Nearly forty people were killed last Friday (25th August) during public disturbances at Panchkula in Haryana after the CBI court verdict in the rape case of Gurmeet Ram-Rahim. Surprisingly, even though these people died in public, till Tuesday, little information was available on how were they killed. The burning, arson and assault by followers of Ram-Rahim hogged the attention of media, state administration and judiciary. Yet, a deafening silence reined on the cause of death of forty people! It is as if the media, state administration, and judiciary, had implicitly assumed that people indulging in arson after conviction of a rapist deserve to be killed any way. Continue reading Indian State, Society and ‘Public’ Through the Lens of Panchkula Killings : Sanjay Kumar→
This is to let you know how the events presently unfolding in Dharmakshetra- kurukshetra (or at least its vicinity) are making even me, a lapsed sudrathy from Kerala, more and more creative about convincing your masters in Delhi that Hindutva fanatics in Kerala are no less worthy of kind consideration than their own home-grown fanatics. Actually, is this not the time you should be making a splash? Alas, despite your earnest efforts, these days, the Kerala police (and even your arch-enemies in Kerala, though they seem to be a bit less enthusiastic these days), take all the credit of minority-bashing and gender-criminalising. And the best you can do is go home to home telling Hindu women to cover up etc. and shout at Muslim groups doing the same, accusing them of nearly the same acts.
There is an uncanny academic public silence over the Jat quota stir and the unjustified violence enacted during the stir in Haryana. The scale of violence and destruction is such that it competes for the worst instance of caste violence in Haryana’s post-Independence history. So far 30 people have lost their lives while over 200 people were injured in the nine-day violent Jat agitation demanding job quotas in Haryana. There is anger, fear and helplessness among those who lost their kin, homes, businesses and properties.At least 10 Haryana districts were severely affected by the violence. After such a huge loss, as if it was a routine, matter the Union Home Minister announced that a committee led by M Venkaiah Naidu will examine the demand by Jats for reservation in central government jobs.
In Haryana, the BJP’s government in the state has promised to bring a Bill granting OBC status to Jats in the upcoming assembly session. The Jats’ demand for reservations in the central OBC list is not new. Since 1995, Jats in Haryana have been demanding an OBC (Other Backward Class) status, which will help them secure the 27 per cent reservation in government jobs. Earlier in 1997, the Jats in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh had demanded themselves to be included in the central OBC list. It was rejected by the National Commission for Backward Classes. Subsequently UPA government’s decision to include Jats from 9 states in the OBC list was also rejected by the Supreme Court in March 2015. Despite all this, political parties such as Congress and BJP continue promising quota to Jats during election campaigns. These promises have encouraged the Jats to organize and agitate for quotas. However, their agitations for reservations have not been so violent. That is why the most pressing and important question that needs analyses is why has the current agitation by Jats been so violent? Perhaps three factors will help us to understand this severe violence and loss of property worth crores of rupees.
Guest Post by Anshita & Arya (Krantikari Naujawan Sabha)
All 310 contract workers in ASTI Electronics factory in IMT Manesar in Gurgaon, Haryana have been on dharna since 3rd November 2014 after they were laid-off on 1st November 2014 citing low work demand. Seven of them are on fast-unto-death from 24th November, while ten workers and pro-worker activists each everyday sit on relay hunger strike.
In a context where contract workers, increasing exponentially as a demand of the capitalists gleefully forced down by the government through labour law reforms, are finding it ever harder to organize/unite and sustain spontaneous outburts of discontent, due to the precarious nature of their life and work conditions, workers at ASTI Electronics (as a continuation of the 60-70 strikes in various factories in the industrial belt of Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera-Bawal in the last few months) are fighting back and keeping the flame of new emergent struggles alive.
These workers are raising important questions on contractualisation and informalisation within the organized sector which even Central Trade Unions have constantly avoided. Over 250 of these 310 workers are women whose militancy in struggle and leadership is redefining the overall struggle and changing the gender relations within the workers movement.
When polling began on the morning of April 10, our team coordinating the Aam Aadmi Party campaign in Bawal was expecting to respond to complaints of money and alcohol distribution. During the jan sabhas throughout the area, Yogendra Yadav, the AAP candidate for the constituency, had made it amply clear that, “na toh hum shraab bechenge, nah hum bikne denge.” We had spent days training booth volunteers who would be available to assist voters with information and monitor elections throughout the 200 odd villages in Bawal. Our mobile teams would document any violations of the electoral code and lodge complaints with the requisite authorities. Having campaigned in the Delhi elections for AAP, I knew firsthand that the secrecy of the ballot gave people the chance to rise above external pressures and inducements. After the hard yards of campaigning, voting day seemed set to be relaxing and I occupied myself with preparations for lunch for the numerous volunteers who were streaming in and out of our office.
Bawal is less than 100 kms from Delhi and is one of 9 legislative constituencies that comprise the Gurgaon Parliamentary constituency. In fact, Bawal falls within the National Capital Region and has been proclaimed as soon joining the constellation of Delhi’s satellite towns. There are already hi-tech factories strewn along the Delhi-Ajmer Highway and then there’s the buzz about the upcoming Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor. Of course, the symptoms of lop-sided development are visible right behind the façade of big industrial complexes. With one quick turn off the highway, the roads fall apart and you are welcomed to villages with virtually non-existent education and public health infrastructure. However, I realized the extent of the distance between Bawal and Delhi only after our phones started ringing on the morning of 10th April and we set out to see for ourselves the manner in which citizens are allowed to exercise their electoral rights, in the world’s largest democracy.
Guest post fromProvisional Working Committee (MSWU)
We from the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (MSWU) and our families continue to face not only an exploitative company management but also continous state repression since we started our agitation demanding justice and legitimate rights of workers.
This morning, Imaan Khan, one of the members of the Provisional Working Committee, MSWU, was picked up by the Haryana police while a Press Conference was underway, from outside the union office of Sarva Karmachari Sangh in Civil Lines, Gurgaon near Puspanjali Hospital.
The Myth of the ‘Misuse’ of Laws Meant for the Protection of Dalits and Tribals
Are the laws meant for the protection of Dalits and tribals are put to misuse?
It is a theme which recurs regularly in the discussions engaged in by the chattering classes of the country. While nobody can deny that frivolous cases are not filed under this act the manner in which the issue gets raised creates an impression that the only ‘use’ of this law is its ‘misuse.’ Neither the polity nor the articulate sections of our society seem ready to go for a reality check. In fact, as a marker of these classes’ ‘sensitivities’ towards this delicate issue, even Ms Mayawati in her earlier incarnations as Chief Minister of UP had cautioned the police about its ‘misuse’. She is also reported to have issued G.Os (government orders) to use this law only in cases of rapes and murders of the Dalits. Continue reading In Search of Brahmeshwar Singh, ‘the Absconder’→
The Haryana Police website has a list of proclaimed offenders. Great. E-governance and all. But how does it help them to record the caste of every ‘proclaimed offender’? Perhaps because caste is such a valuable marker of identity that it helps nabbing them – after all, where would a Chauhan hide if not in the house?
Or perhaps there is more to it.Is it merely incidental that most proclaimed offenders seem to be Balmiki Dalits in a state known for atrocities against Dalits, in which the upper castes act with impunity in collusion with the Haryana police?
Browse through and you will see, fortunately or unfortunately, that they haven’t been able to find the caste of many, and for very few Muslims have they any caste detail.
In my second year of college we had a paper called Comparative Government and Politics. The syllabus of this paper was faithful to the Cold War – two massive units were dedicated to the United States and the former USSR respectively. The information imbalance between these two heavyweights was such however that ‘good’ books on the Soviet Union were very few in number – they were carefully prescribed in class, jealously guarded in the reference section of the college library, and issued only to the quick and the deserving. When we reached the U.S unit however, the teacher gave up and we were left like a pack of wild dogs to run through the entire general section, and issue what caught our fancy. Continue reading Accidental Labour→
Investigations by the police or the intelligence officials in highly contested cases have an uncanny ability of looking weird in an unabashed manner.
The recent chargesheet filed by the CBI, which had been asked to look into the attack, and arson, at a Dalit (Valmiki) basti in Gohana, once again vindicates this thesis. According to a newspaper report the chargesheet into the 2005 Gohana riots in Haryana has ‘..revealed that some people in Balmiki Basti had set their houses on fire themselves, allegedly for compensation.” The chargesheet talks of CBI’s observations that ” extensive burning was observed in 19 out of 28 houses. Of these, nine houses were inspected thoroughly and it appeared that in these houses the “simulated arsoning” was carried out, which are yet “to get compensation”. Continue reading Touchable Crimes: Gohana Nay Kizzhevanamani→