SECULARISM, DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

INSAF Bulletin 170 June 2016
Editors: Daya Varma (Montreal) and Vinod Mubayi (New York)

EDITORIAL: SOUTH ASIA AND FASCISM: DESCENDING FAST, DESCENDING SLOW

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

Two issues in South Asia have captured our attention this month. The first is the troubling regularity with which secularist bloggers and journalists are being murdered in Bangladesh. Several secularists including a professor were hacked to death by machete wielding goons in the months of April and May in a depressing “signature” modus operandi, along with a Christian doctor and a Hindu tailor. Likewise, the murder of secular anti-Shiaphobia activist Khurram Zaki in Pakistan in early May unfortunately echoes a similar incendiary mix of intolerance and impunity practiced by fascist goons pretending to be defenders off religiosity. The execution of Motiur Rahman Nizami head of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, by the Bangladesh state, is also an unfortunate development. Unsavory and murderous, he may have been, but a principled opposition to the death penalty, even for convicted murderers, should be our position as human rights activists. Read more…

BANGLADESH’S SLOW CAPITULATION TO ISLAMISM

Ikhtisad Ahmed

 

On April 25, Islamists butchered LGBTQ activists Xulhaz Mannan and Tonoy Mahbub in the presence of Xulhaz’s mother at Mannan’s home in Dhaka, for being “the pioneers of practicing and promoting homosexuality in Bangladesh (sic)”. Two days before that, extremists hacked to death Rezaul Karim Siddique, a Muslim professor of English at Rajshahi University in northwest Bangladesh. His killers accused him of “calling to atheism”. Read more…

HAS BANGLADESH FINALLY BURIED THE GHOSTS OF 1971 WAR CRIMES ALONG WITH MOTIUR RAHMAN NIZAMI?

David Bergman

 

The beneficiary and then the victim of Bangladesh’s startling political turnarounds was hanged on May 11. Read more…

BANGLADESH: FASCISM FROM BELOW

Habib Khondker

 

A simple equation differentiates democracies from authoritarian systems. Paraphrasing Thomas Jefferson, it can be said that, in a democracy, the government is fearful of the people, and in an authoritarian system, the people are scared of the government. Read more…

ASSAM GOES SAFFRON: FOUR INGREDIENTS THAT THE BJP GOT RIGHT IN THIS CAMPAIGN

Ipsita Chakravarty

 

This will go down as one of the big success stories in the annals of Indian election history. After 15 years of Congress rule, Assam voted decisively for the Bharatiya Janata Party. The BJP has gone from five seats in the assembly polls of 2011 to around 60 in 2016. Mission 64 is in the bag and the BJP alliance looks set to notch up more than 80 seats in the 126-member Assembly. Anti-incumbency does not adequately explain such a dramatic verdict. This was a campaign where the BJP got the ingredients just right. Read more…

INDIA: SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND THE CULTURE OF IMPUNITY IN NAGALAND

Dolly Kikon

 

Perpetrators of sexual violence escape justice, while their victims are trapped between exhortations by women’s advocacy groups not to ‘suffer quietly’ and the social stigma attached to sexual violence. Read more…

THE ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS DECODED: BEHIND THE PROPAGANDA, THE COLD, HARD FACTS

The Citizen Bureau

 

NEW DELHI: The bombast is over, at least one hopes it is. And now that the television media channels are almost over with their customary ‘rah rah BJP’, the cold, sober, hard facts that have emerged from the five Assembly elections should prevail. Read more…

“WHAT HAS BEEN HAPPENING IN RECENT TIMES COULD WELL DEVELOP INTO FASCISM”: AN INTERVIEW WITH ROMILA THAPAR

The Caravan

 

For over five decades, the historian Romila Thapar has been at the vanguard of research and writing about ancient India. The author of 20 books including seminal titles such as A History of India and Asoka and the Decline of the Mauryas, Thapar is also the author of history textbooks for the National Council for Research and Education (NCERT), used widely in schools across the nation. Read more…

INDIA SLIDING TOWARDS FASCISM UNDER HINDUTVA

Indian Writer, Feminist and Social Activist Noor Zaheer in Montreal, Canada. Read more…

LOOKING BEYOND THE KOMAGATA MARU APOLOGY

Gurpreet Singh

 

On May 18, Canada finally apologized for the Komagata Maru episode. The Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood in the House of Commons to say sorry for the incident that happened more than 100 years ago. Read more…

“THINGS THE LEFT NEEDS TO DO RIGHT”

Prabhat Patnaik

 

Exactly a century ago around this time, Vladimir Lenin was in Zurich completing a manuscript that would go on to become perhaps the most consequential book of the twentieth century. Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism may not be the most widely read of Lenin’s works, but it is certainly the most important. Read more…

AIDWA STATEMENT ON TRINAMOOL VIOLENCE AFTER BENGAL ELECTIONS 

AIDWA strongly condemns the heinous attack unleashed by the winning Trinamul Congress activists on the women activists in West Bengal as part of post-poll result violence. Most of AIDWA activists are attacked and hundreds had to flee from the residence in village or city. Read more…

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