IAMC Weekly News Roundup - August 15th, 2016

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Peace, Pluralism and Justice 

In this issue of IAMC News Digest

News Headlines

Amnesty International booked for sedition over Kashmir event (Aug 16, 2016, Indian Express)

Sedition charges have been filed against Amnesty International India on Monday, following alleged slogans uttered against India and the Indian Army at an event held by the organisation in the city on Saturday.… The event organised by Amnesty at The United Theological College on Saturday on human rights violations in Kashmir had spiralled into a controversy after right-wing organisations objected to remarks made at the event.

Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) staged a protest during the programme and on the following day, had filed a complaint with the JC Nagar police.… Condemning the sedition charges slapped on it, representatives of Amnesty International India said the organisation, as a matter of policy, does not take any position in favour of or against demands for self-determination.

The human rights group said that the Bengaluru Police were informed about the event well in advance. It also invited representation from the Kashmiri Pandit community in Bengaluru at the event to speak about the human rights violations faced by members of the community.…



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Naxal-infected Bastar region being turned into laboratory of Hindu nation, as RSS seeks to "purify" it: Report (Aug 13, 2016, Counterview)

An eight-person fact-finding team under the auspices of the All-India People's Forum (AIPF) has found an unprecedented atmosphere of mutual suspicion and insecurity among the villagers of the Naxal-infected regions of Chhattisgarh it visited - Bastar, Dantewada, Sukma and Bijapur districts - with the region fast turning into a Hindutva laboratory.…

"In areas where Christian minorities are present", the report says, "RSS outfits are acting as a law unto themselves, terrorizing the minorities. They have no fear of stern action by the police because they feel they enjoy patronage of the government and the ruling party."

Saying the region is turning into a "laboratory for Hindu nation", the report says, testimonies of Christians in Bastar district showed "systematic attempts to persecute Christian minorities; foment communal division and violence in adivasi villages; bend pro-adivasi laws to communal ends; and allow Hindutva groups to dictate to the police and administration.…



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'I want to kill off Muslims one by one': Photographer relates Islamophobia experience (Aug 10, 2016, Asian Age)

Bengaluru-based photographer Kabir Ahmed on Wednesday shared an incident on his Facebook account which could reveal a very worrying mindset among sections of Indian society. According to a report, Ahmed was at the receiving end of anti-Muslim hatred when he interacted with a few people at a hotel on Tumkur Road in Karnataka.

On his way back from Hampi, Ahmed stopped at the hotel to relieve himself, and was joined in the loo by three men. One of the men looked at him with 'utter disdain' and asked him about the style of his beard. "No style, and all guru..i simply let it grow," he responded. The guy didn't stop at that and questioned him further about his beard. Ahmed still tried to continue in his jocular vein, making up a story about wanting to go to 'sanyaas'. Not satisfied, the man asked Ahmed his name, says the report. Ahmed, sensing the man's mindset, replied that his name was Ragul - a Hindu name.

Ahmed then asked the man why he was so angry. The response was shocking. "He said because they have ruined everything and continue to, the bastards … and every time I see a Muslim, I want to beat them black and blue, without mercy…kill them off one by one. The two other men hanging around the mirror, vehemently agreed," Ahmed said.…



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Nagpur: 'Akhand Bharat Divas' for first time on RSS premises (Aug 14, 2016, Indian Express)

The RSS is hosting "Akhand Bharat Smruti Divas" on its premises on August 14, after refraining from being identified with the occasion all these years despite being explicit about its dream of 'Akhand Bharat'.

Although, the RSS isn't positioning itself as the organiser, a press note for the programme was issued by the Vishva Samvad Kendra, the communications wing of the RSS, and the main speaker will be Indresh Kumar, RSS executive committee member and convener of Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), an RSS-inspired front.

The programme will be held in the huge Maharshi Vyas Sabhagruha on the RSS premises of Smruti Mandir in Reshimbag locality of the city. The Smruti Mandir is the regular venue for all major annual functions of the RSS, including the Dussehra programme. The press note names Yuva Ayam as the organiser of the programme.…



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Ahead of Independence Day celebrations, 'police' raid Jamia Millia Islamia hostels: Students see a dangerous pattern (Aug 14, 2016, First Post)

Hundreds of students gathered outside the main campus of Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi on Saturday and shouted slogans against the Delhi police and the University administration. The students alleged that Special Cell of the Delhi police and some officials in the civil dress barged into the hostel campus of the University and started shooting videos on the afternoon of Saturday.

This came after hostel residents of the University purported that during a raid the night before, hostel officials had warned them of an NIA raid in their residential complex in the wake of Independence Day celebration in the National Capital.

The students who had gathered to protest in Delhi on the campus alleged that at 2 PM on Saturday, two cars with black shields entered the hostel premises and started clicking pictures and shooting videos. When the students asked 'who they were', the "officials" said they had the permission to do so from University authorities.…



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40 percent Gujarat ministers face criminal cases (Aug 10, 2016, Business Standard)

Ten out of 25 ministers in Gujarat's new cabinet have criminal charges, with half of them accused of murder, attempt to murder and robbery, according to the Gujarat Election Watch and ADR.

The Gujarat Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) analysed the self-sworn affidavits of all 25 ministers including Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, the ADR said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Of the 10 ministers who have declared criminal cases, five have declared serious criminal cases. These include murder, attempt to murder, robbery and dacoity," it said.…



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Arrest by Mumbai cops shocks mosque officials (Aug 15, 2016, Times of India)

The arrest of Mohammed Haneef alias Haneef Moulavi, former khatib of the Salafi masjid at Kalikkadavu in Kasaragod, for alleged IS links has been met with widespread incredulity by the local community.

"Haneef has no links with any extremist group. In his sermons he spoke only about Islam not terror," said TP Muhammdali Haji, custodian of the Salafi Masjid in Kalikkadavu. "I used to stay in the mosque the whole of Ramadan month, and have not seen any stranger visiting him," he added.

The parents of some youngsters reported missing from Kasargod too could not believe he has links with terrorists. "The parents of Dr Ijas and Shiaz told me they didn't have any suspicions about Moulavi. Mumbai police had called Dr Ijaz's father to ask whether he has any complaints against the Moulavi and he replied in the negative," said BC Abdrehman, local leader of the IUML in Padne.



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US conveyed concerns to India over religious violence:official (Aug 10, 2016, Business Standard)

The US today said it has been clear in conveying its concerns whenever the Indian government was "slow" in reacting to incidents of religious violence and cow vigilantism.

"We have been clear in our engagement with India about our concerns about those times when the government has been slow to react when violence has taken place, and some of those controversies over the cows - are an example of that," US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, Rabbi David Nathan Saperstein, told reporters at a news conference.

"There have been other times where (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi has spoken out and has spoken out very forcefully about the need to protect religious freedom for all and security for all," Saperstein said in response to a question on religious freedom in India after releasing the annual report on International Religious Freedom in 2015.…



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Narendra Modi's appeal goes unheeded in Gujarat; Dalits attacked in Una again, 8 seriously injured (Aug 16, 2016, India.com)

Independence Day celebration for 20 Dalits in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat on Monday turned out to be nightmare when they were attacked by a mob leaving 8 people from the community seriously injured. The incident comes close on Modi's appeal to stop atrocities against Dalits across the nation following a number of such incidents reported from across the country.

The victims were returning after attending a flag hoisting event at Samter village in Una district. Una was the centre of controversy after seven people from the community were brutally beaten on July 11. Jawaharlal Nehru University student union president Kanhaiya Kumar and mother of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula's mother Radhika Vemula also attended the flag hoisting event.

Claiming that the attackers were residents of Samter village, the victims said the attackers wanted to "avenge" the arrest of 12 persons in connection with last month's Una Dalit flogging case. The members of the community alleged that the police did not take any action against the culprits, while the officials denied the charge and said cops lobbed teargas shells to disperse the crowd and resorted to mild lathi-charge.…



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Muslim organisations demand complete ban on beef exports from India (Aug 11, 2016, Times of India)

Condemning attacks by cow vigilantes, minority organisation Ittehad-e-Millat Council (IMC) arranged a seminar to highlight the problems and demanded a complete ban on beef export from India and stop illegal slaughter to curb cruelty against cattle. They also sought to clarify that "beef" which is associated with cow was being incorrectly used to define export of buffalo meat and hence the government also needs to bring in clarity on the matter to prevent misuse of the word.

The demands, put out in a memorandum addressed to Union home minister Rajnath Singh, were endorsed by representatives from Muslim and dalit communities at a packed Mavlankar Hall in Constitution Club. It was also announced that if these demands were not met by the government, the protesters will take their agitation to the streets and Ramlila Grounds.

"We would like to express our apprehensions with respect to the atrocities, suppression and discrimination meted out to the Muslim minority, on the pretext of cow protection, beef eating, terrorism, national security, etc. Since the death of a man beaten to death after being accused of eating beef last September in Dadri, vigilante groups of cow protectors have flourished," said a statement released by the IMC.…



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