Rhymes for a Reason #Raptivism #Protestmusic #Hiphop


Despite his blingy alias, Ashwini Mishra, also known as A-list, is taking rap back to its political roots, says Richa Kaul Padte

Richa Kaul Padte

15-06-2013, Issue 24 l t

Hip-hop journalist Ashwini Mishra

Hip-hop journalist  Photo:Andrea Fernandes

“It’s so damn fake, we act so holy when We speak of Delhi gangrape, but what of Shopian? Enough of the lies, let me tell you what is true This is how we took the life of Afzal Guru

DRESSED IN a shirt, jeans, and a belt to match, Ashwini Mishra — aka A-List — harks back to a hip-hop culture that predates the ‘bling, bitchez and flowing cash’ of the bootylicious videos MTV has broadcast across the world for over two decades. His progressive and lyrically lucid emceeing is, in Mishra’s words, “taking it back to the streets”. Free styling, recording his own tracks and bringing a vibrant energy to clubs, open-mic nights and protest concerts alike, Mishra is quickly making a name for himself in what he labels ‘hip-hop journalism’.

As a member of , a Mumbai-based collective of poets, musicians, writers and artists, Mishra says his politics is liberal, though listeners of his music may place him much further on the Left in Indian politics today. A commentator for current events — such as the arrest of Shaheen Dhada for her Facebook status questioning the shutdown of Mumbai following the death of Bal Thackeray (“All the cops look at what these kids say/Then they are booked under Section 66A”) and the displacement of Kashmiri Pandits, an event often forgotten even in progressive views around the occupation of Kashmir (“He just wants a place in the valley, where he belongs/But Mr Kaul, your valley is gone”) — Mishra’s ties with JAPA’s network of activists and agitators across the country provide him with inside perspectives that go far beyond what the corporate media’s headlines dictate.

So how did the 28-year-old Bihari “corporate stooge by day” go on to produce one of India’s first hip-hop EPs in 2005? While living in Saudi Arabia, a serendipitous encounter with a Run-DMC cassette led seven-year-old Mishra to become “a hip-hop head” for the rest of his life. “The language, the culture, the aesthetic of hip-hop was just something I fell in love with,” he says. Returning to Kolkata, the city of his birth, Mishra began writing poetry (“In Calcutta, everybody is a poet,” he says, wryly). Poetry soon turned into performance, and growing up at a time when hip-hop was sparking resistance across the globe and artists like Eminem were “[making] it cool to be intricate with your rhyme again”, A-List was born as Mishra worked for his undergraduate degree.

Today, he collaborates with musicians as diverse as Kashmiri producers or The Republican Sena, a group of Dalit poets, artists and writers, and performs his own songs everywhere from “Richie-Rich venues to commie gatherings”. Looking to expand the culture of protest music in the country, Mishra’s work falls on the highly political end of India’s newly formed hip-hop spectrum, which covers everything from artists like Mumbai-based Microphon3 (who use much of the style, ‘swag’ and lingo of American ) to those who seek to be socially conscious, responding to issues such as gender-based violence (Manmeet Kaur, for example), or the treatment of the Muslim community (like the recent single, Native Bappa, from Kerala based hip hop crew Mappila Lahala).

However, rappers like Mishra and MC Kash (a Kashmir-based hip-hop artist who often includes recordings and excerpts from political rallies into his music) take socially conscious rapping to a more significant, interventionist level. Mishra extensively researches issues and participates in protests, demonstrations and public actions for movements he musically engages with, including the Bhopal gas tragedy, the treatment of Soni Sori and various feminist struggles. He is hopeful about making a difference, even in a music industry that is largely commercial and averse to changing the status quo. “Look at any great revolution; it has art linked to it,” he says. “So maybe hip-hop is the art of this era that can drive [change]… And guys like us will keep this thing going. So if you really look, you’ll see us; you’ll hear our music.”

letters@tehelka.com

(Published in Tehelka Magazine, Volume 10 Issue 24, Dated 15 June 2013)

 

#India – The Draconian #ITAct


Draconian act

free1.jpg

May 20, 2013 : dECCAN hERALD

The arrest of Jaya Vindhyala, president of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties(PUCL) in Andhra Pradesh, is the latest case of arbitrary and highhanded police action to restrict freedom of expression.

The case specifically involved online freedom of expression because the alleged offences related to a posting on a Facebook page. Vidhyala had made a posting critical of Tamil Nadu governor K Rosaiah and an AP legislator Amanchi  Krishna Mohan. While the same information published by the local print media had invited only a notice of  legal action, its online publication  has invited arrest and prosecution. It is difficult to understand how there can be different standards of response to the same information in two forms of media. Online media postings  are made by individuals and they are more vulnerable. Freedom of expression is basically the individual’s freedom to express opinions and it should be guaranteed and protected, whatever the medium of expression.

While dealing with the case, the Supreme Court has directed state governments to not arrest anybody  for a post on a networking site unless the action is cleared by senior police officials. But this is no relief because senior police officials are also vulnerable to pressure from political authorities who are offended by postings in online media, as in this case. Vindhyala’s postings contained only matters revealed under the RTI Act and other information in the public realm. And yet she is being prosecuted. This is because Section 66 A of the Information Technology Act, under which the action was taken,  is  very restrictive and draconian.

The section in effect differentiates between an ordinary citizen and a person who uses social media for comment. While the citizen has a defence under Section 19(1)(a)  of the Constitution and other relevant provisions of the law, the netizen can be proceeded against under Section 66 A. This is anomalous because social media is actually gaining more popularity and importance than conventional media and they provide an empowering forum for individuals.

This section should be removed from the IT Act because it is discriminatory and liable to be misused, whatever the guidelines that are given to the police. A number of cases of highhanded actions under the provision  have come to light, including  the arrest of two girls in Maharashtra who questioned the shutting down of Mumbai in the wake of Bal Thackeray’s death. Union Law minister Kapil Sibal’s recent assurances on the bill in parliament were not convincing.

 

SC – No arrest for posts on social sites without permission #ITact #Censorship


PTI

In view of public outrage over people being arrested for making comments or liking posts on Facebook, Centre had issued advisory not to arrest a person in such cases without prior approval of a senior official.
In view of public outrage over people being arrested for making comments or liking posts on Facebook, Centre had issued advisory not to arrest a person in such cases without prior approval of a senior official.

The Supreme Court on Thursday said that no person should be arrested for posting objectionable comments on social networking sites without taking prior permission from senior police officials.

The apex court, which refused to pass an order for a blanket ban on the arrest of a person for making objectionable comments on websites, said state governments should ensure strict compliance of the Centre’s January 9 advisory which said that a person should not be arrested without taking permission from senior police officials.

“We direct the state governments to ensure compliance with the guidelines (issued by Centre) before making any arrest,” a bench of justices B.S.Chauhan and Dipak Misra said.

It said the court cannot pass an order for banning all arrest in such cases as operation of section 66A (pertaining to objectionable comments) of the Information Technology Act has not been stayed by the apex court which is examining its constitutional validity.

In view of public outrage over people being arrested for making comments or liking posts on Facebook, Centre had on January 9 issued advisory to all states and UTs asking them not to arrest a person in such cases without prior approval of a senior police officer.

The advisory issued by the Centre says that, “State governments are advised that as regard to arrest of any person in complaint registered under section 66A of the Information Technology Act, the concerned police officer of a police station may not arrest any person until she/he has obtained prior approval of such arrest from an officer, not below the rank of Inspector General of Police (IGP) in metropolitan cities or of an officer not below the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) or Superintendent of Police (SP) at district level, as the case may be.”

The apex court was hearing an application seeking its direction to the authorities not to take action for posting objectionable comments during the pendency of a case before it pertaining to constitutional validity of section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act.

The section states that any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or communication device, any information that was grossly offensive or has a menacing character could be punished with imprisonment for a maximum term of three years, besides imposition of appropriate fine.

The petition was also filed regarding the arrest of a Hyderabad-based woman activist, who was sent to jail over her Facebook post in which certain “objectionable” comments were made against Tamil Nadu Governor K.Rosaiah and Congress MLA Amanchi Krishna Mohan. After filing of the petition, she was released by a district court at Hyderabad.

Jaya Vindhayal, the state general secretary of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), was arrested on May 12 under section 66A of the IT Act for the “objectionable” post.

According to the police, she had also allegedly distributed pamphlets making objectionable allegations against Rosaiah and Mohan before posting the comments online.

The matter was mentioned before the bench by law student Shreya Singhal, seeking an urgent hearing in the case, saying the police is taking action in such matters even though a PIL challenging validity of section 66A is pending before the apex court.

She had filed the PIL after two girls–Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Shrinivasan–were arrested in Palghar in Thane district under section 66A of IT Act after one of them posted a comment against the shutdown in Mumbai following Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray’s death and the other ‘liked’ it.

On November 30, 2012, the apex court had sought response from the Centre on the amendment and misuse of section 66A of IT Act and had also directed the Maharashtra government to explain the circumstances under which the 21-year-old girls were arrested.

Pursuant to the notice issued by the apex court, the Centre had informed it that the controversial provision in the cyber law under which two girls were arrested for Facebook comments did not curb freedom of speech and alleged “high handedness” of certain authorities did not mean that it was bad in law.

The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology in its affidavit had said that an advisory had been issued to all the state governments, saying that due diligence and care may be exercised while dealing with cases arising out of the alleged misuse of cyberspace.

The Maharashtra Government in its reply had said the arrests of girls in Thane district were “unwarranted” and “hasty”, which “cannot be justified“.

The state government had also submitted an affidavit stating that the Thane police SP (Rural) had been suspended for arresting the two girls despite the instruction by the IGP not to take such action.

The court had earlier issued notices and sought responses from governments of Delhi, West Bengal and Puducherry where a professor and a businessman were arrested under section 66A of the Act for a political cartoon and tweeting against a politician respectively.

 

Gujarat – Different riot, same story #antisikhriots


MIDDAY

17APR2013

 

Ranjona Banerji, Mid Day 

Just as anyone who lived in Delhi through the anti-Sikh pogrom of 1984 or the Mumbai riots of 1992 and 1993 knows what happened, that is true of Gujarat 2002 as well. Trying to get to office on February 2008 – a day after the attack on the Sabarmati Express — was a harrowing experience, dodging mobs out on the roads in Ahmedabad, looting and burning.

The policemen who I saw that day stood quietly in corners, away from the mayhem. They looked away when they were exhorted to help.

What the investigation, broadcast by a news channel this week, into the police wireless reports from February 27 onwards shows is that there were some police officers who were well aware of what was happening and were asking for help even as the situation got out of control. Also evident from the innumerable messages from the State Intelligence Bureau is that there was awareness about the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal gathering forces and fear over the outcome. The riots were not spontaneous or sudden, as claimed by the state and Central governments.

All this was evident on the streets on Ahmedabad. While a restaurant near my residence in that city was being vandalised, people in cars called for hand carts on their cell phones to carry away the discarded furniture. The restaurant only served vegetarian food but its name was ambivalent and could well have been Muslim. The anti-Muslim rhetoric and cries of “revenge” for the Godhra attack were everywhere.

College professors visited the newspaper office where I worked, initially shame- faced and then slipping in lines like “ but maybe they deserved it”, harking back to the raids on the Somnath temple by Mahmud of Ghazni.

The government took too long to respond, the police commissioner never left his office — even though there was mayhem on the streets outside and victims arriving in hundreds in camps a stone’s throw away. The army also came too late. Riots are always shameful and shocking and rarely if even spontaneous. But usually even the most cynically manipulative of governments makes an attempt to control proceedings. In Gujarat in 2002 however it seemed as the riots were allowed to continue — with incidences of violence stretching into months.

There is some anger and resentment — perhaps understandable — that is there is too much focus on Gujarat when rioters elsewhere have escaped. This is definitely true.

Jagdish Tytler appears defiantly free, defending himself on TV when victim after victim named him for the attacks on Sikhs after Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984. The worst example is perhaps Mumbai. The hand of the Shiv Sena in the riots is well known.

The Srikrishna Commission indicted the party from its late chief Bal Thackeray downwards. Nothing happened to the Sena and nothing happened to the investigations into the riots. The case into the1993 bomb blasts which followed the riots has seen closure, with much public attention.

So far, the public discourse about riots has been disquieting, even toxic.

If religious minorities — like Muslims in Gujarat 2002 or in Bombay 1992- 1993 — are the targets then we fall into a lose- lose spiral of accusations of false secularism, demands of ubernationalism, complaints of appeasement and what is nothing short of majoritarian bullying. We seem unable to accept that religion per se — whether it is used by Muslims or Hindus or anyone else — cannot and must not be a justification for violence. Governments do not like to probe riots too deeply because they feel that given the amount mass level anger or hatred exposed, such wounds are best left untouched and ignored.

Gujarat then is the first opportunity to India to clean up its act. It is thanks to the Supreme Court alone — as far as a Constitutional authority goes — that the Gujarat riots have seen any move towards justice.

Unfortunately, the apex court had to step in because of the reluctance of the state government to move on the cases against rioters. Therefore, while there may be inherent unfairness about riots in the past, this is one opportunity to provide a template for justice in the future.

 

Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist.

You can follow her on Twitter @ranjona

 

#Mumbairiots – Two decades on, the inconvinient truth #mustread


Meena Menon, The Hindu

_

The less privileged survivors of the 1993 Mumbai riots should not be deprived of justice on the grounds that old wounds will be reopened

It is 20 years since two cataclysmic events shook Bombay now Mumbai. If there is recollection now of the first — the communal carnage spread over two months and which killed over 900 people — it is called the reopening old wounds. On the other hand, if you speak about the second, the serial blasts of March 12, 1993, it’s about terror coming home to the city and claiming innocent lives.

Even the State makes a clear demarcation — a judicial commission of inquiry for communal riots, and a designated court under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) for a terror strike. While the judicial commission’s recommendations are not binding on the government, a designated or special court has complete legal sanction. When carnage in Bombay post the Babri Masjid demolition had somewhat abated, then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao constituted a judicial commission of inquiry. It was to probe the over two-month long violence on January 25, 1993, one and a half months before the city would be shaken and stirred by a series of bomb blasts. While the judicial commission on riots headed by Justice B.N. Srikrishna was conducting its hearing, Maharashtra was claimed by a saffron coalition of the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The new government changed the terms of reference of the Srikrishna inquiry to probe the circumstances and the immediate causes of the serial bomb blasts. Then, all of a sudden, on January 23, 1996, the State government disbanded the commission of inquiry on the grounds that it was taking too much time and that it would reopen old wounds. Finally, then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee intervened to revive the commission by May 1996. For five years, the commission examined 2,125 affidavits, recorded 502 testimonies and gathered 9,655 pages of evidence and 2,903 documents. Twenty-six police stations were covered by the commission but its report was rejected by the State government which said it was biased.

Commission’s stance

The Srikrishna Commission says that the Shiv Sena-BJP government desired that it go into certain aspects of the serial bomb blasts which occurred on March 12, 1993 and expanded its terms of reference which included finding out the circumstances and the immediate causes of the incidents, commonly known as the serial bomb blasts, whether the riots and the blasts were linked, and whether they were part of a common design.

In its final report, the commission said the riots appeared to have been a causative factor for the bomb blasts. “There is no material placed before the commission indicating that the riots during December 1992 and January 1993 and the serial blasts were a part of a common design. In fact this situation has been accepted by Mahesh Narain Singh who was heading the team of investigators into the serial bomb blasts case. He also emphasizes that the serial bomb blasts were a reaction to the totality of events at Ayodhya and Bombay in December 1992 and January 1993 and the commission is inclined to agree with him.”

Recurrent theme

While rejecting the Commission’s report, the government berated it for not paying enough attention to the blasts while devoting over 600 pages to the riots. With these words, the Shiv Sena-BJP had laid the foundation for erasing the memory of the riots and layering it with a sharp and unforgettable image of the serial blasts.

The theme of reopening old wounds recurred again in a High Court judgment which acquitted the late Shiv Sena chief, Bal Thackeray, in 2007 after the State government appealed in two cases of acquittals of Mr. Thackeray by lower courts. The High Court observed that no ends of justice would be served by digging up the old cases after the expiry of seven years and that they would only revive communal tension. Time has already passed. In a review of these circumstances, it is difficult to find fault with the impugned order passed by the additional chief metropolitan magistrate terminating the proceedings in the two cases, the High Court said.

By 2007, after the designated TADA court sentenced 100 people for their roles in the March 12 serial bomb blasts case, there was uproar from civil rights groups and riot victims. The State government agreed to set up four special courts to expedite 16 of the 253 pending cases. Many important pending cases were not dealt with by these courts though some convictions were handed out. While both the Congress and its ally, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), promised to implement the Srikrishna Commission report in their election manifesto, they did nothing. When special courts were being set up to speed up old riot cases, there was a chorus that this would reopen old wounds.

Yet, when the Supreme Court disposed of appeals by death row convicts and actor Sanjay Dutt in the March 12, 1993 serial blasts case on March 21, 2013, everyone revelled in the reopening of those old wounds. Bollywood was dismayed, people spoke in one voice saying that poor Sanjay Dutt must be forgiven. Hadn’t he spread Mahatma’s Gandhi’s ideals. For people convicted under TADA for disposing of Dutt’s weapons or storing them, there was no reprieve. While they were convicted and sentenced for an act of terror, Dutt got away unstained by the terror tag and with a sentence commuted to five years under the Arms Act. If that didn’t reopen old wounds for his co-accused in the case, nothing will. People also recalled fondly how Dutt’s father, the late Congress leader, Sunil Dutt, had to beseech Bal Thackeray to intervene so that the courts could grant his Sanjay bail after a stint in jail.

The survivors of the riots continue to despair. They can’t even get cases registered against culprits if they happen to be policemen. The Special Investigation Team, formed soon after the riots, closed more cases than it reopened. They have to approach the High Court for registering first information reports or demanding Central Bureau of Investigation inquiries. They have no choice but to reopen old wound

 

Protest Narendra Modi- Printers who pull out from conference get threats


English: Narendra Modi in Press Conference

 

5-2-2013

 

http://zeenews.india.com/news/delhi/printers-protest-narendra-modi-as-chief-guest-pul_831453.html

 

New Delhi

 

A printers’ conference, which will begin here later this week, has got into a controversy with several participants pulling out to protest participation of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the Chief Guest.

 

Scheduled to be held on March 2 in Delhi, the conference “Romancing Print 2013″ is the third edition of an annual, professional conference of the printing industry.

 

This year it has been organised by AIFMP (All India Federation of Master Printers) and the journal Press Ideas, with participation from both national and international players in the field. The organisers say they are expecting over 300 participants.

 

“We are both shocked and dismayed to see that Romancing Print has seen fit to invite Narendra Modi as its Chief Guest to this year’s edition…We fail to understand why, in the first place, a political figure who neither has anything to do with the print industry nor holds any official position in this regard should have been invited as Chief Guest when there is no dearth of professionals from the publishing and print industry who could lend both grace and dignity to an event such as this,” said Indu Chandrasekhar of Tulika Books.

 

 

 

Following the protest, two of the media partners for the event — Mumbai-based Printweek India and Delhi-based Indian Printer and Publisher (IPP) — have withdrawn their support to the event, Chandrasekhar claimed.

 

 

 

In an email to organisers Ramu Ramnathan, Group Editor of Print Week India officially withdrew as a media partner for the event. “We do not agree with the content of your seminar and invitation of Narendra Modi as a chief guest,” he said.

 

 

 

“As a magazine and as a publishing house in India with more than 12 years of standing, we stand by the principles of good taste, decency, progressive values, democratic principles and above all, the Constitution of India. As editor of PrintWeek India, I don’t think Narendra Modi stands by these values; and hence the withdrawal of support,” Ramnathan said.

 

 

 

Naresh Khanna, Editor, Indian Printer and Publisher Packaging South Asia (IPP) has also pulled out from the event.

 

 

 

“I regret to say that we will not be media partners for the Romancing Print 2013 Conference. We think that it is a huge mistake for you to have invited Modi to address this event. In any case we have never been consulted as to the content or program of the previous Romancing Print events and the organisers have assumed that we would simply rubber stamp our agreement to be media partners.

 

 

 

“It seems that in a bid to perhaps draw crowds rather than hold a conference with real content you have been misled by Narendra Modi’s propaganda machine of his great successes in Gujarat…In addition, you are perhaps unwittingly becoming a part of Modi’s propaganda which includes his efforts to avoid all legal responsibility for crimes perpetrated by him and his government,” Khanna said.

 

 

 

Among those protesting the choice of Modi as chief guest are Urvashi Butalia of Zubaan Books, Arpita Das (Yoda Press), S Anand (Navayana), Radhika Menon (Tulika Publishers, Chennai), Mandira Sen (Stree-Samya, Kolkata), Asad Zaidi (Three Essays, New Delhi), Ritu Menon (Women Unlimited, New Delhi) and Chandra Chari (The Book Review, New Delhi).

 

 

 

Antara Dev Sen (The Little Magazine, New Delhi), Sudhanva Deshpande (Leftword, New Delhi), Madhumoy Sengupta (Samskriti, New Delhi), Esha Beteille (Social Science Press, New Delhi), Faheem Agboatwalla (Hi-Tech, Mumbai), Ram Rahman (designer, photographer and writer) and Akshay Pathak (publishing consultant and writer) are also opposed to the choice of Modi as the chief guest.

 

 

 

The annual printer’s conference had popular writer Chetan Bhagat as the keynote speaker in the first session in the year 2011.

 

 

 

Organisers say like the previous two editions, this year too they expect over 300 delegates to participate.

 

 

 

“Certainly we will go ahead with our event,” said Jacob George of PressIdeas, an organiser of the conference.

 

 

 

“They have a right to protest but it will not affect our event. We will go ahead as planned,” he said.

 

 

 

The invite to the printers conference said, “A dreamer that Mr Modi is, he has the remarkable ability to transform dreams into reality and we have been seeing it in the state of Gujarat…Let us all hear him speak on his vision and mission and get inspired to do better business in our chosen field of printing!”

 

 

 

“We shall leave no stone unturned to make it an even bigger success than the last two,” George said.

 

 

 

Meanwhile, Ramanathan claimed he had received “calls and sms from leading members of the AIFMP with both covert and overt threats”.

 

 

 

“This is the second time such a thing has happened. A few months ago, I had objected to the glorification of the late Bal Thackeray by one of the 50 print associations of the AIFMP in their monthly print journal. I had sought to understand what the contribution of Thackeray was to the welfare and growth of the Indian print industry; and no answer was given by the said association; except I was told, ‘we know best.’ This time we beg to disagree; and as a mark of our protest we withdraw our support to your event,” Ramanathan said.

 

 

 

Among the foreign participants listed are Kunio Ishibashi (Japan Federation of Printing Industries), Yu Yongzhan (President of The Printing Technology Association of China), D D Buhain (Philippines), Peter Lane (Printing Industries Association of Australia, Sanjeev Mohan (Sri Lanka Association of Printers) and C K Liew (Malaysia).

 

 

 

V K Gulati from Saku Group (New Delhi/Noida), Sreekumar from Bhavin Graphics (Chennai), Manu Choudhary from CDC Printers (Kolkata), Sandeep Bhargava from Kumar Printers (Manesar) and Shailesh Shah from Krisflexipack (Mumbai) are part of an Indian panel listed by the ‘Romancing Print 2013′ organisers.

 

 

 

Protest against Narendra Modi grows – PrintWeek India officially withdraws #mustshare



This email received states

 that PrintWeek India officially withdraws as a media partner for Romancing Print 2013.
The reason is: We do not agree with the content of your seminar and invitation of Narendra Modi as a chief guest. 
Plus, an EDM about Romancing Print was sent on 20 February to the PrintWeek India database. This gave the impression to a large number of our readers that we are sponsoring the show; and have curated its content; plus the fact that PrintWeek India and I are endorsing your invitation to Narendra Modi.
As a magazine and as a publishing house in India with more than 12 years of standing, we stand by the principles of good taste, decency, progressive values, democratic principles and above all, the Constitution of India.

As editor of PrintWeek India, I don’t think Narendra Modi stands by these values; and hence the withdrawal of support.

Unfortunately, I was busy at In Store Asia for the past two days / nights and have been unable to write this note. But I had sms-ed the message to Jacob George of Press Ideas.
In the meantime, I must also mention, I’ve received calls /sms from leading members of the AIFMP; with both covert and overt threats.
This is a bit unbecoming when as a magazine we’ve partnered the AIFMP (and its key print associations) in the past, and supported Pamex and pan-India print seminars in every nook and corner of the country.
But this is the second time such a thing has happened. A few months ago, I had objected to the glorification of the Late Bal Thackeray by one of the 50 print associations of the AIFMP in their monthly print journal. 
I had sought to understand what the contribution of Bal Thackeray was to the welfare and growth of the Indian print industry; and no answer was given by the said association; except I was told, “we know best.”
This time we beg to disagree; and as a mark of our protest we withdraw our support to your event.
Thank you,
With kind regards
Ramu Ramanathan,
Group Editor,
PrintWeek India and Campaign IndiaCellphone: (0) 9821291368

 

#India – Police says’ stay indoors to avoid sexual harassment on streets” #WTFnews #morapolicing #Vaw


Dreaded Bombay Police Act strikes again

Stay indoors to avoid ched-chad

Overzealous Thane cops fine unmarried couples and single women found on the streets after sunset as part of their drive to protect ladies

Arita Sarkar, Mumbai Mirror

Posted On Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 04:37:34 AM

Inspector Vasant Dhoble, all set to be transferred to Thane, will soon find himself in good company: Thane police has launched a special anti-harassment squad, Ched-chad Virodhi Pathak that books young, unmarried couples out on the streets after dark under section 110 of the Bombay Police Act for “causing public nuisance.”

Young couple are fined Rs 1200 and given a humiliating lecture on morality before they are let go. If they don’t have the money, their parents are summoned and asked to pay up.

Since the drive was started on December 16, 64 people have been booked under the section 110 of the Bombay Police Act and fined. Anamika Sengupta, head of recruitment at an IT company, who was stopped by the police when she was out for a walk with a male companion at 8 pm, said she was told to “stay indoors.”

Anamika has since complained about the patrolling squad’s behaviour to the senior inspector of Manpada police station Ramakant Mahire. The drive was launched following the December 3 murder of Santosh Vichivora, 19, at Dombivili, who had intervened when five teenagers made lewd remarks aimed at his neighbour who was returning home from work. The way the police see it had Santosh and his lady friend not been walking together in public, the incident would not have happened.

The 15-member plainclothes squad now roams the streets of Thane looking out for unmarried couples and single women in ‘isolated spots.’ The ‘suspicious elements’ are given an earful, often asked to go home, and fined. The police have also roped in authorities from the four colleges and eight high schools in their jurisdiction.

Principals of these co-education institutions have been told to instruct their students to wear their identity cards at all times. The police said even students who are alone without their IDs are taken to the station and fined.

“Nobody should sit in corners and isolated places unnecessarily even in day time,” said Manpada senior inspector Mahire. “Ever since we started this drive, we have ensured that nobody is out on the streets after 10 pm and this has brought down crime.” He is convinced that the drive has helped curb crime against women.

According to him, Vichivora’s murder was not a result of sexual harassment. He said had the girl and boy not been walking together so late in the night (the incident happened around 10 pm) the incident would not have happened. Thane police commissioner KP Raghuvanshi who has not accounted for the overzealousness of his cops on the ground said that the intent behind the drive was not to harass young couples or single women.

“It is meant to target road Romeos and molesters. Our plainclothes squad is supposed to identify and book them.” In fact, the Thane police have also issued a well-intentioned and useful pamphlet with helpline numbers.

 

 

Police drop activist from programme after Sena threat


ALOK DESHPANDE, The Hindu, Jan 7, Mumbai

The police authorities in Maharashtra continue to surrender to the diktat of Shiv Sena, despite facing flak from all quarters over the arrest of two girls in Palghar a month ago.

This time, the police authorities have dropped a speaker from their programme, after the Sena warned her against entering Chiplun, a town in Ratnagiri district, where the event is scheduled to be held.

In the backdrop of the gang rape in Delhi, the Chiplun police authorities have arranged a special programme for girls and women in the city on January 8. The authorities had invited Pushpa Bhave, a senior social worker, author and prominent activist working on gender issues and women’s rights in Maharashtra.

Chiplun will also host the annual Marathi literary meet from January 11 and the podium has been named after Sena chief Bal Thackeray. On Saturday, Ms. Bhave criticised the organisers of the festival for naming the podium after Thackeray, who, she said had ‘insulted’ many Marathi authors in the past and was not a writer.

“My point was very simple. I opposed the podium being named after him. He has insulted many great Marathi authors in extremely low level language. The podium is always named after someone who has done great service to literature, which he hasn’t done. Hence I opposed it,” Ms. Bhave told The Hindu.

Irked by her opposition, the local unit of Sena declared that the party would not allow her inside Chiplun city. The local leaders took a mob of around 200 activists to the police station and pressured them to cancel her part in the programme.

“Instead of letting the issue heat up, we cancelled her part,” Uttam Jagdale, police inspector at the Chiplun station told The Hindu over telephone. “We try to maintain good relations with all political parties. We did what we thought was best,” he said.

The Sena leaders praised the authorities for removing her from the programme. “Even they knew that if she had come here, the situation could have worsened,” said Bala Kadam, the Chiplun city unit chief of the Sena. “Nobody should speak against Balasaheb. That lady [Ms. Bhave] was doing this for publicity, but we won’t let her do it at the expense of our late leader,” said Mr. Kadam.

Ms. Bhave expressed no surprise at the police action. “This is what we have been seeing all these years… Sena does not believe in discussion and criticism in democracy,” she said.

 

Fettering the fourth estate: Free Speech in 2012 #Censorship #FOE #media


Icon for censorship

Icon for censorship (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

JANUARY 2, 2013, hoot.org

 

 

Fettering the Fourth Estate: Free Speech in 2012

report of the Free Speech Hub of the Hoot.org

The year 2012 ended with a Kannada TV reporter, Naveen Soorinje, in jail for more than fifty days after the Karnataka High Court denied him bail. Mangalore-based Soorinje, was incarcerated from November 7, 2012 after police charged him under the UAPA and under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for reporting on the raid on a homestay party by a Hindu fundamentalist group in July. Soorinje’s bail application was rejected on December 26.

The same month, a television journalist, Nanao Singh, was shot dead in a police firing in Manipur.

In 2012, India was a grim place for free speech. It recorded the death of five journalists. Another 38 were assaulted, harassed or threatened.    There were 43 instances of curbs on the Internet, 14 instances of censorship in the film and music industry, and eight instances of censorship of content in the print medium.

The year began with the brutal killing of journalist Chandrika Rai (42), his wife Durga (40) and their two teenage children — son Jalaj (19) and daughter Nisha (17) — at their residence in Madhya Pradesh’s Umaria distict in February. Other journalists to die this year were Rajesh Mishra in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh, Chaitali Santra in Kolkata and Raihan Naiyum, in Assam.

We list and detail below all the incidents which occurred in the course of the year.

 

1. Journalists killed

05

2. Journalists assaulted, harassed or threatened

38

3. Censorship of content in print medium

08

4. Censorship in the electronic medium

04

5. Censorship of literature, art, education, theatre

08

6. Censorship in film and music industry

14

7. Curbs on internet medium

41

8. Limits on mobile medium

05

9. Arson at media establishments

06

10. Hate speech

02

11. Information or access denied

10

12. Surveillance issues

05

13. Privacy and defamation

02

14. Legislative issues

03

That the death toll of journalists would have been higher, is clear by the brutality of the assaults and threats to journalists: Thongam Rina, associate editor of Arunachal Times, was shot at and critically injured in July; Kamal Shukla in Chhattisgarh was assaulted by a local politician because he wrote a story on illegal tree-felling in Koelibeda, the constituency of the state’s forest minister Vikram Usendi; in Gujarat’s Palampur district, television journalist Devendra Khandelwal was attacked with iron pipes by relatives of MLA Mafatlal Purohit for reporting their involvement in illegal construction.

Sec 66 (a) and internet freedom

The 41 instances of free speech violations related to internet use in the Free Speech Hub’s ‘Free Speech Tracker’ testify to the growing use and abuse of this medium. Shaheen Dhada and Renu Srinivasan, two young Facebook users, in Palghar, Maharashtra, in October, were arrested under the draconian Sec 66 (a) of the Information Technology Act, one for posting a critical status comment on the shutdown of the city in the wake of the death of Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray and the other for ‘liking’ the post! The nation-wide protest that followed forced a review of the charges against them and a closure report by police. However, they will still have to wait till January 2013 for the formal dropping of charges against them.

Already, the fears over the misuse of the controversial Section (66 A) of the Information Technology Act, 2000, were confirmed by other instances: the arrest of two Jadavpur University professors in April 2012 for their e-mails on the cartoons poking fun at that projected West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee;  the arrest of cartoonist Aseem Trivedi for sedition, for insulting national honour and for sending offensive messages under Sec 66 (a) of the IT Act in August 2012: two employees of Air-India, Mayank Sharma and KVJ Rao, who were sacked (and reinstated after the protests) after their arrest over a Facebook post, three youth arrested in Kashmir for allegedly anti-Islamic posts and the arrest of industrialist AS Ravi for tweeting about Karti Chidamnaram, son of Union minister for P Chidambaram.

Earlier, in June 2012, the union government ordered the blocking of  more than 250 sites and web pages following the widespread panic and exodus of people from the North East out of Pune, Delhi and Bangalore. Some accounts that disproved the morphed pictures and the propaganda were also blocked.

The Google Transparency Report put India top on the list of countries making demands to take down content.

Censorship in other media

Censorship continued in all arenas, from the literary and cinematic worlds, to art and theatre. Protests of vigilante groups against all manner of expression continued with political parties and social groups taking offence against film songs, dialogues and titles of movies, art exhibitions and theatre performances and even the use of mobile phones by women!

In May, the Human Resources Development Ministry’s attempt to expunge cartoons from NCERT and CBSE textbooks for their alleged anti-Dalit connotations sparked an inconclusive debate on casteism in educational content while the cancellation of Salman Rushdie’s proposed visit to the Jaipur Literary Festival in January only showed the pusillanimity of the state administration.

Covert state surveillance was on the rise, with an increase in government interception and monitoring of emails and telephone conversations, privacy violations and hate speech cases are also under the scanner.

(For further details of the cases and categories please click here)