IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 5th, 2016

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Spreading the message of peace and harmony is a national responsibility: Peace conference (Aug 30, 2016, Twocircles.net)

A committee of various religious and social workers organized a grand conference here with an aim to purify the atmosphere of hatred and disgust from the society and to make an environment of love and brotherhood. The conference was organized at Anjuman Islamia Hall on Saturday evening where scholars from different religions and sects expressed their views on how to develop an atmosphere of love and peace in the society.

The conference unanimously agreed that it is every citizen’s national responsibility to clear the misunderstandings that are being spread by some misguided elements of the society with their vested interests.…

Dr. Vinay Kanth, ex-president of PUCL said, “There is a lot of misunderstanding among us. To understand each other, we have to do away with these misunderstandings.” Expressing grave concern over growing intolerance across country, social worker Mahendra Yadav said that people are being used by the political parties. ” We, the law-abiding citizens, must have to get out of our homes to spread the message of peace and harmony”, he said.…

http://twocircles.net/2016aug30/1472533946.html

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This 18-year-old Hindu girl teaching Quran to Muslim kids is a messenger of communal harmony (Sep 6, 2016, Financial Express)

Pooja Kushwaha, an 18-year-old class12th student is a teacher to 35 kids. The interesting fact is that she is a Hindu and the lessons she teaches are from the Muslim’s holy book Quran. Kushwaha hails from western parts of Uttar Pradesh, teaches the children in an open-air classroom inside temple’s premises in Agra, according to a TOI report. With a great accent of Arabic words Kushwaha’s teaching looks every bit what the parents of the children would have wanted. This goes on to show how tolerant that part of India is.

Speaking to TOI Pooja revealed how she got interested in Arabic and the Quran, she said, “Many years ago, there was another woman of mixed faith in our locality. Born to a Muslim father and Hindu mother, Sangeeta Begum used to hold Quran classes for the kids. I got interested in the holy book and started attending her classes. I made steady progress and was ahead of all others in her class soon.” Interestingly, Pooja does it all without any fee.…

70-year-old Haji Jamiluddin Qureshi is a popular figure in the region and heads many forums along with a school. He told TOI, “It’s heartening to know that such rare examples of communal harmony exist in our city. A teacher is a teacher and her religion doesn’t matter as long as she knows the holy scripture well. Moreover, Islam doesn’t object to anybody learning Arabic or reading Quran.”…

http://www.financialexpress.com/india-news/this-18-year-old-hindu-girl-teaching-quran-to-muslim-kids-is-a-messenger-of-communal-harmony/368960/

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Eight Muslim youths perform final rites of Hindu neighbour (Sep 7, 2016, Times of India)

Putting humanity over religion, a group of Muslim youths from Mumbra set an example when they carried out the funeral rites of a 65-year-old neighbour, Waman Kadam, who died on Sunday night in his Almas Colony tenement. Kadam was employed as a building watchman.

When Kadam’s two sons, who are from his first wife, and relatives were reluctant to come over at night to help the ailing widow, Vitava, in her hour of need, she requested the youths to help her cremate him. Khalil Pawne, Fahad Dabir, Nawaz Dabir, Rahil Dabir, Shaban Khan, Maqsood Khan, Farooque Khan, Mohammad Kasam Shaikh promptly set out to look for a pundit to conduct the funeral rituals and even got a death certificate from a doctor.

“My husband would never have thought that his last journey would be with so much honour. There were 40-odd Muslim youths in the funeral procession. We have known them since they were knee high; now, they turned out to be sensitive and responsible adults,” said Vitava.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/54038155.cms

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Intervention in Muslim Personal Law not tolerated – Muslim Mahila Research Kender’s affidavit in SC (Sep 5, 2016, Siasat)

Noted Muslim Women’s organization, “Muslim Mahila Research Kendra” filed an affidavit in Supreme Court against any intervention in Muslim Personal Law. It may be mentioned that some Muslim women’s organization had challenged the right of husbands to divorce by pronouncing “Talaq” thrice at one go. SC bench headed by CJI, Justice TS Thakur is hearing this case.

Ms. Tahniyath Athar, President, Muslim Mahila Research Kendra and Dr. Asma Zehra, Director of the organization, in a press statement released yesterday told that in the affidavit filed in SC, it has been stated that SC cannot intervene in Muslim Personal Law under the pretext of protection of women’s right or social reforms. SC also cannot interpret Muslim Personal Law. They also said that SC cannot decide about the authenticity of three divorces pronounced one time. The process of pronouncing divorce is fixed and recognized which cannot be changed by anyone.

In their press statement they mentioned that the issues pertaining to marriage, divorce and maintenance allowance are different in various religions. Any court of law cannot raise any question about the authenticity of the provisions made in any religion.…

http://www.siasat.com/news/intervention-muslim-personal-law-not-tolerated-muslim-mahila-research-kenders-affidavit-sc-1012755/

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CIC notices to PMO, on letters between Vajpayee and Modi after 2002 riots (Sep 5, 2016, Deccan Chronicle)

The CIC has issued notices to Prime Minister’s Office and Gujarat government on the issue of disclosure of the correspondence exchanged between the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi and then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the aftermath of the 2002 riots.

Citing an order of the Delhi High Court which had said that views of third party as mandated in Section 11 and 19(4) of the RTI Act must be taken, Chief Information Commissioner Radha Krishna Mathur issued notices to the PMO and Gujarat government (through its Chief Secretary) directing them to present their submissions during the hearing in first week of November.

The case relates to Subhash Agrawal who had sought the disclosure of communication through his RTI application dated December 16, 2013.… The applicant had sought copy of all communications exchanged between the PMO and the Gujarat government between February 27, 2002 and April 30, 2002 on the law-and-order situation in the state.…

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/050916/cic-notices-to-pmo-gujarat-govt-on-letters-between-vajpayee-and-modi.html

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No concrete proof against Zakir Naik, security agencies asked to probe deeper (Sep 1, 2016, Indian Express)

Security agencies will analyse controversial televangelist Zakir Naik’s speeches in a more comprehensive manner and conduct a more exhaustive probe before any decision is taken on whether to gag him and ban his NGO, Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), as an unlawful association.

The development comes with the Law Ministry advising the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which has jurisdiction over security agencies, that not enough evidence is on record to proceed against Naik, sources said Wednesday.

Sources also said that a scrutiny by the Home Ministry of IRF’s accounts have not revealed any violations of foreign funding norms so far.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/no-concrete-proof-against-zakir-naik-security-agencies-asked-to-probe-deeper-3006939/

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‘Comprehensive law to curb communal violence needed’ (Sep 5, 2016, The Hindu)

The all-faith Sadbhavana committee formed as part of the Peace and Humanity movement by Jamaat-e-Islami Hind has urged the government to control fundamentalist forces to ensure peace in society.

In a memorandum addressed to the President, members of the committee sought a comprehensive law to curb communal violence. They asked for strict enforcement of the laws to curb caste and religion-based violence and attempts to abuse other religious groups. They said that provisions of the Information Technology Act should be used strictly to curb online hate campaigns.

Speedy trial should ensure punishment to those who make provocative speeches. They sought protection to victims of violence and witnesses of riots.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-karnataka/comprehensive-law-to-curb-communal-violence-needed/article9073978.ece

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Over 400 RSS Members In Goa Threaten To Resign After State Chief Subhash Velingkar’s Sacking (Sep 1, 2016, NDTV)

Subhash Velingkar, who was sacked as the state chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS in Goa, has blamed union ministers Manohar Parrikar and Nitin Gadkari for being behind his removal.

“I was not shocked. I was anticipating it (the action) (Manohar) Parrikar and Nitin Gadkari are powerful at the Centre. They have (been) strongly lobbying there. They must have tried for it. They must have wrongly fed the RSS high command,” Mr Velingkar said.…

Late on Wednesday evening, more than 400 RSS volunteers had announced that they were resigning in protest against the sacking of Mr Velingkar. The volunteers announced their decision after several leaders of the state RSS, which is the BJP’s ideological mentor, met at a school complex near capital Panaji for over six hours to discuss the removal of Mr Velingkar, one of the most influential RSS leaders in Goa.…

http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/rss-rebellion-in-goa-over-400-members-resign-after-state-chiefs-sacking-1453017

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Rights body push for probe against custody-death cops (Sep 6, 2016, Times of India)

West Bengal Human Rights Commission has pulled up several mid-level officers of Kolkata Police and asked cops to complete departmental inquiries against them in the next three months after the commission found them to be prima facie involved in the custodial death of a youth at Burtolla last September.

The action comes after the commission took cognizance of a TOI report on October 2, 2015, whe re questions were raised about the manner of death of Bhusan Deshmukh in the police lock-up. In its 16-page directive, the commission also granted that the victim’s parents receive an immediate compensation of Rs 2 lakh.

Those against whom departmental inquiries have been ordered are (former) OC of Burtolla Bhagirath Ghosh, sub-inspectors Pradip Kumar Rakshit and Bikash Biswas and constables Hrikesh Mondal and Partha Sarathi Mondal. The inquiry report has to be submitted within three months.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/54023167.cms

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Case against VHP’s working president Praveen Togadia for hate speech (Aug 31, 2016, New Indian Express)

A Hosdurg court’s proclamation order was served at the office of Vishva Hindu Parishad’s working president Praveen Togadia in Delhi, said a police officer. Togadia is “wanted” in an alleged hate speech case registered in Hosdurg police station in 2011.

The Hosdurg Judicial First Class Magistrate Court issued the proclamation after Hosdurg police expressed their inability to arrest the Hindutva leader despite issuing arrest warrants thrice.

“We went to his Delhi office to serve the proclamation order. But the office staff said they were not aware of the case against him,” said Hosdurg inspector Sunilkumar C K. Togadia was then in Gujarat, said the officer. Now, that the order had been served, he was likely to appear before the court, he said.…

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/Case-against-VHPs-working-president-Praveen-Togadia-for-hate-speech/2016/08/31/article3606151.ece

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Hindu students protest against burqa-wearing Muslims on campus in southern India (Sep 2, 2016, Washington Post)

As the world debates whether the burkini is appropriate beachwear, a new fight is brewing in India over burqa-wearing students on college campuses. This week, some Hindu students began wearing saffron-colored scarves to the classroom in a college in the southern state of Karnataka in protest against the hijab and burqas that Muslim students are allowed to wear on campus.

Saffron, or deep orange, is considered to be an auspicious color in Hinduism and is also the color that members of many Hindu nationalist groups in India use in their flags, bandanas and scarves to assert their religious identity.

It all started last week when a pharmacy college in the southern city of Mangalore banned its first-year female students from wearing the hijab or burqa and the male students from sporting long beards on campus. Almost immediately, the Muslim student group Campus Front of India beganprotesting the ban, saying the Indian constitution allows them the right to practice their religion.…

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/09/02/hindu-students-protest-against-burqa-wearing-muslims-on-campus-in-southern-india/

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Pellets generally used in hunting animals: Gun manufacturer (Sep 7, 2016, Indian Express)

The manufacturer of pellet guns, used against protesters by armed forces in Kashmir, said they are generally used for hunting. The company added no tests have been conducted regarding their effect on the human body.

Defence Ministry’s Pune-based ammunition factory has said the pellet shots are generally used to scare animals away, protection of crops and hunting. “Ammunition Factory Khadki does not conduct any tests vis-a-vis the effect of the Bore ammunition on the human body,” a letter addressed to the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s Director General of Police from the Additional General Manager of the ammunition factory read.…

More than 9000 people have been injured during the protests in Kashmir since July 8 and most of them have been hit by pellets. Over 600 people with pellet injuries in eyes have been admitted to the ophthalmology department of Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital in Srinagar. Among the 75 civilians killed during the ongoing protests, many of them died in pellet firing.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/pellets-generally-used-in-hunting-animals-gun-manufacturer-kashmir-violence-3018384/

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‘PM Modi did not do enough for Dalits in his home state’ (Aug 29, 2016, Indian Express)

Una Dalit Atyachar Ladat Samiti, a Dalit organisation formed after the last month’s Una flogging incident, on Monday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not do enough to address their problems. Modi would visit Gujarat’s Jamnagar district on Tuesday to inaugurate Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation Yojna.

Modi had not done enough to ensure safety and well-being of the Dalits in his home state, the organisation said. Jignesh Mevani of Dalit Samiti on Monday said the PM paid only lip service instead of reining in the cow vigilantes.

“Instead of staging protests during Modi’s visit, we want to register our protest by asking under what circumstances the so-called gau-rakshaks became so fearless in Gujarat and in the country under his rule. Modi claimed he is angry over the Dalit thrashing incidents. But what’s the use of such statements when the Dalits are still being targeted?” he said.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/pm-modi-did-not-do-enough-for-dalits-in-his-home-state-3002798/

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Opinions and Editorials

Is RSS a terrorist organisation? – By Hasan Zia Rizvi (Sep 2, 2016, Milli Gazette)

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was listed as a terrorist organization under threat group section by US-based Terrorism Research Centre and OODALOOP (oodaloop.com), a risk management and consulting company. A lawsuit was filed in US court on 21 January, 2015 to label RSS as a foreign terrorist organization. Former Maharashtra inspector general of police SM Mushrif calls RSS India’s biggest terror outfit.

RSS affiliates, or ‘Sangh Parivar’, has been charge-sheeted in almost 17 terror cases in India. There is a history of communal riots, terrorism and murders related to RSS and its outfits working under different names. But Sangh has a habit of disowning its Hindutva activists and Hindu extremist organizations once they are caught in any crime.

To analyse Sangh terrorism, a first-of-its-kind seminar under the banner of ‘Sangh Terror and Failures of Justice’, was organized by the socio-cultural organization, ANHAD (Act Now for Harmony and Democracy) on 9 August at the Constitution Club here. The panelists were eminent Indian personalities including members of Parliament.…

http://www.milligazette.com/news/14740-is-rss-a-terrorist-organisation-india

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Black laws: From MISA, POTA to sedition – By Amulya Ganguli (Sep 5, 2016, Free Press Journal)

The BJP’s current majority in the Lok Sabha has not dissuaded it from using the sedition law at every available opportunity.… It is a safe bet that no government will withdraw any of the laws which ostensibly exist to protect the nation from internal and external threats, but are nearly always misused.…

Why do governments have such preference for a colonial-era law under which Gandhi was booked? The reason is that is a handy tool in their hands for penalising their opponents. However, Section 124A of the IPC is not the only law which governments have used to browbeat and even incarcerate their critics.

The resultant (mis)use of the law on sedition, especially against an internationally-acclaimed organisation like the Amnesty, cannot but show the Modi government in a poor light before the world, reinforcing the perception of its intolerance which was first highlighted when a number of writers, artistes, historians and others returned their awards.

http://www.freepressjournal.in/analysis/black-laws-from-misa-pota-to-sedition-amulya-ganguli/922113

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The Dangerous Precedent Of A Guru Preaching To The House – By Brinda Karat (Aug 31, 2016, )

…A religious leader addressing elected members in an official session within the Vidhan Sabha is unheard of in India’s parliamentary history. When a ministry, or a parliamentary committee, or even the government wishes to give members the opportunity to hear a specialist who is not a member of the House on any particular issue, the custom is to invite MLAs for such a lecture which may be within the premises of parliament or the state assembly, but does not form part of the session itself. There is good reason for this becoming the accepted standard. It prevents the ruling party of any given state from misusing the assembly for matters extraneous to the agenda of the assembly.

The state assembly cannot be and should not be converted into a site for religious pravachans(sermons), however eminent the speaker might be. MLAs or MPs, as the case may be, are not being paid by the public exchequer to listen to pravachans. They can go to temples or tune into TV programmes to satisfy their spiritual desires.

Yet the Haryana Chief Minister M L Khattar breached constitutional and parliamentary norms and invited a Jain Muni to address MLAs at an official session of the assembly. The Governor gave his stamp of approval to this breach. He insulted his constitutional position and propriety by sitting below the monk. He should not have attended in the first place. The Haryana government had the support of both opposition parties, the Congress and the INLD, whose respective leaders in the assembly not only sat through the lecture but showered fulsome praise on the Muni.… It is a dangerous and wrong precedent. It sanctions the burial of secular standards in the functioning of assemblies.…

http://www.ndtv.com/opinion/the-dangerous-precedent-of-a-guru-preaching-to-the-house-1452612

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The Haryana capers; dress code, cow protection – Editorial (Aug 31, 2016, Free Press Journal)

Leaders of the ruling BJP at the Centre and in the States cannot seem to avoid creating needless controversies. Instead of delivering on the promise of good governance, they foray into peripheral issues such as the dress code for women or ‘gau raksha.’

These only detract from the task in hand. Frankly, anyone with a modicum of education will find the fuss over cow protection a bit over-the-top. Yes, protect the milch cattle by all means but do not tom-tom about beef when you are unable to take care of old and abandoned animals. Encourage modern education, nay, reason and scientific temper.

Let us not worship at the wrong altars. Let modernism walk in through the front door into the mindscape of all Indians regardless of caste, creed, et al.…

http://www.freepressjournal.in/analysis/the-haryana-capers-dress-code-cow-protection/919735

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RSS Claims About Rapid Growth of the Muslim Population are Simply False – By Salman Anees Soz (Sep 7, 2016, The Wire)

Recently, Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) made controversial remarks in response to questions about population growth of Indian Muslims. He was addressing a gathering of young couples at Agra College. Hindutva groups such as the RSS have long stoked fears of Muslims becoming the largest religious group in India.

In fact, Prime Minister Modi too had infamously fanned such a narrative when he was Chief Minister in Gujarat. Of course, there is no evidence to support the outlandish claims of Hindutva groups. But, in the immortal words of Mark Twain, “a lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” It is my intention to help truth chase lies down. I am particularly interested in the kinds of lies that are divisive and put ordinary lives in danger.…

Many others have fact-checked RSS talking points on Muslim population growth. Others have pointed out, as I do here, that RSS is spreading falsehoods for political reasons. RSS is so cynical that it continues to push this narrative of the demise of the Hindu majority even as it knows well that nothing close to it is happening. Under such circumstances, we have no choice but to repeatedly call out the lies spread by RSS. But even the RSS must know, truth alone triumphs!

http://thewire.in/64570/rss-claims-rapid-growth-muslim-population-simply-false/

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Dalits are right: Enough is enough – By P Chidambaram (Aug 28, 2016, Indian Express)

On July 11, 2016, a video of cow vigilantes mercilessly beating up seven Dalit men for skinning a dead cow in Una district, Gujarat, came to light. In protest against the incident, many Dalits have refused to handle cow carcasses. The gau rakshaks should be happy, but they are not. Non-Dalits, presumably including gau rakshaks, have retaliated with more violence against Dalits – this time for not picking up cow carcasses – in Samter (August 16), Bhavra (August 20) and Rajkot (August 24), all in Gujarat. Herein lies the Dalit dilemma – he is damned if he does and he is damned if he doesn’t.

The bane of Hindu society is varna, the four-tier arrangement said to be sanctified by the scriptures. The arrangement encompassed the majority and assigned them places, but it also excluded a large number. The excluded were the outcasts or the untouchables. Inequality by birth was the basis of the arrangement. That inequality stayed with you throughout your life. Violence against Dalits is the punishment for disobeying the rules of the arrangement. Rohith Vemula summed it up: “My birth is my fatal accident.”

The Dalits have decided that enough is enough. They have decided to mobilise. The scale of social mobilisation of Dalits in Gujarat and Maharashtra, and to some extent in other parts of the country, has not been seen in recent times. Although much of the media is not covering them, massive rallies and marches are being held. There is palpable anger in the community because of the sense of impunity with which they are being subjected to violence in certain parts of the country. According to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, in 2015, Gujarat reported the highest crime rate against Dalits, followed by Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/una-dalit-protests-gujarat-flogging-cow-protection-gau-rakshaks-2999626/

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