IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 1st, 2018

In this issue of IAMC News Digest

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Shocking footage of UP Police assaulting Hindu woman for being friends with Muslim man (Sep 26, 2018, DNA India)

Three police personnel, including a woman constable, have been suspended after a video of them abusing and slapping a Hindu woman for being friends with a Muslim man went viral in Uttar Pradesh?s Meerut.

In the video, which went viral on social media, the police personnel including a female constable were heard using harsh language on the woman and also resorting to physical violence. Furthermore, the lady constable was heard asking the woman why she befriended a Muslim.

The video has caused widespread criticism among Twitterverse, who has lambasted the police for their remarks and misbehaviour with the woman. “UP Police is an extension of the Hindu Yuva Vahini,” wrote a Twitter user. Another user wrote, “We always talk about political parties, although they are, but in fact, police officers, personnel in India more communal, hatemongers.”…

https://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-watch-shocking-footage-of-up-police-assaulting-hindu-woman-for-being-friends-with-muslim-man-2668060

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Lights, Camera, ‘Encounter’: What Happened to Naushad, Mustaqeem Before Aligarh Shootout? (Oct 1, 2018, News Click)

The Uttar Pradesh Police seem to be trying to gather titsbits to justify the controversial Aligarh encounter in which two youths – Mustaqeem and Naushad – were killed on September 20. While the family members of Mustaqeem (21) and Naushad (17) were reportedly kept under “house arrest”, as no one is allegedly allowed to meet them, a human rights activist too is facing a “constant surveillance”.

Newsclick travelled to Atrauli to meet members of the deceased’s family. Naushad’s brother Salman has been picked up by the police, while Mustaqeem’s father has been reportedly missing since the day they all were picked up on September 16. Mustaqeem’s father has not come back home ever since and has no phone. The entire family has been living in extreme poverty, and their total assets do not amount to over Rs 2,000, Newsclick has found out.…

Neighbours and family have testified how police took them away when they had come home to have lunch. They were allegedly beaten up on their way. The police told them – the family members said – that they are being arrested in connection to the murders of Sadhu Ramdas and of one more couple that happened a few days back in Safedarpur, a nearby village under Harduaganj police station. A day later, the police allegedly informed the family that Mustaqeem and Naushad have “escaped” from police custody.…

https://www.newsclick.in/lights-camera-encounter-what-happened-naushad-mustaqeem-aligarh-shootout

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26 yrs on, 2 ex-cops get life term in fake encounter case (Sep 27, 2018, The Tribune)

Almost 26 years after the encounter of a 15-year-old boy, a CBI court on Wednesday awarded life sentence to two former Punjab Police cops, besides imposing a fine of Rs 61,000 each.

The court of NS Gill convicted Raghbir Singh, the then SHO of Beas police station, and then Sub-Inspector Dara Singh under Section 302 read with Section 34 and 364 read with Section 120-B and 218 of the IPC. Three other accused, Jasbir Singh, Nirmaljit Singh and Parmajit Singh, have been acquitted. Ram Lubaya, the main accused in the case, died during the trial.

The case dates back to September 18, 1992, when Harpal Singh (then 15) was killed in a fake encounter. As per the case file, Harpal was picked from his house on September 14 at 5 am by Ram Lubaya and was taken to the Beas police station. He was kept there for four days and later shown to be killed in an encounter at Nijjar village on the intervening night of September 17 and 18.…

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/26-yrs-on-2-ex-cops-get-life-term-in-fake-encounter-case/659410.html

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Pehlu Khan lynching: Witnesses, sons ‘shot at’ on way to court in Alwar (Sep 29, 2018, Hindustan Times)

Four witnesses in the Pehlu Khan lynching case, including his two sons, and two others were allegedly shot at by unidentified men while they were on their way to depose in a local court in Rajasthan’s Alwar district on Saturday, following which they have sought moving the hearing to another court.

Pehlu’s sons Irshad and Arif, witnesses Azmat and Rafiq, their lawyer Asad Hayat and the driver were travelling from Nuh in Haryana to Behror town of the district to depose before the additional district judge’s court.

“When we crossed Neemrana and had just passed Maharaja Hotel on the highway, a black Scorpio without a number plate signalled us to stop,” Hayat said. When they didn’t stop, the men in the SUV, “who had hid their face with one hand”, started abusing them. “The vehicle then overtook us and they fired at us,” Hayat said, adding that they then took a U-turn and went through some villages to reach Alwar, where they filed a complaint with the superintendent of police Rajendra Singh.…

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/pehlu-khan-lynching-witnesses-sons-shot-at-on-way-to-court-in-alwar/story-3vIq7McZ7hFKcApyZEcv2M.html

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Real or Fake, We Can Make Any Message Go Viral: Amit Shah to BJP Social Media Volunteers (Sep 26, 2018, The Wire)

While addressing the party’s social media volunteers in Rajasthan’s Kota recently, Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah said that the group had the power to make any message go viral, whether real or fake.

“All of Rahul Gandhi’s followers are foreigners, don’t be afraid of hired goons. It is through social media that we have to form governments at the state and national levels. Keep making messages go viral. We have already made a WhatsApp group with 32 lakh people in Uttar Pradesh; every morning they are sent a message at 8 am,” Shah was quoted as saying by the Dainik Bhaskar.

Shah told the volunteers: “Uttar Pradesh mein ek saal pehle jo chunaav hua, chunaav ke andar BJP ke social media workers ne do bade WhatsApp group banaye. Ek 15 lakh ka aur ek 17 lakh ka. Kul 32 lakh log. Aur roz subah 8 baje woh bhej dete the ‘Satya janein’. Akhbar jo bhi BJP ke liye galat prakaar ke khabarein bhejta tha, uski sachayi ko WhatsApp pe daal dete the. Aur WhatsApp pe woh viral ho jaati thi. Aur jis akhbar ne kuch chaapa hai, us par social media or janta bhi tuth padti thi, ki bhai jhoot kyun chaapa hai, aap sach chaapiye. Yeh kar kar dheere dheere, media bhi neutral ho gayi.…

https://thewire.in/politics/amit-shah-bjp-fake-social-media-messages

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SC declines to refer to larger Bench issue whether mosques are integral to Islam (Sep 27, 2018, The Hindu)

A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court, in a majority opinion of 2:1 on Thursday, declined to refer the question if a “mosque as a place of prayer is an essential part of Islam” in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid appeals to a seven-judge Bench.

The majority view by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Ashok Bhushan ordered that the hearing in the main Ayodhya title suit appeals should resume in the week commencing from October 29. With Chief Justice Misra retiring on October 2, a new three-judge Bench would be constituted.…

Justice S. Abdul Nazeer, in a stinging dissent, observed that the question of what is essential or not in a religion cannot be hastily decided. He held that the question raised on the essentiality of offering prayers in mosques should indeed be examined by a seven-judge Bench before the Ayodhya suit appeals are heard.…

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sc-declines-to-refer-to-five-judge-bench-issue-whether-mosques-are-integral-to-islam/article25057044.ece

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“Why So Few Jets?” P Chidambaram Questions Centre On Rafale Deal (Oct 1, 2018, NDTV)

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram Monday sought to know why the BJP-led NDA government was buying so few Rafale fighter jets if they were cheaper as claimed by it.

Talking to reporters in Tamil Nadu’s Karaikudi on sidelines of a party meeting, he said the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had decided to buy 126 Rafale aircraft and entered into an agreement.

But, the present government had cancelled it and inked a new deal. “They claimed that the fighter jet was cheaper…In that case they should tell how they (jets) are cheaper…They are not revealing…besides if the cost of the plane is cheaper then why not buy more jets? Why is the government buying only 36 jets?,” the former Union minister said.…

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/p-chidambaram-questions-modi-government-on-rafale-deal-why-only-36-1924982

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‘Aadhaar Act is Unconstitutional’: The Fiery Dissent of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud (Sep 26, 2018, The Wire)

While the four judges out of a five-justice bench have upheld the Aadhaar project and the Aadhaar Act as constitutionally valid, dismissing most privacy and welfare exclusion concerns, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud’s dissenting opinion goes sharply in the other way.

“Constitutional guarantees cannot be compromised by vicissitudes of technology,” he noted in open court, in what is an emphatic dissent from the majority. While a dissenting judgement has no force of law, it leaves open the possibility of being referred to a larger bench at a later stage.

Justice Chandrachud’s dissent starts from the legislative process that kick-started the Aadhaar Act, 2016. While the majority view expressed through Justice Sikri’s opinion indicated that there was nothing wrong in present and pushing the Aadhaar Act through Parliament as a money bill, Chandrachud has called it a “fraud on the Constitution”.…

https://thewire.in/law/aadhaar-supreme-court-verdict-justice-chandrachud

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India’s government is arresting lawyers and activists amid accusations of plotting to overthrow Modi (Sep 28, 2018, Washington Post)

As a lawyer in a poor but mineral-rich part of India, Sudha Bharadwaj took on cases that other advocates were afraid to touch. She represented workers wrongfully dismissed by a cement company, villagers who were illegally evicted from their land and women who alleged sexual assault by security forces.

Then, early one morning last month, the law came for her. A police team of nearly a dozen people entered the apartment that Bharadwaj shares with her daughter in an industrial city near New Delhi. They took computers and phones and demanded passwords for email accounts. Then they arrested Bharadwaj under an anti-terrorism statute and later told reporters she was linked to a violent conspiracy, which she vehemently denies.

Four other prominent activists across the country were also taken into custody that day. All of them – like Bharadwaj – are highly critical of the current government and outspoken advocates for India’s most disadvantaged, whether they are indigenous tribal peoples or Dalits, formerly known as “untouchables.”…

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/mysterious-arrest-of-activist-lawyer-seen-as-a-harbinger-for-india/2018/09/28/89994490-c0e9-11e8-9f4f-a1b7af255aa5_story.html

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Complainant in Hate Speech case against UP CM Adityanath held for Gang Rape (Sep 28, 2018, Sabrang India)

Parvez Parvaz, an ex-journalist and activist, had filed a plea in Supreme Court against the then local MP and now Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for inciting violence through hate speech in 2007. He was arrested on Tuesday night on the charges of gangrape. His SC plea challenged an Allahabad High Court order accepting the state government’s refusal to prosecute Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in a 2007 hate speech case.

The case against him was lodged at Rajghat police station on June 4. Speaking to Sabrang India, Parvez Parvaz’s lawyer Advocate Farman Naqvi said, “On June 4, the survivor had filed an FIR against a Jumman Mia and a man named Parvez. Please note, his last name Parvaz was not mentioned. She claimed that Jumman Mia called her to a secluded spot where both Jumman and Parvez raped her. Based on this an FIR was filed under section 376 (c) for gang rape.” An investigation followed and the Investigation officer filed a closure report on July 25, 2018.…

However, after this the survivor met UP CM Adityanath following which the police started looking at the case with renewed vigour. “The SSP passed an order rejecting the previous IO’s investigation and the case was handed over to a new IO Shalini Singh.” The petition challenging the FIR was filed on Monday, and on Tuesday Shalini Singh arrested Parvez Parvaz.…

https://sabrangindia.in/article/complainant-hate-speech-case-against-cm-adityanath-held-gang-rape

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Opinions and Editorials

Make-over or make-up? – By Vivek Deshpande (Sep 25, 2018, Indian Express)

The recent lecture series by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has puzzled many, from ordinary swayamsevaks to Sangh antagonists. Has the Sangh changed? That’s the puzzle. Knowing what the Sangh has stood for all these years, the answer can’t be guaranteed as affirmative. The Sangh isn’t known to have ever explicitly admitted to being wrong.…

So, why is the Sangh saying it is doing away with the core thoughts, exemplified in second Sarsanghchalak M S Golwalkar’s Bunch of Thoughts that abhorred Muslims, Christians and Communists as “dangerous” for the country? Why is it saying that it considers the Constitution as the final word, unlike Bhagwat’s predecessor K S Sudarshan’s view that it doesn’t reflect Hindu ethos and hence, needs to be overhauled? Is this a genuine change of heart?

The RSS’s implicit style of functioning for several decades should alert us about the pitfalls of taking these admissions at face value. What Golwalkar and Sudarshan had said in the past is not at variance with what Bhagwat has stated, in so far as the needs of the time are concerned.… Unfortunately for the RSS, the growing perception that the Modi-led dispensation is unlikely to repeat the 2014 performance has brought home an important message: A fast-depleting developmental appeal will only be accentuated by a growing strident Hindutva, which will further damage the prospects for 2019.…

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/make-over-or-make-up-rss-mohan-bhagwat-narendra-modi-5372591/

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Ayodhya Verdict: Matters of Faith Suit the Majority in India – By Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay (Sep 30, 2018, The Quint)

Paradoxical though this may sound, but the Supreme Court verdict turning down the plea to send the 1994 Ismail Faruqui case to a larger Constitutional Bench, may eventually eliminate extraneous matters which have complicated what is quintessentially a civil dispute and force future hearings to the core issue. This is the same case where the apex court made the sweeping assertion that “a mosque is not an essential part of the practice of the religion of Islam”.

From a fundamental question of ownership or title of the disputed structure (or the land), all sorts of faith related questions have been added to complicate an already byzantine legal maze. The return to the title suit now pending for almost seven decades, which will be heard from October 29 by a newly constituted bench, marks new hope for arriving at a judgement aimed at settling the original dispute.…

The first majority judgement, pronounced by three of the five judge bench, concluded that in Islam a place of worship is not central or of vital import as namaz “can be offered anywhere, even in open”, without as much as either detailed examination of Islamic scriptures or the query being central to the case. The dissenting verdict of Justice S Abdul Nazeer now provides several reasons why the issue of essentiality and centrality of a mosque in Islam must be heard by a larger bench. If the Supreme Court, too, follows the path which the Allahabad High Court chose when it pronounced the populist judgement on September 30, 2010, faith of people will be severely eroded in the judiciary.…

https://www.thequint.com/voices/opinion/ayodhya-verdict-shows-how-faith-suits-majority

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The Real Scandal in L’Affaire Rafale – By Harish Khare (Sep 24, 2018, The Wire)

…The Rafale controversy is simply refusing to fade away, even though the opposition and the critics have yet to produce a smoking gun. The country has the good assurance of a minister of state, a new arriviste in the saffron tent, that there is no “Uncle Quattrochi” in this business. But that has not helped – nor have all the tantrums thrown by the snarky court jesters. The reason is simple: it is the presence of a jugaadu corporate face in the deal that casts its malevolent shadow over the whole affair.

There may not be a scam but there is a scandal. And the scandal is the manner in which prime ministerial authority was exercised in Paris in April 2015 by Narendra Modi. What is even more scandalous is the BJP’s defence: this is the way Modi works – take it or leave it.

The government’s cheerleaders arguably point out that in the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had indeed promised to restore the dignity and autonomy of the office of the prime minister, which was presumably diluted when Manmohan Singh gave preference to the principle of collective responsibility over prime ministerial predominance. The 2014 vote, the argument goes, gave Modi the mandate to behave decisively, even aggressively and assertively. Arbitrarily, arrogantly? So be it.…

https://thewire.in/government/rafale-deal-narendra-modi-scandal

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By Passing Aadhaar Act as Money Bill, Has the SC Saved or Sacrificed the Rajya Sabha? – By Alok Prasanna Kumar (Sep 27, 2018, The Wire)

Just as much as the fate of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 (Aadhaar Act) was at stake in Justice (Retd) K. Puttaswamy vs Union of India, so also was the future and relevance of the Rajya Sabha.

Thanks to the Union government’s insistence on passing the Aadhaar Act as a ‘money bill’, thereby avoiding a tricky vote in the Rajya Sabha, a slightly obscure provision of the constitution (Article 110) suddenly became the cynosure of all eyes.…

Given the clear provisions and practice, prior to the Puttaswamy case, this Article had not been interpreted at all by the Supreme Court. It was, in fact, the Aadhaar Act which upended this consensus and raised all manner of doubts on what a ‘money bill’ is.…

https://thewire.in/law/aadhaar-verdict-money-bill-rajya-sabha

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Few hits and many misses from demonetisation after two years – By Vrishti Beniwal (Sep 24, 2018, Hindustan Times)

India’s shock move to ban high-denomination currency notes almost two years ago caused much hardship, with limited benefits.

As the dust settles on the demonetisation episode, the data show it didn’t weed out black money or cash gained through illegal means, which was a key objective of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan. On the plus side, there’s been some widening in the country’s dismal tax base, an increase in digital payments and a drop in fake notes.

Modi invalidated 86% of India’s currency in November 2016 in the hope that people who had stashed away illegal cash wouldn’t be able to exchange it for new notes at banks. The return of 99.7% of the banned 500 rupee and 1,000 rupee notes – the highest value currencies before demonetisation – shows that didn’t happen.…

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/few-hits-and-many-misses-from-demonetisation-after-two-years/story-XdGKhEFweIyRjfAj5e4G4K.html

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Writing on the wall – By V. Sridhar (Oct 12, 2018, Frontline)

As the rupee plumbs newer depths and petroleum prices, unshackled by the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s love for the free market, rise on a daily basis, there is no knowing where the Indian economy is heading.

The rise in prices; the depreciation of the rupee against global currencies, particularly the dollar; the stagnation of industry; job losses; deflated bank credit; the collapse of agricultural commodity prices – all these weigh heavily on the Modi government as it enters the last lap of a tenure premised on the promise of “achhe din” (better days). But like Nero who fiddled when Rome burned, Modi merrily continues to roll out old schemes cloaked in new vocabulary.

The excessive centralisation of power in the Prime Minister’s Office, demonstrated by one of Modi’s first actions on assuming office – dismantling the inter-ministerial groups that were meant to ensure better coordination within the government – was always going to be a double-edged sword. While it ensured his authority as the Supreme Leader, it also ensured that if things went wrong, he would be the target of all the flak that came to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).…

https://www.frontline.in/cover-story/article25035588.ece

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