IAMC Weekly News Roundup - October 12th, 2015 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 12th, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Indian community protests against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK (Oct 13, 2015, IB Times)

Sikhs, Muslims, Christians and members of the Dalit community have come together in a campaign against Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK. The Indian prime minister is scheduled to visit the UK between 12 to 14 November and will be addressing the UK’s Indian diaspora at Wembley Stadium on 13 November. The group is planning mass demonstrations to protest against what it believes is discrimination from Modi and his party against India’s minority groups.

Until 2012, the prime minister was not allowed to enter the UK due to his alleged involvement in the massacre of Muslims in the Indian state of Gujarat. Modi was accused of failing to stop anti-Muslim rioting in 2002, which happened while he was chief minister of the state, and led to the deaths of at least 1,000 people. The US and other European nations also placed a travel ban on the controversial leader.

A protest has been planned outside 10 Downing Street on 12 November. It has been organised by campaign group Awaaz Network and is made up of a number of religious and campaign groups across the country, all of whom are calling upon people not to “buy the stage-managed, internationally orchestrated hype about Modi”. It has also asked people in the UK not to attend the cultural show that will accompany Modi’s speech at Wembley.…



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Indian activist Sudheendra Kulkarni hit by Shiv Sena ink attack (Oct 12, 2015, BBC)

Far-right Hindu nationalists in Mumbai have doused the head of an Indian think-tank in black ink in protest at the launch of a book by a former Pakistani foreign minister. The Shiv Sena party said the ink attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni was a form of “peaceful protest” against Pakistan. The party later cancelled a planned protest at the launch of Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book amid an outcry.

Mr Kulkarni called the incident “an attack on democracy”. He was later admitted to hospital to have the ink removed. The Shiv Sena party is a junior coalition partner in the Maharashtra state government, which is ruled by India’s governing BJP. The party was founded in 1966 to keep south Indian migrants out of Maharashtra state and to halt the spread of Islam.

Over time, it has acquired a reputation for promoting religious and ethnic chauvinism while allegedly targeting minorities, especially Muslims. “A group of 10 or 15 Shiv Sainiks mobbed me, they stopped my car, asked me to come out, they caught me, started abusing me, they said we had ordered you to stop the launch this evening, you didn’t listen to us, this is what we’ll do with you,” Mr Kulkarni told reporters.…



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Dadri lynching pre-medidated by Hindutva forces: DU, JNU fact-finding committee (Oct 6, 2015, Indian Express)

The lynching of a 50-year-old Muslim man in Dadri over rumours of eating beef did not happen on the “spur of the moment” and was planned by certain Hindutva forces, a ‘fact-finding’ committee of academicians from JNU and Delhi University, among others, has claimed. The group, Janhastakshep, also accused the Uttar Pradesh government of allowing “free play” to the communal forces and demanded a high-level inquiry into killing of Iqlakh and punishment to the guilty.

“There was ample evidence available to suggest that the incident did not take place on the spur of the moment and had been well planned by the Hindutva forces. “It was implemented through a maze of front organisations other than those associated with Sangh Parivar so it is established that such an event cannot be directly attributed to the Sangh,” Ish Mishra, Janhastakshep convenor told reporters.…

The group also condemned the remarks made by Union Minister Mahesh Sharma, terming the incident an “accident resulting from misunderstanding”, and demanded that he be removed from the Ministry and an FIR be filed against him. “We also demand that action be taken against local police for its failure to restrain the local communal elements and for failing to keep track of the activities of numerous senas which have been active in vitiating the atmosphere in the area,” Mishra said.



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Police see right-wing plot behind Mainpuri violence (Oct 11, 2015, Times of India)

Senior police officers who dashed to Mainpuri soon after violence broke out on Friday after a mob tried to lynch a group of Muslims charged with the killing of a cow have told TOI that prima facie some right-wing organisations seem to have been involved in fomenting the riot.

Agra DIG Lakshmi Singh, who is leading the investigations, said, “A name has cropped up in the probe. He belongs to a right wing organization. The man is supposed to have organised such a huge crowd within no time. His name is there in the FIR as well.

Investigations are on track and soon we will have solid proof against those who started this. They will be behind bars.”



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RSS sympathiser loses column for saying ‘RSS leaders eat meat’ (Oct 8, 2015, Economic Times)

An RSS sympathiser and historian has lost his 16-year-old column in a pro-RSS newspaper because he spoke to ET about the eating habits of top RSS leaders. Slamming the campaign that meat eating was anti-Hindu, columnist Dilip Deodhar had pointed out that many RSS chiefs used to eat meat. This statement has landed him virtually in the soup now.

On July 22, during the height of the ‘Hindus don’t eat non-veg controversy’, ET had carried a story on top leaders like Balasaheb Deoras and Mohan Bhagwat relishing non-veg food before becoming RSS chiefs, quoting Dilip Deodhar. This was in the context of an article that appeared in RSS affiliated magazine, Panchjanya, that claimed that eating non-veg food was an ‘anti Hindu’ activity. Deodhar has now realised that his column in the pro-RSS newspaper, Tarun Bharat, that appeared in the last 16 years has been stopped after he spoke out against the anti-meat campaign.

“I am against duplicity in the RSS, I do criticise but my criticism is not negative, its constructive. The veg versus non-veg issue was giving the RSS a bad name and hence I spoke about how RSS was not against eating meat and even top RSS leaders used to consume meat. A few top RSS leaders congratulated me after I spoke but some who didn’t understand the issue got upset and have tried to hit back by banning my column,” said Deodhar.…



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Over 500 Shiv Sena activists booked in Muzzafarnagar (Oct 6, 2015, Times of India)

Over 500 Shiv Sena activists have been booked on charges of violating prohibitory orders and attempts to incite communal tension in the city, police said today. The Sena activists had Sunday taken out a procession in areas where Section 144 of the CrPC was in effect and raised “objectionable” slogans, police said.

They have been booked under section 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups) of the IPC and for violating prohibitory orders.

The authorities have imposed Section 144 in the district in view of the upcoming panchayat polls.



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‘Hindutva’ ideology ruining name of Hindus everywhere, says Nayantara Sahgal (Oct 7, 2015, DNA India)

Eminent writer Nayantara Sahgal, the niece of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who returned her ‘Sahitya Akademi’ Award over the Dadri lynching case, said on Wednesday that the rampant ‘Hindutva ideology’ was ruining the name of Hindus in the nation.

“The prevailing situation of the country is very pathetic. The Hindutva ideology which is going on in the country right now is ruining the name of the Hindus and as a Hindu myself, I am very hurt,” Sahgal said.

A day ago Sehgal returned the Sahitya Akademi award in protest against increasing intolerance towards right to dissent in the country and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “silence” on the “reign of terror”.…



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Rohini Salian names NIA officer who told her to ‘go soft’ against Malegaon blasts accused (Oct 13, 2015, Indian Express)

Former Special Prosecutor Rohini Salian has disclosed that it was Suhas Warke, a Superintendent of Police in the National Investigation Agency (NIA), who asked her to “go soft” against the accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case after the NDA came to power. More than three months after Salian’s interview to The Indian Express, the first disclosure on the name of the agency officer has been made in an affidavit she filed in a matter relating to initiation of contempt proceedings against NIA for “tending to hamper the judicial process,” resulting in “weakening of the prosecution’s case”.

“I am told that a criminal contempt petition is filed before this Honb’le court and in administration of justice and as an officer of the court, I am disclosing the name of the NIA officer, who had tried to interfere with the delivery of the administration of justice, as a messenger. His name is Suhas Warke, SP, NIA, Mumbai branch,” Salian said in her affidavit.

The affidavit, which was filed before the Bombay High Court, has now been submitted in the Supreme Court along with a petition asking it to pay heed to revelations made in the affidavit and issue appropriate orders against the NIA in the interest of justice. … “I reiterate and affirm that whatever I have stated in my interview to the newspaper Indian Express… is true and correct and I reiterate the same as it is specifically stated therein,” she said, adding that the incident happened in the second or third week of June 2014.…



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Love Jihad: BJP MLA Suresh Rana says he fabricated rape charges against Muslim boys (Oct 7, 2015, DNA India)

According to various media reports, leaders from BJP, VHP and RSS are involved in what can be best described as the fight against Love Jihad. For the uninitiated, the term Love Jihad is used to describe the act of a Muslim man wooing young Hindu girls and then converting them to Islam.

According to India Today, BJP MLA Suresh Rana has admitted that he had fabricated rape charges against Muslim boys to teach them lesson for marrying Hindu girls. A Cobrapost sting suggested that while the inter-faith marriage was consensual, the Muslim boys were charged with rape to teach them a lesson.

According to a post on Youth Ki Awaaz, Suresh Rana said: “Now I will tell you the truth. We charged them with rape, but it wasn’t rape, it was consensual. We slapped a rape case against them to teach them a lesson. The girl wasn’t ready to give a statement against them. If you look at the case in depth, the girl was willing. Three people didn’t take her away by force… Girls are girls…it has been said about them that they will change according to circumstances in five minutes… when she was slapped and coerced, she wrote the FIR (that we wanted).” What do you think?”…



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UP Cops’ Brutality Caught On Camera. Strip Dalit Woman For Insisting On Filing Police Complaint! (Oct 9, 2015, Indiatimes.com)

After a Dalit couple insisted on filing an FIR (First Information Report) for a robbery at a Greater Noida police station, Uttar Pradesh police took action – they stripped them naked.

According to sources, the victim (Sunil Gautam) visited the Dankaur police station with his wife and baby to file a case of mugging on Wednesday night. The cops first refused to file an FIR, following which the couple protested outside the station. Angered, the cops allegedly beat them up and ripped off their clothes.

AllIndiaRoundUp reported that an eyewitness has claimed that the Dankaur Police Station House Officer (SHO), ignored their complaint, and took part in this deed.



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Opinions and Editorials

The Buck Stops With Modi – By Nidheesh J Villatt (Oct 17, 2015, Tehelka)

…Soon after he took charge as acting chief minister of Gujarat in 2001, Modi polarised the state along communal lines by giving polemical speeches on allegedly Muslim-owned illegal slaughterhouses that “steal and kill gau mata”. Sagar Rabari, a Gujarat-based human rights activist, recalls that the Modi regime worked in tandem with private cow and animal rights organisations (mostly NGOs) and other militant cow protection outfits affiliated to the Sangh Parivar. Modi initiated police action against Muslim-owned slaughterhouses that were allegedly killing cows and the vernacular media hyped it with sensational headlines and lies and half-truths presented as news.

Looking at the content of the propaganda literature brought out by these organisations, it becomes clear that they were interested more in killing “beef-eating Muslims” than in protecting the cow. Their campaigns always invoked Gujarat’s rich tradition of Ahimsa and contrasted it with the violent, cow-killing, beef-eating Muslim. The violent eating habits of the Muslim, the campaign insinuated, were also reflected in his carnal inclinations and practices. Muslim male sexuality was presented as dangerously aggressive and predatory (Tamasik). To add to the fear factor, it was propagated that these men were especially after vegetarian (Sattvik) upper-caste Hindu/Jain women. The campaigns managed to turn this into something akin to common sense for a substantial section of the Hindu population.

Many studies of the 2002 pogrom suggest that fear of “non-vegetarian Muslim sexuality” drove many Hindu men to unleash brutal forms of sexual violence on Muslim women. Yet, Modi saw no contradiction in announcing plans to promote “Ahimsa tourism” in Gujarat soon after he allegedly justified this “post- Godhra” violence.…



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Don’t let Hindu fanatics dictate India’s future – By Amrit Dhillon (Oct 8, 2015, The Globe and Mail)



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Hindutva Appeasement Acquires Dangerous Proportions – By Ramesh Ramachandran (Oct 17, 2015, Tehelka)

The last time a Prime Minister (the late PV Narasimha Rao; in 1992) invoked the word “moratorium” (on problems and conflicts), a mosque was demolished. Twenty-two years on, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about moratorium (on communalism, casteism and violence) from the ramparts of the Red Fort as Rao before him, one was almost overcome with a sense of foreboding. That foreboding was proved correct by a series of subsequent developments, one more shocking than the other, which have roiled the nation like never before in recent memory.

The land of Gandhi is a mute witness to the idea of India being “broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls”, to quote Rabindranath Tagore. Anything, including some of the things we took for granted, is fair game! Consider the visceral reactions from some quarters to food (beef and meat ban), language (Hindi), marriage (love jihad), religious conversion (ghar wapsi)… the list is as endless as it is nauseating.

The unfortunate and shameful incident of the lynching of Mohd Akhlaq in Dadrion the outskirts of Delhi by a mob merely on a suspicion of him having consumed beef is the latest example of a mindless assault on our collective conscience. It is indefensible, reprehensible and contemptible.… Just about anything is indeed being done to appease the Sangh Parivar’s constituents but at what cost, Mr Prime Minister?…



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Attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni reinforces Sena as the khap panchayat that Mumbai never had for long – By Akshaya Mishra (Oct 12, 2015, First Post)

What’s so surprising about Shiv Sena workers blackening the face of Sudheendra Kulkarni? Nothing really. “You better accept what we demand or we will respond in our style.” This has been the standard threat from Sena leaders from time to time to target persons and groups. It was this style that was on display when sainiks applied black ink on Kulkarni’s face. His fault? He had the gumption to host a book-launch event involving former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri in Mumbai. The latest on this story is that six men have been arrested for the attack.

The Sena is known for such antics. It’s generally irreverent to better ways of expressing dissent and impatient with resistance. For good or bad, it has been acting as the khap panchayat that Mumbai never had for long. The ‘style’ that its leaders talk of has been put to effective use for several decades now. And it certainly has not gone out of circulation in spite of the party losing its political heft in the state. Only a couple of days ago, it managed to get a concert by Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali in the city cancelled.

Does the expression of nationalist sentiment have to be this crude? Aren’t there ways besides coercion and intimidation to get one’s point across? These questions have been put to the party often. Of course, response has been one of disdain. When action speaks, there’s no point wasting words.…



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Fighting silence with dignified dissent – By Shiv Visvanathan (Oct 12, 2015, The Hindu)

Nayantara Sahgal, a working writer at 88, has reminded India that the craft of writing involves a commitment to truth. Dissent becomes a way of life for a writer. There is a politics to dissent that most people do not understand. Dissent is an act of courage, of standing up against a tide, confronting a ‘bully-boy’ majority. Dissent is an act of aloneness, of facing up to crowd when a single voice can puncture silence.

Oddly, many in India seem to suffer from dissent envy. The minute a Nayantara Sahgal protests, some people wish to dismiss it as a tantrum, a rich person’s tantrum. The tactics are interesting. Some call it “selective outrage”. Such dismissals imply that you have to be a professional protester, without an understanding that even in the field of injustice you have to pick and choose what you fight for. Many feel she was a beneficiary of the Nehru era. She was but, unlike many of those belonging to the Nehruvian generation, she has achievements to her own name. She brought an aesthetics and courage to her own life which deserves its own reading.

Ms. Sahgal’s protest is not an outburst. It is a reasoned act of dissent and, yes, a cry of grief uttered in pain for something she feels deeply about. She insisted that fellow writers and academics cannot be shot to death. This protest comes when silence has become the only accepted form of political correctness in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).…



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The High Priest Of Deception – By Bula Devi, Ajay Sukumaran (Oct 12, 2015, Outlook)

…The chargesheet is sending ripples in RSS circles because not only is the swami close to the Sangh parivar and patronised by the BJP government of B.S. Yediyurappa between 2008 and 2013, even the victim and her family happen to be devoted Hindus, disciples of the math, and known to a large number of RSS and BJP leaders. More damningly, a celibate has been accused of over 100 sexual transgressions, and the chargesheet, which lists as many as 159 witnesses, has grisly details of a suicide, threats from the underworld, semen stains, DNA matches – a litany of lust.

The chargesheet against the powerful swami, who represents the influential Havyaka Brahmins and has had politicians of every hue falling at his feet during his 16 years at the helm of the math, was long in coming. The Congress government of Siddaramaiah held out till it could no longer do so in the face of mounting pressure from the BJP-appointed chairperson of the National Commission for Women, Lalitha Kumaramangalam. Only a day earlier, the pontiff’s representatives had met the press. But when it finally came, there was disbelief on the part of devotees-and growing anger among cynics and sceptics at the kidglove treatment.…

The chargesheet against the swami is not the end of the story, just the beginning of the middle. Days after the couple was arrested on charges of blackmail last year, the victim’s brother-in-law ostensibly shot himself at home. His widow claimed he was under pressure to get his sister-in-law to withdraw her complaint. While the police had then stated that the deceased had left behind a suicide note, they interrogated an important RSS leader of the west coast, Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat, ostensibly because he had spoken to the deceased a number of times on the day of his ‘suicide’. But Bhat, described then as the south India communication chief of the RSS, merely claimed that the deceased was a friend. Bhat has been supportive of the seer and believes the rape charge is a ‘political conspiracy’.…



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Book Review

Communal Violence, Forced Migration and the State: Gujarat since 2002

Author: Sanjeevini Badigar Lokhande
Reviewed by: A. G. Noorani
Available at: Cambridge University Press, 32 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10013-2473, USA; Not yet published – available from June 2016.http://www.cambridge.org/ & http://www.amazon.in/
Gujarat’s internal refugees (Oct 16, 2015, Frontline)

…Prime Minister Narendra Modi has proved beyond all doubt, in the past 15 months, that the Old Adam lurks inside his skin – the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) pracharak; coarse in debate, authoritarian, intolerant, communal to the core, and resolved to recast the polity and rewrite not only the rules of the present system but also the nationally accepted narrative of the past.

This book is indispensable to a proper understanding of the Godhra outrage and the post-Godhra pogrom in Gujarat in 2002 on Modi’s watch. Such an understanding is essential to a fitting response to the challenge that Modi poses to secular democracy. He has skilfully and successfully wielded two weapons – the promise of economic advance and the image of one who gets things done.

The Gujarat pogrom was a crime with a difference. The victims were not rehabilitated fully, and the poison in the atmosphere persists. In this, it differs from the anti-Sikh pogrom in New Delhi in 1984. Modi made a triumphant comeback in successive elections to the State Assembly and capped this with a landslide victory in the Lok Sabha elections in 2014.… This book is of enduring relevance and provides a warning of a past that lies behind the sordid success Modi has achieved.