Peace, Pluralism and Justice
In this issue of IAMC News Digest
Opinions & Editorials
BJP behind Meerut 'love jihad' case? Woman says party worker paid family Rs 25,000 (Oct 15, 2014, First Post)
The Meerut 'love jihad' case is turning into a further embarrassment for the BJP which had raked up the issue when it was first reported. After the victim changed her statement saying she was forced to give a false statement of gangrape and forced into conversion by her family members, she has now claimed that a BJP party official paid her family Rs 25,000 and had offered them more money to stick to their stand.
According to a report in the Times of India, the girl named BJP's Vineet Agarwal as the person who gave her family the money while the party leader has replied that he paid the family to aid them since they were poor. "My help should not be linked with politics. Had she been of any other religion, I would have helped just the same," Agarwal was quoted as saying in the report.
The girl's father also admitted that while Hindu groups helped them with money, he stressed that it was because they were poor and not for other reasons. … The new statement will come as a further embarrassment for BJP which had played up the issue during the by-poll elections that were held in the state. … With the girl now claiming that a BJP leader paid her family, it raises serious questions about the role played by the party in the matter.
Meanwhile, the police have registered a case of assault and threat to murder against the parents of the girl. Two days after the girl claimed that there is a threat to her life from her parents, police registered a case under Section 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code against them.
A Sub-Inspector (SI) of Police is alleged to have shot dead an accused when the latter stabbed him during interrogation at the SP Pattinam police station in Ramanathapuram district on Tuesday. Police said SI A. Kalidass (28) was stabbed while interrogating K. Syed Mohammed, who was brought to the station on a complaint of attempt to stab a two-wheeler mechanic.
The SI opened three rounds of fire on the chest of the accused, killing him on the spot. The body was removed to the Government headquarters hospital here for post-mortem and the SI, who suffered injuries on his waist and left hand, was treated here before being sent to the Government Rajaji hospital, Madurai.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Anand Kumar Somani, Superintendent of Police N. M. Mylvahanan and ASP S. Vellaidurai visited the station and held a preliminary enquiry. Declining to go into the details, the SP said the police would send a report to the Chief Judicial Magistrate for conducting a judicial enquiry. "I will not comment on the incident as it will be prejudicial to the enquiry," the SP told The Hindu.…
No law permits any police official to fabricate false evidence to prosecute a person, a court here has said while directing filing of a complaint against two policemen for creating fake circumstance against a cab driver and accusing him of raping a minor.
Additional Sessions Judge Pawan Kumar Jain ordered lodging of a complaint against two policemen - sub-inspector Chanchal and constable Jugal Kishore - for fabricating false evidence against a maxi-cab driver Lalit Ratawal. The court order came while acquitting Ratawal, accused of raping a minor girl.
"No law permits any police official to fabricate false evidence or to give false evidence to prosecute a person; rather, on the contrary, law does not permit anyone to do so and also casts a duty on the police officials to investigate a matter in accordance with law without fear and favour, thus to my mind no previous sanction is required to prosecute the above erring police officials," the court said in an order delivered Tuesday.…
Three Manipuri youths attacked in Bangalore for not speaking in Kannada (Oct 16, 2014, Indian Express)
Three students from Manipur were allegedly beaten up by three persons for not speaking in Kannada at a restaurant here on Tuesday night. All the three accused have been arrested. According to the FIR, the three Manipuri students - T Michael Lamjathang Haokip, 26, Ngamkholen Haokip, 28, and Rocky Kipgen, 25, - were dining at a restaurant in Byrathi Cross near Kothanur on Tuesday night, when the incident took place at around 9:30 pm.
The accused, identified as Arun Kumar, Karunakaran and James - all drivers by profession, were reportedly sitting at a nearby table and asked the Manipuri students to talk softly. "As the students replied in English, the locals asked them to talk in Kannada," said DCP Vikas Kumar.
PTI quoted Michael, one of the victims who received injuries on his forehead and hands, as saying, "They said you are eating Karnataka food, you are living in Karnataka, you have to speak in Kannada… Or else, get lost from this state."
The accused, who were reportedly drunk, are alleged to have attacked the students with chairs and stones. The police have filed a case under Section 506 (criminal intimidation), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) against them.
Villagers prevent police from arresting Phugana gangrape accused, pelt stones, open fire (Oct 16, 2014, Daily Bhaska)
Security personnel faced the heat when they went to Phugana village to arrest 20 persons accused in Phugana gangrape cases during Muzaffarnagar riots. Two security personnel were injured when villagers here allegedly opened fire and pelted stones at a police team, police said.
Superintendent of Police Rural, Alok Piryadarshi said that the incident took place in Phugana village on Wednesday, after the villagers opposed the arrest of 20 accused in the five gangrape cases which took place during the riots. In this, Amar Singh and home guard Abul were injured, the SP said.
An accused, Ajit was arrested on Wednesday, police said. A case was registered under various sections against one hundred people and 14 people were named for interfering in police action. Security has been tightened in the village following the incident. …
Missing names from the voters' list, faulty Electronic voting Machines (EVMs) and other glitches marred voting day for Assembly polls Wednesday. In Sewri Assembly constituency, voters had to wait for over two hours to cast their votes as a result of a faulty EVM at booth number 95 in BDD Chawl. "The matter came to light after activists of a few political parties complained. The machine was checked three to four times at 7 am before the polling started, but it developed a glitch. The machine was replaced around 9 am and voting process began around 9.45 am," said a polling agent.
Mulund (East) resident Leena Worlikar's name was missing from the voters' list even though she has voted earlier. "I also have the election card, but my name was not there. I could not vote, which is disappointing," said the 34-year-old social worker. At a polling station in St Joseph's School, Juhu, voters complained of non-cooperative election staff and missing names from the list. "We have been trying to get our (22-year-old) daughter's name registered in the voters' list for the last four years now. We even went to the Andheri election office, but her name is still not in the list," said Shivani Chopra, who had come with her husband to vote.
Hiren Seth, who had come with his father to vote, said staff sitting outside to help voters were very non-cooperative. "They told us that our names were not there on the voters' list. But I have been voting here since I was born. Finally, I showed them my name," he said. Navin Aggarwal, who also went to the Juhu polling station, said he never got a slip from the EC despite having sent an application for change of address 10 years back. "This always causes confusion," he said. In Thane's Lokpuram complex, 10 people, found out their votes were already cast.
Similarly, advocate Shakil Ahmed had a unpleasant experience when he went to cast his ballot at booth number 250 in Sion-Koliwada. "I pressed the NOTA button twice, but my vote wasn't registered until my third attempt. When I insisted to the booth in-charge that I want to lodge an official complaint about the dysfunctional EVM, they summoned the police. When I refused to buckle, the police started pushing me around," Ahmed alleged.
Even when the state has recorded an overall decline in Out of School (OoS) children, Muslims and scheduled tribes seemed to have been less affected by Right to Education Act, 2009 which has improved the overall figures. Muslims and tribals have recorded 6.85% and 6.07% out of school population against the overall average of 5.02% in the state.
Muslim children have recorded the highest percentage of OoS children among all religions and social classes in the report prepared by the Indian Market Research Board for the Ministry of Human Resource Development. Even after majority of them live in urban centers, which has further less than 3% of OoS children, indicates that very negligible progress has been made in the educational level of Muslims since the RTE came in place as compared to other communities.
State has 1.19 crore children in the age group of 6-13 years including 1.06 crore Hindus, 12.19 lakh Muslims and 11,140 Christians. Of total, 6.08 lakh are not in school including 5.1 lakh Hindus and 83,487 Muslims. Of 1.19 crore children in the age group of 6-13 years, 29 lakh are SC, 21 lakhs are STs, 45 lakh are OBCs and 22 lakh are from general category. Of them, 6.08 lakh don't go to school including 1.29 lakh from SC, 1.33 from ST, 2.6 lakh from OBC and 78,298 are from general category. …
The government's 'U-turn' on the black money issue on Friday put the BJP on the mat with not just the Congress but the social media also erupting with angry reactions.
In fact, #BJPBlackMoneyDhokha was the topmost trending topic on Twitter through the day as twitterati retweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Lok Sabha election-vintage tweets ridiculing the United Progressive Alliance government's inability to get back black money stashed away overseas. And, the BJP's election catch phrase "Abki Baar Modi Sarkar" became "Abki Baar U Turn Sarkar.''
The Congress, for its part, demanded an apology from Mr. Modi for misleading the nation. Accusing the BJP and Mr. Modi of "political dishonesty", Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said the stand taken by the government in the Supreme Court earlier in the day was basically a repetition of what the former Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, had said in the past.…
A tantrik was arrested by police for allegedly raping a 23-year-old woman with the help of his two wives in Amroli. Police arrested Bhupat alias Mama Chauhan, his wives Mona and Rama, all three residents of Amroli. The accused were booked on charges of rape and criminal intimidation.
The survivor, a teacher, was worried as her father had gone missing. On failing to find her father she was suggested Chauhan's name by a known person. The complainant met Chauhan and described her problem. Chauhan claimed that he will find her father with his secret powers but for that she will have to follow his "instructions".
Chauhan asked the complainant to get physical with him and raped her for 4 days. Chauhan's wives first pressurized the victim and later threatened to kill her if she informed the police. The police conducted a medical examination of the victim and following strong evidence, arrested the three accused.
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) today demanded the inclusion of Christian and Muslim Dalits in the Scheduled Caste (SC) category. The organisation also demanded SC status for Dalits who have converted to Christianity and Islam.
At a press conference, CBCI leaders, including its executive secretary Fr Devasagayaraj, asked the government to grant SC status to Christian and Muslim Dalits.
The organisation also expressed unhappiness over reports that the government was not keen to grant SC status to Dalits who have converted to Christianity and Islam.
Opinions and Editorials
The Snoopgate scandal, as the story I broke in November 2013 came to be known, was never about the private life of a young woman or that of a 'saheb'. Two individuals are free to enter into a relationship or drop out of it at their own free will. But it should not be at the taxpayer's expense. No one - howsoever high his position¬-can use state machinery and state power to settle his personal affairs. That was the crux of the matter. The story highlighted extraordinary misuse of state power: phones were tapped and a young woman was tailed and put under surveillance using specialised forces like the Anti-Terror Squad, the Crime Branch and the Intelligence Bureau. Physical and electronic surveillance of the woman continued for several months in 2009.
Officers from the IG and SP level were deployed. Phones were intercepted within and outside Gujarat. The tailing involved visits to other states, and there was correspondence between the Modi government in Gujarat and the B.S. Yediyurappa government in Karnataka over interception of the young woman's Bangalore cellphone number. On one occasion, the Karnataka government even turned down Gujarat's request for permission to intercept calls, citing non-compliance with requirements under the Indian Telegraph Act. The cellphones of the young woman's husband, family members and friends were also tapped. All this for a matter of an entirely personal nature. …
What the court failed to see was that the inquiry was supposed to look into the acts of a CM and his MoS for home (Amit Shah), not the lady, a private individual. Secondly, the inquiry was not to merely ascertain if the woman's privacy was breached. Larger issues of fair and judicial use of state powers, compliance of due process and upholding of civil liberties were at stake. The questionable order has reduced these seminal issues to a compoundable private affair. It says the voice of the woman was “feeble” and that those who were demanding a probe were loud. Can any voice that supports the case of the most powerful man in the country be termed feeble and of those opposing him loud? Objection, milord! In times of political hegemony, the cause of justice can't be served by voices seeking closure; only by voices demanding accountability.
Burdwan Blast and After: Politics over Burdwan blast leading to communal polarisation - By M Reyaz and Zaidul Haque (Oct 17, 2014, TwoCircles.net)
The 'accidental' bomb explosion in Khakhragarh on city outskirts on October 2 has put the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in the dock. Opposition parties have been quick to lap up Trinamool links with some of the terror accused as the two-storied building where the blast occurred had a party office at the ground floor.
TMC shunned the link and even denied it had a party office in the same building. When TwoCircles.net team visited Khakhragarh, local party leaders claimed "it was not a regular party office" but during election campaign, they had put up a local election office and stacked up banners and flags there.…
The BJP left no chance to cash in on the opportunity and on Thursday, October 9, and called a rally here demanding a probe by NIA (NIA took over investigation only later, on October 11). As per The Telegraph report, the large turnout had purportedly surprised even the local party unit. "In an otherwise calm state, the BJP is fanning 'communal polarisation' on the plank of illegal migration from Bangladesh and Banerjee's alleged 'soft heart' towards Muslims," locals said.…
The case histories of seven Muslim-Hindu couples not only give the lie to assertions of the "love-jihad" propagandists, they also bust a lot of generally-accepted anti-Muslim prejudices. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's (RSS) "love jihad" campaign needs to be taken seriously not because there is an element of truth in it, but because it builds on deeply felt assumptions about Muslims among a majority of non-Muslims. That is one of the reasons it has found resonance among non-Muslims, not just Hindus, wherever the campaign has been unleashed in the recent past whether in Kerala or Karnataka and now in Uttar Pradesh (UP). …
It is generally assumed that Muslims are fanatics or at least conservative, violent beef-eaters who marry four times, suppress their women and breed like rabbits. Apart from the loss of face if their daughters marry outside their own faith, most non-Muslim parents fear for their daughters' happiness were they to marry Muslims and live in a Muslim environment. This came across in a study conducted by this writer on interfaith marriages between Muslims and non-Muslims in 2002-03, the results of which were published in the book Inter-religious Marriages among Muslims: Negotiating Religious Identity in Family and Community by Abdullahi A An-Na'im of Emory University.
I recently spoke to Hindu women married to Muslim men to see if things have changed since that study, done over a decade ago. Alas, the assumptions remain unchanged. "Marry anyone but a Muslim or a dalit", was the warning still being handed out to daughters. Interestingly, the addition of dalits to the category of Muslims, hitherto the only forbidden community among Hindus, is new. Could it be that 10 years ago, non-dalit Hindu parents were sure that their daughters would never encounter dalits in their social circle? Even at that time, most Hindu parents used to find to their pleasant surprise that their fears about Muslims were untrue. But now, these prejudices are proving to be even more baseless.…
Denial Won't Wish Away "Indian" Racism Against North Easterners - By Samar (Oct 17, 2014, Countercurrents)
They did not speak Kannada, the language of the state they live in. They, therefore, were 'legitimate' targets of violence in a city that benefitted the most from India's shift from being a Nehruvian Socialism to free market economy. The fact that they contribute to the city, and province's income means nothing. The fact that they pay their taxes that keeps the country afloat was even more redundant. They were they after all, the North Easterners stranded in mainland India.
Their nationality though is nonnegotiable at all other times than being the victims of such racist attacks across Indian cities, be it Delhi or Bangalore. It is nonnegotiable if they choose to assert their otherness as against the otherness inflicted on them. It does so when an outside entity claims them as its own. Let China claim Arunachal Pradesh as its integral part and there comes the Indian state unleashing the bogey of its sovereignty and patriotism that would never compromise on its territorial integrity. That would be the time for the top functionaries of the Indian state, right up to the Prime Minister, to visit them, to dance with them clad, sometimes, in their attires, to announce this or that package for this or that of the 7 states that form the collective referred to as the North East. But then, that is the only time.
Rest of the time they, the 'Mongolian fringe' of the undeclared Aryan state that has grudgingly accepted the erstwhile Dravidians its own but failed to do that with them. Failed, perhaps, is wrong word for it never seem to have made even an eyewash attempt to assimilate the North East while respecting the differences that define and shape the territory. The failure is not always in your face violence that the state, and even its patriotic citizenry, inflicts on them. There is almost a tragically beautiful subtlety the Indian state deploys to achieve the failure. …
Molestation charges against a college teacher in Karimganj district of Assam: What is the truth? - By Mustafa A. Barbhuiya (Oct 18, 2014, TwoCircles.net)
Curfew has been imposed for last two days in the Karimganj district of Assam after massive street protests from people of minority community over attack on a college teacher by alleged right wing Hindutva activists.
It was reported in local Bengali daily published from Karimganj that on the early morning of October, 16, Thursday a group of Hindutva activists allegedly belonging to VHP and Bajrang Dal approached Mr. Fazlul Karim for donations of Kalipuja at his rented house at Subhash Nagar area of Karimganj town. The teacher purportedly refused to give donations and consequently the mob tried to manhandle him at that instance.
The landlord of the house had to intervene that saved Fazlul that time. A few hours later, however, another huge mob along with a girl and her father approached the Subhash Nagar house of Fazlul and beat him to death when police was called to the scene immediately.…
Special Judge and 36th Additional Sessions Judge John Michael Cunha delivered a historic judgment in Bengaluru on September 27, 2014, holding the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu and the general secretary of the AIADMK, Selvi J Jayalalithaa guilty of charges of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act and sentenced her, along with three others, to four years of simple imprisonment. She was also asked to pay a fine of Rs 100 crores.
Instead of accepting the court verdict or seeking judicial redress through appeals to the appropriate judicial fora, a section of AIADMK activists and supporters of the convicted chief minister resorted, over the next several days to violent protests across the state of Tamil Nadu. These protests resulted in significant damage to public property and caused great hardship to ordinary citizens of the state. While one can legitimately argue that court judgments are neither sacrosanct nor beyond scrutiny or public comment, these violent protests can neither be justified nor tolerated.
In the immediate aftermath of the court judgment, the state administration seemed ill prepared to handle the violence and mayhem unleashed by ruling party cadres and supporters. While some of the immediate reactions of anguish at the verdict were very likely spontaneous, soon protests took on an organised and planned character, and were no longer the manifestation of spontaneous grief. A bus was burnt down in Kanchipuram, shopkeepers were forced to shut down, and normal life was sought to be paralysed.…