IAMC Weekly News Roundup - December 25th, 2017 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 25th, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

2G case: Narendra Modi may have just lost his most-used political weapon (Dec 21, 2017, Economic Times)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have just lost his most-used political weapon – his anti-corruption crusade. A court in New Delhi acquitted a former telecommunications minister in India’s biggest graft case, in which federal investigators alleged had cost the government as much as Rs 309.84 billion ($4.8 billion). All others involved in sale of airwave licenses in 2008 were also acquitted.

With eight states going to polls in the coming year, the verdict is seen a blow to Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, which has won a series of elections since 2014 capitalizing on corruption charges against the previous Congress-led government.

It may prompt Modi to hunt for fresh issues going into the provincial votes before seeking re-election in 2019. His boldest moves – an unprecedented cash ban and a nationwide sales tax (GST) – were also aimed at rooting out corruption but caused disruptions to the economy.…



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Opposition Unites Against Yogi Adityanath Government’s ‘Draconian’ UPCOCA (Dec 21, 2017, News18.com)

The opposition parties in Uttar Pradesh have decided to stand united against the UP Control of Organised Crime Act (UPCOCA) tabled by the Yogi Adityanath-led government during ongoing winter session of the Assembly.

They have termed UPCOCA as a tool to suppress the voice of opposition and against the interest of the common man. Former chief minister and national president of the Samajwadi Party, Akhilesh Yadav, said that UPCOCA is a tool to threaten the voices against the government.

He said, “BJP used to say that encounters of the criminals will improve the law and order situation in the state but nothing has changed. Nothing will change until the government gives charge to able officers. UPCOCA will be used to suppress the voice of the opposition and to threaten them.”…



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Ashrams run by Virender Dev Dikshit raided in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh; 47 women, six girls rescued (Dec 23, 2017, New Indian Express)

Three centres run by a “spiritual leader” were raided by the police in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh today and 47 women and six minor girls were rescued. A Delhi Police team went to an ashram founded by Virender Dev Dixit at Dwarka in the national capital and rescued five minor girls, who were allegedly kept confined there, officials said.

Uttar Pradesh Police also raided two centres run by Dixit at Siktarbad and Kampil respectively and rescued 47 women and a girl. Facing a stiff opposition from the inmates, the police had to enter the centres from the terraces of the adjoining buildings.…

On Thursday, raids were conducted at the Adhyatmik Vishwa Vidyalaya at Rohini in the national capital, where women and girls were allegedly kept confined like “animals in a cage”. The matter had come to light after a PIL was filed by an NGO, Foundation for Social Empowerment, in the Delhi High Court.…



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4 Ram Rahim followers held for torching rail coaches (Dec 20, 2017, Times of India)

Four followers of Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh have been arrested for indulging in arson after he was convicted of rape in August, police said on Wednesday.

They set fire to two empty coaches at Anand Vihar station yard to avenge the sect chief’s conviction for the rape of two female disciples, an officer said.

Based on a tip-off, Vijay Malik, Bir Singh, Kanhaiya Lal and Harjeet Singh were arrested late on Tuesday from their residences in east Delhi’s Gandhi Nagar and Laxmi Nagar. “During interrogation, the accused admitted to being followers of the Dera and confessed that they had set the two coaches ablaze on August 25,” the officer said.…



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Over 100 pro-Hindu activists booked in Ghaziabad for rioting over ‘love jihad’ (Dec 23, 2017, The News Minute)

Over 100 workers of the BJP and other Hindu outfits, including a dozen-odd leaders, were booked in Ghaziabad on the charge of clashing with police and rioting over the marriage of a Hindu woman with a Muslim man, police said on Saturday.

The case was lodged at midnight Friday by Kavi Nagar police through Sub Inspector Dinesh Sharma under Sections 147, 148, 336, 341, 427, 353 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 7 of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act.

The accused had allegedly clashed with police earlier in the day in Ghaziabad over the marriage they dubbed as a case of “love jihad” and also staged a sit-in outside the house of the woman’s parents and disrupted traffic.…



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‘We Are Afraid of Christmas’: Tensions Dampen Holiday in India (Dec 24, 2017, New York Times)

…In India, a country that is about 80 percent Hindu, Christmas is becoming big business.… But as far-right Hindu groups have gained traction, India has changed. Christmas has now found itself caught in the cross hairs.

The authorities recently detained 32 carolers and the priests who went to help them. The wife of a prominent politician was excoriated online for endorsing a Christmas charity event, and earlier this month, a far-right Hindu group sent letters to schools warning them that celebrating Christmas would be done “at their own risk.” The group threatened unspecified consequences. “We are afraid of Christmas this year,” A. C. Michael, the national coordinator of the United Christian Forum, an Indian advocacy group, said in a statement.

Shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, some officials in his government pushed a short-lived campaign to change the official recognition of Christmas to “Good Governance Day.” It is all part of a broader ideological battle that has produced countless acts of violence and harassment across India based on religious identity.…



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Criminalisation of Triple Talaq Makes Muslim Women More Vulnerable: Women’s Groups (Dec 20, 2017, India.com)

As the government plans to introduce a legislation which criminalises instant triple talaq, various women’s group opposed the move. The Cabinet on December 15 cleared the ‘Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill’. The draft law makes the practice of instant triple talaq “illegal and void” and provides for a jail term for the husband. The women’s group said the criminalisation of instant triple talaq will affect the very women whom it proposes to protect.

The Bebak Collective, an outfit which supported Shayara Bano’s petition against instant triple talaq, said that it is opposed to making violation of the civil contract of marriage a criminal act, reports Indian Express.

According to a statement released by the organization, the legislation will make women more vulnerable as she won’t have financial security and the right to stay at her matrimonial home if her husband is sent to jail. The statement has been endorsed by more than a dozen women’s rights outfits, including academics and activists such as Nivedita Menon, Ayesha Kidwai, and Teesta Setalvad.…



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Yogi Adityanath government stops salaries of 298 madrasa staff over lack of documents (Dec 22, 2017, New Indian Express)

The Uttar Pradesh government has stopped the salaries of 298 staff and teachers at 43 madrasas in the state that have not submitted the required details, an official said on Friday.

Minority Welfare and Muslim Waqf Minister Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary told the legislative council that of the total 560 madrasas in the state, 43 failed to submit details.

Salaries of all staff members and teachers at other madrasas was being given as per rules, the Cabinet Minister added. In all, there are 8,764 teachers and staff members at these madrasas. The Minister said a notice has been sent to the management of these madrasas again to set things in order, specially about the land they exist on.…



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“Smuggle, Slaughter Cows, You’ll Be Killed,” Warns Rajasthan BJP Lawmaker (Dec 25, 2017, NDTV)

A lawmaker of Rajasthan’s ruling BJP, speaking on a mob beating of an alleged cow smuggler on Saturday, has declared: “If you smuggle cows, you will be killed”. Gyan Dev Ahuja, known for controversial statements, insisted that the man was never beaten up, that the truck fell on him.

A man called Zakir Khan was arrested for cattle smuggling after he was pulled out of his truck and beaten by villagers on Saturday. The police had tried to stop his truck, in which there were eight cows, but Zakir allegedly drove through the barricades. The police also claim those in the truck fired at them. Villagers stopped the truck and attacked Zakir Khan. Three others with him ran away.

Reacting to the incident, Gyan Dev Ahuja said: “Mera toh seedha seedha kehna hai ki gautaskari aur gaukashi karoge to yu hi maroge (If you smuggle and slaughter cows, then you will be killed). The cow is our mother.”…



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Karnataka BJP MP booked on charges of promoting communal enmity (Dec 23, 2017, Indian Express)

In the aftermath of communal disturbances in Karnataka’s Uttara Kannada district, police in Honnavar town of the region have filed a case against BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje on charges of promoting communal enmity and for causing public mischief through her comments on Twitter.

The police have filed a case under sections 153, 153A and section 505 (2) of the Indian Penal Code in connection with a tweet she put out on December 14, saying “Jihadis tried to repe and murder a girl studying in 9th std near honnavar. Why is the govt silent about this incident? Arrest those who molested and injured this girl. Where are you CM @siddaramaiah?” (sic).

The BJP MP’s tweet came amid tension in Honnavar town on December 14 following reports that a young Hindu schoolgirl had suffered a cut on her hand after being attacked by unidentified persons. The police investigation in the case, however, revealed that the girl had inflicted the wound by herself to avoid harassment by some family members who had learnt of her friendship with a youth.…



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Opinions and Editorials

What good is armed forces protecting India at the border when Hindutva terror is tearing us from within? – By Sanjiv Krishan Sood (Dec 21, 2017, Dailyo.in)

…I am sticking my neck out despite knowing that I may be subjected to intense trolling by the “thekedars of Hindutva” (Hindutva’s custodians) to say that events of the last few years indicate that we are slowly but steadily slipping into an era of terrorism of a different kind, which I suspect has the tacit support of powers that be.

The disgust and burden of guilt since the time a “friend” sent me the video of the brutal killing of a Muslim named Mohammad Afrazul in Rajsamand, Rajasthan in the name of “love jihad” is so intense that I cannot let it torment me any longer. After the heinous act, killer Shambu Lal Regar audaciously proclaimed that “all such persons” will meet the same fate. Through this act of terror, the murderer has brought disgrace to my great religion which advocates Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. He deserves no mercy and the strictest possible punishment should be given to him not only for the wanton murder but also for inciting communal hatred.…

Is this the nation for which our armed forces fight and make sacrifices? Is this the country which our forefathers dreamt of? Is this the India that we wish to hand over to our children? Doesn’t our conscious prick us and make us feel despondent, disgraced and ashamed? If we collectively do not condemn such acts of terror and the authorities take urgent steps to stop them, soon the idea of India will begin to disintegrate.



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No land for Muslims! Family stopped from entering house they bought in Hindu area in UP alleging land jihad – By Gourav Mishra (Dec 21, 2017, IB Times)

While the furore over the alleged ‘love jihad’ continues to rage in India, a similar word – an equally divisive one – has been coined, to differentiate and keep the ‘other’ away from your immediate vicinity – land jihad!

And a group of people, led by BJP’s youth wing leader, stopped a Muslim man and family from entering the property they had purchased in Uttar Pradesh’s Maliwada, alleging ‘land jihad.’ The locals alleged that Muslims will intrude into the Hindu dominated area and make a dominion. Faced by local ire, the hapless family, who had been living in a single-room house for 32 years, has now agreed for a settlement and leave the area, according to reports.

Usman lived in a one-room house in Meerut along with his siblings, parents and uncle. The accommodation was provided to the family by the government school where Usman’s father works. Earlier in December, Usman purchased a two-storey building in Maliwada near the school. It was the ancestral property of Sanjay Rastogi. Things turned upside down when few of the residents from Maliwada, including Rastogi and BJP’s youth wing leaders, protested against Usman owning a property in the locality.&hellip



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‘Abrogation of decency’: The RSS has a message for BJP after its ‘marginal victory’ in Gujarat – By Dhirendra K Jha (Dec 23, 2017, Scroll.in)

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s victory in Gujarat does not appear to have enthused its ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. In its congratulatory message to the party, the RSS described the election result as “alpvyap vijay”, or marginal victory, marred by “people’s disapproval”.

Though the BJP secured a comfortable majority with 99 seats in the 182-member Assembly, it lost considerable support compared to the previous election in 2012, when it won 115 seats.

“Decency of language and behaviour and ideological firmness are our identity,” read the curt message sent to BJP president Amit Shah through Ram Lal, the party’s general secretary in charge of organisation, the day after the result. “Abrogation of decency is inappropriate and unacceptable, and as such it did not get people’s approval.”…



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Opposition’s silence on Rajasthan hate murder is a troubling sign for India – By Shoaib Daniyal (Dec 20, 2017, Scroll.in)

Even though it follows a spate of beef-linked hate crimes, the gruesome murder of a Bengali migrant worker named Afrazul in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand town on December 6 is especially chilling. The killer, Shambhulal Regar, seems to have fed off Hindutva campaigns against Muslims, such as the “love jihad” conspiracy theory that Muslim men have joined a campaign to marry Hindu women in order to convert them to Islam. This led Regar to pick on a random Muslim man, hack him with a pickaxe, attempt to decapitate him and then set him on fire. The murder was videotaped and uploaded on the Internet.

That Regar was driven to such extreme brutality is only one part of the tragedy. The other is the reaction to the crime. The killing was hailed by WhatsApp groups that had BJP MP and an MLA as members. Across India, supporters actually donated money to Regar, collecting Rs 3 lakh. Hindutva groups organised rallies at which they justified Afrazul’s murder.

In shocking contrast is the lack of response from India’s secular parties. The Afrazul murder occured in the middle of the campaign for the Gujarat Assembly elections. In most circumstances, an incident of this significance would immediately have been picked up by politicians on the campaign trail. But the Congress kept mum. This silence has been extended to Parliament, where the Congress has chosen to concentrate on Narendra Modi’s personal attacks on Manmohan Singh instead of questioning the Rajsamand killing. The political silence isn’t just a national phenomenon. A civil society fact-finding team found that there has been no effort to reassure Muslims in Rajsamand: no meetings, no rallies and no statements. In fact, a small protest rally by the Muslim community is now being blamed by Hindutva groups for sparking tension.…



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What acquittal of Raja and conviction of Lalu tell us about Narendra Modi – By Ajay Singh (Dec 25, 2017, First Post)

The exoneration of A Raja and the conviction of a metaphorical ‘Raja’ Lalu Prasad Yadav (he used to call himself the ‘Raja of Bihar’), reveal what a complex web governance in India is.

Raja’s exoneration in the 2G scam was quickly followed by Lalu’s conviction in the fodder scam. In both cases, the respective CBI courts delivered verdicts which are being conveniently and liberally interpreted by the accused.

Look at the manner in which Raja, Kanimozhi and their colleagues in the DMK are expressing jubilation over the court’s verdict and describing it as “triumph of the truth”. Quoting the verdict, they call the 2G scam nothing but a figment of the imagination of some conspirators out to destroy the “impeccable” image of the UPA government. And who else could be the chief conspirator but Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself!…



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This Ghaziabad father defied BJP leaders to ensure his daughter’s marriage to a Muslim man – By Shoaib Daniyal (Dec 25, 2017, Scroll.in)



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