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Archives for : July2018

I am a Muslim Indian and I am not the problem #TalktoAMuslim

Hate is being mainstreamed by the very people responsible to maintain harmony, to bridge divides. That hate is the problem. I am not the problem.

Muslims have become an obsession for the media, for the polity, for the government. (Express Photo by Shuaib Masoodi/Representational)I am a Muslim Indian, and I am not the problem. All around I see a siege being laid for the Muslims of this country. Government, TV media, social media – everywhere there is a cacophony around the Muslims.

This cacophony is the problem. I am not the problem.

Hate is being mainstreamed by the very people responsible to maintain harmony, to bridge divides.

This hate is the problem. I am not the problem.

Are farmers’ woes over? Do people have jobs? Is the education system world class? Are poor not dying because they can’t afford basic healthcare? Has corruption become history? Didn’t someone make certain promises on all these fronts four years ago? Have all those promises been fulfilled? Are Muslims the only impediment to achche din? No. Why is TV then obsessively debating Muslims day in and day out?

This obsession is the problem. I am not the problem.

Who are these mullahs who scream from the TV windows every night? They only stereotype Muslims. Who decided that they speak for Muslims? TV anchors? Why? Or, are they part of the ‘demonise-Muslim’ game?

This game is the problem. I am not the problem.

‘Hindu khatre mein hai’, ‘Rahul ka Muslim prem’, ‘Congress Muslim party hai?’, ‘Rahul ke kandhe pe janeu, dil mein Jinnah?’, ‘Musalmanon ke votebank ki rajneeti?’  Who writes these headlines? Are these journalists? Most media is busy obfuscating the real issues, providing an easy exit route to a deeply failing government.

This obfuscation of real issues is the problem. I am not the problem.

Muslims are medieval, Muslims need reform, Muslims need to be mainstreamed. Muslims don’t speak out enough. They are so anti-women. They are so anti-modern. We need to fix this problem called the Muslim. That’s the script hogging TV space.

This script is the problem. I am not the problem.

Muslims can be hounded, killed on the streets, in their homes. But they shouldn’t complain. This shamelessness is the problem. This celebration of hate is the problem. (PTI/File)There is a nexus between the media and the government. A leader meets some Muslim intellectuals. All hell breaks loose. He says his party is “also for” Muslims. Like it is for every Indian. His statement is twisted. The twisted version is debated. ‘That party is a Muslim party,’ blare the headlines. Anchors are frothing. They are very angry. Why? Is association with Muslims – political or social – now a crime? Are Muslims not Indians that a party that talks about taking them along need to be crucified?

This nexus is the problem. I am not the problem.

Muslims can be hounded, killed on the streets, in their homes. The powers that be openly side with the criminals. They garland them. Did we see any #SackTheMinister trending? A man kills a Muslim, burns him, films the barbarity. New India makes a tableau for the killer. Hundreds support him, collect money for him. Welcome to New India. It’s no longer shameful to be associated with a criminal, a murderer. Ministers do it.

This shamelessness is the problem. This celebration of hate is the problem. I am not the problem.

After the crime, the political leaders don’t speak. After all, a Muslim is killed. Big deal. The silence emboldens the killers. They go for the next kill. They know they have backers sitting in the government. They know they will be feted, lionised.

This silence is the problem. I am not the problem.

Prime Minister goes to a farmers’ rally and talks about Muslims. Why? He wants farmers to forget their hardships. To forget that the government has failed them. He wants them to vote for him again just to keep Muslims in their place. Muslims need to be fixed. So that farmers don’t complain. SO that they just can keep hanging themselves. His politics live on.

This politics is the problem. I am not the problem.

Secularism, Liberalism, Harmony. Bad words. Very bad words. Enemies of Hindus believe in them. Sickulars, Libtards, Commies are coming. Muslims are coming. Hindu khatre mein. The narrative is nauseating.

This narrative is the problem. I am not the problem.

Fake news flows from the top. It’s shared by ministers, leaders. Then they enacted the drama of trying to check it. Bigotry flows from the top. Hatred has been mainstreamed, normalised like never before.

This fake news epidemic, this bigotry is the problem. I am not the problem.

What do they want to do? Turn all Hindus into a loony mob that is baying for the blood of Muslims? Yes, Hindu khatre mein hai. Of being led down this dangerous abyss, where they don’t see the evil designs of the people playing Pied Pipers today. Yes, Hindu khatre mein hai of being turned into just Muslim-haters who would not expect anything from the government except the momentary adrenaline rush. Country be damned, Muslims must be shown their place.

This toxic adrenaline rush is the problem. I am not the problem.

Not In My Name,<span class= #NotInMyName, jantar mantar, jantar mantar protests, lynching, india lynching, Junaid Khan, Junaid Khan death, india news" data-lazy-loaded="true" />Most TV anchors are part of the lynch mob. They are the suited-booted bigots. They lynch our harmony, our social bonds, the future of our country every night. Don’t call them journalists. Call them the mobsters. (PTI)Most TV anchors are part of the lynch mob. They lynch our harmony, our social bonds, the future of our country every night. Don’t call them journalists. They are the suited-booted bigots. Call them the mobsters. The hatemongers.

These primetime mobsters are the problem. I am not the problem.

My dear countrymen, talk to me. Don’t let some loonies define me for you. Let’s talk. Let’s cut through the cacophony of hate that has surrounded us. Let’s start a dialogue. #TalktoAMuslim

I am a Muslim Indian and I am not the problem

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Veteran Actress Reeta Bhaduri passes away #RIP

January 11, 1951 — July 17, 2018

Reeta Bhaduri’s friends recount stories of her talent, kindness and rare professionalism in the wake of her demise at age 67 in Mumbai

Veteran actress Reeta Bhaduri, who suffered from prolonged renal illnesses, passed away at 67 on Tuesday in Mumbai. “Her health started deteriorating two weeks ago and she succumbed to cardiac arrest,” her niece, Mini, told Mirror.

Anil Kapoor, who worked with the late actress in films like BetaGhar Ho Toh Aisa and Virasat, decribed her as “one of the finest talents to come out of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII)”. Shabana Azmi, the actress’s 1973 FTII batchmate, who kept in touch with her through their WhatsApp Group chats, informed that Reeta had injured her spine during a shoot a month ago and subsequently contracted an infection for which she had to undergo surgery.

“She was in excruciating pain as she couldn’t be administered strong painkillers due to ongoing dialysis,” said Shabana, adding that their friends called her Tanuja because of her effervescence. “There was something cute and impish about her. She was a good student and had the prettiest face in the class. She was extremely photogenic, but I felt that she didn’t take her talent seriously. As a student, she was happy to be one of the yaars, chewing Paan Bahar and not caring about appearances. Her mother Chandrima Bhaduri, a veteran actress, was ambitious for her but Reeta was content with what she had,” she added.

Zarina Wahab, another FTII batchmate and her co-star in the Rajshri film Saawan Ko Aane Do, couldn’t make it to the funeral, which took place at noon on Tuesday, due to work commitments, but promised to attend the chautha. “I had met her last a year ago,” she informed. Meanwhile Poonam Dhillon, who acted with her in the daily soap Ekk Nayi Pehchaan in 2013, recalled how once, Reeta wasn’t feeling well but no one knew about it till she fainted. “Later, she admited she didn’t tell anyone as she didn’t want to disrupt the shoot.”

Anant Mahadevan, who worked with the late actress in the 1992 film Kamsin and many TV shows, remembered her as affable and lively yet a thorough professional. “We were frequent co-stars during the golden years of Indian television, our first interaction during a press preview of Phoolan in which she played the lead,” he reminisced.

One of Reeta’s more recent colleagues, Juhi Parmar of the 2012 TV show Kumkum — Ek Pyara Sa Bandhan, has fond memories of her Reeta maa. “She was such a zindadil, strong woman who brought food for me to take home for months when I didn’t have a cook. Spending time with her at her Lonavla home was one of my best New Year’s Eve memories for me,” she stated.

Reeta’s daughter from the show Sunday Ke Sunday, Sadiya Siddiqui, recalls her as a voracious reader. “Her niece and I learnt kathak from the same guru, so I’m close to her family and was very possessive of her,” Sadiya smiled, while Kabir Sadanand, who’d first met Reeta while auditioning for the show Thoda Hai Thode Ki Zarurat Hai, described their first meeting as his best day in the industry. “Despite years of theatre experience, I was scared. I reported at work at 7 am with an empty-stomach. She cooked eggs and offered them to me. When I politely refused, she said she was nervous on her first day too and I should toughen up,” he flashbacked.

Sanjay Kapoor shared screen space with Reeta in his debut film, Raja, and swore by her screen presence. “The scene where her character has an outburst and she yells at her husband, ‘Kaat Mahindra Pratap kaat’… still gives me goosebumps,” he asserted while Indra Kumar, who directed her in Beta and Raja, remembered her as a “remarkable actor and a great human being”. Her Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa co-star Suchitra Krishnamoorthy described her “as a fine actor and a kind soul”.

Deven Bhojani, who directed her in the hit show Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai, was all praise for her portrayal of Ila bua. “She was fluent in various languages, disciplined and a zerotantrum actress.” Aatish Kapadia, the show’s writer and co-director, informed that she’d played the lead in the first serial he wrote, the 1987 Gujarati show Aagan Tuk. “When we offered her Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai, she came on board without enquiring about the role,” he marvelled while JD Majethia admitted that her character didn’t become as popular as the others but for her work was important. “She was the superstar of several Gujarati hits yet one of the easiest people to work with and a top choices in her age group for all production houses,” he stated. Aatish and Reeta reunited for another show. “She’d hang around after packup to chat with me,” he smiled at the memory.

Rubina Dilaik was heart-broken she couldn’t meet the lady who’d feed the Chhoti Bahu unit dhoklas every month one last time. “We were planning to but couldn’t due to our schedule,”she rued.

Gulshan Grover, who studied alongside Anil Kapoor at Roshan Taneja’s acting school, recounted a lesser known facet from his senior. “She touched my heart with one of her improvisations in class, playing a Gujarati girl who would stop at a Malabari shop every day for bread and eggs. Salim Ghouse played the Malabari man and their romace was beautiful and tendeer, so unlike the usual hero-heroine love story,” he sighed.

Zama Habib, producer of Reeta’s last show, Nimki Mukhiya, informed that she had not been shooting since the last 20 days due to the health issues. “She requested that we replace her but I refused to comply. I didn’t know she would never come back,” the maker signed off emotionally.

Reeta Bhaduri’s alma mater FTII paid tribute with a screening of the student film Safar, in which she featured with Tom Alter. “Students, staff and teachers stood in silence in her memory… It was the last film for both. Reeta Bhaduri acted in over 70 films and around 30 TV serials,” it shared on Twitter; Actress in TV show Nimki Mukhiya (inset)

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Dalit women are brewing their own social revolution

After being on the sidelines of Dalit and feminist movements for long, Dalit women are now standing up for their rights

Manisha Mashaal from the NGO Swabhimaan Society takes a selfie with anti-caste activists in Kurukshetra.

Manisha Mashaal from the NGO Swabhimaan Society takes a selfie with anti-caste activists in Kurukshetra.

New Delhi: In 2008, seven women, aged 19-24, walked into a police station in Haryana’s Indri village in Kurukshetra district. Dressed in salwar-kameez with dupattas draped around their necks, they looked tired but confident, angry and brimming with questions. They wanted to meet the SHO and ask why no FIR had been filed in the rape and murder of a 13-year-old Dalit girl, although two days had passed since her body was found in the village. At first, the in-charge of the police station insisted no such incident had happened but later asked if the victim was related to the women. “She is one of us. If it is her today, it could be us tomorrow,” replied Manisha Mashaal, 29, a grassroots anti-caste activist, and part of Swabhimaan Society, an NGO working for the rights of Dalit women. “But,” said the man, “our women don’t walk into police stations like this. They don’t talk so much. Chalo now really tell me who has sent you.”

It was the first time Manisha, then 19, and the six other women had seen the insides of a police station. For the policemen as well, it was a surprise to see these women, all Dalit, asserting their identity—in a northern state that’s notorious for its many discriminations against girls and women, as seen in sex-selective abortions, honour killings and a skewed sex ratio. The women had left their homes in Kurukshetra at 7am, walked some miles, hopped onto a bullock cart for a few kilometres, took a lift for a few more and reached Indri around 2pm.

After meeting the victim’s family in the village, the group went to the police station and left only when an FIR was filed—this after the victim’s family had already visited the same police station earlier. Even though an investigation was conducted, the case was closed and no arrests were made. “Forget getting justice, so many cases of violence against us are not even acknowledged. It makes my blood boil to see how we still have to fight for these basic fights… how somehow the rape of Dalit women even today does not bring the country out on the streets,” says Manisha. “Dalit women have been left outside the Dalit movement and mainstream feminism for too long. We are forced to fight our own fight.”

Shakila from the Pallur Dalit Women Collective Farm leads a group of women to occupy government land in Tamil Nadu.

Shakila from the Pallur Dalit Women Collective Farm leads a group of women to occupy government land in Tamil Nadu.

The gender in caste

The question of caste-based discrimination has by and large focused on the identity of a Dalit, irrespective of the gender, and the injustices meted out to the social group as a whole. However, with the beginning of the 21st century and more so after 2012, several groups of Dalit women, big and small, have come up across the country, trying to assert their identity and openly talking about the intersection of caste and gender.

“Post the 1990s, with the internationalization of Dalit issues, opportunities opened up to talk about specific forms of caste violence perpetrated against Dalit women,” says S. Anandhi, professor at the Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS) in Chennai. “The Beijing International Women’s Conference in 1995 led to more systematic engagements with caste and Dalit women’s question. But, the Dalit movements across India had not provided adequate space for women to articulate issues of triple forms of oppressions against them: caste, class and gender oppressions. Today, with increasing caste violence against Dalits and with the international level of articulation of Dalit rights issues, there seems to be an increased assertion happening across the community, including among its women.”

Mainstream feminists are also casteists in some way or the other. Our fight is different from theirs. Our fight begins with land– Sumedha Bodh, General Secretary, Rashtriya Dalit Mahila Andolan

Dalit commentators have long spoken about the double oppression of Dalit women, and also their unacknowledged role in the larger Dalit movement. Although Dalit women have a history of participation in the movements led by Dalit icon B.R. Ambedkar, the movement came to be dominated by men after his death. Ramon Magsaysay Award winner and national convener of the Safai Karmachari Andolan, Bezwada Wilson, says the fight of these women’s groups is for the larger good of Dalit society and should be supported by all who care for the movement. “These groups are challenging caste and patriarchy and their fight is sharper than the traditional fight of Dalit groups. They are questioning structural changes, which will benefit the wider society and hence their fight should be welcomed.”

Swabhimaan Society is one such group of 35 Dalit women—some engineers, some law graduates and some still in school. The group does not have many big success stories to its credit yet, but it is a reflection of the aspirations of these young women and a sign of reconfiguration of the identity of a Dalit woman in India. Since it’s Haryana, where in January this year 10 rapes were reported in 10 days, the group is fighting violence against Dalit women by holding dharnas, awareness programmes, and helping victims of violence and their families get the right counselling and legal aid.

Our rape vs their rape

A few months before the Delhi gang rape of a young woman in a moving bus, more than 22 rapes of Dalit women in Haryana were reported inside a month. Several marches were held, protests took place, but not much of it resonated in Delhi. Then on 16 December 2012, “Nirbhaya” happened. The rape of the 23-year-old student forced India to change its rape laws and opt for more stringent measures through the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013. The incident sparked public outrage across India, bringing thousands of people onto the streets against the failure of the authorities to ensure women’s safety. This was the moment Dalit women groups started asking questions.

“After Nirbhaya, so many people came forward. Why didn’t they do so for rape among Dalits? We have realized that mainstream feminists are also casteists in some way or the other. Our fight is different from theirs. Our fight begins with land. They don’t get it. They wouldn’t get it,” says Sumedha Bodh from the Rashtriya Dalit Mahila Andolan, an organization of 500 women working across Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh. Having been associated with several Dalit rights groups, Bodh said there has been a strong realization among Dalit women about the need to have separate platforms to speak and act. Depending on which state they are working in, and what issues the state is grappling with, the group chooses the issues it focuses on—mostly it deals with cases of witch hunting, land rights and education.

The fight of these women’s groups is for the good of Dalit society and should be supported by all who care about the movement– Bezwada wilson, National convener of Safai karmachari Andolan

Groups like Manisha’s are collecting documents on why 110 cases of rape and murder of Dalit women between 2010 and 2018 in 14 districts of Haryana all ended up in a “compromise” being struck between victims’ families and alleged suspects. Another Dalit women’s collective, All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch, last month participated in the United Nations Human Rights Council at its 38th session in Geneva. The collective submitted a report titled Voices Against Caste Impunity: Narratives of Dalit Women in India, which compiled accounts of witnesses, statistics and testimonies about the effects of caste-based violence in India.

The Manch, formed in 2006, has since been working for women’s rights by operating at the grassroots level, as well as working on leadership building of Dalit women at the national level. In December last year, it organized a conference for and by Dalit women in Pune, and has also been carrying out marches in different states, including Rajasthan and Haryana, to raise awareness about caste-based discrimination. To spread awareness online, the group has also been mobilizing support under #DalitWomenFight.

Where are the women?

Except for their role in education (setting up schools) in the initial phase of the Dalit movement, there was neither any particular concern for women nor much participation of women on a large scale.

According to the book, Dalit Women: Vanguard of an Alternative Politics in India, edited by Anandhi and Karin Kapadia, “Formal Dalit politics totally ignores Dalit women’s micro level politics of becoming as well as their struggles to collectivise and to address their multiple oppressions. This male sphere of Dalit politics considers women’s political struggles to be entirely marginal to the “more important” male-led politics of Dalit rights and social justice.”

“Marginalized caste groups such as the Dalits are witnessing some forms of socio-economic mobility, but women within these groups are experiencing different forms of constraints due to such changes. In fact they are burdened with more responsibilities of meeting the demands of the new family status. The new strategies and forms of Dalit women’s collectivism has to contend with these changes,” says Anandhi. She also says that male migration-related mobility continues to confine Dalit women to agricultural wage work. Yet, as expected, Dalit women continue being only workers—with no ownership, real or titular, of the land.

Keeping this in mind, Tamil Nadu-based NGO Society for Rural Education and Development (SRED), was founded in 1979. Working with Dalit and adivasi women, the group formed by Fatima Burnad works on the premise that to fight caste-based discrimination, owning land is an important aspect. What SRED does is form collectives of women who identify wastelands and government lands, and then occupy those.

“This occupation of land has helped the Dalit women in manifold ways. They are able to express themselves. They are now owners of lands, a status that has helped them feel proud, of as it has brought them dignity and status at family and community levels,” says Burnad. The movement has reached out to 350 villages in three districts of Vellore, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu and 19 villages in Andhra Pradesh.

Clearly, several of these groups, grassroots as well as online, are slowly brewing a social revolution. A beginning has been made in challenging what sociologist Sharmila Rege called the “masculinization of Dalithood and savarnization of womanhood”.

https://www.livemint.com/

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Modi Sarkar discusses military training plan for 10 lakh youth #WTFnews

To instil discipline, nationalism: Govt discusses military training plan for disciplined 10-lakh ‘force of youth’

The incentives include a fixed stipend for the 12-month training and making N-YES an “essential qualification” for jobs in Defence, paramilitary forces and police.

Written by Ritika Chopra | New Delhi

military training for youth, military training programme, NCC, NCC training, Military discipline, National Youth Empowerment Scheme, Defence Ministry, Narendra Modi government, National Cadet Corps, indian express news

In addition to military training, those enrolled will be taught vocational and IT skills, disaster management and Indian values though yoga, ayurveda and ancient Indian philosophy. (Express photo by Sahil Walia/File)In the name of having a “disciplined” and nationalist “force of youth,” the government has discussed a proposal to target 10 lakh young men and women every year with a military training programme, The Indian Express has learnt.

Billed as the National Youth Empowerment Scheme or N-YES, aimed at “optimising the Indian demographic advantage”, it proposes a slew of incentives to students fresh of Class X and XII and, currently, enrolled in college. The incentives include a fixed stipend for the 12-month training and making N-YES an “essential qualification” for jobs in Defence, paramilitary forces and police.

Sources confirmed that a meeting on the proposed scheme was called by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in the last week of June and was attended by representatives of the Defence Ministry, Department of Youth Affairs and Human Resource Development Ministry.

A presentation on the same was made by an officer of Defence Ministry. A senior PMO official did not respond to a message.

Sources added that reservations were said to have been raised by some officers about N-YES during the meeting following which another suggestion was made to strengthen the existing National Cadet Corps or NCC, instead.

According to the proposal, the scheme will instil values of nationalism, discipline and self-esteem into the youth, which, in turn will help make India a “Vishwaguru” (read a universal leader) and achieve Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of New India 2022.

In addition to military training, those enrolled will be taught vocational and IT skills, disaster management and Indian values though yoga, ayurveda and ancient Indian philosophy.

The above is envisioned as a year-long programme targeted specially at youth in rural areas and women. To finance this scheme, it was proposed that the government could use the existing budget meant for NCC and National Service Scheme (NSS), funds available with the Skill Development Ministry and also MNREGA funds.

The military training programme has been proposed at a time the Opposition has launched an attack on the union government for not creating adequate and appropriate job opportunities for the youth.

This, however, isn’t the first time that the PMO has broached the topic of instilling discipline and nationalism in youngsters.

As first reported by The Indian Express on July 21, 2017, the PMO last year advised the department of school education, under the HRD Ministry, to include elements of military schools (Sainik Schools) — aimed at promoting discipline, physical fitness and a patriotic outlook — in regular schools too.

The ministry is learnt to be currently working on introducing Sainik School features in seven Navodaya Vidyalayas on a pilot basis this year.

WRITE BACK: Focus on strengthening NCC and NSS, says Govt

Responding to the report Govt discusses military training plan for disciplined 10-lakh ‘force of youth’ (July 17), Alok Deshwal, Joint Director (M&C), Press Information Bureau, has issued a statement.

“The report aims to sensationalize the whole matter by twisting facts and is devoid of reality. The Government strongly denies the sensational misrepresentation made in the report. The fact is that a meeting was held in PMO to revamp the National Cadet Corps (NCC) and National Service Scheme (NSS). Ministry of Youth Affairs, Ministry of Human Resource Development and NCC, through the Ministry of Defence, participated in the discussion. The discussion was mainly focused on taking measures for strengthening NCC and NSS and how the youth could be empowered through these institutions…

It has been decided to set up a committee under the chairmanship of Shri Anil Swarup, the then Secretary, School Education, with suitable representations from NCC, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Ministry of HRD to suggest measures to strengthen NCC & NSS. The committee is expected to touch on issues like expansion, strengthening training infrastructure, rationalizing resources, reducing manpower deficiency affecting NCC and NSS.”

The reporter replies

The PIB statement confirms that a meeting was held in the Prime Minister’s Office, as mentioned in the report on the proposed National Youth Empowerment Scheme (N-YES). According to the statement, the discussion was focused on strengthening the NCC and the NSS. In fact, The Indian Express report mentioned that after reservations were raised, “another suggestion was made to strengthen the National Cadet Corps or NCC, instead”.

As for details on the 10-lakh “force of youth”, that was based on the proposal titled ‘National — YES’. This was circulated among the ministries represented at the meeting held in PMO.

On Monday, an SMS was sent to a senior PMO official informing him about the N-YES proposal, but no response was received.

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SC- ‘Will strike down any law that violates rights’ #Sec377 #LGBTQ

SC Refuses To Leave Matter To Parliament

New Delhi:

Reserving its verdict on pleas seeking decriminalisation of Section 377 of the IPC to protect sexual orientation of LGBTs, the Supreme Court refused to leave the matter to Parliament and asserted its right on Tuesday to overturn and change laws enacted by a majority government if they were violative of fundamental rights. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra refused to entertain concerted requests from various organisations to leave the decision to Parliament given the wide ramification of legalisation of gay sex on matrimonial and civil laws.

“The moment there is a finding that a provision violates fundamental rights of citizens, this court has the power to strike it down, irrespective of the majoritarian government’s power to repeal, amend or enact law,” the bench said. It brushed aside as “far-fetched” arguments that decriminalisation of Section 377 could legalise incest, group sex and sodomy. Appearing for two Christian organisations, advocate Manoj George attempted to stall the SC juggernaut rolling in favour of legalising gay sex and succeeded in extending the 90-minute limit which the court had fixed for those opposing the pleas to 180 minutes.

He said in the Suresh Koushal judgment of December 2013, the SC had reversed a Delhi HC order decriminalising Section 377 but had said it was for Parliament to make suitable amendments taking into account the recommendations of the Law Commission. He cited a recent decision of the SC on a petition by women lawyers seeking medical castration of child sex abusers in which the court had left it to Parliament to provide for higher punishment. “The court cannot recast or correct a statute even if it is assumed to be defective,” he said.

George said there were more than 70 different types of sexual orientations and if the court ruled that there could be no discrimination under Article 14 of the Constitution on the grounds of sex or sexual orientation, it would create difficulty as it was impossible to have one definition of sexual orientation when the Constitution itself was silent on the issue.

The court admitted to constitutional silence on sexual orientation but said it would scrutinise only the constitutional validity of Section 377, especially when it criminalises LGBT community members’ consensual sexual relations in private. Senior advocates K Radhakrishnan and Soumya Chakraborty, with advocate Harshvir Pratap Singh, pointed out that Section 377 dealt with intercourse “against the order of nature”, it did not take into account non-penetrative sex, typical to lesbian and other samesex communities.

Justice Chandrachud said for a sexual relationship, penetration was not always essential, as it encompassed much more. “Feelings for each other are not orientation and attraction towards another is not sexual orientation,” he said. CJI Misra joined in and said, “These words are not defined. It can be a platonic relationship, which, according to John Donne, is metaphysical. It could also be romantic, which is an adventure. It’s like a balloon which goes up and up and never comes down.”

However, the SC was firm that no community howsoever minuscule it might be compared to the majority population, could be deprived of their sexual rights and expression of sexual orientation. It said sex as per the order of nature was conceived as intercourse between man and woman for the purpose of procreation.

The apex court was firm that no community, howsoever minuscule it might be compared to the majority population, could be deprived of their sexual rights

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India – Enact a law to tackle menace of lynching: SC to Parliament

‘Can’t Allow Mobocracy To Become New Normal’

New Delhi:

Coming down strongly on the ‘new normal’ of recurring incidents of lynching, the Supreme Court on Tuesday recommended Parliament create a “separate offence” for the crime to instil the fear of law into offenders and preserve rule of law in a pluralistic society.

It asked the Centre and states to discharge their constitutional duty of maintaining law and order to ensure peace and protect secular ethos. Governments were duty bound to ensure rule of law prevailed in a democratic set-up and treat those indulging in violence as criminals needing stern punishment, the SC said. “Horrendous acts of mobocracy can’t be permitted to inundate the law of the land. Earnest action and concrete steps have to be taken to protect citizens from recurrent pattern of violence which can’t be allowed to become the new normal,” the court said.

State can’t turn deaf ear to people’s rumblings, says SC

The state cannot turn a deaf ear to growing rumblings of its people, since its concern, to quote Woodrow Wilson, ‘must ring with the voices of the people’,” a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said.

The court stated in no uncertain terms that vigilante groups could only report a crime but would be sternly punished if they took the law into their hands. The court set out guidelines for compensation, fast-track courts and action against negligent officials so that “mobocracy” did not drown out the law. The court said Parliament should “create a separate offence for lynching and provide adequate punishment for the same” as a special law to deter mob crimes that often target innocents. It ordered the states to frame within a month a “lynching or mob violence victim compensation scheme” with provision for interim payment to victims within a month of an incident.

Framing elaborate guidelines to prevent, remedy and punish mob lynching, the SC, which recently sought the Centre’s response on allegations that its proposed social media hubs will profile social media users, ordered the Centre and states to curb circulation of inflammatory messages.

The court asked for “steps to curb and stop dissemination of irresponsible and explosive messages, videos and other material on various social media platforms which have a tendency to incite mob violence and lynching of any kind”.

Writing the judgment on a bunch of petitions filed by Tehseen Poonawala, Tushar Gandhi and others, CJI Misra said, “It is axiomatic that it is the duty of the state to ensure that the machinery of law and order functions efficiently and effectively in maintaining peace so as to preserve our quintessential secular ethos and pluralistic social fabric in a democratic set-up governed by rule of law.

“The exigencies of the situation (created by incidents of mob lunching) require us to sound a clarion call for earnest action to strengthen our inclusive and all-embracing social order which would, in turn, reaffirm the constitutional faith. We expect nothing more or nothing less.” While asking the Centre and states to frame a compensation policy for victims, the three-judge bench unanimously said trial in such cases, including pending ones, should be tried by a designated court or a fast-track court on a day-to-day basis to conclude proceedings within six months of taking cognisance.

“To set a stern example in cases of mob violence and lynching, upon conviction of the accused persons, the trial court must ordinarily award maximum sentence under various offences under provisions of the IPC,” CJI Misra said, while directing trial courts to provide protection to witnesses and conceal their identities.

The Supreme Court said authorities and police officers failing to comply with the guidelines outlined in Tuesday’s judgment would be guilty of “an act of deliberate negligence and/or misconduct for which appropriate action must be taken against him/her and not limited to departmental action under the service rules. Departmental action shall be taken to its logical conclusion preferably within six months by the authority”.

Referring to incidents of violence indulged by vigilante groups, the SC said, “When vigilantes involve themselves in lynching or any kind of brutality, they, in fact, put the requisite accountability of a citizen to law on the ventilator. That cannot be countenanced. Such core groups cannot be allowed to act as they please.”

MOB MAYHEM

Maharashtra: Five people were allegedly killed on suspicion of being child lifters in Dhule. In another incident, two men beaten to death in Aurangabad

Tripura:A woman, a hawker and a man lynched in three districts

Gujarat:Two women beaten to death on suspicion of being childlifters in Ahmedabad and Surat

Assam:Two men were lynched in Karbi-Anglong district while they had gone to visit a picnic spo

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