IAMC Weekly News Roundup - August 24th, 2015

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Peace, Pluralism and Justice 

In this issue of IAMC News Digest

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Communal harmony pledge administered (Aug 21, 2015, The Hindu)

District Collector S. Malarvizhi on Thursday administered communal harmony pledge on the occasion of the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Ms. Malarvizhi administered the 'Sadbhavana pledge' to the officers and the Collectorate staff to work for the oneness and harmony of all people, regardless of caste, region or religion.

District Revenue Officer (DRO) T. Ilango and Collector's personal assistant (general) Kalimuthu were among others took the pledge.

In Ramanathapuram, DRO M. Ali Akbar administered the pledge to his colleagues and collectorate staff.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/communal-harmony-pledge-administered/article7563997.ece

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2002 Godhra riots: IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt who took on Gujarat govt is sacked (Aug 20, 2015, Indian Express)

IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who had taken on the Gujarat government over its handling of the 2002 riots, has been dismissed from service for "flagrantly" flouting rules "with complete disregard to discipline". The Union Home Ministry order, dated August 13, followed a recommendation from the Gujarat government for Bhatt's removal on 11 charges.

Bhatt has been under suspension since 2011 after he took on the then state government under Narendra Modi over the 2002 Gujarat riots. A 1988 batch IPS officer, Bhatt had filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court, claiming that he had attended a meeting on February 27, 2002 at Modi's residence in Gandhinagar, where he claimed the then CM allegedly told his officers to "allow Hindus to vent their anger".

However, his claim was rejected by the Supreme Court appointed-Special Investigation Team, which probed nine major incidents related to the riots. Bhatt is also facing a couple of criminal cases, including one related to a custodial death in Jamnagar in 1998. In 2011, he was arrested by Ahmedabad police after a constable lodged an FIR against him claiming that Bhatt forced him to file a false affidavit related to the 2002 riots.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/2002-godhra-riots-suspended-ips-officer-sanjiv-bhatt-sacked-says-decision-came-after-sham-inquiry/

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Act as human bombs, Sena tells Hindus (Aug 19, 2015, The Hindu)

In highly controversial remarks, the Shiv Sena has exhorted Hindus to act as "human bombs" and invade Pakistan, and said that its founder, Bal Thackeray, had instilled the "fear of Hindus" in other Indians.

The comments came in the context of the controversy over the latest issue of the weekly magazine Tehelka depicting Thackeray as a terrorist. Taking umbrage at the cover story, the Sena, in an editorial in its mouthpiece, Saamna, on Tuesday lambasted the magazine, and said publishing the objectionable article against the Sena founder was as good as "spitting at the sun". The editorial eulogised his strong-arm Hindutva ideology.

The Tehelka cover pictures don Dawood Ibrahim, 1993 blasts convict Yakub Memon, who was hanged recently, Sikh extremist Jarnail Singh Bindranwale and Bal Thackeray, with a primer, "Who is the biggest terrorist?"

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/act-as-human-bombs-sena-tells-hindus/article7554547.ece

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Mosque in Faizabad torched, SP MLA blames 'youths with saffron headgear' (Aug 22, 2015, Twocircles.net)

A mosque in Faizabad district situated nearly 100 kilometers from state capital Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh was torched by some unidentified miscreants on the night of August 19. Ruling Samajwadi Party MLA from Ayodhya assembly seat Tej Narain Pandey alias Pawan Pandey has blamed "youths wearing saffron headscarves" behind the act.

Locals claim that some inflammable substance filled in a bottle was thrown inside the mosque. A delegation of local Muslims had met the district administration demanding action against the culprits. Meanwhile the incident found its echo in state assembly on Friday. Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey had allowed two hour debate on law and order in the assembly. Speaking on behalf of the government, Samajwadi Party's Ayodhya MLA Pawan Pandey blamed BJP for inciting communal tension in the state.

"One can easily check who is inciting communal violence. Just see who has been arrested during riots," he said. Pandey also cited Madani mosque incident. "It is in my district. Some youths who sport saffron headgear move around during night and threw pepsi bottle filled with petrol in mosque which caught fire. It is an attempt to incite communal tension in Faizabad," Pandey said pointing towards the benches where BJP MLAs were sitting.

http://twocircles.net/2015aug22/1440262692.html

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Rattling the cage (Aug 14, 2015, Indian Express)

In the public imagination, the CBI has superhero powers. It is the agency of last resort, which is clamoured for when the public is distrustful of the police and the local administration, or when cases are so coloured by political interests that the apparatus of law and order freezes. But in reality, it is scarcely infallible, with a strike rate of about 65 per cent. And the "caged parrot" has an extraordinary capacity for appearing to be a punitive weapon of the government.

This week, it has been embarrassed twice in court. On Tuesday, the Bombay High Court granted anticipatory bail to Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, rejecting the CBI's claim that their activities compromised national security. And on Wednesday, the Supreme Court extended interim protection from arrest to Dayanidhi Maran. In both matters, the courts questioned the agency's eagerness to make arrests on slender grounds.

The CBI seeks to limit itself, arguing that its sanctioned strength of 1,264 officers is unequal to the workload of almost 2,000 cases. But would a human resource overhaul alone create an agency that is equal to its reputation?

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/rattling-the-cage/

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Five ABVP activists booked for assaulting college principal in Shimla (Aug 22, 2015, Times of India)

Five ABVP activists were booked for allegedly assaulting the principal of a government college in the district, police said here today. The principal of Government College (Sanjauli) Joginder Singh Negi was dragged out of his car as he was about to enter the college premises and was roughed up and assaulted.

Five persons, including a girl were booked for rioting and assault under sections 147, 148, 149, 332, 353 and 506 of IPC and three persons have been arrested, DSP Balbir Jaswal said. The girl Ankita, named by the principal has not been arrested as she has already filed a complaint against the principal yesterday in women police station and her complaint is being verified, Jaswal added.

Principal alleged that about 60 to 70 ABVP activists including college students and some outsiders armed with sticks and other weapons shouted slogans against him and dragged him out of his car, assaulted him and inflicted injuries. Negi said that his wife, who is also a teacher in the college, tried to save him but she was also manhandled and virtually molested by the mob.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48617252.cms

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Report sought on Alair encounter (Aug 21, 2015, The Hindu)

The National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO) has urged the Telangana government to submit a complete report on the Alair encounter to the Union government. Five under trail prisoners including Viqar Ahmed were killed in an 'encounter' at Alair in Warangal district on April 7.

Mohammed Abid, State coordinator, NCHRO, Telangana said that a report prepared by a fact-finding team comprising members of different human rights organisation was forwarded to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) in May demanding a CBI inquiry into the encounter.

"Following the representation, the Human Rights Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) asked the Chief Secretary Telangana to furnish a factual report. But it has been not done so. It clearly shows that the State government is trying to cover up its misdeed," Mr. Abid said at a press conference here on Thursday.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/report-sought-on-alair-encounter/article7564192.ece

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Religious minority groups unite in face of 'BJP's discrimination' (Aug 21, 2015, Hindustan Times)

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and several organisations representing minorities came together on Friday to counter an onslaught on religious freedom by the ruling BJP and affiliated groups.

The AIMPLB and groups such as the Buddhist Society of India and Lingayat community unveiled a common minimum programme and announced they will launch a nationwide movement to create awareness about the curbing of religious freedom and attacks on secularism.

"The past one-and-a-half years have seen efforts to disturb the basic fundamentals of the Constitution. The state cannot force things like surya namaskar and Vande Mataram on people," AIMPLB leader Kamal Faruqui told a news briefing at the Press Club in Delhi.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/religious-minority-groups-unite-in-face-of-bjp-s-discrimination/article1-1382675.aspx

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Chhattisgarh police botched up nun rape probe: NHRC (Aug 20, 2015, Times of India)

In a major blow to the BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh, the National Human Rights Commission has found several deficiencies in the investigation of the case related to the rape of a nun in the state capital and directed the state police to formulate a Standard Operating Procedure on rape investigation containing recent guidelines of the Supreme Court and amendments in CrPC.

The commission also described as "hasty and irresponsible" the statements made by inspector general of police (Raipur range) in the media expressing doubts about the survivors narration on the incident. "These statements were totally unwarranted and exposed the lack of sensitivity and understanding of rape survivors rights", an NHRC press release said.

Finding that Chhattisgarh government did not take any measures for relief and rehabilitation of the survivor, NHRC has directed the state police and chief secretary to take action on the specific points as recommended and submit the action taken report within six weeks.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48559079.cms

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Crime branch cops slap fresh FIR against godman Sarathi Baba (Aug 22, 2015, Indian Express)

A fresh case of sexual abuse has been filed against arrested self-proclaimed godman Sarathi Baba alias Santosh Roul. The case was registered on Friday following a complaint made by an erstwhile woman inmate of his ashram in Kendrapara district, police said.

The unmarried woman along with her mother came to the police headquarters for the second time on Friday to register their complaint. Similarly, three other women have earlier brought criminal charges against Roul with intent to outrage their modesty.

Earlier booked for several charges of cheating, forgery and fraud, Roul is currently lodged in Choudwar circle jail in Cuttack. Meanwhile, Roul's adopted son Satyam, who was arrested on Wednesday, was being interrogated by the crime branch police. He was questioned for over ten hours on Friday.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/crime-branch-cops-slap-fresh-fir-against-godman-sarathi-baba/

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Rape Those Two Dalit Girls, UP Khap Panchayat Orders Villagers (Aug 20, 2015, New Indian Express)

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/Rape-Those-Two-Dalit-Girls-UP-Khap-Panchayat-Orders-Villagers/2015/08/20/article2984588.ece

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Opinions and Editorials

Will Zakia Jafri's fresh plea for justice take Gujarat riot investigations to Modi's doorstep? - By Darshan Desai (Aug 20, 2015, Scroll.in)

The quiet steel in Zakia Jafri's eyes hasn't dimmed despite her 76 years, nor has her quest for justice. Around 13 years after her husband, former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, and 68 of their neighbours in Ahmedabad's Gulberg Society were killed by a mob, her legal battle over the massacre continues to haunt Narendra Modi despite his ascendance from chief ministership to prime ministership.

Zakia Jafri is unwilling to give up even after an Ahmedabad metropolitan court's verdict on December 26, 2013, rejected her protest petition seeking to penalise Modi, who was then the chief minister, and 59 others on charges of state-sponsored criminal conspiracy during the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat that killed over a thousand people, mostly Muslims. She has filed a criminal revision application in the Gujarat High Court. The hearings began on August 4.

The application has sought the court's directive to reject the closure report of the Special Investigation Team of February 8, 2012. While some have interpreted this to mean that Modi has been given a clean chit, in reality the SIT said it did not have enough evidence against Modi to proceed. Her protest petition in April 2013 is the last criminal case in the 2002 communal carnage in Gujarat in which Modi has been accused.…

http://scroll.in//article/749408/will-zakia-jafris-fresh-plea-for-justice-take-gujarat-riot-investigations-to-modis-doorstep

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Muslims fear rising tide of Hindu nationalism in Modi's India - By Rama Lakshmi (Aug 17, 2015, Wshington Post)

Since India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power last year, the country's Muslims have expressed growing concerns about a spate of inflammatory statements made by Hindu nationalist leaders and activists.…

Sakshi Maharaj, a lawmaker from the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said that Hindu women must have at least four children each to keep up with the growth in the population of Muslims in India.…

Members of the World Hindu Council launched a campaign last year urging Hindu families to be on guard against what they called "love jihad" - romantic relationships between young Hindus and Muslims. They accused Muslim men of coercing Hindu women into love in order to convert them to Islam.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/08/17/how-life-in-india-has-changed-under-modi-and-why-some-muslims-arent-happy-about-it/

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IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt sacked: Shame-then-frame trend part of Gujarat's vendetta politics? - By Sandipan Sharma (Aug 21, 2015, First Post ()

…there is no gainsaying that Bhatt riled Modi, first with his campaign and then by propping up his wife as the Congress candidate from Maninagar against the then CM in the 2012 election. By design or default, or because of sheer bad luck or karma, not many get away after taking on Modi in Gujarat.

Sex videos, by some weird coincidence, are always part of the plot. In 2005, Sanjay Joshi, Sangh's blue-eyed boy and Modi's rival, figured in a controversial CD. He was immediately removed from all posts in the BJP. The video was later revealed to be doctored; a police officer later testified that the CD was given to him by controversial police officer DG Vanzhara. But, by then, Joshi had fallen from his perch.…

And now, Bhatt is facing the heat of a 'sex scandal'. Could the shame-and-frame trend be part of Gujarat's vendetta politics; the defining feature of a revenge plot where the state first tarnishes the character of its opponents to strip them of public sympathy and then throws them at the ruthless investigating agencies? Or, by some sheer coincidence, the state's enemies have perfected a formula to fall on their own to doom and humiliation?

http://www.firstpost.com/india/ips-officer-sanjiv-bhatt-sacked-shame-then-frame-trend-part-of-vendetta-politics-of-gujarat-2400796.html

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Demanding the sky - Editorial (Aug 24, 2015, DNA India)

The demand for OBC reservation raised by Gujarat's politically and economically dominant Patidar (Patel) community threatens to reduce the idea of affirmative action to a mere farce.

Reservations were envisaged as a social justice mechanism to mitigate millennia-old caste-based discrimination and oppression. But with hitherto weaker sections succeeding in getting a foothold in political, bureaucratic and educational spheres, it has triggered new anxieties and fresh competition between social groups.

When Madhavsinh Solanki introduced 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in Gujarat in 1985, it was the Patels who unleashed a fierce anti-reservation protest and shifted their loyalties to the BJP leading to the Hindutva party's ascent in the state. The wheel has come full circle now with the Patidars demanding the fruits of the very same reservation they opposed.…

http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/editorial-dnaedit-demanding-the-sky-2117355

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The Sena and its twisted logic - Editorial (Aug 20, 2015, The Hindu)

It is difficult to say whether the Shiv Sena takes offence or feels proud when its founder Bal Thackeray is spoken of as a terrorist with a religious cause. After the weekly Tehelka carried a cover story with pictures of Thackeray, Dawood Ibrahim, Yakub Memon and Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale above the legend, 'Who is the biggest terrorist?', the Sena responded in a rather strange manner.

While condemning the depiction of Thackeray alongside those who engaged in violence in the name of religion, the Sena organ Saamna, in an editorial, asked Hindus to act as "human bombs" and invade Pakistan. Thackeray, the editorial wrote approvingly, had instilled the "fear of Hindus" in Indians of other faiths. Far from defending the Sena founder against the charge of being a Hindu terrorist, the editorial appeared to be defending his support of violence in the name of Hinduism.

What differentiated Thackeray from the others? According to the editorial's reasoning, the Sena founder was a dharmabhimaani, a person who took pride in his faith, and not dharmaandh, someone who was motivated by blind faith. This line of defence, whether true to the facts or not, would have been fine but for the editorial's exhortation to Hindus to turn themselves into human bombs and attack Pakistan. In one stroke, the disputes between India and Pakistan were turned into a Hindu-Muslim issue. By arguing that Hindus would have to be highly religious if they wanted to respond to Pakistani extremists, the editorial, in effect, identified nationalism with Hinduism.…

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/the-sena-and-its-twisted-logic/article7558125.ece

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Grinding Wheels of Justice - Editorial (Aug 22, 2015, EPW)

Thirteen years after 25-year-old Nitish Katara was killed, the Supreme Court recently upheld the conviction of his killers. Judicial delays, unfortunately, are only too predictable in India. Just days after the Katara ruling, the apex court gave its final ruling in the Uphaar cinema hall fire case that had killed 59 people (23 of whom were minors) in New Delhi, 18 years after the event.

The responses to the two judgments, however, were vastly different. In both cases, the mothers and parents of the victims who were predominantly middle class had waged a long and tedious legal battle against rich and influential opponents. But while in the Katara murder case, the Court said that it was "a classic example of how the rich and powerful people try to influence the justice delivery system," the other ruling was seen as punishing the theatre owners, who are real estate tycoons, too little and too late.…

More significantly, they show the ability of the powerful to ensure that legal proceedings drag on interminably to grind down the morale and resources of those taking them on. Whether the judgment is welcomed or not, even these high-profile cases show that justice delayed is justice denied.

http://www.epw.in/editorials/grinding-wheels-justice.html

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