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Showing posts from February, 2017

The book that disappeared: Readers have right to know what transpired between YB Chavan and journalists

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By Prabhakar Kulkarni*
Editors and journalists in the electronic and print media in India are enjoying press freedom. But this freedom is without any special provision in any law or the Indian Constitution. Individual freedom of expression is being used by editors and journalists and media organizations.
But is this freedom used to suppress the truth? Can a book once published be dumped and made not available to readers who have right to know the truth?

AIFRTE demand: Hold high-level inquiry against ABVP, consider debarring it from university campuses

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The All-India Forum for Right to Education (AIFRTE) statement against Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad’s (ABVP's) "assault" on university campuses:
AIFRTE condemns in strongest terms the violent assault on the academic community by RSS student wing ABVP at Ramjas College (Delhi University) and Jai Narayan Vyas University, Jodhpur. What is even more disturbing in both the cases is abject surrender amounting to connivance of the university/college authorities to the rowdy tactics of ABVP as clearly visible in suspension of Dr Rajshree Ranawat by the Jodhpur University administration.

If Marxists and Islamists have been "hostile" to sociology, Hindu fundamentalists use it to ensure hold on power

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By Bhaskar Sur*
Though Karl Marx was one of the founders of modern sociology, Marxists in general have been hostile to it. For ruling Marxists it was a bourgeois subject, decadent and subversive. It is only natural that a ruling elite which would like to perpetuate its rule to eternity in the name of 'historical necessity', find the critical method of sociology, casting doubts on such claims rather disturbing. Sociology made a promising beginning in the imperial Russia.

Stop vicious campaign against Dr Rajshri Ranawat, revoke her suspension

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A signature campaign has taken place against the suspension of Dr. Rajashri Ranawat, Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the Jay Narayan Vyas University, Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Text of the statement on which signatures have been sought:
It is extremely disturbing that Dr. Rajashri Ranawat, Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the Jay Narayan Vyas University, has been suspended by her university for having disobeyed the orders of the university.

Limiting free expression in Britain to that which is acceptable for Islamists restricts right to speak

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By Maryam Namazie*
According to a recent report, more than nine in 10 UK universities are restrictive of free speech. This doesn’t surprise me at all. I continue to face restrictions of varying degrees, though this is changing due to the widespread push-back in defence of free expression.

Series of terror attacks in Pakistan: What religion are fundamentalists following?

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By Sadhan Mukherjee*
Another report of a terrorist attack in Pakistan has come today (February 21). At least six people including a lawyer were killed and more than 20 injured at a sessions court in Charsadda near Islamabad by suicide bombings.

Question haunting Scots: Will there be a referendum again – to leave UK or not?

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By Sadhan Mukherjee* The Scots are having a nightmare. Their Scotch seems to have lost its soothing effect on the politico-economic aliment that Scots survived on so far. They voted against leaving European Union (EU) during Brexit referendum hoping that Britain’s membership in the EU will be retained. But they were outvoted by the rest of Britain.

Bureaucratic corruption goes unchecked as politicians are directly or indirectly involved in grabbing wealth

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By Prabhakar Kulkarni*
India aspires to be a super power and competing with other countries in Asia. But a survey, carried out by Transparency International India (TII) – which is a leading non political, independent, non-governmental anti-corruption organization, with extensive expertise and understanding of issues of corruption – has found that Indian bureaucracy is the worst in Asia.

Fourth phase of UP polls: BJP leads with 19 or 40% out of 48 candidates with criminal cases, RJD is a close second

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The Uttar Pradesh Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) have analysed the self-sworn affidavits of all 680 candidates from 98 political parties, including 6 national parties, 5 state parties, 87 unrecognized parties and 200 independent candidates, who are contesting in the fourth phase of Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections to be held on 23Th February, 2017. A synopsis:

Owner-created climate of fear in Indian media has led to an unchecked proliferation of paid news

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A note on newspaper employees' unions' protest in Mumbai on February 13 against "sacking" of working journalists:
More than 150 journalists and non-journalist employees of several newspapers and a news agency held an hour-long spirited demonstration before the Hindustan Times (HT) office in the country's commercial capital Mumbai raising slogans against the mass termination of media employees.

World Social Justice Day: Xenophobia and jingoism seem to be on the rise across the globe as never before

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By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
“Preventing Conflict and Sustaining Peace through Decent Work” is the theme of the 2017 World Social Justice Day, which will be observed on February 20th. As a justification of the theme the UN lists the following objectives:

Gujarat Dalit families in Mehsana village refuse to dispose of dead animals: Decide to fight social boycott

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By Kaushik Parmar*
The slogan “Gaay nu punchhdu tame rakho, amne amari jamin apo” (keep the tail of the cow with you, give us our land), which roared in Gujarat after the gruesome Una incident, appears to be playing a catalytic role in the Dalit rights movement in the state.

Need to investigate Kalikho Pul's suicide note by SIT of 5 senior judges who are not mentioned in it

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Statement by Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) on the suicide note of former Arunachal Pradesh CM Kalikho Pul:
Kalikho Pul was the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh who was unseated on account of a judgment of the Supreme Court, which quashed the imposition of President’s Rule in Arunachal Pradesh and restored status quo ante. He committed suicide on 9th August 2016.

PIL in High Court: Central University of Gujarat appointments dilute quality, undermine excellence

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By Dr Chhagan Lal*
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was admitted in the Gujarat High Court against what it calls large-scale illegal appointments being made in the Central University of Gujarat (CUG), Gandhinagar, a public funded national institution.

Reflecting on real meaning of love on Valentine's day, walking through refugee colony of Amman, Jordan

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By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
Amman, the capital of Jordan, is a wonderful city complete with history, tradition and modernity. Amman, however, on a very cold (temperature less than 5 ℃) and rainy day is not the most exciting place to be in. Above all, since Amman is built on hills (jabal) and has several valleys (wadi), walking distances from one house to another, is certainly not something that one easily relishes.

Perhaps it’s easy to defy Trump, Modi or Mamta than taking on the behemoths inside media empires

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The following letter by Biswajit Roy, a journalist with The Telegraph (TT), the flagship of the Amrit Bazar Patrika Group of Calcutta, has gone viral on the social media:
Finally I resigned from The Telegraph, albeit under duress like 700 odd fired journalists and non-journalists in the ABP Group. Twenty journalists including 17 district correspondents in TT Bengal reporting have lost their jobs in this round.

FCRA amendment will enable foreign-based radical Hindu bodies to send funds to India to support hate campaigns

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Excerpts from "Constitutional and Legal Challenges Faced by Religious Minorities in India", submitted to the Donald Trump administration, by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent, bipartisan US federal government commission created by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) that claims to monitor the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad:
The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), passed in 1976 and amended in 2010, has consistently been used against civil society organizations, charities, and other nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

How "poor" Sasikala is being put through great stress to inherit Amma's party and Tamil Nadu government

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By Anand Mazgaonkar*
The word Kidnap was possibly coined to describe kids being taken away / stolen while they were napping / sleeping. Something similar seems to have happened in Tamil Nadu a few days ago. Now it is not clear if the 130+ MLAs were napping or awake when they were herded into buses and whether they boarded the buses on their own feet or those of Madame Sasikala Chinnamma's, but they've probably ended up at a nice, luxurious resort.

Jesuits of America take courageous and unequivocal stand on behalf of refugees, migrants and excluded

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By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
These are tumultuous times for the United States and in fact, for a good part of the world. President Donald Trump is being true to his campaign promises. In just about ten days after his inauguration, he has signed several controversial executive orders. These include, imposing a 120-day suspension of the refugee programme and a 90-day ban on travel to the US from citizens of seven countries which are regarded as ‘terror hotspots’: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan.

Seeking to hold simultaneous polls, Modi wants to weaken decentralization

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By Rajinder Sachar*
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has for last 6 months kept a continuous refrain for holding simultaneously Lok Sabha and State Assembly polls and the supposed advantages that would flow from it. As was to be expected number of newspapers and persons are picking up this matter. It is unfortunate that Election Commission of India and Niti Aayog should have gone along with this suggestion without even the minimum constitutional requirement of a public debate and seminars – and more unforgivably without discussions of the matter with other major political parties and the State governments.

Modern-day reality: Destitute Brahmins are 10 per cent higher than the all-India below poverty line figure

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By Sadhan Mukherjee*
This is about modern-day Brahmins. Many do not seem to be aware that Brahminism, who were once the leading lights of our society, are now in dire straits, socially, economically and politically, despite some of them doing well in some fields. This is what modern times have brought them to. The hiatus has increased multifold between Brahmins who are well to do and Brahmins who barely subsist.

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