IAMC Weekly News Roundup – June 15th, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

International Yoga Day: It’s RSS, Centre’s way to propel Hindutva agenda (Jun 15, 2015, Indian Express)

Muslim leaders in Kolkata condemned the International Yoga Day to be held on June 21, terming it “the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) way to forward its agenda of Hindutva”. Shafique Qasmi, Imam of Nakhoda Masjid here, said that there already exists a physical training class in the schools and questioned the “need to impose yoga classes”.

“Yoga is a part of vedic culture and is part of Hinduism. Why should it be implemented in schools and among government officials? It would be illegal in a secular country like ours. If keeping fit is the objective, then Namaz is one of the best forms of exercise. Why can’t it (offering of Namaz) be made compulsory for Muslim students and officials?” he said while speaking to The Indian Express.

He also alleged that the International Yoga Day was the Centre’s way “to shift focus at a time when the people have started seeing through the anti-people policies of the Narendra Modi government”. “It is a part of a larger conspiracy being created by the Centre,” he said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/kolkata/international-yoga-day-its-rss-centres-way-to-propel-hindutva-agenda/

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Tripura suspends three cops for custody death (Jun 7, 2015, Times of India)

Three policemen, including an assistant sub-inspector (ASI), were suspended for their alleged negligence of duty following a custodial death at Kamalpur police station in Dhalai district on Friday night.

The family members of the victim, Bijoy Deb (36), alleged that the deceased was tortured in the custody which led to his death. One of the family members said Bijoy was arrested in Noagoan village, Kamalpur, for allegedly creating nuisance in public under the influence of alcohol on Friday night. Around midnight, the sentry on duty noticed that Bijoy had collapsed inside the lockup and was immediately shifted to Kamalpur hospital where doctors declared him dead.…

This is the second such incident in the state in a month. On May 1, Noor Islam (42), a resident of Chanban village in Udaipur, died inside the lockup at R K Pur police station in South Tripura.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47568932.cms

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UP journalist killing: Five policemen suspended (Jun 13, 2015, The Hindu)

The Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday suspended five policemen in connection with the killing of journalist Jagendra Singh in Shahjahanpur. Singh was set on fire allegedly by a group of policemen and goons allied with Ram Murti Verma, State Minister for Dairy Development on June 1, 2015. He battled for life for a week at a hospital in Lucknow before he died on June 8.

In a dying declaration on video, shot before he breathed his last because of burns, Singh said, “Why did they have to burn me? If the Minister and his people had something against me, they could have hit me and beaten me, instead of pouring kerosene over me and burning me.”

Meanwhile, a Public Interest Litigation has been filed in Allahabad High Court seeking directions for a CBI probe into the death of Singh. The PIL was filed on June 11 by an NGO and is likely to come up for hearing on June 15. The petition said that the incident was so serious in nature that it calls for a CBI probe.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/up-journalist-jagendra-singh-killing-five-policemen-suspended/article7312967.ece

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Advocate Pracha threatened by Rajasthan ATS officer for defending terror accused (Jun 12, 2015, Twocircles.net)

In an unprecedented event, senior Supreme Court lawyer Mahmood Pracha was threatened directly by a Rajathan Anti-Terrorist Squad officer for defending terror case accused persons. Pracha has filed a complaint letter before the court.

The incidence happened just outside the session court chamber in Jaipur around 12.30 pm on Thursday when the ATS officer Dinesh Sharma tried to assault and straightforwardly threatened Pracha for defending accused in the case and said if he does not leave the cases, then he (Pracha) would be killed.

Confirming the incidence, Advocate Tahiwar Pathan, assistant of Advocate Pracha told TwoCircles.net, “Earlier we used to receive threats from underworld dons but now the men in uniform are threatening us. Fortunately, the incidence happened in the court premises due to which judge himself asked sir (Pracha) to file a complaint before the court.”…

http://twocircles.net/2015jun12/1434130325.html

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RSS Activists Attack Christian Religious Gatherings In Kerala (Jun 16, 2015, Tehelka)

The Christian community in Attingal, near Thiruvanathapuram, is under fear of more attacks, as Hindu hardliners continue to target their gatherings, alleging forced religious conversions. Recently, two such religious gatherings were attacked in the place, leaving many devotees seriously injured. The incidents took place June 14, with a group of 40 or more men, belonging to local RSS unit, raising the slogan ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, stormed into the religious gatherings. They have pelted stones into the halls and unleashed attack on devotees. They even destroyed religious properties and looted many valuables.

The first of the incidents, took place on June 14, around 11.30. The gathering of Indian Pentecostal Mission, was on progress at a hall near to KSRTC bus stand. The troop of RSS activists stormed in to the hall and unleashed an attack on them. Many, including the pastor, were injured in the attack. Then this group moved to a hall at the Municipal Library and attacked another religious gathering belonging to the ‘Reaching the World with Love Ministry’.

According to the Attingal police, the prayer session was being attended by a group of 300 people, at the Municipal Library Hall opposite to the Attingal Town Hall, when RSS activists came raising the slogan ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and storming into the hall and attacking the devotes.…

http://www.tehelka.com/rss-activists-attack-christian-religious-gatherings-in-kerala/

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CCTV footage shows Ramdev’s brother instigating attack: Police (May 30, 2015, Indian Express)

CCTV footage of the May 27 clash between security personnel of Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Food and Herbal Park and a local union of truck operators, which left a truck driver dead, shows Ram Bharat, younger brother of the yoga guru, instigating the security guards to attack the protesting union members, Uttarakhand Police said Friday.

It was on the basis of this footage that Ram Bharat was arrested and booked under IPC sections relating to murder, attempt to murder, criminal conspiracy and sections of the Arms Act.

Haridwar SSP Sweety Aggarwal told The Indian Express: “Baba Ramdev was in the vicinity at the time of the incident. While we have recovered part of the footage that shows Ram Bharat instigating his guards to attack union members, a major portion of the footage has been erased. We are yet to ascertain if Ramdev had a role.”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/cctv-footage-shows-ramdevs-brother-instigating-attack-police/

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Two yardsticks for two massacres: Govt U-turn on compensation vow (Jun 11, 2015, Indian Express)

After Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav declared on May 20 that compensation will be paid to victims of Maliana massacre in Meerut, the state government on Wednesday decided the “victims cannot be treated at par with Hashimpura massacre victims” and called off its plans to pay Rs 5 lakh compensation. The decision comes four days after the government released Rs 2.24 crore for the families of 42 Hashimpura victims who were allegedly killed by state PAC officials in 1987.

The government held that in the case of 73 victims of Maliana “there was no police atrocity”. “In Hashimpura there was police atrocity while in Maliana incident there was no such atrocity,” Akhilesh’s Chief Secretary, Alok Ranjan told The Indian Express.…

When reminded about the CM’s announcement, he said: “Maliana incident was part of the riots that took place. We cannot cover them with compensation at par with Hashimpura victims.” Sources informed that officials had apprised the CM that “giving compensation to Maliana victims will make other riot victims demand for compensation”.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/lucknow/two-yardsticks-for-two-massacres-govt-u-turn-on-compensation-vow/

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10 Mumbai schools with minority status issued notices (Jun 11, 2015, Times of India)

The state government has issued show cause notices to 10 minority status schools in South Mumbai including Cathedral and John Cannon school.

“10 schools in South Mumbai have not admitted minority students in the past three years. As per the records their ratio is zero per cent of admitted minority students in the schools,” said minority affairs minister Eknath Khadse.

The show cause notice asks, why the minority status of these schools should not be cancelled. The government is awaiting the schools’ replies. There are other 70-75 schools which are on the list too. The notice will be sent to them as well, said minister.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47631560.cms

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Muzaffarnagar riots: Charges framed against 4 in gangrape case (Jun 9, 2015, Economic Times)

Charges were today framed against four accused by a special court here in connection with the gangrape of a woman during the 2013 communal clashes. The court of Justice Gulab Singh framed charges under various sections, including section 376 (rape) of the IPC against Pushpender, Rupinder, Shabbir and Sanjiv.

The court will record the victim’s statement on July 1. A total of seven gangrape cases, including six in Phugana village and one in Lank village, were registered against 27 people. The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the riots had found the involvement of 25 people in six gangrape cases. All 25 have been arrested.

More than 60 people were killed and 40,000 displaced during riots in Muzaffarnagar district and its adjoining areas in September 2013.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47604149.cms

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Scars of Police Torture Haunt TN Dalit Youth as CB-CID Goes Slow on Probe (Jun 14, 2015, New Indian Express)

Nearly nine months have passed but the scars of police torture continue to haunt Poovarasan as CB-CID is allegedly going slow on the case after filing an FIR directed by Madras High Court.

Poovarasan, a Dalit youth, was illegally detained and tortured by police inspector Kandiban of Kaveripakkam police station, Arakkonam taluk, Vellore district along with Mohan, special sub inspector and constables Sundar and Velmurugan on September 2014 after he allegedly protested entry of lorries into Athipattu village to reach sand quarries.…

Suresh also demanded adequate compensation for victims of police brutality. “Policemen joining hands with sand smugglers should be immediately transferred from the area, pending investigation,” Suresh demanded.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/Scars-of-Police-Torture-Haunt-TN-Dalit-Youth-as-CB-CID-Goes-Slow-on-Probe/2015/06/14/article2865187.ece

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Opinions and Editorials

‘Modi’s Concern For The Minorities Is Treated Only As Empty Verbosity’ – By Rajinder Sachar (Jun 15, 2015, Outlook)

…As per press reports Modi recently warned B.J.P. members from spreading communal hatred, acknowledging that provocative comments made by some of his party colleagues were totally uncalled for and declaring that constitutional guarantees of religious freedom and non discrimination were non-negotiable. As a theoretical proposition, no one can disagree. This is consistent with accepted wisdom, namely “that in any country the faith and the confidence of the minorities in the impartial and even functioning of the State is the acid test of being a civilized State”. But how different is the ground reality.…

Personal safety, equal treatment by State is another test by which minorities would judge Modi. Recent happenings in village Atali (Ballabhgarh, Haryana) A team of Socialist Party (India) and PUCL recent visit to Atali Village disclosed the partisan and communal face of Haryana B.J.P. Government. It was on 25th may, 2015 that a mob of Hindus attacked Muslim Houses and destroyed a part of mosque which was being built by Muslims on admittedly wakf land. Muslims in panic had to flee from the village and take refuge in Ballabhgarh Police Station and could only return on 3rd June, 2015. There is still panic and state of uncertainly. But Haryana’s B.J.P. Chief Minister has not deemed it necessary to visit the village and assure Muslims that justice will be done to them. Rather his callousness in the matter is frightening.…

B.J.P. leader Amit Shah who is really running the party is a deep quiet conspiratorial personality. He very innocently seeks to avoid entering into arguments on building Ram Temple and abrogation of Article 370 of the constitution by pleading that B.J.P. has not been given this mandate on these issues. And yet surprisingly lesser B.J.P. minions indulge in provocative slogan of completing the project of “Ram Mandir” and Abrogation of Article 370 of the constitution. Modi keeps conspiratorially silent. That is why when Modi stresses that his sole agenda is development for all it does not cut ice with the minorities, apart from the fact that in reality Modi’s development programme is corporate friendly and anti-labour.…

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/modis-concern-for-the-minorities-is-treated-only-as-empty-verbosity/294589

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It’s Hindu, but not exactly: Modi sarkar assumes Catch-22 asana on International Yoga Day – By Sandip Roy (Jun 10, 2015, First Post)

The government has gotten itself into a curious yoga posture. It’s an asana known as the Catch-22 asana where they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Making sure the world understands that Yoga is #MadeInIndia has been unquestionably one of Narendra Modi’s soft power PR success stories. It’s just been a little too successful and now yoga is paying the price.

Basically right-wingers on the saffron end have wanted it both ways. They have feared that yoga’s Hindu roots have been excised, erased and elided even as yoga has become phenomenally successful in the West. It’s not an unjustified fear. In fact the more successful it has become, the more many of yoga’s western gurus shy away from its roots. Somewhat like Bobby Jindal.

On the other hand now that Narendra Modi has tried to successfully “reclaim” yoga, and its Hindu roots are showing, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has found a golden opportunity to have its moment in the sun and claim that the government is trying to foist Hinduism on everyone. The padmasana is being equated to the BJP lotus. That has led the government to twist itself into knots to appease all sides.…

http://www.firstpost.com/living/its-hindu-but-not-exactly-modi-sarkar-assumes-catch-22-asana-on-international-yoga-day-2288516.html

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Arson at Atali – By T.K. Rajalakshmi (Jun 26, 2015, Frontline)

The 1,000-odd Muslims of Atali village in Haryana’s Ballabhgarh tehsil, Faridabad district, have paid heavily for attempts to build a mosque: nearly two dozen homes and shops belonging to members of the minority community were burnt, looted and vandalised by a mob led by women and armed with hoes (pharsa, in local parlance) and other improvised weapons on the evening of May 25.

The police were hopelessly outnumbered, and they received reinforcements too late to stop anything. No one was killed, but some two dozen people of the targeted community received serious injuries. Curiously enough, not a single person in the rampaging mob was hurt.…

The Ballabhgarh police station is just six kilometres away from Atali village. Some of the victims who have taken refuge there told Frontline that they had informed the police about the mob build-up on May 25, well before the violence started. One of them said: “We made repeated calls that day. The SHO [station house officer] came, but he left leaving behind only five policemen. When we saw the mob gathering, with women in the front, we made frantic calls to the police station, only to be told that policemen were on their way. The mob used cooking gas cylinders and petrol bombs to blast our walls and burn our vehicles. We took refuge inside our homes and on rooftops. With smoke all round us and we being pelted with bricks, we were completely helpless.”…

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/arson-at-atali/article7297894.ece

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A Dravidian Pause In The Hindutva Surge – By Nisha Ponthathil (Jun 20, 2015, Tehelka)

Until two decades ago, Tamil Nadu was hailed widely as a state where the divisive agenda of Hindutva would not find many takers. The state had witnessed social reformation movements in the 19th and 20th centuries in which the local communities had fought valiantly against the Brahminical agenda of caste discrimination. Sangh Parivar organisations were hell-bent on making inroads into the southern state, albeit with little success.

However, in the last few years, the Hindutva outfits have succeeded in winning more followers in the Dravidian heartland through hate campaigns and forging opportunistic alliances. They are yet to win over the Tamil psyche, which continues to cherish a deep sense of social solidarity and co-existence.

The decision of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M) to revoke the ban imposed on the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle (APSC) has once again proved that the saffronisation agenda of the Narendra Modi government has gone awry in the Dravidian land which still harbours radical thoughts.…

http://www.tehelka.com/a-dravidian-pause-in-the-hindutva-surge/

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Culture of impunity – Editorial (Jun 15, 2015, Indian Express)

The “encounter” in which 12 Maoists were gunned down in Palamau district of Jharkhand last week is beginning to look as disturbing as the April incident in a Tirupati forest in which 20 people were killed in an alleged “encounter” with red sanders smugglers. Only seven of the Palamau victims have been identified, of which six have no police record.

Four minors were killed – celebrating the encounter as a success, the director general of police had elaborated that the “bullet does not differentiate” on the basis of age. Predictably, none of the underaged have been identified.…

The police have an unfortunate tradition of impunity in which fake encounters, framing, the planting of fake evidence and the use of unsanctioned force are par for the course. Admittedly, the forces operate under difficult and often dangerous conditions, but that cannot possibly condone impunity or the use of disproportionate force. Every “encounter” in which the authorities and the public fail to ask probing questions about worrying details strengthens the pervasive culture of impunity. As a step towards clearing the air, the police should immediately reveal the details of the Palamau operation and the identities of the dead.

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/culture-of-impunity/

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Ringing with hate – By Lyla Bavadam (Jun 26, 2015, Frontline)

Caste tensions are simmering in Maharashtra, where in the past 12 months alone there have been seven caste-related murders. The seemingly low figure is significant because the seven people lost their lives only because of the lower social status ascribed to them by birth. And the State revels in calling itself progressive and modern. The murders were of a gruesome nature; it was as if some vengeance was being exacted.

Only some of these cases have been registered under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, though on the face of it there are adequate pointers to a caste angle to all of them. Analysis of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data for crimes against Scheduled Castes under the Prevention of Atrocities Act from 2001 to 2012 shows that Maharashtra had 3,210 reported cases of atrocities in this period.

The State was ninth on the list, which Uttar Pradesh topped with 26,378 cases followed by Tamil Nadu with 10,845. Priyadarshi Telang of Manuski, an organisation that campaigns for social justice, says Maharashtra has an annual conviction rate of less than 3 per cent and thus holds the State “responsible for the increasing caste atrocities in Maharashtra”.…

http://www.frontline.in/social-issues/ringing-with-hate/article7297948.ece

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