IAMC Weekly News Roundup - July 25th, 2016 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 25th, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup


News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials


Indian Americans demand CBI inquiry into atrocities against Dalits and Muslims under the pretext of cow protection

Justifiable outrage over open flogging of Dalit youth for skinning dead cows

July 25, 2016

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos today joined millions of Indians and people of conscience across the world, in expressing outrage over the ongoing atrocities against Dalits and minorities by “cow protection” extremists in India. Recent violence in the state of Gujarat on July 11 triggered a wave of mass protests and suicide attempts by Dalit youth, only to be followed by more atrocities in the states of Karnataka and Maharashtra. IAMC has called for a CBI enquiry that would cover not only the recent atrocities against Dalits but also include a full investigation into the functioning of “cow protection” groups and their near total disregard for the law.

Violence against Dalits and minorities have intensified under the BJP-led administration, whose worldview is aligned with the ideology of upper caste Hindu supremacy, known as Hindutva. While the protests continue to spread, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is yet to make a statement, much less commit to any action.

The Gujarat protests were in response to the public flogging of four Dalit youth by a “cow protection” group, when the youth were found skinning a dead cow. The flogging was recorded by the perpetrators themselves and circulated to serve as a lesson for others. The sheer viciousness and impunity of the crime has inflamed Dalit and other “lower caste” communities.

Violence by militant groups related to cow slaughter, possession of beef and transport of cattle has assumed an organized and institutionalized character under the present administration. On the India-Bangladesh border, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had in factinstructed the Border Security Force to stop cow transport as a top prioritytop priority. News reports have indicated the involvement of India’s paramilitary force in at least one instance of the killing of cattle traders, shot down while attempting to transport cattle across the border. Cattle traders often come from impoverished Muslim or Dalit households.

Although the Gujarat Chief Secretary G. R. Aloria acknowledged hooliganism in the name of “cow protection,” the role of the Sangh Parivar in granting legitimacy to such hooligans and the complicity of officials in enabling their violence needs to be fully exposed and prosecuted under the law.

“We demand that those brought to book for the anti-Dalit atrocities should include, besides the perpetrators of the crimes, those who seek to create conditions that enable and justify such violence, in the name of protecting the cow,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of the Indian American Muslim Council. “The latest round of atrocities against ‘lower caste’ communities that have endured centuries of cruelty, should serve as a unifying call to all who care about justice and the rule of law,” added Mr. Malick.

Among the anti-Dalit atrocities that grabbed international attention was the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula, driven to taking his own life after a witch-hunt by officials in the University of Hyderabad and the burning alive of two children from a Dalit family in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Indian American Muslim Council has made the following recommendations:

1. The Central administration should institute a CBI inquiry whose mandate should go beyond the recent atrocities against Dalits, and include the investigation of “gau raksha” or “cow protection” committees set up across the country

2. Global human rights organizations as well as international media should intensify their scrutiny of the treatment meted out to India’s Dalits and religious minorities. India is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but has been regularly cited as a country with one of the world’s poorest records on human rights.

While atrocities against “lower castes” are unfortunately common across India, Gujarat in particular is worse off than the rest of the country. The state has a mere 2.33 per cent of the country’s Dalit population, but ranks in the top half of the country in the percentage of crimes against Dalits, according to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and National Crimes Record Bureau. It may be recalled that intense media spin pursued by Mr. Narendra Modi, then Chief Minister of Gujarat, touted the state as a model of development, which contributed to his party’s success in the country’s general election and his elevation to the post of Prime Minister of India.

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: https://iamc.com/

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1. Video of public flogging of Dalit youth in Una district of Gujarat

2. Dalit family in Karnataka attacked over rumors of eating beef

3. Dalit men in Maharashtra beaten up by 25 people for overtaking

4. Paramilitary forces kill cattle smugglers

5. In Gujarat, 95 of 100 suspects in crimes against Dalits acquitted

6. Protect us from cow vigilante groups, trade hit: Punjab soap industry to police

7. BSF must check cow smuggling, says Rajnath

8. Modi Should Have Spoken In Parliament On Dalit Attacks

9. Atrocities, discrimination led to Dalit wave of anger in Gujarat: Martin Macwan

10. India Report 2015 / 2016 – Amnesty International

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Dalit Family Attacked In Karnataka Allegedly Over Rumours Of Eating Beef (Jul 25, 2016, NDTV)

A Dalit family in Karnataka’s Chikkamagaluru district was attacked last week allegedly by members of a right-wing group who suspected that they had eaten beef.

According to the police complaint filed in the case, more than 40 members of the group attacked the family on July 17. Among those allegedly thrashed was a differently-abled man. Three members of the family have been injured seriously.

“40 to 50 Bajrang Dal activists attacked the family. Three of those who were hit are seriously injured. While some people were arrested in the case, they are now out on bail,” said General Secretary of the Karnataka Communal Harmony Forum who have filed the complaint.…



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In Gujarat, 95 of 100 suspects in crimes against Dalits acquitted (Jul 23, 2016, New Indian Express)

As violent protests continue in the Prime Minister’s home state of Gujarat over the flogging of Dalit youth by upper-caste Hindu vigilantes, an IndiaSpend analysis reveals a conviction rate six times lower than the Indian average – over 10 years – for crimes against scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs).

In 2014 (latest available data), 3.4 per cent of crimes against SCs in Gujarat ended in convictions, against a national rate of 28.8 per cent – one conviction for every eight across the country. Against STs, that conviction rate was 1.8 per cent, against the national average of 37.9 per cent – one conviction for every 21 cases.…

Dalit unrest began on July 11, 2016, when four Dalit youth were tied to a car and gau rakshaks, or cow protectors, took turns to flog them as a crowd watched.… The Gujarat government has arrested suspects, but the gau rakshaks’ courage appears rooted in the failures of Gujarat’s criminal-justice system in addressing crimes against the lowest of Hindu castes and tribes. A similar failure is evident in Maharashtra and Karnataka.…



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‘Police baton’ used by cow vigilantes in Una flogging (Jul 25, 2016, Times of India)

Videos of the recent stripping and flogging of a group of Dalits in Gujarat show that at least one baton used by cow protection vigilantes “resembles” the ones provided to Gujarat police for riot control.

Videos of the incident reported near Una town in Gir Somnath district on July 11 had gone viral, sparking outrage nationwide, and prompting parties to point to police complicity in the brutality. Four policemen have already been suspended after seven or eight Dalits were thrashed for skinning a dead cow. The videos are being examined by Gujarat CID.

“One accused is clearly seen wielding the ‘police cane’ on a group of Dalits and a middle-aged man who is pleading for mercy,” said an investigator. CID crime sleuths are trying to find out how the “fibre baton” reached the accused.…



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Godhra Riots: Gujarat HC sentences seven guilty of killing three Muslims to life imprisonment (Jul 26, 2016, Indian Express)

The Gujarat High Court on Monday sentenced seven persons, guilty of killing three Muslims during 2002 post-Godhra riots, to life imprisonment. Of them, three had been acquitted by the trial court.

The division bench of justices Harsha Devani and Biren Vaishnav pronounced the quantum of sentence while awarding them life imprisonment. Out of seven accused three had been acquitted by a trial court in 2011 while four others were convicted for lesser offences such as attempt to murder, unlawful assembly, voluntarily causing hurts with sharp weapon. The division bench enhanced their sentences and found then guilty of murder among other charges.

The seven are Satabhai alias Haider Gela Bharwad, Naranbhai Samantbhai Bharwad, Udaji Ranchhodbhai Thakor, Valabhai Gelabhai Bharwad, Viththal alias Kuchiyo Moti Bharwad, Mulabhai Gelabhai Bharwad and Merabhai Gelabhai Bharwad. The bench also confirmed sentencing of two others, Bhopa Bharwad and Bachu Thakor, to life imprisonment. With this, nine of the 10 accused have been given life imprisonment in this case.…



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Hindutva activists assault two Assamese youths (Jul 26, 2016, The Hindu)

A group of Hindutva activists allegedly assaulted two youths from Assam after calling them “terrorists from Bangladesh” near Alduru in Chikkamagaluru taluk on Monday evening. One of the youths, Ohijul Sikdar (32), was seriously injured. The gang of 10 activists allegedly pushed him, and hit his head, back and limbs. He was lying on the road unconscious by the time police reached the spot.

The police rushed him to the government hospital in Alduru and later to the district hospital in Chikkamagaluru, where he is said to be recovering. The incident happened around 8.30 p.m. when around 60 people, including a few children, from Assam, all hired by various estates as plantation workers, reached Alduru town in a private bus.

The workers from Assam had reached Bengaluru by train. As there was no KSRTC service on the day, they hired a private bus to reach Alduru. As they were walking towards their respective estates, a group of Hindutva activists stopped them and asked them go back to their native land. They allegedly called them “terrorists from Bangladesh” and said they should no longer work in Chikkamagaluru. They picked up an argument with two of them and beat them up, according to the complaint registered in Alduru Police Station.…



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RSS not a registered organization, collects funds: Digvijaya (Jul 24, 2016, Times of India)

All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Digvijaya Singh, who is in the state to attend the co-ordination committee meeting, on Saturday made some strong statements against the RSS and BJP.

The former he accused of being an unregistered organisation that collects huge funds, which it does not account for, while the latter he accused of handling the Kashmir issue with a view to having a Kashmir sans Kashmiris.

“Has the money that comes into the RSS as guru dakshina ever been accounted for, because the unregistered organisation does not come under any Act? RSS must let us know what it does with all this money,” Singh told reporters in Goa.…



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Court pulls up government for pellet guns, curfew in Kashmir (Jul 23, 2016, Business Standard)

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Saturday pulled up the state government for the use of pellet guns on protesters and asked it to relax, at least from “some peaceful areas”, the over fortnight-long curfew in the restive valley.

The court direction comes a day after Home Minister Rajnath Singh told parliament in Delhi that the government was planning to set up a panel to look for an alternative to the pellet guns that have been used in a new surge of violence in Kashmir.…

More than 350 people in Kashmir have suffered pellet injuries and many of them have been wounded in their eyes amid fears that they may be partially or completely blinded for their life. The use of pellet guns against stone-throwing protesters has sparked international condemnation with Amnesty International asking the government to prohibit the use of these shotguns at street demonstrators.…



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Haryana school faces heat for Eid celebration, Muslim teacher forced to quit (Jul 24, 2016, Hindustan Times)

A school in Haryana has been fined Rs 5 lakh by a panchayat for organising a special assembly marking Eid, which led to protests and threats. The panchayat also ordered Green Dales Public School to get rid of Muslim staff and students, make its girl students switch to salwar kameez, and banned it from hiking fees for two years.

Residents of Hindu-majority Tauru town in Mewat district, 39km from Gurgaon, accused the school management of “propagating Islam” and forcing its students, mostly Hindus, to follow Islamic rituals during the event on July 6. A mob armed with sticks and bricks was at the school’s gates the day after the assembly.

The panchayat order has forced the lone Muslim teacher to quit her job and move to Delhi, said school manager Hema Sharma.…



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NHRC questions 2013 Odisha encounter death (Jul 21, 2016, Indian Express)

At a time when the Odisha Police is facing flak over the killing of five villagers in Kandhamal, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has raised questions over a 2013 encounter in which a Sundargarh gang leader was killed.

Dipak Sahu alias Dipu Tiger, a member of the “Pahadi Cheeta” gang, was allegedly killed on February 8, 2013 in a joint encounter by police and CRPF in the Bamdera jungle on the Odisha-Jharkhand border.…

The Commission after its own investigation has suggested that the police may have fired at Sahu without any provocation.… “The firing pin marks on test cartridge fired from the seized weapon (of the deceased) did not match with the empty cartridges seized from the (encounter) site,” the NHRC report said, citing the FSL report.…



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Why BJP was quick to show the door to Dayashankar Singh (Jul 21, 2016, Hindustan Times)

The BJP swiftly expelled its Uttar Pradesh unit vice-president for his abusive remark about BSP chief Mayawati, underscoring the party’s zero tolerance towards anything that can scuttle its pro-Dalit plan ahead of the 2017 state polls.

The 44-year-old Dayashankar Singh, a former Lucknow University Students Union (LUSU) president, is an old BJP hand, and has risen through the ranks. He was promoted from a secretary to vice-president in the party unit.

But he probably failed to read the lines, and shot off his mouth, comparing Dalit leader and four-time chief minister Mayawati to a prostitute. The outrage he caused threatened to upset the BJP’s efforts to project a pro-Dalit image, especially in UP where scheduled caste and scheduled tribe people account for 23% of the state’s population.…



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Opinions and Editorials

Here’s The Real Reason Behind The Cow Protection Programme Of The RSS – By Shivam Vij (Jul 21, 2016, Huffington Post)

MS Golwalkar, the RSS chief between 1940 and 1973, was the brain behind the cow protection movement in the 1960s. The government set up a committee to consider the demand of a nationwide ban on cow slaughter. The committee lasted twelve years. In that period, Golwalkar became friends with one of the committee members, Verghese Kurien, known as the ‘Milkman of India’.

Kurien opposed the ban on cow slaughter for economic reasons. “It was important for us in the dairy business to keep weeding out the unhealthy cows so that available resources could be utilized for healthy and productive cattle. I was prepared to go as far as to allow that no useful cow should be killed,” Kurien wrote in his autobiography.

Kurien revealed Golwalkar’s real reason for the cow protection movement: One day after one of our meetings when he had argued passionately for banning cow slaughter, he came to me and asked, ‘Kurien, shall I tell you why I’m making an issue of this cow slaughter business?’ I said to him, ‘Yes, please explain to me because otherwise you are a very intelligent man. Why are you doing this?’ ‘I started a petition to ban cow slaughter actually to embarrass the government,’ he began explaining to me in private.… Then I saw that the cow has potential to unify the country.… I’m just cold-blooded about this. I want to use the cow to bring out our Indianness, So please cooperate with me on this.’…



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In Gujarat, First They Came for Muslims, then Patidars, Now Dalits – By Pravin Mishra (Jul 23, 2016, The Quint)

Martin Niemoller was a prominent German Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps. He wrote the famously provocative poem “First they came…”

The poem deals with themes of persecution, guilt and responsibility. In the second decade of 21st century India, this poem is suddenly more meaningful. In 2002, they came for the Muslims. The rule of law took a back seat in Gujarat. In early 2002, the state witnessed large, armed mobs roaming the streets with impunity, killing Muslims and burning anything that belonged to the minorities. The police were either neutralised or led the mobs for a good 48 hours. A silent sanction of the widespread violence by a large section of the community, including Patidars and Dalits, paved the way for hate politics in Gujarat and India.

In 2015, they came for the Patidars. … In 2016, they came for the Dalits. For the third consecutive day, thousands of Dalits were out on the streets of Gujarat protesting the atrocities against them. The Una incident involving the thrashing of four Dalit men last week for skinning a dead cow triggered an unprecedented outrage in Gujarat. There have been 27 reported instances of attempted suicide, including that of a woman whose husband was arrested by the police.…



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Attacks on dalit women highlight persistent prejudices of society – By Archana Dalmia (Jul 17, 2016, New Indian Express)

After the savage murder of an underprivileged law student, Jishamol Kuttikkattuparmbil Pappu (known as Jisha K.P) in Kerala, the news of the ragging incident, where a 19-year-old Dalit girl from Kerala was forced to swallow bathroom cleaner, has saddened us all.

While 29-year-old Jisha was raped, stabbed, strangled and bludgeoned to death, Aswathi, who was studying to be a nurse in Al Qamar College of Nursing, Kalaburagi, Tamil Nadu, is still fighting for her life. What is notable about these incidents is that both have occurred in South India and both the girls, who came from lesser privileged class and caste, were trying to better their lives. Society and its various prejudices, however, appear to be hell bent on curbing the growth of certain marginalised sections of society.…

In these instances and many such in the past, violence, shaming and unequal treatment are used as social mechanisms to maintain Dalit women’s subordinate position in society. “It is the core outcome of gender-based inequalities shaped and intensified by the caste system,” says a study by Aloysius Irudayam, Jayshree P Mangubhai and Joel G Lee.…



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Of Gandhi, Godse and the Missing Files – By Ravinder Singh (Jul 23, 2016, EPW)

“This is a matter of great urgency… It is regarding an undertaking of great confidentiality.” With these words, one morning, in 1962, Motilal Kothari, an Indian civil servant with the Indian High Commission in London, telephoned a rather sleepy British actor–director Richard Attenborough, seeking an appointment.

Though their collaboration led to the making of Gandhi 20 years later, the former’s extra cautious attitude during the consequent meeting in a restaurant left Attenborough (1982: 9) puzzled for life. The reason behind this frenetic call was Nine Hours to Rama (1963), a Hollywood fi lm, shot mostly in India, which had been previewed in Kothari’s office that year.

A Gandhi devotee, very much like millions of his compatriots back home, he had been shocked to see Nathuram Godse as the “hero” in the film. Determined “to make Gandhi’s principles and attitudes known to the world at large” (Attenborough 1982), he had rung Attenborough that morning. The rest is his story, Attenborough’s.…



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BJP government’s Hindutva policy – By Hasan Zia Rizvi (Jul 21, 2016, Milli Gazette)

At the onset of its government at the Centre in 2014, BJP made it clear it will implement the RSS ideology, Hindutva. A large number of RSS men were accommodated in the BJP cabinet under the most successfully marketed RSS pracharak, Narendra Modi.

The BJP website describes ‘Hindutva’ as a great nationalist ideology and proclaims, “The future of Bharat is set. Hindutva is here to stay. It is up to the Muslims whether they will be included in the new nationalistic spirit of Bharat. It is up to the government and the Muslim leadership whether they wish to increase Hindu furor or work with the Hindu leadership to show that Muslims and the government will consider Hindu sentiments. The era of one-way compromise of Hindus is over, for from now on, secularism must mean that all parties must compromise.” (http://www.bjp.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=369:hindutva-the-great-nationalist-ideology&Itemid=501)

The above article coveys a clear message to the minorities that they have to bow before Hindutva or Hindu Nationalism. The BJP changed the definition of ‘secularism’ and used the word ‘compromise’ to indicate that all other religious minorities in India should compromise and follow Hindutva policy.…



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Has the NHRC failed its mandate to protect and promote human rights in India? – By Anubhav Dutt Tiwari (Jul 18, 2016, Scroll.in)

In an interim judgement on extra-judicial killings of alleged “terrorists, militants or insurgents” by the police and the armed forces in Manipur, the Supreme Court has once again reiterated its commitment to the rule of law and human rights.

The division bench comprising of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, meticulously examined various contentious issues, including the Armed Forces Special Powers Act or AFSPA, and upheld citizens’ basic fundamental rights, even in territories experiencing internal disturbances.

While lamenting the existing situation, which has fostered an environment of impunity especially in “disturbed areas” and failed to provide effective remedies for the families of fake encounter victims, the court also placed the spotlight on the National Human Rights Commission’s role as a statutory body mandated to protect and promote human rights in India. Indeed, NHRC as an independent watchdog is envisaged to take appropriate steps in such cases with vigour and enthusiasm. However, the opposite seems to be true.…



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