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Archives for : March2018

Left is dead, long live the Left

Yogendra Yadav
Comrades need new ways to achieve their quest

Left Show: There’s need to study the decline and fall of the communist parties.

Yogendra Yadav

When a troll recently called me ‘Commi-dog’, it alerted me to something deeper. The ‘dog’ bit was easy to understand and overlook: BJP trolls were particularly jubilant and abusive that day, following the Tripura verdict. What set me thinking was his assumption that I must be a ‘commie’, a communist.


I could put it down to illiteracy of the trolls produced by WhatsApp University. My only qualifications for being called a communist are studying in JNU, sporting a beard and occasionally carrying a jhola! Otherwise, all my life I have been a critic of communist theory and practice. As a student, I joined Samata Yuvjan Sabha, which was pitted against the communist SFI within JNU. Later, I worked with Samata Sangathan and Samajwadi Janparishad of the Gandhian-socialist stream, far from the communist Left parties.

As an academic, I dissented from the dominant Marxist orthodoxy of the 1980s and 1990s. If anything, the CSDS, my academic home, was a favourite target of attack by Left intellectuals.Clearly, these trolls had no idea of all this. For them the world that I had inhabited did not exist.

Their worldview was quite simple:

Left=communist=socialist=Maoist=urban naxalite=Red=anyone who talks of the poor and revolution.

Despite their evident ignorance, the trolls were hinting at something deeper. The meaning of Left has changed in our times. Today, there are two distinct meanings of Left. In the older meaning, Left referred to the  communists who swore by the Marxist theory, who supported the USSR style ‘state socialism’ and who identified with one of the many communist parties of India. 


The new meaning of the Left covers all those who stand for the idea of equality. This range stretches from the remainder of the communist Left to the Gandhian-ecologists and includes the socialists, Ambedkarites and feminists. All of them don’t agree to this label; indeed, this is not a helpful description. But that is how the new world views them.The older Left is dead.

The dramatic collapse of the 25-year-old CPM regime in Tripura only serves to highlight a longer process of decline and fall of the Indian communist parties. Since their containment in the 1970s, the Left influence was limited to Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura, besides, of course, JNU. The defeat of the Left Front in West Bengal in 2011 appears to have begun a terminal decline of the communist parties. Although they currently rule in Kerala, the ongoing intense factional war within the CPM does not help any chances of reversal of its terminal decline. As for the tiny band of ‘non-parliamentary’ communists, the Maoists who continue to follow the fantasy of armed rebellion against the Indian state, it is on the verge of being finished by security forces.  The death of the old Left was a foregone conclusion.

The political and economic system of the USSR style Soviet socialism was bound to fail. Politically, the ‘socialist democracy’ that it offered was for all practical purposes a dictatorship — a dictatorship in the name of the people but a dictatorship of the party, and mostly a dictatorship of the person who controlled the party. The collapse of the Soviet Union and Eastern European communist regimes was a decisive popular verdict against that form of government. Stalinist purges, the death of millions of farmers under him and the mass murders by Pol Pot are a standing reminder of authoritarian excesses in the name of communism. 

 If the communist political system failed to recognise human quest for liberty, the communist economic system failed to understand the logic of market and the need for economic incentives. State ownership of means of production did produce some kind of equality, but by reducing the economy to lower equilibrium, killing entrepreneurship and innovation.

The bureaucratic monstrosity created by state socialism is a standing reminder of why markets cannot be done away with. Besides, the record of these economies on environment and centralisation of decision making was dismal.Besides these global reasons, the communist Left in India was bound to fail for its simple inability to understand the Indian society. The Euro-centricity built into their theoretical prism ensured that they systematically misunderstood the society they were operating in. Their failure to understand the reality of caste as the core of inequality in our country is just one example.

Another outcome of the same problem was their failure to read the nature and significance of the Indian National Movement. At a deeper plane, the communists failed to appreciate the universe of religion and traditions that shaped the cultural sensitivity of an ordinary Indian.

While it would be wrong to call them anti-national and unfair to overlook the selfless sacrifice of thousands of communist activists, sadly their eventual failure was written into the very script that they brought to India.In its first meaning, the 20th century version of the communist Left is dead, and for good. But in its second, deeper, meaning, the Left continues to be relevant for the 21st century. In this deeper meaning, it stands for the idea of equality, for social justice, for democratic accountability, for ecological sustainability. It continues to be to the ‘left’ of the dominant capitalist system, with its exploitation and injustice, but it becomes a quest for discovering newer ways of achieving this objective. In this sense, Left is not alien to India. In fact, the ideology of our Constitution is Left.

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Ishrat Jahan Fake Encounter Case- Vanzara claims Narendra Modi was scretly interrogated

DG Vanzara (TOI file photo)DG Vanzara (TOI file photo)
AHMEDABAD: In a sensational claim, D G Vanzara, a former IPS officer and an accused in the Ishrat Jahan alleged fake encounter case, said on Tuesday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was secretly interrogated by the investigating officer.

In his discharge application filed in the special CBI court here, Vanzara said Modi, then the chief minister of Gujarat, was interrogated, but “such material was not placed on record of this case.”

This proves that “the entire material on record of this case is nothing but a false story”, he said.

“The fact also remains that the then CM and present Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi was also called by the IO and was interrogated. However, such material is not placed on record of this case.

“But the fact remains that it was the intention on part of the then investigating team, which included one Mr Satish Verma, IPS, was anyhow on mission so as to reach the then CM of the state and to rope him in as the accused in this case, and for that purpose the story of the whole charge sheet is concocted and created,” Vanzara said in his application.

“Therefore the entire material on record of this case is nothing but a false and got up story, but is not the prosecutable evidence against the present applicant,” said.

The special CBI judge J K Pandya issued a notice to the CBI, seeking its response by March 28 to Vanzara’s plea seeking discharge.

Vanzara also pleaded parity as a ground, since former in-charge DGP of Gujarat P P Pandey, a co-accused, was discharged by the same court three weeks ago.

Ishrat Jahan, a 19-year-old girl from Mumbra near Mumbai, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in an alleged staged encounter with police on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004.

The Gujarat police had claimed the four had links with terrorist organisations, and wanted to kill Modi.

But a special investigating team set up by the Gujarat High Court concluded that it was a fake encounter. The HC then transferred the case to the CBI.

IPS officer Satish Verma was part of the SIT, and also assisted the CBI in its probe later.

In the first charge sheet filed in 2013, the CBI had named seven Gujarat police officers including IPS officers Pandey, Vanzara and G L Singhal for kidnapping, murder and conspiracy.

The CBI also named four Intelligence Bureau officials, including IB’s the then special director Rajinder Kumar and officer M S Sinha, in a supplementary charge sheet. The sanction for their prosecution from the Centre is still awaited.

Vanzara, a former deputy inspector general of police, was last year discharged in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter cases.

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Woman delivers baby at hospital gate after being refused admission for lack of #Aadhaar #WTFnews

The government hospital in Shahganj, in Jaunpur district Uttar Pradesh refused admission to a woman who was brought in an advanced state of labour. Even as her relatives begged and pleaded with the hospital authorities, a woman doctor is said to have scolded the woman. The reason? She did not have a bank passbook and Aadhaar. The hospital refused to admit her.When the dejected family started helping the woman return from the hospital, they had barely reached the gate when the woman fell to the floor in a faint and delivered a baby girl near the gate of the hospital. Seeing this, the relatives and bystanders were angry and a ruckus ensued against the hospital, after which the woman and her daughter were admitted in the hospital.


They were lucky. Both woman and child could have died if there had been any complications in the birth.

आधार न होने पर गर्भवती को अस्पताल से भगाया, सड़क पर

तड़पती रही लेकिन नहीं पसीजा दिल

demo pic

सरकार और सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ‌आदेश-निर्देश के बाद भी आधार कार्ड पर मची रार लोगों के लिए जानलेवा साबित हो रही है। गर्भवती महिला को अस्पताल में इंट्री ‌इसलिए नहीं मिली क्योंकि उसके पास आधार कार्ड नहीं था।

महिला दर्द के मारे सड़क पर तड़पती रही, परिजन गिड़गिड़ाते रहे लेकिन अस्पताल प्रशासन संवेदनहीन बना रहा। महिला का प्रसव अस्पताल के बाहर ही हो गया। संवेदनहीनता की यह पराकाष्ठा उत्तर प्रदेश के जौनप‌ुर में देखने को मिली।

जिले के राजकीय अस्पताल शाहगंज में सोमवार को पहुंची प्रसव पीड़ा से कराह रही महिला को इसलिए भर्ती करने से मना कर दिया गया कि उसके पास बैंक पासबुक और आधार कार्ड नहीं था।

प्रसव पीड़ा से कराह रही महिला की जान बचाने के लिए उसके साथ आए परिजन हाथ जोड़कर गिड़गिड़ाते रहे लेकिन महिला डॉक्टर को उन पर जरा भी तरस नहीं आई। आरोप है कि महिला डॉक्टर ने उसे डाटकर भगा दिया।

निराश होकर गरीब परिवार के लोग महिला को लेकर अस्पताल गेट पर पहुंचे थे तभी वह अचेत होकर गिर पड़ी और फर्श पर ही उसे प्रसव हो गया। उसने बेटी को जन्म दिया। इस पर परिजनों के साथ आस पास के लोग भी हंगामा शुरू कर दिए। हंगामे के बाद महिला को अस्पताल में भर्ती किया गया


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JNU Removes 7 Dean/Chairpersons For Resisting Mandatory Attendance Rule

A circular issued earlier by the Jawaharlal Nehru University made 75 per cent attendence mandatory in all fields.
JNU Removes 7 Dean/Chairpersons For Resisting Mandatory Attendance Rule

Jawaharlal Nehru University on Wednesday removed seven Deans/Chairpersons who allegedly resisted the new rule making attendance mandatory.

The Indian Express reported that the varsity had set up an inquiry committee following which the top heads were removed as they refused to implement mandatory attendance order.

Since early 2016, Jawaharlal Nehru University(JNU) of New Delhi has been hogging the news headline at regular intervals. The latest controversy has been over the decision of the JNU authorities to make attendance mandatory for all university registered students in all programs from winter semester starting from January 2018.

The paper reported that official removal orders were conveyed to the chairpersons of the Centre for French and Francophone Studies; Centre for Linguistics; Centre for Historical Studies; Centre for Economic Studies & Planning; Centre for Comparative Politics and Political Thought; and the Centre for English Studies.

A circular issued earlier by the Jawaharlal Nehru University making 75 per cent attendance mandatory for availing scholarships, fellowships and other facilities including hostel for students in all courses, including research, had  sparked protests by the students and the teachers’ association.

Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers Association (JNUTA), which began a protest last month demanding withdrawal of circulars issued on attendance and convening the indefinitely postponed AC meeting, said it would intensify the agitation if the administration did not consider it. “We will take up creative ways to intensify the protest and go out and meet people of influence outside the university, including MPs and officials from MHRD,” JNUTA president Sonajharia Minz said.

Dean of the School of Arts & Aesthetic, Kavita Singh, was also one of the receipients of the removal letter. On Wednesday, reported the IE, she was sent an official communication saying: “The Executive Council in its 272nd meeting held on March 13 confirmed the decision taken in the 271st (emergency) meeting of the EC on resolution number 08 of the 144th (A) meeting of the Academic Council, held on Dec 1, 2017 regarding compulsory attendance in all regular courses, and authorised the Vice-Chancellor to replace the existing Deans of Schools/Chairpersons of Centres who have not complied with, or refused to, implement the attendance system in the university, with the Acting Deans/Chairpersons.”

Singh has been replaced with someone who is not even from the same school. “In pursuance of the above decision, the Vice-Chancellor has appointed Professor Mazhar Asif, Centre for Persian & Central Asian Studies, as the Acting Dean, School of Arts & Aesthetics, with immediate effect…,” the order further added.

A senior university official had on Tuesday told The Indian Express, “Teachers and students have every right to democratically protest any issue but if Chairpersons and Deans begin to oppose in writing, it goes against the grain of administration.”

The university’s students’ union had last week anounced a referendum on March 7 on the issue. Over 98 per cent of the JNU students who participated in the students unions’ referendum on the compulsory attendance initiative voted against the move.

The mandatory attendance rule could be stifling for research students. They do their research not inside their classroom or laboratory, but in libraries or in areas for their field studies. Easy and faster internet access have made it even possible for most of the research and writings to be conducted from hostel rooms or homes.

Critics of the rule say that bodily attendance in the classroom does not mean student is actually engaging nor guarantee that the student can successfully operationalize a skill or apply knowledge. Rather, making attendance mandatory helps the ‘lazy’ professors to use this easy method to assess the academic performances of students. Students seeking high grades usually attend the classes regularly in a mandatory attendance system. By just being present physically in the classroom does not help if the student is not engaged in his education in and outside his classroom.However, an adult student in a university system if has interest to learn can very well excel in studies without attending classes.

“Compulsory attendance in universities in general and in a research university like JNU in particular is not an idea based on academic wellbeing of the students. And, for the professors, the system not only has the potential to create classroom distractions, but also can increase more administrative duties and cut down their lecture time.”

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EXPOSED- Homeopathic, Ayurvedic Doctors Manning ICUs in Top Private Hospitals

CNN-News18 Investigation

Charak Hospital, in the heart of Indore, has a permanent doctor on duty in ICU who graduated with a degree in homeopathy with no formal training to practice critical care.

New Delhi: Some expensive private hospitals in India are cutting corners in the most critical area, the Intensive Care Units.

This was revealed an investigation by CNN-News18 which visited several premier private hospitals in Indore and Bengaluru.

According to the Ministry of Health and Family welfare (and globally accepted norms), a doctor in an ICU must be an ‘intensivist’; meaning a specialist with a post graduate degree that is recognized by Medical Council of India and has relevant training for Intensive care.

However, CNN-News18 found that some hospitals in both Indore and Bengaluru were getting away violating these norms.

For uninitiated, an ICU must have a full-time director in-charge who must be a senior accredited specialist in intensive care medicine, must have a post graduate degree in anaesthesiology and intensive care or surgery, with five to seven years of intensive care formal education and experience.

Charak Hospital, in the heart of Indore, has a permanent doctor on duty in ICU who graduated with a degree in homeopathy with no formal training to practice critical care. Dr Dipender Soni told CNN-News18 about his eight years of experience as an ‘ICU Specialist’. Further, he said that all the specialists that Charak Hospital boasts do not ever visit the ICU. The homeopathy doctor said, “I take all the calls during an emergency, the senior doctors are consulted only on the phone afterwards,” he said.

Meanwhile, Eureka Hospital, located in one of Indore’s costliest residential localities, Saket Nagar, has an ICU specialist is not trained in intensive care. Dr Amit Tiwari told CNN-News18 that he also works at Bhandari hospital and is in Eureka as a relieving doctor. Trained in Ayurveda, he has been working as an ICU doctor for over 5 years.

“I take care of everything in this ICU- open heart surgery, cardiac arrests, trauma, head injuries, hypertension, and diabetes, among others. Since I am the chief here, I decide what is to be done with a critical patient. If I feel like, I would put in the central line, if I deem right, I intubate the patient,” he said.

Mayur Hospital in Indore has no ICU specialists despite advertising itself as a ‘multi-speciality hospital. The doctor handling the ICU is Dr Tousif Sheik, a Unani doctor. He said he treats critical patients- cases of cardiac arrests, respiratory arrests, trauma and road traffic accidents. Further, he named other well-known private hospitals where he worked in the ICU. “I have been working in ICUs for over 3 years now. Previously, I’ve worked in Bhandari Hospital ICU, Synergy Hospital and Lifecare Hospital,” Sheik said.

The situation is not limited to Indore. In Bengaluru, the man in charge of the ICU in Pooja Hospital is a Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS). Dr Sooraj is also the OPD in-charge. He told CNNiNews18 that he is the ICU specialist in two other private hospitals in the city as well – Anupama hospital and NU Hospital – both multi-specialty hospitals.

He further revealed that most private hospitals in Bengaluru have his colleagues and friends in the ICU who are all B.A.M.S qualified. “Except for a Fortis, Manipal and Apollo, all other private hospitals, from top to bottom in Bengaluru have Ayush doctors in ICUs,” Dr Sooraj said.

CNN-News18 also visited Sri Laxmi Multi-speciality Hospital and Ashraya Hospital. While the former has two Ayurvedic doctors on ICU duty, the latter didn’t even have a doctor in ICU. The ICU in Ashraya hospital is handled by a nurse in-charge because the doctor chose to stay at home. “The doctor lives nearby. I am in-charge here. I handle everything here except cardiac and renal cases,” the nurse said.

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India – In the land called hunger #KisanLongMarch

Ramu Ramanathan


As the kisan rally marched into Mumbai, all eyes were on one man, the CPI(M) MLA from Surgana and Kalwan constituencies. He organised for the potable water and food packets. He sent messages to party colleagues in Mumbai and Delhi. Above all, he egged on the 35,000 peasants through personal example, he walked shoulder to shoulder with them. And the peasants marched with him, they trusted him.

Comrade Jiva Gavit

Even when the peasants walked through Mumbai at midnight (so as not to trouble students, SOBO office-goers and Mumbaikars), some of them could not keep body and soul together; it was Gavit’s “chala utha Kumbhakarna” that stirred them. And despite no rest on the night of Sunday, they continued the march. And why not? Gavit has worked tirelessly for them in Dindori, Surgana and Kalwan and that honored him with seven times victory in a row.

A child of the Adivasi movement of the mid-1980s in Charotti Naka in Dahanu, Gavit chiselled his politics to ensure land rights for Adivasis. A former president of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), he ensured that out of the 12,000 land claims made by Adivasis under the Forest Rights Act, the AIKS ensured a majority of the claims were accepted by the government.

The Kisan Long March is linked to two decades of nonstop struggle. As Gavit said in his Mumbai speech, “Two years ago, more than one lakh farmers had protested in Nashik. Our 180-km six-day march started after the government did not fulfil their promises.”

On 12 March, a written agreement agreeing to the demands was sought. The government has six months to deliver.

Meanwhile the kisans returned to their homes in trains, trucks and tempos – spurning the government’s offer for “a free ride”.

Today Surgana is one of the rare Talukas where “the nobodies” have been empowered. Gavit’s strategy was two-pronged: morchas in Nagpur, Mumbai and Delhi plus street marches including a clash with the police in which kisans have been martyred. Other than the rallies and protests, Gavit has mentored the Adarsh Samata Shikshan Prasarak Mandal that ensures outreach among Adivasi children, schools and hostels.

Gavit’s rationale when I heard him in Surgana was simple, “The high and mighty people of the world, who practice the terrorism of money. These people are more powerful than emperors and army chiefs, even more than the Presidents and Prime Ministers. Their hands are never muddied or dirtied. They shoot no-one: they applauding the show. But behind-the-scene everyone works for them. The babus, the international experts, the IT army. This is how they rule our people: they are never elected, but they decide the wage levels plus subsidies for peasants and labourers.” At that time someone standing behind him said, soon these governments and babus will penalise the sun rays and tax the raindrops.

This is precisely why the CPI(M) unit in Surgana has worked on the ground, through mass-based people’s programs. They initiated a “Doorstep Ration Scheme. Today this has been implemented in two- thirds of the 291 revenue villages in Surgana tehsil. A woman farmer who has walked with her daughters spoke to me at the Somaiya Grounds – “This scheme is our scheme. More importantly, it has reduced large-scale corruption in the PDS.”

Dr Bhavna and Dr Nishith, who worked in the primary health centre in Surgana as medical doctors, have combated health inequality and stroven to significantly improve health care. They say, “Jiva Pandu was a people’s man. He helped us a lot when we worked in Surgana. He worked nonstop and more importantly he worked for his people. He took care to clear maximum cases of old people.”

Ten years ago, Surgana Taluka had the maximum number of old people getting the benefits of the old-age pension scheme in Maharashtra. This is a unique achievement in a taluka which contains the poorest of the poor. Today thousands of old people get Rs 500 per month as benefits from this pension scheme.

Gavit has not merely created a lot of awareness about adivasis among the people of North Maharashtra. He has taught them to respect the adivasi and kisan. Even the Mumbai police force who were handed over the monopoly on violence to maintain law and order when the marchers were in Mumbai, know about his work. They whisper among themselves, “He is a good man, he is not like other politicians, ha, aaplya manoos ahe“.

The other policemen see how Gavit hands over two bananas, a sugar cake, a water pouch plus a vitamin capsule to the fellow marchers. They decide to help him. And in this way, the struggle continues …


My first memory of Surgana was in the nineties. I was visiting a primary health centre in the village.

The ST bus from Nashik to Surgana took more than four hours on ramshackle roads.

When I reached the hospital (the only pucca structure that I saw), I saw the patient beds on the grounds, outside.

The general ward had been emptied.

There was a government program. Festoons and buntings and one loud speaker.

Officials made an entry on the makeshift stage.

I heard the speeches.

A conch was blown.

Someone talked about wage structures. They were debating Rs 40 or Rs 50; or god forbid more.

I thought to myself, if farm labour is so cheap, then at these rates, our entire nation is a free trade zone.

On cue, there was a power cut.


Outside on the hospital ground, the horizontal patients were smiling under the starry sky.

I scribbled in my notepad, welcome to Surgana.


Next day I met Baghu Bhau.

I asked him his age.

He told me he is very old, but he is younger than the rivers in the village.

Today those rivers are dry.

There is no water.

How can we grow anything?

Even the gods need water.

Baghu: I’ve to go to the magistrate sir’s office every week. 64 kms. Walking both ways. The case is false. They are doing it to teach our people a lesson.

Me: What happens to your daily wages?

Baghu: On the days I go to court, I can’t work. So, I do not earn any money for four days of the week.

Me: And the rest of the days?

Baghu: The rest of the days, my sons sit and press my feet. If they are not available, I make the calf lie on my feet.


At the local chai shop, I was reading yesterday’s newspaper.

Outside, two locals.

Local 1: I need to stitch two uniforms. Seth has told me, stitch a smart uniform.

Local 2: I know a tailor. You remember that lame boy? His uncle.

Local 1: Ah, Ganna.

Local 2: Is that his name?

Local 1: His father was a sugarcane cultivator till he died.

Local 2: I see. Weren’t Ganna’s legs maimed by the wild boars?

Local 1: So it was. But Ganna did not want to stitch my uniform at first. Said he was busy. That was a lie. The fact of the matter was, Ganna did not want to touch me.

Local 2: Don’t worry, I’ll give Ganna an advance payment. See, the thing is, Ganna will lose his other customers if they know he is stitching for people like us. He has agreed to take your measurements in the forest in the middle of the night. Ok?

Local 1: Why, what’s wrong with me?

Local 2: Nothing.

Local 1: Look, here. I’m employed. I’ve a job. This is my ID Card. Seth made it for me.

Local 2: (starts laughing) You look different in the ID Card.

Local 1: Like Nana Patekar?

Local 2: No. Nilu Phule.

Then they talked about the dire poverty and gnawing hunger. Who has stayed hungry longer? 72 hours? 96 hours? More? These are the games they play.

I gulped down my tea and walked towards the forest. If only these trees and fields were a bank, the high and mighty would have saved them already.


Ramu Ramanathan is a Mumbai-based playwright

In the land called hunger

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Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri:Will Ismail Faruqui be reconsidered by Constitution Bench? SC to decide

In a significant development in the Ram JanmabhoomiBabri Masjid case, the Supreme Court is considering whether the law laid down in paras 75 to 82 of its 1994 judgment in Ismail Faruqui v. Union of India should be revisited by a Constitution Bench.

The paragraphs of the Supreme Court judgment in question shed light upon the sovereign power of the state to acquire property. These paras also state that the right to practice, profess and propagate religion guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution does not necessarily include the right to acquire or own or possess property. As per para 81,

“While offer of prayer or worship is a religious practice, its offering at every location where such prayers can be offered would not be an essential or integral part of such religious practice unless the place has a particular significance for that religion so as to form an essential or integral part thereof.” 

The three-judge Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer is hearing the parties on this issue.

Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan argued his submissions on this point today.

“Your Lordships will have to decide what is the meaning of ‘mosque’. The judgment is on the ground that a Muslim can pray anywhere and it does not make any difference whether it is a mosque or not. So do we take it that a mosque is not essential and integral?

Every mosque is integral to the faith. We cannot have a narrow view of essential and integral religious practice. If Your Lordships are saying mosque is not integral, then it has to go before a larger Bench”, Dhavan argued.

He further claimed that even though the mosque was destroyed, it did not cease to be a mosque in the eyes of the law.

“If there is any decency in our secular system, we would rebuild the mosque.”

The Bench then rose for the day. The hearing will resume on March 23, at 2 pm.

Earlier, the Court rejected a slew of intervention applications in the matter, while also directing the Registry not to entertain any such applications.

Subramanian Swamy
Subramanian Swamy

Subramanian Swamy’s intervention application was also listed today. Swamy’s application dealt with the right to worship at the disputed spot. “I have raised the issue of fundamental right, not property [dispute]”, Swamy submitted. Swamy also stated that he had initially filed a writ petition but had withdrawn the same to file an application for intervention. Since the Court was not inclined to entertain the intervention application, it disposed of the same while ordering that the earlier writ petition filed by Swamy shall stand revived. The writ petition would be heard separately by an appropriate Bench.

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Women and their achievements feature on billboards in Iran

Prize-winning mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani appearing on a billboard in TehranImage copyright@SAEIDIFTM
Image captionAn image of prize-winning mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani on a billboard in Tehran in a new campaign set up by the city’s mayor

A soldier, war photographer, and an Olympian are some of the women gracing public billboards in Iran’s capital Tehran in a rare move in the conservative country.

The billboards showcase the achievements of ground-breaking Iranian women, including the late mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani who in 2014 became the first woman to win the Fields Medal – the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for mathematics. She died in 2017 aged 40.

The campaign comes after a pro-reform party politician was elected the city’s mayor in 2017. It contrasts with street posters produced under the previous, conservative administration that minimised women’s roles to household duties.

Social media users welcomed the unusual move but some suggested the billboards are meaningless without concrete action to improve women’s rights.

Last week an Iranian woman who publicly removed her headscarf to protest the mandatory hijab law was sentenced to two years in prison.

Who are the women?

The women chosen to appear on the billboards include intellectuals, artists, athletes and scientists. Some are not wearing traditional Islamic dress while others have their hair fully-covered with black veils. Some of the women in the campaign are:

  • Iran’s first woman war photographer, Maryam Kazemzadeh, who captured the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.
  • Marzieh Hadid Chi, the first woman commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps – a branch of the Iranian army. A woman’s rights activist, she later became an MP.
  • The first recognised female Islamic scholar, or mujtahid, in modern Iran, Nosrat Amin.
Two billboards featuring Nosrat Amin (left) and Marzieh Hadid Chi (right)Image copyright@SMAHMOODRAZAVI
Image captionTwo billboards featuring Nosrat Amin (left) and Marzieh Hadid Chi (right)
  • Alenush Terian, a physicist known as the mother of modern Iranian astronomy. She died in 2011.
  • One of the first female journalists, Maryam Amid-Semnani, who in 1913 founded an influential women’s newspaper called Blossom.

Tehran Member of Parliament Fatemeh Saeedi called the campaign “good work” by the Tehran Municipality. In response one social media user wrote, “Don’t be happy about this. This is just a publicity move.”

Some online users supported the move, writing that it “will help women improve self-respect and self-esteem – we need to see such measures in other cities as well.”

However others referred to Iran’s brain drain of figures such as Maryam Mirzakhani, who made her name at Stanford University in the United States. One user commented: “She was forced to leave, not only her but a hundred other geniuses. If she lived and had returned she would not have been allowed to teach for she had not observed the hijab.”

Another highlighted the ongoing protests by women against the compulsory hijab that take place in Revolution Street – the same location where on of the billboards has appeared.

In recent weeks, social media users have shared pictures of signs produced by the Tehran Municipality to raise awareness of street harassment and women’s safety

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Sonipat: Principal rapes class X girl as dummy student writes her exam #Vaw #WTFnews

Manveer Saini|


  • The accused made a dummy student write the victim’s physical education paper on Tuesday while he raped her in a nearby house
  • The victim’s father said he was ready to pay Rs 10,000 to the principal as part of the deal to help his daughter clear the exams

CHANDIGARH: A school principal allegedly raped a 16-year-old student on the pretext of helping her clear her class X board exams. The principal, who is also the owner of the school on the outskirts of Gohana town in Sonipat, made a dummy student write her physical education paper on Tuesday while he raped the girl in a nearby house.
Police officials booked the principal and two women under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act on Tuesday night. The women were booked for criminal conspiracy as the rape took place in their house. All three are absconding since Tuesday night.

A case has been registered on the complaint of the girl’s father. The father was ready to pay Rs 10,000 to the principal as part of the deal to help his daughter clear the exams.

The survivor’s father told the police, “On March 8, the principal called me and my daughter to a school on the outskirts of Gohana. The principal then asked me to leave my daughter at his relative’s place. He said another girl would write my daughter’s exam.”

The man was instructed to pick up his daughter after the exam was over. When he returned to the house where he had left his daughter, she told him that the principal had raped her in connivance with the two women.

The father said that while he was talking to his daughter, the accused and the two women managed to flee the house.

“Soon after recording the statement of the survivor, we registered a case and a team of counsellors was asked to help the girl,” Deswal said.

This is the second such case in two months. Last month, a government school teacher in Ludhiana, along with a colleague, was arrested for allegedly raping a class XII student from the dalit community and conspiring with another male teacher to abort her foetus when she became pregnant.

The police lodged an FIR following a complaint by the teacher of another government school, who was earlier posted in the same school. The complainant had also forwarded an audio clip of nearly four minutes in which the two accused teachers were allegedly heard discussing ways of getting the 18-year-old student’s abortion done.

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Lok Sabha passes Finance Bill amid din, without debate or vote


Opposition members protest during the ongoing Budget session of Parliament at the Lok Sabha, in New Delhi on Tuesday   –  PTI

Opposition upset over quick passage, dub it as ‘blot on democracy’


Riding on the brute majority that it enjoys in the lower house, the Modi-led government on Wednesday got the Finance Bill 2018 passed by the Lok Sabha without any discussion or separate voting on the demands for grants of any of the ministries.

Minutes after the House re-assembled at noon, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan guillotined all the outstanding demands for grants in respect of the Union Budget for 2018-19. In a span of a little over 30 minutes, the entire crucial second and third leg of the budgetary process was completed by the lower house amidst din and protests from the Opposition Members of Parliament.

Also passed amidst the din was the fourth batch of supplementary demand for grants that authorised the Centre to draw 60,500 crore for compensating the States for GST revenue losses.

This is the first time during the current NDA regime that the Lok Sabha had not discussed and voted even a single Ministry’s demand for grants and the Finance Bill got passed without an opportunity for opposition to raise issues on the amendments, say economy watchers.

It may be recalled that the second leg of the budget session, which started on Monday last, saw any meaningful proceedings over the last seven working days, thanks to the Opposition protests on Andhra Pradesh issues, PNB scam etc.

Opposition cry foul

Reacting to the developments in the lower house, Congress Chief whip Jyotiraditya Scindia said “Wednesday was black day for the democracy of the country”.

“It is a blot on democracy. The most important Finance Bill was allowed to get passed amid din. The Centre did not allow any debate, any exchange of ideas and suggestions on the Bill. They throttled the democracy in Parliament,” Scindia said.

BJD leader Bhartruhari Mahtab termed the passage as “unfortunate”.

“This is most unfortunate incident in the history of Parliament. All demands for grands were guillotined without any discussion,” he said. CPI(M) MP Mohammed Salim said the Centre did not want a discussion on the crucial issues faced by the country.

“This is a political crisis. Such an arbitrary action hasn’t happened in the history of Indian Parliament,” Salim said.

Breaking the logjam

As soon as the lower house assembled, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, based on the request of the Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anant Kumar, announced that the guillotine on outstanding demands for grants of 2018-19 will be taken up at just after noon instead of the earlier set time of 5 pm on Wednesday.

“Sittings of the House has been disrupted continuously for the past few days. Keeping in view the urgency of the transaction of the financial business, we cannot defer the same any longer”, she said.

21 amendments

In all Finance Minister Arun Jaitley moved 21 amendments to the Finance Bill 2018. Several amendments sought to clear the air on certain ambiguities and anomalies that had crept in the Finance Bill on the new long term capital gains tax (LTCG) regime.

Indexation benefit has now been allowed to shares which were unlisted as on January 31, 2018, but are listed on the date of transfer which happens to be on or after April 1, 2018. The government also sought to tighten the loop further on foreign companies to tax their digital presence in India. Start-ups had some relief with the amendment introduced to link the turnover limit of 25 crore to the year of claim of 100 per cent tax break.

Experts’ take

On the changes to the meaning of ‘Significant Economic Presence’, said Rakesh Nangia, Managing Partner, Nangia & Co LLP, this clearly implies that the government wants to ensure that no stone remains unturned when they are closing in on taxing the digital presence of foreign companies.

Aseem Chawla, Partner, Phoenix Legal, a law firm, said this would further enhance the possible scope of widening tax base with the aim of taxing digital and e-commerce and dotcom companies having otherwise no physical presence in India.

Rajiv Chugh, Tax Partner, EY India, said “this now widens the ambit of digital taxation and how this amendment will evolve needs to be seen”.

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