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Showing posts from April, 2015

Politics and prejudice: BJP, Congress converged with hysterical attacks on AAP

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By Kamal Mitra Chenoy*The suicide (I won't call it a stunt gone wrong), of Gajendra has been a matter of wild speculation. Apoorvanand's article in The Indian Express, 25 April, has made some valid points about this tragedy. But his assertion "that all that he wanted to do was to create a spectacle which would force the crowd or leaders or police to converge under the tree...and pleaded with him to climb down."

Biometric aadhaar is linked to land acquisition, land titling: Inform Supreme Court about violation of its orders

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By Gopal Krishna*
The questionable 12-digit biometric unique identity (UID)/aadhaar number cannot be made mandatory for any government service, according to the Supreme Court orders of September 23, 2013, November 26, 2013, March 24, 2014 and March 16, 2015. Yet, so far opposition parties have failed to note that biometric aadhaar number is linked to legislations on land acquisition and land titling.

It's our turn to lead! Reflections by a Jesuit on the Earth Day, April 22

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By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*It is Earth Day once again, and on this 45th anniversary when the focus of every citizen is on what are we doing to Mother Earth, the theme that is suggested is “it’s our turn to lead”. The publicity material speaks about “the most exciting year in environmental history. The year in which economic growth and sustainability join hands. The year in which world leaders finally pass a binding climate change treaty. The year in which citizens and organisations divest from fossil fuels and put their money into renewable energy solutions.
These are tough issues but we know what’s at stake is the future of our planet and the survival of life on earth. On Earth Day we need you to take a stand so that together, we can show the world a new direction. It’s our turn to lead. So our world leaders can follow by example.”
So it’s our turn to lead! India is a classic example of how sustainable development is thrown to the winds: the ‘corporatisation’ of the country; the anti-sm…

Sharp shooter and fast scooter: How flow of rhetoric catapulted Modi to power

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By RK Misra*
If a library is a thought in cold storage, a politician is a pragmatist selling pipedreams for a meal ticket. Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is nearing an year in national harness has had a charmed existence cashing in on a negatively projected past while proclaiming his own governance as the harbinger of a bright future. "achche din aane wale hai”- good times are round the corner. Modi will complete a year on May 26 this year but people still wait for the professed deliverance, their patience wearing thin.

RSS, Sangh Parivar consider tricolour as "state flag" and not "national flag"

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By Teesta Setalvad*
Today, when the nation has been independent for 67 years, the Sangh Parivar is set to launch ‘Tiranga yatras’ and Satyagrahas to defend the honour of the flag and the nation. Yet when the Indian people were involved in the decades-long struggle for freedom against British imperialism, the RSS was conspicuous by its absence in the struggle.

An insider's view of rebel AAP meet Swaraj Samwad led by Prashant Bhushan

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By Aurobindo Ghose*
On April 14, 2015 was Ambedkar Jayanti, when three social activists from Delhi - Dwijendra Nath Kalia, Tarun Kanti Bose and me - attended the Swaraj Samwad (a Dialogue on Present and Future Alternative Politics ) held at Gurgaon, Haryana from11:45 am to 6:45 pm. The participants to this Dialogue consisted of about 3,000-3,500 Aam Admi Party (AAP) volunteers, mostly (2,000-2,500) drawn from all parts of the country, outside Delhi, organised and invited by 49 named leaders of the AAP and spear-headed by four members of the National Executive Council who were forcibly ejected from its meeting on March 28, 2015 and later expelled, namely Prof Ajit Jha, DrYogendra Yadav, Advocate Prashant Bhushan and Prof Anand Kumar.

Sabrang Trust, CJP do not see themselves above law; expect others to do so as well

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Sabrang Trust, headed by well-known human rights activist, Teesta Setalvad, issued the following statement following a visit by an inspection team of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, to inspect its and Centre for Justice and Peace's accounts and records in an embezzlement case:
Following the letter from the Gujarat Government to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, a team of four senior officers from the Monitoring Unit of the Foreign Contribution Regulation (FCRA) department, New Delhi visited the registered offices of Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) for an inspection of the accounts and records of both the trusts.

If anti-terror bill is signed by Gujarat governor, it will be mockery of democracy

Memorandum by Movement for Secular Democracy (MSD) and People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) to OP Kohli, Governor of Gujarat on the need to reject the Gujarat Control of Terrorism and organized Crimes Bill:We the citizens would like to draw your attention to the fact that the Govt. of Gujarat passed a Bill Gujarat Control of Terrorism and organized Crimes (GCTOC) on March 31, 2015 in the House of the Gujarat Assembly amidst opposition.
This Bill GCTOC is synthesis of GUJCOC and Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Prevention Act/TADA and Prevention of Terrorism Act/POTA and is modelled on the MCOCA/Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act; it has also been in force in Delhi since 2002. The bill is in not in consonance with the policy on terror laws as mentioned in the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
Introducing the bill for the fourth time in 12 years, with a new name, Gujarat minister of state for home Rajnikant Patel said it "is aimed at combating terrorism and organised…

AAP imbroglio: Rules for the attempted reconciliation were not fully followed

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By Kamal Mitra Chenoy
On April 14, feared split in AAP became a matter of time. This is a tragedy. It is true that the new alliance (largely of old AAP members) will not develop into a new party for some time. But the discourse in the "official" and "dissenting group" worried all AAP supporters. Yes, there were differences. But couldn't these have been settled by AAP activists who had worked together for years.

CSR in Gujarat: A misguided view

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By Rajiv Shah
It is titled “Small but Meaningful”, and is subtitled “CSR in Practice”. Authored by Maheswar Sahu, an influential Gujarat cadre IAS bureaucrat who retired as state industries secretary in 2014, who claims to be “instrumental” in organizing Narendra Modi’s high profile Vibrant Gujarat business summits of 2003, 2009, 2011 and 2013, the book has Jeevan Prakash Mohanty, a researcher at the Energy and Resources Institute, as the second author. While poor production and print quality may seem jarring, making many to believe it is over-priced (Rs 1,100), a peep into the book would provide one with an insight into how independently and analytically some of our high-profile bureaucrats have been thinking.
One of the claims of the book is, it offers “case studies” of corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities of 11 business houses in Gujarat. However, what strikes one most, as one glances through each of the case studies, is that Sahu and Mohanty accept whatever information i…

Involve national rural jobs guarantee scheme for encouraging millet production

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Reproduced below is a letter by Paryavaran Mitra’s Mahesh Pandya to Arvind Panagariya, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, Government of India, suggesting for advancement of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNRGS) by encouraging millet production: Paryavaran Mitra, an Ahmedabad-based NGO, as the environ-legal unit of Janvikas, was initiated in 1997 on environmental issues that have an impact on the human rights of people, especially marginalized communities.

GUJCOTOC: Another draconian law from Gujarat in the name of fighting terrorism

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By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*On March 31, 2015, the Gujarat Legislative Assembly passed another draconian law, the Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime (GUJCOTOC) Bill 2015. This bill has yet to be sent to the Governor of Gujarat for his assent. It will then have to be sent to the Rashtrapati Bhavan for approval by the President of India because of the contentious provisions in it; very interestingly, three earlier versions of this draconian bill in 2004, 2008 and 2009 were rejected by the President of India.

RK's Plainspeak. Model Disrobed, CAG Flicks Fig Leaf

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By RK Misra*
Time discovers truth. In India, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) does this job. No wonder the Gujarat model,assiduously used by erstwhile chief minister Narendra Modi to catapult himself to the prime ministerial calling, lies in tatters after the CAG placed it’s report for the period ending March 31, 2014 on the table of the Gujarat Assembly on March 31, 2015.

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