IAMC Weekly News Roundup – February 22nd, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Forensic experts say Kanhaiya video was doctored (Feb 19, 2016, India Today)

Forensic experts who examined arrested JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar’s video today in India Today studio made it clear that it is doctored. In the original video, Kanhaiya is asking to end social ills such as caste and communalism not anti-national slogans, experts said. Investigation shows video’s audio was tampered with and actual video showed no anti-national slogans.

“Wave forms on audio layers show doctoring,” the experts said. “First examination shows voices has been mixed,” Dr Mittal told India Today Television. Taking up India Today expose on the video, the AAP government has sent five videos of JNU episode for tests. JNU speech videos, from February 9 and 11 have been sent to top forensic lab in Delhi. Forensic reports of the sent videos are expected on Monday.

The video shot on February 9 shows a group of students demanding azadi for Kashmir. What might have happened is that somebody might have taken the audio from the video which was shot on February 9 and overlaid it on the video that was shot two days later on February 11, which is why the audio that can be heard is completely different.…

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/forensic-experts-say-kanhaiya-video-was-doctored/1/600808.html

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How lawyer Vikram Singh Chauhan who led both assaults at Patiala court sought support on Facebook to ‘teach traitors a lesson’ (Feb 18, 2016, Indian Express)

Vikram Singh Chauhan, the lawyer who led the attack on journalists and students Monday and was in the group that assaulted JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar at the Patiala House Courts Wednesday, used Facebook to mobilise support for the attacks.

Chauhan’s Facebook timeline shows nine posts between February 11 and 16 in which he is urging lawyers to reach the court well in time to “demonstrate patriotism” and “teach the traitors a lesson”. While a couple of these posts talk of taking the legal course, they also call for direct action or “face-to-face fight”.

He posted several photographs to show his links to the BJP – he is seen with several party leaders, from Rajnath Singh to J P Nadda to Kailash Vijayvargiya – and calls himself a “worker of BJP”. In other photographs, he is at an ABVP event in Delhi University last September on the eve of elections to the students’ union.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/patiala-house-court-violence-vikram-chauhan-kanhaiya-kumar-how-lawyer-who-led-both-assaults-sought-support-on-facebook-to-teach-traitors-a-lesso

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JNU leader Kanhaiya Kumar seeks bail citing threat to his life in Tihar Jail (Feb 18, 2016, Times of India)

Jawaharlal Nehru University students union president Kanhaiya Kumar on Thursday directly approached the Supreme Court for bail claiming threat to his life in Tihar Jail. Kanhaiya, who has been arrested on sedition charges, was attacked on Wednesday, in the Patiala House court complex by a group of lawyers.

In the petition, filed through advocate Anindita Pujari, the JNU students union leader claimed innocence. He has submitted that there is a threat to his life and there was a need for the apex court to intervene for safeguarding his life and limb.

Kumar said no purpose would be served by keeping him in the jail as the police has been finding it difficult to produce him even in the court. There was no need for his custodial interrogation as he has already been sent to judicial custody, he contended in the petition.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/51041164.cms

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Flag for central varsities: Does Smriti Irani know RSS did not fly Tricolour for 52 years? (Feb 22, 2016, First Post)

Those who do not want to respect the jhanda should get the danda, warned the twitterati on Thursday after imagining resistance to the BJP government’s decision to fly the Tiranga at all central universities.…

On 26 January, 2001, three activists of an organisation called Rashtrapremi Yuva Dal entered the premises of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at Nagpur to pay homage to its founder Dr Keshav Hedgewar. After a few minutes, the three activists – Baba Mendhe, Ramesh Kalambe and Dilip Chattani – started chanting patriotic slogans and took out the Tiranga. Guess what happened next? First, the in charge of the RSS premises Sunil Kathle tried to prevent the activists from hoisting the national flag. But, when they succeeded in unfurling the Tiranga, the RSS took them to court for it.…

The RSS and the Tricolour have had a fascinating history of resistance, rejection and acceptance. It may come as a rude surprise to neo recruits like Sharma that the RSS – not the Congis+Commies+Left – did not hoist the national flag at its headquarters for 52 years.…

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/rss-and-tricolour-why-the-modi-government-may-have-to-see-saffron-in-rss-national-flag-2633006.html

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Haryana burns as jat quota agitation turns into unruly violence, 4 killed (Feb 20, 2016, Times of India)

Chaos reigned in Haryana on Saturday with escalated violence in several areas as hooligans, who have joined ranks of jat protestors, ran amok, setting afire government and private property and vehicles, blocking roads and highways, disrupting trains and uprooting tracks and indulging in looting.

Curfew was imposed in Hisar, Sonipat and Jind towns after violence. Violence was also reported from Kaithal. The death toll in the violence in past 36 hours has reached four with over 100 people being injured. One person was killed when soldiers opened fire on an unruly mob in Jhajjar.

The Haryana Police and local administration in the affected districts have failed to react to the violence, leave alone controlling it even as the army moved in to control the situation in the worst-affected areas of Rohtak, Bhiwani and Jhajjar.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/51071335.cms

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Adivasi Leader Soni Sori Brutally Attacked (Feb 21, 2016, Countercurrents)

Adivasi leader from Chhathisgarh, Soni Sori was attacked near Kodenar in Bastar. About three men threw some substance on her face causing intense burning and pain. She was taken to the Geedam Hospital and is now being taken to the Jagdalpur hospital.

Soni has been receiving several threats for her continued work to affirm the rights of the adivasis. In the last few months she has been hounded by angry mobs, had her house vandalised and even issued death threats. Yesterday the police arrived at her voice claiming the title to her house was defective and stating that she needed to vacate, this despite the fact that no house in the area has been issued a patta by the state.

It is not a coincidence that the physical attack on her comes at the heels of the forced eviction of the Jagdalpur legal aid group which left Jagdalpur a few hours ago. Presently, the safety of Soni is the primary concern.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/cc210216.htm

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SC paves way for 2002 Gulberg massacre verdict (Feb 22, 2016, Times of India)

The Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for pronouncement of judgment by an Ahmedabad trial court in a case pertaining to the 2002 Gulberg Society massacre in which former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri and 67 others were killed.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India T S Thakur said there was no restraint on the trial judge to pronounce the verdict, and granted him three months for it.

The apex court had on August 5 last year also granted an extension of three months to wind up the proceedings in the case. It had also declined to give bail to the accused who had sought relief on the ground that since trial of the case has been dragging, they were entitled to be released from jail.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/51094127.cms

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Maharashtra: Beaten, forced to wave saffron, cop says his force let him down (Feb 23, 2016, Indian Express)

Yunus Sheikh, the Assistant Sub-Inspector who was assaulted, forced to carry a “saffron flag” and paraded through a town in Maharashtra’s Latur by members of a fringe right-wing group, has said that he was let down by his own colleagues who failed to save him.

The 50-year-old’s family has demanded a departmental probe into why reinforcements from Renapur police station failed to arrive in time to tackle the mob at Pangaon, around 15 km away, on Saturday. Sheikh, who is posted at the Renapur station, was on duty at Pangaon chowky.…

On Monday, speaking to The Indian Express from his bed at the Latur Civil Hospital, Sheikh said, “I phoned the control room and appraised them about the situation. Using my mobile, I called the in-charge of the Renapur station on his cellphone. But still, they failed to send reinforcements in time. The policemen reached Pangaon by 10.10 am. By then, the mob had assaulted me brutally and humiliated me by parading me.”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/maharashtra-beaten-forced-to-wave-saffron-cop-says-his-force-let-him-down/

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Hindu Body Loses Battle To Endow Chairs In US University (Feb 21, 2016, Outlook)

While Indian universities are struggling with Hindutva proponent’s bid for a majoritarian education in colleges and schools, in one United States campus, a similar attempt has been repelled.

The Dharma Civilization Foundation (DCF), a Hindu body based in the United States, will not be able to endow several chairs in the University of California, Irvine (UCI) as it had tried to for the last one year. At least, not on the terms it had laid down so far, and not with its current approach.

As reported in Outlook in January, DCF’s endowments are related to Indic studies, and Hindu, Jain and Sikh studies. They generated much heat and dust among students, teachers and the broader academic community in the US, who found they violated established norms at UCI, which include open debate, diverse campuses and academic freedom.…

http://www.outlookindia.com/blog/story/hindu-body-loses-battle-to-endow-chairs-in-us-university/3705

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Your Right to Know: Minorities formed 8.71% of central recruits in 2014-15 (Feb 22, 2016, Indian Express)

Minorities constituted 8.71 per cent of central government recruitment in 2014-15 with 13,571 of them obtaining jobs from a total of 1.56 lakh, according to information obtained by The Indian Express under the RTI Act.

The government has, however, disclosed that it was unable to compile data for recruitment of minorities for 2013-14 because its ministries either did not provide information or delayed the process. In 2012-13, records show, the recruitment of minorities constituted 7.37 per cent of the total.

Various circulars issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), following the Prime Minister’s 15-point programme for the welfare of minorities, show that it “could not furnish complete annual data for the year 2013-14, due to non-furnishing or delayed furnishing of the information by some of the ministries/departments”.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/your-right-to-know-minorities-formed-8-71-of-central-recruits-in-2014-15/

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Opinions and Editorials

India’s Crackdown on Dissent – Editorial (Feb 22, 2016, New York Times)

India is in the throes of a violent clash between advocates of freedom of speech and the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and its political allies on the Hindu right determined to silence dissent. This confrontation raises serious concerns about Mr. Modi’s governance and may further stall any progress in Parliament on economic reforms.…

Responsibility for this lynch-mob mentality lies squarely with Mr. Modi’s government. On the day after Mr. Kumar’s arrest, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, “If anyone raises anti-India slogans and tries to raise question on the nation’s unity and integrity, they will not be spared.” India’s Supreme Court has limited the definition of India’s colonial-era crime of sedition to speech that is “incitement to imminent lawless action.” Mr. Singh apparently does not realize that, in a democracy, voicing dissent is a vital right, not a crime.…

Mr. Modi must rein in his ministers and his party, and defuse the current crisis, or risk sabotaging both economic progress and India’s democracy. The charge of sedition against Mr. Kumar should be dropped. As Pratap Bhanu Mehta, president of the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi, warned in a recent opinion piece, members of Mr. Modi’s government “have threatened democracy; that is the most anti-national of all acts.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/23/opinion/indias-crackdown-on-dissent.html?_r=0

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The emperor’s new nationalism – Editorial (Feb 20, 2016, The Hindu)

From Hyderabad to Jawaharlal Nehru University, from the death of Rohith Vemula to the arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar, a clear political agenda by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party can be discerned. At first flush, this is a party whose top leaders – and they include members of the Union Cabinet – are all too willing to pick fights with student leaders and give establishment cover to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the Sangh’s student wing.

But to see events that have unfolded over the past week only as the government’s battle for ideological control for India’s universities, as real and as condemnable as the effort is, would be to miss the gravity of the moment. In the national capital this week, the Home Minister gave currency to parody accounts of Pakistani terrorists to build a case against JNU students and yet remained visibly unmoved by the obstinate refusal of the city’s police force, which comes under his charge, to arrest “nationalist” lawyers and a party MLA who beat up students on and around court premises.…

It is a dangerous phase in this country’s history when the government at the Centre is seen to be actively assisting in a right-wing effort to shape the discourse on nationalism. This is why the use of Section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code on sedition acquires greater menace than in instances in the past, when it has mostly been used by thin-skinned politicians to fend off critiques. Its application against JNU students and the unchecked violence against students and activists at Delhi’s Patiala House courts have sent out a message that the rule of law could be enforced selectively. If Prime Minister Narendra Modi differs from this dark reading of events, he needs to speak up.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/the-emperors-new-nationalism/article8258128.ece

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Same lawyers, same goondagardi and same police inaction – By Nirnimesh Kumar & Shubhomoy Sikdar (Feb 18, 2016, The Hindu)

They were named and shamed on social media after they attacked students, journalists and teachers at the Patiala House Courts on Monday. Yet the same group of lawyers on Wednesday clashed with one of their colleagues inside the court premises, beat up a journalist and later turned their wrath on JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar even as the police played mute witness.

Despite the presence of nearly 3,000 personnel from the Delhi Police and central police forces, utter chaos prevailed inside and outside the Patiala House Court premises where Kumar was produced on Wednesday in connection with the hearing on sedition charges filed against him.

The unruly mob of lawyers, including Vikram Singh Chauhan who was seen beating up students and activists on February 15, did not even spare senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Dushyant Dave, who visited the court to observe the security of Kumar on the direction of the Supreme Court. The lawyers shouted slogans against Mr. Sibal and the police had to escort him and Mr. Dave out of the premises. A brick was thrown at the two senior lawyers when they were about to board a car, but they escaped unhurt as a constable took the hit.…

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/same-lawyers-same-goondagardi-and-same-police-inaction/article8250153.ece

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Flag Sangh did not fly for 52 years – By Radhika Ramaseshan (Feb 20, 2016, The Telegraph)

The Narendra Modi government getting central universities to agree to fly the national flag round the clock is ironic, because the BJP’s ideological parent has had a persistently problematic relationship with the Tricolour.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has historically contended that the national flag should be awash in saffron and should particularly drop the colour green, which it believes was included to please Muslims.

These concerns were raised as late as September 19 last year, at a seminar on secularism that the Sangh had hosted in Chennai. Sangh spokesperson Manmohan Vaidya told the meeting that several members of the flag panel, set up by the Congress in 1931, felt the adoption of multiple colours reflected “communal thought”.…

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1160220/jsp/nation/story_70368.jsp

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Save India from BJP: Haryana’s handling of Jat agitation slammed on Twitter – By Neena Haridas – By Shadab Nazmi (Feb 21, 2016, Dailyo.in)

It’s been seven days since protesters in parts of Haryana have been demanding reservation in jobs and education for the Jat community. Amidst tight security by police and army personnel, protesters set fire to many vehicles and buildings in different parts of Haryana, particularly Rohtak and Jind.

Owing to high tension between the Jats and the state government, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar called up the BJP central leadership as well as Union home minister Rajnath Singh and railway minister Suresh Prabhu to discuss the situation in the state.

Delhi minister Kapil Mishra has declared that as a result of the ongoing turmoil in Haryana, there is an acute shortage of water supply in the capital now. “We are left with no water now, this morning’s supply was the last one,” he tweeted this morning.…

http://www.dailyo.in/variety/jat-agitation-narendra-modi-haryana-manohar-lal-khattar- smriti-irani-rajnath-singh-bjp/story/1/9140.html

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Smriti Irani: the Hindutva message beneath the maternal fury – By Aditya Menon (Feb 25, 2016, Catch News)

A few words of advice for Smriti Irani’s critics before we discuss her speech in the Lok Sabha. Stop making fun of Smriti Irani for her education (or the lack of it) or her background as a model and TV actress. If these are your only points of criticism against her, then be assured that you have already lost the battle.

Irani is emerging as one of the smartest politicians in the country today. Her allegedly fake Yale degree or her role as Tulsi in Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi are non-issues. In fact, they divert us from a much more significant reality – that Irani has become a new voice of Hindutva.

The HRD minister is a far more dangerous voice than the likes of Yogi Adityanath and Sakshi Maharaj who look like half-witted, roadside rabble-rousers in front of her. And if she continues to grow in this direction, they may soon have to shut shop and go back to their respective mutts.…

http://www.catchnews.com/politics-news/smriti-irani-the-hindutva-message-beneath-the- maternal-fury-1456373881.html

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