IAMC Weekly News Roundup - February 16th, 2015 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 16th, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

US media sees Modi ‘brought down to earth’ (Feb 11, 2015, Times of India)

While US officials refrained from comment on Aam Aadmi Party’s massive victory in Delhi elections, the New York Times saw “a defeat for Prime Minister Modi” in the results.

“Fresh from the diplomatic high of a successful summit meeting with President Obama, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been brought down to earth by domestic politics,” the influential US daily said in an editorial. “Ordinarily, elections in New Delhi would not draw international attention,” the Times said.

But since sweeping to power last year with the biggest national election victory in three decades, Modi and his BJP have generated “an aura of invincibility” winning a succession of other state elections, it said. “The election won’t affect Modi’s hold on the prime minister’s office and the federal government,” the Times said. “But it will increase the enormous pressure to deliver on his economic and governance promises even while making that harder.”…



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An open letter to Ms Kiran Bedi from Shabnam Hashmi (Feb 8, 2015, Indiaresists.com)

…I saw a photograph where you are half bent and looking at Modi asking him something. The expression on your face is of helplessness and wanting approval from him. It extremely pained me. I might have differences with you but as an activist and as a human being I would never want you or for that matter any other professional woman in this situation.

Ms Bedi you might not know but I recorded testimonies of gang rape survivors in 2002 when Gujarat was still burning. I travelled to over 50 villages across ten districts. Met doctors in small village dispensaries who had done postmortem, saw photographs of charred bodies of many women with slit open stomachs and dead fetuses sticking to their bodies. There were many kausar banos not only one in Naroda Patiya Whose case every one knows. Ms Bedi I met women who couldn’t get up for months because they were gang raped by 15-20 men and their vaginas were torn apart.

Ms Bedi Modi took out a Gaurav Yatra after 2002 carnage, he called the relief camps – where people who had lost everything were given shelter – child producing factories. Now last two years youtube has been sanitised of Modis footage spewing venom and talking filth. Sakshi Maharaj and Sadhvi Prachi are no Match in front of Modi. What he spoke was much more venomous.

Ms Bedi when bilkis was being gang raped they smashed her little daughters head against a stone and she died on the spot . Medina was forced to see her own daughter and niece being gang raped. Ms Bedi it pained me to see you bend before this man.You can tell me about the clean chit. I know a little too much to appreciate the clean chit stories.…



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Justice denied, she recalls: they cut off my hands (Feb 17, 2015, Indian Express)

…Havribibi was among the 34 injured in the violence in Sesan Nava village in Deodar taluka of Banaskantha district in the aftermath of the Godhra train burning two days earlier. Fourteen Muslims were killed in the riots, and two Hindus died in firing by the police. On February 13, a local court acquitted all 70 accused in the Sesan Nava attack after witnesses turned hostile, and the police failed to produce material evidence against the rioters.

“There must have been around 4,000 or 5,000 of them, I couldn’t count the numbers. They came with swords and rifles and pistols, and started to set homes on fire. The women were screaming, and the men were running to find a place to hide the children,” Havribibi said.

She lost her hands, Havribibi said, before she could run away. She remembers the hacking blows, the blood, and the sight of them falling to the ground. “Hau, hau (Yes, yes), I remember everything. I saw my hands fall to the ground, and the gushing stream of blood. I collapsed, thrashing about in pain. There was blood everywhere, only blood and fire. They started torching houses, and in no time, 14 of our people were dead,” she said.…



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Withdraw ‘concocted’ case against Teesta Setalvad: CPM to Gujarat govt (Feb 12, 2015, Economic Times)

Condemning Gujarat police for seeking to arrest social activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband, CPI(M) today demanded that the state government withdraw its “concocted” case against her. “CPI(M) demands that the Gujarat government withdraw the concocted case against Setalvad and stop harassing her,” the party said in a statement.

It said that Gujarat Police have targeted Setalvad because of her relentless championing of the rights of the victims of the Gujarat riots of 2002. “While the Gujarat government is pursuing the harassment of Setalvad, it has been reinstating police officials who are facing serious criminal charges,” the party charged.

Supreme Court today stayed till tomorrow the arrest of Setalvad and her husband, Javed Anand, soon after Gujarat High Court rejected their anticipatory bail plea in a case of alleged embezzlement of funds for a museum at the Gulbarg society, site of an attack during the 2002 riots.…



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Convent school vandalised in Delhi, sixth such attack in 4 months (Feb 13, 2015, India Today)

A convent school was vandalised on Thursday night in South Delhi’s Vasant Vihar area, forcing Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani to make a quick visit. It was the sixth attack on a Christian institution in the national capital in less than four months.

Staff members of the Holy Child Auxilium School told police that a few CCTV cameras installed in the school premises were damaged and the office of the principal was ransacked. “Some CCTV cameras were damaged and the office of the school’s principal was ransacked by some unidentified people early Friday,” spokesperson of the Delhi Catholic Archdiocese Father Savarimuthu Sankar said. He said the school children have been sent back to their homes after the incident came to light.

Senior police officials rushed to the spot and are collecting the evidence from the school. “We are investigating the case and also scanning the footage of CCTVs installed in the school premises,” said a senior official. The Delhi Police, however, has denied that it was a hate attack. “This is not a matter of desecration. It is a case of theft,” Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi said.…



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Voter lists in hand, Hindu Mahasabha looks for Christians, Muslims on Valentine’s Day (Feb 14, 2015, Indian Express)

Right-wing outfit Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha has claimed that it has scanned Delhi’s electoral rolls to “identify Muslim and Christian men” who they suspect could sway Hindu girls. With Valentine’s Day approaching, it said it has been keeping an eye on them for the past one week.

Om Ji, the convener of the outfit who contested against Arvind Kejriwal, said his party has “thoroughly examined” Delhi’s electoral rolls. “We have our own ways. We examined the electoral list to mobilise the Hindu vote during elections. This is a common thing,” he said. “However, in the process, we systematically examined the number of Muslim and Christian men. We will use it on those who we suspect could sway our Hindu girls. This data is as accurate as even the census data. It is more accurate than even the data with the intelligence units.”

The outfit, which has threatened to forcefully get couples married on Valentine’s Day if they are caught together, claimed that the process of identification was done “well in advance” and that a constant “vigil” is being kept. On plans for Valentine’s Day, a member said, “Based on our data, we know the places with higher density of non-Hindu men. In these areas, our men will be deployed at public places like malls, multiplexes and restaurants.”…



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Hindu temple dedicated to Narendra Modi is a “threat to secular India” (Feb 12, 2015, Asia News)

“This is a deplorable initiative for a secular country like India,” said Fr Cedric Prakash, SJ, director of the Prashant Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace in Ahmedabad, as he spoke to AsiaNews about a Hindu temple dedicated to Prime Minister Indian Narendra Modi.

The temple dedicated to Prime Minister Narendra Modi is located in Rajkot, a village in the state of Gujarat, and was to be officially inaugurated by Minister of State for Agriculture, Mohanbhai Kalyanjibhai Kundariya on 15 February. However, on histweeter account, Modi reacted saying, “I was appalled.

Although this forced organisers to cancel the inauguration, the temple is expected to remain in place. It took around two years to build it and nearly four years to get Modi’s bust done, at a cost of ” Rs. 1.65 lakh (US$ 2,650),” said Ramesh Undhad, who donated funds for the project.…



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Muzaffarnagar riots: Riot victim’s kin move court against SIT closure report (Feb 9, 2015, DNA India)

The father of Shahnawaz, killed during the riots here in August 2013, has moved court challenging the closure report of thespecial investigation team (SIT) giving clean chit to the six accused in the case. The victim’s father, Mohammad Saleem, on Monday filed a petition in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Narender Kumar and sought cancellation of the closure report.

He alleged that the SIT, probing the Muzaffarnagar riots cases, carried out partial investigation into the case and ignored recording statements of eyewitnesses under CrPC Section 164 despite the victim family’s requests. …

According to the FIR lodged with police by the deceased’s father, Shahnawaz was stabbed to death allegedly by eight people at Kawal village under Jansath police station in the district on August 27, 2013. SIT Inspector Sampurnanad Tiwari had last month filed the closure report in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Narender Kumar after giving clean chit to the six accused – Prahlad, Vishan, Devender, Jitendra, Yogender and Ravinder – saying that they were not found involved in the murder of Shahnawaz in Kawal in August 2013.…



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In West Bengal’s Birbhum, Muslims being compelled to self-immolate (Feb 14, 2015, Milli Gazette)

Birbhum district of West Bengal is located at about 200 kms from Kolkata. The population of Muslims here is about 20 percent. A few months ago mutual fights started within Trinamool Congress (Trinamool) cadres in Makhra village under Paroi thana which. It started growing in intensity and gradually the party got divided into two factions. With the coming in of BJP government at the Centre, BJP allied itself with one faction. Both factions consisted of Muslims but they grew so blood thirsty against each other that in the fights that ensued, 13 Muslims were killed.

The name of one Trinamool MLA, Munirul Islam, began to appear in the headlines. Their violent activities became more and more intense and their violence and brutalities became common talk in the whole of West Bengal. Excesses and cruelties of the Trinamool MP of the area also increased. Munirul Islam started working under the patronage of this MP who in turn started doing his best, under the patronage of the chief minister, to keep Birbhum under the control of Trinamool. Boys who were already violent and tasked to make bombs began to oppose Trinamool.

BJP adopted violence in all possible ways. Slowly, villages after villages came under the control of violent elements. As Trinamool leaders began to suppress criminals and violent elements with the help of police, ground started slipping form under their feet so much so that Trinamool leaders found it difficult to live in their own villages and began to fear entering their own villages. Some days ago Mithun of Satora village, whose real name is Masoom, threw a bomb at the police and went underground. He is still untraced. It is said that his family had been indulging in violence and goondaism for generations. Earlier this family was in the Congress but later jointed CPIM. When Trinamool came to power it latched on to Trinamool and now this boy has started working for BJP.…



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West Bengal: 4-yr-old girl sexually assaulted inside BJP office (Feb 14, 2015, Indian Express)

A 17-year-old youth was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a four-year-old girl inside a BJP party office in Behala area of the city today, a police official said.

The incident happened between 3 PM and 4 PM in a small room of the party office, a senior police official of South West division of the Kolkata Police under which Behala falls.

The youth was arrested on the basis of a police complaint made by the parents of the girl. Both the accused and the victim used to stay in the upper floor of the building that houses the party office, the official said.



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Opinions and Editorials

A Defeat for Prime Minister Modi – Editorial (Feb 10, 2015, New York Times)

Fresh from the diplomatic high of a successful summit meeting with President Obama, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been brought down to earth by domestic politics. He and his Bharatiya Janata Party, or B.J.P., were crushed in the election Tuesday for New Delhi’s 70-member state assembly, winning three seats while the upstart Aam Aadmi Party, or A.A.P., captured the rest. …

The B.J.P. controls the lower house of Parliament but not the upper house. Without it, Mr. Modi has been unable to gain passage of tax restructuring and other reform bills that are central to his vision. He has taken some actions through executive orders, like allowing greater foreign investment in the insurance sector, but they will expire without legislative approval.

Winning in India’s states is critical to gaining the upper house, whose members are elected by the assemblies. The B.J.P. defeat in New Delhi slows Mr. Modi’s momentum, will embolden opposition parties and could make it tougher for his party to win the election in Bihar, India’s second-most-populous state, later this year. He faces another important test this month when he presents and tries to gain approval of his first real budget.…



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General Amit Shah’s Black Tuesday – By Kumar Ketkar (Feb 16, 2015, NDTV)

…Over 100 MPs, nearly 2000 so-called foot-soldiers of the RSS, and all the shakhas outfits were mobilized. All the seven BJP MPs and all BJP corporators were summoned to join the “Hate Jihad” like the army issues orders to ex-Army men at the time of war. The “embedded” media men and women understood the “hukum” from the chieftain Amit Shah and began to circulate stories that there would be a last-minute swing, and there would be a surge in voting after 3 pm and all those votes would go the BJP because of the fantastic but invisible networking by the Sangh Parivar cadres.

Each member of the Modi Brigade, some of them even flown in from US, was given booth-wise responsibilities. Social media, which was the main vehicle of the Sangh Parivar in the Lok Sabha election, was re-orchestrated by the Sangh Aparatchiks, as they had realized that it was dominated by AAP volunteers. U.S.-trained management experts who had choreographed the Tea Party campaign and Romney propaganda machine in America in 2012 were positioned to coordinate the Delhi cyberspace.

The print media was flooded with full page color advertisements. Almost every hundred yards, there was a huge hoarding with the image of the messiah Modi. A quick visual estimate of the cost of campaign suggests no corners were cut. All the moralists who had written columns after columns about paid news and had rushed to the Election Commission earlier were quiet over this obscene expenditure which included buying a substantial section of the media.

Indian diplomats from nearly 120 countries were specially invited to Delhi, presuming glorious victory in the election, so they could go back to their missions abroad, impressed and inspired by the miracle called Modi. But like in Stalingrad in 1941-42, every household joined the electoral war to defeat Modi-Shah’s Panzer divisions. …

Then there emerged the theory that Shah, the great strategist, had planned the defeat all along in a systematic manner. Some referred to a news article in the Gulf News in January in which it was stated that the tacticians had worked out a plan to lose election. But it was clear to anyone who followed that thread, that it was actually a planned camouflage for an excuse, in case the election is lost. So if the BJP wins, it would be because of the magnificent war strategy and if it loses, it was part of the game plan! This was a loss, pure and simple. The General and strategy failed. Let it rest at that.



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The Amit Shah Files – By Uttam Sengupta, Prachi Pinglay-Plumber, Anuradha Raman, K.S. Shaini (Feb 16, 2015, Outlook)

The tantalising phrase “somewhat opposed to common sense” is likely to ring in the ears of BJP national president Amit Anilchandra Shah for a long time to come. The five words were uttered on the penultimate day of 2014 by a trial judge in a CBI special court in Mumbai to let Shah, 50, off the hook in the infamous Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.

Dasrath Patel and Raman Patel, two builders from Ahmedabad produced as star witnesses against Shah by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), had told investigators that police officers close to Shah extorted money from them and had dispatched Sohrabuddin’s henchmen to issue threats. The officers, notably Abhay Chudasama and D.G. Vanzara – both now on bail, Chudasama reinstated by the Gujarat government – would not only drop Shah’s name but even make extortion targets speak to the all-powerful minister of state (home) on phone. Shah, they claimed, had also directed them to be discreet while giving statements on Sohrabuddin Sheikh to the CBI after the central agency was ordered by the Supreme Court in 2010 to investigate the case.

The builders had video-recorded one of the conversations they had with Shah’s officers. They gave three statements to the CBI, two under Section 161 of the CrPC and the other under Section 164. (Statements under Section 161 are given to the police and are not accepted as evidence; statements under Section 164 are recorded before a judge and are admissible evidence.)…



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What, it is to be a Muslim in India today? – By Prof. Dr. Rameeza. A. Rasheed (Feb 14, 2015, TwoCircles.net)

If your exposure to Muslim lives is through popular media then you believe that Muslim’s main profession is smuggling. Every beard and skull cap wearing men, particularly youth is at least remotely connected with a terrorist group. Neighbors don’t move closely, with the Muslim families who follow their dress code. It is propagated constantly that, every Madrasa is a breeding ground of violent actions. It is believed that, they don’t teach Islamic principles and general education but, implant principles of vengeance and Jihad (most misunderstood word).

Every Muslim man wearing skull cap and beard is looked at with suspicion not only in Airports and railway stations but also, in their neighborhood. Exchange of gift and mutual greetings during festivals between Muslim and other families is fast declining. Indian Muslims never imagined that, a day would come in India when they would find it difficult to even buy homes in non-Muslim dominated housing societies, find it extremely difficult to get rental homes, get accused of encouraging “Love Jihad,” witness helplessly as their youth getting wrongly arrested and remain in prison as under trials for many years and then released as not guilty without any compensation, (the latest example is the case related to Liaquat Ali Shah) their small traders face denial of bank loans, their students find it difficult to get admission in good schools and colleges run by majority community and to top it all being accused of multiplying their population with a purpose through having 9-10 children each family.

What a humiliating and false accusation? It is the India today in which Muslims have to live. The Hindutva forces have been existing India for a long time but only now their communal hatred towards minorities is exhibited and articulated boldly. The right minded civil citizens of this great nation knows the reason but, they are mute spectators.…



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Tripping Up The Titans – By Mihir Srivastava (Feb 23, 2015, Outlook)

One of the first things the AAP government in Delhi is likely to do on taking charge is review the progress of an FIR against Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) it had filed a year ago. At that time, Arun Jaitley, now the Union finance minister, had said he was all for an investigation of the industrial giant. But the Narendra Modi government of which he is part now has since taking charge tried to have the FIR quashed. The Delhi High Court, however, has frustrated those efforts, recently ordering the investigation to continue – and the case is set to become a cause celebre.

In February last year, when Arvind Kejriwal of the AAP stepped down from office on Valentine’s Day after 49 tumultuous days as chief minister, one of his actions in the last few days had been to order an FIR against Mukesh Ambani – RIL owner and the richest Indian – and then petroleum minister M. Veerappa Moili. The allegation was that gas pricing had been rigged, causing profit to RIL and a multi-billion dollar loss to the exchequer.

Kejriwal, who is being sworn in as chief minister again on Valentine’s Day, after a near-wipeout of the BJP and the Congress, has plans to take the FIR ahead. While the FIR has been lodged with the Delhi government’s anti-corruption branch (ACB), considered inactive and toothless, the political push might make a difference, especially when the high court has given the green light.…



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Dispossession, development and democracy – By Michael Levien (Feb 4, 2015, The Hindu)

Since it was passed by Parliament in September 2013, the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (LARR) has been criticised from all sides. Farmers and social movements argued that LARR failed to adequately compensate land losers, contained large loopholes such as exempting irrigation projects, and, most importantly, continued to allow land acquisition for private companies.

Industrialists, developers, and State governments, on the other hand, complained that the bill would delay projects, increase the costs of land acquisition, and impede economic growth. It was no secret that the government shared the latter view, and it was no surprise when it diluted many of LARR’s key provisions through an ordinance issued on December 31.

The ordinance effectively eliminates the main features of LARR that gave rural people some protection from arbitrary dispossession. First, it removes the requirement that the government obtain the consent of 80 per cent of affected people before taking their land for private projects, and 70 per cent of affected people for public-private partnership (PPP) projects. The ordinance thus restores the ability of the government to acquire land for any private purpose it likes, with no need to win the support of the affected. Second, the ordinance eliminates the Social Impact Assessments (SIA) that LARR had mandated as a pre-condition for proceeding with land acquisition.…



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Book Review

At Home in India: The Muslim Saga

Author: Salman Khurshid
Reviewed by: Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay
Available at: Hay House Publishers India, Muskaan Complex, Plot No. 3, B-2 Vasant Kunj, New Delhi 110 070, India 390 pages; Rs 699 . http://www.amazon.in/
Being Muslim in India (Feb 11, 2015, Business Standard)

Coming from a leader who shepherded the ministry of minority affairs during the years when several debates cropped up concerning the welfare of Muslims, including the Supreme Court judgment on the Babri Masjid-Ram Janambhoomi dispute, the book under review had the potential of stirring a controversy or two. But it manages to avert that possibility even though it takes a firm stance on several contentious issues.

The book walks a tightrope by essentially reworking an older work. This has resulted in the author’s decision to examine ghosts of the past, leaving the demons of today to, hopefully, be considered in time to come. That is perhaps why the two sections of the book, “Today” and “Yesterday”, are of notably disparate length. “Today” takes up less than a quarter of the book, but “Yesterday” is voluminous. The problem with this approach is that the author unravels events more than a quarter of a century ago, but does not factor in developments on the same issue in the subsequent 25 years.

For instance, the chapter titled “Muslim Leadership in Perspective: Jaded Generals” is stuck in the 1980s’ narrative woven by the likes of Syed Shahabuddin and Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait, on the one hand, and Muslim leaders owing allegiance to the Congress, led by the author’s father Khurshed Alam Khan, among others. The plot of Muslim leadership has thickened in recent years with the emergence of a new class of leaders and a change in the economic structure of Muslim society. …