IAMC Weekly News Roundup - October 9th, 2017 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 9th, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Muslims forego Muharram procession to support cancer treatment of their Hindu neighbour in West Bengal (Oct 6, 2017, Times of India)

A Hindu man suffering from cancer in West Bengal’s Kharagpur district had no money for the treatment but his Muslim neighbours came forward with help. Abir Bhunia (35) is suffering from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system.

When the villagers heard Bhunia’s problem, the Muslims cancelled their Muharram procession all because they wanted to save the money and use it for the treatment of a Hindu neighbour. Samaj Sangha Club, a local club which organises Muharram procession in Kharagpur’s Puratan Bazar, raises around Rs 50,000 every year for the event. This year, they are raising the same amount, but for Bhunia.

Bhunia, a local mobile recharge shop owner, needs Rs 12 lakh for a treatment that includes bone marrow transplantation and is currently undergoing chemotherapy at Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre in the southern fringes of the city. “I don’t know whether I will recover from this disease or not. But what my neighbours did for me have touched my heart. I’m indebted to them,” Bhunia told EiSamay.…


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Gujarat HC Allows Zakia Jafri to Appeal for New Probe in Modi’s Role in 2002 Riots (Oct 5, 2017, The Wire)

In what appears to be a silver lining in an otherwise adverse judgment for Zakia Jafri, the wife of Congress politician Ehsan Jafri who was killed by a mob in the Gulberg Society massacre in Ahmedabad during the 2002 anti-Muslim riots, the Gujarat high court on Thursday allowed her to move the courts to request a fresh investigation into the alleged criminal role of the then chief minister Narendra Modi and 61 others.

Zakia had moved the high court in 2014 against the closure report filed by the Supreme Court-appointed special investigative team (SIT). Zakia had also alleged in her petition that the 2002 riots were part of a larger conspiracy involving Modi and others.…

However, the high court allowed Zakia to demand a fresh investigation in the case – as sought by her in the petition – and overturned the trial court’s observations, which had ruled out another probe as it thought the SIT was monitored by the Supreme Court.… Effectively, the high court judgment has created an opening for Zakia to seek redressal at a lower court instead of the Supreme Court, which would have been her last stop for appeal.



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Rahul Gandhi on Jay Shah’s business: Modiji, did you act as a watchman or were you a partner? (Oct 9, 2017, Indian Express)

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi pressed Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “say something” on claims in a media report that a company owned by BJP chief Amit Shah’s son saw a huge rise in its turnover after his party came to power in 2014. “Modiji, …Did you act as a watchman or were you a partner? Please say something,” Gandhi said on Twitter.

In another broadside against the BJP, the Congress leader had said yesterday, “We finally found the only beneficiary of Demonetisation. It’s not the RBI, the poor or the farmers. It’s the Shah-in-Shah of Demo. Jai Amit.” He had also tagged a copy of the news report on the issue in his tweet.

According to the report on a website, the turnover of Jay Amit Shah-owned Temple Enterprise zoomed by around 16,000 times during 2015-16 from around Rs 80 crore in the previous year. The charge was rejected by the BJP and Shah’s son, who termed the story “false, derogatory and defamatory”.



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Five linked to Sanatan Sanstha are key suspects in Gauri Lankesh’s murder (Oct 6, 2017, Indian Express)

Five persons linked to the right-wing Sanatan Sanstha organisation, including four with Interpol red-corner notices against their names for their alleged involvement in a bomb blast in Madgaon in Goa in 2009, have emerged as key suspects in the murder of journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh outside her home in Bengaluru on September 5.

The five missing persons are: Praveen Limkar, 34, from Kolhapur; Jayaprakash alias Anna, 45, from Mangalore; Sarang Akolkar, 38, from Pune; Rudra Patil, 37, from Sangli and Vinay Pawar, 32, from Satara. They are among the key suspects being investigated by a Special Investigation Team of the Karnataka police as part of its probe into the murder of Lankesh.

The names of Rudra Patil, Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar had earlier emerged in the CBI investigation into the August 20, 2013 murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, 69, at Kolhapur in Maharashtra; in the Maharashtra SIT’s probe into the February 16, 2015 shooting of leftist thinker and rationalist Govind Pansare, 81 in Pune; and in the probe into the August 30, 2015 murder of Kannada scholar and researcher M M Kalburgi, 77, in Dharwad, Karnataka.…



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Kancha Illaih’s Ordeal A Reflection Of Creeping Fascism In India Say Indian Americans (Oct 2, 2017, Countercurrents)

The Alliance for Justice And Accountability (AJA), an umbrella coalition of progressive organizations across the United States, today condemned the life-threatening attacks against renowned author and Dalit scholar Kancha Illaiah by members of the Arya Vysyas community.

The attack was an attempt on the life of the outspoken political philosopher who has authored several books including “Why I am not a Hindu,” “Buffalo Nationalism Post-Hindu India,” “Untouchable God,” among many others. The violence and ensuing death threats were apparently a response to the release of a chapter from his book on “Post-Hindu India.”

AJA has demanded court ordered 24-hour protection of Professor Kancha Illaiah, and accountability for those that threatened his life, under the full extent of the law. The role of the police, who failed to even file a First Information Report (FIR), on Prof. Illaiah’s complaint needs further scrutiny.… The Alliance for Justice and Accountability has pledged to work with people of all faiths to defend India from the onslaught of hate and divisiveness.



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UP: Two Hindus arrested for slaughtering cow to provoke communal riots by blaming Muslims (Oct 5, 2017, Siasat)

Two persons in their early twenties tried to create communal tension by cow slaughtering but the plans were foiled and have been arrested by the police. The incident happened on Monday at Bhatpurwa village in Katra Bazar in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda.

According to the police, the incident was deliberate and was planned keeping in mind the Moharram procession in the village to pollute the communal atmosphere by spreading the news of cow slaughter. Two culprits identified as Ramsevak Dixit and Mangli Dixit has been booked under the stringent National Security Act (NSA), police said. The duo stolen the cow belonging to Ganesh Prasad Dixit from the latter’s house and slaughtered the animal in a nearby field. Locals spotted them and alerted the police whose immediate action averted major communal violence.…

According to Indian Express, Station Officer of Katra Bazar police station D P Singh said, “Around 7 pm Sunday, a 12-year-old boy spotted Ram Sevak and Mangal slaughtering a cow in a field. The boy alerted locals who ran to the spot and also informed police. People caught hold of Ram Sevak, who was drunk, while Mangal managed to escape”.…



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Kerala CM Compares Amit Shah And RSS To ‘Wet Cracker’, Accuses BJP Of Attempting To Break Secularism In State (Oct 5, 2017, Outlook)

Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday dubbed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president Amit Shah and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh as “wet cracker.” This came after Shah held Vijayan directly responsible for killing of party and RSS workers in the state.

Claiming that the BJP is trying to break the secularism in the state, he said, “Amit Shah came and became like wet cracker here. The BJP is trying to break secularism with the power.”

“The BJP now shows the intolerance towards Kerala. Kerala does not have to learn any lesson on peace from you. The leaders also involved in the killing are carried out by RSS activists,” he added.…



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Radhe Maa sits in SHO’s chair: Delhi cop in photo suspended, probe ordered (Oct 6, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Two Delhi Police officers were suspended on Thursday for “professional misconduct” in separate incidents involving controversial religious figure Radhe Maa, who was photographed seated in the official chair of a station house officer.

The widely circulated photo showed Sanjay Sharma, the SHO of Vivek Vihar, standing next to the seated self-styled ‘god-woman’ with folded hands with a red ‘chunri’ (stole) on his neck. He was in uniform.

A video also emerged showing assistant sub inspector Braj Bhushan singing into a microphone along with four other policemen at a nearby Ramlila event attended by Radhe Maa, known for her red robes and the ever-present trident in one hand. Deputy commissioner of police (Shahdara), Nupur Prasad, said Sharma and Bhushan were suspended after a preliminary probe found them guilty of professional misconduct.…



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Savarkar, BJP’s most revered freedom fighter, “recruited” soldiers for British, when Netaji’s INA fought Raj rule (Oct 2, 2017, Counterview)

A recent journalistic investigation into the life of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (1883-1966), whom BJP politicians revere more than any other freedom fighter, has claimed that at the time when Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was raising his Indian National Army (INA) to confront the British in India, Savarkar “helped the colonial government recruit lakhs of Indians into its armed forces.”

Carried out by independent journalist Pavan Kulkarni, the investigation quotes the report sent by then viceroy Lord Linlithgow about a meeting he had with Savarkar to the secretary of state, which said, “The situation, he [Savarkar] said, was that His Majesty’s government must now turn to the Hindus and work with their support…. Our interests were now the same and we must therefore work together…” Linghthow is also quoted as saying, “Our interests are so closely bound together, the essential thing is for Hinduism and Great Britain to be friends and the old antagonism was no longer necessary. The Hindu Mahasabha he (Savarkar) went on to say favoured an unambiguous undertaking of Dominion status at the end of the war.”

“Two months later”, according to Kulkarni, “Addressing the Mahasabha’s Calcutta session, Savarkar urged all universities, colleges and schools to ‘secure entry into military forces for youths in any and every way’. When Gandhi had launched his individual satyagraha the following year, Savarkar, at the Mahasabha session held in December 1940 in Madura, encouraged Hindu men to enlist in ‘various branches of British armed forces en masse’.”…



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RSS resorting to attack Muslims, Dalits across the country: Prakash Karat (Oct 8, 2017, Siasat)

The CPM senior leader Prakash Karat has alleged that the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak (RSS) indulging in attacks on Muslims and Dalits across the nation.

Addressing a program “Neo-liberal policies, authoritarianism, communal policies-alternatives” organized by the CPM, on the occasion of centenary celebrations of its leader late Moturi Hanumantha Rao here on Sunday, Prakash Karat said that the BJP availed the neo-liberal policies and also Communalism for its political mileage. Prakash Karat alleged that RSS was rubbing the policies of Hindutva organizations on people.

The RSS was rearing communalism; Karat said and alleged that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has allocated Cabinet portfolios to the MPs having business activities related to the same portfolio. He stated that intrusions increased after surgical strikes.



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Dalit man beaten to death for attending garba event in Gujarat, 8 booked (Oct 1, 2017, Hindustan Times)

A 21-year-old Dalit man was allegedly beaten to death by a group of men belonging to the upper caste Patel community for attending a garba event in Gujarat’s Anand district in the early hours on Sunday, police said. The incident took place around 4 am.

Jayesh Solanki, cousin Prakash Solanki and two other Dalit men were sitting near a house adjacent to a temple in Bhadrania village when a person made “derogatory remarks about their caste”, police said quoting a complaint filed in connection with the incident.

The accused said Dalits “do not have any right to watch garba. He made casteist remarks and asked some men to come to the spot”, an officer at the Bhadran police station said. The upper caste men allegedly thrashed the Dalits and banged Jayesh’s head against a wall, the officer said.…



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Opinions and Editorials

Relief for 11 Godhra death row convicts – Editorial (Oct 10, 2017, Free Press Journal)

Two years after hearings were concluded in the Godhra train burning case, the Gujarat High Court has upheld the death sentence of 20 convicts, commuted the death penalty of 11 and ordered the State government to pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the families of those who died in the carnage. The burning of a bogie in the train had resulted in 59 people, mostly ‘kar sevaks’ returning from Ayodhya being charred on February 27, 2002 at the Godhra station, triggering riots in the state.

That the burning incident was the result of a conspiracy hatched by the perpetrators had earlier been established by the Nanavati Commission appointed by the Gujarat government. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) court appointed by the apex court had on March 1, 2011 convicted 31 people and acquitted 63 in the case. While 11 people were sentenced to death, 20 were given life in jail. Later, several appeals were filed in the High Court challenging the conviction, while the state government had questioned the acquittal of 63 people.

A bench of Justices AS Dave and Justice GR Udhwani on Monday observed that the state government had failed to maintain law and order, and directed the State to pay compensation within six weeks. The question of compensation had not been considered by the trial court.…



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What is Actually Behind the BJP-RSS Combine’s Holy War Declared on Kerala – By Shamsul Islam (Oct 9, 2017, News Click)

The RSS-dominated BJP rulers of India have finally woken up against violence! You are grossly mistaken if you believe that they are seeking forgiveness for large scale killing/ raping/ maiming/ robbing people of the minorities specially Muslims and Christians in 1992-3 (nation-wide carnage of Muslims before and after demolition of a mosque at Ayodhya), 1998 (wide-spread violence against Christians in Gujarat), 2002 (carnage of Muslims in Gujarat) and Kandhmal, Orissa violence of 2007-8 (cleansing of Christians in the area).

The RSS/BJP rulers have not expressed any intention of discarding or checking the present spate of violence against minorities in the name of cow, love-jihad, ghar wapsi (forcible conversion of Muslims and Christians to Hinduism) and allegiance to Hindutva. There has been no respite in violence against Dalits too. In fact, in last three years incident of violence against Dalits has escalated by around 300%. Casteist, criminal and patriarchal elements are having free run in inflicting violence against women.…

The rulers marching under the banner of Hindutva have declared war against Kerala government by launching a strident Jan Raksha Yatra . It is not that only the left, CPM-run government of the state that is under attack. The whole of the Kerala society, its ethos and culture is under attack. The national leadership of RSS/BJP has descended on Kerala to fight the Left, to be specific, the CPM for ‘perpetrating violence’. The UP chief minister Mahant Yogi Adityanath who has many criminal cases pending against him in UP courts is at the forefront, the commander of this Hindutva juggernaut.…



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Trying to Reopen Gandhi’s Murder Probe is Part of an Orchestrated Campaign of Lies – By Tushar A. Gandhi (Oct 7, 2017, The Wire)

The ideology that supported and inspired Nathuram Godse has launched a concerted campaign to justify Mahatma Gandhi’s murder. For seven decades, the proponents of this ideology have orchestrated their lies so successfully that a large segment of the Indian populace may even believe them.

Now they have taken it to the next level, to spread doubts about the murder itself. The Supreme Court recently heard a plea requesting a reinvestigation into Gandhi’s murder. The Court has appointed an amicus curiae and has set the next hearing for October 30. I am surprised the court did not dismiss such a blatantly frivolous plea out of hand.

This is not the first time an attempt is being made to sow disinformation and create confusion about the Gandhi murder. This is a part of a well thought out strategy of the Hindu right-wing, which provided the ideological inspiration to his murderers. Last year a petition was filed in the Bombay high court seeking a reopening of the investigation into Gandhi’s murder. The petitioner – Pankaj Phadnis, a researcher with Abhinav Bharat – alleged that there was another shooter, that there was a fourth bullet and alluded to the presence of a mysterious foreigner.…



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India becoming dangerous for intellectuals, social activists – By Pushkar Raj (Oct 6, 2017, Asia Times)

When journalist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead in front of her house early last month, quite a few writers and social activists in India must have felt a chill down their spines as the country steadily becomes a dangerous place for intellectuals.

Gauri was a journalist turned social activist based in Bangalore, the technological capital of India. She was the fourth activist to be killed in that region in as many years, whose killers have not yet been apprehended despite the fact that the opposition Congress party leads the government in Karnataka state.

There have been a spate of killings of intellectuals and writers in the country in recent years. Narendra Dabholkar, a rationalist activist, was killed in August 2013, after lobbying for social reform against superstitions such as black magic and child sacrifice. Govind Pansare, a left-wing politician and author of the best-selling book Shivaji Kon Hota, was killed in February 2015 after being an outspoken critic of communalism in society.…



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Why does Akhila@Hadiya need a custodian at all? – By Supriya Juneja , Drishti S Harpalani (Oct 5, 2017, Indian Express)

Akhila, now known as Hadiya, has had to face harsh public and media scrutiny not only because she chose to convert from Hinduism to the Islamic faith, but also due to her gender. In January 2016, 24-year old Akhila left her parental home in Kerala to convert from Hinduism to Islam. Her father, Asokan K.M., filed a habeas corpus petition before the Kerala High Court, alleging that his daughter had been taken away and he was unaware of her whereabouts. He demanded that she be produced.

So Hadiya appeared before the High Court through her lawyer and gave a sworn affidavit stating that she had left her parental home voluntarily. Since she was now an adult, she said, she was well within her rights to choose a religion of her choice and follow a faith which appealed to her. The High Court, after interacting with Hadiya was of the opinion that she was no under any illegal confinement, and accordingly permitted her to live at a place of her choice. However, in August 2016, Hadiya’s father once again approached the High Court with a habeas corpus writ, alleging that his daughter had been forced to convert to Islam and was possibly being taken out of the country by Muslim extremist organisations.…

The girl, after attaining majority, is under no obligation under law to be in the protective custody of her father and has the absolute right to choose the religion of her choice; the parents under such circumstances have no right to question the choices of their daughter. When a major girl exercises her fundamental right under Article 21 by choosing her partner, the Court cannot resist such an expression of opinion. Whether or not the decision is against the wishes of her parents, but when a fundamental right is exercised by a major girl, the Court will have to enforce the same.



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‘Police Chased Us Even Into Our Hostel Rooms. We Want An Apology From The V-C’ – Pragya Singh interviews Seema (Oct 9, 2017, Outlook)

…All of a sudden, the police rained lathis on us—on our backs, or feet, our hands, our heads. They were beating us mercilessly. The students started running, and some of them went inside their hostels and the police chased them there also and beat them up.…

It was absolutely unexpected. The injured girls mostly just went home with their injuries. That is why the extent of the lathicharge is understated in the media also. The girls were mostly too shaken to reveal what had been done.…

Actually, the police were raining down blows indiscriminately. They hit girls on the head, arms, torso, wherever they wanted. You see, some of the injuries are on the back, thighs and stomach and the girls are unable to show them to the media or even talk about them. They were in fact catching hold of girls, surrounding them and then beating them up. They were also beating up boys.…



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