IAMC Weekly News Roundup - January 7th, 2019 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 7th, 2019

In this issue of IAMC News Digest

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

‘Modi gave written answers, then ANI formed questions’: Twitter users poke fun at PM’s interview (Jan 2, 2019, Scroll.in)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interview to ANI on New Year’s Day has received some ridicule on Twitter, with the Congress leading the charge by calling it a “monologue” and several users pointing out how he made the conversation about himself.…

The Congress summarised the prime minister’s interview as “I, Me, Mine, Myself”. The party also listed 10 questions for the prime minister, seeking answers on promises on jobs and black money and policies such as demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax.

The interview elicited a fairly negative response on Twitter, with many users mocking or criticising it while some offered unqualified praise. Those who criticised the interview felt that Modi’s answers were old and common, and that the questions put to him had been vetted earlier. Some said he was finally being “forced” to do interviews to improve his image.…



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Get citizenship Bill or Assam goes to Jinnahs: BJP’s Himanta Biswa Sarma (Jan 7, 2019, Indian Express)

Senior Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Sunday that if the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which is opposed in the state by large sections, is not passed, Assam will go to the “Jinnahs”. “People are concerned that we are trying to bring somebody (outsiders), which is false. Without that Bill, we are surrendering ourselves to the philosophy of Jinnah… This is a fight between Jinnah’s legacy and India’s legacy,” Sarma, the BJP’s Northeast face, said at a press conference here.

The Bill essentially proposes to make minority (or non-Muslim) immigrants from three neighbouring countries, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, eligible for Indian citizenship. The Centre is set to bring the Bill before Parliament, and speaking in Silchar on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called it “atonement” of the mistakes of Partition.

The Bill is seen to be violating the 1985 Assam Accord that, simply put, says that any immigrant who came into the state after the midnight of March 24, 1971, would be identified as a foreigner. Asked about this on Sunday, Sarma said, “Let the Assam Accord be violated, but let us not go to Jinnah. You have to determine between the Assam Accord and Jinnah. Which way will you go?”…



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Mob Kills 55-Year-Old in Bihar’s Araria District, Cops Register ‘Negligence’ Case (Jan 4, 2019, News Click)

Five days have passed since a 55-year-old man was beaten to death by a strong mob of around 300 over suspicion of cattle theft in Bihar’s Araria district, but not a single arrest has been made so far. What is more surprising is that the police appear to be callous and casual in its investigation into the incident.

The police had no idea about the gruesome killing till a purported video of the mob lynching went viral. As per reports, it was the alleged perpetrators who made the video and make it public on social media platforms. Only after that the body of the man was recovered and a first information report (FIR) was registered. Surprisingly, the police have registered a case of death due to negligence.

The incident took place on December 30 at Simarbani village under Sikti police station and the body was taken into custody on December 31, after the said video footage went viral. Araria Sub Divisional Police Officer KP Singh… admitted that the police came to know about the incident only after the video footage came to fore. The version of the police raises more questions than answers because it seems that the officer is suggesting that the police could not reach there on time.…



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Four Muslim men arrested on charges of slaughtering cows were falsely implicated by district convener of Bajrang Dal, Yogesh Raj, police said on Wednesday (Dec 19, 2018, Hindustan Times)

Four men arrested on charges of slaughtering cows, which led to the mob violence in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr earlier this month that had resulted in the death of a police inspector and another person, were falsely implicated by district convener of Bajrang Dal, Yogesh Raj, police said on Wednesday.

Sarfuddin, Sajid, Asif and Nanhe, who were arrested on December 4 on the basis of a complaint lodged by Raj on December 3, will be released soon, officials said.

Raj is a key accused in the violence in Syana area of Bulandshahr during which police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and a villager Sumit Kumar were killed. He is yet to be arrested.…



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Let Supreme Court’s decision set Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi dispute to rest; talk of ordinance mustn’t arise from government’s side (Jan 2, 2019, Times of India)

With the questions that the country and journalists would like to ask the Prime Minister piling up, it come as a relief that PM Narendra Modi has spoken up, now in election season. Of particular relevance is his view that the government does not intend to intervene in the Ram Mandir issue despite the Sangh Parivar increasing pressure on the government to bring in an ordinance, especially in later-2018 during the run up to the assembly elections in the Hindi heartland.

In wanting the Supreme Court to pronounce its verdict first, the PM has chosen wisely. But the government must also resoundingly send out the signal that the Supreme Court’s decision will set at rest the matter for ever. Talk of ordinances and other governmental settlements should not be bandied about as that muddies the waters.

SC must also treat the matter purely as a civil title suit to give no room for political interpretations. In this regard the Sangh Parivar pressure on BJP is remarkable because it makes the government look weak before the tactics of an unelected organisation. Recall how the NAC undermined the Manmohan government.…



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Eyes on polls, Cabinet approves 10% quota for ‘economically weaker’ General category (Jan 7, 2019, Indian Express)



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Bomb people who feel unsafe in India, says BJP MLA Vikram Saini (Jan 4, 2019, India Today)

Days after veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah’s comment on intolerance in India erupted into a full-blown controversy, a BJP MLA from Khatauli has said people who feel threatened and unsafe in India should be bombed.

BJP MLA Vikram Saini said, “My personal view is that those who say they feel unsafe and threatened in India should be bombed. Give me a ministry and I will bomb all such people; not even one will be spared.”

The BJP MLA, without naming Shah, slammed people who complain about intolerance in India and said that he will bomb such people himself.



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Delhi Police officer arrested for taking bribe (Jan 3, 2019, One India)

The CBI has arrested a Sub Inspector of Delhi Police for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 80,000, officials said on Wednesday.

Sub Inspector Gopal Singh posted at Lodhi Colony Police Station was taken into custody by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), they said.

It was alleged that the officer had demanded the bribe from the accused in a case that he was probing, assuring to “go soft on him”, they added.



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Why Modi Government is Amending the Aadhaar Act and What it Means for You (Jan 2, 2019, The Wire)

…The Aadhaar And Other Laws (Amendment) Bill 2018, which was passed by the cabinet two weeks ago and introduced by information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, contains a host of amendments that have to be passed to comply with various aspects of the apex court’s judgements.

These include: provisions to help make the biometric scheme voluntary, clauses that will allow the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to more effectively police its ecosystem and options to cancel Aadhaar numbers when one turns 18.

The most controversial change, however, are two proposed amendments to the Telegraph Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The amendments will allow banks and telecom operators to continue using voluntary Aadhaar authentication as a means of linking Aadhaar numbers to bank accounts and mobile SIM cards.



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One dead in Kerala protests over Sabarimala row, 100 injured during bandh (Jan 3, 2019, Hindustan Times)

More than 100 people, including 38 policemen, were injured on Thursday as a shutdown to protest against the Kerala government for helping two women enter the Sabarimala temple turned violent at several places in the state.…

It was the first time that women aged between 10 and 50 had set foot in the gold-plated temple nestled in a tiger reserve since the Supreme Court in September last year ordered the lifting of the ban on women of menstruating age entering the hilltop shrine. The temple has refused to abide by the ruling and subsequent attempts by women to visit it had been blocked by thousands of angry devotees.…

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan defended helping the two women in gaining entry to the Sabarimala temple as he accused the Sangh Parivar of trying to incite trouble in the state. Vijayan said during a press conference it was his government’s constitutional obligation to help the two women and warned that troublemakers will be dealt with sternly.…



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Opinions and Editorials

The cycle of impunity – By Apoorvanand (Dec 31, 2018, Indian Express)

The Sajjan Kumar judgment should be a learning moment. It tells us that mass crimes like 1984 are not spontaneous, nor are they committed in the spur of the moment, in a rush of passions blinding people and turning them into mobs. There is a mind, individual or collective, that plans, organises and gets the crime executed. This planner is sure of a ring of eternal impunity and assures the same impunity to those who perpetrate the crime.

This aspect of the judgment is being ignored. While the moment of justice is lauded, the lament of the court is not being heard. The judgment rued the fact that India does not have laws to deal with “crimes against humanity” and “genocide”. Even before this judgment, the Delhi High Court, while convicting 89 persons for the killing and mayhem in Trilokpuri, had used the term genocide for the 1984 killings.

…The judgment reads: “…there has been a familiar pattern of mass killings in Mumbai in 1993, in Gujarat in 2002, in Kandhamal, Odisha in 2008, in Muzaffarnagar in UP in 2013 to name a few. Common to these mass crimes were the targeting of minorities and the attacks spearheaded by the dominant political actors being facilitated by the law enforcement agencies.” Nellie, Bhagalpur etc. can be added to this list.…



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Indian Science Congress: A Mockery of Science! – By Sandipan Talukdar (Jan 7, 2019, News Click)

Vocalising the pseudo-scientific beliefs about Indian mythologies has become a norm in the Indian Science Congress (ISC) for quite some time now. Scientific ideas, discoveries and scientific temperament have been taking a back seat. This years’ ISC is also no different. Two lectures at the ISC including by an acting vice chancellor have sparked controversies in the science community of the country.

Andhra University Vice Chancellor G Nageswara Rao, who is a professor of inorganic chemistry, claimed that the Kauravas of Mahabharata, the Indian mythological epic, were born out of stem cell research and test tube fertilisation process.… He went ahead saying that Ravana, the character from another epic Ramayana, had aircraft of 24 different types, and Sri Lanka, at that time, had airports. He did have his theories about evolution also where he challenged the Darwinian Theory, and claimed that the “Dasavatara” – 10 incarnations of lord Vishnu – was much advanced in explaining the evolution. Rao made these statements in a session that consisted mostly of children.

K J Krishnan, the other supposed scientist, during the same session, explained the theories of Einstein and Newton. He declared that Newton and Einstein had little knowledge about physics, and they misled the world with their theories. He claimed his own theory of gravitational phenomenon will be proved more pertinent in the future, and when it is accepted, what the world now knows as gravitational waves would be named as “Narendra Modi Waves”, and the gravitational lensing would be known as “Harsh Vardhan Effect”.…



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RSS is Likely Using Nitin Gadkari to Divide and Rule the BJP – By Sujata Anandan (Jan 2, 2019, The Wire)

Union minister Nitin Gadkari is hopping mad at the media. “The media is left with absolutely no integrity,” he told this correspondent last week while flatly denying he had said any of the things attributed to him in the past couple of weeks. “They put words in my mouth over my Pune speech [wherein he is supposed to have said ‘success has many fathers and failure is an orphan’]. And my Delhi address was taken out of context [he was reported as saying ‘if he were party president, he would have to be held responsible for the bad performance of his MPs and MLAs’].”

Be that as it may, those comments are now being interpreted as the bugle of revolt against Narendra Modi and Amit Shah – not just by political rivals or the media but also by a whole section of the BJP, who adore Gadkari from his days as party president. They are chafing at the tight grip of the Modi-Shah duo on the party and their refusal to allow any party man room for basic dissent or even simple disagreement. Gadkari may be protesting too much. He could not have made those comments without the backing of the top brass of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the confidence that they would back him up in the event of a fallout with the party leadership.

Although the minister is wary of being asked if he is bidding for the prime minister’s post in 2019, Dilip Deodhar, an RSS ideologue, told this correspondent he has warned Gadkari that his caste (Brahmin) is all wrong for the job of prime minister.… Even so, sources say recent events have shown that Modi may not have the complete backing of the RSS, whose leadership has been upset at his dictatorial, winner-takes-all style.…



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Lynching as a Public Spectacle – By Prabir Purkayastha (Jan 4, 2019, News Click ()

The rise of hate crimes in India – cow-related violence and lynchings – has been coupled with extensive use of social media. While fake news and fake videos have often helped spark communal violence, they have also been “celebratory” in nature: participants bragging about being a part of the mob involved in the lynchings and the violence.

For a number of commentators, it is the tool – social media and therefore technology – that is the root of the disease of communal violence and mob lynching, not the political forces behind the violence. For them, it is not the RSS-BJP and other sections of the Hindutva brigade, but the cell phone that is at the heart of the problem.

It is this attempt to make the cell phone the culprit, and not the people involved, that set me thinking on the larger role of technology in its relationship with mob violence and lynchings. I recalled the brilliant work of a set of historians who have focussed on mob violence and public lynchings in another time and another place: the US. There, Negroes, as they were called then, were lynched in large numbers from 1877 to as late as 1950. Then also, we had the public spectacle of lynchings.…



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The Accidental Prime Minister: A doomed product of RSS juggernaut before the 2019 general elections – By Naim Naqvi (Dec 30, 2018, Meri News)

…The Accidental Prime Minister by Sanjaya Baru is an account of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s two terms – UPA-1 and UPA-2. The book primarily presents Sardar Manmohan Singh as a puppet-like person dancing to the tunes of the UPA chief Smt Sonia Gandhi. Intriguingly, the book doesn’t cite straight references and names but there are enough hints for the common man to judge the then Prime Minister’s efficiency and honesty.

According to the author, Singh’s first tenure from 2004 to 2009 was unreasonably successful and he terms it as ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’. Shri Baru had to resign or resigned himself and he doesn’t explain why or inform which is the first lacuna that creeps from his response – “It is better to leave when people start asking why instead of when.”

Baru feels that the world for Sardar turned upside down after in the second tenure of Manmohan Singh after 2009. The PM was pumped with lot of difficulties and a ‘puppet-like’ term was attached with his name by the media.…



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Women Walking Into Sabarimala Is Hopefully the First of 2019’s Watershed Moments – By Badri Raina (Jan 2, 2019, The Wire)

As per reports, two dedicated women of menstrual age – dedicated both to Lord Ayappa and the constitution of India – have succeeded in breaking the irrational taboo at Sabarimala by entering the sanctum sanctorum and offering their prayers to the deity.

Coming after the entry at Haji Ali Dargah, Shani Shingnapur and the delegitimisation of the practice of instant triple talaq, the breakthrough at Sabarimala crowns a year of concerted mass determination to obtain gender justice in the cultural-religious domain long granted by India’s constitutional democracy.

The hiatus between the determinations of the Supreme Court on behalf of the rights granted to “we the people” and their lawful and mandatory implementation by state institutions thus continues to be bridged, however contentedly.…



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