IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 12th, 2018

In this issue of IAMC News Digest

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Funds collected outside Pune mosques help rebuild 74 Dalit homes in Pune ()

In a heart-warming story of Dalit-Muslim unity from Maharashtra, an NGO managed to rebuild homes of 74 Dalit families who lost their homes to a fire with the help of generous contributions from the Muslim community in and around Pune.

On April 24, the slum near Ambedkar Nagar in Pune caught fire due to a short circuit and gutted around 74 homes in just a few minutes. Thankfully, due to the help of locals and fire personnel, no lives were lost but the residents lost all their possessions.…

Shabbir Sheikh, the president of BBF, says that this effort is in line with the teachings of Islam. “Our religion teaches us humanity, and to help the poor. After visiting Ambedkar Nagar slums post-fire, we decided to build the homes. We announced our intentions in some of the mosques in Pune City and stood outside the mosques to collect charity. Alhamdulillah, we received a very good response. Our community donated cash and cement, sand and other construction material. Seeing our efforts, many people volunteered as labour also while others made several anonymous contributions. Within a very short period, we met our target and it is because of the community’s efforts that we managed to hand over the keys of all the 74 homes within seven months of the fire,” Sheikh adds.…

http://twocircles.net/2018nov10/426963.html

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SC Refuses Hindu Mahasabha Plea for Early Hearing of Ayodhya Case, Says It’s Already Listed for January (Nov 12, 2018, News18.com)

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a petition by the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha for early hearing of the petitions in Ram-Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice SK Kaul said it had already listed the appeals before the appropriate bench in January. “We have already passed the order. The appeals are coming up in January. Permission declined,” the bench said while rejecting the request of early hearing of lawyer Barun Kumar Sinha, appearing for the Mahasabha.

The top court had earlier fixed the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case for the first week of January before an “appropriate bench”, which will decide the schedule of hearing.…

https://www.news18.com/news/india/sc-refuses-hindu-mahasabha-plea-for-early-hearing-of-ayodhya-case-says-its-already-listed-for-january-1936179.html

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Govt wants Rs 3.6 lakh crore from RBI, a third of its reserves, central bank says no (Nov 6, 2018, Indian Express)

At the heart of the RBI-government standoff is a proposal by the Finance Ministry seeking to transfer a surplus of Rs 3.6 lakh crore, more than a third of the total Rs 9.59 lakh crore reserves of the central bank, to the government. The ministry has suggested that this surplus can be managed jointly by the RBI and the government.

The Finance Ministry claims that the existing economic capital framework – which governs the RBI’s capital requirements and terms for the transfer of its reserves to the government – is based on a very “conservative” assessment of risk by the central bank.

Sources have confirmed to The Indian Express that the RBI views this attempt by the Government to dip into its reserves can adversely impact macro-economic stability. And so the RBI has not accepted the proposed changes, sources said.…

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/govt-wants-rs-3-6-lakh-crore-from-rbi-a-third-of-its-reserves-central-bank-says-no-5435504/

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Congress’s MP manifesto promises to ban RSS shakhas in govt buildings (Nov 11, 2018, Business Standard)

Ahead of the Madhya Pradesh elections, the Congress party in its manifesto has assured that if voted to power in the state then it will not allow the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to conduct their (shakha) sessions in government buildings.

The party promised to revoke the orders allowing government employees to attend RSS shakha sessions. Madhya Pradesh is all set to go to polls on November 28. The strength of the Madhya Pradesh assembly is 230 and counting of votes for the assembly elections will be conducted on December 11.

The election in the state is seen as a direct political battle between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress. While Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is attempting to secure a fourth consecutive term, the Congress will fight for regaining power after 2003.…

https://www.business-standard.com/article/elections/congress-s-mp-manifesto-promises-to-ban-rss-shakhas-in-govt-buildings-118111100170_1.html

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Karnataka bypolls: BJP trounced by Congress-JD(S) force in Bellary, Coalition wins 4 of 5 seats (Nov 6, 2018, Statesman)

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which held Bellary Lok Sabha constituency since 2004, lost the seat to the Congress on Tuesday. Of the three Lok Sabha seats for which bypolls were held, two were in saffron control and one, Mandya, was held by Janata Dal (Secular). Bypolls were also held for two assembly segments – Jamkhandi and Ramanagara.

Congress’ VS Ugrappa won the Ballari parliamentary seat with a margin of 2,43,161 votes defeating J Shantha of the BJP. … The BJP could retain only one of two Lok Sabha seats it held before the results. … In Mandya, the third LS seat where bypolls were held, JD(S) nominee LR Shivaramegowda defeated BJP’s Dr Siddaramaiah by a margin of 3,24,943 votes.

In the bypolls held for two assembly segments, Jamkhandi and Ramanagara, the Congress-JD(S) coalition thumped the BJP. Congress’ AS Nyamagouda won Jamkhandi assembly seat with a margin of 39,480 votes. In Ramanagaram, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s wife Anitha Kumaraswamy won comfortably by a huge margin of 1,09,137 votes. She is the first woman MLA to have won from the seat.…

https://www.thestatesman.com/india/karnataka-bypolls-bjp-trounced-by-congress-jds-force-in-bellary-coalition-wins-4-of-5-seats-1502705228.html

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Tipu Sultan Jayanti: Section 144 Imposed in Several Places in Karnataka as BJP Threatens to Gatecrash Celebrations (Nov 10, 2018, News18.com)

The Karnataka government Saturday celebrated the birth anniversary of the controversial 18th century ruler of the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom, Tipu Sultan, bringing the state under a thick security blanket amid threats of protest by the BJP and many Hindu outfits.…

Wishing success for the Tipu Jayanti celebrations, Kumaraswamy in a statement Saturday said, “Tipu’s progressive measures in administration, his quest for innovation are commendable”. He also stated that as he was taking rest on doctor’s advice, he was unable to take part in the programme.…

Tipu was a ruler of the erstwhile Kingdom of Mysore and considered an implacable enemy of the British East India Company. He was killed in May 1799 while defending his fort at Srirangapatna against the British forces.…

https://www.news18.com/news/india/tipu-sultan-jayanti-section-144-imposed-in-several-places-in-karnataka-as-bjp-threatens-to-gatecrash-celebrations-1934759.html

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Opposition slams Yogi Adityanath for renaming Faizabad (Nov 8, 2018, Business Standard)

Opposition leaders on Thursday slammed Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for changing the name of Faizabad to Ayodhya earlier this week.

National spokesperson of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Manoj Jha, while speaking to ANI, launched a scathing attack on Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, saying “Mr. Yogi Adityanath can only change the name of places. If he is really serious, he should change the name of oxygen cylinders so that the life of the children can be saved.”

He further added, “I request the Prime Minister that to send Yogi Adityanath back to the math, as the mandate was not for him to rule in Uttar Pradesh.”…

https://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/opposition-slams-yogi-adityanath-for-renaming-faizabad-118110801035_1.html

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Demonetisation, GST weighed down India’s economic growth last year: Raghuram Rajan (Nov 10, 2018, Business Today)

Demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) are the two major headwinds that held back India’s economic growth last year, former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan has said, asserting that the current seven per cent growth rate is not enough to meet the country’s needs.

Addressing an audience at the University of California in Berkley on Friday, Rajan said for four years – 2012 to 2016 – India was growing at a faster pace before it was hit by two major headwinds.

“The two successive shocks of demonetisation and the GST had a serious impact on growth in India. Growth has fallen off interestingly at a time when growth in the global economy has been peaking up,” he said delivering the second Bhattacharya Lectureship on the Future of India.…

https://www.businesstoday.in/current/economy-politics/demonetisation-gst-weighed-down-india-economic-growth-last-year-raghuram-rajan/story/289674.html

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Retired IAS, IFS Officers Want Action Against Amit Shah for ‘Unconstitutional’ Sabarimala Speech (Nov 6, 2018, The Wire)

Close to 50 retired Indian Administrative Service and Indian Foreign Service officers have written to the Election Commission, Supreme Court, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind asking that action be taken against Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah for his “unconstitutional” speech in Kannur, Kerala.

On October 27, Shah extended the BJP’s support to those who had been protesting women’s entry into the Sabarimala temple despite the Supreme Court saying that they should be allowed in. “We [the BJP] will uproot this government if it continues arresting people who protested the Supreme Court verdict [on women’s entry into the Sabarimala],” Shah said. Shah also asked courts to issue “practical instructions to governments”.

In their statement, the IAS and IFS officers have said that Shah’s speech made for “scary reading” and amounts to “gross constitutional misconduct”. They have asked EC, Supreme Court, prime minister and president to take cognisance of the matter and act.…

https://thewire.in/politics/amit-shah-sabarimala-speech-ias-ifs

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Karnataka ex-BJP minister G Janardhana Reddy sent to judicial custody in bribery case (Nov 11, 2018, Indian Express)

The Central Crime Branch (CCB) unit of Bengaluru police on Sunday arrested former Karnataka minister G Janardhana Reddy and his close aide Ali Khan in connection with a bribery case, ANI reported. The mining baron spent the night at the crime branch office on Saturday after being questioned for several hours in the alleged Ambident Group bribery case.

Reddy was produced before a court later today. He was sent to judicial custody till November 24 after the court rejected the CCB’s plea for custody.… Alok Kumar Additional CP, Central Crime Branch, was quoted as saying by ANI, “We have taken the decision to arrest him on the basis of credible evidence and witnesses statements. We will produce him before the magistrate. We are going to recover the money and give it to the investors.”

Reddy, who was a minister in the erstwhile Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Karnataka, is alleged to have received an amount of Rs 20 crore – in the form of gold – to allegedly help a private firm, Ambident Pvt Ltd, dodge a money laundering case being pursued by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).…

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/karnataka-ex-bjp-minister-g-janardhana-reddy-arrested-in-bribery-case-5441178/

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Neyyattinkara murder: Police team sent to Tamil Nadu to trace accused DySP (Nov 7, 2018, New Indian Express)

A day after a 32-year-old man was allegedly murdered by Neyyattinkara DySP B Harikumar following an altercation, the investigation team probing the case has been sent to Tamil Nadu after reports that the accused was absconding in Madurai. The police team involving two sub-inspectors left for Madurai on Wednesday morning. Sources said the accused would move for anticipatory bail and his phone is found to be switched off.

On Tuesday, the Neyyattinkara police have registered a murder case (IPC Section-302) against Harikumar and a special investigation team was constituted. He was also suspended by the department as part of the disciplinary measure.

Sanal Kumar, 32, was allegedly pushed before a speeding car by the accused late Monday following an argument over parking their cars at Kodanagavila near Neyyattinkara. Sanal, an electrician and a resident of Kamukinkode near Neyyattinkara were fatally injured and succumbed to injuries following heavy blood loss. Harikumar, eventually went absconding soon after the incident.…

http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2018/nov/07/neyyattinkara-murder-police-team-sent-to-tamil-nadu-to-trace-accused-dysp-1895237.html

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Opinions and Editorials

Undermining institutions – By Venkitesh Ramakrishnan and Divya Trivedi (Nov 23, 2018, Frontline)

…The perception of a parallel with the Emergency finds echoes among different segments of society, including the politically neutral bureaucracy. Opposition leaders, including those of the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), have been drawing attention to the systematic dismantling and subjugation of autonomous and semi-autonomous institutions.

After a meeting with Congress president Rahul Gandhi on October 31, TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu pointed out that the Narendra Modi government was demolishing all institutions including the RBI, the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate (E.D.), the Income Tax Department and even the Supreme Court. “We are trying to rally all political parties against this systematic demolition of institutions. I have been in politics for the last 40 years. Never have I witnessed this type of administration,” Chandrababu Naidu said.

A large number of social activists working in fields related to administrative accountability and human rights perceive the current developments in the CBI and the RBI as clear signs of an authoritarian regime tightening its grip.…

https://www.frontline.in/cover-story/article25435636.ece

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The familiar drumroll of Ayodhya – By Rakesh Sinha (Nov 11, 2018, Indian Express)

…As Adityanath lends weight to the Parivar chorus for an early decision on the title suit in the run-up to 2019, reporters like me, who camped weeks in Ayodhya in the final months of the Babri Masjid, are struck by the uncanny resemblance between the utterances then and now.

The matter then was before the Allahabad High Court, now before the Supreme Court. But the larger message has been the same, the utterances a re-run of attempts to ratchet up the pressure for an early decision on, what the High Court called, “a small piece of land… where angels fear to tread… full of innumerable land mines” which “we are required to clear”.…

Because the forces arrayed this time are unprecedented, with the BJP heading majority governments in Uttar Pradesh and the Centre. Only the Supreme Court holds the fort in a battle that has always been about politics rather than law.…

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/familiar-drumroll-of-ayodhya-dispute-babri-masjid-case-yogi-adityanath-5440749/

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Growing Violence in Sitamarhi Testifies to New Political Untouchability of Bihar’s Muslims – By Mohammad Sajjad (Nov 6, 2018, The Wire)

On October 20, Sitamarhi in northern Bihar burned once again. Just as in October 1992, it began with a procession on Durga Puja, driven through the town’s Muslim localities.… On the evening of October 19, the Madhuban akhara set out, armed and already shouting incendiary, anti-Muslim slogans. A rumour spread: That Muslims were pelting stones near the Nonia toli, along the procession route.

Locals allege that the district administration did nothing to counter the false propaganda. The rumour gained traction by 11 am the next morning, when another akhara took out its procession. It was joined by a larger crowd, angry and charged; the situation was visibly explosive. Members of the procession allegedly began looting Muslims homes and then setting them on fire; they also stole goats, a recent trend in anti-Muslim violence in rural Bihar. The violence, arson and loot continued from 11 am to 3 pm on October 20.

Seventy-year-old Zainul Haq Ansari, who had visited his daughter at Rajopatti, was returning to his village, Bhoraha, when he went missing. His family registered an FIR. Two days later they were informed of a dead body in the Muzaffarpur Sadar Hospital. It was burnt beyond recognition. Only when internet was restored by the district administration, and a video of a mob attacking Ansari went viral, could they identify his dead body.…

https://thewire.in/communalism/growing-violence-in-sitamarhi-testifies-to-new-political-untouchability-of-bihars-muslims

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Two years after demonetisation: Okaying note ban, RBI rejected govt claim on black money, fake notes – By Ritu Sarin (Nov 9, 2018, Indian Express)

Less than four hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetisation on November 8, 2016, the Central Board of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) gave its approval to the scheme but also rejected, in writing, two of the key justifications – black money and counterfeit notes – that he would make in his televised address to the nation.

The minutes of the 561st meeting of the RBI’s Central Board, which was convened hurriedly in New Delhi at 5.30 pm that day, reveal that the central bank’s directors described the move as “commendable” but also warned that demonetisation “will have a short-term negative effect on the GDP for the current year”. The minutes were signed by RBI Governor Urjit Patel on December 15, 2016, five weeks after the meeting was held. In all, six objections, described as “significant observations”, were recorded in the minutes by the RBI Board.

The RBI directors, after receiving a proposal draft of the scheme from the Ministry of Finance on November 7, 2016, argued that the government’s reasoning, that the withdrawal of HD (high denomination) currency notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 would help in curbing black money and restrict circulation of counterfeit cash, did not really hold good.…

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/two-years-after-demonetisation-okaying-note-ban-rbi-rejected-govt-claim-on-black-money-fake-notes-5438516/

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Did the CBI Even Investigate Ex-Gujarat Home Minister Haren Pandya’s Murder? – By Sarita Rani (Nov 7, 2018, The Wire)

Haren Pandya was Gujarat’s home minister between 1998 and 2001, under Keshubhai Patel’s BJP dispensation, which was overthrown in an internal coup. The clash between Pandya and the new chief minister, Narendra Modi, is part of BJP lore, right up to the two testimonies Pandya gave about the Gujarat riots, including one before a citizens’ tribunal headed by Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer.

Not long after taking over as chief minister, Modi stripped Pandya of the home portfolio and made him junior minister of revenue. By August 2002, Modi had elbowed Pandya out of the cabinet entirely, and in October, Pandya was denied a ticket in the upcoming elections, which the BJP won with a resounding margin thanks to the violence.

This would have been enough to keep most men down. Other sources of opposition had been similarly dealt with. Remember Sanjay Joshi? If you don’t – there endeth the lesson. Pandya, however, wasn’t afraid of speaking out. He had already testified before two commissions and as a former home minister, he knew where the skeletons were buried.…

https://thewire.in/rights/haren-pandya-murder-investigation-cbi

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Fasting saints could become a curse for politics of Hindutva – By Sandeep Pandey (Nov 11, 2018, Twocircles.net)

Former Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur Professor Guru Das Agrawal, who became an ascetic in 2011 at the age of 79 years and came to be known as Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand, died on 11 October, 2018 on the 112th day of his fast, demanding a law for conservation of river Ganga, at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh.

40 years old Sant Gopal Das, a Jain saint, who has fasted earlier for release of encroached grazing land for cows in Haryana, inspired by Professor Agrawal also sat on fast for the same cause two days after Professor Agrawal began his fast, on 24 June, 2018 at Badri dham temple in Badrinath. Presently he is in the Intensive Care Unit of AIIMS, New Delhi.…

People haven’t forgotten that the PM claimed that he got a call from Mother Ganga to contest his parliamentary election from Varanasi. There is a high profile and high budget Namami Gange project aimed at cleaning Ganga in place which seems to have achieved little. Ganga has become more polluted as much water has flowed through it since Narendra Modi won his election from Varanasi. In fact, the issue of Ganga could become Narendra Modi’s and BJP’s Achilles heel in the 2019 general elections.…

http://twocircles.net/2018nov11/426989.html

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