Showing posts from April, 2014

PATRICIA MUKHIM - Politics of identity and location

The people from India’s northeast face severe discrimination in Delhi and elsewhere. But how does the northeast treat the ‘outsiders’? (in the late 70's).. c laiming to be the vanguard of Khasi society, the Khasi Students Union went on a rampage, pulling non-tribals out of buses and lynching them. A pregnant woman, Gouri Dey was lynched in public but no one was nabbed and the case died a natural death since no one would give evidence. The next phase of communal violence saw a new set of victims — the Nepali settlers who have also lived in the State since it was a part of Assam, and the Biharis who kept cows and supplied milk to the residents. Another time, a number of Bihari families were burnt alive in the dead of night. The culprits were never caught and no one has been indicted in any of the acts of communal carnage that happened in Meghalaya. Every now and again we hear of a person from one or the other of the north-eastern States of India being harassed, sexually molested or

Siddharth Varadarajan - The best government that money can buy

Should we worry that Modi may be spending as much on advertising as Obama spent on his entire 2012 campaign? What money can buy Economic Times, April 30 2014 The 2014 election is a reminder of the one big loophole in India’s election rules designed to favour parties backed by the rich: While individual candidates are not allowed to spend more than Rs. 54-70 lakh, there is no limit to what political parties may spend to promote their overall electoral prospects. Parties are only obliged to report their expenditure on general election propaganda to the Election Commission within 90 days of the Lok Sabha election ending. The EC has the right to verify the reported figures but can levy sanctions only if some of that 'general' expenditure was incurred to support individual candidates. Compare this to Britain, whose election system India broadly follows. There, a candidate can spend somewhere betwee

Kashmiri Pandits to protest against Jammu and Kashmir government over Shrines

A committee of Kashmiri Pandits today said they would protest against Jammu and Kashmir government for failing to accede to their six demands including passing of the pending Temples and Shrines Bill and a probe into alleged encroachment of temple land in the Valley. The All Parties Migrants Co-ordination Committee, an amalgam of several political and social organizations, will hold a protest demonstration at Lal Chowk in Srinagar on June 4 in support of their six-points charter of demands, APMCC Chairman Vinod Pandit told reporters here.  Pandit claimed the state government had "cheated" them on two previous occasions by making false assurances of addressing their six demands, but nothing was done about it.  "I went on hunger strike twice in the past to press for the demands-- once on 10-day long fast in Jammu in 2011 and a 15-day long hunger strike in Porbandar. On both the occasions the JK government assured that they would address the demands but nothing fruitful

Narendra Modi intended to influence voters, says furious Election Commission // EC orders police complaint against Modi for holding press conference after voting

NB: The man who is being lauded by our leading opinion-makers for being a ' moderate ', yet again demonstrates his contempt for the law. Doesn't he understand the simple directives of the electoral code of conduct? And the TV channels which collaborated in this violation, don't they have any idea that there  is a limit to their partisan behaviour? No doubt Modi and his 'parivar' are confident they can intimidate anyone who criticises or opposes them.  Modi has declared that an FIR makes sense only if a knife had come into the picture, whereas all he did was ' show everyone a lotus '. This is a mockery. Obviously he has not read (or has no respect for) the RP Act (see relevant section below). Indians who value democracy and the rule of law should prepare themselves for more illegal practices from Mr Modi.   Given the plight of Gujarat police officers who stood up to him, the EC should expect the worst. Or maybe the case will drag on, and ultimately we

JULIA WALLACE - Workers of the World, Faint!

PHNOM PENH , Cambodia — Just over two years ago, at the Anful Garments Factory in Kompong Speu Province , a young worker named Chanthul and 250 of her colleagues collapsed in a collective spell of fainting. They had to be hospitalized; the production line shut down. Two days later, the factory was back up, and the mass faintings struck again. A worker started barking commands in a language that sounded like Chinese and, claiming to speak in the name of an ancestral spirit, demanded offerings of raw chicken. None were forthcoming, and more workers fell down. Peace, and production, resumed only after factory owners staged an elaborate ceremony, offering up copious amounts of food, cigarettes and Coca-Cola to the spirit. This episode, however bizarre, was not singular. In the past few years, Cambodia has experienced a slew of mass faintings among garment workers: One after the other, hundreds of women have fallen to the floor of their factories in a dizzy spell called duol s

AAP alleges its volunteers attacked by BJP workers in Varanasi // Press Statement on Attack on Shabnam Hashmi

Varanasi:  The Aam Aadmi Party has alleged that two of its volunteers were beaten up late on  Monday night by BJP workers in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, where the party's chief  Arvind Kejriwal  has challenged the BJP's prime ministerial candidate  Narendra Modi  in the general elections.  The BJP has promised action if at all its workers were involved, but has also suggested that the AAP volunteers may have provoked an argument that led to a fight.  The Varanasi police said AAP volunteers Nandan Mishra and Ankit Lal had an argument last night with some people who wore BJP badges at the Assi Ghat in the temple town, which later turned into a brawl. They have registered a complaint against unknown people.  The BJP's Nalin Kohli told NDTV this morning, "We appeal to all supporters and the public not to get into any physical altercation... If a worker is involved, we will take strict action."   He also added, "All people who wear BJP badges are not party workers.&q

Does Gujarat government's own data show Adani group got land cheap?

  Under fire for receiving special favours from the Modi government in Gujarat, specifically for being sold land on the cheap for his massive port-cum-SEZ in Mundra along the Gujarat coast, businessman Gautam Adani said in an interview to NDTV that the land that was allotted was barren and so there was no question of it being sold at lower rates. ( Read: No crony capitalism says billionaire Gautam Adani, wants Modi for PM ) But the Gujarat government's own documents, accessed by website Truth of Gujarat, suggest that the Adani Group may have got land below the market rates.   In a written reply to a question raised in the Gujarat assembly in 2012, the state's revenue minister Anandiben Patel said that until December 2011, the state government sold 14,305 acres of land in Mundra to the Adani Group.  The reply said that the land was sold from  Rs.  1 per to  Rs.  32 per square metre. In his speeches,  Rahul Gandhi  says Gujarat is following a 'toffee model' of growth, of

Open letter to Narendra Modi from Captain Vikram Batra's mother

Kamal Kant Batra, 69, is running for Parliament from Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh as a candidate of the Aam Aadmi Party. In 1999, her son, Captain Vikram Batra, was killed in the Kargil War. He was 24. "Yeh dil maange more," he had declared famously in an interview to NDTV, appropriating an advertising slogan at the time to convey the courage of the Indian soldier. Dear Mr Modi: In your campaigning, you have used the name and slogan- yeh dil maange more- of my Sher beta.  People call him the Sher Shah of Kargil. He was just 24 when he was killed in the Kargil war.   Now you are using Vikram's name and slogan. I ask you - in 15 years, how come neither you nor the BJP used either? Just for the elections, you have suddenly remembered it and are using the sacrifice of a brave soldier. This is corrupt politics. Mr Modi, if you really care for the army and respect  martyrs, a soldier's family for you should be like God. If I were in your place, I would have withdrawn the BJ

Ajaz Ashraf - Jhadu wave sweeps Punjab

"Na bhukki ko, na daaru ko, vote denge jhaddu ko.”  AAP has become the beacon of hope because people know it isn’t in the interest of the existing political class to stem the supply of narcotics  The unexpected surge of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab is an outcome of the disheartening disconnect between the politics of elites and the grassroots reality. In the ensuing vacuum AAP has stepped in, riding the desperation of a people forever in search of light in the darkness enveloping the state for well over two decades. The momentum AAP had achieved will see it not only register a high percentage of votes but also win a few seats.  Earlier, the militant’s gun was the symbol of Punjab’s darkness. Today, it is the young man’s favourite hit – smack or heroin or opium or ice – that has become emblematic of its misery. Punjab has veritably become the land of dope-heads and mainliners. Hear this: a 2011 survey by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment concluded tha

Australian Financial Review: World is Fukt

The Australian financial newspaper which accidentally published a front-page headline reading "World is Fukt" apologised on Monday to its readers for the error-ridden edition.  The respected Australian Financial Review, in a message from editor-in-chief Michael Stutchbury, said the mistake was due to a production and printing error. "The Australian Financial Review apologises to Western Australian readers for the obviously unacceptable state of the newspaper's front page on Thursday," he said in an apology in Monday's newspaper.  The accidental front page quickly found fans on Twitter, who approved of the headline which read in full: "Arms buildup - Buys planes, World is Fukt". They also enjoyed the fact that the headline for a story about a major budget speech by Treasurer Joe Hockey was empty of meaning, reading "Three lines to come here". Using the hashtag #WorldisFukt, readers described the mistakes as a "tremendously gr

'Green Nobel' for Ramesh Agrawal - who confronted mining industry

The man walked into Ramesh Agrawal's tiny Internet cafe, pulled out a pistol and hissed, "You talk too much." Then he fired two bullets into Agrawal's left leg and fled on a motorcycle.  The 2012 attack came three months after Agrawal won a court case that blocked a major Indian company, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd., from opening a second coal mine near the village of Gare in the mineral-rich state of Chhattisgarh. For a decade, Agrawal - who has no formal legal training - has been waging a one-man campaign to educate illiterate villagers about their rights in fighting pollution and land-grabbing by powerful mining and electricity companies. He's won three lawsuits against major corporations and has spearheaded seven more now pending in courts. "When I started this fight, I knew I'd be a target. It will happen again. Let it happen. I'm not going anywhere," the soft-spoken yoga enthusiast said in an interview this month in the city of Raigarh, wh

Desperate Rohingya kids flee Myanmar alone by boat

The two children stood on the beach, at the end of the only world they knew, torn between land and sea.  They couldn't go back to their tiny Muslim village in Myanmar's northwest Rakhine because it had been devoured in a fire set by an angry Buddhist mob. In the smoke and chaos, the siblings became separated from their family. And after seven months of searching, they had lost hope of finding anyone alive. The only way was forward. Hungry and scared, they eyed a rickety wooden fishing boat in the darkness. Mohamad Husein, just 15, dug into his pocket and pulled out a little wad of money for the captain. He and his 9-year-old sister, Senwara Begum, climbed on board, cramming themselves tightly between the other ethnic Rohingya in the small hull. As the ship pushed off, they didn't realize they were among hundreds, if not thousands, of children joining one of the world's biggest boat exoduses since the Vietnam War. They only understood it wasn't safe to stay in