Statement on Atrocities on Dalits : New Socialist Initiative

Guest Post by New Socialist Initiative

New Socialist Initiative Condemns Hindutva Engineered and Inspired Atrocities on Dalits

Hardly a day passes without headline news of some or another atrocity on Dalits. On 24 May, a Dalit man in the Ahmedabad district was beaten and his house attacked by a gang of socalled ‘upper’ caste men after he had attached Sinh to his name on his facebook post.  On 21 May a dalit ragpicker was beaten to death in a Rajkot factory. Atrocities on Dalits are occurring in the midst of a public ideological environment against them. On 26 May news came of a private school in Delhi asking 8th class students to write a note on how reservations help undeserving and unqualified people for their summer vacation homework.  According to National Crime Record Bureau reports for recent years, between 10 to 15 thousand cases of crimes are reported under the Prevention of Atrocities act every year; an average of 35 crimes per day. Many times more crimes actually go unreported. In 2016 Indian courts had over 45 thousand cases under this act. Out of the 4048 cases decided, conviction occurred in 659 cases only. That is, five out of six cases of atrocity against Dalits did not result in any punishment. The number of attacks against one of the weakest and the poorest sections of the society, and the abysmal rate of conviction would put any civilized society to shame, but India chugs along. Continue reading “Statement on Atrocities on Dalits : New Socialist Initiative”

The Danger of ‘Islamic Terrorism’ Course in JNU – An Open Letter to the President of India: Abhay Kumar

Guest post by ABHAY KUMAR

Dear Ram Nath Kovind Ji,

Within a few weeks I have to submit my PhD thesis at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). Given that the deadline for my submission is at hand, I should have spent all my energies on my thesis rather than writing this letter to you. But I couldn’t help doing this. Through this letter, I would like to bring to your notice a very serious issue that has recently come up in JNU. Since you are the Visitor of this University, I think I should bring this matter to your notice. You are requested to make an urgent intervention.

As the media reports suggest, the Academic Council (AC) of JNU, held on May 18, 2018, took a decision to open a new course called ‘Islamic Terrorism’. It is learnt that the AC meeting approved in principle a new course called ‘Islamic Terrorism’. This course will be one among other courses offered by the proposed centre to be known as Centre for National Security Studies (CNSS). However, some people say that ‘Islamic Terrorism’ is not a new course but it is a theme of a paper on national security that includes other themes like ‘Naxalism’, ‘Insurgency’, ‘Demographic changes’ etc. Dear Sir, much confusion still persists and we are still waiting for the JNU administration to come out with all relevant facts and clarify its stand on these highly controversial issues. But the apprehension among us is growing that the current JNU administration appears adamant to change the character of JNU and push several hawkish agendas ahead. Continue reading “The Danger of ‘Islamic Terrorism’ Course in JNU – An Open Letter to the President of India: Abhay Kumar”

National Alliance of People’s Movements condemns killing of Anti-Sterlite protestors

NAPM demands Court – monitored Judicial Inquiry by Retired Apex Court Judge & action against senior political leaders, officials responsible for the massacre. Demands that Government of Tamil Nadu must ensure permanent shut down of old and proposed units of Sterlite.

National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) strongly condemns the brutal gunning down of over 11 citizens including a 17 year old girl and violence on more than 60 persons by the Tamil Nadu Police, during the mass and largely peaceful protests against the Sterilite Copper Plant of Vedanta Pvt. Ltd. in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu. It is know that the people of Thoothukudi have been protesting against the pollution of ground water and air by the copper smelter for years. This current phase of protest started in early march when the expansion of Sterlite plant to double capacity was announced.  On the 100th day of protest i.e. 22nd May, against the Sterlite copper unit Ltd, thousands of people of Thoothukudi took out a pre-announced march towards the Collectorate. The march was to reiterate their demand to shut down the existing copper smelter, causing severe pollution and health hazards. Over 10,000 people – men, women and children marched to meet the collector. Continue reading “National Alliance of People’s Movements condemns killing of Anti-Sterlite protestors”

The Karnataka Moment and the Search for a ‘Bonapartist’ Figure – Looking at 2019

There are enough reasons for for the upbeat and celebratory mood in the anti-BJP-RSS camp following the resignation of BS Yeddyurappa even before the floor test. After all, for once, the game plan of the Modi-Shah duo fell flat, thanks in no small measure, to the Supreme Court’s intervention in directing that the floor test be done by 19 May, knocking down the (RSS) Governor’s initial provision of 15 days to the government to prove its majority. In a manner of speaking, we escaped just by the skin of our teeth.

Both the parties concerned – the Congress and the Janata Dal (S) – were on tenterhooks throughout and the surreal accounts of the high drama of the past three days read like they could be about the nether worlds of crime and mafias. Offers to buy off MLAs with money ranging from Rs 5 crores and a ministry to Rs 100 crores have openly been alleged but these were the relatively minor matters. Congress and JD (S) MLAs were not allowed to leave Bengaluru as their chartered flights were ‘denied permission’. [An MLA, in fact told the Times of India, in the same report linked here that by manipulating resources, the BJP had ‘caged us’ in the state]. Their security cover was withdrawn. The management of the resort in Kochi (another state, not even ruled by the BJP) they had booked into by the Central leadership, actually backed out stating that they were under tremendous pressure. Then began the trip by road to Hyderabad, where eventually, it was the Telengana police that ensured their safety. Stories of individual MLAs, either being offered with withdrawal of pending cases or being threatened with harassment with new ones have also been doing the rounds. And for those who have been following what has been happening to the AAP MLAs in Delhi, nothing of this should be unbelievable.

Continue reading “The Karnataka Moment and the Search for a ‘Bonapartist’ Figure – Looking at 2019”

How the Supreme Court gave up on Democracy in Karnataka: Bobby Kunhu

Guest post by BOBBY KUNHU

There is all around jubilation in the anti-BJP, particularly the Congress camp that the Supreme Court has cut short the time given to Yediyurappa by the Governor to prove his majority from 15 days to 24 hours. This jubilation is extremely myopic and self serving and is in no way rooted in the tall claims that the Congress has been making about trying to save the Constitution. All the Supreme Court order does is reduce the window of opportunity for the BJP to indulge in horse trading and increase the chances of the Congress-JDS combine to keep their flock together and win the assembly – and also substantially reduce the resort costs.

Continue reading “How the Supreme Court gave up on Democracy in Karnataka: Bobby Kunhu”

Letter from former civil servants to Chief Secretary, Haryana on intimidation of Muslims offering namaz

Former civil servants have written open letters since 2017 (here and here), expressing their anguish at the unchecked attempts to spread hatred and discord among communities. Eleven of these civil servants have now written (on May 7, 2018) to the Chief Secretary of Haryana on the issue of harassment and intimidation of Muslims offering namaz in Haryana, by vigilante groups.

To Shri Depinder Singh Dhesi IAS,  Chief Secretary, Govt of Haryana.

Dear Chief Secretary,

We write to draw your attention to an urgent problem.

Over the last one month, Friday namaaz offered by the Muslim community in open spaces have been attacked and disrupted at several locations in Gurgaon district. These attacks have been organised by a dozen or so organisations (including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Kranti Dal, Gorakshak Dal, Hindu Jagaran Manch and Shiv Sena) that have come together under the umbrella of the Hindu Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti.

The attacks are coordinated, violent and clearly designed to terrorise and intimidate and are taking place across the district. Last Friday a group of hoodlums arrived in four jeeps at a namaaz venue on MG Road and started shouting abusive and provocative slogans at the assembled namaazis. Although a police force was present, it took no action to stop the sloganeering and threats. On the contrary, the police asked the namaazis to disperse. At a namaaz in Sector 40, the Imam who was leading the prayers was pushed to the ground. People who came for the prayers had no option but to fold up their mats and leave.

Continue reading “Letter from former civil servants to Chief Secretary, Haryana on intimidation of Muslims offering namaz”

Media professionals protest against government proposal to regulate online media

In a letter to Ms Smriti Irani, Minister of Information & Broadcasting, a group of over 100 journalists and other professionals related to online media  expressed concern over the government proposal to extend traditional broadcasting rules and restrictions to the Internet. This could have a drastic impact on a medium that is widely credited with making the media and information landscape more open and democratic across the world, their letter said. 

A website, https://onlinefreedomfoundation.org, has also been set up to allow ordinary citizens to oppose the move to regulate online content.

Letter to Minister of Information & Broadcasting

We are a group of Indian citizens who depend on the Internet to gather and share information on a daily basis.

We have come to know that this ministry has issued an order dated Apr 4, 2018 seeking to establish content regulations for the Internet modeled on those applicable for traditional media like print and TV. This letter is to place on record our feedback on the said order.

In the order, you make the following statements: Continue reading “Media professionals protest against government proposal to regulate online media”