IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 18th, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Children told to spread communal harmony (Apr 16, 2016, The Tribune)

With the aim to sensitise children about causes and consequences of radicalism and casteism, Guru Nanak Sewa Mission launched a movement to spread awareness about religious tenets of various religions.

Maintaining that founders and preachers of all religions taught to adopt principles of communal harmony and universal fraternity, specialists from various sections of society highlighted various facts about origin and background of different religious functions including Ram Navmi, Diwali, Shivratri, Baisakhi, Guruparabs and Eid.

Elaborating on the subject, Darshan Singh Khalsa argued that the tenth guru of Sikhs Guru Gobind Singh laid foundation of Khalsa by inviting five devoted and committed persons from different castes, who offered to give sacrifice.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/ludhiana/community/children-told-to-spread-communal-harmony/223052.html

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US report notes Gujarat govt “failure” to provide justice to 2002 riot victims, “curb” on Patels’ right to agitate (Apr 16, 2016, Counterview)

Revising the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat, the US state department’s new 67-page report on human rights situation in India has expressed “concern” over the Gujarat government’s “failure to hold accountable those responsible for the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat that resulted in the deaths of more than 1,200 persons, the majority of whom were Muslim.”

Referring to the slow process of justice, the report states, “On September 16, the Gujarat High Court’s acting Chief Justice assembled a new bench to hear the appeals from Maya Kodnani, Babu Bajrangi, along with others who authorities had sentenced to imprisonment for their role in the 2002 Gujarat riots. This was the fifth bench to hear these petitions.”

It says, this happened even as Zakia Jafri “appealed the rejection by the Gujarat High Court of a petition challenging a special investigative tribunal’s conclusion finding insufficient evidence to prosecute 63 individuals, including police, security, and other senior state government officials accused of complicity or dereliction of duty in the 2002 Gujarat riots.”…

http://www.counterview.net/2016/04/us-report-notes-gujarat-govt-failure-to.html

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Delhi University refuses to reply to RTI plea on PM’s BA degree (Apr 14, 2016, Times of India)

Delhi University has declined to give information under RTI related to PM Narendra Modi’s bachelor of arts degree. The university cited inability to find information without a roll number as reason for the denial. The plea was accepted by the central information commission (CIC), which has dismissed the case.…

This is not the first time details of Modi’s educational qualifications have been sought, and denied, under RTI. Earlier, Gujarat University refused to make information related to the PM’s masters degree public, saying that the marksheet and other details were personal information. An RTI plea was also filed with the PMO on his MA degree. It was turned down because authorities said that they did not have the information.

Delhi resident Hans Raj Jain had sought information on how many persons bearing the name of “Mr. Narendra Modi” had passed BA in 1978 as external students. According to the order given by information commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu, the chief public information officer said that admission is given based on a candidate’s roll number and the university would have to manually search for the candidate’s name, which was impossible.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/51819529.cms

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2006 Malegaon blast: NIA does volte face, opposes acquittal of nine Muslims (Apr 13, 2016, Scroll.in)

The National Investigation Agency on Tuesday told a Mumbai court it opposed discharging nine Muslims accused in the 2006 Malegaon blasts case. The move came two years after the NIA said it had no evidence linking these men to the attacks, The Indian Express reported.

The blasts took place in Malegaon, around 300 km north of Mumbai, in September 2006, killing 37 people and injuring more than 100. There are two different sets of people accused in the case – the nine Muslim men who were arrested by the state Anti-Terrorism Squad soon after the attacks, and four Hindus arrested by the NIA after they took over the investigation in 2011.…

In April 2014, the NIA had said there was no evidence supporting the ATS’ report recommending that the nine men be prosecuted. Before that, in 2011, then prosecutor for the NIA, Rohini Salian, had said the agency would review evidence in the Malegaon blasts after fresh revelations were made by an accused in another case. Salian then acknowledged that based on new information, right-wing extremists were also involved in the 2006 blasts, The Indian Express said.

http://scroll.in/latest/806569/2006-malegaon-blast-nia-does-volte-face-opposes-acquittal-of-nine-muslims

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Ishrat Jahan case: PM, BJP chief hindering judicial process, claims Congress (Apr 19, 2016, First Post)

The Congress on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah of obstructing the judicial process by blocking the trial of accused in Ishrat Jahan’s alleged staged shootout case pending in a Ahmedabad court.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah are shamelessly misleading the country and obstructing judicial process by blocking trial of accused in Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case,” party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a statement.

Surjewala also asserted that Modi and Shah need to tell 125 crore Indians about the real motive behind their desperation to shut down the trial in Ishrat Jahan case. “What is it that they (Modi and Shah) seek to hide or are scared of? They need to place these things before the nation. Modi government is relying upon patent falsehood to hide the facts of the case,” he said.…

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/ishrat-jahan-case-pm-bjp-chief-hindering-judicial-process-claims-congress-2737626.html

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Riot, arson after Hindu-Muslim clash in Jharkhand town (Apr 18, 2016, Hindustan Times)

Around 30 shops were set ablaze on Sunday when riots broke out in Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh that had been on the edge for the past two days after a Ram Navami procession by Hindus passing through a Muslim-dominated area sparked violence.

Hazaribagh, roughly a two-hour drive from state capital Ranchi, was put under curfew as shop owners from both communities were targeted in the arson. Around 200 people arrived at the district hospital with injuries from the stone-pelting at the procession that led to a stampede.

Deputy commissioner Mukesh Kumar said trouble started when objectionable recorded slogans were played at a Ram Navami procession triggering clash between two groups of people at the nearby Kud Rewali village near Hazaribagh railway station, according to news agency PTI.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/riot-arson-after-hindu-muslim-clash-in-jharkhand-town/story-4Mh3WXyQ99moQW5lTIpNlO.html

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Family shocked over arrest of relative for NIA officer’s murder (Apr 13, 2016, The Hindu)

The Uttar Pradesh police claims to have solved the murder of National Investigating Agency (NIA) officer Tanzil Ahmed with the arrest of his relative Mohammad Rehan.… The development comes as a shock to Ahmed’s Shaheen Bagh-based family, as none of them suspected Rehan’s role in the incident.

Talking to The Hindu , Ahmed’s elder brother Raghib said the possibility of a relative being involved in the shooting was always a remote one since the deceased had never expressed any apprehensions or threat from Rehan. “No, he never said anything about a threat from Rehan or anyone else in the extended family,” said Mr. Raghib Ahmed.…

Another relative Safdar Ali said Rehan wouldn’t have dared to approach the victim for help in criminal cases. “Had Tanzil bhai known about it, he would have ensured that Rehan was sent to jail immediately,” he said.…

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-newdelhi/family-shocked-over-arrest-of-relative-for-nia-officers-murder/article8468758.ece

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Amreli BJP MP gets 3-year jail in assault case (Apr 14, 2016, Times of India)

Amreli BJP MP Naran Kachhadiya and four others, including a woman, were sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for assaulting a government doctor in civil hospital three years ago.

Additional sessions judge B R Bhatt found Kachhadiya, his driver Ramesh, office in-charge Kirit Vamja, local BJP members Madhu Joshi and Ravi Joshi, guilty of the crime. The five were convicted under sections 186 (obstructing public servant from discharging his public functions), section 332 (deterring public servant from his duty) and section 143 (unlawful assembly).…

Dr B L Dabhi, medical officer at Amreli civil hospital, had lodged a complaint against Kachadiya and others on January 1, 2013. Dabhi had told police that a person with a mobile handset had approached him when he was attending an emergency case at the trauma centre and asked him to talk to Kachhadiya. However, Dabhi refused saying that he was attending an emergency case. After some time, Kachadiya and his accomplices reached the hospital and one of the persons slapped Dabhi. The medical officer had also alleged that Kachadiya had threatened him of dire consequences.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/51819931.cms

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Meeting with Modi: some Muslim delegates deny Centre’s claim (Apr 16, 2016, The Hindu)

A government press release, dated April 13, announcing that “eminent Muslim citizens” had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to congratulate him on “his recent successful visit to Saudi Arabia”, has provoked strong reactions from some members of the delegation, who have disputed the public relations spin given to the interaction.

Expressing unhappiness at the manner in which the note put out by the Press Information Bureau (PIB) was worded, journalist Qurban Ali told The Hindu, “We were invited to discuss the trust deficit between the Muslim community and the government, and what could be done to end this.”

Editor of Nai Duniya and former MP Shahid Siddiqui, who was also present on the occasion, also confirmed this: “I was told that we would discuss the economic and educational backwardness of Muslims … I made concrete suggestions for the community’s uplift and pointed out that the benefits of many government schemes for minorities are not reaching them.”…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/muslim-delegates-deny-centres-claim/article8481362.ece

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ABVP activist throws slipper at Kanhaiya in Nagpur, roughed up (Apr 14, 2016, Hindustan Times)

An activist of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, a right-wing student organisation, was beaten up by a mob after he hurled a slipper at the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union president, Kanhaiya Kumar, here on Thursday.

The incident occurred when Kanhaiya had started his speech after paying a tribute to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar at Deekshabhoomi on the occasion of his 125th birthday. Although the activist missed the target, the organisers and Kanhaiya’s supporters took on the attacker, identified as Haridas Shinde, who is a Dalit.

Earlier, when Kanhaiya shared the dais with other dignitaries, several Bajrang Dal activists shouted slogans against him and tried to disrupted the meeting. They were also roughed up by organisers and handed over to the police.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai/abvp-activist-throws-slipper-at-kanhaiya-in-nagpur-roughed-up/story-bot3nGHQzGuarpG0Z8l0BJ.html

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Dalit set to embrace Islam alleges threat from ‘Bajrang Dal’ (Apr 15, 2016, Indian Express)

The Dalit in-charge sarpanch of a Porbandar village on Thursday alleged that he was threatened by “Bajrang Dal members” hours before his planned conversion to Islam in public, which could not take place after police denied permission for the ceremony.

Suman Chavda (40), in-charge sarpanch of Vinzarana village who had moved to Porbandar town two years ago alleging threats from the then sarpanch, was allowed to convert to Islam by the district collector on April 12 under the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act. Following the permission, Chavda announced to embrace Islam Thursday during a ceremony slated to be held at Ambedkar Park near Nava Fuvara in Porbandar.

Police, however, denied permission for the ceremony, citing security reasons and events to mark the 125th birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar, but booked three people for allegedly threatening Chavda.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/dalit-set-to-embrace-islam-alleges-threat-from-bajrang-dal-2754093/

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Opinions and Editorials

The Beast Before Us – By Peggy Mohan (Apr 12, 2016, The Wire)

…The events of the past few months on Indian university campuses – FTII, JNU, Hyderabad, and now NIT in Srinagar – have thrown up a basket of terms that similarly obscure the bigger picture of what is happening here. Majority. Uniformity. Development. Hindutva. Dissent. Intolerance. Nationalism. These have become issues to be addressed separately, dissipating the struggle and forcing us all onto the back foot to justify our bona fides in terms set by our opponent.…

Are we headed for the big blowout, after which we restart our journey on scorched earth? Does the beast before us cannily back off and buy itself time? Is there a chance of compromise that spares us all the trauma and dislocation of thinking afresh and charting a new course? We don’t know.

If we believe at all in reversal, and a climb down to a less controlled world closer to ground state, we need not so much to confront and assert as to look out for the new currents slightly beyond the range of our vision and give them strength. We need to keep depriving the beast of its oxygen, and work to win away its human shields. And we need to become better at reading its behaviour to be alert to signs that things are about to turn, so that we are ready with new ideas to pick ourselves up and start again.

http://thewire.in/2016/04/12/the-beast-before-us-27098/

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Why Baba Ramdev would do well to go into vanvaas – By Swami Agnivesh (Apr 7, 2016, Indian Express)

Ramdev shocks me. Truly. Utterly. Un-bearably. His saffron shocks me. It makes his words all the more shocking. Saffron is the colour either of self-sacrifice or of inspired bravery. He seems light years away from both. It is blatant cowardice to say one would love to cut off the heads of millions of people but for the small inconvenience that stands in the way. There is, he laments, that irksome thing called the rule of law.…

Ramdev’s version of patriotism, please note, is choked by the law. That is to say, it is unlawful. Refraining from scandalously unlawful lusts and longings only due to fear of unpleasant consequences is cowardice.… What Ramdev has done is criminal. He is sowing seeds of horrendous violence in the minds of unsuspecting people within an ambience of faith.

This is incitement of the most dangerous kind. Knowing the outlook and agenda of the current dispensation, I have no hope that the government either at the Centre or in Haryana will take cognisance of this challenge to the rule of law and insult to the Constitution. I pray, therefore, to the chief justice of India to take suo moto cognisance of this and initiate appropriate action.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/baba-ramdev-patanjali-patriotism-india/

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Signboard of Hindutva: Why Gurgaon was renamed Gurugram – By Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay (Apr 14, 2016, Dailyo.in)

It is common knowledge that the more the number of syllables in a word, the more difficultly it sits on the tongue. Take this test and decide which is easier for you to mouth: Gur-gaon, Gur-gram or Gu-ru-gram. Say it slowly and then swiftly as in the course of a normal conversation. Even amateur experts in phonetics would conclude that the first of these three names is easiest to pronounce.…

Mythology has been treated as history by votaries of Hindutva for decades. Among the first tasks that the BJP government in Haryana directed after being elected was in March 2015 when it began excavations to bring the myth of Saraswati River to life. The initiative of the state government added to years of research to uncover the palaeochannels of the extinct mythological river.…

There is a certain design behind this. Aurangzeb Road in Delhi has been renamed APJ Abdul Kalam Road because of uni-dimensional interpretation of history which frames the Mughal king solely as a villain.

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/gurugram-gurgaon-bjp-narendra-modi-hindutva-eklavya-guru-dronacharya-babri-masjid-rss-aurangzeb-road/story/1/10081.html

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Mohammed Aamir Khan, living in dread after acquittal – By Sidharth Bhatia (Apr 15, 2016, Free Press Journal)

Despite Indians being proud of their democracy and rule of law, it is a sad fact of life that there are several miscarriages of justice and there is no way to correct or compensate for them. Instances of innocent people being picked up, held for a long time in jail and then finally released because they are found innocent, with neither monetary help nor rehabilitation, is one such example.

One had heard of such instances, but it is only when one meets someone who has actually been through this situation that the sheer horror of it all becomes apparent. Earlier this week I got an opportunity to meet and interview, on stage, Mohammed Aamir Khan, who was held in jail for nearly 14 years on charges of terrorism. One by one, all charges against him proved false – not a single witness identified him – and he is now out of jail, (two cases are still pending) but his story holds a mirror to our society.…

The story is tragic enough, but more important is that there are few checks and balances to ensure that such things are not repeated. There is no way to make good anyone who has lost 14 years of his life, but surely there could be some monetary help to put them back on their feet? And what kind of systems can be put in place so that innocent people are not just picked up and charged with false allegations, which they could take years to disprove?…

http://www.freepressjournal.in/mohammed-aamir-khan-living-in-dread-after-acquittal-sidharth-bhatia/826139

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Malda is tense, but is it communal? Ground reality suggests otherwise – By Parth MN (Apr 17, 2016, DNA India)

The market is bustling with activity. Shopkeepers are busy interacting and bargaining with customers as cars keep honking in the background. Security forces patrol the streets ahead of the polling. Merely, three and a half months ago, this locality had been engulfed in violence and turbulence. Today, however, the spectacle in Malda has “business as usual” written all over it.

A closer look, though, indicates that normalcy had returned the very evening after the unrest erupted on the morning of January 3. “I opened my shop at around five in the evening,” says Dipal Sinha, who runs a medical store right across the Kaliachak Police Station, which was burnt by the hostile mob. “The attack was confined to the police station.”

Immediately after the incident, reports on social media suggested a communal riot in West Bengal’s Malda district, which goes to polls on Sunday. The episode had pitted the Muslims against Hindus. However, shopkeepers in close proximity to the police station say no human being was targeted or no shop was vandalised. “We have never experienced communal tension and neither have I been at the receiving end of minority persecution,” says 67-year-old Sinha, who has lived right behind his shop all his life. “My relations with my Muslim neighbours are extremely pleasant. In fact, when I was wondering whether I should open my shop in the evening, my Muslim friends asked me to go ahead without any hesitation.”…

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-malda-is-tense-but-is-it-communal-ground-reality-suggests-otherwise-2202920

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On Baba Saheb’s 125th Birth Anniversary Let’s Remember What He Said About The Hindutva Gang – By Shamsul Islam (Apr 14, 2016, Countercurrents)

The RSS is terribly busy re-writing history these days. It will be more appropriate to call it guillotining of history, as these are facts and realties of history which are being sacrificed in this process at the altar political ambitions of the Hindutva gang.

So far this creativity was restricted to the works and words of Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh and Sardar Patel but of late Baba Saheb Ambedkar appears to have become the latest victim of malafide manufacturing of history by the flag-bearers of Hindutva. Dr Ambedkar becomes a newest victim of RSS game plan being presented as a leader in league with K.B. Hedgewar and M.S. Golwalkar defending the cause of Hindu Rashtra in India.

In 2003 it was Vinay Katiyar, the former head of Bajrang Dal and a diehard RSS cadre who declared that Ambedkar was great supporter of Hindutva and Hindu Rashtra like KB Hedgewar, the founder of RSS. In the recent past this attempt for hijacking of Dr. Ambedkar got accelerated with the coming of power of RSS/BJP in India in 2014. In the true Hindutva tradition, the RSS ‘thinkers’ started manufacturing history and shamelessly went to the extent of penning words which Baba Saheb never spoke wrote or believed.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/islam130416.htm

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