SECULARISM, DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

INSAF Bulletin 171 July 2016
Editors: Daya Varma (Montreal) and Vinod Mubayi (New York)

MODI’S US TRIP – PERKS OF POWER AND COMPULSIONS OF EMPIRE 

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

Modi’s recent trip to the White House and the many embraces he received from President Obama as well as the US Congress reminds us again of the nexus between empire and power. Hardly two years ago, Modi was a pariah in the eyes of the US Government that had refused to grant him a visa for nine long years on the grounds of violation of religious freedom. This denial was based on the pogrom of minority Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 when Modi was Chief Minister and directly in-charge of the police and the law and order machinery. The weakness of the Indian judicial system, which has rarely brought to justice anyone other than mere foot soldiers, in cases of communal violence, is well known. Despite mountains of evidence against Modi, amply documented in many reports, books, and proceedings, various official organs in India chose to issue “clean chits” to him on grounds that would strain the credulity of any impartial observer. However, the US State Department certainly recognized this reality when it opted to deny Modi a diplomatic A-2 visa in 2005 and continued to do so thereafter. Read more…

INDIA’S PATENT PROBLEMS: MODI AND THE END OF CHEAP MEDICINES

Sarah Asrar and Fran Quigley

 

When is a decision on a patent application not a decision at all? When it runs counter to the powerful commercial and diplomatic forces that protect massively profitable pharmaceutical monopolies. Or at least that is what many advocates for access to medicines are saying is the reason behind Indian patent officials last month reversing their own 2015 decision that denied United States-based Gilead Sciences a patent on its hepatitis C treatment sofosbuvir, commonly marketed as Sovaldi. The new decision holds that Sovaldi meets the Indian patenting requirements of novelty and inventiveness. But the earlier decision by the same agency came to the opposite conclusion, holding that Gilead’s drug was not a significant improvement over an already available compound. Read more…

RESIST MODI REGIME’S ASSAULT ON STUDENTS THROUGH SUBRAMANIAM PANEL REPORT ON STUDENT POLITICS

Shehla Rashid

 

The recent government constituted panel‘s (headed by former cabinet secretary T.S.R. Subramaniam) report on student politics is unconstitutional, highly regressive and politically motivated, and signals the upcoming onslaught of total commercialisation of education and imposition of Hindutva ideology in universities. The TSR Subramaniam Panel’s report is the logical follow up to the Birla Ambani report (which was submitted in 2000), following which student unions across the country were banned. The Birla Ambani report had lamented that student unions are not allowing commercialisation of education: we accept the charge and take pride in it! We believe that education should be a right of everyone, not a privilege of a handful of people. Read more…

NSG MEMBERSHIP PUSH “ILL-ADVISED, UNWARRANTED”: SRINIVASAN

The Padma Bhushan awardee said failure to get in NSG would not have adverse impact on India’s nuclear programme. Read more…

FIRST PRAFUL BIDWAI MEMORIAL AWARD GOES TO PEOPLE’S ARCHIVE OF RURAL INDIA (PARI)

Press Release

 

New Delhi, June 23: The first Praful Bidwai Memorial Award has gone to the People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI), which was set up in 2014 by noted Mumbai-based journalist and commentator, Palagummi Sainath. Read more…

INDIA: TWO YEARS OF HINDUTVA RULE

Mukul Dube

 

According to a report in the Hindu newspaper of 12 June 2016, Sanatan Sanstha spokesperson Abhay Vartak said that he is “sad to see that Hindu organizations [are] being targeted in spite of a Hindu government being in power”. He forgot that the law has no religion and that the law is above the government in power. A man who kills another human being is a murderer, plain and simple, and he is liable to the same punishment regardless of his religion. Most important, the Constitution of India requires the government of India to have no religion. Read more…

GULBARG SOCIETY CARNAGE: WHO CAST THE FIRST STONE?

Ram Puniyani

 

Communal violence is the big bane of Indian society. While on one hand the innocents are killed the guilty mostly get away without any punishment. The rate of prosecution of riot cases is very low. Even where punishments are meted out the big fish are let off while the foot soldiers get punished. Apart from these observations what is popularized and what has become part of the ‘social common sense’ is that ‘it is Muslims who begin the riot and then they get killed’. Read more…

FACT-FINDING REPORT ON THE ALLEGED EXODUS OF HINDUS FROM KAIRANA

A team of journalists and activists, deputed by The Milli Gazette, on 14 June 2016 visited the town of Kairana in Western Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district which is in the national news due to the claim by the local BJP member of Parliament Hukum Singh that 346 Hindu families have been forced to flee Kairana town due to threats from the Muslim community. This claim aroused much media and political interest and focused lights on the law-and-order situation in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Read more…

PROF MAHESH GURU WALKS FREE TO FACE SUSPENSION FROM MYSORE UNIVERSITY

(SabrangIndia website)

 

Is Criticizing Prime Minister Modi Now A Crime?

 

B.P. Mahesh Chandra Guru walked out of the jail late on the evening of June 24 after getting bail only to receive a suspension order from the Mysore University administration that cities his ‘criticism of Prime Minister of India, HRD Minister and Vice Chancellor in foul and derogatory language” as the reasons for the action against him.  Inquiries made by SabrangIndia reveal that this is the matter before a judicial enquiry that is pending. Read more…

PROTEST THE ONSLAUGHT ON DEMOCRACY!

Call for a People’s Convention, 25 June 2016

 

25 June 1975 is marked as a day of shame, a blot on the history of independent India – the day when democracy was formally suspended through the imposition of the emergency. Today, more than four decades later, the nightmare is playing out again. We are now faced with the stark reality of achhe din, saffron style: an upgraded, corporate friendly, tech savvy version of the Emergency, packaged as a Hindutva dream. Read more…

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