IAMC Weekly News Roundup - January 16th, 2016 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 16th, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

How AB Vajpayee was foiled in his bid to have Narendra Modi removed as Gujarat chief minister (Jan 13, 2017, Scroll.in)

7 April 2002. Vajpayee was in a pensive mood when he spoke to reporters in New Delhi hours before he left for Singapore and Cambodia on a five-day official tour… Shortly after take-off, Arun Shourie, Vajpayee’s disinvestment minister, was approached by Ranjan Bhattacharya in the plane. “Shourieji, please go and meet him. Baapji is terribly upset.” Shourie found the PM deeply disturbed, not looking up, his face grave. He appeared crestfallen. Soon, Shourie realised that the PM was upset for one major reason: Gujarat.…

All the killing and pillaging in Gujarat had given Vajpayee a bad name, the more so because Gujarat had a BJP government in place, with a chief minister who had reportedly not risen enough to the occasion to rein in the violence. Vajpayee was blamed for his failure as PM to get rid of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who reportedly shouted back at a Muslim leader on the phone for seeking help after a mob had gathered outside his house. Some hours later, the Muslim leader was lynched, and Modi is alleged to have asked the police forces to let the violence continue. At that moment, Modi seemed to be the villain who brought a lot of shame to the central government.

Modi had also dared to publicly snub Vajpayee at a press conference where he was seated alongside the prime minister. The reporter wanted to know Vajpayee’s message for the chief minister in the wake of the riots. In controlled displeasure, Vajpayee stated that Modi should “follow his Rajdharma”.… Seeing things take a different turn, Vajpayee kept mum, opting against a confrontational stance. Perhaps, for all his bravery, he was worried about younger leaders publicly questioning his authority.…



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Months Before Sahara Was Granted Immunity, Tax Panel Member Was Abruptly Transferred (Jan 9, 2017, The Wire)

Five months before the Income Tax Settlement Commission (ITSC) granted Sahara India immunity from any future prosecution and penalty over the Sahara diaries, a member of the bench that eventually heard the company’s application was transferred under less than normal circumstances.

According to a report in The Hindu, IRS officer Baldip Singh Sandhu was appointed in March 2016 as a member of the ITSC in Delhi and was appointed to the principal bench headed by the chairman of the tax settlement commission.

The bench that Sandhu was appointed to was the same bench that, on November 10 2016, issued the immunity order for the Sahara group. However, before that, on July 19, Sandhu “was transferred out to Chennai” even though his appointment was “location-specific and non-transferable”. The Hindu reports that on July 19, Sandhu was relieved of his duties and a finance ministry official came to the commission to serve him his transfer order.…



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Bombay High Court cites Muslim man’s religion as provocation, subsequent murder (Jan 17, 2017, Sabrang India)

Bombay High Court’s recent decision to grant bail to murder accused and the rationale used by judge has left the family of 28-year-old Mohsin Shaikh utterly stunned. While granting bail on 12, Justice Mridula Bhatkar observed that the victim’s fault was that he belonged to another religion.

“I consider this factor in favour of the applicants/accused. More-over, the applicants/accused do not have any criminal record and it appears that in the name of the religion, they were provoked and have committed the murder,” Justice Bhatkar observed.

Shaikh was brutally murdered by members of Hindu Rashtra Sena in June 2014 while he was on his way back from a mosque after offering prayers. 14 of 21 accused have already been granted bail by the court. A case of murder was registered against the members of HRS at the Hadapsar police station and 21 HRS members, including their leader Dhananjay Jayram Desai alias Bhai, were arrested.…



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RBI note exposes govt. bluff on note ban, says Opposition (Jan 10, 2017, The Hindu)

A note prepared by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that indicates it was the government that “advised” it to consider demonetisation of ₹500 and ₹1,000 currency notes – rather than the other way around – has raised questions about the autonomy of the central bank while drawing the ire of opposition parties.

“Section 26(2) of the RBI Act says that on the recommendation of the RBI, the government may demonetise a particular series of a currency note,” Congress spokesperson and former Union Minister Manish Tewari told The Hindu on Tuesday, stressing, “A strict reading of the Act, therefore, makes it plain that it does not give the RBI the power to demonetise an entire denomination, and the RBI has done a command performance without basic application of mind. It is a sad commentary on the inability of the central bank to maintain its autonomy.”

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, too, was scathing in his criticism. “This exposes the bluff of the government that this was an RBI decision. This was a government decision. The RBI was pressured to endorse it. And that explains the RBI’s flip flops ever since,” he told The Hindu. Another CPI(M) Politburo member, Brinda Karat, said, “This is an example of a lack of transparency and the snatching away of the autonomy of the RBI. The government is destroying institutions. It is also a case of a straight lie. The government must give an answer.”…



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Narendra Modi Replaced Gandhi in an Iconic Calendar and India Can’t Handle It (Jan 13, 2017, Time)

Indian government workers have been protesting after Mahatma Gandhi’s picture was replaced with images of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in their department’s official calendar.

Staff at the government’s Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) are reported to have staged a “a silent soul-cleansing” at the Mumbai headquarters.

The Khadi department works to support village-level industries, a scheme close to Gandhi’s heart. Khadi itself – a hand-spun, hand-woven Indian cloth – was used by Gandhi, the preeminent leader of the Indian independence movement, as a symbol for unity, empowerment and liberation.…



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‘Quest to establish Hindu Rashtra will not succeed’ (Jan 16, 2017, The Hindu)

The quest by the right wing to establish a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ in India will not succeed as people will stand against it, and the Constitution of India, a great document, will not allow it to happen, speakers at The Hindu Lit for Life’s session on ‘Dreams of a Hindu Rashtra’, moderated by N. Ram, Chairman, Kasturi & Sons Ltd, said on Sunday.

Akshaya Mukul, author of ‘Gita Press and The Making of Hindu India’, and Saeed Naqvi, author of ‘Being The Other: The Muslim in India’, concurred that it was not going to be easy to establish a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ (Hindu nation).

“It is not going to be easy. But this quest for a Hindu raj, which has other dimensions to it, will continue and will disrupt us; it will impede our emergence as a nation of the stature that we deserve,” Mr. Naqvi said.…



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Ishrat Jahan encounter case: Mother Shamima Kauser moves special court to oppose discharge plea of Gujarat DGP (Jan 12, 2017, Indian Express)

A special CBI court on Thursday issued notice to CBI on the discharge application moved by Director General of Police P P Pandey, the senior most accused in Ishrat Jahan encounter case, who is currently out on bail. Pandey is also the in-charge police chief of Gujarat.

On the other hand, Shamima Kauser, mother of Ishrat Jahan, has also moved an application in the court seeking permission to join the proceeding as a party in order to challenge the discharge application. Her lawyer, I H Syed confirmed the move and said, “there is a statutory provision for victims to join the proceedings as party. We are going to oppose the discharge application for sure.”

The special judge MK Pandya issued the notice to CBI and sought agency’s reply by January 20. Pandey has sought relief on the ground that no case is made out against him and the CBI has not charged him with any specific role in the case. This is the first instance in Ishrat Jahan case, in which an accused has sought discharge from the trial court.…



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Muzaffarnagar riots: Two years on, SIT yet to get govt’s nod to chargesheet 602 accused (Jan 14, 2017, Indian Express)

Two years after it requested the state government’s sanction to file chargesheets in 57 cases against 602 accused including leaders from the BJP, Congress and BSP, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the state government itself to investigate the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots is yet to get a nod for the same.

On Wednesday, a meeting was held in the home department where SIT officers placed evidence against the accused before a four-member committee. “We are examining the evidence produced by the IOs to take a final decision,” Joint Secretary Chhedi Lal Gupta, who heads the committee, told The Indian Express.

Those facing charges include BJP MP from Bijnor Kunwar Bhartendra Singh and his party MLAs Suresh Rana and Sangeet Singh Som, former BSP MP Kadir Rana, BSP MLAs Noor Saleem Rana and Maulana Jameel from Muzaffarnagar and Congress leader Saeed-uz-Zama.…



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EC issues notice to BJP’s Sakshi Maharaj for ‘four wives, 40 children’ remark (Jan 10, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Controversial BJP parliamentarian Sakshi Maharaj on Tuesday faced possible disciplinary action with the Election Commission issuing notice to him over his comments that appeared to blame the Muslim community for India’s population growth. The Lok Sabha MP from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh has been asked to reply by Wednesday morning.

Read in entirety, his remarks “have (the) effect of promoting enmity between classes of society…” and prima facie violates the model code of conduct which came into force on January 4 following announcement of assembly polls in five states, including Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress and other political parties have accused Maharaj of fanning communal tension ahead of the seven-phase polls in the state. Speaking in Meerut last week, Maharaj had urged all political parties to come together to frame “population control” laws.…



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Radhika Vemula Detained by Police at HCU, VC Refuses Her Right to Pay Homage (Jan 17, 2017, Sabrang India)

At about 8 p.m. on the night of January 17, the first anniversary of the date of Dalit Research scholar, Rohith Vemula’s “institutional murder” a callous Telangana police detained his mother Radhika Vemula, who had expressed her wish to pay homage at the Veliwada within the University of Hyderabad Campus.

Even as students at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) had planned to hold a largescale protest on January 17, commemorating the death anniversary of Rohith Vemula, the university administration had told the media that it will not let them go ahead with their plans.

Pro-VC Vipin Srivastava, said, “It is our prerogative as to who we can let inside the campus and who we can’t. We will take a decision based on the law and order situation. If they refuse to comply, we also have a High Court order.”…



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Opinions and Editorials

Modi’s Man-Made Calamity: How Many Will Die? – By Walt Gelles (Jan 15, 2017, Countercurrents)

At this point, every sane and responsible person in India should be asking: How many tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, or millions of people in India are going to die from hunger, starvation, malnutrition and disease as a result of Modi’s demonetisation?

Reports from the rural and semi-rural areas of India, from towns and villages, already indicate that hunger is widespread because of the nonexistence of cash. This artificial crisis was created on November 8, 2016 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi arbitrarily declared 86% of the nation’s currency worthless as legal tender – a draconian diktat taken without any prior discussion with his cabinet, Parliament, or the people.

The so-called demonetisation policy has had devastating effects across all sectors of Indian society, crippling businesses and farmers, causing retail stores and vendors to shut down, increasing unemployment, and forcing ordinary people to lose billions of man-hours and woman-hours waiting in endless queues at banks to exchange unusable currency notes or to withdraw the meager cash allowed.…



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Godse only killed Gandhi, present day’s Hindutva icon Modi is killing the soul of Gandhi – By Apoorva Pathak (Jan 15, 2017, Janta Ka Reporter)

In a move that has shocked many, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ejected Mahatma Gandhi from the wall calendar and table diary published by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission.

This attempt to marginalise Mahatma Gandhi from public mind is a clear manifestation of Modi’s narcissism. It’s Modi’s bid to create a cult around himself at the cost of stalwarts of Indian history. It also makes for bad marketing strategy as it is nobody’s case that Modi is in the same league as Gandhi in terms of appeal within and outside India. Moreover, Modi for all his followers, has large number of detractors and does not have the same bipartisan fandom as Gandhi’s.

The regressive move should alarm us about a much more fundamentally sinister plot that it has inadvertently exposed. It is a dangerous attempt to erase Gandhi’s legacy from Indian ethos. While the Hindutva icon Nathuram Godse only killed Gandhi, the present day’s Hindutva icon Modi is killing the soul of Gandhi.…



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Anti-National RSS: Documentary Evidences From RSS Archives – By Shamsul Islam (Jan 17, 2016, Countercurrents)

Friends from India and abroad who are concerned about the increasing threats to the democratic-secular Indian polity from the Hindutva organizations have been feeling the need for a concise document on the anti-national game-plan of the RSS and other like-minded offshoots. The need of such a document is rightly felt for countering the Hindutva propaganda at all levels.

The following document is an attempt to accomplish this objective. It is hoped that equipped with this document all those who love India as a democratic-secular nation and want to save our beloved country from the Hindutva onslaught would be able to challenge the fountain-head of the Hindutva politics; RSS. This document is based solely on the documents drawn from the RSS archives.

The editorial (titled ‘Glorious Hindu Nation’) in the maiden issue of the English organ of RSS dated July 3, 1947 strongly rejected any talk of an Indian nation where Hindus and Muslims would stay as equal partners. It branded the concept of a composite Indian nation as a British conspiracy and went on to decry Mr. Hume (one of the founders of the Indian National Congress) for advancing the theory…



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Confusion About ‘Nation-State’ Is Dangerous For Sikhs in India – By Jaspal Singh Sidhu (Jan 12, 2017, Free Press Journal)

Of late, some thinkers of the Sikhs, a minority constituting less than two per cent of India’s population, are praising and advocating for a separate ‘nation-state’ as the best political solution for the emancipation of the besieged community. Such thinkers go to the extent of harrying and hounding those Sikh intellectuals who oppose the concept of ‘nation-state’, a Western construct.

The latter category of intellectuals suggest that a lot of water has flowed down the rivers since Western educated and influenced leaders of Indian independence struggle succeeded in setting up two ‘nation-states’ in 1947 – India and Pakistan,. Six decades old ‘nation-states’ set-up in Indian sub-continent, have been the cause of untold miseries, internal-external conflicts, bloodshed and further fragmentation in form of Bangladesh, which the founding fathers could never fathom in their dreams even.

Critics of ‘nation-state’ also argue that the unprecedented bloodshed and the forced migration of millions of people, witnessed during the Partition days was the direct consequence of Nehru and Jinnah’s insistence on establishing their separate ‘nation-states’.…



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An Unambiguous Indictment – Editorial (Jan 14, 2017, EPW)

The face of Chhattisgarh is the smiling visage of its chief minister, Raman Singh, which appears with unabated frequency in advertisements, including in the EPW, extolling the progress the state is making under his 13-year reign. The reality, as became evident with the latest report of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), is vastly different. It confirms what is already known but which Singh and his police force stubbornly refuse to acknowledge, that the tribal population of this state lives in constant fear of violence at the hands of the state police even as it continues to struggle with the unrelenting burden of poverty.

The tragedy of Chhattisgarh is not just the impunity with which the police and security forces continue to operate in the name of fighting the Maoists, but that nothing seems to dent the pursuit of these actions that have led to rapes, murders, harassment and wrongful imprisonment of ordinary people.

Taking suo motu cognisance of a 2 November 2015 news report in the Indian Express about 40 women from five villages who had alleged that they had been assaulted, harassed and that two women had been gang-raped, reportedly by the state police, the NHRC initiated an investigation. The newspaper story was based on inquiries carried out by a women’s human rights group, Women Against Sexual Violence and State Oppression a month earlier.…



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The Death of a “Velivada Scholar”- Rohith Vemula – By Raju Hanumanta Chalwadi (Jan 17, 2017, Sabrang India)

The death of Rohith Vemula, a PhD scholar, at the Hyderabad Central University shook the country on January 2016. It was a loss of a brilliant child to his mother and loss of an intellectual to his community. ‘My birth is my fatal accident’ is what he wrote in his suicide letter, the meaning of these words can only be understood by one who did not want him/her to be what he wrote in the same letter “be reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility”. Further, he writes “Never was a man treated as a mind”, illustrates the injustice being done historically by the country on the Dalits by treating them as slaves and behaving with them as worst as possible.…

On 18th of December 2015, a letter was written to the Vice Chancellor of the University by the scholar asking VC to fulfil the following demands as a solution for the Dalit problems. He said “Please serve 10mg Sodium Azide to all the Dalit students at the time of admission. With direction to use when they feel like reading Ambedkar and supply a nice rope to the rooms of all Dalit students”. Further, he requested for a facility of “EUTHANASIA” for a student like him. This letter was written exactly 30 days before he committed suicide. Any sensible person could have taken such a letter with utmost urgency but the VC of UoH did not take it.…

Had the Ministry of HRD instead of writing letters after letters done the work for which the ministry had been constituted i.e., providing quality education and making education accessible to all, had the government not appointed Casteist VC Appa Rao Podile – who expelled 10 Dalit student’s way back in 2000 when he was a warden. Had Modi taken an unbiased stand on the issue by inquiring the case instead of providing lip service of achieving goal of equal India envisage by Dr BR Ambedkar, the Velivada scholar could have got justice. Most recently, PM Modi has awarded vice- chancellor Appa Rao Podile with a “Millennium Plaque of Honour” award at the Indian Science Congress held in Tirupati.



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