SECULARISM, DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

INSAF Bulletin 217 May 2020
Editors: Daya Varma (Montreal) and Vinod Mubayi (New York)

EDITORIAL: CLASS, CASTE AND COMMUNAL VIRUS AND THE DEMONIZATION OF DISSENT IN THE AGE OF CORONA

Vinod Mubayi

As the novel coronavirus started to ravage through India, specific acts of the Modi-Shah regime ruling the country unleashed and intensified other socio-political viruses that are decidedly not novel. In fact, one may claim with confidence that these old viruses have been omnipresent in the minds of the actors, agents, and facilitators of the BJP regime, lurking in the background waiting to be uncovered when opportunity presents itself.

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WHAT THE WORLD CAN LEARN FROM KERALA ABOUT HOW TO FIGHT COVID-19



Sonia Faleiro

The sun had already set on March 7 when Nooh Pullichalil Bava received the call. “I have bad news,” his boss warned. On February 29, a family of three had arrived in the Indian state of Kerala from Italy, where they lived. The trio skipped a voluntary screening for covid-19 at the airport and took a taxi 125 miles (200 kilometers) to their home in the town of Ranni. When they started developing symptoms soon afterward, they didn’t alert the hospital. Now, a whole week after taking off from Venice, all three—a middle-­aged man and woman and their adult son—had tested positive for the virus, and so had two of their elderly relatives.

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AMARTYA SEN ON THE WIRE, THE POLICE AND BEYOND

Amartya Sen

Steps to undermine democracy in India are becoming increasingly common. The police action by the Uttar Pradesh government – ruled by the same political party that runs the Central government – against The Wire and its founding editor, Siddharth Varadarajan, shows how far-reaching the destructive stabs at democracy have become in India.

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CORONAVIRUS LOCKDOWN: THE SEVEN AND A HALF THINGS THAT MODI SAID AND DID NOT SAY

Shuddhabrata Sengupta

A terse but timely message to stop indulging in profiling Muslims as ‘carriers’ of COVID-19 or as ‘bio-terrorists’ from the prime minister could have gone a long way in controlling the baser instincts of his followers.

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MONTREAL TEACH-IN: COMMUNITIES OF STRUGGLE DURING COVID-19 LOCKDOWN — ORGANIZED BY FEMMES DE DIVERSES ORIGINES/WOMEN OF DIVERSE ORIGINS



On Saturday 18th April 2020 at 11am the Montreal-based organization Femmes de diverses origines/Women of Diverse Origins which includes among its members the South Asian Women’s Community Centre, organized the first of a series of teach-in.

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26TH APRIL, 2020 PUCL STATEMENT – LIFT TOTAL LOCKDOWN AND CONTINUE ONLY IN SELECT PLACES

April 25th, 2020 marks the end of the first month of India’s gigantic, country-wide lockdown to counter and check the spread of the COVID -19 – Corona virus. As the Prime Minister gets down to discuss on 27th April, 2020, with the CMs of all the states of India, about whether to continue fully or partially with the biggest ever global shutdown of this size, it is an apt occasion for citizen’s to review progress and point out key concerns, to both the Prime Minister of India, as also all the Chief Ministers.  

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GENDERING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC: WOMEN LOCKED AND DOWN



Madhuri Dixit and Dilip Chavan

The COVID-19 crisis has affected Indian women differently. Due to the lack of autonomy and gender insensitive nature of the state’s response to the corona crisis, women are perceived as second class citizens. While the lockdown is not qualitatively a new experience for the women, even in critical times as it does not change boundaries or the nature of the public and the private spheres for them. Rather, it overburdens them, bereaves them of agency, and compromises their safety.

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IN KASHMIR, RESISTANCE IS MAINSTREAM



Samreen Mushtaq and Mudasir Amin

“I am free today,” claimed Farooq Abdullah, former chief minister of Jammu & Kashmir and a prominent ‘pro-India’ politician from the valley, addressing reporters outside his Gupkar residence in Srinagar on 13 March 2020. This was over seven months after he was placed under house arrest following the de-operationalisation of Article 370 by India on 5 August 2019. Abdullah, an octogenarian, was later formally arrested and booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA), often referred to as a ‘lawless law’, which allows for up to two years of detention without trial.

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REDEFINING CITIZENSHIP IN PAKISTAN

Hurmat Ali Shah


Over the past two years, the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) has defined an alternative future for Pakistan. It has also contributed to the state’s anxiety about its own discursive and political power. The Pakistani state has used all the tools in its arsenal, ranging from censorship to arrests and intimidation. The country’s military in particular has been accused by the PTM of abductions and extrajudicial killings, and has opened fire on the peaceful PTM protesters.

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RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: USCIRF REPORT DOWNGRADES INDIA FOR ‘VIOLATIONS’

Shubhajit Roy

This is the first time since 2004 — which was in the backdrop of the Gujarat riots of 2002 — that USCIRF has recommended that India be designated as a “Country of Particular Concern”.

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