IAMC Weekly News Roundup - June 22nd, 2015 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 22nd, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

A run for amity in Muzaffarnagar (Jun 18, 2015, Times of India)

On Tuesday, Raj Singh, 22, was all set to run a race organised by local policemen. Two years ago, he might have recoiled from being on the same team with Muslim men in his village. In August-September 2013, Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts were rocked by communal riots. On Tuesday, Hindu-Muslim teams from 37 villages in Muzaffarnagar participated in the “Sadbhavana Daur” – a race for communal amity. Each team comprised four Hindu and four Muslim men, drawn from villages that bore the brunt of the 2013 riots. As the race progressed, it was hard to image that just two years ago, riots in these villages claimed 60 lives and left 50,000 displaced.

As he emerged from the race, Raj Singh asserted that close coordination with teammates was key. Meerut zone Inspector General of Police Alok Sharma, the brain behind this unique competition, said, “I am an alumnus of Aligarh Muslim University. I was the only Hindu in the university athletic team. It was there that I understood the meaning of team spirit. A team has only one mission. Every member of the team has to work in coordination with the other and strive to attain victory. In a team, it does not matter which religion you belong to. It was from there that I took inspiration to heal the wounds of communal violence here.”

UP police has consistently attempted to bridge the gap between the two communities in these villages, and Tuesday’s race showed the efforts were bearing fruit. The six-km race was held between Shahpur and Budhana. Mohd Arif, an athlete from Budhana, said, “Muzaffarnagar was thrown 10 years back because of the riots. Every community has suffered. Businesses have collapsed. There has to be an end to this. Ever since the race was announced, I was enthusiastic about it. I have been coordinating with Hindu participants in my team. There was certainly an element of stiffness at first, but it all melted away with time as our sole aim was winning the race. I can proudly say that I have now made four Hindu friends.”…


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Religious harmony: Hindus in UP to observe Ramadan fast with Muslim neighbours (Jun 18, 2015, Indian Express)

At a time when controversy over performing yoga is on, a group of Hindus in Uttar Pradesh’s Mahoba district has decided to observe Roza (fast) with their Muslim neighbours during the holy month of Ramadan starting on Friday.

“We have decided to observe fast with our Muslim brothers from tomorrow at Udal Chowk crossing in Mahoba. We will be sitting in a group of about 60 persons including at least 25 Hindus and will attend ‘Sehri’ and ‘Iftar’…,” Tara Patkar, Coordinator of Bundeli Samaj, said.

Patkar said that the move would serve dual purpose: On one hand, it will spread the message of religious harmony and on the other it will boost their campaign for setting up of AIIMS in Mahoba.…


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Modi’s 365 day rule characterized by 1,618 cases of serious human rights violations: Civil society report (Jun 18, 2015, Counterview)

A new report on one year of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rule, carrying a compilation of 1,618 incidents of different types of human rights violations across India, has alleged that the last 365 days characterize saffronisation of governance at the Centre, implementation of the Sangh’s Parivar’s agenda of coercion, isolation of religious minority groups, and infiltration of administrative structures, police and education.

Released simultaneously at 18 different places all over India, including Ahmedabad, the report, titled “356 Days: Democracy and Secularism Under the Modi Regime” says that Modi rode on “the high-tide of promised development, created by PR agencies and corporate-controlled media, the present regime ‘conquered’ the hearts and the minds of India with the promised ‘Achche Din’ (Better Days).”

But what it actually did was to implement the “the experiments perfected in the laboratory of Hindutva successfully exported from Gujarat to various states of India.” Introducing the report, human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi said, “Many of us, who have closely watched the developments and modus operandi of communal forces in Gujarat and elsewhere, have been deeply disturbed but not surprised at the developments of the past year.” …



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FIR against Hindu Mahasabha leader Sadhvi Deva Thakur for remarks on sterilisation of minorities (Jun 16, 2015, DNA India)

An FIR has been registered against a Hindu Mahasabha leader for her controversial remarks that Muslims and Christians must undergo sterilisation to restrict their growing population. The FIR was lodged against vice president of All India Hindu Mahasabha Sadhvi Deva Thakur at Sadder police station on Monday on the directions of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Srinagar V S Bhau.

The CJM had directed Station House Officer of the police station to register a case against the accused under relevant provisions on an application by former Secretary of Jamiat-e- Ahlihadeeth AR Bhat, seeking action against the Hindu leader.

An FIR has been lodged against Sadhvi for “promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony”, a police official said. He said she has been booked under section 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, language) and 295-A (outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the RPC.…



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No HC relief for Babu Bajrangi (Jun 20, 2015, Indian Express)

The Gujarat High Court on Friday refused to entertain a petition moved by Babubhai Patel alias Babu Bajrangi, convicted in 2002 Naroda Patiya riot case, seeking regular bail. Bajrangi sought bail on the ground that he has lost his eyesight completely and therefore, he should be granted bail to stay with family who can take care of him.

During the argument the division bench of justices Mohinder Pal and RD Kothari inquired whether Bajrangi’s eyesight could be restored or not. His lawyer PM Lakhani said that as per the medical reports his vision can’t be restored. The bench said that in such a situation bail can’t be granted.

“It is not going to make any difference now whether he is in jail or outside. For him everything will be the same inside or outside the jail. In jail he will have more company with fellow inmates who can take care of him. If you insist we can pass an order to the jail authorities to give him attendants,” justice Pal told Lakhani.…



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Ramzan in Atali in Ballabhgarh: Jats get mosque fans removed (Jun 20, 2015, Indian Express)

Installing two portable fans at a burnt down mosque so people won’t have to offer prayers in the heat led to tension in riot-hit Atali village in Ballabhgarh Friday – the first day of Ramzan.

There is a stay on construction at the mosque, which was torched during riots in the village last month. Villagers said portable fans had been put up at the mosque Thursday, in preparation for prayers during Ramzan. But the Jat community reportedly protested and claimed Muslims were attempting to start construction at the mosque. They also held a panchayat, forcing the district administration to intervene and get the fans removed.

“We put fans at the mosque because it becomes very hot and the elderly find it uncomfortable. We didn’t want to begin construction or do anything that could lead to tension. But the Jats protested and said we were trying to take over the land,” claimed Nizam Ali, a resident.…



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UP: BJP leader Vidhya Sharan Sharma booked for inciting ‘communal hatred’ (Jun 20, 2015, Indian Express)

A Muslim woman who bought a house in a Hindu-dominated locality in Moradabad was allegedly stopped from taking possession of the property with a BJP corporator asking why she wanted to stay there when her “culture is different”. The BJP corporator, Vidhya Sharan Sharma, was booked on charges of promoting enmity between two communities. A case was filed under Section 153A of IPC at Kathghar police station after the incident late Wednesday night.

According to police, Shashi Prabha had sold a house to Shahana Bi in Gadhikhana locality. Shahana, a resident of Peerzada locality, went to Gadhikhana Wednesday night to take possession of the house.…

As an argument ensued between Shahana and Sharma, local BJP corporator Vidhya Sharan Sharma, who also lives in the same locality, reached there. He allegedly told Shahana not to buy the house as it is in a Hindu-dominated area. The SHO said he, too, reached the area after locals informed him. “I asked the corporator not to get involved. In my presence, he asked Shahana not to buy the house as she was a Muslim. I later lodged an FIR against him under section 153 A of IPC to maintain law and order,” he said.



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Case against Modi, Shah, RSS chief over ‘religious colour’ to yoga (Jun 20, 2015, Yahoo)

A case was filed on Saturday against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in a court in the Bihar capital for giving a “religious colour” to yoga, thereby hurting people’s sentiments.

“We have filed a case against Modi, Shah and Bhagwat in the chief judicial magistrate’s court in Patna for defaming yoga by giving it religious colour that has hurt the sentiments of people,” said Shruti Singh, the lawyer of petitioner social activist Dev Kumar Singh.

The case was filed on charges of committing deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings, and criminal conspiracy, the lawyer said. The petitioner prayed to the court to order the filing of a first information report (FIR) against the three leaders.…



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VP Hamid Ansari being hounded on social media after Ram Madhav’s tweet on his Yoga Day absence (Jun 21, 2015, Twocircles.net)

Vice President Hamid Ansari is being hounded on social media for the second day after BJP leader’s tweet questioning his absence from the International Yoga Day event on June 21. This is the second time that Ansari’s ‘patriotism’ has been questioned.

Earlier, he was hounded by self proclaimed Hindu nationalists for ‘not saluting’ the national flag, although protocol does not require anyone except the President to salute.

On June 21, for the first time International Yoga Day was celebrated. National general secretary of BJP Ram Madhav tweeted questioning why did Rajya Sabha TV ‘completely blackout’ the Yoga Day celebrations his ‘absence’ from the celebration.…



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Sohrabuddin Encounter: CBI court junks Andhra cop’s discharge plea (Jun 17, 2015, Indian Express)

A CBI special court in Mumbai rejected an application moved by an Andhra Pradesh (AP) police inspector seeking discharge from the fake encounter cases of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kauser Bi and Tulsiram Prajapati.

The court, while refusing to grant him relief, issued notice for framing of charges, a procedure before the beginning of trial, on July 6. Special judge M B Gosavi rejected the discharge application of police inspector Ghattamaneni Srinivasa Rao, posted in Prakasham district of AP. Rao was chargesheeted by CBI for taking part in the abduction of the trio, keeping them in illegal confinement and eventually killing them.

Rao is accused of escorting the Gujarat police team from Hyderabad to Gujarat in November 2005, days before killings of Sohrabuddin and his wife. CBI probe established that a year later, Tulsiram was also killed in a fake encounter.…



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Gurgaon cop suspended for FIR delay in molestation case (Jun 16, 2015, Times of India)

An assistant sub-inspector (ASI) at the DLF phase II police station has been suspended for not taking timely action in registering an FIR when a cosmetics store employee was assaulted by a Sushant Lok resident outside The Leela hotel last month.

The 25-year-old woman, who is from Darjeeling and currently lives in Dundahera, went to the police station around 10pm on May 30 after she was allegedly assaulted and threatened by Shailender Singh Chauhan (39), a resident of Block B in Sushant Lok.

She submitted her complaint to ASI Madan who was the duty officer at that time. However, Madan did not register the FIR immediately. The issue then came to the notice of senior police officers the next day through an instant messaging group chat. The FIR was finally lodged at 7.15pm on May 31 and the victim was taken for a medical examination on June 1.…



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Dalit brothers, who cracked IIT, were tormented for their caste (Jun 22, 2015, Deccan Herald)

The ordeals faced by the two dalit brothers, Brijesh and Raju, who cracked the IIT, throws light on the evils of caste based discrimination in our country. The two dalit boys might have set an example for many youngsters by cracking the IIT entrance test, but when they returned home victorious, stones were pelted at their house just because they belonged to a backward caste.

Revealing how they had struggled to study, the boys told Times Of India that people used to make fun of them when they expressed a desire for education. The villagers discouraged them and tormented them when they joined school.

The lanes around their houses were blocked and even the drainage pipe of their house was cut off to punish them for pursuing education.…



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Opinions and Editorials

Really, RSS? Help to Lalit Modi is Nationalism? – By Ashutosh (Jun 19, 2015, NDTV)

The noose is tightening and the myth is breaking. The Lalit Modi saga is getting bigger and murkier. The government, which a few weeks ago was looking impeccable on the issue of corruption, is now thoroughly exposed and it turns out that the Modi government is no different from the Manmohan Singh government. The only difference is that exposing the Manmohan Government took five years, the Modi government, only a year.

Rajasthan Chief Minister and powerful BJP leader Vasundhara Raje Scindia is in serious trouble. She is no ordinary leader. She is running a state with more than 3/4th majority and is a second term Chief Minister. She is also the daughter of Mrs Vijaya Raje Scindia, a member of the original triumvirate of the BJP along with Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani.

Vasundhara Raje is the second-high profile leader after Sushma Swaraj who, as it turns outs, helped Indian fugitive Lalit Modi, the original IPL commissioner and the czar of Indian cricket. There are tremendous similarities between both the leaders. Both went out of their way to help him. Sushma, being Foreign Minister, was not supposed to interact with a fugitive of the law, forget about bailing him out. Vasundhara was bolder. She wrote a secret letter to facilitate Lalit getting immigrant status in London, knowing well enough that she was on the wrong side of law and morality, and that is why she asked British Authorities to keep her name secret and not disclose it in public.…



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Sorry, Mr Ansari – Editorial (Jun 23, 2015, Indian Express)

The mean-spirited controversy sparked by BJP general secretary Ram Madhav’s questioning of Vice President Hamid Ansari’s absence at Sunday’s commemoration of International Yoga Day on Rajpath will not be deleted as easily as the offensive tweet.

The fact is, a senior and responsible functionary of the ruling party has levelled an unseemly accusation at the occupant of one of the nation’s highest offices – and there is no escaping the impression that Ansari’s religion has something to do with it. This is because there is a larger context to Madhav’s tweet.

For one, it is the second instance in less than five months where an attempt has been made by supporters of the Narendra Modi government to cast aspersions on Ansari’s patriotism. On Republic Day, the vice president’s office was forced to defend Ansari against the charge of disrespecting the national flag by not saluting it during the march-past.…



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International Yoga Day: This asana is a Hindutva pose – By Sitaram Yechury (Jun 16, 2015, Hindustan Times)

Under this BJP government’s aggressive global campaigns, India appears to be seeking a global positioning not on the basis of its internal strength, economic or otherwise, but on the basis of such ‘accomplishments’ as having the UN General Assembly declare International Yoga Day on June 21. A PM-led government patronaged event on Delhi’s Rajpath, where public gatherings have been banned since the demolition of the Babri masjid, is aiming to enter the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest public participation in yoga exercises.

There can be no dispute over the practice of yoga postures improving the quality of life. Leaving aside the controversies over the promotion of a Hindutva agenda, such a mega marketing exercise definitely smacks of a dubious effort to Hinduise our richly diverse people and society. There is a running thread of a not too subtle campaign in the demonstrative ‘marketing’ that Prime Minister Narendra Modi undertakes.

Remember, that the RSS, in order to advance its agenda of replacing our secular democratic Republic with its project of a rabidly intolerant fascistic ‘Hindu Rashtra’, has all along spoken of ‘liberating’ the temples at Ayodhya (Ram Janmasthan), Mathura (Krishna Janmasthan) and the Benaras Kashi Vishwanath temple. The Babri masjid has been demolished, Modi is the MP from Varanasi and Mathura was the chosen venue for launching the first birthday of this government. A distinct subterranean pattern.…



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India: The Economic Cost Of Violence In 2014 – By Abdul Rashid Agwan (Jun 19, 2015, Countercurrents)

The latest report of the Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) shocks the world by its assessment of the cost of violence the world has paid during the previous year. The report “Global Peace Index 2014: Measuring Peace and Assessing Country Risk” was released yesterday.

India stands 143rd among 162 countries on the Global Peace Index and heavily squandered its national wealth on the anvil of communal, caste-based and class-based violence. The study underlines that the cost of violence around the world reached a record $14.3 trillion in 2014, equivalent to the combined economies of Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the UK.

“The (cost of violence) has been largely associated with the increase of deaths in conflict, the ongoing economic consequences of conflicts in the countries where they’re occurring and also the increased cost associated with the displaced people,” IEP founder Steve Killelea said.…



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A question of credentials – Editorial (Jun 23, 2015, The Hindu)

While the Bharatiya Janata Party government has, on the one hand, been striving to pursue a growth- and development-oriented agenda with a firm emphasis on the economic and foreign policy fronts, on the other hand the question has come up too often whether it is meanwhile systematically seeking to use the Ministries related to culture, information, education and human resources to push itself away from values promoting excellence and expertise when it comes to certain key appointments.

This is the only possible explanation for the choice of those with uncertain credentials for some important institutional appointments. In the latest instance, the choice of Gajendra Chauhan for the post of chairman of the governing council of the Film and Television Institute of India, and other members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to be members of the FTII Society, has raised the hackles of students of the institute and members of the larger cinema fraternity.

Mr. Chauhan is better known for his portrayal of the character of Yudhisthira in the popular television serial Mahabharata in the 1980s. His filmography includes a string of films of a certain kind, and there is little in his repertoire that qualifies him to chair a premier institution imparting quality cinematic training. It is clear that the choice made by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is based on his leanings. He is a BJP member, and wears his affiliation on his sleeve.…



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Emergency School Of Drama – By Alam Srinivas (Jun 27, 2015, Tehelka)

He is a master of makeovers. He knows how to look and wear the ‘right’ attire, and how to nurture, and even change, his political and social image. He knows what to say, when and where, and how to use words and slogans to maximise impact. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has displayed all these qualities, and more, during his 12-year-plus stint as Gujarat’s chief minister, and over 12 months as the country’s head.

During his election campaign, he cultivated the image of an efficient and incorruptible administrator. He sold the Gujarat Model of Development as the almost- perfect one that the nation could replicate. After he became the prime minister, he displayed the power of his personality when he addressed America’s president as ‘Barack’ and not Mr Obama. He wowed the crowds in the US as well as Australia.

However, few know that Modi learnt the art of managing the masses and mass media, and creating a positive and aggressive hysteria amongst them during the controversial Emergency years (1975- 77). It was during this period, when the writ of Indira Gandhi, and her younger son, Sanjay Gandhi, ran supreme that the country’s current prime minister studied, honed and finessed his theatrical skills.…



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