IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 15th, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Bishop House in Kerala opens doors for Muslims to perform prayers (Feb 17, 2016, Twocircles.net)

At a time when communal prejudices seem to be returning with a vengeance, Kerala has shown a heartening case of communal harmony. Christians of the state opened doors of their Bishop’s house for their Muslim brothers for the valedictory session of the 90th anniversary of Samastha Kerala Jam’iyyathul Ulama, held at Alappuzha beach on Sunday.

The functionaries of Alappuzha Bishop House, headquarters of Roman Catholic Diocese of Alleppey, opened their halls for Muslims in order to help the perform their Maghrib and Isha prayers. Besides, their Muslims brothers were allowed to use the toilets and other facilities of the Bishop house.…

The functionaries were happy to see their Muslim brothers walking to the headquarters in queue. The discipline they kept till to the final moment, according to Febi, drew the respect of the local people. “The entire crowd, reportedly, numbered around 5 lakh, they acted well. Even after we opened our doors, everyone was separately seeking our permission to enter inside and take ablution from our water tank,” Father Febi added.…

http://twocircles.net/2016feb17/1455715162.html

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Hindus take care of a mosque in UP’s communal cauldron (Feb 16, 2016, First Post)

The values of unity, respect and equality are seen among people who take care of a mosque at Nanhera in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, which has recently been singed by riots over religion.

Dara Singh, a village head has taken the responsibility to protect the 100-year-old mosque and plans to renovate it. The people of the village take care of the mosque. Religious differences have not prevented them from ensuring the upkeep of the structure.

There are no Muslim in the area to offer any prayers or to perform rituals. So, the whole community of Nanhera joins hands to look after the mosque and considers it as their heritage. With the objective to spread the message of peace and harmony, the villagers have decided to protect this place of worship.

http://www.firstpost.com/india/watch-hindus-take-care-of-a-mosque-in-ups-communal-cauldron-2628858.html

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Sedition case against JNUSU president: Lawyers, BJP MLA take law in their fists (Feb 16, 2016, Indian Express)

At least ten journalists, including two from The Indian Express, and several students were assaulted Monday by lawyers and a Delhi BJP MLA inside and outside the Patiala House Courts where a sedition case against Jawaharlal Nehru University students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar was to be heard.

The attack took place before hearing in the case got underway. A large number of policemen present there remained mute spectators. O P Sharma, BJP MLA from Vishwas Nagar, and his supporters pinned down CPI minority cell leader Ameeque Jamei and assaulted him outside the court complex.

Inside, a group of lawyers entered the court room, raised slogans and told students, teachers and journalists to leave. But they refused, saying they had a right to attend the proceedings. Announcing they were “patriots”, the men first targeted the students and teachers. Calling JNU a “den of anti-India elements and terrorists”, they attacked them and then turned on the journalists present in the room, punching and slapping them. Outside the court, another group of lawyers assaulted journalists and students.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/jnu-kanhaiya-kumar-patiala-house-court-lawyers-media-attacked/

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ABVP members raised anti-India slogans: AAP submits video clip proof to police (Feb 16, 2016, Indian Express)

Defending Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar, the AAP Monday submitted two video clips that purportedly show the “real culprits behind the unrest in JNU”. According to the AAP, the two clips allegedly show members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) shouting anti-India slogans.…

Senior AAP leaders Ashutosh and Dilip Pandey met Special Commissioner (Law & Order) Deepak Mishra and demanded action against those seen in the video clips. “We are disturbed by the fact that police arrested the JNUSU president without any evidence against him. The two video clips which we are submitting to you cast a very serious doubt on the role of ABVP in the entire incident and it must be thoroughly probed.

Those seen raising anti-India slogans in these clips must be immediately identified and arrested,” the AAP letter to the police read. One of the videos shows people allegedly shouting ‘Pakistan Zindabad’, who AAP claimed were affiliated to the ABVP.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/abvp-members-raised-anti-india-slogans-aap-submits-video-clip-proof-to-police/

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RSS an anti-national organization in India, Irfan Habib says (Feb 16, 2016, Times of India)

“RSS has been an anti-national organization in India,” said Historian Irfan Habib, Professor Emeritus, Aligarh Muslim University. He spoke to TOI regarding the Jawaharlal Nehru University row, where on February 13, the JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested on charges of sedition, and his speech was called “anti-national” at the event organized by a group of students to mark the third anniversary of terror convict Afzal Guru’s hanging.

Speaking on “anti-national” charge, Habib first explained nationalism, he said, “Nation is not simply a territory. It comprises of people. And nationalism means pursuing the interest of people of that territory. Those who incite violence against any section of that population are committing anti-national activity. That is exactly what RSS has been doing – RSS has been an anti-national organization in India.”

He further cited from his past lecture “Building the idea of India” and added, “The RSS was founded in 1925 one should ask them, what did you do for 22 years (till 1947)? Why didn’t you join the National Movement and go to prison? Why don’t you do something against the British if you are such a great patriot? Hindu Mahasabha and RSS have the same psychological problem. Ask the same questions to Hindu Mahasabha – ‘why didn’t you join the national movement?’ Savarkar in the Andaman gave an apology thus washing away his whole patriotic past. He only opposed the Muslims propounding a two-nation theory even before Muhammad Ali Jinnah.”

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/51012488.cms

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Kittappa Fake Encounter Case: Court Orders CBCID to File Murder Case Against 12 Cops (Feb 9, 2016, New Indian Express)

District Principal Sessions Court Judge Naseer Ahamed came down strongly on Police department for stage-managing a fake encounter and killing Kittappa, a notorious history-sheeter. In the judgment delivered on Monday evening, the judge said that in the prima facie it appears that Policemen had carried out a fake encounter and had misused their powers which amount to murder charge.

Following that he ordered the CBCID sleuths to file a murder case against 12 Policemen who were present at the encounter spot. The list included DSP Rajaram, Assistant Commissioner, Madhavan Nair, Sub-Inspector, Sivaramakrishnan, constables Singam alias Selvanathan, Murugesan, Karuppasamy, Alwin Babu, Thangam, Shanmugavel, Krishnasamy, Saravana Sundar and Murugan.…

Bramma, RTI activist, claims that he was the first to file a complaint at National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that the encounter staged was fake and his complaint was accepted by NHRC who are carrying out a parallel investigation. Under the circumstance the court judgment is a great boost as it proves clearly that the Policemen had staged a fake encounter. He had been claiming from the day one that Kittappa was murdered by Police through fake encounter claimed Bramma.…

http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/Kittappa-Fake-Encounter-Case-Court-Orders-CBCID-to-File-Murder-Case-Against-12-Cops/2016/02/09/article3268878.ece

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2008 Malegaon blast: Mcoca applicable on SP Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, says NIA (Feb 15, 2016, Times of India)

Avinash Rasal, special public prosecutor of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, said the provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (Mcoca) are “applicable” on the 10 accused, including Lt Colonel SP Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur.

The agency “never consulted” him before proposing to drop the charges, Rasal told ET, a statement that may not be comfortable for the NIA, which was accused by previous prosecutor Rohini Salian of asking her to “go slow” in the case.…

Speaking to ET, Rasal said: “I have been arguing on behalf of the NIA during which I showed it to the court that MCOCA is applicable. As many as 24 applications of bail have been rejected by the court between September…and January 22 this year… In my court appearances, I strongly said those arrested conspired to revolt against the government. They wanted to have a Hindu Rashtra and they were trying to overthrow this government and that is why the provision of MCOCA is applicable.”

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/50990615.cms

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2013 Muzzafarnagar riots: 4 acquitted in gangrape case after victim, family turn hostile, husband says ‘we were threatened’ (Feb 12, 2016, Indian Express)

Another case related to the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots has ended in acquittal. Four men, accused of gangraping a woman during the riots in the Fugana police station area, were acquitted on January 21 by a Muzaffarnagar fast track court after the victim and key witnesses, including her husband, mother-in-law and a neighbour, were declared hostile and did not support the prosecution during the trial.

Asked why he turned hostile, the victim’s husband told The Indian Express that seven months after they had lodged an FIR, “people on behalf of the accused would approach us, even threaten us with dire consequences”. He said they were told to retract the gangrape charge.

He said he and the neighbour, also a witness in the case, met the then in-charge of Fugana and Burhana police stations to seek protection and action. But the police never took the complaint seriously, he claimed. “Despite lodging complaints several times at Fugana and Burhana police stations, no one came forward to help us.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/shamli-district-burhana-police-2013-muzzafarnagar-riots-4-acquitted-in-gangrape-case-after-victim-family-turn-hostile-husband-says-we-were-threa

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If Ishrat Was Killed Because of Her Alleged LeT Link, Why Was Kauserbi Killed? What Was Her Crime? (Feb 12, 2016, Caravan Daily)

Pakistani American double agent and terrorist David Headley has set off a political and media storm in the country by allegedly declaring Mumbai girl Ishrat Jahan as an operative and suicide bomber for Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayeba (LeT). During his deposition before Indian agencies, he referred to a woman killed in a police encounter on Indian soil. When he was given three names by the Mumbai anti-terror prosecutor Ujwal Nikam, Headley claimed that the name of the woman was Ishrat Jahan.…

But amid all these claims about Ishrat and her staged encounter, no one is talking about Kauserbi and her husband Sohrabuddin Sheikh, both of whom were eliminated under similar suspicious circumstances by the Gujarat Police when Amit Shah, the powerful chief of the governing Bharatiya Janata Party, had been the Home Minister of Gujarat. And of course, the chief minister of the state at the time happened to be Narendra Modi.

So why was Kauserbi killed? The 32-year-old woman was said to be the only and unfortunate witness to the encounter killing of her husband Sohrabuddin Sheikh who was killed in a fake encounter in a joint operation by the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of the Gujarat and Rajasthan police.…

http://caravandaily.com/portal/if-ishrat-was-killed-because-of-her-alleged-let-link-why-was-kauserbi-killed-what-was-her-crime/

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Govt’s plan to end minority status for select institutions hits NDA wall (Feb 11, 2016, Free Press Journal)

The Modi government’s attempt to end the minority status of the institutions like Aligarh Muslim University on the ground that it is a central university has come under attack from within the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) of union minister Ram Vilas Paswan has registered its protest over the government moving the Supreme Court to deny the minority status to the AMU without taking the allies into confidence. The protest was lodged on Monday during a meeting attended by BJP chief Amit Shah on coordination in the upcoming budget session of Parliament.

While other parties like Shiv Sena, Akali Dal and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) registered their protest over the BJP taking them for granted in never consulting them even on the major decisions, Paswan’s party protested that the Centre’s AMU policy would alienate all minorities, not only Muslims, by pushing to end the minority status of AMU and Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi, though both are central varsities.…

http://www.freepressjournal.in/govts-plan-to-end-minority-status-for-select-institutions-hits-nda-wall/778275

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With Arshad Madani sharing dais, Mahmood Madani warns govt over conspiring against Muslims (Feb 15, 2016, Ummid.co)

With Arshad Madani sharing dais with him after about seven years and in the presence of over 100,000 people, Jamiat-e-Ulema General Secretary Mahmood Madani warned the BJP led government in New Delhi against dividing Muslims on sectarian lines.

“Stop making conspiracy against the Muslim community and concentrate on inclusive development of the nation”, Mahmood Madani said while addressing the Jamiat-e-Ulema conference held at Faiz-e-Aam Inter Colleg in Meerut on Sunday.

Reiterating that “Muslims are Indian by choice not by chance”, Mahmood Madani said, “We have upper hand living in India and those asking Muslims to leave for Pakistan should themselves be deported”.…

http://www.ummid.com/news/2016/February/14.02.2016/mehmood-madani-arshad-mdani-shared-dias.html

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ABVP Attacks #RohithVemula Bus Yatra In Telengana (Feb 16, 2016, Countercurrents)

Joint Action Committee for Social Justice (UoH) condemns in the strongest possible words, ABVP’s attack on members of Joint Action Committee in Bus Yatra in Telangana. When students for #JusticeforRohith organized a Public Meeting in Mahatma Gandhi University, Nalgonda, ABVP disrupted the meeting, attacked the students shouting slogans “Anti-nationals, Khabardar” against Rohith Vemula and the protesting students.

ABVP’s politics has always gone hand in hand with violence and vandalism. ABVP attacked the protesting students for #JusticeforRohith in Lucknow University, Ambedkar University, Delhi and many other places. In Haryana Central University, ABVP vandalised the candle march that was taken out for #JusticeforRohith. The University administration filed FIR against these students alleging them with carrying out ‘anti-national’ activities. The administration forced the students to give a written letter against conducting any protests in future.

Student members of a Left organization were attacked by ABVP in Sikar (Rajasthan), Dehradun and Lucknow. In Mumbai, more than 10000 people from colleges, bastis and all over the city gathered in a democratic protest for #JusticeforRohith, following which the BJP-led Maharashtra government and the police have filed an FIR against 1500 unnamed individuals charging them with ‘rioting’.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/jac160216.htm

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Opinions and Editorials

Deconstructing Saffron Nationalism – By Vikas Bajpai (Feb 13, 2016, EPW)

…JNU has become the focus of renewed attention of the Sangh Parivar. Even though the pretext for this situation may be new, the present situation has been in the making ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government came to power at the centre.

Within a few days of Narendra Modi coming to power in Delhi an editorial column was written in Pioneer on 2 June 2014 by K G Suresh, a senior fellow of the Vivekananda Foundation, affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Suresh made the case with reference to JNU that it was time to clean the Augean stables “of those who masquerade as Left-liberals” but “in reality” promote divisive, anti-national agendas. Subsequently there have been many more statements by various functionaries of the Sangh affiliated organisations to the effect that JNU is a den of anti-national elements.…

The entire JNU community and the Indian people at large can afford to be silent on the present campaign of the Sangh Parivar only at their own peril. It is wonderful to see that the entire JNU community has rebounded with courage and determination against this campaign over past two days. I just hope the world is listening.

http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/7/web-exclusives/deconstructing-saffron-nationalism.html

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JNU Row : Criminalising Dissent – By Nikita Lamba (Feb 19, 2016, Tehelka)

“JNU students are scholars and I like them but taking to the streets is hooliganism,” said a man to the oncoming files of students from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on 18 February at Mandi House. The students defended their right of free speech and to express dissent as the faculty members dispersed the crowdthat was gathering around this man. This unidentified person started to retreat and was surprisingly surrounded by the police who were taking no action to disperse the crowd or to keep it under control.

On the other hand, when Kanhaiya and four other journalists were attacked in court, the police stepped back and let the lawyers finish off with them. “No arrests were made when RSS activists, dressed in civil clothes, were beating up JNU students both male and female three weeks back in front of the RSS office,” says Alka, a student of master’s in political science, JNU and a member of Democratic Students Federation. She continues, “B.S. Bassi has proved that he is not the top cop of Delhi Police but a muscle man of BJP.”…

The message that has been going across to the country is that there is only one kind of nationalism which is the saffron kind and all those who have a difference of opinion may as well surrender under sedition. The message going across isBharat Mata ki Jai (hail mother India) which is really not such a bad idea but the concept of Bharat mata (mother India) comes from a deeply rooted idea of the goddess Durga, a concept that does not give space to other religious groups and other identities.

http://www.tehelka.com/2016/02/jnu-row-crminalising-dissent/

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This is a watershed moment for India. It must choose freedom over intolerance – By Priyamvada Gopal (Feb 17, 2016, The Guardian)

The standoff at New Delhi’s famous Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) that has transfixed India has nothing of the routine campus controversy about it. Following the arrest of a student leader, India’s Hindu nationalist BJP government now finds itself facing down a large coalition of progressive groups laying claim to the idea of an India where the right to dissent is foundational.…

For those committed to the idea of India as essentially a Hindu country, which includes many in the government of the prime minister, Narendra Modi, the list of potential “anti-nationals” appears to be compendious. It seems to include everyone from Muslim, Dalit, Christian, leftwing and liberal activists to those who question the Indian state’s actions in Kashmir or suggest that religious intolerance isn’t a good idea.

Until recently, this dispensation has had the benefit of an acquiescent, even cheerleading media, but that may be changing. Today, with journalists also facing down manhandling and violence from government supporters, even as some of their more rabid colleagues appear to be inciting it against JNU students, the situation reminds many of the horrors of the 1975-77 state of emergency. Now, as then, India is poised on the brink of a choice between the dangers of authoritarianism and its historic commitment to dissent. It is essential that the latter prevails.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/feb/17/india-kanhaiya-kumar-watershed-freedom-intolerance-bjp-hindu

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Is India Truly Turning Into A Fascist Nation? – By Shubhda Chaudhary (Feb 13, 2016, Countercurrents)

…The current government is systematically targeting the educational institutions, be it the Rohith Vemula’s case or #ShutDownJNU slogan, creating a left ‘other’ that needs to be loathed, unheard and unseen, forcibly made invisible from the contours of political dialectics.…

The idea of the government is to let JNU stay as an island of dissent, consistently portrayed as anti-national, to justify thousands of cases of suppression of dissent by the state nationwide. It is indeed the ‘othering’ of liberalism as unpatriotic. The current administration has made no secret of the fact that in its eyes, social conservatives are ideal and obedient replacements for real social scientists. Rewriting history is a top priority for them, as they envision an altogether different national project than the one that had been put in place in 1947.…

So, is India truly turning into a fascist nation? If all those who disagree with RSS-ABVP, do not stand together in solidarity now as after Rohith Vemula’s killing, will they be picked up one by one and suppressed? Solidarity does not imply a common manifesto – it implies recognition of common concern for humanity and progressive ideas and recognition of fascism as a common enemy.

http://www.countercurrents.org/sc120216.htm

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That ’70s Show – By Vrinda Gopinath (Feb 29, 2016, Outlook)

Oh, the shivers of nostalgia! It’s true – to paraphrase an old saying – if you remember the seventies, you weren’t in them. But who didn’t grow up learning about the dictatorial reign of Indira Gandhi? That disciplinarian of the Emergency years (secretly endorsed by the middle classes – you know, trains running on time etc), the conceited excesses of Sanjay Gandhi, the suppression of free speech and thought, news censorship, the crackdown on universities and student demonstrations and slapping of terrifying sedition laws – all history now.

Or is it? It looks like the ghosts are back. If it weren’t for Twitter and headlines to remind us this is the 21st century, the two decades would be united by the tyranny of the majority. After all, aren’t we all being stealthily prodded to see the similarities between Modi and Indira all the time? If the paeans, both within his party and government, about his stately gait and dazzling machismo were not enough, his stature and working style are constantly used to conjure memories of the Indira era – all charisma, leadership and ruthless supremacy.…

But on a hopeful note, like in 1975, this particular comedy of terrors has also woken up Dalits, the radical Left, socialists and workers – all marching to the revolutionary song. The battle-lines are drawn again – a witless government, supremacist thugs and remorseless police against agitated students. Now can the shakha shake, shake, shake?

http://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/that-70s-show/296659

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Rohith Vemula’s Death: A Noose Around The BJP’s Neck – By Anand Teltumbde (Feb 8, 2016, Countercurrents)

Rohith Vemula’s dream of becoming Carl Sagan to write science abruptly ended at the altar of caste but in death it is metamorphosed into a peoples’ dream to end the circumstances that caused it. Rohith dropped out from the process of his likely anointment by the casteist establishment as the doctor of philosophy but in the poignant lines he left behind as his suicide note are a piece of philosophy of the dalit existence in this cursed land that shall live on for years.…

Rohith’s death exposed the multilayered injustice of the saffron establishment. Entire student community, barring of course the ABVP, came out spontaneously condemning the hindutva hooliganism. It exposed the dalit leaders who failed even to speak out against their political patrons in the face of such monumental injustice. The dalits who were fooled by them into voting for the Hindutva forces have slowly woken up to see their folly. The caste is culture of ancient India which is craved for by the hindutva forces. What dalits call discrimination, is natural to the hindutva.…

It provoked all dalit teachers of the HCU to resign enmasse from their administrative responsibilities. The previous day, the teachers’ body of the HCU had boldly rejected the request from the VC to resume classes until the punishment was revoked. The VC had to lick the dust and revoke the suspension. The prime minister announced the judicial commission to enquire into the entire episode in another attempt to cover up the sins of his own tribe. This all would not go unnoticed by people. The Brahmanical pride in self righteousness blinds BJP to see Rohit’s noose tightening around its neck too.

http://www.countercurrents.org/teltumbde080216.htm

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