IAMC Weekly News Roundup – March 28th, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Gurbani Samagam depicts communal harmony (Mar 23, 2016, Times of India)

India is a country where the people of different faiths have coexisted in harmony for centuries. Recently, New Delhi hosted a three-day long ‘Gurbani Samagam’, a spiritual music festival which brought two faiths together. The event witnessed the participation of both Sikh and Muslim communities and painted a picture of religious harmony.

“Gurbani sends across the message that the universe is one whole and that all humans are one, the children of God. No one is good or bad. Gurbani does not discriminate between castes and communities, it is above all biases. It advises the people to stay in harmony and brotherhood and spread peace in the world. We also wish to send this message of peace to everyone through Gurbani,” said Bhai Davender Singh, singer, Gurbani Samagam.…

“We have been participating in this event for the past two years, as it spreads the message of communal harmony. Truth is not limited to one person, it belongs to everyone. We would like to send the message that irrespective of the religion, region or language of a person, the prime truth is for everyone,” said Muhammad Iqbal, a singer from Patiala. The Sikh tradition of Gurbani helps to bring people of all faiths under one roof and celebrate oneness.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/51526605.cms

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Modi under fire as middle-class India still awaits ‘Achhe din’ (Mar 23, 2016, Hindustan Times)

‘Achhe din aayenge’. The slogan that spearheaded the election campaign promising the “good days” of lower costs, better health care and livelihood opportunities seems to be hounding the common man of India. Sharp rises in education and healthcare costs in the last two years have hit India’s burgeoning middle class hard, denting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity among the relatively well-off ahead of a series of state elections.

Price increases for services deemed a luxury for most Indians could also complicate the central bank’s plans to cut borrowing costs, with decades of low investment in schools and hospitals meaning they will remain expensive for some time.…

Education costs have risen 13%, housing 10%, healthcare 14% and electricity 8% since Modi took charge in May 2014, time series data on CPI inflation collected by the ministry of statistics showed. That puts a disproportionate strain on middle class incomes, with education costs accounting for 7% of urban households’ monthly spend compared with 3.5% of rural households, data showed.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/pm-modi-under-fire-as-middle-class-india-still-awaits-achhe-din/story-zTM7i6bj2dP9bUMJrNWDvK.html

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Kanhaiya compares ‘onslaught on universities’ to Gujarat riots (Mar 29, 2016, The Hindu)

JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar on Monday drew a comparison between the alleged onslaught on Indian universities and the 2002 Gujarat riots, alleging that both the attacks were carried out with the “support” of the State machinery.

He also asserted that there was a difference between the 2002 riots and the 1984 Sikh massacre, as the “violence in Gujarat was carried out through the State machinery, and the anti-Sikh riots were a result of mob frenzy”. “There is a difference between Emergency and Fascism. During Emergency, goons of one party are engaged in goondaism, while in the case of Fascism the State machinery turns to goondaism. There is a difference between the riots of 2002 and 1984. There is a fundamental difference between a mob killing a common man and a massacre through State machinery,” the JNUSU president said.

Mr. Kumar expressed these views during a discussion on “Voices of Azaadi” at the “Jashne-e-azaadi” festival organised to celebrate the birth anniversary of late Professor Bipan Chandra. Noting that the present time was an era of “Islamophobia”, Mr. Kumar emphasised on the need to understand history before.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/kanhaiya-compares-onslaught-on-universities-to-gujarat-riots/article8407347.ece

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Was Delhi dentist Dr Narang lynched to death by Muslims? Or is RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal giving it a communal spin? (Mar 26, 2016, India.com)

Vikaspuri region of West Delhi is still left in a shocked situation following the death of 40-year-old dentist Dr Narang. The dentist was lynched to death after a road rage incident on Wednesday night. The gruesome incident has instilled fear among the residents. However, compounding to their concerns is the communal tension, which has been created since the past couple of days by Hindutva groups active in the area.

Volunteers of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal have been propagating that the lynching was done by a group of Bangladeshi Muslims, who are residing in the unregularized jhuggis of the Delhi. They further accused Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of defending them by using his political clout. The fringe groups claim that Bangladeshi Muslims form an essential vote bank of Kejriwal, hence, his government is attempting to shield the accused.

However, according to Vikaspuri DCP Monika Bhardwaj, out of the nine accused who have been arrested so far, five are Hindus and four are Muslims. Thus the case could not be probed through communal angle. “All of the accused are from Uttar Pradesh, not Bangladesh,” she added.…

http://www.india.com/news/india/was-delhi-dentist-dr-narang-lynched-to-death-by-muslims-or-is-rss-vhp-bajrang-dal-giving-it-a-communal-spin-1059631/

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Madrassa Student’s Arm Broken Allegedly For Not Chanting ‘Jai Mata Ki’ (Mar 30, 2016, Huffington Post)

Three young students from a madrasa in outer Delhi’s Begumpur area have complained that they were beaten up by a group of men inside a park for refusing to chant ‘Jai Mata Ki’, according to media reports. The men even broke an arm of 18-year-old Dilkash – one of the three assaulted – during the incident.

“My friends and I had gone to Bans Wala park, some 300 metres from the madrasa, when we were attacked by a group of young men. They spotted us because we were wearing caps and asked us to say Jai Mata Ki,” Dilkash told The Indian Express. The men have been drinking, according to this report, when they saw the three students approach the park during the school break, and asked them to chant the slogan. When they refused, the men roughed them up.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Vikramjit Singh told the Express that a case was registered under sections 323 (causing hurt), 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 34 of the Indian Penal Code at Begumpur police station.…

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2016/03/30/bharat-mata-ki-jai_n_9570196.html

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Ground report from Red Zone: Is Chhattisgarh becoming a police state? (Mar 30, 2016, India Today)

On Rajdeep Sardesai’s show NewsToday, lawyer and social activist Teesta Setalvad and PK Mishra, former ADG, BSF, concurred with each other on gross human rights violations in Chief Minister Raman Singh’s Chhattishgarh. In Maoist-affected areas of Chhattisgarh, it is the doctors and journalists who are bearing the brunt of the police forces.

Speaking on police atrocity, Teesta Setalvad said, “…I am really shocked at the attacks on journalists in Bastar. Are we going to tolerate a situation where journalists are going to be openely threatened by the police and then we accept the police version to say, “Are these journalists also reporting the Maoist’s version? Are we going to have no independent witnesses in Bastar or in the Red corridor?”

On being questioned about the role of the police force which is allegedly muzzling of the voice of the people in Chhattishgarh, PK Mishra said the police and paramilitary forces should operate in the maoist-affected area under the Constitution.…

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/ground-report-journalists-doctors-caught-in-bastar-crossfire/1/630406.html

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Cow vigilantism: Families contest Jharkhand government’s claims on Latehar lynchings (Mar 23, 2016, Scroll.in)

…Latehar police maintain that the murders were for cattle robbery, and can be traced to a dispute between Ansari and one of the accused, whom the police did not name. The police have arrested all eight accused, including two who are members of “Gau Raksha Samiti” [Cow Protection Organisation]. Six of the eight oxen were recovered from one of the accused, while the remaining two were abandoned by the attackers.

On March 20, speaking to journalists, even while the investigation was still on, Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das said the murders could have been linked to cattle smuggling, “like Uttarakhand, in Jharkhand too no one can take animals outside the state,” he stated.

Two days later, on March 22, when the chief minister announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh each, the families of the victims refused to accept it and demanded a judicial probe into the murders. “When the chief minister justifies lynching and murder, falsely accusing of cattle smuggling, then what justice can we expect?” said one of Majloom Ansaris’ four brothers.…

http://scroll.in/article/805548/latehar-lynchings-good-step-to-stop-cow-slaughter

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NIA failed to produce evidence against Muslim youths in Malegaon Blast Case (Mar 27, 2016, Siasat)

National Investigation Agency admitted before the court that it does not have any concrete proof against the nine Muslim youths about their involvement in Malegaon Bomb Blast Case.

It may be noted that before the investigation of NIA, ATS and CBI have already filed charge sheets. Before pronouncing any judgment, the confession statement of NIA would be taken into consideration. NIA’s advocate told that nine Muslim youths who were arrested in this case may get relief very soon. They have already spent more than 5 years behind the bars. At present they are on bail.…

When NIA started investigations, secrets were exposed one by one. In 2008, a bomb was blast at Bhiku Chowk in which Sadhavi and her guru were taken into police custody along with Col. Purohit. When Swami Aseemanand’s statement was recorded, the investigating agencies got an opportunity to probe further. NIA did not oppose the bail petitions of nine Muslim youths at that time.

http://www.siasat.com/news/nia-failed-produce-evidence-muslim-youths-malegaon-blast-case-937949/

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I told NIA about Ishrat Jahan, don’t know why didn’t they record the statement: David Headley to court (Mar 26, 2016, First Post)

On the fourth day of his cross-examination in the 26/11 Mumbai attack case before the court, Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley claimed that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had not recorded his statements accurately and that he had no personal knowledge of Ishrat Jahan.

Headley on Saturday claimed that LeT commander Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi had told him about Ishrat Jahan ‘operation’ though he had also learnt about the case through the media. He said that he had told NIA that “a female member who had died in an encounter in India was Ishrat Jahan” and other things but could not say why they were not recorded by the agency.…

On whether NIA read out the statement to him, Headley said, “No” and added that the agency just took down the notes. To a question, the Lashkar operative, who has been convicted in the US for his role in the 26/11 attacks, said neither he had requested the NIA for a copy of the statement nor did they provide it to him. He also said that this is for the first time that he was being shown his statement in the court.…

http://www.firstpost.com/india/i-told-nia-about-ishrat-jahan-dont-know-why-didnt-they-record-the-statement-david-headley-to-court-2696934.html

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32 cops booked in custodial death case (Mar 23, 2016, The Tribune)

Following directions of the district sessions judge, the city police have booked around 33 government officials, including policemen, in connection with the custodial death of a jail inmate, Raju Chand.…

The police have booked 32 government officials posted at the local Central Jail and related departments for their role in the custodial death of Raju, who died in 2013. Her mother, Manjit Kaur, filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court alleging that Raju died due to inhuman torture in the jail by the police.

Among those booked include superintendent, jail, BS Bhullar, superintendent Amrik Singh, assistant superintendent, jail, Gurbinder Singh, assistant superintendent Tasvir Singh, assistant superintendent Jagtar Singh, medical officer Dr Gunam Singh and naib tehsildar Harvinder Singh.…

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/amritsar/32-cops-booked-in-custodial-death-case/212924.html

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Gujarat: Charges framed against Asaram Bapu in rape case in Gandhingar (Mar 28, 2016, DNA India)

A court in Gandhinagar on Monday framed charges against self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, paving the way start of trial, more than two years after the police filed a charge-sheet against him and six others in a rape case.

A Surat-based woman has accused Asaram of raping her repeatedly during her stay in his ashram here. The framing of charges was delayed because the police could not bring Asaram to the court as he is in a Jodhpur jail in connection with another rape case.…

The younger sister of the complainant has levelled the allegation of rape against his son Narayan Sai who too has been arrested by Surat police. The elder sister has accused Asaram of sexual assaults between 1997 and 2006 when she was living in his Ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad city.

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-charges-framed-against-asaram-bapu-in-rape-case-in-gandhingar-2195150

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Opinions and Editorials

A letter to Modi: Why is there such a gap between your wonderful words and your actions? – By Kiran Nagarkar (Mar 29, 2016, Scroll.in)

On March 17, you outdid yourself on the first day of the World Sufi Forum hosted in Delhi. What could one say except “What a speech, how moving.” You had done your homework and you obviously have total recall (it would also be interesting to find out who your speechwriters are) but the fact remains that you are able to reproduce their amalgam of fact and rhetoric into an extempore mix.…

You had some genuinely wise things to say, like: “We must reject any link between terrorism and religion. Those who spread terror in the name of religion are anti-religious.” What noble sentiments.… And yet there was this low whisper telling me again and again something that the British Underground, along with the local train stations in Mumbai, have told us for years – mind the gap, mind the gap, mind the gap. That is the gap between the trains and the platforms where so many fall and are injured or die. In your case, Prime Minister it’s the credibility gap – the chasm between your wonderful words and zero action.…

How come, Dear Prime Minister, you have not read the riot act to your Islamophobic ministers, legislators, parliamentarians or the rest of the Parivar even once since you came to power? Some folks believe that it is because of these tirades and hate-filled actions that the BJP did not win the Delhi and Bihar elections, and predict that the elections in the four or five states due in the coming months will not be a walkover.…

http://scroll.in/article/805696/a-letter-to-modi-why-is-there-such-a-gap-between-your-wonderful-words-and-your-actions

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For Urdu Publications, the Government’s Default Setting is Suspicion – By Akhil Kumar (Mar 20, 2016, The Wire)

“Does this mean people writing in Urdu are the ones who will write anti-national things?” asks Shahnaz Nabi, head of the Urdu department at the University of Calcutta. Nabi received an unusual form earlier this week when the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) undertook to bulk purchase her book on literary criticism.

The form, which has been criticised by many writers for a controversial clause which requires them to declare that their work is not critical of government policies.…

It further states that the council could take legal action against the writers, and ask them to return the financial assistance they have been provided, if they do not abide by the declaration. It also requires the writers to get their form signed by two witnesses.…

http://thewire.in/2016/03/20/ncpul-urdu-writers-declaration-form-25324/

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Nationalism, then and now – By K.N. Panikkar (Apr 15, 2016, Frontline)

A welcome consequence of the recent despicable incident of slapping sedition charges on the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is the widespread discussion it generated on the complex and multilayered character of Indian nationalism.…

That even after about 70 years of independence from colonial rule, wrested after a popular and protracted struggle for civil liberties, it is rather ironical that the independent state should invoke the same laws which the colonial rulers had used to suppress dissent and deny freedom of expression. It is not fortuitous, though.

It is occasioned by the communal right-wing takeover of the government of India by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the consequent resurgence of Hindu religious fundamentalism directed by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and its affiliates.…

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/nationalism-then-and-now/article8409074.ece

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Sri Sri is lying and misleading all about my Yamuna assessment – By Gopal Krishna (Mar 23, 2016, Dailyo.in)

The recently concluded World Culture Festival (WCF) on the banks of Yamuna is a classic case of how we govern our rivers and its floodplains, rather misgovern them. The fact that the Art of Living (AOL) festival was planned after clearing, compacting, dumping of earth and construction debris over some 1,000 acres of the flood plain of Yamuna and by clearing the reeds and grasses underlines how it has joined the unwise assaults beginning with the construction of samadhis, Akshardham temple, Delhi Secretariat, Millennium Bus Depot, Delhi Metro and Commonwealth Games village that has devastated the floodplains.

Floodplain waters contain hundreds of plant and animal species and they are dependent on floodplains. These assaults constitute unpardonable encroachments. The role of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in mere condoning the violations of law and ironically also granting permission to further plunder the floodplains through WCF exposes its structural weaknesses and intent.

Issues of water quality, quantity and land use are interlinked because one cannot deal with them as if they are separate from the river basin but this is precisely what is being done. NGT’s approach has been no different. There is no alternative to genuine river basin approach.…

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/world-culture-festival-sri-sri-ravi-shankar-art-of-living-yamuna-delhi-metro-pollution-environment-aol-ngt/story/1/9698.html

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Why And What Happened In University of Hyderabad – By Omkar Nadh (Mar 27, 2016, Countercurrents)

University of Hyderabad has been worst hit by the ruling classes to suppress the dissenting voices that were being raised shaming the discriminatory practices in the society and the role of state machinery in perpetuating such discrimination. The entire episode of Rohit Vemula, who is a victim of institutional killing by the NDA government at the centre and the Vice-Chancellor (VC) of the University, is the worst form that this discrimination has been manifested.

Even the interim report of the two member committee appointed by the MHRD suggests this. Given this situation the VC of University has gone on leave for almost 2 months and then Mr.Periasamy has took over as acting VC of University and the University was functioning normal with students getting ready for their end semester examinations.

The return of Mr. Apparao at this point of time raises various questions like, since the enquiry in Rohit Vemula’s case is still under process where Mr. Apparao was prime accused, his occupancy of position which can tamper the evidences related to the case was a concern raised by the students.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/nadh270316.htm

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Message from Udumalpet – Editorial (Mar 26, 2016, EPW)

The ghastly murder of V Shankar, a 22-year old Dalit youth on the streets of Udumalpet in western Tamil Nadu on 13 March 2016, is indeed yet another instance of the manifestation of ugly casteism in the state. It is not enough to see this as merely a problem on the law and order front or one of uncivilised behaviour.

Insofar as it is a case of murder, the perpetrators of the criminal act and those behind them will have to be punished. But then, given the track record of the state police and its prosecutorial wing, such crimes in the past have not led to conviction of the guilty in any of the cases. Tamil Nadu has witnessed as many as 81 such killings in the guise of “honour” in the past couple of years alone, according to one report.

In this instance, as it was earlier, the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) has not even come out with a ritualistic condemnation while the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has chosen to term it as evidence of the government’s failure on the law and order front.…

http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/13/editorials/message-udumalpet.html

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