IAMC Weekly News Roundup - October 17th, 2016 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 17th, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Communal harmony lessons in J’khand textbooks to foster love, combat hatred (Oct 11, 2016, Hindustan Times)

Jharkhand will include lessons on communal harmony highlighting symbiosis between different communities in government school textbooks for classes 3 to 8 from the academic year 2017 in a bid to foster love and brotherhood among children of different societies.

The new lessons which will be part of moral science are expected to bridge communal barriers among children and instill respect in them for their classmates who belong to other communities, officials from the state school education and literacy department said.

“The lessons will help the students know about the strength of communal unity and the drawbacks of disharmony between different communities. They will also teach the children about how different communities in India are inter-dependent on each other and should live peacefully together,” said state school education and literacy secretary Aradhana Patnaik.…


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Modi “advised” ex-DGP to go soft on Sangh Parivar, said 2002 Gujarat violence was “natural, uncontrollable” (Oct 17, 2016, Counterview)

In a glaring instance of how Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then chief minister of Gujarat, continued justifying the 2002 communal riots more than two months after they began, retired DGP RB Sreekumar has recalled, Modi told him in a one-to-one conversation in that violence by Hindus after the February 27 Godhra train burning was “a natural and uncontrollable reaction and no police could control and contain it.”

On February 27, Sreekumar says, Modi had justified, during a meeting with cop officials, the need for allowing people to vent their anger. Modi, according to Sreekumar, had told them, “In communal riots, police normally takes action against Hindus and Muslims on one-to-one proportion, this will not do now, allow Hindus to give vent to their anger.”

Revealing this in his recent book, “Gujarat behind the Curtain” (Manas Publications), Sreekumar, who served as additional DGP in the Police Bhawan in 2002, says, his meeting with Modi took place on May 7, 2002, and it was about “the communal situation in Ahmedabad city, where stray communal incidents, i.e. stabbing in bylines and lonely areas, were reported.”…



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Bahraich: 2 cops suspended, 34 arrested for clashes during Durga Puja (Oct 15, 2016, Hindustan Times)

Two policemen were suspended and 34 people were arrested on Friday in connection with clashes during a Durga idol immersion procession here that led to the death of a 6-year-old girl.

“SHO Devanand and SI Pappu Yadav of Fakharpur police station have been suspended for laxity in connection with clashes between members of two communities during the procession,” SP Saligram Verma said.

“FIR has been lodged against 54 persons, of whom 34 have been arrested. 300 to 400 unnamed people have also been mentioned in the FIR,” the SP said. They have been booked under sections of the IPC related to arson, scuffle, murder and attempt to murder, he added.…



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Real threats to India are communal and social violence, not Pakistan or China: Former NSA (Oct 13, 2016, First Post)

The real threats to India are “internal” and emanate from communal and social violence, not from outside forces such as Pakistan or China, former national security advisor Shivshankar Menon has said.

Asked if Pakistan or China pose an existential threat to India, Menon said: “No”. “There’s no existential threat to India’s existence today externally, unlike in the 50s or when we were formed. And for many years till late 60s there were actual internal separatist threats, not any more. I think that we have actual dealt with,” Menon said.

His long career in public service spans diplomacy, national security, and India’s relations with its neighbours and major global powers. Menon served as national security advisor to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from January 2010 to May 2014.…



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PM Modi’s estranged wife Jashodaben takes centre stage as debate on triple talaq heats up (Oct 17, 2016, Ummid.com)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s marital life and his estranged wife Jashodaben once again took centre stage – this time in Urdu press and social media, as the debate on reform in the Muslim personal law, especially a ban on concurrent talaq and polygamy, heated up citing women’s rights and gender equality.

The first to launch salvo against Prime Minister Modi and his marital life was the firebrand Muslim Personal Law Board General Secretary Mohammad Wali Rahmani. In a no-holds-barred attack on the prime minister on Thursday, Rahmani while addressing a press conference with other Muslim leaders in New Delhi, raked up the issue saying Modi should first keep his own house in order before worrying for Muslim women.

“There are people who are talking of women’s rights. They should first keep their own house in order”, Mohammad Wali Rahmani, former Deputy Speaker Bihar assembly, said. As soon as Rahman’s speech went viral on the internet, a huge number of posts with similar comments started flooding the social networking sites and the Urdu press. One article which singled out is written by Shakeel Rasheed and is published in today’s Mumbai Urdu News.…



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Kerala: Two RSS workers arrested in connection with CPM activist’s murder (Oct 14, 2016, First Post)

Two RSS workers were on Friday taken into custody in connection with the murder of a CPI-M local committee member in Kannur district on 10 October. Toddy shop worker Mohanan, 40, was hacked to death by a six-member gang. He was the CPI(M)’s Paduvilayi local committee member. Police said the the activist died on the way to the hospital.

The attack took place in the morning when he was inside the shop. Another worker, Ashokan, was also injured, police said. Roopesh (23) and Rahul (22) were picked up from RSS office at Kannur, police said on Friday. Police had registered cases against seven persons in connection with the incident.

Within 48 hours of the murder of the CPI(M) activist Mohanan BJP activist Remith was hacked to death in the home town of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday.…



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Jharkhand man dies in custody after he was arrested for a WhatsApp message on beef (Oct 12, 2016, Scroll.in)

A 22-year-old man from Jharkhand’s Jamtara district died after being held in police custody for sending a WhatsApp message that allegedly had an “objectionable message on beef”, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday. Minhaj Ansari’s family has accused the police of torturing him and a sub-inspector has been booked for murder, though the police said Ansari had also been diagnosed with encephalitis.

Police officers said Sub-Inspector Harish Pathak, who was supposed to oversee proceedings at Narayanpura police station, had been negligent in his duties. He has been suspended, the report added.

According to Jamtara Deputy Commissioner Ramesh Kumar Dubey, Ansari was arrested on October 3 after the WhatsApp message started circulating locally. His family was informed two days later that he had been shifted to Dhanbad after sustaining injuries while in custody. The family filed a complaint against Pathak and were involved in an altercation with him, after which he was booked for attempt to murder. The charge was changed to murder after Ansari died on October 7.…



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Chaos in JNU Campus After BTech Student Najeeb Ahmed Goes Missing (Oct 18, 2016, Outlook)

Chaos prevailed in JNU campus today with various student groups staging protests over the issue of a student missing from the varsity hostel under mysterious circumstances.

A student of School of Biotechnology, Najeeb Ahmed, allegedly went missing on Saturday following a brawl on the campus the night before. An FIR for kidnapping and wrongfully confining a person was lodged at Vasant Kunj North police station yesterday after the police received a complaint from the student’s guardians.

Najeeb’s mother and local guardians also joined the protest today alleging that they were not informed by the administration about him going missing.…



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‘It’s clear that it’s a political strike not surgical’: Kamaal R Khan’s review on Indian Army’s surgical strikes (Oct 18, 2016, Financial Express)

Following Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar’s statement linking the surgical strikes with RSS teachings, controversial actor Kamaal R Khan today expressed disbelief on the action taken by the Indian Army. The actor tweeted a video ‘reviewing’ the surgical strikes by the Army on different terror launch pads along the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan, killing at least 38 terrorists.

“After statement of defence minister, it’s clear that it’s a political strike not surgical,” Kamaal tweeted along with the video review.

Kamaal R Khan, also known as KRK, is often in the news for making controversial comments and movie reviews. In his video, the actor questioned the Indian army’s stand to repeatedly claim the existence of the surgical strikes, even after the neighbouring country denying any such attack.…



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HC turns down PIL seeking SC status for Dalit converts to Islam (Oct 18, 2016, The Hindu)

The Madras High Court Bench here has refused to entertain a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by the secretary of a Muslim jamath seeking a direction to the State Government to declare the caste to which Dalit converts to Islam would belong and issue community certificates to them mentioning the appropriate caste.

The First Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice S. Nagamuthu said it could not entertain the petition since the same issue had been raised before the Supreme Court way back in 2004 and a three judge Bench of the apex court had referred the matter to a larger Bench on January 21, 2011 considering its importance.

“Petitioner seeks to raise the issue of the status of persons who convert to Islam from the Scheduled Caste community and as to whether they are entitled to the benefit of reservation as Scheduled Caste…We see no purpose in entertaining the petition as the very question is under the consideration before the Supreme Court and the law laid down would be applicable to all,” it said.…



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Mother to return slain Dalit soldier’s gallantry awards (Oct 15, 2016, Indian Express)

Jethiben Rathod (65), a Dalit woman from Surendranagar district, who has been sitting on indefinite hunger strike at Satyagraha Chhavni here to protest the killing of her son, who was in the Indian Army, allegedly by upper-caste men, Friday sought the appointment with Gujarat Governor O P Kohli to return four gallantry awards that her son had received from the Army. Her son was allegedly killed by the upper-caste members of her village, Karadi in Sayla taluka, after he rebuked them for gambling and creating nuisance near his house.

Jethiben has been sitting on protest, along with 15 other Dalits, mainly from Saurashtra region, who are allegedly the victims of caste-based atrocities, like rape, abduction, murder and forced migration. The protesters are united by their common demand for “justice”. Jethiben has urged the state government to reopen the case and get it re-investigated by CBI. She has also sought Rs 10 lakh as compensation.

Jethiben’s son, Dinesh, was in the Indian Army and in March 2010 he had come home on leave. According to Jethiben, some upper-caste men (Kathi Darbars) were gambling near their house and Dinesh had rebuked them not to do so. Keeping this in mind, she added, these men shot dead Dinesh in broad daylight the next day.…



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Opinions and Editorials

Saffron light – Editorial (Oct 13, 2016, The Telegraph)

The term, “anti-national”, has become an ever-expanding hold-all. All that the government and its promoters, stretching from Nagpur to other parts of India, do not like or approve of is branded as anti-national.

It is an ineradicable stigma and the saffron parivar’s worst form of abuse. Any criticism of the government, its motives, policies and actions, is open to this branding. It is an instrument for isolating individuals and groups and then to direct official wrath or non-official violence against them. Nothing whets the Indian appetite for vengeance more than patriotism.…

The government of Narendra Modi, even though it professes commitment to the process of liberalization, has significantly enhanced the purview of the State. It has done so directly and implicitly. By remaining silent on various forms of vigilantism – from what people should eat or sell to attacks on minorities and Dalits – Mr Modi has given his tacit consent to various forms of Hindu fundamentalism. He and his supporters have brought into play a most insidious kind of majoritarianism that is slowly strangling dissent. India has entered, without fanfare, an era of undeclared emergency.



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Politics of the Guarded Agenda of National Education Policy 2015-16 – By Vikas Gupta (Oct 15, 2016, EPW)

…The consultative framework of the new NEP appears to be imbedded within the ideas of “minimalist expansionalism” and “tapered inclusionalism.” Therefore, the present paper is an attempt to restore the lens or the doctrine of equality as a parameter for the finalisation of the new NEP.…

Since the agenda of the new NEP champions the politics of cultural uniformity, it is also adversarial to all forms of diversity. It revives the model of “integrationalism” with the added flavour of religious “majoritarianism” of the 1950s and 1960s, and the cultural revivalism of the 19th century. It only uses the technological facade to create the illusion of its democratic nature and proclaims to have entered in “grass-roots” consultations within a stiff structure and predetermined and constrained agenda so that it can continue to serve the interests of the dominant classes.…

These detachments of the policy framework from the voices and the plight of stakeholders call for a serious examination of the nature of governance itself. While the above-sketched foundational weakness, at best, the drive of making the state “an invisible hand,” as the father of mercantilism, Adam Smith, conceived in 1776 (1976: 709- 10) might be continued within the current framework of “minimalist expansionalism” and globalisation, the hope for a substantive transformation of the sphere of education is completely belied at the outset.…



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The UP Election and Riot Politics – By Athar Husain (Oct 15, 2016, Sabrang India)

The Justice Vishnu Sahai Commission report on the September 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots was tabled on the floor of the Uttar Pradesh (UP) State Assembly early this year. The Akhilesh Yadav-led government knew that in the forthcoming elections they would have to answer lot of difficult questions pertaining to the law order situation during his tenure especially with regard to the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar and then, the lynching to death of Mohammad Akhlaque at Dadri (2015).

Both these bouts of violence have had far reaching political impact for the Samajwadi Party’s (SP’s) political fortunes specially when it’s key opponent, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has an eye on the Samajwadi Party’s core vote base, that is Muslims; this collective vote base which at one time, almost blindly supported Mulayam Singh Yadav’s SP has felt the deep and lasting scars of betrayal, since 2013.…

The Justice Sahai report on the Muzaffarnagar violence (2013) when made public had conclusions that were shocking: it completely absolved the state government and worse: the inquiry report said nothing about the key players who engineered the rioting and violence against the Muslim minority. The commission only held two police officers accountable for what the former judge found, predictably, an ‘intelligence failure’.…



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Triple Talaq phobia; what about prostitutes, victims of alcohol and female infanticide – By Dr. Javed Jamil (Jul 10, 2016, Muslim Mirror)

…The BJP Government came to the power with a clear Corporate-Communal agenda, and the last two and a half years have provided more than ample evidence that it has been aggressively pursuing both without any dilution of sincerity or effort. Hardly any day passes without a communal issue having hit the media.

But when the corporate agenda faces a threat from a religious or communal agenda, it is the corporate agenda which ultimately prevails. Otherwise, what will explain the fact that a Government in control of a party which boasts of Hindu Dharma as its driving force has never felt concerned about the hugely adverse effects of alcohol and ever rising nakedness and prostitution in the country? All these affect women more than anyone else.

Why then is there no support to a blanket ban on alcohol and prostitution? Why has the Government not taken any action to ensure that women including Hindus get their shares in the properties of their parents? Why has the Government not launched an all-out offensive against Female Foeticide? Why is their concern limited to the victims of Triple Talaq alone?…



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Lack Of Journalistic Ethics, Now Blinded By Nationalism – By Prof Ranjit Goswami (Oct 13, 2016, Countercurrents)

The context of nationalism in India has lately been supercharged- post India’s ‘Surgical Strike inside PoK’ in view of repeated Pakistan-sponsored terror attacks in India – the latest of which, in a significant way, was Uri terror attack. The so-called claims, counterclaims and ‘independent’ global media coverage have made it complex and confusing for the ordinary citizens, considering both the big picture and the specific event.…

The minorities have become an endangered species, in the fear of the populace driven by hysteria togovernment diktats. The quality of journalism itself can be the service journalists pay to the nation, Mother India. Unfortunately, today, those who have an open record of unethical journalism in its various forms, be through media organizations or individuals, tend to cheerlead nationalism by being in a perpetual race to the bottom nationalistic journalism.

And that surely is even more worrisome! A nationalistic media, or an unethical media can be bad in itself; however, when they join hands – citizens to those serving Indian defence forces or guarding our borders/paramilitary forces have more reasons to be worried. It would be wrong to presume, without supporting evidence and trend that recently Indian media, in general, has converted itself from being an unethical to ethical one, under the influence of the new-found nationalism wave!…



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The BJP’s fascination with a Dalit icon – By Omar Rashid (Oct 13, 2016, The Hindu)

The Bharatiya Janata Party has revamped its Uttar Pradesh headquarters into a neat corporate-style office. There’s wi-fi, an all-new digital library with block-wise electoral data of the State, election war rooms, and strategy rooms. However, the most engaging bit is the decoration in the large hall on the ground floor where press conferences and meetings are held.

Glossy frames of prominent BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh stalwarts, along with social icons, adorn its walls. We have Shyama Prasad Mookherjee, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, Kushabhau Thakre, B.R. Ambedkar and Swami Vivekananda. Rani Laxmi Bai and Vijaya Raje Scindia are the women present.

But there’s one frame that would surely tickle the curiosity of any visitor. It’s the portrait of a warrior-king in a combative pose on a horse. One could mistake it for the popular sketch of 16th-century Rajput king Maharana Pratap. But it isn’t him. It is Maharaja Suheldev, a little-known 11th-century Bhar-Pasi king. How did Suheldev find a place among the BJP’s icons? “His image will inspire Dalit party workers who visit the office from various districts,” a BJP spokesperson explained to me.…



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