IAMC Weekly News Roundup - September 24th, 2018 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 24th, 2018

In this issue of IAMC News Digest

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Indian village bans Muslim names for children, public prayer and beards after row over dead calf (Sep 20, 2018, Telegraph)

An Indian village has banned Muslim practice including sporting beards, praying in public or giving children Islamic names. In the wake of the death of a female calf, allegedly at the hands of a Muslim boy, the elders council, or panchayat, in Titoli, Haryana, made the decree – while baring the youth from the village for life.

The panchayat, held in the Hindu-dominated village on Wednesday, also barred Muslim residents, numbering around 800, from offering nawaz (prayers) outside their homes. A mob had attacked the house of a Muslim family in the village in August , accusing them of killing the calf. Two were arrested under the Prohibition of Cow Slaughter Act, 1955. But it was unclear how or why the calf had been killed.…

A secular, alliance group, Ekta Manch, condemned the decisions. Its president, Shahzad Khan, said they were unconstitutional and that the Muslims were forced to accept their fate for fear of reprisals.…



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Why ‘5,000’ Hindu Residents Of A Gurgaon Locality Have Hoisted Flags At Their Homes (Sep 18, 2018, Huffington Post)

The spokesperson of a Hindutva organisation told HuffPost India that the residents of Sheetla Mata Colony, in Gurgaon, Haryana have hoisted saffron flags with ‘Om’ printed on them in their homes to protest against Muslim groups who have demanded that a mosque recently sealed by local civic authorities be reopened.

Haji Shahzad Khan, who heads an organisation called Muslim Ekta Manch, confirmed the news and said that Muslim residents of the area informed him about the flags and that he has witnessed them. Rajeev Mittal, spokesperson of Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti (SHSS), told HuffPost India, “Around 5,000 houses in the locality and around have put up these flags. They are not flags of any group, they are just saffron flags that represent the unity of the Hindus against the recent developments,” he said.…

However, a press release Mittal sent HuffPost India on WhatsApp stated that the people have put up the saffron flags following a call to do so by Hindutva groups. Khan told HuffPost India, “Like a person awarded the death penalty lives their last days in dread, the Muslims in the area are living like that. There’s a new directive which has reached the Muslims in the area from the Hindutva groups asking them to vacate shops and homes in the locality,” he said.…



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Assam Class 12 book says Modi was silent during Gujarat riots, FIR lodged against authors (Sep 21, 2018, India Today)

The Assam Police has registered an FIR against three people who authored a political science reference book for students of Class 12 and criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “silence” during the 2002 Gujarat riots in it. Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat when the riots took place. The FIR has been lodged at Assam’s Golaghat Sadar police station. On page 376 of the book, which is written in Assamese, it is mentioned that Modi was silent over the state-wide violence that followed the deaths of 57 people in a compartment of Sabarmati Express at Godhra Railway Station.

The three authors are Durga Kanta Sharma (former head of the department of Arya Vidyapeeth College), Rafiq Jaman (former head of the department, Goalpara College) and Manash Protim Baruah (head of the department of South Kamrup College). Sharma died a couple of years ago. The book has been in circulation since 2011.…

On the other hand, the authors have denied the charges. They said there is nothing objectionable against the prime minister in the book. Speaking to India Today, Manash Protim Baruah said, “The book is written based on an NCERT textbook and was first published seven years ago. We have not written anything, which is not in the public domain. There are several other books, including ones prescribed by the NCERT, that have the same content regarding the Gujarat riots.”…



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From allowance to jail term: Congress, Asaduddin Owaisi raise red flags on provisions (Sep 20, 2018, Indian Express)

The BJP-led government’s decision Wednesday to promulgate an ordinance to ban the practice of instant triple talaq drew sharp criticism from the Opposition Congress and sections of the Muslim community, but for different reasons.

While the Congress said there was lack of clarity on the subsistence allowance clause in the proposed law and criticised the provision that puts the onus of proving pronouncement of instant triple talaq on the woman, Muslim leaders like Asaduddin Owaisi said it was wrong to make instant triple talaq a penal offence.…

Owaisi, on the other hand, said the ordinance is “anti-Muslim women” and called it a violation of the right to equality enshrined in the Constitution. “If a Muslim is going to be charged under this ordinance and if the courts find him guilty, he will be sentenced for three years… whereas a non-Muslim man, if he is charged under a different Act, he will be sentenced for one year. Isn’t this a grave violation of the Constitution?”…



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Maharashtra ATS names Murali as mastermind behind terror plots since 2008 (Sep 15, 2018, Hindustan Times)

The Maharashtra Anti-terrorism Squad’s (ATS) interrogation report in the arms case involving sympathisers of the right-wing spiritual group Sanatan Sanstha once again mentions a certain MD Murali as the mastermind behind all killings and terror plots involving the group’s members or sympathisers.…

…the report names him as the brain behind several bomb blasts and the murders of rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar in Pune, social activist and writer Govind Pansare in Kolhapur, Kannada writer and academic Dr MM Kalburgi in Dharwad and Bengaluru-based activist and journalist Gauri Lankesh. It also adds that he is the chief recruiter for a shadowy organisation spanning Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa that spread terror.

The IR was filed in arms cases involving Vaibhav Raut, Sharad Kalaskar, Sudhanva Gondhalekar, Shrikant Pangarkar and Avinash Pawar. All five were arrested from different parts of Maharashtra last month for allegedly plotting terror activities in various parts of the country, and are currently in judicial custody. Bombs, detonators, and guns were recovered during the operation.…



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Sohrabuddin Sheikh ‘fake’ encounter case: CID officer, who was investigating the case, calls Gujarat Police’s FIR false (Sep 19, 2018, Ahmedabad Mirror)

Gujarat CID’s chief investigating officer, who had called the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter as “fake,” told the special CBI court on Wednesday, September 19, that not only the encounter, but also the FIR registered by the Gujarat police officers in the case was fake.

While deposing before the court of Judge SJ Sharma, Gambhir Singh Paderia, retired Deputy Superintendent of Police of Gujarat CID, gave the details of how he had conducted the investigation and recorded statements of various witnesses as well as of the accused in the year 2007.

He also produced various documents related to the investigation carried out by him – panchnamas of the spot from where Sohrabuddin and his wife Kauser Bi were allegedly abducted, Sohrabuddin’s encounter spot, where they were kept, and where Kauser sBi was burnt after being killed.…



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‘Saving someone who saved his religion’: Hindu nationalist on why he’s offering Shambhulal Regar a ticket in 2019 (Sep 18, 2018, First Post)

Self-proclaimed Hindu nationalist Amit Jani is in the news yet again: This time for offering a Lok Sabha ticket to Shambhulal Regar, the man accused of burning and killing a Muslim man in Rajasthan last December. A video of the alleged hate crime through which the police identified Regar went viral on social media.

Jani, the chairperson of the Uttar Pradesh Navnirman Sena, a local political outfit, claimed Regar has accepted his offer to contest the Lok Sabha polls from Agra. Jani said his party will contest on the issue of Hindutva in five constituencies across Uttar Pradesh: Agra, Aligarh, Noida, Mathura and Firozabad.…

BJP Uttar Pradesh spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said, “Regar is doing this to remain in the news. If someone is giving ticket to a person accused of murder, then it shows that the person offering the ticket has a criminal mindset as well. He is trying to gain the media’s attention by commenting on people like Yogi Adityanath.”…



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ABVP attempts to create mob terror on JNU campus, students fight back (Sep 17, 2018, Sabrang India)

After being squarely trounced in the Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union (JNUSU) election, members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) have reportedly resorted to multiple acts of violence on the JNU campus in New Delhi. Large mobs of ABVP members have reportedly attacked many student leaders including some of the newly elected office bearers of the students union.

JNUSU ex-president Geeta Kumari who witnessed the attacks said, “Today our comrades Pawan Kaushik and Ashutosh Abhinay were brutally beaten up by ABVP members,” adding that the attack looked like a “mob lynching”. She said she was also attacked by an ABVP member when she tried to help her friends. “While I was trying to save Abhinay I was also attacked by Saurabh Sharma”, she said adding that Sharma pulled her hand and pushed her, causing her to fall on the road near the Jhelum Hostel gate.

According to Geeta Kumari, when another student Jyoti tried to record the incident on video, she too was allegedly manhandled. But this did not stop Geeta and she tried to help the newly elected JNUSU President, N Sai Balaji, as he was being mercilessly beaten. She said, “When they attacked N Sai Balaji, I tried to stop them, but he (Sharma) threatened me saying that he would cut my neck off!”…



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Rafale offset: Govt denied role but ex-French President Hollande says, ‘Indian Govt proposed Reliance, had no choice’ (Sep 22, 2018, Indian Express)

Francois Hollande, who was President of France when the deal for 36 Rafale fighter aircraft was announced and signed with India, has said Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence was chosen as the offset partner by Dassault because the Indian government had “proposed” its name.

“We didn’t have a say in that. It was the Indian government that proposed this service group (Reliance), and Dassault who negotiated with Ambani. We didn’t have a choice, we took the interlocutor who was given to us,” Hollande was quoted by French news website Mediapart.fr on the offset contract.…

The former French President’s remarks contradict the Indian government’s claim that the deal between Dassault and Reliance was a commercial pact between two private parties and the government had nothing to do with it.…



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RSS leader accused of rape arrested (Sep 18, 2018, Asian Age)

An RSS leader from West Bengal was arrested by the Kolkata police in New Delhi for allegedly raping a female BJP leader in Behala with the false promise of marriage. Amalendu Chatterjee, the accused, was caught by the cops plainclothes from Deshbandhu Nagar near Karol Bagh on Monday morning. He is a Pracharak in the RSS.

Mr Chatterjee also held the post of general secretary of the state BJP earlier. On August 31 the middle-aged woman lodged a complaint against him at the Behala Women police station accusing him maintaining a physical relationship for a long time with her on the false promise of marrying her.

She also claimed that Mr Chatterjee, who often used to stay at her residence, allured her with a post in the state BJP. A case was initiated under sections 376 (rape) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. Launching the probe the cops tracked the network of his cellphone tower only to find that the accused has fled the city, according to sources. They later found that he had taken shelter in New Delhi, sources revealed.…



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Opinions and Editorials

The endgame of triple talaq – By Flavia Agnes (Sep 21, 2018, The Tribune)

The Union Government has finally done what it has been threatening to do for quite some time now. That is Parliament does not pass the Bill, it will bring in an Ordinance to criminalise triple talaq. Ostensibly, this is done to save ‘our Muslim sisters’ from the clutches of a draconian provision of Islamic law, as the PM has claimed during his election campaign. But one wonders why this tearing hurry to bring in this law through an Ordinance? What political expediency has driven the government to take this step?

Some feel that the move is politically motivated, that it will help the BJP-led NDA government in the forthcoming 2019 general election, that Muslim women will view PM Narendra Modi as their saviour and it will help to offset anti-Modi sentiments prevailing among large sections of Muslims. But how true are these predictions? Why will Muslim women go against the sentiments of their own community and cast their vote in favour of a party which is generally perceived as anti-Muslim unless they are able to see some concrete gains beyond the rhetoric. And here comes the crux of the matter.

What will this Ordinance give Muslim women that they already do not have under other prevailing statutes? Will it save Muslim marriages, protect the Muslim woman’s economic rights or ensure that she has a roof over her head, beyond what is stipulated under other existing statutes? Is this a magic wand that will save Muslim women from destitution stemming from triple talaq?…



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Has the RSS ground shifted? – By Karan Thapar (Sep 21, 2018, Indian Express)

The recent lecture series by the Sarsanghchalak of the RSS, Mohan Bhagwat, which was splashed across front pages nationwide, forcefully raises the question: Is this organisation under its present chief changing its position on critical matters such as the Constitution, the concept of Hindu Rashtra and the treatment of minorities? And if the answer is yes, can we accept what Bhagwat has said at face value or do we need proof that he also means to practice what he preaches?

An interview I did with his predecessor, K S Sudarshan, in August 2000 for the BBC programme HARDtalk India helps answer the first question both substantially and meaningfully. The difference between the viewpoints expressed by the two men is not just clear but stark.

Let’s start with the RSS’s attitude to the Indian Constitution. Earlier this week, Bhagwat said: “We respect the Indian Constitution. A lot of thought has gone into making it. It was done through consensus. The Sangh has never gone against the Constitution.” The last sentence is, perhaps, the most critical of all. In contrast, Sudarshan refused to accept the Constitution as it stands. He believed it needed to be “reviewed completely” to reflect the country’s Hindu ethos.…



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Delhi Univ, JNU elections a “precursor” to Hindutva groups seeking to win 2019 polls by hook or by crook – By Vidya Bhushan Rawat (Sep 17, 2018, The Wire)

Why are people still enamoured towards Hindutva and its government, which has attempted to discredit India’s prestigious institutions? I am not much fascinated at the victory of the Left Unity in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), as that does not reflect much. What is worrying trend is the growth of the Savarna Right-wing in JNU. Will trends in JNU be similar to West Bengal, where the left parties are finding it difficult to make a comeback and the space left by them is occupied by the Hindutva party?

The more worrying is the factor the way the Hindutva goons of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) went all out of their way to capture JNU. Prior to that we have seen the situation at the Delhi University, where electronic voting machines (EVMs) were procured from the market and used during the elections. The Election Commission has to clarify its position that the machines were not provided by it.

Is it the new trend of the Hindutva party to win over India at any cost without giving a bit to norms and ethics? Is the trend in India against the Hindutva party?… JNU and Delhi University results and desperation of the Sangh Parivar affiliates to win them is a trend which will be reflected in the 2019 elections. All secular parties must get united and prepare their cadres for certain eventualities which are going to happen to win the elections by hook or by crook.



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What new diktat? In this Haryana village, Muslim identity markers ceased to exist in 1947 – By Abhishek Dey (Sep 23, 2018, Scroll.in)

…Titoli, around 100 km from Delhi, has been in the news since the village’s panchayat was reported to have issued a diktat prohibiting the Muslim residents from wearing beards and skull caps, ordering them to give their children Hindu names, and exiling a Muslim man for allegedly slaughtering a calf.…

The message, seen by Scroll.in, is addressed to an unidentified “Dear Sir” and follows a template that police officials often use for field memos to their superiors. It states that the panchayat was attended by 500-550 people and discussed the matter of the alleged cow slaughter on Eid, August 22. It lists five resolutions allegedly passed by the panchayat…

Khan gave his children “Muslim names” – Mehmood, Shabnam and Javed – and since his family travelled with him while he was in the Army, he said, this never posed a problem. But it got awkward when he returned to Titoli after his retirement, with even his relatives pressuring him to change his lifestyle and his children’s names. This, he said, compelled him to leave his extended family behind. “In the past few years, a few Muslims started choosing Muslim names for their children and travelling more frequently to Rohtak for Friday namaaz,” Khan said. “There was a visible change happening. The recent diktat looks like a measure to stop that.”



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If Maoist violence is illegitimate, how is Hindutva, state violence justified? Can right-wing wash off its sins? – By Swami Agnivesh and Sandeep Pandey (Sep 17, 2018, Counterview)

There was major police action against Sudha Bhardwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Varvara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira on 28 August, 2018. Before this police arrested Professor Shoma Sen, Adocate Sudhir Gadling, Sudhir Dhawle, Mahesh Raut and Rona Wilson on 6 June. Even before this Dr. Binayak Sen, Soni Sori, Ajay TG, Professor GN Saibaba and Prashant Rahi have been arrested and all these activists have been accused of having links with Maoists.

Maoists are considered dangerous because they are thought to be plotting to destabilize the government and the five who have been most recently targeted are also accused of having planned to assassinate the Prime Minister.… The cooked up charge is to justify the police action. The Maoists are considered illegitimate because they support violence. Any violence cannot be justified in a democracy. However, the question is if violence is bad how is other kinds of violence more legitimate than the Maoist violence?

The history of right-wing is replete with incidents of violence. How can we forget that the person with whom India’s identity is associated in the entire world and who lived the value of non-violence was murdered by people believing in Hindutva ideology? The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) can never wash off this sin irrespective of however much Narendra Modi may have tried to coopt Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Subhash Chandra Bose and Dr BR Ambedkar, instead of using the icons of Hindutva ideology Hedgewar, Golwalkar and Savarkar.…



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Police Officer Who Busted Sohrabuddin Encounter Case Says State Trying to Silence Him – By Sukanya Shantha (Sep 21, 2018, The Wire)

Thirteen years ago, Vasant Laljibhai Solanki, a quiet and diligent police inspector with the Gujarat state police, was handed charge of the investigation into the encounter killings of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, his wife Kauser Bi and associate Tulsi Prajapati. After a detailed investigation – the kind rarely seen in police departments anywhere in India when a fake encounter is alleged – he fearlessly concluded that the encounters were fake and named the senior police officers who were responsible for the extra-judicial killings.

Apart from nailing several police officers for their involvement in the killings, Solanki’s efforts opened a can of worms that eventually saw the indictment of Amit Shah, now BJP president, for his alleged involvement in the conspiracy. As the murder case, which was subsequently taken over by the Central Bureau of Investigation, started collapsing after May 2014 in the face of the CBI’s own lack of interest and witnesses turning hostile, Solanki has stood his ground. This despite the acute threats and pressure that he claims he faced both from the police department and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

In an exclusive interview to The Wire as he awaits his turn to depose before the special CBI court in Mumbai that is conducting the criminal trial in the case, Solanki says the state has tried every trick in the book to ensure he stays away from the court. The most recent attempt is the sudden withdrawal of security – originally provided to him nine years ago on the Supreme Court’s direction – by the state government.…



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