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Drama in Karnataka ends, but will Congress-JDS combine withstand BJP's 3Ms, Money, Muscle, Manipulation?

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By Fr Cedric Prakash sj* The ‘natak’ in Karnataka, since the results of the recently-held elections to the State Assembly were announced on 15 May, was a drama which played out for almost a week and in the end the script going awfully wrong for the BJP. In spite of all their ‘powerful machinations’ complete with money, muscle and manipulations, they did not succeed this time in yet another murderous attempt on democracy.
“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”- is an oft-quoted line from William Shakespeare’s immortal play ‘Hamlet’. How true this is for several parts of India today when the political situation is not merely rotten but the stench and fumes, which emanate from this rot, can choke to death the strongest of persons. Karnataka this past week was just one chapter of this sordid drama. The country however, tonight breathes a sigh of relief because truth ultimately triumphed!
That the murder of democracy in India is taking place albeit slowly and systematically in the r…

Kashmir's minor stone-thrower elevated to the status of a vicious enemy who needs to be dealt with “sternly”

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Open letter by Murtaza Shibli, a well-known writer and consultant on Muslim issues in Europe and South Asia, editor of ‘7/7: Muslim Perspectives’, a book that explores the British Muslim reaction to the London bombings, to the Indian army chief:
Ever since you assumed the top position within the Indian army, Kashmiris have been following your statements with quite an interest. This is because they are unique despite now being too many – from outright threats to elderly counsels, and prophecies to the ones that clearly show that you are as clueless as the rest of us despite being in the thick of the things. On the few odd occasions, your statements have provoked me to write as I took exception to some of those pronouncements.
Not that I have anything personal against you or that I am inherently disposed to detest the men in uniform, but because your words challenged me both as a Kashmiri and a human being. Regardless of my criticism and disagreements, I have developed certain awe for y…

Refusal to give salary boost citing NPAs: How can bank employees be held responsible?

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By Gautam Thaker* Recently, there has been an increasing tendency on the part of the Government of India to push forward its reforms agenda. It is found to be vigorously according high priority to issuing new banking licenses to the corporate sector, throwing open the banking sector to private entities in the name of favouring small banks, even as allotting to private persons shares of public sector banks.
In fact, it is giving a go ahead to merger and acquisition of banks in the name of consolidating them. The trend of bad loans or non-performing assets (NPAs) is increasing, but no effective and stringent steps are being taken for their recovery.
All this is happening amidst the government showing keenness to bring about labour reforms in the interests of industrialists and capitalists, though detrimental to workers’ interests. Rights and privileges of the working community are sought to be trampled upon.
When the United Forum of Bank Unions recently approached the government with t…

Lack of democratic rights doesn't mean all's well in Gujarat: Farmers' local protests are being suppressed

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By Sagar Rabari* At present farmers in Gujarat are resisting issues they are facing at local level, because they are not allowed to come out and speak. Police raj prevails in Gujarat. They are being denied permission for any type of protest, and this is true for all types organizations. The only organization which is an exception to the rule is the RSS.
Ever since Sanand farmers were lathi charged for demanding irrigation facilities, it has become a norm in Gujarat to explode teargas shells and lathi charge farmers as and when they raise their voice. One wonders if they are sought to be punished for not voting for the BJP during the December 2017 assembly elections, or this type of attitude is borne out of the corporate leaning of the government, inspiring it to manage government formation in one state after another.
Already, farmers of 12 villages in Ghogha have been resisting corporate interests for the last one month, protecting their just rights given to them under the Right to F…

Tribals' forest rights: Why is Left Front government in Kerala behaving more like a totalitarian state?

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By K Santhosh Kumar* Government or the bureaucracy doesn’t consider Adivasis as a community/social group and not even as a citizen with their own social and cultural identity. Renowned writer and Dalit intellectual Sunny M Kapikkad has stated, “The government considers Adivasis as state subjects. What government does is to feed its subjects. First of all these projects have to be withdrawn.”
When the Adivasi children of Attappady are dying of starvation caused by the destruction of their ecosystem and their traditional agricultural practices, what the government does is to give them some rice and dal curry through community kitchens! Instead of giving adivasis their constitutional rights of self-governance and forest rights Left Front Government in Kerala is behaving like a totalitarian state. The government’s attitude towards Adivasis is just like any other totalitarian state. The Kerala government doesn’t even consider Adivasis as citizens, not to speak of the constitutionally guar…

Any nuclear exchange by India or Pakistan will annihilate the entire region, impact the climate irreversibly

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DiaNuke, an online platform of dedicated researchers, activists and concerned citizens working to provide resources on nuclear information, documenting developments etc. has started an online petition on May 10, 2018 calling India and Pakistan for disarmament as both the countries are in the 20th year of the nuclear tests that started in 1998. Text of the petition:
We, the citizens of South Asia and beyond, urge India and Pakistan in the 20th year of the 1998 nuclear tests to put an immediate end to the arms race and competitive belligerence, and negotiate nuclear disarmament at the earliest. Far from providing any security, these 20 years have only witnessed an exacerbation of tensions and heightened warmongering, lending a disconcerting instability to the entire region.
While military expenses and weapons have increased exponentially – making both, India and Pakistan among the largest importers of weapons globally – armed conflicts and violence by both, state and non-state actors ha…

Kashmir: Why 22-year-olds still speak of plebiscite and referendum, ignorant of their own history

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By Rajiv Tyagi* Because the Government of India has abdicated its responsibilities in Kashmir right from the beginning, we have a State of the Union today, where almost 7 decades after it became irrelevant, 22 year olds still speak of a plebiscite and a referendum, unmindful of the amount of water that has flown down the Jhelum since 1947.
For my Kashmiri friends who are still ignorant of their own history and glean their history from the semi literate lumpen, by chance or design, here is your history, shorn of emotion. For to live life without a notion of your own History or worse, a twisted notion of it, can make for the kind of pain our brothers and sisters in J&K live with...
1. 1947. A little over a month after Independence, Pakistani Army regulars and tribals from Waziristan, overran Kashmir and tried to capture Srinagar. However, they got delayed at Baramullah as they decided to engage in looting. Raja Hari Singh, the ruler, asked for help from India and signed an Instrume…