October 25, 2014

India: Modi's trip to Fiji with RSS-BJP’s standpoints in mind

Fiji blips on PM’s radar

New Delhi, Oct. 24: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s four-day Australia visit next month to attend the G20 summit may be followed by a day’s trip to Fiji, political sources said.[. . .]

India: How Hardliners Are Re-Packaged as Moderates in the BJP - R Prasad Cartoon in Mail Today 23 April 2014

The above cartoon appeared in Mail Today of 23 April 2014


India: Hate crimes against out-of-state migrants (Devesh Kapur & Ananth Padmanabhan)

Business Standard - October 24, 2014

Dealing with regional bigotry

Hate crimes against out-of-state migrants strike at the heart of the basic structure of the Constitution

Devesh Kapur & Ananth Padmanabhan

Recent assaults on people from Northeast India threaten the core idea of a common Indian citizenship. Last week, Bangalore and Gurgaon saw the latest such attacks. While a Manipuri student was brutally attacked in Bangalore and warned that he either speak Kannada or leave the state, the perpetrators of the Gurgaon attack allegedly went to the extent of threatening to assault anyone from Manipur or Nagaland who landed in "their" part of the country.

The problem is hardly new. From the attacks in the late 1960s against migrants from south India in what was then Bombay - led by a fledgling political outfit (the Shiv Sena) with the slogan pungi bajao, lungi ghagao - to those targeting Bihari labourers, whether in Maharashtra or the Northeast, economic competition has been a prime driver. Resentments against "visible outsiders" perceived to be taking away jobs from locals have been fuelled by opportunistic political entrepreneurs.

The tensions arising from internal migration and the rights of common Indian citizenship on the one hand, and preferential policies for "sons of the soil" in jobs and admission to educational institutions on the other, go back to the framing of the Constitution. Unlike the case of affirmative action for Scheduled Castes and Tribes, the justification for "sons of the soil" preferences was based neither upon minority status nor upon past discrimination. Indeed the demand for preferences for "sons of the soil" was made on behalf of the majority in relation to a minority on the grounds that the group's unequal status (be it education, employment or income) in relation to other "outside" groups migrating into the state. At the time, B R Ambedkar argued that residential requirements "subtract[ed] from the value of a common citizenship". Nonetheless he felt compelled to concede that "it must be realised that you cannot allow people who are flying from one province to another, from one state to another as mere birds of passage without any roots ... just to come, apply for posts and so to say take the plums and walk away".

The Constitution eventually tried to strike a balance between the principle of a common citizenship and the need to respond to "local" concerns. However, it also left a loophole in Article 16(3), giving Parliament the exclusive right to set residential requirements in state services as and when the need arose. The need to "balance" between these principles was periodically emphasised, as epitomised by former prime minister Indira Gandhi's statement in Parliament: "While we stand for the principle that any Indian should be able to work in any part of India, at the same time, it is true that if a large number of people come from outside to seek employment ... that is bound to create tension in that area. Therefore, while I do not like the idea of having any such rule, one has to have some balance and see that the local people are not deprived of employment."

Battles over affirmative action rules in favour of "sons of the soil" focused largely on the public sector. However, in recent years the locus of economic opportunities has shifted to the private sector whose incentives are different. Front-line service sector jobs - whether call centres, hotels or in-flight airline staff - today require a knowledge of English, patience and courtesy. This is a mix of cultural and human capital that many young people from the Northeast seem to have to a greater degree than many "locals". They have been a boon for private firms in these sectors, but their distinct physical appearance makes them easy targets for resentful locals and political opportunism. All around the world these resentments are directed at international migrants - but in India they are directed against the country's own citizens. Given the tenuous relationship that India has with its Northeast, the negative externalities for the country are severe and require a rethink on laws needed to address this pernicious challenge.

Attacks against out-of-state migrants can be viewed as "hate crimes" that exhibit an important feature - the absence of any prior relationship between the perpetrators and the victims. Most crimes directed against the person that are currently punishable under the Indian Penal Code are generally the outcome of some prior relationship, leading to the formation of criminal intent in the mind of the perpetrator. Though that may not always be the case, the law certainly makes no distinction between intent borne out of prior transactions and intent borne out of hatred for a person's identity. Thus, hate crimes have a distinct element of bias based solely on some ascriptive identity of the victim.

In 2012, amidst attacks on migrants from the Northeast, the Union government advised all states and Union Territories to invoke the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Quite apart from the fact that this Act has largely failed in its implementation, the hate crimes under consideration here are not motivated by caste or tribal identities, but rather regional identities.

The consequences of hate crimes against out-of-state migrants strike at the heart of the basic structure of the Constitution - the federalism principle. This guarantees two critical fundamental freedoms to the citizens of India: the right to move freely, and the right to reside and settle, in any part of the country. While the traditional discourse on these freedoms has been built on the edifice of negative rights, one where the state is seen as a passive actor that does not violate these rights except where expressly authorised to do so, the Supreme Court paved the way for a novel positive rights discourse when framing the Vishaka guidelines. The court there premised its guidelines on the idea that the state had to actively ensure that the various fundamental freedoms guaranteed under Article 19 must be positively guaranteed, rather than merely refrain itself from infringing the same through its actions. In like fashion, the state has a positive obligation to guarantee that the rights of free movement and residence do not merely exist on paper.

Consequently, it might be worth considering a special law to protect the constitutionally mandated fundamental freedoms of movement. Such a law would need to both tightly define what constitutes a "hate crime", as well as mandate an appropriate redressal mechanism. This could include (i) criminalisation of specific acts; (ii) sentence enhancement of ordinary crimes; (iii) civil remedies such as monetary compensation and temporary restraint orders or injunctions; and (iv) mandatory collection of data on such crimes.

Given the weak record of implementation of existing laws, one might be sceptical of the need of another special law - especially since police officials belonging to the same locality as the perpetrator may display callousness or even outright animosity to the victim, as has often been the case in incidents of communal violence. This in turn can result in severe under-reporting of hate crimes and non-registration of First Information Reports. One possibility, apart from sensitising the police, could be to set up a special wing either under the home ministry or the law ministry, which could suo moto oversee such investigations.

Long-term, however, there has to be a much clearer recognition that the challenges that India faces in Kashmir or the Northeast can only be reined in if people from those parts of the country are treated as full citizens - wherever they might want to live or work in India.

Devesh Kapur is director of the Center for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania. Ananth Padmanabhan is an SJD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania Law School

India: Tension in Trilokpuri, New Delhi - Four shot at


Four shot at in east Delhi’s Trilokpuri over rioting, 33 arrested
IANS | Oct 25, 2014, 09.10 PM IST


India: With a little shove from Dinanath Batra to HRD, NCERT director Sinclair quit; someone pliant or close to the Sangh may be the new director

NCERT director Sinclair quits
Akshaya Mukul, TNN | Oct 10, 2014, 05.48AM IST

NEW DELHI: Of all the heads of autonomous institutions under the HRD ministry, NCERT director Pravin Sinclair was expected to fight any move to oust her. But faced with some allegations, including a note to the ministry from Dinanath Batra, and sensing the mood of some top HRD bureaucrats, Sinclair put in her papers with more than two years of her term still left.

Highly placed sources said the HRD ministry had sought department of personnel & training's view if Sinclair could be sacked and only when the reply was in affirmative, she was given a fait accompli. However, Sinclair refused to talk about her resignation.

One of the allegations against Sinclair was violation of general financial rules in the purchase of maplitho paper and cover paper worth over Rs 50 crore. This allegation was also part of Batra's note to the HRD ministry after the new government came to power.

Interestingly, the HRD ministry's school bureau has been sitting on the file as late as September 30 and still no decision has been made. The issue has been hanging in the ministry since 2012. When it first came to light in 2012 and Central Vigilance Commission forwarded a complaint to the HRD ministry, secretary R Bhattacharya ordered that facts about the case be gathered. Sinclair also gave her response which the vigilance section did not find satisfactory. The ministry's vigilance section then asked the school division to give its response which is still awaited.

Meanwhile, Sinclair was made to resign even without the CVC getting the report from HRD which could have been further investigated by the CBI. "There are enough instances in the HRD ministry when heads of institutions with CBI chargesheet against them have been appointed and completed their term. Former IIT Patna director AK Bhowmick was chargesheeted in coalnet scam by the CBI and completed full term," said one ministry official.

Known for her forthright views and refusal to accede to HRD ministry's diktat, bureaucrats resented Sinclair. What also brought Sinclair in conflict was that she initiated the process of reviewing 21 focus groups of different curriculum areas. "In the last few months, NCERT was increasingly told that all big decisions have to be cleared by the ministry. She was boxed from all sides," said a source.

source URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/education/news/NCERT-director-Sinclair-quits/articleshow/44766687.cms

Pakistan Jamaat: Stop Bangladesh’s ‘illegal action’ against Jamaat

Dhaka Tribune

Pakistan Jamaat: Stop Bangladesh’s ‘illegal action’ against Jamaat
Mohammad Abu Bakar Siddique
The Pakistan Jamaat also announced a gayebi janaza (funeral prayer in absentia) for Ghulam for today

Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan has urged the Muslim world to stop Bangladesh from taking “illegal actions” against Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami.

Pakistan Jamaat chief Siraj-ul-Haq made the call on Thursday night following the death of former Bangladesh Jamaat ameer and convicted war criminal Ghulam Azam.

Mastermind of many notorious war crimes of Bangladesh’s 1971 Liberation War with Pakistan, Ghulam Azam died of cardiac arrest at 10:10pm Thursday.

Pakistan Jamaat mourned the death of the war criminal who had been serving a 90-year jail term. Its official Facebook page also prayed so Ghulam Azam is granted heaven.

The Pakistan Jamaat ameer said: “Bangladesh government put him [Ghulam Azam] into jail because he stood against Indian conspiracies.

“Muslim world should stop bangladesh from taking illegal actions against Jamaat-e-Islami.”

The page calls for accepting Ghulam’s “good efforts for the Muslim world.”

The Pakistan Jamaat also announced a gayebi janaza (funeral prayer in absentia) for Ghulam for today.

Ghulam Azam, the guru of anti-liberation Jamaat-e-Islami, became the symbol of all war crimes of 1971. He was given 90-year imprisonment by a tribunal although he deserved death by hanging for committing heinous crimes, the trial court said in its judgement last year.

- See more at: http://www.dhakatribune.com/foreign-affairs/2014/oct/25/pakistan-jamaat-stop-bangladesh%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98illegal-action%E2%80%99-against-jamaat

India: Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS), a “political party” fielded a candidate from Bombay in the the Maharashtra state elections

Indian Express

Hindutva its main agenda, HRS takes ‘Independent’ route to enter poll fray

Written by Chandan Shantaram Haygunde | Pune | Posted: October 9, 2014 5:30 am

The Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS), a “political party” that made news after the murder of a Muslim techie in Pune, has come out with a “clear” agenda as it enters the poll fray this time. A pamphlet released by Rupali Marathe, the sister of HRS chief Dhananjay Desai and Independent candidate supported by the party, says aim is “Hindu hitache rajkaran ani Hindunche sainikikaran (politics for benefit of Hindus and militarisation of Hindus)”. Rupali is contesting from Vile Parle in Mumbai.

Desai was arrested by the Pune police along with 20 more party activists for allegedly murdering Moshin Shaikh, 28, in Hadapsar on June 2, 2014, following the communal clashes that started over derogatory pictures of Maratha king Shivaji and late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray uploaded on a Facebook page.

In her pamphlet, Rupali blames the government for action against Desai “just because he takes a clear and non-compromising stand on Hindutva issues”. She is telling the voters that she would not promise anything like new constructions and repairs of roads or providing food to the poor. “Road construction, drainage lines are works done by the municipal corporation,” the pamphlet reads.

Instead, Rupali promises that if she wins she will become a member of “Goraksha Samiti” and shut 800 illegal slaughterhouses in the state within a year. “I will place a legislation for implementation of common civil code in Maharashtra like it exists in Goa. I will put pressure on the government for proper investigation into the Azad Maidan riots. I will place a legislation for using money collected in temple only for the benefit of Hindus,” says the pamphlet.

“I will fight against the allotment of land to the so-called education tycoons. The land would be taken back and used for developing genuine educational institutes for common people… I ensure that expert medical professionals are involved in providing free and low-cost medicines to the poor,” it adds.

Talking to The Indian Express, Rupali said: “We would strongly raise the issues benefiting Hindus. There is no point in making promises and then doing nothing about it. We thus promise what we can do for the Hindus.”

HRS is a registered political party, though it never contested an election before and has remained more in news for involvement in communally sensitive issues. This time, however, it wanted to contest the state elections from the same Hadapsar constituency where Mohsin Shaikh was murdered. As Desai is in jail, the party announced the name of his wife Rasika Desai as its candidate for the seat during a press conference in Pune. Rasika filed her nominations but her candidature got rejected. HRS campaign in-charge Sagar Sonawane said her name did not appear in the voter list, which was why the necessary documents required for her candidature could not be submitted.

HRS had declared that it would contest elections from about 30 more constituencies in Pune, Ahmednagar, Jalgaon, Sambhaji Nagar, Kolhapur, Thane and Mumbai, and wanted shankha (sea shell) as the election symbol. But things did not work out well for the party as it only managed to field some of its activists as Independent candidates “supported by HRS”.

Vile Parle, which the “headquarter” of HRS, remains an important seat where the party hopes to make its presence felt. Rupali is contesting from there as “an Independent candidate supported by HRS” on the symbol of coconut. The party has also fielded “Independent” candidates from Ghatkopar, Vhandup, Chandivali and Goregaon.

Digambar Gentyal, HRS president for Ahmednagar district, said: “We could not field anyone from Ahmednagar. I am not aware of the situation in other districts.”

- See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/hindutva-its-main-agenda-hrs-takes-independent-route-to-enter-poll-fray/99/