IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 22nd, 2018

In this issue of IAMC News Digest

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Former Vice-President Hamid Ansari calls out Gujarat riot inaction (Oct 14, 2018, The Telegraph)

Former Vice-President Hamid Ansari asked on Saturday why Article 355 of the Constitution, which makes it a duty of the Centre to protect a state from internal disturbance, was not invoked to quell the 2002 Gujarat riots although the defence minister was present there.

Speaking at the launch of the book The Sarkari Mussalman by Lt Gen. (retd) Zameer Uddin Shah, who had led the army division that subdued the riots, Ansari also said there were “no military solutions to insurgency” as normality could be restored only by winning the hearts and minds of people.

“The initial reaction of the civil administration (to the riots) was tardy; curfew had been ordered but not enforced; no attempt was made to convene peace committees and attitude of police was partisan,” Ansari quoted from the book. He noted that the book was silent “on the role of the political leadership”. “If the civil and police administration fail to respond to a massive failure of law and order, where does the responsibility rest in a democratic and parliamentary system?” Ansari asked.…

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/ansari-calls-out-gujarat-riot-inaction/cid/1671814

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Sangh Spreading Terror, Destroying Sabarimala’s Culture: Pinarayi Vijayan (Oct 22, 2018, NDTV)

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan blamed Wednesday’s violence against the entry of women into the Sabarimala shrine on “Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) backed attackers” and accused the outfit of trying to destroy the temple’s individuality.

The chief minister, who left for United Arab Emirates on Wednesday for a four-day visit, wrote a blog on his Facebook page on the issue today and shared translated excerpts from it on Twitter. “Sabarimala has a uniqueness that other temples lack. It allows entry for people of all faith. Sangh Parivar and RSS have always been intolerant of this fact. They have made many attempts to erase this distinction of Sabarimala,” he wrote, referring to the fact that Sabarimala, unlike many other temples in Kerala, allows entry to non-Hindus.…

Accusing the attackers in Sabarimala of being motivated by “casteist and feudal ideologies”, Mr Vijayan wrote, “The role they played in eliminating the rituals performed at Sabarimala by Adivasi-Malayaran community is common knowledge. The present troubles must be seen in this light. The RSS backed attackers are obstructing believers and spreading terror”.…

https://www.ndtv.com/kerala-news/kerala-chief-minister-pinarayi-vijayan-says-rashtriya-swayamsevak-sangh-spreading-terror-in-sabarima-1933946

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RSS, BJP eyeing on ‘Ram Mandir’ issue to win elections (Oct 20, 2018, Siasat)

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat statements and call for a law to build Ram Temple in Ayodhya indicates the growing power within the party and its hold on BJP party, TOI reports.…

This proposed law by RSS to construct Ram temple on the disputed land would have been made a legislation four years back if the party had enough numbers of members in Rajya Sabha. But the matter only got delayed due to lack of members.…

This time the saffron party will play the temple card to win majority votes with their political argument that the harm done to Hindu interests needs to be corrected and the construction of a mandir will restore the “national esteem”. But BJP is well aware that polarising cultural issues alone will not work to win the elections for the second time and thus the government has carefully launched a bunch of ambitious welfare measures to expand its social base.

https://www.siasat.com/news/rss-bjp-eyeing-ram-mandir-issue-win-elections-1422371/

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Cong accuses govt of conniving with fraudsters, says Jaitley should be sacked (Oct 22, 2018, The Tribune)

The Congress on Monday accused the Modi government of conniving with fraudsters who had escaped the country and cited “conflict of interest” to say Finance Minister Arun Jaitley should be sacked after his daughter and son-in-law, both lawyers, allegedly received a retainership of Rs 24 lakh from fugitive Mehul Choksi.

In the 44 months till January 2018, the Modi government witnessed an unprecedented 19,000 ‘bank fraud cases’ involving Rs 90,000 crore, Congress leader Sachin Pilot said at a press conference along with party colleagues Rajiv Satav and Sushmita Dev.

He also alleged that 23 fraudsters escaped India under the government’s watch after duping the country of over Rs 53,000 crore. Pilot said a sinking economy, banking frauds and flying fraudsters form part of BJP’s-Jaitley’s ‘New India’ and demanded that the minister should resign on moral grounds.…

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/cong-accuses-govt-of-conniving-with-fraudsters-says-jaitley-should-be-sacked/671965.html

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Register FIR against PM Modi, Union ministers for murdering Ganga crusader Swami Sanandji (Oct 18, 2018, Sabrang India)

Members of Matu Jansangathan, a collective that works for dam-affected villagers in Uttarakhand have demanded an FIR against PM Modi, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and Union Minister Uma Bharti and to charge them with the murder of Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand (G.D Agarwal).…

“We request an FIR against PM Modi, Nitin Gadkari and Uma Bharti for the assassination of Swamiji because Swamiji had said that if he died, PM Modi will be responsible for his death,” they said.…

“We demand an FIR be registered under Sec. 302 of IPC, on Mr Modi, Mr Nitin Gadkari and Ms Uma Bharti for being complicit in the death of Swamiji. Also, all the Ashrams and sadhus should support the issues raised by Swami Sanandji to stop the construction of dams and stand for the cause for which Swamiji had to pay with his life,” Vimalbhai wrote.

https://www.sabrangindia.in/article/register-fir-against-pm-modi-union-ministers-murdering-ganga-crusader-swami-sanandji

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Name changing of Allahabad, a move to further Hindutva agenda (Oct 17, 2018, The Week)

To further its ‘cultural agenda of Hindutva’, the Yogi government in Uttar Pradesh has officially changed the name of the sacred city of Allahabad to Prayagraj, just ahead of the upcoming Parliament polls.

Through this name change, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is trying to send a message to seers and supporters of Hindutva that though temple construction at the disputed site of Ayodhya was not progressing to their satisfaction, the BJP government was not refraining from its commitment of propagating the Hindutva agenda.

After losing three important Lok Sabha constituencies – Kairana, Gorakhpur and Phulpur, the party strategists feel that they should strongly pursue the Hindutva agenda to garner political mileage ahead of the polls.…

https://www.theweek.in/news/india/2018/10/17/name-changing-of-allahabad–a-move-to-further-hindutva-agenda.html

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NIA finds no evidence of ‘love jihad’ in Hadiya case, closes probe: Report (Oct 18, 2018, ABP Live)

The marriage of Kerala woman Hadiya Shafin Jahan, previously known as Akhila Ashokan, was not a case of ‘love jihad’, one of the officials of the National Investigation Agency that ended a probe into Hadiya’s conversation said on Thursday. According to a Hindustan Times report, the NIA has not recovered any evidence of a larger criminal design that could lead to prosecution of this and some other cases examined by the agency.

A senior agency official was quoted by the HT as saying “The NIA is not supposed to file any further report in this regard in the Supreme Court. As far as the NIA is concerned, the matter stands closed as the agency has not found any evidence to suggest that in any of these cases either the man or the woman was coerced to convert.”

The NIA was examining 11 cases of interfaith marriages out of the 89 that were before the Kerala authorities in Kerala as part of its probe into cases of “love jihad”. According to a NewsMinute report, there were at least four interfaith marriages where Hindu men embraced Islam among these 11 cases and in the rest of the cases, Hindu women married Muslim men.…

https://www.abplive.in/india-news/hadiya-case-nia-finds-no-evidence-of-love-jihad-closes-probe-report-769349

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FIR Against Rakesh Asthana, Top Modi Appointee in CBI, a Setback to Govt Image (Oct 21, 2018, The Wire)

In an unprecedented development, the consequences of which may singe the Modi government, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has booked its own special director and number-two in the organisation, Rakesh Asthana, in a bribery case. Asthana, who is named as the prime accused in an FIR that was filed on October 15, is alleged to have received kickbacks, amounting to Rs 2 crore, from a businessman, Moin Qureshi, to settle a money laundering case against him.

The FIR also mentions Samant Kumar Goel, a special director at India’s premier external intelligence body, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), as aiding the illegal deal between Asthana and Qureshi. However, the CBI has not named the 1984 batch IPS officer from the Punjab cadre as an accused in the case as yet. His role is currently being probed. Asthana, it is alleged, received bribes through a middleman named Manoj Prasad, who was arrested by the CBI’s anti-corruption unit on October 16, a day after the FIR was filed.

CBI officials told TheIndian Express that the Dubai-based Prasad admitted, in a statement to the magisterial court, to have paid bribes to Asthana on behalf of Qureshi. He has also reportedly named Goel as the one facilitating the process. The CBI is said to have submitted “telephone intercepts, WhatsApp messages, money trail and a statement” – all allegedly pointing towards Asthana’s culpability – to the magistrate.…

https://thewire.in/government/fir-against-rakesh-asthana-top-modi-appointee-in-cbi-a-setback-to-govt-image

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After Multiple Women Say #MeToo, M.J. Akbar Resigns From Modi Government (Oct 17, 2018, The Wire)

Union minister of state for external affairs M.J. Akbar resigned from his position on Wednesday (October 17) after multiple allegations of sexual harassment and molestation emerged against him.…

At least 15 women journalists have openly come out with harassment allegations against Akbar. Ghazala Wahab, now the executive editor FORCE newsmagazine, wrote a detailed account on The Wire of her time at Asian Age, where she worked under Akbar, alleging that he molested her and harassed her repeatedly, until she could not take it any more and quit.

Former Mint Lounge editor Priya Ramani was the first to call him out, via a tweet. Ramani had written about her whole experience in a Vogue India article in October 2017 where she called out a ‘celebrity editor’ without naming him for his inappropriate behaviour with women journalists. She also described how Akbar set up interviews with women journalists in hotel rooms “with drinks at hand”. On October 8, Ramani publicly identified Akbar as the central character of her piece.…

https://thewire.in/politics/me-too-india-mj-akbar-minister-resigns

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Indian govt blamed over fate of missing Muslim student (Oct 18, 2018, UCA News)

The disappearance of an Indian Muslim post-graduate university student two years ago has resulted in an anti-government demonstration in the nation’s capital, New Delhi. Najeeb Ahmed, 27, has not been seen since the night of Oct. 14-15, 2016, when he was involved in a scuffle with members of an outfit called Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

The ABVP is the student wing of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that came to power nationally in 2014. Left-wing students at the university openly criticise the ABVP’s support for Hindu-majority domination of the nation, something that at times leads to clashes.

Some 700 political and rights’ activists, religious leaders and representatives of civil society groups Oct. 15 joined students from Jawaharlal Nehru University on a two-kilometer march to a public square near India’s Parliament. John Dayal, a rights activist and Catholic who attended the protest, said many Indians feel threatened by “fascist forces.”…

https://www.ucanews.com/news/indian-govt-blamed-over-fate-of-missing-muslim-student/83659

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Opinions and Editorials

Gujarat Carnage 2002: Unraveling the Truth – By Ram Puniyani (Oct 16, 2018, National Herald)

Communal violence has been the major painful sore of our body politic. While the post-Partition violence shook the nation no end it also resulted in the biggest ever mass migrations in the world. That was not the end of the story as far as divisive violence is concerned. It resurfaced, and went on intensifying more so after the decade of 1980s when Ram Temple movement started deepening the emotions of a section of society.

There was a parallel rise of the temple movement on one side and the rising degree of communal violence on the other. As a result there has been a series of these ghastly episodes and one such was the Gujarat carnage of 2002. This carnage was orchestrated on the pretext of Godhra train burning. The real truth of train burning is still mired in mystery. It led to the death of 58 innocent lives, those of Kar Sevaks and their families. At this point it was the duty of the state, the ruling Government, the state administration to undertake the damage control exercise and limit the future losses of lives and property.

Contrary to this there are reports that in the aftermath of the train burning, a meeting was called on the same evening by Chief Minister Narendra Modi. He is alleged to have told the officials to go soft against the possible reaction to the train burning. This was stated by Sanjeev Bhat, the police officer, who was present in the meeting. Justice Suresh who was part of the Citizens tribunal to investigate Gujarat violence also confirmed that such a thing was said in the meeting. Now it seems to be reconfirmed yet again with what is there in the autobiography of Lt. General Zameeruddin Shah (The Sarkari Musalman), which was released on October 13 by the ex-Vice President of India Hamid Ansari.…

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/opinion/gujarat-carnage-2002-unraveling-the-truth

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How the UP govt is trying every trick to save Yogi Adityanath in hate speech case – By Siddhant Mohan (Oct 15, 2018, TwoCircles.net)

A couple of weeks ago, the Uttar Pradesh police arrested Parvez Parwaz, a journalist and civil rights activist from Gorakhpur over alleged rape charges. The lawsuit and subsequent arrest of Parwaz are much debated as Yogi Adityanath, the state’s chief minister, is facing a lawsuit over a hate speech case based on a petition filed by Parwaz. The police named 64-year-old Parwaz and Mahmood alias Jumman for allegedly raping a woman based on a case filed on June 4. While Parwaz was arrested on September 25, the Allahabad High Court stayed the arrest of Jumman.…

Parvez Parwaz has been a thorn in Yogi Adityanath’s flesh since 2007 when Yogi Adityanath gave the inflammatory speech in Gorakhpur. Despite many hiccups, the case against Yogi Adityanath in the same regard was lodged based on the FIR by Parvez Parwaz and Asad Hayat. Rajeev Yadav, the founder-convener at Lucknow-based human rights organisation Rihai Manch recalls, “The FIR by Pervez Parwaz is so peculiar…I have not seen such FIRs in my life,” talking about the 20-page FIR against Yogi Adityanath.…

A senior police officer in Gorakhpur told TwoCircles.net on the condition of anonymity, “We were specifically told many times to pursue Parwaz for asking him the withdraw the case against Yogi ji. But Parwaz has been a stubborn figure against the police department. The local police soon came to know that it was hard to move Parwaz from his attempts to sue Maharaj ji (Yogi Adityanath).”…

http://twocircles.net/2018oct15/426488.html

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The All-purpose Migrant Worker – Editorial (Oct 20, 2018, EPW)

India’s cities have for long lived with the dichotomy of having “outsiders,” mostly semi-skilled and unskilled poor migrant workers, providing for multifaceted requirements. The regional politicians can blame them for rising unemployment and crime graphs, the locals can vent their ire against them for being the cause of collapsing civic amenities, the chauvinists can rant against them for not assimilating themselves culturally, and the business and industry class can use them for cheap labour and services. For the middle classes in the cities, they also provide domestic services.

In recent weeks, Gujarat’s migrant workers, particularly those hailing from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh, experienced mob violence which led them to flee the state in panic. They were then assured that they were safe and were requested to stay or to come back. This recent case in a series of such cases over the years, in a nutshell, captures the dismal lives of poor migrant workers in almost all the prominent cities and towns.

The violence in Gujarat against North Indian workers began after a worker hailing from Bihar was accused of having sexually assaulted a toddler on 28 September 2018. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was quick to blame the Congress and Kshatriya Thakor Sena leader Alpesh Thakor for the violence. The baby belonged to a Thakor family. Nothing was easier than identifying the North Indian “bhaiyyas” for reprisal or blaming them for taking away their precious jobs.…

https://www.epw.in/journal/2018/42/editorials/all-purpose-migrant-worker.html

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Sabrimala: RSS Supremo Justifies Flouting of SC Order – By Subodh Varma (Oct 18, 2018, News Click)

Even as chaos and violence continued at the gates of the Sabrimala shrine in Kerala, with groups of people preventing women from entering, manhandling journalists and damaging their vehicles, and terrorising villagers in the vicinity to shutdown their shops, far away in Nagpur, Maharashtra, RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat on Thursday provided the justification for such brazen flouting of Supreme Court orders.

Bhagwat was delivering the traditional Vijayadashmi address, an annual affair where the sarsanghchalak of the RSS provides a review of the current social, political situation for the guidance of RSS cadres. This address has become important since many RSS members are now in government, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.…

However, whether it be Kerala or elsewhere in the country, they are in for a big shock: these toxic tactics will not work because people want jobs, better incomes, better farm prices, affordable education and healthcare, and equal rights. Divisive politics is not likely to get BJP or its mentor RSS anywhere.

https://www.newsclick.in/sabrimala-rss-supremo-justifies-flouting-sc-order

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#MeToo hits late but hard: MJ Akbar asked to quit by Modi Govt to avoid social media embarrassment – By Pratyush Ranjan (Oct 17, 2018, India TV News)

M J Akbar, 67-year-old journalist-turned-politician who served as minister of state for external affairs in the Narendra Modi Cabinet, resigned on Wednesday. Akbar’s resignation came in the face of mounting pressure after series of allegations of sexual harassment against him by several women journalists on social media platforms under #MeToo campaign.…

Akbar’s resignation is perhaps the first resignation from the Modi cabinet due to the increasing pressure on social media in favour of the women journalists who levelled charges of sexual harassment against him.… Over the past 10 days, at least 20 women wrote their experiences of alleged sexual harassment at the hands of Akbar during his days as editor of several newspapers.…

Around 20 women journalists, who have worked with ‘The Asian Age’ newspaper, had come out in support of their colleague Priya Ramani. They even issued a joint statement in this regard. The journalists had urged the court to hear their testimonies against Akbar, claiming that some of them suffered sexual harassment by him and others have been witness to it.…

https://www.indiatvnews.com/opinion/news-mj-akbar-resigns-metoo-movement-modi-govt-social-media-pressure-opinion-article-473126

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How Hindutva Groups Prey On Muslim Girls – By Maulana M Omar Mahfouz Rahmani (Oct 13, 2018, Caravan Daily)

The continuous news of Muslim girls marrying off with non-Muslim boys makes us feel deeply saddened and depressed. They are leaving their conscience and Deen to bring shame upon their families and the Muslim community at large. There were occasional incidents here and there earlier too. However, in the past few years, there has been a systematic planning to trap the gullible Muslim girls and there is a constant increase in such incidents where the girls following the ugly trail of lewdness and obscenity are moving away from the precincts of Islam.…

The reports which I received from Delhi show that the girls living in the slums there are falling prey in the trap set up by the communal elements. Last Sha’ban when I was in Ahmedabad, I was told that it is common for them to see such incidents in the social media and Muslim girls are being systematically targeted there by different means and that include offering to them valuable gifts like mobile phones, I-pads, Activa scooter etc.

…such incidents are not just coincidences, but, they are part of very well thought and hatched plan. There is nothing like ‘Love Jihad’ in this country, yet, this term is being used to incite the Hindu youth for taking revenge and to keep the Muslims entangled and scared with this misnomer to destroy the Imaan and lives of Muslim girls. Earlier, the plan was carried out in a low profile manner; but, now it is being done openly.…

http://caravandaily.com/portal/how-hindutva-groups-are-preying-on-impressionable-muslim-girls/

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Book Review

Everyday Communalism: Riots in Contemporary Uttar Pradesh

Author: Sudha Pai & Sajjan Kumar
Reviewed by: Sajad Ahmad Dar
Available at: Oxford University Press, 2/11 Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi – 110002, India, Page: 364, Price: INR 995/- (hardcover) . https://www.amazon.in/
Review:
Only Something Original: Everyday Communalism in Uttar Pradesh (Oct 15, 2018, Sabrang India)

Based largely on secondary works, this work is a welcome addition to the existing literature on religious strife in India. Benefitting from interviews, discussions and field-works the book under review is a breakthrough in the field of studies on Hindu-Muslim strife. It explores the Hindu-Muslim violence in Uttar Pradesh (UP) since the 2000s, which has characteristics clearly different from the earlier decades. The book gifts us with an apt phraseology, “everyday communalism”.

The authors offer a ‘new model’, that of ‘institutionalised everyday communalism’. Their moot point being that instead of instigating major communal violence and episodic riots which invite public and media scrutiny and legal battles, the BJP and RSS have devised a new method of creating and sustaining the constant, low-key, frequent communal tensions to keep the pot boiling. A significant feature of this new phase of communalism, they argue, is the shifting location of riots from vulnerable areas to otherwise peaceful areas and even more distinctly from urban locales to the rural ones.

The book illustrates that ‘Subalternisation’ of Hindutva (inclusion of Backward and Dalit castes), clubbed with the much-hyped, idea of development on Gujarat model were the main factors behind the electoral success of BJP in 2014.… This is highly recommended for those who are interested in the subject of communal mobilizations and strife which has become a great bane of India in recent years.

https://sabrangindia.in/article/only-something-original-everyday-communalism-uttar-pradesh