Boycott Republic TV – the hounding of S. P. Udayakumar

Is it not time for this channel that sets new lows with each programme, to be totally boycotted by all right-thinking people?

Don’t watch Republic TV, don’t participate in its programmes.

Dr SP Udayakumar’s complaint to the Press Council of India follows. He is
Coordinator, People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) and
Pachai Tamizhagam Katchi (Green Tamil Nadu Party)

June 21, 2017

Hon’ble Mr. Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad
The Chairman, Press Council of India

Dear Sir:

Greetings! I write to bring your kind attention to the ongoing deceit and harassment of me and my family by Mr. Arnab Ranjan Goswami and a few of his colleagues such as Shweta and Sanjeev from the Republic TV.

On April 8, 2017, one “Shweta Sharma” (I later found out that her real name was Shweta Kothari) came to my home at Nagercoil and introduced herself as a “research scholar” from the Cardiff University in the UK. She asked for my help with her dissertation research. She had been accompanied by her “local friend” Sanjeev. I gave her several books and answered her questions.

On April 9, 2017 she requested me to stop by her hotel room as she had a few more questions. There she told me that “one of her British professors” was very keen on supporting our struggle against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant. I told her that we did not accept money from foreigners and our movement had no bank account also. She then asked me if there was any other way of donating money to us. I told her that my personal account was frozen and that even our party account could not receive foreign funds.

X ways in which Modi is different from Trump: Rama Srinivasan

Guest post by RAMA SRINIVASAN

Prime Minister Modi is set to meet President Trump on June 26 and we can anticipate an exciting contest between bear hugs and crushing handshakes. We indeed live in interesting times where symbols rather than spoken words determine the fate of nations (Trump is rumoured to have partly pulled out of the Paris Agreement after losing a handshake duel with the new French President). Both Modi and Trump deploy symbols effectively to further a conservative agenda that is in many ways self-serving rather than ideologically dogmatic. I wondered if a list of ways in which they are different despite being strikingly similar in many ways might be an interesting experiment but all my points could be bracketed under one larger word: privilege. Everything that follows in this article are ways in which this privilege operates in the case of Trump and how the lack of the same has shaped much of Modi’s career.

Continue reading “X ways in which Modi is different from Trump: Rama Srinivasan”

और इस बार नंबर आईआईएमसी का था : Rohin Kumar

Guest Post by ROHIN KUMAR

संस्थान के गेट पर सरस्वती की प्रतिमा थी ही. नारद पहले पत्रकार बताए जाते रहे हैं. अब बचा था हवन वो भी होने ही वाला है. आईआईएमसी मीडिया स्कैन नामक संस्था के साथ मिलकर ‘वर्तमान परिदृश्य में राष्ट्रीय पत्रकारिता’ पर सेमिनार आयोजित करने जा रहा है. इसकी शुरुआत हवन से होनी है. उसमें पांचजन्य के संपादक और बस्तर का खूंखार आईजी कल्लूरी आमंत्रित है. चौंकाने वाली बात है कि कल्लूरी जिसने सबसे ज्यादा आदिवासियों, पत्रकारों, सामाजिक कार्यकर्ताओं को तंग किया, उनपर फर्जी केस डाले वो ‘वंचित समाज के सवाल’ पर बोलने आ रहा है.

हमें इसकी सूचना दो दिन पहले मिली. सोशल मीडिया पर इसके पोस्टर रिलीज़ किये गए थे.

सबसे पहले हम छात्रों ने इसका सोशल मीडिया पर विरोध दर्ज किया. इसमें कई पूर्व छात्रों का हमें समर्थन भी प्राप्त हुआ. संस्थान में पढ़़ाने वाले शिक्षकों को फ़ोन किया, उनसे जानना चाहा कि आखिर उनकी इसपर कोई राय है?

जानकर हैरानी हुई कि उन्होंने छात्रों से बिलकुल डरे सहमे अंदाज़ में बात किया. इस बाबत जानकारी से इनकार कर दिया. फिर डिप्लोमेटिक जवाब देने शुरू किये- “चुंकि हमें कोई आधिकारिक सूचना इस कार्यक्रम के बारे में नहीं मिली है इसलिए मैं इसे फेक न्यूज़ मान रहा हूं.” इतना कहकर मीडिया एथिक्स पढ़ाने वाले टीचर ने कन्नी काट लिया.

Continue reading “और इस बार नंबर आईआईएमसी का था : Rohin Kumar”

JNU Teachers on allegations of motive behind car vandalism

STATEMENT FROM JNU TEACHERS

We, members of the JNU faculty, are deeply shocked at the kinds of allegations and speculations being made because a faculty member’s car was vandalised a couple of nights ago. Obviously the incident in which the windshield of the car was found shattered in the morning,  is worrisome, and cause for concern – yet this is not an isolated incident on an otherwise safe campus. In past months other faculty members living on campus have had similar experiences, where random acts of vandalism have occurred, in different parts of the university. However, no one, until now, has made either baseless allegations or blamed students’ groups, or levelled charges against any particular political ideology.

This is the first time that such quick, and hasty conclusions have been drawn. Instead of investigating a matter of vandalism, this is being recast as some kind of political conspiracy and vendetta. This does not reflect the spirit of JNU – which has always been collegial despite its many differences. It is only since early 2016 that we are seeing this sense of reflective engagement fraying – which ought to be a cause of concern for us all.

We would also wish to state that the untimely loss of every life is, and should be, one of great sorrow. And it is particularly so in the cases of ordinary jawans, most of whom come from impoverished families and have few opportunities, especially to study, and to make a better life for themselves. Who knows – had their families had the wherewithal for educating their children – they too could have been university professors. The baseless allegations against JNU being levelled at the moment, purportedly in support of the killing of jawans in Sukma, neither respects their lives and immense challenges, nor does it show any concern for the university and its community.

At a time when the JNU community is facing grave challenges, and its excellent academic environment is at risk, it is the duty of the faculty to maintain calm. Instead, such baseless allegations are adding to a situation of anxiety and distress, especially for students who are in the midst of examinations, other than facing an uncertain future.  An attack on JNU at this moment not merely adds to existing conditions of worry, but is, in the last instance, an attack on public universities and the values they stand for. As B.R. Ambedkar famously said, “Education is something which ought to be brought within the reach of everyone… the policy therefore ought to be to make higher education as cheap to the lower classes as it can possibly be made.” JNU is one of those universities in India that has enabled students from socially and economically deprived backgrounds to achieve their dreams. No retroactive condolences will absolve us of the responsibility of killing those dreams and futures.   Continue reading “JNU Teachers on allegations of motive behind car vandalism”

It could have been me: Rajamathangi S

Guest Post by RAJAMATHANGI S

I am one of the fortunate PhD scholars lucky enough to study in JNU. I am a Dalit woman.  My mother is my family’s main breadwinner and my father struggles as a daily wager. I have two siblings who are younger than me. My mother is a low paid private school teacher today because of the education, which her single mother provided to her. My maternal grandmother who became a widow at a young age, didn’t sit inside the house after her husband passed away, she works as a sanitation worker even today, a profession that is considered a taboo by her community people. It is the hard work of these two women that has helped me reach this position.

Because of my family situation my school education was scattered all over Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. I never studied in one school for more than two years. So one can understand how many types of schools and people I have experienced with. I started my schooling in a convent in Pondicherry. Then I went to three matriculation schools before I completed my 6th standard; after that because of my family’s economic condition I was put in Government and aided schools from class 7 till the completion of class 12. Irrespective of changing schools every alternate year I was good at my studies, I was always encouraged and motivated by my friends and by my teachers. I was always fortunate when it came to teachers: teachers stood by me in all my obstacles throughout my education wherever I went and JNU has been no exception to this.

Continue reading “It could have been me: Rajamathangi S”

Statement of Solidarity with student protests in Panjab University, Chandigarh: Coordination of Student Forums of the five IITs

Statement by Coordination of Science and Technology Institutes’ Student Associations (COSTISA)

Image Courtesy Hindustan Times

On April 11 2017, Punjab University turned into a war zone. Tear gas, water cannons, lathis, belts and police boots were unleashed on unsuspecting students, along with the choicest of casteist and misogynist abuses. Hundreds of students were mercilessly attacked by Chandigarh police (Police even entered ladies’ hostels) for having the temerity to challenge the jaw dropping fee increase announced by the University (100-1100 percent, across various streams). The protests against fee hike were called by Panjab University Students’ Joint Action Committee, which includes student organizations such as Students for Society (SFS), NSUI, PUSU, SOI, AISA, PSU (Lalkaar). The peacefully protesting students demanded the roll back of fee hike by convening a meeting of the senate at the earliest. Their demand to meet the vice chancellor was met with the ferocious brutality of Chandigarh police.

Continue reading “Statement of Solidarity with student protests in Panjab University, Chandigarh: Coordination of Student Forums of the five IITs”

Ban self-styled vigilante groups in India – Petition

PETITION ON CHANGE.ORG

Parts of the petition are reproduced below. Follow the link given at the end to sign the petition.

Incidents of mob violence by vigilante groups have become alarmingly common in many parts of India. These groups have frequently committed serious crimes, including harassment, assault and murder…

In spite of these groups repeatedly committing atrocities against minorities, nothing substantial has been done to stop them. The Central and several State Governments have remained silent. In addition, the authorities have extended no support to the victims, predominantly Muslims and Dalits, who have lost their lives and livelihoods.

The recent debates in the Rajya Sabha and the intervention of the Supreme Court are a step towards improvement. An earlier criticism by the Prime Minister proved to be inefficient as the vigilantes continued to operate as before.

Clearly, greater social awareness and resistance is needed to combat vigilante groups. Through this petition, we express our support for the decision of the Supreme Court and demand

1. An immediate ban on vigilante groups irrespective of any cause that has brought them into existence.

2. Unconditional and unequivocal condemnation of vigilantism from the National and State Governments.

3. Social support and compensation for victims.

SIGN THE PETITION HERE.