What is there to say? What can one say that has not already been said umpteen times before – during earlier rounds of communal violence elsewhere – and in Delhi this time?
The political class, true to its character, has revealed as it has so many times in the past, that when it comes to matters like communal violence, it is simply paralyzed – perhaps with the exception of the Left in states where it was strong enough to impact things. For all its failures in other respects, this was one where the Bengal Left, for instance, too had in the past shown great promptness in nipping such possibilities in the bud. Most often this was done, not by relying only on the administrative power of the state, but with the entire party machinery moving into action. Kerala too has had a similar record. But those instances apart, especially in states of the Northern or Western India, there hasn’t been much to write home about. What entering the political domain does to you is illustrated so starkly by the fate of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and its utter capitulation to what it imagines to be the ‘Hindu sentiment’.
Continue reading The Violence in Delhi, Politics and ‘Heroism of the Ordinary’
Joint Statement by Feminists Urging the President of India
to Commute Death Sentence to Life Imprisonment
As individuals and groups who have been engaged in the struggles for women’s rights, safety and justice, it is often presumed that we would support the demand for death penalty for sexual assault. But for decades, even as we have consistently fought to make the world safer for women through changes in policy and law, and social awareness by breaking the silence on these heinous crimes, we have consistently argued against the death penalty for sexual assault, as well as, all other crimes.
In the light of the death warrant being issued on 7 January 2020 against Akshay Kumar, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta, and Mukesh Singh convicted of the brutal assault, gangrape and murder of a 23-year old medical intern in Delhi in December 2012, we reiterate our position against the death penalty. Continue reading Execution of Gang Rape and Murder Convicts Will Not Serve Cause of Justice: Statement by Feminists
Sustained reportage by dogged and principled journalists and investigation by citizens’ groups have gradually begun to illuminate the terrible darkness around anti CAA protests in UP over December 2019. Every single one of these has exploded the narrative fostered by the UP government, police and compliant local media, of violent mobs destroying public property and attacking police.
We have all noted that massive marches against the CAA have taken place all over the country, but have “turned violent” only in BJP ruled states. The various reports that are now emerging, reveal the extent to which the UP police either acted as a violent mob itself, or used police informers or local RSS organizations to start stone pelting and other such acts to disrupt non-violent marches, and to provide an excuse for violent police action.
A public hearing on state action in UP will be held in Delhi on January 16th, 2020, bringing together all the information collected by different groups of people who have visited different parts of the state.
Here we present the report on Sambhal.
A team went to Sambhal from Karwan-e-Mohabbat on 2 January, 2020, consisting of Ayesha Kidwai, Farida Khan, Navsharan Singh, Nivedita Menon, Sandeep Yadav, Sumit Gupta, Tanika Sarkar and Varna Balakrishnan. Continue reading Muslims held hostage by a criminal state apparatus in UP – a report on Sambhal
Guest Post by JAYA SHARMA
This article that explores the enjoyment of violence, epsecially in the social media world, in the wake of the brutal violence perpetrated by the Yogi Adityanath regime in Uttar Pradesh. It should be read as a sequel to Jaya Sharma’s earlier article published in Kafila in June last year.
‘Maza aa gaya Yogiji maza…Lathi aisi lagi ki maza aa gaya…’
Maza is a word used often in tweets in response to police attacks on CAA-NRC protestors in UP. Unlike it’s staid, sanskritized counterpart anand, maza has a charge, a buzz and could translate into English as ‘thrill’. ‘Thrilling Yogiji thrilling’… ‘The way the lathi struck…thrilling’. I’ll return to such tweets to explore the following questions.
Might it be that there is an erotic charge to political violence? Might it be that the erotic charge is not limited to those who perform the violence but also animates the millions who hear, see or read that such violence has been meted out? Well beyond “not caring”, might it be that they “get off” on such violence? Can the proactive, enthusiastic support for political violence be understood only in terms of “ordinary folk” being corrupted by evil leaders? Might we also need to see what within the collective psyche could be pushing them towards a terrible kind of enjoyment of such violence? Continue reading The Yogi and the Erotics of Violence: Jaya Sharma
GUEST POST BY C. P. GEEVAN
NPR and NRC – An Enigmatic Clarification
It was difficult to miss the smugness with which the Home Minister of India (HM) addressed a TV show he had orchestrated through one of the infamous godi (lapdog) media after the central cabinet had approved Rs 39.41 billion for updating the National Population Register (NPR) and Rs 85 billion for Census 2021 operations.The show was meant to dispel the misgivings about the link between NPR and the nationwide NRC—National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC). In meetings across the country and within the Parliament, the HM had been proclaiming or rather threatening to carry out NRIC. However, his enigmatic statements did nothing to allay the grave fears people across India have about NPR, given the government’s obsession and resolve to identify what they call illegal residents. There is no doubt that instead of pressing concerns such as unemployment, alarming fall in per capita consumption and an extraordinary economic slump, of late the single-minded focus of the regime is on dividing the Indian people into different categories, branding, imprisoning and even throwing some out of India. Continue reading Nationwide NRC -The Devil at the Heart of India’s Draconian Digitalization: CP Geevan
With the central government denying three states’ – Bengal, Kerala and Maharashtra – tableaux proposals for Republic Day, politics has reached a new low. There is no doubt that the current struggles against the CAA/NRC and the confrontational stance of the Centre with these governments has a lot to do with this denial. The following is a petition that was started by Not in My Name Bangalore but it is a broad appeal to all chief ministers, minister and legislators, to boycott this farcical celebration of the Republic while destroying its very spirit.
You can sign the petition here
Dear Chief Ministers, Ministers and Legislators,
We, citizens of India, have watched with horror and no little terror the political developments since 2014, and especially since the elections of 2019. There has been a steady attack on, and erosion of, our constitutional rights in this time.
The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), in conjunction with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and its precursor, the National Population Register (NPR), is a big blow to the Constitution of India. It is as disastrous and it is unconstitutional, and officially rings in the establishment of a Hindu Rashtra.
There has been staunch resistance to the CAA, most powerfully from student communities across the country. We wholeheartedly support them, in our words and on the streets. What was equally heartening was the pushback from the political establishment in a number of states – in varying degrees, it is true, but still truly a cause for hope. Continue reading Citizens Ask States to Boycott Republic Day Parade
Guest post by Indians Against Fascism Munich
On Saturday (21st Dec), a crowd of around one hundred Indians residing in Munich and surrounding assembled at Geschwister Scholl Platz, a square in front of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register for Citizens (NRC). This place was chosen for its historical significance as it was from here that the White Rose resistance movement against the Nazi regime had started.
Continue reading Demonstration in Munich in Solidarity with anti CAA/NRC Struggles: Indians Against Fascism Munich