Bangalore-Eid with Northeast folks #MUSTSHARE


By Mujahid Deputy – BANGALORE

18th August 2012 10:14 AM

 With Eid coming up in three days, various Muslim organisations have unanimously decided to celebrate their festival with the people from the northeast. Addressing a group of parallel thinkers, Tousif Ahmed, Campus Secretary, Student Islamic Organisation of India said, “Time and again people have tried to destroy peace.

To give a fitting reply to these anti-social elements, we have decided to celebrate Eid with our northeastern brothers.

” Claiming that the rumours were generated by mischief mongers, who have pointlessly dragged in the name of Muslims in the state, the religious community has demanded strong action from the authorities.

Tanvir, State Advisory Council Member, Jamat-e- Islami Hind, said, “ The issue is not between the Assamese and Muslims-the intention is to divide the Indian Society.

The police should investigate into this immediately and bring the guilty to book.  The name of Muslims has been dragged into this by some organisations.

” He further added, “All mosques and madrasas are open for our brothers from the northeast and we will provide shelter to them if need arises.

We will unite with other religious organisations and make all efforts to counter these rumours and reinstate peace in city. ” Members of the Alternative Law Forum too have come forward in this quest.

Peace building exercises such as these between Muslims and northeastern people should continue and become an on-going thing.

Celebrating Eid together is an excellent move,” said Lawerence Liang, Co-founder, Alternative Law Forum.

The Welfare Party of India, that organised the meeting with NE people at the St Josephs College urged the people from the NE to stay back.

“We promise all our love and support to this community,” said Akbar Ali, State president of the group.

Abdul Hannan, State General Secretary, Social Democratic Party of India said, “We have addressed the people from the northeast at the City Railway Station.  We have requested them to not leave.”


Launch of ‘Bole Gujarat’ campaign, based on ‘ Kolavari Di” #mustshare

Where is Democracy? on August 17, 2012 at 4pm in Ahmedabad.
The song would not have been possible without Dhanush. We are indebted to Dhanush for Kolaveri which became a craze with people of all ages.

‘Where is Democracy?’ based on Kolaveri , is a satire on the state of democracy in Gujarat. Exposing the myth of Vibrant Gujarat the song raises questions about corruption, poverty, women’s conditions, the atmosphere of fear and how the image of one leader has been promoted while others have been pushed to a corner.

Sung by Priyank Upadhyay, it has been directed and shot by young Anhad filmmaker Arma Ansari. While Manish Dhakad has acted in
the music video, Shabnam Hashmi has penned the words for the song.

Anhad launches the campaign, lets make it viral


In Gujarat What You See –is not What You Get #NarendraModi #Sundayreading

By Badri Raina,

This is a story that beggars belief, and puts into the shade everything we have thus far known of Narendra Modi’s  prowess at chicanery and subterfuge.

Indeed, had a report on this not appeared in so impeccable a Daily as  The Hindu, even my first instinct might have been to say  “surely, this can’t be.”

Let me cite in extenso from the write-up authored by  the reputed Manas Dasgupta,  issue of August 13 from :

“Talking to journalists here, Mr.  Patel (once the redoubtable chief minister of Gujarat, and scion of the puissant Patel community, now fallen out of the BJP, and head of  the new Gujarat Parivartan Party) and Mr. Mehta (Suresh Mehta, another erstwhile chief minister, equally disaffected with Modi and the BJP and partnering Patel in the new party)  alleged that several thousand Muslims who greeted Mr.Modi during the fasts (reference to Modi’s  motley  ‘Sadbhavna ‘  campaign some months ago in ostensible pursuit of social harmony)  were in fact Hindus.”  Emphasis added.

Lest you think this a piece of disingenuous verbal engineering without basis of any sort  in evidence, here is the stunning bit:

“Mr. Mehta said that through a Right to Information plea he had got reply that on the direction of Mr.Modi, the Navsasri District Collector had purchased 28,000 skull caps, used by Muslims, and distributed them among BJP workers.  He said the  BJP workers wearing the skull caps and dressed as Muslims had thronged the ‘Sadbhavna’ venue.”  Emphasis added.

Need one add any sort of gloss to the  meaning of this story?

I have looked closely at subsequent editions of The Hindu and have not found any  repudiation of the report, or the least disclaimer.  Conclusion:  Manas Dasgupta knew what he was talking about. And kudos to the Collector of Navsari who has had the courage and integrity to say it like it is. Yet another Gujarati  braveheart.

At a time when  “corruption”  is so much a part of  “civil society” angst and discourse  in India, with campaigns led by the likes of Anna Hazare and  Baba Ramdev, both  Modi admirers,  one might ask whether  this  despicable fancy-dress transmogrification of identities referred to in the  story  comprises  corruption more corrupt than anything we have known, or whether this ought to be lauded as a piece of transcendant maya  authored by god himself.

To think that the authoriser (“on the direction of Modi,” says the RTI reply)  of such a cynical, and perhaps criminal, sleight-of-hand, as reported above, should be the BJP’s preferred candidate for the country’s  highest executive office!  Hindutva at its most creatively unethical yet?

What does seem intriguing, though, is the fact that three whole days since the report appeared in The Hindu (August 13)  not a squeak seems on the cards from any media outlet or public platform.  Even after one concedes the reality that a majority of India’s  electronic channels are Modi acolytes in line with overt and covert corporate interests, the deafening silence thus far seems to tell its own story as well.

In the meanwhile,  it is hard to say  how much of this was known to those vested Muslim groups in Gujarat who have been advocating  the desirability of rapproachment with Modi.  Ah, the lures of commerce.  But now that the cat is out of the bag, it may be harder for the Sangh Parivar  to fast forward the  interested untruth that  Muslims are not only so happy in Gujarat but are waiting to go over in droves to Modi, come the state elections this year.  Just as the revelation must also have its own fallout among the electorate in other parts of India, Bihar included.

The most important speculation must be whether this latest of Modi’s reported shenanigans  dents the awed loyalty that  his  support base among  well-meaning, piety-ridden  Gujarati  bhadralok (educated middle classes) bear to him.  After all, even they may rethink  their position about someone whom they have so venerated, but who  is now reported to have stooped so crassly low.

If not, then god alone may help Gujarat.


The Gangs of Lootpur much ahead of Gangs of Wasseypur



How corruption in coal is closely linked to political funding

M Rajshekhar, ET Bureau
(The rise in corruption in…)

It was a roundtable on ‘campaign finance reforms in India‘, but it brought up a mathematical equation that showed how corruption in coal could ultimately be traced to political funding. Speaking at the Observer Research Foundation event in February, BJP MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy said: “In Goa (which was going to elections then), each candidate, whether from the Congress or the BJP (or other political parties), would be spending Rs 5-7 crore.” The official Election Commission ceiling is Rs 16 lakh.

At the roundtable, Congress MP Manish Tewari said there were reports of candidates spending Rs 18-20 crore each during the Punjab elections in January. “The vigilance of the Election Commission (on spending ceilings) is driving a lot of this money underground.” The average was Rs 3-5 crore per candidate, added Niranjan Sahoo, a senior fellow at the Foundation researching electoral funding.

An extrapolation of this across the political spectrum throws up some humungous numbers— and a gaping hole between revenues and expenses of political parties. In the 2009 general elections, the Congress contested 403 seats.

Rs 5 crore for each seat adds up to Rs 2,000 crore. India’s 5,000 assembly seats, says Sahoo, are even more keenly contested, and more money is spent here.

Even at Rs 5 crore per seat, that’s Rs 25,000 crore. Or, a total of Rs 27,000 crore.

Yet, for the five years to 2011-12, the Congress declared revenues of Rs 1,662 crore.

The BJP, the other national party, declared Rs 852 crore. Sahoo estimates parties are declaring no more than 10-20% of their incomes.

If so, where do parties and politicians get the remaining 80-90% from? According to Sahoo, increasingly, they are not extracting rent from programmes that are politically beneficial like NREGA and PDS.

Instead, he adds, they are moving to minerals and natural resources.

“This is a form of corruption the common man stays more or less oblivious to,” he says.

The scent of such corruption hovered over the allotment of 150 coal blocks to private players between 2005 and 2010 for captive use, and their subsequent commissioning, aspects of which are currently being probed by India’s apex investigating agency.

“Rent-seeking has been rampant,” says a former senior bureaucrat in the coal ministry, not wanting to be identified.

It wasn’t so always. When the coal industry began, it was distant from politics. But as it transited through its four distinct phases, that connection became progressively stronger, and culminated in the 2005-10 allotments.


This is the period depicted in the first part of Anurag Kashyap’s two-part film Gangs of Wasseypur. Coal mines were controlled by local mafias and business families, some of whom were asked by the Centre to step in after the British left.

This arrangement had its problems, says a former official of Coal India Limited (CIL), not wanting to be named. “Miners were not selling to core users (namely, power, steel and cement), but to whoever could pay the most,” he says. “Some would shut down the mine whenever it was not profitable for them. On the whole, there was a problem matching coal supply with the government’s development plans and needs. Labour, too, was treated harshly.”

However, national politics accessed little money from mines, says Sahoo. “In some cases, like the Dhanbad coal mafia, the miners entered politics. But the reasons were mainly to protect their own local interests—by controlling the appointment of local bureaucrats, etc.”

“It was very local,” adds a Union cabinet minister who has headed the coal ministry previously and spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Some politicians, local leaders used to take money from these mafia. But you did not have national leaders going down there.”


This began to change after Indira Gandhi nationalised coal—coking coal in 1973 and non-coking coal in 1974-75—and brought everything under CIL and its subsidiaries. According to AK Singh, a former general manager of Western Coalfields, a CIL subsidiary, coal was nationalised for three main reasons: “To exploit coal more scientifically and increase production; to curb unethical practices; and to take better care of employees and develop nearby communities.”

For some time, says Singh, the plan worked well. Production gradually rose from 70 million tonnes (MT), and stood at 431 MT in 2010. However, with nationalisation, the presence of politicians also increased. Singh also traces this to the rise of coalition politics. Buying and selling of MPs picked up, because of which parties’ need for cash increased.

Ministers began treating the PSU, says the ex-CIL employee quoted earlier, as “no more than their private colony.” Posts of MD and chairman began to be sold. “This started in the late-nineties when two people with vigilance cases against them were made acting heads of coal PSUs,” says a former CIL chairman.


Film on how a dalit women’s collective rose up against the failing public health system #Mustwatch


Directed by-Vijaya Kumar

Produced by : Jagruti ( )

Duration :23 mins

Language:Kannada with English subtitles.

Synopsis of Guna Mukhi 

GUNA MUKHI, reconstructs the narrative of how a dalit women’s collective in a small village in Belgaum district.Karnataka, defied class, caste and gender barriers and rose up against the failing public health system.

The film draws from the rich and first hand experiences of the village women who, with the support of various village level peoples’ organizations and activists, stake claim to their health entitlements.

The film concludes by asserting the importance of people’s struggles in creating a functional, responsive, people-centric health care systems and in the larger context of holding the State accountable for its duties and responsibilities towards its citizens.

This film was one of the outcomes of the efforts to address the issue of health as a human right and taking forward the issue of revitalizing the public health system by various state and national level networks and activists.

Karnataka state unit of the People’s Health Movement(JAA-K) screened this film extensively to intensify their Health as a Human Right campaign. It was used in various training programs for health activists who found the film inspiring and drew ideas from it to carry out similar actions to get their local government health centers functioning.


Jeremy Browne – working for abolition of the death penalty abroad


By  | 17th August 2012 – 12:22 pm


Next month, it will be 48 years since the last execution on British soil. Internationally, more countries than ever have been electing to also abandon the death penalty. Amnesty International’s latest report on death sentences and executions shows that the number of countries retaining capital punishment has decreased by one third over the last decade. More countries than ever are also instituting moratoriums on the practice. However, Amnesty reports that 149 more people were known to be executed in 2011 than in 2010. In the Middle East in particular, 2011 saw a steep rise in the number of recorded executions. The Chinese government have also resisted publishing their death penalty statistics, although the number put to death annually has been estimated to be in the thousands.

The position of the UK government – and the Liberal Democrats – on capital punishment is clear. We oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. We believe it undermines human dignity, there is no conclusive evidence of its deterrent value, and any miscarriage of justice leading to its imposition is irreversible and irreparable. Last year on World Day against the Death Penalty, I wrote an article here on Liberal Democrat Voice. Then, as now, I am proud to be standing up for our values at home and overseas with our international partners. However, our work is far from over.

As a Minister in the Foreign Office, I often travel to countries which still use the death penalty as part of their sentencing regime. I regularly raise the issue with my counterparts and have made several interventions on specific cases. Although the number of countries using the death penalty has decreased many still have Capital Punishment in their penal code. In South Korea, which has had a moratorium in place for fifteen years, I advocated its abolition in a speech I gave at Korea University. In India, I raised my concerns over the possibility of their seven year moratorium being breached regarding a specific case. While I was in Japan, I met with the Japanese Parliamentary League for Abolition and raised the issue of Japan’s use of the death penalty with the then-Senior Vice Minister of Justice Taki. In Westminster, I regularly host meetings with NGOs, academics and interested parties in a group on the abolition of the death penalty worldwide. The last meeting, held in March, focussed on plans for the FCO’s work on the death penalty in the US, China and Iraq.

Last month, the Government announced the introduction of controls on the export of the anaesthetic Propofol to the United States, when it is in a form suitable for lethal injection. This follows a two-year process this Government began to control the export of Sodium Thiopental to the US. This is a drug that is sometimes part of the ‘cocktail’ used during lethal injections. The decision to apply export controls was taken after concerns were expressed that UK drugs may have been used in executions in some States. These controls were extended to three additional drugs last year, and this prompted the introduction at the end of 2011 of EU-wide measures to control the export of a range of drugs which can be used for the purpose of lethal injection.

This is progress but there is clearly still a long way to go before the death penalty is abolished worldwide. However, I am committed to keeping the pressure up on countries like China and the United States, in the hope that one day they too will be celebrating almost half a century without capital punishment.



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