IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 2nd, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Kerala mosque celebrates 18th century Hindu martyr (Nov 3, 2015, Times of India)

At a time when the country witnesses cases of religious intolerance, this mosque in Malappuram continues to be as an epitome of communal harmony. Kunhelu, a Hindu martyr was buried at Valiyangadi Jumammasjid here centuries ago. The mosque continues the tradition of offering special prayers at his grave even today.

Kunhelu, locally revered as a legendary figure, is believed to have lost his life along with 43 Muslim warriors in a battle against the erstwhile Zamorin (ruler) of Kozhikode 290 years ago. As per historical evidence and Malappuram Kissa Mala written by poet Moyinkutty Vaidyar, 44 ‘shuhadakkal’ (martyrs) died fighting the army led by Varakkal Para Nambi, the minister of Zamorin over an issue of tax collection.

Kunhelu, who belonged to thattan (goldsmith) community, joined his Muslim friends under the leadership of Alimarakkar. Muslims were forced to flee the region when the mosque was set ablaze by Nambi. Later, the issue was resolved and Nambi himself took the effort of rebuilding the mosque and brought many Muslim families back to Malappuram. The mosque evolved over the years to become a major religious centre in Malappuram Town.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/49637188.cms

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Modi should not be allowed into UK: British Muslim survivor of Gujarat riots (Oct 31, 2015, Ummid.com)

A British Muslim who survived the 2002 Gujarat riots and kin of three other British Muslims who were brutally murdered by Hindu mob, while opposing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposed visit to the UK due in the next month, are demanding afresh for justice. “Modi should not be allowed into the UK. I saw burning buildings. I saw mobs committing genocide. I saw dead bodies, I saw burnt bodies all around me. I experienced smells like never ever before. I was terrorised and left for dead”, Imran Dawood said while talking to The Muslim Mews.

“My family, neighbours were taken away from me and until now no justice has been delivered. And it sickens me now when I see the news on how killing of Muslims is still happening,” he added. Imran Dawood was 18 when he was stabbed by the Hindu rioters during the 2002 Gujarat riots. He along with his uncles Shakeel and Saeed Dawood and their friend Mohammed Aswat were returning to Gujarat from Agra when they were stopped by the rioters.

The Hindus circled the jeep and demanded to know from the occupants their religious identity, the tourists answered that they were British citizens and were Muslims. The hired driver was then dragged out of the jeep and attacked with sticks and killed on the spot. His body was then thrown back into the vehicle and set alight. In the meantime, the British tourists were chased to a nearby farm. Aswat and Imran were stabbed and left for dead. Imran miraculously survived. Imran recalls Saeed and Shakeel pleading with the mob to spare all their lives but to no avail.…

http://ummid.com/news/2015/October/31.10.2015/british-muslim-survivor-of-gujarat-riots.html

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President Pranab Mukherjee again: Preserve pluralism, multiplicity (Nov 1, 2015, Indian Express)

For the third time in less than a month, President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday spoke out against rising intolerance, asserting that India has thrived despite all its diversities because of “assimilation and tolerance”.

Inaugurating the golden jubilee celebration of the Delhi High Court in New Delhi, Mukherjee emphasised the need to preserve the “multiplicity”. “Our country has thrived due to its power of assimilation and tolerance. Our pluralistic character has stood the test of time,” he said.

He pointed out that India is a country of 1.3 billion people who belong to different ethnic groups, speak 122 languages and 1,600 dialects, and profess seven faiths.… Less than two weeks later, he expressed “apprehension on whether tolerance and acceptance of dissent are on the wane” in the country. In his statement on October 19, he asserted that “humanism and pluralism should not be abandoned under any circumstance”.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/multiplicity-plural-character-of-india-must-be-preserved-president-mukherjee/

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Indian Intellectuals Alarmed by Rising Intolerance Attacks (Oct 31, 2015, New York Times)

First writers then artists, followed by filmmakers, historians and scientists. The chorus of Indian intellectuals protesting religious bigotry and communal violence grows louder by the week with a single message for Prime Minister Narendra Modi: protect India’s tradition of secularism and diversity.

Those protesting are angry and worried by a spate of deadly attacks against atheist thinkers and minorities, and by Modi’s relative silence through it all. That silence appears to have encouraged some of his party colleagues to make comments asserting Hindu pride and superiority.

On Thursday, more than 100 scientists, including some of India’s top nuclear physicists, space scientists and mathematicians, expressed their anguish at the ways in which they said “science and reason were being eroded in the country.” The protest by scientists is significant, given that most work for the government or in state-funded organizations and so could risk being punished for speaking out.…

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/10/31/world/asia/ap-as-india-intolerance.html?_r=0

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Top Indian Business Leaders Warn Growing Religious Intolerance May Harm the Economy (Nov 2, 2015, Time)

The chorus of voices expressing concern about religious intolerance in India grew louder over the weekend, when two of the country’s top business leaders and a noted economist joined individuals from a broad spectrum of professions that have already decried the resurgence of Hindu nationalism under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

N.R. Narayana Murthy, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and Lord Meghnad Desai all said that India’s fraught sociopolitical landscape is making it less conducive to international business, the Press Trust of India reported.

The growing intolerance “creates a kind of concern about investing in a country,” said Shaw, the chairman and managing director of Indian biotechnology company Biocon.…

http://time.com/4096102/india-business-religious-intolerance/

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BJP leader attacks journalist with sword, baseball bat in Jabalpur (Oct 10, 2015, Hindustan Times)

A journalist was assaulted by a local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and his brother in Shastri Nagar in Jabalpur, police said on Saturday. The journalist, Ashish Vishwakarma was attacked with a sword and a baseball bat by a local BJP leader Hridayesh Rajput and his brother Neeraj, said additional superintendent of police GP Parashar.

According to police, Rajput and his brother Neeraj had invited Vishwakarma to their residence on the pretext of celebrating the latter’s birthday and attacked him with a sword and a baseball bat as soon as he entered the house.

Vishwakarma sustained severe injuries on the head and the body, managed to escape and call his family members, who admitted him to a hospital in the neighbourhood, police said. In his statement to the police, Vishwakarma said that he had a published a story to which Rajput had objected but latter the matter was settled.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/bhopal/bjp-leader-attacks-journalist-with-sword-baseball-bat-in-jabalpur/story-DGOefviZSoPkOsCXN4gDyM.html

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Dabholkar murder: CBI gets HC rap, says has identified two suspects (Oct 29, 2015, Indian Express)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Wednesday informed the Bombay High Court that it had identified two suspects in the Narendra Dabholkar murder case. The agency, though, came in for HC’s flak for the “lacklustre approach of its officers” in carrying out the investigations. The court sought to know what action had been taken by them considering that the murder took place two years ago.

CBI’s advocate Rebecca Gonsalves submitted the two names to a division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Rajesh Ketkar. “They are all members of the same organisation,” she said.

The HC was hearing petitions by the kin of slain rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and slain Communist leader Govind Pansare, who had expressed unhappiness with the probe being conducted by CBI in the Dabholkar case and by a special investigation team of the state police in Pansare’s case. They had urged the HC to monitor the two probes.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/dabholkar-murder-cbi-gets-hc-rap-says-has-identified-two-suspects/

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Vishnu Gupta – man who triggered Delhi’s Kerala House ‘beef’ row arrested (Oct 28, 2015, Times of India)

Hindu Sena chief Vishnu Gupta was on Wednesday arrested for filing a false complaint that beef was served at the Kerala House in the capital. Gupta had earlier been detained and taken to the Parliament Street police station for questioning, a police official said.

“Gupta was on our radar over several cases,” the official said. He was accused of attacking former AAP leader and lawyer Prashant Bhushan. Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi had earlier in the day said action was likely against Gupta under section 182 of IPC. This relates to providing false information with intent to cause a public servant to use his lawful power to cause injury to another person.

On Monday, Gupta complained to police that beef – by which he meant cow meat – was being served at Kerala House, following which the police ‘raided’ the premises. The action came in for widespread criticism with the Kerala House confirming that only buffalo meat was served in their canteen. The dish, which was discontinued briefly, was back on the menu today.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/49568565.cms

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Before Bihar polls, communal incidents have steadily been on the rise (Nov 2, 2015, First Post)

A spate of incidences during the last six months across Bihar shows a trend of rising communal violence. According to various sources, nearly 320 small incidents of communal clashes and rioting occurred in the last three years.

The curfews imposed recently during Dussehra and Muharram almost for a week at Kudra in Rohtas district and Kishanganj might have escaped the attention of the national media, but it has exposed the underbelly of Bihar, where communal flare-ups have become dominant.

The rise in communal violence has posed a big challenge for the security agencies, including the state police, in tackling the skirmishes, besides Maoist threat. As per a data tabled in Lok Sabha, Bihar that ranked sixth in communal violence with 61 incidents last year, has climbed to the third position this year with 54 incidents and 169 injuries and deaths.…

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/before-bihar-polls-communal-incidents-have-steadily-been-on-the-rise-2491852.html

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SC to examine Muslim personal law, aim to end gender bias (Oct 28, 2015, Hindustan Times)

The Supreme Court has decided to examine Islamic personal law to consider doing away with provisions biased against Muslim women, often victims of polygamy and the triple talaq system, a controversial move that may upset a section of the community that has resisted reform.…

In 1985, the Supreme Court awarded maintenance to a 60-year-old divorced Muslim woman, Shah Bano, but the then Congress government reversed the verdict after pushback from the clergy and Muslim Personal Law Board.

The court said the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 that was passed during the Rajiv Gandhi government needed to be examined by a Constitution Bench. India’s criminal procedure code guarantees maintenance to divorced women throughout their lifetime unless they remarry.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/sc-to-examine-muslim-personal-law-for-polygamy-triple-talaq/story-qpLYAycFxuLkHyvv8zCRTL.html

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Dalit panel criticises police clean chit to V K Singh for ‘dog’ remark (Nov 3, 2015, Times of India)

Uttar Pradesh Police have concluded that no case is made out against Union minister V K Singh for his “dog” remark uttered in the context of the burning of two infants in Faridabad while Delhi Police have washed their hands off the row by stating that the development was outside their jurisdiction.

On Monday, the “all clear” to Singh elicited a sharp reaction from National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) which told the two police forces to lodge a case and report back on November 17. Senior officials deposed before the NCSC in pursuance of the notices issued to them on October 23.…

The Dalit panel’s intervention can compound the controversy, and could reach a flashpoint when police respond to the fresh push for a case against Singh. BJP had slammed Punia for acting as a “Congress agent” when NCSC last month sought an FIR against Singh.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/49637346.cms

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Opinions and Editorials

The Grand Design Of Hindutva Rhetoric – By KN Ashok (Nov 7, 2015, Tehelka)

Despite dissent brewing from various quarters, a majoritarian narrative is taking hold over the country’s political landscape. A common theme is beginning to emerge in the public discourse of leaders of the ruling dispensation, the rss and other right wing affiliates.

The new narrative has a few commonalities: The incidents – whether it is the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq, the burning of Dalit children in Faridabad or attacks on rationalists – are not worthy enough to be condemned. The dissenters, who put the spotlight on such happenings, are biased against the majority and do not pay heed when Hindus themselves are victims.

The majority, according to the narrative, has been under attack for decades and their interests need to be protected – be it their food habits or rituals. Those who want to live peacefully in the land have to respect the sentiments of the majority.…

http://www.tehelka.com/2015/10/the-grand-design-of-hindutva-rhetoric/

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Portents of a religious autocracy – By Pushpa M. Bhargava (Nov 3, 2015, The Hindu)

With the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) being the fountainhead of Hindutva, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government being strongly influenced by the RSS, we may ask: “Are we moving towards a Hindu religious autocracy which would move the country away from rationality and reason and, thus, democracy?” Unfortunately, it seems so.

In any rational and reasonable society as in a democracy, dissent is accepted as a norm and reasoned dissent is encouraged. However, in India at present, the space for reasoned dissent is shrinking day by day, being reduced as part of the public policy of the present government. Consequently, intolerance to any different view is increasing. Thus, on October 22 in Karnataka, a young Dalit student-writer, Huchangi Prasad, was kidnapped and beaten up by a group of men for showing disrespect towards Hindu gods and writing about caste discrimination.…

History tells us that all autocracies are anti-intellectual. It is, therefore, not surprising that the present regime, instead of introspecting on the fact that over 300 eminent persons have returned national awards, has termed these persons anti-national and manufacturers of dissent.…

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/portents-of-a-religious-autocracy/article7834155.ece

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When Voices Are Muffled – By Vidya Rao (Oct 31, 2015, EPW)

…It is almost impossible to believe that a culture which has always prided itself on the power of the voice – as discourse, as the written word, as poetry and music – should see such a time when writers and thinkers can be murdered in broad daylight. And further, that such murders should be met with silence, with not even a sense of outrage and shock, by those very organisations that had recognised the work of these writers in the first place.…

The attacks on writers and rationalists mirror the attacks on minorities and Dalits. These attacks again take place in broad daylight. This surely is a sign of the confidence that such miscreants feel that they can act in such violent ways and get away with it. Everywhere there is an atmosphere of intolerance. There seems to be no end to the things that people choose to be intolerant about – what people eat, whom they marry, what they say or write; certainly the fact that they might attempt to protest injustice.

If the intolerance and the violence with which it is enacted are horrifying, equally so is the impunity with which those who perpetrate such violence get away with their actions – blackening faces, humiliating, stripping, beating, lynching and killing anyone whose thoughts they do not like. Perhaps most worrying of all is the silence with which such behaviour is greeted. There is no strong condemnation, no action taken.…

http://www.epw.in/commentary/when-voices-are-muffled.html

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Swachh Bharat or Maleen Bharat? – By G Mamatha (Nov 1, 2015, Peoples Democracy)

There is stench all around us. Dirt piling up, people urinating on the roads and defecating in the open – all these continue to offend our sensibilities. So, suddenly when there came a prime minister who stood upon the ramparts of the Red Fort to address all of us, on the issue confronting all of us, we are all more than happy. Here comes the doer! Come tomorrow, we need not be closing our nostrils when we move around! More than all this, we need not be ashamed of our roads, cities or our country. Particularly, before foreigners. Doer, he is, deliver he will. We all believed happily, our pride redeemed!

Swachh Bharat! Suddenly, ministers appeared on the roads with brooms, actors, celebrities and who not! Even those industrialists, who commanded wealth in hundreds of crores! Those who might have never even cleaned their office tables or seats! All of them came before the cameras, sweating profusely, brooms and cleaners in hand, pledging to clean our roads, cities and country. Suddenly, it appeared that our dreams of cleanliness are being realised. Doer, isn’t he?

Days passed, so did weeks and months, the euphoria died away, the cameras turned to other stories. Things once again regained normalcy. Actors were shooting, ministers, shouting; industrialists issuing show-cause notices to their employees for not cleaning their tables…all are back to their own respective work. Our roads and cities too returned to normalcy. Dust piled up, stench is back with a bang. Our middle class pride got once again hurt. A deep sigh, was all that we could heave.…

http://peoplesdemocracy.in/2015/1101_pd/swachh-bharat-or-maleen-bharat

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Politics of beef – Inside story – By Zakka Jacob (Oct 28, 2015, IBN)

You have probably never heard of Pratheesh Vishwanath. Till a few weeks ago, neither had I. Today he is both famous and infamous. Famous because this is the man who played interlocutor between the BJP and the SNDP, the largest caste based organization in Kerala for a tie-up ahead of 2017 elections. There are photos of him with Narendra Modi and Amit Shah doing the rounds of Twitter from two weeks ago when he was in Delhi along with Vellapally Natesan and his son Tushar, the two supreme leaders of the SNDP.

But Pratheesh became infamous a couple of days ago when he was instrumental in the call made to the Delhi police PCR alleging that beef was being served in the Kerala House canteen. Pratheesh’s Facebook page has a photo of the Kerala House canteen menu with the words Beef Fry written in Malayalam, and a cryptic message which reads, “Kerala House openly serving beef. Let’s see.” This message was posted on Monday. Late that evening, the cops raided the place. It was Pratheesh who made the call to Vishnu Gupta, a small-time trouble maker with a history of association with the VHP, and Vishnu who then informed the police.

The thing that’s so misleading about that phone call was Kerala House never served beef. What it has been serving for many years now is Buffalo meat on which there is no ban in Delhi. What’s also shocking is the speed and alacrity with which the Delhi Police acted on this PCR call. On an average day the Delhi Police receives around 25,000 PCR calls. Surely, they don’t show the same enthusiasm for all the calls they receive. They were so enthusiastic about this call that they sent not one, but two SHOs to find out what was going on. For the record, the Police Commissioner says since the call was from a known trouble-maker they didn’t want to take a chance. But surely the Delhi Police would’ve known that Pratheesh and Vishnu had connections in high places.…

http://www.ibnlive.com/blogs/politics/zakka-jacob/politics-of-beef-inside-story-14332-1157309.html

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31 Years After The 1984 Massacre Of Sikhs The Perpetrators Are Yet To Be Traced – By Shamsul Islam (Oct 31, 2015, Countercurrents)

India State is still searching for the criminals behind 1984 massacre of Sikhs even after elapsing more than three decades. This attitude proves once again that perpetrators of violence against minorities whether in case of Nellie massacre (1983), Sikh massacre (1984), massacre of Muslims in post-Babri mosque demolition (1992), Kandhmal violence against Christians (1997) and Gujarat genocide (2002) will never be punished. In nation-wide cases of horrible killing of Dalits since Independence the reality is as bad. The best Indian State would do is to establish commissions of inquiry and more commissions of inquiry.

In the case of 1984 massacre it is generally believed that the Congress cadres were behind this genocide. This may be true but there were other forces too which actively participated in this massacre and whose role has never been investigated. Those who were witness to the genocide of 1984 were stunned by the swiftness and military precision of the killer marauding gangs (later on witnessed during the Babri mosque demolition, burning alive of Dr. Graham Steins with his two sons, 2002 pogrom of the Muslims in Gujarat and cleansing of Christians in parts of Orissa) who went on a burning spree of the innocent Sikhs. This, surely, was beyond the capacity of the thugs led by many Congress leaders.…

The RSS often poses as a firm believer in Hindu-Sikh unity. But in this document we will hear from the horse’s mouth that the RSS like the then Congress leadership believed that the massacre of the innocent Sikhs was justified. Deshmukh in this document is seen outlining the justification of the massacre of the Sikh community in 1984.…

http://www.countercurrents.org/shamsul311015.htm

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