IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 16th, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Temple and mosque promote communal harmony in Odisha town (May 14, 2016, The Hindu)

A mosque and a temple have been existing together for generations near Ganjam town in Ganjam district of Odisha. These two places of worship exist side by side on the road that connects the highway to the remains of Potagada fort.…

Interestingly water seems to be unifying factor of the two places of worship. The mosque and the temple are on two sides of a single pond. The mosque facing the road has the pond on its backside while the main gate of the temple opens to the bank of the pond. Water of this pond is used by devotees of both the religions, said Manoj Raula, a priest of the temple.…

Although most of the time both the mosque and temple remain deserted, yet people of the area do not let any one disfigure their walls through graffiti.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/temple-and-mosque-promote-communal-harmony-in-odisha-town/article8597917.ece

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Extremist Hindu groups’ “role” in terror attacks? Karkare showed me evidence before death: Supercop Ribeiro (May 18, 2016, Counterview)

Veteran supercop Julio Ribeiro, a known expert on terrorism, in a signed article on June 27, 2015, had warned that “going slow on ‘Hindu terror’ is dangerous”, adding, “It’s also an insult to the memory of Hemant Karkare”. Ribeiro said this even as recalling his meeting with Karkare one day before the latter was killed by terrorists in 2008 fighting in Mumbai. Ribeiro said, Karkare “was disturbed by the reactions of some BJP leaders, particularly LK Advani, to the turn his investigations had taken in the 2008 Malegaon blast case.”…

Ribeiro said, “Such thoughts would come naturally to any policeman those days as Muslim groupings like Simi had been responsible for several terrorist acts across the country.” He added, “But the ATS had suddenly, unexpectedly and, I must add, fortuitously come across incontrovertible evidence, which included taped conversations, to prove that the Malegaon blasts, as well as the Ajmer, Hyderabad and Samjhauta Express blasts that killed nearly a hundred people, were conceived, planned and executed by a group of fanatical Hindus bent on revenge.”

Calling Karkare as one officer who was guided by the “lofty ideal” that politics, religion, caste, community have “no role to play in the pursuit of truth and justice”, Ribeiro said, “I went through some of the evidence he had gathered. I was staggered.” “I could understand the anger that prompted the perpetrators to embark on their misconceived journey. But a police officer has to do his duty, which is to stick to the truth and the letter of the law. I advised Karkare to abide by his ‘dharma’,” Ribeiro recalled.…

http://www.counterview.net/2016/05/extremist-hindu-groups-role-in-terror.html

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Two absconders in Malegaon blast mentioned as RSS workers: NIA (May 16, 2016, The Hindu)

Ram Chandra Kalsangra and Sandeep Dange, the two absconding accused in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case, have been mentioned as ‘RSS workers’ in the charge sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) last week.

Naming Mr. Kalsangra as accused number 13 and Mr. Dange as accused number 14, the NIA has referred to the two as “RSS workers” against the column for occupation in its charge sheet.Both of them have been on the run after their names surfaced in connection with the Malegaon blasts. The duo have been named as accused in other cases too that included Samjhuata train blasts in February 2007 in which 68 people were killed.

When asked to comment on its workers being named in the Malegaon charge sheet, RSS Head of Communication department Manmohan Vaidya said: “They were with the RSS. We do not know about their whereabouts. Neither do we know about their involvement in the case.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/two-absconders-in-malegaon-blast-mentioned-as-rss-workers-nia/article8607433.ece

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Lt Col Shrikant Purohit booked for planning 2008 Malegaon blasts in Mumbai (May 14, 2016, India Today)

The National Investigation Agency has charged Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Purohit for being a part of the 2008 Malegaon blasts conspiracy but has questioned Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad’s RDX theory suggesting that bombs were prepared in the house of Sudhakar Chaturvedi, who was a close source of Purohit.

While the NIA charge sheet says Purohit was instrumental in setting up Abhinav Bharat, a Hindu extremist group, it raises doubts about the traces of RDX picked up from Chaturvedi’s house in Devlali, Maharashtra.

The charge sheet mentions the testimonies of two Army officers who claim ATS Assistant Police Inspector Bagade was caught planting RDX in Chaturvedi’s house, who also has also been charged for the conspiracy.… The stringent MCOCA law has been dropped in the case but 10 accused, including Purohit are charged under terror law Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and other Sections of the Indian Penal Code.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/purohit-booked-for-planning-malegaon-blasts/1/667961.html

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2006 Malegaon blasts: ‘They took me with them saying I would be released after 10 minutes. But I returned after 10 years’ (May 15, 2016, Indian Express)

Muslims who were discharged from all terror charges in the 2006 Malegaon bomb blast case narrated their horrifying experiences in Pune during a programme organised by Republican Yuva Morcha and Kul Jamaat E Tanzeem on Saturday. Last week, a court had discharged nine Muslims in the case.

Three of them – Noor ul Hooda, Raees Ahmed and Dr Farooq Makdumi – shared their experiences of how they were falsely implicated allegedly by the state’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS). “At first, I was wrongfully arrested by Nashik police in 2001. Police were looking for a person named Noor, but they arrested me only because I was having similar name. Later, they branded me as an operative of the Student’s Islamic Movement of India (SIMI),” said Noor.

“Then, after bombs exploded in Masjid in Malegaon in 2006, two policemen came to me. They took me with them saying I would be released after an inquiry for 10 minutes. But I returned after 10 years. I kept saying I am innocent, I am not a terrorist, I have nothing to do with the bomb blast. But a police officer told me they were implicating me in this because I was an extremist as I wore skull cap and beard and offered namaz five times a day. I was tortured for 48 days. ATS officials said they knew I am not capable of making bombs and carrying our bomb blasts, still they would be implicating me,” he said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/2006-malegaon-blasts-they-took-me-with-them-saying-i-would-be-released-after-10-minutes-but-i-returned-after-10-years-2801241/

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After Nehru, Rajasthan now axes RTI Act from textbook (May 18, 2016, Indian Express)

After doing away with references to India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and several other freedom fighters from school History curriculum, the Rajasthan government’s revised syllabus has also removed a page highlighting the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

A prominent section on page 105, which was part of chapter 12 of the previous Social Science textbook for Class VIII in state schools, has now been removed in the “restructured” book. The section highlighted the RTI Act, and the people’s movement that led to it.…

MKSS has, meanwhile, filed an RTI application at the Education Department, seeking details of the procedure adopted and the expenditure incurred for the exercise to restructure school syllabus.

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/jaipur/after-nehru-rajasthan-now-axes-rti-act-from-textbook-2806182/

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India journalist arrested over Muslim yoga ban report (May 14, 2016, BBC)

Pushp Sharma’s report appeared in March in the Milli Gazette, a newspaper aimed at India’s Muslim community. It quoted what was said to be a government document that banned Muslims from travelling abroad to teach yoga for last year’s World Yoga Day. Mr Sharma faces charges of fabricating the document, which he denies.

His report was based on what he said was an official reply from a government ministry that promotes yoga and ayurveda medicine. The report said that, after several queries to the ministry, it replied saying that none of the 3,841 Muslims who had applied to become yoga teachers had been hired up to October 2015.

A letter printed alongside the article, purporting to be from the ministry, said that 711 Muslims had applied to travel abroad as instructors during the first World Yoga Day last June, but none was selected “as per government policy”.…

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-36293836

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Meghalaya: AICC condemns RSS ‘Hate Pamphlets’ (May 14, 2016, The Northeast Today)

It was reported by the heads of Christian religious groups who had appealed to the District Magistrate of West Garo Hills about targeted distribution of Hate Pamphlets of the Right-Wing, Hindu Nationalist organisation; Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ahead of the elections, demanding them to convert to Hindu’s or leave India. The pamphlet claims Christianity as a SAMASYA (problem) and the mission and purpose of the distribution is termed as GHARWAPSI.

All India Congress Committee (AICC) has strongly condemned this act of vandalism. AICC, General Secretary, Mr. B.K Hariprasad and AICC Legal Secretary, Mr. K C Mittal, has written a strong complaint to the Chief Election Commissioner, New Delhi and has demanded an immediate probe into this matter.

AICC has demanded an immediate seizure and arrest of these fringe anti-social elements so that they cannot operate in the area and hamper conduct of free and fair elections.… The Superintendent of Police, West Garo Hills, Tura has accordingly been intimated to lodge an FIR and initiate necessary actions.…

http://thenortheasttoday.com/meghalaya-aicc-condemns-rss-hate-pamphlets/

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Bhiwandi violence: BJP MLA’s kin booked for murder, rioting offences registered (May 16, 2016, The Hindu)

A day after RPI activists went on a rampage in Bhiwandi following the death of its Dalit member Vicky Dhepe, police has registered cases of rioting-related offences against unidentified persons even as a close relative of a local BJP MLA has been booked for the murder, police said today.

According to police, four offences of rioting were registered against the 100-plus armed mob which damaged number of vehicles, including two police jeeps on Sunday.

Bhiwandi Police Control Room said that two offences were registered with Narpoli police station last night while one each at Bhoiwada and Bhiwandi city police station.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bhiwandi-violence-bjp-mlas-kin-booked-for-murder-rioting-offences-registered/article8606832.ece

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Mumbai Crime: ‘Godman’ held for duping businessman of Rs 3.77 crore (May 10, 2016, Mid Day)

A 40-year-old self-styled godman, who allegedly duped a south-Mumbai based diamond merchant of Rs 3.77 crore, has been nabbed by the police. The businessman was conned of the amount by the ‘baba’, on the pretext that he would arrange a loan of Rs 40 crore for the victim to overcome his business losses.

The Tardeo police have detained the accused from Uttar Pradesh and are bringing him to Mumbai. Police have succeeded in recovering over 90 per cent of the cash. According to cops, Virendranand Bramachari alias Krishna Singh, claims to be a spiritual-cum-ayurvedic Baba. Singh would also pretend that he has huge number of followers.…

Police analysed phone calls of Singh and recently traced his location in UP and detained him on Monday. Sources say that police have managed to recover over 90 per cent of the money.

http://www.mid-day.com/articles/mumbai-crime-godman-held-for-duping-businessman-of-rs-377-crore/17217169

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At 44%, “progressive” Gujarat has one of the highest proportion of Dalit out of school children: Govt of India (May 18, 2016, Counterview)

Government of India figures, released in the Rajya Sabha recently, have shockingly revealed that, of Gujarat’s nearly 1.59 lakh “out of school” children, 43.76 per cent are Dalits, which is one of the highest proportions in India.

The revelation is particularly surprising because Gujarat has one of the lowest proportion of Dalit population in the country, less than seven per cent.…

While Dalits comprise of 16.6 per cent of the country’s population, they form about 32.42 per cent of the total “out of school” children in the country, 60.64 lakh. Only three states in India have a higher proportion of Dalit “out of school” children – Tamil Nadu 72.23 per cent, Punjab 69.33 per cent, and Bihar 44.81 per cent.…

http://www.counterview.net/2016/05/at-44-progressive-gujarat-has-one-of.html

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Opinions and Editorials

Another caged parrot? – Editorial (May 17, 2016, Business Standard)

The recent move by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to drop all charges against six of the accused in the 2008 bomb blasts in Malegaon, Maharashtra, has raised afresh the question of the susceptibility of governmental investigative agencies to political pressures.

The Malegaon case was considered a milestone because investigations, originally conducted by the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS), revealed for the first time the role of Hindu right-wing groups in terror attacks such as on the Samjhauta Express in 2007. The decision by the NIA, which took over the investigation in 2011, to drop all charges against the six, who were members of various Hindu-right organisations, is disturbing for several reasons.

First, the former Special Prosecutor in the case, Rohini Salian, revealed to The Indian Express that a Superintendent of Police attached to the NIA had approached her soon after the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance came to power to ask her to “go soft” on the accused in the case. She was later taken off the case. It is hard to understand why this informal advisory should have been issued had there been no case against the accused in the first place.…The Supreme Court once evocatively described the Central Bureau of Investigation as a “caged parrot”. On current evidence, the descriptor could apply to the NIA too.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/opinion/another-caged-parrot-116051701480_1.html

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Clean chit to Sadhvi, MCOCA dropped, Karkare probe was fudged: NIA’s new Malegaon script – By Deeptiman Tiwary (May 13, 2016, Indian Express)

Significantly watering down the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has decided not to name Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur as an accused in its chargesheet to be filed in a Mumbai court Friday. This sets the stage for her early release from jail.

The chargesheet is likely to mention that the investigation conducted by former Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare, later killed in the 26/11 terror attack, was flawed, that the evidence produced against Colonel Prasad Purohit, another key accused, had been fabricated, and statements of witnesses were taken under duress. However, Purohit will remain a key accused in the chargesheet to be filed by NIA.

In all likelihood, the chargesheet will state that the ATS planted explosives in Purohit’s living quarters at the Deolali Army camp at the time of his arrest in 2008. “We have evidence to show that the RDX was planted by ATS,” an NIA officer said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/malegaon-blasts-2008-nia-probe-sadhvi-pragya-singh-gets-clean-chit-2797995/

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Malegaon blasts case shows that Hindutva forces are succeeding in widening Hindu-Muslim divide – By Julio Ribeiro (May 18, 2016, Indian Express)

Hemant Karkare laid down his life for his friends. Every man and woman in the land was his friend. He did not discriminate between man and woman, Hindu and Muslim, this caste or that. He was a professional policeman. And he was a patriot. And that is what people expect of their public servants.…

He came to meet me on November 25, 2008, a day before his life was extinguished by jihadi terrorists. He came to tell me he was disturbed. He was disturbed because L.K. Advani had the previous day, or a couple of days earlier, accused the Maharashtra Police Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), of which he was then the chief, of framing Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and others in the Malegaon blast case. He said he would not dream of framing anyone and I believed him because I knew he would do nothing wrong. I told him I would speak to Advani personally as I had faith in his integrity.

Karkare had brought the case papers to show me that his investigations had nailed the real culprits. I did not look into those files for lack of patience. I am sorry today that I did not take more interest in his findings. If I had done so I could have attempted to defend that good and honest man with concrete facts. He is not alive to defend himself against all the forces that have been unleashed against him in his absence. But I cannot let these forces go unchallenged.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/malegaon-blasts-2008-burying-hemnat-karkare-2805887/

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Malegaon’s innocents – By Anupama Katakam (May 27, 2016, Frontline)

…In 2006, as the community prepared to attend the prayers, a series of powerful bombs exploded at Mushawerat Chowk and Bada Kabrastan in the congested Muslim quarter. Thirty-seven people died and over 300 were injured. It is widely believed that had the blasts taken place later in the evening, when the prayers were to begin, the death toll would have been much higher. Within days of the blasts, nine Muslim men from the town were arrested.

A decade later, on April 26, a sessions court in Mumbai acquitted all of them. The judge, V.V. Patil, said: “In my view, the basic foundation or the objective shown by ATS [Anti-Terror-Squad] behind the blast is not acceptable to a man of ordinary prudence. I say so because there was ‘Ganesh immersion’ just prior to September 8, 2006…. Had accused No. 1 to 9 any objective that there should be riots at Malegaon, then they ought to have planted bombs at the time of Ganesh immersion which would have caused death of most Hindu people. It seems to me highly impossible that accused No. 1 to 9, who are from Muslim community, would have decided to kill their own people to create disharmony between the two communities, that too on a holy day i.e., Shab-e Barat.”

The judge noted that there was not sufficient ground to proceed against the eight men (the ninth accused, Shabbir Masiullah, died in an accident early last year) and ordered that they be “set at liberty”. The complete story behind the blasts may take time in emerging, but this case once again reflects how flawed India’s investigation process is when it comes to cracking terror cases.… The Malegaon blasts case runs deep. The false charges against the nine men form just the tip of the iceberg.

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/malegaons-innocents/article8580609.ece

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Modi government’s second year: Too many controversies, too little governance? – By Seema Chishti (May 18, 2016, Indian Express)

On May 16, 2014, the BJP and its leader Narendra Modi were rightfully elated: they had just come to power in the Lok Sabha elections, a result which gave a party a full and undisputable majority for the first time in 30 years. Two years later, Indian politics looks different: there are surprises, new alignments, and fierce debates on an entire range of issues.…

In terms of policy, vital political capital during the NDA’s first year had been spent on policy proposals which had to be eventually jettisoned. Amendments to the Land Acquisition Bill which promised to make it “easier” to acquire land for industry, despite three ordinances, had to be abandoned because of widespread criticism within the party, the parivar and outside.…

With three years to go, there is much that remains to be done by the BJP-led government. On social media, there is a major PR campaign on – there has been an increase by one-fifth in ad spend – to promote the Centre’s side of the story. But Achche din still seems to be a distant dream.

http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/modi-governments-second-year-too-many-controversies-too-little-governance/

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Fake Encounters Sowed the Wind and India is Reaping the Whirlwind – By Prem Shankar Jha (May 12, 2016, The Wire)

In her 22 minute televised press conference attacking the UPA government’s decision to revise the home ministry’s affidavit to the Gujarat high court on the Ishrat Jahan encounter killing, Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman hurled not one but two accusations against the Congress. The first was that it had ‘created a charade’, of an innocent girl being killed in cold blood by a brutalised police, when it knew from its own intelligence inputs that she had been a member of the Lashkar-e Taiba cell that had been sent from Pakistan to kill chief minister Narendra Modi. As my article in The Wire showed last week this was pure political jousting.

But in the furore that followed Sitharaman’s second, more serious, allegation slipped into peoples’ minds through the cracks created by the first. This was that by unleashing the CBI on the case, and allowing it to interrogate officers and men of the Gujarat police endlessly in their search for evidence with which to discredit the Modi government, the UPA had divided and demoralised the police and security agencies, and harmed the country’s security.

To make this accusation Sitharaman glossed over the fact that the CBI had had to be brought in because the reaction of the Gujarat government to affidavits presented to the Gujarat High Court by two ‘whistleblowers’ in the government, S.P. Tamang, chief metropolitan magistrate of Ahmedabad, and Satish Verma, member of the Special Investigation Team set up by the Gujarat high court after it received Tamang’s report, showed that it had no intention of indicting its own police personnel.…

http://thewire.in/2016/05/12/fake-encounters-sowed-the-wind-and-india-is-reaping-the-whirlwind-35458/

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