SECULARISM, DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

INSAF Bulletin 173 September 2016
Editors: Daya Varma (Montreal) and Vinod Mubayi (New York)

EDITORIAL

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

Two discourses, both violent and toxic, have dominated the political scene in India recently. One is the topic of nationalism that has become a source of a vicious, undemocratic campaign directed against anyone who raises a voice against the RSS version of Indian nationalism that can be summarized by the slogan “Mera Bharat mahan (My India – great!). The latest victim of this campaign is the respected human-rights organization Amnesty International, which has been accused of sedition in a lawsuit filed in a court in Bangalore simply because Amnesty sponsored a meeting on Kashmir in which victims of violence by the Army and police recounted their stories. (A letter by Civil Society Organizations reproduced below addresses this issue). Read more…

PEOPLE OF INDIA HAVE LET DOWN IROM SHARMILA

Harsh Mander

 

As she licked honey from a fingertip, she could not hold back her tears. It was the first time in 16 years that any food or water had entered Irom Sharmila’s mouth. This tiny dab of honey ended the most extraordinary non-violent battle against injustice that India has seen in the last half-century. Read more…

MAHASWETA DEVI 1926-2016

Premankur Biswas

 

Hathighisa in Naxalbari is about 560 km from the south Kolkata nursing home where author and activist Mahasweta Devi spent her last few months. Yet, the Magsaysay award winner and Padma Vibhushan, who died on Thursday, is almost a local deity in the seat of the Naxalbari movement of the 1960s. Read more…

IN MAHASWETA DEVI’S FICTION, THE DISPOSSESSED TOLD THEIR OWN TRUTHS

Naveen Kishore

 

“A billion moons pass. A billion lunar years. Opening her eyes after a million light years, Draupadi, strangely enough, sees sky and moon. Slowly the bloodied nailheads shift from her brain. Trying to move, she feels her arms and legs still tied to four posts. Something sticky under her ass and waist. Her own blood. Only the gag has been removed. Incredible thirst. In case she says ‘water’ she catches her lower lip in her teeth. She senses that her vagina is bleeding. How many came to make her?” Read more…

KANDHAMAL: LONG WAIT FOR JUSTICE

Ram Puniyani

 

Today, nearly a decade later when we remember with pain the horrific violence of Kandhamal in 2008, many issues related to the state of affairs of communal violence, state of minorities, the state of justice delivery system come to one’s mind. Read more…

PRESS STATEMENT BY ALL INDIA SECULAR FORUM

All India Secular Forum extends solidarity with the Aazadi Kooch, a Pad Yatra organised by the Una Dalit Atyachar Ladat Samiti which started on 5th August 2016 and goes on till 15th August 2016. The yatra began in Ahmedabad on the 5th and is expected to complete 400 kms when it reaches Una on the 15th. Read more…

KASHMIR, AND THE INHERITANCE OF LOSS

Basharat Peer

 

SRINAGAR, Kashmir — On July 8, Burhan Wani, a 22-year-old rebel, was shot dead by Indian soldiers and police officers in a small village in the central part of Indian-controlled Kashmir. News of his killing spread as fast as the bullets that had hit him. Cellphones, emails, social media went wild: “They’ve killed Burhan! They’ve killed Burhan!” Everybody called Burhan by his first name. Read more…

INDIA’S TOP 1% OWNS MORE THAN 50% OF HER WEALTH

Bodapati Srujana

 

NEW DELHI: Today, wealth inequality in India is much sharper than ever before. The top 1% that owned a little more than a third of India’s wealth in 2000, now own more than half the wealth in the country. In this same period, the share of 99% of India’s population went down from almost two-third to less than half. Read more…

‘FOR BJP, THE COW IS A ‘SACRIFICIAL LAMB’ TO POLARISE VOTERS’

Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta

 

The former IPS officer is now part of the Dalit movement in Gujarat. In an interview he discusses the BJP’s implicit support of gau rakshaks, the condition of Dalits in India and where the Una movement is heading. Read more…

CASTE CAPITALISM IN PAKISTAN

Foqia Sadiq Khan

 

How the textiles sector in Pakistan came into the hands of Memons and Chiniotis after the Partition. Read more…

SRI LANKA: 10 YEARS SINCE AID WORKER MASSACRE

Human Rights Watch

 

Sri Lankan authorities have not brought to justice those responsible for the execution-style slaying of 17 aid workers a decade ago this week, Human Right Watch said today. On August 4, 2006, gunmen murdered local staff members from the Paris-based Action Contre La Faim (Action Against Hunger, ACF) at their compound in the town of Muttur, in eastern Trincomalee district. Read more…

BANGLADESH: BAULS UNDER ATTACK

Editorial: The Independent

 

By attacking these mystics minstrels, the militants have not only attacked the pluralistic foundation of our country but have also shamelessly shown their contempt for our culture and customs. Read more…

BANGLADESH: FALSE NUCLEAR HOPE

M V Ramana and Zia Mian

 

Plans to construct Bangladesh’s first nuclear power plant are moving forward fast. Read more…

FAST BREEDER REACTORS AND THE SLOW PROGRESS OF INDIA’S NUCLEAR PROGRAMME

M.V. Ramana

 

Breeder reactors have always underpinned the claims of India’s Department of Atomic Energy about generating large quantities of electricity. Read more…

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, INDIA

Dear Friends,

 

As you have no doubt been following in the news, there is a concerted campaign against Amnesty International India (AII) by the ABVP and some sections of the government after the filing of the FIR on charges of sedition against them by Bangalore police, following their event on Kashmir there. Read more…

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