IAMC Weekly News Roundup - September 22nd, 2014 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 22nd, 2014

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

J-K floods: When waters rose, Muslims in Srinagar rescued Pandits (Sep 16, 2014, Hindustan Times)

Wazirbagh has a temple and a gurdwara. Though many Kashmiri Pandit families have left the area, 10 to 12 families still live here and its adjoining areas. There are several Sikh families too whose garments and hardware shops now lie submerged in water. When flood waters were rising by a few feet every hour, the family of a Kashmiri Pandit, Ashok ji, as neighbours call him, was among the first to be rescued by Sohail Tabrez and Akil, the Muslims of the locality. …

The sprawling three-storied house of Ashok ji is being looked after by Shariq Mughal and Akil, both teenagers, who along with their friends take over a dozen trips a day on a boat taken from the army by depositing their identity cards. When they reach the submerged Kalgi Dhar gurdwara in neighbouring locality, they call out to Inderjit Singh, the gurdwara’s old caretaker to take his supplies of the day. …

The Pandit family owning the Natraj medical shop on the corner of road leading to Lal Mandi Chowk has long left but it is still called Natraj gali. “We had requested Bhabhijaan to stay but the family left. Inderjit, the gurdwara’s caretaker only has Muslim friends,” said Tabrez whose throat has gone hoarse asking people to stand in a queue to be ferried on boat. “I will have to again take medicine from Tinni,” he says referring to the young Sikh homeopathic doctor of the locality.



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PM’s statement to please US, shed his communal image: UP Minister (Sep 20, 2014, Indian Express)

Uttar Pradesh Minister Ramgovind Chaudhary on Saturday alleged Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement that Indian Muslims will live and die for India, was made “to please” United States and shed his “communal image”. The state minister for primary education urged the Prime Minister to ask Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), VHP, Hindu Jagran Manch and other Hindutva organisations to adopt his views.

“Samajwadi Party president has often said that BJP needs to change its mindset on Muslims. It seems that Modi has taken it seriously and only repeated Mulayam Singh Yadav’s opinion that Muslims are patriots,” he told reporters here. Chaudhary alleged that “the Prime Minister’s statement was made out of compulsion to please the US and to shed his communal image. “Despite everything, he cannot wash off the blot on his image.” State minister for stamps and registration, Ambika Chaudhary while welcoming Modi’s remark said that before issuing the statement he ought to have won over the confidence of Muslims for his party so that they would take them seriously.

“Modi need to ensure that BJP leaders’ behaviour reflect his views on the subject,” she added. The Prime Minister said in a television interview that Indian Muslims will live and die for India and that they will not dance to the tunes of terror outfit Al Qaeda. “My understanding is that they are doing injustice towards the Muslims of our country. If anyone thinks Indian Muslims will dance to their tune, they are delusional.…



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Achhe Din? cops who helped in fake encounters probe are shunted and charge-sheeted cops reinstated (Sep 17, 2014, Twocircles.net)

Couple of weeks before Gujarat state government has finally shunted out two IPS officers Rajnish Rai and Satish Verma, who earlier probed the Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Ishrat Jahan fake encounter cases, respectively. In contrast other two IPS officers G L Singhal and Abhay Chudasama who are charged by central investigating agency CBI with the criminal offences related to these fake encounters have been reinstated in the state after coming out on bail. Both the incidences have occurred only after Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) won the majority in Lok Sabha elections and Narendra Modi sworn in as Prime Minister of India. …

On 29th of August 2014, Department of Personnel and Training passed order of central deputation for the two officers who had earlier took on Modi lead Gujarat Government – Rajnish Rai (a 1992-batch IPS officer), as chief vigilance officer (CVO) at Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL) at Jaduguda in Jharkhand under the administrative control of Department of Atomic Energy on initial period of three years and Satish Verma (a 1986-batch IPS officer) has been appointed as CVO of North Eastern Power Corporation Ltd (NEEPCO) in Shilong, Meghalaya under the administrative control of Ministry of Power.

Rai was a supervisory officer of CID (Crime) in Sohrabuddin Sheikh Encounter case and had arrested IPS officers D G Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandian and Dinesh M N of Rajasthan cadre in 2007 which led to a revelation of several other similar encounter cases. Verma had busted the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case and assisted the CBI probe in which seven policemen, including suspended additional director general of police P P Pandey, IPS officer D G Vanzara, G L Singhal and four officers of IB were charge sheeted.

Although these two officers had demanded central deputation last year when congress led UPA government was in centre but Gujarat state did not clear their applications then but allowed it only now when BJP is ruling at centre after Lok Sabha elections. Aggrieved with the timing of their actual deputation, these two officers have now approached the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in Delhi against their central deputation. Reportedly they have alleged in their petitions that the administration had sent them on deputation out of ‘vindictiveness’ and they are being victimized.



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Ujjain: 13 VHP, Bajrang Dal activists arrested for attacking Vikram University V-C (Sep 17, 2014, IBN)

Thirteen Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal activists were arrested on Wednesday in connection to the commotion caused by a group of allegedly right wing activists at the University of Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. Vice Chancellor of Vikram University Jawahar Kaul suffered a minor attack and had to be rushed to the hospital.

Reportedly, the attack occurred after the university issued an appeal to help any Kashmiri students affected by the floods that have claimed several hundred lives and devastated the capital city, Srinagar. Kaul said he had appealed through a local newspaper for help to aid students whose families were thought caught in Kashmir’s worst floods in a century.

The protesters were apparently angry that such appeals had not been issued for victims of past deadly floods elsewhere in the country, including in Uttarakhand last year.



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I was groped, dragged by the hair, bundled into police van: Jadavpur University student (Sep 18, 2014, Times of India)

A Jadavpur University third-year student, who joined the agitation because she knows the earlier molestation victim and was shocked by her “character assassination” by the internal probe committee, did not have an inkling of the horror that was to follow. She, too, was molested. Shaken, she asks: “If this is the face of the law enforcer, can law really prevail in such a land?” Here is her account:

Around 1pm, we heard that police were assembling near gate 1. I was surprised. Some cops had approached us earlier and asked us to move, but we told them that our peaceful demonstration would continue. There was enough scope for further negotiations and JUTA (Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association) was trying to mediate.

By the next half hour, there were several of them right in front Aurobindo Bhavan. The next thing I knew was I being groped, shoved, hit and pulled by a mass of brawny men – some in uniform, others in plainclothes. Two female cops stood to one side, watching in silence. Suddenly, the area plunged into darkness, the only lights coming from TV cameras recording the brutality. I found one of my female friends being dragged towards a police van outside. When I tried to help her, two men lunged at me and dragged me by my hair. Two other men began pulling at my T-shirt, trying to force me towards the van.

When they bundled us in, there was no woman cop inside the van. We were left at the mercy of five cops and two homeguards. I tried to argue that women cannot be arrested after sundown, but police paid no heed and instead took us to the Lalbazar central lock-up. I said I wanted to lodge a molestation FIR against the accused officers. Even as I kept repeating my rights, police shoved me into another van, saying that I had to be taken for a mandatory medical test. Thankfully, this time there were a couple of women cops. …



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ABVP activists ransack ANC principal office (Sep 18, 2014, Free Press Journal)

After Vice Chancellor of Vikram University was attacked reported by the activists of ABVP, a few days ago, the BJP’s student wing once again come to light for creating ruckus in the office of the principal of Sri Aurobindo Nursing College on Wednesday.

More than 15-20 activists of ABVP reached the principal’s office on Wednesday evening for discussing the issue of Non-Objection Certificate of a female student but later they started creating ruckus and ransacked the principal’s office.

According to the information, a nursing student had left the college’s hostel after completing her studies in the college. When she approached the college administration for giving her caution money back, the college administration refused to pay it back to her for official reasons. After learning about the incident, ABVP’s Rakesh Dangi reached the college and discussed the matter with Principal Prerna Pandey and later ransacked the college premises with his associates. …



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Minority rights watchdog for action on BJP MPs (Sep 20, 2014, Hindustan Times)

The National Commission for Minorities has sought a probe into the “vitriolic” remarks by BJP leaders against the country’s Muslims, which violate the spirit of the Constitution. In a letter to the home minister Rajnath Singh, NCM President Naseem Ahmad cited recent statements made by BJP MPs Sakshi Maharaj, Yogi Adityanath and MLA Usha Thakur, and sought Singh’s “assurance” that the NDA government would take action against them under relevant laws.

Ahmad said “comments by Sakshi Maharaj associating terrorism with madrasas and with Muslims” and “derogatory comments on Muslims with regard to garba celebrations by MLA Usha Thakur” violated the spirit of the Constitution”. He also referred to “unfounded and extremely offensive comments about Muslims by MP Yogi Adityanath regarding ‘love jihad’ and riots being engineered by Muslims”.

“These statements are being made by prominent members of political parties and of Parliament and violate the spirit of our Constitution as well as the Indian Penal Code. I urge you to have them investigated and duly dealt with in the interest of communal harmony and a sense of security that a secular country such as ours guarantees to all its minorities,” Ahmad’s letter to Singh stated.

The NCM was urged last week by noted jurist Fali Nariman to take action against such hate speeches. Delivering the Commission’s annual lecture, Nariman had criticised the government’s silence over the issue and urged it to act.



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SP removed after communal tension in Bundi (Sep 22, 2014, Times of India)

The state government on Sunday put the superintendent of police, Bundi, on awaiting posting order after communal violence continued for days in the district. A violent mob had pelted stones on a police station and set ablaze a few RSRTC buses after it was found that miscreants had desecrated an idol in the temple. A day after the incident on September 13, curfew was imposed in Nainwa town and nearby Khanpura village in Bundi.

Earlier, the then station house officer of Nainwa police station, Badan Singh was also removed and sent to police lines.… On Saturday, an eight-day-long curfew was lifted from the tension-hit Nainwa town and adjoining Khanpura village. The decision to lift the curfew from Nainwa and Khanpura villages was taken after reviewing the law and order situation. Additional district magistrate (administration) Ramjeevan Meena, however, said that enforcement of prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC would continue in both the areas till the next order, he said.

Kota divisional commissioner Ashwini Bhagat, inspector general of police, Ravi Prakesh and additional district magistrate Ramjeevan, reviewed the law and order situation in the affected areas and held meetings with members of vigilance committee before announcing lifting of the curfew.



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Woman reconverted inside police station, three cops suspended (Sep 18, 2014, Times of India)

Three policemen attached to the Maneri police station in Uttarkashi district were suspended on Wednesday after news spread that a local woman who had earlier been “converted to Islam” by her “kidnapper” was brought there for the ritual purification ceremony.

Sources said the cops were present in the thana on Tuesday as Ganga jal was brought to symbolically “purify” her. Later, a man who claimed to be her former husband applied vermillion on her forehead and “accepted her back.” …

Taking serious note of the matter, SP Jagat Ram Joshi of Uttarkashi district told TOI the department had taken “prompt and strict action” and suspended the three cops. … “The three policemen at Maneri police station have been suspended, as they failed to control the situation and did not bother to inform senior officials. Such activities cannot happen in a police station.” …



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RSS rewrites history: Dalits ‘created’ by Muslim invaders (Sep 22, 2014, Hindustan Times)

In its renewed impetus to woo Dalits, various other castes and sub-castes, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has embarked on an ambitious exercise to re-write history. Emboldened by the BJP’s success in the Lok Sabha elections, the RSS has intensified its efforts to find and validate a common Hindu thread to unify all groups under one Hindu identity.

Three top RSS leaders have sought to attribute the genesis of Dalits, tribals and many other groups to “Muslim invasion” in medieval times. They articulated these views in their forewords to three books, authored by BJP spokesman Vijay Sonkar Shastri and released by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat recently – “Hindu Charmakar Jati”, “Hindu Khatik Jati” and “Hindu Valmiki Jati”.

The Sangh leaders claimed that these castes had come into existence due to atrocities by foreign invaders and did not exist in Hindu religion earlier. According to Bhaiyyaji Joshi, No.2 in RSS hierarchy, ‘shudras’ were never untouchables in Hindu scriptures. ‘Islamic atrocities’ during the medieval age resulted in the emergence of untouchables, Dalits and Indian Muslims.…



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Former Assam DGP, under scanner in Saradha scam, commits suicide (Sep 17, 2014, Times of India)

Former Assam Director General of Police Shankar Barua, whose premises were searched by the CBI in connection with Saradha scam last month, allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself at his residence on Wednesday. Guwahati senior superintendent of police A P Tiwari told PTI that Barua was rushed to a local nursing home at around 12 noon and was declared dead there.…

Non-stop coverage by television channels relating to him had upset the former Director General, the family said. CBI spokesperson in Delhi said that former Director General of Assam Police was neither examined by the CBI nor was he summoned.

Barua’s name got linked with the scam after an employee of Saradha’s media house here alleged last year that he had provided ‘protection’ to them in Assam which was arranged by popular Assamese singer and filmmaker Sadananda Gogoi on behalf of the group.…



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Opinions and Editorials

Wilting lotus – Editorial (Sep 17, 2014, Indian Express)

The drubbing in the by-elections should serve as a wake-up call for the BJP. Though the Congress managed to wrest seats from it in Rajasthan and Gujarat, the big story of the by-elections is UP. Riding high after its near-sweep of Lok Sabha seats in the state in the 2014 general election, the BJP leadership expected to do well in all 11 seats in UP that went to polls. Instead, the Samajwadi Party, which has been facing flak for running an ineffective government, won eight seats, including Rohaniya, which is part of the Varanasi parliamentary constituency, represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Local factors influence by-elections and the SP may have been helped by the BSP’s absence from the fray. Consolidation of opposition votes, unlike in the Lok Sabha election, which featured multi-cornered contests, may have led to the BJP’s poor performance. But more than all these, the results may be an indictment of the party MPs’ recent communal campaigns. …

The results from Rajasthan and Gujarat – states that the party had swept in the general election in May – must also worry the BJP. The Congress has done well and won six of the 13 seats that went to polls after BJP MLAs quit to fight parliamentary elections, as it did in the recent by-elections in Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. Clearly, the grand old party, though rudderless at the Centre, is in the reckoning in the states. And the BJP, which had come to power promising solutions for all of India’s ills, has embarrassed itself by pursuing communal politics along with the development agenda.



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Rise of the right-wing agenda – Rakesh Sharma with Anupama Katakam (Oct 3, 2014, Frontline)

Rakesh Sharma is a documentary filmmaker best known for his feature-length documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots, Final Solution (2003). It won two awards at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2004 – the Wolfgang Staudte Award, the first time this award went to a documentary and the first time an Indian film won this award at Berlin, and the Special Jury Award. Interestingly, the film, which went on to win awards at several film festivals around the world, was initially banned in India by the Central Board of Film Certification (censor board). After a sustained countrywide campaign, the ban was lifted in October 2004.

He views the Gujarat pogrom of 2002 as a turning point in modern Indian history and, as a student of history and politics, believes that at the present juncture a very potent mix of apathy, latent communalism and blatant fundamentalism informs politics in India. “We are headed for interesting times,” he says on the rise of the BJP and what the future holds for the Congress and the political parties in the States. Excerpts from an interview he gave Frontline: …

Yes, it appears that the minorities are now experiencing the sort of fear their Gujarati brethren experienced 10-12 years ago. It’ll settle into a similar pattern-some will make peace with the devil, vote for it, rush to proclaim their loyalty, especially at showcased public events; some others will support anybody-but-the-BJP; many will become apathetic; and some will be drawn into their own campaigns of hate, intolerance and bigotry or even violence. …



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Tools for Divisive Politics: Hate Speech and Patriarchy – By Ram Puniyani (Sep 21, 2014, TwoCircles.net)

After the last general elections where Narendra Modi and his party won a majority overwhelmingly, the BJP has not been doing so well in subsequent by-elections. The Lalu-Nitish experiment is one model, but whether it will be replicated in different parts of the country is a million-vote question. The BJP appears to resort to the basic tools of divisive politics. On one hand Yogi Adityanath, with his venomous ‘hate speeches’ has come up as BJP’s major player; on the other the word of mouth propaganda of ‘love jihad’ is being spread like wildfire.

This year, Adityanath began his hate attack on Muslim minorities blaming all communal riots on Muslims when he campaigned for the BJP ahead of the general elections. In subsequent speeches he went on to make similar baseless allegations such as wherever Muslims are in the majority there is more trouble, or that when they trigger the violence then they also have to face the consequences.

None of this is grounded in the analysis of the communal violence in India. Referring to ‘Love Jihad,’ Adityanath said that if ‘they’ convert one Hindu girl, we will convert 100 Muslim girls. His unrelenting ‘hate speeches’ are going on at the time when the Prime Minister himself has asked for a ten-year moratorium on violence. Mr. Modi seems to be deliberately looking the other way when all this Hate propaganda is on.…



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‘Love jihad’ anxiety in MP: A vicious campaign that fosters hatred towards Muslims – By Chandan Nandy (Sep 20, 2014, Times of India)

The BJP’s Madhya Pradesh unit is in the grip of a ‘love jihad’ paranoia. The Indore and Ujjain district administrations’ instructions to garba organisers to allow entry of men into after their identity cards and programme passes are checked reflect the BJP’s anxiety that Muslim men might infiltrate the cultural soirees to advance what their ‘love jihad’ mission. The district administrations claim that the security measures are part of their attempt to prevent the entry of “unauthorised participants and criminal elements.”

But there is more to such steps than meets the eye, especially after BJP’s Indore MLA Usha Thakur directed party workers to stop Muslim men from entering garba venues during Navratri festivities in her constituency. Thakur’s hostility towards Muslim men stems from her delusional belief that they are out to lure and ensnare Hindu women at garba venues to subsequently convert them to Islam. …

Such baseless and vicious campaigns serve to foster hatred towards Muslims and create panic where there should be none. Such tropes are constructed over the Hindu woman’s body which becomes the site for preservation of community honour and for propagating hatred towards Muslims.



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Garba Mana Hain – By Manasi Gandhi (Sep 14, 2014, Countercurrents)

“One swallow doesn’t make a summer” is the response given by BJP spokesperson Jay Narayan Vyas to the statement made by Madhya Pradesh BJP vice president and MLA, Usha Thakur, seeking a ban on entry of Muslim youths in ‘garba’ in MP, during the festive navratri. She has come out with 11 point guidelines, which consist of checking the voter ids of the youth trying to enter the garba pandal. There are also guidelines on the ‘dress code’ for girls, decent to be precise, to defend themselves from the so called ‘love jihad’.

Festivals in India seldom have been restricted to religion. They have always been a celebration of life, a reason to smile, enjoy, dance. Navratri is one such festival, where people gather around Goddess Durga, and dance to the beats of ‘garba’ over nine nights. Nobody in the history of this festival has restricted entry to people on the basis of religion. Nobody has paused and questioned who is the music director of the song “Dholi taro.” (Ismail Durbar, film ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’) before dancing to its tunes. …

Even if one brushes aside this scaremongering as a one off, something new crops up everyday. There have been one too many swallows, with the likes of Yogi Adityanath, Laxmikant Bajpai, Sangeet Singh Som and others. They are making clowns of themselves. Let us make an humble request to our PM to stand by the ten year moratorium on communalism he announced in his robust speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort on Independence Day, and take action. And let us not lose our sense of humor!



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Why Is The CBI Going Soft On Virbhadra Singh? – By Ushinor Majumdar (Sep 20, 2014, Tehelka)

The CBI inquiry into multiple corruption allegations against the grand old man of Himachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, could be winding up soon. On 1 September, the CBI filed a status report of the preliminary inquiry in a sealed cover with the Delhi High Court. It is not known as to which way the probe is going. But other than the inquiry, the sleuths have not lodged an FIR or registered a case against him, even though two years have passed since the allegations surfaced.

In a similar case last year, the then railway minister, Pawan Kumar Bansal, was forced to resign from the Manmohan Singh Cabinet. His nephew had been caught fixing appointments to the high-powered Railway Board, a forum that can help crooked officials make millions.

It was believed that Bansal’s nephew, Vijay Singla, could not have acted alone and that he required the support of his uncle to make the appointments to the Railway Board. It was also pointed out that Singla had made several calls from the Union minister’s official residence, while his telephone was being monitored.…



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