IAMC Weekly News Roundup - September 25th, 2017 - IAMC
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IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 25th, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

RSS Tries to Create Tension by Spreading Fake News Regarding Temple in Kerala (Sep 23, 2017, News Click)

Yet another attempt by the Sangh Parivar to create tensions in the name of temples in Kerala has been exposed. For the past few days, Sangh workers have been claiming that the Kerala government is trying to take over the Parthasarathy Temple at Guruvayur, Thrissur district so with the intention of “capturing” temple funds.

The claim has been refuted by Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran and activists, even as RSS workers tried to create tension at the temple. On Thursday, RSS workers stopped the Malabar Devaswom Board (MDB) Executive Officer and the team of revenue officials who came to the temple to take it over on the basis of a High Court order.

The RSS workers created a tense atmosphere in the temple and its premises by holding the officials and even the women police officers hostage. The MDB officials returned without completing the proceedings. The controversy has its origins in 2009, when a large section of devotees of the temple alleged that the RSS-led administration was involved in embezzling funds. The devotees demanded that the Malabar Devaswom Board, which manages a large number of temples in North Kerala, should take over the temple administration so that its finances are properly audited.…



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Lawyer For SIMI Calls Report On Bhopal Jail Break Encounter A ‘Whitewash’ (Sep 21, 2017, Huffington Post)

Almost nine months after the jailbreak in Bhopal Central Jail and the subsequent encounter that led to the killing of 9 persons, including 8 operatives of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and a jail guard, the judicial commission that was constituted to look into the matter has submitted its report.

The commission headed by a retired high court judge of Madhya Pradesh, SK Pandey, submitted the report on the incident, which took place on 31 October 2016, to the state home department. The commission and the state government maintain it is a confidential document until tabled in the Assembly. However, sources said that the report gives a clean-chit to police officials involved in the encounter, even as it points out lapses in the security of the jail. But officials refused to come on record about the contents of the report.

Speaking to HuffPost India, the lawyer of the slain SIMI operatives and their kin, Parvez Alam, said that it was hardly an inquiry. “There was no probe. We were not given any documents, not even a copy of the FIR registered with the Gunga police station after the encounter though it is a public document. The copies of the post-mortem reports were not given to us either,” he said. According to Alam, the Commission didn’t give them an opportunity to present the facts and tell their side of the story, which, he claims, would have punctured the police’s narrative.…



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Mass grave at Dera Sacha Sauda’s Sirsa headquarters has 600 skeletons, Ram Rahim’s aide reveals to SIT (Sep 20, 2017, India Today)

Dirty and horrific secrets from Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s Dera Sacha Sauda’s closet are tumbling out on a daily basis. The latest: nearly 600 skeletons are buried inside the Dera headquarters in Sirsa. The dreadful revelation has been made by a trusted aide of Gurmeet Ram Rahim during interrogation by Special Investigation Team (SIT).

Former Dera vice-president Dera Sacha Sauda Dr PR Nain, who is being quizzed by the SIT along with Dera chairperson Vipassana Insan, also submitted relevant documents in support of his claim regarding a mass grave inside the Sirsa headquarters. Dr PR Nain also told the SIT that Dera started planting saplings on the land where the skeletons were buried on the advice of a German scientist.

A woman follower of Ram Rahim, who is serving 20-year-term in Rohtak’s Sunaria jail, has claimed that her been child has missing from Dera headquarters in Sirsa since last 12 years. The Panipat woman alleged that she donated her 2-month-old kid to Dera after being persuaded by Gurmeet Ram Rahim to do so through an advertisement.…



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Saint having links with top BJP leaders arrested in a rape case from Alwar Ashram (Sep 23, 2017, Ummid.com)

Self-styled godman Sant Kaushlendra Falahari Maharaj, an accused in a rape case, who is alleged to have links with top BJP leaders, has been arrested by the Rajasthan police on Saturday soon after he was discharged from a hospital. Earlier, when the investigating officer reached to interrogate the “Saint” popular as Falahari Baba at his Alwar Ashram, he got himself admitted in the hospital complaining of intestine infection. Since then, policemen were stationed outside the hospital and waiting for the baba’s discharge.

A 21-year old girl had lodged a zero FIR against the Falahari baba at Bilaspur police station in Chhattisgarh state. According to the FIR, the alleged crime had taken place on August 7 in Alwar, when the victim had visited Alwar Ashram to offer the first salary she had earned from her internship. Falahari baba had asked her to stay in the Ashram for the night. Then he asked the girl to come to his room, where he allegedly raped her. After raping the girl, the Falahari baba also threatened her not to disclose anything as he had connections with top politicians and cops.

Initially, the girl and her family, who were following the baba since last 15 years, were reluctant to approach the police, but after the conviction and sentencing of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, they decided to file a complaint against the Falahari baba. The girl said she was inspired by the rape victims in Gurmeent Singh Ram Raheem case and it was they who gave her the needed courage to file the case against Falahari baba. Meanwhile, Falahari baba’s photgraphs with top BJP leaders are widely circulated by social media users ever since report of his arrests in the rape case was made public.…



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Painting Mughals as looters to hailing ‘Indian’ heroes: How to rewrite history (Sep 24, 2017, Hindustan Times)

Uttar Pradesh deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma said that Mughal rulers played no role in Indian history except plundering the country – reason, according to him, to rewrite history text books. Sharma added that the state government was working towards introducing a new school syllabus. Sharma is not alone. His counterparts in BJP-ruled states have been finding ‘faults’ in time and again.

The RSS has been publicising what it thinks is the appropriate version of history through its Saraswati Shiksha Mandir Prakashan and Vidya Bharti Publications. The recent trend is to use the state government resources and institutions to rewrite history, omit important figures, promote a communal angle. “They are doing it in the pursuit of a Hindu Rashtra,” said historian Harbans Mukhia, whose area of specialisation is medieval India.…

Rewriting history textbooks has been an old priority of the right-wing. In 1977, Jana Sangh members in Janata Party pushed for the withdrawal of history textbooks written by Romila Thapar, Bipan Chadra and Harbans Mukhia, among others. The effort failed because the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) as well as the intelligentsia opposed the move.…



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Have Enough Evidence Against Ex-Gujarat Cop In Ishrat Jahan Encounter Case, CBI Tells Court (Sep 24, 2017, NDTV)

A special CBI court today asked the lawyer of victim’s kin in the alleged fake encounter case of Ishrat Jahan and three others, to argue their case against the discharge plea by ex-IPS officer PP Pandey. The court of special judge JK Pandya today fixed October 11, as a date to make submissions, if any. During the course of hearing, the court had allowed Ishrat’s mother, Ms Shamima Kauser, to become a party in the case.…

Mr Pandey, who is currently out on bail, had moved his discharge plea saying that statement of two witnesses against him are contradictory, and had also cited his reinstatement and promotion as in-charge DGP as one of the grounds.…

Arguing against his discharge plea, the CBI had told the court that it had enough evidence against him.… Mr Pandey is facing charges like murder, criminal conspiracy (IPC section 120(B)), abettor present when crime is committed (IPC section 114), and sections of the Arms Act.…



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1 paisa loan waiver a cruel joke: farmer (Sep 20, 2017, The Hindu)

Chiddi Sharma, a farmer in Ading village of Mathura, has received 1 paisa or ₹00.01 as part of the U.P. government’s flagship crop loan waiver scheme, which promises a relief of up to ₹1 lakh to the 86 lakh farmers in the State.

Mr. Sharma, one of the many farmers who have been given waivers of minuscule amounts, says his is the “cruellest joke” as no one in the State has been paid 1 paise as relief for losses running into lakhs.…

“I had distributed sweets in April when Yogiji announced the loan waiver. I had taken loan of ₹1.55 lakh from the Punjab National Bank six years ago, but could not repay it that due to repeated losses in farming. Today I do not know whether to laugh or cry. Many leaders have played with the emotions of the farmers, but this one by Yogiji is the cruellest of them all,” said Mr. Sharma who owns five bighas of land and comes under the category of “marginal farmer”.…



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Riot cases: Sadhvi Prachi’s plea for traveling abroad rejected (Sep 8, 2017, Indian Express)

A court here on Friday rejected a plea by firebrand Hindutva leader Sadhvi Prachi, an accused in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, seeking permission to travel abroad, saying charges have not been framed against her yet. Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Madhu Gupta rejected Sadhvi’s plea and directed her to appear in person before the court on November 28 for framing of charges.

In the plea filed through her lawyer, Sadhvi had pleaded she be allowed to get her passport renewed to travel abroad. She has, however, not mentioned where she wanted to travel.

The court rejected the plea, saying charges against Sadhvi have not yet been framed even after four years due to the non-appearance of her, and other accused. The public prosecutor opposed the plea saying Sadhvi was among 40 accused who allegedly incited violence through their speeches.…



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Investigation Report on Lynchings finds Serious Flaws in the Criminal Justice System (Sep 22, 2017, Sabrang India)

A fact-finding team which probed into the 24 incidents of lynching and vigilante violence in the recent period has concluded that the criminal justice system is seriously flawed when dealing with hate crimes.

According to the report stringent laws against cattle transport and trade, backed in some states by private parties (“gau rakshaks”), are among the major factors responsible for the recurring violence.

“Impunity of state and private actors in cases of hate crime, including lynching and vigilante violence – as a result of the poor working of the criminal justice system – ensures that hate violence persists,” the report concludes.…



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Internal Durga Puja memo leaked, Hindutva elements trying to foment communal disturbance in Bengal (Sep 24, 2017, National Herald)

…In West Bengal, there has been peace for decades and both communities have never had major confrontations. But since 2014, there have been sudden attacks on temples and Muharram processions. And the number of such incidents are only growing.

Though Bengali Hindu ritual prohibits idol immersion on the eleventh day, Ekadashi, this year BJP and its allies have been trying their best to provoke people to immerse the idols on the day, considered religiously inauspicious.

The aim of this propaganda seems to be political rather than religious with an intention to create a massive law and order problem by pitting one community against another, National Herald has learnt from an insider who has leaked some information about the Sangh Parivar’s plans to create communal disturbance during Durga Puja.…



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Opinions and Editorials

Cows to planes: Indian ministers who rewrote scientific history – By Ayeshea Perera (Sep 22, 2017, BBC)

Mr Singh, who was the chief guest at an engineering awards ceremony in the capital Delhi, also told the gathering that the first working plane was invented by an Indian named Shivakar Babuji Talpade eight years before the Wright brothers.

Shivakar Babuji Talpade’s alleged achievements remain unverified and Mr Singh’s comments have been ridiculed on social media. However, he is not the first Indian minister to make such claims, either about ancient India’s contribution to science or that it invented the plane.

A speaker at a prestigious science conference in 2015 told his audience that the inventor was really a sage named Bharadwaja, who lived about 7,000 years ago. Captain Anand Bodas, a retired pilot and head of a pilot training facility, also claimed that India had interplanetary aircraft thousands of years ago, along with sophisticated radar that was superior to today’s systems.…



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Not Hindutva but Bhartiyata: Building a greater Bharat requires a more inspiring and practical approach than Hindutva currently offers – By Bhanu Dhamija (Sep 22, 2017, Times of India)

…It is one thing (and totally acceptable) to subscribe to a right-wing, conservative ideology. It is something different, however, to not recognise bad history when it is repeating right in front of us. Today’s India, in its rush to side on the right or the left, is not being stern enough in its protection of democracy.

Governments have for centuries used the same tools to keep power and puncture democracy. It’s simple: to strengthen regimes, they need to be in control of all civil society institutions. Controlling the judiciary, the opposition, the legislature, and civil watchdogs helps tame those meant to provide checks and balances. Influencing the media and the schools does the remaining job of overpowering institutions that could have kept the public vigilant. Lastly, such governments want us citizens to fight with each other.

The forms of control may have changed over decades, but lesson after lesson in history has taught us: ambitious governments need that important institutions toe the line, and that the public knows less, and fights and worships more.… If we respect history as a guide for the present, today’s symptoms should worry us, irrespective of our personal ideology. Unending lynchings, bully lawmaking, a meek media, a pea-brained opposition, expanding power across states and legislatures, state-backed social media crooks, fake news—even if the government is not directly responsible for any of this, the truth is, the current government feels comfortable. History teaches us, that whether left-wing or right-wing, a government must never feel comfortable.…



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Re 1 loan waiver for UP farmers can turn the joke on BJP in 2019 – By Vandana Singh (Sep 21, 2017, Dailyo.in)

It began as a promise made in BJP’s election manifesto for the Uttar Pradesh elections. But when the party went on to honour its promise to waive the loans of distressed farmers, the tragedy that unfolded left not just the farmers but many others dumbfounded.

A cruel joke has been cracked on the farmers of the country’s most populous state. Under the farm loan waiver scheme, a farmer has been handed over a waiver of a paltry one paisa. It gets worse. The certificate handed over to the farmer has photos of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Yogi Adityanath beaming ear to ear.…

Worse still, it is not an isolated case. Several farmers have reported that they have been handed over waiver certificates worth 19 paisa and 50 paisa. Worst of all, before one could have dismissed the incidents as cases of typos or simple calculation errors that would be rectified, Yogi Adityanath has clarified it is not a mistake. “There was no mistake. Truth is those who got a waiver of Rs 1 or Rs 1 lakh, both are farmers,” he told Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar. … To hand out a one paisa loan waiver to a farmer battered on almost all other fronts is not a sound policy. It is risking the wrath of the poor.



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BJP’s Renaming Spree Revives Controversy over the Midnight Death of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya – By P. Raman (Sep 25, 2017, The Wire)

There are at least 16 educational institutions and hospitals named after Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS) leader Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. We also have innumerable local roads and housing complexes in his honour. Last week, the Assam government decided it would open over a dozen educational institutions in his name. Three welfare programmes initiated by the Modi government have the prefix ‘DDU’.

Thus the Union cabinet’s decision to rename Mughal Sarai ‘Deen Dayal Upadhyaya station’ is just another addition to the existing long list. The move however will have an unintended consequences. It will revive many old ghosts. What was Upadhyaya’s special connection to Mughal Sarai? How did he become a shaheed (martyr) to deserve the station’s renaming? The ruling party and its government maintain a deafening silence about the saffron icon’s unnatural death at the station premises on February 11, 1968.

The ruling party seems to seek to downplay all controversies over what was believed to be a gruesome murder.… Did it have something to do with the factional tussle within Jana Sangh?… There is palpable reluctance to expose saffron’s GenX to such unpleasant facts.… The BJP, which has launched a big Upadhyaya build-up with massive official programmes, including 200 rallies, has rejected all demands for further inquiries to bring out the truth. In May, 2015, Swamy had reiterated his demand for another special investigation. In September 2014, Upadhyaya’s neice, Madhu Sharma, who heads an outfit in her uncle’s name, had also sought a ‘thorough’ inquiry. Yet the stoic silence continues.



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Is BJP trying to promote pseudo-nationalism in BHU too? – By Amarendra Pratap (Sep 26, 2017, Indian Express)

The story of protesting girl students of Banaras Hindu University has been told over and over again over the last few days. How they staged a dharna outside the Triveni hostel against incidents of sexual harassment and hooliganism that have become rampant. When the authorities ignored them, they decided to stage their protest at BHU’s main entrance, popularly known as ‘Singhadwar,’ which opens into the Lanka area of the city.

It is important to understand BHU’s geographical context to understand the social norms that define it. The university is surrounded by several small towns and villages, such as Chhittupur, Seer, Susuwahi and Karaundi. Most students come from Eastern Uttar Pradesh, or Poorvanchal, where roots of masculinity and feudalism are deeply entrenched. A defining feature of this character is to be controlling towards the female sex – this also means that sexual abuse and violence by men is taken for granted because it is supposedly sanctioned by social norms.…

Question is, how long can an academic institution can be run by police brutality and suppression by the Administration, when internal overhaul is the need of hour. There is no democracy, no equality, no liberty and above all no security in this campus. Is this what Mahamana had envisioned for this great campus which was created by him on lands gifted by farmers?…



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Cow vigilantism – Editorial (Sep 25, 2017, The Tribune)

When in opposition, politicians want the courts to breathe down the government’s neck. Those at the receiving end of the courts’ interest, term it as needless judicial activism. On Friday, the Supreme Court asked the states to frame schemes to compensate victims of crime, including cow vigilantism. It had earlier asked states to appoint nodal officers by October 31 to nip this menace. The Court will have more to say when the states file their compliance reports later this month.…

The state is the first responder to any disturbance in law and order. But the ghastly business of cow vigilantism took firm organisational roots with the advent of the BJP government at the Centre. Its karyakartas who became Ministers provided the social and moral legitimacy to the so-called cow protectors as part of their push to create a nation-wide eco system of obscurantist beliefs like Durga being the first Defence Minister. The zealotry of religion has now created terror among professions – transporters, dairy farmers and meat traders – as well as societal groups, especially the Muslims and Dalits.

The Central Government’s quiet acquiescence gave moral legitimacy to the vigilantes by tightening the laws on cattle slaughter. This left the courts as the sole arbitrators of life and liberty. It has stepped into the breach by passing orders for the appointment of senior police officer in every district to stop violence in the name of cow protection. The Modi government’s unhelpful attitude and deliberate slothfulness has forced the Court to draw the lines of responsibility and restraint.



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