IAMC Weekly News Roundup - March 27th, 2017 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 27th, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Gujarat: Communal clash in Patan district kills two people, injures ten others (Mar 26, 2017, First Post)

Two persons were killed, one of them in police firing, and 10 others injured while around 50 houses were ransacked and set ablaze along with many vehicles following a communal clash in a village in Gujarat’s Patan district on Saturday evening, police said.

Patan Superintendent of Police Ashwin Chauhan said a minor altercation between two students over some dispute while going for the high school examinations in Vadavali village soon assumed communal overtones and flared up into a major clash involving people from at least three surrounding villages.

Violent mobs first ransacked and then torched around 50 houses of a particular community. More than two dozen vehicles parked in front of the houses were also burnt down.…



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Delhi Police registers FIR against Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaekwad on complaint by Air India (Mar 24, 2017, Indian Express)

The Delhi Police on Friday registered an FIR against Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaekwad after Air India complained that the MP assaulted its 60-year-old staffer with his slippers repeatedly over a seat on board a Pune to Delhi flight.…

After a furore over his behaviour, Gaekwad was today banned by Federation of Indian Airlines from flying on aircraft of its member airlines such as Indigo, GoAir, Jet Airways, and SpiceJet as well as on Air India.…

The entire incident took place on Thursday when Gaekwad was travelling to Delhi from Pune.…



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Ajmer blasts: Two terrorists affiliated to RSS sentenced for life imprisonment (Mar 22, 2017, Meri News)

On Wednesday, a Special National Investigation Agency (NIA) Court awarded life imprisonment to two terrorists convicted in the 2007 Ajmer Dargah blasts. Both the convicts had been associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Singh (RSS) in the past. The blasts had left three people dead and injured 17 others.

The convicts, Bhavesh Patel and Devendra Gupta, were held guilty under Sections 16 and 18 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), Sections 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy), intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of IPC, and 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts 3 / 4 of Explosive Substances Act.

Patel, a resident of Gujarat was an RSS activist at his hometown Bharuch, Gujarat. And Gupta, a resident of Ajmer, worked for RSS in Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh.… This is the first-ever conviction and sentencing of the RSS cadre in a terror case. In course of the judgement, the court had convicted three persons and acquitted seven others. The third convict, Sunil Joshi was however murdered in December, 2007. Among the acquitted, the most controversial acquittal was that of self-styled monk and former RSS activist Assemanand.…



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Cops refuse to share SIMI jailbreak ‘key’ pics (Mar 22, 2017, Times of India)

Madhya Pradesh police have refused to share pictures of the ‘keys’ used by alleged SIMI operatives in the Bhopal jail breakout of November last year with their kin, saying, “It can give an idea about the size of the lock.”

Counsel for the alleged SIMI men killed in the post-jailbreak ‘encounter’ have jointly filed an application before the justice S K Pandey probe commission, demanding several evidence from police, including the keys that the undertrials were said to have fashioned to open the cell locks and escape. Police have objected to the demand, say sources in the department.

At Tuesday’s hearing, the jail and police department filed their affidavits, as did the family members of the deceased. The commission ordered the affidavits to be exchanged between officials and counsel for the dead undertrials.…



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Law enforcement agencies fabricate terrorism cases where Muslims are often targeted: Teesta Setalvad in UN (Mar 23, 2017, Twocircles.net)

Teesta Setalvad has never been known to mince her words when it comes to speaking the truth, and March 15 was no different. Setalvad was at the United Nations Human Rights Office in Geneva and was allotted a total of fewer than three minutes to testify in front of member countries about the worrying trends in India.

Speaking on behalf of The Advocates for Human Rights, Indian American Muslim Council, Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association and the Quill Foundation, Setalvad pointed out that since the UN Special Rapporteur’s 2013 General Assembly report, the following developments had taken place in India: Speeches by political leaders and members of Parliament had exacerbated the violence in Muzaffarnagar that claimed over 60 lives and left thousands homeless…

Setalvad then went on to mention that “progress in minority rights protection is under threat, including by hate speech, xenophobic rhetoric and incitement to hatred against minorities.” She then voiced the partner organisations’ position, joining the Special Rapporteur “in calling on UN Member States and the Human Rights Council to recognise that States bear the primary duty to protect the security of religious minorities with positive and preventive actions, through active engagement with religious minorities.”…



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Kasargod: Madrasa teacher’s murder – Two accused are RSS activists, say police (Mar 26, 2017, Daijiworld.com)

The investigating team involved with the case of murder of Riyaz from Madikeri, working as a Madrasa teacher here, has found out that two of the three accused involved with this murder were Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh activists.

Both the first accused, Ajesh alias Appu (20) residing near the Bhajana Mandir at Kelugudde Ayyappa Nagar, and Akhilesh (25) residing at Kelugudde Gangai Road, serve RSS in the capacity of Mukhya Shikshaks, the team stated.…

The investing officers have found that Ajesh had taken part in the protest rally taken out in the town relating to the murder of a BJP activist at Kannur a few months back. Ajesh was one among a group that pelted stones at shops, as per information received by the police. They have also found that Ajesh was the one who had at tacked a motor bike rider at Karandakkad and damaged his two-wheeler. He also had actively worked for BJP during the electioneering for the last assembly election, it is said.…



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‘Priest as CM, is this the beginning of a Hindu state?’: Nariman questions Modi’s choice of Adityanath (Mar 26, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Eminent jurist Fali Nariman on Saturday raised questions over the appointment of Yogi Adityanath as the Uttar Pradesh chief minister, asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi “if it is the beginning of a Hindu state”.

Referring to the developments in UP after the polls, he said the Constitution is under “threat” and those who cannot see the motive behind the appointment of Adityanath are either spokespersons of political parties or they must get their head and eyes examined.

“The Prime Minister may deny it but that is my assumption that appointing a particular person…as the chief minister is in itself an indication that he wishes to propagate a religious state,” Nariman said in an interview to NDTV.…



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Bajrang Dal won’t listen and doctors won’t lie: This top BJP ‘gaurakshak’ had a hard Sunday night (Mar 28, 2017, India Today)

The Meerut wing of the Bhartiya Janata Party found itself in a spot on Sunday, after a crackdown on a meat packaging unit ended up in its own ‘gaurakshak’ being thrashed. A group of Bajrang Dal workers descended upon a meat packaging unit on Sunday night as part of the saffron camp’s statewide campaign to shut down illegal slaughterhouses. While the police was in the middle of raiding the unit and seizing red meat, top BJP leader and celebrated ‘gaurakshak’ Rahul Thakur tried to pacify authorities….

It was then that the Bajrang Dal activists decided to thrash Thakur, assuming he was involved in the meat packaging business. When Thakur denied any involvement with the unit, police checked his phone only to find several missed calls from the unit’s owners.…

According to a story in the Hindustan Times, Thakur was admitted to the government medical college hospital in Meerut. There, he asked doctors to doctor reports and suggest that his injuries were caused by sharp edged weapons. Thankur wanted to use the falsified reports to “file a stronger case against the Bajrang Dal activists.” The doctors, however, refused to do anything illegal. An angry Thakur then proceeded to thrash the doctors with help from his brother and associates. He even threatened to kill the on-call doctor.…



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PM Modi indulging in communal politics, people must respond: A G Noorani (Mar 24, 2017, Indian Express)

Supreme Court lawyer and historian A G Noorani Thursday criticised the BJP for naming Yogi Adityanath as the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and urged people to strongly respond to the appointment. He referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said “power goes to the head” of anyone who gets absolute majority in elections. “The Prime Minister, who has got absolute majority, is indulging in communal politics,” he said.…

“They (BJP) have come to power with absolute electorate mandate. They have made a saint the Chief Minister. They want to send a message that they will do what they want to because they have absolute majority, but people will have to respond to them with the message of Bhagat Singh,” Noorani said, while responding to questions after delivering a lecture on ‘The trial of Bhagat Singh and his relevance today’ at the Delhi Assembly on the occasion of Bhagat Singh’s martyrdom.…

Referring to the PM’s crematorium remark, made during his rallies before the UP elections, Noorani said, “Does the Kabristan comment suit his personality? Even councillors and MLAs would not say this… Not only Congress, they (BJP) are targeting regional parties.” Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta, who was part of the audience, asked if he did not have faith in the people’s mandate. “People are misled, but they should not be hated, instead they should be led,” Noorani responded.…



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SC seeks written reply from CBI, Advani in Babri case (Mar 24, 2017, Deccan Herald)

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked CBI and BJP leaders L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi to file their written submissions within two weeks on a plea against dropping of conspiracy charges against them in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

A bench of Justices P C Ghose and Rohinton F Nariman told all the parties in the case to give their written arguments by April 6, and posted the matter for April 7.

“Give us your written submissions so that we can focus on them before we hear the case next,” the bench told senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for Advani, and Additional Solicitor General N K Kaul, representing CBI.…



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Opinions and Editorials

Mr. Modi’s Perilous Embrace of Hindu Extremists – Editorial (Mar 23, 2017, New York Times)

Since he was elected in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India has played a cagey game, appeasing his party’s hard-line Hindu base while promoting secular goals of development and economic growth. Despite worrying signs that he was willing to humor Hindu extremists, Mr. Modi refrained from overtly approving violence against the nation’s Muslim minority.

On Sunday, Mr. Modi revealed his hand. Emboldened by a landslide victory in recent elections in India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, his party named a firebrand Hindu cleric, Yogi Adityanath, as the state’s leader. The move is a shocking rebuke to religious minorities, and a sign that cold political calculations ahead of national elections in 2019 have led Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party to believe that nothing stands in the way of realizing its long-held dream of transforming a secular republic into a Hindu state.

Mr. Adityanath has made a political career of demonizing Muslims, thundering against such imaginary plots as “love jihad”: the notion that Muslim men connive to water down the overwhelming Hindu majority by seducing Hindu women. He defended a Hindu mob that murdered a Muslim man in 2015 on the suspicion that his family was eating beef, and said Muslims who balked at performing a yoga salutation to the sun should “drown themselves in the sea.”…



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Does Yogi Adityanath’s appointment as UP chief minister herald the coming of a Hindu Rashtra? – By Ajaz Ashraf (Mar 23, 2017, Scroll.in)

The appointment of Bharatiya Janata Party leader Adityanath as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh has stoked conflicting emotions. It is easy to comprehend the fears of Muslims, who feel Adityanath’s rise to power is incontrovertible evidence of India gradually turning into a Hindu Rashtra in which their status will be that of second-class citizens.

By contrast, it is assumed that a Hindu Rashtra will not scare Hindus, who, at worse, will remain indifferent to it. To test this assumption, I spoke with Hindus, whose ideological inclination was not known to me in every case, in Uttar Pradesh.…

In case Prakash is right, then Hindutva would appear keen on blinding India’s one eye, Muslims – to use Surendra Mohan Yadav’s evocative expression quoted earlier – to check subaltern assertion. In a land of extreme inequality and abject poverty, an eye might not seem such a price to pay for the powers that be.



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Chilling Collusion Between State & Cow Vigilantes: The Case of Hotel Hyatt Rabbani – By Kavita Srivastava and Bhanwar Lal Kumawat (Mar 23, 2017, Sabrang India)

The sealing and seizing of Hotel Rabbani on KC Road, Banipark, Jaipur by the Jaipur Municipal corporation, (JMC) on the night of March 19, night at 11pm after the Gaurakshaks held the hotel hostage for more than five hours is a clear case of collusion between the vigilante groups and sections of the state apparatus.…

Within a few minutes of throwing of the garbage, the Sadhvi rounded up more than a hundred Gaurakshaks (none of them belonged to that area) and begins an aggressive protest outside Hotel Hyatt Rabbani, showing how well organised these forces are, ever on a vigil to mobilise people to attack Muslims.

That the police reached within minutes of the Sadhvi reaching and instead of firmly dispersing the crowd who was threatening the hotelier and staff, they instead started pandering to the Gaurkshaks wishes. They let the protestors barge into the Hotel and even beat up the receptionist Wasim Khan, raising serious questions regarding the police’s compliance with the law of the land.…



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Arrests of BJP activists for Imam’s murder shows how the party is looking to replicate “UP Model” in Kerala – By Shafeeq Hudawi (Mar 26, 2017, Twocircles.net)

It is no coincidence that Choori, which falls under the Madhoor Panchayat, which is one of the few places that the BJP has seized power. “Riyas was a stranger to the accused, and the crime was apparently committed because of communal hate. I don’t see any other reason,” Kannur Crime Branch Superintendent of Police A Srinivas told local media. Srinivas is the head of the special team which investigated the murder.

Choori is swiftly turning into a communal cauldron, mainly due to the BJP’s efforts to reap from the communal polarisation, laxity of police and flow of anti-social elements from outside the panchayat. The perception has been rekindled by the latest of the communal murder series. The Muslim-majority locality surrounded by areas with Hindu majority has been witnessing a surge of minor clashes after 2005. In 2009, a Muslim youth Rishad was murdered by RSS activists while another youth Sabith was stabbed to death in 2013 in the locality.…

According to residents here, all was well till the early 2000s, after which the Sangh Parivar deliberately created panic taking a cue from Karnataka’s Mangalore, where BJP rose to power by practicing communal politics. Other political parties also said that BJP resorts to the politics of hatred eyeing the consolidation of Hindu votes in the panchayat.…



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Hindutva’s history rewrite – By Brinda Karat (Mar 28, 2017, Indian Express)

The RSS “participated in the freedom movement”. “No RSS literature discriminates against the minorities.” RSS projects “never discriminate on the basis of caste or religion.” “RSS never indulged in anarchy”… and so on. Welcome to the RSS post-truth narrative, as enunciated by Rakesh Sinha in his article titled ‘Of swayamsevaks and intellectuals’ (IE, March 24).

For Sinha, facts do not count, personal belief does. So, if he believes so, it must be so and anyone who disagrees must be influenced by communists. In his article, Sinha refers to “archival evidence” of the RSS’s role in the freedom movement. Now, this is a self-goal, one that RSS intellectuals such as he must avoid. It conjures up the image of RSS bhakts having to search dusty files to find their heroes and failing to, even as a footnote in India’s glorious struggle for her freedom.

But, on the other hand, you don’t need to search too hard to find how the Hindutva icon, V.D. Savarkar, cringed before the British, apparently begging for forgiveness from his cell in the Andamans, describing himself as “the prodigal son”. Savarkar wrote, “where else can the prodigal son return but to the parental doors of the government”. It is this person whom RSS bhakts glorify, insulting the memory of our martyrs, naming the Andaman jail after him. The contemporary RSS project, of a chauvinistic, aggressive Hindutva nationalism, requires a whitewashing of historical facts; that is what people like Sinha are expected to do.…



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Ram mandir: Why I find SC giving priority to ‘religion’ shocking – By Kamal Mitra Chenoy (Mar 22, 2017, Dailyo.in)

On March 21, Chief Justice of India JS Khehar proposed to mediate an out-of-court settlement to the Ayodhya dispute since it’s a matter of “sentiments and religion”. He even offered that other “brother judges” could replace him if the “parties” wanted, as “these are issues of sentiments”.

But the problem is that none of the parties were present in court. The court was hearing BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s plea for constituting a bench to hear a batch of petitions challenging a 2010 Allahabad High Court order on the matter. And Swamy was not an original party to the case.

After Ayodhya-based Hashim Ansari, the original litigant, died last year, his son, Iqbal Ansari, has taken up the matter. His lawyer, MR Shamshad, pointed out that they were astounded by the CJI’s offer, and asked, “How did this appearance in the Chief Justice’s court and the comments come about?” He stressed that “any decision cannot be one-sided.” To understand why this is happening it is necessary to go back into history.…



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