IAMC Weekly News Roundup - June 19th, 2017 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 19th, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

At The ‘Hindu Rashtra’ Conclave In Goa, An Open Call For Violence Against Beef Eaters And ‘Seculars’ (Jun 15, 2017, Huffington Post)

A rising star in the Hindutva circuit, Sadhvi Saraswati was on fire at the “Hindu Rashtra” conclave, which is currently underway in Goa. Not only did the self-appointed God woman spew venom against Muslims, she made an open call for violence against beef eaters and “seculars.” The Sadhvi also said that Hindus should arm themselves to “save our women from love jihad.”

Saraswati said, “Whoever harms cow or abuses the country can only be termed as our enemy. Those politicians who are supporting the consumption of beef in the country and those who see it as a status symbol should be publicly executed by the government. Protection of the cow is our duty. We should apply the same laws which are applied for homicide cases against people found butchering cattle.” Saraswati also said, “Pehle Hindu ko hi Hindu banana hai (first we need to convert a Hindu to Hindu) – that is our biggest challenge today… They are in the garb of seculars… these seculars are the first who will be attacked,” she said.

Over 100 right-wing groups are being hosted in Goa by the Hindu Janajagriti Samiti, widely regarded as a fringe group. The objective of the four-day long conclave is to establish a “Hindu Rashtra.” HJS burst into limelight after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Virendrasing Tawde, a member, in connection with the murder of the rationalist Narendra Dabholakar in Pune in 2013. Shockingly, Sadhvi and Ramesh Shinde, the national spokesperson of HJS, said that they would not be held back by the Constitution of India in their efforts to establish a Hindu Rashtra. The Times of India quoted them as saying, “The constitution is one that was written by Ram and Krishna”.



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Rajasthan activist Zafar Khan objects to photography of women defecating in open, gets beaten to death (Jun 17, 2017, India Today)

Zafar Khan, an 55-year-old activist from Rajasthan, died after being brutally beaten, allegedly by civic officials in the town of Pratapgarh on Friday. Among those alleged to have lynched Khan is the town’s civic body commissioner Ashok Jain.

The incident took place at 6.30 am on Friday near the Bagwasa Kachi Basti area. Khan, who was a Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation member, got into a fight with the civic employees after he took umbrage to them photographing a few women who gone to attend the nature’s call in the open.…

Zafar Khan (some reports named him as Zafar Hussein), who noticed the men attempting to take pictures of the women, objected and tried to stop them. The officials however allegedly started kicking and punching Khan with a stick, which ultimately led to his death. Khan’s older brother, Noor Mohammed, filed a First Information Report against the civic employees, naming Kamal Harijan, Ritesh Harijan, Manish Harijan, Ashok Jain, and others.…



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SC issues notice to Centre on order banning cattle trade for slaughter (Jun 15, 2017, Times of India)

The Supreme Court on Thursday sought response from the Centre on pleas challenging its controversial notification banning the sale and purchase of cattle at animal markets for slaughter.

A vacation bench comprising Justices R K Agrawal and S K Kaul issued notice to the Centre and asked it to file response within two weeks on two separate petitions challenging the notification. The apex court fixed the matter for hearing on July 11.…

One of the petitioners, who has approached the apex court challenging the notification, has claimed in his plea that the provisions in the notification were unconstitutional as they violated the fundamental rights, including freedom of conscience and religion and right to livelihood.…



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Darjeeling unrest: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha slams Modi government, questions BJP MP’s absence (Jun 18, 2017, India Today)

The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) today slammed the Modi government for ignoring the Gorkhaland crisis. They said they were disappointed with Centre’s role and questioned Darjeeling’s BJP MP SS Ahluwalia’s absence. The BJP MP has not visited the city once since the crisis broke out.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day, thousands of GJM protesters today took out huge rallies to observe ‘black day’ in Darjeeling to protest the death of three its activists in police firing.

The GJM activists marched with the coffins of the three activists who were allegedly shot dead in the police firing in Darjeeling’s Singmari on Saturday.…



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Government Shunts Out Top Cop Who Blew Whistle on Assam Fake Encounter (Jun 14, 2017, The Wire)

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) inspector general Rajnish Rai, who in April requested a probe into the death of two men in Assam – who he alleged had been killed in a fake encounter conducted by the CRPF, the Assam police and the Sashastra Seema Bal – has been transferred out of the Northeast, Indian Express reported.

In his internal report, Rai, who was posted in Shillong and has now been asked to join the Counter Insurgency and Anti Terrorism (CIAT) School of the CRPF in Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh, termed the March 30 encounter in Assam’s Chirang district as “staged”.

His transfer, which has come even as the home affairs ministry has decided to probe the incident, has raised several questions.… Rai’s report, published in the Indian Express on May 24, stated that “discreet” enquiries by senior officers found that the weapons found from the spot – an Insas Rifle with ten rounds of ammunition, one 7.65 revolver with three rounds of ammunition and one Chinese grenade – were planted on their bodies.…



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Muslims protest Yogi government’s move to make Muslim marriage registration mandatory (Jun 13, 2017, India Today)

As the Uttar Pradesh government is planning to make marriage registration mandatory, Muslims are getting ready to come out on the roads in protest of this ‘un-Islamic’ move.

Talking to India Today on this issue, Muslim leader Haji Jameeluddin said the Muslim community cannot accept the UP government’s edict to register Muslim marriages at the marriage registrar’s office as Muslim marriages are only registered at the office of the Waqf board of UP as per the Nikahnama documents.

He said Muslim marriages are already registered according to the Sharia law and there was no need to register them again merely to satisfy a government’s whim.…



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Economy running on public spending, says Manmohan (Jun 7, 2017, Deccan Herald)

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday blamed demonetisation for the slump in growth rate and expressed serious concerns over the state of the economy, saying that it is running on just one engine of public spending.

While addressing the Congress Working Committee (CWC) here, Singh said, “The slowdown was primarily due to demonetisation that was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8… Private sector investment has collapsed and the economy is running on just one engine of public spending.”

Singh referred to the government data released on May 31 which showed that India’s economy grew 6.1% in the three months through March from a year earlier – slowing from a provisional 7% in the previous quarter. The former prime minister said while the gross domestic product (GDP) growth was 6.1%, gross value added (GVA) growth – a measure that economists now favour to understand job creation – slowed even more sharply in the fourth quarter to 5.6%, compared to 6.7% in the third quarter.…



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In attempt to take on NDTV, Sambit Patra falls victim to ‘fake news’, channel asks for clarification (Jun 12, 2017, Indian Express)

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra’s attempt to get back at NDTV, for asking him to leave mid-show following his allegation that NDTV has an agenda, fell flat on his face, all thanks to a fake news article. On Sunday morning, Patra re-tweeted a story by The Times of Islamabad website which criticised PM Modi’s Make in India programme based on data they attributed to NDTV. Along with the re-tweet, Patra wrote, “Hmmm …agenda”.

NDTV immediately responded to Patra’s tweet, saying that the story is fake and does not refer anywhere to NDTV. The channel further sought a clarification from the BJP spokesperson. In its reply NDTV tweeted, “Fake story, also does not refer anywhere to NDTV. We are wrongly named in headline and URL. Please issue a clarification.”

The article referred to by ‘Times of Islamabad’, a Pakistani web portal, was a column written by former Union minister P Chidamabram for The Indian Express on June 11, 2017. After NDTV’s reply, the Pakistani website removed the channel’s name from its article and updated the content. It is not the first time a BJP leader has fallen for a fake story. Just two months ago, BJP minister Babul Supriyo posted a picture on Twitter, claiming it was the new bus stand in Rajkot. In reality, it was just the digital impression, which is created before any building/residential apartment/shopping mall. Supriyo, later posted a message admitting his mistake, saying he was fooled by a WhatsApp message.…



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UP cop caught on camera ‘molesting’ two sisters, arrested (Jun 4, 2017, Deccan Chronicle)

The policeman in Uttar Pradesh’s Mainpuri was on Sunday arrested after the video of him, allegedly molesting two sisters, seeking to register a complaint, went viral.

In yet another incident of the police bringing shame to its department, a video of a cop allegedly molesting two sisters at the Karhal Gate Police Station has gone viral. The irony is that the girls had gone to the police station to report a case of argument and molestation.

Things turned ugly when the cop on duty started behaving inappropriately, according to the sisters. In the video, the accused cop Ishwari Prasad can be seen touching one of the girls in an inappropriate manner.…



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Watch: Dalit woman and her son shoved, tossed around by a mob in Gujarat (Jun 15, 2017, Scroll.in)

A Dalit woman and her six-year-old son were shoved and abused by a crowd of villagers in Gujarat’s Junagadh district on June 8, allegedly because the villagers wanted her to quit her job as the supervisor of midday meals at the local school. A video of the incident has been circulating for the past week, and caught the attention of national social media on Wednesday after Dalit rights leader Jignesh Mevani tweeted it.

The woman, Prabhaben Vala, had been working as the midday meal supervisor at the primary school in Ghantiya village for the past 10 years. On June 9, a day after the incident, the local block development office suspended Vala from her job.

For the past six months, Vala had been having several disputes with the school’s principal, who had allegedly been refusing to sign her daily reports logging the number of children who availed the midday meals. Three months ago, Vala filed a police case against the principal, Kalubhai Thakrani, accusing him of caste-based atrocities.…



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Opinions and Editorials

Mayhem in Mandsaur – By Purnima S. Tripathi (Jul 7, 2017, Frontline)

An outburst of indignation from members of the farming community, who had been loosely gathered for a protest at Pipliya Mandi near Mandsaur in the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh on June 6, spiralled out of control. Blood and thunder followed.

Farmers’ resentment had been gathering strength for some weeks in the State. Distressed farmers had called for a 10-day agitation from June 1 to draw the government’s attention to their plight: abundant crops but low returns.

On June 6, thousands of farmers gathered at Pipliya Mandi to stage a protest. Soon they went on the rampage, forcing shops, particularly vegetable shops, to down shutters. The agitation quickly spread to Indore, Dewas, Shajapur, Sehore, Bhopal and other places in the State.…



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Cow to temple politics: BJP strategy is about propagating Hindu nationalism – By Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay (Jun 15, 2017, Business Standard)

In the second week of January 1993, Bharatiya Janata Party’s undisputed leader of the time, LK Advani, addressing a press conference after his release from detention post demolition of the Babri Masjid, stupefied journalists with the declaration that the Ayodhya agitation was not all about constructing a Ram temple.

Few understood the importance of his claim and even fewer had clarity on what the Hindutva idea denoted. Little was known – barely a quarter of a century ago – how the nation, nationhood and nationalism was differently constructed in the discourse of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its affiliates when compared to its ideological adversaries. Advani elaborated that popularising the idea of cultural nationalism was the primary objective of the Ram temple agitation.…

Just as the Ayodhya agitation, as Advani explained, was not just for constructing a temple after demolishing a sixteenth-century decrepit mosque, the present campaign is not restricted to protecting cows or uplifting the social status of Muslim women. These myriad programme are linked by commitment to a much wider political agenda – propagation of Hindutva or the idea of Hindu nationalism. Polarisation is the principle goal though ways to achieve this are several.



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State of disorder – Editorial (Jun 20, 2017, Indian Express)

The murder of 44-year-old Zafar Khan in Pratapgarh, Rajasthan, allegedly beaten to death on Friday by Swachh Bharat Mission officials, shows multiple levels of brutality. Visiting the Kuttchi Basti slum where Khan resided, civic officials were reportedly photographing women who, lacking domestic or public toilets, were relieving themselves in the fields. The officials apparently took pictures, abusing and shoving the women.

Khan, a CPI (ML) member and community activist – who, the local CPI (ML) unit states, had written to the Nagar Parishad earlier about such harassment of Basti women – intervened. Shockingly, the officials attacked Khan, beating him so severely, he died on the spot. Several questions present themselves – is Swachh Bharat’s mission to brutally shame those lacking access to sanitation? Are Swachh Bharat officials mandated to attack citizens objecting to such humiliation? And: Why is the state of Rajasthan becoming the site of so many incidents of vigilantism, by the state and by non-state actors?

These questions have received no answer. Instead, amid the public furore, Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje issued a perfunctory statement, calling Khan’s “demise” “unfortunate”. Her statement adds insult to injury. Khan’s death was no peaceful demise but a lynching. Intolerance in Rajasthan has been hardening apace, evident in the attack on artists at the 2015 Jaipur Art Summit (with the police booking the artists for a cow installation), on a painter at the 2016 Summit over “objectionable” art, and on filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali this January, by far-right activists incensed at his portrayal of a Rajput queen. Such violence has grown unchecked.…



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CID Softens Stance on Adityanath Hate Speech, Says No Need to Transfer Case – By Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta (Jun 4, 2017, The Wire)

If a recent exchange between the Uttar Pradesh government and state’s crime branch-central investigation department (CB-CID) is taken into account, the government appears to be shielding five BJP leaders, including chief minister Adityanath, in a hate speech case filed after the 2007 Gorakhpur riots.

The CB-CID, which was recently denied sanction by the state government to prosecute the leaders after having waited for almost last two years, appears to be softening its stand on the case and has written to the state government saying there is no reason to transfer the case to any central investigative agency. However, the letter also indicates that evidence existed and could have been probed further.

This comes at a time when the Allahabad high court, on July 7, is set to decide whether the case should be moved to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in light of the fact that Adityanath, the primary accused in the case, is the current chief minister and thus is constitutionally placed to facilitate the CB-CID’s investigation. This conflict of interest was noted by the high court on April 28, 2017.…



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Gagging the media – By T.K. Rajalakshmi (Jul 7, 2017, Frontline)

On June 9, in a show of solidarity, mediapersons converged in the capital to speak out against what they felt was an attack on the freedom of the press. The immediate context for the meeting was the raids by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on the properties and homes of the owners of NDTV and the registration of a first information report (FIR) on June 2 based on a complaint (dated April 28) by a former employee of the media organisation.

The FIR alleged criminal conspiracy, cheating and misconduct by NDTV’s founder-owners and some unknown officials of ICICI Bank. The allegations pertained to transactions that had taken place in 2008-09 and non-repayment of a loan from a private bank. The CBI later clarified that the case related not to non-repayment or default of a loan but to the “wrongful gain of Rs.48 crore” to the promoters, Prannoy Roy, Radhika Roy, and RRPR Holdings Pvt. Ltd, and a corresponding loss to ICICI Bank “arising from their collusion and criminal conspiracy”.…

Senior journalists and former editors, including some present and past Members of Parliament, spoke out against the raids and condemned the attack on the freedom of the press. Journalists such as H.K. Dua, Arun Shourie, S. Nihal Singh, Kuldip Nayar and T.N. Ninan spoke on the dangers of a compliant media and a totalitarian government. It was a bygone era redux for some of them who had fought through the draconian clampdowns on the press during the years of the Emergency and also resisted the Defamation Bill introduced by the Rajiv Gandhi regime. They also underscored the need to defend the idea of a democratic and secular India.…



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Ring-A-Ring Of Poses, Boys? – By Bula Devi (Jun 19, 2017, Outlook)

It’s no longer ‘unity in struggle’ but ‘struggle for unity’. The first has the feel of a lapsed slogan from a long-gone age, the second represents the new upper ceiling of ambition for India’s opposition. At a time when the BJP army’s hoof marks are tracing an ever-larger map, evoking the kind of awe a Mongol horde may have done once, what is a dispirited opposition to do?

Well, with the inevitability of defeat almost cast in stone, they have opted to use the occasion as a mock exam, a laboratory from which something useful for the future may perchance emerge. From their scattered pockets of resistance, they are talking to each other, negotiating, working on a prototype for a united alternative front.

It’s a daunting bit of political engineering, entangled as many of them are in webs of mutual rivalries. Political logic dictates that getting all hands on the deck can at best be for a one-off performance, not an enduring relationship. Still, a marathon exercise is going on to overcome the layers of inter- and intra-party antipathy. It’s a bigger goal, or a convergence of interests, that drives them. The Opposition sees the presidential poll as a trial run – to forge a common front even if it is only a symbolic contest. The NDA clearly has an upper hand in the electoral college that will vote in India’s new President (and vice-president) between July 17-20.…



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