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Indian Muslim Council-USA (IMC-USA)


Tarun Tejpal addressed the need to move away from politics of difference
and back to politics of ideas

Chicago, IL, June 01, 2008
Asim Khan

The fourth National Convention of the Indian Muslim Council - USA , an advocacy group dedicated to protecting the rights of minorities and promoting pluralism, was a huge success.

The event focused on the theme, "The Idea of India: Challenges & Prospects," and was held in Chicago , IL on 31st May, 2008. It was attended by over 450 people. The speakers included activists from different ethnic and religious communities as well as experts and leaders from Human Rights groups. The keynote address was given by Tarun Tejpal, CEO of Tehelka Newsmagazine.

US Congressman Mr. Keith Ellison (D-MN), addressed the audience in a video message. He described the struggle of Indian Muslims as parallel to the struggle of other groups in United States who have fought for civil rights. He reminded that India and US are the two biggest democracies in the world, and the example of these two democracies can flourish and help inspire the rest of the world.

Father Cedric Prakash, a Jesuit Priest and Human Rights activist in Gujarat , extended his message of support for the convention.

The convention showcased documentary screenings on the theme of “Impunity: A Roadblock to Justice.” This included the “The Widow Colony” on survivors of 1984 Anti-Sikh massacres, a documentary on Dalits, another documentary titled “Encountered on Saffron Agenda?” about staged encounter killings of Muslims, and "In The Name of God" that discussed attacks on Christians in Orissa , India . This was followed by a panel discussion by Munaf Zeena, Chairman of Council on Indian Muslims in UK, Harpreet Kaur and Manmeet Singh of Sach Productions, Dr. Rahul Deepanker who is an Indian American Buddhist leader and Dr. Angana Chatterji, activist and Associate Professor at California Institute of Integral Studies.

Another panel on “Strengthening India's Secular Democracy,” was held with panelists that included Robin Phillips, Executive Director of The Advocates for Human Rights, Dr. Angana Chatterji and Dr.Omar Khalidi, scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the author of Muslims in Indian Economy. The speakers exchanged concepts and ideas to formulate advocacy work towards bettering India ’s democratic and secular fabric.

The banquet session started with a dinner and award presentation that recognized the remarkable contributions of many Indian activists. IMC-USA presented the Moulana Muhammad Ali Johar Award in Journalism to Mr. Tarun Tejpal, the Khwaja Altaf Hussain Hali Award in Humanitarian work to Dr. Khursheed Malik, the Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Award in Humanitarian work to Help Handicap Foundation and the Tipu Sultan Award for Courageously Serving India to Dr. Angana Chatterji.

The session was also addressed by Nishrin Hussain, daughter of former Member of Parliament, Ahsan Jafri, who recounted the atrocities, suffered by minorities in the 2002 Gujarat pogrom, and exhorted the audience to work towards preventing such injustices from occurring again.
Tarun Tejpal with Ms. Nishrin Hussain ( daughter of late MP Ahsan Jafri) and Ms. Zakia Jafri (Widow of late MP Ahsan Jafri). Ms. Zakia Jafri presented the IMC Maulana Muhammad Ali Johar Award in Journalism to Mr. Tarun Tejpal

The session ended with a very inspiring key note address by Tarun Tejpal, journalist and CEO of Tehelka magazine. Tarun noted that many minority groups in India , including the Dalits, the tribals and the Christians, along with Muslims were being oppressed in different ways. He criticized the politics of victim hood and stated that, “ India is a free country and it is incumbent upon us to stand up for our rights and get them, and that is the beauty of the foundation principles of this country.” He criticized the politics of differences being practiced in India that feed on dissent and suppress politics of ideas and of social change. He recommended a return to the idea of India , as was first enjoined and enshrined for us by the founding fathers of India . Tarun’s speech was received with a standing ovation and the audience was moved by the symbolic gesture of the award to Tarun Tejpal being presented by Mrs Zakia Jafri, widow of Ahsan Jafri.

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Tehelka's Tarun Tejpal, Keynote Speaker at
Fourth National Convention
of IMC-USA in Chicago on May 31

May 10, 2008, Chicago, IL
Asim Khan

Indian Muslim Council-USA (IMC-USA), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist society and secular democracy will be holding its Fourth National Convention on May 31st, 2008 in the Chicago area.

Ms. Seema Salim, Convention Co-Chair and President of IMC-USA Massachusetts Chapter said “all IMC-USA volunteers and supporters are excited about this one of a kind event in U.S. that brings together the Indian American community, activists, leaders and scholars from a diverse background and experience”. The theme of the 4th national convention is “The Idea of India: Challenges and Prospects”

The convention will be held in The Meadows Convention Center located in Rolling Meadows, IL. The registration for this convention will start at 12:30 PM. The convention will have three major sessions. An array of speakers will cover themes including “Impunity: A Roadblock to Justice” and “Strengthening India’s Secular Democracy” along with the convention theme. At 1:30 PM four short documentaries will be screened on the India related subjects.

Jawad Khan another Co-Chair and President of IMC-USA Chicago Chapter has unveiled an impressive array of speakers:

Keynote Speaker:

  • Tarun Tejpal, Founder and Editor of the investigative magazine

Other Speakers:

  • Munaf Zeena, Chairman of Council of Indian Muslims (UK)
  • Robin Phillips, Executive Director of The Human Rights Advocates
  • Dr. Omar Khalidi, Indian Muslim Historian, Author of “Muslims in Indian Economy” and a scholar at MIT
  • Dr. Rahul Deepankar, Indian American Buddhist Leader
  • John Prabhudoss, Indian American Christian Leader and Executive Director of Policy Institute for Religion and State (PIFRAS)
  • Harpreet Kaur, Award winning director of "The Widow Colony" a documentary on the anti-Sikh massacres of November 1984.
  • Manmeet Singh, Producer of “The Widow Colony”
  • Dr. Angana Chatterjee, Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology

Jawad Khan also stated that “The IMC-USA convention has become a tradition for scholars, activists and others who understand the importance of India for all religions within India and around India given its long history of acceptance of positive aspects of all cultures. The previous conventions of IMC-USA have been huge success in not only building bridges but developing partnerships in the work of human rights and social justice.” He also urged all to register early and avoid any surprises if there is no room for on-site registration.

For more information and to register, delegates and journalists are requested to visit:

For Tickets and Registration Call 800-839-7270 or Email




Tarun Tejpal, Editor-in-Chief of Tehelka Magazine, delivering his keynote speech to the convention audience.














Tejpal is the editor in chief of the portal which became famous after interviewing former cricketer Manoj Prabhakar about the match fixing scandal also broke the scandal about Armsgate raising controversy about the methods used by the portal.In October 2007, the Tehelka newspaper released an investigative report based on a sting-operation, establishing the Gujarat Genocide Unmasked: