IAMC Weekly News Roundup – October 3rd, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Amid Uncertainty After Uri Attack, A Hindu-Muslim Bond Grows Stronger (Oct 2, 2016, NDTV)

As an uneasy calm lingers in settlements along the Line of Control, fears of an escalation of conflict between India and Pakistan is on everyone’s mind. But in Bandi village, overlooking the Army brigade headquarters in Uri -scene of the attack two weeks ago that left 20 soldiers dead – the uncertainty has further cemented an age-old bond between Hindus and Muslims.…

Krishan Lal, head of Bandi village, said the entire community has decided to not abandon each other in case shelling starts from the Pakistani side. The amity between the Hindus and Muslims in the village has always been strong, the 70-year-old said.… “The sentiment and relation remains the same. Whenever there is any problem, we face it together. The age old bond is intact. We are together and in case of shelling from across we will stay together,” said Mr Lal.…

In 1990 when most Hindus left Kashmir at the height of militancy, Bandi village was an exception. Assured by their Muslim neighbours, many Hindus from the village did not migrate.… Mohammad Sidique, neighbour and a friend of Krishan Lal, said, “We will live together and die together. Nothing can separate us.”

http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/amid-uncertainty-after-uri-attack-a-hindu-muslim-bond-grows-stronger-1469190

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NGO to hold national conference for spreading communal harmony (Oct 1, 2016, India Today)

Capping its month-long nationwide campaign to spread the message of communal harmony, a city-based NGO today said it will hold a conference here on Monday to “stop the politics of hate”.

Popular Front of India (PFI) had started the drive on September 1 on the theme of Stop Politics of Hate and various programmes such as conferences, street corner meetings exhibitions were held.

“We will hold a huge public gathering National Peoples Conference at Talkatora Stadium on October 3 to mark the conclusion,” a PFI official said. He said a delegation will meet President Pranab Mukherjee to submit a memorandum after the programme.…

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/ngo-to-hold-national-conference-for-spreading-communal-harmony/1/777980.html

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A year after Ikhlaq’s lynching, Bisada sitting on a communal tinderbox (Sep 28, 2016, Hindustan Times)

A year since 55-year-old Mohammad Ikhlaq was lynched on the suspicion of slaughtering a cow on Eid at Bisada village in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri, about 50km from New Delhi, a communal fault line that cleaved the village shows no sign of healing.

A group of youngsters stops our car at the entrance of Bisada. They demand to know who we wish to see, and why. After the interrogation and a few phone calls, they let us pass, but with a warning. “Do not roam around for too long, especially in the area where the Muslims live.”

Hindu families have stopped visiting their Muslim friends. The azaan calling the faithful for namaz no more blares from the loudspeaker. Kids from the two communities do not play matches and no festivals are celebrated together. “It is not the same anymore,” says Rahul, one of the boys at the vigilante style sentry duty at the entrance of the village.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/a-year-after-ikhlaq-s-lynching-bisada-sitting-on-a-communal-tinderbox/story-yDSARwiqqgxq7Za1W5IgoO.html

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I am out of jail, but I feel I am in a bigger jail now: Syed Wasif Haider (Oct 3, 2016, Twocircles.net)

Dr Wasif Haider was working with a US multinational in 2001 when his life changed forever. In his own words, he was kidnapped by the police, and for the next eight years, he remained in jail on charges of being a part of a rioting team which fired up Kanpur ADM Chandra Prakash Pathak and thereby killing him, along with conducting the Kanpur bomb blasts in 2000.

Haider successfully fought against all 11 charges, and although he has been out of jail for quite some time now, there is little indication that his life will ever be the same again. Haider continues to remain jobless as no one wants to hire him; his children remain in fear that something might happen to their father, and his family remains largely ostracised.

In Delhi to attend the ‘Peoples’ Tribunal on Acquitted Innocents’, Wasif speaks to Twocircles.net about his sufferings, and his hopes from the future.

http://twocircles.net/2016oct03/1475511312.html

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NHRC report on Kairana faces flak for being ‘prejudiced and communally charged’ (Oct 2, 2016, Scroll.in)

Civil society activists have condemned a recent report published by the National Human Rights Commission into allegations of persecution of Hindu families in Kairana in Uttar Pradesh as being “prejudiced and communally charged”, and demanded that the premiere human rights body withdraw the report.…

While the BJP MP had later withdrawn his claim and said the migration of the families – his list contained several who had died and even those who had migrated from the town five to 20 years back – was “not communal”but because of poor law and order, the NHRC in its report referred to the presence of Muzaffarnagar riot victims in the town as having led to “further deterioration of law and order.”

The civil society activists tore into the commission’s report for “blaming desperate riot victims for criminality without citing any credible and independent evidence” at a time when Uttar Pradesh is due to have assembly elections soon.…

http://scroll.in/article/817925/nhrc-report-on-kairana-under-fire-for-being-prejudiced-and-communally-charged

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Islamic organisations blame police for violence in Coimbatore (Oct 2, 2016, The Hindu)

Federation of Islamic Organisations in Coimbatore has blamed the police for the violence that took place in the district after the murder of Hindu Munnani leader C. Sasikumar on September 22.

Addressing a press meet here on Saturday, the representatives of Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam, Popular Front of India, Jamat-e-Islami Hind, Manithaneya Jananayaka Katchi, Jamyathu Ahlil Koran Valhathees, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi, Social Democratic Party of India, Indiya Towheed Jamath, Welfare Party of India, Indiya Manavar Islamia Amaipu and Campus Front of India said that had the police been more careful the violence could have been avoided.

Within hours of Sasikumar’s murder, crude explosives were hurled at mosques and thereafter during the funeral procession, commercial establishments and houses of Muslims were attacked. This pointed to the failure of the police that dealt with communal incidents.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/islamic-organisations-blame-police-for-violence-in-city/article9175239.ece

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Patidars, dalits, OBCs, Muslims feeling alienation in Gujarat Model: Dey (Oct 1, 2016, Times of India)

Ramon Magsaysay awardee and rights activist, Nikhil Dey on Saturday said that the communities like Patidars, dalits, OBCs and Muslims are feeling alienation in Gujarat which has been hailing as the model state.

Talking to ToI about the recent agitations of Patidar, OBC and Dalits, Dey said, “I do not think Gujarat model is some great model. Firstly, the idea of Gujarat had a model at sometime. But Gujarat has huge communal strife now. Though it had achieved economic growth but there is a social disharmony.”

“Even the so called well off community- Patidars, they are also feeling sense of alienation. Dalits, Muslims, Patidars and OBCs are also feeling alienation, something seriously needs to be thought about it,” Dey said.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/54633864.cms

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Owaisi slams ‘progress Panchayat’ as propaganda, questions its efficacy (Sep 29, 2016, Hindustan Times)

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Thursday downplayed Centre’s ‘Progress Panchayat’, a campaign to reach out to the minorities and dubbed the entire initiative as a propaganda. Owaisi said by taking such initiatives, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not doing any favours to minority groups.

“All this is propaganda. If this government is doing anything, it is not like it is doing a favour. In 2016-17 the budget of ministry of minority affair was Rs 3,800 crore, only 12% of that has been released. In Multi-Sectoral Development Programme (MSDP), only 12% funds have been used,” said Owaisi.

“Rs 50 crore were sanctioned for Mewat, but not a single rupee has been released. And if you are going to conduct a panchayat on the name of empowerment then why are you not giving reservation to Muslims in the field of education as directed by the Bombay high court?” he asked.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/owaisi-slams-progress-panchayat-as-propaganda-questions-its-efficacy/story-wgjfGjrRsEjBkgcCpHLfeI.html

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Police killed 2 students in fake encounter: Cong. (Sep 28, 2016, The Hindu)

The Chhattisgarh Congress on Tuesday accused the State police of killing two school-going children in a fake encounter and branding them as Maoists in Dantewada district last week. State Congress president Bhupesh Baghel told journalists in Raipur that the party had formed an eight-member committee to inquire into the incident.

The police had claimed to have killed “two Maoists” in the Bargum area of Dantewada district during an exchange of fire on September 24. According to Mr. Baghel, the alleged Maoist was a Class 8 student from Hitameta POTA cabin and his friend.

Chhattisgarh Congress spokesperson R.P. Singh told The Hindu that the Congress MLA from Dantewada Devati Karma tried to visit the village of the victims but the police did not allow her to go to the spot.…

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/police-killed-2-students-in-fake-encounter-cong/article9155720.ece

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BJP playing politics over surgical strike issue: Arvind Kejriwal (Oct 5, 2016, Indian Express)

Rejecting BJP’s criticism, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today accused it of playing politics over the anti-terror surgical strike and said why was the party “scared” when he had only asked the Prime Minister to counter the false propaganda by Pakistan.…

In a rare gesture, Kejriwal has yesterday “saluted” Modi for the surgical strikes by the Army on terror launch pads across the LoC. At the same time, he had urged the Centre to counter the smear campaign by Pakistan and international media, but BJP alleged that Kejriwal had in the garb of his statement questioned the Army’s assertion on surgical strike and insulted the armed forces.…

Kejriwal later retorted: “I am unhappy. Ravi Shankar ji is saying I am playing politics. Am I playing politics or they?” Senior AAP leader Ashutosh said Pakistan is insulting ‘Bharat Mata’ and Indian army through its propaganda, but BJP is settling score with Kejriwal. “I am amazed that Ravi Shankar Prasad instead of unmasking Pak Propaganda is questioning AK. Shows BJP’s bankruptcy of ideas,” Ashutosh tweeted.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/bjp-playing-politics-over-surgical-strike-issue-arvind-kejriwal-3065088/

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Mewat gangrape: NCM points fingers at gau rakshaks, questions police inaction (Sep 28, 2016, Catch News)

Haryana Police is notorious for its biryani raids along the highway where they search for beef. It is now also under the scanner for its investigation into the ghastly double murder of a Muslim couple and the gangrape of two young Muslim women in August this year.

On 22 September, a team of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) visited Dingerheri village in Mewat district where the two crimes took place. The team, made up of NCM Chairman Naseem Ahmad and Praveen Davar, has also pointed towards the alleged role of gau rakshaks in these incidents. A copy of the report has also been sent to the Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

“The incident has shaken the people of the area and there is a lot of resentment, especially among the Muslim community, partly due to the allegations that the culprits were gau rakshaks. There is a need to convey a clear message that culprits of such heinous crimes would not be spared. Such a step is more relevant in the context of the Mewat district,” the report states.…

http://www.catchnews.com/india-news/mewat-gangrape-ncm-points-fingers-at-gau-rakshaks-questions-police-inaction-1475060755.html

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Gujarat govt “war” on Dalit activists? Minister seeks inquiry against Dalit NGO, cops file FIR to placate Mevani (Sep 28, 2016, Counterview)

Gujarat’s top Dalit rights organization, Navsarjan Trust, has taken strong exception to a senior Gujarat minister, Atmaram Parmar, in charge of social and justice empowerment department, seeking to “inquire into” the use of funds under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA) norms, wondering whether the matter comes under him.

“His ministry and department are nowhere involved in any capacity on any of these matters”, executive director, Manjula Pradeep, has said in a statement, adding, “At the outset, we welcome any impartial inquiry by the judiciary.” …

While it is not known whether the decision of the Gujarat minister to do an inquiry into the foreign funds has the sanction of chief minister Vijay Rupani, who is known to take a sober view of things, the development has come alongside the state police filing FIR against Una uprising leader Jignesh Mevani. Mevani, a practicing lawyer, has been charged with going ahead with road block demonstration at Income Tax Circle in Ahmedabad on Tuesday morning, along with hundreds of sanitation workers, even though the police refused permission. The FIR also blames him for “attack” on the police van, leading to cracks on the police van which had come to take agitators away and detain them for the day.…

http://www.counterview.net/2016/09/gujarat-govt-war-on-dalit-activists.html

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Opinions and Editorials

A year passes, without trial – By Shafaque Alam (Sep 28, 2016, Times of India)

…A year has passed since Mohammad Akhlaq was battered to death by a lynch mob that suspected he was eating beef. Eighteen people have, during this time, been arrested, all residents of Akhlaq’s village Bisada. Police have filed a 177-page case diary along with a 4-page charge sheet that contains the eyewitness account of Akhlaq’s wife Ikraman in court. Yet, nine months and several hearings later, charges are yet to be framed against the suspects.

For Akhlaq’s family, it’s been a frustrating wait for the process of justice to begin. In the meantime, families of the suspects banded together, turned up pressure on police and the government by threatening a mahapanchayat and succeeded in starting a parallel case of cow slaughter against Akhlaq’s family. The forensic report of the meat sample seized by police – first said to be mutton by the Greater Noida veterinary hospital and then beef by UP’s forensic laboratory in Mathura – muddied the waters further.

What started off as a black and white case of mob murder has, a year on, thanks to a complicated investigative and judicial process, acquired multiple shades of grey. The battle for justice looks like a long and difficult one for the family of the murdered man.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/54553649.cms

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Enough Is Enough: Modi Must Reign in India’s Cow Vigilantes – By Anuradha Sharma (Sep 27, 2016, The Diplomat)

“The third world war will start over a cow.” Thus spoke godman Mahamandleshwar Swami Akhileshwaranand Giri, the chairman of the executive council of the cow rearing and livestock promotion board (Gaupalan Evam Pashudhan Samvardhan Board) of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradhesh.

If anybody thought he was joking, an army is already underway, beating up men and women, parading victims like trophies. They’re busy raiding refrigerators and sifting through biryanis, pausing to rape and sodomize, and, in some cases even kill, the beef-eaters. They are the Gau Rakshaks, or cow protectors – a new breed of warriors tasked to eliminate all threats to the sacred cow and help make India a proud Hindu nation. …

Modi must look beyond political gains. He cannot expect the public to buy his rhetoric.… The law of the land cannot be left in the hands of the mob. Of course, having first whipped up the anti-beef hysteria in the country, his moral position is compromised. Meanwhile, he is under tremendous pressure from the ultra right Hindu nationalists and cannot risk alienating the conservative vote bank. But his real test lies in how well he is able to handle these competing pressures and find a lasting solution. Will he be able to prevent the “third world war”? Does he want to?

http://thediplomat.com/2016/09/enough-is-enough-modi-must-reign-in-indias-cow-vigilantes/

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The elections in UP may shape the future of the Maratha agitation in Maharashtra – By Anita Katyal (Oct 2, 2016, Scroll.in)

Is there a connection between next year’s Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and the ongoing agitation by Marathas across Maharashtra? As Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis scrambles to douse the growing anger among the Marathas – who are demanding reservations in government jobs and education and protesting the gangrape and murder of a minor Maratha girl – Bharatiya Janata Party insiders maintain it could become far more difficult for him to handle the agitation if their party does not do well in the Uttar Pradesh polls.

A poor showing by the BJP in UP will embolden the protestors in Maharashtra to intensify their stir as the ruling party will then be perceived to be on a weak wicket. To some extent, the chief minister’s future also depends on the results of the Uttar Pradesh elections.

As it is, Fadnavis is unable to get a grip on the situation in his state. In case the protests pick up more momentum, he will have a tough time saving his job. It is already being speculated that the well-organised Maratha uprising has been designed to unseat Fadnavis by his detractors both within and outside the BJP.…

http://scroll.in/article/817800/the-elections-in-up-may-shape-the-future-of-the-maratha-agitation-in-maharashtra

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Mob Violence, Police Action and Rising Communalism Haunt Alwar’s Meos – By Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta (Oct 3, 2016, The Wire)

…The villagers celebrated Bakr Eid in their usual way this year.… The very next day, at around 10:30 pm, a cavalcade of police cars entered the village. “We waved at them,” Muhammad Usman, a resident, said, “but they didn’t stop.”

“Curious, some of us took our motorbikes and reached the nearby Gidwara jungle and found a few policemen and some strangers who had wrapped saffron stoles around their necks digging up the ground,” Usman said.

“We went ahead to know what is happening, but the strangers, who claimed to be gau rakshaks (cow protectors) drove us off with sticks,” he said. “The[y] said ‘Koi nahin bachega. Gaay ko maara hai saale Katuey (No one will be spared. You Muslims have killed a cow)’,” Usman narrated.…

http://thewire.in/69590/mewat-alwar-meos-gau-raksha/

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Sunkanna’s Refusal to Accept His PhD From Appa Rao is a Historic Act of Resistance – By Kalpana Kannabiran (Oct 4, 2016, The Wire)

The refusal of Velpula Sunkanna, a student of the University of Hyderabad (UoH), to accept his PhD degree from the Vice Chancellor Podile Appa Rao is an unprecedented act of resistance that has shaken the institution. Sunkanna was one of the five students expelled from the hostel and public places in the university along with Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide in January this year.

It is worth examining and reflecting upon the genesis and implications of this act of defiance. We have not yet forgotten the rustications and expulsion of students from the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) that led to the tragic death of Vemula. The stunning protest that cascaded through the country led to a new sensibility on the meanings and purpose of education, and the inseparability of learning from deep democracy and deep diversity.

The naming of exclusionary actions by utterly arbitrary university administrations – Rao was VC then too – that absorbed the unholy task of dismantling autonomy and freedom of thought, conscience and expression in universities as ‘the velivada’ – the untouchable hamlet outside the boundaries of touchable habitations – by Vemula, Dontha Prashanth, Sunkanna and their compatriots was an unimaginable turn in the politics of the possible.…

http://thewire.in/70761/70761/

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Uri aftermath: Why is Modi being praised for strategic restraint when Manmohan was derided for it? – By Shoaib Daniyal (Sep 28, 2016, Scroll.in)

…While Singh was lambasted for what people perceived as a weak response to repeated militant attacks, criticism has been greatly muted in the case of Modi. In fact, some hawks have gone out of their way to praise the prime minister for his response to Pakistan, which has mostly focussed on criticising Islamabad for its position on terror.…

Modi enjoys a natural advantage over Singh because his image as a hardliner means that the hawks, at least for the time being, can be counted among his supporters and are reluctant to criticise him. This phenomenon is so widespread in global politics that it even gave birth to a metaphor – “Only Nixon could go to China”, which refers to the ability of a popular politician who is trusted so deeply by his supporters to pull off actions that would otherwise have been sharply attacked.…

Media leaks ensure that contemplated punitive action such as review of the Indus Water Treaty for water-sharing between the two countries or Pakistan’s Most Favoured Nation status – that recognises it as a bonafide partner for trade – keeps prime time news boiling. Of course, Modi would himself never speak of this directly, given that the scrapping the Indus Water Treaty is near impossible. The hollow boast would only embarrass him.…

http://scroll.in/article/817559/uri-aftermath-why-is-modi-being-praised-for-strategic-restraint-when-manmohan-was-derided-for-it

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