IAMC Weekly News Roundup - May 1st, 2017 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 1st, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Communal Harmony

When Muslims helped with the funeral ceremony of a Hindu man (Apr 26, 2017, Times of India)

In a heart rending incident, Muslim men conducted the final rites of a man according to Hindu rituals at Maldah’s Sheikhpura village on Tuesday. The man, Biswajit Rajak who died on Monday night was in a very poor shape and his parents had neither money nor manpower to perform the last rights. “We had no money for funeral of our son…whole night we sat and cried beside our dead son thinking what to do,” Biswajit mother said.

“In morning, our Muslim neighbours came forward and carried the body on a bamboo cot to the Manikchak cremation ground which is around 8km from the village,” she said… Interestingly, Sheikhpura is a Muslim majority village with just two or three Hindu families.

Local TMC leader and vice president of Maldah zilla Parishad Gaurchandra Mondal also joined the Biswajit’s last journey. “I am just speechless. This village is a live example of unity instead of massive poverty,” he said. “Hindus and Muslims are like two sons. We always looking after one another in this village. After all we are human first,” a Muslim youth Ashraf said.


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BJP MP asked Police to ‘Fire on these Pigs’ referrring to Muslims: Samajwadi Party report on Saharanpur violence (Apr 28, 2017, Twocircles.net)

A five-member Samajwadi Party delegation that visited Saharanpur to investigate the violence happened in the city on April 20 has alleged that Saharanpur MP Ram Lakhanpal Sharma asked the police to fire on the Muslims.

According to the delegation, Sharma said, “Fire on these pigs (Muslims). I am the captain here and I am ordering you. I have the government in the state now.” This allegation was confirmed by some of our police sources, while other sources were unable to recall the exact words of MP as it was chaotic all around.

SP delegation also alleged that when the police force did not follow the orders of Ram Lakhanpal Sharma, his younger brother Rahul Lakhanpal Sharma grabbed the collar of some officers on the spot and threatened them. That was the moment when MP, his brother, and their supporters started violence against Police officials.…



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In Adityanath’s Raj, Police Officers Pay the Price for Enforcing the Law on Hindutva Mobs (Apr 30, 2017, The Wire)

Bharatiya Janata Party leaders in Saharanpur and Agra are relieved that the senior superintendents of police of the two districts were transferred early this week. Though the SSP of Saharanpur, Love Kumar, and Agra SSP Pritinder Singh were removed from their current postings as part of a large-scale shuffle in the state police, their transfer by the Adityanath government is seen as a direct fallout of their decision to enforce the law on BJP leaders and workers of RSS affiliates like the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad after they engaged in major incidents of hooliganism in the two districts last week.

Kumar and Singh were removed hours after a delegation of party MPs and MLAs from western UP led by Muzaffarnagar MP Sanjeev Baliyan – a minister in the Centre – met Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday and complained against the two top cops and reportedly pushed for their removal. Their transfer orders, as part of the large-scale shake up of the police in the state, came on Wednesday.

Kumar had booked members of the ruling BJP including local Member of Parliament Raghav Lakhanpal, for allegedly taking out an illegal procession through a communally sensitive area which led to clashes last week. Lakhanpal allegedly instigated a mob of BJP workers to attack the SSP’s house and to engage in rioting and arson of public and private properties in Saharanpur.…



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Kerala CM Vijayan charges RSS of imparting kids, students the training to ‘kill’ (Apr 25, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday alleged the RSS of imparted to students and children the training “to kill” during its drill exercise in the state, a charge dismissed by the saffron outfit.

“Even students and children are given training to kill” Vijayan alleged while replying in the assembly during question hour. “The government would take necessary steps to end the drill exercise of RSS”, he said.…

Vijayan alleged that the drill exercises were being carried out in government schools and in temple premises and this would not be allowed. Referring to the recent killing of a Madrasa teacher in Kasargod, Vijayan alleged it was a part of a preplanned attack by RSS and their aim was to trigger communal riot. RSS attacked several CPI(M) and Congress workers in the state, he said in the assembly.…



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SC pulls up UP govt, calls Kashmiri man’s incarceration a ‘shame’ (Apr 26, 2017, Indian Express)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that alleged Hizbul Mujahideen operative and former AMU research scholar Gulzar Ahmad Wani will be released on bail on November 1 if the trial court fails to complete witnesses’ examination by that time.

A bench led by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar expressed strong displeasure at custody of Gulzar Ahmad Wani for the last 16 years despite his acquittal in 10 out of 11 criminal cases. “Out of 11 cases, he has been acquitted in 10 cases. What a shame! The problem is that you want to keep him inside the jail but not complete the trial. He was acquitted in all other cases,” the bench told the counsel for Uttar Pradesh as he opposed Wani’s release.

The court further noted that the trial moved at a snail’s pace although the apex court had last year directed the conclusion of recording of evidence within six months. “You seem to be very casual,” the bench told the state government as it set the deadline.…



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PM himself indulging in politicisation of ‘Triple Talaq’ issue: Cong (Apr 29, 2017, Webindia123.com)

Reacting to the statement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that there should not be a politicisation of the ‘triple talaq’ issue, the Congress today said that the PM himself had been indulging in the politicisation of the issue.

Talking to reporters here, AICC senior spokesperson and leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “the PM himself is the champion of the politicisation of the triple talaq issue. His statement today itself is an example of a politicisation of the issue.”

Asserting that none of the Opposition parties, be it the JD-U, the RJD, the SP or the DMK had ever said anything on the issue, Mr Azad said, “it is the BJP leaders and the RSS pracharaks who have been raising the issue in their electoral campaign.… The Prime Minister should put a control on his partymen.”…



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Zakia Jafri plea against clean chit to PM Modi: No scope for further probe, SIT tells Gujarat HC (Apr 29, 2017, Indian Express)

Defending its closure report giving clean chit to the then chief minister Narendra Modi and 60 others in the 2002 riots, the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Friday told the Gujarat High Court that there was no scope for any further investigation into the allegations of Zakia Jafri, wife of former Congress MP Ahsan Jafri who was killed in the Gulberg Society massacre.

Zakia has challenged the SIT clean chit to Modi and the others, including several police officials and politicians. She had alleged that Modi along with the others were responsible for the widespread riots, which were part of a “larger conspiracy”. A day after lawyers representing Zakia concluded their submissions before the High Court, SIT counsel C S Vaidyanathan argued that Zakia’s complaint was “investigated, reinvestigated and further investigated” under the supervision of the apex court… And therefore, there was nothing left in the allegations which require further probe…

However, Justice Sonia Gokani was not convinced with the arguments advanced by Vaidyanathan and told him to give further submission that why the magistrate couldn’t have ordered further probe. Justice Gokani also found that the Supreme Court had treated Zakia’s petition differently. She asked the SIT counsel to elaborate how the Zakia’s petition was part of the Gulberg Society massacre. She also asked the counsel to explain various other technical issues concerning the case in the next hearing on June 9.…



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Indian mob beats two Muslims to death over suspected cow theft (May 1, 2017, The Guardian)

Two Muslim men were beaten to death by Indian villagers who suspected them of stealing cows, police said on Monday. It is the latest in a series of attacks over the animals, which are considered sacred by Hindus.

Police in Nagaon district, in Assam state in the country’s north-east, said they had registered a murder case over the deaths of Abu Hanifa and Riyazuddin Ali on Sunday. Two people have been detained for questioning. …

Critics say vigilantes have been emboldened by the victory of Narendra Modi, leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party, who became prime minister in 2014.… At least 10 Muslim men have been killed in similar incidents across the country by Hindu mobs on suspicion of eating beef or smuggling cows in the last two years.…



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Dalits demand arrest of Bajrang Dal activists (Apr 29, 2017, Times of India)

Dalit organizations organized a protest in front of the SP’s office on Friday demanding the externment of Bajrang Dal activists who had attacked three youths from their community earlier in the week.

A group of activists from Bajrang Dal had barged into the house of gram panchayat member Shakuntala in Koraga Colony alleging that they were cooking beef. They attacked three youths allegedly threatening them with abusive words.

Karnataka Dalit Sangarsha Samithi leader demanded that police arrest the accused. Sunder Master, DSS district convener said, “This act shows that a section of the community is forcing people what they should eat. The choice of food is ours and we will continue to do that. No one has the right to say what we should eat. After the attack, police arrested innocent victims. Now the family lives in fear.”…



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130 Million Aadhaar Numbers Were Made Public, Says New Report (May 1, 2017, The Wire)

Irresponsible information security practices by a major central government ministry and a state government may have exposed up to 135 million Aadhaar numbers, according to a new research report released on Monday.

The last two months have seen a wave of data leaks, mostly due to improper information security practices, from various central government and state government departments.…

“While the UIDAI has been involved in proactively pushing for other databases to get seeded with Aadhaar numbers, they take little responsibility in ensuring the security and privacy of such data.With countless databases seeded with Aadhaar numbers, we would argue that it is extremely irresponsible on the part of the UIDAI, the sole governing body for this massive project, to turn a blind eye to the lack of standards prescribed for how other bodies shall deal with such data, such cases of massive public disclosures of this data, and the myriad ways in which it may used for mischief,” the report states.…



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Chhattisgarh Official’s Facebook Post Reveals Horrific Police Torture Of Minor Tribal Girls (May 2, 2017, Huffington Post)

A woman official of the government of Chhattisgarh has irked the authorities with a Facebook post raising questions about a model of governance that allows for alleged harassment of tribal people in the state.

“I am a witness to the torture of minor tribal girls … In the police stations, women personnel have stripped and tortured girls as old as 14 and 16 … They were given electric shock on their hands and breasts. I have seen the marks … I was horrified … Why third-degree torture on minors? I have given directions for their treatment”, Varsha Dongre, deputy jailer of Raipur Central Jail, recently wrote in a post in Hindi.

“We need to introspect, because those who are getting killed in either side of this war in Bastar are our own people. The capitalist system is being forced on Bastar, tribals are being pushed out of their lands, their villages are being burnt, women raped – all this to grab land and forests. All this isn’t being done to end Naxalism”, she added.…



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Opinions and Editorials

India’s New Face – By Hartosh Singh Bal (Apr 24, 2017, New York Times)

…Until he became chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Adityanath, 45, was primarily known as a firebrand Hindu leader who had created a volunteer force, the Hindu Yuva Vahini, or Vehicle for Hindu Youth, a group repeatedly accused of stoking and participating in religious violence. The best chronicled of such incidents took place in 2007 in Gorakhpur, Mr. Adityanath’s hometown, in eastern Uttar Pradesh. After the death of a Hindu youth in clashes between Hindus and Muslims on the day of the Shia festival of Moharram, Mr. Adityanath publicly addressed his men: “In times to come, if one Hindu is killed, we won’t go to the police. Instead we will make sure we will kill 10 Muslims.” He was arrested and kept in custody for 15 days after his men destroyed a roadside Sufi shrine and violated prohibitory orders.…

The Gorakhnath sect’s overt involvement with the politics of the Hindu right began in 1935 when Digvijai Nath, an orphan who had been brought to the sect at age 8, came to lead it.… After the assassination of Mohandas Gandhi, Digvijai Nath, along with Mr. Savarkar, was arrested for a speech he had given three days before calling for Mr. Gandhi’s murder. They were let off on grounds of insufficient evidence to connect them to the assassination. A year after his release from jail, Mr. Nath told a newspaper that if his party attained power, “it would deprive the Muslims of the right to vote for five to 10 years.

Mr. Adityanth, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister and the new poster boy of Hindu nationalism, has inherited this worldview. These exclusionary ideas sit well with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who led the B.J.P. campaign in the Uttar Pradesh elections. The campaign combined a pitch that promised economic development with a divisive message that targeted the Muslim minority. Muslims constitute 20 percent of the state’s population. Mr. Modi’s party did not field a single Muslim candidate;…



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Hindutva mobs flex muscles against Muslims. Sikhs, Christians should speak up before it’s too late – By Sunny Hundal (Apr 29, 2017, Hindustan Times)

As right wing forces flex their Hindutva muscles and use them against Muslims across the country, Sikhs and Christians will be watching in worry. But the time for them to speak out is now, not when the mob comes for them. By then it will be too late.

Sikhs know this better than any other religious minority in India. The state-directed genocide in 1984 showed that Indian politicians rarely face charges for stirring up hatred against non-Hindus. But what is at stake here for Sikhs isn’t just their own safety but the protection of an important principle.…

After the Second World War a German priest spoke of his regret in not opposing Hitler earlier. He wrote: “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Socialist.” Then they came for the Trade Unionists and the same happened. Then the Jews. “Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.” India’s religious minorities have always been suspicious of Hindutva, aware that one day they could be on the receiving end of its intolerance. That day is arriving faster than they realise.



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The ‘Muslim Problem’ is a Symptom of Insecure Nationalism – By Asim Ali (Apr 28, 2017, The Wire)

…Sadly, the nationalism prevailing today would be unrecognisable to our founding fathers. Far from the high-minded ideals of our constitution, the nationalism of today is increasingly petty, paranoid and insecure.… Once the existence of the ‘Muslim problem’ is accepted by large parts of society, it would then of course also need to be ‘resolved’. It was resolved through a pogrom in Gujarat, but a national solution is likely to be more subtle, whose shape we can already grasp. It involves the further marginalisation and effective disenfranchisement of the community, long advocated by Hindutva ideologues such as M.S. Golwalkar.

The representation of Muslims in elected assemblies is falling across the board. The Muslim representation in the current Lok Sabha is the lowest ever, the representation in the recently elected Uttar Pradesh assembly has receded to the post-Babri riots level, in Gujarat it had plummeted under then chief minister Modi’s watch, settling at two MLAs in a total house of 182. This political marginalisation is coupled with localised violence by vigilantes, enjoying varied degrees of state support.

This concerted campaign of anti-Muslim prejudice may be conceived by the Sangh, but is perpetuated by useful followers in a supine media, driven by the iron logic of ratings, and accepted wholeheartedly by a middle class in thrall to an insecure nationalism. It now threatens to completely marginalise the Muslims in the public sphere. It is this fact that should insult a mature democracy, not an image of its flag on a doormat.



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Sadhvi Pragya Singh may not like saffron terror, but that doesn’t mean it was a ‘bogey’ – By Charu Kartikeya (Apr 28, 2017, Catch News)

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur… reportedly told reporters on 27 April that she was “100% innocent” and her arrest was “a conspiracy hatched by the Congress-led UPA government…to endorse the bogey of saffron terrorism”. But is “saffron terrorism” really a bogey? Forget that branding, does this one case appear to be a bogey? How is it then that 10 other accused in the case are still languishing behind the bars?

How is it that the same National Investigation Agency (NIA) that did not find “sufficient evidence” against Thakur, has recommended prosecution against the other 10 under stringent sections of law? Investigating agencies appear to have made a mess of the case, but even then they maintain that the case stands. And this is just one of about half a dozen major cases of “saffron terror” in which trials are still going on and courts are passing some really serious observations against the accused.…

That saffron-terror is anything but a “bogey” was conclusively proved last month with the conviction and award of life imprisonment to two terrorists in the Ajmer Dargah blasts case. A special NIA court awarded life imprisonment to Devendra Gupta and Bhavesh Patel for their role behind the blasts that on 11 October 2007 had killed three pilgrims and injured 15 others. At least one of them was a known former worker of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), long considered the fountainhead of all Hindutva-oriented organisations in the country.… Saffron or anything else, Thakur can call it whatever she wants to but she cannot deny its existence.



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Why Yogi Adityanath wants to keep issue of Ram Mandir burning till 2019 – By Kaveree Bamzai (Apr 26, 2017, Dailyo.in)

Yogi Adityanath is likely to keep the issue of Ram Janmabhoomi hot ahead of the 2019 general election given his mutt’s long association with it, says Dhirendra K Jha, author of Shadow Armies: Fringe Organisations and Foot Soldliers of Hindutva.

Jha, whose book chronicles the rise of Hindu Yuva Vahini, Yogi Adityanath’s organisation, says he never considered that Adityanath would be made chief minister of Uttar Pradesh while he was researching his book in 2015-16.

In an interview, he explains why he sees some similarities between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, and how “Adityanath is much ahead of Modi in securing his base independent of the RSS”:…



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Vigilantes terrorize India’s beef-eating minorities – By Kadayam Subramanian (Apr 25, 2017, Asia Times)

On April 21, five members of a family, including a 9-year-old girl, were seriously injured in an attack by a large, illegal gau rakshak (“cow protection”) vigilante group in the Reasi district of Jammu & Kashmir. The nomadic tribal people were herding their livestock, including 16 cows and calves, when they were intercepted near the Talwara area and assaulted with iron rods.

The group belonged to two important front organisations of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volutereeer Association) and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The tribesmen reported that the attackers absconded with their goats, sheep and cows. The nine-year-old girl suffered multiple fractures and one of the children went missing. Even the elders were beaten up. Their attackers also threatened to throw them into a nearby river.

Jammu & Kashmir is home to a large number of nomadic tribal herder groups that travel between Jammu’s Himalayan mountains every year for grazing. This particular group had the necessary permit from the forest department, but the police demanded a district magistrate’s permit. The local magistrate, however, told the media that the permit from the forest department was sufficient. The police said they had identified five of the attackers, but no arrests were made.…



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Book Review

Shadow Armies: Fringe Organisations and Foot Soldiers of Hindutva

Author: Dhirendra K. Jha
Reviewed by: Saket Suman
Available at: Juggernaut Books, e-publishers, India; support@juggernaut.in; Pages: 228; Price: Rs 499 . www.amazon.in/
Connecting the dots: The BJP, Hindutva and fringe organisations (Apr 26, 2017, Daijiworld.com)

The rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from two seats in 1984 to a staggering 282 in 2014 may be seen as the growing appeal of its ideology – Hindutva – among the masses, but this compelling work of extraordinary research provides enough evidence to suggest that the ruling party’s advance over the last three decades is not its journey alone and has been accompanied by the steady progress of fringe organisations which, in turn, have been the “foot soldiers” of its ideology.

From Yogi Adityanath’s Hindu Yuva Vahini in eastern Uttar Pradesh and the “love jihad” obsessed Sri Ram Sene in Mangalore to the Sanatan Sanstha, whose members have been arrested for the murder of rational thinkers Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and M.M. Kalburgi, the direct outcome of the activities of almost all of these eight organisations – polarisation – has not only served to foster a pro-Hindutva environment but has, indeed, brought about long-term electoral gains for the BJP.

It is perhaps the first book of its kind that has carefully studied the functioning and evolution of fringe organisations in the country and linked, with evidence, their connection to a mainstream political party. Author Dhirendra K. Jha, a journalist, combines substantial research of eight Hindu rightwing organisations across India and their BJP connections with flawless prose to prove his point in “Shadow Armies: Fringe Organisations and Foot Soldiers of Hindutva”.…