IAMC Weekly News Roundup - October 8th, 2018 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 8th, 2018

In this issue of IAMC News Digest

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Communal Harmony

Hyderabad: Masjid-E-Rehmat-Alam opens its doors for all communities (Oct 8, 2018, Siasat)

The Masjid-E-Rehmat-Alam mosque in Hyderabad city of Telangana has its doors open for people from across the religions, castes, creeds, and communities.

Becoming harbingers of communal harmony, a group of 20 volunteers came up with an idea to organise a public meet to share and discuss the values and cultures of Indian Muslims.

It also aims at bringing awareness about the routine prayers and the functioning of the mosque. The event saw a conglomeration of people coming from different faiths and communities from all across the country.…


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2002 Gujarat riots: Despite Request to CM Modi, Army Lost a Crucial Day Waiting for Vehicles: Retd. Lt. General (Oct 6, 2018, News Click)

On the intervening night of February 28 and March 1, 2002, when Gujarat was engulfed in flames, Lt. Gen Zameer Uddin Shah, met the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi, in the presence of the then Defence Minister George Fernandes, at 2 a.m in Ahmedabad and gave him a list of immediate requirements to enable the Army columns to fan out to restore law and order.

But the 3,000 troops that had landed at the Ahmedabad airfield at 7 a.m on March 1, had to wait for a day before the Gujarat administration provided the transport – during which period hundreds of people were killed.

“These were crucial hours lost,” Shah, who retired as the Deputy Chief of Army Staff, has revealed in his upcoming memoir titled The Sarkari Mussalman (Konark Publishers) to be launched by former Vice President Hamid Ansari on October 13, at India International Centre here.…



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Police Use Lathi Charge, Water Cannons to Stop Over 70,000 Farmers From Entering Delhi (Oct 2, 2018, The Wire)

Over 70,000 farmers with a large convoy of tractors and trolleys have been stopped at the borders of Delhi, where the police resorted to water cannons and tear gas firing to contain them. Several farmers have been injured due to the police action.

“Some farmers who tried to break the barricades have been injured when the police lathi charged them and fired tear gas shells,” said Naresh Tikait, president of the Bhartiya Kisan Union.

The BKU, founded by one of India’s tallest farmer leaders Mahendra Singh Tikait, began the Kisan Kranti Yatra from Haridwar on September 23. The march, demanding higher minimum support prices, lower diesel and electricity prices, and a one-time unconditional loan waiver, was scheduled to conclude today at the Kisan Ghat in New Delhi.…



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Investigation has shown ‘blatant political interference,’ says Najeeb’s mother (Oct 8, 2018, The Hindu)

“The investigation in this case has shown blatant political interference at the highest levels and the extent to which institutions such as the Delhi Police and the CBI has been severely compromised under the Modi Government,” said Fatima Nafees, mother of missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed.

She said that despite repeated appeals, protests and strong arguments made in the court, both the CBI and the Delhi Police have stubbornly refused to investigate into the assault against Najeeb the night before he disappeared. “Najeeb’s assaulters who are all ABVP members have been represented at various points by the most expensive and high profile lawyers. Our case against the media groups and ABVP members for defaming my son, filed at the Patiala Court went missing from the court premises,” alleged Ms. Nafees.

“I am heartbroken at this verdict. The CBI has conducted the most biased investigation and its sole objective has been to shield those who assaulted my son. I still retain faith in the judiciary and will not stop until I find justice for my son,” Ms. Nafees said after the hearing.…



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Watch: Modi government was built on false promises, says Union Minister Nitin Gadkari (Oct 8, 2018, National Herald)

In a rather candid confession, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Narendra Modi came to power on the basis of unrealistic promises, which unexpectedly gave false hopes to the people of the country.

In the video, which was shared by the Congress party on Twitter on Monday, Gadkari can be heard telling Bollywood actor Nana Patekar during a talk show on TV: “We were very confident that we can never come to the power.So our people suggested us just to make tall promises. If we don’t come to the power, we won’t be responsible anyways.”

“Now the problem is that people have voted us to the power,” he laughs and adds, “Now people remind us of our promises along with the dates. Now a days, we just laugh and move on.”…



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SC refuses to interfere in probe against IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt (Oct 4, 2018, Times of India)

In a setback to arrested former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, the Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed his wife’s plea challenging the police probe and his judicial custody in a 22-year-old case of alleged planting of drugs to arrest an advocate, and said that he could approach an “appropriate forum” for relief.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph held that it was not appropriate for the apex court to interfere in the ongoing investigation. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Gujarat government, said that Sanjiv Bhatt was arrested on September 5, in accordance with law and produced before the jurisdictional magistrate at Palanpur of Gujarat within 24 hours seeking his police custody.

He said that the assertions of the petitioner, Shweta Bhatt, that the accused was not allowed to sign the ‘vakalatnama’ are factually wrong, incorrect and contrary to the contemporaneous record and appear to have been made to create prejudice against the investigation.…



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Govt to collect biometric data of Rohingyas to keep a tab on movements and deport them (Oct 1, 2018, Sabrang India)

The government of India as a part of a country-wide security exercise has asked all states to record biometrics details of Rohingyas and other illegal immigrants living in their jurisdiction, according to Home Ministry officials, reported PTI.…

Calling all Rohingya refugees in India “illegal immigrants”, the home minister had said on Thursday the state governments have been asked to observe their movements and obtain their personal details so they could be deported to Myanmar, the PTI report said.…

It is unfortunate how our home minister forgot to differentiate between refugees and illegal immigrants. Are those who fled their country due to persecution at home and entered into our border to save their lives, and are duly registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, are illegal immigrants?…



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Ericsson petitions Supreme Court to prevent Anil Ambani from leaving India over pending dues (Oct 3, 2018, Times of India)

Swedish telecom equipment company Ericsson has petitioned the Supreme Court to prevent Anil Ambani and two senior executives from his group from leaving the country after accusing them of willfully defaulting in previously-promised payment of Rs 550 crore + by alleged abuse of process of law.

The company was to get the payment in lieu of the business it had done with the embattled Anil Ambani group that has debt running up to Rs 45,000 crore.

Ericsson had earlier agreed to scale down its dues towards Ambani’s group from Rs 1,600 crore to Rs 550 crore as part of a court-monitored settlement which promised the payment by September 30 this year. However, since the payment did not come from RCom, it has decided to approach the top court on the matter once again.…



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Gang which traps Muslim girls and makes them Hindu on the prowl (Oct 5, 2018, Siasat)

A gang is on the prowl in Rampur which kidnaps Muslim girls by trapping them. According to Inquilab, the gang prepares a document showing them Hindu girls. Then it forces the minor girls to write a complaint to the SP telling that I am Hindu and my family is forcing me to marry a Muslim boy. The plot came to light when a police officer drove away, the mother sister and brothers of a kidnapped girl, saying that if you come again you will be sent to jail. The family of the girl protested before the collectorate and complained about the misbehaviour of the police officer of the SPs office.

Rayeesan wife of Ameer Ahmed R/O Dongarpur had lodged a missing complaint of her 14-year-old daughter Mahek. SP ordered Civil Line police to register the complaint but the police didn’t register the complaint. In the complaint, Rayeesan stated that his daughter Mahek worked in MI Care where she met Manoj Saxena and Sachin Sharma. Both took her to Gowri Tour and Travels located in district panchayat on the pretext of giving her training.

On September 29 when she didn’t return home, the family went to the Gowri Tour and travels in search of her. Manoj and Sachin along with other four people were there. They told that we have kidnapped and raped the girl. And now we have sold the girl for flesh trading. And now she has become a Hindu.…



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Progress on Bhima-Koregaon inquiry slow, say Dalit parties (Oct 8, 2018, The Hindu)

Ambedkarite parties have expressed concern over the allegedly tardy progress of the two-member commission set up by the State government to probe the Bhima-Koregaon clash that occurred on January 1.

The outfits, including the RPI (A), said the statements of only a handful of people were recorded during the conclusion of the first phase of the hearings in Pune, which lasted four days from October 3 to October 6.

They have demanded that the commission consisting of Justice Jai Narayan Patel, former Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court, and State chief secretary Sumit Mullick, submit their report by the end of December.…



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Skeleton Found In Bihar Shelter Rapes Probe Believed To Be Of Inmate (Oct 4, 2018, NDTV)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probing the sexual abuse of minor girls at a shelter home in Muzaffarpur has found a human skeleton – believed to be remains of one of the victims – at a cremation ground in the district’s Sikandarpur area. The CBI team was led to the cremation ground by main accused Brajesh Thakur’s driver, who broke down after sustained interrogation. Over 40 girls were sexually exploited at the shelter home; one girl was allegedly killed and later buried to cover up the murder.

The CBI officials, along with Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) team, reached the cremation site on Wednesday afternoon and monitored the excavation, news agency ANI said. The skeleton exhumed from the cremation ground has been taken by the investigating team for further examination. The probe team is most likely to take Brajesh Thakur on remand for further interrogation following the DNA report, which was carried to ascertain the identity of the remains.

Some of the inmates in the government-funded shelter home run by Brajesh Thakur’s NGO Seva Sankalp Ewam Vikas Samiti (SSEVS) have alleged that some of their fellow inmates were killed and buried after rape, officials said.…



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Opinions and Editorials

How the Adityanath Govt has Reduced UP Police to an ‘Encounter’ Tool – By Abdul Alim Jafri (Oct 3, 2018, News Click)

Ever since Chief Minister Adityanath took over in March last year, the Uttar Pradesh police have carried out around 1500 ‘encounters’ across districts, during which over 67 have been killed, including four policemen. Recently, an Apple executive was gunned down in the posh Gomti Nagar of Lucknow which resulted in a massive furore over the state government’s handling of law and order.

According to the data released in March, the highest numbers of encounters (449) were reported from Meerut, followed by the Agra zone which had 210 encounters. Third on the list was the Bareilly zone with 196 encounters and then the leather city of Kanpur which has 91 case of shootouts. The least number of police ‘encounters’ have been in the CM’s home turf, Gorakhpur.

In the first week of June 2017, Adityanath, who appeared in Aap Ki Adalat on India TV had proudly announced, “Agar apradh karenge, toh thok diye jayenge (If anyone engages in crime, they will be shot). According to data released by the Uttar Pradesh government, by January 2018, the police had conducted 1,038 encounters. In these, 32 people were killed and 238 injured. Four police personnel also lost their lives, and action was taken against 160 people under the National Security Act (NSA). But in various cases, including the recent Aligarh encounter, the families of the victims have alleged ‘extrajudicial custodial killings’. Unfortunately, the Adityanath government has reduced the police to a tool for carrying out ‘encounters’ at the bidding of the government.…



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The political class must be careful – Editorial (Oct 1, 2018, Hindustan Times)

Few issues in India bring together history, politics, faith, law, public emotions, and inter-communal relations as the issue of the Babri Masjid-Ram Temple. The Supreme Court has decided that there is no need to refer to a larger bench the question of whether mosque was integral to Islam. Instead, the title suit, on the land dispute, will proceed from October 29.…

But the political class must be careful whichever way the verdict goes. The destruction of the Babri Masjid in 1992 remains a dark spot in Indian history. The riots it spawned across cities represented a breakdown of trust between communities and an abysmal failure of the law and order machinery. India cannot afford political mobilisation based on religious faith, which, in turn, is based on challenging the faith of another community. All parties and communities will and must respect the judicial verdict.

But this must be done in the spirit of reconciliation, not triumphalism; it must be done with gestures which enhance the sense of belongingness of the other faiths, and not enhance the sense of exclusion; and it must be done with the law of the land held supreme. As the government of the day, and as the party which has been at the forefront of the issue, the BJP has a special responsibility to navigate India through this critical case, with statesmanship and not partisanship.



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The House not in order – By Navin B. Chawla (Oct 1, 2018, Indian Express)

The Supreme Court’s recent decision was disappointing in that it stopped short of disqualifying candidates who have alleged criminal antecedents from contesting polls, although I do understand that the Court was reluctant to step into the executive’s arena. The Supreme Court left it to Parliament to frame suitable laws to decriminalise our body politic to “cure the malignancy” from within.

Unfortunately, this is something that our parliamentarians have assiduously refused to do for the last two decades, ever since the Election Commission first approached the government to enact a suitable law in 1997.

Today, almost 30 per cent of our elected representatives, both to Parliament and state assemblies, have criminal cases pending against them, half for heinous offenses. There is nothing to suggest that our parliamentarians will have changed their minds. Elections to five state assemblies and Parliament are around the corner. Let us see if any significant changes are made in the nominations by political parties.…



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A Look Back at Chief Justice Dipak Misra’s Errors of Commission and Omission – By Gautam Bhatia (Oct 3, 2018, The Wire)

Dipak Misra is no longer the Chief Justice of India. It would be fair to say that his chief justiceship has been controversial. From the famous judges’ press-conference, to the “master of the roster” question and the impeachment effort, a significant part of the controversy has been political.

As CJI, Misra constituted a bench to hear a case that indirectly implicated himself in criminal conduct, thus violating the cardinal “no person shall be a judge in her own cause” principle. He has also presided over benches that have pronounced judgments dealing with the powers of the Chief Justice, while he was Chief Justice. There have been issues, as well, with disposing of cases without issuing notice or pleadings (Judge Loya), granting restitution in bail petitions (Unitech), or the quashing of a chargesheet against M.S. Dhoni in Andhra Pradesh in a challenge against a complaint registered in Karnataka.

In this assessment of his tenure, however, I will not discuss any of that. The political legacy that CJI Misra leaves behind is being debated, and will be debated in the years to come. Nor shall I discuss his judgments in terms of their outcomes: it will be for future scholars to place his judgment in Navtej Johar and his signing on to the majority in Aadhaar alongside each other, and ask themselves how they stack up.…



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Which way is Mohan Bhagwat steering Sangh 2.0? – By Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay (Oct 6, 2018, The Telegraph)

The three days of public speeches by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s Mohan Bhagwat at a well-attended conclave in New Delhi merit scrutiny that go far beyond his headline-grabbing assertion that while India’s a Hindu Rashtra, this does not “mean there’s no place for Muslims”.

On the surface, Bhagwat’s speeches – delivered to a gathering billed as ‘Bharat of the Future’ – was aimed at promoting RSS 2.0 to middle-class India. But there’s still a whole lot more to be unpackaged and parsed from the speeches by the sarsanghchalak.

For instance, is Bhagwat looking to put politics above social work for the RSS in this organisational revamp? Is he toning down the Sangh’s anti-Muslim bias? If so, is it merely a cosmetic change to give the Sangh an image makeover before the next elections and lend it more Indian middle-class appeal? Or is he truly attempting something much more fundamental and seeking to steer the Sangh in a new direction?…



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In Jharkhand’s Kunti, Mandatory Aadhaar for Pension Has Excluded the Most Vulnerable – By Rishabh Malhotra and Anmol Somanchi (Oct 6, 2018, The Wire)

A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court recently pronounced its verdict on the long-drawn case challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar project. While much has already been said of the judgment, the biggest let-down is that Aadhaar will remain mandatory where it has already caused the most damage.

While upholding Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, the verdict notes that Aadhaar leads to inclusion, empowers the marginalised and there is no substantial evidence of Aadhaar leading to exclusion. As Reetika Khera notes, such claims suggest that the majority judges wrongly accepted the government’s ‘assertions’ as ‘facts’ without critical inspection.

Until very recently, we were made to believe that government welfare programmes in India are “leaky” and this is because the lists of welfare recipients are plagued with “identity fraud” – “fakes” and “duplicates”. This belief continues to be the bedrock for claiming that Aadhaar will be a “game-changer” for welfare delivery. However, recent evidence from varied sources suggests that identity fraud accounts for a tiny fraction of total…



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Book Review

Illiberal India: Gauri Lankesh and the Age of Unreason

Author: Chidanand Rajghatta
Reviewed by: Gurpreet Singh
Available at: Westland Books. https://www.amazon.in/
This book on Gauri Lankesh shows the illiberal side of India (Oct 1, 2018, Sabrang India)

Yoga and Ahimsa aren’t the only elements of the world’s so-called largest democracy. It’s time for those enamoured by India’s tolerance and diversity to open their eyes and get familiar with the growing religious bigotry under a right-wing Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) government.

Illiberal India: Gauri Lankesh and the Age of Unreason by Chidanand Rajghatta can help in understanding this ugly reality. Based on the life and murder of a Kannada journalist Gauri Lankesh on September 5, 2017, by Hindu extremists, the book is authored by none other than the deceased’s ex-husband.…

The book isn’t just the story of Gauri, it rather situates her story in the broader context of the current situation of India where freethinkers and rationalists are being targeted for questioning the power and challenging the myths with impunity.