In this issue of IAMC News Roundup
- United Nations body recalls Gujarat riots, insists on enacting “dropped” communal violence bill
- Sena MP ‘force-feeds’ fasting Muslim staffer at Maharashtra Sadan
- Sangh sets up panel to push ‘saffronisation’ of education
- Rape the activist: RSS man posts on facebook
- UP: 3 dead, several injured in Saharanpur clashes; shoot-at-sight orders against rioters
- Breach of pact sparked Moradabad riots
- Justice remains elusive dream for the victims of 2012 BTAD violence even after two years
- Skewed representation of Muslims in police behind trust deficit: Islam
- Naxals blow up rail tracks, Rajdhani pilot engine derails
- Mumbai model accuses senior cop of rape
Opinions & Editorials
- Creed of violence – Editorial
- Hindutva politics in Moradabad: Here’s how a local dispute turned communal – By Ajaz Ashraf
- The Brains Behind Modi Sarkar – By Brijesh Singh
- Gadkari Bugging Scandal: Is “Saheb” Listening? – By Shehzad Poonawalla
- Ignorance, hypocrisy or biasness on Fatwas and ‘Shariat Court’? – By M Reyaz
- Shadow Lines – By Neha Dixit
In the backdrop of the recent communal clashes in Hadapsar, the Hindus and Muslims in a major interfaith initiative have come up with the idea of protecting each other’s places of worship. The Hindus of the area have taken the responsibility to protect the Muslim mosques and shrines while the Muslims have taken the responsibility of protecting the temples.
To overcome the issue, the police along with the local residences and community had together formed a peace committee which later was bifurcated into “Almagira Masjid defence committee” and Ram-Hanuman Temple Defence committee ” with the sole objective to spread the message of peace and harmony. Now, both the communities have taken the onus of protecting each other’s places of worship and vowed to protect them till the last breath of their lives.
Real estate Amit Dhabhade (31), a resident of Handewadi said, “It’s a good initiative and I do not understand why there is always a discrimination between two communities and why religious places are targeted. God is one and his place of residence is a temple, mosque, church or any other religious place. On Fridays, we along with police patrol around the mosques in the area and also keep a vigil on the anti-social elements, traffic jams and honking,” he said adding that it was his duty to protect Muslim mosques with he being a true Hindu.
Ejaz Pathan (30), a resident of Sayeed Nagar and a businessman said that the misunderstanding has been caused due to vested interests. “As muslims it is our farz to protect our Hindu neighbours and protect their temples in Muslim dominated areas. We have taken an oath to protect the life and property of our Hindu brothers and ensure that divisive forces are booted out of the society,” he said.
A month of chaos and misunderstanding between the two communities had let to panic atmosphere in Hadapsar after defamatory SMSes related to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray were circulated on social networking sites and social messengers. …
United Nations body recalls Gujarat riots, insists on enacting “dropped” communal violence bill (Jul 22, 2014, Counterview.net)
At a time when the Narendra Modi government is all set to consider dropping it, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) has asked the Government of India (GoI) to “promptly enact the draft Communal Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill” as an important step to prevent violence against women. It notes “continued marginalization and poverty of women and girls survivors of the Gujarat riots living in the relief colonies and their precarious living conditions with limited access to education, health care, employment and security.”
This law is also needed, CEDAW indicates, because there has been a “significant number of displaced women and girl, particularly in the North-Eastern region”, resulting from “sporadic communal violence”. In this context, it expressed deep concern about “the reported high level of violence against women in conflict-affected regions” in Kashmir, the North East, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. Pointing towards state complicity in all this, SEDAW wants the Government f India (GoI) to “amend and/or repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act”.
This, CEDAW suggests, is necessary to end “sexual violence against women perpetrated by members of the armed forces or uniformed personnel”, who, it insists, should be “brought under the purview of ordinary criminal law.” Asking GoI to “remove the requirement for government permission to prosecute members of the armed forces or uniformed personnel accused of crimes of violence against women”, CEDAW says, the Protection of Human Rights Act be also changed by conferring powers to the National Human Rights Commission to investigate cases against armed forces personnel.…
- European parliament member accuses PM Modi of ‘racism’ (Jul 23, 2014, Hindustan Times)
- Condemn Modi: Online petition issued by Sikh for Justice group (Jul 22, 2014, Indian Express)
- BJP’s Karnataka minister suggest ‘2002 Gujarat-riot model’ for entire India, retracts (Jul 28, 2014, Daily Bhaskar)
- Gujarat govt unduly favoured Reliance, Adani: CAG report (Jul 26, 2014, Times of India)
A shocking incident of misuse of power has come to light in national capital New Delhi where 11 Shiv Sena Members of Parliament are reported to have forced a Muslim worker to break his Ramzan fast and eat a chapati, at the Maharashtra Sadan. The MPs were apparently dissatisfied by the fact that they had not been served Maharashtrian food.
An Indian Express report identified the 11 Shiv Sena MPs as Sanjay Raut (Rajya Sabha), Anandrao Adsul (Amravati), Rajan Vichare (Thane), Arvind Sawant (Mumbai-South), Hemant Godse (Nashik), Krupal Tumane (Ramtek), Ravindra Gaikwad (Osmanabad), Vinayak Raut (Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg), Shivaji Adhalrao Patil (Shirur), Rahul Shewale (Mumbai-South Central) and Shrikant Shinde (Kalyan).
Soon after the incident, Shankar Malhotra, deputy general manager of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism, which handles subsidiary catering for Maharashtra Sadan, shot off a letter to Maharashtra resident commissioner Bipin Mallick.
In the letter, Malhotra wrote, “All the guests along with media reporters and staffs of Maharashtra Sadan got into kitchen where I was getting the orders prepared. They caught me and put the chapati into my mouth. I was wearing a formal uniform set as prescribed by IRCTC and everybody in the panel also knew my name as ‘Arshad’ as I was wearing the name tag. Even then they inserted chapati in my mouth which caused my fast to break on the eve of Ramzan. I was hurt with the thing they have done as religious sentiments are concerned.”
- Activist files plea with Minority Commission, demands action against Shiv Sena MPs (Jul 24, 2014, Business Standard)
- Prosecute the Shiv Sena MP (Jul 27, 2014, Peoples Democracy)
- Force-feeding row: Muslims say outraged by Shiv Sena MP’s action, demand his arrest (Jul 23, 2014, Hindustan Times)
- 10th pass Shiv Sena MP Vichare already facing 13 criminal cases (Jul 24, 2014, India Tomorrow)
Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas, an organisation affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has set up Bharatiya Shiksha Niti Aayog (Indian Education Policy Commission), the first commission of its kind in the non-governmental sector, to study “the present education system and suggest corrective steps to make it Bharat-centric”. Likely to be headed by Dinanath Batra – who shot to fame when he pulped American scholar Wendy Doniger’s book on Hinduism – this body is being seen as RSS’ effort to mount pressure on the Narendra Modi-led government to implement the Sangh agenda of “saffronisation” of education and to prevent the latter from diverting from its core ideals.
Though the commission was formed a few months ahead of the swearing-in of the Modi government on May 26 – Sangh mouthpiece Organiser informs the ‘bhoomi pujan’ of the office was done in Delhi on April 13 – RSS gave its go-ahead for the panel at a recent Akhil Bharatiya Karyakari Mandal meeting in Madhya Pradesh.
According to Sangh insiders, education is a key area in the RSS’ scheme of things and could emerge as a point of conflict in future with the government. Given Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani’s lack of understanding of the Sangh Parivar’s functioning, RSS is adopting a wait-and-watch policy. Irani, meanwhile, has managed to establish a good rapport with some senior RSS leaders, but a section of the organisation still has reservations about her credentials to occupy the important HRD portfolio.…
- Gujarat teaches bizarre lessons to schoolkids (Jul 28, 2014, Yahoo)
- Non-Hindu Religious Activity Banned in Some Indian Villages (Jul 23, 2014, Christiannews.net)
- In Bastar, 50 villages ban non-Hindu missionaries (Jul 5, 2014, The Hindu)
- Modi under fire for silence over religious incidents (Jul 28, 2014, Reuters)
Several police complaints were lodged against V.R. Bhat, a prominent member of the right wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), on Monday for posting a derogatory remark against a woman activist on Facebook. The post by Mr Bhat read that the activists like her should be raped by rapists. Such activists should be held by their hair and sexually assaulted to correct their approach towards Hinduism.
It was his apparent reply to Ms Prabha N. Belamangala’s post that a great deal of contributions are made by the lower strata of people towards development of a nation, but the upper strata of certain religious sects take the credit. Ms Belamangala (43) is a social activist and state secretary of Janavignana Samiti, an NGO. After Mr Bhat’s incendiary post, she lodged a complaint with the Chandra Layout police under whose jurisdiction she resides.
Mr Bhat’s post created has a furore on the social media network, and other activists lodged complaints against Mr Bhat at different police stations in different parts of the state. In Nelamangala, the state president of Karnataka Dalita Sangatanegala Okkutta, B.R. Bhaskhar Prasad, filed a police complaint against Mr Bhat. He has suggested that Mr Bhat should be booked under Goonda Act. “We will not stop with this, there are two more police complaints that will be lodged on Tuesday from Mandya and H assan,” Mr Bhaskhar Prasad told Deccan Chronicle.
Immediately after the complaints were registered, Mr Bhat deleted the post. But the complainants had taken the screen shots of his message and decided to pursue the case legally. Mr Bhat also called the activists and apologised to them. Mr Bhat is also a columnist for vernacular newspapers, and has been slapped with Section 66A of the IT Act.
- ‘Goa BJP going soft on Mutalik is cause for worry for minorities’ (Jul 23, 2014, Times of India)
- VHP leader held on way, blames Azam (Jul 26, 2014, Indian Express)
- Mangalore: ABVP members abuse college principal, FIR filed (Jul 26, 2014, Daijiworld)
- Sakshi Maharaj gets bail in Babri mosque demolition case (Jul 27, 2014, Times of India)
UP: 3 dead, several injured in Saharanpur clashes; shoot-at-sight orders against rioters (Jul 26, 2014, Hindustan Times)
Communal violence left Uttar Pradesh bloodied again with three killed and several injured in a clash between Sikhs and Muslims in Saharanpur on Saturday. Curfew was clamped and shoot-at-sight orders given against rioters. The two groups fought pitched battles and burnt several vehicles, as home minister Rajnath Singh spoke to chief minister Akhilesh Yadav who assured him that the situation would be contained soon.
The communities, who clashed over construction on a disputed plot, fought with firearms, swords and stones and torched shops and vehicles. One of the deceased, Sanjeev Kochar, died of bullet injuries. The second victim was identified only as Arif while there was no confirmation of the third’s identity. A constable and a home guard sustained serious injuries as the police stepped in to control the rampage. They are both in critical condition.
The situation continued to be tense till late Saturday, as heavy security was deployed by the state government, officials said. Over a dozen policemen were also injured in the violence. Curfew continues in a few areas under six police stations. Police have arrested over a dozen people for inciting violence over a land dispute and sources in the home department said the tense situation was now under control.…
- Azam Khan blames RSS for Saharanpur clashes (Jul 27, 2014, Indian Express)
- Political blame game over UP communal clashes (Jul 27, 2014, Times of India)
- In Saharanpur, divide is visible, police in between (Jul 28, 2014, Indian Express)
- Saharanpur still tense amid curfew; 45 held (Jul 28, 2014, Asian Age)
Tension in Nayagaon Akbarpur village in Kanth town of Moradabad, which sparked communal tension in the area erupted as an agreement reached between the Muslims and Dalits earlier this month was breached.
Just a day before the controversial July 4 “Mahapanchayat”, called by the BJP in protest against the removal of the loudspeaker, at the temple in Nayagaon Akbarpur village, all stake holders, including Moradabad MP Kunwar Sarvesh Kumar Singh, Sambhal MP Satyapal Saini and local BJP leaders, had a meeting with Kanth MLA Anisurrahman at his residence. All the leaders and other participants in the meeting reached an agreement according to which the loudspeaker was to be put up on the Shiva temple after Eid, August 3.
However, the agreement was allegedly breached the very next day by BJP supporters and the Moradabad MP, who started protesting on the issue on July 4. The most important condition of the agreement was that after the meeting, the “Mahapanchayat” will not be organised, a condition to which all the BJP leaders present in the meeting had agreed. However, later the BJP supporters allegedly rejected the agreement.
- UP saw highest number of deaths in communal unrest: US report (Jul 28, 2014, Economic Times)
- Magistrate sends 7 cases agst riot accused to Sessions court (Jul 23, 2014, Business Standard)
- Communal clashes in Bhuj ahead of Eid (Jul 28, 2014, Times of India)
- Mob clashes with police in Bhuj, 13 injured in firing (Jul 28, 2014, Indian Express)
Justice remains elusive dream for the victims of 2012 BTAD violence even after two years (Jul 21, 2014, Twocircles.net)
Two years is a pretty long period for anything to change. But for a section of ill-fated people in Assam, it’s all the same as their pain continues to haunt them, in fact, in a more painful way. The bloody violence which broke out in Assam’s Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD) on July 20 in 2012 witnessed around 100 deaths and several lakhs were displaced but the victims did not get the justice.
Ainuddin Sheikh is still inconsolable when somebody reminds him of that fateful day. The day when he lost his father Bashir Sheikh exactly two years ago in Assam’s troubled torn BTAD. “Sometimes I do not feel like living anymore. Time and again we are facing atrocities and there is no justice. There is no value of live for the people like us. I got Rs 50 thousand as compensation but my father is gone forever without his fault. We can only get peace if the culprits are punished,” said a dejected Ainuddin of Heikipara of Kokrajhar district.
The incident was criticized from different parts of the globe. The state government was slammed for its failure to control law and order situation but it remained all the same. The culprits are roaming free whereas the victims are still living shedding tears in the memory of their dear ones.…
- Kokrajhar MP fears more BTAD violence (Jul 27, 2014, Times of India)
- Tears Eid eve in BTAD relief camps in Assam (Jul 28, 2014, Twocircles.net)
- One killed in bomb blast in Assam (Jul 23, 2014, Indian Express)
- Mass protest in Assam’s BTAD after killing of a student leader (Jul 24, 2014, Twocircles.net)
Skewed representation of Muslims in police behind trust deficit: Islam (Jul 22, 2014, Indian Express)
For a state that has nearly 30 per cent minority population, West Bengal does not have enough representation of Muslims in the police forces leading to a trust deficit between the community and the administration, a retired IPS officer has said.
Nazrul Islam, a former IPS officer of West Bengal cadre, said he shares the same perception that a report by three DGPs – Sanjeev Dayal of Maharashtra, Deoraj Nagar of Uttar Pradesh and K Ramanujam of Tamil Nadu – has thrown.
“At present, Bengal has 30 per cent minority population, which is pretty high in terms of the all India scenario and in terms of other states. However, we do not see any reflection of this population ratio in the police force of the state. Starting from the rank of constables to the IPS cadre, there are handful of people in the force who belong to the Muslim community,” Islam who retired as an ADG said.
Islam, quoting some in-depth studies over crime patterns, and analysed that “around 45 per cent criminals who are lodged in jails in Bengal are Muslims”. “In Murshidabad, Muslim population is 63.7 per cent. But, crime records bureau states that 90 per cent of the criminals lodged in Murshidabad jail are Muslims. This is a big divide,” he said.
The retired IPS said that there is a “common perception (in the police force)” that a “Muslim courier of Fake Indian Currency Note (FICN) from a small village is essentially a member of a terrorist organization”. “This outlook of the police force needs to be changed. At times, uneducated and poor Muslims are targeted by crime syndicates,” he said, adding Bengal has never had a Muslim home minister.…
- Cop brutality on minority, alleges Congress; minister calls it vote politics (Jul 22, 2014, Times of India)
- Protest Follows Arrests: Midnight drama at Jamia Nagar police station again (Jul 19, 2014, India Tomorrow)
- Cobra Team guilty of violence on Mewat community, says report (Jul 22, 2014, Times of India)
- CBI court denies accused cops access to witnesses’ statements (Jul 25, 2014, Indian Express)
Maoists blasted a portion of a railway track between Ismailpur and Rafiganj section in Bihar, leading to the derailment of a pilot engine running ahead of the Bhubaneshwar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express. No casualty was reported in the blast that took place late on Tuesday night, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Magadh range, P K Shrivastava told PTI.
In Patna, Chief Public Relations Officer, East Central Railway, Arvind Kumar Rajak said the advance pilot engine running ahead of Bhubaneshwar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express jumped off the track due to the incident. Nearly one dozen mail and Express trains including three Rajdhani Express trains have been stranded at various places between Gaya and Mughalsarai due to the incident, Rajak said.
The blast was trigerred during a one-day bandh call called by the Maoists against police firing in Aurangabad and Rohtas districts. The CPRO said that nearly three metre of the track has been damaged in the blast. Electric wire overhead has also been damaged, he said.
The DIG said that the blast appears to be a powerful one creating a four-feet deep crater. Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, Bhubaneshwar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, Sealdah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, Jodhpur-Howrah Express and Doon Express were among the major trains stranded at various places.
The blast took place at Lahat village under Rafiganj police station of Aurangabad district at around 11:30 PM last night. Gaya Additional Superintendent of Police Ashok Kumar Singh, who rushed to the spot after the incident, said the explosion took place during the one-day bandh call given by the Naxals against police firing in Aurangabad and Rohtas districts recently.…
- Top Maoist commander killed (Jul 23, 2014, Statesman)
- You can watch but can’t listen, court tells lawyer (Jul 26, 2014, Indian Express)
- Odisha’s most wanted Maoist Sabyasachi Panda held (Jul 19, 2014, The Hindu)
- Maoists kill 2 villagers in Malkangiri district calling them informers (Jul 25, 2014, Indian Express)
A police first information report has been filed against a senior IPS officer in the city for repeated rape by a man in uniform, molestation and stalking under the new tougher anti-rape laws after a complaint by a small-time model. If convicted, he could face life imprisonment.
The complaint against DIG Sunil Paraskar, 57, was made to city police commissioner Rakesh Maria, who handed it to the women’s cell of the crime branch, which registered the FIR in secrecy at Malwani police station, under whose jurisdiction the crime allegedly took place. The model has accused the officer of coercing her into a physical relationship during investigation into a case and raping her on several occasions in a hotel in Madh between December 2013 and January 2014.
Paraskar, a 1987 batch officer who is to retire in two years, is now posted as deputy inspector general at the Protection of Civil Rights Unit in the state police HQ in Colaba. At the time of the case, he was additional commissioner of police (north) after being inducted into the IPS cadre in 2010. “Irrespective of the officer’s seniority, we will go with the merits of the case,” Maria told TOI. Despite repeated attempts, Paraskar could not be reached for his comments. …
Besides stalking and outraging modesty, Paraskar has been charged under section 376 (2) (c) of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013. It says if a police officer commits rape, it will be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for not less than 10 years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, which will mean imprisonment for the remainder of the person’s natural life.…
- Woman accuses MP senior cop of raping her (Jul 12, 2014, Deccan Herald)
- Minor raped, hanged from tree in Bengal (Jul 25, 2014, Asian Age)
- NGO working for rehab of dalit rape survivors accuses Haryana govt of patronizing offenders (Jul 22, 2014, Times of India)
- Woman bruised by iron nails for filing rape plaint (Jul 28, 2014, Hindustan Times)
Opinions and Editorials
Any defence of, or silence on, the actions of Shiv Sena MP Rajan Vichare who force-fed a catering manager, a Muslim undertaking the Ramzan fast, despite the latter’s protestations, and of the ten other Shiv Sena MPs who allegedly vandalised the New Maharashtra Sadan in protest against not being served Maharashtrian food is untenable. Arshad Zubair, in his complaint to his employer, IRCTC, has categorically stated that the MPs knew his religious persuasion and would have seen the nameplate on his shirt. Leaked video footage of the attack also shows the young man pleading with Vichare to desist from stuffing the food into his mouth.
The government’s silence for hours after reports surfaced of this unacceptable act of MPs, who owe it their allegiance, is unfortunate. Even political compulsions offer no justification for such reluctance to condemn this ghastly act. But none of this should deter Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan from adopting a tough line and safeguard Parliament’s prestige. Their suspension from Parliament is the sine qua non before any credible inquiry can be undertaken by a parliamentary panel or the police.
Instead of an outright apology, Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray appears to be defending his MPs by saying there was no intention to hurt anyone’s religious sentiments. Vichare’s actions, seen in the context of the Shiv Sena cadre’s long history of lumpen behaviour, would hardly surprise anyone. By not offering an unconditional, unqualified apology, the Sena has yet again betrayed its inability to function as a responsible party.
For a party, aiming to return to power in Maharashtra after 15 years in the wilderness, the MPs actions might resonate with its militant core but could scare away ordinary law-abiding citizens. The Shiv Sena would do well to realise that the accumulated anti-incumbency against the three-term Congress-NCP government, rather than popular affinity towards its twin-espousal of Maharashtrian sub-nationalism and Hindutva, is facilitating its comeback. …
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has issued diktats on the code of conduct to be followed by his MPs but has maintained a studied silence on several troubling developments in the past two months having socio-political implications. His proactive stance on economic policy issues is welcome; but by not lending the stature of his office to comment on the burning social issues of the day, the signal it sends out is a State that cannot be bothered by the fates of those vulnerable and in need of its support. Fifteen of the 18 Shiv Sena MPs in the Lok Sabha have criminal cases against their names and eight of them are accused of serious offences. Without political parties taking a stand against criminalisation, Parliament and India will continue to be shamed by such incidents.
- An unedifying spectacle – Editorial (Jul 26, 2014, The Hindu)
- Shiv Sena MP force feeds fasting Muslim: A curious case of communal chapati – By Sandip Roy and Lakshmi Chaudhry (Jul 24, 2014, First Post)
- Outrageous Act, Criminal Connivance – Editorial (Jul 27, 2014, Mainstream)
- Shiv Sena force-feeding: How chapati-gate threatens Modi sarkar’s image – By Kavitha Iyer (Jul 24, 2014, First Post)
Hindutva politics in Moradabad: Here’s how a local dispute turned communal – By Ajaz Ashraf (Jul 29, 2014, First Post)
West Uttar Pradesh is fast emerging as the new laboratory of Hindutva politics, where are being tested techniques of electoral mobilisation for their relative efficacy. These techniques entail undermining the traditional mechanism for resolving disputes, imparting national undertones to a contentious local issue, and harnessing religious identity to challenge numerical domination and paper over caste/class contradictions.
These overlapping themes underlie the decision to abort the agreement that the Muslims and Dalits of Nayagaon Akbarpur village of Kanth town, Moradabad, had hammered through negotiations. Communal tension had been sparked off in Nayagaon Akbarpur, which gradually spread to Kanth town and beyond, over whether or not the Dalits could use the loudspeaker installed at the Shiv temple in the village.
The Muslims argued the temple did not have the tradition of using the loudspeaker other than during the Mahashivratri festival. They claim this tradition was flouted when the Dalits installed a loudspeaker at the Shiv temple on 16 June to felicitate Kunwar Servesh Kumar, who had won on the BJP ticket from Moradabad.
However, the loudspeaker wasn’t removed at the end of felicitation ceremony. On 25 June, a meeting was convened at the Kanth town residence of MN Jabar Singh, a Jatav leader who had twice served as pradhan of Rustampur-Sherpur village. Both Singh and local police authorities tried to persuade the Dalits of Nayagaon Akbarpur village to voluntarily take down the loudspeaker, promising they would have it installed at a later date. …
In other words, Kanth has provided the BJP an opportunity to magnify a local dispute to craft a narrative of the monolith Hindu community arrayed against the unreasonable Muslim community. Truly, in India, the apparent is rarely ever the complete story.
- Petition Filed Against The Attempt To Communally Polarize Moradabad – By Shehzad Poonawalla (Jul 27, 2014, Countercurrents)
What do Ajit Doval, Nripendra Misra and PK Misra have in common? Of course, they are top bureaucrats whom Narendra Modi handpicked to run his team. There is another common factor. They all hail from New Delhi-based think-tank Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF). Former IB director Ajit Doval was steering the ship at VIF as founder-director before he was appointed as Modi’s National Security Adviser. He was advising Modi even before the government was formed. In fact, it was Doval who came up with the idea of inviting South Asian leaders to Modi’s oath-taking ceremony.…
Rumour has it that the plan to corner the Congress was allegedly drafted by VIF at the behest of the BJP and the RSS. On one hand, Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev were raking up the corruption issue and protesting against the government. On the other hand, the BJP was adding fuel to fire. This is why senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh kept referring to the anti-corruption movement as an RSS conspiracy. But as the movement reached its peak and the UPA government came up with absurd steps to tackle the situation, nobody paid him any heed.
The VIF’s alleged links with the RSS has come in handy for Modi’s critics. Sangh leaders regularly visit the VIF, while RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and BJP leader LK Advani actively engage with it. Recently, Bhagwat was at the VIF to release former diplomat OP Gupta’s book Defining Hindutva. Since the VIF emerged out of the Vivekananda Kendra, critics believe it would be a mistake to consider the VIF separate from the RSS.
“VIF is an RSS project,” says a critic. “The first thing you notice when you enter the building is a photograph of Eknath Ranade. VIF is filled with right-wing officials. As they were marginalised intellectually, they created their own think-tank. It is a desperate attempt to get acknowledged in the intellectual world. If it is not so, then why does the RSS chief keep visiting the VIF?” …
As VIF basks in the newfound limelight, foreign dignitaries are making a beeline to the think-tank. … As more and more VIF members join the Narendra Modi sarkar, it is a no-brainer that the think-tank will play a key role in formulating the country’s foreign, economic and security policies.
- Modi and Modified Crops – Editorial (Jul 26, 2014, EPW)
- Mandal 2.0 versus the new Hindutva? – Varghese K. George (Jul 22, 2014, The Hindu)
Gadkari Bugging Scandal: Is “Saheb” Listening? – By Shehzad Poonawalla (Jul 29, 2014, Countercurrents)
There is certainly more than what meets the eye in the “bugging controversy” that has hit the Narendra Modi government recently. Broken first on Newsx and its sister publication The Sunday Guardian (co-incidentally a paper launched by BJP leader and former veteran journalist MJ Akbar where he continues to be involved) news reports claimed that senior minister Nitin Gadkari’s official residence in Delhi at 13 Teen Murti Lane was planted with high-powered listening devices, obviously in an attempt to eve’s drop on conversations that the heavyweight minister was having. While details remain sketchy, it has further emerged that a total of six devices were recovered, including one from the minister’s bedroom, in the de-bugging exercise that was done sometime ago.
While the Bharatiya Janta Party and the government remains tight-lipped on the issue, Nitin Gadkari’s denial of the reports being ‘highly speculative’ was hardly convincing leave alone categorical. The fact that the de-bugging exercise was reportedly carried out by a private firm and not the national intelligence agencies itself is quite a revealing statement on its own! Surely, the competence of agencies like the Intelligence Bureau in carrying out de-bugging exercises and their locus standi in ensuring that ministers of the central government aren’t subjected to such scandals that potentially compromise national security and national interest, cannot be understated!
Now informed, educated analysis seems to indicate that the devices used were of a foreign origin. Whether this element of ‘foreign intervention’ was restricted to providing technology and expertise or whether it was a full-fledged spying operation, sponsored by a foreign government to achieve their own objectives, remains to be answered. Just recently, disclosures by Edward Snowden revealed that the USA’s National Security Agency (NSA) had BJP on its spy-radar!…
Indeed, it is necessary that the Modi led government come clean on this entire issue. At the very least this could well be an assault on the sovereignty of India which a party that claims to have such high ‘nationalistic’ zeal can ill afford to be silent on. On the other hand, this could well be India’s ‘Watergate Scandal’ with a slight twist – where a Nixon equivalent, who is the executive head of what is India’s variant of the Republican party- the BJP was perhaps using illegal means to stifle political competition in his own ranks, in an attempt to vest absolute control in himself.
Not to imply, even for a moment that leaders of the opposition should take his benefaction for granted for too long! Only an independent enquiry, one that BJP seems to be avoiding like the plague at the moment, can reveal the timing, the antagonists and their motives behind , what is potentially, India’s biggest spy scandal! Till then, all we can hope for, is that ‘Saheb’ isn’t listening!
- Does CAG Have A Case Against Reliance? – By Ushinor Majumdar (Aug 2, 2014, Tehelka)
Ignorance, hypocrisy or biasness on Fatwas and ‘Shariat Court’? – By M Reyaz (Jul 8, 2014, Twocircles.net)
Figure this out, in a long pending petition, since 2005, the petitioner Vishwa Lochan Madan pleads in the Apex Court that the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) is striving to establish a ‘parallel judicial system in India,’ that makes it extremely difficult for Muslim women to get justice, he claims that Camps are being organised to train Qazis and Naib Qazis to administer justice according to Shariat; Dar-ul-Qazas, spread all over the country are functioning as parallel judicial system aimed to administer justice to Muslims in accordance with Shariat; and sought declaration that the Dar-ul-Qazas (Muslim Courts) and Shariat Court in India are “absolutely illegal, illegitimate and unconstitutional”; and further that pronouncing fatwas has no place in Indian Constitution and hence, these should be banned and effective steps should be taken to disband these Dar-ul-Qazas and to direct the Muslim bodies to restrain from meddling in personal issues of individuals.
The two judge bench of Chandramauli Kr. Prasad and Pinaki Chandra Ghose ‘dispose off’ the petition “without any order,” and even noted, “The grievance of the petitioner that Dar-ul-Qazas and Nizam-e-Qaza are running a parallel judicial system is misconceived.” …
Increasingly it has been felt that they need training not only in Islamic jurisprudence, but also about modern day life, culture, society, politics etc, besides of course refresher course on handling of media. The countrywide establishment of Dar-ul-Qazas and training Qazis and Naib Qazis are thus a step in right direction, although as TCN had reported earlier , much needs to be done.
What is the need of the hour is much needed debate on codification of Muslim personal laws, the reference point for which should be progressive laws in other Muslim countries, and not some conservative and regressive system of governance. The codification of Muslim personal laws should not only take on board all the stake holders, but see to it that the concerns of women are particularly taken care of through constant consultations. It should also be mindful of secular traditions of the Indian Constitution.
In most Muslim countries and in erstwhile era of Muslim rule in India, the office of Qazis ‘Darul Qaza’ is institutionalized. It should be seen that fatwas are issued only by designated bodies and others should be discouraged to express their opinions publicly, or it should be well publicized that their opinions hold no value. As there are different schools and sects, a proper mechanism should be put in place by brining consensus.
- End to illegal fatwas – Editorial (Jul 9, 2014, The Hindu)
- ‘SC ruling must lead to a Muslim personal law code’ – By Bader Sayeed (Jul 14, 2014, Times of India)
- The importance of piecemeal reforms – By Faizan Mustafa (Jul 2, 2014, The Hindu)
“Why were we raped if a boy eve-teased a girl? Did the whole nation go about raping the women of the community of Nirbhaya’s rapists to avenge what was done to her?” She is someone I’ll call S, not because she does not want the world to know her name, but because her identity has to be protected, for the consequences it might possibly have. S is one of the ‘Muzaffarnagar rape victims’, of the seven whose ordeal is the collective shame and guilt of our entire country.
Around the end of August 2013, word was that a Muslim boy in Kawal village had eve-teased a Jat girl, though the incident remains uncorroborated till date. Her brother and cousin, in an attempt to safeguard their sister’s ‘honour’, apparently killed him and were in turn allegedly lynched by an irate Muslim mob on the spot.
The men of both communities swore revenge. A congregation of Muslims did so after Friday prayers in Muzaffar¬nagar town; thousands of Hindu farmers gathered in Nanglamandor village some 15 to 20 km away on September 7, 2013, to ensure the avowed objective of ‘beti bachao, bahu banao (save your daughters, make theirs (Muslims’) your daughters-in-law’. Several khap panchayats in the vicinity issued this call, with help from local BJP leaders, including MLA Suresh Rana, the recen¬tly-elected Hukum Singh, besides Sangeet Som and Sadhvi Prachi. The panchayat also declared a war against ‘love jehad’, perceived by the Hindu right-wing as an organised attempt by Muslims to “make Hindu girls fall in love with Muslim boys and marry them”. …
What is refusing to be stifled, however, is the voice of courage these seven women have displayed, whose bitterness, rage and agony are tempered by the stronger determination to bring the perpetrators to book, and move on. Read these voices also as a challenge to the selective outrage of a nation that bleeds for a while when one Nirbhaya is raped but chooses not to say a word when countless other Nirbhayas are subjected to such ignominy in their daily lives.
- Why Paedophilia Should Be Made A Crime – By Imran Khan (Aug 2, 2014, Tehelka)
- The Making of a High Profile Rape Trial – By Flavia Agnes, Audrey D’Mello, and Persis Sidhva (Jul 19, 2014, EPW)
- Remembering Thangjam Manorama On The 10th Anniversary Of Her Rape And Murder By The Indian Paramilitary – By Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (Jul 10, 2014, Countercurrents)
- Traumatic Questions – By Imran Qureshi (Aug 4, 2014, Outlook)