IAMC Weekly News Roundup – July 13th, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Digest

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Jamaat to establish local chapters of Sadbhavna Manch to strengthen communal harmony in country (Jul 7, 2015, Muslim Mirror)

Jamaat e Islami Hind has given a clarion call for strengthening communal harmony by establishing local chapters of “Sadbhavna Manch” across the country. The Secretary General of Jamaat, Engineer Mohammed Salim said that with the rise in communal incidents and unceasing provocative statements by communal elements, it is imperative to contain the divisive agenda of fascist forces by working for communal harmony at local level. He was speaking on the occasion of media persons’ Iftar programme held at Jamaat’s headquarters in the capital.

On this occasion, Jamaat has also released its policy and programme for the new term April 2015 to March 2019 which showcases the various activities which the Jamaat will undertake in the next 4 years. Engineer Salim said, “Jamaat is an all India organization with a cadre of around 80,000 of which around 9000 are members and the rest workers and it has about 1200 local units, which are spread throughout the country.”

Speaking of significance of the Holy month of Ramadan, Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari, Presdient of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, “Ramadan is the month of compassion and solace. This month make awareness and feeling towards the destitute persons’ hunger and economic difficulties, which emerges and grows up the feeling of compassion towards them. In this month, you should help those who are suffering from poverty or facing economic problems and fulfil their needs. In our neighbouring country of Myanmar, where Muslims are suffering and facing hardship, through whatever way if possible, help them.”…

http://muslimmirror.com/eng/jamaat-to-establish-local-chapters-of-sadbhavna-manch-across-the-country-for-strengthening-communal-harmony/

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2002 riots: Gujarat HC to hear Zakia Jafri’s plea on July 27 (Jul 7, 2015, Times of India)

Gujarat high court has kept July 27 to start final hearing on the revision application filed by Zakia Jafri against lower court’s clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 58 others in connection with the 2002 riots.

Justice Sonia Gokani on Tuesday asked Jafri’s lawyers to supply English translation of those documents on which they intend to rely during the proceeding in future. They are asked to provide the papers by July 17 and the court will take up the matter for hearing ten days later, sources said.…

After the metropolitan court upheld the closure report filed by the SIT in December 2013, Jafri approached the HC in March last year against the lower court’s decision. The apex court asked the SIT to probe the conspiracy aspect behind the 2002 riots on complaint filed by Zakia Jafri, widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri. After cops did not register her complaint in 2006, she moved courts demanding investigation against Modi and others.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47976756.cms

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Indian police raid home of leading rights activist and Modi critic (Jul 14, 2015, Straits Times)

Indian corruption police on Tuesday raided the home and offices of a prominent human rights activist and critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, amid growing concern about a crackdown on foreign-funded charities.

A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) official said a team had conducted early morning searches at Teesta Setalvad’s home, the offices of her charity, the Sabrang Trust, and a third site.

CBI spokeswoman Kanchan Prasad said the raids followed “allegations of criminal conspiracy for illegal acceptance of foreign contribution without registration and prior permission from Ministry of Home Affairs”.…

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/south-asia/indian-police-raid-home-of-leading-rights-activist-and-modi-critic

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NIA closes Modasa blast case in which Hindu extremists suspects (Jul 8, 2015, Indian Express)

Gulam Mohammed Dholkawala, 51, remembers sitting on a scooter outside a mutton shop in Modasa’s Suka Bazaar when the locality was rocked by a blast. He could feel his cheeks burn and a loud ringing in his ears, which took weeks to go away. Almost seven years have passed since the September 29, 2008 blast, but the trauma still haunts the victims.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has filed a closure report in the case, citing lack of evidence and the inability to trace the main culprits behind the blast, which claimed the life of 15-year-old Zainuddin Gori and left 10 injured in the month of Ramzan. The special NIA court closed the case on April 22.

The 16-page final report named no suspects but only said that “the complainant is the victim of the blast and is fortunate enough to have survived”.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/nia-closes-modasa-blast-case-in-which-hindu-extremists-suspects/99/

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TN custodial death: Three cops placed under suspension (Jul 7, 2015, Times of India)

Three cops, including a sub-inspector (SI), have been placed under suspension in connection with the custodial death of a youth in Tamil Nadu. N Gokulakannan (22), who was nabbed in connection with a murder case, died while being questioned at the Karumalaikudal police station in Salem district in the wee hours of Monday. Salem range DIG (in-charge) Ayush Mani Tiwari issued the suspension order to all the three cops on Tuesday.

“We have issued the suspension order to Karumalaikudal SI S Hariharan, head constables B Madhanasekar of the same station and S Elango of Kolathur police station. We have suspended them for negligence of duty and also for picking up a man suffering from an illness for interrogation at night. All of them will have to undergo departmental inquiry,” Tiwari told TOI.

He said it was too early to say whether all these cops were responsible for the death. “Strict action will be taken against them if they are found guilty,” he said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47975731.cms

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Kannauj clash: BJP leaders booked for firing, inciting violence (Jul 8, 2015, Indian Express)

Long before Hindus and Muslims clashed in Kannauj after a Muslim landlord asked his tenant Satish Chandra Gupta to vacate his shop Sunday, leaving one dead, the area has been simmering with tension amid increasing political rivalry between a resurgent BJP and the ruling SP. Two days after the clash, an uneasy calm prevailed in the narrow lanes of Kannauj Tuesday, even as police and PAC personnel patrolled round the clock.

Besides the arrest of BJP district vice-president Vir Singh Bhadauriya and lodging of an FIR against city president of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, Chhotu Yadav, police are probing the role of BJP leader Subrat Pathak, who had lost the 2014 Lok Sabha polls to Kannauj MP Dimple Yadav. A complaint – 14 have been lodged – filed by SHO of City Kotwali police station Bhullan Yadav, alleges that Pathak – who has not been named as an accused – incited people and indulged in firing.…

“We had gathered near the mosque for Iftar. These people were coming from where the violence had taken place. They were shouting that ‘Subrat Pathak has ordered us to kill Muslims’ and hurled abuses. When someone from our locality objected, they started firing and Aqeel was hit,” said Aqeel’s brother Shakil Ahmed.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/uttar-pradesh/kannauj-clash-bjp-leaders-booked-for-firing-inciting-violence-2/99/

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Hashimpura Riots: PIL Filed Alleging Discrimination in Compensation to Victims (Jul 8, 2015, Outlook)

The Allahabad High Court has asked Uttar Pradesh government to file its reply on a petition alleging discrimination in grant of compensation to victims of police firing in Hashimpura locality of Meerut which was rocked by communal clashes in 1987.

A division bench, comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Yashwant Verma, passed the order yesterday on a Public Interest Litigation filed by social organization “Sach” through its president Sandeep Pahal.

The court, while granting four weeks’ time to the state government for filing a counter-affidavit, fixed August 5 as the next date of hearing in the matter.…

http://www.outlookindia.com/news/article/hashimpura-riots-pil-filed-alleging-discrimination-in-compensation-to-victims/905862

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Raje-government saffronising education: Congress (Jul 12, 2015, Times of India)

The state government’s decision to introduce book on Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) founder K B Hedgewar in college libraries, has raked up a political debate. The Congress claimed this was an attempt to saffronise education, while higher education minister Kalicharan Saraf argued why only Gandhi-Nehru should be taught’.…

This was not the first time that the two education ministers from the state have sparked controversies. In the past, statements were made about editing chapters on Mughal emperor Akbar or introducing a lesson on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.…

This year the state education department introduced three separate complimentary books to add chapters on the freedom fighters, including a lesson on Veer Savarkar. This too was opposed by the Congress.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48037443.cms

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CBSE’s exam dress code for AIPMT puts Muslim aspirants in a spot (Jul 14, 2015, Hindustan Times)

Fatema Akhtar started wearing a headscarf to school out of “choice” two years ago and battled her way to keep it. But now, the 17-year-old top scorer from DPS Eldeco in Lucknow may have to choose between an opportunity to be a doctor and keeping her headgear on.

On July 9, school regulator Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) issued a set of instructions for students appearing for the All-India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) on July 25, which includes a first-time dress code.… For many of the dozens of Muslim girls appearing for the exam, it’s been disquieting. Muslim women who routinely wear the full hijab or even a simple scarf round their heads say they feel awkward in public places without one.…

“This amounts to a violation of religious freedom and therefore fundamental rights. Scores of Muslim girls may opt out. We appeal the CBSE to reconsider,” said Masoom Moradabadi, the general secretary of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/dress-code-may-force-muslim-girls-to-sit-out-of-medical-test/article1-1368904.aspx

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48 deaths, but MP BJP chief has no regrets over Vyapam (Jul 13, 2015, Times of India)

Forty-eight deaths, weeks of national outrage and the Supreme Court ordering a CBI probe into Vyapam scam have failed to temper Madhya Pradesh BJP’s haughtiness. Speaking to reporters on Sunday, state BJP chief Nandkumar Singh Chauhan said, “Hamey Vyapam ko lekar koi afsos nahi hai (we’ve no regret over the Vyapam scam).” Chauhan’s statement came a day before party boss Amit Shah’s arrival in Bhopal on Monday.…

MP Congress said RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and BJP chief Amit Shah should sack chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The party also said it would hold a condolence meeting for those who’ve died in the course of investigations into the Vyapam scam.

Congress general secretary Mohan Prakash said BJP is scared of a CBI inquiry and trying to shield Chouhan, and charged that the party’s bid to repair the damage to its image by the large number of deaths will fail unless the CM quits. The party is also protecting some influential RSS leaders whose names cropped up in the Vyapam investigation, he alleged, adding that with the help of state police the party has given clean chit to all its leaders.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48047802.cms

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3 witnesses killed, many attacked: Vyapam stink in Asaram case (Jul 12, 2015, Hindustan Times)

Killing and attacking people linked to controversial cases could be the flavor of the season. Even as the list of mysterious deaths of people linked to the test-rigging Vyapam scam gets longer, witnesses connected to alleged rape cases against self-proclaimed godman Asaram Bapu also find themselves under attack.

Two witnesses have been murdered while another half-a dozen have miraculously survived attempts on life. On Friday, a 35-year-old Kirpal Singh, a key witness, was shot at by unidentified assailants in Shahjahanpur. He died of his injuries on Saturday night. According to sources, Singh had expressed fears regarding attack on his life after he had recorded his statement against Asaram in the case.…

Two key witnesses Amrut Prajapati in Gujarat and Akhil Gupta in Uttar Pradesh were killed earlier, prompting their families to pin the blame on the godman and his son. Akhil Gupta’s father even wrote to the prime minister, union home minister and chief ministers of Gujarat and Rajasthan, requesting a probe into the killings of witnesses. Both Gupta and Prajapati worked as close aides to Asaram before they testified against the father-son in the sexual assault cases.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/vyapam-stink-in-asaram-case–3-witnesses-killed-many-survive-attacks/article1-1368385.aspx

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Opinions and Editorials

The sound of silence – By Venkitesh Ramakrishnan (Jul 24, 2015, Frontline)

Let everything come out; the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will then come up with a comprehensive response. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra’s comment along these lines in one of the television shows on the LaMo (Lalit Modi) controversy became a point of agitated debate in the last week of June among a clutch of New Delhi-based Sangh Parivar activists.

The activists, primarily from the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), the fountainhead of the Sangh Parivar, were so worked up by the comment that some of them went on to suggest that the young leader should to be removed as the party spokesperson. They were unanimous in their opinion that a comment such as the one made by Patra at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was maintaining a stoic silence on the entire issue was loaded with meanings, including mischievous ones.…

The growing voices of dissent and barbs against the leadership, particularly the Prime Minister, emanating from BJP leaders and workers ranging from former Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani to Lok Sabha members such as Kirti Azad and R.K. Singh, who was also a former Home Secretary, are another manifestation of the growing resentment. Attempting to stem this tide is the name of the game for the ruling power elite of the BJP and the present government. The political skills of this section, consisting primarily of Prime Minister Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and Jaitley, will be on test during the monsoon session of Parliament.

http://www.frontline.in/politics/the-sound-of-silence/article7391834.ece

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Institutional Communalism in India – By Pritam Singh (Jul 11, 2015, EPW)

…The fight against institutional communalism in India alerts us to a challenge bigger than merely inflicting electoral defeats on Hindu communal parties and organisations. Causing electoral defeats of Hindu communal parties and organisations remains an important strategic task and needs to be seen as part of eradicating institutional communalisms.

However, even if such parties are defeated electorally, institutional Hindu communalism remains pervasive in varying degrees in India’s constitution, judiciary, civil services, electoral and parliamentary institutions, security forces, prisons, academia, media, corporate business, and even NGOs. It will continue as a social, cultural, and politico–economic force to disadvantage the lives of minority communities in India.

Thinking from the perspective of institutional communalism alerts the anti-communalism practitioners in India not only to the massive challenge they face, but also to the need for devising practical devices to monitor communalism in the everyday working practices of a vast range of institutions in India.… Those who exercise power through institutional communalism need to be confronted and defeated by challenging these institutions themselves on a continuous basis.…

http://www.epw.in/system/files/pdf/2015_50/28/Institutional_Communalism_in_India.pdf

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Minority bogey – Editorial (Jul 10, 2015, DNA India)

The plans announced by the Bharatiya Shiksha Mandal (BSM), the education wing of the RSS, to seek Supreme Court intervention or constitutional amendments, to stop educational institutions from misusing their minority status, will raise concerns among the minorities. The Mandal alleges that minority institutions are misusing their privileged position by admitting more general students than the minorities they claim to represent.

The Mandal wants the definition of a minority institution to be based on the number of minority students admitted, rather than the composition of the management. However, coming from a Sangh Parivar constituent the demand will raise suspicions that it is another attempt to marginalise the minorities. For example, the Christian community has achieved a fair measure of credibility in establishing and administering educational institutions.

At the same time the community constitutes hardly two per cent of the country and will find it impossible to run schools and colleges if it was constrained to admit more Christian students. The question then is, why grant them the “minority” tag? Can’t they not function like other non-minority schools? To answer this, it may be recalled that the concept of “minority institutions” harks back to Partition when the Indian government hardwired the protection of minorities into the Constitution to assuage their fears of majoritarianism.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/editorial-dnaedit-minority-bogey-2103184

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Death for daring – By Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta and Venkitesh Ramakrishnan (Jul 24, 2015, Frontline)

Several controversial issues and facts have come to the fore in the context of the violent and unnatural deaths of two regional journalists in the north Indian States of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in June. But there is little doubt that the intolerance of the political class of the two States was the primary factor behind the deaths.…

But journalists also pointed out that there was considerable merit in the stories Jagendra wrote against Verma on the Facebook page. It is to be seen how far and how well his death will be probed, especially in view of the compromise his family seems to have worked out with the political leadership. Journalists and activists struggling to expose illegal mining activities expect the probe into the murder of Kothari to take intriguing turns. Kothari’s case reflects the larger insouciance of State governments towards journalists who strive to make ends meet in India’s hinterland and yet are daring enough to expose illegal nexuses.

These journalists, who function outside the gaze of television, continuously expose the corrupt networks in their respective work areas. In many ways, the experiences of Kothari and Jagendra Singh and others like them explain why despite the so-called “development” story sold to the world, India is ranked 136 on the list of 180 nations in the 2015 World Press Freedom Index compiled by the Paris-based Reporters without Borders.

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/death-for-daring/article7395357.ece

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The tentacles of Vyapam – Editorial (Jul 9, 2015, The Hindu)

The Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh can no longer be considered just another corruption scandal of the conventional sort. It appears to be unique in combining the average fraudster’s ability to manipulate systems, with the reach and ruthlessness of an organised mafia-like group that can eliminate inconvenient suspects and witnesses. From being a set of inter-linked corruption cases involving the manipulation of tests for admission to professional courses and government recruitments, the scandal has emerged as a hydra-headed monster consuming over 40 lives so far.

New questions stem from the unexplained deaths, including that of a television journalist who collapsed mysteriously shortly after interviewing the parents of a medical student who had been found dead on a railway track three years ago. The State government has admitted that nearly two dozen of those who were within the ambit of the probe had died unnatural deaths, and that many of them were between 25 and 30, with ‘road accident’ being cited as the leading cause of death.

An elaborate conspiracy to subvert the investigation and trial can be the only credible explanation for the string of deaths. The magnitude of the cover-up appears to have overshadowed the extent of the original scandal.…

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/vyapam-scam-the-tentacles-of-vyapam/article7400007.ece

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Saffron Is The New Black? – By Saba Naqvi (Jul 20, 2015, Outlook)

Deendayal Upadhyaya is being fondly remembered by BJP veterans, some of whom are feeling quite nostalgic about old times and the personalities who shaped their past. It was to Deendayal’s village in Mathura that Prime Minister Narendra Modi went on May 25 to symbolically mark the first anniversary of his government. But, as a senior leader recalls, Modi may not know what the party ideologue had said when asked what he would do if the Jan Sangh became corrupt? I will disband it and start another party, was the reply. What if the new party also became corrupt? The answer: I will disband that too.

Disbanding a party in a cleansing process sounds like a utopian dream in the morass of today’s dirty politics. As the monsoons finally reached the capital last week, leading to cooler climes but also traffic snarls, a cloud also burst on the heads of the BJP and the Narendra Modi government. It has been raining scams for over a month now, but the darkest clouds have surely built around India’s most lethal one, Vyapam. This involves more than financial swindles, something the nation may be a little immune to. With Vyapam, there is a human connect in the pile of corpses, all such ordinary people, and some so young.

The macabre trail of death is apparently part of a terrifying cover-up. What’s particularly troubling for the forces that now rule India is that the RSS cannot claim the moral high ground and point to the filth as being an inevitable outcome of politics. Skeletons are emerging from the cupboards of both the RSS and the ruling BJP in Madhya Pradesh, and in a geographical area where the Sangh in all its avatars has always been the most entrenched. At the heart of the cover-up stands the figure of Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the poster boy CM for the RSS/BJP.…

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/saffron-is-the-new-black/294827

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