In this issue of IAMC News Roundup
- Snooping row: Web portal releases pictures of Narendra Modi with ‘Madhuri’
- Cobrapost stings Narendra Modi again, alleges Facebook, YouTube, Twitter ‘misuse’
- Sardar Patel Hated Hyderabadi Culture: AG Noorani
- BJP youth wing leader held for murder of ex-RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi
- Sadiq Jamal encounter: CBI names 4 Mumbai cops
- Attachment proceedings begin against 13 Muzaffarnagar accused
- Police register cases against Ramdev’s Divya Yoga Trust
- AP bifurcation: GoM to recommend special status to both states
- Modi and Tejpal caught in similar predicaments
- Cop sent to 14-day judicial custody for ‘kidnap, rape’
Opinions & Editorials
- Have no illusions about Narendra Modi’s idea of India – By Hasan Suroor
- Patel’s communalism – a documented record – By A.G. Noorani
- Honoring Hate: Public Felicitation of Riot Accused – By Ram Puniyani
- Indian Mujahidin and Hindutva Terrorists – By A. Hameed Yousuf
- Tarun Tejpal vs Narendra Modi – By Faraz Ahmad
- Yes, No, Can’t Say – By Madhavi Tata
Snooping row: Web portal releases pictures of Narendra Modi with ‘Madhuri’ (Nov 29, 2013, DNA India)
Gulail.com, the investigative web portal, which had earlier charged BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and his aide Amit Shah with a government-sponsored snooping of a woman, has now published a picture of the Gujarat chief minister with the woman.
The pictures were taken during the first edition of the ‘Kutch Sharad Utsav’ in October 2005, the website claimed. In one of the pictures, Modi is engaged in animated conversation with IAS officer Pradeep Sharma and the woman with her face blurred.
In an alleged taped conversation between Amit Shah and Gujarat police officer G L Singhal aired by news portals Cobrapost and Gulail, Shah was instructing Singhal to closely monitor the movements of the woman referred to in the report as “Madhuri”, which is not her real name.
Shah, who is currently heading the BJP election campaign in Uttar Pradesh, is alleged to have misused his powers and the state police machinery for the illegal surveillance of a young woman in August 2009 at the behest of his “saheb.”
- Kutch activist seeks criminal cases against Modi, Amit Shah (Nov 29, 2013, Indian Express)
- Gujarat snooping a violation of personal liberty, says Tharoor (Nov 30, 2013, The Hindu)
- Snooping row: Centre to probe alleged misuse of state machinery, Sushilkumar Shinde (Dec 1, 2013, Indian Express)
- Why is Narendra Modi silent on snooping issue, asks Gujarat Mahila Congress (Nov 29, 2013, Economic Times)
Cobrapost stings Narendra Modi again, alleges Facebook, YouTube, Twitter ‘misuse’ (Dec 2, 2013, Financial Express)
Investigative website Cobrapost today alleged that IT companies are misusing social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to artificially boost politicians popularity and malign their rivals, with many firms claiming to be working for BJP and Narendra Modi. The sting, Operation Blue Virus, claims to have exposed about two dozen little known IT firms across the country, which in the garb of providing reputation management services on social media, also offer fake fan following and posting defamatory content using IP addresses of others by hacking into them. “An undercover operation by Cobrapost exposes how IT companies across the country are using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to help politicians artificially boost their popularity and malign their opponents,” Cobrapost Editor Aniruddha Bahal told a press conference.
The website said it has uncovered about two dozen such firms, which are running this “shady” online reputation management business offering clients fake fan-following on Facebook and Twitter and are doing negative publicity against a political leader or a party, or a corporate house, at the behest of their opposite camp, all for money. Bahal said Cobrapost Associate Editor Syed Masroor Hasan approached over two dozen IT companies asking them that his master (referred to as Netaji) wants to launch a campaign on social media before coming assembly elections and his rival’s reputation has to be destroyed with negative publicity. All the firms that Hasan visited offered to create a fan following (not necessarily genuine) on Facebook and Twitter, in lakhs to destroy the reputation of a political opponent of the politician, Hasan was supposedly representing, with negative publicity, Bahal claimed.
“Operation Blue Virus also reveals BJP is leading from the front in its social media campaign, if the claims of the companies exposed are to be believed. So is its Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, with scores of companies working overtime for him,” Cobrapost said in a release. When asked about the reasons behind the name of only Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi figuring in conversations and not that of any other politician, Bahal said that his name cropped up in around 5-6 of the t total stings that were conducted. “Lots of people asked me if we are targeting certain people. We are not doing that. It is not a fishing expedition also. But, we believe that if somebody is doing it than we should come out with it. There is no guarantee that these firms are not working for any other party,” he told reporters.
The services that these companies offered Hasan include generating fake following by creating fake profiles or buying likes from the community of netizens, create a good fan following on Twitter, by buying packages of followers and deleting negative comments. They also offered negative publicity against “Netaji’s” opponent, employing methods not necessarily ethical or legal. They would post negative content online from countries like the US or Korea, to avoid detection of its source, use assembled computers for negative campaign and destroy them after the project is over and use proxy codes in a way that their locations change every hour, making detection difficult.
These firm also claimed to create fake profiles of Muslims to engage Muslims and change their views about Netaji and his party and offered to make the promotional videos go viral on YouTube, Bahal said. Many of these malpractices violate various laws, such as the Information Technology Act 2000, the Representation of the People Act 1951 and the Income Tax Act 1961, and are as such punishable under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, Bahal said.
- Cobrapost: For Rs 92,000 you can destroy reputations on FB, Twitter (Nov 29, 2013, IBN)
- Cobrapost sting: FIR lodged against IT companies (Nov 30, 2013, Times of India)
- Social media platforms being misused to help politicians, claims Cobrapost (Nov 29, 2013, The Hindu)
- Cobrapost: IT firms maligning rivals for Narendra Modi (Nov 30, 2013, Economic Times)
Eminent lawyer and political commentator A. G. Noorani said India’s first home minister Sardar Patel was a “quintessential Hindu nationalist” who treated erstwhile Hyderabad State as a Muslim state and hated its culture. Noorani, whose book “The destruction of Hyderabad” was released here Friday, said Patel ordered ‘police action’ when the economic blockade was beginning to tell and Nizam would have agreed to accede to India due to pressure from many people. Giving a detailed account of the events that led to the ‘police action’ in 1948, he said there was a massacre of Muslims in Hyderabad. Noorani has also given in the book full text of the report of Sunderlal Committee on the massacre.
The legal expert said while Jawaharlal Nehru was a “quintessential secular Indian nationalist”, Patel was a “quintessential Hindu nationalist”. “While Nehru like Sarojini Naidu admired Hyderabadi culture, particularly Urdu language, Patel considered it alien and hated it.” Noorani claimed that Patel was very soft on C. P. Ramaswamy Iyer though he had asked for independence of Travancore and was also soft on Maharaja of Kashmir. He pointed out how he nominated K.M. Munshi, “who was a RSS mole in Congress party”, as India’s Agent General in Hyderabad. “Look at Patel. In one and same speech in January 1948 he attacked Maulana Azad’s patriotism and invited RSS and (Hindu) Mahasabha to join Congress. What treatment Nizam would have expected from him?”
Noorani said Patel by deciding policy on Hyderabad State took revenge on Nehru for deciding the Kashmir policy. “You don’t have a police action with one lieutenant general, three major generals, one armoured division and the air force. Only a dishonest man like Krishna Menon would have given such title and unfortunately it was adopted,” he said. Noorani, author of other books like “Jinnah and Tilak” and “Kashmir Dispute”, claimed after the police action, Patel uprooted bureaucracy in Hyderabad State by suddenly demoting Urdu and the bureaucrats from Madras, Mumbai and other places were brought. The legal expert also threw light on the role played by Mohammed Ali Jinnah in Hyderabad dispute. He said Nizam wrote letter to Jinnah after partition seeking his advice and “Jinnah seized on this”. “Jinnah’s advice was a piece of criminal irresponsibility. He said even if you don’t have ammunition, fight. He wanted Hyderabad to fight with India so that he get few points in India Pakistan cold war,” he said.
Noorani said when Lord Mountbatten gave written proposal for plebiscite in Kashmir, Junagadh and Hyderabad, Jinnah insisted that Hyderabad be kept out. According to him, Jinnah had made an investment of Rs.2 lakh in Hyderabad. Noorani said the only hero in his book are people of Hyderabad who kept the composite secular culture alive with tolerant Telugu people of Andhra Pradesh. Media baron Ramoji Rao, who released the book, said at 83, Noorani remained a towering personality in India’s legal fraternity with extraordinary abilities to research and document. Describing him as one of the most objective authors and analysts of our times, Ramoji Rao said he was known for his candidness in expressing his views.
- ‘British royally cheated Nizams’ (Nov 30, 2013, Times of India)
- A.G. Noorani blames Patel for downfall of Hyderabad (Nov 30, 2013, Deccan Chronicle)
- Sardar Patel was the quintessential Hindu communalist: report (Dec 3, 2013, First Post)
- Narendra Modi’s comments on Article 370 spark off a furious debate (Dec 2, 2013, IBN)
Months after home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde created a political furore by saying RSS and BJP were “promoting Hindu terrorism”, National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested a youth wing leader from the saffron party in connection with the murder of former RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi. This is the first arrest of a BJP leader in connection with Hindutva terror cases.
Late on Saturday night, NIA arrested Jitendra Sharma, vice-president of Indore rural unit of BJP’s youth wing Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha from Mhow for facilitating Joshi’s killing. TOI had first reported on the probable arrest of Jitendra Sharma in February.
Mastermind of several blasts, including those in Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid and Malegaon targeting minorities, Joshi was killed by his own associates in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh in December 2007. Hindutva terror accused Lokesh Sharma and Rajendra Chaudhary, arrested by NIA in connection with Samjhauta Express and Malegaon blasts, allegedly killed Joshi due to a dispute over a liquor shop that they owned along with him and the alleged misbehavior of the RSS pracharak with Pragya Singh Thakur, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts.
According to sources, Jitendra not only gave shelter to various Hindutva terror accused on several occasions but even arranged for the weapon used in Joshi’s murder and then hid it at the residence of one Dilip Jagtap. After his arrest, Lokesh had led NIA to Jagtap’s house from where the pistol was recovered from a pile of bricks. Jagtap, now in jail and related to a local Congress corporator, was the custodian of all arms and ammunition used by the group.
Interestingly, Jitendra is Lokesh’s cousin and has also represented him as a lawyer in court in the cases against him. “Jitendra has been the frontman for all the activities that the Hindutva group carried out. He provided logistics, shelter and then legal help to all the accused,” said an officer privy to investigation details. Though Jitendra was interrogated earlier too, he was not arrested as the agency was low on evidence. Sources said over the past few months, some of the accused have given statements against him under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (admissible as evidence) while certain others have expressed their desire to become approvers in the case.
- Court rejects Aseemanand bail plea (Dec 1, 2013, Indian Express)
- No evidence against Hindu extremists does not mean a clean chit, says R R Patil (Dec 1, 2013, Indian Express)
- ‘Separate police needed in every State to stamp out terrorism’ (Dec 1, 2013, The Hindu)
- SG to govt: Only Parliament can make laws to deal with terror (Dec 2, 2013, Indian Express)
A CBI report on the alleged fake encounter of 20-year-old Sadiq Jamal has named four police officers from Mumbai for their involvement in the case. The report, prepared by a CBI investigating team and sent to the agency’s head office in New Delhi on Wednesday, gives detailed information on the alleged role of the four officers – Pradeep Sawant, Pradeep Sharma, Daya Nayak and Sanjeev Gawde – in Jamal’s killing. The report will translate into a supplementary chargesheet once cleared by the agency’s senior officers, said an officer.
At present, Sawant is Deputy Commissioner of Police with Maharashtra ATS, while Nayak is a Sub-Inspector posted at police control room (West region). Gawde is Assistant Police Inspector attached with Mumbai Crime Branch, and Sharma, who was recently exonerated in the encounter case of Ram Narayan Gupta alias Lakhan Bhaiya in Mumbai, is under suspension.
According to Gujarat Police, Sadiq was shot in Naroda area of Ahmedabad on January 13, 2003, by a Crime Branch team of Ahmedabad, following intelligence inputs that he wanted to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi and other senior BJP and VHP leaders. “In a joint operation, Jamal was picked up by the Crime Intelligence Unit of Andheri under the custody of the (then) police inspector Pradeep Sharma,” a CBI officer said.
“Our investigation shows that the (four) officers had played a role in Jamal’s detention. Evidence show they were aware of Jamal’s movement and the purpose of sending him to Gujarat,” said a CBI officer. “All the four have claimed they were acting on the orders of Intelligence Bureau,” said the officer.
- Cops should avoid fake encounters & indiscriminate rounding up of suspects: former RAW chief (Nov 26, 2013, Hindustan Times)
- CBI supplementary chargesheet in Ishrat case ready (Dec 2, 2013, Indian Express)
- SC notice to CBI on Gujarat cop Narendra Amin’s bail plea (Nov 29, 2013, DNA India)
- 8 yrs on, FIR lodged in ‘fake’ encounter case (Nov 27, 2013, Indian Express)
The attachment proceedings have been initiated against 13 absconding accused in connection with the Lank village killings during the Muzaffarnagar riots.
Chief judicial magistrate KP Singh yesterday issued notices to the 13 accused under Section 82 of the CrPC, according to the prosecution of Special Investigation Team.
The accused, identified as Kapil, Nitu, Dushyant, Ajay, Sanjiv, Jagbir, Kuldeep, Mohit, Mahabir, Singh, Kalu, Satbir, and Debu, have been absconding since cases were registered against them. Six people were killed and their houses burnt during communal clash at Lank village in September 8.
- Muzaffarnagar riots: Arrest warrants against 20 for Kutba killings (Dec 1, 2013, Indian Express)
- Petitioner in SC in Muzaffarnagar riot cases, Advocate Naushad Khan attacked (Dec 2, 2013, Twocircles.net)
- Muslims still in camps in Uttar Pradesh: Mushawarat (Nov 26, 2013, Times of India)
- Muzaffarnagar Bleeds: A Reenactment of Gujarat Riots 2002 (Nov 29, 2013, YouTube)
Uttarakhand Police on Friday registered two more cases against Yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s ‘Divya Yoga Mandir Trust’ for allegedly breaching norms in two land purchases in Roorkee town of Haridwar.
The Trust has been accused of violating the terms regarding the use of the land, officials said. With this, the number of cases registered against the Trust in past one week in land-related matters has gone up to 83.
Earlier, a total of 81 cases were lodged by Haridwar district administration against Ramdev for alleged gross violation of land laws and evasion of stamp duty. Recently, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna had said that based on investigations, more cases could be registered against Ramdev’s Trust.
- Court directs police action against Anna Hazare and Co (Nov 30, 2013, Rediff)
- My worry proved right, Shinde on paid social media (Nov 29, 2013, The Hindu)
- Fodder scam: SC issues notice to CBI on Lalu’s bail plea (Nov 29, 2013, Indian Express)
- Ponzi pension scheme and pious fraud (Nov 30, 2013, Twocircles.net)
As the Union government on Monday continued wide consultations on fine-tuning the contours of Telangana, a senior Union Minister said the Bill to create a new State out of Andhra Pradesh was ready and would be cleared by the Group of Ministers (GoM), which will meet on Tuesday evening. However, the Minister, who did not wish to be named, said “no comments,” when asked about the Rayala-Telangana issue. Highly placed government sources said “very wide consultations” were held to work out the finer details of how to go about the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
The Minister did not comment whether Kurnool and Anantapur, the two districts of Rayalaseema, would be added to the 10 districts that form Telangana to constitute a Rayala-Telangana State. “You will have to wait for the recommendations of the GoM, which will submit its report to the Union Cabinet,” the sources said. On the eve of the meeting, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh held marathon consultations with Secretaries who assisted the GoM. Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde attended a meeting that went into the finer details. The GoM will send the final report to the Union Cabinet for consideration and approval of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill. Once it is approved, the Bill will be forwarded to President Pranab Mukherjee. He, in turn, will refer it to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly. However, the Assembly’s approval is not mandatory for the Centre to introduce the Bill in Parliament.
The senior Union Minister told The Hindu that the proposal for inclusion of two districts from Rayalaseema in the proposed Telangana was not without issues. “Had the proposal been cleared by the Congress Working Committee in its July 30 resolution in favour of the creation of Telangana, we could have pushed through the idea without difficulty; bringing it up at this stage could lead to complications. We are not sure if the proposal would have the approval of the BJP, because without its support we cannot get the Constitution Amendment Bill through both Houses of Parliament.” Speaking on informal terms, a senior BJP leader indicated that any major deviation in the creation of Telangana would entail a rethink by the party. As things stand now, the BJP is committed to creation of Telangana, without Anantpur and Kurnool districts.
According to another Union Minister, sections of Seemandhra are not averse to inclusion of the two districts in the proposed State as it would automatically disqualify Kurnool as a possible capital of Seemandhra. “If the Centre decides to include two more districts of Rayalaseema in the proposed State of Telangana, the fate of the Bill is likely to be decided only in Parliament. The BJP might insist on moving a resolution, excluding the two districts, and as a bargaining point the government could accept it.”
The issue of Hyderabad remains contentious, as Seemandhra leaders are demanding protection for the lives and property of their people settled in Hyderabad after the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. Meanwhile, the government has said it will try to bring the Bill in the winter session of Parliament, which will be held from December 5 to 20.
- Hyderabad may not get UT status, GoM mulls 3 options (Nov 29, 2013, Indian Express)
- Bill on Telangana to come soon before Parliament, says Sushil Kumar Shinde (Dec 1, 2013, IBN)
- YSR Congress to begin state-wide campaign for ‘united’ Andhra (Nov 30, 2013, Daily Bhaskar)
- Cong MPs, MLAs defy Gogoi to demand separate state (Dec 2, 2013, Rediff)
In a curious quirk of fortune Narendra Modi and Tarun Tejpal, two bitter opponents, find themselves caught in similar predicaments, which are entirely of their own making. Both men have made a bad situation considerably worse by their foolish handling of it. Let’s start with Modi. His claim he provided protection to the woman in the Saheb tapes at her father’s request, which she fully endorsed, has raised issues that can only embarrass him. First, this was invasive surveillance not protection.
That’s why she was tailed on planes, eavesdropped at home and pursued in restaurants and cinema halls. The clincher is the fear she might escape. If she welcomed the ‘protection’ why would she run away? Second, can such surveillance be undertaken at the request of a father? Section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act clearly says it cannot. That raises a third point: was this done legally or was it an abuse of power? Finally, an obvious conclusion is suggested: this was misuse of state money and resources.
I’m not sure if another explanation for the Saheb tapes would have worked better but this one has raised disturbing doubts about how Modi uses his power. These are not questions the BJP prime ministerial candidate wants asked of him. At the moment it’s only the media raising them. If the courts do so as well he could find himself in a very invidious position. Now turn to Tarun Tejpal. In an email sent to the victim on the November 19, he admitted to “sexual liaison … on two occasions … despite your clear reluctance that you didn’t want such attention from me”.
Four days later, on the 23rd, he told The Economic Times “it happened only once”, “lasted less than a minute” and was “consensual”. The same day he told The Indian Express the victim’s story is “a totally mendacious account of what happened” and claimed “I’m being framed”. Clearly, he’s either contradicting himself or consciously changing his stand. If the act was consensual and the victim’s account mendacious, why did Tejpal “unconditionally apologize”, “feel impelled to atone”, want to undertake “penance that lacerates me” and, finally, recuse himself from the editorship for six months? A man only does this if he’s sinned and at that terribly.
One possible explanation is a half sentence in Tejpal’s statement issued on the 22nd: “The complete truth and the need to do the honourable thing can come into conflict”. Does that suggest his apology, which is presumably the honourable thing, is in conflict with the truth and, therefore, not just unnecessary but also tantamount to a lie? That would only make things worse. Meanwhile, Tejpal’s lawyers have expressed a lack of faith in the Goa police – accusing them of “some malafide scheme” – presumably because he fears he won’t get justice in a BJP-ruled state. But Shoma Chaudhury called her questioning by the same police “a good experience” and “a positive experience”. …
- Entire sexual assault episode is BJP conspiracy, claims Tarun Tejpal (Nov 26, 2013, India Today)
- Goa police get Tejpal’s custody for six days (Dec 2, 2013, The Hindu)
- Sexual assault case: Goa court sends Tarun Tejpal to 6-day police custody (Dec 1, 2013, IBN)
- Tarun Tejpal case: Law has changed, police must follow (Dec 2, 2013, India Today)
The police constable, arrested in connection with kidnapping and rape of a widow in Jamnagar, was sent to judicial custody for 14 days by a local court in Jamnagar late on Saturday. A month after the 40-year-old victim filed a complaint alleging abduction and rape, B division police of Jamnagar city arrested head constable Pancha Ahir (45) from his residence in that city. Police said that Ahir was posted in Dwarka police station.
The B Division police produced Ahir before a magistrate and sought his remand late on Saturday. However, the court did not grant police plea and instead sent the constable to judicial custody. “Ahir has confessed his involvement in the crime. He has said that he had an extra-marital affair with the woman and had taken her to Dwarka on the day of the crime in a car,” B Division police officers said on Sunday.
However, the widow came to know that Ahir had relations with other woman also. “The victim and Ahir had a fight on the night of the crime over that third woman. Eventually, they broke up and the woman filed a complaint of rape,” the police officers further said.
The victim, a mother of two daughters, had filed a complaint on November 11 stating she had been kidnapped at knifepoint by a woman and a man from Jamnagar city, taken to an unidentified place in Devebhoomi Dwarka district and raped on 10 September.
- Assam erupts in anger against Lakhimpur gang rape (Nov 28, 2013, Times of India)
- GPP files FIR against cops for ‘misbehaving’ with woman protester (Nov 26, 2013, Indian Express)
- Delhi BJP’s poster acknowledges responsibility of making city unsafe for women? (Nov 30, 2013, Daily Bhaskar)
- Can the NCW make a difference on crimes against women? (Nov 29, 2013, Rediff)
Opinions and Editorials
Have no illusions about Narendra Modi’s idea of India – By Hasan Suroor (Nov 25, 2013, Hindustan Times)
With the entry of Narendra Modi in the electoral fray as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, it is becoming clearer by the day that Muslims are going to be the biggest elephant in the room in the run-up to what, many believe, might turn out to be one of the most communally polarised elections in independent India. The Muzaffarnagar riots have already set a chilling tone for where it is all going. Union minister Jairam Ramesh, squarely blaming the BJP, has described the riots as a “trailer” for “more communal tensions and flare-ups” ahead. The BJP’s Uma Bharti has also warned of “more tension” but accused the Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP) of provoking it. The SP, in turn, says that it is the Congress and the BJP which are trying to stir up trouble to woo Muslim voters.
So, there you are: a phoney competition among major political players to show that the ‘other’ is more communal is in full swing even before a proper campaign has begun. Modi’s entry has handed a flailing Congress the ammunition it desperately needed to turn it into a secularism-versus-communalism contest by casting itself as a champion of Muslims and the BJP as a threat. It is a territory on which the Congress feels at home despite having lost its credibility as a secular force. Besides, hobbled by a poor record of governance and lack of charismatic leadership, it has nothing else to crow about. Giving ample indication of his party’s election strategy, Ramesh said, “2014 is the first election, the Congress is fighting directly with the RSS, with Modi as its mukhauta (mask) and Modi’s mukhauta is development. It’s a double mukhauta. So this election is not the Congress versus the BJP but the Congress versus the RSS.”
The BJP, quick on the uptake, has launched an aggressive line of attack that includes demanding a closer scrutiny of the Congress’ record on treating minorities. In every television discussion, its spokespersons have taken to haranguing the party’s critics wanting to know why is it that the Congress is not subjected to the same level of scrutiny as the BJP. Why is it, they ask, that the Congress’ role in the 1984 anti-Sikh violence is ‘ignored’ while there is an ‘obsession’ with Modi’s alleged involvement in the 2002 anti- Muslim riots in Gujarat? It is an important question as to why the Congress is credited with secular image despite its poor record, and it must be answered.
For, leave alone the BJP, there are many disillusioned Congress supporters who are asking the same question and, in their anger, prepared to throw out the baby (secularism) with the bathwater (Congress). Let me make it clear that I am not a fan of the Congress. As a British citizen I have no stake in Indian elections except that I don’t wish to see the country of my birth overrun by forces whose vision of India is very different from the one on which its constitutional foundations were laid. Swapan Dasgupta, one of the few intellectually coherent BJP voices, argues that in a democracy there can be more than one idea of India…so, why must we keep harping only on the so-called Nehruvian idea of India. He is right, but therein lies the rub: which idea suits better the temper and demands of a society as complex and diverse as India?
Millions of Indian Muslims chose not to migrate to their supposed ‘homeland’ (Pakistan) in 1947 because they rejected the notion of nationhood based on religion and wished to live in a country where nationalism was not going to be measured in terms of their religious identity. The idea of India sold to them and which they happily embraced was this: their Indianness would not be questioned because they happened to be Muslims, had emotional links with their Pakistani relations, or some of them foolishly rooted for the Pakistani cricket team. They would not be called ‘Babar ki aulad’; and their places of worship would not be forcibly demolished in the name of ‘righting’ historical wrongs. …
- After Godhra riots, Snoopgate haunts Narendra Modi – By Amulya Ganguli (Nov 30, 2013, DNA India)
- The Mysterious Woman behind Saheb’s Obsession – By Deepal Trivedi (Nov 17, 2013, Ahmedabad Mirror)
- Troubling questions – Editorial (Nov 23, 2013, The Hindu)
- Questions For Saheb – By Saba Naqvi (Dec 2, 2013, Outlook)
In November 1945 one of the top Congress leaders inaugurated on Marine Drive in Mumbai, just next to the Chowpati Beach, the Pransukhlal Mafatlal Hindu Swimming Pool. It was, and still is, exclusively for the use of Hindus. Its doors remain shut, even in 2013, for Muslims and other communities. No prizes for guessing who that top leader was. There was one and only one top Congress leader who would have done the deed, namely, Vallabhbhai Patel. For long a plaque on the frontage of the premises boldly proclaimed his achievement.
Its implications were lost on none. The astute advocate of the two-nation theory, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, was quick to seize on it. In a statement issued on November 18, 1945, from New Delhi, in a rejoinder to Patel’s speech at the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) session, Jinnah said, “As to his other slogans that Hindus and Muslims are brothers and one nation, the less Sardar Patel talks about it [the] better. It does not come with any grace from his mouth, at any rate. For did not Mr Vallabhbhai Patel perform the opening ceremony of swimming bath in Bombay meant exclusively for Hindus? Has he forgotten that some young men demonstrated protesting against his participation in the opening ceremony of the swimming bath which excluded the Muslim brethren even sharing the sea-water” (The Nation’s Voice, Volume IV, Waheed Ahmad ed., 1947, 3/3). Neither Jawaharlal Nehru nor C. Rajagopalachari (Rajaji) would have stooped to this. Nehru had good reason to write in his Autobiography: “Many a Congressman was a communalist under his national cloak” (page 136).
Patel is best judged by the cabal which idolises him today. L.K. Advani: At Ayodhya on November, 19, 1990: “Henceforth, only those who fight for Hindu interests would rule India.” October 2, 1990: “Secular policy is putting unreasonable restrictions on Hindu aspirations.” To the BBC: “It would not be wrong to call the BJP a Hindu party” (Organiser, August 5, 1989; emphasis added, throughout). On October 17, 1989, The Times of India editorially censured him: “Mr Advani while holding forth on ‘Bharat Mata’, now goes so far as to deny that Mahatma Gandhi was the Father of the Nation” (for details vide the writer’s book The RSS and the BJP, LeftWord, Chapter 4, “The RSS and Gandhi”). The BJP’s affection for Gandhi is a recent and calculated development.
Narendra Modi, an erstwhile protege who ousted Advani from the pedestal, follows the line with greater gusto. “The nation and Hindus are one. Only if Hindus develop will the nation develop. Unity of Hindus will strengthen the nation,” he said in the presence of the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat at a Hindu Samajotsava organised by the RSS in Mangalore. He said: “In Gujarat, an ordinary swayamsewak of the RSS [that is, Modi himself] is toiling to make Gujarat the number one State in the country,” and added that he had “spent his entire life for Hindu Samaj” (Organiser, February 11, 2007).
Recently in an interview to Reuters, after his succession was all but sealed, Modi was asked, “But do you think you did the right thing in 2002?” He replied, “Absolutely”. He was also asked, “People want to know who is the real Modi—Hindu nationalist leader or pro-business Chief Minister.” Modi amply proved the truth of Nehru’s remark quoted at the beginning of this article: “I am a nationalist. I’m patriotic. Nothing is wrong. I am a born Hindu. Nothing is wrong. So, I am a Hindu nationalist. So, yes, you can say I’m a Hindu nationalist because I’m a born Hindu” (Indian Express, July 13, 2013). This is the very man who aspires to be our next Prime Minister. …
- Hindutva’s muscle man – By Kancha Ilaiah (Nov 22, 2013, Asian Age)
- Masters of manipulation – By Suhit K. Sen (Dec 13, 2013, Frontline)
- Hyderabad’s Fall and Sunderlal Report – By Syed Ali Mujtaba (Sep 28, 2013, Ummid.com)
- A statue and its cost – By Suhit K. Sen (Dec 13, 2013, Frontline)
In November 19 Communal violence has tormented our country, more so from last three decades in particular. From the decade of 1980s its form has taken very menacing proportions and the country bleeds from time to time with the death of innocents, and at the same time takes place political ascendance of those behind engineering the violence. As such this violence does not begin with the weapons or the strong arms. It begins in the mind, with the idea of ‘hate’ for other community. This Hate is constructed around the falsification of history and the present, both, as per the contingency of the communal force.
Communal forces translate this Hate through local idiom, to spread the violence in particular areas. The nature of violence is not static; it keeps changing its form, from place to place and with the time. Beginning as an urban phenomenon, now it is being reached to small towns and villages. Those instigating the violence are the ones’ who benefit from it politically and electorally. The key to involve the foot soldiers into the acts of violence is to put in their minds the fright minority community. This fright of the minorities has been successfully propagated and made the part of the understanding of large sections of society. The result is that those spreading Hate also claim to be saving ‘their community’ ‘their religion’ and that’s how they emerge politically taller after the bloodshed and violence.
In a political rally which was later addressed by the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Nov 21, 2013, two BJP MLAs, who are alleged to be instrumental in spreading Hatred against minorities by giving the Hate speeches revolving around the theme of ‘the honor of our daughter-sisters is in danger’ from the religious minorities. One of them uploaded a video clip on face book, which showed the brutal killing of two youth by a Muslim looking crowd. As such the clip was from Pakistan, it was projected as being the one which happened in Muzaffarnagar. These two BJP MLAs Sangeet Som and Suresh Rana, accused of inciting communal violence in Muzaffarnagar, were felicitated on Thursday (Nov 21) at the rally in Agra. As a part of clever strategy the felicitation of these ‘Hate mongers’ was done before Modi took the stge. Both these MLAs are currently out on bail. How do we understand this public celebration of the accused? On one hand their role in the violence and on the other their felicitation?
In recent times we have seen the three major carnages, Delhi anti-Sikh, Mumbai and Gujarat Anti Muslim and Kandhmal Anti-Christian. The two leaders who were behind the violence in Mumbai and Gujarat, emerged as the Hindu Hriday Samrat (emperor of Hindu hearts), after their role in the violence. The first one is late Balasaheb Thackeray. His role in the Mumbai violence was chronicled by Srikrishna Commission report. This report indicted him of leading the violence like a General. The report points out “From the conversation which could be heard [by Yuvraj Mohite, Mahanagar Reporter, at Thackray house during the riots], it is clear that Thackeray was directing Shiv Sainiks, Shakha Pramukhs and other activists of Shiv Sena to attack the Muslims, to ensure that they give tit for tat and ensure that ‘not a single landya (a derogatory word used for Muslims) would survive to give the evidence’ [vol.ii, Page 173-174] While the report aptly describes his role which deserved severe punishment, in popular psyche he was successful in projecting that it is due to him and his boys (Shiv Sainiks), that Hindus were safe. And so he started being called Hindu Hriday Samrat. The violence paid rich dividends to his party Shiv Sena, it came to power in Maharashtra Assembly along with their ally BJP, after the violence.
As per Gujarat carnage, no official report has come out yet, but the major Citizens Tribunal report, coordinated by Citizens for Justice and Peace, outlined the role of Modi led state in the violence. Similarly the international women’s tribunal summarized the situations as follows, “…the various arms of state were complicit both in the initial attacks on Muslim community as well as the later continuing violence. The state and central Government both played a major role in Gujarat violence causing sexual violence to women, destroying property and killing members of Muslim community. The acts of continuing violence and denial of all rights to Muslim community could not have happened without the complicity of the state and its institutions. The role and functioning of Gujarat Government has directly been influenced by the penetration of Sangh Parivar. This fact underlies the conduct of the state before, during and after the peak period of the pogrom.” …
- Rose Petals For Terrorists, Headgears For Hatemongers – By Subhash Gatade (Nov 22, 2013, Countercurrents)
- Anatomy of a Riot: What we can learn from the Muzaffarnagar violence – By Nidhi Gupta (Nov 16, 2013, Sunday Guardian)
India Mujahidin (IM), in the first sight it seems to be an organization operated by Muslims. ‘Mujahidin’ (or mujahidoon) is plural of Arabic word ‘mujahid’ meaning ‘one who exerts efforts for the sake of Allah (not necessarily fighting). However, now a days ‘mujahid’ has come to be considered synonymous to ‘fighter’. So, according to the common notion, IM should be the Indian front of those fighting for God’s rule on the earth. Is it really so? Many would say ‘Yes’. But the belief of those impartial people in know of the affairs would be ‘No’.
Anyone who fights for the sake of his/her religion seeks benefits for its adherents. Judged against this criterion IM becomes a complete failure. The word IM has inflicted much damage to Indian Muslims. As for any good to the community by this name, it is zero. Surprisingly, Muslims do not believe that there is any such outfit called Indian Mujahidin. To them, IM is just an excuse coined by the anti-national elements to harass Muslim youth. Despite repeated demands to disclose whereabouts of the so-called outfit the investigating agencies are unable to even locate its head office! What is its agenda and who are its founders, there is nothing to prove these things except imagined confessions. Isn’t it an interesting scenario? It is more true’ especially in view that hundreds of Muslim youth are arrested for their alleged links with the outfit?
Had there been anything like IM the agencies could have long ago gathered enough data to crack down on its associates and eliminate it. In near past, one Yasin Bhatkal was arrested. But his arrest too did not help in acquiring information about the organization. Bhatkal was one of the most wanted persons of IM. He is said to be among the founders of IM. People who believe in the existence of Indian Mujahidin can guess that it would be working for Muslims. But the reality is that the name IM has been inflicting much damage to Muslims. It not only defames them as a religious community but also impedes their social, educational and economic development.
The infamous Batla House encounter saw the education of two brilliant students having come to an end. Besides, it gave a terror tag to their families, their village, district and the community they belong. The two deceased students Atif and Sajid were said to be the members of Indian Mujahidin; which is yet to be proved. Besides, several youth are nabbed after each blast making the future of their families bleak. In connection with the recent serial blasts which took place shortly before Modi’s address to a rally in Patna, various Muslim youth have been arrested. They are accused of having links with Indian Mujahidin.
The organization, which some claim exists only on papers, is believed to be responsible for the blasts. The blasts allowed Modi to shoot a statement declaring him pitched against ‘terror’. Coming days after the blasts, the statement of Modi that in the coming elections the battle will be between him and CBI & IM is an attempt to show himself a victim of terror. The Patna blasts investigation is underway and the responsibility is yet to be fixed. One wonders as to how Modi knew that it were IM men who executed the blasts at his rally avenue. Did the terrorists convey such a message to him? …
- The First Terrorist Of Independent India – By Subhash Gatade (Nov 17, 2013, Countercurrents)The First Terrorist Of Independent India – By Subhash Gatade (Nov 17, 2013, Countercurrents)
Its been exactly two weeks (November 7 and 8) since a brave young journalist from Tehelka magazine, based in Mumbai, allegedly faced sexual assault for two consecutive days from her proprieter Editor-in-Chief, the much celebrated journalist Tarnun Tejpal in his Think Fest in Goa. Day before yesterday (November 23) she even announced that she was being pressurized by members of Tarun’s family to withdraw the complaint. But has she made the Police complaint? The media is bombarding Tehelka managing editor Shoma Choudhary with the question why has she not filed a police complaint against her now recused boss, who will anyway pay her salary every month, never mind the recusing business. But what about the victim? She is a very brave girl. She has made bold not just to elaborately describe the sexual assault on her in great detail, leaving nothing to imagination, but has circulated the e-mail containing the description among her office colleagues, which in turn has been widely publicized and is now in public domain, which is fine, for it helps the people outside to assess the level of depravity of her assaulter. She was bold enough to immediately go and report the assault to her colleagues the very first night of the assault, though she did not take any action that night, nor did they presumably because as she wrote, first she didn’t want the Robert De Niro show spoilt, and two she was also apprehensive about her own future. Understandable!
She put up with the assault the next day again and then mentioned it to her friend and the Editor’s daughter. That’s very commendable. After which she waited for seeing off De Niro since she was the chief protocol officer, granted. Her decision to postpone any action till the legendary film hero boarded his flight back home is even more courageous, considering the ordeal she faced. But that was on November 10. What after that? Why did she not go to the Goa Police right away. Maybe she was apprehensive of the consequences. But curiously she waited for full eight days to bring her ordeal to the notice of the managing editor Shoma Chaaudhary. The whole thing blew up on November 20. Immediately we had a senior most BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley spring to action demanding police action against Tarun, reminding that the law on rape has been amended, because of which Tarun’s alleged act also amounted to rape. Since then the media has been grilling Shoma Chaudhary why she has not proceeded with the proper legal course, of reporting the matter to the Goa Police. In the meanwhile the Goa police taking suo motu notice of the alleged assault within its jurisdiction has proceeded with the necessary action. We will come to Jaitley presently.
But what about the victim? She is a perfectly educated girl, a reporter based in Mumbai, reporting similar acts as a matter of routine in her line of duty. She has a good family background with necessary understanding of crime and law. The moment some members of Tarun’s family contacted her mother ostensibly to suppress the crime, she put out one more e-mail in public domain to prevent the building up of any further pressure on her. But the moot question still remains why did she not take the proper legal course easily available to her and how long does she want to wait? In the meantime Arun Jaitley has put the Indian media on trial over this sexual assault, rightly so. Jaitley the legal eagle has pointed out that the victim’s complaint makes out a clear case of rape. Jaitley asks, “Why was the offence not allowed to be reported forthwith?” That is the point. Was someone holding back the victim or she chose not to report the matter to the police, for reasons best known to her? Just to point out to Jaitley, Shoma Choudhary told the media that it was not for her but for the victim to lodge a police complaint. Jaitley has his own political reasons to arrive at this conclusion. He has to link this to the Congress party simply because Tehelka has done exposes after exposes against Jaitley’s mentor and saviour Narendra Modi. Besides we were in the thick of Modi’s stalking affair when this development overtook the Snoopgate scandal.
After all only the other day Jaitley stoutly and shamelessly defended the indefensible act of Modi by calling the snooping, telephone tapping and stalking of a young woman by the Gujarat police under instructions of his factotum and the then MoS Home of Gujarat Amit Shah at the instance of “Saheb” Narendra Modi. Never mind the fact that some small time police officials and sundry private investigators are still being arrested for illegally passing on Jaitley’s call data record (CDRs) to private detectives, apparently investigating Jaitley’s wealth, about which even Jaitley is not certain whether this was an in house job, meaning his fellow BJP leaders prying into his private life. So if the Delhi Police constables attempt to pry into Jaitley’s privacy, they deserve to be arrested kept in incarceration for long period and tried for committing a crime. But nobody dare raise a question why and how the Gujarat Chief Minister, the Home Minister and the state’s anti terror squad were stalking and snooping upon the privacy of a young woman. That, as Jaitley would have us believe, is “Protection”, for Jaitley says Modi can commit no wrong. Hear, hear, hear! A true legal wizard spake and his word is the Oracle.
Curiously the tehelka assault took place in Goa on November 7 and 8. The Cobrapost-Gulail tapes came out on November 12 and the whole issue blew up on November 20, when it appeared that Snoopgate was becoming unmanageable. True Tarun Tejpal deserves the severest punishment for his act and the law needs to act against him, but let the victim come forward and lodge a police complaint. These days she can even send an e-mail to the Director General of Goa Police. But what about Modi? Should the law remain perpetually deferential to him and what about our leading national legal practitioner and the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha? Shouldn’t he be held accountable for his outrageous defence of Narendra Modi?
- Politics run amok – Editorial (Nov 30, 2013, DNA India)
- A Few Questions – By Uttam Sengupta (Dec 9, 2013, Outlook)
- What workplaces owe women – By Indira Jaising (Nov 28, 2013, Indian Express)
- Why women remain silent – By Mythili Sundar (Nov 26, 2013, The Hindu)
When the Congress Working Committee announced its decision to endorse the Telangana idea in July this year, the euphoria among statehood proponents was overwhelming. But four months down the line, the jubilation has been overtaken by confusion over the status of Hyderabad and whether the bill would be introduced in Parliament’s winter session. While Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde and others maintain that the bill will be introduced in December, many fear the coming assembly poll results could influence the T-decision. A senior party MP told Outlook, “The bill is most likely to be introduced in a special session in January…there are several issues to be dealt with in its preparation.”
Ever since the Congress leadership announced its decision, it has had to face a raging agitation in Rayalaseema and Andhra, and a defiant CM Kiran Kumar Reddy who’s emerged as the most vocife-rous opponent of the division. Even in Telangana, the Congress cadre who were buoyant earlier now fear the delay is eroding the party’s support base. “Telangana Rashtra Samiti chief K. Chandrasek-hara Rao is still viewed as the statehood deal’s biggest hero. If the Congress continues to vacillate, the people of Telangana will not forgive it,” says G. Vivek, MP, who jumped ship from Congress to the TRS. The TRS has been bargaining for a “clean Telangana”, asking for 10 districts with Hyderabad as capital. KCR has refused to merge his party with the Congress so far, saying that any dilution in size is unacceptable to his party. The Group of Ministers dealing with the modalities of carving out Telangana also appears to be stuck on Hyderabad’s status.
The Telangana lobby is vehemently against a Union Territory status to Hyderabad while the Seemandhra lot want either UT status or special concessions. Seemandhra ministers like M.M. Pallam Raju, Daggubati Purandeswari and K. Chiranjeevi want UT status for Hyderabad. T-leaders want the jurisdiction of the capital to be restricted to the revenue district of Hyderabad. Seemandhra leaders, on the other hand, want a larger common territory which would include some contiguous districts. This tangle is expected to keep the GoM busy for a longer time.
Meanwhile, strong united AP votaries like the Congress’s Vijayawada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal insist that there isn’t enough time to pass the statehood bill. “Given the various stages such as the Union cabinet meet, the assembly discussion, sending the bill to the President, and then the two Houses of Parliament passing the bill, this could drag on till February. At the time, the BJP is most likely to say that elections are too close by and will prevent a ‘lame-duck government’ from passing the bill. The Telangana state will not be a reality before the 2014 elections,” he says firmly.
CM Kiran Kumar Reddy has also asserted that the division will not be a reality. “It is not about my fight alone, the Congress understands the implications for such a large state,” he told scribes. Rajagopal feels the Congress will not win either in Telangana or Seemandhra if the T-state is granted. “KCR is the ‘hero’ there, so Congress will not make any major gains. But in Seemandhra, if the UPA reverses the decision, it could still win some seats,” the MP says. Meanwhile, Shinde and Digvijay Singh have been consistently asserting that Telangana is a done deal by 2014. Union minister S. Jaipal Reddy has reportedly presented to the Centre a list of legal and constitutional provisions whereby the statehood bill can be passed smoothly in both Houses. The Telangana lobby in the meantime waits with optimism for the final package to be delivered.
- Telangana State Formation: An Historic Resolve – By Dr. K.V.Reddy (Nov 29, 2013, Countercurrents)