IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 14th, 2018 - IAMC

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 14th, 2018

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Communal Harmony

Kerala mosques set example of Hindu-Muslim Unity (May 8, 2018, Indian Awaaz)

In a rare gesture of Hindu Muslim unity, mosques in Kerala opened the door for non Muslim parents who accompanied students, from different states to exam centres for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET).

Management of Vadi Hira Masjid at Aluva near Kochi hosted parents, including women, and made the necessary arrangements forthem to get rest while their children wrote the exam. More than 1,500 students had come to Aluva to appear the medical entrance examination. The students were allotted centres in nearby Thottumukham Sivagiri School and Chalakkal Amal Public School.

“Vadi Hira Masjid arranged accommodation for hundreds of parents who accompanied their children for the NEET exam,” said Abdul Raoof Bin Rahim, a social activist and member of the committee, adding that reception for parents was arranged by the mosque management.…


[Back to Top]

Communal clash in Aurangabad: Day after, victims’ families blame police (May 14, 2018, Indian Express)

A day after two persons, including a minor, were killed in communal clashes, Aurangabad limped back to normalcy Sunday under heavy security in the old city’s riot-hit areas. While senior police officers visited and reviewed the situation in the city, families of those who died in the clashes demanded action against the police.

While the family of 17-year-old Mohammed Abdul Haris Kadri, of Navabpur, who died in police firing on Saturday morning, initially refused to accept his body, relatives of Jaganlal Bansile, killed after a petrol bomb was hurled at his house alleged that police had not prevented rioters from running amok.

Kadri’s body was buried Sunday after intervention of local AIMIM MLA Imtiyaz Jaleel. Kadri’s relatives said he was not involved in the riots and demanded action against his killers and the main conspirators behind the violence. His family said Kadri had recently cleared his SSC exams and had left the house to bring his brother back home. He is survived by his parents and younger brother. His father runs a used-car business.…



[Back to Top]

Act against intruders in AMU: Hamid Ansari (May 12, 2018, The Hindu)

Breaking his silence, former Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Saturday supported Aligarh Muslim University students’ demand for action against intruders who created a ruckus on the campus over the Jinnah portrait issue on May 2, when he was present there for an event, and said their peaceful stir against the transgression was commendable.

The event where Mr. Ansari was to be conferred the life membership of the Aligarh Muslim University Students Union was cancelled due to the alleged violence by right-wing Hindu activists. Dr. Ansari, an AMU alumnus, said the disruption, its precise timing, and the “excuse manufactured for justifying it” raises questions.

“The peaceful protest by the [AMU] students against this transgression is commendable. They must ensure that it does not in any way interfere with their academic pursuits. Their request that action be taken against the intruders and disruptors after a judicial enquiry is justified. The authorities of the AMU have made a similar request,” he said in a letter to the AMU Students’ Union.



[Back to Top]

Now, outfits to press for namaz at just five places in Gurgaon (May 13, 2018, Indian Express)

A day after namaz was offered at 47 places across Gurgaon — as agreed upon by Gurgaon Police, the district administration and representatives of the Muslim community — the Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti has said that it will press for Friday prayers to be held at just five sites. Members of the Samiti said they intend to meet the deputy commissioner in the coming days to discuss the matter.

“Among the demands communicated to the commissioner was that namaz be read in not more than five open spaces, which do not have a masjid within a two-km radius. The reduction in the number of places where namaz was offered is a positive sign, but we are pressing for that figure to be reduced to five. We are planning to meet the deputy commissioner and Gurgaon Police to agree upon a deadline for the same,” said Rajiv Mittal, national general secretary of the Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Kranti Dal, one of the outfits that is part of the Samiti.

Of the 47 places where prayers were offered Friday, 23 were “open spaces” while 24 were masjids or properties belonging to Waqf board. Before the protest by various outfits, namaz used to be read at around 100 vacant plots and parks.…



[Back to Top]

Freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak described as ‘father of terrorism’ in Rajasthan class 8 book (May 12, 2018, Financial Express)

In a shocking incident, a reference book for Class 8 Social Studies in Rajasthan described freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak as the ‘father of terrorism’. In what could be called as the poor choice of words, school kids in Rajasthan were taught, “Tilak demonstrated a path towards national movement, therefore, he is called as the father of terrorism,” as per what page 267 of chapter 22 of the book read. The book by a Mathura-based publisher is being used by private English-medium schools affiliated to the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education (RBSE).

The description of the freedom fighter comes as a part of sub-topic “Incidents of National Movement during 18th and 19th century” in the book. The book further read, “Tilak clearly believed that we cannot achieve anything just by pleading the British officers. Through Shivaji and Ganpati festivals, Tilak aroused unique awareness in the country. He instilled the mantra of freedom among the masses, due to which he became a thorn in the eyes of the British.”

However reacting to the blunder, Private School Association Director Kailash Sharma said that describing Tilak as the “father of terrorism” is highly condemnable. He further said, before writing or making such controversial changes in texts, one should consult with the historians first.…



[Back to Top]

Protest against allowing private entity to ‘maintain’ Red Fort (May 10, 2018, Business Standard)

Civil society organisations, heritage groups, teachers and students associations among others today took out a protest march against the government’s decision to involve a private enterprise for “maintenance” of the Red Fort.

Around 100 protestors raised slogans of No Company Raj Again as they held the protest march from the Rajghat to the Red Fort on the occasion of the 161st anniversary of the first War of Independence – the revolt of 1857.

Late last month, the Bharat Dalmia Group signed an MoU with the government under which it was allowed to maintain the monument.… The protestors, however, alleged the move was in line with the RSS’ efforts of “rewriting and erasing history according to their whims and fancies”.…



[Back to Top]

Manmohan Singh questions PM Modi’s language in Karnataka speeches, writes to President Ram Nath Kovind (May 14, 2018, Hindustan Times)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi must be cautioned against using words that were “threatening, intimidating in content and a public warning” against the leaders of the Congress, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and several leaders of the main opposition party have said in a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind.

The letter, written on May 13 and signed by Singh, P Chidambaram, Anand Sharma, Karan Singh and others, points to a video of the Prime Minister’s speech on May 6 in Karnataka’s Hubli during an election rally. Modi reportedly warned Congress president Rahul Gandhi and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi not to “cross the limits of public decorum” or else they would have to pay for it. He did not directly name any leader but mentioned “Congress ma (Congress mother)” and her son in an apparent reference to the Gandhis.

Singh and other leaders said all the prime ministers in the past maintained “immense dignity and decorum” in the discharge of public or private functions and actions. The letter said the “threat held out by the Prime Minister to the INC’s leadership deserves to be condemned”.…



[Back to Top]

Gujarat govt’s electoral contribution to BJP by cheque in 2009-10? No state dept knows who made the payment (May 9, 2018, Counterview)

While it is well known that top business houses of Gujarat have liberally contributed to the BJP to meet its electoral expenses, putting Congress in an unenviable position, surprisingly, in 2009-10, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi ruled the state, his government, too, made a contribution, albeit small, to the saffron party!

The 2009-10 list of donations of more than Rs 20,000, submitted by the BJP’s then office in-charge Shyam Jaju to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on December 1, 2010, has an entry on page 13, showing that the “Government of Gujarat, Gandhinagar”, donated Rs 25,000 as electoral contribution to the party by cheque No 482811 of State Bank of India.

Former BJP chief minister Suresh Mehta, who dug out this piece information more than a year ago, told Counterview, “I have been filing Right to Information (RTI) pleas to ascertain who in the state government paid this money, violating all constitution norms. Yet, no state department, including the chief secretary’s office, knows who made the payment.”…



[Back to Top]

Gujarat Dalit activist sends 25 kg plastic “responsible” for cow slaughter to chief minister, insists, punish the guilty (May 11, 2018, Counterview))

Gujarat’s grassroots Dalit rights activist Natubhai Parmar – who created a flutter by dumping a tractor full of dead cows in front of Surendranagar district office in 2016 following cow vigilantes beating up Dalits belonging to the Rohit community in Una on July 11, 2016 on suspicion of cow slaughter – has stunned the state administration yet again. Now he has sent across 25 kg of plastic recovered from the womb of a cow to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani to tell him: Plastics are the main cause of cow slaughter.…

Marking the first anniversary of the rally, on Friday, Parmar organized another rally, taking a 25 kg box, plastic taken out from a dead cow after skinning the animal, to be hands over to the chief minister. The box and a memorandum addressed to the chief minister were given to the district collector, who was told, even though the government claims to revere it as a holy animal, it does not take its proper care. He told Counterview, “I was told I wouldn’t be able to hand over the plastic to the chief minister, who is visiting here for a function. So we decided to hand over this to the district collector, meant as a gift to the chief minister.”

The 12-point memorandum, a copy of which he gave to Counterview, said, the main reason why cows die is because of the state policy which led to disappearance of grazing land across Gujarat. While cow sheds or panjrapols were being closed down, the existing ones do not take care of unproductive cows, hence the animal is forced to go astray, eating whatever it gets on streets, including food mixed with plastics.…



[Back to Top]

Shahjahanpur woman, who accused BJP MLA of rape, threatens to immolate self (May 9, 2018, Hindustan Times)

The Yogi Adityanath government finds itself in a fresh controversy after the Unnao rape case with a Shahjahanpur woman threatening to immolate herself if the son of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker is not arrested for allegedly raping her in 2012.

The BJP MLA, Roshan Lal Verma, was then a legislator with the Bahujan Samaj Party. He joined the BJP in 2017. “I want both Roshan Lal Verma (the BJP MLA from Tilhar constituency in Shajahanpur) and his son Manoj Verma behind bars. The local administration has asked me to wait till May 21; if they don’t take action by then, I am going to immolate myself the same day,” said the 28-year-old woman. …

“I am receiving death threats from the ‘goons’ of Verma. I have sent letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Yogi Adityanath to provide security and justice, which has been denied to me all these years,” she said.…



[Back to Top]

PM’s silence on atrocities against Dalits shows BJP’s mindset: Rahul Gandhi (May 6, 2018, Hindustan Times)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday questioned Prime Minister’s alleged silence on attacks against Dalits and tribal people ahead of the Karnataka assembly elections.

Gandhi shared a video on Twitter and said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) wanted Dalits and Adivasis to exist at the bottom rung of the society. The more than two-minute clip cites examples of alleged atrocities, including the flogging of Dalit men in Gujarat’s Una in 2016 and the recent SC/ST markings on the chests of Madyha Pradesh constables during a recruitment exam.

“Why are Dalits constantly prosecuted in Modi’s new India… His silence reflects the mindset of RSS and BJP… Speak-up Mr Modi,” the video said.…



[Back to Top]

Opinions and Editorials

Hindutva groups’ assault on AMU was never about Jinnah. It had a more sinister motive – By Rana Safvi (May 11, 2018, Scroll.in)

…If it was about Muhammad Ali Jinnah then why did they not see out Bharatiya Janata Party MP Satish Gautam’s 48-hour ultimatum to the AMU Students Union to remove the founder of Pakistan’s portrait from the Union Hall, where it had been hanging forgotten since 1938? Is a bye-election happening in Kairana?

If it was about Jinnah why did the goons of the Hindu Yuva Vahini and other Hindutva groups who had come with weapons and the police not march towards the Union Hall? Why did they come shouting provocative slogans, branding the students traitors and calling for causing harm to them?

How did this group of armed goons come within 100 meters of where Hamid Ansari, with whom the right-wing has always had a problem, was staying? Ironically, the former Indian vice president had come to deliver a speech on the subject “India has failed to establish a pluralistic society”. It is not about Jinnah. It was never about Jinnah. It is about demonising a particular community. It is about interfering in educational institutions that support free speech and liberal values.…



[Back to Top]

Are Aligarh, Gurugram Mere Theatres of BJP’s Play on Communal Politics? – By Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar (May 8, 2018, The Wire)

The manner in which Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath defended the violence by right-wing groups at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) over a portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and then Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar questioned why namaz was being offered in the open in the wake of the disruption of Friday prayers in Gurgaon, indicates that the BJP is busy finding new theatres for creating communal disharmony, social scientists The Wire spoke to said.

“This is actually a political narrative which is being constructed technically by the BJP establishment in order to secure media space which has been shrinking for them. There is a remarkable similarity between Khattar’s statement with regard to the namaz issue and the one made by Yogi Adityanath on the AMU episode,” said professor Hilal Ahmed of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS).

He noted that while there are mechanisms in a democratic polity and governance procedures to register a protest, in both these episodes, “lawlessness was quite evident and instead of dealing with the governance issue, both CMs tried to underline that there is a reaction against a Muslim-related issue”.…



[Back to Top]

Haryana Public Gyms: A Place for Getting Regular Doses of Exercise or Hindutva? – By Ronak Chhabra (May 11, 2018, News Click)

Haryana Agriculture Minister Om Prakash Dhankar has recently announced government’s plan to share spaces of state-sponsored gymnasiums with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The announcement came at an inauguration event of a government gym in Panchkula, where he said that such gymnasiums would be used as RSS shakhas (units).

The promulgation provides confirmation to the earlier comments made by Haryana Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma who said that the state-sponsored gyms would be used as RSS units.

In 2015, in an attempt to promote fitness, Chief Minister Mr Manohar Lal said that gyms in open spaces would be set up in big parks of all the districts of the state.… The announcement came just days after Haryana Chief Minister suggested that namaz should be restricted to mosques or idgahs, and need not be offered in public spaces.…



[Back to Top]

Dalmiafication of the Qila-e-Mubarak Will Lead us Nowhere – By Narayani Gupta (May 8, 2018, The Wire)

…The Dalmias cannot help being what they are (in the early 20th century cement was seen as the great leveller – the miracle material which could build affordable homes for the middle-class – but now the thought of a cement corporation becoming a ‘Monument Mitra’ makes one shudder fastidiously.

Predictably, there is an outcry – or outcries – and (to follow official grammar) an outrage. No homework was done for the project, and no homework is being done by the critics. That facilities should be provided for tourists is seen as somehow demeaning. But who are ‘tourists’? They are not just well-heeled foreigners; they are thousands of our countrymen, for most part of modest means. It is vitally important that for them these three-dimensional history lessons should be made as clear and evocative, as unforgettable as possible.…

Hardly anyone seems to have read the small print of the adoption form (which has been available for scrutiny since September 2017). No-one seems clear as to the difference between the NCF (National Culture Fund), CSR (corporate social responsibility and AaH (the ministry of tourism document implies that the AaH scheme comes under CSR). It has even been darkly suggested that the Dalmias will give a miserable sum of Rs 5 crore a year and pocket the gate-money, which amounts to much more.…



[Back to Top]

Karnataka elections saw Modi take political discourse to a new low – By Anand Kochukudy (May 13, 2018, Dailyo.in)

…Indeed, ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi emerged on the national scene in 2013, Indian elections have undergone a change of character and evolved into a more vitriolic exercise. While it was a bit of novelty for the general public in the days leading up to the general elections of 2014, things are getting much more sinister by the day. One wonders how things might go further downhill in the days leading up to the next general election.

Apart from all those familiar digs at his political opponents, Prime Minister Modi also finds it necessary to go back in time to the pre-Independence era to make his point. The least one would expect from such ungainly revisiting of history is a strict adherence to facts and absence of fabrications.

But it seems Modi has no qualms stooping with his barrage of concoctions and misstatements. Like many of his political opponents, this writer too suspects some of these misstatements to be deliberate and wilful. A simple peek into the prime minister’s campaigning over the last fortnight leading up to the Karnataka poll would throw up at least half-a-dozen falsehoods.…



[Back to Top]

The Two Faces of Hindutva’s Dalit Agenda – By Harish S. Wankhede (May 10, 2018, The Wire)

…Dalit identity has remained a bete noire to the Hindutva project and in the past, the right wing has avoided an open engagement with the caste question. The RSS-BJP combine assumes that the Dalits are an integral part of the communal Hindu identity, especially when it mobilises against the Muslims. By popularising the Brahmanical culture and religious artefacts as national symbols, the right wing attracts the Dalits into its fold.

However, against the efforts of the right wing, the Ambedkarite Dalits’ stiff ideological commitment, street militancy for social justice and the religious and cultural separateness have promoted them as an arch ideological counter to right wing politics. The recent nation-wide mobilisation of Dalitsagainst the dilution of the The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act highlights their growing anger against the political establishment.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) understands the dynamic legacy of the Dalit movement in disturbing the Hindutva’s ideological rigour. Hence, to neutralise the impact of Dalit assertion on the political and social fronts, the right wing forces have improvised their tactics at both levels. On the political front, the BJP is showcasing its inclusive character; however, in the social sphere, the right wing is using anti-Dalit sentiments to consolidate its political base.…



[Back to Top]

Book Review

Ground Down by Growth: Tribe, Caste, Class, and Inequality in Twenty-First Century India

Author: Alpa Shah, Jens Lerche & Others
Reviewed by: R. Srivatsan
Available at: Oxford University Press, World Trade Tower, 12th floor, C-1, Sector 16, Main DND Road, Rajnigandha Chowk, Noida – 201301 Uttar Pradesh, India, INR850. https://www.amazon.in/
The missing trickle-down effect (May 12, 2018, The Hindu)

Is there structural oppression of Dalits and Adivasis in neo-liberal India? A group of social researchers explain how caste, tribe and class interact to produce oppression of the marginalised classes. The term ‘growth’ in the title, pinpoints the process that grinds down the dispossessed. The book’s argument runs against the neo-liberal homily that untrammelled economic growth will benefit society through a trickle-down effect.

Neo-liberalism also suggests that capitalist development as pure economic growth will erase all differentiations of caste and tribe, bringing equal chance for prosperity to all through the Smithian invisible hand. The book’s chapters deflate these universalist claims, elaborating critical directions pioneered by, among others, economists such as Joseph Stiglitz.

The main insight of the volume is that class must be understood relationally, rather than as some essential category of analysis. These relations are not only between the capitalist and labourer as in Marxism, but also on how the working class is further differentiated through socially imposed hierarchies of caste, minority and tribe.…