SECULARISM, DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

INSAF Bulletin 222 October 2020
Editors: Daya Varma (Montreal) and Vinod Mubayi (New York)

EDITORIAL: INDIA’S MARCH TO A POLICE STATE INTENSIFIES

Vinod Mubayi

Last month’s editorial focused on how India, often billed as the world’s largest democracy, was marching towards an authoritarian police state. It was argued that while the formal institutions of democracy such as the constitution, the courts and the legislature remain, their content is being systematically hollowed out to make them mere shells without substance.

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DELHI POLICE

Pratap Bhanu Mehta

Delhi’s Police’s investigation against students and activists in connection with the Delhi riots is pushing the Indian state into a long dark night of tyranny. The riots are a serious matter. All perpetrators must be credibly identified and subject to the law. But instead, we are witnessing a project designed to crush civil society. If our freedom is to be saved, we need to understand what is at stake in what is happening in Delhi.

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HOW POLITICAL MASTERS ARE ORCHESTRATING DELHI POLICE IN RIOTS CASE

Julio Ribeiro

I wrote a letter to the Delhi Police Commissioner that went ‘viral’ — a term my grand-children and their friends often use. I write letters at the drop of a hat but none turned ‘viral’. This one, obviously because it touched raw nerves, did! Since a leading daily wrote an editorial on what I said in the letter, my grandchildren have started reading editorials, an advice of an old man that they had ignored earlier.

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MY ENCOUNTERS WITH SWAMI AGNIVESH

Irfan Engineer

It is very saddening news that Swami Agnivesh is no more amongst us. Swamiji enriched our understanding of Hindu Vedic religion in particular and all religions in general. He remained a critic of all religions and advocated for spirituality.

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REST IN POWER, JEAN CHAPMAN

It is with deep sadness and a sense of loss that we at SAWCC (South Asian Women’s Community Centre) mourn the death of Jean Chapman, our sister in struggle. Jean passed away peacefully on September 21, 2020 at home in the arms of her husband Paul Wilkinson and with her beloved poodle, Noah, by her side.  Jean joined SAWCC in 1985 and was a life member. 

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PAKISTAN’S FIRST CLIMATE PRISONERS: BABA JAN AND AFFECTEES OF THE ATTABAD DISASTER

Tabitha Spence

Baba Jan has spent years of his life in prison, framed along with Iftikhar Karbalayi and 10 others, for terrorism and the murder of a young man and his father. Eyewitnesses say that Afzal and Sher Ullah Baig were shot and killed by police while demonstrating for unpaid compensation promised to victims of the landslide and floods that destroyed villages in the Gojal Valley in January 2010.  

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SILENCE IN SWAT: MEMORY, MILITANCY AND THE MILITARY IN SWAT VALLEY

Hurmat Ali Shah

Swat Valley used to be green. Now the green looks dull and grey. The people living here are tired. They forget. And when personal histories, and personal and collective geographies are marred with memories of violence, isn’t short-term memory loss the natural answer? Who has the courage to confront memory amidst the rhythm of the everyday, lay it to rest, and more painfully, make sense of all the killings and the aftermath – that is, a military regimenting a whole population for the crime of being conquered by a militant group?

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NO TYRANT CAN ENDURE: ON THE ARREST OF UMAR KHALID

Shuddhabrata Sengupta

On the night of 13 September, as the calendar turned, news came in that Umar Khalid, an activist, had been arrested after several hours of interrogation at the office of the Special Cell of the Delhi Police, in Lodhi Colony. Khalid, a PhD scholar in the Adivasi history of Jharkhand from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, was detained for his alleged role in a conspiracy, which the Delhi Police claimed instigated the violence that ripped through northeast Delhi in the last week of February.

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INDIANS GET JUST ONE WEEK TO REVIEW CRUCIAL HEALTH DATA POLICY. THE CENTRE’S RUSH IS UNDEMOCRATIC

Ipsita Chakravarty & Vijayta Lalwani

The policy covers the collection and storage of data on an individual’s medical history, finances, genetics, sex life, caste, religion and political beliefs.

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