IAMC Weekly News Roundup - March 13th, 2017 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 13th, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Protest held in Ghaziabad against irregularities in electronic voting machines (Mar 14, 2017, Hindustan Times)

A group of protesters on Tuesday, at the district headquarters of Ghaziabad, demanded an inquiry into the alleged irregularities in votes registered through the electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the recently concluded assembly elections. The protesters alleged that there were several irregularities in EVMs that led to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gaining the majority of seats in the UP assembly elections.…

“We just read the news and also received messages on social media that EVMs led to the victory of the BJP. Even Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati had raised the issue with the Election Commission,” Pranvir Singh, a protester, said. “We demand that an inquiry be initiated and the formation of the government be put on hold. Also, we want an assurance that only paper ballots will be used in future elections,” Ajay Kumar, another protester from Vijay Nagar, said.

Some of the protesters claimed that a majority of BSP votes in some polling booths went to BJP, while others claimed that votes in Muslim settlements had also gone to BJP.… Immediately after the results on Saturday, BSP chief Mayawati had alleged that the EVMs were “faulty” and that the EVMs did not register the votes cast for parties other than the BJP. Some of the leaders of political parties, who had lost, also supported her claims. A letter was also sent to the chief Election Commissioner.…



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Manohar Parrikar is #NotMyCM: Goans protest as BJP ministers take oath (Mar 14, 2017, Scroll.in)

The police tried their best to keep them out of sight, but the 100 or so protesters held their ground. As Manohar Parrikar of the Bharatiya Janata Party made his way to Goa’s Raj Bhavan to be sworn in as the state’s new chief minister on Tuesday evening, they waved placards saying “I want my vote back” and “No horse-trading” and broke into jeers. “Shame,” they yelled. “Chor, chor” (thief, thief). The small demonstration had been put together on social media by people using the hashtag #NotMyCM.

“I am a first-time voter,” said a young woman named Rhea Sequeira who was at the protest. “Whom I voted for is immaterial, but I feel like my vote has been usurped. This is unacceptable and I wanted to show my anger.”

The protest was the culmination of a wave of anger that had begun to build up in several pockets of the coastal state since Saturday, as the results of elections to its 40-member assembly became clear.… No party won a majority, but the Congress emerged as the single largest entity, with 17 seats. The other seats went to regional parties and independents. Many expected the Congress to form the government with the support of the Goa Forward Party, which had three seats, and some of the three independent candidates. But on Sunday, the BJP pulled off a surprise when it announced that Parrikar would return to the state to become chief…



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Muslim leader Aamir Madni questions Lucknow encounter (Mar 10, 2017, Times of India)

Rashtriya Ulama Council (RUC) president Aamir Rashadi Madni on Friday, while lashing out at the the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), the Government and media, alleged that the terror stand-off was fake and was performed to trigger communal polarisation amid UP polls, ANI reported.

“The way police has killed the suspect was wrong, this encounter was same as the Batla House fake encounter,” Madni said.…

He, after a brief interaction with Saifullah’s father Sartaj Mohammed, also questioned Uttar Pradesh’s Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Daljit Chaudhary’s silence on the matter.…



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‘Had enough proof against Aseemanand’ (Mar 9, 2017, The Hindu)

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) was undecided on appealing against a trial court order, which acquitted self-proclaimed monk and former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activist Swami Aseemanand and six others in the 2007 Ajmer Dargah blast case on Wednesday. Three others were held guilty by the court.

Public Prosecutor Ashwini Kumar Sharma told The Hindu that there was enough evidence against Aseemanand, including his confessional statement to a Delhi court.…

In his confessional statement recorded before a magistrate in a Delhi court, Aseemanand had said that he and other activists were involved in bombings at various places of worship across the country, such as Ajmer Sharif and Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid, and Samjhauta Express for taking revenge against the “terror acts of Muslims”.…



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‘Cops need only a Muslim name to fabricate a case’ (Mar 12, 2017, Time of India)

It is easy for the police to fabricate a terror case in the country than to foist a case against a thief because all they need, to make a person terrorist, is just a Muslim name, said Irshad Ahmed Malik, who was acquitted by the special court in Delhi in December, 2016. Malik, who was an informer for the Intelligence Bureau (IB), was arrested and imprisoned after he disregarded certain directives from IB.

Addressing the People’s Tribunal on Saturday – organized by the Innocence India Network – he said the special cell of the Delhi police was on his tail after the arrest of his brother in 1991. “Later, I was in IB’s custody and officers wanted me to work for the agency,” he said, adding that IB offered him Rs 7,000/month as salary.

“They convinced me that I was working for the country. Later, they wanted me to go to Pakistan on a secret mission. They also asked me to work in Muslim-dominated areas and instigate youths to participate in jihad,” Irshad said. When he refused to follow orders, Irshad was arrested. He fought a legal battle for 11 years to prove his innocence.…



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The BJP Has Been Posting Bail For Hindus Arrested For Rioting In Bengal (Mar 14, 2017, Huffington Post)

In the past six months, the BJP in West Bengal has arranged for the bail of approximately 150 Hindus who were arrested in clashes with Muslims in various parts of the state, much to the frustration and astonishment of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Bengal has witnessed several clashes between Hindus and Muslims over the past few months, but almost every such clash has been hushed up by the state and/or under-reported by the media, for fear of leading to further flare-ups. But the atmosphere is still tense in several areas, where the police is on tenterhooks and fears clashes.

While every such minor clash is hushed up by the state, those involved in the incidents are arrested by the police. And the state BJP unit has used the opportunity to cobble Hindu support. Admitting that BJP had indeed arranged for bail for about 150 Hindus in the past six months, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh told HuffPost India, “There is no one to back the Hindus in this state. Muslims get a lot of support and sympathy from several quarters.” It was not difficult to understand what he was hinting at.…



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Gujarat: Victims of rape, activists gagged at PM Modi’s women’s day event in Gandhinagar (Mar 8, 2017, Indian Express)

A young woman from Uttar Pradesh was gagged and whisked away by police when she raised slogans near the podium where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was addressing a gathering of women panchayat members on International Women’s Day in Gandhinagar on Wednesday. Hours earlier, two gangrape victims and an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) activist were taken into preventive custody by the Gujarat Police before they could make a representation before the Prime Minister.

At the women sarpanches convention at Mahatma Gandhi Mandir in Gandhinagar, Shalini Singh, an elected sarpanch from Uttar Pradesh’s Thora village of Gautam Buddha Nagar district was dragged out of the auditorium by security personnel who covered her mouth to prevent her from talking.

She later told reporters that she was seeking the Prime Minister’s intervention about development in her village which was being ignored. “I just wanted to personally put forth demands before the PM as neither the state government nor the central government has been heeding to our request for the last two years,” said Shalini Singh, who has an MA and B Ed degrees.…



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ABVP leader Sunny Dedha booked for assaulting NSUI member at DU (Mar 10, 2017, DNA India)

ABVP leader and ex-DU Students’ Union (DUSU) vice president Sunny Dedha has been booked for assaulting an NSUI member and his friend at the Law faculty of the university.

Pradeep Vijayaran, a third-year law student, who contested 2015 DUSU polls as a candidate of NSUI, Congress’s students’ wing, said the incident happened on Thursday evening when he and his friend Vineet were studying at Law Centre-I of Campus of Law College of the varsity. He alleged that Dedha, along with his 7-8 friends, hit him and Vineet.…

Pradeep has said in his complaint that it all started after he objected to a youth urinating in the union room. He said that the youth he did not stop but “7-8 men later thrashed me”. He also alleged that one of the alleged attackers was Sunny Dedha. Further, he alleged that he was hit on the head with a steel chair causing injury. His friend Vineet who tried to intervene was also beaten up by the group, he said.…



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Another Rohith Vemula at JNU: Student commits suicide alleging discrimination (Mar 13, 2017, New Indian Express)

Just days after writing a post on inequality, 27-year-old Dalit MPhil student at JNU Muthu Krishnan was found having allegedly committed suicide in south Delhi’s Munirka area Monday evening.

Muthu, who was known to friends on Facebook as Krish Rajini, was from Salem, Tamil Nadu. He was a student at the University of Hyderabad when fellow Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula committed suicide in January 2016 and had blogged about meeting Rohith and his mother, Radhika.

Police said no suicide note had been found and that it hadn’t been found that the alleged suicide was owing to any issues at the university. He is said to have been depressed for some time over some personal issues, police said.…



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Gujarat model? Allocation for Dalits 2.67% in 2017-18 budget against 7% population, lurking gap of Rs 7,001 crore (Mar 14, 2017, Counterview)

A budget analysis by the Gujarat-based Dalit Arthik Adhikar Andolan has alleged that the Gujarat government has made the lowest percentage of allocation for the Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan (SCSP) in the state budget for 2017-18, presented in the state assembly last month, ever since 2010-11.

Carried out by Dalit scholar Vasudev Charupa, the analysis says, “Against the need-based requirement, and keeping in view of the resources in sight, the size of Annual Budget 2017-18 has been fixed at Rs 1,72,179.24 Crore. But of concern is the missing focus for the scheduled castes’ socio-economic development.”

Thus, he says, as against the Dalit population of 7%, the state government has allocated just about 2.67% for SCSP – or Rs 4,603.69 crore. The proportional allocation, he adds, should have been due Rs 11,604.88 crore. This means that a massive Rs 7,001.19 less amount was allocated for Gujarat Dalits’ development.…



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Opinions and Editorials

The Consecration of a Hindu Vote Bank – By Harish Khare (Mar 13, 2017, The Wire)

Here’s a simple question: why did the Modi magic work in Uttar Pradesh so gloriously but fail so conspicuously to cast its charm in Punjab, Goa and Manipur? If the Bharatiya Janata Party is the new pan-India party and if Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the only pan-Indian leader, as was loudly claimed after the civic polls in Maharashtra, then why have the party and the leader failed to click beyond good old UP? The answer is simple: a Hindu vote bank has been cobbled together and sustained there because UP has a sizeable Muslim population, against whom ancient prejudices and new resentments could be stimulated. This is the bottom line of an otherwise complicated electoral contest.…

It has been suggested that the UP verdict is a vote on demonetisation, as well as an endorsement of the ‘surgical strikes’. The suggestion is that voters were happy to put up with all the notebandi-centric dislocations and disruptions because it had put the terrorists out of business and that Pakistan’s dirty designs had come to naught. But then why should this nationalistic messaging be confined to UP? No one can argue that voters in Punjab, Goa and Manipur lack in patriotism; Punjab being a border state has every reason to be receptive to any anti-Pakistan sales-pitch. Yet, the BJP lost even the Pathankot, Dinanagar and Gurdaspur assembly seats, where terror-attacks took place under Modi’s watch. In fact, the BJP contested 23 seats in Punjab and managed to win only three.

Similarly, Goa has the honour of being the home state of our hon’ble defence minister – who single-handedly instigated the government’s muscular anti-Pakistani narrative. Modi campaigned in all the other three states, though not in every galli as he did in eastern Uttar Pradesh. Yet the electorate remained immune to the Modi charm, as also to the presumed curative power of his leadership. The Modi magic worked in Uttar Pradesh because of a very sizeable Muslim presence. That made it easy to effortlessly inject zero-sum sentimentality into the election-time discourse. This is not the first time a Hindu consolidation has been attempted. It has been working rather well in Gujarat since 2002.…



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With two RSS members convicted for bombing Ajmer shrine, should the organisation be banned again? – By Shoaib Daniyal (Mar 10, 2017, Scroll.in)

On October 11, 2007, an explosion ripped through the 800-year-old shrine of Sufi saint Moinuddin Chisti in the Rajasthani town of Ajmer. The attack was timed well: it was the month of Ramzan, and a crowd had gathered outside the dargah to break their fast.… It took a court verdict on Wednesday to rekindle some interest in the case. Three people were convicted for the terror bombing. Two of them – Devendra Gupta and Sunil Joshi – have been identified in court records as “RSS pracharaks”. At a time when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh controls the levers of power in the Union government itself, what does it mean for India that members of this hardline Hindutva organisation conducted a terror strike on a Sufi shrine?…

This, of course, is not the first time an RSS member has been convicted for murder. Gopal Godse, the brother of Mohandas Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse, confirmed that the latter was an RSS worker. This led to the organisation being banned by the then Union Home Minister Vallabhbhai Patel. Eight months after the assassination, Patel wrote to the RSS head, MS Golwalkar, blaming the organisation’s communalism for leading to Gandhi’s murder. Patel even claimed that RSS men had distributed sweets to celebrate the killing. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was also banned during the Emergency in 1975 and after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992.

In most circumstances, the Ajmer terror attack would have given rise to a conversation about the role of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its ideology and whether it deserves to be banned like it was after Gandhi’s assassination. If, in 1948, Patel could discuss the “communal poison” that led to Gandhi’s assassination, India in 2017 should also seriously consider what elements of the RSS’ ideology led two of its pracharaks to bomb an 800-year-old Muslim shrine.



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Babri Masjid demolition is an indictment of Indian polity; criminal conspiracy charge serves no purpose – By Ajay Singh (Mar 7, 2017, First Post)

In criminal jurisprudence mens rea connotes an intention of crime which is no less culpable than the crime itself. When LK Advani, as BJP president, took out the Rath Yatra in 1990, his explicit intention was to build the Ram Temple at the site of Ayodhya where Babri Masjid stood. The obvious implication was that the mosque had to be replaced with a temple befitting the status of Lord Ram’s birth place. The unambiguous message then was that the mosque would not remain at its original place.…

When the Supreme Court pointed out that the criminal conspiracy charge against LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi should not have been dropped, it seemed to have ignored the colossal failure of Indian polity to respond to a situation which snowballed into a criminal crisis.…

In the past 25 years of investigation, neither the CBI nor the Liberhans Commission could collect credible evidence to arraign the RSS-BJP-VHP leaders and prove the charges of criminal conspiracy.… As of now, instead of reviving a conspiracy case, the Supreme Court should use it as a framework to set up guidelines on how the powers-that-be could respond to such a situation in the future.



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Who’s behind the Kerala killings? – By C. Gouridasan Nair (Mar 10, 2017, The Hindu)

Right from the Ranchi riots in August 1967, the Babri demolition in 1992, the Gujarat riots in 2002, to the recent Muzaffarnagar riots, the Sangh Parivar has always used nefarious designs to foment, organise and spread communal riots for rich electoral dividends. The Sangh Parivar is engaged in an attempt to make inroads into Kerala with the intention of altering society forever by giving it a communal colour. It is desperate because it finds that this is not an easy task given the strong presence of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in the State, which will stall all attempts at communal polarisation.

This desperation is at the root of the murderous politics being practised by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sanghin Kerala. From 1971, when Thalassery in Kannur district witnessed rampant RSS-instigated violence against Muslims, the CPI(M) has taken the path of resistance.

The designs of the RSS did not work in 1971 because of the stand the CPI(M) took. Since then, the RSS has been targeting our cadre and supporters, declaring us as their sworn enemies. They have not succeeded in their grand design of communal polarisation, but they have certainly succeeded in turning Kerala into a simmering pot of political violence.…



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The march of fascism from Gujarat 2002 to Ramjas College 2017 – By Humra Quraishi (Mar 7, 2017, Milli Gazette Online)

What is happening on the Delhi University campus is a pointer that fascist forces have intruded into campuses, making life hell for any of those sane voices. This is the very basic crux of what took place last week in the very interiors of Delhi University’s Ramjas College. It’s all out in the open, battle between the sane and the fascists.

It’s about time we sit and read any of the available volumes on how fascists intrude and take on and then destroy. The reality of the day is that we have got to take on these destructive forces.

Today, this government is following an agenda – the RSS agenda! Using all possible ploys trying to crush all those who are against communal politics. All those who are against the fascist forces.…



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Indocrination as Education: One more govt directive towards saffronisation of Rajasthan schools – By Subhash Gatade (Mar 13, 2017, Sabrang India)

Rajaram (name changed) principal of a school near Jaipur, Rajasthan is a worried man. An honest teacher all his life, is not able to comprehend the rationale behind the recent order by the state education ministry asking every secondary and senior secondary school to purchase collected works of Deendayal Upadhyay.

Not only that he has never heard this name before but does not know how funds can be managed for the same. The school does not have a proper library till date. The budgetary situation of the school is such that despite repeated demands by the girl students the sole toilet in the school still remains unrepaired.

The circular sent by the state government on February 27 has asked all secondary and senior secondary schools to buy the compendium of essays and speeches titled ‘Deendayal Upadhyay Sampoorna Vangmay’ – which has been published by a Delhi publisher in 15 volumes at a concessional rate of Rs 4,000. Schools are asked to draw from the school development fund – meant to be utilised for local needs – to make the purchase.…



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Book Review

Foot Solider of the Constitution – A Memoir

Author: Teesta Setalvad
Reviewed by: Anupama Katakam
Available at: Publisher: LeftWord Books, 2254/2A, Shadi Khampur, New Ranjit Nagar, New Delhi, Delhi 110008, Pages: 211, Price: Rs.295. www.amazon.in/
Never say die (Mar 17, 2017, Frontline)

An aggressive vilification campaign by the right wing has landed Teesta Setalvad in a situation where she is forced to divert her energy to protecting herself. The crusader who has relentlessly fought for justice for the marginalised and for minorities has been in recent times the target of attacks on her reputation and, in a few instances, on her life. She is one of the country’s most inexhaustible human rights activists and has tried hard to speak above the jingoistic nationalist din that appears to have taken over democratic India.

Her attempts at justifying her work, mainly that of fighting the injustices that have rendered thousands violated, homeless and helpless, have often been dismissed or ignored by the mainstream media. Consequently, the debate has sadly gone silent—definitely a blow to the movement against communalism.

But Teesta Setalvad is not one to be put down. She makes herself heard in her book Foot Solder of the Constitution: A Memoir. The book is a testimony to the many controversies she combats and reflects her indomitable spirit in the face of the many curveballs thrown her way. The book makes it clear that Teesta Setalvad’s fight is not just about Gujarat. It is a battle for justice and for upholding the principles of the Constitution.…