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

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

After Modi’s Speech on Media, Senior Journalists Question Government’s ‘Doublespeak’ (Nov 6, 2017, The Wire)

Addressing an event to mark the platinum jubilee of Tamil daily Daily Thanthi in Chennai on Monday morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reminded the media about its role in a democracy. Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, he cautioned the media against misuse of its power.…

The Wire spoke to a few senior journalists and here are their responses. Mrinal Pande, former editor of Hindi daily Hindustan: “I feel one should not use sophistry to pick on media. You find in his speech that the entire media is being painted, more or less, with the same brush. I think, given the difficult circumstances, a section of the media is doing a very brave job. That ought to be conceded when one is speaking in public. The prime minister could have named and shamed those, if you had evidence of any wrongdoings within media. Instead of that, he just scarred the entire media, and that to me is not fair to many media houses which are doing a good job.

He talked about editorial freedom and that it should not be misused but there are instances of such misuse in all the four pillars of democracy. The media does not say that the entire judiciary or the entire executive are remiss. The media takes pain to substantiate the criticisms with actual facts which are available in the public domain. Should the prime minister not substantiate his observations?…



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Sohrabuddin case: HC issues fresh notices to IPS officers (Nov 2, 2017, Hindustan Times)

The Bombay High Court on Thursday issued fresh notices to IPS officers DG Vanzara (retired), Rajkumar Pandiyan, and Dinesh MN seeking their response to pleas challenging their discharge in the alleged fake encounter case of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati.

Justice AM Badar, who was hearing a plea filed by Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin, also directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to provide to Rubabuddin, the residential and official addresses of the three officials mentioned above to ensure that notices are served to them immediately. Justice Badar was hearing revision applications filed by Rubabuddin challenging the trial court orders issued between August 2016 and August 2017, discharging the three officials from the case.

While Rubabuddin had also sought that the trial in the case against the remaining accused be stayed until his revision pleas were decided upon by High Court, Justice Badar on Thursday refused to stay the trial saying that the same would cause prejudice to the remaining accused.…



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Explain refusal to prosecute Yogi for riots: HC to UP Govt (Nov 5, 2017, The Tribune)

The Allahabad High Court has questioned Yogi Adityanath government’s reasoning refusing sanction to take legal action against Yogi Adityanath and others for instigating communal violence in Gorakhpur in 2007.

The Division Bench of Justice Krishna Murari and Justice AC Sharma had yesterday fixed November 7 as the next date when the government would have to explain on what basis Principal Secretary (Home) passed an order on May 3, 2017, refusing sanction to prosecute the Chief Minister in the 2007 riots case.…

The FIR had been lodged in connection with the communal riots at the Gorakhpur Cantonment police station on January 27, 2007, registering loss of a life and properties. The riots were reportedly triggered after then Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath’s “hate speeches”.…



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Gujarat elections: ‘BJP focusing only on terrorism, Hindu-Muslim & cow slaughter’ says Hardik Patel (Oct 31, 2017, ABP Live)

Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Monday lashed out at Bharatiya Janta Party and said, the party has only three motives, namely terrorism, Hindu-Muslim and Cow slaughter.

The statement comes after members of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti met Gujarat Congress leaders to decide on the reservation issue, but no agreement could be reached on the assurance about quotas for the Patels, a precondition set by PAAS leader Hardik Patel for extending support to the party in the Assembly polls.

After the meeting at the Congress’s state headquarters which lasted three hours, PAAS leaders said they will hold another round of discussion by November 7 to resolve the issue.…



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Kamal Haasan says right wing Hindus have started employing terrorism (Nov 2, 2017, Times of India)

Actor Kamal Haasan has alleged that right wing Hindus have started employing terrorism to propagate their communal agenda.

In his column in a Tamil magazine that hit stands on Thursday, the 62-year-old actor said the right-wingers could no longer say “show me a Hindu terrorist if you can.” Terrorism has spread into their fold also, he said.

“Earlier, the right-wing Hindus employed debates, and not force, against people of other religions. Having realised that their attempts are failing, they have started using violence,” he wrote.…



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Bengaluru: Dinesh Gundu Rao for ban on Hindu outfits causing disturbances (Nov 5, 2017, Daijiworld)

Dinesh Gundu Rao, who had given call for placing ban on Popular Front of India for vitiating communal harmony, has now come up with demand to place ban on Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad for the same reason.

Rao stressed that any organization which instills fear in the minds of the people in the name of religions should be banished. He recalled that he had made this demand immediately after Chikkamagaluru deputy superintendent of police, Kallappa Handibag, committed suicide, and again when several were slain in the name of Gau Rakshaks.

Dinesh Gundu Rao also said that Sangh Parivar outfits have been instrumental in sowing the seeds of hatred between different religions and inciting violence. Recalling that RSS had once been banned in the past, he said that Mahatma Gandhi was murdered in the backdrop of policies preached by RSS.



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Demonetisation: A Year On, Onion Farmers In Cash Crisis As Banking System Fails To Cope (Nov 4, 2017, Sabrang India)

A year after the government replaced high-denomination currency notes with an aim to encourage a cashless economy, onion farmers in Nashik, India’s onion bowl, are finding themselves without money to make essential purchases.

Government prodding has ensured that middlemen pay them by cheque, but banking facilities are so few and cheques move so slowly between branches that they take weeks to encash.

Since the rural economy still runs largely on cash, farmers without cash are unable to buy seeds and equipment and to pay labourers – which can be disastrous if it delays crop sowing – forcing them to turn to private moneylenders, who charge high interests.…



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Children restored by court, parents of Christian Colony scared to return home (Nov 5, 2017, Indian Express)

Parents of Christian Colony here whose children were allegedly illegally confined after a protest by the Hindu Jagran Manch (HJM), claiming forcible conversion, are not returning to their homes out of fear. Dennis Joseph Michael, whose three children were among the seven – between the ages of 6 and 17 – taken away from the Indore railway station and kept at a shelter home for a week, is now at an undisclosed location.…

On October 30, the Madhya Pradesh High Court handed over the children to their parents, following a habeas corpus petition. As the court pronounced its order, the parents broke out into applause. The judges let them be.

On November 3, two adults accompanying the children who had been arrested were released on bail. The incident was a repeat of the Ratlam case of May 21, when 60 children were taken off a train at Ratlam Railway Station and sent to a shelter home following a similar protest by right-wing activists.…



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No conversion for money seen in ‘love jihad’ cases: NIA (Oct 30, 2017, The Hindu)

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) informed the Supreme Court earlier this week that none of the men and women it examined in cases that emerged while investigating the Kerala ‘love jihad’ case were enticed by monetary benefits to convert to Islam. The agency said there were other methods used to convert them to Islam that included religious propaganda.…

In a status report filed before the Supreme Court on Monday the NIA had said that it examined six persons who claimed they were lured to convert to Islam and a “common thread” ran through them.…

Earlier this week, a Kerala-based social activist Rahul Easwar released a 17-second video of Hadiya where she is heard speaking about threat to her life from her father.



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Rajasthan daily boycotts CM over ordinance (Nov 2, 2017, The Hindu)

A leading Hindi daily of Rajasthan on Wednesday decided to boycott Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje until she revokes a controversial ordinance which has extended protection to public servants against investigation for their acts done in discharge of official duties and given sweeping powers to authorities to “gag the media”.

In a scathing front-page editorial, Rajasthan Patrika, headquartered in Jaipur, termed the ordinance, promulgated on September 6, a “black law” and announced that the newspaper would not publish any news on Ms. Raje and on the activities related to her until she repeals the law. “It is a question of democracy, freedom of speech and people’s voice,” Editor-in-Chief Gulab Kothari said.

The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, has provided immunity to the serving and retired public servants, judges and magistrates from probe and prosecution on the complaints about their alleged offences without prior sanction from the authorities. It also bars the media from reporting on such accusations till the sanction is given and lays down two years’ imprisonment for violation of law.…



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Opinions and Editorials

33 years on, anti-Sikh riots’ victims still seek justice – By Swinder Bajwa (Nov 3, 2017, Tehelka)

Even as 33 years have passed, justice is yet to be delivered to the victims of the anti-Sikh riots. The wounds of the violence – which broke out after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984, and claimed 2,433 lives in Delhi alone – have still not healed.

At least 10 commissions have been set up since November 1984 to document and investigate the riots. Yet less than one per cent of the accused have been convicted. Some Congress leaders who were accused, such as HKL Bhagat, have died without facing trial. Others like Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler and Kamal Nath are still around.…

The Narendra Modi government constituted a committee headed by GP Mathur to look into the matter. The panel recommended setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to re-examine the riot cases. The SIT, after visiting police stations and accessing files of previous committees which had gathered evidence, ordered the closure of 241 cases.



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RSS’ desperate quest for national icons – By SS Dhawan (Nov 3, 2017, Free Press Journal)

Such is the desperation of the RSS for new ideologue constructs that it will not hesitate to hijack the legacy of any historical or contemporary figure that fits in its narrative of right wing nationalism. The seeds of this affliction are perhaps embedded in the aberration that for all its robust jingoism, these saffron voices shrank like a violet during the freedom struggle, hiding in the imperial rabbit hole, and this is a historical fact that no amount of patriotic whining over a national song can now drown.

Having been just a jovial bystander even during a groundswell like the Dandi March – opting to lurk in the shadows – it is no wonder the RSS has very few cultural stumps of its own. The icons it gloats over, the likes of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, Hedgewar and Golwalkar, are just mannequins that it dusts every now and then for a generation which is barely familiar with their names.

This quest has the RSS occasionally rummaging through history for ‘heroes’ and we have witnessed even a ludicrous attempt to usurp ‘Marxist’ Bhagat Singh – by virtue of his Arya Samaj ancestry – and Dalit leader Dr B R Ambedkar, despite the Sangh’s congenital allergy for anything hostile to its Brahmanical ethos.…



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Does The BJP, Specifically Prime Minister Modi, Have An Ideology From Which Their Actions Emanate? – Aakar Patel (Nov 5, 2017, Outlook)

Does the prime minister have an ideology? This might be a strange question to ask because his party’s website advertises its ideology and gives it a name: Hindutva. But it needs to be asked because one of our most intelligent politicians has said that the party doesn’t have a proper ideology.

Former finance minister P Chidambaram was asked a question by a business daily on “where he would place the BJP in its philosophical interpretation of the role of the State as a promoter of welfare, provider of health and education for furthering equality or a complete laissez-faire approach?”

This is not a simple question to answer. Laissez-faire is an approach where the government does not participate in the economy and lets private players run everything. This can roughly be described as a society which people like Ayn Rand wrote about, in which heroic capitalists make the world better through competition, and the incompetent government does not meddle, leaving even health and education to the private sector and letting citizens fend for themselves.…



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Gujarat scene: A mahagathbandhan takes shape – Editorial (Nov 6, 2017, The Tribune)

A fight seems to be on in Gujarat after three successive walkovers. There is a visible difference this time. The contest does not appear to be shaping up into a BJP-led narrative about a defence of Gujarati sub-nationalism, pride and asmita versus a defensive Congress-led lineup.

Instead fresh faces, who ironically emerged during Narendra Modi’s three-year stint as Prime Minister, may inject some much-needed verve to the Congress campaign. Three youngsters, one of them not yet eligible to contest elections, all with different political trajectories and all singed by the BJP’s political handling of Gujarat after Modi moved to Delhi.

The threesome – Jignesh Mewani, Hardik Patel and Alpesh – have been independently mobilising their respective caste brethren, ostensibly for social causes. This is what makes the Congress’ task tough to bring them unreservedly into its party umbrella. With long political careers ahead of them, it is natural for them to play hardball.…



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Beyond the ban on cattle slaughter – By D John Chelladurai (Nov 1, 2017, Free Press Journal)

The ban on cattle slaughter has come honoring the sentiments of millions of Indians. The ban seals the only measure that checked the bovine population and it has triggered an explosive growth in the number of animals. The increase in the population of economically unviable cattle is a sure threat not only to the dairy economy but more detrimentally to forestry, grasslands and also our urban facilities. What we urgently need alongside is an ecologically sound response and that is precisely what no one in the government is looking at just now.

Some seven crore Indian farming families have an average of two cows each. An Indian cow, viable economically to its owner, yields on an average six litres of milk per day, for about 300 days a year. If she yields less, her owner normally sells her off in order to be able to buy a cow which is viably productive in terms of milk produced. This normally happens to old cows after six lactations (in the course of ten years). But no one other than the meat trader is willing to buy these older cows. In this sense, beef is largely a by-product of India’s vast dairy industry.

The 19th Livestock Census said India now has 190.9 million cattle (cows and bulls), down from the 18th census, which reported 199.1 million cattle. The growth rate over 2007-12 has been negative 4.1 per cent, according to the 2016-17 Annual Report of the department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries. Annually, the cattle procreate some 80 million calves of which about 55 million (27.5 crore male and female each) mature for mating.…



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Arrest of Senior Journalist Vinod Verma Is Reminiscent of the Emergency – By Urmilesh (Oct 28, 2017, The Wire)

The arrest of senior journalist Vinod Verma from his home in Ghaziabad on October 27 is a blatant interference in professional journalism besides being a human rights violation. When you barge into a journalist’s house at 3 am and arrest him in front of his family without any warrant, it is a clear example of authoritarianism.

For hours, the journalist was held at the police station and interrogated. Meanwhile, he was not even allowed to freely speak to his lawyers. When several journalists and editors reached the police station to meet him, the police refused to allow them to see or even talk to him.

Such police action was last practiced either during the British era or during the Emergency in the post-independence era, when civil rights activists, intellectuals, writers and journalists used to be picked up on the government’s orders and put behind bars.…



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