Category Archives: Centre watch

‘Patriotism’ Made Easy in Times of ‘WhatsApp Elections’

A WhatsApp-sponsored report, prepared in partnership with Queen Mary University, has raised the alarm that the 2019 elections in India, which already has cleavages on lines of caste, race, gender, religion, would be a fertile ground for damaging fake news.

‘Patriotism’ Made Easy in Times of ‘WhatsApp Elections’

There was a time when ‘Good Morning’ messages were causing much “pain” to internet giants?

It was the beginning of last year when the obsession of Indians with starting their day with a deluge of ‘Good Morning’ messages flooded WhatsApp, and generated a lot of chuckle. But it but also raised serious concerns such as the overloading WhatsApp servers, and clogging Android phones.

We were told how millions of Indians were getting online for the first time and how everyone was getting hooked on to WhatsApp. Their obsession with sending such messages was causing “..[s]ome serious pain for Internet giants.” Not only WhatsApp but even Google researchers in Silicon Valley had noted how “[I]nternet newbies are overloading their Android phones with Good Morning messages.”

Nobody then had any premonition that India would shortly come under scanner for the spread of online disinformation and fake news resulting in a string of murders and growth of anti-minority sentiments. A report published by BBC’s Beyond Fake News Series had tried to corroborate this.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/patriotism-made-easy-times-whatsapp-elections)

 

The Misplaced Celebration around Priyanka Gandhi: Bobby Kunhu

Guest post by BOBBY KUNHU

At this important political juncture in Indian polity, anything that seems to give hope of seeing the last of the absurd and nightmarish theatre that has been happening in the name of governance for the last four odd years, would definitely be welcome to any rational person with elementary notions of value and justice – across ideological spectrum. This is the reason why I believe that Priyanka Gandhi’s entry into politics is well timed and strategic – ensuring that she is discussed in all possible terms across the board. Everyone who hates, loves or is even indifferent is in a tizzy at her entry – and till now Priyanka seems to be taking the publicity, including the hate publicity with grace and equanimity! This does not however mean or show how the polity is going to react to Priyanka’s entry into politics, because despite the timing, even many of the usual Modi fans in the media have announced the end of the Modi era, at least for the time being.

Continue reading The Misplaced Celebration around Priyanka Gandhi: Bobby Kunhu

My Friend Anand

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It is rather difficult to begin when you know that within a few days or weeks, one of your close friends could be behind bars under one of the most draconian laws crafted by this Republic.

The world knows him as Anand Teltumbde, but for me he has always been Anand.

Merely four months ago, we were together in a seminar in Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh) where Anand spoke on one of his key concerns, namely, the divergence between dalit and Left movements. Continue reading My Friend Anand

Statement on threatened arrest of Prof. Anand Teltumbde : AIFTRE

Guest Post by AIFTRE

AIFRTE condemns threatened arrest of Prof. Anand Teltumbde

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 Professor Anand Teltumbde, an IIM-Ahmedabad alumnus, IIT Professor, Executive Director of BPCL, Ex-MD & CEO of Petronet India, Senior Professor and Chair, Big Data Analytics in GIM, author of 26 books, columnist in EPW, writer of innumerable articles, a noted scholar of caste-class and public policy issues, Leading Public Intellectual and Democratic and Educational Rights Activist faces imminent threat of arrest as an ‘Urban Maoist’ in the vilest post-independence plot by the state.  

The criminal farce of exploiting an important day of commemoration for the Dalits, the anniversary of the battle that took place at Bhima-Koregaon in 1818 in which the Mahar soldiers played a leading role in defeating the Peshwa rulers, to incarcerate select human rights defenders, intellectuals and activists in peoples’ movements and curb dissent in the country is an unprecedented and blatant abuse of power

Justice P B Sawant, retired judge of the Supreme Court and Justice B G Kolse-Patil, ex-judge of the Bombay High Court invited activists and progressive intellectuals to the Elgar Parishad on 31 December 2017 at Shaniwarwada to mobilize people against the communal and casteist policies of the NDA government led by the BJP. More than 250 organizations joined, including  some Maratha organizations who had never before aligned politically with the Dalits. This alarmed the power obsessed BJP, which responded by commissioning its agent provocateurs, Milind Ekbote of Samastha Hindutva Aghadi and Sambhaji Bhide of Shiv Chhatrapati Pratishan, to create a rift between Dalits and Marathas.

At the end of the conference, participants took an oath not to vote for the BJP and to protect the constitution of India. The entire conference was video-recorded by the police as well as by the organizers. Nothing untoward took place at the conference and all the delegates dispersed peacefully.

On 1 January, when Dalits congregated at Bhima-Koregaon, the Hindutva goons mounted a planned attack pelting stones from the terraces of houses lining the road, beating people and burning stalls. The police merely looked on, establishing the administration’s complicity. Rumours that mischief was planned were widespread among common people, but the administration had feigned ignorance and allowed riots to happen. WhatsApp messages showed saffron flag bearers shouting slogans in the name of Ekbote and Bhide chasing and beating the Dalits who were caught unawares.

On 8 January, one Tushar Damgade, an RSS functionary and a disciple of Sambhaji Bhide, filed an FIR naming Kabir Kala Manch activists for organizing the Elgar Parishad, claiming that inflammatory speeches caused the violence on 1 January.

Nine days after the conference, the police began working according to this scripted plan. They raided houses of specific people and insinuated that Maoists had funded and organized the Parishad, ignoring the public statements by Justice Kolshe-Patil and in the chargesheet attached a statement attributed to Justice Sawant, which he has publicly denied.

आई आई टी मद्रास – आधुनिक दौर का अग्रहरम !

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नागेश / बदला हुआ नाम/ – जो आई आई टी मद्रास में अध्ययनरत एक तेज विद्यार्थी है, तथा समाज के बेहद गरीब तबके से आता है – उसे उस दिन मेस में प्रवेश करते वक्त़ जिस अपमानजनक अनुभव से गुजरना पड़ा, वह नाकाबिले बयानात कहा जा सकता है। उसे अपने गांव की जातीय संरचना की तथा उससे जुड़े घृणित अनुभवों की याद आयी। दरअसल किसी ने उसे बाकायदा मेस में प्रवेश करते वक्त़ रोका और कहा कि अगर वह मांसाहारी है, तो दूसरे गेट से प्रवेश करे।

मेस के गेट पर बाकायदा एक पोस्टर लगा था, जिसे इस नये ‘निज़ाम’ की सूचना दी गयी थी। यहां तक कि अपने खाने की पसंदगी के हिसाब से हाथ धोने के बेसिन भी बांट दिए गए थे। ‘शाकाहारी’ और ‘मांसाहारी’। एक रिपोर्टर से बात करते हुए नागेश अपने गुस्से को काबू करने में असमर्थ दिख रहे थे। उन्होंने पूछा कि आखिर आई आई टी का प्रबंधन ऐसे भेदभावजनक आदेश को छात्रों से सलाह मशविरा किए बिना कैसे निकाल सकता है। Continue reading आई आई टी मद्रास – आधुनिक दौर का अग्रहरम !

Scrap the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, It is Unconstitutional, Illegal and Immoral : 70 People’s Organizations of Assam

Guest Post by 70 People’s Organizations of Assam 

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( Photo Courtesy : AISA)

Protestors from various democratic organisations in Assam have began an indefinite dharna in Jantar Mantar from today 9 Dec. This includes KMSS and peasant leader Akhil Gogoi, AJYCP, Tai Ahom Satra Sontha, Asom Moran Sabha, All Asam Motok Sonmilon, All Asam Minority Students Union, and 70 other organizations of indigenous population of Assam, who are part of an umbrella platform against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016. This Bill seeks to change the very definition of a Citizen of the country and include a religious dimension to it as part of the RSS’s ideological project. The effects of this Bill can be seen in starkly in Assam – which has been to fuel ethnic and religious anxieties and conflict. Protests against it has also taken unprecedented forms in recent months with participation of millions of indigenous people, including Assam bandhs, and so on.
Find below the text of the Leaflet issued by them. Please forward and Join in the Solidarity.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 which was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 15thJuly, 2016 [Bill No. 172 of 2016] has already caused deep anguish in the minds of the democratic India. A Joint Parliamentary Committee has also been constituted to examine this Bill. Despite wide-spread protests in Assam against the Bill, the BJP aggressively aims to pass the Bill in the coming Winter Session of the Parliament which will help to make their dream of the Hindurashtra a reality. 
 
*Why the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 is unconstitutional, illegal, unethical and immoral?*
 
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 seeks to make fundamental alterations in the citizenship and immigration norms of India on the basis of religion. The Bill proposes to exclude ‘minority communities, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan’ – from the scope of the definition of being ‘illegal migrant’. The Bill further reduces the requirement of 11 years to acquire “citizenship by naturalization” to only six years of ordinary residence for such immigrants. The ‘Statement of objects and reasons’ of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 also makes it clear that the Bill intends to declare ‘illegal migrants’ as Indian citizens. Several Indian government notifications and orders have already enabled persons of these communities who had entered India till 31st December, 2014 to get shelter without valid documents. 
 
The Bill will change the philosophical premise on which Indian citizenship is granted. The principle on which Indian citizenship is granted is jus soli where citizenship of a person is determined by the place where a person is born. However,if the Bill passes, it will make a shift from jus soli to jus sanguinis, where a person acquires citizenship on the principle of blood, which our Constitution-makers consciously avoided. India’s Constitutional experts have opined that the Bill is unprecedented as never before has religion been specifically identified in the citizenship law as the ground for distinguishing between citizens and non-citizens. The ideas spelt out in the proposed Bill are against the ethos and spirit of the Indian Constitution. It will violate the spirit of the Preamble of the Indian Constitution and is also against the Articles 14, 15, 25 and 26 of the Indian Constitution. 
 
An extra-ordinary and widespread peoples’ movement has now swept across Assam and the entire North-East India against the Bill. We, the people of Assam feel that the Bill will change Assam’s political, economic and social fabric forever. The Bill will violate the clause 6 (A) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, a special provision for Assam, which is a non-obstante clause. If the Bill passes, it will make the Assam Accord null and void. It will be a violation of the national promise. The people of Assam are afraid that the Bill will open ways to creating further insecurity and pressures in a region already over-burdened with large-scale demographic changes due to illegal migration. It will create religious basis for it, and fuel fresh rounds of ethnic and religious conflict.
 
*We, an umbrella platform of 70 ‘Jatiya’ (national) organizations of Assam, are on a hunger strike for an indefinite period in Delhi from 9th December, 2018 demanding the immediate scrapping of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 for the sake of the Indian Constitution, and its moral, legal and ethical values, and to protect Assam and her inhabitants from another long spell of social and political strife.*
 
*The Government of India plans to pass the Bill in this Winter Session of the Parliament. We appeal all political parties, organizations and individuals of India to be united to oppose this unconstitutional Bill. We sincerely believe that you will extend your support to us, and oppose the Bill to save our Constitution and democracy.*
 
contact: secretarykmss@gmail.com, 8638084494, 8826219749

 

 

 

 

 

Disinheriting Adivasis – The Gadchiroli Game Plan: Vidhya A

Guest post by VIDHYA A

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In a statement issued on April 16th 2018, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) claimed that the ‘National Policy and Action Plan’ to combat Left Wing Extremism (LWE) is ‘a multi-pronged strategy involving security and development related measures’[1]. This new policy, apparently in place since the NDA government came to power at the centre, claims to have ‘zero tolerance towards violence coupled with a big push to developmental activities so that benefits of development reached the poor and vulnerable in the affected areas’[2]. The statement talks of substantial improvement in the LWE scenario by indicating reduced incidents of violence over the last four years. Within a week of this statement to the press, several Maoists are killed in an alleged encounter in Gadchiroli district of Maharastra and, then, in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh[3]. The Maharashtra state police immediately issued press notes and organised a press conference on April 24th declaring the operation an unmitigated success. A week later, Chhattisgarh police did the same. Even as the death count of Maoists kept rising, the police claimed that none of their personnel, primarily the elite C-60 force in Maharashtra and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), were seriously injured let alone killed in action.

Continue reading Disinheriting Adivasis – The Gadchiroli Game Plan: Vidhya A