IN a memorandum submitted to the chairperson of the National Commission for Women on April 30, the national women’s organisations demanded immediate action into the shocking incident of abduction and gang rape of four dalit girls in Bhagana village of Hissar district in Haryana on March 23. The memorandum noted that the perpetrators who have been arrested are sons of highly influential jat families with strong political connections with ruling party.
THE Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) in lower Assam which had witnessed carnage over the years have, once again, been transformed into a killing zone since May 1 last. The memories of the 2008 ethnic and communal clashes in Darrang-Udalguri districts and the gruesome incidents of the 2012 July-August riots in Kokrajhar-Chirang-Baksa districts within BTAD are still fresh in the minds of the people. The 2012 riots left over 100 dead and 4.85 lakh displaced, some of whom even today live in refugee camps.
THESE ‘coolie lines’ are mini-India. Not that ‘mini’ though, hundreds living in shanty rooms, busy local markets, life tuned to working hours of the jute mills, growth and decline of the jute economy. You can hear overlapping of Hindi of Samastipur, Odishi of Keonjhar, Telugu of Nellore, Urdu and slashing Bengali at the same time. ‘Coolie’ is a term, the legacy of which dates back to the opening of a series of jute mills beside the river Ganges by British entrepreneurs in Barrackpore.
THERE is still an ongoing debate in the US and in some key European countries on the question of the 2002 Gujarat riots and the role of the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in the bloodletting. There are signs that that Washington, London and Berlin are already mellowing in their attitude towards Narendra Modi, but civil society in those countries is reluctant to give the Gujarat chief minister a clean chit In the first week of April, a US congressional panel — the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC) — has started hearings on religious freedom in India.
THE struggle for implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act for the “disadvantaged groups” and “weaker sections” --- as given in the act and upheld by the Supreme Court --- is being carried out for the third successive year in Mumbai and receiving an overwhelming response from the downtrodden sections. The movement has widened in scope as well as intensity during these three years, with more and more parents coming forward to avail of free education for their children.
THE cry for reservation in the private sector is growing louder. Promises were made during the election campaign. But, the very fundamental question still remains. That is, whether the existing policy of reservation in government and public sector is being implemented in its true spirit or not. The experience shows it is not.
THE CPI(M) has demanded re-poll in 301 booths in five Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal for which elections were held on May 7. In a memorandum submitted to the Election Commission, the Party has said that rigging and violence in the elections held on May 7, have completely distorted the process of conducting free and fair polls. The Party has said that for the restoration of the people’s faith in the electoral process, it is essential that re-poll is conducted in the booths where rigging has taken place.
A REPORT in The Hindu (May 6) suggests that the Planning Commission is at its old game again which is to “remove” poverty in the country through a sleight-of-hand, by taking recourse to spurious statistics. Consumption expenditure estimates from National Accounts Statistics show a far higher level than those arrived at on the basis of the National Sample Survey.