IAMC Weekly News Roundup - June 2nd, 2014 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 2nd, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup


Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials


Bigoted accusations against Fr. Cedric Prakash condemned by Indian Americans

Goa Chief Minister in a smear campaign against the stalwart of secular voices in India

June 02, 2014

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has strongly condemned Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s recent accusations on Fr. Cedric Prakash. Speaking at a press briefing recently, Mr. Parrikar reportedly accused Fr. Prakash of spreading “religious discontent” in Goa ahead of the general elections, and equated the renowned human rights advocate with Pramod Muthalik, the notorious head of militant Hindu nationalist organization Sri Ram Sena.

Fr. Cedric Prakash is a Jesuit Priest and founder director of Ahmedabad based Prashant, an organization dedicated to advancement of human rights and social justice. He is a recipient of numerous national and international awards, including the Kabir Puraskar awarded by the President of India in 1995 for the promotion of Communal Peace and Harmony, and Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour) by the President of the French Republic in July 2006 for life time commitment to the defense and the promotion of Human Rights in India.

Rejecting the Chief Minister’s remarks as baseless and inflammatory, Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC, said,”The comparison of a renowned human rights advocate to an anti-minority militant like Pramod Muthalik is reflective of a dangerous blend of shallowness and bigotry. Coming from the Chief Minister of a state, these remarks are indicative of the culture of intimidation that the supremacist ideology of Hindutva has engendered whenever it has held the reins of power.” As the head of militant Sri Ram Sene, Mr. Muthalik, has repeatedly called upon Hindus to arm themselves and has used violence against innocent citizens. “Fr. Prakash has been a stalwart of secular voices, a tireless force for good and a bulwark of moral strength to the Indian society. In comparing Fr. Prakash to Mr. Muthalik, the Chief Minister has only exhibited his own indifference to Fr. Prakash’s notable work towards advancement of peace, social justice and human rights in India”, Mr. Khan added.

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

Top French honour for Fr. Cedric Prakash

Parrikar’s accusations against Fr. Cedric Prakash

Congress attacks Parrikar for accusations against Fr. Prakash

Ishaq Syed
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Communal Harmony

‘Open dialogue needed between Hindus and Muslims to dispel misconceptions’ (Jun 2, 2014, The Hindu)

The former Vice-Chancellor of Karnataka Samskrit University and secretary of Gandhi Peace Foundation Mallepuram G. Venkatesh has called for an open and healthy dialogue between the Hindu and Muslim communities to dispel misconceptions about one another. Speaking at a seminar on ‘Understanding Muslims’, organised by the monthly ‘Muslim Dani’ in collaboration with the foundation and Gandhi Smaraka Nidhi here on Sunday, Prof. Venkatesh said the cultural and social history of Karnataka was marked by rich interactions between Hindus and Muslims.

He said greats such as Sir Mirza Ismail and Sir M. Visvesvaraya had contributed to the growth of the old Mysore region and they often complemented each other’s work. Prof. Venkatesh added that the language and history of the Hyderabad-Karnataka region was a rich tapestry of interactions between Hindu and Muslim faiths and between Urdu and Kannada languages.

Earlier, journalist M.A. Siraj said that both Hindus and Muslims needed to revisit some of the widely held but unfounded misconceptions about the Muslim community, fed by a deliberately “monochromatic view of history”. Iqbal Hussain, advocate and former president of the Students’ Federation of India, said that trends such as reopening the debate on Article 370 may not bode well.

Ali Baba, a social worker, said the identity of a Muslim could not be understood by debating religion and faith alone, but by bringing all factors that shaped identity into focus. Syed Abdul Wali, a delegate from Kolar, said that an ordinary Muslim of the country lived with the faith and hope that the Constitution and the courts guaranteed rights that were inviolable. “Our Constitutional foundation is strong and it cannot be shaken,” he said.


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‘Even your Allah cannot help you; I am your Allah here’ (May 29, 2014, Milli Gazette)

In a press conference held at Delhi by Jamiat Ulama-e Hindi on 20 May, Maulana Arshad Madni said that terrorism has nothing to do with any religion yet Muslims are still being implicated in false and fictitious terror cases. Maulana Madni said his organisation has been busy fighting cases of such innocent persons since long and the acquittal of six persons on 16 May in the Akshardham attack case is a major success in these efforts. The press conference was attended by five persons exonerated of all charges and set free by the Supreme Court on 16 May.

Maulana Madni said media’s attitude has been negative. It highlights when someone is arrested but ignores if the same person is honourably acquitted years later. Media played this same role in the case of the Akshardham accused who were acquitted on 16 May after spending 11 years in jail. Maulana Madni said he has complete faith in the judiciary and will continue to fight these cases. When these people were arrested, he said, media screamed saying police has achieved a great success but it kept mum when they were acquitted. He said that the biggest criminal is the person who held the [Union] home portfolio at that time who kept hammering into people’s minds that Muslims were terrorists. He said we demand action against those police officers who implicated these people in false cases.

The accused were awarded varying sentences – Altaf Hasan Akbar Hasan Malik – 5 years imprisonment, Adam Bhai Sulaiman Bhai Ajmeri – death by hanging; Muhammad Sultan Muhammad Haneef Shaikh – life imprisonment; Abdul Qayyoom Mufti – death by hanging; Abdullah Miyan Yasin Miyan Mansoori – 10 years imprisonment and Shan Miyan – life imprisonment. The sentences were confirmed by Gujarat High Court although the confessions were obtained through third degree torture.

Maulana Madni said he will file a fresh PIL in the Supreme Court seeking compensation for these people. He said there are some accused languishing in jails for the last 20 years. They have grayed in jails while their parents have lost their sight due to constant weeping for their children. Maulana Madni said the home minister under UPA, Shiv Raj Patel, was an RSS man who indulged in implicating innocent youths in fake cases. He said we have spent Rs 52.24 lakh (5.224 m) on this case alone. He added that JuH is fighting the cases of 350 persons and has been successful in a number of cases.

Sulaiman Bhai Ajmeri said, “My family was ostracized by society. Only a few gathered the courage to support me for they knew the real Sulaiman – a poor mechanic who worked with his father to make ends meet,” he said adding that the only hope for “terrorists” like him and his five co-accused was the judiciary. Azam Ajmeri, one of the accused, said that the jail staff in general treated them well as if they knew that these people were innocent. …



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Muslims in Malegaon burn effigy of new Minority Minister Najma Heptullah (Jun 1, 2014, Twocircles.net)

Aggrieved by the anti-Muslim reservation statements made just after taking charge by newly appointed Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla, Muslims in Malegaon city of Maharashtra protested strongly after Juma prayer and burned her effigy before hitting it with their foot wears. The people were angry and their determination for the cause was eminent as they were protesting in the afternoon when the sun was boiling hot above their heads.

Dr. Najma Heptullah is the new Minister of Minority Affairs in Narnedra Modi led NDA government who took charge on 27th May and soon landed in a controversy. Talking to reporters at Ministry’s office in Pariyawaran Bhawan after assuming charge from his predecessor K Rehman Khan, she said that Muslims are not minorities but Parsees and that her ministry will give due focus to rescue them from extinction. She had also said that it was not necessary to implement all the recommendations of the Sachar committee and had rejected the idea of reservation to Muslims terming it as an ill-conceived policy of the Congress-led UPA government.

Her statements were widely rejected by the Muslim organizations throughout the country and were seen as anti-Muslims as Muslims are urging the government to grant reservation to their community for long time not on the basis of religion but socio-economic backwardness of their community. Soon after the Juma prayer hundreds of Muslims in Malegaon gathered with an effigy of Najma Heptulla on the streets of the town and chanted slogans against BJP, RSS and Najma Heptulla. The protest was headed by the Malegaon Muslims Reservation Federation and was attended by hundreds of people including party workers of Samajwadi Party.

The Federation demanded apology from Najma Heptulla for hurting feelings of Muslims or they will arrange more programs for reservations for Muslims. While addressing the protesting people, Mr. Asif Shaikh Rashid, President of the Federation said,”Najma Heptulla is an agent of RSS who is working under its guidance. We fear that in coming future this Minority Ministry will be removed by BJP government and therefore we urge Malegaon people to join us in raising our voice for the reservation of our community on the ground of backwardness”.

The protest lasted for an hour where anti-BJP and anti-RSS slogans were raised and the effigy of Najma Heptulla which was coloured in saffron was beaten up with shoes/slippers by the angry protesters and was finally burned despite police’s call not to burn it. In the end Federation presented memorandum with their demands to the Prant Officer and requested to forward it to the central government.



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It’s Batra again: Book on sexual violence in Ahmedabad riots is ‘set aside’ by publisher (Jun 3, 2014, Indian Express)

A letter written by Dina Nath Batra, whose civil suit led to the pulping of Wendy Doniger’s book on Hinduism, has now led to the “setting aside” of a publication on violence against women in communal riots in Ahmedabad. Publisher Orient Blackswan, which recently released Communalism and Sexual Violence: Ahmedabad Since 1969 and put it up for sale on its website in April 2014, has written to author Dr Megha Kumar saying the book needs “comprehensive assessment” and should be set aside “for the present”.

In the letter dated May 16, Orient Blackswan told Kumar, an Oxford-based Rhodes scholar, that Batra’s lawyer had written to them in April complaining that another book published by them and in print for more than 10 years, the popular textbook Plassey to Partition: A History of Modern India by Sekhar Bandopadhyay, was defamatory and derogatory to the RSS. In the light of that notice, Orient Blackswan wrote, a “pre-release assessment of books that might attract similar reactions” was being undertaken, suggesting that Kumar’s book had not been released so far. The publisher cited worries of legal proceedings and also of exposing “staff and families” of authors and publishers to “the risk of violence, endangering their life and safety”.

Kumar contests Orient’s claim of its decision being a “pre-release” move, noting that the book has been on sale since April 15. The 33-year-old also points out that the book “has been printed following thorough peer review and systematic copyediting between June 2013, when the first draft of the manuscript was submitted, and March 14, when the book went to press”. Kumar has asked Orient Blackswan to clarify “the precise nature and scope of what you have termed comprehensive assessment” and asked the publisher to revert to her about what witholding the book for “the present” means. …



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Custodial death triggers anger, six cops arrested (May 26, 2014, Deccan Herald)

Six Delhi Police personnel, comprising a head constable and five constables, were arrested after a 30-year-old man died in their custody in south-west Delhi on Monday. It is alleged that the man was a victim of torture while being in detention. A mob turned violent after the incident and resorted to stone pelting outside Bindapur police station. Police used lathi-charge and tear gas to bring the situation under control. The victim has been identified as Manoj Chand, a resident of west Delhi’s Pankha Road in Uttam Nagar.

Police said a call was made to the police control room around noon reporting that Manoj had been picked up for questioning. Sources said the police officers were not wearing uniform when they visited Manoj’s house. The caller also claimed that Manoj was being falsely dragged into a case of Arms Act registered with Bindapur police station. “An initial probe has revealed that Manoj was detained and taken to old Matiala police post for questioning,” said a police officer.

Manoj’s health allegedly deteriorated during questioning due to which the policemen decided to take him to the nearest hospital. “Manoj was taken to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, where he was declared brought dead,” the officer added. Currently, police are waiting for the post-mortem report to ascertain the exact cause of the death. A protest was held outside Bindapur police station after Manoj’s family members were informed. The protesters claimed that Manoj was beaten up by police, and questioned the reason behind Manoj being taken to a police post and not the police station.

They soon turned violent claiming that local police were trying to shield the policemen involved, and damaged at least four vehicles parked in the area. Senior police officers also visited the area, but failed to prevent the violence. Till late on Monday, around 200 locals continued to stay outside the police station and clashed with around 100 policemen. Taking strict action over the allegations, senior police officers ordered a case and arrest of the personnel involved in detaining Manoj. The accused have been identified as Head Constable Bhoop Singh and constables Rajesh Solanki, Rajesh, Sudhir, Uttam and Arvind.

A case under sections 302 (murder) and 365 (kidnapping) of the Indian Penal Code has been filed against the police personnel. “Further action in the case will depend on the post-mortem report. A departmental inquiry has also been ordered,” the officer said. Manoj’s body will be handed over to family after the post-mortem on Tuesday. He is survived by his wife Rishi and a seven-month-old child. The couple had married around two years ago.



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Ishrat case accused GL Singhal reinstated as commandant 12 SRP Gandhinagar (May 29, 2014, IBN)

The Gujarat government on Wednesday reinstated suspended IPS officer GL Singhal, a prime accused in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case. He was now posted in the Special Reserve Police in Gandhinagar. His name also surfaced in the snoopgate case. “Yes, he (GL Singhal) has been reinstated. Last night, sanction was given for his reinstatement,” S K Nanda, Additional Chief Secretary (Home), said. Confirming the development, state Director General of Police P C Thakur said Singhal has been posted as Group Commandant of State Reserve Police at Gandhinagar.

While investigating the Ishrat case, the CBI had raided Singhal’s house and seized a pen drive containing 267 recordings. One of the recordings was claimed to contain conversations between law officers of the state and ministers allegedly making plans to derail the Ishrat case probe, while some others purportedly had conversations between former Minister of State for Home Shah and Singhal making plans to snoop on a woman architect at the behest of “Saheb”. It was alleged that Saheb stood for Narendra Modi.

Shah, is currently BJP national general secretary, who is being credited with the party’s phenomenal success in the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh. The alleged taped conversation between Shah and Singhal was aired by news portals Cobrapost and Gulail which purportedly featured the former minister instructing the IPS officer to closely monitor the movements of the woman. “I have been reinstated (in service) as the commandant of SRP group 12 at Gandhinagar,” Singhal said, adding he will work “aggressively”.

Singhal was suspended by the Narendra Modi government after his arrest in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case. Following his arrest and suspension, Singhal had resigned from service, alleging the state government had failed to protect him. However, his resignation was not accepted on technical grounds. In July last year, CBI had chargesheeted Singhal, three other IPS officers and others of lower ranks in connection with the alleged staged encounter of Ishrat and three others in 2004.



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Brainwashing in VHP’s Durga Vahini camp shocked me: Filmmaker (May 28, 2014, First Post)

A young Indian girl at a militant training camp proclaims, “We have learned to use guns and we’ll use them if we have to. We will kill people if we need to”. Another young child, attending a camp called Durga Vahini for the first time, is seen wearing jeans, a rebellious attitude and a mischievous grin. After ten days at Durga Vahini, she is ready to kill for her country.

Durga Vahini is the female counterpart of the Bajrang Dal, a subsidiary of the Hindu nationalist organisation Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). Canadian filmmaker Nisha Pahuja’s documentary The World Before Her chronicles the workings of Durga Vahini to stunning effect. Hers was the first film crew to be allowed inside the camp. Four years in the making and extensively researched, The World Before Her goes back and forth between a Durga Vahini camp and India’s fashion industry – two worlds that contrast, and surprisingly, even draw parallels at times.

Pahuja’s film follows the lives of Prachi, a twenty-year-old trainer at Durga Vahini, and a number of Miss India (2011) contestants. It’s a classic ‘nationalist’ point of view versus the ‘Westernised’. Prachi has no qualms about killing Gandhi or people of other religions who attack Hinduism, and manages to terrorise even her fellow Durga Vahini members. Ultimately, however, Pahuja is able to create empathy for Prachi, who comes across as a victim of a long-standing social campaign to brainwash women for political mileage.

Pahuja, who divides her time between Mumbai and Toronto, eschews sensationalism in The World Before Her, making it a balanced, understated and powerful film. It won the award for Best Documentary at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival and Pahuja is currently in talks with distributors to release the film later this year in India. …



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Former BJP minister arrested over Bijapur riot (May 28, 2014, Hindustan Times)

Former BJP Union minister B Patil Yatnal, who was absconding after being named the prime accused in rioting in Karnataka on the day Narendra Modi was inaugurated as the 15th Prime Minister, was arrested on Wednesday after six police teams were constituted to hunt for him. Communal violence involving rejoicing BJP supporters and a group of vegetable vendors from a minority community erupted in the north Karnataka town of Bijapur on Monday evening. Yatnal has been booked under non-bailable sections of the IPC for leading the mob of BJP activists.

Yatnal was found holed up with three of his associates in a hotel room in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur, 350 km from Bijapur. Confirming the arrest on Wednesday, IGP (Northern Range, Karnataka) Bhaskar Rao told HT Yatnal had checked into a hotel under a fake name. A team led by deputy superintendent of police MY Baladandi tracked him down.

Three other BJP members – Umesh Kore, Parasuram Kenganal and Yellappa – were arrested along with Yatnal. The total number of those arrested has now gone up to 30. Of the 30 cases registered, Yatnal is listed as an accused in 19, Bijapur superintendent of a police Ram Nuvas Sepat said.

“The police team is yet to arrive from Kolhapur with the accused. They will be produced directly before a magistrate. We don’t need their custody right now as we have enough evidence,” Rao said immediately after the incident. On Tuesday, Rao said the footage of the incident recorded by the police clearly showed Yatnal triggered the attack.

“Provoked by him, his supporters molested women belonging to a minority community and tried to forcibly smear gulaal on the faces of vegetable vendors from a particular community,” he said. Led by Yatnal, hundreds of BJP activists were taking out a victory procession, timed to coincide with Modi’s swearing-in. The violence erupted around 7pm when the procession reached LBS vegetable market in the heart of Bijapur, about 520km from Bangalore.…



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Two cops nabbed for taking bribe (May 28, 2014, Times of India)

The anti-corruption bureau (ACB) has caught two policemen for taking bribe in two separate incidents. According to ACB officials, Kadar Jusab, a resident of Morbi, had approached ACB after a police constable repeatedly stopped his trucks by declaring them overloaded and asked for fines. Constable Babu Batiya of Viramgam police had earlier taken Rs 3,000 from Jusab. When he again demanded money to let the trucks pass, Jusab approached the ACB.

The ACB laid a trap. Accordingly, Jusab asked Batiya to meet him but the constable sent his confidant Jagdish Patel, a resident of Viramgam, to receive Rs 2,000 on Viramgam-Hansalpur road. A team led by inspector R R Trivedi caught the duo after Patel accepted money on behalf of Batiya on Monday night.

In another incident, Faridmian Malek, a resident of Nadiad, had registered a complaint against Ramesh Patel, a constable with Ramol police station. According to Malek’s complaint, Patel had demanded Rs 100 not to give a memo to him. A team led by inspector A A Shaikh caught Patel with cash near Ramol crossroads on Tuesday afternoon.



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Flesh trade racket busted at BJP MP Satyapal Singh’s flat in Mumbai (Jun 2, 2014, Daily Bhaskar)

After receiving constant complaints of flesh trade, the social service branch of Mumbai Police raided a flat in Andheri. At least 3 people including 2 girls were arrested from the flat. The flat belongs to former police commissioner and BJPMP Satyapal Singh. The society which was raided on Saturday night consisted of flats of many eminent police officers. Also, the police team has recovered the electricity bill from the flat in the name of Satyapal Singh. The same name is mentioned on the board of the society.

According to information, the flat has been provided on rent to a company. The arrested person works for the same company. Earlier this year, the police had recovered at least 2 lakh adult videos from a flat in the same society. The spokesperson of Mumbai Police and police deputy commissioner of police Mahesh Patil said that they had received the complaint of flesh trade in the region after which they raided the flat.

The girls arrested from the spot had gone to the flat on the instructions of their boss. The case is being investigated. However, the prominent police officers have chosen to remain silent on the matter. Satyapal Singh, the owner of the flat said that he had given the flat on rent to India Bulls Company and that he is not responsible for unethical acts going on in the flat.

The IPS officer of 1980 batch, Satyapal Singh had resigned as Police Commissioner and joined BJP. After joining BJP, he contested in the elections from Uttar Pradesh against Ajit Singh of RLD and won by a huge margin. It is notable that he had received the offer of joining the part from AAP as well as BJP but he chose to join Bharatiya Janta Party. In the recent years, it has been one such case that a serving police officer chose to join politics.



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Dalit sisters’ rape: 2 held, 3 cops suspended (May 29, 2014, Times of India)

Two people, including a policeman, have been arrested and three constables suspended in connection with the rape of two teenage dalit sisters, whose bodies were found hanging from a tree. The postmortem report of the two girls has confirmed that they were raped before murder, superintendent of police Atul Kumar Saxena said today. “The postmortem report has confirmed rape of the two girls. The cause of death is hanging,” he said.

Katra outpost incharge Ram Vilas Yadav, constables Sarvesh Yadav and Chhatrapal Yadav were suspended following the incident. Other accused, including three brothers Pappu Yadav, Awadhesh Yadav and Urvesh Yadav, and two unidentified persons are still at large, police said. Of the seven accused, Sarvesh and Chhatrpal have been booked under section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC, while the three brothers and two others have been booked under section 302 (murder) and 376 (rape) of IPC.

The SP said that constable Sarvesh and Pappu have been arrested, while the hunt is on to nab the others absconding. The two girls, who were cousins and aged 14 and 15 years, went missing from their house Tuesday night and their bodies were found hanging from a mango tree in the village in Ushait area on Wednesday morning. The incident triggered protests in the area with villagers alleging police apathy following which an FIR was registered against seven persons.



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Opinions and Editorials

India leader’s ugly past – By Rekha Basu (May 28, 2014, Myrtle Beach Online)

Twelve years ago in India’s western state of Gujarat, between 1,000 and 2,000 Muslims were slaughtered and about 150,000 were displaced from their homes and businesses in mob attacks. The attackers were majority-religion Hindus who had been stoked into a frenzy by organizers blaming and punishing random Muslims for a train fire that had killed 59 Hindus on a religious pilgrimage. (The fire was later ruled to be accidental.) The plundering destroyed 20,000 Muslim homes and businesses and 360 mosques. The man who governed Gujarat then until now and is considered responsible for inciting the anti-Muslim hysteria is Narendra Modi, a leader in the Hindu Nationalist BJP political party. Last week, he became India’s new prime minister.

From 2005 until a few months ago, the United States wouldn’t grant Modi a visa to visit because of his role in the Gujarat riots. He was said to have deliberately put the 59 dead Hindu bodies on display to incite people, endorsed a widespread strike, and ordered officials and police not to restrain or arrest the rioters. Some officials were later caught on video or taped cellphone conversations boasting of raping and killing, and destroying Muslim homes. One party official said Modi had given him and his forces three days to create mayhem.

Cases were dismissed because police refused to be witnesses. The lack of initial arrests, investigations and prosecutions prompted India’s Supreme Court to later reopen thousands of cases and move them out of state, resulting in hundreds of convictions. A top lieutenant of Modi’s was among those convicted of murder, arson and conspiracy. At the time, Modi said his only regret about his handling of the riots was not better managing the media. He campaigned for re-election after the riots by continuing to evoke the dead Hindu pilgrims and scare up fears of Muslims.

During this recent campaign, Modi and his party downplayed past appeals to religious chauvinism and focused on the economy, business development and governance. The BJP won 282 seats in Parliament, trouncing the Congress Party, which has led India for most of its independence. In a nation where 14 percent of the 1.2 billion people are Muslim, not a single Muslim will occupy one of those 282 seats. Not everyone who voted for the BJP did so out of religious chauvinism. The Congress Party has been weak and steeped in corruption and cronyism. It has done little to improve people’s lives, create a viable educational system for the masses or set the climate for job creation.

Only 21 percent of men age 15 to 59 have a regular salaried job, according to the International Labor Organization. But can a politician overcome his or her roots in divisiveness and religious hatred without separating from his base? Would that base allow him to? Modi has been active since childhood in the right-wing RSS organization, which wants to turn the secular democracy into a theocratic Hindu state. Its stalwarts depict India as a nation of Hindus who were oppressed by invading forces of Christians and Muslims. Communists are also big among its boogeymen. RSS leaders still expect Modi to pursue their agenda. …



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Goebbels Proved Right, Harshads Endorse Modi – By Babulal Likhure (May 25, 2014, Peoples Democracy)

The happiest person after the 16th Lok Sabha election results in India would be Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister in Adolf Hitler’s cabinet. Decades after his death, Goebbels must now be turning in his grave and screaming “I was right”. Goebbels was indeed right, it seems, as it was he who had theorised the concept “tell lies a hundred times and it would be believed as true”. The behaviour of a section of the Indian electorate during the just concluded elections has proved Goebbels correct, in as many words, as multitudes of people seem to have believed the propaganda dished out by prime minister designate Narendra Modi and his crony capitalist friends, their public relation agencies, corporate media houses and some religious leaders.

Though there is no denying of the fact that a large chunk of the votes which brought Modi to the pinnacle of power is actually a negative vote against the corruption and misrule of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA), it needs to be admitted that their preference for the Hindutva’s poster boy also represents an aspirational factor among sections of youths, women and middle class whose hopes have increased manifold due to false propaganda about the so called ‘development’ model.

It is a different matter that the ‘development’ model ‘discovered’ and publicised by Modi with aid and abetment of his crony capitalist friends and their media wings is only a hollow claim. Repeated a thousand times in the guise of opinion polls, expert surveys, statistical juggleries and celebrity endorsements, the ‘development’ theory was believed to be true by many people across India – exactly the way Joseph Goebbels had theorised nearly 75 years ago.

The perception that Modi and only Modi is the solution for all ills afflicting India was steadfastly created since last few years, first by luring top industrialists like Anil Ambani and Sunil Mittal to propose his elevation as prime minister who would replicate the ‘Gujarat model’ at the national level. At the next level, the concept of ‘Modi as PM’ was popularised by surveys, opinion polls, best CM contests by magazines and numerous other ways through the social media managed by paid computer-savvy youngsters.

None had imagined then that the ‘Gujarat model’ would indeed be replicated in Muzaffarnagar of Uttar Pradesh where engineered communal riots claimed innocent lives and thus polarised the people’s sentiments leading to rich electoral benefits to the saffron party – exactly the way Modi had won a landslide victory in Gujarat in 2002. But, then, selective communal polarisation was not the only tool used by Modi and the Sangh Parivar’s foot soldiers to deceive the people into believing that milk and honey would flow if only he was voted to power. Along with the hype created by the corporate media, there was also the dangerous cocktail of the religious leaders and sects financed by ill-gotten black money of wheeler dealers which too had launched a subtle campaign in favour of Modi. …



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Indian Muslims and Parliamentary elections – By Zafarul-Islam Khan (May 29, 2014, Milli Gazette)

Results of the recently held parliamentary elections were indeed surprising for all parties much more than for Muslims. Even BJP itself did not expect this result. One is dismayed by the attitude of the media which has been speaking day in and day out about BJP and Modi “wave” and “historic” win, though the results show that this is far from the truth. During this very period, elections for 1560 assembly constituencies were held across 13 states where the BJP managed to win only 39 seats — so where was the “Modi Wave” then?

Results of the present elections are in no way extraordinary nor has this happened for the first time. According to the Election Commission, this time BJP has secured 31 percent of the votes cast, whereas Congress secured 19.3 percent votes yet there is a great difference in the seats won by each of these two parties. BJP won 282 seats whereas Congress won only 44 which is, factually speaking, a result of our defective electoral system. Under this system, even if 20 candidates secure 90 percent votes, the 21st candidate will get elected even if he gets only 10 percent or even less votes, and all the remaining votes will become worthless. Many countries have trashed this system and adopted the system of proportional representation (PR).

Under PR, each party gets as many seats as its share in the total number of votes cast in its favour across the country. In other words, every vote matters in PR and is represented in the political system. Till recently, BJP itself had been demanding PR because at that time it stood to lose under the existing system. Hence it is now that political parties and society as a whole should earnestly demand PR to ensure just and proper election results as is practiced in many countries like Germany, Switzerland, Finland, Latvia, Sweden, Israel, Brazil, Netherlands, Russia, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo and European Union.

The present government is the first one since Independence which is forming the government in spite of securing lowest percent of votes (see chart). In the just-concluded election, only 66.48 percent people out of the total number of registered voters have cast their votes, of which 31 percent votes went to the BJP. In other words, BJP has got the support of only 21 percent registered voters of India. If this is viewed in the background of the total population of India, BJP enjoys the support of only 12 percent of the country’s total population. Obviously then, support of of only 12 percent or 21 percent or even 31 percent is in no way a “wave” or “historic”.…



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Does Savarkar’s portrait deserve to be hanged and eulogized in the Parliament? – By Shamsul Islam (May 30, 2014, Twocircles.net)

On May 28, 2014 Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi and his ministers turned up to pay tributes to ‘Veer’ Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. It is astonishing. This ‘Veer’ submitted not one but five (in 1911, 1913, 1914, 1918 & 1920) mercy petitions to the British rulers. The two comprehensive one of 1914 and 1920 are being reproduced so that real character of ‘Veer’ Savarkar is known by all.

Sardar Patel, the first home minister of India, held Savarkar responsible for murder of the Father of Nation. In a letter to Jawaharlal Nehru dated February 27, 1948 he wrote, “It was a fanatical wing of the Hindu Mahasabha directly under Savarkar that hatched the conspiracy (to kill Mahatma) and saw it through”.

It is further to be noted that he openly helped the British war efforts during the World War II at a time when Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was trying to liberate India militarily from the British rule. Savarkar believed that Manu Code should be law of the land. He remained a diehard believer in Casteism, Racism, and imperialism throughout his life. He called it Hindutva.…



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Akshardham attack case: Decoding the other verdict of May 16 – By Manoj Mitta (Jun 2, 2014, Times of India)

While acquitting all the six persons who had been convicted by Gujarat high court in the September 2002 Akshardham temple attack case, the Supreme Court has brought out many curious aspects of the investigations in its May 16 verdict. It took almost a year for the police to swing into action in the Akshardham investigations. Till August 28, 2003, Gujarat’s anti-terrorism squad (ATS) had been, as the apex court verdict put it, “shooting in the dark for about a year without any result”.

It added: “No trace of the people associated with this heinous attack on the Akshardham temple could be found by the police.” And then, there was a dramatic change, merely because of the transfer of the case from ATS to another wing of the Gujarat police: the crime branch, which did not take even a day to crack the case. …

What made the letters-recovery story all the more implausible was the perfect condition in which they had apparently been found. Though there were bullet holes even on the trouser pockets, as verified by the Supreme Court, the letters apparently recovered from them were clean, without any tear or crease, soiling or stains of blood. The high court had admitted the letters as evidence drawing on the adage that “truth is stranger than fiction”. The Supreme Court countered that by pointing out that this epithet of Mark Twain came with a caveat saying, “Fiction must make sense.” The implication was that the fiction generated by the Gujarat police did not make sense.

The case would not have gone to trial with such infirmities had Gujarat’s home department – a portfolio then held by Narendra Modi – denied the necessary sanction for prosecution under POTA. KC Kapoor, who was principal secretary, home, admitted that that in the material placed before him for sanction, he had not seen any papers suggesting compliance of the statutory conditions. As a corollary, the SC said that the sanction was neither “an informed decision” nor was it on the basis of “an independent analysis of fact in consultation with the investigating officer”.

The apex court added, “This would go to show clear non-application of mind by the Home Minister in granting sanction.” The stricture on Modi didn’t end with that. The Supreme Court said that there was “perversity in conducting this case at various stages, right from the investigation level to the granting of sanction by the state government”. The judgment acquires greater significance as it was delivered on the very day Modi-led BJP won the Lok Sabha election.



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Badaun gang-rape – a narrative of shame – Editorial (Jun 2, 2014, DNA India)

Two teenage girls – gang-raped and murdered – gently swinging from the tree should by now have brought the nation to its feet. But for that to happen we would perhaps need a nation with a different political and gender consciousness. Depressing though it is, those at the helm of affairs – in the past and today – have chosen to remain preoccupied with other ‘priority’ matters; more often than not, too busy to turn their full attention to gender violence; too indifferent to tackle the issue on war footing. It needs no reiteration that the narrative of gender violence – regardless of its tenacious persistence – has never been an integral part of India’s mainstream narrative. Within this ignoble national framework it may seem less outrageous that the issue of gender violence has not managed to find a mention in the 10 priority areas of governance listed by the newly elected Narendra Modi government.

Officers in the Badaun district of Uttar Pradesh – the site of the crime – have said that the two Dalit girls, aged 14 and 15, were raped by five men who murdered them and then hung their bodies from mango trees. The haunting images showed villagers sitting beneath the bodies, protesting and refusing to leave. The victims’ families alleged that the police shielded the rapists and refused to investigate their complaints of the two missing girls. It appears that the two girls were attacked when they had gone to the open fields in the morning like more than half of Indian households, who don’t have toilets at home, do. According to reports, 300 million women and girls in India are forced to defecate in the open, rendering them vulnerable – even more so in the case of lower caste women – to sexual harassment and assault.

Disconcertingly enough, the depressing narrative of gender assault, in this case further exacerbated by the lower caste status of the victims, is underlined by continued political and social indifference. Rewind to September 29, 2006 and the Khairlanji massacre case in Maharashtra, where four members of a Dalit family were brutally murdered by upper caste men. Two of the women victims were paraded naked in public before being murdered. Even then there were allegations of the local police shielding the culprits.…



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