IAMC Weekly News Roundup - March 6th, 2017 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 6th, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup


Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review


Indian Americans decry increasing hate crimes in the US; appreciate support from fellow Americans against bias and harassment

Multiple attacks on Indian Americans including shooting of Sikh man in Washington

March 06, 2017

Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com) a non-profit advocacy group dedicated to promoting the shared values of pluralism, tolerance, and respect for human rights, today condemned increasing hate crimes in the US, including those targeting Indian Americans.

On 22 February, Indian engineers Mr. Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani were shot by suspected gunman Adam Purinton in Kansas, who yelled “get out of my country,” when opening fire at them. Mr. Kuchibhotla died while Mr. Madasani was injured. Mr. Ian Grillot, who was shot while trying to intervene, has been rightly called a “hero” by Indians, including India’s foreign minister, Ms. Sushma Swaraj.

On March 03, a Sikh man was shot and injured in Kent, WA, near Seattle, with the gunman yelling a similar hateful sentiment asking the victim to “go back to your own country.” Police have confirmed the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.

“We express our deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Kuchibhotla, and wish a speedy recovery for Mr. Madasani, Mr. Grillot and the Sikh victim who has chosen to not be identified publicly,” said Mr. Jawad Khan, President of IAMC. “We continue to work with our coalition partners in increasing interfaith and inter-community understanding in the US, with a particular focus on the Indian diaspora,” added Mr. Khan.

In a separate incident, a businessman of Indian origin, Mr. Harnish Patel was shot dead in South Carolina, although its not clear at this point whether this was a hate crime.

“IAMC expresses its utmost gratitude to countless fellow Americans who have openly expressed their rejection of anti-immigrant and Islamophobic sentiments emerging from the highest echelons of power. In this context, the outpouring of support for Indian Americans and Muslims is deeply heartening as they underscore diversity and religious freedom as core American values,” said Ms. Seema Sufia Salim, Vice-President of IAMC. “Thanks are especially due to a number of public-spirited non-governmental organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Law Center, and the International Refugee Assistance Project, besides others, for their active and enthusiastic support for refugees, immigrants and Muslims,” added Ms. Salim.

Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: https://iamc.com


Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

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Communal Harmony

Mangalore Defeats RSS Disruption of the Communal Harmony March (Mar 2, 2017, News Click)

The RSS and its affiliates had opposed the recent Karavali Souharda Rally (Communal Harmony Rally) in Mangaluru, threatening violence. CPI(M)’s Mangaluru office was burned by RSS activists on 23rd February, 2017. The miscreants torched the CPI(M) office in an attempt to stop the rally. The RSS was opposed to Kerala CM, Pinarayi Vijayan’s participation in rally.…

While the RSS attempted to stop the Communal-Harmony Rally, there were people who extended their support to the rally. Ganesh Devy, a former Professor of English at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, renowned literary critic and an activist, and the famous Kannada writer Devanuru Mahadeva wrote in solidarity among others.…

This is not the first time that the RSS had tried to stop the Kerala CM. They had also opposed Vijayan’s address in Bhopal. Since the Madhya Pradesh government connived with the RSS and refused to provide security for him, the visit had to be cancelled.


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‘Gujarat riots did not happen all of a sudden’ (Mar 7, 2017, The Hindu)

Days after Oxford Bookstore in central Delhi’s Connaught Place cancelled human rights activist Teesta Setalvad’s discussion on her memoir, ‘The Foot Soldier of the Constitution’, the programme was conducted at the Press Club of India on Monday. “I don’t want to talk much about the cancellation of the venue. Maybe there was some pressure,” said Ms. Setalvad.

The discussion started with the three major communal riots that she has elaborated in her book – 1984 Bhiwadi riots, 1992 Ayodhya riots, and 2002 Gujarat riots – her continuing fight for the victims, and the consequences of going head-to-head with the RSS ideology.

“Through the book I have gone back to explain the history of Gujarat because the 2002 riots did not happen all of a sudden. Circumstances were building up towards such violence for a long time,” she said in conversation with Hartosh Singh Bal, political editor of The Caravan – the organisers of the discussion.…



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RSS Leader Boasts of Killing 2000 Muslims in Gujarat, Wants Kerala CM Beheaded (Mar 2, 2017, The Wire)

An inflammatory speech by a leader of the RSS in which he boasts of how ‘Hindu society’ killed 2000 Muslims in Gujarat to avenge the death of 56 Hindus in Godhra has reignited public memories of the 2002 massacres in which Narendra Modi, who was chief minister of the state at the time, is accused of complicity. Speaking at an event backed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh on March 1, RSS mahanagar pramukh Kundan Chandrawat also said he was ready to give one crore rupees to anyone who killed Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.…

“That guilty person, that traitor, does he think Hindus don’t have the pride of Shivaji in their blood, that Hindus don’t have that kind of passion in their blood? I, Dr Kundan Chandrawat, am declaring from this platform, I have enough wealth so I am being bold in saying this – I have a house worth one crore, cut off the head of [Kerala chief minister] Vijayan and bring it to me and I will hand over my house and my wealth. Such traitors have no right to live in this country, such traitors have no right to murder democracy.

Have you forgotten Godhra? You killed 56, we sent 2000 to the graveyard. [He makes a slicing motion with his hand and the audience applauds loudly]. We – this same Hindu community – shoved [their corpses] underground [he gestures downwards, more applause]. You have killed 300 pracharaks and activists, we will present Bharat Mata with a garland of 300,000 skulls in return. … Till the time of publication, the RSS has not condemned Chandrawat’s comments boasting about the killing of 2000 Muslims.



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Maharashtra Bureaucrat Transfered Weeks After Questioning Allocation Of Cheap Land To Ramdev’s Food Park (Mar 8, 2017, India Times)

Last year, the Maharashtra government made a decision to give a 75% discount on land for a food park in Nagpur, which eventually was awarded to Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurveda Ltd.

Documents accessed through RTI show that the decision was not uncontested. A senior bureaucrat, then principal secretary of financial reforms, Bijay Kumar, had raised concerns in writing about the basis of the price waiver.

Three weeks after Kumar questioned the financial calculations behind the price reduction, he was transferred on April 29, 2016. The transfer came less than a year and a half into his posting while the usual tenure is at least three years.…



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Babri case: SC may examine reviving conspiracy charges against Advani, Joshi, Bharti (Mar 6, 2017, The Hindu)

In a huge blow to BJP leaders, the Supreme Court on Monday indicated it may consider reviving the conspiracy charge against them in the December 6, 1992, Babri Masjid demolition case.

The sudden development came on an appeal filed in the Supreme Court by the CBI in 2011, during the UPA era, against the dropping of the conspiracy charge against L.K. Advani, Uma Bharti, Murli Manohar Joshi, Vinay Katiyar, Sadhvi Ritambhara, Giriraj Kishore and Vishnu Hari Dalmia.

Noting that “there is something very peculiar going on in this case,” a Bench of Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Rohinton F. Nariman said it would examine in detail why the conspiracy charge was dropped on mere technical grounds and never revived all these years.…



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Sikh man shot at in US; attacker yelled ‘go back to your own country’ (Mar 6, 2017, Times of India)

A 39-year-old Sikh man in the US has been shot and wounded outside his home by a partially – masked gunman who shouted “go back to your own country”, in a suspected hate crime incident that comes just days after an Indian engineer was killed in Kansas.

The Sikh man, identified as US national Deep Rai by Indian officials in New Delhi, was working on his vehicle outside his home in Kent, Washington, on Friday when he was approached by a stranger, who walked up to his driveway.

Kent police said an argument broke out between the two men, with Rai saying the suspect made statements to the effect of “go back to your own country”. The unidentified man then shot him in the arm.…



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Let’s Crush Human Rights Activists Using Motor Vehicles, Says Chhattisgarh Cop (Mar 3, 2017, The Wire)

Amidst continuing reports of rampant human rights violations in Bastar, the Sukma superintendent of police, Indira Kalyan Elesela, has stirred up a fresh controversy by saying that human rights activists should be crushed on the highway using advanced motor vehicles. The SP made the controversial statement in Jagdalpur during a program organised by an automobile company to discuss the ‘elimination of the Naxal threat’.

According to a report published in the Chhattisgarh daily Navbharat, “on Thursday, Sukma SP Elesela was invited to a program to discuss the elimination of Naxals from the area. While making his speech, he went on to say that human rights activists like Isha Khandelwal and Shalini Gera should be crushed on the road.”

Lawyers Khandelwal and Gera are part of the Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group and have been instrumental, along with academic and academic-activist Bela Bhatia in the filing of FIRs in cases of gang-rape of adivasi women allegedly by security forces personnel in Chhattisgarh. The two lawyers were forced to leave Bastar last year after their landlord refused to rent his house to them citing police pressure.…



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Child trafficking case: BJP leader Juhi Chowdhury sent to 12-day CID remand (Mar 1, 2017, Free Press Journal)

Bharatiya Janata Party’s women wing leader Juhi Chowdhury, who was arrested by the Crime Investigation Department (CID) from the India-Nepal border as a suspect in connection with the child trafficking case, has sent to 12 days CID remand by Jalpaiguri District Court.…

She was on the run for the last few days after her name was linked to the case involving trafficking of children. The CID had earlier in January this year received a complaint from the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) about irregularities prevailing in three children homes run by Chakraborty.

The investigation into the three orphanage homes indicated Chakraborty and her associate Sonali Mondal reportedly sold babies to the foreign countries.…



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Plea to Supreme Court CJ to inquire into Gujarat’s Naliya sex racket, obtain CD from deputy chief minister (Mar 3, 2017, Counterview)

A fact-finding committee on the Naliya sex scam of Kutch district, which is experiencing tremors in Gujarat for the last several weeks, has sought a thorough inquiry into the incident of gangrape of a 19-year-old girl hailing from Kutch under the direct supervision of the Supreme Court chief justice.

The independent fact-finding committee, which met the victim’s parents in Kothara village near Naliya, says that she is one of the 35 women who are being sexually exploited in an educational institute being run directly under the BJP supervision. “Main accused in this episode is the convener of BJP’s OBC cell of Abdasa taluka of Kutch district”, the report claims.

Pointing out that some 65 persons, all belonging to the BJP, are involved in the sex racket, the report insists, the inquiry into the episode should begin with the recovery a CD in possession of the deputy chief minister of Gujarat, Nitin Patel, as also Leader of Opposition, Shakarsinh Vaghela. The CD is said to be key to bringing the culprits to book.…



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Why impose Sanskrit in Assam classrooms when Hindi is still an optional subject? (Mar 3, 2017, Dailyo.in)

The BJP government in Assam has made Sanskrit compulsory in all state board schools till Class 8. In state board schools across Assam, students are taught either Assamese, Bodo or Bengali, depending on the areas where they reside. While English is compulsory, schools also teach Hindi, but it is optional.

For the uninitiated, there are many languages spoken in Assam. While majority of people in Assam speak Assamese,… Bodo was formally declared as an associate official language last year in districts having substantial Bodo population. In some of the districts in the Barak Valley, Bengali enjoys the official status. Both Assamese and Bodo are among the 22 official languages according to the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India. However, linguistic diversity in Assam runs far wider with a number of other native languages and dialects spoken – Dimasa, Mishing, Karbi, Rabha, Tiwa, etc.…

In some parts, there are also people who speak Manipuri, Khasi, Garo, Hmar, Kuki, etc. But almost no one in the state speaks Sanskrit. And that’s true not just for Assam, but the entire Northeast. Making Sanskrit compulsory also raises serious concerns in view of the conflicting history of language in the state.… student organisations like the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) are perplexed. They see it as a well-orchestrated “conspiracy micro-managed and monitored from Nagpur” which could be made possible after the BJP came to power with an unexpected win last year in the Northeastern state.…



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Intra-BJP rivalry? Gujarat Dalit sarpanch hacked to death for “winning” village polls he was told not to contest (Mar 1, 2017, Counterview)

In a gruesome incident, young Dalit sarpanch Jaysukh Madhad, aged 30, belonging to village Varasda of Gujarat’s Amreli district of Saurashtra region, was hacked to death on February 28 at around 7.30 pm by three persons, said to be belonging to a so-called upper caste.

According to reports, top representatives of the dominant caste of the village were against his election to the village post, which became the main reason for the attack. The incident has led to a major uproar across Gujarat’s Saurashtra region, particularly Amreli town, where thousands of anxious and angry Dalits gathered expressing their concern over “increasing” atrocities against the community.

Local media reports suggest the murder is part of an intra-BJP rivalry over the post of sarpanch. Madhad was “associated” with the BJP, says a report, adding, one of the accused too is son of a BJP village leader.…



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Opinions and Editorials

2002 Godhra Riots: 15 years pass, but the stain will never leave Narendra Modi – Harsh Mander with Ranjan Crasta (Mar 1, 2017, Catch News)

27 February, 2002, was a day that would change the landscape of Gujarat forever. While some may argue that the incidents at Godhra that fateful February were merely the culmination of a long, simmering build up, it was the events of this day that set in motion months of violence that would rewrite the state’s DNA.

As communal riots erupted across the length and breadth of Gujarat, state machinery was paralysed and the nation watched on as scores were murdered in waves of brutal violence that raged on for what seemed like eternity. Scarcely 10 months on, Narendra Modi, the then-CM of Gujarat, his Hindutva credentials strengthened by the State’s apparent complicity in the violence, was re-elected in a landslide despite months of lawlessness. It has now been 15 years since those fateful events, Narendra Modi has leveraged that re-election to launch his political career to even greater heights.…

In this interview with Catch, social activist Harsh Mander, who has worked since 2002 to obtain justice for the victims of the Gujarat violence, talks about why the violence cannot and should not be forgotten, and why Modi will never be absolved of the violence that rocked Gujarat under his watch.…



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Modi’s Muslim Bashing In U.P Elections: Carrying Forward The RSS Legacy – By Shamsul Islam (Feb 21, 2017, Countercurrents)

As the multi-phased UP assembly elections progress, PM Modi as the only mascot of BJP’s campaign is becoming more belligerent in his communal polarizing rhetoric. Speaking in an election rally on (February 20, 2017) at Fatehpur, PM while raising the issue of appeasement of Muslim minority in the State by the current Samajwadi Party government he went to the extent of declaring that “Ramzan me bijli athi hai tho Diwali me bhi ani chahiye; Bhedbhav nhi hona chahiye (If there is electricity during Ramadan then it must be available during Diwali too; there shouldn’t be any discrimination)…Gaon me kabristan banta hai to shamshaan bhi banna chahiye (If there is a ‘kabaristaan’ (graveyard), there should be a ‘shamshaan’ (cremation ground) too”. PM Modi was clearly targeting Akhilesh government for favouring Muslims over Hindus of UP. Though he did not share any data to prove this serious allegation, PM wanted to convey to his Hindu audience that Samajwadi Party did not care for Hindu votes and was in power due to Muslim votes, so naturally cared for the latter only.

This brash allegation needs serious investigation. Modi has been addressing election meetings in UP for almost last 3 weeks but never raised this issue. The Fatehpur address showed that he was trying to heighten the pitch for polarization between Hindus and Muslim electorate. It also meant that UP electorate, overwhelmingly consisting of Hindus, had not come out in support of the BJP. So, the bogey of Muslim appeasement and ‘enemy’ Muslim were being raised. Responding to this development a leading English daily of the country editorially wrote that halfway into the UP campaign, “both the PM’s choice of examples, and his message, are unfortunate…It neither behoves the PM nor his office.…



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Ujjain RSS leader must be arrested for hate speech and BJP must condemn his remarks – Editorial (Mar 3, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The RSS is not known for being circumspect in its remarks on the minorities, but even by its standards the speech made by Kundan Chandrawat, prachar pramukh from Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, is appalling. In a rabid address, he not only spoke glowingly of the courage of Hindus in whom Shivaji’s “blood runs” in killing over 2,000 Muslims in the 2002 Gujarat riots, but also promised more reprisals. The most shocking part of his speech, however, was the offer of a Rs 1 crore bounty to anyone who would bring him the head of Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

After this statement, the RSS scrambled for cover saying that the organisation does not advocate violence. The BJP MP from Ujjain Chintamani Malviya sought to cover up the whole thing saying that Chandrawat was distraught at the killing of RSS workers in Kerala and was expressing his pent up feelings. While it is true that clashes between the CPI(M) and RSS are common in north Kerala with casualties on both sides, nothing justifies advocating murder.

Chandrawat… should be arrested and charged with making a hate speech and inciting people to murder. His open praise of the Hindu mobs that killed Muslims during the fateful riots does no credit to the BJP, which was in power in the state at that time under the stewardship of then chief minister Narendra Modi. This is positively embarrassing for the party, which has distanced itself from those events. The RSS has all too often made intemperate remarks and then retreated in the face of public outrage. The fact that offenders are let off lightly is what has encouraged the likes of Chandrawat to come up with such incendiary remarks.…



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Narendra Modi’s Silence on Kansas Shooting Speaks Volumes – By Ruchira Sen (Mar 1, 2017, The Wire)

…According to bystanders, 51-year-old Adam Purinton opened fire on the two men – who he mistook to be Middle Eastern – after yelling “Get out of my country”. Kuchibhotla was killed in the incident, while Madasani and Ian Grillot, an American who had attempted to intervene, sustained injuries. The reactions to the incident, which is being viewed as a hate crime, have been perplexing.…

Considering Trump ascended to the presidency with promises of white supremacy, it was not surprising that he did not immediately condemn the murder of a person of colour by a white person. On the other hand, what is surprising is that the Narendra Modi-led Indian government, which has been pushing a particular brand of nationalism on everyone has had nothing to say about the attack. One can only guess the reasons for the prime minister’s silence on the incident.…

Like Trump, Modi too has been pushing ‘alternate facts’ of his own. For example, during the ‘California textbook controversy,’ Hindutva activists insisted that it was the Muslim rulers who had introduced the caste system into India. Had it not been for the intervention of independent scholars and the Indian American Muslim Council, it is possible that a generation of school children in California would have grown up studying ‘alternate facts’ instead of South Asian history.…



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Intolerance thy name is ABVP – By Charanjit Ahuja (Mar 3, 2017, Tehelka)

When the 20-year-old Gurmehar Kaur tweeted, “I am not afraid of ABVP”, it was clear that Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad has begun wearing its peculiar brand of nationalism upon its sleeves. She went on “to anyone questioning my courage and bravery. I’ve shown more than enough”. Her tweets following violence at Delhi University’s Ramjas College went viral and received massive support from students across various universities. Though subsequently, she withdrew from the campaign but she had made a point that intolerance and jingoism had crept in our system.…

The DU incident is line with the ABVP’s provocative attitude that was earlier witnessed in JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University), Hyderabad University, IIT-Chennai, and other institutions of academic repute. There is a question mark whether it was a spontaneous reaction of ABVP or there was a method in the madness. The pattern shows that it was not the act of a group of youngsters with a brazen sense of nationalism better said as jingoism. The journey from JNU to DU showed a pattern with law enforcing agencies remaining a mute spectator, falling short of abetting.

The act was at a sniffing distance from gagging the free speech by the on the campus. It is apparent that the way police allowed an event to be disrupted at Ramjas College and the subsequent violence amounted to complete failure of the law enforcing force. As Delhi Police comes directly under the Union Home Ministry, the government cannot disown its responsibility.…



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The Many Criminal Injustices of India’s Police and Investigating Agencies – By Basant Rath (Mar 7, 2017, The Wire)

For the first time in its history, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India’s premier investigation agency, is probing two of its former directors, Ranjit Sinha and A.P. Singh. India’s police leaders – the members of the Indian Police Service (IPS) who head, superintend and supervise the country’s criminal investigation architecture at the federal and state levels – need to ask themselves whether the cases of two former CBI directors constitute the tip of the proverbial iceberg or are exceptions in an otherwise professionally-run, stain-free establishment.…

If this is what has been happening in the CBI, a central agency answerable to the Union government at the national capital, then what is the state of affairs in the investigating agencies operating in the state and district capitals where officers are definitely more vulnerable to the bureaucrat-politician-corporate-money nexus and organised crime syndicates?…

What is the contribution of the erring police officers and their investigating agencies to the perversion of India’s criminal justice system? Between 1953 and 2013, the quality of investigation and prosecution has gone down. Convictions in murder cases fell from 51% to 36.5%. Convictions in kidnapping cases fell from 48% to 21.3%. Robbery convictions fell during this period from 47% to 29%. In 2013, only 26.5% of alleged rapists were brought to book. What is the relative contribution of the police led by the IPS to this mess? This is a question that should trouble the members of the elite service.…



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Book Review

Hashimpura 22 May

Author: Vibhuti Narain Rai
Reviewed by: Shaikh Mujibur Rehman
Available at: Penguin Books India Limited, 11 Community Centre, 110017, Panchseel, Panchshila Park South, Panchshila Park, New Delhi, Delhi. http://www.amazon.in/
A modern day Jallianwala Bagh (Mar 4, 2017, Hindustan Times)

By all accounts, custodial killings of more than 40 innocent young Muslims in Hashimpura on May 22, 1987 by Uttar Pradesh’s Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) of the 41st battalion can only be regarded as a modern day Jallianwalabagh or worse. In Jallianwalabagh, the crowd had gathered to take part in a political protest; here, these innocent youths were chosen from neighbouring villages.

PAC’s 41st battalion led by Platoon Commander Surender Pal Singh, selected youngsters in full public view from a crowd of roughly 500 people, loaded them onto an official truck, number URU 1352, drove them to the canal, shot each to death one by one, threw them into the water, and then returned to the camp for a regular life as though they had executed a routine job. Twenty eight years later, on March 21, 2015, the verdict on the crime was pronounced and all the accused were released.

Its key figure, Surender Pal Singh, is no more. The author interviewed him several times and heard him say that Muslims needed to be taught a lesson, but accepts his failure to figure out what made Singh lead this massacre. The murder of Prabhat Kumar; and his influential relatives, and their ideologies could have been the reason. That is how far we travel in this account to make sense of this tragedy.…