Tag Archives: Biswajit Roy

New Phase in Struggle for Release of Political Prisoners in West Bengal: Biswajit Roy

Guest post by BISWAJIT ROY

Civil society, including human rights groups, in Bengal are now divided on Mamata Banerjee government’s ‘open and hidden’ conditions regarding the release of political prisoners who have been jailed during the Left front rule as well as talks with Maoists and Maoist-backed Peoples Committee against Police Atrocities in Bengal’s tribal hinterland, known as Junglemahal.

Mamata and her ministers have rejected the demands for unconditional release of all political prisoners, immediate withdrawal of joint forces from Junglemahal and public announcement on non-enforcement of the draconian central law, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Maoists and PCPA have accused Mamata of eating up her pre-poll words on those demands. A large section in the human rights movement including the intellectuals and activists who actively joined the Mamata-led campaign for regime-change now supported these demands. But some of their fellow travellers have differed on political and legal grounds.

The differences revealed contradictions between the pre-poll and post-poll positions of Mamata as well as chinks in the armour of human rights groups on the attitude to the new government, Maoists and PCPA. Tension among all the stakeholders in the process— Mamata, Maoists, human rights groups and individuals— was well-known within the concerned circles for quite some time. But none of the stakeholders dwelt on it in public before the assembly polls when they had made common cause against the CPM, particularly, the atrocities by CPM-joint forces combine.

I would like to dwell on post-poll dilemmas and fissures in the pro-Paribartan civil society in Bengal later. But this piece is primarily aimed at reporting the increasing manifestations of the hitherto latent tension.

Continue reading New Phase in Struggle for Release of Political Prisoners in West Bengal: Biswajit Roy

Reflections on the Bigots of Embedded Media: Biswajit Roy

Guest post by BISWAJIT ROY

Now that the xenophobic and paranoid big media clamour for slapping sedition charges against Arundhati Roy and others for speaking up their mind on Kashmir, has temporarily subsided, it is time for some reflection.  This clamour has only underlined the increasingly shrill bigotry of a section of Indian journalists who are deeply embedded in the right-wing statist mission, a la Arnab Goswami. Their stakes in the race for Padma awards or Rajya Sabha nominations may be one of their personal motives for behaving the way they do – baying for the blood of the dissenters and whistle-blowers while ignoring the ground reality in Kashmir valley today. But there may also be corporate institutional compulsions. However, they are espousing bigotry at the expense of the media’s role as the protector and disseminator of dissent in public life as well as watchdog against excesses and abuses of power by the government and other wings of the State in the name of national security and national interests. As a media professional, I would like to share some of my encounters with these self-proclaimed guardians of Indian nationalism in media and frontiers of mainstream journalism.

The Kargil War: the self-proclaimed guardians of national interests Continue reading Reflections on the Bigots of Embedded Media: Biswajit Roy

Reading Ayodhya Judgement II: Biswajit Roy

Guest post by BISWAJIT ROY

In my earlier piece, I had noted Justice Khan’s pluralist-nationalist sentiments and his anguished pleas to Muslims to ‘avail the opportunity to impress others with the message’ of ‘peace-friend ship- tolerance’ by accommodating Hindu faith-based claims to the area under the central dome of the demolished mosque as Ram Janamsthan. But I failed to find similar sentiments or espousal of the need of inter-community reconciliation on equal footing in the ‘bulky’ exposition of Justice Agarwal, despite his concurrence to Khan’s order for three-way partition of the disputed land, as well as justice Verma’s judgment that had awarded entire place to Hindus.

Continue reading Reading Ayodhya Judgement II: Biswajit Roy