IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 2nd, 2018

IAMC Weekly News Roundup – April 2nd, 2018

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Asansol violence: Muslims protect properties of Hindu neighbours (Apr 2, 2018, Siasat)

Despite some recent untoward incidents, members of the Muslim community grouped up to protect houses and business units of local Hindus.

Fellow Muslim neighbors of Sinthla Dangal of West Bengal’s Asansol join hands to bring communal harmony and ensured that the few Hindu families who lived there were not harmed, reported DNA.

Muslim residents of Sinthla Dangal of Asansol show that all is not lost. Some Muslims have grouped up to protect houses and business units of local Hindus who have fled after the violence.…

https://www.siasat.com/news/asansol-violence-muslims-protect-properties-hindu-neighbours-1336941/

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Why India should know more about Imdadulla Rashidi (Apr 1, 2018, Indian Express)

The communal violence in Asansol following Ram Navami celebrations took away his son, but Imam Imdadulla Rashidi urged everyone to maintain peace and threatened to leave town if anybody retaliated to avenge the death. His son Sibtulla Rashidi, a Class X student, was beaten to death following communal clashes in Rail Par area of Asansol on Tuesday afternoon. His body was recovered late on Wednesday night and identified on Thursday.

In a heart-warming gesture, Rashidi, Imam of Noorani Mosque in Chetladanga Nadi Par, on Saturday appealed to his followers to ignore rumours and start a campaign against false news trying to trigger communal tensions. The imam said that if you could not see or verify a news, consider it false. “There are so many baseless rumours – this has happened, that has happened, this area attacked, that house burnt…. Such false words spread tension at a time when things are slowly getting back to normal here,” Imam said.…

“I have been an Imam for the last 30 years. It is important that I give the right message to the people – a message of peace. I need to get over my personal loss. People of Asansol are not like this. This is a conspiracy,” he said. The Imam came in for high praise from Asansol mayor Jitendra Tiwari. “The Imam was instrumental in calming the angry youth and cooperated with the administration. We are proud of him. Despite the pain he is suffering following the loss of a son, he appealed for peace.”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/who-is/who-is-imdadulla-rashidi-5119107/

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2 BJP men detained for Samastipur violence (Mar 30, 2018, Times of India)

The Samastipur police on Thursday detained two BJP workers, Dinesh Jha and Mohan Patwa, in connection with the communal violence at Rosera in the district on Tuesday. According to BJP’s Samastipur district president Ramsumran Singh, Dinesh is a BJP Kisan Morcha member, while Mohan is a member of party’s weavers’ cell in the district.

Sources said the duo was detained on the basis of a video footage of the incident in which a mosque was damaged after slippers were allegedly thrown on an idol immersion procession. Samastipur SP Dipak Ranjan told local reporters altogether 12 people were detained and were being interrogated by police.

Meanwhile, official sources said the number of arrests in connection with the communal clashes in six districts since March 24 in the state rose to 241 with 44 more arrests in Aurangabad and Nalanda districts during the last 24 hours. The situation, however, remained peaceful on Wednesday and Thursday in the affected districts – Siwan, Aurangabad, Samastipur. Munger, Nalanda and Sheikhpura.…

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/63536936.cms

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In West Bengal, the BJP is using Ram Navami as an exercise of domination (Mar 28, 2018, Scroll.in)

Two deaths in clashes triggered by Sunday’s Ram Navami processions in West Bengal fit into a troubling pattern in the state: a deliberately performed spectacle of religion followed by violence.… In the last couple of years, Ram Navami rallies cutting across the West Bengal landscape have swelled in scale and number. Apart from liberal lashings of saffron, these rallies are marked by sword- and trident-wielding demonstrators, including young children.… Largely organised and attended by members of the Bharatiya Janata Party, they resemble the area domination exercises of a party keen to establish itself.…

The BJP’s rise in Bengal is accompanied by assertions of the muscular Hindutva that dominates the Hindi heartland. Ram Navami processions may have been held in pockets of the state before, but this aggression is new and different from more quiet local Hindu customs. Ghosh also twinned the Ram Navami processions with the fight to build the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.

Swords, tridents and Ram Mandir – the iconography of mainstream Hindutva has bled into the Bengal landscape. Meanwhile, a bust of freedom fighter and India’s first education minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was pulled down in the recent Ram Navami violence. The BJP and allied organisations seem to feel that to politically dominate, they must visually dominate first.…

https://scroll.in/article/873516/in-west-bengal-the-bjp-is-using-ram-navami-as-an-exercise-of-domination

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Kasganj Violence: Absconding Prime suspect arrested while assaulting Muslim boy (Mar 29, 2018, Siasat)

The absconding suspect Vishal Thakkur involved with the Kasganj violence and prime suspect who gave the rally call to ‘Tiranga Yatra’ was arrested on Tuesday evening while he was assaulting a Muslim boy playing cricket with Hindu boys.

Thakkur who was on the run since 26 January was caught in the middle of assaulting a Muslim boy for “playing cricket with local Hindu boys”. Thakur approached the boy along with his group who were all arrested for assaulting the Muslim boy.

Thakur’s associate Chandan Gupta both were seen in the forefront in the tiff with Muslim group. Thakur had also posted a 44-second video on Facebook on 24 January asking youths to join the rally two days ahead of the Tiranga yatra. Gupta was eventually killed later in the Kasganj violence. According to police reports, 9 out of 11 persons arrested for assaulting the Muslim boy playing cricket were involved in Kasganj violence that broke out on 26 January.…

https://www.siasat.com/news/kasganj-violence-absconding-prime-suspect-arrested-while-assaulting-muslim-boy-1335471/

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Jharkhand police weakened case against gau rakshaks in Latehar lynching case: Rights outfits (Apr 3, 2018, DNA India)

A report released by a collaborative of several human rights organisations has alleged that the Jharkhand police weakened the case against eight gau rakshaks in the lynching of two Muslim men that took place in Latehar in March, 2016. This included a prominent BJP leader.

Despite eye witness accounts from three people and testimonies of family members, and the post-mortem reports that clearly suggest that the victims were brutally beaten with “long, hard, rod like, blunt” weapons before they were hanged, the accused acquired bail after the non-bailable section 302 of the IPC was charged.

“However, though the police acknowledged the involvement of a gau rakshak, they were quick to suggest these weren’t vigilante killing but actually the result of a ‘gang attempting to loot cattle’,” states the report, titled Hanged by Gau Rakshaks, Denied Justice by the State.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-jharkhand-police-weakened-case-against-gau-rakshaks-in-latehar-lynching-case-rights-outfits-2600517

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Uttar Pradesh’s encounters: 1,000 & counting (Mar 31, 2018, The Hindu)

Over a thousand encounters in a year. That’s the record in Yogi Adityanath’s Uttar Pradesh. Since March 2017, 49 persons have been killed in over 1,100 encounters, more than 370 have been injured and over 3,300 arrested across the State.

Most of the incidents have taken place in districts close to the national capital such as Meerut, Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Saharanpur, Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad and Noida. In eastern U.P.’s Azamgarh, notorious for its gangs, five suspected criminals have been shot dead. Five policemen have also died in these encounters and more than 200 have been injured.

The Opposition parties have not only criticised the encounters, calling them fake, but also questioned why most of the dead were Dalits, Muslims or members of Backward Classes. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the State on several occasions and the SHRC is probing four cases of alleged encounters, including three in Azamgarh.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ups-encounters-1000-counting/article23404224.ece

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Ahmedabad’s 243 shanties of Muslims razed: With little help coming in, suspicion around forced displacement grows (Mar 30, 2018, Counterview)

While the Gujarat authorities are still in the dark about what may have caused a major fire, which broke out March 25 night, razing to the ground 243 shanties on the banks of a huge city lake, there appears to be little consolation for nearly 1,000 people, who have been rendered homeless because of the fire. Living in sub-human conditions ever since, the administration, they say, hasn’t yet gone beyond carrying out a “survey” of the losses suffered by them.

Mostly Muslim migrants from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, all of them came to Ahmedabad as labourers to work on construction sites, but never returned. If earlier they were living in the open, the shanties came up about two decades ago, says Raisabanu Ibrahim, one of those whose house has been reduced to a rubble.

In a representation to the district collector, Ahmedabad, on the very next day, March 26, Ibrahim says, she has lost “almost everything” in the fire, including furniture, utensils, clothes, cash, and jewelry. “We have even lost our documents necessary to prove that we are residents of the locality”, she adds, requesting the authorities urgent help.…

https://www.counterview.net/2018/03/ahmedabads-243-shanties-of-muslims.html

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Will RSS Chief Be Stamped ‘Anti-National’, Anti-Hindu For Speaking On Corruption, Asks Shiv Sena (Apr 2, 2018, Outlook)

The Shiv Sena on Monday wondered if RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat would be branded “anti-national” or “anti-Hindu” for his comment that the country needed a protest against corruption.…

“RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat pointed out that the administration has become weak and there is countrywide corruption. Because he admitted to corruption (in the country), will he be stamped as anti-national and anti-Hindu?” the Sena asked in an editorial in its party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.…

“Though there is a BJP-led government at the Centre, the actual control is in Nagpur (implying the RSS headquarters). And now, the RSS chief himself has raised the uncomfortable issues,” it said.…

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/will-rss-chief-be-stamped-anti-national-anti-hindu-for-speaking-on-corruption-as/310388?

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‘Beef export flourishing under Narendra Modi’s regime’: Ramalinga Reddy accuses Centre of ‘double standard’ on cow slaughter ban (Mar 31, 2018, First Post)

Taking a dig at the BJP over its “double standard” on the ban of cow slaughter, Karnataka minister Ramalinga Reddy on Saturday alleged that the country’s beef export was flourishing under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s regime.

Recalling the statements of BJP president Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath during their visits to Karnataka that they would ban cow slaughter in the state after coming to power, Reddy said killing of any animal was not right.

“They (BJP) say that they will ban cow slaughter if they come to power in Karnataka, while our country exports cow meat, beef to other countries…it has been four years since they came to power, why have they not stopped these exports,” he asked. Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, the state home minister noted, “If they have real love for cows, they will have to first stop the exports.”…

https://www.firstpost.com/politics/beef-export-flourishing-under-narendra-modis-regime-ramalinga-reddy-accuses-centre-of-double-standard-on-cow-slaughter-ban-4413337.html

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Violence erupts in India as lowest caste protests Supreme Court order (Apr 3, 2018, NBC News)

Unrest took hold of several parts of northern and central India on Monday as thousands of Dalits, members of Hinduism’s lowest caste, protested an order from the country’s top court that they say dilutes legal safeguards put in place for their marginalized community.

Caste prejudice is endemic in Hindu-majority India, even though the constitution outlaws the practice and has made it a crime punishable by up to a year in prison. The law also states that anyone accused of a caste-related crime can face immediate arrest. However, last month the Supreme Court ruled that in order to prevent misuse of the law, government officers accused of flouting it can be arrested only after their supervisors sign off on an inquiry.

Dalit groups say that the law is already poorly enforced, with abysmally low conviction rates, and that the top court’s order dilutes it further. Several groups called for a nationwide protest on Monday demanding that the top court review its order.…

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/violence-erupts-india-lowest-caste-protests-supreme-court-order-n862091

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Opinions and Editorials

Bengal communal clashes provided the perfect cover for mobs to loot shops and ransack homes – By Gurvinder Singh (Apr 2, 2018, Scroll.in)

Husna Begum, 45, trembles at the memory of the afternoon when she thought death had come knocking on her door. The resident of Raniganj in West Bengal’s Paschim Bardhaman district was at home on March 26 when communal clashes broke out in the town.

“We live in a joint family of 50 people with our relatives also living in the same compound,” she said. “We were seven women present inside the house as all the male members and my children had gone out for work. The women were busy cooking food and completing their household chores when suddenly we heard people banging on our door and screaming, ‘maro, maro’ [beat them]. We were petrified.” Peeping through the window, Begum saw a large crowd of men armed with sticks, rods and cans. “Filled with liquid, presumably, kerosene,” she said.…

Naushad Siddique, 35, burst into tears as he stood amidst the ashes of the five bangle shops owned by his family. “Political leaders are trying to portray it as a communal flare-up for their own vested interests,” he said. “But I strongly believe that it was a pre-planned crime with the sole intention to loot. Both Hindu and Muslims doing business here have been equally targeted.”…

https://scroll.in/article/874085/bengal-communal-clashes-provided-the-perfect-cover-for-mobs-to-loot-shops-and-ransack-homes

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The Difference between a Hindutva-Hate-Monger and an Islamic Scholar – By Abbas Hafeez Khan (Mar 31, 2018, Urdu Media Monitor)

‘We have vowed that if they take away one Hindu girl we will take away at least 100 Muslim girls. If they kill one Hindu, we too will kill 100 Muslims. In whatever manner they behave, we will return it with interest. But who will do that? The one who has the strength in his hands.’ (Excerpts from an old video clip from the speech of Yogi Adityanath, the present Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.)

They say Madrasa graduates are terrorists. But the excerpts above are from the speech of the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, a figure people feel scared of. This gentleman has been a member of parliament four times. He has been occupying a continual post of authority for the last 30 years. This is the kind of speeches he and his party colleagues make.

It’s alleged that madrasas produce terrorists but what we are seeing here in reality is a different story altogether. The man who graduated from a madrasa, who spent all his making life in madrasa, received his education in a madrasa and served there as a teacher as well, Maulana Imdadul Rashidi, who is now an Imam in a mosque in Asansol, West Bengal. His statement made after losing his 16 year old son in the recent riot in Asansol needs to be heard and revered. This is what he said addressing a gathering of thousands of angry mourners, ‘I have lost my son but I do not want anyone to see a similar tragedy. I do not want any house to be burnt and destroyed. If anyone [from the Muslim community] retaliates, I will leave Asansol. If you really love and respect me, you will not even raise your fingers.’…

https://www.urdumediamonitor.com/2018/03/31/difference-between-a-hindutva-hate-monger-and-an-islamic-scholar/

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Bihar: Islamophobic Slogans, Aggressive Posturing Led to Communal Clashes in 7 Districts – By Tarique Anwar (Mar 29, 2018, News Click)

The politicisation of religious festivals such as Rama Navami due to heavy participation by saffron outfits’ activists lies at the core of communal conflagration in Bihar. These groups forced their entry into minority community concentrated areas and were shouting provocative slogans and brandishing swords.

Tension triggered by violence during the festive procession in Bhagalpur on March 17 has now engulfed seven districts of the state, with hundreds of shops owned by a particular community being turned to ashes and over 100 people – including policemen – suffering injuries over the past 10 days.…

After talking to police officials and locals, it was established that minority concentrated areas were intentionally selected as the route of the procession and objectionable slogans were raised so that the social fabric could be disturbed and society could be polarised in a manner similar to how it was when riots broke out in Kasganj, Uttar Pradesh, in January this year.…

https://newsclick.in/bihar-islamophobic-slogans-aggressive-posturing-led-communal-clashes-7-districts

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Why the Modi government isn’t keen on a no-confidence motion even though it has the numbers – By Anita Katyal (Mar 28, 2018, Scroll.in)

Is the Modi government scared of a debate on an Opposition-sponsored non-confidence motion? On the face of it, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre has nothing to worry about. It is comfortably placed in the Lok Sabha to survive a no-confidence motion. Moreover, an Opposition attack provides the ruling alliance with an opportunity to close ranks and emerge stronger by winning the trust vote.

Yet, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has not taken up the notices of no-confidence moved by Opposition parties over the past few days on the plea that the House is not in order, indicating that the Modi government does not want to get bogged down in a debate that a no-confidence motion entails.…

The no-confidence motions have also come at a time when the Modi government appears to be vulnerable. The farmers’ stir is showing no signs of abating, the government’s handling of the economy has not inspired confidence and the employment scenario is dismal. The BJP’s defeat in the recent bye-polls in Gorakhpur and Pulphur have also put the saffron party on the defensive.…

https://scroll.in/article/873555/why-the-modi-government-isnt-keen-on-a-no-confidence-motion-even-though-it-has-the-numbers

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Foreign hand in the Sangh – By Parnal Chirmuley (Mar 31, 2018, Indian Express)

Rakesh Sinha’s article, ‘RSS and the realm of ideas’ (IE, March 17), is a template for how to rewrite history through falsehood and misrepresentation, served with a shot of confusion. In this, Sinha is a true inheritor of the Hindu nationalist method of history writing. Even so, one can pick a couple of discernible lies and half-truths to easily unpack.

Sinha charges “left-liberal” intellectuals with the suppression of indigenous thought through “international camaraderie” as he predictably insists that the RSS is true to the soil in the inspiration it draws from 19th century reformers. In fact, a unique camaraderie that continues to plague the Indian political scene is that between B S Moonje (the first president of the Hindu Mahasabha and early associate of and mentor to K B Hedgewar, first sarsanghachaalak of the RSS) and Benito Mussolini.

Instead of visiting the architectural and artistic marvels in Rome, Moonje chose to visit fascist military academies and have a meeting with the dictator. In the happy chat between the two, as noted in Moonje’s diary, he congratulates Mussolini on the fascist youth and military organisations that he had constituted, adding that India needed similar organisations. He proceeds to note that the RSS, formed by Hedgewar, is one such organisation. He returned to India and immediately set to work giving statements on how useful a militarisation of Hindu society on the lines of fascist youth organisations in Germany and Italy would be in the Indian subcontinent.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/foreign-hand-in-the-sangh-rss-hindu-society-muslims-christians-5117648/

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By diluting SC/ST Atrocities Act, Supreme Court undermines Dalit and Adivasi struggles for dignity – By Suryakant Waghmore & Hugo Gorringe (Apr 2, 2018, Scroll.in)

…The accusation by members of the upper castes that members of the Scheduled Castes are using the atrocities prevention law to blackmail them is not new; such allegations have been raised by dominant caste politicians and actors for long. Tamil Nadu’s Pattali Makkal Katchi, dominated by upper caste Vanniyars, has always demanded that the law be repealed, and Maratha protestors have similarly raised the bogey of false cases. Such mobilisations against “reverse casteism” have routinely accused Dalits of receiving preferential treatment. The accusations lack substance.

Exaggerated rhetoric is the mainstay of caste-based mobilisation. We may disapprove of those who seek to make capital out of caste and try to contest them, but at least we know where they are coming from and what they hope to achieve. To hear similar sentiments articulated by the Supreme Court on the basis of anecdotal evidence, however, is utterly shocking.

On March 20, Justices Adarsh Goel and UU Lalit issued an order that a public servant against whom a complaint has been filed under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act can be arrested only after an inquiry has been conducted by a senior officer. What it does is lend credence to the assertions of dominant groups. Such groups can now point to the apex court’s order to justify their claims and pressure the police to disregard cases brought under this law.…

https://scroll.in/article/873678/by-diluting-sc-st-atrocities-act-supreme-court-harms-dalit-and-adivasi-struggles-for-dignity

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