IAMC Weekly News Roundup - October 16th, 2017 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 16th, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Haryana cop held in fake encounter (Oct 13, 2017, Indian Express)

Paramjit Singh, a constable with the Haryana Police and accused in the Sandeep Gadoli fake encounter case, was arrested in a raid on Thursday.

Sources said the Haryana Police, which made the arrest, have contacted Mumbai police and a team from the crime branch will get his transit remand.

Gangster Gadoli, who had over 30 cases registered against him, was allegedly shot dead by a Gurugram police team led by sub-inspector Pradhuman Yadav in Mumbai on February 7 2016. So far the police have arrested seven people in the case.



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‘Dangerous’ trend of eliminating opposition & liberal values: Bombay High Court (Oct 13, 2017, Free Press Journal)

Voicing its concern over the ‘dangerous trend’ of targeting people who hold ‘liberal values and principles,’ the Bombay High Court on Thursday said that such a tendency is bringing disrepute to the country. The court even made a reference to the shocking murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead last month at her residence in Bengaluru.

A division bench of Justice Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari and Justice Bharati Dangre said, “At present, we can say that there is absolutely no respect for liberal values and opinions. The ones who believe in liberalism are increasingly being targeted for their principles. In the current scenario, we can say that not only thinkers, but any person, or rather any organisation that believes in liberal principles, can be targeted.”

“It’s like if there is some opposition to me, I must have that person eliminated. This trend of killing any and all opposition and liberal values is dangerous. This is bringing disrepute to the country,” Justice Dharamadhikari observed.…



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Missing JNU student: A year on, ‘where is Najeeb Ahmad’ cries get louder (Oct 14, 2017, Hindustan Times)

At least two hundred voices cried out in unison outside the headquarters of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) at Lodhi Road on Friday: “Where is Najeeb? Find Najeeb.” On Sunday, it will be a year since the morning Najeeb Ahmad, an MSc student from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), was reported missing. Despite probe by four different teams of Delhi Police, Crime Branch and the CBI, there is still no sign of the 28-year-old.

On Friday afternoon, student groups from JNU, Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia , Najeeb’s family members and activists held protests over the agency’s alleged inability to trace Najeeb.

A year ago, the PhD student had a reported spat with other students in his hostel during which he was allegedly beaten up. He had reportedly slapped a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The following morning, he was reported missing. Delhi Police registered a kidnapping case. A special investigative team (SIT) was then formed to trace him. The probe was later handed to the Crime Branch. In May, the Delhi High Court transferred the case to the CBI, but there has been no information about the man whose disappearance remains the most talked-about issue on JNU campus, even today.…



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BHU Crime Branch Serves Notice on Peacefully Protesting Students, Sec 307 (Attempt to Murder) Applied (Sep 30, 2017, Sabrang India)

Fast on the heels of its repressive action of brutally beating women students and professors on September 23 (last saturday) the BHU Crime Branch has, late on the night of September 30 ( a week later) issued a ‘Notice’ to 10 students, all male who were protesting pecefully outside that day. Almost all ten students have been at the leadership of the 24 X 7 Library Movement that began in May 2016. Three of those who have received notices also belong to the RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

Among the students who have received the notice are Roshan Pandey, Dhananjay Tripathi, Vikas Singh, Yashpal Singh and also Mritunjay, LN Sharma, Shantanu. Besides an FIR has already been lodged against three students members of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) that is leading the student’s protest. Vikas Singh of the NSUI doinga PHD in Political Science, Divakar Singh, a BHU IIT Scholar belonging to Youth for Swaraj and a woman student called Mamta have an FIR against them.

Reacting to the notice students including Dhananjay Tripathi and Vikas Singh that “this was a clear case of revenge politics being played out. We were at the dharna in a peaceful protest, we are part of the JAC supporting the movement of the women students as also raising issues of parity and justice and this is a clear attempt to level false allegations against us as also trying to undermine the protest. How could we be hurling petrol bombs as it is alleged when we were at the peaceful dharna outside?” asks Dhananjay.



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Cow-protection vigilantes attack men carrying ‘buffalo meat’ in Faridabad (Oct 14, 2017, Hindustan Times)

A group of men was allegedly assaulted by so-called cow protection groups in Old Faridabad on Friday, the latest in a string of attacks by right-wing Hindu groups on people over suspicions that they may be selling or consuming cow meat.

Police have filed cases against the victims as well as “15-20 unknown persons” who attacked them, and will investigate the origin of the meat that the men were carrying for which they were assaulted. “We were beaten black and blue and told to raise slogans like ‘gau mata ki jai’ (hail the cow mother) and hanuman ki jai (hail hanuman) – which we refused”, said Azad, who was one of the people attacked. Three of the four victims appeared to be Muslims.

He added that the assault continued even after the policemen arrived on the scene. “We have registered a case under sections of Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act Act against Asad, Shehzad, Shakeel and Sonu”, said ACP Mujesar Radhey Shyam. The officer said another FIR has been registered under sections of rioting, causing hurt and criminal intimidation against 15-20 unknown people.…



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Remember when RSS-Jan Sangh leaders (clandestinely) apologised for opposing Emergency, called Gandhi murderer “patriot” (Oct 17, 2017, Sabrang India)

It’s in the ninth edition of “Sarthak Jalso”, a unique Gujarati half-yearly journal edited by well-known writer Urvish Kothari, that has brought to light how RSS cadres and the BJP’s parent organisation, the Jan Sangh, behaved as ultra-nationalists during the Emergency days (1975-77), talked high of patriotism, but were equally quick in apologizing to the authorities about their opposition to what is considered as a dark spot of Indian democracy.

A detailed article by Hasmukh Patel, … has said that during his 11 months in jail, … he came in direct contact several RSS-Jan Sangh leaders. Finding them extremely polite at the personal level, though equally secretive, says Patel, … the RSS-Jan Sangh people would often tell him that they “would fight till the end but would never bow” to the Emergency regime… However, underlines Patel, the very same people would “clandestinely send apology letters” to the authorities, the “mathematics of which I failed to understand.” While Patel did not mention who these people were, those in the jail with him from RSS-Jan Sangh included Chiman Shukla, Shankarsinh Vaghela, Ashok Bhatt, Nalin Bhatt and Vishnu Pandya.

Patel’s observation acquires significance in view of running controversy about questions being raised on RSS’ role during the freedom movement, on one hand, and the revelation that Vinayak Savarkar (whom Modi rates as perhaps the best freedom fighter), was close to Gandhi assassin Godse and he wrote several letters to the British apologizing for opposing the Raj, on the other.



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Yashwant Sinha to Varun Gandhi: From economic slump, GST to Rohingyas, BJP faces attack from within (Sep 28, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Yashwant Sinha is not the first leader from the ruling BJP alliance to criticise the government over its policies, though his attack is by far the most scathing and direct.

There is a small chorus of voices from within the party who have been openly critical of the central government’s controversial economic decisions, especially demonetisation and GST. But a few of the party’s leaders have also taken a dissenting line on other government decisions, such as the plan to deport Rohingyas refugees.…

In June, just before GST was introduced, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, an offshoot of the Sangh parivar, had criticised the government policy.”… Swadeshi Jagran Manch has been saying for long that though GST will make compliance easier for big businesses, multi state operators and TNCs ( transnational or multinational corporations), but at the same time onus of compliance for small scale industry may cause a host of problems…,” SJM said in a press note.



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Muslims flee Indian village after singer killed in argument with Hindu priest – police (Oct 11, 2017, Reuters)



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Here Are Six Shocking Revelation About Ram Rahim And His Dera Headquarters At Sirsa (Oct 13, 2017, India Times)

Rape, murder, castration, extortion, illegal arms, parallel economy and what not. The conviction of Dera Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim seems of having opened a can of worms for the self-styled Godman, who garrulously called himself Insan and new revelations are coming to fore every day as sanitation exercise at Dera headquarters in Sirsa nears completion.

Dera Chief, Gurmeet Ram Raheem, is currently in Rohtak’s Sonaria jail where his health is said to be deteriorating for different reasons. Here are some revelations about Dera Chief Ram Rahim and his headquarters located in Sirsa which has tumbled out like skeletons.

It has been revealed through the two women who fought the case apart from women who came to fore after the conviction that Ram Rahim used to rape the Sadhvis at his headquarters and this process was called Pitaji Ki Mafi. Many women who refused to disclose their identities have spoken post the conviction about how Sadhvis at Dera were sexually exploited by Ram Rahim. Pregnancy termination kits have been recovered from the Dera.…



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Dalit Rights Activist Detained, Threatened with ‘Encounter’ (Oct 16, 2017, Sabrang India)

Dalit Rights activist Pradeep Narwal has alleged that he was illegally detained by personnel of the UP police on Sunday who also threatened to conduct an ‘encounter’ against him.

Narwal who is the convener of the Defense Committee for the Bhim Army says the incident took place near the Faridabad-Delhi border at about 2pm. “We were stopped by UP police personnel, none of whom were wearing name tags.

One of them put a gun to my head and threatened to do an encounter,” he recalls. “I was made to sit in a police vehicle, while a policeman got into my vehicle. I was then driven around and taken to Muradnagar, but not into the police station. I was questioned by these policemen about my links with the Bhim Army,” says Narwal.…



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Opinions and Editorials

Anger at India’s Slowdown Gives Modi a Very Big Headache – By Vrishti Beniwal and Bibhudatta Pradhan (Oct 12, 2017, Bloomberg)

For the first time in his three-and-a-half year rule, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing sustained discontent over his economic policies as growth slows, job losses mount and distressed farmers protest. Four senior members of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party have hit out at the government, emboldening the country’s weak opposition and challenging the previously unstoppable leader to find quick fixes before the 2019 national polls and a raft of state votes. And as criticism of the Modi’s economic management intensifies, the usually loud voices of his supporters are falling silent.

India lost its “fastest-growing major economy” tag as growth slipped below 6 percent in the latest quarter. The moderation was partly the result of Modi’s boldest moves – demonetization, as well as the chaotic introduction of the goods and services tax that continues to disrupt supply chains. As talk of a stimulus to boost growth sparked concerns of fiscal slippage, foreign investors went on selling spree and rupee started falling.…

The criticism of Modi’s handling of the economy is mounting, with Yashwant Sinha, former finance minister under Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s BJP-led-government, writing a strongly-worded piece saying the economy was in a “mess”. In an interview to Bloomberg Sinha said he was the voice of many in the party who wouldn’t speak out of fear.…



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All Around Us, Narendra Modi’s Messiah Image Is Quickly Fading – By Harbans Mukhia (Oct 17, 2017, The Wire)

Remember the year or so prior to the May 2014 elections? The adoring Indian media could not imagine how the country had survived without Narendra Modi for 67 long years. Every little speech of his in a remote high school or a Delhi college became the news, wiping out all other national or international events – good, bad or indifferent – for a day-and-a-half from TV screens. The social media, such as it was, wouldn’t tire of singing songs of gratitude for being around when the messiah had made his appearance.

The messiah himself added all he could to the making of the myth around him. In his speeches, he invariably asked his massive audiences what had they gained in the six decades or so since independence, and the audiences loudly responded with “zero”, which in any case is an Indian invention. All was set to change to a golden age, “achhe din” in 60 months, he said reassuringly. Of course, just about 31% of those who actually voted – and thus around 21% or 22% of the total electorate, or around 12% of the Indian people – fell for his reassurances. But given the nature of our first-past-the-post democracy, this was enough to become a massive mandate.

Has the tide begun to turn? With all the messiah’s promised and unpromised actions falling flat – and more devastatingly being seen to be falling flat – and with “others” having caught up with social media, no prime minister in one’s living memory has been, and is being, lampooned daily on WhatsApp, Facebook and other social media as much as Modi, and I have been around long enough to witness the oath taking of all prime ministers from Jawaharlal Nehru onward. The lampooning comes in jokes, cartoons, videos, in reminders of what his dear colleagues like Uma Bharati had to say earlier of his “vikas purush” image (“vinash purush”) and above all in replaying video clips of his own wild promises.…



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Jay Amit Shah’s Case Against The Wire Is an Attempt to Censor, Intimidate Media at Large – By Lawrence Liang (Oct 12, 2017, The Wire)

… It is worth revisiting Lewis’s story of the Sullivan case in light of the defamation case filed by Jay Amitbhai Shah against The Wire and its employees for Rohini Singh’s article ‘The Golden touch of Jay Amit Shah’.

Defamation in the 21st century AG (After Goswami) and the form of journalism he inspires has also become less black and white as an issue of media censorship, with the media often trampling upon people’s reputations without any fear.

And then there are cases such as the one against The Wire in which, as Kagan would say, heroes are heroes and villains are villains. If it is the balance sheet of Jay Shah’s company which is the cause of aggrievement in the present case, in Sullivan, it was a poster that prompted a historic defamation claim against the New York Times – but in both instances, the real issue is much larger than the tarnishing of individual reputations or even the chilling effects of defamation.…



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India’s Hindu Right-Wing Extremists Are Increasingly Turning to Violence – By Vijay Prashad (Oct 12, 2017, News Click)

Earlier this month, in Bhubaneshwar, the capital of the Indian state of Odhisa, activists of the Hindu right decided to do some political theater. They brought a large communist flag, lay it on the ground, photographed themselves stamping on it, and then burnt it.

Why would the Hindu right – which controls the Indian government – decide to burn the flag of the communist movement in India? The communist movement has been weakened electorally, having its deputies in the parliament dramatically lowered over the course of the past two decades.…

The Hindu right, led by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the Hindu Right’s electoral arm, the BJP, has used every mechanism of state and society to suffocate dissent. The government has used its power to go after liberal journalists and radical students, using guile and force to break the confidence of the popular struggles. The murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh and the attack on the students at Benares Hindu University provide evidence of the attempt by the Hindu right to narrow the possibilities of what it means to be an Indian.…



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A dangerous proposition – By Faizan Mustafa (Oct 17, 2017, The Hindu)

…The RSS chief, Mohan Bhagwat, recently said in Hyderabad that our legal system should be based on “the ethos of society”. Sangh ideologue K.N. Govindacharya has openly spoken of how the Constitution needs to be rewritten.

In all such utterances, the agenda of review too is clear – remove individualism, secularism, socialism; dilute parliamentary democracy and civil liberties; and give more prominence to fundamental duties rather than to fundamental rights, and so on. True, our Constitution is a bag of borrowed ideas, but borrowing a few Western ideas is not necessarily bad if such ideas have some value and relevance for us.

No one generation has a monopoly on wisdom. Humans are fallible but do learn from experience and thus must be empowered to change the Constitution as per the exigencies of time. Amendments are good if they reflect the evolution and maturity of constitutional democracy. Why does the RSS appear to be more interested in a new Constitution rather than mere amendments? A 13-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in the Kesavananda Bharati case (1973) laid down that the basic structure of the Constitution cannot be altered in exercise of constituent powers of Parliament to amend the Constitution; thus repeal of the Constitution is the only option for the extreme right. This is indeed a dangerous prospect.…



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What’s Behind India’s ‘Beef Lynchings’? – By Amitava Kumar (Oct 13, 2017, The Nation)

…When Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to a landslide victory in the national parliamentary elections in 2014, one of the planks of his campaign was a ban on cow slaughter. He accused the party in power at that time of promoting a “Pink Revolution” (pink because “when you slaughter an animal, then the color of its meat is pink”).

The government, Modi said, boasted of India being the world’s leading meat exporter. Even in his earlier speeches, available on YouTube, you can hear him declaiming against the killing of cows: “Brothers and sisters, I cannot say whether your heart is pained by this or not, but my heart screams out in agony again and again. And why you remain silent, why you tolerate this, I just cannot understand.”

Speeches like this were not simply about animal welfare. Modi’s words are an incitement for India’s Hindu majority, which mostly doesn’t eat beef, to turn against the minority, particularly Muslims, who are conventionally represented as beef eaters. Cow slaughter has long been banned in parts of India, but after the BJP’s victory, frenzied mobs of vigilantes felt emboldened to make accusations and mete out brutal punishment.…



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Book Review

Hinduising Democracy: The Vishva Hindu Parishad in Contemporary India

Author: Manjari Katju
Reviewed by: G. Sampath
Available at: Kindle Unlimited. https://www.amazon.in/
Force of Hindutva (Oct 14, 2017, The Hindu)

… Today, VHP leaders occupy influential positions within the secular-democratic framework of the Indian polity, with Yogi Adityanath and Sakshi Maharaj being the most famous names among many others. The question of how and why avowedly majoritarian religious leaders rise to the top in a secular democracy has been a subject of intense debate among political scientists.

In Hinduising Democracy: The Vishva Hindu Parishad in Contemporary India, Manjari Katju, a professor of political science at the University of Hyderabad, tries to answer this question by breaking it down into smaller, sharper ones: What is the VHP’s understanding of democracy? What is its idea of freedom? What is its vision of citizenship? And what kind of influence does it wield over Indian politics and social life? To answer these questions, she tracks the VHP’s activities between 1995 and 2015, and over eight chapters traces the evolution of its strategies in response to changing political realities.

On the VHP’s vision of democracy, Katju observes that it attempts to “conflate the notion of parliamentary democracy with the will of the religious majority,” so that democracy in India comes to signify nothing but the rule of the Hindu majority, thereby “obfuscating the understanding of democracy itself.” The VHP’s idea of freedom is “articulated mainly as religio-cultural freedom of the Hindu community.” Freedom, for the VHP, is “an exclusive domain of the Hindu community and is considered substantiated only with the political ascendancy of Hindu nationhood.”… Hinduising Democracy is a valuable resource for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of an outfit that has become one of the largest, most energetic, and most uncompromising proselytisers of Hindutva.