IAMC Weekly News Roundup – December 4th, 2017

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Muslims organise funds for Hindu woman’s wedding in Bengal village (Nov 26, 2017, Hindustan Times)

A group of Muslims came together to fund the marriage of a Hindu woman in a West Bengal village, which has only eight Hindu families and around 600 Muslim households. Led by Motiur Rahaman, a local madrassa headmaster, the Muslims helped Saraswati, daughter of late daily-wager, marry Tapan Chowdhury in their Khanpur village of Malda district on Thursday.

Saraswati’s father, Trjilal Chowdhury had died three years ago leaving his wife Sovarani in financial crisis with her five daughters and a son.… “On coming to know of Sovarani’s problem, I had discussions with my neighbours Abdul Bari, Imadul Rahaman, Jalaluddin, and Sahidul Islam, among others. We all agreed that since Saraswati is our daughter only despite being of different religion, it is our duty to arrange a proper wedding,” Rahaman told HT.

He and his group then approached Sovarani and assured her the amount, which they collected soon after and helped conduct the marriage. A reception ceremony was also held on November 25 where Rahaman stood at the entrance of Sovarani’s residence, greeting the groom and his family members.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/muslims-organise-funds-for-hindu-woman-s-wedding-in-bengal-village/story-h3eKAuhk1DRpJJjyWXNmMK.html

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Ayodhya dispute: Muslims feel an out of court settlement will be surrender (Dec 3, 2017, Business Standard)

For MA Siddiqui, this would be the 40th year as a lawyer in the Ayodhya dispute case – one of the first cases he took on the day he started practicing law. His client Hashim Ansari, the youngest of the petitioners in the Sunni Waqf board’s appeal in 1961 died last year at the age of 95.…

“The Allahabad High Court has committed an error by partitioning the inner side of the mosque compound as this was the property of Muslims before 1949. The high court has presumed that Hindus were also having a faith that it was the birth place of Ram. This faith was never proved by any evidence. Hindus never exercised any such right until 1949. Faith is not evidence. Evidence is what is defined under the Indian Evidence Act 1872,” says Zafaryab Jilani, the lawyer of the Sunni Waqf board representing the Muslim side in the case.…

With fissures deepening among the non-Muslim parties in the case, there have been efforts by people like Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravishankar to act as mediators with the goal of negotiating an out of court settlement. But even a so-called out of court settlement is a minefield not all parties want to enter. The Muslims represented by the Sunni Waqf board are averse to an out of court settlement.…

http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/ayodhya-dispute-muslims-feel-an-out-of-court-settlement-will-be-surrender-117120300377_1.html

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Initiate High Level Judicial Inquiry Into Judge Loya’s Death: Former Civil Servants Write to CJI (Dec 3, 2017, The Wire)

Thirty-two signatories, including retired secretaries to the government of India, four former ambassadors and a former chief information commissioner of a state government, today appealed to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and the chief justice of the Bombay high court to order a high level probe into the death of Judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya.

The appeal attached the request made by former Navy chief Admiral (Retd.) L. Ramdas, also to the CJI and the chief justice of the Bombay high court, that a high level judicial enquiry be initiated into the controversial circumstances of the death of Judge Loya. Justice (Retd.) B. H. Marlapalle, former judge of the Bombay high court and Justice (Retd.) A. P. Shah, former chief justice of the Delhi high court have also expressed the need for an enquiry.

The pleas seeking a probe have followed two reports the Caravan magazine published that quoted immediate members of Loya’s family, who questioned the circumstances surrounding his death. Loya, who was presiding over the CBI court in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, passed away on December 1, 2014, after a heart attack while in Nagpur to attend a colleague’s daughter’s wedding.…

https://thewire.in/201575/initiate-high-level-judicial-inquiry-into-death-of-judge-loya/

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Hindu activists hoist saffron flag, cops resort to lathi-charge at Bababudangiri (Dec 4, 2017, Deccan Chronicle)

Tension prevailed at Dattatreya Swami Dargah premises on Sunday after a few Hindu activists hoisted Bhagavadwaja (saffron flag) at the disputed site, prompting police to resort to a lathicharge to disperse the group from the disputed site at Bababudangiri Hills in Chikkamagaluru.

Hundreds of Hindu activists from various parts of the state had congregated at Bababudangiri Hills for the three-day Datta Jayanti starting from Friday organized by Bajrang Dal and other Hindu outfits and police had made elaborate security arrangements to see that the celebrations went off smoothly.…

Meanwhile, miscreants stoned a private bus at Uppali in Chikkamagaluru town and sensing trouble, commercial establishments in the town downed shutters leading to an undeclared bandh.…

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/041217/hindu-activists-hoist-saffron-flag-cops-resort-to-lathi-charge-at-bababudangiri.html

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RSS-Linked Group Launch Muslim ‘Bahu Lao’ Campaign, Plan 2,000 Marriages Of Muslim Women With Hindu Men (Dec 1, 2017, Outlook)

An RSS-affiliated group has planned to marry off Muslim girls to Hindu men in a campaign titled ‘beti bachao, bahu laao’ (Save daughters, bring daughters-in-law) as a counter to love jihad – a term publicised by the Hindutva groups to refer to Muslim men marrying Hindu women and converting them to Islam.

The title of the campaign gives a sinister twist to the Prime Minister’s famous ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padao’ campaign. The Hindu Jagran Manch (HJM) will facilitate the marriage of around 2,100 Muslim women who wish to marry Hindu men and will also support them financially, and provide security, reported The Indian Express.

“We will teach them a lesson in their own language,” the report quoted HJM’s state chief Ajju Chauhan as saying.… In a similar move, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad had, earlier this week, threatened that they will send Bajrang Dal youths to attract Muslim girls, if Muslims do not stop ‘Love Jihad.’…

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/rss-linked-group-launch-muslim-bahu-lao-campaign-plan-2000-marriages-of-muslim-w/305046

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Where ballot papers were used, BJP votes down, says Akhilesh Yadav (Dec 3, 2017, Indian Express)

Accusing the BJP of misusing EVMs in the civic polls, results of which were declared on Friday, SP president Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday alleged that the ruling party had fared better in areas where EVMs were used instead of ballot papers for casting votes.

“In areas where ballot papers were used (in civic polls), the BJP had got 15 per cent of the votes. In areas where EVMs were used, they got 46 per cent of the votes. They have not managed to garner similar support (as in the case of Lok Sabha elections) in municipality or panchayat polls,” Akhilesh said in Kolkata to workers at SP’s state conference.

In Lucknow, party UP chief spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said the BJP had lost the civic polls badly. “Among the 75 districts, municipal corporation elections were held only at 16 places. They (BJP) have spoken about only half of the actual results…. In the 652 seats (mayors and chairpersons of nagar palika parishads and nagar panchayats), the BJP lost 470 seats… Among 11,992 seats of corporators and members of nagar palika and nagar panchayat, it lost 9,812,” he said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/where-ballot-papers-were-used-bjp-votes-down-says-akhilesh-yadav-4965455/

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Instant triple talaq non-bailable offence, 3 years jail, fine for guilty: Draft law (Dec 2, 2017, Indian Express)

Over three months after the Supreme Court “set aside” the practice of instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat, the Centre has drawn up a draft law which makes it a “cognizable and non-bailable” offence, punishable with three years jail and a monetary fine.

The draft law – Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act – also allows a woman who has been given instant triple talaq to move court, seeking “subsistence allowance” for herself and dependent children, as well as custody of minor children. A Bill to this effect is likely to be tabled in the winter session of Parliament, highly placed government sources said on Friday.

The proposed law, which empowers Muslim women, applies to instant triple talaq in “oral, written, electronic or any other form”. Any declaration of talaq-e-biddat by a Muslim man shall be “illegal and void”, says the draft law.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/instant-triple-talaq-non-bailable-offence-3-years-jail-fine-for-guilty-says-draft-law-4964063/

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India needs to cherish and nurture its Muslims: Obama (Dec 1, 2017, The Hindu)

India needs to cherish and nurture its Muslim population that is integrated and considers itself Indian, former US president Barack Obama said here on Friday. It is an idea that needs to be reinforced, the former president said at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.

Mr. Obama said he had emphasised the need for religious tolerance and the right to practice one’s own faith during closed door talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his last trip to India in 2015.

The 44th US president, who held office between 2009 and 2017, had made similar comments during a public interaction on the last day of his visit, which had come against the backdrop of controversy over religious conversions.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-needs-to-cherish-and-nurture-its-muslims-obama/article21241610.ece

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Honeypreet Insaan wanted to flee India to settle down abroad with Gurmeet Ram Rahim (Nov 30, 2017, Times Now)

Convicted rapist Gurmeet Ram Rahim and his ‘adopted’ daughter Honeypreet Insan had dreamt of fleeing India and settling down abroad, the chargesheet filed by the Haryana police reveals.

In a startling confession made to the Haryana police, Honeypreet stated that she and the self-styled godman Ram Rahim had planned to run away to Nepal. In fact, the day the CBI court convicted the godman, Honeypreet came to court fully prepared to flee. She was carrying both their passports with her, along with relevant travel documents, bank cheques, their passbooks, etc.

The violence in Panchkula, that broke out after the verdict against Ram Rahim was pronounced, was planned and supervised by Honeypreet, the chargesheet stated. The burning of media OB vans was made to stop media coverage of the violence.…

http://www.timesnownews.com/india/article/gurmeet-ram-rahim-singh-honeypreet-insan-priyanka-taneja-wanted-to-settle-abroad-haryana-police-chargesheet-panchkula-violence-dera-sacha-sauda/136645

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Pradyuman murder: Cops groped my wife, threatened me to pull out from case, accuses family lawyer (Dec 3, 2017, India Today)

In a shocking turn of events in the Pradyuman Thakur murder case, Sushil K Tekriwal the counsel representing Pradyuman’s family has alleged that the police assaulted him and his wife and threatened them to leave the case. The incident is said to have taken place at 8:30 PM on Saturday night when Tekriwal had gone out for dinner with his family.

According to a letter written Tekriwal to the Commissioner of Police, the couple had gone for dinner with their 14-year-old son near Hotel Ashoka. As they were standing in the premise of Hotel Ashoka, three policemen came in a gypsy and started attacking Tekriwal.

“The constable put his gun towards us and Inspector Yadav groped me, attacked me, assaulted me, thrashed me, kicked from inside by butt and boot and I was down on the earth and attempted to kill from the gun. He screamed that both of us will be killed since we are dealing with Ryan Murder Case/Pradhyumn Case and threatened to leave the case otherwise we will be subjected to dire consequences,” Tekriwal wrote.…

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/pradyuman-thakur-lawyer-attacked-delhi-police-ryan-international-school/1/1102055.html

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Second wife files case after DSP demands Rs 5L as dowry (Dec 3, 2017, Free Press Journal)

Woman police station in Bhopal has registered a complaint against a DSP posted in Jabalpur for concealing his first marriage while marrying another woman.

According to woman police station town inspector (TI) Shikha Singh Bais, the complainant lives in Bhopal. In her complaint, she told police that the accused Rupesh Dangi who is posted as DSP in intelligence bureau (IB) in Jabalpur had married her in May 2015 while keeping her in dark about his first marriage.

The complainant said DSP’s former wife lives in Jabalpur and there is a case going on in the court as the accused did not have good relations with her and the divorce from his first wife has not taken place.…

http://www.freepressjournal.in/bhopal/second-wife-files-case-after-dsp%E2%80%88demands-rs-5l-as-dowry/1180895

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Opinions and Editorials

Why We Remember 6 December – Editorial (Dec 2, 2017, EPW)

It was no less than a clarion call to the Hindutva brigade to be prepared for action. On 24 November 2017, the head of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Mohan Bhagwat announced that a Ram temple would be built in Ayodhya. “This is a firm fact and is not going to change,” he said. “The moment of it becoming a reality is near and we need to make the efforts to ensure it happens.”

The statement is no surprise. Nor the venue where it was made, a Dharma Sansad organised by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) in Udupi, Karnataka. What is notable is the timing, a fortnight before we mark 25 years since the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on 6 December 1992.

It also comes days before the Supreme Court takes up the appeal against the Allahabad High Court judgment on the Babri Masjid/Ram Janmabhoomi dispute. The court’s ruling that the 2.77 acre disputed property, where the Babri Masjid once stood, should be divided between the Sunni Wakf Board, Ram Lalla (considered the main deity), and the Nirmohi Akhara, has been challenged.…

http://www.epw.in/journal/2017/48/editorials/why-we-remember-6-december.html

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When violence becomes a political tool – By Amulya Ganguli (Nov 24, 2017, Free Press Journal)

Mani Shankar Aiyar’s expectation about a “Godhra moment” sooner or later after Narendra Modi’s ascent hasn’t come true in the way the Congress leader thought that it might.

Instead of a major riot as in Gujarat in 2002, what is seen at present is a steady spread of violence under various guises, creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation with an anti-Muslim sub-text. The latest manifestation of this tense environment is the row over the film, Padmavati.

A key feature of this fraught milieu is the immunity which the rowdy elements associated with the saffron dispensation enjoy from the long arm of the law. It may amount to overstating the case to suggest that the lawless groups and the police work hand in hand. But what is clear is that the guardians of the law are palpably reluctant to act against those who violate the law with impunity.…

http://www.freepressjournal.in/analysis/when-violence-becomes-a-political-tool/1175736

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What we now know about the death of Special CBI judge Brijgopal Loya – By Rohan Venkataramakrishnan (Dec 3, 2017, Scroll.in)

Two weeks after Caravan magazine published a report about allegations made by the family of Central Bureau of Investigation judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya regarding his death in 2014, fresh reporting has filled in a number of the blanks in the story.

Loya was presiding over a Special CBI court in Mumbai, where the only case he was hearing was the alleged extra-judicial murder by Gujarat police of alleged extortionist Sohrabuddin Sheikh, in which Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah was one of the accused. Shah was minister of state for home in Gujarat when the fake encounter allegedly took place.…

The Supreme Court had originally said that just one judge should hear the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case from start to finish. But soon after the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014, the judge hearing the case was transferred and replaced by Loya. After Loya’s death, he was replaced by Judge MB Gosavi. By the end of December, Gosavi had dropped all charges against Amit Shah.…

https://scroll.in/article/860098/what-we-now-know-about-the-death-of-special-cbi-judge-brijgopal-loya

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Was Hadiya a stranger’s hostage? – By Faizan Mustafa (Dec 4, 2017, New Indian Express)

Having taught constitutional law for about a quarter-century, I am depressed to see the direction civil liberty jurisprudence has lately taken. With the unanimous privacy judgment, I had a feel-good sense. In the SC’s privacy judgment, Justice Chandrachud had taken individualism and individual rights to new heights when he noted the right to privacy “recognises autonomy of individual as privacy is intrinsic in freedom and liberty.

Privacy is the ultimate expression of the sanctity of individual.” Justice Chelameswar added people have freedom to choose their dress and appearance. If a person has a right to choose his religion, dress, etc., how can Hadiya be denied the right to choose her husband or her religion? The three-judge Bench hearing the Hadiya case is bound by the law laid down by the seven-judge privacy Bench.

My feel-good sentiment was however short-lived. The proceedings in the apex court on Hadiya’s husband challenge of the Kerala HC’s regressive order annulling their marriage have largely been disappointing from the day the NIA was asked to probe the so-called bogey of love jihad. There is surely some silver lining in the SC’s interim order of November 27 releasing Hadiya from her father’s custody. But there are still disturbing questions which should bother anyone interested in civil liberties.…

http://www.newindianexpress.com/opinions/2017/dec/04/was-hadiya-a-strangers-hostage-1717744.html

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A futile and divisive Padmavati controversy – By Kamlendra Kanwar (Free Press Journal)

It is not surprising that the controversial twist given to the folklore of centuries ago in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s celluloid depiction of Rani Padmavati of Chittor in Rajasthan has been occupying media space so pervasively. One can hardly ascribe it to anything but the obsession with sensationalism in the modern context.

Rajput groups, including the Karni Sena, allege that the film is a distortion of history and that it has invented a romantic angle between two historical figures, Chittor’s queen Padmavati and Delhi sultan of the time, Alauddin Khilji, where none existed. Revered by the martial race of Rajputs especially in Rajasthan and believed to have committed ‘sati’ at the funeral pyre of her husband to save her honour and her people’s pride from a marauding Khilji, the depiction of Rani Padmavati has disturbed a hornet’s nest.

The chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan have shown a recognizable softness towards the critics of the movie and have been tacitly in favour of action to block its release in its present form. The protagonists of cultural freedom are equally up in arms.…

http://www.freepressjournal.in/analysis/a-futile-and-divisive-padmavati-controversy/1175053

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GST Dispute Resolution Mechanism: A Constitutional Farce? – By Jaison John (Dec 2, 2017, EPW)

The Indian taxation framework had for some time been suffering from the burden of multiple taxes levied under many laws. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) was expected to eliminate the rot that had settled in the system, cut the clutter, and ensure the smooth functioning of the system. The constitutional amendment was just the first hurdle; issues like gauging the effect on union and state income, the rate of GST, the mechanism for dispute resolution, and so forth needed further clarifications.…

The most important limitation of any mechanism established by the GST Council will be its inability to declare any legislation that violates the harmonious structure of GST as unconstitutional or ultravires the Constitution, or strike out such statutes. If the GST Council constitutes an ad hoc arbitral tribunal or panel of experts, they cannot question the vires of any legislation passed by state or central governments.

The decision in the L Chandra Kumar case would have helped if the GST Council had established a dispute resolution mechanism under Articles 323A or 323B (Law Commission of India 2008). If deprived of this key power to review legislations that violate the harmonious structure of GST, or which are against any of the recommendations of the GST Council, such non-conforming laws can hold their ground, defying the very existential purpose of the GST Council dispute resolution mechanism.

http://www.epw.in/journal/2017/48/commentary/gst-dispute-resolution-mechanism.html

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