IAMC Weekly News Roundup – May 25th, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Diamond exporter charged for denying Muslim a job (May 22, 2015, The Hindu)

Amid a public outrage, the Mumbai Police booked leading diamond conglomerate Hare Krishna Exports Pvt. Ltd. on Thursday for discrimination and denying a young man a job because he was a Muslim. The Maharashtra government has said it will order an investigation.

The action comes a day after The Hindu reported that MBA graduate Zeshan Ali Khan was denied a job by the company because of his religion. “Thanks for your application. We regret to inform you that we hire only non-Muslim candidates,” was the reply he received on Tuesday. After Mr. Khan decided to go public with the company’s response, a public outrage erupted on social media, forcing HKE Pvt. Ltd. to apologise.…

Acting on a complaint by social activist Shezhad Poonawalla, the National Commission for Minorities has also sent a notice to the company and directed an enquiry. Mr. Poonawalla, also a lawyer, said the incident was a “blatant violation of the spirit of the Constitution that mandates equality and absence of religious discrimination through Articles 14 and Article 25.”…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/diamond-exporter-charged-for-denying-muslim-a-job/article7232883.ece

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2002 riots call records: SIT court summons officer Himanshu Shukla to explain misplaced CDs (May 19, 2015, Times of India)

A special SIT court hearing the 2002 Naroda Gam massacre case on Tuesday summoned the Investigating Officer in the riots cases, Himanshu Shukla, to explain the case on how the CDs containing call records during the 2002 riots were misplaced.

This happened after the SIT submitted before the court that the original CDs were misplaced and were not destroyed as claimed by the accused persons, who are seeking criminal prosecution of retired IPS Rahul Sharma for allegedly destroying important evidence and investigator IPS P L Mall for not taking any action against Sharma under section 201 of the IPC. Mall’s prosecution is also sought on the ground that he has not taken any action in connection with the false affidavits filed before the Supreme Court by witnesses.…

With regard to the CDs, the court had last month sought explanation from the IO over the remark as “original CDs” while handing over the pieces of evidence to the court nearly six years ago. This was because Sharma himself had admitted during his deposition that the CDs he had provided to the SIT officials were made from the data he had copied from original CDs.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47342249.cms

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Teesta Setalvad: Modi’s Silence on Attacks on Minorities Shows Tacit Consent (May 15, 2015, News Click)

Narendra Modi led NDA government is about to complete its one year in power. This period has seen a rise in communal attacks and hate speech against minorities, posing a threat to secular ethos of the nation. These are not isolated incidents or the pronouncements of a lunatic fringe.

Modi’s ministers and parliamentarians have been spreading venom through such comments. Newsclick discussed these issues with Teesta Setalvad. Teesta explains that how this government is controlled by right wing fundamentalist groups like RSS and Modi’s silence on such incidents should be read as his consent.

On question of saffronisation of education and culture, Teesta explains that culture and education have been important as tools for building fascism and this is what we are seeing today, with active government support. She feels that all the progressive and secular forces should come together to resist the Modi government’s agenda to communalise society.

http://newsclick.in/india/teesta-setalvad-modi%E2%80%99s-silence-attacks-minorities-shows-tacit-consent

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Saffron trade union snubs RSS, to join protest against govt (May 20, 2015, Times of India)

Sangh Parivar-affiliate Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh has turned down RSS’ persuasion and decided to join other trade unions to announce a protest against the Modi government’s economic policies on May 26 when it completes its first year in office.

Sources said BMS conveyed to RSS its decision to join other central trade unions to announce the plan to hold a countrywide strike against Modi government’s “anti-labour” policies, FDI and other related decisions.

BMS chief B N Rai told TOI that the union will not step down from its decision for “joint action with CPM-affiliated CITU, CPI-aligned AITUC and INTUC which is linked to Congress among others.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47350063.cms

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PMO Not Disclosing Foreign Travel Expenses: CIC Panel (May 24, 2015, Outlook)

Noting that voluntary disclosures of information have been “below par”, a CIC-constituted panel has said that details of domestic and foreign visits of Union ministers should be proactively disclosed and kept updated. The committee said this against the backdrop of the PMO not disclosing information about expenses incurred on foreign visits of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has been refusing to disclose information related to expenses incurred on Modi’s foreign visits, citing various excuses such as the records that are sought for being “vague”. The committee of former Chief Information Commissioner A N Tiwari and Information Commissioner M M Ansari, constituted by the CIC gave its report on “Transparency Audit: Towards An Open and Accountable Government”.

The panel referred to the circular issued by the Ministry of Personnel dated September 11, 2012 where it asked all departments to proactively disclose expenses incurred on the foreign and domestic visits of their respective ministers.…

http://www.outlookindia.com/news/article/pmo-not-disclosing-foreign-travel-expenses-cic-panel/898440

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Tirupati Red Sanders killings: Police said gunned down but bodies tell story of skin peeled off, ‘torture’ (May 20, 2015, Indian Express)

Blistered skin peeled off in several places; extensive burn marks; one body bizarrely clad in two trousers, one partially pulled up over the other; bullet marks without evidence of bleeding – and a head smashed in so hard the face can’t be recognised.

Clearly visible in photographs and video clips shot and recorded by The Indian Express six hours after the “encounter” on April 7, these features of the bodies of the 20 alleged red sanders smugglers raise several doubts about the Andhra police claim that all were shot in “self-defence”.

The photographs, too explicit to be published, were shared with police and forensics experts and the consensus was clear: they raise more questions than they answer.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/tirupati-red-sanders-killings-police-said-gunned-down-but-bodies-tell-story-of-skin-peeled-off-torture/

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2 Gujarat cops suspended for dancing with woman, showering notes (May 23, 2015, Hindustan Times)

Two police personnel who were allegedly found dancing with a woman and showering notes while on duty were suspended on Saturday, a senior official said. Vadodara police commissioner E Radhakrishna told PTI that ASI Suresh More and head constable Amirkhan Pathan, attached with Kishanwadi police station, have been suspended.

“Their suspension follows after the report of a probe by Detective Crime Branch which was ordered two days back after the video went viral,” he said. In the over two minutes long video that went viral on May 21, the two policemen were first seen holding the hand of a woman, attired in a black glittery outfit while an old Hindi film song was heard in the background.

One of the cops was seen dancing to the song with the woman while the other was showing currency notes to the woman. Later they both started showering the notes on her.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/2-gujarat-cops-suspended-for-dancing-with-woman-showering-notes/article1-1350494.aspx

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Maharashtra Police notice to mosque asking to refrain from speaking against beef ban in sermons (May 23, 2015, Twocircles.net)

Muslims in the city here are worried due to the issuance of notice to the Masjid-e-Sumayya in B and C colony asking to refrain from allowing sermons and appealing people to participate in any protest rallies against recently enacted beef ban law.

The notice that was issued few days back by Tirangah police station situated near city airport to the secretary of the Mosque has irked the community people who are viewing this as an attempt to polarize the social environment and to curtail fundamental rights of the people by the BJP led state government.…

Leaders and representatives from different political parties including MIM and Congress on Friday met city SP Premjit Singh Dahiya and demanded strict action against PI Subhash Rathod who has issued the said notice.…

http://twocircles.net/2015may23/1432378341.html

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28 years after massacre, FIR missing from court records (May 23, 2015, Times of India)

Twenty-eight years after the Maliana massacre, the trial in the case has hit a dead-end as the FIR has gone missing from the records and the sessions court has refused to continue with the trial, shrouding the victims in a wave of despair.

Seventy-three Muslims were killed in communal riots in Maliana on May 23, 1987, just a day after 43 men from the minority community were allegedly shot dead by PAC personnel in the heart of Meerut, Hashimpura. Shockingly, the latest development in the Maliana case comes just two months after all the accused PAC personnel in the Hashimpura massacre were acquitted by a trial court.…

“The FIR was lodged 28 years ago. We don’t have any record of it today at the police station,” Prashant Kapil, in charge of the Transport Nagar police station where the case was registered, confirmed on Thursday. He said he had been repeatedly approached by Maliana victims for help.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47391604.cms

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12,000 Urdu books thrown into the Ganga over land dispute (May 20, 2015, The Hindu)

An Urdu library at Munger in Bihar was ransacked and thousands of rare books were thrown into the Ganga last week following a dispute between its management and shopkeepers occupying a part of its land.

Two persons related to the shopkeepers, Yugal Kishore Verma and Naval Kishore Verma, have been arrested, while four named in the first information report are at large, the police said.

“More than 12,000 Urdu books, most of them rare, were thrown into the river last Wednesday,” library secretary Mohammad Farooq told presspersons on Tuesday.…

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/12000-urdu-books-thrown-into-the-ganga-over-land-dispute/article7225131.ece

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Opinions and Editorials

Politics: Where is the governance? – By Sidharth Bhatia (May 23, 2015, The Hindu)

If there is one thing that even the strongest detractors of Narendra Modi acknowledge, it is his mastery over politics. He is a political animal of the old school – he breathes, eats and sleeps politics. He follows it intricately, monitors its nuances and applies it to his decisions. He understands political implications of decisions.

It is this mastery that has helped him not just win elections – for elections are only one part of the political game – but also move to the very top, jettisoning odds that would have overwhelmed anyone else. A stain such as the 2002 riots in a state that he had just taken over would spell the end of a political career and, for some time, it looked like he too would not survive it. But not only has he left it far behind, he has done so without ever giving any detailed explanation, much less apologising for it. People now know him as decisive and action-oriented, not wishy-washy and defensive.

It is thus all the more surprising then that the very same Modi now looks all hemmed in and unable to push his way politically on some of his most marquee legislations. There is a sense that he has not been able to deliver on his promises and the much-vaunted Acche Din are nowhere on the horizon. Moreover, many of his promises remain unkept.…

http://www.thehindu.com/features/magazine/politics-where-is-the-governance/article7239284.ece

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The Law Of Lopsided Growth – By NK Bhoopesh (May 30, 2015, Tehelka)

Last December, in his address to a group of business leaders Prime MinisterNarendra Modi made a candid declaration of what he believes sets his regime apart from all the previous governments. “Government is generally trapped in an ABCD culture. A means Avoid, B is for Bypass, C for confuse and D for Delay,” he said. “Our effort is to move from this culture to ROAD, where R stands for Responsibility, O for Ownership, A for Accountability and D for Discipline.”

When Modi said this, his government was already well on its way to make the “system” more investment friendly. And there is a certain crystal-clear consistency to how it has gone about the task. There was never an iota of doubt over the BJP’s intent to make India an attractive destination for foreign investment and iron out the rough spots for Indian big business as well. A key component of Modi ‘s strategy to fulfil the ruling party’s intent involves changing the overarching legal framework that governs industry, including laws that impinge on the relationship between the management and workers.

Even as the regime tries to move double- quick on its chosen ROAD, there has been no dearth of critics who question the very assumptions behind the NaMo ‘model of development’. Most of them point out that the fundamental flaw of what the financial press calls Modinomics lies in considering Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the sole – or even the primary – indicator of development. The critics also argue that tinkering with the legal framework with the single- minded goal of facilitating investment would do away with the existing, though inadequate, social security measures, which might ramp up the growth figures but it would be growth of a lopsided kind that would deny most of the population the right to a share in the benefits of development.…

http://www.tehelka.com/the-law-of-lopsided-growth/?singlepage=1

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Electoral wins or religious peace? – By Pradeep Chhibber and Harsh Shah (May 19, 2015, The Hindu)

As religion increasingly occupies the space of political discourse in India, there is a growing sense of insecurity among the country’s religious minorities. In the wake of a series of attacks on churches in New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi advocated for greater religious tolerance and vowed to punish religious violence. Yet, there are few takers within minority communities that things will change for the better.

Mr. Modi’s statement should not come as a surprise. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rarely speaks out against religious intolerance toward minorities but neither does it publicly defend it. This is very much a political tactic, part of the larger strategy – what we describe as ‘soft Hindutva’ – that was at play in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. At its heart is the idea that the BJP will do just enough to mobilise the majority Hindu vote in its favour without necessarily attacking other communities. It also enables the party to reach across the caste divide.…

Soft Hindutva is deeply damaging for India. Whatever its supporters may say, the strategy marginalises other communities. While most Hindus may believe that the religion is completely tolerant and open-minded, people from minority communities do not see it the same way. They are unable to make the distinction between hard and soft Hindutva. If there is no political party that can articulate minority interests forcefully at the national level, religious minorities will feel even more marginalised.…

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/electoral-wins-or-religious-peace/article7220396.ece

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Cracks begin to show in Modi government – By Vivek Dehejia (May 10, 2015, Live Mint)

…As the government approaches its first anniversary in office, a number of worrying missteps and miscalculations by finance minister Arun Jaitley, or at any rate officials within his ministry, are conspiring to undercut Modi’s own efforts to jumpstart the Indian growth story.

The spectre of retrospective taxation, and of the minimum alternate tax (MAT), has earned the ire of foreign portfolio investors, who have been making their unhappiness with the tax regime known by heading, en masse, for the exits. While the overall macroeconomic scenario still remains largely sound at the moment and while some of the recent sell-off is no doubt due to global market developments – such as a resurgent oil price and the possibility, however unlikely, of an increase in US interest rates – for which blame obviously cannot be laid on the doorstep of Jaitley or his officials, it would be folly to deny the minatory impact of MAT in particular on foreign investors’ sentiment.…

What’s more, for a government which, until recently, has apparently been immune from the sort of palace intrigue which hobbled the previous Congress-led government, no doubt due to the towering presence of Modi himself at the top, cracks have begun to appear. Thus, a Reuters report of 7 May cited an unnamed “source” within the BJP who asserted that Modi personally backed Rajan in his feud with Jaitley and that this is what led to the latter’s climbdown. Whether credible or not, such reports, amid a slew of hatchet jobs targeting Jaitley very directly, only serve to reinforce the impression of a finance minister who is besieged from within and facing a credibility crisis from without.…

http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/5FLBMyYuf2ARhLXfZQcN0M/Cracks-begin-to-show.html

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Land Wars 2.0 – By Nidheesh J Villatt (May 30, 2015, Tehelka)

…the BJP manifesto included several ‘radical’ promises vis-à-vis rural development and agriculture that farmers had been demanding for a long time. It appeared that the right-wing BJP had plagiarised the demands of the Left-leaning farmers’ organisations. For instance, it promised to “increase public investment in agriculture and rural development, take steps to enhance the profitability in agriculture by ensuring a minimum of 50 percent profits over the cost of the production, cheaper agricultural inputs and credit, introduce latest technologies for farming and high-yielding seeds and link MGNREGA to agriculture, implement a farm insurance scheme to take care of crop loss due to unforeseen natural calamities, strengthen and expand rural credit facilities, institute a price stabilisation fund to protect farmers from volatile world market prices” and more.…

With the BJP riding to power on the crest of these promises, which brought the party a windfall of votes across many parts of rural India, it was no surprise that a large number of farmers, especially in the ‘green revolution’ belts of Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, joined the victory celebrations exactly a year ago. Already, many of those who owed allegiance to regional parties had shifted their loyalties to the saffron party. There were reports of farmers hoisting the saffron flag on their rooftops.

Ten months later, when Tehelka visited farmers in Bulandshahr district of western UP, the mood has seen a ‘radical’ shift. “We voted for ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’ because the party of the Nehru- Gandhis had neglected rural India,” said a farmer. “But the Modi regime has gone a step further. They are now keen to loot and kill us. That is why we want a ‘Modi Mukt Bharat’ now.”…

http://www.tehelka.com/land-wars-2-0/?singlepage=1

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Aruna Shanbaug’s Death An Indictment Of Justice, Not An Argument For Euthanasia – By Samar (May 22, 2015, Countercurrents)

Aruna Shanbaug’s death does not either present a case for legalizing euthanasia or offer a case against it. Her death has nothing to do with that discourse, legitimate as it may be. Aruna Shanbaug’s case is about the rule of law in India. Her death, following 42 years of life in a vegetative state, confined to a hospital bed, is about the rot that the Republic carries in the form of its criminal justice system.

Aruna did not end up in her vegetative state because of her being afflicted by some illness. She was not an unfortunate victim of an accident. She had gone comatose because a criminal had raped and battered her so brutally that oxygen supply to her brain got cut off and damaged it forever.

The rapist, Sohanlal Bhartha Valmiki, a ward boy at the King Edward Memorial Hospital where Aruna worked as a nurse, did not get punished for his crime; he did not even get charged with rape. One reason for this was because the police did not bother to investigate the crime scene independent of the hospital’s version and find out if there was something more to the crime than robbery and assault.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/samar220515.htm

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