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Showing posts from July, 2016

Govt of India Model Act to “help” corporates, seek separation of cultivator from landowner, commodify land

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By Pankti Jog*
The Government of India, after failing amend the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) Act, 2013 through ordinances, appears all set to achieve its aim by asking states to adopt a Model Act, and make laws for land leasing which facilitate land privatization, even as benefiting corporates.

Dalit outrage? BJP in Gujarat appears “relaxed”

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By Rajiv Shah
Amidst the recent Dalit agitation in Gujarat in the wake of the July 11 attack on four Dalit youths belonging to the Rohit (chamar) community off Una for skinning a dead cow, I decided to find out what would be the impact of the incident, already a national issue, on Gujarat po litics. Apart from immediately getting in touch with some senior Dalit rights activists, I contacted a few senior BJP and Congress leaders, too. The reason I did this was, one of my friends, who happens to be a senior activist, Ashok Shrimali, a Dalit, would always tell me how, over the years, and especially after the 2002 riots, “80 per cent of the Dalits have moved away from the Congress to the BJP”.
While a few other non-political Dalit activists would vehemently deny this, I decided to go by the observation of Teesta Setalvad, who said in a recent article, “Dalits and the Hindu Rashtra: A Close Look at the Gujarat Model”: “As we saw in 2002, it is Dalits who have been used and abused to carry …

Centre has done the right thing to initiate a probe into the funding of Islamic preacher Zakir Naik’s NGO

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By Firoz Bakht Ahmed*
Some ten years ago, while I had started to hear Zakir Naik, my first impression was that he is an Islamic researcher, having command over his other religions’ scriptures, with an amazing memory bank backed by skilled oratory. However, when time progressed and he started disparaging and belittling other religions and their gods and goddesses, I could gauge through his nefarious design of spreading the Wahabi-Salafi brand of exclusivist and dogmatic Islam under which extremism and bigotry are allowed.

Uniform civil code: Shariat was made 1400 years ago. Must society remain stagnant for 1400 years?

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By Markandey Katju*
I am a strong supporter of a uniform civil code. All modern countries have a common law for all citizens, and India must modernize if it is to progress.
It is stupid to say that if sharia is abolished Islam will be abolished. It is also stupid to say that Sharia was made by God. Sharia grew out of the feudal, backward social customs in Saudi Arabia in the 7th and 8th centuries. It is totally outdated today.

When Modi held a “midnight meeting” and told his top officials to lay off when rioting began…

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By Manu Joseph* This is the origin of the perception that on the night of February 27, 2002, Narendra Modi held a “midnight meeting” during which he told his top officials to lay off when rioting began…
In May, 2002, a few weeks after the burning of the train in Godhra, I was in the office of a human rights activist. There, by chance, I got to know that Haren Pandya, a minister in Modi’s cabinet, had deposed before a people’s tribunal, which included retired judges.

Why Congress failed: BJP, Modi have mastered communication skill on social media like none others

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By Pratik Sinha*
Perceptions matter a lot. Before 2014 elections, a question was constantly asked on social media by many people as to what Congress did for 60 years, a question originally floated by BJP. Though the question itself is ridiculous, but since it went unanswered for the most part, it became part of the psyche of many - Congress did nothing for 60 years.
Social Media has been around for well over 10 years. Congress President Sonia Gandhi doesn't have any social media accounts while Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi made one only in 2014. Most senior Congress leaders, with the exception of Shashi Tharoor, joined social media just a few months before the elections.

Clamour to ban Zakir Naik’s Peace TV flows from the fact that he can’t be fought intellectually

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By Adv Masood Peshiman*
Bangladesh politics is embroiled in the deadly tussle between the two ladies, the Prime Minister Hasina Wajid and Khalida Zia, the opposition leader. In the teeth of the brewing crisis the Prime Minister Hasina Wajid is pushing up the incessant agenda of stifling the opposition, including the Islamists which has given rise to the volatile atmosphere in the neighbouring country. In that volatile situation there are escalating attacks on bloggers, Hindus and non-Muslim minorities.

Swamy “used and abandoned”? This is what happened in Gujarat

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By Rajiv Shah
Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have “cleared” his views on BJP’s maverick politician Subramaniam Swamy. However, whatever I know of Modi as chief minister of Gujarat during my nearly 15 year stint in Gandhinagar as the Times of India correspondent, it wasn’t at all surprising the way he reacted. His “critique” of Swamy, if it all it can be called that, came after Reserve Bank of India Raghuram Rajan had decided to quit and return to the academia in Chicago. So, was Swamy “used and abandoned”, to quote a phrase used by Gujarat’s top cop GL Singhal in the “Gujarat Files”, a book based on stings by journalist Rana Ayyub to “expose” government role in 2002 riots and fake encounters?
In fact, any reference of Swamy as a “maverick” would remind me of a Gujarat-based maverick politician, with whom I had, I must admit, an uneasy relationship. Looking back, I sometimes feel it was perhaps a mistake on my part to be ill at ease with this IPS-turned-politician, who had been a Cab…

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