IAMC Weekly News Roundup - September 11th, 2017 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 11th, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

BJP MLA Jeevaraj says Gauri Lankesh would’ve been alive if she had not written against RSS (Sep 8, 2017, Free Press Journal)

D.N. Jeevaraj, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Karnataka, has suggested that senior journalist Gauri Lankesh would have been alive if she had not spoken against Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

In a video going viral, Sringeri BJP MLA D.N. Jeevaraj made a statement saying, “If she had not written ‘chaddis’ maaranahoma’ (Death of RSS) in her paper that day, would she still be alive today?” Jeevaraj made the statement in reference to an article written by Lankesh titled, ‘Chaddigala Maaranahoma’ meaning ‘Death of the RSS’.

The BJP MLA added, “Gauri Lankesh used harsh words against the RSS workers, and I respect that. But that might have been the reason for her death.” The statement from the BJP MLA has stirred a new wave of controversy, while reports of a complaint being filed against the MLA have also surfaced.…



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Probe finds clues that point to link between Gauri Lankesh, M M Kalburgi killing (Sep 12, 2017, Indian Express)

Investigations have revealed that the “mechanics of the crime” in the September 5 killing of journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh, 55, by an unidentified gunman is identical to that of the August 30, 2015 murder of Kannada literary scholar M M Kalburgi in Dharwad in north Karnataka.

More than one official familiar with the probe into Lankesh’s killing said that although the investigation remained open in terms of tracking down the killers – and formal forensics and ballistics reports are awaited – there has been a “significant finding” that suggests a link between the killings of Kalburgi and Lankesh.

While an official declined to give details, he said that this finding goes beyond just the speculation so far that both the deaths involved a similar type of weapon. In fact, Karnataka Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy had said on Saturday that the SIT set up to probe the murder had obtained important clues. Senior police sources have, over the last couple of days, said that they are “very sure” that the killings in Karnataka are linked to each other along with two murders in Maharashtra.…



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Prime Minister Modi’s ‘New India’ About Silencing Dissent, Says Congress (Sep 6, 2017, NDTV)

Condemning the murder of senior journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh, the Congress on Wednesday said “muzzling the voice of ordinary citizens and silencing dissent” is the slogan of ‘New India’ under the Narendra Modi government.

The party said “India is in the throes of a violent clash” between advocates of freedom of speech and the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is determined to “silence dissent and throttle democracy”.

It also said gagging media and often subjecting them through torture is often a sign of dictatorial regimes. “The shocking murder of senior journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh is a grim reminder of the times we live in. This mindless and cowardly assassination has not only shaken our conscience but is also an extremely sad moment for our democracy,” said Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi.…



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Pray to stay alive, Hindu outfit leader tells secular writers in Kerala (Sep 11, 2017, Indian Express)

Kerala Hindu Aikya Vedi state president K P Sasikala Teacher has advised “secular writers in the state to do mrityunjaya homam (held to avoid untimely death)” otherwise they could also become victims like Gauri Lankesh. The Vedi is a platform of various pro-Sangh Parivar outfits.…

On Sunday, Congress state vice-president and legislator V D Satheesan complained to the Kerala police chief, demanding that a case be registered against Sasikala. “Her challenge is not only to secular writers in Kerala, but to the very secular values of the country,” Satheesan said.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said: “This kind of tendency would upset our society.” BJP state spokesman M S Kumar said he did not know “under which circumstances” she has spoken, and hence, it would be “immature to react at this stage”.



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M’nagar riots: Court charges BJP MLA, 27 others with attempt to murder (Sep 8, 2017, Times of India)

As many as 28 people, including ruling BJP’s MLA Vikram Saini, were charged with attempt to murder by a court in Muzaffarnagar for their role in Kawal violence of 2013, which had triggered widespread communal clashes in the district and led to the death of 50 people and displacement of over 50,000.

Additional district and sessions judge Himanshu Bhatnagar framed the charges under various sections of IPC, including 307 (attempt to murder) against the Khatauli legislator and 27 others on Thursday.

The next hearing in the case has been fixed for October 5. The case was registered against 28 people of both the communities at Jansath police station of Muzaffarnagar in 2013.…



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Bombs Recovered from RSS-controlled Temple Premises in Kannur, Kerala (Sep 8, 2017, News Click)

Seven high-explosive steel bombs have been recovered from a Rashtriya Swayamvsevak Sangh (RSS) local centre at Keezhur in Kannur district of Kerala. The bombs were found in buckets covered with sacks, near the Vaireeghaathakan Bhagavathi temple at Kottathe Kunnu locality, Punnad in Keezhur-Chavassery panchayat. Local sources who talked to Newsclick said that the temple is managed by the RSS.…

On examination, it was discovered that the bombs were made recently. Last year in August in the run-up to Sri Krishna Jayanti celebrations, Deekshith, an RSS worker, had been killed while manufacturing crude bombs at Thalassery in Kannur district. The police had recovered a big cache of weapons from his house.… Several incidents of RSS workers being killed or being caught while making bombs in the run-up to religious festivals have occurred in the recent years.

Temples with managing committees led by the RSS are often used by the Hindutva outfit as centres for arms training and ideological propaganda. Political observers say that the attempt of the RSS has been to foment communal tension by indulging in acts of violence and then blaming it on people belonging to minority communities.…



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Illegal explosive factory discovered inside Dera headquarters on day 2 of search operation, gets sealed (Sep 9, 2017, Indian Express)

The search team comprising of Haryana police officials, paramilitary forces and the army, discovered an illegal explosives factory inside the 700-acre Dera Sacha Sauda complex in Sirsa district on the second day of the operation.

Speaking to reporters, Deputy Director of Haryana PR Department, Satish Mehra said the illegal factory was shut down on discovery. “Illegal explosives factory inside Dera Sacha Sauda premises sealed. Explosives and fire crackers were seized,” Mehra said. Later on in the day, Mehra said that a window-like path leading from Dera Awas to Sadhvi Niwas was found inside the complex. “We found a window-like path leading from Dera Awas to Sadhvi Niwas. Team is investigating the same,” he said.

The search operation continued on Saturday amid heavy security stationed at Satnam Chowk and other nearby areas. On Friday, the search teams had discovered plastic cash tokens which were used as a “parallel currency”, along with unlabeled Ayurvedic medicines, an OB van and a luxury vehicle estimated to be around Rs 1 crore inside the Dera headquarters in Sirsa. According to sources, around Rs 12000 in cash, along with computers and hard drives were also confiscated by the police. The teams also found Rs 7000 demonetised currency.…



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Asaram, Gurmeet Ram Rahim on fake baba list: Meet the 14 faces Hindu sadhus want boycotted (Sep 11, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Prompted by recent controversies surrounding self-styled godmen, the apex body of Hindu sadhus – the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad – has released a list of 14 ‘fake babas’ and demanded a crackdown on “rootless cult leaders” by bringing in a legislation.

Giving out the list, the parishad’s president Swami Narendra Giri said: “We appeal to even the common people to beware of such charlatans who belong to no tradition and by their questionable acts, bring disrepute to sadhus and sanyasis.”

The 76-year-old white-bearded man was arrested in 2013 after a teenage devotee accused him of raping her at a religious event. Another female follower later also accused him of rape. He has been in jail since 2013 on charges of rape and criminal intimidation. Yet Asaram continues to have thousands of supporters flock to court when he appears for hearings. Several local newspapers have reported on the mysterious killings of three witnesses in the criminal cases he faces.…



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Government Bans Internet in Sikar as Massive Farmers’ Protests Rock Rajasthan (Sep 11, 2017, News Click)

Internet services were blocked in Sikar district of Rajasthan on Monday, September 11, as thousands of farmers took to the streets in protest for remunerative crop prices, complete loan waiver and other demands.

The farmers’ agitation reached its eleventh day, after the All India Kisan Sabha gave a call on September 1 for a massive indefinite mahapadav (gherao) of District Collectorates in Rajasthan. The All India Kisan Sabha had called for a state-wide bandh (shutdown) to be observed on September 11.

The bandh was strictly observed in Sikar district. A Newsclick correspondent currently in Sikar reports that more than 300 points across the district were blocked and fiercely guarded by women farmers holding an agricultural tool called ‘jeli’ as weapons.…



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Karnataka’s well of shame: Upper caste man mixes endosulfan in water to kill Dalits (Sep 5, 2017, IB Times)

In a remote village in Karnataka, where untouchability is a reality for Dalits, the scare of death looming over their heads has become a new matter of concern. An upper caste person reportedly tried to kill Dalits of Channur village, located about 640 km from Bengaluru in Kalaburgi district, by mixing endosulfan into the water in an open well, according to the Times of India.

The well, which is 200 metres from the village, is the only source of drinking water for Dalit families. The seven other wells in the village are allegedly used by the upper caste families.

Four years ago, Gollalappa Kallappagouda Kukanur had leased his farmland to a Dalit. A pump was fixed in the well to draw water and supply it to the Dalits colonies. For four years, Gollalappa did not allow Dalits to draw water from the well.…



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Opinions and Editorials

The Murder of an Indian Journalist – Editorial (Sep 7, 2017, New York Times)

The murder on Tuesday of the Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh, a fearless critic of rising Hindu-nationalist militancy, has all the hallmarks of a hit job.…

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has let a climate of mob rule flourish in India, with his right-wing Hindu supporters vilifying “secularists.” The venom that reactionary social media trolls direct at journalists, or “presstitutes” as they call them, is especially vicious… Ms. Lankesh’s murder shocked India’s news media and set off protest marches in several Indian cities.…

Ms. Lankesh had voiced concern about the climate of menace against journalists who didn’t toe the Hindu-nationalist line. If Mr. Modi doesn’t condemn her murder forcefully and denounce the harassment and threats that critics of Hindu militancy face daily, more critics will live in fear of deadly reprisal and Indian democracy will see dark days.



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‘Hindutva’ has a long tradition of celebrating the ‘vadh’ of opponents – By Shamsul Islam (Sep 8, 2017, National Herald)

The Information and Technology minister in Narendra Modi’s Cabinet, Ravi Shankar Prasad, a seasoned RSS follower, slammed online trolls for expressing their happiness over the killing of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh. On Twitter, Prasad expressed his anger against those who were celebrating Lankesh’s killing.…

That was very kind of this minister! But Ravi Shankar Prasad must be specific as to who he is advising. Those trolls celebrating the ‘vadh’ of Gauri Lankesh on social media and elsewhere are hardened Hindutva practitioners who are for turning the democratic-secular India into a ‘Hindu’ Pakistan. In fact, it has been an old practice of Hindutva practitioners to celebrate the killing of opponents as ‘vadh’. They did it after the killings of Narender Dhabolkar, Govind Pansare and Professor MM Kalburgi too.

Not only this, they exhibited the same sadistic tendencies in the wake of assassination of Mahatma Gandhi by ‘Hindu nationalists’. This twisted practice was first brought to notice by the first Home Minister of India, Sardar Patel. Patel, in a letter dated September 11, 1948, to RSS head MS Golwalkar wrote: “The RSS men expressed joy and distributed sweets after Gandhiji’s death.”…



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Cow vigilantism: SC rap must shame states into tackling the menace – Editorial (Sep 8, 2017, Hindustan Times)

India has been on the boil over cow vigilantism for some time now. Taking note of the disturbing climate in the country, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked state governments to appoint in every district a senior police officer whose job will be to stop violence in the name of cow protection.

Proposing measures to stem what it called growing violence by so-called cow protection groups, the SC said the nodal officers would have to ensure that vigilantes did not become a law unto themselves. States have a week to comply with the court’s order.

The focus on cow protection, especially by vigilante groups, has risen since the BJP-led government took power in 2014, and several states ruled by the party made laws to punish cow slaughter. Emboldened by the State’s lack of will to tackle them, these vigilantes have targeted cattle and meat traders, transporters and even farmers walking with their cattle. Along with deaths and injuries, such attacks have played havoc with the rural economy.…



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Those Who Breed Hate Are Now Doing So With Impunity – By Ashish Khetan (Sep 6, 2017, The Wire)

In July 2016, I received an anonymous mail that told me that I had “crossed all limits when I abused Sanatan Sanstha and well respected Hindus. You conspired to defame Sanatan and asked for banning it. It’s time to give a hisaab of all your filthy activities.” After a long rant about my “sins” which included my testimony as a prosecution witness in the Naroda Patiya and Gulberg Society cases, the letter concluded with these words: “As you can see, we know where you live and what you are upto. Get ready to meet the same fate as Dabholkar and Pansare.”

On receiving this threat, I complained to the Delhi police but they didn’t respond and I subsequently forgot all about it. In May 2017, a year later, I received another threatening letter, written in Hindi, claiming that my death was imminent.…

The CBI raid on Sanatan Sanstha’s offices in Maharashtra led to the discovery of a hit list with names of many journalists and activists. But there was no follow up by the agencies. Several members of Sanatan Sanstha, who are suspected to be involved in bomb blasts in Goa and Maharashtra and murder cases like that of Dabholkar and Pansare, have been on the run for a decade. The bomb makers of the Malegaon and Hyderabad Mecca Masjid blasts have not been caught for ten years.… The UPA may have been incompetent but was not ideologically aligned with these groups. The present regime draws support from these groups.…



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Whither India: Good terrorism of December 1992 vs. Bad terrorism of January 1993 at Bombay – By Shamsul Islam (Sep 9, 2017, Milli Gazette)

With the announcement of the quantum of punishment to the perpetrators of January 1993 serial blasts in Bombay by Judge GA Sanap of the special Terrorism and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act [TADA] court on September 7, 2017, probably, the longest terror case trial in India came to a close. In the first phase of this trial, Judge PD Kode of Special TADA Court had sentenced 12 convicts to death and 20 to life terms on September 12, 2006. With the latest judgment, 100 of the 123 accused have been punished.

WELL-DONE! The Muslim terrorists who killed 257 and maimed hundreds of innocent residents of Bombay in January 1993 have been punished. Many of them have been sent to the gallows, awarded life or long jail sentences. But what about those terrorists who butchered 575 and maimed hundreds of people of the minority in December 1992 in the same city? In fact, some of the instigators later occupied high constitutional offices in democratic-secular India. This is true of “Khalistani terrorists” also. They were hanged or killed on roads but for the 1984 massacre of Sikhs, the Indian State is yet to conclude its process of finding the real culprits.

Sadly, with regards to communal and caste violence, India has two kinds of laws, one for minority/Dalits and the other for majority/high castes. Whenever the former suffer, the Indian State plays a game of forming COMISSIONS after COMMISSIONS to ensure that the heinous crimes against minorities and Dalits disappear from the public memory. In this regard the 1992-93 Bombay violence can be an interesting case for study. But if violence is believed to be perpetrated by minorities/Dalits, the punishment is instant. This latest judgment ensures punishment for January 1993 perpetrators but despite Justice BN Srikrishna Commission Report holding almost all Hindutva organizations responsible for the killings of minority people in December 1992, the indicted perpetrators were not even questioned, what to talk of arresting and punishing them.…



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Amid Growing Communalism, ‘Karwan-e-Mohabbat’ Aims to Spread Message of Peace – By Mari Marcel Thekaekara (Sep 8, 2017, The Wire)

…As Keralites celebrated Onam, Karwan-e-Mohabbat – a peace yatra – began in faraway Assam with the goal of urging fellow Indians to proactively fight the cancerous communalism enveloping our country. The brain child of former IAS officer, writer and activist Harsh Mander, this peace-building movement has attracted and caught the attention of ordinary women and men who worry about what lies ahead for future generations. Most people want to make the country safe for their children and grandchildren. Karwan-e-Mohabbat invites the people of India to participate in the movement and to forge links of love and not hate.

While riots have been a terrible part of our history, the new spate of hate crimes and increasing incidents of lynching with impunity imply that lawlessness and vigilante action is the new normal. Karwan-e-Mohabbat began on September 4 with a group of people meeting, condoling with and offering support to two young mothers, Halima Khatoon and Rumeena, in Assam’s Nagaon. Mander, along with activists John Dayal and Ram Puniyani, lead the yatra.…

We cannot afford to ignore what’s happening in our country. We cannot any longer feign ignorance. It is imperative, that all Indians lend their active support to these initiatives to prevent the nation from descending into Kosovo or Rwanda-like chaos. Minorities cannot be killed or wiped out in any ‘Final Solution’ without the entire population being affected and engulfed by violence and terror. It’s not merely a moral imperative. It’s a logical, pragmatic necessity. The time to act is now.… It’s probably the biggest challenge ahead of us, 70 years after independence.



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