|In this issue of IAMC News Digest
Opinions & Editorials
No riots in country if title suit awarded to Ramlalla: RSS leader ‘advises’ Supreme Court over Ram Mandir case (Sep 16, 2018, Times Now News)
With the Lok Sabha elections 2019 mere eight months away, the issue of the construction of Ram Mandir on the disputed land in Ayodhya seems to be back on the forefront for political parties. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Indresh Kumar stirred a fresh controversy after he insisted that there would be no riots across country “if the Supreme Court awards title to Ramlalla”.
The Supreme Court is currently hearing the matter in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute. Speaking to reporters, the RSS leader said, “There will be no riot across the country if court awards title suit to Ramlalla, paving way for construction of Ram Temple”.…
Significantly, the statements by the RSS leader and the president of Ram Janambhoomi Nyas come days after Cabinet Minister Mukut Bihari Verma said that the Ram temple will be constructed since “the Supreme Court is in our hands”.…
“Fuel price hike doesn’t affect me, I’m a minister, I get fuel for free” (Sep 15, 2018, National Herald)
“The Fuel Price Hike does not affect me, I am a minister, I get fuel for free, but yes the people are suffering and the government is trying to bring down the price of fuel,” said Union Minister and Republican Part of India (A) leader Ramdas Athawale on Saturday, September 15.
The minister’s insensitive comment came on a day when Mumbai, capital of the minister’s home state of Maharashtra, saw petrol hit a record ₹89 per litre.
Former J&K Chief Minister and prominent Opposition politician Omar Abdullah hit out at Athawale, tweeting “Actually Minister Sahib your fuel@is not free, it’s being paid for by the taxes of hard working people. Not only are they paying for your “free fuel”, they have to pay for their own as well. But then you don’t pay taxes either!”
UN condemns alleged reprisals against human rights activists in India and 37 other countries (Sep 12, 2018, Scroll.in)
The United Nations has listed 38 countries, including India, Israel, Japan and Russia, where human rights activists are allegedly intimidated and face reprisals for cooperating with the world body and its representatives.
In his annual report, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has expressed concern about extrajudicial killings, torture and random arrests of human rights activists by governments and non-state actors in these countries.…
Last year, the Human Rights Watch accused the Indian government of misusing the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act to block foreign financial aid received by civil society groups critical of the government’s policies. In recent years, the Ministry of Home Affairs has cracked down on thousands of non-profit organisations that receive funds from abroad and has cancelled their licences. The organisations and activists have accused the government of suppressing dissenting voices.…
BJP leaders target minorities, contribute to vigilantism: UN human rights expert (Sep 13, 2018, India Today)
A report submitted before the United Nations has accused leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of making “inflammatory remarks” against minority groups and contributing in “vigilantism targeted against Muslims and Dalits”. The report has been prepared by Tendayi Achiume, a United Nations special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. …
In her report, Achiume has said that the victory of the “Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party has been linked to incidents of violence against members of Dalit, Muslim, tribal and Christian communities”. It said that reports have documented the “use of inflammatory remarks by BJP leaders against minority groups” and the “rise of vigilantism targeting Muslims and Dalits”.…
Besides the attacks on Muslims and Dalits, the special UN Special Rapporteur has also outlined her reservations on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam. … Besides these, the report submitted before the United Nations raises questions on the conduct of local authorities in Assam who are engaged in updating the NRC. It raises apprehensions that the local authorities, “who are deemed to be particularly hostile towards Muslims and people of Bengali descent, may manipulate the verification system in an attempt to exclude many genuine Indian citizens from the updated Register”.
Four Indian policemen have been suspended after a video on social media showed them failing to help the victim of a mob lynching.
Authorities say the officers were suspended on Sunday, three days after a mob beat a Muslim business-school graduate to death near Imphal, the capital of Manipur in northeastern India. The video shows police standing around the man as he lay in a field. Imphal police official Jogeshchandra Haobijam says five suspected attackers have been arrested.
Police in western India came under fire in July for failing to help a Muslim cattle trader who had been severely beaten by a mob of Hindu villagers. The man later died. Such attacks have been on the rise in India since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party took power in 2014.
Supreme Court Refuses To Dismiss Communal Violence Complaint Against Yogi Adityanath, Sends It Back To Gorakhpur (Sep 12, 2018, Huffington Post)
The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed a magistrate in Uttar Pradesh to pass appropriate orders in accordance with law in a rioting case allegedly involving Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud disposed of a petition challenging the Allahabad High Court order dismissing a plea filed by one Rasheed Khan in the case.…
The case, according to the police, pertains to a 2007 incident in the Gorakhpur district in Uttar Pradesh when Adityanath was a Member of Parliament. The FIR said that on January 27, 2007, on the occassion of Satvi Moharram, a call was given by Adityanath, following which members of right-wing outfit Hindu Vahini, traders and businessmenstarted assembling and raising slogans.
It said that at about 10 am that day, the agitators set several properties ablaze, damaged religious books and indulged in destructive activities at the Imam Chowk in Gorakhpur. To disperse the agitating mob, the police fired several rounds in the air. The FIR was lodged on charges of rioting, outraging religious feelings, trespassing on burial places and promoting enmity between groups.…
Millions of people, mostly Muslims, suddenly excluded as citizens in northeastern India (Sep 12, 2018, USA Today)
Authorities in a remote state of India have created a list of legal Indian residents that excludes millions of people, mostly Bengali-speaking Muslims, who have been in the country for generations. The actions, say critics, is part of the ruling party’s pursuit of nationalist policies that favor India’s majority Hindu religion at the expense of a specific minority.
Many Indians, including lawmakers in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) wrongfully consider the Muslims as illegal Bangladeshi migrants.… The list was designed to identify who can work legally, vote and enjoy the rights of citizenship. But 4 million names are missing, based on Assam’s population.
Among those missing from the list: Indian army veteran Azmal Haque. “I feel humiliated and shamed by the Indian government. I can be a part of [the] Indian army, but not of India,” said Haque, 51, who now works as a labor contractor after retiring from the Indian Army as a captain after 30 years. Haque’s 15-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter are also missing from the list. “I lived my life fighting for the country,” he said. “How can a foreigner go into the armed forces? How can I be termed an illegal migrant?”…
Former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan has said in his report to a parliamentary panel that he sent a list of high profile fraud cases to the Prime Minister’s Office but was “not aware of any progress” on it. In his report to the panel headed by BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, Raghuram Rajan says overoptimistic bankers, government foot-dragging and slow growth were factors in mounting bad loans.…
“The RBI set up a fraud monitoring cell when I was Governor to coordinate the early reporting of fraud cases to the investigative agencies. I also sent a list of high profile cases to the PMO urging that we coordinate action to bring in at least one or two to book. I am not aware of progress on this front. This is a matter that should be addressed with urgency,” said Mr Rajan in his report.
Unfortunately, he said, the system had been “singularly ineffective” in bringing even a single high profile fraudster to book. “As a result, fraud is not discouraged,” Mr Rajan said.…
The Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) sealed a multi-storey mosque in the Sheetla Mata Colony reportedly as part of its sealing drive against illegal structures on Wednesday. Members of the Muslim community of the colony are in grief and gathered outside the mosque in large numbers as the news spread and accused the administration of acting under pressure.
The Hindu outfits in the city had objected to the use of loudspeakers at the mosque a week ago saying that it caused inconvenience to the residents. A resident of the area said that the loudspeakers were removed by the mosque committee soon after the objection was raised by the locals a week ago.…
Muslim community members, however, do not accept the reason given for the sealing of the mosque and said it was pick-and-choose as fresh illegal construction was going on all around in the area, but MCG chose to seal a four-year-old structure. Hazi Shehzad Khan, Chairman of Muslim Ekta Manch, told IANS: “We bought the 87 square metre plot four years ago and completed the construction two years ago. Our community has been offering namaz for a long time but now some people are opposing it.”…
Rewari gangrape: SIT arrests one, SP transferred; unfortunate that one accused is an Army personnel, says CM Khattar (Sep 16, 2018, Indian Express)
Four days after a 19-year-old girl was gangraped in Rewari, the eight-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed to probe the incident on Sunday claimed to have arrested three people including the main accused in the case. One of the accused, who is an army personnel, is still absconding.
“Within 30 hours the SIT has arrested two people – Deen Dayal and Dr Sanjeev. The main accused Nishu has been nabbed, he is on his way,” Nazneen Bhasin, who is in charge of the SIT, said in a press conference.
Those arrested include the owner of the tubewell where the incident took place and a doctor. “Deen Dayal is owner of the tube-well where the incident took place. Sanjeev is a doctor who was found to be involved, as per all our evidence. The main accused Nishu, had pre-planned this and then called the doctor to the spot later,” added Bhasin.…
Opinions and Editorials
Indian Americans: The Time to Stand Up To Hindu Fascism Is Now – By Alliance for Justice and Accountability (Sep 11, 2018, The Aerogram)
Do you remember the dread of watching Neo-Nazis brazenly marching in Charlottesville? The shouts of angry white men in polo shirts and khaki emboldened by the current occupant of the White House, their hateful message ringing through living rooms across the United States.… the hateful and violent spirit of what white nationalists perpetrated in Charlottesville is far from contained, and is part of the rise of fascism all across the world.
…with the rise of Hindu fascism/Hindutva, we have experienced a surge of fascist violence that is utterly terrifying and viciously emboldened in this particular historical moment. Our campaign coalesced around the 2018 World Hindu Congress in Chicago that was held September 7–9, 2018. On the surface, the marketing materials might fool some into seeing the World Hindu Congress as a faith-based gathering, or even a networking opportunity for Hindus in the US. But make no mistake, this conference was built to create a platform for mainstream Hindu fascism to take the global stage.…
As the World Hindu Congress comes to an end, the #StopHinduFascism campaign continues, an urgent call for Indian Americans who have not experienced caste oppression to remove their blinders and learn more about Hindu fascism, Brahmanism/Brahminical supremacy, and how networks of caste-privileged power have been complicit in their rise in India and around the globe. … Hindu fascism, or Hindutva, is an ethno-nationalist movement that uses religion as a justification for atrocities against Dalits, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Ravidassias, and Buddhists.… As caste-oppressed people in America and in South Asia risk violence to stand up for our rights in a united struggle, we ask that you stand shoulder to shoulder with us until we end Hindu fascism and dismantle its political and economic power once and for all. This is your opportunity to join the movement.
Two perceptions were evident from the tone and tenor of interactions and murmurings within the upper echelons of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS)-led Sangh Parivar, especially the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), in the last week of August. One of them had a sense of satisfaction that its political, social and cultural action plan based on the broad theme of “nationalism versus sedition”, which had been advanced over the past two and a half years, was gathering momentum in new areas and on new fronts. The other had an element of consternation that the interventions by sections of the intelligentsia and the reactions these had evoked from the judiciary were impeding the smooth advancement of this plan.
Indeed, both these perspectives were linked to the concrete developments that unfolded on August 28 and 29. On August 28, the Pune Police, controlled by the Home Department of the BJP-led State government in Maharashtra, conducted simultaneous raids in multiple cities on the pretext of investigating the December 31, 2017, Elgar Parishad in Pune and arrested five prominent activists—Sudha Bharadwaj in Faridabad, Varavara Rao in Hyderabad, Gautam Navlakha in New Delhi and Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira in Mumbai.…
The police were planning to shift the activists to Pune and keep them under custody there. However, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court, consisting of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and A.M. Khanwilkar, prevented their transfer to Pune by directing the police to place them under house arrest. This was in response to a petition filed by the historian Romila Thapar, the economists Prabhat Patnaik and Devaki Jain, the sociologist Satish Deshpande and the human rights activist Maja Daruwala. Observing that those arrested were prominent rights activists, professors and lawyers, Justice Chandrachud, during the hearing of the case, pointed out that “dissent is the safety valve of democracy” and “if dissent is not allowed, then the pressure cooker may burst”.…
The BJP government at the Centre, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who likes to refer to himself as the pradhan sevak, is brazenly trying to fool the people of the country on the issue of petrol and diesel prices. After the Bharat Bandh of September 10, called by 21 Opposition parties that saw widespread support across the country, one central minister came out with the spurious argument that fuel prices in India are rising because international crude prices are rising.
But the truth is something else. For three years straight after the Modi government took over power in May 2014, the price of crude oil in the Indian basket fell from $109.05 per barrel in June 2014 to $46.56 per barrel in June 2017. After that, it has risen to end up at $73.83 per barrel in June 2018. This is according to official data put out by the Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell (PPAC) under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. So, in four years, the price has actually dipped by about 32% since the Modi government took over. The Indian basket is a mix of two types of crude oil that India imports.
But there is more. The colossal deception that the Modi government’s spin-masters are trying to peddle is further exposed by the fact that international crude oil prices have little to do with what the Indian consumer pays. It is the taxes that are killing people. About 46% of what the common consumer pays for petrol is made up of taxes charged by both, the Central as well as the state governments.…
Assam – Preventive Diplomacy Needed to Protect Bengali-Speaking Muslims – By Rene Wadlow (Sep 14, 2018, Caravan Daily)
Potentially, the people of Assam, northeast India, are sitting atop of a smoldering volcano that threatens to erupt into catastrophic suffering. The violence would target ethnic and religious minorities, most particularly Bengali-speaking Muslims, somewhat on the pattern of the fate of the Rohingya of Myanmar (Burma).…
For the most part, the Bengali-speaking Muslims are the descendants of an influx of migrants that arrived after the civil war that led in 1971 to the independence of Bangladesh from Pakistan with a decisive Indian Army involvement. However, there has always been people from both Bangladesh and Indian Bengal moving into northeast India in search of land to farm or other forms of work.
In keeping with the Hindu cultural bias of the current central government of Prime Minister Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party, Bengali-speaking Hindus have been given automatic citizenship rights under a 2016 law. However, Bengali-speaking Muslims are considered as “non-Indian citizens” and are thus subject to potential deportation. Some 10 years ago, Bengali-speaking Muslims started to be rounded up and put into camps, families often being separated.…
Raghuram Rajan Gave PMO a List of ‘High Profile NPA Fraud Cases’ but No Action Was Taken – By Swati Chaturvedi (Sep 12, 2018, The Wire)
The former governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Raghuram Rajan had red flagged “a list of high profile fraud cases of non-performing assets to the Prime Minister’s Office for coordinated investigation” and noted how the over-invoicing of imports by “unscrupulous promoters” was used to inflate the cost of capital equipment. Incredibly, the “Rajan list” did not set alarm bells ringing.
Though Rajan does not mention the date he wrote to the PMO – setting off speculation in a section of the media that the prime minister who had been derelict was Manmohan Singh and not Narendra Modi – the Hindustan Times had reported in April 2015 that Rajan had written to the Modi PMOwanting action on bank frauds worth Rs 17,500 crore.
“The bank accounts cited by the RBI belong to Winsome Diamond and Jewellery, Zoom Developers, Tiwari Group, Surya Vinayak Industries, Deccan Chronicle Holdings, First Leasing Company of India, Biolor Industries, Surya Pharmaceuticals, Prime Impex / Prime Pulses and a person identified as Shivraj Puri”, the HT said, quoting unnamed sources.Of these, Winsome Diamond was finally booked by the CBI only in April 2017.…
8 Cows Dead, 450 Kicked Out of Shed for PM Modi’s Video Conference in MP – By Kashif Kakvi (Sep 17, 2018, News Click)
In Madhya Pradesh’s Rajgarh district, eight cows have been reported dead, allegedly due to starvation, while many more fell ill as the district administration kicked out 450 cows from the Naveen Gayatri Gaushala cow shed to organise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s live speech through video conferencing on ‘Swachhata hi Sewa’ campaign on September 15.
The incident took place at Pipliya Kulmi village of Serapura Panchayat’s ‘Naveen Gayatri Gaushala’ where more than 450 cows live. However, after the matter came to light, the district administration has been trying to put the matter under the carpet.
To telecast live glimpses of PM Modi’s speech while launching ‘Swachhata hi Sewa’ campaign on the big screen, the district administration had built a stage and installed a big television for the villagers at Naveen Gayatri Gaushala by kicking out around 450 cows out of the shed.…