IAMC Weekly News Roundup - December 8th, 2014 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 8th, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Muslim groups urge President Pranab Mukherjee to refer all Babri Masjid cases to Supreme Court (Dec 5, 2014, Economic Times)

A day ahead of the anniversary of Babri mosque demolition, two Muslim groups urged President Pranab Mukherjee to refer all the cases related to Babri Masjid-Ram Janmbhoomi dispute to the Supreme Court and demanded that the hearing be done in a time-bound manner.

Members of All India Babri Masjid Rebuilding Committee (AIBMRC) and All India Muslim Unity Front (AIMUF), who staged a protest here at Jantar Mantar today, said any decision taken by the apex court will be acceptable to the Muslim community.

The demonstrators demanded rebuilding of the mosque at the disputed site and later handed over memorandums addressed to President and Prime Minister at their respective offices. The protesters said that by “demolishing the Babri Masjid in 1992, several organisations violated the constitution, judiciary, law and order and harmed the secular character of India on international level which can be regained only by rebuilding the mosque.” …



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TMC seeks probe into death of judge hearing Sohrabuddin case (Dec 3, 2014, Indian Express)

Trinamool Congress members on Tuesday staged a demonstration in front of the Parliament, demanding an inquiry into the death of Justice B H Loya, the special CBI judge who was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case in which BJP president Amit Shah is an accused. Justice Loya died in Nagpur on Monday. Shah was recently granted exemption from appearing in court till charges are framed in the case.

Trinamool spokesman Derek O ‘Brien said: “Justice B H Loya was hearing the case after Justice J T Utpat was transferred within a week of reprimanding Amit Shah for seeking exemption from appearance in court. Justice Loya had no medical issues. We ask for an independent inquiry and a forensic investigation into the death of Justice Loya.”

Tuesday was the second day in a row that the TMC targeted Shah, who attacked the TMC in a rally in Kolkata Sunday. On Monday, TMC MPs had demonstrated with red diaries with Sahara written on them, alleging that Shah’s name features in the red diary of the Sahara chief.



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Hindutva literature widens communal chasm (Dec 7, 2014, Times of India)

Districts with 33% Muslims and Christians are described as ‘sensitive’ in literature on Lord Ram and ‘Hindutva’ being distributed by saffron outfits in Ayodhya. ‘Are Hindus a minority? If so, who is responsible’ are questions the literature raises. …

At Karsevakpuram, a booklet titled ‘Hindu’, has a warning written in bold letters – “Hindutva and the country under threat due to increasing population of Muslims’. The booklet is handed out to visitors by VHP functionaries, some of whom came to Ayodhya to participate in temple movement in 1992 and stayed back.

Out of a population of 1 lakh in Ayodhya, there are around 5,000 Muslims concentrated in ghetto-like localities of Dharam Kaanta and Tedhi Bazaar. But the CDs and books on Hindutva and Ayodhya’s history present a threat. A chapter in one such book advocates declaring India a ‘Hindu rashtra’. It further reads, ‘Muslims who stayed back in India (at the time of partition) did it under a plan…today their number has multiplied’. …



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Sushma Swaraj’s call for making Gita ‘national scripture’ an effort to make India a Hindu nation: NDA ally, Opposition (Dec 8, 2014, Indian Express)

A day after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj pushed for declaring Bhagwad Gita as a national scripture, opposition DMK and NDA ally PMK have opposed the move saying the Centre should follow pluralistic character and spirit of secularism.

Accusing the Narendra Modi dispensation of imposing language and culture and not implementing any laudable schemes since it came to power in May, PMK founder S Ramadoss said, “Sushma Swaraj’s act of pushing the opinion of one section of the people on the entire country is condemnable.”

Citing Swaraj’s comments that Gita had solution for problems for every section of the people, he said, “There is no denying that Gita has noble values. The same values are in Holy Quran and Holy Bible. While, this attempt only strengthens the argument that Modi government is making efforts to make India a Hindu nation.”…



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With BJP’s rise, worst fears of minorities coming true: NALSAR VC says in AMU (Dec 4, 2014, DNA India)

Noted jurist and vice-chancellor of NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, Faizan Mustafa on Thursday voiced “grave concern” at the rising incidents of “minority bashing” after the NDA government assumed office earlier this year.

Mustafa launched a scathing attack on the NDA government saying “ever since the BJP-led NDA came to power at the Centre the worst fears of the minorities are coming true”. He was delivering a paper at a national seminar on “Inclusive Development of Minority Community in India”, organised by the Department of Commerce of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). The nation as a whole can no longer afford to ignore the alarming trends manifested in the “statements of senior RSS leaders and the fact that those involved in minority bashing are being awarded with ministerial berths, coupled with the alarming saffronisation of education,” he said.

“Minority rights are not some mercy or favours shown to Muslims by the majority community. There are sound jurisprudential reasons for these rights. These rights are in national interest and are based on constitutional guarantees,” Mustafa said. Recalling first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s defence of minority rights in a democratic country, Mustafa said, “History has demonstrated that there can be no stable equilibrium in any country so long as an attempt is made to crush a minority or force it to conform to the ways of the majority.”…



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“Media propaganda against madrassas is terrorism” (Dec 2, 2014, Twocircles.net)

Propaganda against madrassas in a section of media is a kind of terrorism, said Jamiat e Ulama e Hind’s All India general secretary Maulana Syed Mahmud Asad Madani. Madani was speaking at a protest convention called by Jamiant E Ulama Hind state committee against the propaganda of ‘madrassas in the name of terrorism’ held at Shahid Minar Maidan here on November 29.

Veteran Jamiat leader and Nayeb Muhtamim of Darul Uloom Deoband Maulana Qari Muhammad Usman said, “The propaganda against the Madrassa and Muslim clerics is not a new topic. I condemn the continuous propaganda by a section of media insisting what the communal forces indicate that the Madrassas are responsible for terrorism.”

Maulana Usman said, “When Christian, Hindu or Sikh commit any crime, nobody mentions the religious angle. So why are different standards applied when a Muslim does any crime? Few years ago, some people were dead in Nanded while a bomb was being made. They (police) found from them an artificial beard. But that is hushed up as a minor matter. This should be stopped.”…



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Muslim groups condemn church burning in Delhi (Dec 4, 2014, Twocircles.net)

Terming it as an attack on the religious minorities, several civil society organizations and Muslim groups have condemned the burning of St Sebastian Catholic Church in north-east Delhi.

While condemning the church burning, the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMCwww.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to “safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos” noted that there has been a marked increase in violence and hate campaigns against minorities in India since the BJP came to power.

St Sebastian Catholic Church in Dilshad Garden in north-east Delhi was burnt down completely on Monday morning. The Church authorities and the local community under its parish have alleged foul play by anti-Christian forces vis-a-vis miscreants, who sprinkled kerosene before setting it afire. A large community gathering held a protest demonstration in front of the police headquarters on Tuesday demanding thorough probe into the incident.…



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In Gujarat, Urdu-medium teachers asked to teach in Tamil, Marathi (Dec 7, 2014, Indian Express)

…In the last one month, 33 Urdu-medium municipal teachers, all Muslims and declared “surplus”, were moved to schools where the medium of instruction is a different language. Four of them were posted to Tamil-medium schools, six to Marathi and two to English, while the “lucky ones” were moved to Gujarati (5) and Hindi-medium (16) institutions.

While the authorities claimed there was no other option due to lack of vacancies in the 59 Urdu-medium institutions among the 452 municipal schools in Ahmedabad, the teachers are upset at what they call “mismanagement” and a “lack of co-ordination” by the administration.

“Throughout my life I have studied and taught in Urdu-medium. At this point, if the authorities ask me to teach in Tamil or Marathi, how will I? Is there any sense in such adjustments?” said another Urdu-medium teacher posted at a Marathi-medium school. “The school board cannot afford to have its teachers draw salaries (a maximum of Rs 40,000 per month) while sitting idle at home. With no vacancies in Urdu-medium schools, such an adjustment was inevitable,” said L.D. Desai, Administrative Officer, AMC school board.…



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Godman fails to appear for medical test (Dec 4, 2014, The Hindu)

The head of Sri Ramachandrapur Math, Hosanagar in Honnavar, has been accused of raping a devotee and a singer of the math. He had earlier approached the High Court seeking directions to dismiss the notice served by the CID to appear for medical test. However, the High Court dismissed the petition and directed him to undergo the test.

Minutes after the direction, CID officials went to the Swamiji’s Ashram at Girinagar and served him a fresh notice asking him to present himself for the medical tests on Thursday at 8 a.m.

Since the Swamiji did not appear before the CID, the officials said that they would move the court with a case of Contempt against the seer.



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Dalit woman seeks action against cop for shielding accused (Dec 2, 2014, Business Standard)

A Dalit woman has demanded stern action against a police officer for allegedly shielding the accused, who had threatened her and her husband, and forcing her to withdraw the complaint. The woman and her husband who are facing a trial in a fraud case where they are accused of duping a man on pretext of getting him a job, were allegedly threatened by the man and his five associates, including two women, on November 29.

“Six people, forcibly entered my house and started abusing and beating my husband. When I asked them to leave they tried to photograph me with their mobile phones and threatened to publish the pictures on internet,” the woman told reporters.

“I went to Desaiganj police station to lodge a complaint. I was called by the police next day and insulted by the officer who forced me to sign a letter withdrawing my complaint. He also threatened of sending us to jail over the duping case,” she further alleged.…



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Opinions and Editorials

Mr. Modi must do the right thing – Editorial (Dec 4, 2014, The Hindu)

The remarks of Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Union Minister of State for Food Processing Industries, at a public meeting in Delhi alluding to religious minorities as illegitimate children, were communal, provocative, and quite out of line for a person holding public office. Her apology was weak, and evidently made under duress, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi advised Bharatiya Janata Party Members of Parliament not to lose their demeanour and to exercise caution while making public statements. …

If the Prime Minister is indeed shocked at the Sadhvi’s choice of words, he should have said so explicitly instead of couching his reprimand in generalities. If he intended to get his no-nonsense message across to his Ministers and MPs, the right course for him would have been to drop Niranjan Jyoti from the Ministry. Criticising the actions without criticising the actor does not go far enough. …

The best way for the Prime Minister to distance himself and his party from the Sadhvi’s remarks is to sack her without further loss of time. It is time decency prevailed over considerations of party loyalty.



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Six Months of Modi Sarkar – By Prakash Karat (Dec 7, 2014, Peoples Democracy)

The Congress party has brought out a booklet on the six months of the Modi government calling it a “U-Turn Sarkar”. Essentially, the booklet claims that the Modi government has done a U-turn by reversing the stand taken by the BJP on a number of policy issues. While in the opposition, the BJP had opposed many of the UPA government’s policies, now in the six months of its government, it has contradicted itself and decided to follow the same policies.

There is a lot of truth in this charge. Basically, the Congress is saying that the BJP is just like us. The record of the six months of the Modi government has shown that it follows the same economic policies as the UPA government. There are a number of examples for this. The BJP government is pushing for 49 per cent FDI in insurance, just as the UPA government did previously. The BJP has decided to go in for large-scale PSU disinvestment, just as the Congress-led government.

The BJP government has deregulated diesel pricing, this was partially deregulated by the previous government. The BJP government has hiked railway fares, something the UPA government tried to do. The BJP government has adopted the Aadhar scheme and the cash benefit scheme that was introduced by the UPA government.…



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Bhagavad Gita row: Why Sushma Swaraj needs to focus on her real job – By Jaideep Prabhu (Dec 8, 2014, DNA India)

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj courted controversy on Sunday when she urged that the Bhagavad Gita be proclaimed the rashtriya granth – the National Holy Book – by the government of India. Swaraj was speaking at the Gita Prerna Mahotsav, organised by the Global Inspiration and Enlightenment Organisation of Gita held at the Red Fort Maidan.

There can be little doubt even among neophyte observers of Indian politics that the external affairs minister was deliberately seeking headlines. And she succeeded – as expected, an avalanche of words have been launched at Swaraj by the opposition as well as the media on social networks as well as in print and on television.

Several issues arise on the external affairs minister’s comments. First, India is technically a secular country and that means the law of the land cannot allow that a book holy to one religion be accorded a place of prominence over others. Of course, there have been strong critiques of secularism and no principle is so sacrosanct that it cannot be revisited.…



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The Ghosts Of The Gas – ByK.S. Shaini (Dec 3, 2014, Outlook)

he gory night of December 2-3, 1984 still haunts the memories of the poor inhabitants of JP Nagar slum area, which was unfortunate to have been very close to the infamous Union Carbide plant in Bhopal. Although 30 years have passed, but for Nafiza Bi it seems as if it was just yesterday that the mayhem broke, when she gasped for oxygen, coughed incessantly, her eyes burning as if she had been attacked with pepper spray.

Her old shrivelled skin seems to stretch when she relives the trauma of that night when she and her spouse joined thousands of other people trying to escape the deadly Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) leaking from the Union Carbide plant. The entire city was trying to escape. Several of them were unlucky. They could not escape from the claws of death.

There are numerous tales of unfathomable sufferings. Paan Bai cites the case of her baby, born before time because of what happened on the intervening night of December 2 and 3, 1984. The hospital staff named the baby Zahar Lal.…



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For They Know What They Do – Editorial (Dec 6, 2014, EPW)

The assaults and propaganda against the Christian community that escalated over the last few months in a number of places in the country, especially in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, have assumed disturbing proportions of late. The local president of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) told the media proudly in July this year that using the provisions of Section 129(G) of the Chhattisgarh Panchayat Raj Act – which empowers gram sabhas to protect culture and heritage – 50 villages had banned the entry of non-Hindu, especially, Christian preachers and prohibited them from holding prayers and making speeches.

The district as well as the state administration displayed half-hearted responses, at best, to such a decision. In September, a number of Christian organisations in Chhattisgarh filed a petition in the Bilaspur High Court seeking that the ban be scrapped for being unconstitutional.

There have been a number of attacks on Christians and their places of worship since May this year. The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and the Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group have written to the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) asking for “urgent intervention”. Their letters have attached local newspaper reports on the series of attacks, inflammatory anti-Christian slogans and warnings to the police by the VHP office- bearers to desist from taking action. … Are we on the verge of seeing Kandhamal being repeated in Bastar?



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The Daily Noose – By Uttam Sengupta (Dec 15, 2014, Outlook)

Time and luck are running out for Surinder Koli. While the 42-year-old waits on death row in Meerut Jail, the judiciary is convinced that the country’s “collective conscience” won’t be appeased till he is hanged. Arrested seven years ago and convicted for allegedly kidnapping, raping and cannibalising 16 girls and women in a house on the outskirts of Delhi (where he worked as a domestic help), he evo¬kes no sympathy from the men in robes. Dubbed the “Nithari Killer” after the UP vill¬age from where the victims had disappea¬red, it makes it easier for the courts to decide whether he should live.

The Supreme Court refused to reconsider the thin evidence against him (presumably because the lower courts would have weighed it), the trial by the media (presumably because it is not the apex court’s concern), and the fact that he was convicted on the basis of his own confession given to a magistrate, which ironically also records that he was tortured by the police and warned against deviating from his extracted statement (presumably this sho¬uld have been raised and settled during the trial). Even more outrageously, his confession was recorded in English, a language he did not understand. …

A neighbour of Moninder Singh Pandher, Koli’s employer, was a doctor who had been an accused in organ trade cases in 1997. But barring a passing reference to it by the HC, there is nothing to suggest the CBI investigated this angle at all. Instead, the prosecutors demonised Koli by alleging that he cannibalised the body parts. The courts accepted this version based on Koli’s confession while the possibility of organ traders influencing the investigation was ignored. This was bad enough vis-a-vis the law.…



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