Everybody Loves A Good Riot

This here is a 360 video of Friday namaaz at the Rangrezi masjid in Lisad, a village where 13 Muslims were killed in the Muzaffarnagar Riots of 2013.

Play the video, and tilt your phone left, right, up or down to explore the mosque. If you are watching this on your computer, click on the screen and drag your mouse to look around this space.

I shot this video last week in Muzaffarnagar as part of “Everybody Loves A Good Riot” – an immersive multimedia project detailing western Uttar Pradesh’s “riot economy”. The story features 2 more 360 videos like the one above, as well as a text story to mark the 3rd anniversary of the Muzaffarnagar riots. Experience the full story here

Allahabad High Court Order on Government Schools in U.P: Devanik Saha

This is a guest post by Devanik Saha

The judiciary in India can be highly unpredictable. Either it is accused of not doing enough to provide justice to victims or it is hailed for giving landmark judgments. In a recent controversial decision, the Allahabad High Court ordered that all children of government servants and elected representatives in Uttar Pradesh should mandatorily send their wards to government schools. It noted that “Only then would they be serious enough to look into the requirements of these schools and ensure that they are run in good condition”.

While the decision has evoked sharp reactions from UP legislators, it has been fiercely debated in the media fraternity, with mixed responses. The wretched condition of government schools (in every state) in India isn’t a hidden fact. While India has achieved impressive rates of school enrolment – the quality of education and learning outcomes – have been extremely dismal.

An analysis by data journalism portal IndiaSpend revealed that Rs 5,86,085 crore has been spent on primary education in the past 10 years and 80% of the expenditure on education is spent on teachers, but the state of affairs continue to be dreary, which has led to the mushrooming of low income private schools. The number of students enrolled in private schools in UP has risen from 32.2% in 2006 to 52.8% in 2014, according to the Annual Survey Education Report (ASER) by Pratham, an education NGO.

Continue reading “Allahabad High Court Order on Government Schools in U.P: Devanik Saha”

A Stolen Verdict: Nirmalangshu Mukherji

Guest Post by NIRMALANGSHU MUKHERJI

The Bharatiya Janata Party secured about 19% votes in the general elections of 2009 to win 116 seats in the Parliament. With this most impressive conversion ratio, they had more or less exhausted their possibilities in their ‘safe’ states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, and the like. They were still 157 seats away from a simple majority in the Loksabha. Even assuming the impressive conversion ratio, they needed at least 26% more of the vote share, that is 45% in all, to form a government.

When the elections for 2014 were announced, it was hard to see where the BJP would get these additional votes from. Moreover, unlike the NDA of 1999-2004, they had rather modest support from other parties with most of the big parties like AIADMK, TMC, JDU, BJD, and the like staying away. Hence, even if we factor in some rise in number of seats in ‘safe’ states, plus handsome gains in Rajasthan, Maharashtra etc., their ability to reach anywhere near the 272+ mark looked rather dim.

Continue reading “A Stolen Verdict: Nirmalangshu Mukherji”

In the relief camps of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli

This report was prepared by a group of citizens (whose names are given at the end), and released on 20 September 2013.

shamli

A human tragedy unfolds, as the State watches, In the relief camps of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli Districts

A Preliminary Citizens’ Report
September 20, 2013

A. On September 17-18, 2013, an 11 member team consisting of both independent activists as well as activists affiliated with 5 organizations based in Lucknow, Chitrakoot, Muzaffarnagar and Delhi visited relief camps in two affected districts of Muzaffarnagar (3 Relief Camps – Madrasa camp at Bassi Kalan, Madrasa camp at Tawli and camp at Haji Aala’s house, Shahpur) and Shamli (3 Relief Camps – Madrasa camp on Panipat Road in Kairana, Malakpur camp in Kairana, and the Idgah camp in Kandhla). In Shamli District the team also met with senior members of the district administration – the District Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police.

B. This was not conceived of as a fact-finding visit, but was a recce visit to determine the human needs on the ground in the relief camps, and to see how we might plan to help survivors in initiating procedures towards criminal justice (lodging of FIRs and complaints), accessing compensation for death, injury, destruction of property, planning rehabilitation, and also to confirm unverified news reports of sexual violence against women. Continue reading “In the relief camps of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli”

The BJP’s 2014 bid: A state-wise look and three key states where Modi may be risking party fortunes : Manish Dubey

This is a guest post by MANISH DUBEY: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lacks effective presence in several States, including large ones such as Andhra Pradesh (AP), Kerala, Tamil Nadu (TN) and West Bengal (WB) and others in the North-east (NE) barring Assam to an extent, and is unlikely to mount a credible challenge in the 168 Lok Sabha (LS) seats these account for.  Its 2014 tally from these States will remain in the lower single digits, as it was in 2004 and 2009. Odisha and Punjab, with 34 LS seats between them, are unlikely to add substantially to the party’s tally either. In Odisha, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Indian National Congress (INC) are better entrenched. In Punjab, seat sharing arrangements with the locally dominant partner, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)- Badal, will limit potential (individual) pickings for the party. Pickings are also likely to be limited from Jharkhand (14 LS seats) where besides the INC, a number of regional parties, each with strong local bases and candidates, would be in the fray. Till recently, even Karnataka (28 LS seats) would not have provided much hope but things may look up a trifle with Yeddyurappa reportedly negotiating a return or at least some kind of electoral understanding.

The small States and UTs, i.e., those with 10 LS seats or lesser, account for 40 LS seats and the BJP has a mixed LS election record on these, a record much dependent its performance in Delhi’s 7 LS seats.  Of the 284 LS seats (over half the 543 LS seats) accounted for by all the above mentioned States and UTs, a realistic tally for the BJP would be about 40, similar to that of the LS elections of 2004 (40 LS seats, including 18 from Karnataka) and 2009 (again 40 LS seats, including 19 from Karnataka) with potential gains in some places offset by a reduced tally in Karnataka (Yeddyurappa’s return or even an electoral understanding with him will reverse the misfortune of the recent Assembly elections only partly for the BJP). No Narendra Modi Magic is likely to boost the BJP’s tally here given mainly the state of the party itself.  Continue reading “The BJP’s 2014 bid: A state-wise look and three key states where Modi may be risking party fortunes : Manish Dubey”

The Uttar Pradesh administration has a prominent role in the burning of Bhadarsa: Rihai Manch

This release was put out by the RIHAI MANCH on 9 November

Jannatunisa, a victim of violence in Bhadarsa

Faizabad 9 November 2012: An investigation team of Rihai Manch visited the Bhadarsa village which was affected by communal violence during Dussehra celebrations. The team found out that the violence was well planned and was executed by communal elements in connivance with the administration. The role of the media in this incident is also suspicious. The team also found that the administration is forcing the affected families to erase any evidence of the incident and they have not even been compensated. No FIR has yet been registered yet. The team has also requested the Sheetla Singh Investigation Commission (constituted by the Press Council of India) to visit the area. Continue reading “The Uttar Pradesh administration has a prominent role in the burning of Bhadarsa: Rihai Manch”