IAMC Weekly News Roundup - December 26th, 2016 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 26th, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Another mosque returned to Muslims in Punjab (Dec 24, 2016, Milli Gazette)

A mosque under adverse occupation for the last 72 years was returned to Muslims and regular prayers re-started there on 14 December. This mosque is Masjid Umar on Sarai Road Chowk of Phagwara town. It was reclaimed due to the efforts of Maulana Owaisur Rahman Ludhianwi, imam of Jama Masjid Phagwara which itself was reclaimed in 1950 due to the efforts of the well-known freedom fighter Maulana Khalilur Rahman Ludhianwi.

The first prayer in Masjid Umar was led by Maulana Muhammad Usman Rahmani Ludhianwi, a leader of Majlis Ahrar-e Islam Hind and deputy Shahi Imam of Punjab. Speaking after the first prayer, Maulana Owaisur Rahman thanked Hindu and Sikh brethren for their support to his efforts. Sweets were distributed during this ceremony.

Maulana Muhammad Usman Ludhianwi recalled that when the Phagwara Jama Masjid was regained in 1950, only three persons were present when the first prayer was conducted, viz., Maulana Khalilur Rahman himself and his brothers Mufti Saedur Rahman Ludhianwi and Mufti Muhammad Ahmad Ludhianwi. But today there are so many Muslims in the area. He said four months ago a communal riot had erupted outside the Jama Masjid of Phagwara but today’s event proves that Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims of Punjab love each other and will not allow communal elements to succeed.


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Demonetisation: “What India has done is commit a massive theft of people’s property – a shocking move for a democratically elected government”, says Steve Forbes (Dec 26, 2016, Financial Express)

In a sharp attack on Indian government’s demonetisation move, Steve Forbes, the Editor-in-Chief of Forbes magazine has gone all out and said, what they have done to the money is ‘sickening and immoral. In an article written by Forbes in the magazine, he wrote about the government’s decision and called it a ‘massive theft of people’s property’.

Forbes called the Indian bureaucracy to be ‘notorious’ for corruption, red tape and lethargy. In the article, Forbes has given an overview on how the demonetisation move was carried out by the Indian government; about the cash crunch, ATM queues, and the increase in governmental control over lives.

Forbes even went on to compare the decision with former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s infamous sterilisation program in the 1970’s, calling it Nazi-like eugenics. Forbes wrote: “Not since India’s short-lived forced-sterilization program in the 1970s – this bout of Nazi-like eugenics was instituted to deal with the country’s “overpopulation” – has the government engaged in something so immoral.” Forbes has criticised most of the narratives which the government has been using to support the demonetisation move.…



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MP: Ailing old man forced by bank to be personally present for money deposit dies (Dec 27, 2016, News Bits)

An 86-year-old ailing man, whose personal presence or written permission was insisted upon by State Bank of India (SBI) officials in Mandsaur of MP, died on Sunday without being able to deposit Rs 40,000 in old currency notes.

Before this, at least seven persons have lost lives in different parts of Madhya Pradesh due to demonetization related issues. In the Mandsaur case, the old man, Shantilal Jain was brought to the SBI branch twice on December 21 and 22, despite his being on oxygen support, as the bank officials insisted that Jain either gave permission for the deposit either orally on in written.

However, Jain was in no condition to speak or write and kept sitting in an autorickshaw in which he was brought to the bank by his son. Despite the personal presence of Jain, the bank officials refused to deposit the money. It was only after intervention of the lead bank and the local people’s representative that it was decided that the old currency would be deposited on Monday. However Jain breathed his last on Sunday, probably unable to cope up with the activities of the preceding days.…



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PM Modi accused of bribery again as 10 Delhi Metro stations go cashless with Paytm from January 1 (Dec 24, 2016, IB Times)

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) once again set its crosshairs on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of asking money from Paytm as news emerged that the app would be part of a process that would take 10 stations of Delhi Metro cashless from January 1, 2017.…

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in particular has so far viewed any and every change brought by the Central government in Delhi as a political move. The party also showed that although it had parted ways with some of its older members, their ideologies still matched.

First, former AAP member and Swaraj Abhiyan founder Prashant Bhushan tweeted: “After 40Cr from Sahara &25Cr from Birla,what did Modi get from Paytm promote It? It has emerged biggest gainer from Noteban. Cashful Modiji! [sic]” And then Kejriwal retweeted it, putting his stamp of approval on the allegation.



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New Delhi: Court acquits two men of charges of waging war against country (Dec 25, 2016, DNA India)

A city court has acquitted two persons of charges of waging war against the country in an over ten-year-old case registered by Delhi Police which had claimed that they were members of a banned militant outfit.

Additional Sessions Judge Reetesh Singh absolved Bihar residents, Irshad Ali and Maurif Qamar, who were allegedly picked up by the Special Cell of Delhi Police in 2005.

The case was later transferred to CBI following directions of the Delhi High Court. After probing the matter, CBI had filed a closure report in the case claiming that the two men were informers of the special cell and Intelligence Bureau.…



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India’s Answer to Custodial Killings: Cash and Not Justice (Dec 20, 2016, HRW)

“From his affidavit it appears that he has already made up his mind and has given a clean chit to the police officers,” the Bombay High Court found in October 2009 in response to an affidavit from the assistant commissioner of police of Maharashtra’s Criminal Investigation Department.

Investigating the death of 22-year-old Altaf Shaikh in police custody, the assistant commissioner had absolved his colleagues and asked the court to dismiss the petition filed by Shaikh’s mother seeking further investigations into her son’s death. The court ultimately ruled that state authorities had colluded to find reports “manufactured to help the police officers.”…

As the Supreme Court noted in 2004 in Munshi Singh Gautam v. State of Madhya Pradesh, “Bound as they are by the ties of brotherhood, it is not unknown that police personnel prefer to remain silent and more often than not even pervert the truth to save their colleagues.”



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RSS members assault Hindu, Muslim students for singing Christmas Carols (Dec 26, 2016, Twocircles.net)

The Chadayamangalam police on Sunday filed a case against eleven persons, all of them associated with RSS, for assaulting teenagers for singing Christmas Carol songs in Kollam district.

According to local media reports, one of the suspects, Jayakumar, questioned a group of teenagers what religion they belonged to while they arrived in his house as part of a Carol group. When they said they they belonged to Hindu and Muslim families, Jayakumar demanded to know why a non-Christian group was out singing Christmas carols.

“Jayakumar shouted at us while he came to know there were no Christians in the group. He said that Christmas should be celebrated only by Christians and not people from other religions,” said 16 year old Abdullah. The group, however, left the house. But Jayakumar and a few of his relatives barged into the compound while they entered to next house and started beating the group.…



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BJP MP calls Muslims terrorists; Congress demands legal action (Dec 19, 2016, Business Standard)

Demanding legal action against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Parvesh Verma for his “disgusting” remarks against Muslims, the Congress on Monday attempted to corner the ruling dispensation while asserting that this episode should be considered a part of the saffron party’s agenda as it believes in inciting communal violence.

Congress leader Sandeep Dixit condemned Verma’s assertion that all terrorists are Muslims. “Verma’s statement is highly condemnable and I would say a legal action should be taken in this regard,” he said.

Dixit said Verma’s statement is dangerous and disgusting. “The BJP is known for inciting communal violence and this episode should also be considered as part of it,” he added. The Congress leader further said every community is at liberty to choose its leader, adding it was extremely disgusting on the BJP’s part to give it a communal colour.…



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Activists who visited Maoist-hit Chhattisgarh arrested under security act (Dec 26, 2016, Hindustan Times)

The Bastar police on Monday arrested seven people from Andhra Pradesh inside the Chhattisgarh border in Sukma district and claimed that they belonged to intellectual wings of Maoists outfits.…

those arrested included social activist Durga Prasad (36) of Hydrabad, R. Laxmaiyya (45), secretary of Adiwasi Tudem Dubba, Khammam, journalists B. Prabhakar Rao (52) and Rajendra Prasad (28) from Hyderabad, high court advocates Ch Prabhakar Rao (48) and B. Ravindra Nath (42) Hyderabad and Mohammad Nazim (27), research scholar Osmania University. One of the arrested people – Ch. Prabhakar said the police action was unwarranted because they were only civilians.…

The accused claimed they were rights activists on a fact-finding mission related to encounters and atrocities in Maoist-affected areas of Telangana and Chhattisgarh. Civil rights activists have slammed the police for the arrest.…



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‘Uniform Civil Code, a ploy to impair religious harmony’ (Dec 27, 2016, The Hindu)

The push by the Union government to implement Uniform Civil Code was nothing but a ploy to gain political mileage by damaging religious harmony, alleged Rajya Sabha MP and DMK women’s wing secretary M.K. Kanimozhi here on Monday.

Speaking at a conference organised by the women’s wing of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) to oppose the UCC, Ms. Kanimozhi said that BJP’s claims of defending rights of women belonging to minority religions were unbelievable since the party had not shown similar interest in other women-related issues.

“The 33 per cent women’s reservation Bill is already passed by the Rajya Sabha and awaiting its day in the Lok Sabha. Since the BJP has majority, it can easily pass the legislation. However, it is not willing to table the Bill when several other legislations are being passed without discussion,” she said.…



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Upper caste men brutally crush dalit woman to death in Haryana (Dec 21, 2016, Times of India)

A group of youths from upper caste mowed down a 55-year-old dalit woman when she tried to broker peace between two groups to avert clash in a Kakroli Sardara village of Badra sub-division of Bhiwani on Tuesday night.

With crushed head and upper stomach, Dano Devi died on the spot. Amid heavy deployment of reserves to avert any caste clashes in the village, police have started the investigations after registering the case of murder and atrocities on SC/ST Act at Badra police station.

A case has been registered on the complaint of Mahesh Kumar, nephew of Dano Devi. Those booked in the case include Tejbir Singh, Ravinder Singh alias Ravi, Ashwani Kumar, Bablu and Salim. All the five come from Jat community, including Mohammadan Jat.…



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Opinions and Editorials

Modi’s note ban: How BJP is struggling to defend its reckless boss – By Bharat Bhushan (Dec 21, 2016, Catch News)

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is suddenly wary of its electoral prospects in Uttar Pradesh. Before demonetisation, it was supremely confident of victory and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rallies drew enthusiastic crowds.

But Modi’s dramatic decision has put the brakes on his seemingly unstoppable evolution into an irresistible, larger than life figure. Suddenly, no one is clapping or chanting “Modi, Modi” as they used to. The damage to the lives of ordinary folk because of demonetisation, or “notebandi” as it is popularly called, has been enormous.

The international media is unanimous that the Indian government has botched up big time. The social media that had been crucial in fabricating Modi’s image is now chipping away at it with viral videos, memes and messages mocking his decision. There are few from within the party who want to tell the leadership that its image is in tatters.…



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Anxieties Of A Scattered-Industry – By Lola Nayar (Dec 26, 2016, Outlook)

Demonetisation may have put a question mark on the government plans for roll-out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from April 1 next year, but it has whetted the desire of hundreds of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), particularly manufacturing units in the informal sector, to move to the formal sector with its rules and regulations, specifically labour and tax payout.

A direct collateral of demonetisation and the low cash supply scenario, has been thousands of workers in the informal sector being let off as hundreds of units in the sector have downed the shutters, albeit temporarily. Anil Bhardwaj of the Federation of Indian Micro & Small and Medium Enterprises (FISME) clarifies, “There have been no layoffs but as many of the units dealing only in cash transactions have temporarily shut down operations, the workers have been sent away. Majority of the workers, almost 70-80 per cent, in these units are daily wagers.”

India has a massive informal sector, which accounts for over 85 per cent of the total workforce. While majority of the informal workforce is engaged in the agr¬iculture sector, around 37 per cent is in the manufacturing and services sectors. Lack of enforcement of labour laws or gaps in reforms have led to a significant number of labour working in micro and small units without basic minimum wages, let alone facilities such as paid leave, medical care or other social securities.…



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Modi Government Is Using FCRA As a Weapon Against Dissenters – Indira Jaising with Vrinda Gopinath (Dec 26, 2016, The Wire)

It’s barely a fortnight that the doughty civil rights lawyer Indira Jaising received news that the Narendra Modi government had cancelled the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act (FCRA) license to her organisation Lawyers Collective (LC). But this has not stopped her from writing articles that Modi’s current pet project, demonetisation, is illegal and not backed by law.

Jaising believes it is no coincidence the LC, like other organisations that work for 2002 Gujarat riot victims, Dalits and other minorities are being targeted and victimised, since this gets in the way of the top BJP leadership and their policy of exclusive development.

The LC, like the rest of civil society organisations targeted, will continue their work, she says, irrespective of foreign funding or not, for their endeavor to deepen democracy, guard civil liberties and the right to dissent carries on uninterrupted. In a freewheeling interview, Jaising talks to The Wire about the cases she took up, from the civil suit against Modi, to the murder charges against BJP party president Amit Shah, and governance today.…



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Discourse On National Anthem: From Heart Warming To Chest Thumping Nationalism – By T Navin (Dec 21, 2016, Countercurrents)

A fanatic slogan by Hindu fundamentalist group reads “garv se kaho hum hindu hai” (say with proudness that I am a Hindu). Such a sloganeering transforms a religious identity from a set of emotion based on ‘bhakti’ towards ‘supreme’ to that of an inflated ego of ‘religious supremacy’ based on a proud religious identity with ‘hatred’ for others. Displaying ‘chest thumping’ to express an identity changes the very nature of it.

With symbols of Hindu fundamentalism in reign, the discourse on nationalism has undergone a perversion in India. A similar process of displaying pervert nationalism based on crude chest thumping is at display. Symbols of Nationalism are being sought to be used to display patriotism in a particular way.

These included attempts at forcing people in saying ‘Vandemataram’, ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ to display the same. The latest to join the list is the National Anthem ‘Jana, Gana, Mana’. Under the current regime, the national anthem has been transformed from that of ‘heart warming to chest thumping nationalism’. Unfortunately this gets legitimised by Supreme Court directive to stand during National Anthem.…



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Taimur: What’s in a name? – By Nilofar Suhrawardy (Dec 25, 2016, Milli Gazette)

What’s really in a name, whatever be it, as long as it is not mispronounced and is not misused? But the noise made over Kareena and Saif’s decision to name their first-born “Taimur” really raises numerous questions.

Why are so many people so concerned about the little one’s name? How would they feel if the rest of the world raised objections to their own names, that of their children and their relatives? Whatever be the historical reasons being cited for such objections to the name, practically speaking they make no sense. The impression has been created as if history has known only one Taimur.

And he is being presented as a rather unpopular figure by those objecting to the name. Well, it is difficult to regard all these persons as great historians who have an excellent academic background. What is pathetic is their assumption that the Bollywood couple named their son after Taimur the king? Even if they did, so what? They are entitled to name him, as they desire.…



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Ten years after Sachar Report – By Zeeshan Shaikh (Dec 26, 2016, Indian Express)

On November 30, 2006, the 403-page report of the Sachar Committee, on the social, economic and educational condition of Muslims in India, was tabled in Parliament. The Committee, headed by former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Rajinder Sachar, was set up soon after the UPA 1 government took over, and it submitted its findings in less than 2 years.

The Report highlighted a range of disabilities faced by the community, and made a slew of recommendations to address the situation. It placed Indian Muslims below Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in backwardness. Among the many issues it highlighted were the huge mismatch between the percentage of Muslims in the population and in decisionmaking positions such as the IAS and IPS, and the general poor representation of the community in the police.…

An analysis of government data show that most indicators have not seen significant improvement in the years since the Report was submitted. In some cases things seem to have, in fact, deteriorated – in 2005, for example, the share of Muslims among India’s police forces was 7.63%; in 2013, it fell to 6.27%. The government subsequently stopped releasing data on police personnel broken down by religion.…



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