IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 1st, 2015
In this issue of IAMC News Roundup
- Ballabhgarh riot victims blame local SHO, says NCM report
- Communal tension in Lucknow following clashes
- Fifty Gujarat NGOs “join hands” with Congress, AAP, Swaraj Samvad, decide to start “mega agitation” against Modi
- ‘Ghar Wapsi’ victims, Sikh rights group file lawsuit to name RSS a ‘terror’ body
- Man accused in 2002 terror case acquitted
- IIT-Madras bans student group for criticising PM Modi, his policies
- Police inspector linked to militants, remove him from probe into encounter, Mizoram HM tells Manipur Dy CM
- Muslim woman alleges she was asked to vacate flat in Mumbai because of her religion
- Activists decry gag order on Nanded mosque against beef ban protest
- Married woman accuses ‘godman’ of rape
Opinions & Editorials
- Not a sprinkle, but a spread of saffron – By Manjari Katju
- Modi Government: In service of Corporates and Hindutva – By Praful Bidwai
- Fifty kilometres from Delhi, hundreds of Muslims have become refugees overnight – By Anumeha Yadav
- Anti-Muslim bias in employment must be tackled by law – By Saurav Datta
- No house for Mr Zaidi: How difficult it really is for Muslims to find a place – By Sana Shakil
- Politics at IIT: Praise Modi to avoid trouble? – Editorial
Hindu-Muslim bonhomie in Bihar town (Jun 1, 2015, Business Standard)
In a rare example of communal harmony, a Hindu man who brought up a Muslim girl for 20 years after she was deserted as a child by her poverty-stricken parents, has now married her to a groom from her own community. Upendra Gupta, who brought up Shabbo Khatoon as his own daughter, married her to a Muslim boy with Islamic rituals.
Gupta, a resident of Jhanda Chowk in Purnea district, about 400 km from Patna, had found Shabbo 20 years ago when she was just four years old and abandoned by her parents. He brought her up like his own daughter, but according to Muslim practices. “Though I brought her up like my daughter, I married her to a Muslim boy keeping in view her religion at the time of her birth. For me, humanity is more important than my religion,” Gupta said.
Most of the members in the groom’s marriage party were Muslims, while those in the bride’s family were Hindus. People have praised Gupta for his step. “Gupta has set an example on how to treat people with dignity and respect,” said local resident Ghulam Ansari. Mohd. Azad, another local resident, said if Gupta had wanted he could have brought up Shabbo as a Hindu girl and easily married her to a Hindu boy. “But, for him, humanity is above anything,” he said.
Ballabhgarh riot victims blame local SHO, says NCM report (May 30, 2015, Business Standard)
Riot-hit Muslim villagers in Ballabhgarh’s Atali Village in Haryana have demanded “strong action” against Station House Officer (SHO) Babu Lal for “abetting the miscreants” belonging to the majority community who attacked them on May 25. A fact-finding team of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) that visited the village on May 27 has stated this in its report, which IANS has accessed. Atali village is located about nine km from Faridabad in Haryana and a little over 40 km from Delhi.
On Monday, Babu Lal was the officer-in-charge of the local police station when a 2,000-strong armed mob attacked Muslims gathered at the site of a mosque under construction for prayers and gutted houses and shops belonging to them. The officer has since been removed from his post pending an enquiry.
“They especially named the local SHO Babu Lal, who was present at the site, and had been warned about impending trouble. According to them, he, in fact, sent away some of the personnel who had been deputed to the site and accused him of abetting the perpetrators,” said the NCM report, which will soon be submitted to the home ministry.…
- BJP creating another Muzaffarnagar with eye on Panchayat polls: AAP (Jun 1, 2015, Economic Times)
- Ballabgarh Communal tension: ‘They tied me up and set my hands on fire’ (May 27, 2015, Indian Express)
- Some Hindus decry violence, but hotheads justify it (Jun 1, 2015, Times of India)
- Ballabhgarh communal violence: Peace talks fail as police yet to make arrests (May 31, 2015, Indian Express)
Communal tension in Lucknow following clashes (May 29, 2015, Times of India)
Communal tension erupted in Bazaarkhala and Aishbagh areas of Lucknow after clash between members of two communities. The groups fired at each other and resorted to stone pelting, which left several injured. Heavy police has been deployed in the area. Senior officers of district and police administration are at the spot.
According to reports, a minor argument on use of loudspeaker at a function between two individuals of different communities snowballed into a clash at around 9.30pm. Miscreants also pelted stones at the police as well. Curfew like situation prevailed as all shops were closed in the area and people were asked to stay indoors by the police.
DIG police RK Chaturvedi, who was on the spot, said that the situation is under control now. The police are talking to both the sides to resolve the issue, he added. Religious heads of the sides have also been called to pacify members of their respective communities, he said. He also appealed people not to spread or pay attention at rumors of large scale violence circulated on social media.
- Communal clash in Lucknow: SP, BJP corporators accuse each other of leading mobs (May 31, 2015, Indian Express)
- 14 injured in group clash in UP (Jun 1, 2015, Times of India)
- Tension in Nagaur after cow slaughter rumours, 30 held (May 31, 2015, Indian Express)
- ‘Conspiracy to Lit Communal Fires’ (May 31, 2015, Peoples Democracy)
Fifty Gujarat NGOs “join hands” with Congress, AAP, Swaraj Samvad, decide to start “mega agitation” against Modi (May 27, 2015, Counterview)
In a rare show of unity of opposition to the ruling BJP in Gujarat, around 50 Gujarat-based non-government organizations (NGOs) shared stage in Ahmedabad with senior state Congress leader Bharatsinh Solanki, on one hand, and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sukhdev Patel, on the other, to decide on launching an anti-Narendra Modi protest movement in the state, starting on August 9 and ending on August 15.
On August 15, a resolution passed at the end of the meet said, a mega national flag will be unfurled in Gandhinagar, Gujarat capital, after different organizations organize demonstrations across Gujarat starting on August 9, which happens to be the martyrs’ day.…
Another academic Hemantkumar Shah said intellectuals of Gujarat will have to seriously consider their options vis-a-vis the recently passed draconian anti-terrorist Act and the anti-democratic law that makes voting compulsory. “An atmosphere will have to be created to challenge and defeat those who proudly proclaim that their line of development alone is correct”, he added. Litterateur Prakash N Shah said, “Time is ripe to tell the people who all are indulging in lies, tall talks and hearsay. He insisted on the need to agitate against “anti-democratic, communal forces, devastating development.”
- Gujarat – Modi isn’t there in Guj, but he’s there (May 25, 2015, Times of India)
- First jhadoo, now yoga: Five reasons why babus are miserable under PM Modi (May 29, 2015, First Post)
- Modi should learn from the Chinese their deliberate rejection of self-promotion (May 24, 2015, The Hindu)
- Rs.0 spent by 55 percent Lok Sabha MPs on constituencies (May 26, 2015, Deccan Herald)
‘Ghar Wapsi’ victims, Sikh rights group file lawsuit to name RSS a ‘terror’ body (May 27, 2015, DNA India)
Three Indians, alleging forcible conversion to Hinduism by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, have joined a Sikh rights group in filing an amended lawsuit appealing a US court to designate RSS a “terror group”. Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) said the three are victims of the “Ghar Wapsi” campaign of alleged forcible religious conversions launched by the RSS.
The amended complaint has been filed by Micheal Masih, Hasim Ali and Kulwinder Singh, belonging to the Christian, Muslim and Sikh faiths along with SFJ and seeks the terror label for the RSS. The complaint alleges that after the BJP came to power in 2014, its “ideological mentor” is “attempting to forcibly convert their families to Hinduism.”…
“In the amended complaint, we have invoked International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998 which was enacted to express United States foreign policy with respect individuals persecuted in foreign countries on account of religion and to authorise United States actions in response to violations of religious freedom in foreign countries,” SFJ Legal Advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun said.…
- Modi govt pushing RSS agenda in education, Congress says (May 24, 2015, Times of India)
- Indianisation of education key to human development: RSS (May 31, 2015, IBN)
- RSS functionaries in every ministry, alleges Sharma (Jun 1, 2015, Deccan Herald)
- How RSS has grown in the first year of Modi government (May 26, 2015, Times of India)
Man accused in 2002 terror case acquitted (May 25, 2015, Times of India)
The court of the additional sessions judge recently acquitted Mumtaz Mian, who was booked under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2002 (POTA) for hatching a conspiracy to wage war against the nation. Earlier, Justice Naseemuddin Siddique had also discharged the Rampur resident from charges of terrorist activities in 2004. The case dates back to August 14, 2002 when the Special Task Force arrested three youths from near the Raza Degree College on suspicion of terrorist activities.
The youths during interrogation had alleged that their accomplice Mumtaz Mian had been providing information to Pakistan’s ISI from Rampur. On August 17, Mumtaz Mian was also arrested from his house. STF had then slapped the section 3 (1) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2002 and section 121 (attempt to wage war against the Government of India), 121A (conspiracy to commit offences against the Government of India) and 123 (concealing with intent to facilitate design to wage war against the nation) of Indian Penal Code and sent all the four arrested youths to Rampur’s district jail.
After a 13-year-long court battle, when Mumtaz Mian got the session’s court orders on Saturday, he said that he “felt vindicated since he had always maintained that he was innocent.”
- Yahya Kammukkutty, acquitted by Hubli court, felicitated (May 25, 2015, Twocircles.net)
- Terror accused moves HC (May 28, 2015, The Hindu)
- HC seeks Delhi govt, Tihar’s response on blast accused’s plea (May 29, 2015, Business Standard)
- ‘No leads to SIMI activists in city’ (Jun 1, 2015, The Hindu)
IIT-Madras bans student group for criticising PM Modi, his policies (May 29, 2015, Times of India)
In a controversial move, IIT-Madras has banned a discussion forum for students following an anonymous complaint that it tried to spread “hatred” against Prime Minister Modi by mobilizing SC/ST students to question government policies on the use of Hindi and the ban on cow slaughter.
The decision followed after the ministry of human resource development (MHRD) made an inquiry regarding the anonymous complaint it had received on the activities of the Ambedkar Periyar Student Circle (APSC) on the IIT campus. The complainant had enclosed one of APSC’s pamphlets reproducing a speech which criticized the Modi government and its policies.…
A week later, on May 24, the IIT dean (for students), Sivakumar M Srinivasan, sent a terse email to the coordinators of the APSC informing them that they had been “derecognized”. Members of APSC are now up in arms pointing out that the HRD ministry’s action and the IIT’s decision to ban their activities was based on an anonymous complaint by right-wing groups and that they were denied a hearing.
- ‘Still don’t know reason for undemocratic ban’: IIT-M students (May 29, 2015, Hindustan Times)
- IIT-Madras spreading hatred, says Arundhati Roy (May 30, 2015, Times of India)
- AAP slams IIT Madras banning anti-Modi student body, blames BJP for ‘undemocratic’ move (May 30, 2015, First Post)
- Sanskrit imposition meant to spread Brahminical order: Decognized anti-Modi Ambedkar-Pariyar group hits back (May 29, 2015, Counterview.net)
Police inspector linked to militants, remove him from probe into encounter, Mizoram HM tells Manipur Dy CM (May 28, 2015, Indian Express)
Mizoram Home Minister R Lalzirliana has requested neighbouring Manipur’s Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam Gangmei’s personal intervention to remove a police inspector tasked with investigating the encounter killing of the HPCD militant group’s “Sergeant” H C Malsawmkima. The inspector, the Home Minister has said, is allegedly “hand-in-glove” with the group and even transported several hundred rounds of ammunition for the militants when he conducted a spot visit on May 21.
Malsawmkima, a Mizoram Police defector, was the main accused in the April 28 ambush on a convoy of three Mizoram MLAs near the inter-state border. The militants killed three policemen and injured six others, including two civilians, in the course of the attack. Malsawmkima, who decamped with two rifles from an armed police camp in mid 2014 to join the HPCD, was identified as the leader of the group that waylaid the convoy.
R Lalzirliana’s letter details how the Mizoram Police team that shot dead Malsawmkima at Tiaulian (a village near the inter-state border within Manipur) in a pre-dawn operation immediately evacuated the body and evidences from the spot and later filed an FIR at Sakawrdai Police Station in north Mizoram, and how the FIR was transferred to Manipur Police which handed over the probe to Inspector Tlangthanzuala, the officer-in-charge of the Parbung Police Station. “However, a technical input indicated that Inspector Tlangthanzuala is hand-in-glove with HPC(D) and was instigating them to take reprisal action [against] Mizoram Police. This fact was conveyed to the Manipur Police but with no appropriate positive outcome.…
- All party meet to protest Aler encounter held at Hussaini Alam, Hyderabad (May 28, 2015, Twocircles.net)
- Sohrabuddin case: ‘Witness’ cop now an accused (May 28, 2015, Indian Express)
- Andhra SIT inquires with kin of encounter victims in Dharmapuri (May 28, 2015, The Hindu)
- Stop ambulance named after Ishrat: ‘Threat’ calls to driver (May 28, 2015, Indian Express)
Muslim woman alleges she was asked to vacate flat in Mumbai because of her religion (May 27, 2015, Hindustan Times)
A 25-year-old woman in Mumbai has alleged that she was asked to vacate a flat because she is a Muslim, reports said on Wednesday. Misbah Quadri, who moved into a 3-BHK apartment at Sanghvi Heights in Wadala, was told by the broker that the housing society did not accept Muslim tenants a day before she was to shift, according to the Hindu.
Her flatmates – two working women – had found her on Facebook. “I have been in Mumbai for 5 and a half years. This is not the first time I have faced this issue. Sometimes brokers did not even show me houses. But this time, I was asked to leave the house within a week because I am a Muslim,” Quadri told ANI.…
Quadri moved in even though she did not agree with the terms because the notice period at her previous flat expired and her flatmates supported her and she hoped things would be fine later. The agent contacted her again within a week. “He threatened to call the cops and throw me out of the flat. It got very ugly,” Quadri was quoted by the Hindu as saying. When she approached the builder’s representative, she was told that it was “a policy” of the company not to have Muslim tenants. She was then served an ultimatum to vacate the house and was forced to leave. Her flatmates too had to vacate the house.…
- Finding a house in Hassan is not easy for Muslims, Dalits (May 31, 2015, The Hindu)
- Can a law end housing apartheid? (May 30, 2015, Times of India)
- A law against discrimination, often suggested, not yet drafted (May 29, 2015, Indian Express)
- The safest Hindu abode in Ahmedabad lies in Muslim ghetto (May 31, 2015, Times of India)
Activists decry gag order on Nanded mosque against beef ban protest (May 25, 2015, The Hindu)
The police issued notice to the Sumayya mosque in Nanded, asking its office-bearers to refrain from criticising the Maharashtra government’s ban on the sale of beef and to desist from participation in protests on the ban. The notice has been issued under Section 149 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which says: “Every police officer may interpose for the purpose of preventing and shall, to the best of his ability, prevent the commission of any cognisable offence.”
Former Chief Minister and Congress State president Ashok Chavan asked: “what kind of a fatwa is this?” He accused the BJP-Sena government of attempting to polarise the State “religiously and socially” while lashing out at it for curtailing the right to protest.
The police have called for a departmental inquiry into the case, and Subash Rathod, inspector who issued the notice, has allegedly been transferred to the control room. Superintendent of Police, Nanded, Premjit Singh Dahiya was quoted by a news agency as saying that a grammatical error may have given the notice an entirely new dimension. Mr. Rathod may have missed the word “provocative” in his notice and mistakenly typed only “speech”, Mr. Dahiya said.…
- School stops admitting students from mumbra, calls them ‘very naughty’ (May 31, 2015, Mumbai Mirror)
- Saffron Outfit Opposes Urdu as First Language (May 25, 2015, New Indian Express)
- ‘Shariah’ MF scheme deferral: Is govt prejudiced with the word, ask MPs (May 28, 2015, Indian Express)
- Christians In India Continue To Live In Fear, Despite Modi’s Promises Of Equality (May 28, 2015, Huffington Post)
Married woman accuses ‘godman’ of rape (May 22, 2015, The Hindu)
A 35-year-old married woman has accused a local spiritual leader of raping her in Rohini. The police have arrested the 58-year-old accused. The alleged rape occurred in Rohini’s Sector 17. According to her complaint, she had been acquainted with the accused, Madan Goyal alias Guruji, for quite sometime.
“He allegedly called the woman on Tuesday evening to attend a spiritual programme and took her to an isolated room on the pretext of collecting some items,” said a senior police officer.
He offered her soft drinks which caused her to lose consciousness. When she regained her consciousness, she realised that she had been raped.
- Godman arrested in Madhya Pradesh for forcing minor to beg (May 23, 2015, Hindustan Times)
- Six more FIRs lodged against con woman (May 30, 2015, Times of India)
- Maharashtra: Dalit man dies after taken into custody (May 30, 2015, DNA India)
- Five Dalit women paraded naked, caned by 15 OBC villagers in UP (May 19, 2015, IBN)
Opinions and Editorials
Not a sprinkle, but a spread of saffron – By Manjari Katju (May 26, 2015, The Hindu)
…Over the past year, the manner in which the Parivar has conducted itself shows its enthusiasm in spreading Hindutva in India. As it believes that the BJP government is its own, it also apparently believes that it can stride confidently ahead by injecting vigour into Hindutva programmes. With the BJP’s victory, the Sangh Parivar feels that it has got a mandate and an opportunity to make all possible efforts to Hinduise social spaces, implement its ideology and show the minorities their “rightful place”.
However much one disagrees with or feels for Prime Minister Modi’s development agenda, the fact is that the Parivar comes first – before any individual or office.… While Mr. Modi might express unhappiness when forced to, about the outrageous public conduct of his Sangh family members, the latter has been working overtime to communalise social relations and saffronise the polity. … The question we need to ask therefore is not whether Mr. Modi is for development or Hindutva, but rather how Hindutva has moved in the last one year.…
All this has been happening in a context of low intensity violence against minorities. Attacks against Christians and Muslims have gone up, and they have been reported from all across the country. The impact of these skirmishes in terms of the spread of religious intolerance is the same as that of religious riots. The problem of such localised attacks is that Hindutva moves forward, minorities voices are marginalised and social hatred spreads, but the political order escapes the blame for dividing people.…
- Saffron Spewed All Over – By Anurag Tripathi (May 30, 2015, Tehelka)
- One Year of Modi govt: Bure din for social sector – By Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey (May 28, 2015, Indian Express)
- Tea Going Cold Fast – By Saba Naqvi (Jun 1, 2015, Outlook)
- Regressive phase – By Sitaram Yechury (May 24, 2015, The Hindu)
Modi Government: In service of Corporates and Hindutva – By Praful Bidwai (May 28, 2015, Free Press Journal)
When first-time MP Narendra Modi arrived in New Delhi to be sworn in as India’s Prime Minister, he flew in a private aircraft belonging to the Adani Group, although he could have taken a commercial flight or hired a chartered plane. On landing, Mr Modi was greeted raucously with the slogan Har Har Modi, patterned on communal-military lines.
The two events showed where Prime Minister Modi’s loyalties and priorities would lie: with Big Business and Hindutva, both of which he had served with pious zeal in Gujarat since the anti-Muslim pogrom of 2002 and through the many crony-capitalist deals he cut later.
Over the past year, he has showered favours on both constituencies, and antagonised many classes and groups, including some who voted for him out of the naive belief that he would bring “development”. His honeymoon period has ended, but he doesn’t seem to have grasped that.… This illusion, partly based on the search for a messiah, is breaking down. People are realising that the “56-inch-chest” man is a hollow caricature of his manufactured bloated image. Mr Modi’s troubles are set to worsen in the coming months.
- Corporate India Thrives And The Real India Withers – By Sukumaran C. V. (May 27, 2015, Countercurrents)
- Unfolding of BJP’s Sinister Agenda: Smoking out the Peasantry from Agriculture – By Vijoo Krishnan (May 31, 2015, Peoples Democracy)
- BJP’s Neo-Liberalism And Hindutva: A Risky Romance – By Rahul Jambhulkar & Abdullah A Raheman (May 27, 2015, Countercurrents)
- Slogans vs Reality: 12 Simple Facts on Modiji’s 12 Months – By Shashi Tharoor (May 27, 2015, NDTV)
Fifty kilometres from Delhi, hundreds of Muslims have become refugees overnight – By Anumeha Yadav (May 29, 2015, Scroll.in)
The normality of the evening was deceptive. A little before 6 pm on May 25, most residents of Atali village in Ballabhgarh, in Haryana’s Faridabad district, were out tending to their cattle. A few were in their homes cooking dinner. Zahida Parveen had just settled down on the second storey of her home in preparation for the asar ki namaz. Suddenly, there was a loud noise.
“I looked out and saw 14-15 men enter the gate of the house armed with bricks, sticks and swords,” said Parveen, a slender woman in her early 20s. “I heard them break the door to the ground floor of our house.” She bolted the door to the second floor and hid in a room. The sounds of destruction continued drifting from below, glass being smashed and things being hurled around. She could hear the men rush up to where she was. “They were breaking down the door,” Parveen said. “I hid inside the bathroom. They entered my room, shouting ‘Let these people die in the fire, if not at our hands.'”
Parveen doesn’t remember how long she stayed hidden while mayhem played out on the other side of the bathroom door. The men smashed a washbasin, overturned furniture and set fire to three cars downstairs before eventually walking away. Parveen and her relatives escaped from the roof when, after what seemed like hours, the police arrived. Three days on, Parveen and her family were still living in fear at the Ballabgarh police station along with 200 other Muslims from Atali.…
- Another disputed mosque sparks Ballabgarh riots – By Mehboob Jeelani (May 30, 2015, The Hindu)
- Why BJP needs to change the mindset of its members against minorities – By Keki N Daruwalla (May 30, 2015, Economic Times)
Anti-Muslim bias in employment must be tackled by law – By Saurav Datta (May 24, 2015, DNA India)
…Within moments of sending in his application for a job, Khan was told by the firm’s Mumbai office that Muslims were not welcome as employees. Leave aside that farce of an “apology”, and the even more farcical company line- that one Muslim name in its rolls shows that the company doesn’t practise communalism. Also ignore the misguided FIR against the firm, because by invoking IPC provisions regarding hate speech and communal violence, it has itself ensured its demise if at all the case goes to court.
Instead, let’s ask how can there be a legally sound and sustainable way of holding private sector organisations to account when they indulge in blatantly discriminatory practices? Let’s ask what legal recourse can be had, when a corporation discriminates on the grounds of religion, caste, sex, or any of the grounds listed in the constitution. A writ petition is out of the question since there isn’t any fundamental right against discrimination by non-state actors. A more specific question, extremely germane to the present context is how to stop an individual’s beliefs from dictating corporate policies.…
For far too long, deep-seated prejudices of myriad types have been allowed a free rein. A jaundiced view of liberty and liberalism has paved the path for liberal application of discrimination. It is imperative to tear off this cloak of impunity from India Inc.
- The challenges of being Muslim in India – By Humaira Ansari (Jun 1, 2015, Hindustan Times)
- Discrimination In Employment Against Muslims In India – By Abdul Majid Zargar (May 30, 2015, Countercurrents)
No house for Mr Zaidi: How difficult it really is for Muslims to find a place – By Sana Shakil (May 30, 2015, Times of India)
…Ask Delhi’s Muslims and they will tell you how difficult it really is to find a place to rent or buy in upscale localities. Without options, they are forced to confine themselves to ghettoes in Jamia Nagar, Okhla, Bhogal etc, and suffer all the problems that plague those areas, both civic and social—all of that just for not belonging to the majority faith.
TOI did a reality check and found that discrimination is more widespread in upscale areas such as Vasant Kunj, Defence Colony, Rohini etc, while it’s somewhat less stressful to find a house to stay in places such as Mukherjee Nagar, New Ashok Nagar, Lajpat Nagar, Karol Bagh and Janakpuri.…
Farah Zeba, an MBA in finance, had a similar story to tell. She was bluntly told once to look for a house in only “your Muslim areas” like Jamia Nagar when she went house hunting. “When my non-Muslim friend, who was along with me that day, reacted to the woman’s comment, she said it was only for my own safety,” she said. Farah eventually found a house, but the landlord insisted that the rent agreement would only be in her friend’s name, a Hindu.…
- Muslim and the City: Flats Rented to Us Become Off-Limits Overnight – By Rana Ayyub (May 28, 2015, NDTV)
Politics at IIT: Praise Modi to avoid trouble? – Editorial (Jun 1, 2015, The Tribune)
The Ambedkar Periyar Student Circle at the IIT, Madras, has been derecognised for spreading “hatred” against the Prime Minister. It published a pamphlet reproducing the speech of a Dravidian university academic, R Vivekananda Gopal, on Dr Ambedkar in which the Modi government was accused of following a “Hindutva agenda”, “assisting multinational corporates to loot Mother India” and “communally polarising the people by the ban on cow slaughter, ‘ghar wapsi’ and promoting Vedas”. Someone sent a complaint to the HRD Ministry, which forwarded it to the IIT. The action taken against the student group has sparked protests and debates. The Congress and the Left parties have seized the issue for making political capital out of it.
It was a controversy the Modi government could very well do without. Why should an institute as prestigious as an IIT act on an anonymous complaint? Why should the HRD Ministry forward it to the IIT? Had the ministry thrown the complaint into the dustbin, the matter would have ended there. But then the HRD Minister has a talent for creating opportunities for keeping herself in the limelight. Her frequent interference in the affairs of autonomous IITs, IIMs and universities has created more problems than she can handle. Her attempts at “saffronisation” of education and encouragement of Hindutva elements in institutes of higher education have attracted attention.
Since the rise in the academic world now depends on how well you carry forward the Parivar agenda, the IIT Dean was perhaps just trying to endear himself to the minister in Delhi. He did not care to uphold the autonomy of his own institute, stand for free speech and expression, or respect the students’ right to dissent. Students these days don’t restrict themselves to the given syllabus. They react to larger issues around them, mostly through social media. It is a happy sign that they value their freedom.
- IIT-Madras ban on student body for criticising Modi is a national shame – By Sandip Roy (May 29, 2015, First Post)
- As rationalist forum is derecognised by IIT Madras, students claim Hindutva groups thrive unhindered – By Mayank Jain (May 30, 2015, Scroll.in)
- After Smriti Irani’s House, Now Protest Outside IIT Madras – By Nisha Ponthathil (May 30, 2015, Tehelka)
- Ominous trends – Editorial (May 31, 2015, Echo of India)