IAMC Weekly News Roundup - July 6th, 2015 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 6th, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

SC stay over, HC to hear Naroda Patia appeals (Jul 1, 2015, Times of India)

The appeals in the 2002 Naroda Patia massacre case will be heard from Wednesday by the bench of Justice K S Jhaveri and Justice G B Shah. The appeals have been listed for hearing for the first time since the Supreme Court stayed the high court in the second week of April from hearing the case for two months. The bench headed by former Justice Ravi Tripathi was hearing the case of Maya Kodnani after detaching it from other appeals on the ground that the Apex Court had asked the high court to hear Kodnani’s appeal expeditiously.

The victim-witnesses and the prosecuting agency – the Supreme Court-appointed SIT – had repeatedly requested the bench headed by Justice Tripathi not to take up Kodnani’s case alone, and had urged it to hear all the appeals together. Justice Tripathi’s bench, however, declined their request and decided to go ahead and hear Kodnani’s appeal quickly.

Finally, the SIT and the witnesses had to move the Supreme Court which granted a stay of two months. Meanwhile, Justice Tripathi retired on May 6. In all, there are more than 100 different appeals filed by the convicts, the prosecuting agency and the witnesses.…



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UN report “regrets” extra-judicial killings in Gujarat, objects to reinstatement of responsible cops in higher positions (Jun 30, 2015, Counterview)

A top United Nations (UN) report has taken strong exception to the Gujarat government failing to act against high level police officials responsible for encounter killings of individuals in the aftermath of the 2002 communal riots. The report, released recently, notes that “police officers who have been suspended upon their arrest in cases of suspected extrajudicial killings and charged with extrajudicial killings have been reinstated in senior positions.”

The United Nations Human Rights Commission’s (UNHRC’s) “Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns”, says that it is concerned the step will “encourage impunity and may impede the criminal trials against the reinstated officers.” The report was released in May this year.

It points to how “police officials charged for the suspected unlawful killing of Ishrat Jahan, Javed Sheikh, Amjadali Rana and Jishan Johar, as well as police officials charged for the suspected unlawful killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, Kausarbi and Tulsiram Prajapati, were reinstated in the police service by the State of Gujarat in February 2015.”…



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Suspected Terrorist Shot At, Turns Out To Be A Delhi Cop (Jul 6, 2015, Tehelka)

A Delhi Police constable, suspected to be a terrorist, was shot at and injured by a security guard deployed at All India Radio (AIR) office in north Delhi. The incident occurred when the police constable rammed his car into the AIR office gate, on 6 July.

According to a police official, the constable identified as Ankit Kumar was allegedly driving in an inebriated state. “Kumar was shot at by a Nagaland Police personnel after his car crashed into AIR’s locked gate and entered the premises. The security guard, presuming the occupant of the car to be a terrorist, shot him down. The incident happened at around 3am,” said the official.

The police official added that constable Kumar was with a friend in the car when the incident took place. “He received a bullet on the left side of his chest and was rushed to LNJP Hospital. His condition is now stable,” said the official. A case has been filed against Kumar at the Timarpur police station.



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Hindu terror probe: NIA yet to lay hands on masterminds (Jul 5, 2015, Hindustan Times)

In its probe into Hindu terror cases, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) managed to nab almost all the foot-soldiers, but the agency has not been able to reach the masterminds of the conspiracy. A group of Hindu extremists, allegedly led be slain former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Pracharak Sunil Joshi, was chargesheeted by the NIA in a series of blasts beginning from Malegaon (2006), Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid and Dargah Ajmer Sharif (all in 2007), and Malegaon and Modasa (Septmebr, 2008).…

Sources in the agency say two things made their task very difficult. Firstly, when the agency was asked to probe in 2011, many leads had gone dry due to the long time-gap as the blasts had taken place four to five years ago. Secondly, Sunil Joshi, the alleged gang leader of Hindu extremists, was murdered in December 2007 by his own men.…

The NIA officials also accept that in some of the cases, the probe was not up to the mark. Ashwini Sharma, assistant prosecutor in the Ajmer case said there were loopholes in the case probe. “For instance, SIM cards were purchased and driving licenses were made for Devendra Gupta and Sunil Joshi, two of the accused, with fake IDs but no handwriting expert’s opinion was taken to analyse the writing or signatures on the forms,” said Sharma.…



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Communal tension rises in Western UP (Jul 1, 2015, Times of India)

In the past week, communal flare-ups have rocked towns in western UP leading to a panicky situation, particularly among minorities in Muzaffarnagar district. Use of loudspeakers at places of worship, cow slaughter and molesting of women from either communities have set off communal disturbances in the area. While some politicians see conspiracy in the rising number of such violence the police say there is no reason to think the 2013 riots will be replicated this time.…

Political parties have been quick to start playing the blame game. Vinay Pradhan, senior Congress leader from Meerut said, “BJP leaders who gave hate speeches and stoked communal tempers were later awarded with central ministries. Now with elections less than 2 years away, the saffron party is again back to its old strategy.”

RLD’s president for Western UP, Munshi Rampal Singh, said, “BJP has always benefitted from such incidents. Even Samajwadi Party is guilty of it. The state government is using this to divert attention from deteriorating law and order problem.”…



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Fires are out but riot-torn Atali continues to simmer (Jul 5, 2015, Times of India)

Muslims scared to come home even as cops round up 50 Hindus. Muslim families have fled Atali. On Saturday, their part of the village was eerily quiet. Locks hung on doors but the sooty insides of burnt houses were visible through open windows. On the Hindu side there was commotion and anxiety as Haryana Police finally rounded up more than 50 youths for alleged rioting and intimidation.…

TOI got in touch with some of the 1,200-odd Muslims who have fled Atali over phone and they said they were uncertain about returning anytime soon. “I am too scared to go back after what happened on July 1. We were in the midst of namaz around 2pm when about five people stormed into the mosque and beat up everyone, including the imam,” said Ishaq Khan Numberdar, who fled the village a day later. He said people from outside the village were part of the mob.

“They later broke doors and windows; beat up innocent people, including an elderly woman named Khatun. She is in a hospital in Ballabhgarh. Not a single policeman protected us when this was happening. How can we go back?” said Ishaq. When the riots first broke out on May 25, a mob allegedly splashed petrol on his house and set it on fire.…



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Sangh Parivar giving communal angle to Ambur violence: MMK (Jul 4, 2015, Business Standard)

Manitha Neya Makkal Katchi (MMK) President M H Jawahirullah, MLA, today alleged that a few organisations were trying to give a communal colour to the recent violence in Ambur in Vellore District recently.

The violence that broke out soon after the death of a person was not based on communal grounds, but in protest against the Pallikonda Inspector Martin Premraj for allegedly ‘beating him to death,’ he told reporters here.

“However Sangh Parivar is giving a communal angle. It is not between Hindu’s and Muslims. We are condemning the incident,” he said. The Government should take steps to install CCTV cameras in police stations, he added.



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BJP district president among 7 booked for assaulting doctor (Jul 5, 2015, Business Standard)

A BJP district president and six others have been booked for allegedly assaulting a doctor here. However, the BJP leader rubbished the allegation and alleged that the doctor administered wrong injection to his ailing son after which his condition deteriorated.

The FIR was registered yesterday on a complaint filed by Dr Manvendra Singh, who alleged that BJP leader Vinod Mishra assaulted him “without reason” while he was treating his son last night. The doctor also produced CCTV footages in which Mishra and others are purportedly seen manhandling him.

The private medical practitioners association has taken serious note of the incident and demanded stern action.…



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Madrasas to be de-recognised in Maharashtra for not teaching formal subjects (Jul 2, 2015, Indian Express)

Triggering a fresh controversy, Maharashtra is set to declare at least one lakh students in the state as “out of school” children, with the BJP-led government announcing that madrasas that do not offer mathematics, science and social studies will not be recognised as formal schools. The decision was conveyed in a letter written by the state’s minority affairs department to the school education department, which is conducting a day-long survey on July 4 to determine the number of “out of school” children in the state.

With the move sparking fierce criticism from Muslim organisations and Opposition parties, Education Minister Vinod Tawde clarified that “students of madrasas that follow a proper academic curriculum” will not be counted as “out of school”.…

However, Congress MLA from South Mumbai Amin Patel said it was “ridiculous” that the state government pays madrasas up to Rs 5 lakh each for various upgradation measures, and for teachers’ salaries, and then proposes to term their students as being “out of school”. “Not only are there many madrasa students who go on to do professional courses, but as many as 536 madrasas received money from the government in 2014-15. Some received Rs 2 lakh, some got Rs 2.5 lakh, others more from the minority affairs department. How can the government now deem these madrasas’ children as out-of-school kids?” Patel asked.…



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Vyapam scam deaths: BJP should ‘hang its head’ in shame, says SP (Jun 30, 2015, Financial Express)

The Samajwadi Party (SP) on Tuesday said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should hang their head in shame as 41 accused of the Vyapam scam have been mysteriously killed till now. “The entire BJP should hang their head in shame because 41 people unofficially and 25 people officially have been mysteriously killed by somebody who is very powerful and does not want the truth to come out,” said SP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia.

A veterinary student related to the Vyapam scam was earlier reportedly found dead under mysterious circumstances in Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh. As per reports, 44 people, including the accused and the witnesses in this case, have died.

The Vyapam Scam involved the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, which holds exams for positions like medical officers, constables, teachers and auditors for government departments. Candidates allegedly bribed government officials to ensure that they made it to the list of those who cleared the test.



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Opinions and Editorials

An FIR On The Vigiles – By Keki N. Daruwalla (Jul 13, 2015, Outlook)

…When the Mecca Masjid blast took place in Hyderabad on May 18, 2007, killing nine and injuring 58 people in the mosque, I said to myself this couldn’t have been the work of a Muslim tanzeem. This has to be a rightist majoritarian’s reaction. Yet Muslims were arrested and the canard was spread that the motive was to create a chasm between the two communities.

This and other such incidents were not, as (former topcop) Julio Ribeiro says, due to natural prejudice. These were deliberate distortions, meant to pull wool over the nation’s eyes. The same story was repeated in the investigation of the Samjhauta Express blast (February 19, 2007), which killed 66 people. Muslims were targeted by investigators. Now, it’s Aseemanand, a so-called swami, who has been charged, with others. Sadhvi Pragya, however, remains to be charged.…

The constabulary easily fall prey to rightist propaganda and something needs to be done about this problem in the ranks. If 15 per cent of the population loses all trust in the police, and hence the state, the polity will have a pretty heavy cost to pay. Admitted that since the new dispensation arrived, there has hardly been a riot. But to quote Faiz Ahmed Faiz, ‘Aaj lutf na kar itna ke kal guzar na sakay.’



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Is Our School Not A School? – By Jyoti Punwani (Jul 5, 2015, Mumbai Mirror)

…By declaring that it would categorise the one lakh odd students from such establishments as “out-of-school” because they aren’t tutored in subjects like mathematics, science and social studies, the government has stymied the prospects of needy Muslim children who have no other recourse but to enrol at such institutions. The Sachar Committee, appointed by the UPA government in 2005 to study the social, economic and educational state of Muslims in India, reported in 2006 that 4 per cent of children from the community study in madarsas.

“Why this 4 per cent?” is a question being asked throughout the community. “We have millions of destitute children and child labourers. Why doesn’t the government educate them?” asks advocate Yusuf Muchhala. “Why is it hell bent upon going after this 4 per cent who study in institutions protected by the Constitution, a protection recognised by the Supreme Court?”

And if it really wants to help madarsa students, says Reyaz, why doesn’t it employ them? It might be surprised by their skills. Their knowledge of Arabic, for instance, has created a demand for them not just in Gulf state embassies, but also in Google India. Their familiarity with English, either taught in their madarsa, or learnt outside, helps them land jobs in English journalism – before he launched his company, Reyaz worked at the newspaper Sunday Indian.…



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Resisting ‘Sustainable’ Communalism – Editorial (Jun 27, 2015, EPW)

Addressing the nation on 15 August 2014, Prime MinisterNarendra Modi appealed for a 10-year moratorium on several social evils, including communalism. At that time his regime was barely three months old, and some obstinate optimists may have harboured hopes that he would act on his appeal, especially since he had won a landslide verdict. Less than a year later, it is clear that there are no grounds for hope on this front.…

If we look at acts directly involving state institutions, there are some significant departures from prior practice that seem designed to stoke communal tensions. An early example was the petty attempt to revoke the national holiday for Christmas by declaring 25 December as “Good Governance” Day and dedicating it to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, since it happens to be his birthday. A more recent and more sinister instance is the alleged attempt to influence the prosecutor in the National Investigation Agency’s cases against Hindu terrorists. If proven, these allegations reveal a readiness to use the state machinery to forcibly fabricate as fact the communal fantasy that only Muslims can be terrorists – even at the cost of subverting the law and exonerating cold-blooded murderers.

There are some notable sins of omission as well, the best known being the abortive attempts to embarrass the Vice President on Republic Day and International Yoga Day. Baseless attacks on constitutional offices by party ideologues should have prompted immediate and strong responses from the government. But the delayed and tepid reaction highlights a willingness to allow sectarian agendas to undermine the dignity of the state’s highest offices.…



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What’s Your Excuse, Mr Modi? – By Ramesh Ramachandran (Jul 11, 2015, Tehelka)

In Manmohan Singh’s 10 years in office, he had the Gandhi’s to contend with. When he was not looking over his shoulder at, or deferring to, Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul, he was humouring recalcitrant allies. However, on the face of it, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has no such constraints.… Yet, for reasons best known to Modi, he has chosen to keep his own counsel over l’affaire Swaraj and the unfolding Lalit Modi saga.…

This, coming from a leader, who, in the run up the 2014 Lok Sabha election, had chided his rival for not adopting a policy of zero tolerance to corruption. And, a party, whose president recently said, while recounting the achievements of the Modi Government over the past year, that it had restored the dignity of the prime minister’s office. It would not be an exaggeration to say that if ‘your riot was worse than mine’ has been the bjp’s boilerplate response to the Congress over the years, today Manmohan Singh could well retort that ‘your silence is worse than mine’!

So, what explains Modi’s deafening silence? What is one to make of his wilful and deliberate reticence on these, and other, issues that are agitating people’s minds?… Modi’s silence betrays his indecisiveness, and that will come as a disappointment to BJP fence-sitters who would otherwise have been tempted to give him the benefit of the doubt. Clearly, Modi is damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. He may yet win this battle but it would be pyrrhic. The buck stops with him.



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The Vyapam scam trail – Editorial (Jul 4, 2015, The Hindu)

The Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh dates back to 2007, with investigations in the case starting after some details came to light in 2013. Officers of the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (Vyavsayik Pareeksha Mandal, or Vyapam) were found to have been rigging a variety of eligibility tests for courses and recruitments for close to six years, perhaps for an even longer period.

These included tests for medical entrance, and for those aspiring for government employment as police constables, teachers, banking officials and so on. Over Rs.2,000 crore is believed to have been exchanged as bribes. The State police have arrested some 2,000 people, and are looking for about 700 more. Those allegedly involved include politicians and bureaucrats across the board, as well as the office of Governor Ram Naresh Yadav.

The scale of the scandal was shocking enough but it largely escaped national attention until recent reports brought to light a particularly disturbing set of developments – more than 40 of the accused persons or witnesses in the case have died, according to media reports. The State government’s Special Investigation Team recently admitted before the Madhya Pradesh High Court that 23 of these were ‘unnatural’ deaths. Many of the dead were between the age of 25 and 30, and ‘road accidents’ were cited as the leading cause of death. It all points to serious and persisting foul play.…



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Extortion By A Lokayukta? – By Vijay Grover (Jul 11, 2015, Tehelka)

What does an anti-corruption agency do when complaints against itself surface? Set up a probe, clean up the agency, set its house in order or just outsource the operation to another agency, wishing away the controversy? The office of the Karnataka Lokayukta has in its hands an internal report on extortion calls from its offices. It was filed by Superintendent of Police Sonia Narang, 38, and handed over to the Central Crime Bureau (CCB) of Bangalore Police.

The question being raised now is: How much will Justice (retired) Bhaskar Rao, who took charge as Lokayukta in February 2013, cooperate in the unraveling of the truth? For some time now, the office of the Karnataka Lokayukta has been under the scanner, with questions being raised about its own integrity and fingers of suspicion being pointed towards its own officers. Narang, an ips officer, dared to ask questions about calls made from the residence of the Karnataka Lokayukta Bhaskar Rao.

The report accessed by Tehelka reveals how several phone calls were made to corrupt officials, allegedly demanding bribes to hush up public complaints against them. In his first year, 461 cases were referred to the Lokayukta, and in the second, 375. In what comes to light, there was a syndicated racket within the anti-corruption watchdog office which extracted its pound of flesh by calling up corrupt officers in the state government. They would be summoned to either a hotel or in some instances to the official residence of 71-year-old Justice Rao to negotiate a ‘fee’ for not pursuing the complaint against him/her.…



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