IAMC Weekly News Roundup - September 28th, 2015

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Peace, Pluralism and Justice 

In this issue of IAMC News Digest

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Hand Sanitizer’s Gifted to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg To Wash Gujarat Riot Bloodstains After Meeting Modi (Sep 29, 2015, Allindiaroundup.com)

…the majority of national and International media sources which is currently busy is covering have failed to focus on a few critical protests carried out against PM Narendra Modi. These protests which have been led by activists claimed their expostulation against PM Modi's meetings with top CEOs in the US.

One of the notable group Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA), which has been carrying protests against PM Modi has launched a unique way method of sending an odd present to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg prior to his meeting with Modi.

An online campaign had been started out by the Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA) through a website with web address zuckwashyourhands.com through which have been sending hand sanitizers to the tech leader Mark Zuckerberg wash off blood stains of the 2002 Gujarat riot victim after meeting PM Modi. So far it had been reported that about 250 hand sanitizer bottles have been sent to him.…



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2002 post Godhra riots: Trial concludes in Gulberg Society massacre case (Sep 23, 2015, Indian Express)

The trial of Gulberg Society massacre of 2002 post Godhra riots concluded on Tuesday following completion of arguments by victims' lawyer. Praying to hold all the accused guilty in the case, the victims' lawyer sought harshest punishment for the accused.

The special trial court has kept the next hearing on Monday for some clarification and on that day the date for pronouncement of order will be decided. Appearing for the victims, lawyer S M Vora argued before the special judge P B Desai that questions raised by the defence pointing at inconsistency and inaccuracies in the statements of witnesses should not be considered as "those who lost their loved ones in the genocide may not remember the exact details since they all were trying to save themselves and their kins."…

69 people were killed in Gulberg Society including ex-Congress Parliamentarian Ehsan Jafri. Jafri's widow Zakia filed a case against the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and others for allegedly orchestrating the riots. The case was investigated by the SIT that gave clean chit to Modi in 2012. After SIT's report was upheld by a metropolitan magistrate last year, Zakia moved a petition in the high court challenging the appeal where the matter is pending. During the six-year trial, 338 witnesses deposed. The case is one of the nine of the 2002 riots probed by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team. Of the 66 accused, nine are behind the bars for the last 13 years while others are out on bail.



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Sanatan is a threat to India: Muslim leaders (Sep 22, 2015, Times of India)

Alleging that the government is going soft on Sanatan Sanstha, a section of Muslim leaders has demanded a ban on it. "Sanatan Sanstha is not just a threat to social harmony, but also it is threatening the country's security as its leaders openly say that they want India to turn into a Hindu state. Its activities pose a grave danger to our country and the government should ban it immediately," said former minority affairs minister and Congress MLA Arif Naseem Khan.

Awami Vikas Party chief Shamsher Khan Pathan said Sanstha workers (Vikram Bhave and Ramesh Gadkari) were convicted and awarded 10 years' life imprisonment for planting a bomb in the parking area of Gadkari Rangaytan auditorium in Thane on June 4, 2008, to protest against the play, Amhi Satpute, which they claimed showed Hindu deities in poor light. "Though the two are currently out on bail, their culpability doesn't wash away. The Congress-led UPA II, despite enough proof that the Sanstha is a terror outfit, didn't ban it," Pathan said.

Jamiatul Ulema-e-Hind (Maharashtra) president Maulana Mustaqeem Azmi said that if Muslim outfit SIMI continues to be banned, the government should also ban the Sanstha, whose workers are increasingly getting involved in the murder of social workers and rationalists.



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Dadri: Mob kills man, injures son over'rumours' that they ate beef (Sep 30, 2015, Indian Express)

A 50-year-old man, Mohammad Akhlaq, was beaten to death and his 22-year-old son severely injured on Monday night in UP's Dadri, allegedly by residents of Bisara village, after rumours spread in the area about the family storing and consuming beef, police said. Six people were arrested in connection with the attack, around 45 km from Delhi, sparking protests that led to police firing, damage to vehicles and injuries to a 20-year-old welder who works for the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) facility in the area.

Police said they have sent samples of meat taken from Akhlaq's home "to the forensics department for examination". Akhlaq's daughter, Sajida, said the family had "mutton in the fridge" and not beef. The attack on Akhlaq and his family took place around 10 pm in Bisara after an announcement about the family consuming beef was allegedly made at a local temple, police said.

While Akhlaq, a farm worker, succumbed to injuries suffered during the attack, his son Danish was admitted to a government hospital where doctors described his condition as "critical".…



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Panel finds Samajwadi Party, BJP hand in UP riots (Sep 24, 2015, Times of India)

The Justice (retd) Vishnu Sahai commission inquiring the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013, in which more than 60 people were killed and around 50,000 rendered homeless, has indicted local members of the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh and the BJP for their role in the carnage, and also blamed senior police and administrative officials posted in the district for lapses that led to the deadly spiral of violence.…

Although the contents of the report have not been made public, sources told TOI that it has held SP and BJP politicians responsible for fuelling the fire that singed not only Muzaffarnagar but five other west UP districts in September 2013.

In his 775-page report divided into six chapters, Sahai, a former chief justice of the Allahabad high court, recorded 377 witnesses from the public and members of various political parties and 100 government offices. He questioned then DGP Devraj Nagar, the IG and DIG of Meerut and district magistrates and the SPs of all the five riot-affected districts.



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Left parties blame RSS, VHP for communal flare-ups in Jharkhand (Sep 29, 2015, Hindustan Times)

Days after a communal clash singed Ranchi, the Left parties on Monday pointed finger at the right-wing organisations such as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). Communal clashes broke out in Ranchi on Friday after a piece of beef was allegedly found near a temple, forcing government to issue prohibitory order.

At a meeting, leader of the left parties, including CPI MP from Bhubaneswar Prasad Mehta, CPI (M) state secretary Janardan Prasad, accused the saffron organisations of trying to polarise voters in the run up to the Bihar elections, which will begin on October 12.

They alleged no first information report (FIR) was filed against the VHP leaders, who according to them, were responsible for spreading rumours that brought the city to a halt on Saturday. CPI (M) state secretary Gopi Kant Bakshi said the police lodged FIRs against hundreds of innocents to hide their failures in tackling the mounting tension.…



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2008 Malegaon blast trial: Two victims want to be part of proceedings to oppose bail (Sep 23, 2015, Indian Express)

Two senior citizens who were injured in the 2008 Malegaon blast Tuesday filed applications in a special court seeking to intervene in the bail applications of five of the accused. The court will decide on Wednesday whether they can be intervenors in the bail proceedings. Both applicants requested that they be added to the proceedings either as intervenors or respondents and sought permission to file replies to the bail applications filed by the accused. The first application by advocate Sharif Shaikh on behalf of 82-year-old Malegaon resident Abdullah Jamaluddin opposes the bail pleas of Lt Col Prasad Purohit and Sudhakar Dhar Dwivedi alias Swami Amritanand Dev Tirth.

In his application, Jamaluddin stated that he was injured in the blast on September 29, 2008, which killed four people and that he had learned recently that a special MCOCA Court had been tasked by the Supreme Court to conduct daily hearings to dispose of bail applications filed by the accused.

"It is just and necessary and in the interest of justice that the present intervenor may be heard at the time of deciding the above mentioned bail applications and the intervenor may be allowed to be a party in the above said application," Jamaluddin's application reads. Mohammed Hanif Shaikh Chand (63), the second applicant, opposed bail pleas filed by accused Rakesh Dhawade, retired major Ramesh Upadhyay and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur.…



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CBI clean chit to Manmohan Singh in Jindal coal case (Sep 28, 2015, Indian Express)

Defending former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the coal block case involving allocation of the Amarkonda Murgadangal block to Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Pvt Ltd (GSIPL) - the Naveen Jindal firms are accused in the case - the CBI told the Special Court Monday that there is "no prima facie evidence" against Singh to summon him as an accused.

Opposing former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda's plea to summon Singh, who was also the then Minister of Coal, the CBI said "Singh did not tinker with any process of the screening committee" which "suggests that he was part of any conspiracy" in the allocation of coal block to the accused firms.

Special Public Prosecutor R S Cheema told Special Judge Bharat Parashar that the probe agency has "carried out a complete and comprehensive investigation into the case" and that "it has not found any complicity on the part of Singh with any of accused persons in any manner".…



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Godman arrested for raping teenager, molesting her mother (Sep 29, 2015, DNA India)

A godman who allegedly raped a teenager and molested her mother under the pretext of healing them was arrested by the Thane city police on Monday morning, the city police said here today. Assistant police inspector Pramod D Patil of the Kasarwadavali police station told PTI that the housewife (35), who is a resident of Ovla, used to be sick and complained of epilepsy as well as mental stress.

She approached one of her relatives in Mumbai who referred her to another lady who was supposedly healed by a godman who got rid of "evil spirits", the police official said. In order to get rid of "evil spirits", he took the housewife's 15-years-old daughter to the kitchen, stating that he would tie her with a rope and remove "evil spirits", but allegedly molested as well as raped her, the police official said. Later, he also took her mother to the kitchen and molested her, as per the police complaint. The accused was produced before a local magistrate who remanded him to police custody upto October 1, 2015, the police official said.

The police has booked godman Mistry Baba alias Ramlal Sukhdev Sharma (40) under Section 376 and Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code, besides Section 3 (2) of the Maharashtra Prevention of Black Magic Act of 2013 as well as Section 3 and Section 4 of the POCSO Act, the police official said.…



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Dalit couple electrocuted to death in UP (Sep 28, 2015, Oneindia.com)

A Dalit couple was electrocuted to death when a high tension wire snapped and fell on them in Atkacholi village here. The incident took place yesterday when Isham Singh (40) and his wife Sangita (38) were collecting grass in the fields and the high tension wire fell on them, killing them on spot, police said today.

Irate locals protested over the incident and demanded repairing of the line, they said, adding, the bodies have been sent for postmortem. In another incident, a 19-year-old youth identified as Ashu was electrocuted to death yesterday when he came in contact with a high tension wire at Budhana town in the district.

The incident took place when he was working with a grass cutting machine, police said.



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Opinions and Editorials

How Modi, RSS and other Hindu fanatics are crushing India's spirit - By DN Jha (Sep 24, 2015, Dailyo.in)

My personal experience with Hindu and Jain fanatics (RSS, VHP and the extended parivar) goes back to 2001 when my book Holy Cow: Beef in Indian Dietary Traditions was published. They threatened me with dire consequences, demanded my arrest, attacked me in the university campus, tried to vandalise my house, and burned copies of my book. They went to court at Hyderabad and got the book banned. But I challenged the ban and succeeded in getting it lifted; also I got the book published from London under the title The Myth of the Holy Cow. I defied the ban but I was in police protection for more than two years.

The Hindutva forces have been carrying out their agenda of "cultural purification" even before the BJP came to power in 2014. Their ideologue Dinanath Batra got A Ramanujan's essay on the Ramayana dropped from the Delhi University syllabus and forced Penguin Random House to withdraw Wendy Doniger's book on the Hindus from the shelves. Emboldened by the BJP's majority in Parliament, the saffron brigade is now using organisations like the VHP, Hanuman Sena, Ram Sene, and Sanatan Dharma Sanstha for attacking, assaulting and even killing scholars whose ideas go against their beliefs.

Instances of the illiteracy of BJP governments at the Centre and states are multiplying every day. Beef has been banned in several BJP-ruled states, and in Rajasthan, the government has also declared cow urine as a substitute for phenyl which, we are told, will be used even in hospital ICUs. Then you have Sushma Swaraj saying that the Bhagavad Gita is India's national book and, soon after that, we hear the Haryana government deciding to include Ramayana and Mahabharata in school textbooks.…



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High-tech to real-life protests greet PM Modi in Silicon Valley - By Kashif-ul-Huda (Sep 27, 2015, TwoCircles.net)

…India's young population is getting restless as the reality of empty promises or "jumla-bazi" of BJP becoming clearer to all. Modi whose political life began with Gujarat genocide of 2002 and who has reaped the political fruits of that bloodshed is now trying hard to shake off that label. PM Modi's frequent international visits are an attempt to become an undisputed leader in India by being acceptable globally. However this is not going to be easy as Gujarat genocide of 2002 which killed over thousand people in the state governed by the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi was probably the first well-documented communal violence.…

Modi's administration left no stone unturned to harass and subvert the process of justice. Harassment continues even after Modi was elevated to the position of the Prime Minister after leading his BJP to victory in 2015 parliamentary elections. The fact that such a tainted politician can lead his party to an unprecedented victory and become leader of the nation points to the right turn the politics in India has taken over the years. Nothing much has changed for Mr. Modi even after becoming the Prime Minister.…

Later today, hundreds of people will stand outside the SAP Center even as thousands sit inside to listen to Narendra Modi. Supporters of Modi will be dismissive of the protesters but Modi's tainted record as chief minister and now the prime minister needs greater scrutiny.



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How Sanatan Sanstha turned Hindu spiritualism into terrorism - By Shiv Visvanathan (Sep 25, 2015, Dailyo.in)

…The spirituality of the sanstha created an aggressive Hinduism seeking to terrorise rationalists. What began as a form of table manners of spirituality became terroristic. In 2009, sanstha associates conducted a bomb blast at the screening of Jodha Akbar. In 2009, sanstha activists were arrested in connection with a blast at a Margao Church.

One must confess that these terrorists were amateurish and in fact detonated a bomb accidentally killing two of the sanstha's members. By 2001, the Maharashtra government had compiled a 100-page dossier which slumbered in some politician's office.

It is the sanstha's reported association with the murder of three rationalist activists that raises deeper questions. The murders of Kalburgi, Pansare and Dabholkar were executed in cold blood. Whether Sanatan Sanstha is an umbrella for fellow travellers or a Hindu activist outfit committed to violence is still to be investigated fully. Yet what is clear is that the Hindu imaginaries it creates does lead its followers to intolerance, terror and violence.…



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Despite being Muslim - bedtime reading for the Culture Minister - By Tunku Varadarajan (Sep 20, 2015, Indian Express)

Even if it were a slip of the tongue, let's not forget that a man's tongue often slips in a direction where a man's mind has gone already. But when the uncultured politician who is India's Culture Minister said that India's late president Abdul Kalam was a great nationalist "despite being Muslim", I'm pretty sure that he uttered his words entirely as he intended them. These were the thoughts of a man who can't quite bring himself to believe that Muslims can be proper Indians. This isn't exactly the formal view of his party, the BJP, but it is certainly the view of the RSS and the VHP, which are the ruling party's suppliers of ideological fuel.

For the education of the Culture Minister, and for no other reason, I've put together a list of men and women who've served India with great distinction, despite being Muslim. I have no intention of playing into the minister's hands; so the purpose of this column isn't to rebut his position on Muslim Indians, but to offer the minister some bedtime reading alongside his much-thumbed copy of the Hanuman Chalisa.

Despite being Muslim, Havildar Abdul Hamid laid down his life in Khemkaran, in the war against Pakistan in 1965. He blew up seven Patton tanks and won the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest gallantry award. Despite being Muslim, Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi captained a fledgling Indian cricket team to notable success, inculcating Indianness into a parochial band of players from different parts of the country. His was the first truly "Indian" cricket team.…



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Hindutva And Minority Rights - By P Victor Vijay Kumar (Sep 26, 2015, Countercurrents)

…Unlike their minority religions, Hindutva typically started thriving on Babas, especially since 1990s, which is, in a way, to bring in non-brahmin category into 'feigned priest' positions without delimiting the institution of temple worship, thus expanding its spiritual base of support. … Surreptitious creation of religious institutions could be possible as Brahminism has been indulged for ages to steer the social machinery against the interest of shudras and remain self-centric during development process of society.…

Aggressive uprising of Hindutva forces in the recent times is not just accidental or momentary or it is just floated by one political party. Brahminist founded Hindutva continues its vehement efforts to ensure graded parity in culture, values, polity, economy etc. The question of minority rights, while its all over the world a menace subject of discussion, Hindutva has specific peculiarities in dealing with minority rights.

Further, the Hindu religion is way older than its counter religious minorities, trying to undergo a metamorphosis to protect its identity using all feudal and capitalist means possible. In that sense, Ambedkar desired unification of purpose of Hindu untouchables and Muslim (religious) minorities to combat Hindutva.…



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Reflection on minority Question: Context of VP Ansari's speech - By Badre Alam & Sanjay Kumar (Sep 20, 2015, Twocircles.net)

Since the emergence of incipient nation-state, India's minorities had suffered from the trauma of partition and subsequent event of communal incidences, which have continued even today. In other words, after the partition, the future of minorities in India was replete with history of 'riots after riots'.

How can historic communal attacks on minorities like Bhagalpur riots, Babri Masjid demolition that followed consequent riots in different places and more importantly, Gujarat carnage (2002) could be forgotten, which had created ground for weakening of the composite culture and diversity of Indian society. At the same time the emergence of hard core Hindu nationalist party like BJP and RSS combine have had added fuel to communal feelings and hatred among the Hindus against the Indian Muslims.

But it is very unfortunate that secular and progressive section of society have utterly failed to stop the nefarious act of communal polarization unleashed by the right-wing forces. In short, one could argue that the martial deprivations of Indian Muslims are directly linked to the increasing incidence of communal violence in India. To put differently, it is not wrong to say that State and its institutions along with civil society groups have in fact failed to safeguard and protect interests of minority community against the onslaught of Hindutva forces.…



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