IAMC Weekly News Roundup – January 11th, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

BJP MLA booked for creating ruckus inside thana in Bhind (Jan 11, 2016, Times of India)

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Bhind has been booked on Monday for rioting inside a police station and creating obstruction in public servant’s work.

Narendra Singh Kushwah, the MLA, had created ruckus in city Kotwali police station with his supporters on Thursday demanding release of a local corporator, accused of cricket-betting. MLA’s supporters had manhandled a police videographer and media to switch off their cameras.…

Video clippings of the MLAs utterances against the cops inside the thana had also gone viral on social media. Kushwah was heard shouting at cops.… He was booked under sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty), 187 (omission to assist public servant) and 147 (rioting).…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/50530307.cms

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‘Subramanian Swamy’s Ram temple comment aimed at RS seat’ (Jan 9, 2016, Yahoo)

Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed on Saturday said no statement of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy could be taken seriously as “he would never walk the talk” and has a “personal interest” behind commenting on the Ram temple.

On Swamy saying that the proposed Ram temple in Ayodhya “will be built on the decided land only”, the Congress general secretary said “Swamy’s past track has not been good, as he never does what he says”.

“He has been making all sorts of comments on issues. He is doing it just to ensure a Rajya Sabha seat for himself,” the Congress leader told IANS.…

https://in.news.yahoo.com/subramanian-swamys-ram-temple-aimed-rs-seat-150403021.html

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Gurdaspur SP ‘less than truthful’ during questioning, suspects NIA (Jan 11, 2016, Hindustan Times)

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has yet to clear Punjab superintendent of police Salwinder Singh, who was allegedly abducted by a group of Pakistani terrorists before they launched a daring attack on the Pathankot air base. Sources said investigators suspected Singh has been “less than truthful” in his statements to the NIA during questioning.…

NIA sources said several discrepancies have been found in the versions of Singh, his jeweler-friend and the cook. Now, NIA officers will interrogate Singh in Delhi and the cook in Chandigarh. The agency has yet to get credible answers to questions such as why Singh kept four mobile phones and helper Gopal had two mobile phones.

“Besides, his friend Verma and cook Gopal visited the same shrine on the morning of December 31 and remained there for more than 90 minutes before returning there that night with Salwinder. The NIA needs to know why they visited the shrine in the morning,” an officer said.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/pathankot-attack-gurdaspur-sp-salwinder-singh-being-questioned-by-nia/story-F0yZ5nDXner58z9REkSRVO.html

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Sudheeran comes down heavily on Hindutva politics (Jan 10, 2016, The Hindu)

Whether or not it was a deft strategy to win back a section of votes which the Congress-IUML combine lost to the CPI (M)-led LDF in the three-tier local bodies’ polls in November, KPCC president V.M. Sudheeran’s speeches during his ongoing Kerala Raksha Yatra in Kozhikode district were loaded with anti- Hindutva themes and the rise of the RSS after the BJP came to power at the Centre.

Coming down heavily on Narendra Modi government, he said that the Prime Minister had become a crazy NRI modernist who thinks only of visiting foreign countries. The BJP government was engaged in uplifting the industrialists rather than caring for the welfare of the poor in the country.…

Writers and artistes were either killed or threatened by fascist forces after the BJP assumed power at the Centre. Previously, the Planning Board had been dismantled and now the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has been merged with the Ministry of External Affairs, Mr. Sudheeran said.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/sudheeran-comes-down-heavily-on-hindutva-politics/article8087684.ece

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‘The RSS is conspiring to gain a hold of all academic institutions’: Ousted BHU professor (Jan 7, 2016, Scroll.in)

On December 21, Banaras Hindu University convened a board meeting and decided to show the door to Magsaysay award winner and visiting professor Sandeep Pandey, allegedly for his “anti-national activities”. Pandey had been teaching at the Indian Institute of Technology-BHU for two-and-a half years. He sparked a storm in the academic community with his allegation that his political ideology had him a target of the Narendra Modi government. Here’s what he told Scroll.…

Ever since the current Modi government came into power, some sections have been trying to complain about me to the Ministry of Human Resources Development. The HRD minister Smriti Irani also called the Director Rajeev Sangal and told him that I am politically active and my actions need to be controlled. In another instance, the Vice Chancellor GC Tripathi got miffed at me for sitting at a protest with 40 contract employees of BHU who were ousted recently. I just supported them but VC asked me why did I feel the need to go there. He even said that if I want to be Jayaprakash Narayan then I should quit the university and join politics.

In another meeting, Professor Dhananjay Pandey, who is associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, went on to say that people who should be in jail are part of the faculty here but he didn’t take my name. But he didn’t renew my contract and it was delayed for three months before the director acted on it.…

http://scroll.in/article/801512/the-rss-is-conspiring-to-gain-hold-of-all-academic-institutions-ousted-bhu-professor

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Government shifts stand, against minority tag for Aligarh Muslim University (Jan 12, 2016, Times of India)

Unperturbed by the ‘intolerance’ charge flung at it prior to Bihar elections, the BJP-led NDA government appeared to ruffle fresh feathers by taking a stand in the Supreme Court on Monday that Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) could not be categorized as a ‘minority’ institution.

Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi told a bench of Justices J S Khehar, M Y Eqbal and C Nagappan, “It is the stand of the Union of India that AMU is not a minority university. As the executive government at the Centre, we can’t be seen as setting up a minority institution in a secular state.”…

The AG’s stand drew immediate reaction from Justice Eqbal, who asked, “Is the change of stand because of change in the government at the Centre?”…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/50539503.cms

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West Bengal must learn its lessons about communalism from Malda (Jan 12, 2016, Hindustan Times)

Communalising the atmosphere of a state that is going to the polls has been a recurrent feature of Indian politics. This is particularly true for states that have a substantial minority population. The disturbing contours of something like this are acquiring shape in West Bengal’s Malda district, which borders Bangladesh and has a relatively large Muslim population. The trouble started about 10 days ago, when a crowd gathered at a place to protest against a speech purportedly derogatory towards Prophet Mohammed.

Though the speech was made more than a month ago and outside West Bengal at that, the fact that protests against it are still continuing illustrates the tinder box atmosphere that obtains in many Indian states and underlines the need to contain the situation. The signs were ominous, with local people, after a to-do with BSF jawans, setting a police station afire.…

Hence the decision of the BJP to send observers to a place whose mood is volatile was injudicious because it could have led to further trouble. While it is true that the BJP is expanding in West Bengal, it is also a fact that the party has repeatedly picked up issues that are of a divisive nature and do not address the problems of the state, such as economic backwardness or unemployment. And, as the Bihar experience has shown, the electorate now has matured to an extent that it does not rise to anyone’s bait easily.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/editorials/west-bengal-must-learn-its-lessons-about-communalism-from-malda/story-rNB9YFJ2hACgc4L5DSy4vJ.html

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We hoist the flag but does RSS honour it, asks Deoband (Jan 12, 2016, The Hindu)

A day after an RSS body asked all madrasas in the country to hoist the national flag on Republic Day, Darul Uloom Deoband on Monday asked the RSS if it “believed” in Constitution of India and in the national flag.…

Ashraf Usmani, the spokesperson of the seminary told The Hindu that though the decision to hoist the national flag is individual choice of madrasas, almost all of them not only hoist national flag but also celebrate Independence and Republic days. Mr. Usmani also bluntly asked the RSS what its contribution in the freedom struggle was.

“First of all, let me announce it to everybody who are ignorant of the immense contribution of madrasas in the freedom struggle of the country, that most of the madrasas not only hoist the national flag but also celebrate the Independence and Republic days regularly. Nobody has given the right to any body or any organisation like RSS to ask or direct anybody else, let alone madrasas, to hoist the national flag,” Mr. Usmani said.…

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/we-hoist-the-flag-but-does-rss-honour-it-asks-deoband/article8094221.ece

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Civic body chief among 32 booked for fake encounter (Jan 10, 2016, The Tribune)

The city police have registered a case against SAD leader and Machhiwara Nagar Council president Daljit Singh, his aide Peter and nearly 30 unidentified persons for allegedly threatening a key witness in a double murder case, to turn hostile.

The case was registered on the complaint of advocate Pankaj Suri. The complainant said the accused entered his office on January 7 and reportedly threatened Baljit Singh Bunny, a key witness in a double-murder case, of dire consequences if the latter made any statement in the court in connection with a fake encounter case in which two Dalits were killed.

Suri said the accused also threatened Satpal Singh, the father of the two Dalit brothers who were killed in the fake encounter. Two days ago, Baljit Singh alias Bunny of Takhran village had claimed that he was threatened not to appear in the court. Bunny said he apprehended threat to his life and false implication in the case. He said the opponents made all efforts to stop him from appearing in the court.…

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/cities/ludhiana/civic-body-chief-among-32-booked-for-fake-encounter/181613.html

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In Hyderabad University, Dalit students pay heavy price for protesting against Hindutva brigade (Jan 8, 2016, Twocircles.net)

…One wonders what it will take for Dalit issues, and the condition of Dalit students in Indian universities, to get the attention it deserves. As we write this, five Dalit students have been socially boycotted and expelled from hostels and other public spaces, by the authorities of the University of Hyderabad after a series of dramatic incidents revolving around a brawl between two students groups in the campus. But unlike FTII, this has failed to get any media attention.

And all this allegedly started with the proposed screening of a documentary, which the BJP and thereby, its student wing, does not want anyone to see. “Muzaffarnagar Baqi Hai” is a documentary that probes into the unexplored questions about the Muzaffarnagar riots.…

On the falsified complaint of the ABVP leader, the university Proctorial Committee unanimously suspended Dontha Prashanth, Rohith Vemula, Seshu Chemudugunta, Vijay Kumar P Sundar and Sunkanna Velpula. After student organisations protested against this atrocity, the administration revoked the suspension and promised to constitute a new committee and conduct a fresh inquiry about the incidents. However, due to the pressure of the external right-wing Hindutva forces, the promise was violated by the university authority because the current decision to expel these students from the hostels and other public spaces remains based on the previously-biased inquiry report.…

http://twocircles.net/2016jan08/1452266233.html

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Opinions and Editorials

Welcome To Saffron Corridor! – By Ankush Vats and Amit Bhardwaj (Jan 23, 2016, Tehelka)

…Pramod could have a promising career, perhaps, if the likes of Swamiji had not been training them in extreme Hindu fundamentalism. But that is exactly what is being done to thousands of people in western Uttar Pradesh. The result: Pramod freaks out at the sight of Muslims, no matter how poor and how familiar. He is immediately reminded of his judo lessons, imbibed with the idea that he has to fight jihadis. “If I see Muslims again, I’ll shoot them,” he explains in sign language. It seems meaningless to point out to him that the child he thrashed and drove away from the temple was 10 years old – not a ‘jihadi’ by any stretch of the imagination.

Pramod learned judo as part of the military-style training of children – the youngest participants are around eight years of age – being carried out by Hindutva outfits in western Uttar Pradesh. Swamiji and his associates have set up several training centres across the region. This is the same region where the Hindutva campaign against the “Love Jihad” trope snowballed into an anti-Muslim pogrom in the winter of 2013. That was during the run-up to the General Election that brought the BJP to power in New Delhi and was the first time since Partition that communal violence hit rural India on such a scale that thousands of Muslims, driven out of their homes, are still living in exile, so scary is the prospect of returning to their villages.…

The war on Muslims is not just about training Hindu boys to fight ‘jihadis’; it also involves allied tasks such as organising media briefings and campaigns to mobilise public opinion against the law taking its course, when the target is a kindred Hindu-extremist soul. So, for instance, Swamiji’s recent activities have included holding a press conference to express outrage over an FIR filed against Kamlesh Tiwari, one of his disciples, for making a snide remark on Prophet Mohammad, which led to violence in faraway West Bengal’s Malda district. …With the tension in Malda yet to ease and the Centre ordering a probe, Swamiji threatens that if anything happens to Tiwari, “All hell will break loose. We will show them what we can do if they touch Tiwari.”

http://www.tehelka.com/2016/01/welcome-to-saffron-corridor/

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India’s strength lies in unity and religious freedom – By Hari Chand Aneja (Jan 11, 2016, The National)

…This tolerance and harmony still prevails in the villages, small towns and cities of India. In December last year, when Chennai was flooded, Hindus took shelter in mosques while Muslims were fed meals in temples. This is the India we should build.

Great countries are built by assimilating different religions, races and cultures and driving together for development. The United States is a nation of migrants. So is Britain. London has become a global financial capital because people from assorted countries and religions live and work together.…

Together there is little that Indians cannot do. Divided, they will flounder. Indians have the responsibility to perpetuate the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi. As India gears up to mark the 67th Republic Day on January 26, it would be fitting to affirm the adherence to secularism and the freedom for everyone to live and practise their faith in the country.

http://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/indias-strength-lies-in-unity-and-religious-freedom

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A Short Walk To Bogtown – By Uttam Sengupta, Meetu Jain, Bula Devi (Jan 18, 2016, Outlook)

There’s a story, possibly apocryphal, most likely impossible, about the siege of the Pathankot air base as the new year dawned. With the prime minister out of the capital when the operations to regain control were on, an official in the PMO kept getting calls from a minister wanting to know the state of play before he could brief the media. Those who claim to walk in such corridors in Lutyens’ Delhi say the recipient kept brusquely disconnecting the repeated calls. There are some who would instantly claim to know who it was who could turn down a minister so flamboyantly; many would dismiss the story as outrageously bogus. But such is the clout and reputation of Ajit Kumar Doval, super sleuth-turned-National Security Advisor.

After the January 2016 attack ended, when the Narendra Modi government finally announced that 500 security personnel, including 150 NSG commandos, had ‘neutralised’ the six terrorists confined inside the heavily guarded air base, there was muted self-congratulation on display. Comparisons were made with the manner in which 26/11 had been handled by the previous Congress-led government. But there were sections within the BJP and outside pointing fingers at Doval’s lone-ranger approach. One critic termed the NSA’s doctrine itself as a threat to national security; another said the PM seemed to be caught between “Doval and the deep sea”. A third quipped that he was missing (Da)wood for the trees, an allusion to his desire to catch the underworld don.

When Union home minister Rajnath Singh had to delete his tweet announcing the premature end of the assault and when defence minister Manohar Parrikar admitted there were ‘gaps’, the corridors were abuzz: was the overcentralisation of the response from the PMO a mistake? Was there a “turf war” as a result of which Doval had sent the national security guard (NSG) instead of relying on the army to end the attack? And, more importantly, had Pathankot exposed the limits of the take-no-prisoners approach to internal security and foreign policy, already exposed several times in the subcontinent over the last 18 months?…

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/a-short-walk-to-bogtown/296354

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More Skeletons Tumble Out Of The DDCA Closet – By Amit Bhardwaj (Jan 23, 2016, Tehelka)

Unfazed by the BJP’s disciplinary action, Kirti Azad, former party MP, continued his tirade against Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. In a scathing attack on Jaitley, Azad said that there was rampant corruption during Jaitley’s tenure as the president of the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) and he (Jaitley) was even informed about the “developments” through 500 emails and 200 letters.

Even the defamation case filed by the DDCA against Azad has not deterred the former Indian all-rounder from levelling serious allegations of corruption against Jaitley. Meanwhile, Azad has also sought time from Prime Minister Narendra Modito explain the case to him.

On the other hand, setting the stage for another turf war in the capital, the Ministry of Home Affairs has declaredthe inquiry commission to look into theDDCA issue as “null and void”. The one-man inquiry commission involving former solicitor general Gopal Subramanium was formed by the Kejriwal government. Interestingly, the Centre had itself asked theAAP government to look into the matter after Azad’s repeated plea to probe irregularities at the DDCA.…

http://www.tehelka.com/2016/01/more-skeletons-tumble-out-of-the-ddca-closet/

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Of juveniles and justice – By V. Venkatesan and T.K. Rajalakshmi (Jan 22, 2016, Frontline)

Political maturity is considered to be an attribute of Members of the Rajya Sabha. Indirectly elected, they are expected to keep a distance from the compulsions of electoral politics while deliberating on key legislation. More importantly, as members of the second chamber, they are supposed to give due weight to reason rather than let themselves be swayed by emotions.

On December 22, however, this theoretical understanding of the Council of States came under severe test when the Upper House debated the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2015, which was already passed by the Lok Sabha on May 7. Like the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha, too, passed the Bill with a voice vote, overlooking serious concerns expressed by some members over certain provisions that made a mockery of the government’s intent to fulfil certain objectives of the Bill.

It was obvious that the Bill’s hasty passage in the Rajya Sabha was a surrender to the public pressure mounted against the release of the juvenile who was convicted in the case of the gang rape and murder of 23-year-old “Nirbhaya” in the capital on December 16, 2012. The juvenile, now 21, was released on December 20, three years after his conviction and sentencing, under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000. He was taken to an undisclosed destination to protect him from public fury. To many observers, the public anger had more to do with inadequate punishment to the juvenile under the old Act rather than with the absence of legal provisions to send a juvenile committing a heinous offence to an adult prison. Seen in this light, even the 2015 Bill appeared to be a disproportionate response to the prevailing public sentiment.…

http://www.frontline.in/cover-story/of-juveniles-and-justice/article8068293.ece

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Take On The Saffron Brigade At Your Own Peril – By Asad Ashraf (Jan 23, 2016, Tehelka)

University of Hyderabad (UOH) is in news for the caste factor yet again. This time over the expulsion of five Dalit research scholars. Following the incident, students of the university are sleeping out in the open as a mark of protest and have asked the UOH to roll back the expulsion.

Students alleged that the penal action was taken against the five scholars based on a complaint by a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). On the other hand, the university administration said that these students had beaten up Susheel Kumar, a student belonging to theABVP. This tussle between the administration and a section of students has created a tension on the campus.

The expelled students belong to the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) and they alleged that they were being victimised under political pressure from theBJP and right-wing outfits. They also termed the charges against them as false.…

http://www.tehelka.com/2016/01/take-on-the-saffron-brigade-at-your-own-peril/

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