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Showing posts from July, 2015

Abolish death sentence! It is a barbaric act and not in sync with civilised society

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By Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*
So Yakub Memon was finally hanged to death early this morning (July 30th) in the Nagpur Central Jail! The 54-year old Chartered Accountant was convicted for the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts which took the lives of 267 people and injured many more. The team of lawyers defending him tried every possible option to stay the death penalty but to no avail.
President Pranab Mukherjee rejected Memon’s final plea for clemency despite a petition from several eminent citizens.

Forked Tongue and Flexible Factsheet: Was over 12 year Modi rule in Gujarat a byword for probity in public life?

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By RK Misra*
In fishing -- as in politics -- nothing is more ungainly than a fisherman pulled into the water by his own catch. Hurling muck from the safety of the shore and making it stick may have brought Narendra Modi to the helm of India in 2014 but the Teflon-coated frying pan is itself on fire today.
His government faces the filth of the Lalit Modi revelations, the bloodied Vyapam scam, and now the Madhya Pradesh Dental and Medical Admission Test taint.

Open official bullying of courageous human rights defenders Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand

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Romila Thapar, Admiral Ramdas, Naseeruddin Shah, Mahesh Bhatt, Nandita Das, Githa Hariharan, Aruna Roy, Jayati Ghosh, Rajmohan Gandhi, Tushar Gandhi, Vivan Sundaram, Nilima and GM Shaikh, Henri Tiphange , Sanjiv Bhatt and hundreds of other prominent artists, intellectuals and activists on recent "investigations" into misappropriation by Gujarat government and Government of India authorities Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand:
We express our profound dismay and disquiet at the continued official harassment by the central government of leading human rights defenders Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand. Since the installation of the BJP led government in Delhi in May 2014, the country has witnessed open strenuous official efforts to foist a large variety of charges of financial irregularity on them, to harass them, to tarnish their reputations, and to secure their arrests.
Fortunately the interventions of the higher judiciary have protected them so far. However the latest raids by the…

Blow Hot Blow Cold: How Modi promoted tourism to Gir's Asiatic lions in a recklessly peacemeal manner

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By RK Misra*
This June, the heat in Gujarat was such, that sweat soaked clothes faster than you could take them off. And when there was nothing left to shed, you still wanted to take off the flesh to sit in bare bones. A respite seemed in order. And I took off like a hare being chased by a dozen hounds.
So, from smouldering Gujarat to the cooler climes of Himalaya ringed Uttarakhand was a journey from the frying pan into an ice-pit. It was nature’s air conditioner, complete with climate control at work and the aroma and atmospherics of the mountains thrown in for good measure.

Govt must abandon its hostile and vindictive stance towards human rights defenders Teesta Setalvad, others

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By Dipak Dholakia*
CBI raids on July 14, 2015 at the premises of social activist Teesta Setalvad, her husband Javed Anand, Gulam Mohammed Peshimam and office of Sabrang Communications and Publishing in Mumbai were undertaken for purely vindictive reasons, given the assurances of complete cooperation and submission of thousands of pages of documents to the CBI.

Those who say Jana Gana Mana was composed in veneration of King George V are parroting bogus allegations

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Rajasthan governor Kalyan Singh recently created a huge flutter by demanding that the national anthem's wordings "Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka Jaya He" be replaced by "Jana Gana Mana Mangala Jaya He", because Adhinayaka stands for King George V. Well-known commentator Kanchan Gupta traces the origin of Jana Gana Mana to refute the argument*:
What is now the National Anthem of the Republic of India is the first stanza of a five-stanza Brahmo Sangeet or psalm.
It was composed by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore on December 11, 1911, in adulation of Param Brahma -- He who is the True, the Good, the Infinite; the Eternal Lord of the Universe; the Omniscient, the Omnipresent, the Omnipotent; the Formless, Changeless, Selfcontained and Perfect Almighty.
For the Brahmo Samaj, whose members adhere to Adhi Dharma, anchored in the dazzling enlightenment of the Upanishads, Param Brahma is the only Ishwar, the One Supreme Spirit, the Author and Preserver of our existence, the Etern…

Selfies don’t bring about change, reform does. So please try and be bigger than a photograph

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Well-known actor Shruti Sheth, in an open letter, reiterates her view that a tweet like #selfiewithdaughter does not change male bias towards girls. She was forced to go public after her tweet objecting to Prime Mnister Narendra Modi's tweet campaign on #selfiewithdaughter invited unprecedented hate reaction for about 48 hours. Now, she has asked Modi to condemn such hate tweets. Text of the letter:

Protest against Kanhar Dam in UP: Arrest of activists is illegal, meant to impose rulers' development agenda on people

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Statement by National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) on the arrest of Roma and Sokalo Gond, arrested in UP for protesting against the land acquisition bill:
The Government of Uttar Pradesh has showcased its commitment to anti-people policies and disrespect to peaceful and democratic expression of poor and marginalised people once again.

Ahmedabad has disgraced the nation if this story, sent as Facebook message, is true

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By Markandey Katju*Ahmedabad has disgraced the nation. The sender has asked me to delete his name:June 30, 4:51pm
I was on internship at Well Stimulation Services, ONGC, Ahmedabad, and was excited about the internship because of ONGC and Ahmedabad. It was going to be my first time in Ahmedabad.
I reached Ahmedabad, and liked everything, like ONGC, Ahmedabad city, etc.

Lest we conveniently forget: Heroes Vasant and Rajab walked the talk, died for a greater good

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By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
It is sixty nine years today since that fateful day of July 1, 1946. The traditional rath yatra - instead of being a day of bonding and harmony - resulted in a communal conflagration as both Hindus and Muslims went for the jugular: in a rioting spree and murdering one another.
Vasant Rao Hegishte and Rajab Ali Lakhani were good friends and also volunteers with the Seva Dal. Deeply disturbed with what was happening in the city, they were determined to do all they could to stop the venom, the fire and the killing from spreading.