IAMC Weekly News Roundup - November 21st, 2016

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Peace, Pluralism and Justice 

In this issue of IAMC News Digest

Communal Harmony

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Communal Harmony

Hindu-Muslim unity in Uttar Pradesh gets note exchange shot (Nov 18, 2016, India.com)

…While people are keeping money in lower denominations safe with them, some came forward to help cash starving citizen, depositing currency notes of Rs 10, Rs 50 and Rs 100. A display of Hindu-Muslim unity was also seen in this cash chaos. Similarly, Avdesh Gupta, a trader from Uttar Pradesh, deposited Rs 1.5 Lakh in denominations of Rs 10, Rs 50, Rs 100 so that other could get lower denomination currency.

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8 announced the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, Gram Ravli resident Shakir Ahmad had five notes of Rs 500. Unable to use the currency, Shakir broke the piggy bank of his kids and got Rs 140, which helped the family to survive for two days. When Shakir returned empty hand from the bank without exchanging Rs 500 notes, Munesh Kumar came to his rescue. Munesh gave him Rs 800 in low denominations.…

Similar display of immense humanity in this time of hardship was shown by several others too. According to report of Jagaran, a trader named Rakesh Shahi deposited Rs 10 lakh in Poorvanchal Gramin Bank in low denominations of Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 50 and Rs 100. A retired Army officer Mahesh Prasad Dwivedi also deposited Rs. 1,15,000 in small currency of Rs 100 and Rs 10. A businessman from Barabanki, Ravikant Pandey reached bank with Rs 17, 30,000 and deposited the entire amount in denominations of Rs 10, Rs 50 and Rs 100. All these people had only thing in their mind; they wanted to help people in this difficult time.…

http://www.india.com/news/india/currencychaos-hindu-muslim-unity-in-uttar-pradesh-gets-note-exchange-shot-1652463/

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BJP Left Red-faced After Rs 92 Lakh Cash Seized From Vehicle Owned By Maharashtra Minister (Nov 18, 2016, India Times)

More than a week after high-value currency notes were demonetised, Rs 91.5 lakh in cash was found in a private vehicle belonging to Solapur-based Lok Mangal group, which is controlled by senior BJP leader and Maharashtra cooperation minister Subhash Deshmukh.

Osmanabad collector Prashant Narnaware confirmed that a routine check of vehicles by a flying squad set up for the ensuing municipal council polls netted the amount on Thursday. A Lok Mangal staffer in the car said the cash belonged to the Lok Mangal bank. Deshmukh said it was meant for payment to workers in a sugar factory affiliated to the Lok Mangal group.

The vehicle has been impounded, while the cash has been deposited in the local treasury. In the past, Lok Mangal was under the scanner of Sebi for irregularities in mobilising funds for the group. NCP and Congress were quick to demand immediate dismissal of the controversial minister for black money transactions.…

http://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/bjp-left-red-faced-after-rs-92-lakh-cash-seized-from-vehicle-owned-by-maharashtra-minister-265700.html

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BJP leaders' presence at Reddy's family wedding exposes party's double standards on black money (Nov 16, 2016, First Post)

…This week, this once-upon-a-time-powerful-politician (Disgraced mining tycoon and former Karnataka Tourism minister in the BJP government, Gali Janardhana Reddy) showed he is still not a political touch-me-not. With senior BJP leaders in attendance, Reddy mocked at those who dared to question his vulgar display of wealth. The high-profile political presence was like giving Reddy an ISO 9001 certification.

While the figure of Rs 500 crore spent on the wedding may be exaggerated, it is quite evident from the kind of over-the-top arrangements made that nothing short of Rs 150 crore would have been spent. The Vijayanagara empire has been recreated because Reddy believes he is King Krishnadevaraya reincarnated. So has been Bellary with its different streets to make the bride feel at home.

Replete with chariots and foreign dancers, helipads, 1,500 hotel rooms, 2,000 cabs and 3,000 bouncers, the big fat wedding that hosted some 50,000 VIP guests, is clearly injurious to the sensibility of India. Especially at a time when much of Bengaluru and India is in queues outside banks and ATMs, struggling to take out Rs 4,500 to make ends meet. And that's why the political presence reeks of hypocrisy.… It is the same party that lauds its prime minister for his financial surgical strike on black money and in the same breath, embraces a man who allegedly minted black money, making mountains vanish in the process.…

http://www.firstpost.com/india/bjp-leaders-presence-at-reddys-family-wedding-expose-partys-double-standards-on-black-money-3108642.html

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British archives document "links" Godse with RSS, is quoted as saying, RSS "welcomed" the assassination (Nov 16, 2016, Counterview)

Fresh evidence is claimed to have surfaced on links between Nathuram Godse, the man responsible for murdering Mahatma Gandhi, and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), this time from the from the London archives of India Office Library & Records.

Being interpreted as fresh armour in the hands of those who seek to nail the RSS which claims it had no links with Godse, an "outward telegram" is being quoted to say that "it was sent by the British Foreign Office on February 13, 1948.

The telegram claimed, "It has now been established that Godse, arrested as Mahatma Gandhi's assassin, was a member of the ‘R.S.S.S.' (sic) and of the Mahasabha". The telegram also records: "…the initial disturbances were clearly spontaneous acts of indignation, provoked too in some places by R.S.S.S. demonstrations welcoming the assassination…" The British Foreign Office telegram further notes "R.S.S.S. demonstrations welcoming the assassination…"…

http://www.counterview.net/2016/11/british-archives-document-links-godse.html

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Victim of 2008 Malegaon blast opposes Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur's bail (Nov 16, 2016, India Today)

…Additional Solicitor General, Anil Singh, representing the National Investigating Agency (NIA) told the court that the agency had "no objections" to Sadhvi being granted bail. However the division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Shalini Phansalkar Joshi wanted to know if there are any intervention applications filed in the case.

Advocate Naima Sheikh from advocate Wahab Khan's office told the court that 2008 Malegaon blast victim Nisar Ahmed Sayyed Bilal, who was injured in the blast, wanted to file an intervention. Bilal had filed an intervention application in sessions court as well where Sadhvi's bail application was rejected.

Court decided to hold the hearing for the case on November 29 when all parties would have filed their say. Sadhvi has been languishing in an Ayurveda hospital in Bhopal in judicial custody where she was shifted from Byculla jail for treatment. However her family has alleged that her health has only deteriorated in confinement.…

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/2008-malegaon-blast-sadhvi-pragya-singh-thakur-bombay-high-court/1/812381.html

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Gujarat HC judge recuses himself from Naroda Patiya riot case (Nov 18, 2016, New Indian Express)

A Gujarat High Court judge today recused himself from hearing of appeals related to the Naroda Patiya riot case of 2002, becoming the third judge to do so. Justice Akil Kureshi today said, "Not before me" when the appeals came up for hearing before a division bench comprising him.`

Twenty-nine convicts including former Gujarat minister Mayaben Kodnani and former VHP leader Babu Bajrangi have challenged the special trial court's ruling before the high court. Last year, division bench of justices M R Shah and K S Jhaveri had recused itself from hearing the appeals.

Riot survivors and the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team which probed the case too have filed appeals seeking enhanced punishment. As many as 97 people, mostly of minority community, were killed by a mob at Naroda Patiya here during the 2002 post- Godhra riots. The trial court in August 2012 convicted 31 people and awarded life term to 30 of them including Kodnani. It awarded 'imprisonment till death' to Bajrangi. Kodnani, who was a state minister for women and child development for some period when Narendra Modi was chief minister of Gujarat, was released on bail by the high court in July 2014 on medical grounds.…

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2016/nov/18/gujarat-hc-judge-recuses-himself-from-naroda-patiya-riot-case-1540143.html

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JNU proctorial inquiry finds ABVP member guilty of assaulting Najeeb Ahmed (Nov 20, 2016, Indian Express)

A proctorial inquiry by JNU has found ABVP member Vikrant Kumar guilty of assaulting Najeeb Ahmed during a brawl following which the latter went missing over a month ago. Najeeb (27), a student of School of Biotechnology and a native of Badaun in Uttar Pradesh, went missing on October 15 following an on-campus scuffle allegedly with the members of ABVP, including Vikrant, the night before.

JNU had ordered a proctorial inquiry into the incident. "In the proctorial inquiry, Vikrant Kumar has been found to be involved in hitting Najeeb Ahmed and using derogatory language with provocative behaviour on October 14. This is an act of indiscipline and misconduct," an official order read.

Vikrant has been asked to explain why disciplinary action should not be initiated against him.… JNU students and teachers have been agitating against the university administration and Delhi Police for their failure to locate the missing student.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/jnu-proctorial-inquiry-finds-abvp-member-guilty-of-assaulting-najeeb-ahmed-4385515/

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Will give suitable reply to BJP in upcoming polls: Muslim body (Nov 15, 2016, Indian Express)

Muslims of the country will not tolerate an "interference" with their personal law and give a "suitable" reply to the BJP in the coming Assembly elections on the 'triple talaq' issue, the leaders of All India Tanzeem Ulama-e-Islam (AITUI) said on Tuesday.

"The (Narendra) Modi government is trying to push the country towards the RSS agenda. Sunni Muslims oppose the Law Commission's move to seek public opinion on abolishing triple talaq," said president of AITUI Mufti Ashfaq Hussain Qadri, adding that the minority community will give a "suitable" reply to the saffron party in the upcoming Assembly polls in a few states.

The body of Sunni Muslim scholars will take out a 'Parliament March' from Jantar Mantar on November 18 to express its opposition to the Centre and Uniform Civil Code (UCC), he told a press conference.…

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/will-give-suitable-reply-to-bjp-in-upcoming-polls-muslim-body-4377021/

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'Fight communal forces with the help of Constitution' (Nov 18, 2016, The Hindu)

Former Director General of Police, Gujarat, R.B. Sreekumar, on Wednesday urged the Muslims in the country to fight communal forces with the help of the Constitution and the rule of law.

Speaking at a programme organised by 'Madha Saarbatror Mamandram' here, he said already many Hindus had become communalised and were rallying behind Hindutva forces.

An officer, who witnessed the 2002 riots in Gujarat, he said that if the country must progress Dr. B. R. Ambedkar's teachings must be taken more seriously and they must be included in the school curriculum.…

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/fight-communal-forces-with-the-help-of-constitution/article9360047.ece

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Activists lash out at Sangh Parivar, Sanatan Sanstha (Nov 18, 2016, Times of India)

Setting the tone for the three-day national conference of the Dakshinayan Abhiyan that got underway at Margao on Friday, literary scholar and cultural activist Ganesh Devy urged all progressive minds to come together and join "the struggle for the freedom of creative expression that is rooted in tolerance and diversity."

Speaking at a public meeting at Lohia maidan here, Devy hoped that Goa's immense cultural diversity and its multilingual nature would help realise the objectives of the Abhiyan. Many of the speakers, who addressed the meeting, lashed out at the Sanatan Sanstha and Sangh Parivar for their attempts at disrupting communal harmony in the state in the name of Hindutva.

Hameed Dabholkar, son of slain anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar, said that killings of Dabholkar, besides two other rationalists, Govind Pansare and M M Kalburgi, could have been avoided if the investigating agencies were able to arrest the masterminds of the Margao bomb blast in 2009. While local social activist Prashant Naik demanded that Sanatan Sanstha be banned, Uttam Parwar from Gujarat said the "the country's biggest threat came from the Sangh Parivar."…

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/55503881.cms

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Muslim forums protest against ban on IRF (Nov 18, 2016, The Hindu)

Several Muslim organisations in the State have protested against the decision of the Union government to ban under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for five years the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) run by Islamic preacher Zakir Naik.

Calling it as a fascist move, a meeting of the Kerala Naduvathul Mujahideen (KNM) Markazudawa chaired by its president C.P. Ummer Sullami and participated by senior leaders including Hussain Madavoor said that this revealed the real intention of the BJP-led government against the Muslim community in the country. The silence of the Left parties, the Congress and other secular parties on the issue raised serious concerns, it said.

The Jamaat-e-Islami Hind has said that the action was "undemocratic and discriminatory." At the same time, several individuals and organisations had been publicly indulging in provocative speeches aimed at fomenting communal trouble, its Kerala Amir M.I. Abdul Aziz, said.…

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/muslim-forums-protest-against-ban-on-irf/article9359645.ece

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Opinions and Editorials

Did Modi receive over Rs 55 crore from the Sahara Group as the chief minister of Gujarat? - By Paranjoy Guha Thakurta & Advait Rao Palepu (Nov 19, 2016, EPW)

At 8 pm on 8 November 2016, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to a live broadcast on Doordarshan to make the historic announcement that the government was demonetising notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, emphasising his commitment to ridding India of the "evils of corruption" and black money, at least five central agencies or commissions in New Delhi were sitting on a tranche of documents that allegedly indicated that Modi had accepted bribes in excess of Rs 55 crore, or eight million dollars.

It is unclear from the documents, whether there were 13 separate transactions that involved Modi and came to a total of Rs 55.2 crore or nine transactions totalling Rs 40.1 crore. In the documents, there appears to be a repetition of four specific transactions, which took place between 30 October 2013 and 29 November 2013 and have been accounted for under two separate headings.

The documents, which have been doing the rounds in New Delhi for the last few months, suggest that Modi - along with a number of important politicians - was paid large amounts of cash by individuals associated with Subrata Roy, the founder-chairman of the Sahara India Group, during his tenure as the chief minister of Gujarat. These documents also suggest that the recipients of such favours included, among others: Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh; Raman Singh, the chief minister of Chhattisgarh; Shaina NC, the treasurer for the Bharatiya Janata party in Maharashtra and; Sheila Dikshit, the former chief minister of Delhi.…

http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/47/web-exclusives/did-modi-receive-rs-55-crore-sahara-group-gujarat-cm.html

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Modi has brought havoc to India - Editorial (Nov 17, 2016, The Guardian)

…At a stroke Mr Modi rendered 86% of currency worthless outside a bank branch. Old notes would have to be exchanged for limited supplies of new currency. It was justified as a move designed to fight corruption and target people who have been dodging taxes by holding stockpiles of cash, known in India as "black money".

Many initially saw the withdrawal of banknotes as a price worth paying to eliminate graft. The short-term impact of "demonetisation" has been dramatic: the $2 trillion Indian economy will shrink. The rich will not suffer, as corruptly acquired fortunes have almost all been converted to shares, gold and real estate. But the poor, who make up the bulk of the nation's 1.3 billion people, will lose out. They don't generally have bank accounts and are often paid in cash. For them, getting to a bank and queueing for hours will cost money and time they don't have.

In less than a week the policy has reportedly claimed more than a dozen lives. The government says that it will take weeks to sort out the problems.…

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/17/the-guardian-view-on-indias-demonetisation-modi-has-brought-havoc-to-india

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The Indian Prime Minister's life is in danger and nobody cares! - By Arif Hussain (Nov 19, 2016, TwoCircles.net)

On Sunday the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra D. Modi said powerful moneyed people wouldn't leave him alive. And nobody batted an eyelid. What does it say about Mr. Modi's persona and his public posturing and level of political discourse in India?

During his address on November 13, 2016 during the foundation stone laying ceremony of Mopa Green Field International Airport & Electronic City at Tuam in Goa, the Indian prime minister Mr. N. D. Modi said "I am looting away their stash of 70 years, they wouldn't leave me alive, will destroy me…." …

Imagine Angela Merkel or François Hollande coming on live Television and disclose that there are forces in Germany and France, respectively, that are out to kill her/him. What would be the response of German and French security forces?… Now compare this to the response to Mr. Modi's remarks in Goa. Even after Mr. Modi has directly acknowledged a threat to his life not a single red alert has been sounded. Neither the agencies tasked with his protection have come out with an update, nor Mr. Modi has deigned to issue a clarifying statement.…

http://twocircles.net/2016nov19/1479531928.html

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Sangh, Simon and the Question of Rationality - By Shrikant Wad (Nov 17, 2016, Mainstream)

…The live broadcast of the RSS chief's speech on the government-owned national television soon after the BJP came to power (Hebbar, 2014), the Prime Minister's attempts to link a mythical text of the Hindu religion to the so-called science and technological development in ancient India (Modi, 2014), the beef row (Bhardwaj, 2015; Nayar, 2015), and the increasing political control over educational institutions (Hasan, 2015) are some of the conspicuous reflections of how firmly the ideas and values of the Sangh are being imposed on the secular and democratic Indian state system.…

The utter disregard for tolerance is, therefore, a key to the political agenda of the RSS. This is where the sustainability of the RSS becomes even more questionable. Tolerance forms an indivisible part of the Hindu philosophy. The RSS cannot claim to be Hinduistic without tolerance. Its attempt to impose the Hindu identity on all the residents of India takes away their religious and cultural diversity. Moreover, a rational Hindu individual realises that there is no greater advantage in propagating Hinduism forcefully, but accommodating other believers or non-believers in the society.

Rational human beings, even while believing in survival of the fittest, do not gain fitness through coercion and conflict, but through peace and harmony. Thus, the polarising politics of the RSS tends to contrast with the rationality of a tolerant Hindu individual and does not hold the promise to sustain over a long time. However, building on conflicts and polarisation, the Sangh neglects the fact that the rational human beings, even while believing in survival of the fittest, do not gain fitness through coercion and conflict, but through peace and harmony.

http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article6821.html

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Govt should stop RSS from furthering its ideological agenda in schools - Editorial (Nov 16, 2016, Hindustan Times)

If the RSS and its affiliates are to be believed, there is nothing in science that was not known to ancient Indians.…Now we could dismiss this as a hankering for a romanticised past, but these are pointers from study material issued by the Vijnana Bharti, the science and technology wing of the RSS, for an examination it is holding in over 2,000 government and private schools across on November 20.…

The RSS and its affiliates have been attempting for ages to put their stamp on school education, not to mention pushing their candidates for the leadership of higher educational institutions. But schools are meant to teach children from a curriculum devised by experts comprising knowledge that will stand them in good stead when it comes to competitive exams or higher studies.

Knowledge of the glories achieved by India in Vedic times may be interesting but it should not be imposed on children in the form of examinations. The ministry is in the process of framing the new education policy. It has rightly asked for inputs from all stakeholders. But these inputs must be vetted by those with domain knowledge and not outfits which are trying to further an ideological agenda. Allowing this examination will open a window for further encroachment into the space of education. The ministry should resist this in the interest promoting scientific and relevant education.…

http://www.hindustantimes.com/editorials/hrd-ministry-should-stop-the-rss-from-furthering-its-ideological-agenda-in-schools/story-jbnyRnlsJ9c7xfIed4WtRN.html

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Kangaroo Court In MP - By K.T.S. Tulsi (Nov 14, 2016, Outlook)

Fake encounters are cold-blooded, brutal murders by people who are supposed to uphold the law. It's a criminal philosophy that drives fake encounters and all policemen should know that, Justice Markandey Katju said in the noted Prakash Kadam case, and added that "where a fake encounter was proved against a person in trial, they must be given death sentence, treating it as the rarest of rare cases."

Despite that dire sword suspended over police, 160 people died in court-authorised police custody between 2011 and 2015. During the same period, another 373 died in unauthorised police custody. For all these deaths, not one policeman has been convicted.

By law, it should not matter whether a victim is an ordinary person, a militant or a terrorist. Nor does it matter if the aggressor is an ordinary person or the State itself. The law is the same for both, and is equally applicable to both. This is the requirement of a democracy--so said the Supreme Court in July 2016, in the case of Extra-judicial Execution Victim Families Association (EEVFAM) versus Union of India, related to 1,528 cases of fake encounters inv¬olving the army and the police in Manipur.…

http://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/kangaroo-court-in-mp/298104

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