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Muslim women of India have held hijab 'as part of their identity for centuries'

By Anis Ahmed* 

The National Executive Council meeting of Popular Front of India held at Malappuram has, in a resolution, stated that the organization would stand by the struggles of Karnataka Muslim girl students against the Hijab ban in schools and colleges in the state. The Karnataka BJP Government's decision to introduce restrictions exclusively on Muslim religious markers clearly had divisive political motives behind it.
Unfortunately, the High Court failed to see it and took a stand against a practice Muslim women in the country has held as part of their identity for centuries. The order of the court validating the Hijab ban was against the constitutional values and the universal principle of freedom of religion.
The decision of the High Court will further encourage social exclusion and become another pretext for religious persecution. Popular Front stands with the struggles of the students who have decided to question the high court order in the apex court and carry their fight forward till they get justice.
In another resolution, the NEC of Popular Front has demanded an end to the government-sponsored Islamophobia in the name of the movie 'Kashmir Files'. The movie by Vivek Agnihotri that was recommended by the Prime Minister himself and promoted by BJP ruled states with tax exemptions has turned out to be more than just a movie.
The dramatic incidents after the release of the movie indicate that it was part of another organized anti-Muslim propaganda. By distorting facts of the Kashmir issue in favour of the Hindutva narrative, the movie is stoking the flames of hatred against the Muslim community and BJP's political opponents. The country has never seen a government itself going out of its way to promote a movie.
It is government-sponsored Islamophobia in the name of Vivek Agnihotri's movie Kashmir Files
There were several incidents that, having watched the movie, mobs in the theatres abused Muslims and even called for genocide. The BJP is taking refuge in extreme hate propaganda to suppress the key political questions. Popular Front appeals to the judiciary in the country to take cognizance of the situation and to put an end to the government-sponsored hate-mongering against Muslims.
In another resolution, the NEC of Popular Front condemned the lynching incidents in UP. This week alone there were two lynching incidents in Uttar Pradesh, in which one Muslim was killed and two got injured. The anti-Muslim sentiment was wilfully created in the state prior to the election through poisonous campaigns. Now innocents are paying the price for it. It's high time that the people's conscience in the country faced the reality of mob lynching as a social evil and exert pressure for a law to counter it.
In another resolution, the NEC expressed shock over the horrific violence in Birbhum in West Bengal that has already left several people dead. If reports are to be believed, after the first killing took place, police failed to act in time and deter the mob that went on to kill eight innocents including a woman and a child. This is a law and order failure. Popular Front demand an impartial investigation into the incident and bring all the culprits to book.
*General Secretary, Popular Front of India, New Delhi



'Very low rung in quality ladder': Critique of ICMR study on 'sudden deaths' post-2021

By Bhaskaran Raman*  Since about mid-2021, a new phenomenon of extreme concern has been observed throughout the world, including India : unexplained sudden deaths of seemingly healthy and active people, especially youngsters. In the recently concluded Navratri garba celebrations, an unprecedented number of young persons succumbed to heart attack deaths. After a long delay, ICMR (Indian Council for Medical Research) has finally has published a case-control study on sudden deaths among Indians of age 18-45.

SC 'appears to foster' culture of secrecy, does not seek electoral bond details from SBI

By Rosamma Thomas*  In its order of November 2, 2023 on the case of Association for Democratic Reforms vs Union of India contesting constitutional validity of electoral bonds, the Supreme Court directed all political parties to give particulars of the bonds received by them in sealed covers to the Election Commission of India. SC sought that information be updated until September 2023. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Only 12% of schools RTE compliant: Whither 6% budgetary allocation for education?

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Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Reject WHO's 'draconian' amendments on pandemic: Citizens to Union Health Minister

By Our Representative  Several concerned Indian citizens have written to the Union Health Minister to reject amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR) of the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted during the 75th World Health Assembly (WHA75) in May 2022, apprehending this will make the signatories surrender their autonomy to the “unelected, unaccountable and the whimsical WHO in case of any future ‘pandemics’.”

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

'Ambiguous policy': India late in advocating EVs as energy storage in national grid

By Shankar Sharma*  This is regarding the points raised by the Chief Electricity Authority’s (CEA's) advocacy for usage of electrical vehicles (EVs) as energy storage technology, and few associated issues . An objective reading of what he states should reiterate the enormously growing importance of battery energy storage systems (BESS) in our need to transition to a net-zero carbon scenario for the country.

Union Health Ministry, FSSAI 'fail to respond' to NHRC directive on packaged food

By Our Representative  The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has expressed deep concern over the adverse health effects caused by packaged foods high in salt, sugar, and saturated fats. Recognizing it as a violation of the Right to Life and Right to Health of Indian citizens, the quasi-judicial body called for a response from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) regarding its selection of front-of-pack labels aimed at providing consumers with information to make healthier choices.