By SHIVAM VIJ: The census counts ’urban agglomerations’, and the Census of India says that Mumbai is India’s largest urban agglomeration. This includes Mumbai’s suburbs. In counting Delhi, the suburbs are not added because They are separated by state boundaries. If you were to add suburbs of the ’National Capital Region’, Delhi’s population would be not 16 million but over 22 million, making it the world’s largest urban agglomeration after Tokyo. This bustling urban centre is made of its people. Today’s Delhi cannot be stereotyped as just the seat of power. There is more to Delhi than the endless roundabouts of Lutyens’ capital.
Delhi’s core – the Partition refugee Punjabi – is not xenophobic like the Marathi ’manoos’ of Mumbai. In fact Delhi today is what Bombay once was, India’s foremost cosmopolitan metropolis. It is the city of choice for people from across India to migrate to with dreams of riches.
A lot has been written about “the Delhi gang-rape”. 16 December 2012 started a conversation that doesn’t seem to end. This conversation has largely been about rape, not about Delhi. Continue reading In Delhi’s defence→
Protestors at the ‘Freedom Parade’ Rally of the Bekhauf Azadi Campaign, New Delhi, 26 January, 2013
Guest Post by Bekhauf Azadi (Freedom Without Fear) Campaign.
People’s Watch Over Parliament: February 21, 1st Day of the Budget Session, Jantar Mantar
Gather in large numbers – 12 PM onwards at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi.
Are Our Lawmakers Ready to Listen to the Voice of the Movement Against Sexual Violence?
There are days in which streaks of hope shine through dark clouds of misery. The 9th of February, 2013, was such a day.
The day broke with the news that the noose of the Indian state had finally seized the throat of Mohammad Afzal Guru after years of careful conspiracy. With ill-concealed admiration, the television screens reported the military swiftness, the secrecy, and the perfection with which a nuclear-powered state with one of the largest armies in the world escorted an unarmed, hapless Kashmiri to the gallows, performed its rituals, and pulled the bolt. As the murder was officially videographed with full legal sanction, the body was kept dangling for thirty minutes before it was pulled down and immediately buried in an ‘unmarked’ grave, protected by layers and layers of impenetrable walls. The case of Afzal Guru was thus brought to a ‘closure’. So hoped the state. Continue reading The Day Afzal Died: Nirmalangshu Mukherji→
Guest post by WARISHA FARASAT, who was present at the peaceful Jantar Mantar protest against the execution of Afzal Guru
We have been finally denied even the basic right to a peaceful protest. Two incidents over the last week have proven that only the right wing Hindutva groups have the right to protest in this country; the unbridled right to disrupt all other peaceful protests; and to ensure that the civil liberties groups are pushed even further against the wall. Two days ago, a peaceful student protest against Narendra Modi’s speech at Delhi University was met with brutal response, which has been reported extensively. Today, as Shuddhabrata Sengupta has poignantly pointed in his earlier post there were peaceful silent protests against the secretive hanging of Afzal Guru, and also for the abolition of the death penalty from the criminal statute books at Jantar Mantar. But what unraveled thereafter was shameful. The police watched and participated while young and brave University students, several of them Kashmiri, were beaten up. I saw young women with scarves, which were seen as a marker of their identity being targeted, groped, beaten, humiliated, abused, and finally arrested. Other respected civil liberties activists, lawyers, and even journalists were abused, kicked, beaten, and their faces blackened. Continue reading Do we have the right to a peaceful protest?: Warisha Farasat→
A small group of citizens, mainly young people from different universities in Delhi, and people associated with civil rights groups and initiatives, had gathered at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi this afternoon at 1:00 pm to express their protest against the execution by hanging of Afzal Guru at 8:00 am this morning in Tihar Prison.
The protest was dignified and entirely peaceful. It was interrupted suddenly when a large mob gathered and began heckling the protestors. I was present there, and I clearly heard this mob of young men hurl, unprintable abuses at the men and women who were peacefully protesting against the execution of Afzal Guru. Some of them wore saffron scarves that clearly identified them as being the storm troopers of the far right. They repeatedly chanted violent and incendiary slogans which included the following – “shoot them all”, “kill the traitors”. These alternated with patriotic chants. I have never seen a more nakedly bloodthirsty exhibition of the far right wing version of Indian nationalism on the streets of Delhi. The mob made threatening gestures and advanced towards the line of protestors. Continue reading Peaceful Protest Against Afzal Guru’s Execution at Jantar Mantar Broken Up by Right Wing Goons and Delhi Police→
The UPA Govt, in a Cabinet meeting held on 1 February, has introduced an ordinance that it claims will address the most urgent concerns on sexual violence. In fact, the Government has been completely reluctant to acknowledge and implement the Justice Verma Committee recommendations: the PM refused to accept it from Justuce Verma, the Ministry of Home Affairs removed it from their website, the Govt never adopted any transparent process of discussion to decide the way forward on implementing the recommendations, rather they said Justice Verma ‘exceeded his brief’. Now, they claim that their ordinance has ‘implemented’ the Justice Verma recommendations. Is this true?
The fact is that the Government’s ordinance is a mockery of the letter and spirit of the Justice Verma recommendations. Why? Let us take a closer look.
[ Protestors from the Bekhauf Azaadi/Freedom Without Fear Campaign Demanding Complete Implementation of the Justice Verma Committee Recommendations during the Freedom Parade to Reclaim the Republic on Republic Day, 26 January, 2012 in New Delhi. ]
So, first they come with water cannons and tear gas, and then they come with an ordnance.
Yesterday, the Union Cabinet decided to rush drafting an ordinance in response to the massive protests against rape and sexual violence that have been occurring ever since the 16th of December, 2012. According to preliminary reports, the ordnance, which will be signed into law by the President of India before Parliament even meets, flies in the face of the detailed and exhaustive list of recommendations made by the Justice Verma Committee (JVC) which had been hailed by the protesting young people and a large number of women’s organisations. In other words, the government feels no need to discuss the JVC in parliament. It feels no need to even give time and an opportunity for its recommendations to sink in, for there to be more thinking, more ideas, more awareness of the issues and questions at stake. No wonder, the government had so hastily pulled down the JVC report from its own websites after it had been released. Continue reading Water Cannons, Tear Gas, Ordinance: How the State Responds to Protests Against Rape and the Justice Verma Committee→