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Archives for : September2017

Action Alert – Soni Sori Admitted in Hospital

Lingaram Kodopi


सोनी सोरी आज जिला दन्तेवाड़ा के हॉस्पिटल में भर्ती हो गयी है। गीदम हॉस्पिटल से डॉक्टर ने यह कहते हुए रिफर किया की सोनी सोरी को अनीमिया हुआ हैं , इन्हें तत्काल खून चढ़ाया जाए । सोनी सोरी को तत्काल दन्तेवाड़ा लाया गया लेकिन अस्पताल प्रशासन को ये नही पता कि सोनी सोरी का ब्लड ग्रूप क्या हैं? दन्तेवाड़ा में सोनी सोरी को खून देने के लिए कई लोग मौजूद है , लेकिन दन्तेवाड़ा जिला अस्पताल का बल्ड बैंक ही बंद हैं।


पिछले दिनों एक छात्रा की मौत खून की कमी से दन्तेवाड़ा जिला अस्पताल में हो गयी थी। तत्काल उस छात्रा को खून चढ़ाया होता तो मौत न होती। हमे डर हैं कि कहीं एसी अनहोनी सोनी सोरी के साथ न हो । मैं सोनी सोरी को ब्लड चढ़वाने व पता करने के लिए अस्पताल प्रशासन नर्स कर्मचारियों से पता करने को गया तो पता लगा कि सोनी सारी का ब्लड ग्रूप ही पता नही हैं। मैंने पूछा की फिर सोनी सोरी को खून कब चढ़ेगा तो अस्पताल कर्मचारियों ने बताया की सोमवार को चढ़ेगा।कही सोरी को जान से मारने की कोई साजिश तो नहीं हैं। सोनी सोरी की हालत अभी गम्भीर हैं। जिला अस्पताल ध्यान नहीं दे रहा हैं।


आप सभ से उम्मीद हैं कि आप अस्पताल के सी.एम.ओ. से पहल करे , फोन नंबर 09425591953 आप सोच सकते हैं कि एक जनप्रतिनिधि व सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता का ये हाल जिला अस्पताल में हैं तो आम नागरिक का क्या हाल होता होगा।

बिजली भी जिला अस्पताल में हमेशा बंद रहता हैं। मरीज पूरा परेशान हैं।

जिला अस्पताल सी. एम. ओ. फोन नम्बर 09425593287, डॉक्टर एस. पी.एस. सांडिल फोन 09425517375, डॉक्टर संजय बगेल 09425591860 . कृप्या आप सभी सामाजिक} कार्य करने वालो से मेरी अपील हैं कि फोन कर अस्पताल प्रशासन को अपने कर्तव्यों से अवगत कराने की कृपा करें।

जिला अस्पताल दन्तेवाड़ा के मुख्य अधिकारी डॉक्टर गगेश फोन 09406003826 इन्हें भी पों करने का कष्ट करें।

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Anti-caste and anti-communal, #GauriLankesh wanted people to “become universal”

Indian Journalist Assassinated After Career Criticizing Hindutva

 — Gauri Lankesh, an Indian journalist who was gunned down outside her home in Bengaluru on the evening of September 5, denounced “Brahman hegemony” in her last major public speech.

Speaking in March 2017 at the National Convention of Human Rights Defenders, Lankesh praised 20th-century Kannadan writer, Kuvempu, for his role in pushing an “intellectual movement in Karnataka where he called people to come out of their caste and communities and become a universal person.” In contrast, she warned, “Karnataka’s trajectory from a progressive, secular state to a communal state has been a very interesting and crippling one.” The state is witnessing an increase of attacks “in the name of Hindutva,” she said, and faces the prospect of falling under a “communal, casteist, and corrupt BJP government.”

Speaking on September 6 about Lankesh’s assassination, her attorney said, “Let us say it loud and clear. Hindu terror units killed Gauri Lankesh.” Advocate B.T. Venkatesh continued, “She opposed the RSS, the BJP, and these Hindutva forces, and this killing is the silencing of that voice against hate politics.”

Lankesh’s murder is being compared to the August 30, 2015 assassination of Kannadan journalist M.M. Kalburgi, who was similarly gunned down at his home. In her March speech, Lankesh mentioned Kalburgi. She noted how Bhuvith Shetty, a leader of the Hindutva group Bajrang Dal, remarked after Kalburgi’s killing, “Mock Hinduism and die a dog’s death.”

The body of journalist Gauri Lankesh
The body of journalist Gauri Lankesh

“The savage murder of a free spirit who used her pen to promote peace is despicable, and her killers must be swiftly tracked down and dealt justice,” commented Bhajan Singh of Organization for Minorities of India (OFMI). “Kalburgi’s murder remains unsolved after two years. These attacks are growing at a shocking rate, and as we remember the September 1995 murder of human rights defender, Jaswant Singh Khalra, we are reminded that ‘my way or the bullet’ has become a pattern in India.”

As a journalist, Lankesh knew her outspoken nature earned her a share of enemies. “As a citizen of India, I oppose the BJP’s fascist and communal politics,” she explained in a 2016 interview with Narada News. “I oppose its misinterpretation of ‘Hindu Dharma’ ideals. I oppose the caste system of the ‘Hindu Dharma,’ which is unfair, unjust and gender-biased.” Referring directly to BJP-led massacres of Muslims and other minorities, she declared, “I oppose Advani’s Ram Mandir Yatra and Narendra Modi’s genocide of 2002.” In a 2016 interview with interview with Newslaundry, she expressed how her journalism exposed her to “the rabid hate the Hindutva brigade and Modi Bhakts have for its critics and naysayers.”

Born in 1962, Lankesh worked as a professional journalist since 1984. Her father, P. Lankesh, founded the weekly newspaper, Lankesh Patrike, in 1980. After his death in 2000, she took over as editor of the paper. Subsequently, she founded her own weekly, Gauri Lankesh Patrike. She had previously worked for Times of IndiaSunday magazine, India Today, and Eenaadu TV.

Gauri is survived by her brother, Indrajit, and sister, Kavitha. Indrajit, who is the current publisher of Lankesh Patrike, severed ties with his sister in 2005 after conflicting with her journalistic approach to coverage of southern India’s communist insurgency. While he accused her of holding a “pro-Naxal stand,” she insisted, “Though I’m a part of Citizens’ Initiative for Peace, I am not promoting Naxalism.” For years, she worked as a mediator between the communist Naxalite movement and the State to encourage a cessation of hostilities.

A handful of news reports suggested that Naxalites may be involved in Lankesh’s assassination, but her family quickly rubbished the idea. Speaking at a September 7 press conference the day after Gauri’s funeral, Kavitha speculated about the reason for the assassination, stating, “I would like to say right-wing activism because her own ideology was dead against them.… They wanted to kill a thought, kill a movement. I don’t want to pinpoint right now. But from her writing, whoever is against her ideology has killed her.” Indrajit admitted, “It might be the right-wing extremists.”

“My criticism of Hindutva politics and the caste system, which is part and parcel of what is considered ‘Hindu dharma,’ makes my critics brand me as a ‘Hindu hater,’” said Lankesh in her Newslaundry interview. “In Karnataka today, we are living in such times that Modi Bhakts [believers] and the Hindutva brigade welcome the killings (as in the case of Dr M.M. Kalburgi)… of those who oppose their ideology, their political party and their supreme leader Narendra Modi…. Let me assure you, they are keen to somehow shut me up too.”

“Death threats have become a common factor in Karnataka,” she lamented in March. Before her own murder, some of her colleagues also suffered violence. For example, she mentioned the experience of writer Yogesh Master.

On March 12, Master was leaving an event organized by Lankesh when he was attacked by approximately 10 men. “I was drinking tea at a nearby stall when a group of people, who were buying some books, suddenly attacked me with black oil,” said Master. “The gang raised pro-Hindu and right-wing slogans, and threatened to kill me for writing against Hindu Gods. They used foul language and pulled my hair. It was a physical attack that left a deep mental impact.”

For years, Lankesh vigorously criticized politicized Hinduism. Speaking in Mengaluru in 2012 at a protest against violence by Hindutva group Hindu Jagarana Vedike, she called for a ban on “Hindu communal outfits.” Describing Hinduism as “a system of hierarchy in society,” she explained, “Women are treated as second class creatures.” According  to news reports, she also “pointed out that RSS was behind all the unrest, like riots in Gujarat, bomb blast in Samjhauta Express, and rape of nuns in Odisha.” In her March speech, she labeled RSS members as “criminals” and condemned recent lynchings of Dalits in the name of cow protection.

The Lankesh family has, however, served as equal opportunity critics of both major political parties in India. According to Gauri, her father was among the “trenchant critics of Jawaharlal Nehru, of Indira Gandhi, of Rajiv Gandhi.” She was not reluctant to criticize Karnataka’s current Indian National Congress (INC) government, noting, “Karnataka police in a Congress government have put sedition cases against [All India Students Federation] AISF students.” Speaking bluntly, she said, “The Congress government in Karnataka is so stupid.”

In a September 6 statement, Amnesty International India said Lankesh’s killing “raises alarms about the state of freedom of expression in the country.” According to Amnesty official Asmita Basu, “Gauri Lankesh was never afraid of speaking truth to power.” Basu continued, “Critical journalists and activists have increasingly faced threats and attacks across India in recent years…. Investigations into these killings have been ineffective for too long.”

Amnesty further explained how the Committee to Protect Journalists reports “there have been no convictions in any of the 27 cases of journalists murdered for their work in India since 1992.”

Another international organization, Freedom House, rates the status of Indian press freedom as only “partly free.” As Freedom House reported, “Journalists reported heavy-handed government censorship during 2016…. Across the country, violence against journalists is encouraged by a prevailing climate of impunity.” Furthermore, they explained, “A number of laws… remain on the books can be used to restrict media freedom.” The laws they identify are carryovers from the British colonial period, especially the sedition law (IPC Section 124A).

In recent years, sedition charges were filed against author Arundhati Roy, People’s Union for Civil Liberties Vice-President Binayak Sen, and political cartoonist Aseem Trivedi. Last year, a number of people were arrested in Kerala for failing to stand at a cinema while the national anthem played before their film. Subsequently, Malayalam writer Kamal Chavara was arrested for a Facebook post about the anthem. Speaking in January 2017, he said, “To this day, intelligence officials frequent my house, harass my family. I continue to get calls at home and on my personal number threatening to kill me.”

“If India wants to be an independent nation, then it should soberly question why it has held on to these anti-liberty laws enacted under the colonial domination of a foreign power,” remarked Pieter Friedrich, an analyst of South Asian Affairs. “The British Raj passed these laws specifically to squash dissent and silence independence movements. Gandhi himself was charged under Section124A. So why has independent India preserved imperial acts designed to empower colonial rule?”

Facing the risk of being charged with sedition, Indian journalists are reportedly gagging themselves. In its 2017 World Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) ranked India as the 136th freest out of 180 countries. Warning about the growing “threat from Modi’s nationalism,” RWB stated, “With Hindu nationalists trying to purge all manifestations of ‘anti-national’ thought from the national debate, self-censorship is growing in the mainstream media.”

Meanwhile, Lankesh alleged that the Karnataka government has repeatedly “tried to throttle the freedom of the press.” In a June 2017 article, she reported how two Kannadan journalists were both sentenced to one year in jail for breaching the “parliamentary privilege” of legislators. “Parliamentary privilege” is granted by Articles 105 and 194 of the Indian Constitution. The articles are modeled after similar ones in Britain. As explained by The Indian Express, this privilege is frequently used to charge journalists “over material deemed libel or offence against the dignity of legislators.”

“The issue here is the colonial legacy called ‘parliamentary privileges’ of elected representatives,” wrote Lankesh. “This archaic law which allows law makers to become judges and sentence journalists to imprisonment should not even exist in a democracy.” The laws, she explained, are used to muzzle critics. “The [House of Privileges’ Committee] seems to be of the firm opinion that referring to legislators in the singular, criticising their actions outside the House, exposing their abuse of power is beyond the purview of journalists merely because they are ‘elected representatives’ and hence more equal than others…. Legislators have no business to sit in judgements on journalists. It is high time they are stripped of their special privileges.”

“Press freedom, especially the right to publicly criticize the establishment, is the backbone of a democratic society,” stated Friedrich. “As India continues to proudly declare itself the world’s largest democracy, should not its citizens consequently expect it to also proudly host the most outspoken and least restricted press in the world? Gauri Lankesh was a shining example of the best journalism India has to offer, and we hope many more arise to follow in her footsteps.”

Lankesh, according to her friends, refused to be intimidated. “Her tabloid was vocal on secularism, the rights of Dalits, the downtrodden, and women,” wrote filmmaker K.M. Chaitanya, who knew her since childhood. The week before her death, he says, she told him, “I will do what I can and I will say what I should. These intolerant voices find strength in our silence. Let them learn to argue using words instead of threats.”

Those who knew Lankesh best describe her as full of love. “Wherever there was communal violence against Muslims, against Dalits, or hatred being spread, she would go there,” said her attorney, Venkatesh. “She was a very warm human being,” said her sister, Kavitha. “When somebody wrote a hate mail, she would say, ‘it is okay, my son, you are entitled to your opinion.’ She would say such sweet things…. Her life was upliftment of society.”

Perhaps the most touching tribute to Lankesh was penned by her ex-husband, Chidanand Rajghatta. As Rajghatta wrote, “She lived a beautiful life of purpose and fought the good fight…. She threw herself into the fight against right-wing bigots, zealots, and extremists.” Rajghatta stated, “There was no place in her world for violence.” While he praised her work, he suggested her true legacy is “the love and warmth she brought with her.” As he concluded, “Forget all other labels: leftist, radical, anti-Hindutva, secular, etc. For me, there is just this: She is the epitome of Amazing Grace.”

In memory of Gauri Lankesh, January 29, 1962 - September 5, 2017
In memory of Gauri Lankesh, January 29, 1962 – September 5, 2017

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Indian-origin Sikh lawmaker shuts down heckler woman with ‘love and courage’

Jagmeet Singh is running to lead the left-leaning New Democratic Party, or NDP, Canada’s third largest party.

After four full minutes of her rant, the woman left the camping event after Singh attempted to postpone his address and was about to leave the dais. (Photo: Videograb)

 After four full minutes of her rant, the woman left the camping event after Singh attempted to postpone his address and was about to leave the dais. (Photo: Videograb)

Brampton: With an aim of spreading ‘love and courage’, an Indo-Canadian Sikh lawmaker on Friday calmly responds to a woman, who was yelling at him about Islamic sharia law at a community outreach programme in Ontario.

When Jagmeet Singh, Indian-origin lawmaker, was about to start his address in the event called ‘JagMeet and Greet’, a campaign event,  a woman in black t-shirt and blue jeans interrupted him, questioning about the Islamic Sharia law, a viral video showed.

Singh, who is running to lead the left-leaning New Democratic Party, or NDP, Canada’s third largest party, was seen calmly answering indirectly to woman’s question that “We welcome you, we support you and we love you.”

The woman, who identifies herself as Jennifer, said in loud voice that “We know you’re in bed with Sharia, we know you’re in bed with the Muslim Brotherhood”, as the supporters of Singh kept cheering for him.

When the organisers stepped in to stop the ruckus in the ongoing event, the woman threatened them not to touch her or she will call the police.

Responding to her rant and threatening, Singh addressing to the crowd present at the event said, “We’re not intimidated by hatefulness. Let her speak as much as she wants to. We have no problem with it,” Singh said, conceding that the situation was a little bit “awkward”.

According to a Canada based magazine, Vice, the woman “seemed to be spouting off the rhetoric of an anti-Islam women’s group called Suffragettes Against Silence who are familiar faces in the far-right, anti-Islam circle in Canada. This group believes that Islam is an existential threat to the woman of Canada”.

After four full minutes of her rant, the woman left the camping event after Singh attempted to postpone his address and was about to leave the dais.

Minutes after the woman stormed out, Singh said to the crowd, “You know growing up as a brown-skin, turbaned, bearded man that I’ve faced things like this before,” adding further that “There’s going to be other obstacles that we’re going to face and we’re going to face them with love and courage.”

The incident was recorded by Brampton Focus, a local news outlet, which was later posted it on Facebook and got viral. The video has been viewed over 4 lakh times and shared over 3,000 times already.

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Karwan-e-Mohabbat: Disturbing trend of lynch mobs making videos of their kill

Dispatches of Harsh Mander who is on a journey across India to raise awareness about lynchings.


The Karwan began with an unexpected touching moment when the local gurdwara at Ramgarh in Jharkhand invited the Karwan-e-Mohabbat to endorse its call for solidarity and love.

They quoted from Sikh scriptures that have messages from Nanak and verses of Kabir to underline the importance of inter-religious harmony and tolerance. Speakers reflected on how relevant the messages were in times of rising hate.

The small local Sikh community settled in Ramgarh after Partition. Together we reflected upon the two incidents rooted in hate that destroyed Sikh lives – once in 1947 and then again in 1984. People at the gurdwara spoke about how they understand the consequences of hate crimes.

We then drove to the village Manua in Manoa block of Ramgarh and met Mariam Khatoon, widow of a man lynched over two months ago in a busy market of Ramgarh town.

On the morning of June 27, coal trader Amiluddin Ansari left home in his car. About an hour later, his 17-year-old son Shahban received a video on WhatsApp that featured Amiluddin being lynched by a mob of young self-styled cow vigilantes.

The son hopped on to his bike to drive to the town in a desperate bid to save his father, but met with an accident a few kilometres away from home. Shahban called his 22-year-old brother Shehzad, who left immediately with his mother. When they reached Ramgarh, they found their car overturned and gutted in the centre of the market. Amiluddin’s blood stains were splattered on the streets. People told them that Amiluddin was taken to the civil hospital in Ranchi by the police.

cow690_090817125933.jpgNo one is seen coming to Amiluddin’s rescue while he is being lynched.

The family drove to Ranchi only to find that Amiluddin had died of the injuries inflicted on him by the mob. A hurried post-mortem was done even before the family was allowed to see the body. Ironically, the details of the autopsy report have not been shared with the family. It took multiple visits to the police station for the family to get Amiluddin’s body for burial.

In many episodes of lynching, a new trend is being witnessed where videos of the lynching are made and shared.

We watched in horror the video that Amiluddin’s sons saw on their phones. These videos are usually made by the attackers themselves. You watch them in Amiluddin’s lynching video laughing as the battered bleeding man begs for his life as if killing was a sport or a video game. At one point, a boy grabs the terrified man’s face and turns it to the camera, asking the videographer to take a “good shot”.

There are pictures of piles of red meat on the streets, but none of these actually being taken out of Amiluddin’s car. No one is seen coming to his rescue.

The state administration has done nothing to support the bereaved family. The children have dropped out of school. The meat was sent to a forensic lab to check if it was red meat or not.

A group of local boys angrily protested when the police failed to arrest the attackers who could have been easily identified from the video. The police have slapped a series of criminal charges against the protesters. They spent 25 days in jail.

Some of the attackers were later arrested but there are many others who eyewitnesses are willing to name. We saw the photograph of a young man beating Amiluddin with a fibreglass baton that closely resembles one used by the police.

Mariam Khatoon was firm and composed as she spoke to us when we met her, breaking down only once when she recalled how difficult the police made it for them to get her husband’s battered body the night after he was lynched. “I only want justice,” she said to us again and again.

“I want those who lynched my husband to be punished, not for revenge, but to ensure that no one has to go through what my children and I have undergone,” she said.

In the aman sabha (peace meet) that was organised in Ramgarh after we met Mariam Khatoon and her family, we took solace from the fact that there were no public rationalisations for the lynching as was the case in Giridih the night before.

A few senior people at the aman sabha agreed with me and said that they should have spoken up against the incident. They concurred that their silence made them complicit in some way in the hate crime. They agreed to constitute an Aman Insaniyat Committee to prevent hate crimes in their district, and to support its victims.

In the afternoon, we reached Ranchi. Here the Christian community had organised a massive meeting to coincide with the Karwan to protest the draconian anti-conversion law recently passed by the Jharkhand assembly.

The law, they feared, was designed to instil fear in the hearts of the Christina minority. They said the law could be an attempt to tear apart tribal society, which has families where members follow different faiths – some follow the traditional Adivasi Sarna faith, some who are Christians, and some who identify themselves as Hindu.

The gathering endorsed the need for solidarity among oppressed minorities and castes. It underlined the need for liberal elements to stand together to fight violence and discrimination all kinds.

We now move to Mangalore in Karnataka. The Karwan there will both mourn and pay tribute to the fearless defender of justice and secular values Gauri Lankesh, and continue our sombre journey for the families destroyed and devastated by the rising social epidemic of hate lynching.

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India – All that data that #Aadhaar captures

jean drèze

The very foundation of Aadhaar must be reconsidered in the light of the privacy judgment

Predictably enough, the recent Supreme Court order affirming that privacy is a fundamental right sent Aadhaar’s public-relations machine into damage control mode. After denying the right to privacy for years, the government promptly changed gear and welcomed the judgment. Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), suddenly asserted, “The Aadhaar Act is based on the premise that privacy is a fundamental right.” He also clarified that the judgment would not affect Aadhaar as the required safeguards were already in place.

Types of information

The fact of the matter is that Aadhaar, in its current form, is a major threat to the fundamental right to privacy. The nature of this threat, however, is poorly understood.

There is a common perception that the main privacy concern with Aadhaar is the confidentiality of the Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR). This is misleading for two reasons. One is that the CIDR is not supposed to be inaccessible. On the contrary, the Aadhaar Act 2016 puts in place a framework for sharing most of the CIDR information. The second reason is that the biggest danger, in any case, lies elsewhere.

To understand this, it helps to distinguish between three different types of private information: biometric information, identity information and personal information. The first two are formally defined in the Aadhaar Act, and protected to some extent. Aadhaar’s biggest threat to privacy, however, relates to the third type of information.

In the Aadhaar Act, biometric information essentially refers to photograph, fingerprints and iris scan, though it may also extend to “other biological attributes of an individual” specified by the UIDAI. The term “core biometric information” basically means biometric information minus photograph, but it can be modified once again at the discretion of the UIDAI.

Identity information has a wider scope. It includes biometric information but also a person’s Aadhaar number as well as the demographic characteristics that are collected at the time of Aadhaar enrolment, such as name, address, date of birth, phone number, and so on.

The term “personal information” (not used in the Act) can be understood in a broader sense, which includes not only identity information but also other information about a person, for instance where she travels, whom she talks to on the phone, how much she earns, what she buys, her Internet browsing history, and so on.

Coming back to privacy, one obvious concern is the confidentiality of whatever personal information an individual may not wish to be public or accessible to others. The Aadhaar Act puts in place some safeguards in this respect, but they are restricted to biometric and identity information.

Sharing identity details

The strongest safeguards in the Act relate to core biometric information. That part of the CIDR, where identity information is stored, is supposed to be inaccessible except for the purpose of biometric authentication. There is a view that, in practice, the biometric database is likely to be hacked sooner or later. Be that as it may, the UIDAI can at least be credited with trying to keep it safe, as it is bound to do under the Act.

That does not apply, however, to identity information as a whole. Far from protecting your identity information, the Aadhaar Act puts in place a framework to share it with “requesting entities”. The core of this framework lies in Section 8 of the Act, which deals with authentication. Section 8 underwent a radical change when the draft of the Act was revised. In the initial scheme of things, authentication involved nothing more than a Yes/No response to a query as to whether a person’s Aadhaar number matches her fingerprints (or possibly, other biometric or demographic attributes). In the final version of the Act, however, authentication also involves a possible sharing of identity information with the requesting entity. For instance, when you go through Aadhaar-based biometric authentication to buy a SIM card from a telecom company, the company typically gains access to your demographic characteristics from the CIDR. Even biometric information other than core biometric information (which means, as of now, photographs) can be shared with a requesting entity.

Quite likely, this little-noticed change in Section 8 has something to do with a growing realisation of the business opportunities associated with Aadhaar-enabled data harvesting. “Data is the new oil”, the latest motto among the champions of Aadhaar, was not part of the early discourse on unique identity — at least not the public discourse.

Section 8, of course, includes some safeguards against possible misuse of identity information. A requesting entity is supposed to use identity information only with your consent, and only for the purpose mentioned in the consent statement. But who reads the fine print of the terms and conditions before ticking or clicking a consent box?

There is another important loophole: the Aadhaar Act includes a blanket exemption from the safeguards applicable to biometric and identity information on “national security” grounds. Considering the elastic nature of the term, this effectively makes identity information accessible to the government without major restrictions.

Mining personal information

Having said this, the proliferation and possible misuse of identity information is only one of the privacy concerns associated with Aadhaar, and possibly not the main concern. A bigger danger is that Aadhaar is a tool of unprecedented power for mining and collating personal information. Further, there are few safeguards in the Aadhaar Act against this potential invasion of privacy.

An example may help. Suppose that producing your Aadhaar number (with or without biometric authentication) becomes mandatory for buying a railway ticket — not a far-fetched assumption. With computerised railway counters, this means that the government will have all the details of your railway journeys, from birth onwards. The government can do exactly what it likes with this personal information — the Aadhaar Act gives you no protection, since this is not “identity information”.

Further, this is just the tail of the beast. By the same reasoning, if Aadhaar is made mandatory for SIM cards, the government will have access to your lifetime call records, and it will also be able to link your call records with your travel records. The chain, of course, can be extended to other “Aadhaar-enabled” databases accessible to the government — school records, income-tax records, pension records, and so on. Aadhaar enables the government to collect and collate all this personal information with virtually no restrictions.

Thus, Aadhaar is a tool of unprecedented power for the purpose of mining personal information. Nothing in the Aadhaar Act prevents the government from using Aadhaar to link different databases, or from extracting personal information from these databases. Indeed, many State governments (aside from the Central government) are already on the job, under the State Resident Data Hub (SRDH) project, which “integrates all the departmental databases and links them with Aadhaar number”, according to the SRDH websites. The Madhya Pradesh website goes further, and projects SRDH as “the single source of truth for the entire state” — nothing less. The door to state surveillance is wide open.

What about private agencies? Their access to multiple databases is more restricted, but some of them do have access to a fair amount of personal information from their own databases. To illustrate, Reliance Jio is in possession of identity information for more than 100 million Indians, harvested from the CIDR when they authenticate themselves to buy a Jio SIM card. This database, combined with the records of Jio applications (phone calls, messaging, entertainment, online purchases, and more) is a potential gold mine — a dream for “big data” analysts. It is not entirely clear what restrictions the Aadhaar Act imposes, in practice, on the use of this database.

In short, far from being “based on the premise that privacy is a fundamental right”, Aadhaar is the anti-thesis of the right to privacy. Perhaps further safeguards can be put in place, but Aadhaar’s fundamental power as a tool for mining personal information is bound to be hard to restrain. The very foundation of Aadhaar needs to be reconsidered in the light of the Supreme Court judgment.

Jean Drèze is Visiting Professor at the Department of Economics, Ranchi University

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Jharkhand -Tribal Girl Gangraped 16 Arrested #Vaw

According to the police, the men first demanded Rs 5,100 and a mobile phone from the girl as a “penalty” because her boyfriend was a “non-tribal” and then allegedly forced the girl and her friend to strip and have sex in front of them, before taking turns to rape her.

 Dumka police have arrested 16 out of 17 youths involved in last evening’s gang rape of a 20-year-old tribal girl who in her statement to the police said the tormentors initially intercepted her and her boyfriend with an attitude that smacked of moral policing.

Around 7pm, the youths had allegedly stopped the couple on Ring Road beside Digghi village and in censorious tones accused them of “immoral activities” and threatened to call a manjhi or a tribal head implying that the dating duo deserved to be punished.

Recovering at Dumka Sadar Hospital, the girl today told police that she and her boyfriend stopped their bike near a field to attend nature’s call and not for anything else. The group of assailants, who the girl said were initially around five or six, kept swelling, as she and her boyfriend kept explaining that they had gone via Ring Road for a ride to Sido Kanhu Murmu University campus and were returning to Dumka town.

Brandishing daggers, the group asked for Rs 5,000 “as penalty”. The unwelcome advances started even before the couple said they didn’t have that kind of money. The threat to call a manjhi turned into loud comments of why a manjhi was at all needed to discipline the couple when they, the youths, were there.


“In my semi-conscious state I heard them calling each other’s names Daniyal, Anil, Suraj, Saddam, Shahbaz, Qurban, Imran, Zia-ul and more that I don’t correctly recall,” she said.

  Also, after the rape – the girl said some six to seven youths raped her while others watched – she was forced to bathe in a doba and pictures of her naked body were clicked and a video shot to shame and silence her. But, the young couple did not cower and on reaching Dumka town after the ordeal, the girl wearing her boyfriend’s clothes, the two went to the police.

All 16 arrested youths belong to different places in Mufassil police station area of Dumka district. Raids are on to nab the remaining one.

“Twelve arrested youths were today sent to Dumka Central Jail on judicial custody and four others arrested later in the day would be remanded to judicial custody tomorrow,” Santhal Pargana range DIG Akhilesh Jha told this paper over telephone.

The girl also spoke to a Jharkhand State Women’s Commission inquiry panel headed by Sharmila Soren.

Her clothes, hairpin, the daggers of the youths and other items have been recovered from the site of the rape. They will be tested at a forensic lab.


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India has gone from British Raj to Billionaire Raj


  • The top 1% of earners captured less than 21% of total income in the late 1930s in India
  • It dropped to 6% in early 80s
  • Now, it is 22%, highest since 1922, when the income tax law was conceived

Income inequality is shown to have fallen to the least in the 1970s and the 1980sIncome inequality is shown to have fallen to the least in the 1970s and the 1980s

NEW DELHI: Inequality in India may be at its highest level since 1922, when the country’s income tax law was conceived, with 22% income accruing to the top 1% income earners, a new paper released by economists Thomas Piketty and Lucas Chancel showed.

“The top 1% of earners captured less than 21% of total income in the late 1930s, before dropping to 6% in early 1980s and rising to 22% today,” said the paper titled ‘Indian income inequality, 1922-2014: From British Raj to Billionaire Raj?’, a revised version of which was released

Incidentally, the 1970s and the 1980s, when income inequality is shown to have fallen to the least was the period when India’s GDP and per capita income growth rates fell to one of the lowest levels. The trend in India is in line with the experience of other major economies.

The paper shows that between 1980 and 2014, income of top 0.1% income earners in France and China rose six times faster than the income of bottom 50%.

In India, the growth rate of top 1% was 13 times higher, while it was nearly 77 times higher in the US.

The latest paper from Picketty and Chancel is expected to trigger debate about the state of inequality in India and whether benefits of higher growth have spread to all classes.

The two economists recognise the global nature of income inequality but state that: “India’s dynamics are striking: It is the country with the highest gap between the growth of the top 1% and growth of the full population.”

The paper added that the top 0.1% income earners represented less than 8 lakh individuals in 2013-14, which is less than the population of Gurgaon. “It is a sharp contrast with the 389 million individuals that made up the bottom half of the adult population in late 2013.”

Economists say that income distribution data for India is very difficult to find. A study done by Delhi-based NCAER dates to 2004-05. “Income tax data is not applicable (for measuring income inequality) in a country like India,” said Bibek Debroy, member of NITI Aayog, a government think tank.

“The national sample survey (NSS) data indicated that in 2004-05 inequality in India increased sharply. The NSS measures consumption and underestimates the degree of inequality,” said Pronab Sen, former chief statistician of India. “If you could measure income distribution, which very few do, it is much worse.”

Sen said, India’s fast economic growth had helped in reducing absolute poverty. “But relative inequality has worsened.”

Based on their calculations, Piketty and Chancel have concluded that there was a moderate rise of the middle class during 1980-2014, when the economy was liberalised and income growth rates picked up.

“‘Shining India’ corresponds to the top 10% of the population (approximately 80 million adult individuals in 2014) rather than the middle 40%. Relatively speaking, the shining decades for the middle 40% group corresponded to the 1951-1980 period, when this group captured a much higher share of total growth (49%) than it did over the past 40 years,” they said.

The paper’s authors also said they did not have the capacity to put an end to the debates over the impact of reforms on inequality or poverty.

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India – Women Journalists Targeted With Vile Abuse and Death Threats: Why is the Govt Silent? #Vaw

Women journalists have been at the receiving end of filthy abuse and threats from the troll army on the social media, all of them claiming to be supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party. Journalists are targeted for little more than questioning the government, the PM or other functionaries of the BJP and the RSS with the threats severe, and the abuse crossing all boundaries.

Women scribes, however, face it worse as the threat is accompanied with sexual threats, and language that should be sufficient for any decent, law abiding government to ensure their arrest. Most of what the women scribes receive is unpublishable, and this is retweeted by scores of trolls to ensure that the journalist feels vulnerable, isolated and they hope terrified. Television anchors being more recognisable faces bear the brunt but senior women journalists in print and online are targeted as frequently and as viciously.

The latest is a filthy abusive tweet directed at senior scribe Sagarika Ghose, inciting violence against her after the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, The Indian Women’s Press Corps has issued a statement expressing “deep concern”, and condemning “the language inciting violence directed at women media-persons in the social media” The statement notes, “there have been social media posts where women have been threatened with sexual assault as well. Such misogynistic behavior is deeply deplorable in a democratic society as ours.”

Here he is again : VikramAditya Rana on Facebook with a hit list. you need to check this

The Delhi Police has registered a FIR against the individual. But the language used by the IWPC is tame in merely asking the Union Home Ministry to “be extra vigilant about these threats so that all women including women journalists, are able to think, work and express themselves in a fair and free atmosphere without any threat to their person.” Given the fact that this threat is vicious, and the social media trolls —such as the man who abused dead journalist Lankesh, are being followed by PM Modi, the IWPC could have been expected to address the PMO, and demand immediate arrest of these men. After all young girls and students have been arrested in different parts of the country for merely expressing an opinion mildly critical of the current dispensation.

The Press Club of India and the Editors Guild, of course, have still to respond. It must be pointed out that Lankesh too had been receiving threats and abuse from right wing trolls before she was shot dead outside her home in Bangalore. This cannot be taken lightly, and a mere FIR with the Delhi police is barely a protection for journalists doing their job. The Prime Minister himself must give an assurance that such abuse and threats will be dealt with strictly, and instruct the Home Minister and the Police Commissioner to ensure immediate action.

Journalists need to come out of their comfort zone, recognise the growing threat, and ensure some levels of security for the individuals. Not everyone is being targeted, but it is imperative that the everyone come together to support the some who are receiving the vilest threats—from rape to elimination.

The questions the government and the Prime Minister needs to answer: who are these trolls? Why are they being followed by him and senior Ministers thereby giving their abusive tweets legitimacy? Are the threats to Ghose and other women journalists the new acceptable norm for the government? If not, what is the government planning to do to check this trend? What are the steps being taken to ensure the safety of journalists, and more so women journalists, just doing their job?

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Maharashtra – 83% of those who got govt scholarship for poor picked without income criteria #WTFnews

The BJP-led state government amended norms in June 2015 to scrap the maximum Rs6 lakh annual family income criteria for students who get admission in any of the top 100 universities

Manasi Phadke
Hindustan Times
Social justice minister Rajkumar Badole’s daughter, also figured on the scholarship list.
Social justice minister Rajkumar Badole’s daughter, also figured on the scholarship list.

This year, nearly 83% of the picks for the state’s scholarship programme to study abroad were chosen without considering their annual family income.

The scholarship, instituted in 2003, is allotted to a maximum of 50 students a year from Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Dalit backgrounds for post-graduate and PhD degrees in any of the world’s top 300 universities. But it seems to be largely helping those from the creamy layer.

The BJP-led state government amended norms in June 2015 to scrap the maximum Rs6 lakh annual family income criteria for students who get admission in any of the top 100 universities, according to the QS world university rankings, to be eligible for the scholarship. For those who have secured admission to universities that are not in the top 100, however, the annual family income must be below Rs6 lakh in order to qualify for the scholarship.

Since 2015, the state has awarded the scholarship to 160 students, of which 85, or about 53%, studied in the top 100 universities, according to government resolutions of the social justice and special assistance department.

This year alone, 29 of the 35 students chosen secured admissions to the top 100 universities and did not undergo an income criteria qualification.

Dinesh Waghmare, secretary, social justice department, said, “The rationale behind scrapping the income cap for the 100 best universities was that while students were taking the benefit of this scholarship, not many students were going to top universities. The reason behind this was the income limit.”

“The economically weak sections do not have access to opportunities that will enable them to study well for competitive exams, write their essays and Statements of Purpose well and secure admission to the best universities. In simpler words, as compared to a farmer’s son, a teacher’s son will always be at an advantage,” he said.

The state government has chosen Waghmare’s son, Antariksh, for the scholarship this year to pursue a two-year Masters in Science in Information System from the University of Pennsylvania.

Besides Antariksh, Sameer, son of Joint Director Technical Education Dayanand Meshram, and Shruti, social justice minister Rajkumar Badole’s daughter, also figured on the list.

After much backlash, Shruti decided to give up her scholarship.

Milind Kamble, chairman of the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said, “It is time for those who are economically empowered to give up reservations and scholarships and make way for people who really need them. My daughter, too, refused scholarships right since school and has never applied anywhere through a reserved category. If I am giving it up, it means the opportunity will go to a deserving and needy candidate.”

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Mynamar- Modi Subtly Endorsed Rohingya Genocide: A Handshake of Fascism that Must be Opposed!

Narendra Modi - Aung San Suu Kyi Myanmar Rohingya Massacre

Narendra Modi Meets Suu Kyi & Rohingya Genocide is Subtly Endorsed

Rare moments are always frame-worthy, especially if it’s a historic handshake between two of the most notorious Muslim-killers of our time. Narendra Modi met Aung San Suu Kyi, the Myanmar government’s caretaker and defacto leader, during his Myanmar visit at Naypyitaw. Modi, accused of being the chief architect of the 2002 Gujarat anti-Muslim pogrom, praised the genocide done by the Myanmar Army in the Rakhine province of the impoverished country, where hundreds of Rohingya Muslims are massacred, which forced nearly 142,000 of the 1.1 million Rohingyas to flee from the violence-inflicted province.


The meeting between Narendra Modi and Aung San Suu Kyi was a phenomenal meeting between two fascist stalwarts, who are united by their pro-US and anti-Muslim political standpoints. Both of them are strongly supporting majoritarian theological fascism in their countries, and, under the guise of developing the economy, both of these leaders are selling their country’s resources and manpower to the US-led Western bloc and their monopoly capital-owned big corporate sharks.


The report of the meeting between Narendra Modi and Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyitaw was published in The Telegraph, Kolkata. The newspaper quoted Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying to Suu Kyi:


“We share your concerns about extremist violence in Rakhine state and specially the violence against security forces and how innocent lives have been affected.”


“We hope that all the stakeholders together can find a way out in which the unity and territorial integrity of Myanmar is respected and at the same time we can have peace, justice dignity and democratic values for all(sic).”


In his obscure comments on Myanmar’s present condition, which is soaked in the blood of innocent Rohingya men, women and children, Narendra Modi didn’t condemn the ongoing genocide by the Myanmar Army, rather by emphasising on the Indian ruling clique’s concern “specially” over the “the violence against security forces,” referring to the series of attacks against the Myanmar’s atrocious military bases in Rakhine province on 25 August, which was actually an act of resistance by a small local ethnic-nationalist militant group ARSA, Modi clarified, through a parable-styled message, in a shrill tone, that his government will wholeheartedly support the ongoing genocide of Rohingya Muslims by the Myanmar Army.


The Modi government has shown its adherence to the fascist Brahminical apartheid recently when it declared that all Rohingyas, nearly 40,000 of them, who are now living in India as refugees will be forcefully deported back to Myanmar. It will be like the anti-Semitist wave in the US forcing the ships carrying Jews who fled from the persecution of Hitler in Germany, during the Nazi era, to return back.


The deportation of the hapless Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar will mean handing them over to the butchers, to be mercilessly slaughtered, raped, violated and even burned alive. These atrocities by the Myanmar Army doesn’t trouble the BrahminicalIndian ruling clique as they want to experiment similar ghastly repression on the Muslims in lower Assam, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. The BJP is now fond of the Myanmar Army that is not at all answerable to the people of Myanmar and had directly ruled the country for decades with iron hands.


Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner Muslim-killer, kept her agenda straight during the meeting, i.e. of seeking the Indian support for the ghastly violence and the gory atrocities, the ongoing one and those to be committed in the near future by her US-sponsored regime in the Rakhine province. Suu Kyi was quoted by The Telegraph as saying,


“We would like to thank India particularly for its strong that it has taken with regard to terrorist threat that came to our country a couple of weeks ago, (sic).”


“We believe that together we can work to make sure that terrorism is not allowed to take root on our soil.”


Suu Kyi’s appreciation of the Modi government and the usage of the verbiage that portrays the Rohingya Muslims, who have been living in the Rakhine province for centuries but are denied civil rights, as terrorists, completes the circle by joining the dots. The Hindutva terror factory, which plans and executes terror attacks against the Muslims, Christians and marginal people, has been hand-in-glove with the Buddhist fascists like Wirathu, who led a large scale anti-Muslim massacre in the country in 2012. They are the same forces who are helping Suu Kyi in formulating the most heinous genocide programmes of the 21st century.


It’s the Hindutva terror fountainhead’s training and vitriol against Muslims, which the Buddhist fascist forces are replicating in Myanmar, under state patronage, to manage the mass perception of the majority Buddhist community. A large section of the rural and urban Buddhists are subjected to discombobulation over the issue of Rohingya Muslims, whom the Myanmar government is calling Bangladeshi interlopers since ages. Under the banner of “nationalism,” the Buddhist fascist leaders like Wirathu are peddling virulent slanders and malicious campaigns to project the Rohingya Muslims in the darkest possible shades.


Suu Kyi, as reported by the New Indian Express, equated her government’s involvement in the Rakhine province as India’s involvement in Kashmir. While she told Narendra Modi, on record, that her government is keen to learn from Modi’s Hindutva fascist government -the secret recipe of violently suppressing large scale mass outrages with impunity and using the weapon of jingoism and xenophobia to cover up grave crimes against humanity, as Indian regime is doing in Kashmir since years.


While equating the issue of the beleaguered Rohingya community’s struggle in Rakhine with the people’s struggle in Kashmir, Suu Kyi tried to equate two diametrically opposite struggles by playing the anti-Muslim card, most dear to the ruling classes of India and its Hindutva-incensed sycophants. The people of Kashmir are fighting for freedom from Indian occupation, their struggle is purely a struggle for their right to self-determination, for their right to establish their own identity sans the “Indian” tag, while the Rohingyas, through their militant outfits like ARSA, are struggling to force the government of Myanmar to accept them as an integral part of the multi-ethnic country and give them citizen rights of Myanmar and the Rohingyas, at no point in time, demanded a secession from Myanmar.


Recent news reveal that the Myanmar government is mining the Bangladesh borderto prevent the Rohingyas from fleeing the violence-hit Rakhine province. This type of use of landmines by a state’s military to kill civilians fleeing from a war-zone or violence-hit area is a crime against humanity and is also against the protocols set by the UN on the use of landmines and booby traps.


Narendra Modi heads a country that is since attempting to get a permanent seat at the UN Security Council to appease the military ambitions of the big comprador capitalists like Tata, Ambani, Adani and other corporate groups. A country like India that wants to be in the Security Council must condemn, officially and in the most harshest terms, and take strong actions against any attempts by a rogue state’s military to carry out genocides against its people and the blatant use of landmines and booby traps to kill civilians fleeing from a violence-ravaged place, a crime that goes against the SOP set by the UN.


Despite the news of Myanmar’s fascist army mining the Bangladesh border flashing and the Suu Kyi-led government accepting it, saying that it’s doing it to “prevent the return of the Rohingyas from Bangladesh,” Narendra Modi and his government chose to overlook the issue. This silent support to a gross human right violation and war crime committed by the rogue army of Myanmar’s fascist government shows the complicity of the Modi government in this very evildoing.


The Rohingya Muslims are resisting the attempt by the Buddhist fascist Myanmar government and its army to annihilate the entire community and their nefarious plan to push the Rohingyas out of the Rakhine province and turn the place into a settler-colony by usurping the land of the Rohingyas. Aung San Suu Kyi, the lapdog of US imperialist interest in South-East Asia, is a chieftain of this scheme, this barbaric genocide of the Rohingya Muslims. Except for murmuring and limited condemnation by state players, subtle concern raising by the UN, no major powers of the world took any affirmative action to stop the Myanmar government.


Narendra Modi’s meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi has reaffirmed the Brahminical Indian state’s support to the genocide of Rohingya Muslims and it needs a serious and all-round condemnation in India. The struggles waged by different progressive and democratic forces in support of the Rohingya Muslims in India must also turn their spearhead against the Modi regime for its overt support to the war crimes committed by Myanmar Army.


It’s only the united solidarity struggle of the Indian people, the oppressed and exploited people of Myanmar and the Rohingya Muslims that the perpetrators of this heinous crime, committed as part of a large conspiracy hatched by the US-puppet regime of Suu Kyi, can be punished according to international laws and the lives of the persecuted Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and India can be saved. The call of the hour is for a march towards such a stage of solidarity struggle against religious fascism, apartheid and genocide.

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