IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 10th, 2018

In this issue of IAMC News Digest

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Bulandshahr temple opens gates for Muslims to offer Namaz (Dec 4, 2018, Sabrang India)

Nobody in Bulandshahr’s Jaunpur village would’ve thought that the western UP region will be marred by communal violence on Monday. Only a day before, the residents of Jaunpur village had hosted Muslim devotees in their Shiva temple on Sunday afternoon.

Muslim devotees that had gathered for the Ijtema, an integral part of Tablighi Jamaat, were stuck at Jaunpur due to increasing traffic congestion. It was time for their Johri (sic) (Afternoon) Namaz and they had no place to pray as reaching the mosque on time was out of the question.

They narrated their tale to the locals and the villagers decided to consult the temple committee members. Together they decide to open the temple gates of the local Shiva temple. Water taps were opened for ‘wazu’ and prayer mats for the Namaz were organised in the courtyard.…

https://www.sabrangindia.in/article/bulandshahr-temple-opens-gates-muslims-offer-namaz

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4 Bajrang Dal activists held for Bulandshahr violence (Dec 5, 2018, The Tribune)

The police on Tuesday arrested four Bajrang Dal activists in connection with Monday’s mob violence over alleged cow slaughter that left two, including Siyana Station Officer Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh, dead. A hunt is on to nab outfit’s Bulandshahr coordinator Yogesh Raj, the key suspect.

A mob fought pitched battles with the police in Siyana area of Bulandshahr, apparently after right-wing activists were angered by the discovery of cow remains strewn in nearby fields. Dozens of vehicles were torched and gunshots fired at the police, prompting retaliation. In the violence, Inspector Singh and 20-year-old Sumit Kumar, who was a part of the mob, were killed.

According to the police, seven persons have been booked for the alleged cow slaughter, while another case has been slapped against 87 persons, of whom 27 have been named, for murder and damage to public property.…

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/4-bajrang-dal-activists-held-for-bulandshahr-violence/693633.html

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On Babri Masjid demolition anniversary, lone surviving Muslim litigant receives death threat (Dec 6, 2018, Twocircles.net)

December 6 marks the 26th anniversary of Babri Masjid demolition. But the wait for justice in the matter continues and the ones responsible for the demolition of the masjid continue to remain unpunished. Like every year, this year too the government deployed heavy security in the town of Ayodhya, barricading the roads and keeping a high vigil at the site where the Babri Mosque once stood. People visiting the temple that was set up hurriedly on the ruins of the mosque are being frisked thoroughly.…

Meanwhile, Mohd Iqbal Ansari, the lone Muslim litigant in the Ayodhya dispute, has said that he has received a threatening letter. According to him, the letter writer has asked him to withdraw his claim in the court or else he will be eliminated. Police have increased security at Ansari’s house.

Meanwhile, various human rights groups in Hyderabad in their press statements displayed surprise that Muslims are barred from the site but Hindutva organisations that set up a temple on the place of the demolished mosque are still performing pujas uninhibitedly.…

http://twocircles.net/2018dec06/427587.html

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BJP wants to instigate riots for gains: Shivpal (Dec 10, 2018, The Tribune)

Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party-Lohia (PSPL) chief Shivpal Singh Yadav hit out at the BJP on Sunday, alleging the saffron party had “weakened” the country and wanted to “instigate riots” for political gains in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Addressing the ‘Jan Aakrosh Rally’ here, the first such event after the party was formed this October, Shivpal said, “The BJP has weakened the country. We will oust the BJP from power at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh… We want peace and brotherhood, the communal people want to instigate riots.”

Adding an element of surprise at the gathering was the SP patriarch and Shivpal’s elder brother Mulayam Singh, who attended the rally barely two days after sharing the stage with his son and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav in Firozabad.…

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/bjp-wants-to-instigate-riots-for-gains-shivpal/696138.html

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SC will hear pleas on 22 extra-judicial killings when Modi was Gujarat CM (Dec 3, 2018, National Herald)

Despite opposition by Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta, the Supreme Court has decided to hear a plea regarding 22 alleged fake encounters that took place in Gujarat when Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of the state.

Talking to the National Herald, human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi said: “Javed Akhtar and I had filed an application in the Supreme Court through advocate Prashant Bhushan in April and demanded a copy of Justice HS Bedi report.”

The committee headed by Justice Bedi—who had replaced Justice MB Shah—to probe alleged fake encounters, which took place in Gujarat between 2002 and 2007 when Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister, was appointed in 2012. The committee submitted its report to the Supreme Court in a sealed cover in March this year.…

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/india/sc-refuses-centres-request-to-hear-pleas-on-22-extra-judicial-killings-when-modi-was-gujarat-cm

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BJP, RSS threat to India’s unity: Left outfits (Dec 7, 2018, The Tribune)

The Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India – Marxist (CPI-M) alleged that policies of Narendra Modi led NDA government have subverted Indian democracy, wrecked its pluralistic culture, undermined the spirit of Indian Constitution and disturbed the secular fabric among others at the behest of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Addressing a convention organised jointly by the left outfits, the comrades said time has come to overthrow the incumbent government and thwart their nefarious designs. “The events at Bulandshahr are a pointer to their ulterior motive to engineer riots and split the society on communal lines to garner votes,” they said.

Speakers said the Modi government has utterly failed in keeping its election promises which had catapulted the BJP to power. The report card of four years of Modi government shows negative performance in various speheres, including price rise, creation of jobs, agricultural and industrial growth and unearthing black money.

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/ludhiana/bjp-rss-threat-to-india-s-unity-left-outfits/694752.html

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Urjit Patel Quits As RBI Governor Amid Feud With Government (Dec 10, 2018, NDTV)

Amid an unprecedented public face-off with the government over a range of issues including autonomy, Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel stepped down from his post today citing “personal reasons”. Mr Patel was appointed in 2016 for a three-year term, which was to expire in September next year.…

The resignation comes days ahead of a crucial board meeting on Friday, that was meant to discuss the progress on issues raised by the board’s government nominees last month.… One of the first to respond to the issue was Mr Patel’s predecessor Raghuram Rajan. “All Indians should be concerned about Governor Patel’s resignation,” said Mr Rajan, the outspoken former Governor who, at the end a controversial three-year tenure, had returned to academia.

The simmering differences between the RBI and the government over three key issues, which included excess reserves, boiled over in October. The government was seen to be ramping up pressure on the bank to release the reserves, which, critics said, would be used to boost the economy in an election year. There were apprehensions that the government might try to force the Governor’s hand. Senior Congress leader and former Union minister said it could be done through the bank’s board, which the government has “filled with its men”.…

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/rbi-governor-urjit-patel-steps-down-news-agency-reuters-1960490

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Is the Election Commission Doing Enough to Allay Fears of EVM Tampering? (Dec 8, 2018, The Wire)

If elections can be rigged by hacking the electronic voting machines (EVM) or not continues to be a mystery. In light of reports highlighting multiple alleged security violations in the strong rooms, the suspicion that EVMs could be tampered has found resonance among opposition parties.

The long gap between the voting and counting in states like Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh hasn’t helped the volatile situation on the ground. Most party workers, across states, have stayed put outside the strong rooms, vigilantly watching and reporting any kind of suspicious activity.…

In the past few days, a number of such incidents of security breaches came up. In Chhattisgarh, at least three such cases were reported. First, in Bemetara, a Border Security Force guard was found using laptops in the strong room. On Friday, two people, who claimed to be Reliance Jio employees were apprehended suspiciously close to the strong room in Jagdalpur in the Bastar region. Since they had laptops, the Congress workers alleged that they were trying to hack the EVMs.…

https://thewire.in/politics/as-reports-of-evm-tampering-continue-election-commission-tries-to-allay-fears

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SC for more courts to try MPs, MLAs (Dec 4, 2018, The Hindu)

To ensure effective trial of pending criminal cases involving former and sitting lawmakers in Bihar and Kerala, the Supreme Court Tuesday directed setting up of special designated courts in each district of these two States to try such cases.

Senior advocate Vijay Hansaria, appointed as amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter, said there were 4,122 criminal cases pending, some for over three decades, against present and former Members of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies.

The top court fixed the sequence for cases to be tried in these courts and said cases against sitting or former MPs or MLAs involving offences punishable with life imprisonment or death sentence, shall be taken as a first priority.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sc-for-more-courts-to-try-mps-mlas/article25665693.ece

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Mandatory family planning for Muslims is a must for national security, says Shiv Sena (Dec 4, 2018, Scroll.in)

The Shiv Sena on Monday advocated a compulsory family planning programme for Muslims to ensure stability in the country and maintain national security. In an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana, the party linked a rise in Muslim population to “unrest in the country and challenges to national security”.

The editorial cited a Border Security Force report to the Union Home Ministry that allegedly expresses concerns about an unexpected rise in Muslim population along the border with Pakistan in Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer. “The population of Indian Muslims is burgeoning at the speed of the bullet train, and enforcing family planning [on them] is the only solution,” the Bharatiya Janata Party ally claimed.

The Saamana editorial also dismissed the stance of “some Hindutva groups” that want Hindus to abandon the “Ham do hamare do [two-child]” policy to counter the alleged increase in Muslim population.

https://scroll.in/latest/904438/mandatory-family-planning-for-muslims-is-a-must-for-national-security-says-shiv-sena

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Maharashtra: IPS officer ‘brags’ of filing false cases against Dalits, Muslims in video (Dec 4, 2018, Indian Express)

Days after a video, purported to be of probationary IPS officer Bhagyashree Navtake of the Maharashtra Police speaking about booking Dalits and Muslims under fake cases went viral, the deputy superintendent of police posted at Majalgaon in Beed was on Monday transferred to the Aurangabad intelligence department.

The state home department has also asked Inspector General of Police Cherring Dorje to probe the veracity of the video and the claims made in it. In the five-minute clip, a woman in denims and a black shirt is seen seated on a chair with a group of men on plastic chairs opposite her. The woman is heard saying she has filed false cases against 21 Dalits who filed complaints under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act at her police stations. She is also heard saying that she has filed cases under Section 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC against Muslims, ostensibly so that they are unable to procure bail easily.

“I saw you when you were brought in front of me, but I could not do anything as there were other policemen. I know you were pleading with me, but if I had stopped them, they would have objected. And a wrong message would have gone out that I am supporting you because I am a Maratha, as they have also seen how I have thrashed 21 Dalits and Muslims in the past six months… I have registered cases under Section 307 against Dalits, and hence a strong message was sent out that madam doesn’t spare anyone. If I had spared you, it would have looked like madam is a Maratha and hence stopped us from assaulting (Marathas),” she is heard saying.…

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/mumbai-ips-officer-brags-of-filing-false-cases-against-dalits-muslims-in-video-5477136/

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Opinions and Editorials

Cow Meat Hung For Display, Sudden Presence of Hindu Groups: Was Bulandshahr Violence a Conspiracy? – By Rounak Kumar Gunjan (Dec 4, 2018, News18.com)

Preliminary investigation by police officials and first-hand accounts of eyewitnesses of the Bulandshahr tragedy point towards a pre-planned attempt at spreading communal tension.

A violent clash between the police and villagers of Mahaw on Monday after a mob turned violent in an alleged case of illegal slaughtering of cattle, resulted in the death of station house officer (SHO) Subodh Kumar Singh, 47, and a youngster.

The autopsy report of the SHO revealed that he was shot in the head. He was hit with a .32 bore bullet near his left eyebrow. Sumit, 20, breathed his last after coming in the way of police’s retaliatory firing.…

https://www.news18.com/news/india/cow-meat-hung-for-display-sudden-presence-of-hindu-groups-was-bulandshahr-violence-a-conspiracy-1959513.html

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Death of an SHO – By Abhinav Kumar (Dec 6, 2018, Indian Express)

The badlands of Western UP are in the news again. This time for the fact that a full-fledged SHO of Uttar Pradesh police, Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh, posted in Bulandshahar district was shot dead, allegedly by a mob of cow vigilantes. Apparently they were so angry at the allegations of cow slaughter in their locality that they could not but help give expression to their rage by actually killing a human being. That too one in uniform.…

We have been here before. Neither lynchings, nor cop killings are unknown in India’s most populous state. All that is required is a self-righteous cause. After all, this is the state that in 1922 brought the Civil Disobedience movement to a halt by burning alive an entire station full of policeman at Chauri Chaura. Even Gandhi was helpless before the might of a lynch mob from UP. Lesser mortals like policemen simply don’t stand a chance.…

One can only hope that the killers of the SHO face the full force of the law and are swiftly tried and punished. But that would be the triumph of expectation over experience. After all, the mob that nearly lynched SSP Moradabad got away scot-free. Their case was eventually withdrawn in the public interest. Perhaps public interest will be defined differently this time. Otherwise, it is only a matter of time before another cop is slain by another mob that believed it had the right to do so.

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/death-of-an-sho-subodh-kumar-singh-cow-slaughter-vigilantes-mob-attack-bulandshahar-killing-5480391/

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Modi’s India is a living nightmare for Muslims – By Rana Ayyub (Dec 6, 2018, Washington Post)

At the crack of dawn on Dec. 5, 1992, my mother found a poster on the door of our apartment in Mumbai (then Bombay). The poster had an image of the Babri Mosque, painted in black with men holding swords standing in a circle around the monument. It read “Chalo Ayodhya 6 December” (let’s march to Ayodhya on Dec. 6). The Babri Masjid, a 16th-century mosque built by Mughal emperor Babur in Ayodhya, a town 960 miles from Mumbai, had been a disputed structure for years; some Hindu leaders alleged that it was built over the birthplace of Lord Ram.

In the 1990s, right-wing Hindu leaders and members of the conservative Bharatiya Janata Party started a polarizing movement, and ultimately called on Hindus all over the country to converge in Ayodhya on Dec. 6 to demolish the mosque.

Hindu nationalists responded to that call and climbed on top of the mosque brandishing swords. The grand mosque, a symbol of faith for India’s largest minority, was razed to the ground. Overnight the patriarch of our family, who was feted as a progressive writer and a government school teacher, was reduced to being merely a “Muslim.” Provocative speeches by leaders of the BJP and other right-wing groups fueled a whirlwind of carnage: More than 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed around country; Mumbai alone witnessed 500 murders.…

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2018/12/06/modis-india-is-living-nightmare-muslims/

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‘Today’s lynching mobs no less dangerous than those who razed Babri’ – By Shruti Ganapatye (Dec 10, 2018, Mumbai Mirror)

A former karsevak, who has now turned atheist, believes the ‘decentralised mobs’ active in the country today can lead to unprecedented situations, and are no less dangerous than those who demolished the Babri Masjid in December 1992. He has also urged people to stay away from the Ram temple movement that the Hindutva forces are trying to revive.

“Earlier, the frenzied mob demolished the Babri mosque that led to riots in the country, but now there are thousands of mobs in every part of the country. They are lynching, beating, killing. I feel this is the most dangerous situation. They just need a small trigger to go on a rampage. Unfortunately, the mobs are sponsored by the present BJP government.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is silent on the issue. The Ayodhya-type pre-planned incident might not happen now, but worse things can happen anywhere and anytime in the country,” said Prof Abhijit Deshpande, Marathi faculty at KJ Somaiya College of Arts and Commerce, a one-time ardent karsevak, who has long stopped believing in the cause of Ram temple and the God himself. Deshpande, however, said that the support for round two of the Ram temple movement may not be that strong this time round.…

https://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/mumbai/other/todays-lynching-mobs-no-less-dangerous-that-those-who-razed-babri/articleshowprint/67017796.cms

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Deeper rot – By Divya Trivedi (Dec 21, 2018, Frontline)

The inner workings of the CBI, unveiled to the public over the past few months, have been shocking but not considered improbable. A petition filed recently before the Supreme Court by a high-ranking official of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) points to massive institutional failure and the larger political malaise in the system. Even Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi commented during the course of the hearings that “nothing shocks us” any more. But details of the extent to which the rot has spread paint a disturbing picture.

In his “instant application” filed on November 19 before the apex court, attached to Alok Verma’s petition against his removal as CBI chief, Deputy Inspector General of Police Manish Kumar Sinha disclosed shocking facts about how the agency functioned. He alleged interference from the topmost offices of the country and asked for an investigation into corruption allegations against senior members of the Union Cabinet and officials in the CBI. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the National Security Adviser (NSA) were also alleged to have played a role in undermining the credibility of the institution and helped cover up the investigation in the Moin Qureshi case.

Manish Kumar Sinha told the court in his petition that “l’affaire Sana is symptomatic of a larger deep-rooted malaise in the country’s premier investigation agency – the CBI”. He warned that if steps were not taken to rectify the processes in the agency, it might become a “Centre for Bogus Investigation”, and the Enforcement Directorate might turn into an “Extortion Directorate”. He was troubled by the Moin Qureshi case, in which Sathish Babu Sana’s complaint and the subsequent investigation brought out worrying aspects, which if true would reflect poorly on the criminal justice delivery system in general and the CBI in particular. The Moin Qureshi case was registered in January/February 2017.…

https://frontline.thehindu.com/social-issues/general-issues/article25662149.ece

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How Opposition leaders managed to edge out farmers’ issues from the Delhi farmers’ rally – By Sandip Ghose (Dec 4, 2018, Dailyo.in)

Last week, Delhi saw yet another farmers’ mega rally. There have been several major farmers’ agitations around the country over the last year or so. Most notable among them were the one in Maharashtra and Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh. Both resulted in the government buckling under pressure and yielding quick concessions, in terms of either loan waivers or increasing procurement prices.

The most defining picture of the Delhi roadshow across newspapers was that of Opposition leaders holding hands and smiling at a sea of shutterbugs. The headline that hogged front pages was “Opposition unites at farmers’ rally”.

The farmers appeared almost incidental – lost somewhere in the political scheme of the grand gathering. A couple of days later, Congress’ Abhishek Manu Singhvi declared, “Opposition unity has the BJP terrified”. The speeches were expectedly political. For the most part of their allotted talk time, leaders attacked PM Modi, vowing to remove him in 2019. A Communist quoting from Hindu mythology may be as rare as the proverbial devil referring to the scriptures, but Sitaram Yechury did exactly that by comparing Narendra Modi to Duryodhan.…

https://www.dailyo.in/politics/farmers-rally-delhi-grand-alliance-rahul-gandhi-arvind-kejriwal-loan-waiver/story/1/28129.html

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