshed….” Later that day, a grief-stricken Jamshed, a roadside vegetable seller in a small town named Kirnahar 60 km north of Burdwan, brought his dead son home and buried him.

But there’s a hitch: Jamshed says he did not identify the body as his son’s. “The body had rotted,” Jamshed told Outlook this week. “Nobody in the village could recognise it.” Incredibly, Jamshed says he told the NIA officials he couldn’t identify the body. So why did he accept it?…



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