IAMC Weekly News Roundup - February 26th, 2018 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 26th, 2018

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Communal harmony: Hindu, Muslim weddings in one pandal at the same time (Feb 20, 2018, Hindustan Times)

Setting an example of communal harmony, a Hindu couple and a Muslim couple tied the nuptial knot in one wedding pandal at the same time following their respective traditions. The weddings were solemnised at a banquet hall in Jind on Sunday afternoon.

Jind residents Rajender Kumar and Shabbir Khan have been neighbours for a long time. For the marriage of their daughters Shaalu and Shabnam, both had booked the same banquet hall situated on Rohtak road. While Rajender had booked the hall for an evening ceremony on February 18, Shabbir had booked it for the afternoon.

Due to some miscommunication, Rajender remained under the impression that he has booked the hall for afternoon, and made catering and other wedding-related arrangements accordingly. However, he was in for a shock on Sunday afternoon when he found that the hall where his daughter was to marry was given to someone else. A little drama ensued as a worried Rajender sought his options at the last minute, since all his guests were invited for the afternoon ceremony. But soon, Rajender received the support from his neighbour Shabbir, who proposed that both the weddings could happen at the same time.…


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‘How did Nirav Modi take money from banks under Narendra Modi’s nose?’ asks Rahul Gandhi (Feb 24, 2018, Scroll.in)

Congress President Rahul Gandhi criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government of compliance in the Punjab National Bank scam on Saturday. Gandhi took jibes at Modi’s statement following reports about the alleged Rs 11,380 crore fraud involving businessman Nirav Modi. The Congress president was speaking in poll-bound Karnataka’s Athani.

The Congress leader demanded to know how the finance minister and prime minister “allowed” the scam to happen, PTI reported. Gandhi alleged that the scam was worth Rs 22,000 crore. “Action will be taken?” Gandhi asked. “You first make us understand how did Nirav Modi take Rs 22,000 crore from Indian banks under the nose of Narendra Modi’s government.”…

Gandhi also took to twitter to deride the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government. “Under Modi Ji’s Jan Dhan Loot Yojana’, another scam!” Gandhi tweeted. “Rs 390 crore involving a Delhi based jeweller. Same Modus operandi as Nirav Modi. Fake Letters of Undertaking.…



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UP: 62 people reportedly arrested at BJP leader’s house writing exam papers for students (Feb 23, 2018, National Herald)

As many as 59 students, including three teenagers and three girls, and three people helping solve the exam papers were arrested in UP’s Aligarh writing UP board intermediate chemistry exam papers at BJP leader Bhuvendra Sharma’s house on Thursday, Amar Ujala reported. About hundred more stamped papers were found by the investigating team at the leader’s house.

The investigating team led by the SDO and CO had information for days that in Tevathu village of Uttar Pradesh, the exam papers were being written at BJP leader Bhuvendra Sharma (a-k-a Chunmun) and his Uncle Raj Kumar Sharma’s house, situated exactly opposite of the Bohre Kishanlal school premises. Raj Kumar Sharma is the manager of Bohre Kishanlal school.

When the investigating team reached the room where papers were being written, there was a ruckus as everyone started running around and when caught red handed after the crackdown, they even started fighting with the police. The Police had to take out their guns and rifles to control the situation, local media reported.…



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Bengal govt launches crackdown on RSS-inspired schools (Feb 20, 2018, Hindustan Times)

The Mamata Banerjee government has launched a crackdown on Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)- inspired schools in Bengal, education minister Partha Chatterjee said in the Assembly on Tuesday.

“The state government has received information on about 493 schools that are inspired by RSS. Out of these, 125 are running without any no-objection certificate from the government. We have already asked these school authorities that will not be able to operate any more. Investigation is on against the remaining schools,” said the minister.

He also remarked that the government believes that schools are not places for wielding sticks. Outside the Assembly, the minister told journalists, “RSS or nor RSS, schools have to follow certain norms wielding sticks cannot be taught. We are looking into each case that is being brought to our notice.”…



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Amnesty pans India’s rights record, says hate crimes have ‘intensified’ (Feb 23, 2018, New Indian Express)

Amnesty International has given a critical view of India in upholding human rights, saying hate crimes against religious minorities and Dalits had “intensified” in the country.

Rising Islamophobia, lynching of Muslims, atrocities against Dalits, threat to freedom of expression and killing of journalists have been the major contributors to human rights abuses, Amnesty’s annual human rights report for 2017-2018 said.

The report, released on Thursday, said authorities were using laws to stifle freedom of expression and were openly critical of human rights defenders, contributing to a climate of hostility and violence against them.…



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Two Arrested for Making ‘Derogatory’ Remarks Against PM Modi, UP CM Adityanath and Hindu Gods (Feb 26, 2018, The Wire)

Two people were arrested in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh, for allegedly making derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, UP chief minister Adityanath, and Hindu gods in a video posted on social media five days ago, the police said on Sunday.

A case was registered against four people under section 295A of the Indian Penal Code (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and the IT Act – following a complaint filed by Dharam Dev Singh.

“Four people (Saahil, Indal Kumar, Anil and Sunny Kumar) of Lavai Patti Satahva village had made derogatory remarks against Hindu gods, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in a video, which was uploaded on Facebook and shared on WhatsApp,” superintendent of police Anil Kumar said. Two of them have been arrested so far.…



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Show courage in questioning Shah in Loya’s case, Kejriwal to police (Feb 24, 2018, The Tribune)

Jittery over the developments in the backdrop of the alleged manhandling of Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash, the AAP and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today cried foul on the search operations with the latter asking the Delhi Police when will BJP president Amit Shah be questioned in Justice BH Loya’s alleged murder case?

The AAP accused the police of “dadagiri” and functioning as “puppet” in the hands of the Centre. Kejriwal tweeted, “To investigate about two slaps CM’s entire house was searched. Judge Loya’s murder merits questioning, doesn’t it?”

Kejriwal said police must show the same courage in questioning Shah in Justice Loya’s case who died of a heart attack in December 2014 at a time when he was handling the crucial Sohrabuddin case in which Shah is an accused.



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HC Judge Who Pulled Up CBI in Sohrabuddin Case Reassigned in ‘Routine’ Shuffle (Feb 25, 2018, The Wire)

Three months after Justice Revati Mohite-Dere of Bombay high court began hearing a key set of petitions in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case and three weeks after she began dealing with the matter on a daily basis, she has been moved out and a new judge has been assigned the case.

According to the notice published on the Bombay high court’s website on February 24, Justice Mohite-Dere will henceforth take care of matters concerning anticipatory bail applications, while Justice N.W. Sambre will deal with all criminal revision applications in her place.

Only last week, Justice Mohite-Dere had commented on how the CBI appeared unprepared to conduct the prosecution in the Sohrabuddin and Kauser-bi abduction and murder case in which several policemen from Gujarat are being tried. A number of senior police officers have already been discharged by the trial court and it is a set of appeals against those discharge orders which the high court is currently hearing.…



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India Kerala mob takes selfies while lynching man (Feb 23, 2018, BBC)



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After Hindu group rally to support man accused of Muslim child’s rape and murder, Jammu rift widens (Feb 21, 2018, Scroll.in)

…A practising lawyer and state secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Sharma… sounded triumphant about the success of a rally his group had held three days earlier. The rally had been held to protest against the arrest of a special police officer charged with the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl from the Gujjar-Bakarwal community in Kathua.…

On January 17, the body of an eight-year-old girl was found in the forests near Rasana, Hiranagar. She had been missing for a week. The police claim she had been abducted and raped.… After her body was discovered, the community erupted in protest. Two days later, the police arrested a 15-year-old boy from Rasana and claimed to have “solved the case”.

According to a police statement, the juvenile had confessed to abducting the girl and confining her in a cowshed for seven days, during which time he “attempted to rape her”, killing her when she resisted. On January 23, the case was handed over to the police’s Crime Branch, which arrested special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surinder Verma.…



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UP: Dalit Women and Daughters Attacked With Axes, Police Book Culprits Under Minor IPC Sections (Feb 15, 2018, News Click)

The Uttar Pradesh police appeared to be over enthusiastic while slapping stringent charges (UAPA, sedition and serious sections of the IPC) against the alleged perpetrators of communal violence in Kasganj, who happened to be Muslims, SC/STs and OBCs, but the law enforcement agency seems to ignore the blatant atrocities committed on a Dalit family at Ambedkar Nagar district where two women and their minor children were brutally attacked reportedly by upper caste men at Shahpur Prasi village in the northeastern region of the state.

The incident took place on February 10 when 48-year-old Sangeeta Devi and her sister-in-law Sarita Devi (38) went to a plot of land, which was allotted to them by the then government in 1970 under the land for landless scheme, along with their two minor girls after the SHO of the police station reportedly concerned asked them to visit the small bit of the land.…

Human rights lawyer Sarfaraz Nazeer, who practices in a trial court in eastern Uttar Pradesh, said the caste and communal prejudice of the police always come to the fore in cases of communal riots and caste violence. … Puncturing the police claim regarding the content of the complaint that does not allow slapping of severe charges, he said it is nothing new. “This happens because the police tone down the language of the complaint and not record it in entirety and as said by the victims,” he added.



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Opinions and Editorials

Mr Prime Minister, Contrary to Your Claims, the System is Still Being Gamed by Crony Capitalists – By M.K. Venu (Feb 19, 2018, The Wire)

…The prime minister’s repeated claims that he was successful in cleaning the system of all its ills is proving more and more hollow as frauds and scams tumble out of the closet in regular intervals.

Modi recently claimed his government had deregistered over 3 lakh dormant and shell companies listed with the Registrar of Companies. But it is apparent that this did not include the 200 shell companies of Nirav Modi and Choksi which the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate found to have been used to invest the Rs 11,400 crore of fraudulently obtained money.

The fact that Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi had enough clout within the banking system for their company officials to be able to independently operate the international inter-bank financial messaging system, SWIFT, using the log-in credentials of various PNB bank officials is a shocking reflection of cronyism and fraud at its worst.…



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Modi has over-promised and under-delivered, but you may have been too distracted to notice – By Samar Halarnkar (Feb 25, 2018, Scroll.in)

…Let us consider Modi’s biggest failure: the inability to create enough new jobs for the million or so Indians joining the workforce every month. “Lies are being spread,” he said last month during a rare interview to deferential media outlets, offering as proof seven million employee provident fund accounts opened in 2017, supposedly a proxy for job creation. “Doesn’t this show new employment?” he asked. His interviewers did not dare contest extremely contestable data – made available only to two economists – which do not account for job losses after demonetisation and the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax; do not make clear that many of these jobs merely moved from the informal to the formal sector; and even if true are wholly inadequate.

Another key Modi promise, electricity to all households, is almost completely ignored. The target is March 2019, a year away. At the current pace, it will take four years and seven months, or until 2022, to bring electricity to all rural and urban households. The government, as my colleague Chaitanya Mallapur reported, is connecting 633,630 homes to the grid every month when it needs to connect 2.7 million – four times slower than the pace needed to keep the power-for-all promise. Plus, the official data will tell you that 89% of villages previously without electricity were electrified over four years to 2018. But no more than 8% of homes in these villages actually have power – enough to declare the entire village electrified.

As for the government’s flagship Swachh Bharat programme, a revamped and strengthened version of a programme started by Modi’s predecessor, the success in building toilets overshadows the fact that not too many people appear to be using them. The government has not released evaluations, and the media – which largely limits itself to positive puff pieces about schoolgirls or spouses demanding or building toilets – has not filled in the blanks evident by investigating if these millions of toilets are being used or if they have connected sewage systems. … If many of these details appear unfamiliar, it could either be that they are not being adequately brought to public attention or, perhaps, you have been too distracted to notice.



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A Chronicle of the Crime Fiction That is Adityanath’s Encounter Raj – By Neha Dixit (Feb 24, 2018, The Wire)

…According to UP government figures, by January 2018, the police had conducted 1,038 encounters. In these, 32 people were killed and 238 injured. Four police personnel also lost their lives. A significant proportion of those killed in these encounters are from four districts of western UP – Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur and Baghpat.

Against the backdrop of allegations that some of these ‘encounters’ might actually be extrajudicial custodial killings, The Wire met up with the families of 14 of those killed and spoke to a range of police and official sources familiar with the encounters. The facts that emerged confirm the darkest suspicions around these killings.…

The trend of charging several members of the same family in different offences is seen by many as the police’s way of creating a resource of obvious scapegoats during police investigations. Aslam, who made a living by selling chow mein and samosas from a cart in Bunta village in Shamli was shot dead by the police on December 9, 2017 at Dadri, Noida.… Aslam’s widow, Israna, who is nine months pregnant, says that the police lands up at their house if any crime happens in the vicinity. “We have become the punching bags for the police. They use our family as suspects, just like Aslam was used, to show their efficiency in controlling law and order.”…



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Fake Employment Scams: The Cost of an Education System Structured Around Placements – By Mousumi Padhi and S Senthil Ganesh (Feb 17, 2018, EPW)

Tension escalated in the capital city of Bhubaneswar Odisha as more than 300 engineering students of ITER college of Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan (SoA) University had fake placement offers from a fake campus recruitment drive. Fifty students returned after a company had denied having made any employment offer to the university’s students.

Fraudsters had cleverly hoodwinked the students and the university with offers from companies such as Huawei, Magneti Marelli, Mitsubishi, TTDL, Supertech, Ircon (Singhal 2017a). This led to protests and agitations by the concerned students and their parents. The student-ed wings of political parties and civil society also picked up this cause and held large-scale demonstrations and protests in the state. Consequently, the government and administration moved swiftly and three persons were arrested (Odisha Sun Times 2017).

States such as Andhra Pradesh (Reddy 2013; Telengana Today 2017), Odisha, Jharkhand (Deogharial 2012; Gupta 2017) and Chhattisgarh have been a successful hunting ground for many swindlers masquerading as job consultants. Recruitment rackets in these states flourished with the active collusion between these job consultants, HR managers of companies and college placement officers (Das and Sharma 2012). However, what makes the ITER college case unique is that the SoA University took moral responsibility for the fake offers of placements.…



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Adityanath Hate CD, Found in Sealed Records a Decade Later, Was Never Sent for Forensics – By Ajit Sahi (Feb 22, 2018, The Wire)

Yogi Adityanath’s legal fortunes may have turned for the worse. A potentially incriminating CD, which allegedly contains a hate speech by him and whose existence successive Uttar Pradesh governments have refused to acknowledge for a decade, has been found. It was discovered when two judges of the Allahabad High Court – no less – dramatically opened sealed court records in their courtroom two months ago.

This CD allegedly contains a video of Adityanath making a hate speech against Muslims in Gorakhpur in January 2007. Widespread violence against Muslims in and around Gorakhpur had followed that controversial speech. Adityanath was then a BJP MP from the Lok Sabha constituency of Gorakhpur. He became UP chief minister last March.

In 2007, a Gorakhpur-based journalist, Parvez Parwaz, had filed a criminal complaint with the police against Adityanath for his speech and violence. But for ten years, successive governments of chief ministers Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav failed to prosecute Adityanath. Even the Supreme Court of India cleared the way for his prosecution in 2012 but the case never went to trial. Dissatisfied with the UP police from day one, Parwaz had in 2008 petitioned the high court for the investigation of his complaint to be transferred from the UP police to an independent central agency. That case, too, has dragged since.…



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Dalit Atrocities – By Rajesh Ramachandran (Mar 5, 2018, Outlook)

Had the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, been brought in a century earlier, during British rule, there would not have been any caste discrimination in this country. No Indian lout would have dared use caste slurs against fellow citizens, fearing the British jails.

After all, caste supremacists are not freedom fighters or idealists; they are the worst kind of feudal bullies who wouldn’t look authority in the eye. And we would have been a much better society. And Delhi chief secretary Anshu Prakash would never have spat those (imaginary or otherwise) words of casteist abuse at the Dalit MLAs. Now, that he is accused of doing exactly that, we need to look carefully at the allegations against Prakash and his version of the story.…

…what is shocking is that of all the brilliant, meritorious guys around, who really lead the party and the government, Prakash chose to aim and hit only a Muslim and a Dalit. It must have been a tough task to zero in on the representatives of a minority and an oppressed community. Prakash probably did it by first choosing to squeeze himself between a Muslim and a Dalit in a three-seater sofa. And when the time came, he turned to his left and then to his right, and hurled casteist abuses.…



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