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Lack minorities department 'depriving' 11.5% people of concrete development works

By Our Representative The Gujarat-based civil rights group Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), in a letter to Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel, has regretted that that the absence of a minorities department in the state is adversely impacting the administration of different state agencies that are meant to cater to the needs of minorities. Especially referring to how three different state agencies -- Gujarat Waqf Board, Gujarat Minority Finance and Development Corporation and Gujarat Haj Committee – are operating under separate government departments, MCC convener Mujahid Nafees said in his letter, it would be advisable to place them under a new minority affairs department. Today, the Wakf Board is administered by the Legal Department, the Haj Committee is administered by the General Administration Department, and the the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment implements the Centre-sponsored Scholarship Scheme, 15-point programme as well as the schemes of Minority Financ
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Why there's strong likelihood India may resurrect its presence in Afghan capital

By Anand K Sahay* Since India evacuated its mission in Afghanistan once the Taliban re-took Kabul last August practically under American aegis, following what came to be called the Taliban’s Doha “negotiations” with the US, New Delhi is evidently doing a re-think. It is considered likely that an Indian representation will soon be restored in Kabul, even if this will be small and not at the level of ambassador. This is reflective of realistic thinking. Of course, there can be no question at present of according recognition to the Taliban regime. That is likely to happen when a broad consensus amongst the leading powers emerges. Currently the Taliban government is not helping its own cause of gaining world recognition- which will help it access overseas funds at a time when the country is in dire straits- by imposing severe restrictions on women and girls in serious violation of human rights. More basic is the issue that the Taliban regime is not considered r

Failing to take long-term perspective, India’s current foreign policy is 'transactional'

Jaishankar with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres By Prasanth Radhakrishnan*  In the first half of April 2022, India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar made some revealing remarks at a press conference in Washington, D.C. He was standing beside U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. When asked about India’s purchase of Russian oil, Jaishankar said:  “If you’re looking at energy purchases from Russia, I’d suggest that your attention should be focused on Europe. We do buy some energy, which is necessary for our energy security. But I suspect, looking at figures, our total purchases for the month would be less than what Europe does in an afternoon.” Jaishankar’s statement was not unusual. He and his colleagues have been pushing back against the West’s “concerns” and “advice” to India about its stance on Russia in the Ukraine conflict, including India’s refusal to vote against Russia at the United Nations as well as Ind

Arrest of Ambedkarites designed to silence critics of 'unequal Hindu social order'

By Abhay Kumar* On February 21, Ratan Lal, an associate professor at Delhi University’s Hindu College, was granted bail by a Delhi court. He was arrested on the previous night earlier from his residence in Delhi for a post  on a social media platform. An FIR had been filed against him under IPC Sections 153A and 295A. Section 153A pertains to a cognizable offence of “promoting disharmony, enmity or feelings of hatred between different groups on the grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language”. Section 295A concerns “deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage reli­gious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or reli­gious beliefs”. Ratan Lal has been trolled by hatemongers. He has received threats to his life, forcing him to write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a gun licence. Ratan Lal’s post concerned what appears to be a fountain inside Gyanvapi Masjid in Varanasi, which the right-wing Hindu groups claim is a Shivling. This has been dutifully b

Dalit scholar's comment on Lord Shiva 'harming' Muslims, 'damaging' secular cause

Shahid Siddiqui, Bobby Naqvi By Our Representative   Bobby Naqvi, who is with the "Gulf News", and is a well-known name among Muslim intellectuals, strongly objecting to the social media post of Prof Ratan Lal, has said that "a big reason for majoritarian hatred against Muslims is irresponsible remarks by people like Prof Ratan Lal of Delhi University." In a Facebook comment , which has attracted paise, among others, from journaliat-politician Shahid Siddiqui, Naqvi said, "Their commentary on Hinduism and icons of Hinduism (while angering religious and liberal Hindus alike) also triggers a massive backlash against Muslims. When the likes of Prof Lal criticize Hinduism on social media, Hindus bring Islam and Islamic practices and ask 'what about this' or 'what about that'." Naqvi insists, "Muslims (without their fault) and Islam get caught in this crossfire between the so called Hindu liberal class and the religious Hindus. And the ult

'Hand over Gyanwapi to Hindus, take assurance structure won't be demolished'

By Our Representative  Several pro-BJP Muslim intellectuals have insisted on the need to "amicably settle the Gyanwapi mosque impasse", insisting, "Muslims mustn’t repeat the mistake they made in the Ram Mandir case." Calling themselves moderate Muslims, and forming Gyanwapi Reconciliation Committee, those who have sought conciliation include Firoz Bakht Ahmed, former chancellor of the Maulana Azad National Urdu University; Prof SN Pathan, former vice-chancellor of the Nagpur University; and Tanvir Ahmed, former Haj Committee chairman. They have urged urged Muslims not to repeat the mistake committed at the time of the Ram Mandir standoff by their "adamant behaviour", which was allegedly guided by the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), whose attitude was "unbending and fissiparous". Claiming that the AIMPLB doesn’t represent the Muslim community, they said in a statement, "Instead of indulging in unserviceable litigation, both t

Top cops, politicians, celebrities accountable for 'applauding' Telangana fake encounter

Counterview Desk  In a statement, activists from the Telangana Women and Transgender Organizations Joint Action Committee (WT-JAC), commenting on the Supreme Court-appointed Commission Report in the ‘Disha Encounter’ Case, in which four young people were killed on December 6, 2019 in Telangana, have insisted that FIR be registered against all the policemen “specifically named and indicted by the Commission and they be arrested.” Signed by petitioners before the Apex Court K Sajaya, V Sandhya, M Vimala and Meera Sanghamitra, the statement, even as welcoming the Commission’s Report for “upholding ‘rule of law’ and recommending criminal action against 10 policemen guilty of murder of four persons, including 3 minor boys”, says, “We remind the senior police officers, political leaders and celebrities who applauded this fake encounter, that as social activists, we will hold them responsible and accountable to secure our right to justice, while challenging unconstitutional method

Oversexualized romantic bubble? Why boys have perverse, distorted ideas about girls

By Yanis Iqbal* As someone who is about to complete his final year in high school, I can’t help but reflect on the kind of social experience that I accumulated there. A school is never just an isolated institution of learning. It is inextricably embedded in the structural webs of hierarchies and inequalities that are prevalent in the society. As such, my schooling period was also shaped by the influence exercised by dominant ideologies. The presence of ruling class frameworks of understanding and interacting was centrally prominent in gender relations within my co-ed school. A rigid gender separation was enacted through the silently enforced marginalization of opposite sex friendship. Many people harbored the view that all different-gender friends are inherently either “girlfriends” or “boyfriends”. This perspective – which is prevalent in almost all Indian schools – is implicitly based upon the supposedly insurmountable differences that exist between males and females – a proposition

Examples of support to Hindu temples, scriptures, saints by 'Muslim' rulers galore

Siya Ram coin issued by Akbar By Bharat Dogra* At a time when the country as well as the world are passing through very difficult times leading to more urgent need for strengthening national unity for meeting several big challenges ahead, unfortunately disputes relating to religious places have been allowed to raise their ugly head once again. It is well-realized by now by many people that it is not historical facts but narrow considerations of political gain and spreading of fanatic ideas of intolerance which are behind such mischief, but due to the increasing threat of mob violence and patronage available at higher levels to groups spreading intolerance many people are reluctant to openly and fearlessly express their views. Hence there is urgent need for broad-based peace committees with wider social support to spread the message of communal harmony and to appeal against the dangers of spreading false messages regarding places of worship which can ultimate

Whither climate goal? Increasing reliance on coal 'likely to worsen' India's power crisis

By Shankar Sharma*  Recent news articles, How to shock-proof India’s power sector and Power minister points finger at states for worsening electricity crisis , have highlighted a few current problems for the ongoing power sector issues as in April 2022. However, there is a lot more to it than a few temporary solutions as indicated in the articles. It should also be emphasised that it is techno-economically impossible to completely shock-proof a highly complex and geographically wide-spread vast power network, such as the one in India, which is only getting more and more complex with the passage of each year due to some irrational policies/ practices in the sector. A business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, wherein more and more of conventional technology power plants, including coal power plants, will be added in the near future, will also necessitate the increased complexity in the integrated national grid, and as a result the instances of power shortage/ disruptions can only escalate for