IAMC Weekly News Roundup - March 23rd, 2015 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 23rd, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

27 yrs after Hashimpura massacre, 4 who survived watch 16 cops walk free (Mar 22, 2015, Indian Express)

During the trial that stretched 27 years, Babbudin rarely missed a hearing. On Saturday, the 42-year-old showed up at 10 am at the Tis Hazari courts in Delhi, confident justice would be done. Hours later, he and three of the five who survived the 1987 massacre of over 40 Muslim men in Hashimpura, Meerut, returned home shattered – all 16 surviving personnel of the Provincial Armed Constabulary, accused in the case, were given the “benefit of doubt” and acquitted.

Bringing to an end one of the longest trials, additional sessions judge Sanjay Jindal, while acquitting the PAC personnel, said the court was giving them the “benefit of doubt for want of sufficient evidence regarding their identity”. Three other PAC personnel, who made up the initial 19 accused, died during the course of the trial. They had all been charged with murder, criminal conspiracy and tampering of evidence.

According to the prosecution, the PAC personnel had landed at Hashimpura on May 22, 1987 after a round of communal violence in Meerut district. They were said to have taken away some 50 Muslim men, including Babbudin who was just 15, from a crowd of 500 outside a mosque.…



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Hashimpura massacre: A perfect case of miscarriage of justice, legal expert says (Mar 22, 2015, Times of India)

Twenty eight years after the Hashimpura massacre in which over 40 Muslims were murdered in cold blood allegedly by Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel, the verdict acquitting all the 16 accused for want of evidence was termed a “mockery of justice” by legal experts. …

“This case is a glaring example of how delays result in miscarriage of justice. 28 years after the incident, witnesses either die or their memories fade away. It cannot be disputed that a large number of people lost their lives in this barbaric homicidal incident and yet not a single person has been found guilty. This is mockery of justice,” noted criminal lawyer Majeed Memon said.

Counsel for the survivors and family members of victims, senior advocate Rebecca John said this case was a classic example of justice delayed being justice denied. “The victims are devastated by the verdict. Even after 28 years of the brutal killings, if we are unable to fix the accountability of this gruesome crime on anyone, we should hang our heads in shame. Many crucial witnesses died or could not be traced, Investigating officers died and important medical evidence got destroyed during the prolonged trial. This is a slap on the face of speedy justice in our country,” John said.…



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Dahod clash: Bail plea of six rejected, Muslim body demands probe by senior officer (Mar 19, 2015, Indian Express)

The bail plea of six accused, including five women facing attempt to murder case under section 307 of the IPC among others was rejected by the local court at Devgadh Baria on Wednesday and hearing could not proceed at sessions court in Dahod as CPI J S Nayak, who is the investigating officer in the case, did not present himself before the court.…

Muslim body Jamait-e-Ulema-e-Hind submitted a memorandum to Vadodara range DIG Anupam Singh Gehlot demanding that investigation in the case be handed over to senior officer from the district as police were looking to validate “false” FIR filed in the case. They stated that local police at Devgadh Baria were biased towards people of Muslim community.

“Police came to ask money illegally from auto-rickshaw drivers at Dhanpur road crossroads and started beating a diver when he said he had not done any business and was therefore not in a position to give him any money. The incident took place at 10 am when police falsely say it took place between 2 and 5 pm. At that time, the police should have been at examination centre during ongoing state board examination. Police entered houses pretending to be on combing operation and looted the house and broke stuff placed inside the house. Give investigation to higher officials at district level to ensure clarity and transparency in the matter,” the memorandum read.



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Ruthless ATS framed me in terror case (Mar 20, 2015, DNA India)

Hours after Khatib Imran Akhil Ahmed walked out of Arthur Road prison on Thursday, nine years after he was arrested for his alleged involvement in the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case, the 32-year-old said he had been framed in the case. Struggling to hold back tears, Khatib said he was tortured by the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad, which he described as a ruthless agency, and branded as a terrorist. A special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court presided by judge A L Pansare had on Wednesday granted him bail.

“As per police records, I was shown arrested on June 7, 2006, but the fact is that I was under detention by the ATS since May 30. I have raised this issue in the court and produced evidence in the form of an email that I had sent to the ATS on their demand,” said Khatib at press conference organised by the Jamiat Ulema-E-Maharashtra, an NGO which secured his bail and provides legal help to many terror accused.

Khatib, now 32, said his email to ATS had a photograph of him. “Why would anyone send his photograph to ATS? The mail clearly shows that I was under their detention and had to accede to their demands.”…



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Record 94 custody deaths in state in 3 yrs, but not 1 chargesheet (Mar 18, 2015, Times of India)

For the last three years, Maharashtra recorded the maximum custodial deaths in the country, but not a single chargesheet was filed and, consequently, nobody was punished.

Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju, replying to a question raised in the Lok Sabha by NCP member Supriya Sule, said out of 331 custodial deaths in the country in the last three years, 94 were reported from Maharashtra, followed by 40 in Gujarat, 34 in Andhra Pradesh and 27 in Uttar Pradesh.

Shockingly, chargesheet was not filed against even a single official nor there was any conviction in any of the cases in Maharashtra. “Despite the death of 94 persons in custody, no responsibility was fixed. It’s not an acceptable situation,” said a senior IPS official said.…



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Dhanpur residents abandon homes fearing police atrocity (Mar 18, 2015, Indian Express)

Locked houses in Dhanpur locality of Devgadh Baria in Dahod district bear testimony to police excesses that the residents here underwent on March 14, when a minor traffic problem snowballed into a full-blown clash between the police and public.

Two dozen houses, belonging to Ghanchi Muslim community, have been abandoned, as residents fear they will be roughed up by the police when they return. As many as 26 persons named in an FIR are absconding along with their family members. Many more have left their homes fearing police atrocity.

Among five arrested are four women who were allegedly beaten up by the police and taken to Godhra Civil Hospital. They are facing, among other sections of the Indian Penal Code, section 307 for attempt to murder.…



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Christians say under siege in Modi’s India after rape, attacks (Mar 16, 2015, Reuters)

Christians in India said on Monday that the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not done enough to protect their religion, after a spate of attacks including the rape of a 75-year-old nun at the weekend.

Christians prayed and held vigils across the country to protest against the rape during an armed assault on a convent school, the worst in a series of incidents that followers of the faith say are making them feel unwelcome in their own country.…

Father Savari Muthu, spokesman for the Delhi Catholic Archdiocese and a national Church organiser, said the government had not taken “concrete action to protect Christians. “We have to raise our voice against the atrocities. Christians will not tolerate this humiliation,” he said, joining critics who say Modi has not done enough to ensure religious harmony in a country with a history of inter-faith bloodshed.…



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Attacks on minorities have increased after BJP came to power: Archbishop (Mar 17, 2015, Times of India)

Archbishop of Kolkata Thomas D’Souza on Monday expressed disappointment over the state government’s failure to arrest the culprits in the Ranaghat nun rape. He was concerned that attacks on minorities had increased after the BJP government came to power in Delhi.

Leading a candle-light rally of thousands to protest the gang-rape of a 71-year-old nun, he said: “We were happy when the CM reacted immediately to the incident. We were expecting some swift action. But what is the use of such assurance if its fallout is not the immediate arrest of the culprits? No arrest has been made even after three days. This is not done,” said father D’souza. On the police investigation, he said: “It’s good to see that they are working, but where is the arrest?”

Responding to a question from a journalist, he said: “Yes, the number of attacks on minorities has increased after BJP came to power at the Centre.” In the past seven-eight months, several churches have been attacked and desecrated in Delhi. But the Archbishop was careful not to link the Ranaghat horror to such attacks on minorities. “We want to know the truth behind attack. Before the culprits are nabbed and the motive revealed, it is not right to conclude that the attack was targeted at the community. Arresting those involved is very important so that the truth emerges,” the Archbishop said.…



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Indian beef ban will cost jobs and harm economy, warn critics (Mar 23, 2015, The Guardian)

Nitin Tarode wants to sell his old bull to help pay for his sister’s wedding, after his income was hit by patchy rainfall. But he has struggled to find a buyer who will pay a decent price because of a ban on slaughtering cows, bulls and bullocks in Maharashtra, the western state run by Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party.…

A renewed thrust by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party to protect cows, worshipped by Hindus, has closed abbatoirs in Maharashtra, making it hard for farmers to sell their animals, and restrictions are spreading to other states.

Even lions, tigers and leopards in Mumbai’s national park are being fed chicken and mutton rather than their usual beef because the city’s main abattoir has been shut for the past two weeks.…



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Attack on Dalit youth: NCSC demands report from TN police (Mar 22, 2015, Business Standard)

Taking suo motu cognisance of an alleged attack on a Dalit youth in Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) has asked the Tamil Nadu Police to submit a report on the incident.

“We have sought a report from the Superintendent Police of Krishnagiri district over the incident. The Commission has written to the officer on Friday,” NCSC Chairman P L Punia told PTI.

Asked about further action by the Commission, he said it has sought a convenient date from the Tamil Nadu government to discuss, in detail, about some attacks on persons belonging to Scheduled Caste in the past.…



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Opinions and Editorials

Hashimpura massacre: Denial of justice should prick society’s conscience – By Sameer Arshad (Mar 22, 2015, Times of India)

Police dissuaded two journalists from going to Hashimpura, warning that residents of this deprived Muslim locality were ‘all Pakistanis’ and ready to ‘shoot any outsiders’ after the May 1987 Meerut riots. When the two managed to give their minders the slip a day later, they found mostly harried elderly, women and children there, peering nervously out of their houses riddled with bullets fired indiscriminately. No young men were left in the locality.

Police had bundled and taken them away to some unknown location on the most auspicious day in Muslim calendar, days before Eid, even as no rioting had taken place in Hashimpura. Those left behind were thirsty and hungry, while the locality had run out of food and water with no help in sight. Insult was added to injury when bodies of 42 men, riddled with bullets fired point-blank, taken from the locality were found floating in canals over 30km away.…

The change of guard at the Centre in 2014 offers little hope for the minorities, who harbour no illusions about the BJP. The Hashimpura massacre was a by-product of the BJP’s most successful mass movement for the Babri Masjid demolition under L K Advani’s leadership to turn the party into the force it today is. Like Advani, Prime Minister Narendra Modi started his political career as a volunteer of the RSS, which has long demonised Muslims as ‘unreliable fifth column’ and a threat to the Hindu nation’.…Hope for minorities, meanwhile, can spring eternal. Denial of justice in Hashimpura massacre reflects a rot that would only deepen in the years to come.



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Documenting Hate And Communal Violence Under The Modi Regime – By John Dayal (Mar 21, 2015, Countercurrents)

The rape of a 70 year old Nun in West Bengal in an attack on a convent and school in February 2015 sent shockwaves throughout India, and the world. “Protect not just Cows, but human beings also,” said Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference. At least 43 deaths in over 600 cases of violence, 149 targeting Christians and the rest Muslims, have taken place in 2014 in India till March this year, marking 300 days of the National Development Alliance government of Mr. Narendra Modi.

The number of dead is other than the 108 killed in Assam in attacks by armed tribal political groups on Muslims. Desecration and destruction of churches, assault on pastors, illegal police detention of church workers, and denial of Constitutional rights of Freedom of Faith aggravate the coercion and terror unleashed in campaigns of Ghar Wapsi and cries of Love Jihad.

Since May 2014, there has been a marked shift in public discourse. There has been a relentless foregrounding of communal identities, a ceaseless attempt to create a divide between ‘us’ and ‘them’. The BJP leaders guaranteed to abuse, ridicule and threaten minorities. Hate statements by Union and state ministers, threats by Members of Parliament, state politicians, and cadres in saffron caps or Khaki shorts resonate through the landscape. But most cases go unreported, unrecorded by police.…



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Does the Sangh Parivar want to kill public debate in India? – By Suvojit Chattopadhyay (Mar 17, 2015, Live Mint)

It has become fashionable for members and supporters of the Sangh Parivar (of which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is a constituent) to repeatedly assert that the 2014 Lok Sabha elections marked the death of intellectuals. This assertion is often made with considerable disdain for intellectuals in general, as though there are no intellectuals on that side of the political divide.

Some discerning critics have found a solution by identifying the villains as Nehruvian, leftist, cultural and social liberals. What is being dubbed and rubbished as intellectualism has essentially been extended to all public debate, whether on culture, religion, history or economy. Simply said, it appears that the Sangh Parivar’s hubris, aided by a series of electoral victories, has steadily been trying to kill serious public debate.

There are a few different ways in which this phenomenon has manifested itself in recent months. The first and most prominent example that comes to mind is the incessant heckling of non-Hindus, as well as of Hindus themselves on matters concerning their religious beliefs and practices. While non-Hindus are being ‘counselled’ to convert, re-convert, or just to ‘behave’, Hindus are also being frequently told how to live their lives. Hindus are also being reminded that their ‘cowardliness’ was responsible for their 1200-year long subjugation.…



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When The Haze Takes Over – By Pavithra S. Rangan (Mar 30, 2015, Outlook)

February still had a day left when in a curt reply, the Union ministry of home affairs declined to furnish any information on how recipients of the Padma awards were chosen. “The process is not yet complete,” said the Central Public Information Office (CPIO) a month after the awards were announced on the eve of Republic Day. The required information was released in earlier years and even put up on the MHA website.

A week later, the CPIO turned down another RTI application for the correspondence between then PM A.B. Vajpayee and then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, during and after the post-Godhra riots. The information, said the MHA, involved “third parties” and could not be divulged. The appeal against the denials are unlikely to be heard anytime soon, since the office of the Chief Information Commissioner, the only competent authority to hear the appeals, remains vacant.

North Block appears to have finally found a way of stonewalling RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agarwal, whose applications elicited a steady stream of embarrassing information when the UPA was in power. It was after all an RTI application by him which revealed a finance ministry note that named P. Chidambaram for not insisting on the auction of 2G spectrum. “The government might as well repeal the Act,” says Agarwal in apparent disgust.…



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West Bengal Nun Rape Case: Minority report is very disheartening – By Seema Mustafa (Mar 20, 2015, Free Press Journal)

No one has been arrested for the rape of a 72-year-old nun, the loot of a missionary school and the desecration of its chapel. The West Bengal Police, clearly quite inept and out of its depth in almost all major crimes, like its counterparts across India, has detained a few persons, but has been unable to break the case. This inefficiency is amazing by all standards, and thus feeds into the larger perception that the police is deliberately not doing its job in this case.

It was interesting to note that the very first statement from the police, without any verification whatsoever, that the crime had been perpetrated by ‘dacoits’ and it was only after the missionaries made it clear that the school had been receiving threats for a while, that this line was dropped. …

And at the end, even if there are many who have blindfolded themselves against the dangers that hate poses to the social fabric of this country, it is necessary to ensure that this is not frayed further by communal forces using a distorted version of nationalism to justify their ends. Nationalism is not perpetrating violence in the name of religion, nationalism is bringing unity in this diversity and uphold the Constitution of India and the law with all that it takes.



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BJP’s ‘beef’ with Muslims – By Dharmendra Jore (Mar 9, 2015, Mid Day)

A day before the winter session of the state legislature came to an end last December, the BJP-led state government decided in principle to scrap 5 per cent reservation for the Muslims in the state, but passed a bill which gave the Maratha community 16 per cent quota in jobs and education, though the High Court had rejected it. The state government notified last week that the ordinance passed in the Congress-NCP government regime had lapsed, and, hence, it would not facilitate quota for Muslims.

And while the Muslim quota was scrapped in December, the BJP was in the process of getting the Centre to endorse yet another decision that would impact the minority community. It asked the Centre to get the President to endorse the bill banning slaughter of cow progeny. The Narendra Modi government obliged quickly and sent the 19-year-old bill to the President, who, in turn, gave his assent. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and his BJP colleagues celebrated it as a dream come true.

The two decisions have made the Muslim community believe that the state government, supported by the Centre, is playing a communal card. Muslim leaders have said it was being done deliberately to alienate the community. They fear similar decisions will follow, citing several instances and utterances of the leaders of the BJP and its parent organisation, the RSS, and other Hindu right-wing groups, who have become more vocal after Narendra Modi’s ascent to power.…



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