IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 21st, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Book Review

Indian widow fights Modi in ‘final’ court battle over deadly riots (Sep 22, 2015, CNA)

Zakia Jafri, a frail 76-year-old, has begun what may be the last legal battle to pin blame on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for deadly riots that shook the state of Gujarat when he was chief minister, and claimed her husband’s life.…

None of that deterred Jafri, whose late husband, a lawmaker for the Congress party now in opposition, was hacked to death by a Hindu mob in riots that killed at least 1,000 people, most from India’s sizeable Muslim minority. “My case is not just against the foot soldiers,” said Jafri, worn down by 13 years of campaigning, including her failed Supreme Court bid to prosecute Modi two years ago. Hers is the last case still in the court system filed after the riots that tries to implicate Modi.

“It is against those who allowed the foot soldiers to operate,” she told Reuters in an interview in Ahmedabad, commercial capital of Gujarat where her husband was slain. “It is against those who created the situation for the foot soldiers to get provoked and enabled them to operate. It is against Modi.”…

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/indian-widow-fights-modi/2142566.html

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Sanatan Sanstha under scanner: Hindu outfit man held for killing of veteran CPI leader Govind Pansare (Sep 17, 2015, Indian Express)

It was the frequent change of SIM cards that made Kolhapur police suspicious of Sameer Vishnu Gaikwad (32), a “full-time member” of radical Hindu organisation Sanatan Sanstha who was arrested Wednesday in connection with the murder of veteran CPI leader Govind Pansare.

Following Pansare’s death in February, Gaikwad’s phones were put under surveillance and for six months, his calls were monitored. As investigators found that Gaikwad frequently discussed Pansare with his wife, their suspicion grew. “There were uncanny similarities in the manner in which rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and Pansare were murdered. In the Dabholkar case, we suspected the involvement of the Sanatan Sanstha but were unable to nab the assailants. Witnesses had helped us track the likely route the accused might have taken, and in both the cases, the accused fled to Goa or Karnataka,” a senior police officer told The Indian Express on condition of anonymity.

“Pansare considered Dabholkar his mentor. We had also recovered recordings of some events held in western Maharashtra, especially in Kolhapur, in which Pansare supported Dabholkar’s view on rationalism. The members of the group were, therefore, kept on surveillance and when there were frequent exchanges between Gaikwad and his wife relating to Pansare, we decided to arrest him,” the officer added. Dabholkar was shot dead by two youths while he was on a morning walk on August 20, 2013. Not just Dabholkar, police also believe there could be links between the murders of Pansare and Kannada scholar and researcher M M Kalburgi, who was shot dead outside his residence in Dharwad, north Karnataka, on August 30.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/one-arrested-in-cpi-leader-govind-pansare-murder-case/

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Sunil Joshi murder: charges framed against Sadhvi Pragya, 7 others (Sep 20, 2015, The Hindu)

A local court has framed charges against eight people, including 2008 Malegaon blast case accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, in connection with the murder of former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ‘pracharak’ Sunil Joshi.

Second Additional Sessions Judge Rajendra Kumar Verma on Saturday framed the charges under Section 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) and other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, Vasudev Parmar and Anand Raj Kataria.

The court also framed charges under Sections 120 (B) and 302 (murder) of the IPC against other accused – Harshad Solanki, Lokesh Sharma, Rajendra Chaudhary, Ram Chandra Patel and Jitendra Sharma.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/murder-charges-framed-against-sadhvi-pragya-7-others/article7671079.ece

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Jhabua blast accused Rajendra Kasawa arrested: Report (Sep 16, 2015, DNA India)

After detaining his family members, police have reportedly arrested the prime accused of an explosion in Petlawad town in Madhya Pradesh’s Jhabua district. According to a report in a leading daily, accused Rajendra Kaswa has been arrested from Maharashtra. The report also said that the police are neither accepting nor denying Kaswa’s arrest.

Kasawa has been booked for keepinggelatin sticks in his house, which resulted in the explosion. All residences and godowns of Kasawa have been sealed.

At least 89 people were killed and nearly 100 injured after a massive blast that took place in the building of Rajendra Kasawa, who has a licence to use explosive material for digging wells in rocky areas. Kasawa had stored the explosive material, including gelatin sticks, in huge quantity in the residential building, which also houses two shops, and is situated close to the busy Sethia Restaurant in new bus stand area, a police official said.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-jhabua-blast-accused-rajendra-kasawa-arrested-report-2125610

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Hindu Yuva Vahini president, 3 others booked for calling AMU ‘nursery of terror’ (Sep 19, 2015, DNA India)

…Additional District Magistrate Awdhesh Tiwari said that a case was registered against the state president of the Hindu Yuva Vahini and three others under various sections of the IPC yesterday for hurting “religious sentiments” and posing threat to public peace. He said that the case had been registered on an official complaint by the Aligarh Muslim University authorities charging the Vahini leaders of “deliberately issuing communal statements designed to create unrest amongst AMU students”.

AMU spokesperson Rahat Abrar, who had filed the complaint on behalf of the university, today alleged that vahini leaders had described AMU as a “nursery of terror” on Wednesday at a press conference here. Abrar said that the “vahini leaders also made a wild, baseless and highly provocative allegation stating that AMU students are in touch with terror outfit Islamic State (IS).”

He said that the vahini leaders allegation was not only the result of a “distorted” view of history but seeks to undermine the stellar role played by AMU alumni in the freedom movement of the country.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-hindu-yuva-vahini-president-3-others-booked-for-calling-amu-nursery-of-terror-2126671

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Targeted by Vasundhara Raje govt for acting against VHP, Bajrang Dal rioters: IPS officer (Sep 17, 2015, Indian Express)

An IPS officer has accused the Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government in Rajasthan of targeting him after he refused to let rioters from the VHP and Bajrang Dal go free last year despite “pressure from all levels of government”.

Former Bundi SP Pankaj Chaudhary said that he was removed from the post for resisting pressure from the administration, including senior IAS and IPS officers, to let the rioters go and “register false cases” against Muslims instead. On Monday, Chaudhary, who now heads the 11th Battalion of the Rajasthan Armed Constabulary in New Delhi, was served a chargesheet by the Rajasthan government, which accused him of not acting in time to tackle the riots in Bundi’s Nainwa and Khanpur on September 12, 2014.…

“Riots don’t just happen. They are made to happen, and if the police is allowed to act freely, nothing can go wrong. But there are traitors within the government who could even sell the country for their selfish gains,” Chaudhary told The Indian Express.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/targeted-by-vasundhara-raje-govt-for-acting-against-vhp-bajrang-dal-rioters-ips-officer/

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Warangal ‘encounter’ rattles Ministers (Sep 19, 2015, The Hindu)

A sense of unease has gripped the Ministers as well as other people’s representatives in the North Telangana over the recent “encounter of Maoists” in Warangal district. The people’s representatives are worried about adverse public reaction as the general perception among people is that the so-called encounter was unprovoked and unwarranted as there had been no attacks by the Maoists.

According to sources, a few Ministers took up the issue with Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao on Thursday evening. They were believed to have conveyed to the Chief Minister that it might prove counter-productive to them personally apart from causing a dent to the Telangana Government’s image.

They feel the ‘encounter’ could have been avoided and it has put them under tremendous pressure unnecessarily when the Government is keen on making its impact felt in the villages that supported them during the Telangana agitation.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/warangal-encounter-rattles-ministers/article7667680.ece

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Outrage over top cop’s letter on mosques (Sep 16, 2015, The Hindu)

Majlis Bachao Taheerk (MBT) petitioned the State Minorities Commission on Tuesday demanding an explanation from the Commissioner of Police Cyberabad, C.V. Anand for ordering the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) to take action against 17 ‘illegally constructed’ mosques in Rajendernagar mandal.

MBT’s petition was supported by religious leaders of the mosques. Based on the Commissioner’s letter, GHMC had served notices to mosque authorities this month. The Minorities Commission would seek an explanation from Mr. Anand on Wednesday, Commissioner Abid Rasool Khan said.

Mr. Anand had in April requested GHMC to ‘take necessary action against the illegally constructed mosques and tighten measures’. The mosques are located across three housing colonies established by Shastripuram Housing Society. The letter had not specified the nature of complaint based on which the enquiry was ordered.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/outrage-over-top-cops-letter-on-mosques/article7657547.ece

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Meat ban can’t be forced down people’s throat: Supreme Court (Sep 18, 2015, Hindustan Times)

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a plea against a Bombay high court order staying a ban on the sale of meat in Mumbai during a Jain festival saying there should be a spirit of “tolerance and accommodation”.

“These are issues which cannot be forced down somebody’s throat… There has to be the spirit of tolerance and anything should not be thrust on a particular class,” the SC said while noting that the high court order seems to be elaborate and that compassion for animals need not be observed only on festivals.…

Even good teaching cannot be forced upon others and people reap what they sow, said one of the judges, who cited a couplet of legendary poet Kabir. The remark came when the counsel for the petitioner said non-violence and compassion towards animals have been a part of good teachings and observing two days ban on the sale of meat is not going to harm anybody.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/meat-ban-can-t-be-forced-down-people-s-throat-observes-sc/article1-1391034.aspx

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Asaram Bapu’s daughter-in-law alleges torture by godman, husband (Sep 19, 2015, Times of India)

The daughter-in-law of self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, who along with his son Narayan Sai are lodged in jail in connection with separate rape cases, has accused the father-son duo of mentally torturing her.

Janki (38), who is separated from Sai, has also sought protection from police alleging that her family members and relatives were being threatened over phone to withdraw cases of domestic violence and alimony that she had filed against Sai in various local courts earlier, her counsel Rohit Yadav told reporters.…

In her complaint to Khajrana police station, Janki stated that after she got married to Narayan (Harpalani) Sai on May 22, 1997, the latter established illicit relations with other women causing her mental torture. “When I objected to my husband’s illicit relationship with other women, Sai used to threaten me to keep quiet,” Janki told reporters at the police station.… She also accused Asaram of pressurising her late father Devraj Krishnani to ‘donate’ a valuable property in Bhopal to the godman.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/49027704.cms

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Opinions and Editorials

India is being led to the brink – By Sitaram Yechury (Sep 22, 2015, Hindustan Times)

The BJP government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi can be faulted for betraying every promise that they had made to the people during the 2014 general elections, except one. This is the relentless pursuit of sharpening communal polarisation to establish the RSS project of a rabidly intolerant, fascistic ‘Hindu Rashtra’ in place of our present constitutional republic.…

The 2014 BJP election manifesto begins by stating ‘India is the most ancient civilization of the world…’ (not one among others). The time has come to ‘pick up the thread from the point where the continuum of our civilizational consciousness was lost and reorient the polity in consonance with those strong points of Indian psyche which will be the engine for our future glory’. And this psyche, it says, is ‘one country, one people and one nation’. Thus, echoing the RSS and negating the rich plurality of our country.…

The RSS and Modi today are carrying forward such gross distortions of history as assertions of ‘faith’. In the bargain, the intensity of the attacks on religious minorities, particularly Muslims, is increased to accomplish their project. History is being rewritten in order to control the present and shape the future. Can we permit such a metamorphosis of our modern secular democratic republic to succeed?

http://www.hindustantimes.com/sitaramyechury/india-is-being-led-to-the-brink/article1-1392247.aspx

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Unwarranted pettiness – Editorial (Sep 19, 2015, The Hindu)

Nothing could be more ironical than the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government fighting over the secularist legacy of Jawaharlal Nehru institutionalised in the form of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in the heart of New Delhi. And nothing could be more insulting to the memory of Nehru than the sordid slugfest between the BJP and the Congress over the appointment of Mahesh Rangarajan as the director of the NMML.

Dr. Rangarajan, a respected scholar and academic, was eventually forced to tender his resignation after an unseemly controversy over irregularities in the process of his appointment. The NMML is a tribute to independent India’s first Prime Minister, his vision and dreams for the country; it was intended to inspire generations of people who walk in to get glimpses of the making of a nation. Despite assurances from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to revere the memory of Nehru, it is now quite apparent that members of his Cabinet, who draw their strength and inspiration from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, are not willing to let the Museum be.…

The significance of the controversy over the appointment of the NMML director thus goes beyond personalities, and touches on the future of public institutions and the dangers of officially sanctioned manipulation of historiography. Questions will be asked of the UPA too, as to why the previous government demonstrated such a tearing hurry to appoint Dr. Rangarajan. Clearly, the party thinks of the Memorial as its fiefdom and thought nothing of rushing through the appointment process just before the country went into election mode.…

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/unwarranted-pettiness/article7665651.ece

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Hindutva Lite? – By Aakar Patel (Sep 20, 2015, Outlook ()

…I was in my 20s when I actually read Savarkar’s text ‘Hindutva’ and it disappointed me. I couldn’t understand why he was thought to be so great. I thought it was a very ordinary text and had nothing of originality. Savarkar was himself not well read and there were few references to the works of others. His main idea was unconditional love of nation, but that is something, as I have said, that comes to most of us quite easily in India.

Encountering Vivekananda’s writing (his collected works, mainly speeches and letters, are in 8 volumes) continued my puzzlement. It was after I finished reading Golwalkar (also mainly speeches and interviews) and the slim works of the RSS ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyaya that it dawned on me that this was all there was to Hindutva. It was an ideology for those who were closed of mind, and it was more about passion than intellect.

This discovery was a relief, because by now I had come to dislike its essence. I began to see how Hindutva was shaped by negatives. Its three main demands were: Ram Janmabhoomi (Muslims should not keep their mosque), Uniform Civil Code (Muslims should not keep their family law) and removing Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir (Muslims should not keep their constitutional autonomy). None of the three demands offered anything positive to Hindus.…

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/hindutva-lite/295368

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Murder of reason – By Vikhar Ahmed Sayeed (Oct 2, 2015, Frontline)

…In one of his articles published at the time, Kalburgi attributed the parentage of Channabasavanna to a low-caste “dohaara” (leather tanner), on the basis of his primary research of vachana literature and examination of folklore.… Much of the framework of Lingayat discourse was provided by Channabasavanna, and a section of Lingayats were greatly offended by Kalburgi’s claims.

This was the first time that Kalburgi received a murder threat and it was not to be the last. It was common then to hear statements in Dharwad like: “Who is this Kalburgi? All we need is two litres of petrol to finish him off!” Humiliatingly, for a scholar who had acquired great repute by then, Kalburgi was summoned like a criminal to a prominent Lingayat mutt in Dharwad and forced to recant his statement with folded hands. When he returned from the mutt, in response to a journalist’s query, a terse Kalburgi had said: “Today, I have committed intellectual suicide.”…

Speaking to Frontline, Megha Pansare said that there must be a link between the three murders as all of them were progressive thinkers who spoke out against superstitious practices. “It has been two years since the killing of Dabholkar and six months since the brutal killing of Pansare and there has been no headway. I request the Karnataka government to take this investigation seriously,” she said. Two weeks after Kalburgi’s killing, the Karnataka Police have still not apprehended the killer or his accomplice.…

http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/murder-of-reason/article7645680.ece

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Mumbai meat ban: The politics behind the city’s veg vs non-veg divide – By Manasi Phadke (Sep 20, 2015, Indian Express)

…The recent outrage over the ban on sale of meat in Mumbai for four days during the Jain festival of Paryushan (the High Court later stayed it, and on Thursday, the Supreme Court refused to quash the stay) has exposed a faultline that goes to the gut of the matter – the vegetarian versus non-vegetarian divide in the city and how politicians have made a meal of it. In several parts of cosmopolitan Mumbai, this divide has been the cause of simmering tension for years, an undercurrent that runs through areas such as this part of Lalbaug.…

“In the olden days, everyone lived next to each other in chawls – Gujaratis, Jains and Maharashtrians, both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. They didn’t have a problem then. But these are the same people who now stay in high-rises, who think fish and meat smell. This attitude only disturbs communal harmony,” says Nerkar. “There cannot be separate rules or concessions for different communities. We will never be able to co-exist in Mumbai this way.”

Gopal Shetty, BJP MP from Mumbai North, which has a sizeable Jain population, doesn’t echo his party’s line in favour of the ban. As someone who likes fish on his plate “at least two times a week”, he says, “A ban or any such decision has to happen after a thorough dialogue and discussion so that it doesn’t seem oppressive to a part of the population.”…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/sunday-story-meat-ban-2/

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Hindutva 2.0’s new caste challenge – By Varghese K. George (Sep 21, 2015, The Hindu)

…The Patel rebellion in Gujarat is not unprecedented. Mr. Modi’s ascent in Gujarat after 2002 was deeply resented by the Patels, first because he booted out Keshubhai Patel, and, later, Mr. Modi’s governance style crushed their patronage network. Ahead of the 2007 Gujarat elections, they erupted in rebellion, and one of the reasons cited by a Patel leader was how the drive against electricity pilferage was taking a heavy toll on the community. “For minor violations, farmers are going to jail and most of them are Patels,” he had said.…

The Sangh Parivar’s strategy of sidelining the dominant caste in favour of a leader from a numerically insignificant caste and aggregating minor castes continues. The party has appointed a Brahmin Chief Minister in Maharashtra, something that the former CM Prithviraj Chouhan had said during the elections, would be, “unthinkable”. The Brahmins constitute only four per cent of population in the State, where politics has been firmly in the grip of Marathas. The Parivar deployed the same approach in Haryana, where the dominance of the Jats has been upset by the elevation of a Punjabi as the Chief Minister, as is also the case in Jharkhand, where a CM whose caste is less than four per cent of the population has been appointed to the top job.

All this while, both the Parivar and Mr. Modi have maintained a certain ambiguity on the question of reservations. A resolution of the RSS Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha (ABPS) in 1981, recently pasted on the homepage of the RSS website, is instructive of its dilemma in dealing with caste questions.…

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/hindutva-20s-new-caste-challenge/article7671217.ece

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Book Review

India’s 2014 Elections, A Modi-led BJP Sweep

Author: Paul Wallace (ed.)
Reviewed by: Ranbir Singh
Available at: SAGE Publications India Pvt Ltd, B 1/I-1 Mohan Cooperative Industrial Area, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110 044, India; 2015; pages xxiv + 427; Price: Rs 1250..http://www.sagepub.in/
Review:
Understanding National Politics Post-2014 (Sep 20, 2015, Mainstream)

…The 2014 elections brought about a qualitative change in the party system of India. It was converted from a bipolar multi-party system to a dominant one-party system after a gap of more than three decades. But it is dominance with a difference. Paul Wallace has rightly attributed the BJP’s landslide victory to three factors: Economy, Corruption and Presidential Campaign. However, he has not taken into account the role of Big Business in this context.

The book has been divided into two parts – Thematic Studies and Analytical State Studies. Part-II has further been sub-divided into (a) Northern Cluster, (b) Kashmir and Western Cluster, and (c) Eastern and Southern Cluster. Part-I includes highly scholarly articles by the editor and other eminent scholars on ‘Introduction: Single Party and Strong Leadership’; ‘The Resistance of Regionalism: BJP’s Limitations and the Resilience of State Parties’; ‘The Bharatiya Janata Party: A Victory for Narendra Modi’; Gender Narratives and Elections: Mandate for Safety, Development, or Rights’; ‘Civic Scrutiny, Organised Action, and Democratic Consolidation’.…

This well-researched work undoubtedly helps us in providing a comprehensive understanding of the pattern of national politics that has emerged in 2014. It has competently tried to answer the questions: How did it all happen? What was the extent of the Modi magic? What went wrong with the oldest political party, the Indian National Congress, that it could not even form a formidable Opposition? And what does this have in store for regional leaders and State politics? However, it does not provide adequate analysis of the changes that are likely to take place in the nature of power structure and political economy in India at the national and State levels.…

<ahref=”http: www.mainstreamweekly.net=”” article5924.html”=””>http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article5924.html

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