IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 17th, 2013
In this issue of IAMC News Roundup
- Minority panel removed my riot report against Modi: Ex-Secy
- Zakia moves Gujarat High Court against clean chit to Modi
- Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case: Javed Sheikh’s father moves CBI court against Amit Shah, ex-DGP; wants them arraigned
- Three detained for threatening to blow up Bodh Gaya temples in Bihar
- Police “combing operation” in Mumbra shocks residents
- Police atrocities form bulk of rights violations: C.G. Hungund
- SIT approaches court to bring riot accused to Muzaffarnagar
- Bring law like SC-ST Act to protect Muslims, says panel on Sachar
- Muslims comprise 21% of undertrials but only 17.75% of convicts: NCRB
- Girl raped by constable in police custody
Opinions & Editorials
- Modinomics: do Narendra Modi’s economic claims add up? – By Maitreesh Ghatak and Sanchari Roy
- RSS And Murder Of Mahatma Gandhi: What Do Contemporary Documents Tell? – By Shamsul Islam
- Muzaffarnagar Diaries: From The Killing Fields Of Phugana – By V. Arun Kumar
- SC order expediting cases against tainted legislators must be strictly implemented – Editorial
- Anybody’s Game In Jat Land – By Brijesh Singh
- Reporting Rape: February edition – By Vanya Mehta
The National Commission of Minorities (NCM) is searching for a “missing report” on the 2002 Gujarat riots after the retired IAS officer who was NCM secretary at the time claimed that her original submission, which she says was damning and recommended President’s rule in the state, has vanished from the records. The officer, Sarita J Das, had visited Gujarat with an NCM team after the riots. She got in touch with the panel about her report last August and an inquiry was ordered after it could not be traced.
Das told The Indian Express that she went looking for the report more than a decade after the riots as she wanted to set the record straight. “I decided to approach the commission after I saw some news reports on television, quoting Narendra Modi as being heartbroken about the riots. This left me flabbergasted. My conscience hurt,” Das said. “But it was only after I went to the commission and saw the compendium on Gujarat 2002 brought out by the commission then that I realised that all traces of my report advocating President’s rule had been wiped out of the commission’s reports.”
Minutes of a NCM meeting briefed by Das last August say the panel decided to order a formal internal inquiry to trace the missing documents as it felt the institutional memory of the commission had been rendered incomplete. The inquiry is yet to conclude. “Initially the file itself could not be traced. After much effort when we found the file, Ms Das’s report was not a part of it. Instead there was one by Mr Tarlochan Singh, which according to Ms Das is a thoroughly edited version of what she had submitted. There were some documents missing from the file. I had asked for an inquiry into the parts that were missing,” said the then NCM chairman Wajahat Habibullah.
Singh, another former NCM chief, however, contested Das’s claims and said bureaucrats are not authorised to make submissions. “It’s totally wrong. One should understand how the commission works. A bureaucrat has no role in formulation of such reports. The report is of the commission. How can a secretary of the commission – be it minorities, SC or ST – give a report?” he asked. “She may have given inputs as secretary but the report has to be drafted by the commission. The final report is of the commission. A bureaucrat always gives inputs, as they assist the commission in drafting reports. Whatever she may have even written, the commission is not bound to include it as it is the decision of the members,” Singh added.
“Why is she remembering all this after 10 years? May be there is some political reason. One wonders what is the motive?” A 1966-batch Orissa cadre officer, Das said she is also trying to locate a copy of the report in her personal files. Modi, she claimed, had tried to stop her from visiting relief camps in Gujarat during her two-day trip in March 2002, citing security concerns. “I came back and wrote a report saying there is a complete breakdown of the constitutional machinery in that state and imposition of President’s rule should be recommended. That report was suppressed but some of the reasons for that statement can still be found in the letter I wrote to the then chief secretary of Gujarat G Subba Rao on April 8, 2002,” she said.
- Retired DGP writes to PM, complains about UPA’s inaction in probe of 2002 riots (Mar 12, 2014, Times of India)
- Congress seeks probe into ‘missing’ NCM report on 2002 riots (Mar 15, 2014, Indian Express)
- American Center for Law and Justice cites lack of religious freedom to criticize Narendra Modi (Mar 14, 2014, TwoCircles.net)
- ‘If Modi becomes PM, aag lag jayegi’ (Mar 14, 2014, Indian Express)
Zakia Jafri, widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, on approached the Gujarat High Court challenging the Ahmedabad metropolitan court order upholding a special investigation team’s clean chit to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others in connection with a 2002 riots case. “We have challenged the metropolitan court’s order which validates clean chit to Chief Minister Narendra Modi,” social activist Teesta Setalwad told PTI in Ahmedabad. The petition filed before the High Court demands to make Mr. Modi and 59 others accused on the charges of criminal conspiracy behind the riots.
“The Metropolitan Judge has simply accepted the contentions in the closure report of SIT without considering substantive arguments of the applicant (Ms. Zakia Jafri),” the petition reads. On December 26, 2013 metropolitan magistrate B.J. Ganatra had rejected Ms. Zakia Jafri’s protest petition challenging the SIT clean chit to Modi. On February 8, 2012, the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) had filed a closure report and given a clean chit to Mr. Modi and others. “SIT has not conducted free and fair investigation against the accused No. 1 (Mr. Modi),” the petitioner alleged.
The High Court is likely to conduct the hearing on Ms. Zakia Jafri’s petition on March 20, 2014. On February 28, 2002, following the Godhra train carnage, 68 people, including Mr. Ehsan Jafri, were killed by a mob at Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad during the riots. “Make Narendra Modi and 59 others accused in charges of criminal conspiracy to commit mass murder, arson, rape and also tampering with evidence and destroying valuable records of the Gujarat Home Department,” the petition demands. Ms. Zakia Jafri prayed for the rejection of magisterial court’s order which validates the SIT’s closure report.
“The Metropolitan Magistrate committed a fundamental error by not dealing with the substantive arguments laid down by Zakia Jafri in written and oral submissions,” the petition, which runs into about 540 pages, stated. It also alleged that the judge has simply accepted the contentions in the closure report with “non-application of mind”. “The judge has not established the involvement of accused No. 1 (Mr. Modi) by not considering the phone call contacts between him and co-conspirators,” it says. “He (Mr. Modi) had failed to take preventive measures and instead supported a bandh, allow post-mortems of gruesome burned bodies in the open and allow the streets of cities and villages to be taken over by rampaging mobs. “Illegal instructions were issued to high level policemen and bureaucrats, at a controversial meeting held on February 27, 2002 night, not to follow the law the next day (February 28),” it said.
The petition has also alleged that the destruction of key records was carried out to ensure injustice to the victims in which Chief Minister’s office and Home Department were allegedly involved. The petition alleged that the metropolitan court did not consider those facts as well as the statements of the key witnesses. “Statements of former CM Suresh Mehta, slain State Home Minister Haren Pandya, Justice Sawant and Justice Suresh under 161 CrPC related to the controversial meeting on February 27, 2002, were brushed aside by the judge,” it said. It has been stated that on February 27, 2002 there was a meeting called by Mr. Modi, where he had allegedly told to go soft on the Hindu mob, the petition said. “The judge evaluated the statements and set them aside, while the apex court had ruled that a trial court cannot evaluate the statements taken during the investigation until there are some judicial errors,” the petition mentioned.
- Riots clean chit to Modi far too premature: Rahul (Mar 16, 2014, Hindustan Times)
- CM has to take responsibility: Pawar on 2002 Gujarat riots (Mar 17, 2014, Deccan Herald)
- Teesta Setalvad refutes Gujarat cops’ claims (Mar 11, 2014, Times of India)
- Media has no guts to expose Narendra Modi’s Gujarat: Arvind Kejriwal (Mar 15, 2014, DNA India)
Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case: Javed Sheikh’s father moves CBI court against Amit Shah, ex-DGP; wants them arraigned (Mar 14, 2014, Indian Express)
Gopinath Pillai, father of Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, has moved an application before as special CBI court seeking arraignment of BJP leader Amit Shah and former Director General of Police, Gujarat, KR Kaushik in Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case on Friday. Shah, a close aide of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and general secretary of BJP, is currently party in-charge of Uttar Pradesh. Shah is also an accused in Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case. He had been arrested in this case and is currently on bail.
Javed Sheikh had been killed along with 19-year-old Mumbai girl Ishrat Jahan, Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana by Gujarat police. The CBI recently filed a supplementary chargesheet in this case naming four IB officials while contrary to speculation of naming BJP leader Shah.
Blaming CBI, the petitioner has claimed that the central agency ignored evidence involving Shah and Kaushik. Appearing on behalf of the petition advocate Shamshad Pathan said that court has issued notice to Shah, Kaushik and CBI and has sought reply by March 26. It is to be noted that Shah’s name has cropped in couple of witness’s testimony as “Kali Dadhi” who reportedly knew about the encounter which CBI claimed to be stage-managed.
“We have submitted a number of evidence against Shah and Kaushik including statements recorded by CBI which are part of chargesheet. We have moved the petition under section 319 of code of criminal procedure,” Pathan said.
On July 3, 2013 CBI had filed its first chargesheet naming seven of Gujarat police officers and claimed that the encounter was fake. The chargesheet had claimed that the encounter was a part of a joint operation by Gujarat police and IB officials including former Special Director Rajinder Kumar. More than a month ago CBI filed its second chargesheet against four IB officials including Kumar. The chargesheet is still with CBI court which hasn’t taken the cognizance yet.
- Notice to Amit Shah in Ishrat Jahan case (Mar 14, 2014, The Hindu)
- Ishrat Jahan case: CBI clarifies, no PE into audio tape between Modi and top cops (Mar 18, 2014, Indian Express)
- NHRC orders compensation for encounter victims’ kin (Mar 13, 2014, Times of India)
- Uttar Pradesh tops fake encounters list (Mar 13, 2014, India TV)
At least three people, including a girl, have been detained here for threatening to blow up the Bodh Gaya and Vishnupad temples in Gaya district, police said on Saturday. Police detained Sunny, Rakesh and a 19-year-old girl from Ranipur-Rasulpur locality in Patna late Friday, senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaj said.
“Three of them were detained for interrogation after police traced the mobile number used to sent the threatening SMS to the Gaya district officials to blow up both the temples,” he said. But the police officers were surprised when the girl revealed an interesting story behind the SMS. She said she was using a mobile phone which was gifted to her by a boy.
This angered her uncle, who used her mobile number to sent a threatening SMS to gaya district magistrate Balamurgan D to teach the boy a lesson. “Sunny and Rakesh denied that they had sent the threatening SMS to the official in Gaya,” a police officer said.
- Crude bomb planted on two-wheeler explodes near mosque (Mar 14, 2014, Indian Express)
- Madurai: No headway in ‘bomb’ blast case (Mar 16, 2014, The Hindu)
- Notice to Digvijay for remark over RSS’s hand in Mumbai bomb blasts (Mar 12, 2014, Times of India)
- Terror suspect denied chance to write exams (Mar 17, 2014, The Hindu)
On March 13, between 1.30-2.00 a.m., about a dozen police vehicles, of which 7-8 were big vans, quietly reached Rasheed Compound when the electricity, of the streets, were cut off. Rasheed Compound is a group of seven predominantly Muslim residential buildings. They ‘detained’ over 80 Muslim men- working professionals, old people, some as old as 75 years, workers, students going to high schools to graduate students and took them all to the Mumbra Police Station to ‘verify’.
The ‘combing operation’ was conducted under ACP Amit Kale of Thane district. About 200 odd policemen, and two ladies constables joined the operation in which the police broke many doors to search the house and take the male folks into ‘detention’. Residents of Rashid Compound and surrounding area are shocked by this act of the police and they are distressed and unhappy with this. Most of the prominent citizens including public representatives of the city consider this act of the police as irresponsible.
In this operation young Urdu poet Obaid Azam Azmi was also taken to the police station. He is not only a good poet of Urdu language, who has shared dais with many ministers, senior police officials, including Khalid Qaisar, TK Chaudhary and many, (the central government recognizes his brilliance), but he is also a son of an ex-Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Member (MLA) Shaikh Shameem Ahmad, elected from Byculla in 1980. Detained people were released following intervention of Mumbra MLA Jitendra Awhad of NCP. Local Muslim organizations have protested police highhandedness.
- Mumbai police going overboard: Their fear tactics on Muslims (Mar 17, 2014, Economic Times)
- Probe against ACP for raiding Mumbra buildings (Mar 15, 2014, Times of India)
- Petitions to NCM, NHRC on rounding up of Muslims in Mumbra (Mar 14, 2014, Twocircles.net)
- Mushawarat condemns Mumbra police action and writes to political and statutory bodies (Mar 15, 2014, Milli Gazette)
A bulk of the human rights violations in the State refer to police atrocities; if the police follow procedure, the violations in the State will reduce drastically, said C.G. Hungund, Member of Karnataka State Human Rights Commission, here on Sunday. Delivering a talk at ‘Praja dharma’, a convention of human rights awareness held here, Mr. Hungund estimated that up to 70 per cent of the complaints in Bangalore were of police atrocities, while up to 50 per cent of the complaints in other districts involved the police department.
“I don’t agree with the contention that human rights comes in the way of the police maintaining law and order. All we ask for is that they follow procedure during arrest. Illegal custody occurs as the police believe it is the only way to maintain peace,” said Mr. Hungund, and added that there was a need to sensitise officers who believed that human rights was low priority.
The KHRC member said modernisation and privatisation had led to issues such as female foeticide, enforcement of the Right to Education Act, and bonded labour – albeit existing in a “concealed form” of low wages and lack of benefits – and inter-country adoption, which amounted to “human trafficking” – that continued to persist in the state and needed the attention of human rights activists. “Violations such as moral policing come out of modernisation and deviation from our culture,” said Mr. Hungund.
U.T. Khader, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, believed that using “human rights” as an excuse to release anti-social elements came in the way of police functioning. “Yes, there are numerous cases of police not taking complaints and other violations. But, there are cases when their hands have been tied after the culprit starts to take shield under human rights,” he said .
The programme, organised by the nongovernmental organisation Human Rights Federation of India, also saw eight activists from Uttara Kannada, Hassan, Udupi, Chikmagalur, Shimoga and Dakshina Kannada being felicitated for their roles in addressing human rights violations.
- HC slams police for charging 15-yr-old with suicide abetment (Mar 12, 2014, Mumbai Mirror)
- Communal clashes soar in Bengal (Mar 14, 2014, Indian Express)
- 50 MPs have criminal cases pending against them for more than 10 years (Mar 11, 2014, Times of India)
- Murder cases pending against MPs for as long as 29 years (Mar 12, 2014, TwoCircles.net)
The Special Investigation Team probing the Muzaffarnagar riots has sought warrant from a local court to bring riot accused Subodh Kumar in Muzaffarnagar, who is lodged in Meerut jail in connection with another case.
Mr. Kumar was arrested in an encounter with Baghpat police while he was on his way to allegedly murder someone on March 7, 2014 following which he was lodged in Meerut jail, SIT sources said. The accused has been absconding since the riots took place in 2013, they said.
The court had initiated attachment proceedings against Mr. Kumar in connection with Bahawdi village killing case during the riots. Three people including two women were killed by rioters at Bahawdi village under Phugana police station in the district in September 2013. The SIT found Mr. Kumar’s involvement in the case.
- Riots victim’s house set on fire (Mar 17, 2014, Indian Express)
- Muzaffarnagar may be back to normal, Holi here is not (Mar 17, 2014, Hindustan Times)
- Riots, a key issue in Uttar Pradesh polls (Mar 17, 2014, Deccan Chronicle)
- Why India’s Muzaffarnagar riot victims will not vote (Mar 17, 2014, BBC)
A committee appointed by the central government to review the implementation of the recommendations of the Sachar panel has suggested that a law on the lines of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act be enacted to safeguard the Muslim community. The committee headed by Amitabh Kundu, professor of economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, submitted its report to the Ministry of Minority Affairs on March 14.
“The committee has recommended the need for the creation of a special Act on the lines of the SC/ST Act for Muslims in the country. It has been seen that the members of the Muslim community face similar challenges to that of the SC community, and in certain cases, they are more violent challenges,” sources who played a role in the drafting of the report said. The committee has suggested that the new law could supplement the communal violence Bill, which is facing political opposition.
The panel has also recommended that a special sub-quota for Muslims be created within the OBC category, and has stressed the need to include Muslims in the Scheduled Castes category. The interim report identifies Muslim OBCs as one of the most deprived sections, and says many Muslim OBCs actually belong to the SC category. Dalit Muslims are currently not included in the SC category, and are notified as OBCs.
In its evaluation of the implementation of the Sachar recommendations, the committee has said that while the central government has created institutions like the Minority Affairs Department to address the problems of the minority community, there is a lack of convergence and coordination in these institutions. “The institution building process to address the concerns of the minorities has been successful at central level, for which we laud the government. However it has not succeeded in creating the convergence of these institutions. There has been no coordination established between various bodies at the state and central level which is a matter of concern. There is also no punishment over the failure to implement schemes and this has led to the unsuccessful implementation of the Sachar recommendations,” the sources said.
Almost seven years after the submission of the Sachar report, the Centre decided to set up a committee to review the implementation of the recommendations. The primary task of the Kundu panel, which was set up on August 5 last year, was to evaluate the process of the implementation of the decisions taken on the recommendations of the Sachar committee, and to assess the important programmes initiated by the ministry and the schemes covered by the Prime Minister’s 15-point programme. The committee had been asked to submit a report in six months.
- Seminar on social exclusion of Muslims and Christians to be organised at MANUU (Mar 13, 2014, Twocircles.net)
- Waqf property dispute: Clerics plan to lay siege to Congress offices (Mar 12, 2014, Economic Times)
- Untangling Waqf properties from legal snares (Mar 12, 2014, Deccan Herald)
- Mukesh Ambani grabbed Waqf land by fraudulent means, govt. told (Mar 16, 2014, Ummid.com)
Muslims comprise 21% of undertrials but only 17.75% of convicts: NCRB (Mar 14, 2014, Indian Express)
Over 21 per cent of undertrials in the country in 2012 were Muslims. However, members of the community comprised only 17.75 per cent of the convicts, reveals analysis of prison data released by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). This suggests a large number of arrested Muslims are released by the courts. The inverse is true of all other communities. Hindus comprised 69.92 per cent of undertrials and 71.35 per cent of convicts. Sikhs constituted 3.97 per cent of undertrials and 4.94 per cent of convicts. The figures were 3.5 per cent and 3.99 per cent for Christians.
Sociologists said the numbers suggested bias in the police machinery against Muslims. In 23 states, there were more Muslim undertrials than convicts. Only in Karnataka, Manipur, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand, the percentage of Muslim convicts was higher than the percentage of undertrials from the community. There can be only two reasons for this. Either Muslims hire better lawyers who secure their release or the cases against them are weak and do not stand court scrutiny, said Vijay Raghavan, associate professor and chairperson of Centre for Criminology and Justice, Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
The disparity, however, is not a recent phenomenon. In 2002,Muslims made up 24.72 per cent of undertrials and only 16.65 per cent of convicts. The pattern remained the same in the past decade. The revelation that the number of Muslim undertrials is higher than the number of Muslim convicts shows members of the community are more vulnerable to false arrest. This strengthens the belief that communal prejudices, to some extent, exist in the police force. This needs to be carefully examined and effectively remedied, said criminal lawyer Majeed Memon.
The percentage of Muslim prisoners in the country, however, is gradually coming down. In 2002, Muslims made up 22.69 per cent of prisoners. This number has now dipped to 19.94 per cent but is still high considering that Muslims make up only 13.43 per cent of the Indian population.
- Over a quarter of total Muslims in India are behind bars (Mar 16, 2014, Daily Bhaskar)
- Unemployment, poverty rates high among Muslims: Study (Mar 15, 2014, Business Standard)
- Miscreants throw stones at Masjid (Mar 17, 2014, The Hindu)
- Social org seeks constitutional status for Minority Commission (Mar 15, 2014, Business Standard)
A girl was allegedly raped by a constable while she was in police custody in Soron area here, a police official said on Tuesday. District superintendent of police Vinay Kumar Yadav said the victim had eloped with her friend from her house on February 27 last. On March 4, the couple had produced themselves before a local court to get married. The court sent the girl to the police custody as her age had to be certified.
Later, the girl was handed over to a lady constable Krishna (35) to keep her at women’s police station but the lady constable took the girl to her residence where her husband Satyprakash who is also a police constable raped the girl, the SP said. The young girl was produced before the court yesterday where she disclosed the incident to her mother and her counsel, he said.
A case of rape has been registered with police station Soron against constable Satyprakash and his wife Krishna (woman constable) yesterday, the SP said adding both the constables have been suspended. The girl has been handed over to her mother by the magistrate, he said adding police are investigating the matter.
In another incident, a young girl was raped by three persons in her house under Patiali police station area on January 4. However, police did not lodge an FIR initially but after the local court intervened into the matter police registered a case yesterday against three persons namely Arjun, Umesh and Bhammoo. Police are investigating the matter, an official said. No arrests have been made so far in these cases, he added.
- Three convicted over India nun rape (Mar 14, 2014, BBC)
- Gender-based violence a persistent challenge in India: report (Mar 10, 2014, The Hindu)
- Only 1% of sexual violence victims in India report crime: Lancet (Mar 8, 2014, The Hindu)
Opinions and Editorials
Modinomics: do Narendra Modi’s economic claims add up? – By Maitreesh Ghatak and Sanchari Roy (Mar 13, 2014, The Guardian)
… Leaving political issues aside, what does Gujarat’s economic record under Modi actually look like? Take the most obvious indicator, the growth rate of per capita income, supposedly a strong point of Modi’s economic scorecard. Many people are arguing that Gujarat has grown faster than the rest of India since Modi came to power in 2001, and present this as clinching evidence for the power of his economic model.
There are two problems with this argument. First, there are other states that have achieved this, but no one is talking about the Maharashtra or Haryana model of development. Second, Gujarat’s growth rate was higher than the all-India level in the 1980s and 1990s as well. To establish the claim that Modi had a transformative impact on the state in terms of growth rate of per capita income, we have to show that the difference between Gujarat’s growth rate and that of the rest of India actually increased under Modi’s rule, and more so compared to other states.
Gujarat’s growth rate in the 1990s was 4.8%, compared to the national average of 3.7%; in the 2000s it was 6.9% compared to the national average of 5.6%. The difference between Gujarat’s growth rate and the national average increased marginally, from 1.1 percentage points to 1.3 percentage points. A good performance? Yes. Justifying the hype? No. Maharashtra, the top-ranked state in terms of per capita income in the 2000s, improved its growth rate from 4.5% in the 1990s to 6.7% in the 2000s. The difference between Maharashtra’s growth rate and the national average grew from 0.8 percentage points to 1.1 percentage points. Contrast this with the performance of Bihar, the state that has been in the bottom of the rankings in terms of per capita income throughout: its growth rate was 2.7 percentage points below the national average in the 1990s, but 1.3 percentage points higher in the 2000s. So the prize for the most dramatic turnaround in the 2000s would go to Bihar.
What about the other economic indicators? For the human development index, Kerala has been the star performer by a distance. While Gujarat’sHDI performance was above the national average in the 1980s and 1990s, it decelerated in the 2000s and came down to the national average. The level of inequality in Gujarat was less than the national average in the 1980s-90s, but actually rose above the national average in the 2000s. If we look at the percentage of people below the poverty line, Gujarat, along with several other states such as Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Kerala, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, has had consistently lower levels than the all-India average.
However, the largest poverty reduction of the past decade was achieved by Tamil Nadu, not Gujarat. So while Gujarat’s overall economic record has been undoubtedly good over the past three decades, its recent performance does not seem to justify the wild euphoria and exuberant optimism about Modi’s economic leadership. Though Modi’s stock is rising high, evidence for the success of Modinomics is unconvincing. For those frustrated with the status quo and hoping for a magical turnaround of the Indian economy if Modi comes to power, it may be wise to think about lessons from the stock market. At some point all bubbles burst – and the numbers have to add up.
- The Gujarat Model of Development: What would it do to the Indian Economy? – By Rohini Hensman (Mar 15, 2014, EPW)
- Modi’s silence on foot soldiers who act in his name is disturbing – By Sagarika Ghose (Mar 11, 2014, Hindustan Times)
RSS And Murder Of Mahatma Gandhi: What Do Contemporary Documents Tell? – By Shamsul Islam (Mar 11, 2014, Countercurrents)
After the murder of Mahatma Gandhi on January 30, 1948, the RSS was banned on February 4, 1948. It was banned for anti-national activities and the government communiqué banning the RSS was self-explanatory: “In their resolution of February 2, 1948 the Government of India declared their determination to root out the forces of hate and violence that are at work in our country and imperil the freedom of the Nation and darken her fair name. In pursuance of this policy the Government of India have decided to declare unlawful the RSS.” [Cited in Justice on Trial, RSS, Bangalore, 1962, p. 64.]
The communique went on to disclose that the ban on the RSS was imposed because, “undesirable and even dangerous activities have been carried on by members of the Sangh. It has been found that in several parts of the country individual members of the RSS have indulged in acts of violence involving arson, robbery, dacoity, and murder and have collected illicit arms and ammunition. They have been found circulating leaflets exhorting people to resort to terrorist methods, to collect firearms, to create disaffection against the government and suborn the police and the military.” [Ibid, pp. 65-66.]
It is well-known that the then Home Minister, Sardar Patel, had a soft-corner for the RSS and continues to be a favourite with the RSS. However even Sardar Patel found it difficult to defend the RSS in the aftermath of Gandhiji’s assassination. In a letter written to the head of the RSS, Golwalkar, dated 11 September 1948, Sardar Patel stated: “Organizing the Hindus and helping them is one thing but going in for revenge for its sufferings on innocent and helpless men, women and children is quite another thing…Apart from this, their opposition to the Congress, that too of such virulence, disregarding all considerations of personality, decency or decorum, created a kind of unrest among the people. All their speeches were full of communal poison. It was not necessary to spread poison in order to enthuse the Hindus and organize for their protection.
“As a final result of the poison, the country had to suffer the sacrifice of the invaluable life of Gandhiji. Even an iota of the sympathy of the Government, or of the people, no more remained for the RSS. In fact opposition grew. Opposition turned more severe, when the RSS men expressed joy and distributed sweets after Gandhiji’s death. Under these conditions it became inevitable for the Government to take action against the RSS… Since then, over six months have elapsed. We had hoped that after this lapse of time, with full and proper consideration the RSS persons would come to the right path. But from the reports that come to me, it is evident that attempts to put fresh life into their same old activities are afoot.” [Ibid, pp. 26-28.]
Hindu Mahasabha and RSS were jointly responsible for the murder of Father of Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, this fact was further corroborated by Sardar Patel in a letter to a prominent leader of Hindu Mahasabha, Syama Prasad Mookerjee on July 18, 1948. Sardar wrote: “As regards the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha, the case relating to Gandhiji’s murder is sub- judice and I should not like to say anything about the participation of the two organizations, but our reports do confirm that, as a result of the activities of these two bodies, particularly the former, an atmosphere was created in the country in which such a ghastly tragedy became possible. There is no doubt in my mind that the extreme section of the Hindu Mahasabha was involved in the conspiracy. The activities of the RSS constituted a clear threat to the existence of Government and the State. Our reports show that those activities, despite the ban, have not died down. Indeed, as time has marched on, the RSS circles are becoming more defiant and are indulging in their subversive activities in an increasing measure.” [Letter 64 in Sardar Patel: Select Correspondence 1945-1950, Volume 2, Navjiwan Publishing House, Ahmedabad, 1977, pp. 276-277.]
- Gandhi Murder and Role of RSS: Debate Continues – By Ram Puniyani (Mar 10, 2014, Beyondheadlines.in)
Muzaffarnagar Diaries: From The Killing Fields Of Phugana – By V. Arun Kumar (Mar 11, 2014, Countercurrents)
The dawn of a lucid hope amidst the strong stench of horror and injustice is in the air of Muzaffarnagar. The endless waves of sugarcane fields which once witnessed a cordial, though hierarchical relationship between Jats and Muslims, today is stinking with the smell of hatred and distrust. I am not sure whether to call the whole episode a riot or genocide, but the chilling narratives of nightmares which fell upon them will send shivers down one’s spine. The wave of hatred started soon after BJP’s Amit Shah (Goebbels of Narendra Modi) took charge of UP political akhara, to ensure a good harvest of votes for his master (NaMo).
It was early the morning of 8th September 2013. As usual Muslims in the Phugana village were getting ready to work in the sugarcane fields of Jats. Many were unaware of the violence that broke out the previous day in the village of Kawal after the mahapanchayat, just 10 km from Muzaffarnagar. And those who were aware never suspected any untoward incidents happening in their village. As one of the refugees said, “We were living together with Jats for generations and we never had any fight with them”.
But on this day things were to change. Soon the sugarcane fields around Phugana turned into killings fields. Amid murder ands rapes many ran for their lives, the police who were supposed to protect, decided to turn a blind eye to the distress cries. “We tried calling the Phugana police station for help but no one responded and after sometime phones at police station went dead” says Shafeeq, a 21 year old young man whose life turned upside down on that day.
People ran towards the sugarcane fields to save their lives. It’s the dense fields of sugarcane which protected them from the Jats, but for some this became a death trap. Two Muslim were killed on that day in Phugana which even the official reports also records. But what went unreported in the beginning were the brutal gangrapes of Muslim women. It was only recently after the intervention of SIT that the police decided to wake up and take action on seven rape cases registered under the Phugana police station (PS).
But till now police didn’t succeed in arresting 21 out of 22 culprits in the rape cases. The inchagre of Phugana PS argues that they are unable to arrest the rest of the culprits because the women in the Jat village are protecting them and they can’t use force on women. “Nonsense, they are lying” angrily reacts a rape survivor, “it is just an excuse. Why can’t they use women police? Just because the culprits are Jats they are hesitating to arrest them. Most of them [Police] are Jats.” …
- Muzaffarnagar Riots: Perils of a Patronage Democracy – By Ward Berenschot (Mar 22, 2014, EPW)
- Killing Fields Of Muzaffarnagar – A Documentary By Gopal Menon (Mar 16, 2014, Countercurrents)
SC order expediting cases against tainted legislators must be strictly implemented – Editorial (Mar 12, 2014, Times of India)
The Supreme Court’s direction that trial proceedings in cases of corruption and serious crimes against MPs and MLAs must be completed within a year is a welcome development. Read along with the previous apex court order stipulating immediate disqualification of legislators if convicted and sentenced to more than two years’ imprisonment, the move will have a salutary impact on Indian politics should it be implemented rigorously.
For example, should those with pending criminal cases win in coming Lok Sabha polls, they could still find themselves disqualified next year if the courts find them guilty. This will discourage political parties from nominating dubious candidates in the first place. There’s no denying that criminalisation of our political system has become a serious problem. As many as 162 of 543 sitting MPs face charges of a criminal nature, of which 76 have serious cases such as murder and kidnapping pending against them. At the state level 1,258 out of 4,032 MLAs are being prosecuted for crime.
Worse, data suggests that these numbers have increased over the last two Lok Sabhas, indicating a rising trend. Having so many tainted legislators severely compromises the quality of democracy we enjoy in this country. It snowballs into other problems such as scams, misgovernance and crony capitalism. It leads, in fact, to a vicious cycle where only those with muscle and illicit money power are seen by political parties as capable of winning elections. Something had to be done to arrest this growing menace. The Supreme Court’s twin decisions couldn’t have come too soon.
Notwithstanding the focus on Lokpal in recent years, one must not overlook the fact that there’s no magic bullet to tackle corruption. What is required is an anti-corruption architecture comprising several coordinated reform measures. These include a robust judicial mechanism with a high rate of disposal of cases. No Lokpal can be effective without this. In this regard, having been born out of the Jan Lokpal movement, Aam Aadmi Party must advocate strict implementation of the SC directive expediting cases against tainted legislators. Along with such implementation, can we hope for judicial reforms which speed up verdicts in other cases as well? India’s protracted judicial process is an enormous drag not just on the quality of our democracy, but on the economy and ordinary lives as well.
- ‘Pepper Spray MP’: Immunity from Criminal Prosecution? – By Abhishek Sudhir (Mar 22, 2014, EPW)
As the Assembly election in Haryana is scheduled to be held right after the Lok Sabha polls, political activities in the state have gained a feverish momentum. With the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) entering the fray, a new angle has been added to an already tangled contest. Turbulence has also hit the internal affairs of the political parties in the state. With the political temperature rising in Haryana, the time is apt for an analysis of the prospects of each party in the state.
Bhupinder Singh Hooda of the Congress is going to complete a decade as the chief minister of Haryana. In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the party had managed to bag nine out of the 10 seats in the state. State leaders of the Congress say they are hopeful of a good performance in the forthcoming election because Om Prakash Chautala, who heads its main rival – the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) – is cooling his heels in jail. Last year, Chautala and his son Ajay were sentenced to 10 years on corruption charges. But this apparent optimism of the leaders is belied by the turmoil within the party during the past eight months.
“In fact, the Congress is in such a bad shape that it is likely to win only the Rohtak seat this time,” says political analyst Naveen S Garewal. Whatever the leaders may say in public, the party is well aware that it is losing ground and is taking last-minute face-saving measures. The post of state Congress president, which had been lying vacant for years, has been given to Sirsa MP Ashok Tanwar, considered to be close to party vice-president Rahul Gandhi. But it is unclear if this hasty decision will benefit the party in the polls.
When Chautala and his son were sent to jail last February, it was believed that the state Congress had no more challenges to face. The BJP, which fights elections in alliance with the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), is not considered a strong contender. But today, the Congress is stricken by internal strife and factionalism. Several senior Congress leaders have turned rebellious, including Rajya Sabha members Chaudhary Virendra Singh, Kumari Selja, Ishwar Singh and Faridabad MP Avtar Singh Bhadana. Some allege discrimination, some are aspirants to the post of chief minister, while the others are busy cementing their own positions in state politics. All this has contributed to the trouble brewing for the party. Experts believe that the extent of factionalism is such that it may prove to be enough for ensuring a humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha polls. For instance, Gurgaon MP Rao Inderjit Singh quit the party and joined the BJP after a longstanding feud with Hooda.…
- Going backward – By Surinder S. Jodhka (Mar 17, 2014, Indian Express)
Sixty nine atrocities against women appeared in the headlines this month, doubling the reported rapes from January of this year. Of these, 30 were gang rapes. Thirty nine of the victims were minors. Police arrests were made in the majority of the cases. The relation of the woman to the attacker was identified in 50 of the 69 cases. Of those 50, the attacker was a known acquaintance, family member, or known relation of the victim in 36 instances.
Thirteen of the cases took place in New Delhi. The rest were scattered throughout the country with a higher concentration of reporting in northern states. Three rapes took place each in Rajkot, Gujarat; Pune, Maharashtra; and Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Five of the cases came out of Gujarat, which is about average for other states. Eight were in Uttar Pradesh and eight in Maharashtra. Six rape cases were in Jharkhand.
Four rape reports came from Madhya Pradesh, four from West Bengal, five in Chhattisgarh, and only 1 came from Bihar. Six cases came from Rajasthan, including an ongoing media coverage of a local court’s investigation into the former Chief Minister of Rajasthan Babu Lal Nagar. A 35 year old woman alleges Mr. Nagar invited her to his bungalow to offer a job and then attacked her on September 11, 2013. The media did not report any rapes in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, and Nagaland.
This month, two men raped a 17-year-old Dalit minor in Haryana, with a police report filed and no arrests made. The Outlook Magazine article did not report any follow up. Another dalit minor was raped in a village near Rajkot by a farm owner and she committed suicide on February 7. The minor was pregnant. Her parents were agricultural laborers. Kalu Kanejia, the accused farm owner, is currently on the run.
Sandeep Kohli, a Lucknow-based businessman and owner of apparel store Kohli Brothers, is reportedly on the run after being accused of raping a young woman. The incident occurred on February 13, while the report in Times of India was published on February 26 THe family allegedly took three days to report the case. Mr. Kohli has filed for bail in Patiala Court in Delhi.…
- Gender And Caste Discrimination: Apartheid In ‘New’ India – By Graham Peebles (Mar 14, 2014, Countercurrents)