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29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

Delhi Univ, JNU elections a "precursor" to Hindutva groups seeking to win 2019 polls by hook or by crook

Left Unity campaign in JNU
By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
Why are people still enamoured towards Hindutva and its government, which has attempted to discredit India's prestigious institutions? I am not much fascinated at the victory of the Left Unity in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), as that does not reflect much. What is worrying trend is the growth of the Savarna Right-wing in JNU. Will trends in JNU be similar to West Bengal, where the left parties are finding it difficult to make a come back and the space left by them is occupied by the Hindutva party?

The more worrying is the factor the way the Hindutva goons of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) went all out of their way to capture JNU. Prior to that we have seen the situation at the Delhi University, where electronic voting machines (EVMs) were procured from the market and used during the elections. The Election Commission has to clarify its position that the machines were not provided by it.
Is it the new trend of the Hindutva party to win over India at any cost without giving a bit to norms and ethics? Is the trend in India against the Hindutva party?
I asked an auto driver in Lucknow, who took me from Aminabad to Indiranagar as he who does he think is best for Uttar Pradesh. Without any hesitation, he said, “Akhilesh Yadav has done tremendous work for the state and Lucknow city owes it to him for his wonderful work.” He was critical of Modi and BJP. After much discussion, I asked him which community he belonged to, and he answered Sonkar. It was a pleasant surprise for me.
Earlier, on the day of the Bharat Bandh, I arrived in Lucknow and went on a rickshaw to Aminabad. Crowded, I initiated my discussion with the rickshaw driver. Where was he from?, I asked him. Hardoi, he said. How was his business doing.? “Sir, not very good”, he replied. Does he own land in the village? “No sir. We are landless people.” Which community you belong to? I asked him. Harijan, he said. Oh that is derogatory, I told him. “You work hard, it is your own hard earn money.” He replied, “Yes Sir, we are Gautam.” I continued, “Ok, then feel proud of it.” Who are you going to vote?, I asked him. Yogi, he said. But why? “Sir, at least we are getting some ration.” “But don't you think Bahen Mayawati provided you the same?” “No, she was busy building the elephants of Rs 3 lakh each”, was the reply.
While returning from Ghaziabad railway station to home, I initiated a discussion deliberately about the current state of affair with yet another auto driver. He remained tight-lipped. I asked him about mob lynching, and he said this time even taking name of cow is dangerous. He was not happy with the government, but said, “We vote according to the candidate. We don't vote to the party.”. But how can a candidate be good in a wrong party, I asked him. He replied, “I am a Muslim and earlier our village had voted for Rajnath Singh (Union home miinister). We like him, but we don't like VK Singh (BJP MP from Ghaziabad) from . We will not vote for him. But if Rajnath Singh contests from Ghaziabad, he might have our vote.”
While the Shatabdi Express earlier, a group of government servants, perhaps belonging to Uttar Pradesh, were discussing among themselves about Modi's tenure. One of them said, that demonetization failed, the other nodded. Another said, Modi would apologise and come back to power. The fourth one said, it is not possible for Modi to make a comeback.
An urban couple was keenly watching the debate, and perhaps unable to stop its anxiety, intervened. Modi and this government were being defamed, they said. Notebandi was not done for black money alone. It brought back all the people into the tax bracket, they said, adding, only those people are crying against demonetization who are afraid of being caught.
I was a bit perplexed as to why this couple was so keen to intervene, and why give such knowledge about the economy? I thought, it was time to intervene from my side. Who knows more about black money in India other than Amit Shah and Arun Jaitley? I asked. There was silence for while. They never expected it. Do you thinkBJP does not have anyone with black money? I continued. It is the party which gets the maximum funding from industries and most of them are traveling with the Prime Minister. Where is the economy at the moment?
Are you really speaking about economic issues or you want Gau (cow), Gobar (cow dung), Ganga (Ganges), Gaumutra (cow urine), and so on? Are these the issues that India needs to focus, or we need to focus on education, healthcare, jobs? When will investment come to India? I continued asking.  They were silent and did not want to speak. One of them said to me, “Are you anti-Modi.” I said it is not the question of being this or that. It is the question of asking question which you don't allow.
Vidya Bhushan Rawat
Indeed, democracy is at risk in India and we need to fight it out on unambiguous term. I am happy to see Akhilesh Yadav and Tejasvi Yadav responding to the Brahmanical corporate media with all their confidence. It is good that they responded well, but they should be very careful of these media houses, who too are like sniffer dogs.
Speaking to various people, it is clear that the democracy today ihas turned into caste-ocracy in India to protect one's caste interests. Development is not on agenda, and if Akhilesh Yadav and Tejasvi Yadav define it in a new way, it will be great. Good wishes to all those who want to defeat Hindutva, but it is not that easy as the landslide in JNU, yet politicians will have to show more maturity and sincerity in building their alliances, which should be their long-term agenda to strengthen institutions and their autonomy, which the Sangh Parivar actually is demolishing with a regular pace.
Moreover, it is time for parties to not only opt for a long-term alliance but also train their cadres in political ideologies, booth managements and campaigning in a different way by developing alternative narratives. We need to appreciate and acknowledge Akhilesh Yadav's clear message that he wants to fight elections on developmental agenda and not on Mandir or Masjid. Can the Congress say the same thing or will it continue to play the soft Hindu card?
Further, will Rahul Gandhi take a stand against the Madhya Pradesh Congress, which declared it would build Rampath? Can the Congress take a lead in developing non-religious secular narratives based on social justice? Will the Congress take an unambiguous stand against EVM, and how to safely ensure that the pattern of Delhi University elections and failure of the election bodies to take any action on the issue is not repeated?
JNU and Delhi University results and desperation of the Sangh Parivar affiliates to win them is a trend which will be reflected in the 2019 elections. All secular parties must get united and prepare their cadres for certain eventualities which are going to happen to win the elections by hook or by crook.
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*Prominent human rights defender. Source: Author's Facebook timeline  

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