IAMC Weekly News Roundup – November 30th, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Announcements

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Announcements

Indian Americans express support for VP Rajeena, victimized for speaking up against child abuse

Journalist shared her experiences at a Madrasa (traditional Islamic school) during her childhood

November 29, 2015

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has expressed support for journalist VP Rajeena, who described instances of sexual abuse of children that she witnessed in a Madrasa (traditional Islamic school) over two decades ago.

Ms. Rajeena, who works for a Malayalam newspaper, posted on Facebook her childhood experiences at a Madrasa, where an “ustad” (teacher) allegedly engaged in abusive behavior with both boys and girls. Unfortunately, instead of taking the journalist’s revelations with the seriousness they deserve, many Muslims questioned her motives or launched a harassment campaign online including threats and hateful remarks. Its heartening to note she has received some support as well. Ms. Rajeena has repeatedly stated her post was not intended to be a generalization of all Madrasas, but a sharing of her own experience. Since Ms. Rajeena’s revelations, Kerala filmmaker Ali Akbar has come forward alleging abuse by an Ustad at a Madrasa in Wayanad district.

“There are many Madrasas across India that have made positive contributions to Islamic scholarship and to the religious and spiritual upbringing of Muslims. However it does not mean all Madrasas are automatically immune to problems in the wider society,” said Umar Malick, President of Indian American Muslim Council. “We support Ms. Rajeena’s right not only to speak up about past abuse but also warn the community about the potential for such abuse, that would victimize innocent children,” added Mr. Malick.

IAMC has called for an internal but independent and transparent assessment by credible community leaders, leading up to an investigation by law enforcement in all instances where there are grounds to believe the law has been violated.

Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our website at: http://www.iamc.com

CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email:info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:

1) Journalist comes under online attack for Facebook post
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/journo-comes-under-online-attack-for-facebook-post/article7917955.ece

2)Madrassa memories, why child sex abuse has no religion
http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/random-harvest/madrassa-scandal-why-child-sex-abuse-has-no-religion/

3)Madrasa row: Was abused by Ustad, says Kerala filmmaker Ali Akbar
http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/kerala-filmmaker-ali-akbar-says-he-was-also-abused-at-madrasa/

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Communal Harmony

Muslim men collect Rs 50K to bail out helpless Hindu convicts in Uttar Pradesh (Nov 27, 2015, India.com)

Even as debate about intolerance and treatment of minorities rages on in the country, a group of Muslims has shown the way to communal harmony with a single benevolent gesture. On Wednesday, these men quietly bailed out 15 Hindu men, who were languishing in the district jail because they had been unable to pay their fines. Most of these men had been arrested for petty crimes and the Muslim men pooled in money to bail them out of their misery.

According to a report in the Times of India, the Muslims collected a total of 50,000 rupees, to pay the collective fines of all the 15 Hindu men. The men had been forced to serve a sentence as they had been unable to pay the fine for their respective offences. But once the fines were paid, these men were freed and went home to their families, with more than just a lesson in communal harmony. The Muslims did not just bail their Hindu brothers out, but also waited outside the jail to welcome the ex-convicts with open arms and warm hugs. It was a terrific sight, with smiles and tears in equal measure.

Some of the men were also given a small sum as pocket money, to cover the expenses of their journeys back home to their villages. It was the thoughtfulness of one Haji Yasin Qureshi, that led to this kind gesture that was executed with the help of his friends.…

http://www.india.com/news/india/muslim-men-collect-rs-50k-to-bail-out-helpless-hindu-convicts-in-uttar-pradesh-740542/

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Communal harmony: Muslims in Bareilly set up hospital for people of all Religions (Dec 1, 2015, Siasat)

Time and again, people in India have proved their solidarity through numerous examples of friendship and acts of harmony. One such example is a hospital located in Bareilly district of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh that places human values above religion.

The hospital regularly organizes medical camps and provides facilities such as X-ray, blood and sugar tests etc at minimum costs to the people of all religious backgrounds. A female doctor is appointed by the hospital for attending to the expecting mothers.

Founded in the year 2007, Al-Qurresh hospital’s foundation principle is to help those people who cannot afford medical treatments. Institutions such as these help strengthen the foundation of harmony and brotherhood among the people.

http://www.siasat.com/news/muslim-community-bareilly-spreads-communal-harmony-sets-hospital-people-religions-877978/

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Arundhati Roy Feels Current State Of India Can’t Be Described As Just Intolerance, Says BJP Promoting ‘Brahmanism’ (Nov 29, 2015, Indiatimes.com)

Given the atmosphere in India, “intolerance” is an inadequate word to describe the “fears” under which minorities are living, author Arundhati Roy said in Pune on Saturday. “Killing people, burning them alive and the other goings… ‘intolerance’ is not sufficient. We have to coin a new word to describe all this,” Roy said.

She also charged the BJP-led central government with promoting ‘Brahminism’ under the guise of ‘Hindu Rashtravad’ and attempting to glorify social reformers of India as ‘great Hindus’ though some like B.R. Ambedkar had left Hinduism.

“Not only this, the government is trying to rewrite history, they are nominating their own people in various national organisations and institutions, and dividing Dalits, Muslims, Christians and tribals,” Roy said.…

http://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/arundhati-roy-feels-current-state-of-india-can-t-be-described-as-just-intolerance-says-bjp-promoting-brahmanism-247849.html

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What Aamir Khan is saying, whole world is saying: Cong on actor’s ‘intolerance’ remark (Nov 24, 2015, Indian Express)

Coming in support of Bollywood star Aamir Khan’s remarks on intolerance, Congress on Tuesday said what the actor is saying, the whole world is saying and asked the current dispensation to pay heed to the message.

“What Aamir Khan, one of the most respected actors, has said in the presence of many senior BJP people is what the whole world is saying, all of India is saying, all right-minded people are saying,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said here.

Khan, at the eighth edition of the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards on Monday, had said that he was “alarmed” by a number of incidences and his wife Kiran Rao had wondered if they should move out of India, He also virtually supported those returning their awards, saying one of the ways for creative people to express their dissatisfaction or disappointment is to return their awards.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/what-aamir-khan-is-saying-whole-world-is-saying-cong-on-actors-intolerance-remark/

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HC refuses to restrain TN from giving permission to Muslim outfits to hold Babri demolition anniversary (Nov 30, 2015, Times of India)

With Babri Masjid demolition anniversary just six days away, two Hindu outfits in Tamil Nadu knocked on the doors of the Madras high court with two different pleas.

While the Hindu Makkal Katchi wanted the court to ask the state government not to give permission to any Muslim organisation to observe the demolition day, the Hindu Munnani said it should be allowed to hold functions on December 6.

However, steering clear of the controversy, the Madras high court on Monday refused to restrain the government from granting permission to any Muslim organisation.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/49979259.cms

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Video Clip Showing VHP Workers Kicking Cow Goes Viral (Nov 27, 2015, Huffington Post)

A video clip, purportedly showing some VHP workers kicking a cow during immersion of ashes of Ashok Singhal here, went viral on social media platforms today, after which the Hindutva outfit said action would be taken if any of its members was involved in the act.

If VHP members are involved then they will be identified and action taken against them, VHP spokesman Sharad Sharma told PTI, adding that “for us, cow has always been and will be sacred. We can never disrespect her… VHP has always taken stance on cow”.

The video shows that some persons in a procession carrying ashes of Singhal for immersion in Lucknow yesterday were kicking the cow which came in the way of the rally.

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2015/11/27/vhp-workers-kicking-cow_n_8660462.html

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Withdraw convocation invite to Narendra Modi: Jamia Millia alumni to VC (Nov 27, 2015, Indian Express)

Jamia Millia Islamia’s invite to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the convocation has triggered a strong reaction among some of the alumni who have written to the Vice Chancellor urging him to “withdraw” it in view of the comments made by Modi against the varsity in 2008.

The letter jointly written by Asad Ashraf (2007-2010) and Mahtab Alam (2001-2003) batch has been signed by over 50 registered members of the alumni association of JMI.…

“We, the ex-students of Jamia, are writing to you to express our deep anguish and grief on your invitation to Narendra Modi to be the chief guest at annual convocation. We are anguished and shocked because, he along with his party members, have been constantly involved in spreading rumours and hatred about the university,” the letter by alumni said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/withdraw-convocation-invite-to-narendra-modi-jamia-millia-alumni-to-vc/

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RSS India’s number 1 terror group: Former Mumbai police officer (Nov 27, 2015, Times of India)

Claiming that the activists of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) have been indicted in at least 13 terror cases across India, former Maharashtra inspector general of police S M Mushrif on Thursday described the BJP’s ideological mentor as India’s number one terrorist organisation.

“RSS activists have been chargesheeted in at least 13 cases of terror acts in which RDX has been used. If organisations like Bajrang Dal are taken into the account, then the number of such cases goes up to 17,” Mushrif said at an event in Kolkata.

“The RSS is India’s number one terrorist organisation, there is no doubt on this,” said Mushrif, referring to the 2007 Mecca Masjid bombing in Hyderabad, the 2006 and 2008 Malegaon blasts in Maharashtra and the 2007 Samjhauta Express bombings among others.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/49943534.cms

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Former BJP MP booked for ‘abducting’ Cong candidate (Nov 30, 2015, Indian Express)

Jhalod police have booked former BJP MP Babubhai Katara from Dahod and his two sons for allegedly kidnapping a Congress district panchayat candidate on Sunday morning.

According to the FIR, Katara, his two sons, Bhavesh Katara and Amit Katara and their three accomplices drove to the house of Bharat Damor in Hadmatkunta village of Jhalod taluka in Dahod district along with several others in 10 vehicles and kidnapped him and his associate at gunpoint.

Police said investigation was on but Damodar had not been traced yet. The accused were booked under various sections of the IPC.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/former-bjp-mp-booked-for-abducting-cong-candidate/

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Madhya Pradesh farmer Mahesh arrested for ISIS threat call hoax (Nov 28, 2015, Times of India)

A 23-year-old farmer from Harda district of Madhya Pradesh has been arrested by the Mumbai police for making a threat call to hijack Air India flight pretending to be a member of Islamic state (IS). Accused has been identified Mahesh Prasad Meena, is a resident of district’s Timarni area. Madhya Pradesh police was in dark about this operation by Mumbai police, said sources.

During initial interrogation Meena told Mumbai police that the call was made for fun. He is being questioned for more details. He had dialled Thane call centre (a toll free number) of the national carrier Air India that its November 28 flight would be hijacked.

He said: Mai IS atankwadi sanghatna se baat kar raha hu, toh humara plan hai November 28 ko Air India flight ko hijack karana. (I am calling from the IS terror organisation and our plan is to hijack an Air India flight on November 28).…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/49963512.cms

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Data on Muslims in police will no longer be public (Nov 30, 2015, Indian Express)

For the first time in 16 years, the Union Home Ministry has decided to stop making public information about Muslims serving in the police force.

Until last year, representation of SCs/STs and Muslims in the force was part of a chapter titled ‘Police Strength, Expenditure & Infrastructure’ in an annual report called ‘Crime in India’, published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

In the NCRB report for 2013, information about Muslims in the police force showed that there were 1.08 lakh Muslim policemen who accounted for 6.27 per cent of the total 17.31 lakh police strength in India. Their representation had been falling – in 2007, they made up 7.55 per cent of the total force, and in 2012 they were 6.55 per cent.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/data-on-muslims-in-police-will-no-longer-be-public/

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Dalit ‘basti’ awaits power in Modi’s constituency (Nov 26, 2015, Times of India)

Barely 12-kms from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s adopted village Jayapur which has seen unprecedented development since its adoption last November, the Dalit dominated ‘basti’ (ghetto) of Tadiyapar in Bandepur gram panchayat is awaiting electricity even 68 years after country’s independence.

Modi had launched ambitious Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) in his parliamentary constituency on September 18. IPDS is one of the flagship programmes of the Union ministry of power and will be at the core attempt to ensure 24×7 power for all. But Tadiyapar, home to around 400 people of Dalit community in Kashi Vidyapith block of the district, has been devoid of its benefits also.

Similar is the condition of other basic facilities like toilets and water supply in the ghetto.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/49929828.cms

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Opinions and Editorials

No proof required: Incredible ‘Intolerant’ India – By Surjit S Bhalla (Nov 28, 2015, Indian Express)

What is happening is predictable, unfortunate, and so avoidable. When the BJP won last year, some observers felt (including myself) that one very likely outcome of the Congress defeat and BJP victory was that the structure and composition of India’s elite would change. I further felt that this would be a healthy development, given that it would replace the elite with a feudal, dynastic mindset with an elite with a middle-class mindset. This clash of elites would not be pretty, given that no one is willing to give up the trappings of power so easily. But I couldn’t have forecast, and I didn’t, that this clash would turn out to be as ugly as it has turned out to be.

There’s consistent talk that over the last year or so, communal tensions and intolerance have increased. Although data on communal violence doesn’t support this inference, it would be wrong to infer that intolerance in India is not at its peak today, a year after Modi and the BJP assumed power.

The ugliness most likely started with the unexpectedly large victory of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. No sooner had the election ended that the buzz went around that the victory was made possible by two factors: First, that RSS karsevaks had come out in hordes to coast the BJP to victory in UP and, second, that Modi’s victory in India, and UP, had a lot to do with the acumen of master political campaign strategist Amit Shah. Hidden, but barely, was the suggestion by the BJP that it had won so handsomely in UP because of its campaign of polarisation. Remember the Muzaffarnagar riots and the knighting of the BJP leadership suspected of being involved in the UP polarisation?…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/no-proof-required-incredible-intolerant-india/

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Changing the idea of India – By S Nihal Singh (Nov 28, 2015, The Tribune)

It is typical of the political environment we live in that ace actor Aamir Khan’s remarks at a press awards function in New Delhi last Monday on the prevailing sense of insecurity and intolerance should have been hijacked by politicians and parties of various stripes. For Bharatiya Janata Party spokesmen, they were part of a conspiracy to defame the government. To the opposition parties, on the other hand, they represented the truth.

Aamir’s disquiet, earlier voiced by his equally famous Khan fellow actors, expresses a sense of foreboding following the coming to power of the Modi dispensation that the space for dissent is shrinking. It is not a mere question of one outrageous speech or another by the BJP faithful, but a sense of empowerment by the Sangh Parivar that their time to build a Hindu India has arrived.

What lends credence to this feeling is the inability of Prime Minister Narendra Modi publicly to strike down these scandalous statements by his party men and women. Whispers by BJP “sources” that these persons had been given a dressing down by the party president are totally inadequate. They merely reaffirm public suspicion that what these worthies have been saying cannot be contradicted because they represent mainstream BJP thinking.…

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/comment/changing-the-idea-of-india/163732.html

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BJP: All is not well – By Venkitesh Ramakrishnan (Dec 11, 2015, Frontline)

One prominent stream of discussion within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS)-led Sangh Parivar hinged on the ramifications of the Bihar verdict for power equations in the party, the Parivar and the Narendra Modi government.

The emphasis of these was that the reverses suffered by the BJP and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by it in Bihar would be exploited by sections in the party and the Sangh Parivar outfits to hit out against Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.…

These perceptions and the factors relating to them are at play in the BJP and the Sangh Parivar in the post-Bihar context. While all these developments point to a tumultuous and fairly confusing state of affairs, there is little doubt about the central message for the BJP and the Sangh Parivar leadership from the Bihar verdict: The all-conquering supreme leader’s political and organisational authority has dwindled and so has his capacity to dictate terms to others.…

http://www.frontline.in/politics/bjp-all-is-not-well/article7911926.ece

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The Constitution Of India Day: Remain Vigilant Against Hindutva Which Always Denigrated It – By Shamsul Islam (Nov 26, 2015, Countercurrents)

…RSS and its fraternal organization, Hindu Mahasabha were very angry when Indian Constituent Assembly adopted a democratic-Secular Constitution. They continued describing the Constituent Assembly as ‘so-called Constituent Assembly’. The Indian Constitution was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949, whereas four days later, RSS English organ, Organizer in an editorial on November 30, 1949, complained:

“The worst about the new constitution of Bharat is that there is nothing Bharatiya about it. The drafters of the constitution have incorporated in it elements of British, American, Canadian, Swiss and sundry other constitutions. But there is no trace of ancient Bharatiya constitutional laws, institutions, nomenclature and phraseology in it…in our constitution there is no mention of the unique constitutional development in ancient Bharat. Manu’s Laws were written long before Lycurgus of Sparta or Solon of Persia. To this day his laws as enunciated in the Manusmriti excite the admiration of the world and elicit spontaneous obedience and conformity. But to our constitutional pundits that means nothing.” …

The Modi government has issued an order to commemorate this historic occasion. It has been forced to do it fearing backlash from the people of India. But the Indian masses must be on guard to ensure that the present Hindutva rulers of India are unable to destroy our democratic-secular constitution from within. These rulers are master liars and specialize in double/triple speak. They are simultaneously raising questions about secularism, democracy, reservation and justice. On the 66th anniversary of finalization of our Constitution we must pledge to scuttle all attempts to undo this fundamental law of the land.

http://www.countercurrents.org/islam261115.htm

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Zeal and poor scholarship – By A.G. Noorani (Dec 11, 2015, Frontline)

The Supreme Court’s judgments reflect zeal and poor scholarship, coupled with a profound indifference to the clear intention of the framers of the Constitution. It is a sorry record of 30 years.

1. It all began with Chief Justice Y.V. Chandrachud’s gratuitous obiter in the famous Shah Bano case, decided on April 23, 1985. (Mohammed Ahmed Khan vs Shah Bano Begum (1985) 2 Supreme Court Cases 556.) At issue was the interpretation of Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, which provides for a summary remedy to a destitute wife, even if divorced, to seek maintenance from the husband by approaching a magistrate rather than a civil court. Unfortunately, while the Cr.PC was on the anvil, Sheikh Abdullah led a delegation of some Muslim “leaders” to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on August 17, 1973, to secure exemption for Muslim law from the ambit of Section 125. She agreed.

Ram Niwas Mirdha, Minister of State for Home Affairs, told the Rajya Sabha on December 18, 1973, that “we would not like to interfere with the customary rights of the Muslims through the Criminal Procedure Code”. Hence, Section 127(3)(b), which says, when such an order has been made the magistrate shall, if satisfied that the wife “has been divorced by her husband and that she has received … the whole of the sum which, under any customary or personal law applicable to the parties was payable on such divorce, cancel such order”.…

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/zeal-and-poor-scholarship/article7912304.ece

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Disquiet In The Hills – By Nidheesh J Villati (Dec 5, 2015, Tehelka)

We demand justice for the weak,” shouts Sam Ngaihte, a Manipuri tribal near a makeshift tent in Jantar Mantar in Delhi. For most of November, Sam who is pursuing his doctoral studies from Oxford University and other activists fromManipur, have been at the capital’s popular protest venue to participate in the agitation against the killing of nine young tribals in Manipur’s Churachandpur town on 1 September. The nine were a part of a demonstration that was taken out against “three anti tribal Bills” passed by the Manipur Assembly, a day before.

The Manipur Tribal Forum, Delhi (MTFD) which is spearheading the agitation in Delhi has kept nine symbolic coffins in the tent. The kin of the victims have refused to claim the bodies and bury the dead until theManipur government initiates action against the special police commandos who reportedly fired and killed nine of the protesting tribals.

The hill tracts of Manipur have been simmering with tension for some time now. Violent protests broke out following the passing of the controversial Bills in the specially convened session of the Assembly on 31 August. The agitating tribalsare reported to have torched the houses of an MP and five MLAs including state Health Minister Phungzathang Tonsing. The protesters have accused the lawmakers of “failing to protect their interests” and “remaining silent” when the Bills were being pushed through.…

http://www.tehelka.com/2015/11/disquiet-in-the-hills/

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