IAMC Weekly News Roundup - May 2nd, 2016 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 2nd, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Communal Harmony

‘All-faith meet in Varanasi to strengthen Hindu-Muslim unity’ (Apr 29, 2016, Times of India)

The Maulana Arshad Madani led faction of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, is all set to go to Prime minister Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi with the message of Hindu-Muslim unity and the need to recognise and reject fundamentalist and divisive forces trying to divide the two communities on religious lines. Interestingly, this congregation planned from Monday will bring together heads of various major temples of Varanasi in a first of its kind all-faith meet for unity.

As he heads for Varanasi to attend the all-religion unity conference being organized by Shri Ramlila Samiti, Nadesar in Varanasi, the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind chief says he is clear that his message to those who will assemble there will seek to warn them against falling in the trap of divisive forces.…

Madani said this conference will be a first of its kind as it is will bring together heads of some of the major temples of Varanasi and the Jamiat on one platform to unite against divisive forces and raise their voice against those trying to spread terror in the name of religion.…


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US religious freedom report names BJP chief Amit Shah, endorses rejection of Modi’s visa during 2005-14 (May 3, 2016, Counterview)

The just-released 2016 annual report of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), expressing serious concern over “negative trajectory” on religious freedom in India, has warned that it may, in future, seek to downgrade India’s status from Tier II countries to “country of particular concern”.…

Especially targeting the ruling BJP, RSS and other Sangh Parivar organizations for using “religiously-divisive language to further inflame tensions”, it says, the problem has got aggravated following “longstanding problems of police bias and judicial inadequacies”, creating a “pervasive climate of impunity, where religious minority communities feel increasingly insecure, with no recourse when religiously-motivated crimes occur.” Recalling how it recommended and succeeded in barring Prime Minister Narendra Modi to enter the US for nine years, from 2005 to 2014, on the basis of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) “for systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom”, the report says this was done for Modi’s “complicity in riots” in 2002 Gujarat riots that resulted in the deaths of “an estimated 1,100 to 2,000 Muslims.”…



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RTI activist’s murder: NaMo Brigade founder in constant touch with killers, says police (Apr 27, 2016, Indian Express)

The Mangaluru police on Tuesday opposed the anticipatory bail plea of NaMo Brigade founder Naresh Shenoy claiming that his call details revealed he was in constant touch with the men already arrested for the murder of an RTI activist on March 21.

It said the presence of a Toyota Qualis linked to him near the crime scene and the statements of the three arrested accused clearly showed Shenoy’s involvement in the murder. Shenoy (39) is the prime suspect in the murder of RTI activist Vinayak Baliga. He has been missing for a month, and has sought anticipatory bail.

The 51-year-old RTI activist was hacked to death barely 75 metres from his house while he was out for his customary morning visit to the city’s Venkatramana temple. The alleged hired killers, Nishith Devadiga (23) and Vinith Poojary (26), were arrested by the Mangaluru police on March 28. The probe further revealed that the killers were allegedly hired through two individuals, Shiva P and Shrikant M. While Shrikanth was found to be an employee of Shenoy, the investigations also showed that one Vignesh, another employee of Shenoy, was allegedly present at the crime scene in a Toyota Qualis to facilitate a getaway.…



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CIC Orders PMO, Universities To Furnish Narendra Modi’s Graduation Details (Apr 29, 2016, Huffington Post)

The Central Information Commission (CIC) on Friday asked the Prime Minister’s Office and the Delhi and Gujarat Universities to disclose Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s graduation details ‘as soon as possible’.

In its response to an RTI application filed by Arvind Kejriwal, the commission ordered the Central Public Information Officers (CPIO) of Delhi and Gujarat Universities to provide the Delhi chief minister with Modi’s graduation details. Gujarat University and Delhi University had in the past denied RTI requests seeking information about Modi’s educational qualifications.

“There are allegations that Narendra Modi does not have any degree. The people of the country want to know the truth. Despite that you have refused to make records regarding his degree public. Why did you do this? This is wrong,” Kejriwal said in the letter.…



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Retired IPS officer files petition against appointment of cop accused in Ishrat Jahan Fake Encounter as Gujarat DGP (Apr 29, 2016, Twocircles.net)

Julio Ribeiro, former Mumbai Police Commissioner has filed a petition in Gujarat High Court against IPS officer, PP Pandey’s appointment as in-charge Director General of Police (DGP), Gujarat. Pandey, who was out on bail in the alleged fake encounter case of Ishrat Jahan, has been appointed as the in-charge Director General of Police (DGP) of Gujarat after the incumbent P C Thakur was transferred to Delhi on April 16, 2016.…

“It is ridiculous. How can a person, who is facing trial for four murders, be appointed to the top post, as the person facing trial has to be under suspension, according to the All India Services (Conduct) Rules,” top cop, Ribeiro was quoted as saying by news website Sabrang.

Pandey was re-inducted into service after he secured bail from CBI court in Ishrat Jahan case in February last year. Four days after his release on bail, Gujarat government revoked his suspension and reinstated him in service.…



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Malegaon blasts case: Petitions allege bias by investigating agencies (Apr 30, 2016, Indian Express)

Following a special court discharging Muslim youth in the 2006 Malegaon blasts case, the issue of bias on the part of investigating agencies during investigation of terror cases was raised before the Bombay High Court on Friday. The court said the “matter will have to be heard”, and asked for the orders in the case to be submitted before them.

A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Prakash Naik has asked state and investigative agencies to produce orders in the case. The court was hearing several petitions which alleged that there was a pattern of investigative agencies picking up Muslim men as accused in terror cases, including the Pune German Bakery blasts, 7/11 blasts and the 2006 Malegaon blasts.

With regard to the 7/11 case and confirmation of death sentence in the German Bakery case, which have concluded recently, the court said, “all aspects cannot be gone into at this stage when proceedings of the trial is not concluded. Order of this court will affect proceedings arising out of trial court,” said the HC.…



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Sangh Parivar’s propaganda writ large over JNU ‘wild sex-drugs’ dossier (Apr 27, 2016, Dailyo.in)

From 1925 onwards, when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was formed, it preached a militant Hinduism. In the pre-independence period, however, from 1925-47, the only stalwart it could cite was VD “Veer Savarkar” who was not with the RSS but the Hindu Mahasabha. He did not accept the RSS dietary restrictions, and was a big supporter of beef-eating as he believed this was a cheap source of protein for the poor.…

The assault on JNU “started” from February 9, 2016, in which the Hindu Right spread atrocious rumours including those of being “anti-national” about secular students, teachers and karamcharis. Almost every one of us was shocked, not least of us those who had heard first-hand reports of the freedom struggle from our elders. Clearly, there was a struggle for secular India. The slogan, “Bharat Mata ki jai,” was sought to be made mandatory. The Maharashtra Assembly, in fact, suspended an AIMIM MLA Waris Pathan for only voicing the famous secular slogan “Jai Hind”.

But JNU was in for special treatment. Some 11 faculty members and students of the Right, including the ABVP and BJP, brought out a “dossier” consisting of published pamphlets, short articles, several of which were spurious, accusing students of wild sex, consumption of alcohol and drugs. The faculty was accused of being anti-national, supporting separatist movements in the Northeast and Kashmir. No evidence was adduced, since no theoretical or rigorously-worded document was included in the so-called dossier.…



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Attack orchestrated on self: Police withdraw security to Shiv Sena leader (May 1, 2016, Hindustan Times)

A day after police claimed that Shiv Sena (Uttar Bharat) district in-charge Deepak Kamboj (35) had orchestrated the February 16 attack on self with two friends to gain publicity and maximum security cover, the city police on Saturday withdrew the six gunmen attached with Kamboj.

Four cops of constable rank, along with an escort vehicle from city police, were guarding the leader, who has also been booked under the conspiracy charges. The police had arrested his two friends on Friday night. Gaurav Sondhi, owner of a printing press at Dhan Mohalla; and Supinder Singh, a property dealer at Maqdoompura; recorded their statements before the court of the chief judicial magistrate. They have been sent to police custody till May 3.

The police claimed that they had to recover the clothes worn by the accused at the time of the incident as captured by the CCTV cameras. The police said the clothes would be sent to the forensic laboratory at SAS Nagar for examination.…



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Two years of Narendra Modi govt: Survey says nearly half feel ‘no change’ (May 1, 2016, Financial Express)

With the Modi government close to completing its two years in office, a new survey today said nearly half of the respondents (49 per cent) feel “no change” in their living standards while another 15 per cent feel the situation has actually worsened.

The survey, conducted by the Centre for Media Studies (CMS), further claimed that “a significant percentage (43 per cent) feels that poor people are not benefitting from programmes and schemes under the Modi government.”…

The survey, of around 4,000 respondents across rural and urban areas of 15 states, still observed that less than one third feel the Prime Minister has fulfilled promises while around 48 per cent felt the promises have been met partially.…



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Caught on Camera: BJP leader Babulal Gaur touches woman inappropriately (Apr 21, 2016, Deccan Chronicle)

Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Babulal Gaur, who had earlier stirred a hornet’s nest after describing rape as a social crime, courted controversy yet again on Thursday as he was caught on camera inappropriately touching a woman as she was climbing on to a bus during an event in Bhopal.…

This is not the first time Gaur has courted controversy, as in 2013, the senior minister was seen enjoying a dance performance by skimpily clad women on a ferry in Goa. Besides such incidents, Gaur has also made headlines through several sexist and controversial comments.…

Recently, while commenting on the Shani Shingnapur row, Gaur landed in a soup for saying that women can worship from home instead of entering the temple.



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30 pc Waqf property encroached by DDA, others: Board (Apr 29, 2016, Indian Express)

Delhi Waqf Board chief Amanatullah Khan Thursday claimed the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) was the biggest “encroacher” of its properties in the national capital.

The Board has also released a list of its properties on its new website along with a list of tenants and will soon put out gazette notifications that provide the Waqf ownership of such properties.

“We have nearly 2,000 properties in Delhi. Of that, 70 per cent are in our possession and as much as 30 percent have been encroached by government agencies, primarily the DDA,” Khan told The Indian Express.…



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Opinions and Editorials

Fascism In Many Hues: Attack On Judiciary – By Rakesh Sharma (May 2, 2016, Countercurrents)

…Within the last week or two, there have been reports about sacking of the Chief Judicial Magistrate Prabhakar Gwal at Sukma in Chhatisgarh – apparently, the BJP government wasn’t happy that instead of rubber stamping, he was applying his mind and the law ( among other cases, refusing to brand scores of tribals as ‘extremists’).…

Last year, there were a set of rather disturbing reports about threats and harassment of Retd Judge Jyotsna Yagnik, who delivered the landmark judgement in the Gujarat 2002 Naroda Patiya massacre case, wherein she convicted Modi’s ministerial colleague Maya Kodnani and the butcher of Patiya, Babu Bajrangi, who’d openly boasted about ‘help’ from his political masters in evading arrest and then getting bail. Despite the stinging judgment and harsh terms therein (in lieu of the death penalty that the Judge didn’t wish to impose), Kodnani has been out on a long parole and Bajrangi has been out of jail 6-8 times in the last 3-4 years.

In 2014, just a couple of months after BJP came into power, Special CBI judge presiding over the Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter (a multiple murder case, in which a totally innocent woman Kausarbi was apparently raped, killed and burnt) found himself suddenly transferred – he’d been rather tough on the lawyer for the main accused ( the current BJP President Amit Shah). Now comes this report about the transfer of eminent Justice of the Bombay High Court Abhay Thipsay. Justice Rajiv Shakdher of the Delhi High Court was also transferred, despite protests from senior lawyers in February. Is it sheer coincidence that both passed judicial orders that the ruling party has been less than happy with? Once again, Gujarat carnage cases figure here – Justice Thipsay handled the landmark Best Bakery case!…



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A slogan is no reference point for patriotism – By Nilofar Suhrawardy (Apr 28, 2016, Hindustan Times)

A lot of noise has been made over the nationalism of Indian Muslims who have chosen not to chant a controversial slogan on grounds of their religious sentiments. How can they be forced to chant any slogan to prove their nationalism? The Constitution does not demand this. A few extremist leaders have reacted aggressively to Muslims’ refusal to chant the slogans; one has even stated that if he could, he would have beheaded them for refusing to do so.

As an Indian Muslim, this writer is tempted to ask by what right have these extremists raised questions about my nationalism and that of others. Are they legally, ethically, socially and politically permitted to indulge in a practice which seems hardly appropriate in the national interest?…

The extremists have abused freedom of speech and expression by making aggressive noise against Muslims’ refusal to chant the controversial slogan. By not following constitutional principles, the extremists have certainly raised questions about their own patriotism and nationalism!



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‘Revolutionary’, not ‘terrorist’ Bhagat Singh scares the right-wing – By Abhinav Kumar (May 2, 2016, Dailyo.in)

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologue Dinanath Batra is seeking a ban on the famous book India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra, Mridula Mukherjee, Aditya Mukherjee, Sucheta Mahajan, and KN Panikkar. According to a recently published report in The Hindu, Batra has written a letter to the Union HRD ministry complaining about Bhagat Singh being labelled a “revolutionary terrorist” in the book.…

Batra’s belief that it is a description of a terrorist was further strengthened where the book emphasises that Bhagat Singh, along with Sukhdev, organised students for political actions. In the current political scenario of India Marxism, mass movements, and student politics are enough to shape Batra’s views about people who associate themselves with these ideas.

The book also discusses Bhagat Singh’s view on communalism and how he considered it as one of the biggest problems India was facing. This might jeopardise the plan of appropriating Bhagat Singh by the BJP for its political benefits. It quotes the freedom fighter and other revolutionaries at length about the meaning of revolution. It tells us that revolution for them was not militancy and violence but the change of an unjust order and abolition of capitalism and class domination. This description of Bhagat Singh must have made some of Batra’s patrons uncomfortable.…



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How the State makes Muslims pay for Hindutva terror – By Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves (Apr 29, 2016, Dailyo.in)

…The ATS case rested on the confessions extracted from eight of the accused, one of whom was targeted to be made approver against the rest. When the case was handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) the confessions were all shown to be obtained under duress, making them worthless as evidence under section 24 of the Indian Evidence Act.

It was found by the NIA that the confessions in most cases could not be true as there was conclusive proof that the accused were actually at places other than they were shown to be in the confessions. Accused number two, Shabbir Ahmad, was actually in judicial custody at the time he was shown in the chargesheet to be participating in actions relating to the blasts. The obtaining of such false confessions, under duress, is an offence punishable with imprisonment up to seven years under section 195A and section 330 of the IPC.…

Such a discovery which has been upheld by the court is an extremely serious finding amounting to an offence committed by Raghuvanshi and his investigating team of fabricating evidence with intent to procure conviction for a crime, which is punishable under section 194 of the IPC with life imprisonment. It also raises questions regarding the source of the RDX shown, pointing to possible offences under explosives and terror laws. This would require a separate investigation.…



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A case of aggravated impunity – By John Dayal (May 3, 2016, Indian Express)

…Several Christian groups, including the United Christian Forum and its national helpline, the Evangelical Fellowship of India, maintain records of the daily reports of persecution. They meticulously record the unabated hate campaign, including the voices of several honourable members of Modi’s council of ministers. Wada Na Todo, Anhad and other civil society groups publish annual reports in this regard. Newspapers, Indian and foreign, are the primary source of data, other than field reports and helpline complaints.

A report published by Anhad at the end of the first 300 days of the Modi government noted that hate in the election campaign had mutated to a more coercive and threatening phenomenon that had percolated to universities and colleges, and villages and small towns over much of the country. The hate, inevitably, leads to violence. “Ghar Wapsi” and “Love Jihad” cries turned to stones and lathis. In Chhattisgarh, villages have passed orders banning the entry of priests of faiths other than Hinduism.…

Modi refers to it tangentially in controlled appearances at specially organised meetings of the friendlier elements of groups of religious minorities. Communal violence does not form the core theme of his Mann ki Baat. He has not sacked the hate mongers among his ministers. He never names the goons responsible for violence. Neither do the columnists speaking in his defence.



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The Kanhaiya Phenomenon – By Vijaya Kumar Marla (Apr 28, 2016, Countercurrents)

As one commentator said a few days back, “it is not easy to escape the limelight, if you happen to be Kanhaiya Kumar.” Well said, but why? Why at all, a student leader has been catapulted into the center stage of Indian politics, whether he likes it or not?

There is a surfeit of opinions, accusations, abuses, open threats, praises, adoration, and good and bad advise heaped in the last 2 months on this young man from an obscure Bihat village in Begusarai, Bihar, whom only his fellow students, faculty and a few of the AISF and CPI cadres knew before the tumultuous February 9th event at JNU, Delhi.

The question keeps on haunting the press, politicians as well as general public, as to why it is so that Kanhaiya is still in the limelight even after more than 75 days of the fateful February 9th episode. Mr. Chandan Mitra, the BJP MP had commented a week after Kanhaiya’s release on bail on 3rd March that he will fade away in a few days. Many who are vociferously against him as well as those that had developed a soft corner for the boyish looking young man thought that all this attention and publicity is just a flash in the pan and rightly so!…



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Book Review

Hindutva Or Hind Swaraj

Author: U.R. Ananthamurthy
Reviewed by: Aakar Patel
Available at: Publisher: Harper Collins India, 75, Block A, Near Petrol Pump, Sector 57, Noida, Uttar Pradesh 201307. http://www.amazon.in/
U.R. Ananthamurthy’s response to nationalism (Apr 30, 2016, Live Mint) This slim work is the best book I have read since May 2014. Hindutva Or Hind Swaraj by U.R. Ananthamurthy is a response to Hindutva, and to our increasing nationalism, which this remarkable author anticipated.… It is the distilled effort of a lifetime spent in absorbing, reading, writing and observing. Ananthamurthy died in August 2014 and says in the book that “this writing, born in the current Modi era, should be viewed as an attempt to swim against the tide”.…

And though he died before our current inane Jawaharlal Nehru University debate began, Ananthamurthy, as has been mentioned before, anticipated it. He writes: “The patriot Gandhi, during his final fast, saw the growing hubris of nationalism in his beloved (Jawaharlal) Nehru and (Vallabhbhai) Patel. More on this later. An examination of how Napoleonism gives rise to the desire for nation building, evident in the histories of every country, allows us to understand why Gandhi and Tagore were opposed to the idea of nationhood. Our belief in nationalism leads to a loss of our everyday morality.”…

Steeped in our traditions, Ananthamurthy captures the reality as nobody else can. Take this with you as you go: “How did Gujarat produce a pan-Indian hero? The Gujarat massacre took place when he was chief minister. To say that he tried to prevent it but failed would mean he was weak. Nobody can say that. One is reminded of an image used by the poet Adiga. When yajnas are conducted, everyone present is involved in some task or the other. But a mantrajnya, an expert in the mantras, does not participate. He is known as the ‘brahma’, and is crucial to the ritual. The brahma does nothing. “Modi was the brahma. Whatever happened has happened.”…

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