IAMC Weekly News Roundup - July 18th, 2016 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 18th, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Communal Harmony

Kashmiris rush to help injured Amarnath pilgrims in bus accident (Jul 14, 2016, Indian Express)

Kashmir, which has seen violence over the last few days, on July 13 witnessed a display of humanity and religious brotherhood when local people in Bijbehara rushed to the help of a group of Amarnath pilgrims after their bus met with an accident in which two persons were killed.

The bus, en eroute from Baltal to Jammu, collided with a truck at Sangam in Bijbehara, killing a pilgrim Pramod Kumar of Meerut in Uttar Pradesh and local driver Bilal Ahmad Mir of Kangan and injuring 23 others. When the news of the accident reached the locals, they defied curfew and reached the spot and began evacuating the injured pilgrims. The yeoman’s service of the local Muslims found praise from the rescued yatris.

Around 50 local people came to evacuate the injured after the accident, said AK Arora from Meerut in a two-minute video, which has gone viral on social networking sites. “If anyone wants to understand humanity, learn it from people of Kashmir. I felt the true value of humanity from the people of Kashmir. They came to our rescue at a time when we were abandoned by even fellow pilgrims and army,” he said. He said he has “witnessed humanity for the first time”.…


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Cops “tipped” Gujarat’s cow protecting Shiv Sainiks, who tied Una Dalits to SUV, assaulted them with iron rods (Jul 19, 2016, Counterview)

Amidst Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel ordering CBI probe into the assault on four Dalit youths with iron rods after tying them with SUV in order to punish them for seeking to skin a dead cow in a village near Una town of Saurashtra region, it has come to light that it was the local cops who had “tipped” the attackers.

Quoting police sources, one of the most well-informed Gujarat-based scribes, Prashant Dayal, has said in a personal blog that the “police control room of Una had passed on information” to the attackers on July 11, following which the vigilante group of cow protectors reached the village, Mota Samadhiyala, where the Dalits were skinning the dead cow, and beat them.

The four were later taken to Una town, where they were tied to SUV and hit with iron rods. While the Gujarati blog calls it a “small mistake” or a “misunderstanding” which, it says, “triggered” the events that followed, leading to violent Dalit protests all over Gujarat,… Meanwhile, the four cops, responsible for tipping the Shiv Sainiks, have been suspended.…



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Family of Slain Man in India May Be Charged With Cow Slaughter (Jul 14, 2016, New York Times)

Nearly a year after a mob bludgeoned to death a Muslim man, Mohammad Ikhlaq, over rumors that he had illegally killed and eaten a cow, a court ruled on Thursday that villagers could open a criminal case against the dead man’s family for cow slaughter.

The killing in Dadri, in northern India, in September came amid a rising mood of conservative Hindu nationalism in India and set off passionate debate about religious tolerance. Nineteen men face murder charges in Mr. Ikhlaq’s killing.…

Sanjay Rana, the father of one of the suspects, said the group would file charges against seven people, including Mr. Ikhlaq’s brother, wife, sons and daughters.…



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Rana Ayub fears for her Gujarat Files (Jul 18, 2016, The Hindu)

The author of the recently published book, Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up , Rana Ayub, is apprehensive that the Bharatiya Janata Party will take legal recourse to block the circulation of her book, which, she claims, sold more than 30,000 copies without much of publicity.

The book, which was released last month, contains previously unpublished transcripts of sting operations conducted by Ms. Ayub during the eight-month undercover stay in Gujarat. The transcripts document the violence that took place prior to the consolidation of power of the BJP in Gujarat in the wake of the 2002 communal riots.

At a recent event here, Ms. Ayub said her actions were constantly being monitored by the Centre. “Every word I write will be under the scrutiny of the Modi government. They are not silent but silently observing me. They are waiting for me to make the first mistake,” she said.…



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Four RSS activists arrested in relation with Kerala CPI(M) worker’s murder (Jul 17, 2016, Indian Express)

Four RSS activists have been arrested here today in connection with the July 11 murder of a 38-year old CPI(M) worker over political rivalry in the politically volatile Payyannur district, police said.

A team led by Payyannur Circle Inspector V Ramesh arrested Vysakh (21), Sukesh (29), Prejithlal (21) and Anoop (21), all hailing from the district, they said.

The arrested men were among the eight persons identified as accused in the case. The four allegedly had direct involvement in the crime and the others will also be nabbed soon, police said.…



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Zakir Naik victim of mediawitch-hunting, says Cong MLA (Jul 19, 2016, Times of India)

Firebrand Congress MLA Imran Masood on Monday came out in support of TV preacher Zakir Naik saying that he had become a victim of media witch-hunting and security agencies though he never advocated terrorism.

“If at all he has to be booked then the government should first arrest Sadhvi Prachi for appealing to make India free of Muslims,” said the newly appointed UPCC vice-president, who was arrested for hate speech during the 2014 elections.

“Have you heard Sadhvi Prachi’s speeches? Don’t they incite people of one community against others? But no action is being taken against her. Even the prime minister is maintaining a studied silence,” Masood said, adding that the country was passing through its most dangerous phase under the Modi government.…



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Kashmir unrest: NHRC issues notice to Union Home Secretary and the Chief Secretary of State (Jul 20, 2016, Indian Express)

Taking cognizance of the numerous casualties and injuries in the clashes between the protesters and the security forces in the valley of Jammu and Kashmir, the National Human Rights Commission has issued notices to the Union Home Secretary and the Chief Secretary of the state calling for reports in the matter.

The commission has given two weeks time to the concerned authorities to respond in this regard. Issuing a statement, NHRC said that it is closely watching the incidents of violence in the aftermath of the killing of Hizbul Mujahiden commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with the security forces on the July 8.…

After Burhan’s death, Kashmir is on boil and more than 40 people have been killed and over 3,000 including 1,600 civilians injured in clashes between youth and security men during protests.



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ATS wants jail term for filing fake IS complaints (Jul 18, 2016, Times of India)

After investigating hundreds of fake complaints about ‘Daesh men’, the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) has requested the state government to make filing such complaints a punishable offence. The proposal will first be studied by the state’s law and judiciary department before the government takes a decision.

In the last eight months, the state ATS, crime branch and city police received around 300 such bogus complaints, including one against the 80-year-old imam of a Vikhroli mosque. Till date, no arrests have been made on these complaints but 300 people were investigated and released after verification. The incidents traumatized the victims’ families who had to suffer for weeks before they got a clean chit.

The ATS wrote to the government after hundreds of such false ‘tip-offs’. “At present, we simply reprimand the applicant if we can locate him. The proposal to the government talks about making such applications a cognizable offence,” said a police official.…



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Two more Gurgaon cops held in Gadoli fake encounter case (Jul 13, 2016, Indian Express)

Two policemen were arrested in Gurgaon Tuesday in connection with the killing of Haryana gangster Sandeep Gadoli. The two were identified as Vikram Singh and Jitendra Yadav.

The Mumbai Police Special Investigation Team (SIT), acting on a tip-off, found them at Gurgaon police lines, same place from where it had earlier arrested Police Sub-Inspector Pradhuman Yadav, who led the Haryana police team that killed Gadoli on February 7, a source said.

A senior IPS officer said, “We arrested Vikram Singh and Jitendra Yadav, the two constables who were part of the five-member team that killed Gadoli, on Tuesday afternoon. They were brought to Mumbai by evening. In the CCTV footage of the hotel, Jitendra Yadav is seen carrying a weapon. We will produce them before the local court on Wednesday to seek their custody,” he added. “They are not cooperating with the probe at all,” the source said, adding, “We would want to bring the duo face to face with Pradhuman and interrogate them together.”…



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After AYUSH Ministry Story, Police Asks Milli Gazette Why Licence Shouldn’t Be Suspended (Jul 13, 2016, The Wire)

A “reader supported newspaper” which claims that it is there to “help Muslims get a stronger voice”, Milli Gazette has in its latest edition reported that ever since it carried a report in early March, titled ‘We don’t recruit Muslims: AYUSH ministry’, it has been “facing an existential threat from the Modi government”. The paper has been served a police notice asking why its declaration should not be cancelled, they said.

In its July edition, editor Zafarul Islam Khan has written an article stating that the threat being faced by the organisation now is the gravest in its 17 years of existence. This is despite it having faced many threats earlier, including death threats to Khan.

The government is being harsh on the newspaper, Khan said. The Delhi police licensing office (directly under the union home ministry) wrote to Milli Gazette on May 30 asking why the newspaper’s declaration or licence should not be cancelled.…



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Republican convention: India should protect all religious communities from violence, discrimination (Jul 19, 2016, Indian Express)

Describing India as a “geopolitical ally” of the United States, the Republican party has asked New Delhi to protect all its religious communities from violence and discrimination as well as permit greater flow of FDI.

The Republican manifesto released by the party after its formal approval said that Indian ancestry had made notable contributions to the US.

“India is our geopolitical ally and a strategic trading partner. The dynamism of its people and the endurance of their democratic institutions are earning their country a position of leadership not only in Asia but throughout the world,” it said. “For all of India’s religious communities, we urge protection against violence and discrimination,” it said.…



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Opinions and Editorials

Vigilante groups beat and kill to protect cows in India – By Parth M.N. (Jul 20, 2016, Los Angeles Times)

…While cow vigilante groups have been active in India for years, commentators believe they have been emboldened after the conservative Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with close ties to Hindu radical groups, came to power in May 2014 and Narenda Modi ascended to the office of prime minister.…

Modi has not been prompt in denouncing killings, and his language has been far from forceful. As recently as July 11, four Dalit men were stripped, tied to an SUV and beaten up in broad daylight in Gujarat, the home state of Modi. The victims had brought dead cows from another village and were skinning them when a group of six accused them of cow slaughter and took turns beating them.

As a result, though, massive protests by Dalit groups have erupted and spiraled across Gujarat, triggering violence that left one police officer dead. Mobs have taken to streets, torched state buses, blocked roads and, outside one district official’s office, dumped truckloads of carcasses.… Despite the obsession of some to protect the cow, India ironically remains one of the largest exporters of beef.



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India should be ashamed of charging Akhlaq’s family with ‘cow slaughter’ – By Arpan Acharya (Jul 15, 2016, Dailyo.in)

I did not think that as a society we could stoop this low. A trial has been ordered against Mohammad Akhlaq’s family for cow slaughter. In any civilised nation the Dadri lynching case would have provoked an outcry and seen the guilty punished. Akhlaq’s family must surely be wondering how they are the ones at the receiving end of the legal process. The answer, perhaps, is we are not a civilised nation.

The Congress and the Samajwadi Party have shamelessly jumped into the fray, decrying the lab report that claims the meat was indeed beef. Nobody, however, has the courage to come out and say what would have been said in a civilised society. The provenance of the meat does not matter when a man was pulled out of his house and lynched for consuming it.

It is shameful that people are rejoicing at the court order directing action against the beleaguered family. In their eyes, it somehow vindicates the lynching. A cow is safer than women in most parts of the country. At a time our education and healthcare infrastructure desperately needs funding, we waste resources by creating cow ministries and researching the benefits of cow urine.…



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In ‘Hindutva or Hind Swaraj,’ a Warning Against Hindu Nationalism – By Vaibhav Sharma (Jul 18, 2016, New York Times)

The last months of U. R. Ananthamurthy’s life were tumultuous. One of India’s foremost novelists and political commentators, Mr. Ananthamurthy, who died in August 2014 at 81, had threatened to leave the country if Narendra Modi, then leading the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, won the vote in the national election. Mr. Ananthamurthy’s remarks drew vitriol, abuse and death threats from Mr. Modi’s supporters, and he remained under round-the-clock police protection for months.

In June, a political tract Mr. Ananthamurthy wrote during the final stage of his life, the parting shot of a writer who devoted substantial time to warning of the dangers of Hindu nationalism, was published to widespread acclaim. More than two years after Mr. Modi’s election as prime minister, even as many continue to fear that India’s founding values of secularism and diversity are under threat, Mr. Ananthamurthy’s voice has served as an urgent reminder of the perils of majoritarianism and hyper-nationalism.…

Unlike more measured critics of Mr. Modi, who saw his rise through a contemporary social and political context, Mr. Ananthamurthy, with his novelist’s temperament, mounted his criticism in ethical, psychological and civilizational terms. “People like Modi,” Mr. Ananthamurthy writes, “live in a gumbaz, a dome that echoes what they say to themselves over and over again.” Mr. Modi’s election as prime minister has been followed by, as many feared, a climate of hostility toward minorities and renewed assaults on civil society and free expression.…



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Has TV News Given Up The Ghost On Kashmir? – By Vikram Kilpady (Jul 14, 2016, Outlook)

From blanket coverage of the protests in Kashmir on TV immediately after Burhan Wani’s encounter killing to the near pindrop silence now, what has changed that has put Kashmir off the menu of news TV?

Given the lack of coverage one would imagine that all is “normal” in the state which otherwise is in turmoil as evidenced by activity on twitter. That too is being curtailed with the Modi government allowing its trolls to put forth the Parivar’s view on social media while snuffing out Kashmiri voices from accessing the Internet and Twitter or Facebook to report their anguish to the rest of India and the world.

Not all is well. Omerta has been necessitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s admonishment of the media for “making Wani a hero” and Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu killing any anti-mainland view by asking how can any “Indian have sympathy for Burhan Wani?”. Or, even worse, the newshounds have given up the ghost on Kashmir.…



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‘Mockery’ of Democratic Process – Editorial (Jul 16, 2016, EPW)

In 2013, in the course of hearing a petition filed by the Extrajudicial Execution Victims’ Families Association and Human Rights Alert, the Supreme Court had asked the Manipur government whether there was “a war going on” in the state. At the heart of this petition which demands an inquiry into the 1,528 cases of alleged fake encounters over the last 20 years by security forces and the state police is the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), 1958.

The AFSPA, which was enacted ostensibly to tackle insurgency in the North East (with a modified version for Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) enacted in 1990), has been a bitterly contentious law. While the government and the Army argue that its draconian provisions are needed to deal with extremist and secessionist violence, the people of the areas and states where it is imposed are clear that it results in military personnel enjoying total impunity and non-accountability for their acts.

In an interim ruling in the same case the Court has made significant statements about the deployment of the act and what it means to the “democratic process” while also questioning the arbitrary definition of an “insurgent.” More importantly, while the Court’s interim ruling has been welcomed by those opposed to AFSPA, what it will mean at the ground level is a matter of speculation. … The Supreme Court’s statements are unambiguous. What remains to be seen is the response of the state and the Army to the interim ruling.



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Why must Muslims be synonymous with terrorism? – By Rajdeep Sardesai (Jul 15, 2016, Dailyo.in)

“So, why is it that every terror attack involves a Muslim?” It’s a question that’s asked with rising anger after every terror attack. It’s not an invalid question in the present times (LTTE is now a distant memory and “Hindu” terror was, after all, purely “retaliatory”).… No point listening to a religious preacher telling you that Islam is a religion of peace, that the Quran would never endorse the killing of innocents. The fact is, there are beastly people out there who are killing in the name of the Quran.…

Terror has an address in the eyes of millions and it reads C/O Islam. So, let’s press stop on the denial button and accept that the suicide bomber has won this round: he has ensured that the world is now sharply divided on religious grounds, that any Gandhian belief in peace and brotherhood is a romantic illusion. Now, having got that out of the way, let’s look at where next this narrative of Islamic terror is taking us, especially in a country like India with the third largest Muslim population in the world.…

But if an Asauddin Owaisi chooses to lambast the IS publicly, we don’t really want to listen to him: after all, he belongs to a “Muslim” party, so why should we see him as a credible voice against terror.…



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Book Review

Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up

Author: Rana Ayyub
Reviewed by: Harsh Mander
Available at: self-published by Rana Ayyub, 2016; pp 204, Rs. 295..https://www.amazon.com/
Compelling Anatomy of Communalism and Power (Jul 16, 2016, EPW)

Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up is an explosive book. But more than that it is a work of rare and raw courage. It brings to us, at enormous personal peril, harrowing conversations with and stories about men and women under whose watch the Gujarat carnage of 2002, and a string of extrajudicial killings that followed, unfolded. Above all Rana Ayyub’s self-published book throws intensely troubling light on the character and motivations of the political, administrative and police leadership of the Government of Gujarat during the fateful decade beginning with the carnage of 2002.… The result is her book Gujarat Files, one that deserves the closest public attention, debate and introspection. However the book has been largely bypassed by the powerful mainstream media, which is obviously unable to match the singular courage and candour of this young and daring reporter. Her reports were not initially intended for publication as a book. She submitted these first to her editors in Tehelka where she was employed at that time. Her version is that they refused to publish it. As editor, Tarun Tejpal is said to have told her, “Modi is set to be the most powerful man, the PM. If we touch him we will be finished” (p 203).

Ayyub has only one face-to-face encounter with Narendra Modi, before she claims that her story was killed by the editors of Tehelka. This is a somewhat amusing meeting. She describes her 30-minute conversation with him in which he says that his inspirations are Barack Obama and Swami Vivekananda (presumably in that order!). But somewhat surprisingly, the assessment of most senior officers who could be presumed to be favourably inclined towards him is largely uncharitable (except P C Pande), suggesting that he was behind both the carnage and the encounter killings but in ways that he could never get caught. Rajan Priyadarshi indicts him directly for “the killings of Muslims across (the state).” He adds, “He fools everybody and everybody gets fooled” (p 57). K Chakravarthy says that since Modi “has grown up as an RSS cadre, he has to bow to their demands.” Singhal says that “all decisions are taken by the CM,” yet he remains unscathed “because he does not come in the picture directly” (p 47). Ashok Narayan agrees. He says that Modi would not openly ask officers to go slow (p 48). “He would also never write anything on paper. He had his people and through them the VHP and then through them (it would) trickle down to the lower rung inspectors.” He feels though that Modi did “play a role in instigating, like bringing the bodies from Godhra and dilly-dallying on decisions” (p 86).…

From most of Ayyub’s conversations, the most powerful and unsettling portrait that emerges is of the then Home Minister Amit Shah. Rajan Priyadarshi says that Shah boasted to him about how he instigated riots in 1985, and claimed that he confided in him that Ishrat Jahan was detained before she was killed in a fake encounter, and that she was not a terrorist. Both he and G C Raigar speak of pressure from Shah to take illegal action, including even elimination of unwanted persons. All describe Shah as extremely powerful, deriving his vice-like control over the police administration by his proximity to Chief Minister Modi. He appears over and over again in these secretly recorded conversations with men and women who worked closely with him, as being closely involved in, and even directing, most of the communal crimes and human rights violations for which the state administration became notorious.…

<ahref=”http: www.epw.in=”” journal=”” 2016=”” 29=”” book-reviews=”” compelling-anatomy-communalism-and-power.html”=””>http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/29/book-reviews/compelling-anatomy-communalism-and-power.html