IAMC Weekly News Roundup - January 30th, 2017 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 30th, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

UP election: Politics over Muzaffarnagar riot victims leaves Kairana polarised (Jan 29, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Abdul Sattar was just 12 years old when India was partitioned in 1947, yet it was the macabre of 2013 riots in western Uttar Pradesh that has shaken him to the core. “In 1947, the violence lingered on for over two months, but it was never so bad that we would have to leave our homes,” the octogenarian said. Sattar was among the thousands of people who shifted from the villages of Muzaffarnagar to neighbouring Kairana after the Jat-Muslim riot broke out in August 2013.

“Houses around ours were set on fire and we were forced to leave our village Ranagana,” he said. Nearly 5,000 families had moved out from the violence- stricken western UP district never to return. An estimated 3,000 victims landed in makeshift tents in the Malakkpur refugee camp on the outskirts of Kairana.

Now, two years later, the camp has been disbanded and its residents moved to two colonies that have come up with the help of the local MLA, Samajwadi Party’s Nahid Hassan. The one that Sattar lives in has been named Manawwar Hassan colony after the MLA’s father and has 128 brick houses and around 230 huts.…



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UP Polls: Shocking admission! Independent candidate admits entering politics only for money (Jan 28, 2017, New Indian Express)

In what can be called as flabbergasting, a video going viral on social media shows an independent candidate from Agra openly admitting that his only motive to enter politics is to earn money. Indirectly hinting towards the rest of the people coming into this field with the same motive, the candidate said he would follow the footsteps of those people.

“My only reason for coming into politics is money, I’ll fool people,” Chaudhary said.

Taking one step further, the candidate commented on Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that if a person can become the head of the country by fooling people, so would he. “By fooling people if somebody can become the Prime Minister, he must be having some talent. I will also follow the same footsteps,” he said.



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BJP MLA, five others booked for extortion in Mira Road (Jan 27, 2017, Times of India)

Sitting Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Mira-Bhayander and corporator Narendra Mehta and five officers of the Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC) have been booked for demanding Rs 2 crore extortion from a builder in 2015.

The Naya Nagar police in Mira Road filed the FIR on January 25 following the Bombay high court order on Monday. Last year, the complainant Vinod Trivedi (45) had filed a criminal writ petition alleging that the police failed to take his complaint against Mehta and the officers.

Mehta refuted the charges saying that the builder had been asked to stop work as he had submitted fake documents. “The builder has mentioned in his police statement that he has no proof. It is easy for anyone to make allegations,” said Mehta.…



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The Indian Church remembers the missionary Graham Staines, burned alive by Hindu radicals (Jan 24, 2017, Herald Malaysia)

Monday the Indian Church remembers the murder of the Australian missionary Graham Staines, killed by Hindu radicals in 1999 along with his two youngest children.…

On the night between 22 and 23 January 1999, Hindu extremists burned the pastor Staines and his sons Philip and Timothy (9 and 7 years of age) alive, while they were asleep in their station wagon in Manoharpur village (district of Keonjhar, Orissa).…

The brutal murder of the Australian missionary was the prelude of the violence against Christians in Orissa triggered in 2008 by Hindu fundamentalists. John Dayal says that in that period “the Sangh targeted Christians once again, especially in Kandhamal district”.…



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Missing JNU student’s family accuse cops of intimidation (Jan 29, 2017, DNA India)

Anger broke out at the home of the maternal uncle of missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, as the Delhi Crime branch, along with Uttar Pradesh police, carried out a search at his residence on Saturday. Alleging high-handedness by the police, Najeeb’s family said that the police had misbehaved with him.

“At 4:30 am, around 40 police personnel, of both Delhi police and UP police, stormed my uncle Ashraf Qadri’s resident in Badaun and treated him like a criminal. They misbehaved with him and asked him inappropriate questions regarding Najeeb’s disappearance,” said Najeeb’s brother Mujeeb Ahmed.

The family claimed that it was not just Najeeb’s uncle’s house that was searched. According to them, police also searched the house of his uncle’s friend Tarruf Shujat. “They (police) had checked my brother’s cellphone from which the last call was made to his friend Tarruf Shujat, who lives near my brother’s place,” said Najeeb’s mother Fatima Nafees. “They stormed into his house. They have checked their phones (Najeeb’s uncle and his uncle’s friend) and taken their SIM cards along with them,” she alleged.…



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3 years on, wounds of riots still raw in Muzaffarnagar (Jan 30, 2017, Asian Age)

Raisa Bano, 48, sits under a shed with only a tarpaulin to save her five children from icy winds. Hasan, her husband, works as a daily wage labourer in a farmhouse and the owner has allowed the family to live in the shed.

“We lived in Kutba village, but during the riots (in 2013), our house was burnt down and my father-in-law and brother-in-law were hacked to death. We took refuge here and have been staying here ever since,” she said. Her children – three daughters and two sons – do not go to school, and she does not know what life holds for her family in the coming days.

Ask her about elections and her patience gives way. “The BJP people slaughtered my family and the government (controlled by the Samajwadi Party) did nothing to save us. We were denied compensation because we did not have money to bribe local officials. Hamare liye to sab chor hain (For us, all of them are thieves),” she said.…



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Sanjay Leela Bhansali Assaulted On Padmavati Sets in Jaipur, Bollywood Demands Action (Jan 28, 2017, NDTV)

Bollywood is furious and actors and filmmakers are demanding action against protesters who assaulted veteran filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali on the sets of his film Padmavati in Jaipur on Friday. Mr Bhansali was slapped and his hair was pulled at the Jaigarh Fort by members of the Rajput Karni Sena who stormed the film sets and vandalised equipment.…

The Jaipur Police has been quoted by the Press Trust of India as saying that Mr Bhansali has decided to stop filming in the area. “The filmmakers have assured that they will not shoot here and will pack up,” senior police officer Anshuman Bhomia told PTI.

Fellow filmmaker Karan Johar said he is appalled at what has happened with Sanjay Bhansali. “This is the time for all us as an industry to stand by our people and fraternity,” he said. “The film industry has to abandon its politics of silence, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt said on Twitter, adding, “Silence is now tantamount to betrayal”. Actor and filmmaker Farhan Akhtar said there was enough evidence and he is waiting to see how many people are punished for what happened to Mr Bansali and his crew. “This is mockery of democracy.…



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As Calamity-Hit Farmers Continue To Commit Suicide, SC Asks Govt Why There’s No Policy To Help Them (Jan 28, 2017, India Times)

Having dealt with the issue of farmers’ suicide raised in many PILs earlier, the Supreme Court on Friday found it strange that there was no national policy to compensate tillers for crop failure or indebtedness, two major reasons for them to take their lives.

A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice N V Ramana was dealing with a three-year-old appeal filed by an NGO led by Mallika Sarabhai questioning the rationale behind Gujarat high court’s decision not to entertain its PIL seeking relief for farmers, nearly 600 of whom had committed suicide between 2004-2012.

The CJI said, “It is rather strange that there have been several incidents of farmers’ suicide yet there is no national policy to protect them from crop failure leading to their indebtedness. There must be a policy to compensate farmers for crop failure. This is a national issue and of larger public interest.” Petitioner’s counsel Colin Gonsalves and Gujarat counsel Pritesh Kapur agreed with the bench. The bench suo motu decided to convert the appeal into a PIL and issued notices to the Centre, states and Union Territories.…



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Asaram Bapu case: Supreme Court denies bail, orders fresh FIR (Jan 30, 2017, Indian Express)

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the bail application of self-styled godman Asaram Bapu and ordered a fresh FIR against him for attaching a false medical document along with his plea. He was also slapped with Rs 1 lakh in fine for filing a “frivolous petition”.

Asaram, who is facing allegations of sexual assault, moved the apex court for bail on medical grounds. Refusing to modify its earlier order that had declined him interim bail, the Supreme Court bench observed that the instant plea was devoid of merit and, therefore, dismissed.

This was the seventh bail application of the 74-year-old that has been rejected by the court. He was sent to jail in August 2013 for allegedly sexually assaulting a 16-year-old school girl.



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Gujarat Dalit rally in Surendranagar takes strong exception to calling human rights NGO Navsarjan anti-national (Jan 25, 2017, Counterview)

Scores of poor people from several towns and villages gathered in Gujarat’s Surendranagar town on Wednesday to protest against the cancellation of foreign funding license of Gujarat’s most well-spread-out Dalit rights NGO, Navsarjan Trust, taking strong exception to the reason for the Government of India order – “undesirable activities of the association detrimental to national interest.”

Demanding reversal of the order on Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) license, the protest took place to mark the 31st anniversary of the massacre of four Dalits in village Golana in Central Gujarat on January 25, 1986.

The event became the main reason for founding Navsarjan as a Dalit rights organization in Gujarat. A separate commemorative gathering took place at Golana, where Dalits paid homage to their colleagues who were killed three decades ago. “Are we anti-nationals because we struggle for our rights?”, was the general view among those who had gathered at the well-organized meet in Surendranagar.…



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Opinions and Editorials

BJP at its game of communal polarisation in UP – By T R Ramachandran (Jan 25, 2017, Free Press Journal)

…Worried by the SP-Congress truck, the BJP is once again at its game of communal polarisation. In a three-cornered contest, the BJP might well be pushed to the wall with the minority Muslim vote ranged against it.

It is in this context that the Lotus party is seeking to project itself as a saviour of the other backward classes in a desperate bid to regain power in UP after 14 years. Notwithstanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s diktat of steering clear of giving tickets to the relatives of party leaders, the party has just done that. The saffron brigade appears to have alienated its supporters of small traders as well as the Brahmins.…

Judging by the BJP’s first list of candidates it has not given a single seat to a Muslim candidate along with banking on communal polarisation in riot affected western UP. Tickets have been distributed to leaders involved in communal incidents including sitting MLAs Sangeet Som and Suresh Rana, both of whom are accused in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots. The wife of the BJP/RSS leader accused in last September’s Bijnor incident has also been fielded.… The BJP has again resorted to playing the communal card amid reports that the dominant Jat community is disillusioned with it.…



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We, the other – By Abdul Khaliq (Jan 26, 2017, Indian Express)

So inured to injustice have we become as a society that the Mumbai High Court’s outrageous judgment in the Mohsin Shaikh murder case has been largely ignored. The honourable judge has granted bail to three of the accused in the gruesome killing of the young IT professional on the extenuating grounds that the victim belonged to a different religion which provoked the killers to murder him. The short point made is that being a Muslim is sufficient provocation and justification for inviting retribution and death.

I cringe but am not surprised at this mindset, which I believe is pervasive in every walk of life. I have a dear friend – a God-fearing, educated Hindu, who would put his life on the line to protect me from harm. Paradoxically, he also believes that the mass killings of Muslims post-Godhra in 2002, in Muzzaffarnagar in 2013, were justified, that the eight unarmed, alleged SIMI terrorists who were gunned down in an “encounter” in Bhopal met their just deserts. How does one explain this contradiction?

Obviously for my friend, our affinity transcends core beliefs but the fact that he harbours such deep animosity against Muslims in general only reinforces the view that seven decades after Partition, there is no let-up in the pathological hate and distrust that separate Hindus and Muslims.…



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Uncompassionate Hindutva: ‘World’s Largest Democracy’ Clamps Down on Christians – By Eric Metaxas (Jan 30, 2017, CNS News)

Why would India block foreign donations to help poor children? The answer is Hindutva. On January 13th, Compassion International told the sponsors of 130,000 Indian children that, barring an unlikely turn of events, it would cease operations in India in mid-March.

The announcement came a year after the Indian government told the organization that “it could no longer receive funding from outside the subcontinent.”

While the news dismayed Compassion’s donors, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to those familiar with the deteriorating state of religious freedom in India.…



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RSS training also produces a Shanmuganathan – By Anil Sharma (Jan 30, 2017, Free Press Journal)

Meghalaya governor V Shanmuganathan, 68, a RSS pracharak has resigned after 80 staff members of the Raj Bhavan wrote a letter to President Pranab Mukherjee that he had converted the place into a young ladies club.

Trouble began for the bachelor governor when he had invited a young aspirant for the PRO’s job on the Raj Bhavan for ‘one-to-one’ interview, and touched her inappropriately. (He reportedly complimented her and compared her looks with that of Bollywood star Deepika Padukone). This happened in December and the RSS pracharak may have been smug in the belief that the incident had passed over without any bad forebodings for him when nothing happened in its immediate aftermath.

But the issue got exposed when the lady concerned shared the details with a journalist friend who was also one of the aspirants for the PRO’s job. In the BJP, appointments to the posts that are made at the government’s discretion are an exclusively organisational affair with the RSS having an upper hand. Usually, the organisational secretary Ram Lal and the party president Amit Shah call the shots with inputs from concerned persons. This is often a time consuming process that tests the patience of the aspirants but the saffron bosses insist on it.…



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1984 anti-Sikh riots: Can the Centre deliver justice to victims of mass violence? – By Aakar Patel (Jan 29, 2017, First Post)

How serious is the Indian government about giving justice to the victims and survivors of the Sikh massacre of 1984? It is a question that all Indians should be interested in, because it will clarify whether or not this country can ever deliver justice in acts of mass violence.

In the slaughter that followed the assassination of Indira Gandhi, 3,325 people were murdered, of whom 2,733 were killed in Delhi alone. Powerful leaders from the Congress were named as having participated in the killings. Some of them, like HKL Bhagat, have since died themselves without facing trial. Others like Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler and Kamal Nath are still around. The Ranganath Misra commission that first inquired the massacre recorded their statements in private, in the absence of the victims, and absolved Rajiv Gandhi’s government of responsibility.

A dozen Congress and non-Congress governments at the Centre have come and gone in these 32 years, while little progress was made on the cases. The Vajpayee regime instituted the Nanavati commission, whose report was tabled by Manmohan Singh’s government. This report made public a lot of material that was shocking, and Singh apologised to the country on behalf of Congress. Tytler lost his ministry but no justice was forthcoming.…



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Why are gau-rakshaks supporting Jallikattu? – By Anusha Ravi (Jan 21, 2017, Oneindia.com)

Pro-right wing organisations across the country have been hailing protests in support of Jallikattu, these are the same groups that are up in arms against cow slaughter earning them the name cow-vigilante.

The Supreme Court banned Jallikattu owing to cruelty to animals during the sport, but for those who brand themselves as protectors of the holy cow, nothing about Jallikattu is cruel.

Members of the Bajrang Dal have time and again been in the news for either assaulting others for alleged illegal transport of cattle or assisting police in intercepting vehicles transporting cows largely in the coastal belt of Karnataka.…



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