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Showing posts from February, 2018

Banks are easy targets for tapping huge funds, as influential politicians care little for irregularities

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By Adv Masood Peshimam*
The saying goes that there is always a crime behind every big money. Indeed, criminals care a hoot for law as they feel that they can play havoc with justice by purchasing it. They don’t fear the consequences as they know that they can be steered clear of the blame put on them as they have the potential and clout to grease the palm at the right corner. Those becoming rich overnight are least concerned with the devastating effects of their criminal acts, as the same can be neutralized with corrupt means.
Muscle power follows money power. The twin power of money and muscle draws its strength from proximity to the political class. In the given situation it’s easy to promote fortunes very fast. The story of rags to riches with an enormous speed reflects deceit, fraud and chicanery. Prominent poet late Zafar Gorakhpuri of Bollywood’s “Bazigar” fame can be quoted here:
“Kal tak jo the mere sath bhikh mangne wale,
Aaj ek raat me amir kaise ban baithe.”

(How is it that…

Mainstream media is not willing to reveal that racial hatred is used to divide people and destroy society

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By Asokan Nambazhikkad*
The right to dissent is supreme in a democracy. In its essence, democracy exists on the strength of the will of individuals and groups to dissent and disagree. It is this will, which even an individual in the lowest strata of society should be able to exercise, that is being hacked at its roots every day in contemporary India.
The government and the political parties which run them are trying to tame dissenters or to suppress them if they cannot; they will even take their life if these attempts fail. Individual liberty and fearless interventions are obstacles to governments to protect their secret interests and to parties to protect their vested interests.
Thus individuals, media and small groups which intervene independently and fearlessly against injustice and exploitation in society are perceived as threats by the state. The politics of hatred generated by the Sangh Parivar, which controls the Indian state today, divides and destroys society in various way…

How Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, collaborators in Vibrant Gujarat 2017, fleeced state jewellery customers

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By Shaktisinh Gohil*
Nirav Modi ("chhota Modi") and Mehul Choksi ("hamare Mehulbhai") have not only siphoned off from India’s banks a sum of Rs 21,306 crore. A new layer of conspiracy has now been unearthed which discloses that India’s middle class and common people have also been duped of Rs.5,000 crore or perhaps more. A complicit Modi Government has even refused to publicly acknowledge this loot.
Gitanjali Gems Limited had floated three jewellery investment schemes, i.e. (a) Shagun, (b) Swarna Mangal Labh, and (c) Swarna Mangal Kalash. Modus operandi of the scheme was that an ordinary person, seeking to buy jewellery as also to earn a return on investment, was required to pay 11 installments of a specified amount. In return, the Gitanjali group offered to pay the 12th installment as free. Tenure of these installments could be 12 months, 24 months or 36 months. At the end of the tenure, the amount so accumulated could be redeemed for jewellery with an additional bo…

Vending pakoras can hardly be the real meaning of New India, yet Modi believes in it

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By Anand K. Sahay
‘New India’ is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s copyright. It wasn’t in the BJP manifesto in 2014. It is a powerful rubric with which to attract youth power, and harness it.
And yet, when nearly four years of the five are done, the best that Modi’s BJP can do to bring the young Indian on board is to cook up the idiotic notion of pakora growth, and pakora politics, when unemployment is rampant among all classes.
This little savoury on the snack menu can’t surely be the lead symbol of the Asian century in which India thinks it has a part to play. Vending pakoras can hardly be said to the real meaning of India in the new era.
But, surprisingly, Modi believes it does. When questions on rising joblessness were being flung at him, he was far from defensive. His instinctive- and instant and heartless- reply was that making pakoras was also work.
It is hard not to be reminded of the vicious mocking tone of Marie Antoinette- the French queen sent to the guillotine by the revo…

One has to be either a fool or a liar to try to project that saree is the only dress for women

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Well-known fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee, who has sold designer merchandise using the label Sabyasachi, and is an associate designer member of Fashion Design Council of India and board member of the National Museum of Indian Cinema, was recently engulfed in controversy following his remark before Indian students at the Harvard India Conference that if women do not know how to wear a saree, they should be ashamed. Mukherjee has designed costumes for Bollywood films such as Guzaarish, Baabul, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, Raavan, and English Vinglish. Reacting to his remark, Rajni Basumatary, a Bodo woman has written an open letter. Text of the letter:
Let me begin by reminding you, saree is not a national garment for women in India neither it is any divinely ordained garment and those of us not proficient in wearing it are not ‘ashamed’ of it.
Speaking at the Harvard India Conference, you came out with an outrageous comment, “I think, if you tell me that you do not know how to wea…

For Modi, early election is a political compulsion, his story is different from that of Vajpayee

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By Anand K Sahay
"But something is happening here and you don’t know what it is Do you, Mr, Jones?"
 -- Bob Dylan, 1965  Rulers seldom know what’s happening, do they? They have the intelligence apparatus and their party politicos feeding them whatever the powerful like to hear, but the assessment of the people can be in delicious discord.
Atal Behari Vajpayee ordered elections early because his India was shining. He paid the price. Through cries of policy paralysis and corruption, Dr Manmohan Singh went in expecting to be reasonably rewarded. After all, his government had delivered a nearly eight per cent (10 per cent by today’s yardstick) rate of growth over a ten-year period, unprecedented for a democracy. Yet, the result was a shock.
What was common between the two governments -- covering a period of about 16 years of elite section boy- scout optimism -- was bubbly talk for much of the time by economists, policy wonks, and the World Bank and the IMF. In the end, the politic…

When Nimo meets Namo: One could well ask if anything is ever fair in today's era of vendetta politics?

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By Rajdeep Sardesai*
One good thing in the often joyless times in which we live is the flowering of satire and cartooning on social media (yes, RK Laxman's legacy is alive and kicking) For the last week, my whatsapp has been buzzing, not so much with breaking news, as with 'breaking jokes'. Every few minutes there is a new Nirav Modi joke that enters my inbox which is then almost instantaneously shared with friends and 'contacts' since we all need a break from the tedium of our lives. Most of the jokes have a distinct Narendra Modi angle to them.  Now, it is purely coincidental that the latest swindler in town shares a surname with the prime minister and with another famous fugitive, but it clearly isn't a happy coincidence (bloody hell, even the acronym NiMo is all too uncomfortably close for comfort to NaMo). As the latest joke goes: 'the Congress gave us five Gandhis in 60 years, while the BJP has given us three Modis in four years so the BJP wins on the …

RSS plans to negate the Ambedkarite social justice process through its militarization

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By Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd* and John Wesley**
The Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s chief Mr.Mohan Bhagwat says that the RSS as a military network (of the Brahminic forces) can move to the borders to protect the nation within three days while the Indian Army ( multicultural, multi-caste and secular force) will take six months. This is not only dangerous statement of the ISIS kind, but it has serious life implications to all Shudras/OBCs/Dalits and Adivasis. It has very serious implications to the Social Justice agenda that is in operation because of the Ambedkarite Constitution.
When the RSS head says its army will go to the borders that means it has already acquired major war weapons into its fold and it has trained its forces. The nation can imagine what they are up to now. This is a massive private army existing in the nation now.
The RSS is a Hindu fundamentalist organization like the ISIS is a Muslim fundamentalist organization. Both of them believe in capturing the nations through their …

PNB saga: A wonderful excuse being offered by banking experts and financial wizards is, it's a systemic failure

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By Mousumi Roy*
Heartiest Congratulations to the Government of India. They have allowed the second billionaire who has done the biggest fraud of India to leave the country. Where are those who are charged with the responsibility of keeping an eye on the financial institutions in the country, like the revenue intelligence wings in Banks, RBI, ED and others?
Why the Government of the day did not act on the basis of complaints sent by certain individuals or in some case even by Director of Allahabad Bank? When the RBI conducts its audit of the Bank finances how could they not detect it? Scam after scam no one knows what happened, why it happened and how to plug it?
No learning, no analysis and also no one to blame except the invisible and dumb system. What a sad state of inequality, fraud and nepotism in one of the largest sham democracies in the world which is being looted by just 100 odd billionaires and politicians on a daily basis while hundreds of millions have no food, no toilet, no…

Kasganj events: How nationalism is being misused to polarize society with an eye on 2019 election

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By Adv Masood Peshimam*
On the eve of festivals the police in Maharashtra, particularly in cities like Kalyan, make very effort to maintain communal harmony and social stability. No stone is left unturned to secure a peaceful environment. In meetings convened by the police plenty of opportunities are provided to create a better chemistry between Hindus and Muslims. The police on the eve of festivals is quite categorical in convincing the people that any communal trouble is not in the national interest.
Police efforts to inspire the confidence of the people to celebrate festivals in a peaceful environment have drawn massive admiration. But no such efforts are needed on the eve of celebrating national festivals like 15th August or 26th January to restrain potential trouble shooters. Social fabric is never threatened on such occasions.
However, what happened on 26th January at Kasganj in UP where the Muslims were celebrating the Republic Day was very sad. The tricolor was about to be unf…

Sunshine for affordable housing? Homelessness plagued with unimaginative response from policy pundits

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By Moin Qazi*
There is a new burst of sunshine for India’s affordable housing sector with the Finance Minister announcing in the course of is budget promises the setting up of an affordable housing fund under the National Housing Bank (NHB). It will be funded from priority sector lending shortfall and fully serviced bond authorised by the government of India.
With the objective of boosting the supply of rural housing and augmenting the supply of affordable housing in urban areas, the government will build in 2018 about 195.1 million homes in rural areas and 3.7 million homes in urban areas.
The budget proposed to assign infrastructure status to affordable housing and facilitate higher investments in line with the government’s aim to provide housing for all by 2022. The proposed financial assistance of Rs 2.04 lakh crore) to 99 Smart Cities will ease the pressure on the existing urban centres. The National Housing Bank will refinance individual housing loans worth Rs 20,000 crore in 20…

UP Dy CM is intimidating state officers who expressed opinion against communalism

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By Battini Rao*
People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS) condemns remarks made by the UP Dy CM Mr KC Maurya against District Magistrate of Bareilly as pure intimidation and a brazen effort to browbeat officers who express their opinion against communalism. In an FB post put up after the recent Kasganj communal violence the officer Mr Raghvendra Vikram Singh had questioned the increasing trend of forcibly entering Muslim neighbourhoods and victimizing residents under the garb of nationalism.
Another officer of the state, Rashme Varun of Saharanpur, had also expressed similar sentiments in her FB post. She also referred to events in Saharanpur last year when the local BJP MP had led a march in a Muslim neighbourhood without official permission, and when the district police officer intervened his official residence was attacked by Hindutva goons. After attending a function of an RSS organization Mr Maurya had warned that the Bareilly DM had no right to put the FB post, and th…

UK's Shariat review: Women’s rights are traded off to appease fundamentalists and extremists

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UK-based Muslim women's rights group, One Law for All, in a letter to British home secretary Amber Rudd, has said that Sharia laws are part of the extremist threat and not a solution. Text of the letter:
As black and minority women and human rights campaigners, we voice our dismay at the outcome of the independent review on Sharia laws commissioned by the government in 2016. Although the government has rejected formal recognition (through regulation), the way has been left open for the Sharia courts to continue to exist in a no-man’s land where they continue to produce discriminatory parallel laws while posing as an acceptable alternative dispute mechanism. Now they will be strengthened by a review that has endorsed their existence.
At the outset, we feared a whitewash but what we have seen is worse. The review is superficial, narrow and secretive; and completely lacks credibility. We protested when the Home Office appointed a theologian to lead the review and two Imams as advis…

Why resentment among North-East's Dimasa people about their inclusion in Nagalim is spreading

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By Nava Thakuria*
As the alternate media expands its reaches to hundred thousand Indians across the country, thanks to increasingly cheaper internet connectivity, its restraint and liability also start surfacing in public discourses. The limitation and gradually losing credibility of the mainstream media may pave the way for a boosting alternate media, but it is still miles apart from the trustworthiness among users.
In fact, voluminous media coverage in Assam following the relentless rumour, continued uncertainty and inherent fear had recently resulted in the elimination of two innocent lives along with severe injuries to few others and also stranding of thousand railway passengers for days in different isolated locations.
The rumour of incorporating many parts of Assam including the Dima Hasao district in the greater Nagaland (Nagalim) continued to hunt the people of Assam since the virtual end of Naga movements. The proposed Nagalim continues to claim many areas of Arunachal Prades…

Facts clearly suggest that communal events in Kasganj were a part of the riot politics of BJP

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By SR Darapuri*
Communal riot in Kasganj was pre-planned, which is evident by the events of that day. On the said day, on the occassion of 26th January, Muslims of Kasganj PS area had organised a meeting at Abdul Majeed Chowk. At the same time, approximately 100 youths belonging to Hindu Yuva Vahini, ABVP and RSS arrived there on Motor Cycles holding Tricolor and Saffron Flags, shouting slogans. They asked the organisers to hoist the saffron flag instead of the Tricolour. At this point, Muslims requested them to take the other route, but they insisted on using that way only and ruined the rangoli made there by the motor cycle.
On this, quarrel started between both the groups, at that point the people from that ‘Tiranga March’ started shoutingw objectionable slogans like “If you want to live in India, You will have to say Vande Matram” and “Mullas deserve only one place: Pakistan or Graveyard”. As things escalated, stone pelting and firing from both the sides srarted in which a boy fro…

India’s growth in GDP would constitute a resounding success only if it is labour-intensive

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By Moin Qazi*
There was a burst of sunshine when India took its place under the Davos sky. Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an audacious pitch at the World Economic Forum (WEF): India will replace red-tapism with red carpets. Modi’s pronouncements have a buoyant resonance because there is presently a lot of honeyed juiciness in international perception about India. Moody’s upgraded India for the first time in 14 years and the country made it into the top 100 in the World Bank’s Doing Business rankings last year, narrowing the gap with competitor China.
Much is still needed; however, by way of follow-up action at home. An Oxfam survey has revealed that the richest one percent in India pocketed 73 percent of wealth generated in 2017.Similarly, a WEF survey placed India at 62 among the 74 emerging economies on an Inclusive Development Index—much below China and even Pakistan.
The development landscape is still arid, with occasional green shoots, and is not seeing the sort of development th…