IAMC Weekly News Roundup - July 10th, 2017 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 10th, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Muslim doctor, Hindu compounder spread message of peace in violence-hit Basirhat (Jul 10, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Patients coming out of doctor Kaseed Ali’s chamber in violence-hit Trimohini area of Basirhat town are carrying, apart from the medical prescription, advice on communal harmony. Ali and his compounder Deboprasad Boiragi are working together for nearly 35 years. Ali has made it a point to tell each of his patients that Boiragi has been no less than a family member and any loss to him would have been a personal loss to the Ali family.

“Over the last five days, I was always tense about his family’s security. I told the local leaders from my community to ensure his safety. Fortunately, since I have been practising here for the past 45 years, the leaders took my advice seriously and Debu’s family is safe,” Ali said. … Boiragi said a doctor’s chamber is the right place to spread the message of communal harmony.…

Close to his chamber is a medicine shop run by Benoy Krishna Pal, who was horrified by the violence at Trimohini. He even planned on leaving the town with his family, until a Muslim friend, Gazi, asked him not to. However, Gazi refused to take any credit. “I did not do anything special to be thanked for. Anybody would have done the same to save a childhood friend. We are like brothers,” he said.



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‘Hindu’ LeT militant arrested from UP planned attacks on army, Kashmir police (Jul 11, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The Jammu and Kashmir police said on Monday they arrested an Uttar Pradesh man who allegedly helped Pakistan-based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) attack army convoys, snatch weapons and loot lakhs of rupees.…

Police said Sandeep Kumar Sharma moved to Kashmir in 2012 for work and would travel to Punjab during the winter for alternative employment. But he returned in January with plans to rob ATMs, and made contact with LeT militants through local informants and allegedly became an associate of notorious LeT militant Bashir Lashkari, police added.

He allegedly planned at least five cases of ATM loot worth lakhs of rupees earlier this year. He was also allegedly a part of LeT teams that attacked an army convoy in Qazigund, snatched weapons in Anantnag and attacked a police party at Achabal in which six cops including a station house officer (SHO), were killed, J&K police chief Muneer Khan said.…



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West Bengal communal clashes: BJP MLA Raja Singh asks Hindus to respond like they did in Gujarat (Jul 9, 2017, Indian Express)

With West Bengal’s Baduria and Basirhat on the boil, Bharatiya Janata Party MLA H Raja Singh urged members of the Hindu community in the state to “respond in the same way” as Hindus in Gujarat did in 2002.

In a video message posted on Twitter, the MLA from Hyderabad can be heard seen saying, “Today, Hindus are not safe in the West Bengal state. Hindus in Bengal should respond to people involved in communal violence as Hindus in Gujarat did. Otherwise, soon Bengal will turn into Bangladesh.” He also asks “Bengal Tigers” to awake and unite in order to protect themselves.…

Earlier in April, the Hyderabad MLA had said that he would behead those opposing the construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. “Some people are saying that they will create ruckus if Ram Mandir is built in Ayodhya. I welcome the ones who are warning of dire consequences. We have been waiting for years to behead such traitors,” he said.



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Communal tension grips Uttarakhand town after ‘offensive’ FB post on Kedarnath (Jul 9, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Communal tension gripped an Uttarakhand town on Sunday as activists of Bajrang Dal and other right-wing organisations vandalised a vegetable shop belonging to family of a minor boy who allegedly posted an ‘offensive’ picture of the Kedarnath shrine on Facebook.…

According to an eyewitness account, several right-wing activists swooped on the shop and burnt the vegetable boxes kept there while shouting pro-Hindu slogans. “They were also searching for the vegetable vendor who had fled the shop,” said Pawan Negi, an eyewitness.

A Bajrang Dal worker in a video, filmed by an eyewitness, said they will continue the protest unless the culprit is arrested. Satpuli, a quaint town some 150kms from the state capital Dehradun has no history of communal tension in the past. “Four to five Muslim families have been living in the town for long without any incident of communal violence,” the SP said.…



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Ballabhgarh lynching: Junaid’s family demands death penalty for accused (Jul 9, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The family of Junaid Khan, who was lynched on a train in Ballabhgarh from New Delhi, demanded death penalty for the accused on Sunday.

“I appeal the government to announce death penalty for the accused and arrest the remaining involved in this case. Such incidents are happening everyday in every parts of the nation. We are living in fear,” Junaid’s father Jalaluddin told ANI.

Junaid’s brother Shakir, who was also attacked during the incident said, that the family appreciates the work done by the police to arrest the main accused. “I appreciate and want to thank police for their efforts to arrest the main accused and others involved in this case. The whole nation is in an atmosphere of fear due to lynching of any caste or religion,” Shakir said.…



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‘Not In My Name’ protest swells up in Mumbai (Jul 4, 2017, Indian Express)

The ‘Not In My Name’ protests that were held in over 10 cities across the country on June 28 received a boost in Mumbai as hundreds of residents descended on the Veer Kotwal Udyan in Dadar West a little after 4 pm Monday.

The earlier events were marked by a largely silent protest against the recent lynching incidents and other violent acts by alleged cow vigilantes. The latest protest witnessed the coming together of several political organisations like the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh, Students’ Federation of India, All India Democratic Women’s Association, Centre of Indian Trade Unions, Democratic Youth Federation of India, All India Students Federation, Students Islamic Organisation of India, and the Aam Aadmi Party.

The protesters gathered at the park to sing, raise slogans and march against cow-related violence, and especially the Central government’s “indifference” towards these crimes. They were joined by Sarva Shramik Sangh, Bharatiya Mahila Federation, All India Trade Union Congress, Indian Muslims For Secular Democracy, Forum Against Oppression of Women, and many other grassroot organisations.…



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BJP, RSS join hands to sell beef in Kerala: Deshabhimani report (Jul 4, 2017, National Herald)

In a major embarrassment to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been showcasing its cow protection agenda in several parts of the country, its unit in Thrissur district of Kerala, in association with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has started a cooperative society to sell beef among other varieties of meat.

The society, according to a report published by Malayalam daily Deshabhimani on Tuesday, has been framed under the stewardship of BJP district president A Nagesh and secretary TS Ullas Babu.…

Even though India continues to be one of the biggest exporters of beef, despite BJP coming into power, vigilantism in the name of cow protection has triggered a cycle of mob lynchings of Dalits and Muslims in several BJP-ruled states. BJP, however, has always maintained double standards when it comes to states where beef is widely consumed, especially in the Christian-majority northeastern states.…



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Gujarat 2002 riot compensation: Judge pulls up Collector over relief documents (Jul 4, 2017, Indian Express)

The judge of a specially-designated court, which is hearing the Naroda Gam riot case, on Monday pulled up the Ahmedabad collector for submitting photocopies of the records of compensation given to the victims of 2002 post-Godhra riots, and ordered him to submit the original ones by Wednesday. Coming down heavily on the collector, special judge PB Desai termed it as “a contempt” of court and warned him of action if he fails to produce the record.

“This is a gross violation of court’s order that amounts to contempt,” the judge said. During the last hearing, the defence lawyers had sought records showing bifurcation of the figures of the compensation, given to the victims, including Hindus whose properties were damaged during the riots. The court had ordered the collector to produce the original records.

On Monday, defence witness K K Menat, who is an officer at the collector office, didn’t bring the original record and instead brought unverified photocopies. In this case, 82 accused are facing trials, including former BJP minister Maya Kodnani.



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Cabbie says he was hit by bikers ‘for being Muslim’ (Jul 4, 2017, Times of India)

A cab driver with an aggregator service has lodged a complaint with Manpada police alleging that he was assaulted by two unidentified bike-borne youths in Dombivli early Sunday morning “for being a Muslim.”

Hafiz Zihauddin Siddiqui, who earlier worked as a maulvi, has alleged that the youths objected to his having parked his vehicle along the side of the road and started beating him up. “And when I screamed ‘Ya Allah yeh kya ho raha hai (What is happening, Allah?)’ during the assault, I was thrashed further and an attempt made to target my private parts,” he said.

The youths fled when they saw a car coming up from behind, he added. He also said that the Manpada police station registered only a non-cognisable offence (NC) in the matter on Sunday. But when TOI asked senior inspector at the station Abhay Kabdule on Monday, he said they would file an FIR in the case and would carry out a detailed probe.…



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Maharashtra BJP leader arrested after video of him forcibly kissing woman on bus goes viral (Jul 5, 2017, Hindustan Times)

A Bharatiya Janata Party leader in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli was arrested on Tuesday after a 20-year-old woman filed a case of rape against him and alleged he promised to marry her and also get her a job, police said on Wednesday.

According to reports, the woman lodged the complaint after a video clip of the Ravindra Bawanthade, a school teacher and BJP’s Gadchiroli district general secretary, kissing her in a moving luxury bus went viral across the state on Tuesday.

Bawanthade was also the party in-charge of Armori assembly constituency in the district during the 2014 state elections.… Bawanthade was arrested by the Nagbhid Police at Bramhapuri on Tuesday morning and taken into police custody until July 6 for further interrogation, reports said. The police booked the BJP leader under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 376 for the offence of rape.…



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Jailing Dalit activists will come to haunt Adityanath in 2019 (Jul 4, 2017, Dailyo.in)

Saharanpur clashes, the fallout of the arrest of Chandrashekhar Azad of Bhim Army and most recently the unwarranted detention of Dalit activists in Uttar Pradesh’s capital Lucknow may not augur well for the BJP in general and CM Yogi Adityanath in particular, especially when the party is eyeing the 2019 general elections and banking heavily on the state of UP.

On Monday, some Dalit activists, including former IPS officer SR Darapuri, along with eight others, were arrested for defying prohibitory orders. The group was in the state capital to protest against the forced deboarding and detention of 45 Gujarat Dalit activists from a train in Jhansi.

The activists were carrying a 125kg soap bar with the intent of handing it over to Yogi Adityanath. The move was viewed as a retaliatory step by the activists against the alleged distribution of soap and shampoo by officials to some Dalits in Kushinagar, just a day before the CM’s visit there.…



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Opinions and Editorials

Hindutva Terrorism in India – By Sudha Ramachandran (Jul 10, 2017, The Diplomat)

In the name of protecting cows, members of extremist outfits affiliated to India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are attacking Muslims. On June 29, a mob beat up and killed Asgar Ansari, a 45-year-old Muslim trader in the eastern state of Jharkhand, for allegedly carrying beef in his car. Three days earlier, a Muslim dairy owner, Usman Ansari, was beaten up and his house set on fire; a cow carcass was reportedly found near his house.

The two incidents are the latest in a string of attacks carried out by activists belonging to outfits like the Bharatiya Gau Raksha Dal (BGRD) and its regional units as well as organizations like the Bajrang Dal and the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) that are part of the Sangh Parivar, a family of Hindu right-wing organizations of which the BJP is a part.

The attacks, which are illegal and being described as cow vigilantism, have surged in recent years. According to an analysis by IndiaSpend, a public interest journalism website, 63 incidents of “violence centered on bovine issues” were reported between 2010 and 2017; 97 percent of these occurred after the BJP came to power in May 2014. Twenty-five of these incidents were reported in 2016 alone, the most so far in a single year. However, 2017 seems poised to break this record as around 20 cow vigilante attacks have been reported in the first six months this year, with the violence showing no signs of abating.…



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How BJP organised riots in Bengal – By Amaresh Misra (Jul 8, 2017, Caravan Daily)

Communal clashes in Bengal’s North 24 Pargana district has left people dumbfounded. Right from what actually happened to the shockingly partisan role of the Governor appointed by the BJP Central Govt, the entire chain of events leaves behind a murky trail. A top BJP leader gave a Press statement on Thursday that Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi was a soldier of the ‘Modi Vahini’ : https://www.google.co.in/…/bengal-governor-dedicated-soldie…… How can Keshri Nath Tripathi continue as Governor of Bengal after being called a follower of ‘Modi Vahini’?… The CPM… has taken the official position that North 24 Pargana events reek of a conspiracy by the BJP-RSS to derail a constitutionally elected Government.…

Just a few days back, RSS leaders told me in Lucknow that after the success of #NotInMyName protests, they were looking for an issue to divert attention–and that Bengal has a non-BJP Govt where Mamata was ‘appeasing’ Muslims. The logic being that BJP would be free from blame if a riot took place in Bengal! If you look carefully, BJP has been trying to stir trouble since Eid. Just after the Muslim festival, an article in right leaning ‘Dainik Jugsankho’ repeatedly mentioned spotting of ‘Pakistani flags’ on the houses of Muslims in several areas of Bengal.…

Newspapers did not report that the dead man’s relatives, as per the version given to me, kept emphasizing the non-Bengali origin of the killers. As things stand today, Rupa Ganguly of BJP, Congress and CPM leaders have been stopped from visiting Basirhat. Internet services are down. Curfew like situation prevails… Things are far from normal. The sad part is that though political leaders are speaking about a conspiracy, there is no concerted effort by secular forces to build a counter-narrative to BJP’s version of what happened in Baduria and Basirhat.



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When TV Anchors Become BJP Spokespersons To Spread Fake News – By Mahua Moitra (Jul 9, 2017, NDTV)

The Goebbels doctrine – “Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth” – is also known to psychologists as “the illusion of truth”. Under test conditions, people were more likely to rate statements as true when these statements were more familiar. Welcome to the BJP’s nation-wide test lab, where the illusion of truth is crafted by swayamsevaks and amplified by eager bhakts aided by a veritable army of highly paid cyber propaganda warriors and rabidly biased news anchors who comprise the newest breed of BJP spokespersons. They are uniformly ill-informed, under-qualified, and disgustingly loud in their fervour to win the race for that much-coveted Rajya Sabha seat.

Their latest “alternative fact” is that “minority appeasement by the Trinamool government is to blame for the breakdown of law and order in Bengal”. This may seem ridiculous, but it is still necessary to once and for all disprove the inherent falsehood of both the blatant lies in this statement.…

To guard against the pernicious “illusion of truth”, we must stop repeating falsehoods. Facts matter. They must matter. We must stand guard to protect them. Every re-post, re-tweet, story, datum passed on, without checking if it is true, is another step towards a world where lies and truth are confused. But Goebbels didn’t finally succeed. And ultimately, nor will the BJP’s lying machine. Satyamev Jayate.



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Amarnath killings: Hardliners must desist from communalising terror attacks – Editorial (Jul 11, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The terror attack that killed seven Amarnath shrine pilgrims is a deadly reminder of how fragile peace is in Kashmir. The attack is also a blow to the state’s syncretic traditions that bind Hindus and Muslims. The cave-shrine was discovered by a Muslim shepherd in 1850 and his family and Hindu priests together were its custodians for decades till the state government set up a board to regulate the yatra in 2000. The yatra, in fact, is incomplete without both communities and local logistics are all provided for by the Muslims.…

The most-heartening signals of Kashmiriyat not taking a beating in the face of extreme provocation are coming from the state’s common citizens. In an important signalling, a fresh batch of 3,000 yatris left Jammu a day after the terror attack. Kashmiris, too, are deeply disturbed by the killing of the pilgrims.…

As the state braces for testing times ahead and as the bodies of the pilgrims reach their homes in Gujarat and Maharashtra, political hardliners must desist from communalising the killings.



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Muslim Organisations Demand Ban on the Arrival of Stones in Ayodhya for Ram Mandir – By Arshad Afzaal Khan (Jul 7, 2017, The Wire)

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board, concerned over the arrival of stones in Ayodhya for the construction of the disputed Ram temple, will lodge a protest before the government and the Supreme Court.

A series of the arrivals of stones to be used in the construction of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) proposed Ram temple structure has made Muslim organisations restless. The organisations see the arrival of stones in Ayodhya as the open contempt and dishonour of the Supreme Court.

Muslim leaders and clerics are also of the opinion that the activities that have started in Ayodhya recently may disturb the communal harmony and peace and that these activities must be banned at once. Talking to The Wire, Sayed Qasim Rasool Ilyas, senior member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, said, “We will lodge a complaint in the Supreme Court over the arrival of stones as it is contempt of the apex court. The matter is subjudice before the court and the VHP is gathering stones in Ayodhya for the construction of Ram temple. We will demand a ban on these activities.”…



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Hindutva for Zionism – Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel was historic in every sense – By Manini Chatterjee (Jul 10, 2017, The Telegraph)

…In light of Europe’s long history of anti-Semitism that culminated in Hitler’s horrific Final Solution in the last century, the desire of the Jewish people to have a safe homeland gained much sympathy after the Second World War – not least from the guilt-ridden Western world that had failed to prevent the Holocaust.

But much before Hitler came on the scene, V.D. Savarkar – in an echo of the Zionist creed – declared that Hindus alone were the legitimate people of India because their pitrabhoomi (fatherland) was the same as their punyabhoomi (holy land). In his book Hindutva, first published in 1923, Savarkar wrote: “… no people in the world can more justly claim to get recognized as a racial unit than the Hindus and perhaps the Jews.”…

Imbued with great pride in their ancient roots and their holy lands, and fed by centuries of real and perceived persecution, both Hindutva and strong strands within Zionism today seek to champion a muscular militarized nationalism that is exclusionary to the core and has no place for the un-chosen Other.…



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