IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 7th, 2015

In this issue of IAMC News Roundup

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Muslim bodies call for sanity (Sep 3, 2015, The Sangai Express)

The Manipur Muslim Welfare Organisation (MMWO) and the Manipur Muslim Women’s Development Organisation (MMWDO) have urged the people of different communi-ties to maintain sanity. In a statement, the two bodies said that Meitei, Naga, Kuki and Meitei Pangal are the indigenous people of the State and they are inseparable.

Expressing concern over loss of lives and properties in the recent Churachandpur violence, the bodies demanded the State Government to probe the incident and take action against the responsible security personnel at the earliest. The two bodies also urged the people of the State not to spread rumours and make any statement which may ignite communal tension at this critical juncture.…

The two bodies further urged the public not to resort to violent activities even if some individuals make provocative statements or comments in the social media, newspapers and public platform. They said that every misunderstanding can be resolved through peaceful means. The bodies also urged the people of the State to maintain unity and harmony.

http://www.thesangaiexpress.com/page/items/55990/muslim-bodies-call-for-sanity

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Maintain communal harmony: Collector (Sep 6, 2015, The Hindu)

District Collector Yogitha Rana here on Saturday appealed to people to have religious tolerance, be peaceful and maintain communal harmony in view of the series of festivals coming in next three months. She also called upon them to cooperate with the civil and police machineries in the maintenance of law and order.

Presiding over the Peace Committee meeting she said that the festival season would begin with Vinayaka Chavithi on September 17 followed by Ganesh idol immersion, Bakrid, Bathukamma, Dasara and Deepavali till November. She asked the authorities to take necessary steps for the idol immersion, prepare route map for religious procession and repair roads.

Superintendent of Police S. Chandrashekar Reddy suggested that people take an active role in the maintenance of law and order and cooperate with official machinery. To celebrate the festival amid peaceful atmosphere peace committee meetings would be conducted at the street level, he said.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/maintain-communal-harmony-collector/article7621168.ece

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Supreme Court vacates stay on Gulbarg verdict (Sep 3, 2015, Times of India)

The Supreme Court has permitted the special SIT court to deliver a final verdict in the 2002 Gulbarg Society massacre case – the only litigation among all post-Godhra riot cases where a witness directly accused former chief minister Narendra Modi of not responding to the distress calls of victims.…

Since 2010, the SC had repeatedly declined to vacate the stay on judgment in this case. When finally, the three-judge bench wrote in its order that the SIT court can pronounce judgment, the SIT is very much in disbelief. When contacted, special prosecutor R C Kodekar said, “We have decided to seek clarification to clear our doubts whether there is no mistake on part of the apex court in asking the SIT court to pronounce judgment. The Supreme Court would have otherwise mentioned in detail that it was vacating the stay grated earlier. The amicus curiae Harish Salve may mention the issue before the court.”

Gulbarg massacre has remained the most debated riot case for a number of reasons. Former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri along with 68 persons residing in Chamanpura colony were killed on February 28, 2002. Also, this is the only massacre where Modi was questioned by SIT over accusations made by Jafri’s wife Zakia that Modi and 62 others had hatched a conspiracy to spread violence after Godhra train burning incident.…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48780706.cms

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Mirchpur communal violence probe nails police, magistrate (Sep 6, 2015, Hindustan Times)

The one-man judicial commission of inquiry into the Mirchpur communal clash of five years ago has held the police and the duty magistrate responsible for the escalation of the tension.

On Friday, the 220-page report of Justice (retd) Iqbal Singh Commission was tabled in the Haryana Vidhan Sabha during its ongoing monsoon session. On April 21, 2010, at Mirchpur village of Hisar district, Dalit Tara Chand (70) and his handicapped daughter, Suman (16) were burnt alive in their house while several other people were injured in the arson and rioting between dominant Jats and oppressed Dalits. Even Parliament took note of the atrocities on the Dalits by the upper-caste group.

The inquiry report based on spot visits and the statements of many people, including the villagers, victims, and witnesses, has held that though there was tension at Mirchpur a day before the clash as well because of an altercation between members of the two communities, the local police failed to alert the seniors; and inaction on the part of the Narnaud police escalated the tension.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/chandigarh/mirchpur-communal-violence-probe-nails-police-magistrate/article1-1387829.aspx

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2008 Malegaon blast case: SC adjourns hearing in petition demanding fair trial in blast case (Sep 5, 2015, Indian Express)

The Supreme Court on Friday adjourned hearing of petitions demanding its intervention to ensure a fair trial in the 2008 Malegaon blast case in view of the special prosecutor’s allegations that she was pressured to go slow against the accused in the case. In her interview to The Indian Express, published on June 25, Rohini Salian, the former Special Public Prosecutor, had said that she was under pressure from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to go “soft” in the case. Citing this interview, activist Harsh Mander had filed the PIL.

On Friday, the case was deferred as one of the judges on the bench, Justice Uday U Lalit, recused from hearing it after pointing out that he had represented certain accused in the matter when he was a lawyer. Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for Mander, said she had no objection if the present bench opts to decide the case. But the bench replied: “Let it go to a different bench.”…

The petition stated that the Ministry of Home Affairs, which runs the NIA, has been trying to pressurise “an honest prosecutor to go soft” on the accused. It said there are reasons to fear that “the executive is attempting to influence the judicial system” to cave in to the pressure exerted by it in all matters, “including affording protection to right wing extremists who sympathise with its ideology”. The petition said unless the apex court steps in, the victims of the Malegaon blast cannot expect justice in the current scenario due to the “brazen illegalities” allegedly committed by the government.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/2008-malegaon-blast-case-sc-adjourns-hearing-in-petition-demanding-fair-trial-in-blast-case/

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RSS converting India into ‘Republic of Fear’ through BJP, says RJD (Sep 4, 2015, DNA India)

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) spokesperson Manoj Jha on Friday said that the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) not only controls the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but also decides the policies of the NDA Government, which the latter heads.

He said, “The Republic of India is being converted into the Republic of Fear, and it is so ironical that the home minister (Rajnath Singh) is briefing the RSS about national security.”…

“I can sense the images of Nazi Germany, which is harmful for the nation,” he added. Jha further said that everybody, cutting across political spectrum, should come together and expose this RSS posturing, which would damage whatever has been achieved so far.

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-rss-converting-india-into-republic-of-fear-through-bjp-says-rjd-2121817

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High Court Seeks Centre’s Reply on PIL Against Renaming Aurangzeb Road (Sep 4, 2015, NDTV)

The Delhi High Court has sought response from the Centre on a PIL seeking to restrain civic body NDMC from renaming Aurangzeb Road after APJ Abdul Kalam. A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath asked Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain to apprise it whether any guidelines are to be followed for renaming roads.…

The petitioner, assisted by advocate Wasim Alam, said in the plea, “NDMC in utter violation of law and procedure, instead of naming a new road in memory of late APJ Abdul Kalam has renamed an historical road known as Aurangzeb Road to be known as APJ Abdul Kalam Road.…

“Names which are part of history will not be altered. All proposals for renaming will be referred to the Ministry of Home Affairs in accordance with instructions in letter dated September 27, 1975,” it said. The PIL said the “act of altering the historical name was nothing but an outcome of sick and communal politics, which should not be allowed to have any place in India which homes thousand religious, cultural, social and political beliefs”.…

http://www.ndtv.com/delhi-news/high-court-seeks-centres-reply-on-pil-against-renaming-aurangzeb-road-1214242?site=full

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Muslims constitute 14% of India, but just 3% of India Inc (Sep 7, 2015, Economic Times)

Last Monday, Vice President Hamid Ansari referred to the appalling state of Muslims and goaded the state and other societal actors towards affirmative action. But how does India Inc fare on this count? An ET Intelligence Group analysis indicate Muslims constitute a mere 2.67% of directors and senior executives – 62 of the 2,324 executives – among the BSE 500 companies.

These top executives took home 3.14% of the total remuneration drawn by this group. The BSE 500 corresponds to almost 93% of the m-cap on the stock exchange. The Muslim employment figure in senior management for BSE-100 companies, in comparison, goes up slightly to 4.60% – 27 of 587 – of total directors and senior executives, though the remuneration drops to 2.56%. Data on blue-collar employment of Muslims, who constitute 14.2% of population, in the private sector is scarce.

The Muslim minority, the most deprived of communities in the Indian jobs market, doesn’t yet figure on the radar of corporate India. Even the affirmative action (AA) framework, which the private sector was prompted to adopt and implement in the last decade, is largely focused on the Dalits, leaving the Muslims entirely to their own devices.…

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48849266.cms

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3 Hindu Activists Arrested in Connection with Indian Rationalist’s Killing (Sep 4, 2015, VOA News)

Police in India have detained three people in connection with last weekend’s killing of a professor whose writings against idol worship had angered some religious groups. The three detainees are activists who belong to right-wing Hindu militant group Bajrang Dal and its offshoots, said Om Prakash, police chief of the southern Indian state of Karnataka.

“We are not sure if any of the three men has directly been involved with the killing,” he said. “They threatened those who criticized Hindu practices. The three men are being interrogated by police for possible leads to the latest killing.”

Those who question idol worship and superstition – known as “rationalists” – have come under increasing pressure from Hindu extremists. There have been comparisons between Kalburgi’s killing and the deaths of two others with similar views. In 2013, unknown gunmen killed anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar, 67, in Maharashtra city, Pune. In February, anti-superstition activist and communist leader Govind Pansare, 81, was shot dead by unknown attackers in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur.…

http://www.voanews.com/content/hindu-activists-detained-in-indian-rationalist-killing/2946905.html

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Bombay HC asks Maharashtra govt to take steps to stop custodial deaths (Sep 3, 2015, DNA India)

Expressing concern over Maharashtra accounting for the highest number of custodial deaths in the country over the last 15 years, the Bombay High court on Thursday asked the state government to take immediate preventive steps.…

Advocate Rebecca Gonsalves, representing CBI, said the agency had sent an investigation report to its headquarters in Delhi for approval. The bench gave two weeks’ time to CBI to submit the report to the court. “We expect a positive response from CBI,” it said.…

Though more than a year had passed after the incident and the High Court transferred the probe to CBI, no charge sheet had been filed, he said. The court adjourned the hearing to September 16 while directing CBI to file a report.

http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-bombay-hc-asks-maharashtra-govt-to-take-steps-to-stop-custodial-deaths-2121599

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Woman prisoner molested in jail: SC orders her shifting (Sep 7, 2015, The Tribune)

The Supreme Court today asked the Haryana Government to shift a woman prisoner under trial from the Central Jail at Hisar after hearing a petition contending that the jail superintendent was molesting her.

A Bench comprising Justices J. Chelameswar and AM Sapre also issued notice to the government, the DGP and the jail SP seeking their response in two weeks to the petition by the victim’s mother. It asked the police to ensure proper security to the victim. The habeas corpus petition seeking production of the victim in the court has been filed through advocate Praveen Chaturvedi.

According to Chaturvedi, the victim had told her mother about the sexual offence on August 3 when she had gone to meet her daughter in the jail. The jail superintendent had gone to the victim’s cell at 11.30 on the night on July 30 and molested her in violation of the jail manual under which only women jailors had access to women prisoners.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/courts/woman-prisoner-molested-in-jail-sc-orders-her-shifting/130039.html

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Push For SC Status For Dalit Converts (Sep 5, 2015, New Indian Express)

Seeking SC status for Dalit Christians, the Christian Minority Rights Movement based in Ambur has appealed to the Centre to immediately implement the Justice Ranganath Misra recommendations that would help the Dalits enable the SC provisions.

President of the organisation, N Sundar, said the recommendations were made by Misra in 2007 and the UPA government had not shown any interest. …

Sundar said the movement had also made an appeal to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to take up this issue in the parliament through her MPs to grant the SC status.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/Push-For-SC-Status-For-Dalit-Converts/2015/09/05/article3011504.ece1

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Opinions and Editorials

Bureau Of Sighs – By Harsh Mander (Sep 14, 2015, Outlook)

The imagination of nation-building in free India incorporated within it a critical role for a merit-based civil service. This was expected to offer independent counsel to elected governments for fighting poverty and want, controlling communal and caste violence, and building the sinews of infrastructure for a strong nation. To insulate it from illegitimate political pressures, civil servants were guaranteed many constitutional and statutory protections. But today, India’s higher civil services stand discredited, almost in ruins. The political leadership has tamed the bureaucracy with allurements of sharing power and illegal wealth and the simple threat of less attractive postings.…

What is most worrying, however, is the open interference of the shadowy RSS, known to be openly hostile to India’s secular Constitution. Officials are increasingly taking orders from Nagpur. Appointments to government educational and cultural organisations are made in the pmo – with the mandatory nod from Nagpur. Some may draw comparisons with the UPA’s National Advisory Council (NAC). (Full disclosure: I was an NAC member for two years.) There’s a world of a difference. The NAC was a formally constituted advisory group to the prime minister with a clear mandate to offer advice on all aspects of social policy for the poor and disadvantaged.

All prime ministers have advisory groups, and there is nothing undemocratic in this. Incidentally, the PM often disagreed with NAC advice. The RSS is an entirely different kind of body. It is not formally constituted by government, and its ideology varies sharply from the constitutional position on secularism and mino¬rity rights. Many judicial commissions into communal riots have specifically mentioned the role of the RSS in creating communal hatred and in organising violence.…

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/bureau-of-sighs/295240

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Why Does The Vice President Of India Worry The Right Wing? – By Seema Mustafa (Sep 2, 2015, Thecitizen.in)

The soft spoken Vice President of India Hamid Ansari has become the target of right wing groups who leave no occasion unturned to flout all constitutional propriety and norms and hurl nasty accusations at him. The latest is a statement by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad attacking the Vice President over an impressive speech at a meeting of the All India Majlis-e-Mushawarat where towards the end, and in context, he said “the official objective of sab ka sath sab ke vikas is commendable; a pre-requisite for this is affirmative action (where necessary) to ensure a common starting point and an ability in all to walk at the required pace. This ability has to be developed through individual, social and governmental initiatives that fructify on the ground. Programmes have been made in abundance; the need of the hour is their implementation.”…

His address to the conglomeration of Muslim organisation has again drawn right wing ire. More so as VP Hamid Ansari is the face of a liberal, intelligent, well informed Indian whose words are heard, not because he is a Muslim but because he has created a space as a diplomat and as the Vice President of India. He is a diplomat recognised for his good work, a soft spoken, dignified gentleman who was recommended by the Left parties for the post when the UPA government came to power with their support.

He excels in the use of words and his address to the Mushawarat was again a classic exercise in diplomacy albeit hard hitting, and assertive without appearing to be so. In the process he basically bust the myths and propaganda unleashed by the right wing organisation against the Muslims and minorities in India and placed the onus on the state to rectify the exclusion and deprivation suffered by the minorities.…

http://www.thecitizen.in/NewsDetail.aspx?Id=4990&Why/Does/The/Vice/President/Of/India/Worry/The/Right/Wing

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An Aandhi In Benares – By Namrata Joshi (Sep 14, 2015, Outlook)

For a film that has fallen victim to the merciless scissors of the censor, purportedly for showing Prime Minister Narendra Modi in bad light, Kamal Swaroop’s documentary Dance of Democracy-Battle for Banaras has a rather scholarly inspiration: Nobel laureate Elias Canetti’s book Crowds and Power. It is, as Swaroop puts it, “an anthro¬pological look at the nature and behaviour of crowds” and dwells on concepts like open and closed crowds, invisible crowds, crowd freedom and crowd fear. What better occasion to understand crowd dynamics than an election, thought Swaroop. So he trained his cameras on Benares, where Modi contested, during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. “I wanted to understand better what I had read. It was an opportunity to apply theory to actual crowds. To look at voters, candidates and the media through Canetti’s lens,” he says.

His intentions, however, were derailed last week when the film was denied a censor certificate outright by a four-member board. It felt suggesting cuts would not be enough. Censor board chairman Pahlaj Nihalani, who hadn’t seen the film himself, said the members found it “inflammatory”. Swaroop says, “No one wants any trouble.” Seems like a throwback to howAandhi and Kissa Kursi Ka were stalled during the Emergency.

Before this, maverick FTII grad Swaroop was best known for Om Dar Ba Dar, a 2008 cult classic and bible of every Indian indie filmmaker. It reached the cinema halls in 2014. He recently shot another film – an abstract documentary called Banaras: Rangbhoomi – on the time Dadasaheb Phalke spent in Benares and his involvement in theatre during this break from cinema.…

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/an-aandhi-in-benares/295235

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Was Aurangzeb the most evil ruler India has ever had? – By Shoaib Daniyal (Sep 2, 2015, Scroll.in)

As has been happening ever so often since Narendra Modi took power, history has burst out into modern-day politics. The New Delhi Municipal Corporation has proposed renaming “Aurangzeb Road” in Lutyen’s Delhi to “APJ Abdul Kalam Road”.…

Many people assume that history is an impersonal record of past events; a dull roll call of facts, events and figures. While raw data is certainly a component in the writing of history, there’s more to it in the way of how the historian interprets that data.…

With Aurangzeb, therefore, at least in the popular realm, a narrative has taken root which paints him as a Mughal Voldemort, so dreadful and tyrannical that even his name on a single road in the entire country could endanger the republic.…

http://scroll.in/article/752358/was-aurangzeb-the-most-evil-ruler-india-has-ever-had

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Why Kandhamal Should Haunt Each of Us – By Brinda Karat (Sep 4, 2015, NDTV)

It is seven years since the worst carnage against the Christian community took place in Kandhamal in Odisha. I, along with some others, was there to attend the annual observance, this time in Raikia, of the anniversary organized by the Kandhamal Committee for Peace and Justice in the memory of those killed, injured in 2008 and for those whose lives have been forever marked by the trauma and terror of the communal conflagration that lasted for several months.

The toll was heavy, with 80-100 Christians reportedly murdered, thousands of homes burnt, churches and educational institutions vandalized, over 56,000 people forced to flee their homes to live in the squalor of relief camps. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had named the RSS, the VHP and the Bajrang Dal as being responsible. But the victim survivors still wait for justice.

Have a quick look at this fact-sheet meticulously collected and provided by advocate-activist Dibya Singh Pariccha of Kandhamal: the victim survivors made 3,000 complaints to the police of which the police filed only 825 FIRs and, further minimizing the extent of the crimes, filed chargesheets in just 605 cases.…

http://www.ndtv.com/opinion/why-kandhamal-should-haunt-each-of-us-1214208

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Dying Of The Light – By Ajay Sukumaran (Sep 14, 2015, Outlook)

“Killing a man who is 78 years old…only a coward would do this. He just killed him and ran away.” That was Srivijaya, son of the Kannada writer and scholar M.M. Kalburgi. He’s still mortified as he recounts the events of that day. A panic-stricken call from his younger sister in Dharwad had set him off on the road from Bangalore.…

In fact, the Kannada literary world is itself in shock by the turn of events. Most famous names now have armed policemen protecting their homes (a rattled Congress government is taking no chances). But nobody is drawing conclusions yet in the killing of Prof Malleshappa Madivalappa Kalburgi. Indeed, the police are probing multiple angles, including speculation about a property dispute. The real worry, though, is that the atmosphere of intolerance in the BJP’s “gateway to the south”, Karnataka, has taken a turn for the worse.…

The manner in which Kalburgi was attacked – he was shot point-blank at his doorstep in Dharwad by two men who came on a motorcycle at around 8.40 am on August 30 – is already being linked to the yet-unsolved murders of rationalist-activists like Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar. Unlike them, however, Kalburgi, a former vice-chancellor of the Kannada University at Hampi, was not an activist or even a rationalist.…

http://www.outlookindia.com/article/dying-of-the-light/295233

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