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Showing posts from June, 2015

Instead of seeking debate with public and in Parliament, govt chooses to pass laws first through ordinance

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By Kriti Sharma*
The real test of a government is its commitment to its very own people, the adivasis, minoritie, sexual or religious, women and dalits. Reference here is not to the politics of doling out that turns up election fever, but the ability to ensure a life of dignity, equality and just entitlement to nation's subalterns. The most controversial bill of this year the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Amendment Bill 2015, however, attempts to rob adivasis, small farmers and forest-dwellers of just that.

Nehru had said, "Who indeed could afford to ignore science today?" Modi Sarkar has proved Nehru wrong

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By PVS Kumar*
During the past one-year we have witnessed an unprecedented attack on scientific temper, rational thinkingand scientific establishment of the country. The assault has been four pronged:
1. Spreading and providing credibility to myths, superstitions, irrational beliefs among the masses;
2. Occupying spaces such as science congress, workshops and conferences and use the official and unofficial platforms for anti-science activities;

Education under Modi: Coercive exclusion of books, films, clothes, cultural activities perceived as inimical to 'faith'

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By Karen Gabriel and P K Vijayan*Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been reported as having stated, in an interview to Time magazine, that 'You don't need dictatorship in India, democracy is in our DNA'. Modi says, 'It is not just as per our Constitution that we are a democratic country, it is in our DNA.... I firmly believe that for us, democracy and belief in democratic values are a matter of faith.'
He apparently also goes on to remark that acceptance of all religions was 'in our blood':

There is very little likelihood that government hostility to civil society activism will end in the near future

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By Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*
Civil society activism is under attack in India as never before! A careful analysis of this past year clearly reveals that those who have accompanied the poor and the marginalised, the vulnerable and the victims of society have often to take up cudgels against the powerful and other vested interests; more often than not, it is also against the Government be it State or Central.

One year of Modi sarkar: Hate speeches, weapon with those thriving on politics of exclusion, galore

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By Ram Puniyani*
The coming to power of Narendra Modi in a way gave an open license to all the affiliates of RSS combine to indulge in open hate speech against the religious minorities. The current agenda behind the hate speech is to consolidate the communal polarization of the society along lines of religion. The well known case of MIM's Akbarudin Owaisi’s hate speech has been despicable and very rightly Akbarudin Owaisi had to be in jail for some time.

The Pope doesn't spare Catholic Church priests, calls upon faithfuls to engage on environmental issues

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By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
The long awaited encyclical on ‘environmental issues’ by Pope Francis is finally here! Released on June 18 in the Vatican, the encyclical is certainly not merely a defining moment for the Catholic Church but in fact for the whole of humanity. Entitled ‘Laudato Si’ (Praised be to you!) – ‘on care for our common home’, the first two words of a thirteenth century prayer written by St Francis of Assisi and called the ‘Canticle of the Creatures’ or the ‘Canticle of the Sun’.

Modi in his first year in office has led our nation into a long, blistering majoritarian summer

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By Harsh Mander*
Of all the major political parties seeking votes in the 2014 elections, the BJP, through its prime ministerial candidate, offered the Indian electorate perhaps the most cohesive, if troubling, vision for the country. Modi offered a combination of three fundamentalisms. First, a market orthodoxy which guarantees unprecedented levels of subsidies to big business in the form of long tax holidays, soft loans, cheap land and electricity, at the expense of public expenditure on education, health, social protection and public infrastructure.

People's Alliance for Democracy and Secularism to Saudis: Release Rafi Badawi, respect UN conventions

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The People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS) has written an urgent letter, signed* by activists, academics and other concerned citizens, to the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Saudi Arabia for early release of Rafi Badawi, well-known Saudi blogger. Text of the letter:
This is an appeal regarding Raif Badawi, a blogger and Saudi citizen, founder of the website ‘Free Saudi Liberals’.

Somnath ban: Religious cause and political timing. News broke when Amit Shah had been camping in Gujarat

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By RK Misra*
Deceit enchants even as cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth. The manner in which the Somnath Trust went about banning the entry of non-Hindus without permission, into the Gujarat-based Somnath temple last week represents the tip of the proverbial iceberg of conspiratorial planning. And cynical as it may sound, there is need to put the truth, or the lack of it, in proper perspective.

Jethmalani's letters to PM, President before he told Modi, "My diminishing respect for you ends today"

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In two separate letters, first to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then to President Pranab Kumar Mukherjee, veteran Supreme Court advocate Ram Jethmalani took strong exception to the appointment of KV Chowdary as chief vigilance commissioner (CVC) of India. Despite the letters of protest, Chowdary was appointed CVC, making Jethmalani to declare on June 8, “My diminishing respect for you ends today.”

Derecognition of Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle raised issue of shrinking of democratic space on campuses

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By Subhash Gatade*
Whether discussing issues of contemporary concern among students, raising debates around them on the campus – taking inspiration from the ideas of leading social revolutionaries of 20th century – should be construed as an act of creating ‘social disharmony’ or ‘spreading hatred’? Any sane person would rather reject this weird proposal but it appears that the bureaucrats in the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) think otherwise.

Modi music, AK remix: Two wrongs don’t make a right but they make a good excuse

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By RK Misra*
Originality is nothing but judicious imitation. If Narendra Modi, the saffron soul-boy, shows inspirational traces of Indira Gandhi-India’s most hardwired political personage, then Arvind Kejriwal, the anti-corruption crusader-turned-chief constable of India’s capital seems to be following in the footsteps of the national captain.
In 2001 when he took over as the chief minister of Gujarat, Modi was a lilliputian. He initially grew in girth through communal cleaving.