IAMC Weekly News Roundup - November 3rd, 2014 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 3rd, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

He repaid debt of 1984 to Muslims (Oct 31, 2014, Times of India)

Harbans Singh was about 30 years old when anti-Sikh riots broke out in Trilokpuri in 1984. Unfortunately, he was just the person the mob was looking out for, and he would have been lynched had not his Muslim neighbours come to rescue by hiding him in a burqa and giving him shelter. Singh said last Thursday it was time for him to acknowledge this debt by opening the doors to his Muslim neighbours who were under threat.

Amid reports of communal clashes in the area, Singh’s was a touching example of solidarity and warmth along with a few others of different faiths. Block 20, where Singh lives, was where the first instance of violence was reported on Diwali evening. After hearing about large-scale mobilization against Muslims, Singh got in touch with his Muslim neighbours just before stone pelting started. …

Mohammed Qurban, who lives in the opposite house, had to lock his door, send his children away and stay at Singh’s. “His presence alone was reassuring. There was chaos all around. We saw people baying for our blood, but to see others not getting in the frenzy and welcoming us to their houses gave us a lot of strength,” said Qurban. …


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Godhra riots: Nanavati Commission’s final report likely by November 15 (Oct 29, 2014, DNA India)

The Justice Nanavati Commission probing the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat, is ready with its final report which is expected to be submitted to the Gujarat state government by November 15. “The commission will not ask for another extension from the government,” Justice G T Nanavati told PTI in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.

Earlier, Gujarat government granted 24 extensions to the commission. The tenure of its 24th extension, granted on 30th September, ends on 31st October. “There is no need to seek a 25th extension, because our final report is ready. It is now being printed and will come to us in a few days. We will submit it to government by November 15,” Justice Nanavati said. The commission comprises retired judges G T Nanavati and Akshay Mehta.

In 2008, the inquiry panel had submitted one part of its finding about the Godhra train burning incident, in which it had concluded that burning of the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express near Godhra railway station was a “planned conspiracy”. The panel had been constituted by the Gujarat state government on March 3, 2002, under the Commission of Inquiry Act comprising Justice K G Shah in the wake of the Godhra train carnage on February 27, 2002 and the subsequent communal riots across the state.…



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Ex-BJP MLA under scanner for a meeting before violence stepped up (Oct 28, 2014, Indian Express)

A former BJP MLA, Sunil Vaid, has been asked to clarify his role in connection with the riots which broke out in Trilokpuri, East Delhi, last week. Police sources said their investigations revealed that Vaid held a “closed door conference” with his supporters at his office on Friday morning, just before the violence escalated.

Vaid, who lost the last assembly elections from Trilokpuri, has been asked to clarify the purpose of that meeting. Police confirmed that he may be called for questioning later. At least 17 civilians and 40 police personnel were injured in the clashes between Hindus and Muslims, which broke out on Friday and carried on till Saturday afternoon.

Vaid’s alleged role emerged after locals told the police that hundreds of his supporters attended a meeting at his office in Block 21 – one of the riot-hit areas. According to sources, Vaid’s supporters later marched out of the block shouting slogans. A PCR van reportedly noticed the mob leaving his office just before the violence escalated.…



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‘India failed to prosecute anti-Sikh riot perpetrators’ (Oct 29, 2014, Hindustan Times)

India has failed in punishing those responsible for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and it reflects the country’s “weak efforts” to fight communal violence, an international human rights advocacy group said Wednesday.

“Successive Indian governments failure to prosecute those responsible for 1984’s anti-Sikh killings and other abuses during the 1984 anti-Sikh violence highlights India’s weak efforts to combat communal violence,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement.

It said the new Indian government should seek police reforms and to enact a law against communal violence that would hold public officials accountable for complicity and dereliction of duty.…



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Outer Delhi tense as mahapanchayat ‘bans’ Muharram march (Nov 3, 2014, Times of India)

Days after communal riots hit east Delhi, tension is simmering in another part of the capital with a group of villagers resolving not to allow Muharram procession in their area.

The decision taken at a ‘maha-panchayat’ held in Bawana village in northwest Delhi on Sunday had the support of local elected representatives, BJP MLA Ghuggan Singh and Congress councillor Devinder Poni, both of whom present at the meeting. …

The maha-panchayat held in Bawana village of northwest Delhi was attended by around 2,000 locals. Several speakers used provocative language, claiming that members of the minority community had been indulging in atrocities and assaulting their women for years.…



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Communal clash: Five people named in FIR do not exist, one person died in 2002 (Nov 1, 2014, Indian Express)

One of the persons that police have been hunting for in a communal clash case is believed to have died in 2002, while five other persons whose names are mentioned in the FIR do not exist at all. The communal clash took place on October 7 at Changa village in Anand district. The police arrested 25 people in connection with “rioting and loot” but could not find six out of 31 people who were named in the FIR.

The arrests were made after members of two communities in the village clashed following minor scuffle that took place at a local milk co-operative outlet in the village. The scuffle escalated into riots in which at least one person was severely injured. The members of both communities filed cross FIRs in this connection in the nearby police station and 25out of 31 people were arrested.

Six persons that the police continue to search for “do not exist”, villagers have claimed. They said out of six persons, one of the accused, Ismael Vora died way back in 2002. “It is surprising how Ismael’s name cropped up in the FIR. As per his death certificate available with his family members, he died on March 3, 2002. The names of at least five other persons are wrong as no such persons live in the village but the police are insisting that they live here and have even harassed persons whose name closely resemble those of names in the FIR,” a social worker, Javed Vora said.…



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CPI(M) accuses BJP, TMC of communal polarisation in West Bengal (Oct 28, 2014, Economic Times)

CPI(M) today accused BJP and ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal of communally polarising the people, saying it signalled a dangerous portend for the state which has not seen communal tension for several decades.

“The so-called clashes between the two parties are on the rise. What is dangerous is that both of them are trying to polarise the people on communal lines. They are fuelling each other so that they can sustain on that basis. Such a situation is something unforeseen in Bengal,” CPI(M) Politburo member Surjya Kanta Mishra said here. …

Mishra, who is also the Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, said TMC and BJP have “the common agenda of polarising the people so that they can usurp the space for Left, secular and democratic forces. That is their gameplan”.…



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70 Bajrang Dal supporters arrested during Assam bandh (Oct 31, 2014, Times of India)

Normal life was on Friday partially hit in Assam during a 12-hour state-wide bandh called by Bajrang Dal. Around 70 Bajrang Dal supporters were arrested from all over the state for allegedly trying to damage property during the bandh, police officers said.

Guwahati Senior Superintendent of Police Anand Prakash Tiwari told that 18 Bajrang Dal supporters were arrested from the city for trying to forcefully implement the bandh, which has been called to protest the alleged links between AIUDF and jihadis in Bangladesh.

He said bandh supporters tried to obstruct traffic at many places by burning tyres but police cleared them immediately and picked up the activists. The BJP state unit has also extended its support to the bandh. At Rangia in Kamrup district, 40 Bajrang Dal activists were arrested when they tried to stop railway workers from joining duty in the morning.…

Meanwhile, AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal has denied the media report on the alleged link and termed it as “false, baseless and politically motivated.”



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310 Christians are ‘Forced to Reconvert’ by Hindu Radicals (Oct 29, 2014, Christian Daily)

Christians in the district of Jaunpur in India’s Uttar Pradesh state have been targeted by Hindu extremists who have reportedly “reconverted” 310 Christians back to Hinduism. The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) told AsiaNews that the incident occurred on October 26 and has become a trend among Christian regions in Uttar Pradesh. They reported that the Hindu groups have termed this ritual “returning home,” and this has been the third case in less than two months.

About 30 families were part of the reconversion, and each of these families had previously renounced Hinduism in the past four years. Local police reported their turn to Christianity had stirred up Hindu organizations in the region. This incident occurred close to Diwali, India’s most popular Hindu holiday. AsiaNews reports that the Hindu organizations used this holiday to organize a conversion ceremony where they would “sacrifice” Bibles and recite Hindu prayers to complete the “returning home” ritual. Each Chrsitan also received a copy of the Bhagavad Gita from Hindu priests. …

The GCIC has previously pointed out that Hindu nationalism has been on the rise since President (sic) Narendra Modi was elected in June 2014, and the groups have acted violently toward Christians and other minorities. It is reported that more than 600 attacks have occurred on both Muslims and Christians on the first 100 days of the new government. Hindu fundamentalists groups have targeted Christians and churches, mostly in the Uttar Pradesh state.…



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CID questions top RSS functionary over suicide case (Nov 3, 2014, Indian Express)

A senior functionary of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat was questioned for over two hours on Monday by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Karnataka police in connection with the mysterious death of a close relative of a woman who has brought a sexual assault case against Raghaveshwara Bharati, the head pontiff of the influential Ramachandrapura Mutt in Karnataka.

Shyam Shastri, the brother-in-law of a 47-year-old former singer at the Ramachandrapura Mutt who has filed a sexual assault case against Raghaveshwara Bharati, allegedly committed suicide at his residence in the Kedila village near Puttur in Dakshina Kannada district two months ago.

The suicide occurred three days after the singer and her husband were arrested for allegedly threatening other singers with a singing troupe attached to the Ramachandrapura Mutt. The CID police called Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat the south India communications chief of the RSS in for questioning on Monday after call details of the dead man revealed that Bhat was one of the persons who spoke with Shastri on the day of his suicide.…



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Don’t Communalise Food and Culture: Justice Rajinder Sachar to GOG Minister for Civil Aviation Ashok Pusapati (Oct 30, 2014, Sabrang)

I am enclosing my correspondence with Minister for Civil Aviation. I have received no reply. I sent this correspondence to the press – but none has used it. This shows a very sad state of affairs.

The action of the government in classifying Non-vegetarian (which I write) to be substituted by ‘Moslem Meal’ is to resort to pre independence practise of foreign Air lines – even they now do not use this expression – they only put down Non-vegetarian (No Beef or No Pork) depending upon the passengers choice. But Indian Air Lines do not serve beef or pork in its flights and rightly so.

I feel that the revival of this communal usage to the meal is deliberately inflaming communalism. To me this evil practice has to be nipped in the bud. The matter is much larger of communalizing the society.…



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Opinions and Editorials

Modi Sarkar: Politics Through Culture – By Ram Puniyani (Oct 29, 2014, Countercurrents)

The change in the ruling dispensation (May 2014) has more than one aspect which is likely to affect the very social-cultural-political map of India. Narendra Modi won the last elections with an electoral success, 282 seats for BJP, with 31% of votes polled, which is a landmark for a party. There was a meticulous planning to come to power and there were many factors bringing them to power. One was the communal polarization carried forward from the Gujarat carnage of 2002, to the one witnessed in Muzzafarnagar in 2013.

The unrestrained support of Corporate World was another, as Modi had given all the facilities to the Corporate World. Corporate in 2007 declared that they will like to see Modi as the future Prime Minister of India. The backbone of the campaign was seven lakh RSS volunteers, who acted as the steel frame of the campaign.

The projected factors helping BJP win was the myth of Gujarat’s development. The media management and the discrediting of the ruling Congress was the effective tool for swinging the votes in BJP’s favor. RSS-BJP-Modi want to bring in Hindu nation trampling upon the values of Indian Constitution., which have laid the foundation of democratic ethos, which have provided the ground for social transformation of caste-gender.…



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Why Trilokpuri Continues To Simmer – By G. Vishnu (Nov 8, 2014, Tehelka)

Irshad, a resident of Trilokpuri in east Delhi, must have spent a sleepless night on 24 October when stonepelting mobs ran amok in the neighbourhood. The cab his son drove for a Noida-based call centre was set on fire. Overwhelmed by the fear of mayhem, Irshad, who is in his late 40s, locked his house the next morning and left for a “safer place” with his family of six, including three young girls.

Tens of families like Irshad’s fled Trilokpuri after a drunken brawl on the night of Diwali (23 October) snowballed into a communal riot. The rioting may have been done in groups, but the families are alone in their suffering. According to those who have stayed back in Block 27, where poor Dalits and Muslims have been living peacefully since many years now, those who fled perhaps saw no other option. …

An incensed Muslim resident from Block 27 points out that Sunil Vaid, former MLA from Trilokpuri constituency and a member of the BJP, had conducted a meeting of Hindus at 1 am on the night the riots started. “Why did he do that?” he asks. “The police raided only the houses of Muslims. Our vehicles were set on fire. There are 200 Hindu families among the 500 families in our block. Ask them whether we have ever threatened them. Have they ever felt scared? Have their shops ever been burnt down?”…



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Building Political Capital On Hate Propaganda – By Vidya Bhushan Rawat (Oct 31, 2014, Countercurrents)

It is a reminder bell that rings every year which has not changed us to the core. The horrific crimes against humanity perpetrated by the political goons in the dark night of October 31st till a couple of days of November 1984 after the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was declared officially ‘dead’ and which remain unpunished till date is not just a matter of shame but absolute failure of our democracy.

A truly democratic system would have envisaged ways and means to tackle such a situation in future but instead people became ‘football’ in the political games of those who have least concern about loss of human lives and sentiments. Punjab was bleeding when India got partitioned in 1947 and Sikh community felt betrayed as many of their issues remained unsettled politically. Sikh nationalism has to be merged into pan Indian Nationalism dictated and dominated by the brahmanical Hindus. …

India’s mainstream political parties have seen systematic Hindutvaisation process which was the agenda of Sangh Parivar. Hinduise the polity they wanted and once that was done political parties were unable to challenge the process ideologically. It seems Hindutva has become the main theme and parties want to stick to it and not to question it. …

Gandhi was killed and his killings have been justified so was the killings of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv. Godhra was justified and so was the massacre of Delhi in 1984 and Gujarat in 2002. Hundreds of other riots and pogroms have happened in India and our notoriety is in justifying them. … Why should the victims of pogroms of 1984 and 2002 be referred to with particular political slants? They were Indians and therefore India needs to respond to this that both the massacres at 1984 and 2002 are blot to its face and reflect draconian majority tendencies afraid of minority assertion or dissent.…



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Stopping ‘big’ riots not enough: Why is PM Modi silent on ‘small’ communal tensions? – By Ajaz Ashraf (Nov 1, 2014, First Post)

Noted academician Ashutosh Varshney’s Indian Express op-ed, Sparks, no fires: why Modi is likely to oppose instrumental use of riots in politics, argues that Prime Minister Narendra Modi won’t allow ‘large’ riots for reaping electoral gains because it would dissuade fat-cat foreigners from investing in India. …

Varshney’s analysis is chilling, apart from being misplaced. … His analysis ignores the plight of the small – the petty shopkeeper, the street vendor, the itinerant trader, the casual labour, the factory worker. It might be interesting to discern from investors whether their instinct for profits was blunted because of news reports detailing the targeting of Muslim businessmen in Delhi’s Trilokpuri area, which witnessed, to employ Varshney’s ambiguous yardstick, “small disturbances” last week. Yet, over a few days, thousands have reportedly left Trilokpuri to settle down elsewhere. …

Perhaps it is irrelevant to point out that the “small disturbance” of Trilokpuri didn’t prompt the Prime Minister to speak against its occurrence in the city which is now his. Nor should we read too much into the fact that Modi, in contrast to his silence on Trilokpuri, issued a statement sharing the outrage of Canadians at a man shooting dead a soldier and then firing shots in Parliament in Ottawa. But for two exceptions, the Prime Minister has refused to voice his thoughts even as the communal cauldron has continued to simmer over the last five months.…



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Snakes & Ladders At Work – By R.K. Misra (Oct 27, 2014, Outlook)

To some they are heroes, but in the eyes of the Gujarat government, they are villains. Satish Verma and Rajnish Rai, both IPS officers, were each assigned a police encounter case. They concluded from their investigations that policemen had killed persons in their custody in cold blood. They filed cases against policemen involved and arrested them. For their efforts, the Gujarat government has banished them to Meghalaya and Jharkhand as chief vigilance officers (CVOs) at PSUs. This is designed to make it difficult for them to follow up and depose in the cases investigated by them.

Can senior IPS officers of the rank of IG and DIGs be posted as CVOs without their consent and without seeking applications from others? The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Delhi, is yet to resolve that question. Arguments are to be heard in November. However, it has refused to grant an interim stay on the Gujarat government’s deputation orders, so Verma and Rai have reported for duty in Shillong and Jaduguda. Could this be an indication of the way the case might go? The two officers will in all likelihood spend years running from court to court.

The Gujarat administration has acted petulant at times. On one occasion, it tried to implicate Rai in a strange case: he was accused of cheating while appearing in an LLB examination. He moved the Gujarat High Court, which gave the government a stunning rebuke by quashing proceedings against him. Verma and Rai say they are being punished for doing their job. The say the deputation to PSUs was vindictive and against regulations.…



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Love Jihad: RSS Unleashes Weapon of Hate – By Shatarup Ghosh (Oct 30, 2014, Sabrang)

It has been a long standing strategy of the BJP and RSS to try and divide the society on communal lines and use the dogmatic thinking and blind-fold ignorance of some people as side-kicks to gain electoral success. One of the latest ploys for polarization framed by some communal Hindutva outfits is a myth called ‘Love Jihad’. It refers to alleged efforts to covert non-Muslim girls to Islam through love affairs. The term was first used in 2009 by a fundamentalist group “Hindu Janjagrit Samity” in Kerala and Karnataka.

According to them some Muslim youths, riding bikes and wearing denims and sunglasses try and woo Hindu girls to marry them. Later they are forcibly converted to Islam. Those who refuse to convert are assaulted and even raped. A document of the Hindu Janjagrit Samity claims that young Muslim men are trained in camps on the workings of Love Jihad and then sent to “finish off Hinduism once and for all by ensuring that Hindu girls give birth to Muslim child. …

However, the divisive elements have not yet succeeded in the way they would have wanted to. ‘Love Jihad’ campaign has failed in the southern states of the country, where it initially originated. On the eve of the U.P. by-elections, the BJP decided to make the rumour travel north. But in spite of the high pitched communal campaign, they lost 8 out of 11 seats in the state, including the Kairana seat in the riot-affected Mujaffarnagar. Such schemes fail before the eyes of people. But they are dangerous enough if they are implemented viciously.…



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