IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 19th, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

I-T department raids BJP leader Sushil Vaswani for allegedly laundering huge sums of black money (Dec 20, 2016, India Today)

Sushil Vaswani, the BJP leader has been raided by the Income Tax department in Bhopal for allegedly exchanging large amounts of old currency notes with new ones through the Mahanagar Nagrik Cooperative bank. He was once a bus conductor in the now defunct Madhya Pradesh Road Transport Corporation. But that was much before Vaswani made it big in MP BJP politics. He now owns three hotels and several other posh properties in Bhopal.

The raid was simultaneously conducted at 12 different locations in Bhopal on Tuesday that includes his house in the Bairagarh township and the three hotels he owns in various parts of Bhopal. Vaswani is also the founder director of the Mahanagar Nagrik Cooperative Bank that was inaugurated by a top BJP leader in 1992.

Apart from a senior BJP minister Uma Shankar Gupta, senior RSS leader Shashi Bhai Seth are also among the directors of this bank through which the disproportionate exchange of old and new currency notes has allegedly happened. Vaswani also enjoyed a minister of state status in the BJP government when he was appointed the chairman of the MP Housing Corporation. He proudly displays his past status on the name plate of his house that was raided on Tuesday.…

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/sushil-vaswani-bjp-income-tax-raids-black-money-banks/1/839248.html

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NIA court verdict awarding death sentence to five Muslim youth is a travesty of justice: CLMC (Dec 20, 2016, Twocircles.net)

Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee expressed grave concern over the death sentence awarded to five Muslim youth who were accused in the Dilsukhnagar blast case, and said it was based on an unfair trial.

“This committee slams the way trial is conducted without providing any proper legal assistance. There are many errors in conducting trial, the foremost is NIA constituted a fast track court in Cherlapally high security prison. The access to the court for the advocates, media and people was restricted. It was conducted in hasty manner by avoiding due course of law,” the committee said.

The Hyderabad-based organisation added that conducting the trial in the four walls of a high security prison and awarding the death sentence to five Muslim youth by showing them as guilty of terror charges and responsible for Dilsukhnagar bomb blasts is nothing but travesty of justice.…

http://twocircles.net/2016dec20/1482252195.html

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‘Hundreds die’ in India police custody, says rights group report (Dec 19, 2016, BBC)

Nearly 600 people died in police custody in India between 2010 and 2015, says the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) in a new report. The rights group said no policeman was convicted for a prisoner’s death in custody during this period.

India’s police routinely attributes deaths in custody to illness, attempted escape, suicide and accidents. But rights groups say a large number of such deaths happen because of torture in custody – claims officials reject.

On Monday, the rights group released a a 114-page report which examines “police disregard for arrest regulations, custodial deaths from torture, and impunity for those responsible”.…

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-38362614

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Communal clash in MP town: Police rescue RSS worker’s nephew (Dec 15, 2016, Indian Express)

The nephew of an RSS functionary whose alleged anti-Islam comment in a WhatsApp group led to communal tension had to be rescued after a large group of Muslims gathered near his home in Sagar town late on Tuesday.

Sanat Soni, whose uncle Dinesh Soni is an RSS functionary, and three Muslim men were booked under National Security Act (NSA) Wednesday and sent to jail.…

While police were dealing with the situation, a large group had gathered near the RSS office in Parkota locality. Local RSS functionaries and BJP leaders wanted the police to carry out searches in Sadar locality. Sagar SP Sachin Atulkar went to the RSS office to accept a memorandum from office bearers around midnight.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/communal-clash-in-madhya-pradesh-town-police-rescue-rss-workers-nephew-4427523/

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13 RSS workers found guilty of 2008 murder of CPI(M) activist in Kerala (Dec 17, 2016, Hindustan Times)

A Kerala court on Friday found 13 RSS activists guilty in the April 2008 murder of a local CPI(M) worker. Additional sessions court judge TK Unnimol will pronounce the quantum of sentence on Saturday.

According to the prosecution, the accused – 16 men armed with swords, iron rods and other weapons – attacked Vishnu at Kaithamukku and killed him.

While one accused died in 2008, another was acquitted by the court on Friday and one is at large. Charges against the accused include that of murder, conspiracy and unlawful assembly.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/13-rss-workers-found-guilty-of-2008-murder-of-cpi-m-activist-in-kerala/story-5i8TRIWqx7UT8m6TTnn99H.html

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SIMI Encounter: Commission probes jailbreak case without visiting premises in Bhopal (Dec 19, 2016, Free Press Journal)

The single member judicial commission investigating the SIMI jailbreak case has not made even a single visit to Bhopal Central Jail. …

The state government instituted the one-member committee chaired by former DGP Nandan Dubey, for probe into the incident and also established the CID investigations. The government also tried to hand over the case to the National Investigation Agency, which it refused.

Later on November 8 the state government instituted the judicial inquiry and appointed retired justice SK Pandey as a chairman of the judicial commission. It was also decided that the commission will submit its report in three months. However, more than one month has passed but the investigation is yet to start. The commission has not visited the jail to investigate the jailbreak incident. The government took around a month to allot the office and the supporting staff to the commission.…

http://www.freepressjournal.in/bhopal/simi-encounter-commission-probes-jailbreak-case-without-visiting-premises-in-bhopal/989413

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ABVP activists threaten DU Law Faculty Dean in presence of cops (Dec 18, 2016, DNA India)

The Dean of Delhi University Law Faculty, Ved Kumari was threatened by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists, in the presence of police officers on campus, while they were staging a protest over the detention list of students that was released on Wednesday.

A video went viral on YouTube on Saturday in which the former Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) president and ABVP activist Satender Awana were seen threatening Kumari, even as the police officers stood on silently.

According to the Dean, she was abused and threatened by the students who had failed to meet the attendance required to appear in the examinations. “They abused me in front of the police and even threatened me with dire consequences if they were not given the admit cards, and police did not even bother to stop them. Also, they destroyed my office property,” Kumari told DNA.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/delhi/report-abvp-activists-threaten-du-law-faculty-dean-in-presence-of-cops-2283974

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Indian PM’s camp seeks support from unlikely quarter: Muslim women (Dec 19, 2016, Reuters)

When Narendra Modi stood before faithful followers in October, on a stage swathed in the saffron colours of his Hindu nationalist movement, the Indian leader made an unexpected overture. “It is the responsibility of the government and people of the country to give justice to Muslim women,” the prime minister declared.

Modi’s public political career took off as chief minister of Gujarat state in 2001, just before rioters killed about 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, leading to accusations that he turned a blind eye to the murder and rape going on around him.

Modi denies involvement in the 2002 riots, but his rise to national power in 2014 was accompanied by groups of hardline Hindus attempting mass conversions of Muslims and cases of beating and whipping of Muslim men in broad daylight.…

http://in.reuters.com/article/uk-india-modi-muslims-idINKBN1481OB

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After ‘inadvertently’ renewing, MHA cancels Greenpeace and Teesta Setalvad’s NGOs’ licences (Dec 14, 2016, DNA India)

In a flip-flop, the Home Ministry on Wednesday cancelled renewal of FCRA licences of Greenpeace India and two NGOs run by activist Teesta Setalvad, three months after “inadvertently” renewing those for five years. It also ordered a probe to ascertain if the computer systems had been hacked due to which the licences were renewed “automatically”.

Renewal of licences of Greenpeace India, Teesta’s NGOs Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) stands cancelled with immediate effect, a Home Ministry official said. The Ministry also ordered a review of recent renewal of FCRA registration of 13,000 NGOs to look into the possible violation of rules.

The Home Ministry also ordered a probe by the Computer Emergency Response Team-India to ascertain whether there was hacking of government software systems as there have been several instances where licences of NGOs under scrutiny were renewed automatically.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-after-inadvertently-renewing-mha-cancels-greenpeace-and-teesta-setalvad-s-ngos-licences-2282983

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Tribal girl gang raped by local BJP leader in Madhya Pradesh for 36 hours (Dec 18, 2016, Deccan Chronicle)

A tribal girl in a Madhya Pradesh district was allegedly gang raped by a local BJP leader and his five accomplices for refusing to withdraw a molestation case filed against him by her, police said. The incident took place in Amla in Baitul district.

According to the victim, who is admitted in a serious condition in the district headquarters hospital at Baitul on Saturday, the local BJP leader, a former ward member, along with his five accomplices broke into her house late on Thursday night and abducted her.

“I was taken to nearby jungle and raped for 36 hours by the six. They beat me before raping me … I later walked 13 km to reach Baitul and called my in-laws on phone to narrate my ordeal. They took me to the women’s police station to lodge FIR against the accused. But, I was asked to go to Azad police station to lodge the case. The Azad police station again turned me back asking me to go to Amla police station to file FIR,” she said.…

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/crime/181216/tribal-girl-gang-raped-by-local-bjp-leader-in-madhya-pradesh-for-36-hours.html

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Opinions and Editorials

PM Narendra Modi took bribes from Sahara India 9 times in 6 months, says Rahul Gandhi; is this the big scoop he was talking about? – By Arkadev Ghoshal (Dec 21, 2016, IB Times)

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday made a sensational revelation by saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been bribed nine times over a course of six months by employees of the Sahara India, according to notes in their diaries.…

Speaking at Mehsana in Gujarat – a state where assembly elections are due next year – Gandhi also said records of this monetary exchange to the tune of Rs 40.1 crore have been lying with the Income Tax (I-T) Department for more than two years, but no action had been initiated. He called for an independent enquiry into the allegations.

Rahul Gandhi told the rally: “Employees of the Sahara group wrote in their diaries nine times in six months that they had given money to Narendra Modi [when he was chief minister of Gujarat]. The I-T department raided the Sahara group on November 22, 2014.”…

http://www.ibtimes.co.in/pm-modi-took-bribe-sahara-india-9-times-6-months-says-rahul-gandhi-this-big-earthquake-he-was-709356

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Demonetisation has failed, Modi will too – By Salman Nizami (Dec 20, 2016, Dailyo.in)

Have you noticed the bitterness with which Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been speaking at public meetings of late, including the one in Kanpur in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh? The lively, interactive speeches, loaded with blunt humour, with which the PM pulled crowds have given way to scornful outbursts suggesting “I know it all” and “you know nothing” supremacism, as people question his rationale for demonetisation.

Political scientists say when a leader turns bitter at his people, rebukes them for failing to laud his initiatives, and demands deference instead of offering arguments, his fall is near. You don’t need a bunch of economists or opposition leaders to tell you demonetisation has backfired. Modi and Amit Shah’s demeanour says it all. Newspapers a few days ago were littered with reports on how Shah lost his cool when BJP’s top state leaders apprised him about the seething public mood due to the cash crunch.

This is an illustration that he and his master want to live in a make-believe world where there is all validation and no question. When rulers act so, it shows that they have not only lost the plot, but there is no option left for redemption.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/modi-amit-shah-demonetisation-manmohan-black-money-cashless-india-nrega/story/1/14645.html

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Patriotism, by order – By V. Venkatesan (Jan 6, 2016, Frontline)

In an interim order delivered on November 30, the Supreme Court bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy observed that when the national anthem is sung, the concept of protocol associated with it has its inherent roots in national identity and integrity and constitutional patriotism. After this passing observation, without any reasoning, the bench issued several directions with regard to screening of feature films in cinema halls in India.…

The bench’s reasoning betrayed inadequate understanding of rights guaranteed under the Constitution and ignorance of how Fundamental Duties, enumerated through an amendment of the Constitution during the Emergency, have to be promoted. Also missing in this so-called reasoning of the bench was the answer to the question why cinema halls must be singled out for the observance of “constitutional patriotism”.…

The interim order has already begun to have its toll: 12 persons, including two women, were detained by the police for not standing while the anthem was being played at the International Film Festival of Kerala in Thiruvananthapuram on December 12, while eight persons, including three women, were attacked by a group of 20 in a Chennai cinema hall, for not standing during the playing of the anthem. This vigilante group forced the police to register a case against the eight under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act. The danger of the Supreme Court’s interim order encouraging moral policing and use of force by vigilante groups to ensure compliance with it, resulting in breach of public order, appears real.

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/patriotism-by-order/article9436399.ece

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Sachar Report gathers dust, Abolishing Personal Laws cant change dark realities – By Humra Quraishi (Dec 23, 2016, Milli Gazette Online)

…Ten long years have passed by and though Justice Sachar and his team had put together a detailed and comprehensive report on the condition of the largest minority community of India, yet the establishment ducked or backtracked or played politics at the crucial implementation level. Statistics show that today the condition of the Muslim has touched the lowest rung.

Perhaps, the establishment wasn’t ever serious in trying to bring about a change in the surviving patterns of this minority community. Why I’m saying so is because several years before the Sachar Committee was setup there was the Gopal Singh Commission Report and then more recently, in 2014, the Kundu Commission Report, with focus on the conditions faced by the Muslims of this land. Yet, look at the dark realities around…getting darker by the day.…

Today there is a sense of insecurity amongst the Muslims. Writ large are the double standards and biases in the very governance and also the dictates of the political mafia and of the ‘saffronized’ cops. Muslims also stress that they there are comfortable with their Personal Laws. “Just because some ‘mischief maker’ misuses or twists those provisions does not mean that there ought to be changes. Non- issues are played up by the BJP-RSS in the garb of betterment of the community. Tomorrow these goons will say change your names or surnames!”…

http://www.milligazette.com/news/15185-sachar-report-gathers-dust-abolishing-personal-laws-cant-change-dark-realities

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A fine balance – By Sushant Singh (Dec 20, 2016, Indian Express)

It is an occurrence so rare in India that the announcement of Lt General Bipin Rawat as the new army chief by superseding two of his seniors – Lt General Praveen Bakshi and Lt General P.M. Hariz – was bound to cause controversy.…

As an outcome of that insularity and to shield military promotions from “political interference”, the system arrived at this norm of following the seniority for selecting military chiefs. It is not enshrined in any law or rule book, but has been followed bar once in 1983 when Lt General S.K. Sinha was overlooked for promotion to the post of army chief by the Indira Gandhi government. There have been a couple of similar cases in the navy and the air force, but none as controversial as Lt General Sinha who promptly resigned from service.…

Formalising and institutionalising the process of selection will remove arbitrariness while shielding the military from political interference. It will also instill a sense of fairness while rewarding merit. Doing this will take a lot of effort from the political leadership but in its absence, the politicians will be leaving themselves open to all kinds of charges of favouritism, parochialism and sectarianism. As in 1962, any future military setback will then be laid at the door of the politicians. Jettisoning the principle of seniority without creating a better alternative will be detrimental to the delicate balance of civil-military relations, which boasts of an unblemished track record in India so far.

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/indian-army-chief-bipin-rawat-appointment-4435946/

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Najeeb disappearance: Has Modi govt catapulted AVBP into a parallel power centre in Indian universities? – By Monobina Gupta (Dec 10, 2016, First Post)

The Delhi High Court has rightly pulled up the police for failing to trace Najeeb Ahmed, a student of the Jawaharlal Nehru University who has been missing since October. “It is over 50 days. Still you (police) do not know about his whereabouts. How can somebody vanish suddenly and police have no clue about it? Even if we think of the worst, something has to be found out. We are pained that the missing person has not been traced till date,” a bench consisting of justices GS Sistani and Vinod Goel said.

Next week will mark two months since Najeeb disappeared from the JNU campus. Till date, the investigating agencies have failed to come up with any concrete information – reassuring or otherwise – about the student’s whereabouts. We don’t know what happened to Najeeb after he went missing following a physical scuffle with students of the BJP-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).…

Given the larger context of the politicisation of the police, and the immediate memory of the bitterness between JNU students and Central government, the callousness in Najeeb’s case, does not really come as a surprise. Nor is it particularly shocking that university authorities – not just in JNU but across India’s higher educational institutions – are treating the ABVP with kid gloves. This student organisation, as everyone can plainly see, operates more like an ideological and political arm of the BJP and less like an organisation concerned with issues on campus plaguing the student community.

http://www.firstpost.com/india/najeeb-disappearance-has-modi-govt-catapulted-avbp-into-a-parallel-power-centre-in-indian-universities-3149886.html

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