IAMC Weekly News Roundup - June 5th, 2017 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 5th, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Uttar Pradesh: 270 people booked for violence in Muzaffarnagar (Jun 4, 2017, Hindustan Times)

As many as 270 people have been booked here in connection with the violence at Sherpur village on Friday in which eight people, including five policemen, were injured, police said on Sunday.

The violent episode unfolded after a group of people resorted to stone-pelting when a police team raided some houses in Sherpur on information of “cow slaughter”.…

When the police did not find any suspicious item during the search, they started searching nearby houses which angered the people, who opposed the police action and started pelting them with stones.… Meanwhile, the sub-inspector of the police outpost concerned has been transfered while other personnel have also been moved out, the SP said.…



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Journalists Detained in Rajasthan While Reporting on Bajrang Dal’s Weapons Training Camps (Jun 7, 2017, The Wire)

Asad Ashraf, a Delhi-based reporter at The Statesman, and two other journalists, Anupam Pandey and Vijay Pandey, were detained in Rajasthan on Saturday where they had gone to report on arms training camps that were being conducted by the Bajrang Dal in Hanumangarh. The youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has been conducting camps in many parts of the country in which young children are trained to use arms and ammunition.… Ashraf said that the camps in Hanumangarh, like most others, did not see the police intervening.…

These training camps are usually conducted in RSS-affiliated schools. A public appeal is made and sent to these schools, after which they start recruiting.… Ashraf could sense something was wrong. He tried to leave and went to sit in his car, but the party members made the other two journalists stay back and demanded to see their IDs. Within minutes, the police arrived and took the journalists to the police station. The police told Ashraf that one of the party members had made a complaint against him. They made sure that the three journalists sat in different cars on the way to the station. Ashraf immediately revealed his identity to the police.

He was then threatened, he told The Wire: “Main batata hun tujhe patrakar kya hota hai (I will show you who a journalist is),” the police allegedly said to him. “The police was more aggressive towards us than the Bajrang Dal members,” according to Ashraf, adding that they denied him access to his phone and interrogated him at length. One of the police officers apparently told Ashraf, “Aaj main suspend ho jaoonga, par tujhe joota zarur marunga (Even if I get suspended today, I’ll make sure I beat you up).” “The Bajrang Dal members and the police were clearly very friendly with each other,” Ashraf said.… Even after Ashraf revealed his true identity, the police tried to instigate the Bajrang Dal members to file an FIR against him. “Tum nahin karoge to main karunga (If you don’t do it, I will),” one of the officers allegedly said.…



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Activists demand law to stop lynching by mobs (Jun 6, 2017, Times of India)

Social activists and student leaders on Monday launched a national campaign against mob lynching, aimed at demanding a stringent law to prevent such incidents. If the government does not enact a law within a month, they said they would start a countrywide mass campaign from July 11which marks the anniversary of the Una Dalit movement.

Student leaders Kanhaiya Kumar and Shehla Rashid, social activist and lawyer Jignesh Mevani and entrepreneur Tehseen Poonawala, besides others, have formed a committee which will work on a draft legislation which they intend to convince the government for introducing in Parliament.

“People are being killed in the name of gau mata. The mob always has a face -we need to identify the face of the mob. The practice of mob lynching is growing and we too will be attacked if we do not take action now. We need to unite the voices rising against mob lynching,” said Kanhaiya.…



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Kerala BJP Leader Uses Old Pic of Cow Slaughter to Decry Beef Fest (May 31, 2017, The Quint)

Senior BJP leader from Kerala, K Surendran, has come under fire for using a dated photo for a Facebook postslamming the beef festival in the state. The BJP leader posted a photo of slaughtered cows lying on a pavement along with his appeal to the state government to take strict action against the beef festival, organised in protest of the new cattle slaughter rules.

However, the photo in the post is not from the beef fest, but from 2009, Alt News found. The photo is suspected to be from Bangladesh, as the signboards in the background bear Bangla text. Facebook has hidden Surendran’s post, under the “mature content, such as graphic violence” tag.…

Surendran’s post came under fire from a number of parties, including the CPI(M). However, the BJP leader responded with another Facebook tweet, this time aimed at CPI(M) leader Devasom Minister Kadakampally Surendran.…



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NDTV’s Nidhi Razdan throws BJP’s Sambit Patra out of show (Jun 2, 2017, Business Standard)

Nidhi Razdan, executive editor, and primary anchor of news channel NDTV on Thursday threw BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra out of her debate show ‘Left Right and Centre’ after Patra made a derogatory statement about her channel. Razdan was hosting a debate on the politics of cattle ban and its consequences that saw a prominent BJP leader in Meghalaya, Bernard Marak, quitting the party in protest.…

Making his point, Patra said that NDTV had some ‘agenda’, perhaps trying to indicate that the channel had some inclination towards Congress. This was something Razdan couldn’t endure. Agitated by the choice of his words, Razdan asked Patra to either apologise or leave the debate. However, Patra refused to do so and the anchor gently asked Patra to quit the show.…

Razdan stated that just because Patra was being questioned he had no right to accuse NDTV of having an agenda. She further told him that he was more than welcome to go to the channels which were ‘glorified versions of Doordarshan’.…



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Babri case: LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharati charged for doing criminal conspiracy (May 31, 2017, Economic Times)

In a blow to senior BJP leaders, special CBI Court in Lucknow today framed criminal conspiracy charges against senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Union Minister Uma Bharati for their alleged role in the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992.

The court also framed charges against other accused in the case – Sadhwi Ritambhara, BJP MP Vinay Katiyar and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Vishnu Hari Dalmia. Court said there are enough evidence on record against LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharati and others for framing of criminal conspiracy charges.

According to news reports, the accused have been charged under Section 120(B) of IPC, under which if convicted Advani and other may face minimum jail term of two years. In its last-attempt effort, Advani and other leaders had moved discharge application in the court for dropping of criminal conspiracy charges against them. But the court rejected their discharge application.…



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Five killed in firing during farmers’ protest in MP’s Mandsaur, CM Chouhan blames Congress (Jun 6, 2017, Hindustan Times)

At least five farmers were killed and several injured in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur district on Tuesday when police fired on protesters demanding better prices in the drought-ravaged region that recorded a farm suicide every five hours in 2016-17.

Angry farmers ransacked and set ablaze a police outpost after the firing as the administration clamped curfew on Pipalia town, the epicentre of violence, rushed extra forces and withdrew internet services to tamp down on social media rumours fanning violence.

Throughout the day, the BJP government denied any police firing and confirmed the five deaths only in the evening.… The discontent in the foodbowl states of Madhya Pradesh and neighbouring Maharashtra, where too farmers have launched an agitation over similar demands, has come as a fresh challenge for Prime Minister Narendra Modi…



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Convert’s marriage: Minority outfits protest Kerala HC verdict (May 30, 2017, Indian Express)

Hundreds of Muslim people, under the banner of a coordination committee of various community organisations, on Monday marched to the high court protesting against its verdict that nullified the marriage of a Muslim woman convert.

As police lathicharged to disperse the crowd, a few protesters were injured. Subsequently, few Muslim groups called for a hartal in Ernakulam on Tuesday.

At the crux of the protest is last week’s HC order that nullified the marriage of the convert, Akhila alias Hadiya, and Shefin Jahan on the reason that the marriage would not stand legal scrutiny as it was held when a habeas corpus petition filed by the woman’s father was pending in the court. It had observed the marriage could have been considered only with parents’ involvement.



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Zanzarka rally: Gujarat BJP MP “admits” he is under tremendous pressure not to speak out against atrocities on Dalits (Jun 3, 2017, Counterview)

A Gujarat Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member of Parliament (MP) from Rajya Sabha is learnt to have admitted that he has been under “tremendous pressure” from his political bosses in Delhi not to speak out the way he did against the gruesome Una incident, in which four Dalit youths were tied with a chain attached to an SUV, and thrashed by cow vigilantes in a procession in the town.

Shambhunath Tundiya, a Dalit MP, considered dharmaguru in the community, had told a local TV channel that the BJP had failed to act against atrocities against Dalits in Gujarat, and the Una incident was the “last straw.” In a video which went viral, he said, Dalits would not tolerate “oppression any more”, and that the authorities should realize, the Dalits have been “forced to eat dead cow’s beef for centuries because they were forced by circumstances…”

“I was made to retract. You don’t know the type of problems I faced in the party after I made that statement. I will not speak out any more”, Tundiya is learnt to have told a Dalit delegation which went to meet him to persuade him to speak out against “attacks” on Dalits across India in the recent past, especially in Saharanpur, where 56 Dalit houses were blazed by an upper caste crowd.…



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Jewar robbery, ‘rape’: Family members hold protest, demand arrest of accused (May 29, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The family members and relatives of the four women, who were allegedly robbed and gang-raped off Yamuna Expressway while on their way to Bulandshahr last Thursday, protested against the delay in arresting the accused men.

A group of around 100 people took out a silent march through the internal roads of Jewar town on Monday and staged a protest at the office of the subdivisional magistrate. Protesters said four days have passed since the incident and the police are yet to make headway in the case and nab the culprits.

“A bread earner of a family was shot dead, the women were raped and men were robbed of money. This was a brutal incident and the police have not taken it seriously. We have been given assurances, but nothing has happened,” a relative said.…



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Opinions and Editorials

The Modi govt’s new cattle trade ban may not pass legal test – By Faizan Mustafa (May 31, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The recent ban on the sale of cows and buffaloes for slaughter through animal markets has strangely been notified by the Union ministry of environment and forests though the subject of animal husbandry is under the ministry of agriculture. It is also wrong to say that these rules were framed on the directions of the Supreme Court (SC). In 2014, the SC had only directed that a panel be set up to frame rules to stop smuggling of cattle on the Indo-Nepal border. It is not surprising then that the Madras High Court on Tuesday stayed the implementation of the new rules on the ground that “several communities such as Sikhs, Muslims, backward classes and Dalits, who as a matter of worship and offering, sacrifice animals, which are covered within the expansive definition of cattle under the rules”.

India has included prohibition of cow slaughter in the directive principles of the Constitution because one community treats it sacred. But is cow reverence an ‘essential practice’ of Hinduism? If cow reverence is not an essential Hindu practice — i.e. it was not there in original Hinduism or one can be a Hindu even without revering the cow — then constitutional protection for the animal and the ban that more than 22 states have imposed on cow slaughter will not be justified. Even the Supreme Court’s 2006 upholding of total ban on slaughter of cow or cow progeny will become questionable. In fact, there is evidence that beef eating was common in the Vedic and subsequent times even among Brahmins.…

The new rules are a blot to the promise of cooperative federalism. Moreover the rules will have an effect on the freedom of trade and occupation as restrictions imposed by them will fail the test of ‘reasonableness.’ The new rules also attempt to rewrite the ownership law as it prohibits a buyer from selling the animal for slaughter within six months of its purchase. Ownership is a bundle of rights, which includes the right to alienation and even right to destruction. These arbitrary rules, which are not based on any intelligible differentia and have no rational objective to achieve, are likely to be struck down as unconstitutional.



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Where humans are butchered and cows worshipped – By Yashica Jalhotra (Jun 2, 2017, Tehelka)

…While there is an official list of animals that cannot be bought or sold for slaughter through cattle markets, do we also need to have an official order that guarantees human beings won’t be beaten to death?

In the last few weeks, we have seen a lot more hue and cry over cow slaughtering than human lynching. Do we need more protection to animals than humans?…

Do we need an official listing for animals which are not allowed to be slaughtered or do we need a listing of severe punishments for those who take the law into their hands and dare to kill fellow humans?…



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Politics and propriety: on Uma Bharti’s continuance as Minister – Editorial (Jun 1, 2017, The Hindu)

With the Supreme Court invoking its extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution – to pass decrees and orders to ensure complete justice – in the case relating to the demolition of the Babri Masjid, and reviving the criminal conspiracy charges against senior BJP leaders L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and Vinay Katiyar, the CBI Special Court in Lucknow could not but have framed charges against them.… With the Supreme Court ordering this case to be clubbed with the one involving the actual demolition by unnamed kar sevaks, and directing day-to-day trials, there is hope that the years of delay are over.…

Ms. Bharti is, however, a Union Minister, and the Narendra Modi government cannot pretend that the development has no bearing on her continuance in the Council of Ministers. The BJP has tended to underplay the significance of the case on the ground that it is ‘political’ in nature. But this simply does not wash as the revival of criminal conspiracy charges against them was done at the instance of the Supreme Court.… Rather than defend Ms. Uma Bharti, the Modi government would do well to consider the example set by none other than Mr. Advani himself, who resigned as a Member of Parliament in 1996 after he was implicated in the Jain hawala case, in which the court later held that there was no material to frame charges against him.

For a government that makes much of standing for probity in public life, the application of different standards to one of its own is bound to damage its image. Ms. Bharti’s guilt or innocence is for the courts to establish. Political propriety demands that she be shown the door.



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Three years down the lane, has the Modi Government taken the citizens for a ride? – By Ram Puniyani (Jun 5, 2017, Indian Economist)

On May 26, 2017, the Modi Government completed three years in office. Various programmes such as the Modi fest were organised at various places and there are plans to celebrate them in different cities across the country. The underlying message of these programmes is that Modi government has done remarkable work and the country is moving towards prosperity for all. Modi has been labelled as ‘Garibon ka Masiha’ (Prophet for poor) by his acolytes. Many channels and commentators gave him excellent grade citing various achievements.

As such, what has happened during last three years? Precisely, there has been centralisation of power in the hands of the Prime Minister. It seems the cabinet system has been given a go by. To begin with, one does concede that this regime scores extremely high in image creation. It has been able to sell damaging moves like demonetisation as something good for the country. While a majority of the people are living under the illusion propagated by the government and its promotion by the subservient media, the situation on ground is degrading in the cases of production, prices of daily commodities, number of jobs created and the average standard of living.

The healthcare system has taken a further beating. Farmer suicides have gone up. Protest against anti-farmer policies by peasants from Tamil Nadu has been underplayed like most of the protests in the country. The fate of electoral promises is well reflected in non-fulfillment of the promise of deposition of 15 lakh INR in accounts of all and in absolute failure of job creation. After using Ram Temple issue for polarisation, now the Holy Cow has been brought into the arena of politics. This cow worship has led to the violent lynching of Muslims and Dalits. The cow-protection policies of the government have emboldened vigilantism and killings in the name of ‘gauraksha’. While those guilty of crime are let off, the victims have been penalised on several grounds.…



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Assam’s two-child policy is BJP targeting Muslims again in the state – By Jagriti Gangopadhyay (May 29, 2017, Dailyo.in)

Assam has drafted a policy according to which individuals with more than two children cannot have a job with the Assam government. State minister of education, health and finance Himanta Biswa Sarma of the BJP-led government specifically mentioned that “when the policy comes into effect, those who are in government jobs and already have two children should not go for a third child. If an employee will have more than two children while on job, that particular employee will lose his or her job”.

Due to the recent rise in Muslim population in nine districts of Assam, the two-child policy will be implemented to prevent people from the community from accessing government jobs. While the Government of India is yet to launch a national policy for population control, some states have implemented restrictive measures to curb population growth.

States such as Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Bihar, Gujarat, and Uttarakhand have introduced a norm which restricts individuals with more than three children from contesting the local elections. Drawing from the examples of the above mentioned states, Sarma further mentioned that in special cases, government employees with more than two children will have to take special permission from the government. Apart from restricting government jobs, the policy will also prevent individuals with more than two children from contesting the Panchayat elections.…



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Shame in Saharanpur – By Mukesh Ranjan (Jun 4, 2017, The Tribune))

Rina Bhaskar is a pregnant Dalit woman, sitting outside her torched house in Shabbirpur village of the district. If you have the courage, listen to her. “On May 5 rioters snatched my two-year-old son from my lap and tossed him into the flames of my burning house. Luckily, the small child fell on the safer side. I jumped into the flames, picked him and ran away.”

Rina’s husband, Agni Bhaskar, is in the district hospital with multiple injuries. “I am here with my son, struggling for food. I have no work, and no place to live,” she says. She shows her palm, hands, legs and neck. It appears she not only suffered burns, but also wounds inflicted by a sharp weapon, maybe a sword. Other Dalit households, too, had similar stories: the males are either in hospital or have left the village for fear of being attacked again.…

Many say the fresh violence against Dalits is a tactical move by the ruling BJP ahead of the civic polls due in next couple months. Despite a massive mandate in the assembly polls, the BJP had lost both Saharanpur and Saharanpur Nagar to the SP-Congress alliance.



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Book Review

In Rupture, Loss and Living: Minority Women Speak about Post-Conflict Life

Author: K. Lalitha and Deepa Dhanraj
Reviewed by: Sabah Hamid
Available at: Orient Blackswan Private Limited, 3-6-752 Himayatnagar, Hyderabad, Telangana, India; info@orientblackswan.com . www.amazon.in/
Women’s Narratives of Communal Conflict (May 31, 2017, The Wire)

On May 4, 2017, the Bilkis Bano gangrape case was in the news again, when the Bombay high court upheld the lower court’s order of life imprisonment for the 11 convicted persons in the gangrape. It also rejected the acquittals of five policemen and two government doctors accused of covering up evidence and testimonies. The order has been hailed as ‘historic’, the first time that state complicity, that of the police and the doctors, has been clearly acknowledged by the judiciary, even if the sentence is a mere three years. And to get this delayed justice, it took 15 years.

Justice continues to be both delayed and denied for scores of other women subjected to communal violence of one kind or another in India. Rupture, Loss and Living: Minority Women Speak about Post-Conflict Life is a collection of narratives about such women. The book is a collection of essays, transcribed from three decades of interviews with women in Mumbai, Hyderabad and various places in the state of Gujarat. In 1992-93 in Mumbai; during 1983, several times over the 1990s and in 2003 in Hyderabad; and in 2002 across Gujarat, Muslims were the target of Hindutva violence in which thousands died; many more were rendered homeless and most, in addition, lost their livelihoods overnight.

Since communalism and sexual violence go together, scores of women became targets of vicious attacks. The number is uncertain because of unreported or unregistered cases, but in Gujarat alone it is estimated that at least 250 women were gangraped during the 2002 violence. In Rupture, Loss and Living the women speak of loss of all kinds. The book is divided into four sections – ‘I Began to See the World for What it is’, ‘Loss and Trauma’, ‘Negotiating Survival and Livelihood’ and ‘Claiming Accountability, Seeking Justice’ – exploring overlapping themes and the complex nature of negotiating both the immediate distress and the long-term damage of violence. The voices featured in the work, across 19 narratives, come from different classes of women and both rural and urban locations.…