IAMC Weekly News Roundup - October 10th, 2016

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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 Awakening Camp (Oct 5, 2016, The Tribune)

Keeping in view the necessity of unity and harmony for protection of the nation, Jan Kalayan Sangathan and Veer Abhimanyu Gurukul Sanstha organised a special programme on "Communal Harmony Awakening".

The programme was presided over by social activist Prof Swaraj Grover and Ranbir Singh. Anjana Seth, Principal, Holy Heart School, was the chief guest on the occasion. In his address he took up the issue of terrorism while discussing peace and communal harmony.…

Grover said, "United we stand, divided we fall. Humanity should be the only religion. Everyone should be allowed to worship in his/her own way instead of dividing in the name of religion. One must unite."… Members also took an oath to live with unity and co-operation, besides induce others to act accordingly.


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Watch how Kashmiri youth rescued an army jawan trapped inside a mangled vehicle (Oct 9, 2016, India Today)

For over past two months, clashes between locals and security forces have dominated the reports coming from Kashmir Valley. But, on Sunday, a video emerged which showed Kashmiri youth rescuing an army jawan, who was trapped inside a mangled vehicle.

According to police an army vehicle met an accident on Srinagar Bypass road near Lasjan area of the city. The army truck veered off the road after the driver lost control and hit a tree, a police official said.

The police official said that one soldier was trapped inside the badly damaged vehicle and efforts of other army men to evacuate him did not fructify. "Local Kashmiri youth rushed to the spot and managed to bring the injured army jawan out by placing a truck next to the damaged army vehicle," the official said.…


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Delhi: Heavy police deployment in Trilokpuri as communal tensions rises after stone pelting (Oct 9, 2016, Indian Express)

Heavy police force was deployed in Trilokpuri area of east Delhi after a scuffle between two groups of teenagers from different community led to stone pelting during a game of cricket.

The incident occurred around 9 pm last night and the area was tense afterward but the situation has improved now and police force remain deployed to prevent any trouble, Rishi Pal, Deputy Commissioner of Police (East), said.…

Police said the scuffle among the boys, from two different communities, occurred at a local MCD school ground where they were playing cricket around 3.30 PM yesterday.…



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Dadri accused's body draped in tricolour sends out aggressive message to Muslims (Oct 8, 2016, First Post)

Media reports of a tricolour draping the body of Ravi, an accused in the Dadri lynching case, should worry us. The crudeness of the gesture is tantamount to an act of disrespect towards the family of Mohammad Akhlaq, who was killed when a mob attacked his house last November. The acquiescent silence on part of district administrators, allowing the tricolour to be placed on the coffin, further reinforces our cause for concern.

Apparently, the act of honouring Ravi as someone who died serving the nation - usually, coffins of armed forces personnel come draped in tricolour - is no doubt designed to send an aggressive message to the Muslim community.… That the police whose job it is to ensure law and order, allowed such a bizarre action to go uncontested puts a question mark over their will to take action against members of the majority community.…

In itself, such majoritarian pandering is not a startling revelation. Neither are such incidents a recent phenomenon which has started playing out only after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power. Yet, it's impossible to ignore the fact that since the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, moments like this have tended to occur with greater frequency. Moreover, such situations seem to be deliberately created to deepen a sense of anxiety among minority communities.…



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2 hurt as cow vigilantes strike in Rajasthan (Oct 6, 2016, The Hindu)

In yet another instance of cow vigilante groups taking law into their own hands, Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena workers allegedly attacked a group of Banjara tribals at Relmagra in Rajsamand district of Rajasthan late on Monday night when they were returning to their village with half-a-dozen bulls purchased in a cattle fair. Three of the tribals were seriously injured in the attack.

The self-styled activists reportedly stopped a mini-truck carrying the bulls and demanded money from the accompanying tribals. When the latter refused, they allegedly broke the windscreen and headlights of the vehicle and thrashed the cattle owners.

According to the victims, there were about 15 attackers, who were constantly hurling abuses at the tribals. Two of the cattle rearers sustained fractures. One of them was injured by a sharp-edged weapon and forcibly taken away by the attackers. He was later rescued by villagers.…



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India tv reporter forced to please Modi by fabricating original news, writes to PM (Oct 11, 2016, Siasat)

A senior correspondent with India TV has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi complaining that his seniors had forced him to fabricate reports many a times, in order to please 'The PM'.

Imran Shaikh, said that the seniors in his channel owned by Rajat Sharma, have on many occasions asked him to fabricate reports to please the prime minister, Narendra Modi.

"Being journalist many a times I have been told to fabricate stories and also present them in fabricated manner in front of the common public which I have denied to do so. But it was explained by my seniors that they have to put some fabricated and favourable stories just to please our honourable prime minister as this news channel is bread and butter for them, which I personally feel it was just a false statement made by my seniors and didn't believe them," Imran wrote.…



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Allahabad: VHP leader in burqa caught 'molesting' women at Majlis (Oct 10, 2016, Hindustan Times)

A Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader was thrashed and handed over to police after he was allegedly caught molesting women at a Muharram Majlis late on Saturday night while wearing a burqa (veil).

Police have registered a case against VHP district secretary Abhishek Yadav, who is the husband of BJP zila panchayat member Shipra Yadav. Abhishek was reportedly accompanied by another burqa-clad youth who managed to flee from the scene.

As per reports, a Muharram Majlis was organised at Mani Umarpur village on Saturday night. A few women at the Majlis became suspicious of two burqa-clad 'women' and forced them to lift their veils. It was then allegedly revealed that Abhishek and his accomplice had disguised themselves as women and entered the Majilis.…



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Minorities Commission calls for 're-drafting' of new education policy to make it more 'secular and inclusive' (Oct 5, 2016, Times of India)

The State Minorities Commission expressed apprehensions over the draft new education policy (DNEP) and called for its "re-drafting" claiming that the document should be "secular and inclusive in nature".

In a letter sent to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) recently, the minorities panel expressed alarm at Article 29, which provides for the protection of minorities, and Article 30, which gives minorities the right to establish and administer educational institutions - of the Constitution being threatened in the document.

"The constitutional guarantee given to minorities under Article 29 and 30 are at stake as the DNEP suggests inclusion of aided institutions into the purview of RTE Act 2009, whereas the full bench of the Supreme Court already delivered its judgement barring the government from doing so (sic)", an excerpt from the letter reads. The commission urged the Centre to "honour" these constitutional provisions.…



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Valiullah Quadri demands curb on Hindutva terrorism (Oct 5, 2016, Siasat)

Efforts to preserve secular identity of the country rankle Hindutva forces. Viewing it an obstacle in promoting Hindutva ideology, Hindutva forces are attacking left. These views were expressed by National Secretary All India Students' Federation (AISF) Mr. Syed Valiullah Quadri.

He strongly condemned attack of ABVP and RSS activists in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. National Conference of Indian People's Theatres Association was in progress at Indore when activists of saffron parties made an attack. A large number of noted poets, freedom fighters, writers and artists became the victim of the attack.…

Mr. Valiullah Quadri described the attack as a cowardly act. He held Prime Minister Narendra Modi responsible for the attack. The attack was possible due to backing of top leaders, he asserted. He also declared attacked on freedom fighters as attack on democracy.…



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Ishrat cop basks in Modi success (Oct 10, 2016, The Telegraph)

Former IPS officer D.G. Vanzara, accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Ishrat Jahan fake encounter cases, today claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi owed his life and success to Gujarat police's skill at eliminating terrorists.

"If Gujarat police had not carried out encounters, Gujarat would have become another Kashmir and Modi would have not been where he is today," the retired deputy inspector-general, released on bail in 2015 after eight years in jail, told reporters.

Vanzara's comments come three years after he had excoriated Modi's "acts of betrayal and treachery" in a letter from jail. It said Vanzara once "adored" the then Gujarat chief minister "like a God" before he came under the "evil influence" of his home minister, Amit Shah.…



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Tamil Nadu man found dead in police custody in Kerala (Oct 9, 2016, Indian Express)

A 48-year-old man, who was arrested in connection with a theft case, was on Saturday found dead in police custody. Kalimuthu, who hailed from Salem in Tamil Nadu, along with another man was handed over to police by locals two days ago. There are reports that he was beaten up by police in custody following which he died.

Waynad SP K Karthick, who is in charge of the case, said an enquiry is on. Demanding judicial probe into the man's death, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said there has been a "serious lapse of rules and regulations and human rights violation".

"The man was taken into custody 48 hours ago and the police failed to follow rules and he was not produced in court also," he alleged.…



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Woman accuses MP cops of forcing her into fornicating with her son (Oct 7, 2016, Siasat)

In a horrific incident, a Muslim woman in Madhya Pradesh alleged that police forced her to perform unnatural sex with her son and made them drink each other's urine in the custody. The unpleasant incident happened in Sehore, the home district of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

According to News18 reports, the victim Shabnam (name changed), 40, a resident of Singerchauri, said that her daughter-in-law went missing from home. Her brother filed a missing and a habeas corpus complaint in Siddiqganj police.

Following the complaint, Shabnam's family (including her, her husband, son and four other minor children) was detained by Siddiqganj police in Ashta for 15 days and were allegedly tortured at the police station. In a bid to force them to confess to the ‘murder' of their missing daughter-in-law, they made all of them to drink each other's urine.…



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Opinions and Editorials

Not NHRC's finest hour - By Harsh Mander (Oct 5, 2016, Indian Express)

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is India's highest statutory body constituted for the defence of the human rights of vulnerable people. Since it was created by a statute of Parliament in 1993, it has had a mixed and chequered record in the performance of duties that are critical in a country of such vast historical inequalities and embedded systems of oppression. Its finest hour was in the aftermath of the Gujarat communal riots in 2002, when it actively held the state government to account for relief, reparations and justice for the survivors.…

However, a recent report by the NHRC, for the first time, opens it up to grave criticism not just of inaction, but of actively contributing to a majoritarian, communally-charged discourse. Its team visited the Muslim-majority township of Kairana in western Uttar Pradesh in which some Muslim survivors of the communal violence in 2013 had migrated after being uprooted because their homes and families had been attacked and they felt it was unsafe to return.

The report, in effect, regards these Muslim migrants not as victims deserving the defence of the NHRC but as people responsible for contributing to raised levels of crime and the harassment of women which resulted in the "exodus" of law-abiding Hindu residents from Kairana.…



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Jharkhand: Barkagaon Police Firing Lays Bare Barbaric Designs of BJP Govt - By Prakash Viplav (Oct 16, 2016, Peoples Democracy)

The Barkagaon police firing incident, in which four persons including two minor students were killed, lays bare the barbaric designs of the BJP-AJSU government in Jharkhand and its intentions of serving the interests of the corporates at the cost of the toiling masses of the state.

On October 1, police resorted to unprovoked firing on the agitating peasants who were demanding proper compensation for their lands that were acquired for mining operations to supply coal to NTPC power plants. The peasants had been on 'kafan satyagraha' under the leadership of local MLA Nirmala Devi for 16 days. Police arrested Nirmala Devi from the venue of the dharna in the early hours of October 1. As the villagers resisted her arrest, police opened indiscriminate firing on the villagers without warning, killing four persons and injuring more than 50, 12 of whom were still critical.…

The Jharkhand High Court has taken up the case of police firing suo motu and asked the DGP and the Chief Secretary of the state to submit their reports before it. The Barkagaon incident has increased resentment against the BJP rule in the state and the Left has to channelise the resentment to intensify struggles against the attacks unleashed by the government on peasants and the toiling masses.



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Lynched and framed - By T.K. Rajalakshmi (Oct 28, 2016, Frontline)

A year ago, on the night of September 28, a murder catapulted Bisahra, a nondescript village in Dadri in Gautam Buddha Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh, to notoriety. According to the first information report (FIR) filed that night, a mob of 10 to 15 persons, armed with scythes, sticks and metal rods, broke into the house of Mohammad Akhlaq, an ironsmith, and lynched him on suspicion of slaughtering a cow and storing its meat in the refrigerator.…

The incident sent shockwaves across the nation and the world and drew widespread condemnation. Several writers returned the awards given to them by the government and expressed their anguish over the growing atmosphere of intolerance. The battle of and over ideas had come out in the open. Statements made then by Culture and Civil Aviation Minister Mahesh Sharma that the incident was an "accident" drew widespread opprobrium. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) saw a conspiracy in these widespread protests by authors and eminent public personalities as the Assembly elections in Bihar were approaching.…

The story of Akhlaq's lynching and the identification of the meat keep on changing. The only element of truth is that 50-year-old Akhlaq was murdered brutally on the night of September 28, 2015, leaving behind a scarred family. It is apparent that the FIR, filed as an afterthought, is being used as a tool to pressure the family into withdrawing the case and, more importantly, to keep the emotional quotient around the cow-slaughter issue alive until the Assembly elections are over.



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The Fake Nationalism of Make in India - By Prabir Purkayastha (Oct 16, 2016, Peoples Democracy)

Fake nationalism of the Hindutva variety is not limited to only the national movement, where the RSS was conspicuous by its absence. It is also manifest in Modi's Make in India, which is an offer to global capital to exploit India's cheap labour, along with various tax breaks and subsidised land. This is in contrast to how self reliance and development was seen in the national movement.

It saw developing knowledge as integral to the process of developing the country and its people. This was the difference between Made in India and its indigenisation vision, as opposed to inviting global capital under Make in India to make "India great again".

The difference between the vision of the national movement and the Hindutvadis about development stems from how it looks at nationalism. In the inclusive view of nationalism that grew out of the anti-colonial, national movement, the nation is its people. In the Hindutva's exclusionary view of nationalism, it is the land that is the nation; it is the land that is pure: the punya-bhumi and pitri-bhumi. All those who do not regard India as sacred land, are therefore not fully Indian.…



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Just junk it - Editorial (Oct 7, 2016, Indian Express)

The report of the commission set up by the HRD ministry to inquire into the facts and circumstances leading to Rohith Vemula's death reads like an unabashed attempt to blame the victim and to absolve the establishment that stands accused of hounding him. A.K. Roopanwal, a retired judge of the Allahabad High Court, has accused Rohith's mother, Radhika, of "branding" herself as Dalit and claims that the university's action to expel him from the hostel was a "most reasonable decision".

Personal frustration, it says, not discrimination, drove Rohith to kill himself and that Union ministers Smriti Irani and Bandaru Dattatreya were only discharging their duties as public servants. It clears university authorities of any role in the suicide. The claims made in the report are poorly sourced and are at odds with the facts of the case that are already in the public sphere. The government must discard this report if it does not wish to court further embarrassment on this issue.…

Ever since his death, Rohith has become a symbol of a new political narrative of equality and justice that has the potential and promise to transcend old forms of identity politics. The probe report appears to be blind not just to the circumstances that led to Rohith's suicide but also to the new political conversation that has emerged since.



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Misusing Armed Forces for Hindutva Ends - Editorial (Oct 16, 2016, Peoples Democracy)

Usually, Vijayadashami day has seen two addresses by the Hindutva forces - one by the RSS chief in Nagpur and the other by the Shiv Sena chief in Mumbai. This year there was a third pole - the speech by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a Ramleela gathering in Lucknow. This is what has made the politics associated with Dussehra distinctive this year.…

Both the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat… dismissed the terror unleashed by the cow vigilantes against the Muslims and the dalits. Such a pronouncement from the RSS chief, after the series of lynch mob attacks in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Gujarat and other places, was a clear signal that the RSS outfits will continue their violence and intimidation against Muslims and dalits on the pretext of cow slaughter and eating beef. As for Narendra Modi's foray into Lucknow, the obvious motive is the forthcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.…

The warning bells are loud and clear. Under the BJP-RSS dispensation, no institution of the State, including the armed forces, are immune from the Hindutva subversion. This should be a matter of serious concern for every citizen of the country. All those who wish to protect the secular democratic character of the Republic should raise their voice to tell the BJP and RSS - "Hands off the armed forces".



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