IAMC Weekly News Roundup - June 8th, 2015 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 8th, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Naroda Gam post-Godhra riots case: Court seeks SIT officer’s reply on missing CD (Jun 2, 2015, Economic Times)

A court hearing the Naroda Gam post-Godhra riots case today queried the investigating officer of the SIT on a “missing” CD containing call records of important state functionaries in connection with the riots.

The special trial court judge PB Desai today directed investigating officer Himanshu Shukla to give details whether the original CD, that has gone missing as per the claim of the accused, was in the possession of PP Pandey, Joint Commissioner of Police in 2002, or it was with former IPS officer Rahul Sharma.

The court has fixed the next hearing for June 8. Shukla, who is presently the Superintendent of Police in Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the state, was present before the special court today after summons were issued against him last month in connection with a plea filed by 65 accused persons to prosecute Sharma for allegedly misplacing the CD containing important call details related to the riots.…



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Ishrat Jahan Fake Encounter: Centre Denies Permission To Prosecute IB Officials (Jun 8, 2015, Tehelka)

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has turned down request from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to prosecute four Intelligence Bureau officials, including its former Special Director Rajender Kumar, in connection with the fake encounter operation that killed college student Ishrat Jahan, 19, and three others.

The ministry is learned to have denied the CBI, the agency investigating the fake encounter operation carried out in 2004 by Gujarat Police, claiming the four killed, including Ishrat Jahan, were “terrorists” planning to kill the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.

The CBI and a Special Investigation Team (SIT) that probed the case claimed that the Gujarat police staged the encounter and the killings were carried out in cold blood. The CBI had accused Rajinder Kumar, who was in charge of the IB operations in Gujarat at that time, of murder and criminal conspiracy and also booked him under Arms Act.



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Muslim leaders oppose Yoga, say Suryanamaskar against the basic teaching of Islam (Jun 4, 2015, IBN)

Some Muslim outfits have expressed reservations over reports that the government may ask schools to mark International Yoga Day. They claim that yoga requires bowing which is a practice reserved during Namaz. They also say that yoga sessions should not be made compulsory.

The government has been planning countrywide yoga sessions to mark the International Day of Yoga on June 21. The government has maintained that yoga is a physical activity and should not be linked to religion.

“We object if yoga is made compulsory, suryanamaskar is against the basic teaching of Islam. We are not against any form of exercise but why aren’t they making martial arts or any other form of physical activity compulsory,” asks All India Majlis-e-Itehadul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi.…



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Aam Aadmi Party report blames ML Khattar’s rally for Ballabhgarh riot (Jun 5, 2015, Indian Express)

Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday released the report of its fact finding committee on the violence at Atali village in Ballabhgarh lask week and blamed BJP for vitiating peace in the area. The report said the villagers had “never seen trouble before” and that the tension spread a week after Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar held a rally at neighbouring Mona village.

The fact finding team, headed by MLA Naresh Balyan who has been given charge of Haryana, said, “After a court order, the (Muslim) community took permission from the panchayat and began building their religious place. There was no tension and one floor was even built. But, Chief Minister and RSS leader Manohar Lal Khattar held a sabha at Mona village on May 18 after which there was a widespread tension in the area.”

The report accused the police of not acting in time and claimed those who burnt down the houses of the Muslims were still “roaming freely”.…



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US Congressman rakes up issue of ‘violence against minorities’ in India (Jun 3, 2015, DNA India)

An American lawmaker and a panel of four experts on Wednesday decried alleged ‘violence’ against religious minorities in India and appealed to the US administration to include human rights violations as an issue for discussion in its talks with the new Indian government.

At a Congressional hearing organised jointly by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and American Sikh Congressional Caucus, literature containing testimonies of experts and details of speeches distributed to members spoke of violence against religious minorities, with a map of India which showed Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) as part of Pakistan.

Opening the hearing, Congressman Patrick Meehan, Co-Chair of the American Sikh Congressional Caucus, alleged that “violence” against religious minorities has increased in India in recent months, calling it an issue of serious concern.…



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Former police officer alleges ‘connivance’ in Hashimpura case (Jun 6, 2015, Business Standard)

A former police officer, who was initially involved in probe into the 1987 Hashimpura massacre of Uttar Pradesh, today said it was the “biggest ever incident of custodial killings” and alleged “connivance” between the then Congress governments at the Centre and in the state to deny justice to the victims.

“It would be a big mistake for the Indian state to forget incidents like Hashimpura and other such incidents in which the custodians of law are directly involved in acts of heinous crime,” said Vibhuti Narayan Rai, former IPS officer, while delivering a lecture at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).

At the time of the incident, Rai was SSP of Ghaziabad where the case was registered as bodies were found there. “When Hashimpura incident took place, Congress was in power, both in Centre and the state, but both the governments appeared to have connived in ensuring that the justice was not done to the victims,” he said.…



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BJP MLA gets 10-year jail term (Jun 4, 2015, Statesman)

Fourteen people, including an MLA and two former MPs, were on Thursday sentenced to 10 years in jail by a fast track court in a case related to an attack on Sitamarhi collectorate and subsequent police firing in which five persons were killed in 1998. Another convict was sentenced to five years in prison.

Those awarded 10-year imprisonment include BJP MLA from Parihar Assembly constituency Ram Naresh Yadav, former JD(U) MP from Sitamarhi Nawal Kishore Rai, former Sheohar MP and RJD leader Anwarul Haq, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) district president Ram Lashan Singh Kushwaha and general secretary Mohan Kumar Singh.

Fast Track Court-I judge Mohammad Irshad Ali had convicted 15 persons on Tuesday under IPC sections 307 (attempt to murder), 322 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 147 (punishment for rioting) and 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon).…



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Cop Suspended for ‘Colluding With Accused’ (May 27, 2015, New Indian Express)

An inspector attached to Chikkajala traffic police station was suspended on Tuesday on charges of obstruction of justice.

The inspector, Jagadish, allegedly colluded with the accused in an accident case. On May 20, Bhavesh, an engineering student and son of textile merchant Dinesh, lost control of his car and rammed it into a two-wheeler. While pillion rider Ramachandra was killed, rider Manoj sustained severe injuries. Bhavesh fled the spot but police seized his car.…

However, when senior police officers heard of this, they interrogated Teja. He is said to have confessed that he was asked to surrender in lieu of some cash. Teja also said Dinesh had promised to get him out on bail soon. A senior officer told Express that an inquiry had ascertained that Jagadish had colluded with Dinesh. A case has been registered against the inspector and a detailed report will soon be prepared in this regard.



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In 2012 Gujarat government “asked” Essar to pay for advertisement praising Modi (Jun 3, 2015, Counterview)

In a major revelation, “The Caravan”, a journal devoted to politics and culture, has said that Narendra Modi as chief minister of Gujarat had asked in 2012 the top business house Essar to pay for an advertisement-cum-writeup to a Noida-based weekly on Gujarat’s development under him. It is quite another thing that the business house politely turned down Modi’s plea.

Based on internal emails of Essar, which is a major Indian player in infrastructure and and energy, the journal reveals that the advertisement was to be accompanied by a special supplement. It was meant for “Sunday Guardian”, founded by journalist-turned-politician MJ Akbar, currently one of the BJP spokespersons.…

The letter, reportedly signed by the principal secretary in the information and broadcasting department, stated, “Here we see an opportunity for our industries, government, corporate, private sector and business houses to be part of this special supplement in promoting our achievements and conveying the message of Gujarat to the readers of this newspaper.”… However, Essar “politely declined” to release an advertisement.



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13 Dalit families denied food and water after FIR against upper caste youth (Jun 8, 2015, Mumbai Mirror)

Thirteen Dalit families in Ansurda village near Osmanabad, 450 km from Mumbai, have been ostracised by the villagers, majority of whom are from the Maratha community, after a flare up during Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s birth anniversary celebrations in April.

For more than a month now, these Dalit families in the village of 1,500 people are not allowed to fetch water from the community well, the grocers refuse to sell them even the day-to-day items, and they are being forced to travel to Osmanabad 20 km away to purchase the daily milk and vegetables.

While approaching the village, this correspondent spotted a police van and a couple of constables, stationed near the village temple. While the upper caste population is reluctant to discuss the matter, there is obvious tension as outsiders are looked at suspiciously.…



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Opinions and Editorials

Which way Prime Minister? – Editorial (Jun 12, 2015, Frontline)

On May 26 a year ago Narendra Modi took over as Prime Minister after winning a mandate that looked massive in terms of seats won. Those were the heady days of “Har Har Modi”, the perfect culmination of an orchestrated pro-Modi frenzy in the run-up to the general election. To Modi supporters, that was the “end of history” moment and the wait for the Golden Age (achhe din) began.…

To a section of voters completely disillusioned with the Congress, Modi’s rise to power was a sign of hope. The country would finally be free of corruption, theorised as the only stumbling block to development, and the “Gujarat model” would be replicated at the all-India level. To those living in Shining India, smart cities and bullet trains were the escalators to their global dreams and destinations. The common man’s expectations, modest as always, were quality education, sources of livelihood that are permanent, sustainable and secure, and affordable health care.…

The silence of the Prime Minister on the right-wing fringe’s majoritarian frenzy would have come as a surprise only to unsuspecting sections of people remaining uninitiated in politics, and not to political observers who know that the centre and the periphery of the Sangh Parivar are bound by a world view that is majoritarian, obscurantist, inegalitarian, socially non-inclusive, patriarchic and illiberal.…



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Reluctant inclusionist – By Bhaskar Chakravorti (Jun 9, 2015, Indian Express)

Narendra Modi has a fondness for the word “inclusive”. Rarely has there been a landmark occasion in the prime minister’s first year that the magic word has not made an appearance. Ironically, prior to his election, this was not a man most associated with inclusiveness. Much of the concern that swirled around him had to do with his exclusionary record – ranging from the status of minorities in Gujarat to his autocratic governance style.…

Three, social inclusion. On social issues, Modi has acquiesced and looked the other way while the Hindutva forces have been on the ascendant. The marginalisation of religious minorities, especially Muslims, has only increased in the past year. Other than occasional tweets with a mild scold or a message or two to the Sangh Parivar that hate speech against minorities will not be tolerated, Modi has done little to discourage or take action against this growing trend. Moreover, a number of initiatives – from bans on cow slaughter to the introduction of the Bhagavad Gita in school curricula – add up to a disturbing pattern of an increasingly intolerant and non-inclusive society.…

In his anniversary speech in Mathura, the PM spoke of the poor as “my warriors”, with heavy overtones of inclusion. But, thus far, in practical terms, he has proven to be a reluctant inclusionist. Of course, one might argue that no Indian politician can afford to retreat from the poor and the disadvantaged in his rhetoric. However, they have also learnt that reality cannot lag behind the rhetoric for too long. In coming years, Modi will have to make a choice: declare himself, as many suspect, a trickle-down Reaganite or put his money and policy where his inclusive words have been.



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Slogan as solution – By V. Sridhar (Jun 12, 2015, Frontline)

Achche din aane wale hain, the jingle that conjured a thousand dreams as the Narendra Modi-led government strode into office in May 2014, sounds awfully discordant a year later. Jokes abound in social media, the very platform that a year ago appeared to have been captured by Modi in the run-up to the elections in which he was the star campaigner for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Since then, the defining feature of his administration has been the centralisation of all authority in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). However, the excessive centralisation of authority in the hands of one person (or, a triumvirate, as some political observers say) also brings into sharp focus persons popularly seen as being responsible for things having gone awry. The state of the economy, a year later, is one such case.

A defining feature of the Modi regime’s approach to the country’s vexatious economic problems has been the tendency to resort to sloganeering or the mouthing of banal platitudes. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s recent utterance that the government is committed to improving the “ease of doing business”, or Modi’s cliche of “less government, more governance”, or his exhortation from platforms around the world (including recently, from Seoul) to “make in India”, barely address the crucial problems facing both agriculture and industry.…



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The Genesis Of The Atali Madness – By Anurag Tripathi (Jun 13, 2015, Tehelka)

…The incidents of violence have also made Atali, the first village in Haryana near to western Uttar Pradesh, to have witnessed such communal tension. The village appears to be turning into one more hotbed of extremism and polarisation just like the western UP towns of Muzzafarnagar, Meerut, Aligarh, Shamli, Mathura and Agra. Unfortunately, the village seems to have become another victim of the ‘politics of hate’, practiced by political parties so frequently these days.

Tehelka, in its in-depth investigation, chanced upon many startling facts establishing that whatever happened on 25 May in Atali was pre-planned. Tensions between the two communities were at their peak during the week preceding the violence: Manohar Lal Khattar, the Haryana chief minister and a hardcore Rashtriya Sawayamsewak Sangh (RSS) supporter, had visited the village to inaugurate an electricity supply station. Stray incidents of violence occurred right after the chief minister’s visit. Though village elders informally reported these incidents to the nearest police station, all the complaints were ignored.…

Another factor to be taken into account, right from the build up of the tension, to the day of the riot and after, is the movement of the RSS and its pracharaks in the village, once the Faridabad court gave its decision on the construction of the mosque. In the last one and- a-half months, many RSS pracharaks have visited Atali. According to sources, a secret meeting of the RSS functionaries with more than 100 members of the Jat community of the village was held on the intervening night of 20-21 May. “We were told that the RSS is planning to open its ‘shakha’ in Atali and for that purpose, it has been influencing the people of the village,” says a local intelligence officer.…



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Saffronizing Ambedkar to serve Hindutva Ideology – By Dr. Habib Siddiqui (Jun 7, 2015, Asian Tribune)

If Hitler were alive, would you be amused if he had laid a floral wreath at the Auschwitz? Well, facts are sometimes stranger than fiction.

And that is why don’t be surprised to learn that on April 14 of this year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who heads the BJP party – a Hindutvadi fascist party, laid the foundation stone of Dr. Ambedkar International Center in New Delhi. Vinay Katiyar, the former head of Bajrang Dal and who now heads BJP in UP, has been declaring that Ambedkar was a great supporter of Hindutva and Hindu Rashtra.

In recent months, Hindutvadi forces inside India seem to be hijacking Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s image claiming him to be one of theirs. Such claims are amusing to some but confusing many people. After all, Dr Ambedkar – a rights leader – was well-known for his relentless fight against the Hindu caste system inside India. He was at loggerheads with the Hindu fundamentalists, esp. the Hindu Mahasabha – the forerunner of the RSS and the BJP – led then by V.D. Savarkar. Ambedkar exposed Hindutvadi ideologue Savarkar’s authoritarian intent…



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An inappropriate appointment – By Sriram Panchu (Jun 5, 2015, The Hindu)

…Justice P. Sathasivam held the office of the CJI from July 2013 to April 2014. Shortly thereafter, the government offered him the position of Governor of Kerala. He accepted, setting off a chorus of criticism. One former CJI, when asked for his reaction, enigmatically and crisply commented that “standards differ”. Lawyers and retired judges pointed out that the office of the CJI was being devalued. Its holder was part of a constitutional triumvirate of power along with the President and the Prime Minister, they argued, and therefore accepting Governorship meant going to an office not only several rungs lower, but more crucially one which was given entirely as patronage and largesse by the executive.

It was also feared that once a precedent was set, and by no less than a CJI, it would not be long before judges on the verge of retirement would have the vision of a comfortable gubernatorial position hazing their eyes while deciding sensitive cases against the government.…

The position of the head of the NHRC is a crucial one for protecting human and democratic rights. These rights and the Commission are primordial for all citizens, especially for those who fall foul of the powerful in government. The appointment to this office must not be tainted in any way. Justice Sathasivam committed one mistake in accepting governorship and lowering the office of the CJI. One hopes that another such mistake will not be committed.



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