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Archives for : September2017

Mumbai 1993 Blast Judgement – Govt, Police workes as one to get 1992-93 riots off hook

1993 blasts judgment: Govt, police worked as one to get 1992-93 riots accused off hook
The long arm of the law worked for the 1993 blasts, but not for the riots.

In 2007, judgment was pronounced in the March 12, 1993, bomb blasts that killed 257 innocents in Mumbai. Everyone thought the first major terrorist act in India had finally reached a legal conclusion.

But surprisingly, arrests continued even as the judgment was being delivered and after. This week, another judgment was pronounced against five accused in these blasts, arrested between 2005 and 2010.

The case illustrates the reach of the “long arm of the law”. If the police are out to get you, they will. The police’s efforts had the full backing of their political masters. Mumbai has seen coalition governments led both by the Congress and the Shiv Sena since the March 12, 1993, bomb blasts. Neither regime interfered in the legal process.

But two vital aspects of this case remain unresolved. First: the main accused, Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon, without whom the blasts would not have taken place, continue to be beyond our reach. Until they are tried, there will not be a sense of justice having been fully delivered.

Second, the crimes that were the reason for the March 12, 1993, blasts have not seen similar justice being done. Senior police officers investigating the blasts, including MN Singh, told the one-man judicial commission inquiring into them that they were an act of revenge. Angry at the way in which they felt Muslims had been targeted during the December 1992-January 1993 communal riots, Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon took revenge with Pakistan’s help.

Were Muslims targeted? The commission found that at least in January 1993, they were. But those who targeted them have not yet been punished. It is not as if cases were not registered during the riots. The most brutal killings had TADA applied to them, but they all ultimately ended in acquittals. Both Hindus and Muslims were charged with TADA, but the TADA courts happened to convict only Muslims. The Supreme Court found no merit in their convictions and let them off. The Hindus who were acquitted by the TADA court got lucky – the state government didn’t bother to appeal against their acquittals.

Therein lies the difference between the 1993 blasts case and the 1992-93 riots cases. For the blasts, the government and police worked as one in their aim to get the perpetrators punished, no matter how long it took. For the riots too, the state government and the police worked as one in their aim – to get the accused off the hook, no matter how long it took.

It’s worth pointing out that unlike in the 1993 blasts, there were no absconding accused in the 1992-93 riots. The rioters remained in the city. The police even had their names, supplied by victims who recognised their attackers. But even such cases were among the 60 per cent riot cases closed by the police.

Eight years later, forced by the Supreme Court, the police reopened not even 1 per cent of these closed cases, and then went through the motions of prosecution. No prizes for guessing how these reopened cases ended.

In 2008, after the 1993 bomb blasts judgment, then CM Vilasrao Deshmukh, under public pressure, set up two special magistrates’ courts to try the 1992-93 riot cases. These courts, for the first time, convicted Shiv Sainiks, but except for three leaders, the rest were acquitted by the higher court. The government could have set up special sessions courts to try the worst cases, where the police were the accused.

But that would have meant it wanted to act against the 31 policemen indicted by the judicial commission. On the contrary, the Congress-NCP government did all it could to save them, including going to the Supreme Court.

Despite that, two cases: the Suleman Usman Bakery raid and the Hari Masjid shooting, have survived, thanks to determined victims. The cops face murder charges, but the government has not appointed special PPs to pursue these cases. Left to the sluggish pace of our criminal justice system, they are wilting.

If the 1993 blasts case showed that a government can make the system work, the 1992-93 riots cases show that a government can make the system fail too.

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In Modi Raj Hate crimes have risen more than 10-fold

Revulsion fatigue is evident, although cow-related hate crimes have risen 10-fold since 2014.

Take a close look at the photograph. I know it is disturbing, but you should be disturbed. It is not a photograph you will see on the front pages of newspapers and on your television screens, not because it is disturbing but because it does not matter very much in modern India if two young Muslim men are lynched for no other reason than the fact that they were transporting cows.

The skinny teenagers were Anwar Hussein and Nazrul Sheikh, and once the life was beaten out of them on August 27, the police deposited their bodies at a rural hospital in the town of Dhupgiri in North Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district. They were both 19 years old. Hussein was Assamese and Sheikh Bengali. They had bought seven cattle and were stopped by villagers supposedly agitated by recent incidents of cattle-rustling when they lost their way. The mob demanded Rs 50,000 for safe passage, and when the teens said they did not have so much money, they were beaten to death, The Hindu reported.

It is easy to be disturbed in India these days, particularly if you notice how readily Indians will beat, maim and kill in the name of the gentle cow and Hinduism, a religion once known for its liberal, accommodating philosophy. You may not have heard of Hussein and Sheikh, but it is likely you have heard of Gauri Lankesh, the crusading anti-Hindutva journalist who was shot dead in Bengaluru on Tuesday. We do not know who killed Lankesh, whom I had known for 25 years, but while many believe the murderers came from the growing ranks of India’s intolerant people, that is not yet clear. The death of crusaders like Lankesh is particularly unsettling because it is so close to home, and the national attention her murder received is no less than it should be, whatever the reason.

But away from that national spotlight, India is clearly sliding into not just intolerance but murderous intolerance and fading memory, made worse because each dawn – instead of bringing hope – normalises the hate that lies beneath. That is why the killing of Hussein and Sheikh, whose deaths should have become an issue of national debate in a normal democracy, registered as no more than numbers on a database that we maintain at It records bovine-related violence, and as the table below reveals, there has been an exponential rise in such hate crimes.

There were three incidents in 2014, the year Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party won India. Nine months into 2017, such hate crimes have risen more than 10-fold. The police do not register such crimes as stemming from hate because India does not categorise them as such, so there is no official record available.

The coming of the night

As with the deaths of Hussein and Sheikh, there are many incidents that have faded into the night of dying memory. Any society that lives with such a growing tide of hate crime is vulnerable to outrage and revulsion fatigue. That fatigue has settled deeply on India. You may recognise some names on the database, such as Mohammed AkhlaqPehlu Khan and Junaid Khan, because they briefly came to national attention. As the number of crimes rises, the attention fades.

So, Hussein and Sheikh are statistics, regarded with as little interest as we might a road accident. This is why it is important we remember, as the former bureaucrat Harsh Mander wants us to with his caravan of love, Karwan-e-Mohabbat, now winding its way across the scenes of hate crimes and homes of victims – almost all Muslim and some Dalit – that India would rather forget. Mander and his small band of wanderers recall in detail the brutality of some crimes, as they did last week in describing how two young Muslims were not just murdered but mutilated while being put to death in Nagaon, Assam, on April 30.

“We had a heart-rending meeting with the families of two cousins Riyaz and Abu Hanif who were lynched in Nagaon,” wrote Mander in his first dispatch from their travels. “They were both teenagers fishing in a nearby non-Muslim village, where on the rumour that they were cow thieves, they were lynched to death by a mob, who also badly mutilated their bodies. Their parents are still inconsolable that their eldest sons were killed by their neighbours, and with such cruelty.”

His subsequent dispatches from other lynching sites reveal disquietingly similar patterns of what he calls “communal rationalisations” by villagers and former friends, often known to the victims all their lives. In Giridh, Jharkhand, he tells us of Usman Ansari, an old man who still lives in fear and hiding, the bones in his hand still crushed, the scalp still bearing wounds of the day his neighbours beat him into unconsciousness, took him for dead and set his home on fire on June 28. He is alive only because a young district collector accompanied by the police stopped the mob from setting him on fire. Ansari was unconscious for eight days and stayed in hospital for months.

Usman Ansari, who was beaten by a Hindu lynch mob, taken for dead and his house burned down, at an undisclosed location in Jharkhand. He was rescued by the police just as he was about to be burned. (Credit: John Dayal)
Usman Ansari, who was beaten by a Hindu lynch mob, taken for dead and his house burned down, at an undisclosed location in Jharkhand. He was rescued by the police just as he was about to be burned. (Credit: John Dayal)

At a village meeting, Mander and his travelling companions faced the same hostility they did in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, at the former home of Mohammed Akhlaq. “Our arguments appealing to justice, and to even elementary humanity, only led to anger and hostility… no compassion, no contrition of any kind,” wrote Mander on day three.

There was some contrition evident from older residents at their next stop in Ramgarh, Jharkhand, where coal trader Amiluddin Ansari was done to death on a busy street on June 27, the lynch mob laughing as the bloodied man pleaded for mercy as the life was beaten out of him, “as though this was a sport, a reality television show or a video game”. Mander recalls how town elders agreed they should not have remained silent after Ansari’s murder.

As neighbour turns on neighbour, lynch mobs get pleasure from their cowardly, vicious work and the majority of Hindus stays silent, it is evident that India would rather overlook – or ignore – the things it should

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Why an Assam MLA wants feeding room for baby in Assembly

Deka, till recently a popular Assamese actor and theatre artiste, says she has been shunting between the Assembly and her Quarter No 48 within the House complex since the Monsoon session began on September 4.

Written by Samudra Gupta Kashyap | Guwahati |

breastfeeding, breastfeeding india, assam mla breastfeeding, Assam, Assam Assembly, Angoorlata Deka, Assam breastfeeding room, Assam Assembly breastfeeding room, india news, indian express news


Angoorlata Deka in the House Thursday. (Express Photo/Dasarath Deka)

Earlier this year, Australian Senator Larissa Waters became the first politician in that country to breastfeed on the Senate floor since new rules came into force last year that allowed for babies to be breast-fed in parliament. Assam BJP legislator Angoorlata Deka doesn’t hope to get that far, but she wants at least a dedicated mother-and-baby room within the Assembly building so that her month-old daughter doesn’t go hungry while she is legislating.

“I am not asking for a new law as they have in Australia, but I am sure we can have a special room as in the Tanzanian parliament where lactating members like me can nurse our babies,” Deka, 31, a first-time MLA who gave birth to her daughter Namami on August 3, told The Sunday Express.

Deka, till recently a popular Assamese actor and theatre artiste, says she has been shunting between the Assembly and her Quarter No 48 within the House complex since the Monsoon session began on September 4. “Every hour or so, I have to leave the Assembly and rush home to feed Namami. In the process, I miss a lot of debates and discussions,” she said.

After three days of “shunting three to four times”, on September 7, Deka made a formal request to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary for a lactation room. “I met the parliamentary affairs minister on Thursday and told him about my problem. I also requested him to organise a room for my baby within the Assembly building,” she said, adding she would meet the Speaker soon.

“Under law, women get six months of maternity leave. But then, that is not applicable to women MLAs and MPs. Anyway, being in public life, I cannot afford to take leave for six months and keep away from the people who elected me,” she said.

Deka also wants the government to provide lactation rooms for working women in government and non-government workplaces. “There should be special rooms at the workplace so that babies are not deprived of mother’s milk at least till the time they turn 1. The amended Maternity Benefit Act provides for crèches in workplaces, which I am sure are not yet in place,” she said.

Deka’s request has already run into a hurdle — Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami, who said he was not aware of Deka’s problem. “I am not aware of it. She has not approached me yet. But then, I don’t think her MLA quarter is far away. It is hardly 300 metres from the Assembly chamber, and she can easily see her baby whenever she wants,” he said.

Goswami also said there was “little scope” for a separate baby room within the Assembly. “Anyway, children are not permitted to enter the Assembly building, except for school students on excursions. I understand her problem, but then, as I said, her quarter is very close,” said Goswami.

The Speaker then suggested that Deka was free to ask for a room in the Assembly guest house. “The guest house is just across the road, less than 100 metres from the Assembly chamber,” he said. The Assam Assembly has eight women MLAs in the 126-member House. The ruling NDA has five women MLAs — two of the BJP, two of Bodo People’s Front and one Asom Gana Parishad MLA. The Opposition Congress has three.

Why an Assam MLA wants feeding room for baby in Assembly

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Panjab University sees rise of Left leaning SFS; flashy cars, cash trend no more

PUSC Election 2017:

Chandigarh: Counting is on for the Panjab University Students’ Council elections and time won’t be a constraint for long to find out who lost and who won. Victories and defeats are all part and parcel of the poll game but what mattered this time around was the mood that preceded the election held on Thursday.

Poll mood in Panjab University. Image courtesy Vandana Shukla

Poll mood in Panjab University. Image courtesy Vandana Shukla

A day before the hotly contested Panjab University Students’ Council elections, the absence of any violent incident — which has been a norm otherwise — and an overwhelming presence of police carrying out flag march, turned pale in comparison to the rise of SFS(Students for Society) on the campus.

The slipper-donning SFS supporters with their ubiquitous jholas and hand made posters outnumbered the loud muscle flexing of white pajama-kurta donning kakajis (uncles) driving Mercedes and BMWs around the campus with an open sunroof and their followers hanging out precariously from windows and doors.

SFS began as a discussion group on the campus about three decades ago. But now, students from the other groups attribute their rise to the sole agenda of opposing the Right-wing government at the Centre. They claim, the group is creating another JNU in PU. Their allegations are based on the unprecedented violence the campus witnessed in April this year when opposing the 1,000 percent fee hike. Stone pelting students clashed with police who resorted to water cannons and tear gas shells leaving 60 injured. Of these 22 were policemen. The university, facing severe fund crunch, had reached a stage where it could not pay salaries of its staff when its “think tank” decided to raise the fee. Sedition and other criminal charges against the students were scripting another JNU story, though eventually sedition charges were withdrawn. Of the 66 students arrested, 50 were from SFS, both cadre and leadership.

Fashionably sober

“It’s just a fashionable Left group. Fashion trends change in the campus,” says a former student of PU. Not all agree. “People in Punjab and Haryana are headstrong individuals, they don’t like being told what to speak, that’s why SFI and AISF, supported by CPI and CPM respectively, never succeeded here,” says Rajiv Lochan, a professor in the department of History.

To help their wards contest university elections, parents of the kakajis sell a killa of agricultural land, hoping victory would pave the way to getting an MLA ticket, if not that, at least a sarpanch seat.

killa is equivalent to an acre of land.

The university is about networking and social climbing — the aim always to access more power and money. All this seems to be changing.

This year neither lavish parties nor DJs were used for canvassing, the sobering effect perhaps came from a strong following of the SFS that claims to have initiated “intellectual debate among the science faculty and professional courses and emotional appeal to the arts faculty students”.

“For elections in 2016, we spent about Rs 350, this year we spent Rs 4,000, most of it has gone for printing leaflets for the freshers. We start canvassing from the time of admissions, and we have struggled for the past five years consistently by raising issues that really matter,” says Harmandeep, media secretary, SFS. As a result, students are complaining, there is no atmosphere for elections this year, what they mean actually is money isn’t flowing.

Parking blues and gender parity

It began with parking problems inside the campus. There are about 3,000 cars parked only by the students, creating driving hazards inside the campus. When all efforts failed to persuade students not to bring their cars, the registrar’s office had a survey conducted, more than 50 percent students voted against cars in the campus. This gave a valid plank to SFS. Students got entrenched in issues that affect them.

The radical among SFS are accused of inciting violence, but their leaders don’t agree to that view.

“We occupied the ideological vacuum, there was no progressive politics in the campus, why is it that no woman candidate ever contested for president’s post? We introduced a female candidate last year, this year too our presidential candidate is a female,” says Amritpal Singh, another office bearer of SFS.

No alliance

While most parties contest elections and also win by alliances in PU, SFS is going all alone, all its four candidates are contesting the election on their own strength.

“We have earned a lot of goodwill by helping students, our supporters come from the middle and poor classes, they understand our language,” says Harman. While other strong contesters like NSUI and PUSU are supported by Congress, other Left-wing parties like SFI, have put up their candidates separately.

The allegation that SFS is rising against the Right-wing groups is not denied.

“We claim openly we are anti-fascist and anti-RSS, but ABVP is not even present on this campus. They are waiting for our growth so that they can find a plank to grow,” says Damanpreet Singh, last year’s presidential candidate for SFS.

“When things can be sorted out by peaceful debate, why should we resort to violence and create a situation where police and other forces enter the campus? It’s giving PU a bad name. We are here for education not for practicing activism,” says a presidential candidate, who is a strong contender against SFS candidates.

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UP Gang of 10 arrested for making fake #Aadhaar cards in Kanpur

UP Gang Found Complex Way To Make

Fake Aadhaar Cards, Say Police

Aadhaar, the world’s largest biometric ID card program, ascribes unique numbers after recording fingerprints and iris scans of each person.

UP Gang Found Complex Way To Make Fake Aadhaar Cards, Say Police

Aadhaar Cards, issued by the UIDAI, are at the centre of several government schemes. (Representational)



  1. UP police arrest 10 men of gang that bypassed Aadhaar security measures
  2. Police say they issued fake Aadhaar cards with the help of agents
  3. Aadhaar at the centre of government push to streamline welfare, taxation

Police in Uttar Pradesh have arrested 10 men who they say are members of a gang that was involved in counterfeiting Aadhaar cards, hailed for their bulletproof biometric features at the centre of the government’s push for reforms in welfare, taxation and communications.

Fingerprint scanners, iris scanners, laptops, rubber stamps, Aadhaar cards, GPS devices and printing material have been recovered from the men, police said, indicating a well-established network that appeared to have bypassed extensive security mechanisms set by the Unique Identification Authority of India or UIDAI which issues the cards.

The main accused Saurabh Singh is from Kanpur.

aadhaar card signup

More than 100 crore Indians have signed up for the Aadhaar card. (Representational)

Police said the arrests have been made after leads in the last few months about a gang spread across Uttar Pradesh involved in making fake Aadhaar cards using tampered client applications and help of unauthorised individuals at enrolment agencies.

The mechanism adopted was very complex and involved cloning finger prints of UIDAI centre operators to log on to the Aadhaar website and carry out fake enrolments, they said.

Police also say they found the Information Security Policy mandated by the UIDAI was being broken at many levels, including registrars, enrolment agencies, supervisors, verifiers and operators. The entire Aadhaar enrolment process will be audited for security, they said.

aadhaar afp 650

Privacy advocates have raised questions about the security of Aadhaar data. (Representational)

Aadhaar, the world’s largest biometric ID card program which ascribes unique numbers after recording fingerprints and iris scans of each person, was originally set-up to streamline the country’s welfare benefit payments and reduce wastage.

But Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been keen to broaden the mandate of the scheme. More than 100 crore Indians have already signed up for Aadhaar cards which have been made mandatory for an increasing number of purposes from filing tax returns, owning a cellphone connection to availing school lunches.

The Aadhaar data is also being pushed for promoting digital transactions by the centre. Sunday’s bust casts a shadow on these efforts.

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मारकर जश्न मनाना इनकी सांस्कृतिक परम्परा है

–कँवल भारती 

ये घर से बुलाकर
नहीं कहते कि कपड़े उतारो,
नहाओ, और गैस चेम्बर में जाओ ।
ये घर से बुलाकर, सड़क पर, सब्जी खरीदते, कहीं भी सीधे गोली मार देते हैं ।
अपने विरोधियों को मारकर जश्न मनाना इनकी सांस्कृतिक परम्परा है ।
इन्होंने सबको मारकर जश्न मनाया ,
ताड़का से गौरी लंकेश तक
शम्बूक से महिषासुर और मायानन्द तक,
दाभोलकर से पंसारी और कलबुर्गी तक ।
दशहरा, दिवाली, होली, नवरात्र,
सब हत्याओं के जश्न ही हैं ।
वैसे तो दुनिया में कोई भी अमर नहीं है,
हत्यारों को भी एक दिन मरना ही है ।
पर मारकर मारने की संस्कृति
संसार की सबसे असभ्य और हत्यारी संस्कृति है ।
कल इस संस्कृति में किसकी बारी होगी,
नहीं कह सकते ।
मेरी भी बारी हो सकती है,
आपकी भी और उनकी भी ।
मैं तो वसीयत करता हूँ कि हिंसा की संस्कृति में
मेरी हत्या के बाद,
मुझे दफनाया जाए
और मेरी कब्र पर लिखा जाए–
‘जहां ली थी मौत के सौदागरों ने एक नर की बलि ।
मैं तो चाहता हूँ कि यह बसीयत
कलम के वे तमाम सिपाही करें,
जो लोकतन्त्र को बचाने के लिए लड़ रहे हैं,
ताकि आने वाले समय का इतिहास
कब्रों को गिनकर उन पर मर्सिया लिख सके,
और दुनिया को बता सके कि
भारत में मौत के सौदागरों ने कितनी नरबलियां ली थीं ।

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Housework Keeps India’s Women At Home. Some Women Are Changing That

Namita Bhandare,

  • FLFP_620

Women listen to Nikhil Kalelkar, a trainer for two-wheel riders, at Heydeedee, a start-up that describes itself as ‘India’s first all-women instant parcel delivery service’. Next week, they will be taking an online test, the first step towards getting a learner’s license, the first step towards driving their own two-wheelers, the first step, hopefully, to financial freedom and a vocation.


Mumbai: There’s a great deal of giggling at Nikhil Kalelkar’s class for two-wheel riders. “If you’re passing a person who is handling an animal that looks like it might get out of control, how will you respond?” asked Kalelkar. “Will you slow down or will you blow your horn?”


“Sir, I’m terrified of animals. I will simply stop,” said 20-year-old Shweta Jadhav, her hair pulled back in a neat plait.


It’s the wrong, if honest, answer, and 20-odd women erupted in laughter. Next week, they will be taking an online test, the first step towards getting a learner’s license, the first step towards driving their own two-wheelers, the first step, hopefully, to financial freedom and a vocation.


Not everybody at the class run by Heydeedee, a start-up that describes itself as ‘India’s first all-women instant parcel delivery service’ is learning to earn. Anees Fatima Mohammad Ashfan said she is learning for ‘shauk’ (interest). “I’m not going to wear a t-shirt and go to make deliveries,” said the 42-year-old burkha-clad Ashfan. “But if I can drive a two-wheeler then I can use my brother-in-law’s scooter to help the women in my locality if someone suddenly falls ill and needs to go to the doctor.”


There’s never a quiet moment at the Heydeedee office in Mumbai’s Madhu Industrial Estate. If one batch of students is preparing for their learner’s license, another lot is on the two-wheeler simulator and a third group is out on a deserted stretch of road getting a feel of their scooter and the road.


Heydeedee trains the women for 45 days. At the end, it gives women–at least those who are interested in taking the class further–an offer letter that enables them to get a bank loan to buy their own two-wheelers. With the appointment and the scooter, they’re ready to roll.


“A lot of girls tell me that they want to learn to drive but not work,” said Revathi Roy, Heydeedee CEO and managing director. “For me that’s a non-starter. This is not about giving women a hobby, but giving them a skill that will enable them to earn and support their families.”


It might seem like a no-brainer. Learn to drive and get a vocation in the bargain.


Easier said than done.


The first hurdle: Getting women to sign up


Every stage is a hurdle. The first stage is mobilising the women to join the class.


“Most of the women we are seeking to recruit come from very traditional backgrounds where the girls are keen to work but their fathers or in-laws will not allow it,” said Kavita Chandekar, one of Heydeedee’s two mobilisers. whose job it is to get women to sign up for the class at a subsidised fee of Rs 1,500 (the idea of a token fee, said Roy, is to ensure that the women take it seriously).


“You have to address the community,” said her colleague and co-mobiliser Upasana Singh. “Tell the girls and their parents about the programme and how it will benefit them. We do this by organising meetings at the community level.”


It doesn’t help that driving a two-wheeler professionally as a delivery person isn’t a traditional skill for women unlike, say, the beauty trade or healthcare.


The next hurdle comes after the women decide to join but have to figure out the nitty gritty of their routines: Who will pick up the kids from school, how do you juggle a two-hour class with cooking lunch and dinner and washing and cleaning?


“I cook once in the morning and then again in the evening because my husband will not eat left-overs,” said Suvarna Santosh Ghate, 38, a housewife who has never had a job and wakes up at 5 am to get her routine of chopping-cooking-cleaning-washing going.


“Between 2 and 4 pm is my rest-time and so I am coming for class during this time,” said Ghate.


Does her 15-year-old son, an only child, help her with the housework?


“Of course,” she said proudly. “He runs to the market to buy me what I need.”


Indian women endure one of the world’s largest gaps in unpaid work with men


All over the world, 75% of unpaid work–childcare, caring for the elderly, cooking, cleaning etc–is done by women, found a 2015 report by the McKinsey Global Institute. If this work could be valued, it would be worth $10 trillion of output per year (or equivalent to 13% of global GDP).


India has one of the world’s largest gender gaps in unpaid work: Five hours or 351.9 minutes a day for women and 51.8 minutes a day for men, according to data available at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. This anomaly reflects, unsurprisingly, in the amount of time men and women spend on paid work: 184.7 minutes for women; 390.6 minutes for men.


Nearly half of the women and girls surveyed in Bengaluru, Hyderabad and the National Capital Region in a July 2015 United Nations Development Programme study said that domestic chores and responsibilities were a barrier to their workforce participation and aspirations. Families are supportive of aspirations as long as they don’t come in the way of fulfilling their domestic responsibilities, found the study.


Mumbai was an exception to this trend where only 30% reported domestic chores as a barrier.


Source: Women’s Voices: Employment and Entrepreneurship in India, July 2015: UNDP et al


The inordinate burden of domestic chores that falls on women and girls in India might explain why they have been dropping out of jobs consistently since the post-liberalisation years. Between 1993-94 and 2011-12, India’s female labour force participation (FLFP) fell by 11.4% from 42.6% to 31.2%, according to an April 2017 World Bank report.


In 2013, India ranked 120 of 131 countries surveyed for FLFP by the International Labour Organization. IndiaSpend has been tracking this decline in a special series of stories and ground reports here and here.


More Indian women would seek employment if they found reliable caregivers, IndiaSpendreported on August 7, 2017. A survey of women in Rajasthan’s Udaipur district found that mothers with children in the one-to-six-year-old age group spent 9.4 hours a day on household chores.


Feminist economist Ritu Dewan argued that if you take into account the unpaid labour of women, then FLFP will in fact overtake that of males by six percentage points. “Women work much longer hours than men. Much of it is invisible work including the free collection of common goods like firewood, water etc,” she said.


There is collusion between the state, the market and the family to control the labour of women in various ways. “Patriarchy upholds a particular form of family that ensures cheap reproduction of labour with women as a ‘reserve army’ by supporting a form of household in which they continue to provide unpaid services,” she said.


Majboori hai: For many women who have jobs, there is no choice


Revathi Roy knows struggle. “I drove a cab when my husband was in a coma,” said Roy who holds a masters degree in economics from Mumbai University. “The bank account was in his name, I needed money for his treatment, to pay my children’s fees. So when I needed to earn, it was my skill not my degree that helped me.”


It was that cab driving experience–‘the tips were great’, grins Roy–that led her to start Asia’s first all-women’s taxi service in 2007. That partnership ended in 2009, and now Roy is driving change, again with an all-women set up.


Revathi Roy_620

“I’m not giving women a hobby but a skill that will enable them to earn and support their families,” said Revathi Roy, CEO and managing director, Heydeedee.


The one word I hear a lot from the women who complete the training, which includes not only how to drive a two-wheeler, but basic English, hands-on computer knowledge and softer skills in professional etiquette, is ‘majboori’ (compulsion).


Majboori hai,” said Jyoti Thakur, 38, who has at different times of her marriage had different careers from home tiffin maker to garment packer. “How can you manage on one person’s salary?” Her daughter, an only child, studies in the first standard in a convent school. The fees alone: Rs 1,800 a month. Plus, there’s private tuition for another Rs 800 a month, because, the eighth-class pass mother said she cannot help her daughter with schoolwork.


Dressed in a striped t-shirt and jeans, Thakur completed the training and worked for six hours a day delivering parcels and food for Heydeedee but quit because the work was sometimes just too hard. “I want nearby routes but sometimes I would have to go for a delivery really far away. I would get lost. On some occasions I had to ask my husband to accompany me,” she said.


It was majboori that led Vasanti Kulkarni, 39, to seek employment after the death of her husband left her in charge of two young children, a boy and a girl. “I’ve been working in various jobs for 20 years now,” she said. “My mother looked after my kids since I had to work just to survive.”


Kulkarni now works as a trainer with Heydeedee, helping other women learn to navigate the road and the workplace. At Rs 15,000 a month and fixed hours of work, it’s a good job even though the commute to central Mumbai from Thane takes a couple of hours each way.



Like Kulkarni, Vaishnavi Lalita Rakesh is a young widow. Her husband was killed in an accident, leaving her with one daughter and another one, not yet born.


“I couldn’t stay at home. I needed to educate my girls,” said Rakesh who earlier tried stitching but found it simply didn’t pay enough, then heard about the programme at Heydeedee and signed on.


The work is steady, she said. Her mother helped with the daughters while a younger brother also chipped in by taking them for their tuition classes. “I wouldn’t be able to work at all, if they didn’t help,” said Rakesh.


Seated outside the Brijwasi sweet shop in Worli, Rakesh waits patiently for an order. When it comes–250 gm of dhokla, 250 gm of khandvi, 250 gm of patra and two pieces of ghevar–she springs into action, strapping her helmet and carefully guiding her Honda Activa down the short ride to the RBI residential colony at Prabhadevi. There is no tip on this day, but on most days people do leave her with a bit extra, once they’ve got over the initial surprise of their parcels being delivered by a woman.


“Yes, it’s good work,” she said. “It helps me put food on the table.”

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United Left makes clean sweep at JNU Student Union polls

After weeks of campaign for the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students’ union elections, the United-Left alliance retained all four seats by defeating the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) with considerable margins on Sunday.


New Delhi [India], September 10 (ANI): After weeks of campaign for the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students’ union elections, the United-Left alliance retained all four seats by defeating the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) with considerable margins on Sunday.

The United Left candidate Geeta Kumari won the President’s post by defeating Nidhi Tripathi of ABVP by 464 votes.

Speaking to reporters here, Geeta said, “The credit for mandate goes to students because people still believe that democratic spaces should be saved and right now, the only resistance is from students.” She promised to take up Najeeb issue, JNU seat cuts, new hostels, saving the autonomy of JS-cash and deprivation points.”

While, Shabana Ali of Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students’ Association (BAPSA) garnered 935 votes, out of the total 4,639 votes polled, 4620 were valid as 19 votes were discarded after voters put their slips in wrong ballots, election panel officials said.

Meanwhile, for vice president’s post, All India Students’ Association (AISA) Simone Zoya Khan got 1,876 votes out of total 4,620 votes. She had an easy sweep by defeating Durgesh Kumar of ABVP who got 1028 votes.

Duggirala Srikrisha (Left) won on the General Secretary’s post by polling 2082 votes. He was followed by ABVP’s Nikunj Makwana- 975 votes.

“We promise to reach out to students’ everyday and counter the aggressive policies of ABVP. JNU has become more democratic.” Duggirala said. He also vowed to defend the debate and dissent culture in JNU.

However, the post of Joint Secretary has gone to Shubhanshu Singh (Left) who got 1755 votes, while Pankaj Keshari of ABVP got 920 votes.

In the central panel, a total of 1512 NOTA votes were polled for all the four posts. (ANI)

This is published unedited from the ANI feed.

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Kerala- Bombs Recovered from RSS-controlled Temple Premises in Kannur

Seven high-explosive steel bombs have been recovered from the premises of a temple managed by the RSS in Kannur.
08 Sep 2017

Seven high-explosive steels bombs have been recovered from an Rashtriya Swayamvsevak Sangh (RSS) local centre at Keezhur in Kannur district of Kerala.

The bombs were found in buckets covered with sacks, near the Vaireeghaathakan Bhagavathi temple at Kottathe Kunnu locality, Punnad in Keezhur-Chavassery panchayat.
bomb RSS

Local sources who talked to Newsclick said that the temple is managed by the RSS.

Last year, the temple was the concluding spot for the ‘Shobha Yatra’ (procession) organised by Balagokulam, the Sangh Parivar organisation for children.

The bombs were found by workers who were clearing shrubs in the area on Thursday, 7 September.

bomb RSS

A team consisting of Iritty Sub Inspector P.C. Sanjay Kumar, Assistant Sub Inspector KK Ragesh, and Bineesh, Jithesh, Ranjith and Sreegith from the Kannur Bomb Squad reached the spot and neutralised the bomb.

On examination, it was discovered that the bombs were made recently.

Last year in August in the run-up to Sri Krishna Jayanti celebrations, Deekshith, an RSS worker, had been killedwhile manufacturing crude bombs at Thalassery in Kannur district. The police had recovered a big cache of weapons from his house.

Poonambath Pradeep, Deekshith’s father, is a BJP leader from Kannur. Deekshith’s brother Diljith was a candidateof the BJP-led NDA in the 2015 panchayat elections in Kerala.

Several incidents of RSS workers being killed or being caught while making bombs in the run-up to religious festivals have occurred in the recent years.

Temples with managing committees led by the RSS are often used by the Hindutva outfit as centres for arms training and ideological propaganda. Political observers say that the attempt of the RSS has been to foment communal tension by indulging in acts of violence and then blaming it on people belonging to minority communities.

bomb RSS

In March this year, RSS workers had thrown bombs at devotees in the premises of Nittukomam temple at Ampiladu, Koothuparamba.

In spite of such activities by sectarian outfits, Kerala has remained largely peaceful with one of the lowest rates of communal riots in India.

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Desmond Tutu condemns Aung San Suu Kyi: ‘Silence is too high a price’


Old friends: Desmond Tutu with Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon in 2013.

Nobel laureate issues heartfelt letter to fellow peace prize winner calling for her to speak up for Rohingya in Myanmar

The Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu has called on Aung San Suu Kyi to end military-led operations against Myanmar’s Rohingya minority, which have driven 270,000 refugees from the country in the past fortnight.

The 85-year old archbishop said the “unfolding horror” and “ethnic cleansing” in the country’s Rahkine region had forced him to speak out against the woman he admired and considered “a dearly beloved sister”.

Despite Aung San Suu Kyi defending her government’s handling of the growing crisis, Tutu urged his fellow Nobel peace price winner to intervene.

“I am now elderly, decrepit and formally retired, but breaking my vow to remain silent on public affairs out of profound sadness,” he wrote in a letter posted on social media.

“For years I had a photograph of you on my desk to remind me of the injustice and sacrifice you endured out of your love and commitment for Myanmar’s people. You symbolised righteousness.

“Your emergence into public life allayed our concerns about violence being perpetrated against members of the Rohingya. But what some have called ‘ethnic cleansing’ and others ‘a slow genocide’ has persisted – and recently accelerated.

“It is incongruous for a symbol of righteousness to lead such a country,” said the anti-apartheid activist. “If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep.”

Tutu joined the growing list of voices calling on Aung San Suu Kyi to do more to protect Myanmar’s persecuted Muslim minority as the United Nations estimated the number of refugees to have crossed into Bangladesh had reached about 270,000.

A spokeswoman for the UN high commissioner for refugees, Vivian Tan, said the revised figure – an increase of nearly 130,000 on Thursday’s estimates – did not necessarily reflect new arrivals in the past 24 hours, “but that we have identified more people in different areas that we were not aware of before”.

“The numbers are so alarming. It really means we have to step up our response and that the situation in Myanmar has to be addressed urgently,” Tan told Agence France-Presse.

Malala Yousafzai, the youngest-ever peace prize winner, said on Monday “the world is waiting” for Aung San Suu Kyi to act.

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 The Battle for Myanmar’s Buddhist spirit – video

“Every time I see the news, my heart breaks,” she wrote on Twitter. “Over the last several years, I have repeatedly condemned this tragic and shameful treatment. I am still waiting for my fellow Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to do the same”.

The organisation that oversees the Nobel peace prize said Aung Sang Suu Kyi’s 1991 prize cannot be revoked.

Olav Njølstad, head of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, told AP that neither the will of the prize’s founder, Alfred Nobel, nor the Nobel Foundation’s rules provide for the possibility of withdrawing the honour from laureates.

“It is not possible to strip a Nobel peace prize laureate of his or her award once bestowed,” Njølstad wrote in an email. “None of the prize awarding committees in Stockholm and Oslo has ever considered revoking a prize after it has been awarded.”

On Tuesday, the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, said the government clearance operations in Rakhine “risked” ethnic cleansing. A petition to revoke Aung San Suu Kyi’s Nobel peace prize had reached 390,000 signatures by Friday.

On Thursday, Aung San Suu Kyi made her first spoken remarks on the crisis in Rakhine since government crackdowns began last month. “It is a little unreasonable to expect us to solve the issue in 18 months,” she told the Delhi-based network Asian News International. “The situation in Rakhine has been such since many decades. It goes back to pre-colonial times.”

According to UN estimates, up to 300,000 Rohingya could be displaced into Bangladesh due to “clearance operations” by the Tatmadaw, Myanmar’s armed forces.

The army says it is rooting out “terrorists” among the ethnic Muslim population, after fighters from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army attacked dozens of police posts on 25 August.

The Myanmar government claims about 400 people have been killed so far, though UN officials estimate the death toll to be more than 1,000.

On Friday, Tutu used his open letter to urge Aung San Suu Kyi to intervene and speak out.

“As we witness the unfolding horror we pray for you to be courageous and resilient again,” he said. “We pray for you to speak out for justice, human rights and the unity of your people. We pray for you to intervene in the escalating crisis and guide your people back towards the path of righteousness again.

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