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Duty allocation: woman ASI assaulted by colleague – The hindu


Child adoption racket busted; network targets poor mothers – The hindu


JNU prof calls Dalit, Muslim teachers anti-nationals – The times of india


Booked for Verbally Abusing Dalit – The news Indian express


Modi govt anti-Dalit, anti-student: JNUSU vice-president Shehla Rashid – Deccan chronicle


Post DMDK Snub, DMK Looks to Rope in Smaller Parties – The Indian express


The return of paternalism – The hindu


Need to document, validate medical heritage – Nyoooz


Please Watch:

Media Manthan – Information, Society & Nationalism


The hindu

Duty allocation: woman ASI assaulted by colleague


A woman cop was injured during a quarrel with her colleague in Koratagere police station on Thursday.

Assistant Sub-Inspector Mangala Gowramma has filed a complaint that she was assaulted by constable Jabiullah Khan over allocation of daily duty.

In her complaint, she has alleged that Khan twisted her right hand, injuring her little finger, slapped her and used foul language. The alleged incident took place around 7.30 p.m. in the police station.

Dalit and women’s organisations staged protests in front of the police station condemning the attack on cop, who is a Dalit, and demanded action against the accused.

The protesters dispersed around 11 p.m. only after being assured that an FIR would be registered.

Additional Superintendent of Police Manjunath told The Hindu , “An FIR has been registered, but the accused is absconding.”

Incidentally, Home Minister Dr. G. Parameshwara used to represent Koratagere in the Assembly.

The hindu

Child adoption racket busted; network targets poor mothers


A poor Dalit woman who gave her 35-day-old girl child for ‘adoption’ to a couple based in Ambattur near Chennai triggered speculation of operation of an illegal child adoption racketeering at the Government District Headquarters Hospital here.

On being alerted by the Childline, District Child Welfare Committee (CWC) chairperson R. Sakunthala conducted an enquiry into the ‘adoption’ of the child of Dharmalakshimi and Senthilkumar of Peravur and found something fishy in the adoption procedure. The official conducted a preliminary enquiry based on a complaint lodged by Kaliammal (65), mother of Senthilkumar, who alleged that her daughter-in-law had sold the child as she already had a two-year-old girl child and did not want one more girl.

Four other women from the village, including a Dalit leader, who turned up for the enquiry also supported the aged woman’s averment, she said. One Revathi, native of Perambalur and M. Kathiresan from Sakkarakottai in the district befriended Dharmalakshmi at the Government Hospital here and took her in a car to Ambattur to give her child for ‘adoption,’ Ms. Sakunthala said.

As she suspected foul play in the case, she referred the case to the police for further investigation. The Kenikarai Police, after registering a ‘child missing’ case, brought the Ambattur couple with the child and launched an enquiry. The police have also summoned Kathiresan and his accomplice K Muniasamy for enquiry.

In a late evening development on Friday, the police produced the child before the Judicial Magistrate court here for entrusting the child with its parents. The police, who were perusing the records, said that “we have to investigate the case in detail to find whether the adoption was legal.” The CWC said that the police could burst the illegal child adoption racketeering if they probed the case in detail. It alleged that Kathiresan, Muniasamy, Banumathy and Revathy acted as brokers for selling children to childless couples after targeting poor mothers, who visited the Government Hospital for check-up.

Needs taken care of

The ‘brokers’ even take care of their needs of the expected mothers after striking a deal, the CWC said.

The present case came to light when anganwadi workers visited Peravur to check the weight and verify the health chart of Dharmalakshmi’s newborn child, the CWC said.

The times of india

JNU prof calls Dalit, Muslim teachers anti-nationals


A JNU professor has kicked up a storm by allegedly calling “Dalit and Muslim teachers” in the campus “anti-nationals”.

The alleged comments of the faculty member pertain to an interview published by a website. If true, they may escalate the tensions that have brimmed over after the arrest and release of Kanhaiya Kumar, and the continuing debate over “anti-national slogans” in JNU.

Taking cognisance of the comments, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes on March 8 issued a notice to the JNU vice-chancellor and the Delhi Police commissioner, asking them to report on the episode in five days.

“We have suggested that the issue is serious, meriting an FIR. Now, the police will tell us about their findings,” NCSC chairman P L Punia told TOI.

When asked “how many teachers and students in JNU are anti-national”, the professor reportedly said, “Teachers are hardly 10 but they portray as if everybody is with them. You think a teacher in an institution like JNU would be so stupid as to back anti-national slogans? These are just five or six persons and they are Dalits and Muslims. They have their grudges.”

The comments attributed to the professor border on the sensational if they are a verbatim account of the interview as the website has claimed. Interestingly, the website has also uploaded an audio conversation.

The faculty member talks about anti-national activities in JNU, the family background of students’ union president Kanhaiya and another student Umar Khalid.

The teacher has spoken about foreign funding to anti-nationals while claiming that Bijnore, from where one of the arrested JNU student hails, is a den of terrorism and Islamic State. According to the professor, one student still in custody believes in “strong Kashmiriyat”.

The claim over the presence of “anti-nationals” and branding around six “anti-national” faculty members with two communities, has created a sensation. NCSC chairman Punia’s letter indicates the issue may not die down soon.

If the said professor stands by the interview, it would create a piquant situation even for those targeting JNU for sheltering “anti-national” thought as few would want to be accused of anti-Dalit mindset. That makes it politically tricky, university officials said.

All eyes are now on Delhi Police whose findings will decide the fate of the allegations. Punia informed that NCSC has received two complaints.

The news Indian express

Booked for Verbally Abusing Dalit


MADURAI:  A 36-year-old Dalit lent a helping hand when a two-wheeler rider fell from his vehicle. The rider, a caste Hindu, not only refused to be helped by a Dalit but also reportedly referred to him using his (the Dalit’s) caste name. The incident occurred on Thursday, in Keezhakuilkudi.

A source in the police said that the Dalit, P Soundarapandi (36) of Kaliyamman Kovil Street, and S Kasi of Chinamanthai Street lived in the same area, Keezhakuilkudi. On the day of the incident, Soundarapandi was standing in Ambedkar Nagar, when Kasi came allegedly riding his scooter in a reckless manner, and fell.

Seeing Kasi on the ground, Soundarapandi rushed to help him to get back on his feet. Apparently, Kasi refused to be helped by him, said the source. Kasi also reportedly called the Dalit by his caste name.

Deccan chronicle

Modi govt anti-Dalit, anti-student: JNUSU vice-president Shehla Rashid


Bengaluru: Her soft voice and ready smile completely belie Shehla Rashid’s fiery nature. Born and raised in Kashmir, politics and violence have been an inextricable part of existence for the 27-year-old, who is vice-president of the JNU Students Union. She addressed journalists at an event organised by the Journalists’ Study Centre and took on a barrage of questions.

Students have always been at the forefront of the opposition, she told Deccan Chronicle on the sidelines. Agreeing that the BJP government is targetting educational institutions, she said, “Students ask questions and our government can’t stand it. The BJP government is obsessed with wiping out opposition, by buying out media houses and blacking out news. Modi never addresses press conferences or gives interviews. Why hasn’t he spoken about the Dadri lynching, Ghar Wapsi or the Love Jihad? This is a particularly dangerous governments one that is working toward a perverted, Hindi-Hindu rashtriya notion of India.”

Comparing what she calls the “politics of hatred” with colonial policies, she said, “They do these things so that we don’t ask questions about scams like Vyapam. The government sanctioned a huge corporate debt write-off and as soon as people began to question it, the JNU incident happened. They want people to do away with questions on economic issues, like employment, education and healthcare. It’s not just the BJP government either – its neo-liberal agenda was pushed by the Congress government as well. It has distorted our country’s development goals and no attention is paid to literacy, healthcare or rising pollution levels.

Calling the current government “dangerous”, Shehla said, “We have a government that is anti-poor, anti-Dalit, anti-student and anti-thinking. We will expose them.” Asserting that this is more than just a way to garner votes for the CPI-M, of which she is a part, she said, “JNU has been known for a broader fight, one that is focussed on saving the ideals of democracy, which have been enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution.”

Things came to a head, Shehla explained, when the government appointed BJP member Gajendra Chauhan as the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Film and Television Institute, resulting in a 111-day strike by the students. “Before that, people were too afraid to speak out against the government,” she said. “It is the students who have led the opposition to a government that is scary, has terrorised people and is obsessed with wiping out any form of opposition, dissent and questioning.”

Asked whether JNU has a bias against the right, to which she said, “We condemn the excesses committed by the Left, as we have done in the past as well. During the Emergency, for instance, the JNU student president was arrested and our hostels were raided. We have never been silent.”

She said later that no matter how much resistance the students face, they will continue to fight for what they believe in. “Our anti-rape protest after the Jyoti Singh rape and murder was the final nail in the coffin for the Congress government,” she said.

There was no question of stopping the slogans being raised on the night of February 9, Shehla insisted. “We are not a censor board,” she declared. “Other groups, the ABVP included, have raised extremely provocative slogans on a number of occasions. There are people with all kinds of opinions and we don’t attempt to stop them. Why should we? Our only job as the JNU Students’ Union is to ensure that there is no violence.”

On February 9, Shehla, along with leaders from other student organisations on campus arrived at Afzal Guru gathering and asked the participants, whom she said were not from JNU, to tone down their protest. “Still, violence didn’t seem likely at the time, so we left. I cannot speak for anything that happened after that, because the ABVP blocked the road and it did result in a physical confrontation.

The Indian express

Post DMDK Snub, DMK Looks to Rope in Smaller Parties


MADURAI: Stunned by the turn of events after the DMDK decided against aligning with them, senior DMK leaders went into a huddle at party chief

M Karunanidhi’s Gopalapuram residence here on Friday to chart a plan to deal with the development. The focus now, sources said, is on bringing in smaller parties that can add numbers — particularly in areas where the party is weaker than the ruling AIADMK.

The alternate plan at the moment is to cobble together an alliance that comprises of parties like Puthiya Thamizhagam, a Dalit party which has presence in south Tamil Nadu, and outfits like Nadalum Makkal Katchi, floated by actor Karthick, which has the support of a section of Thevars. This could help bring in votes in southern parts of the State where it is not as strong as the AIADMK, said party leaders. Leaders whom Express spoke to see the BJP’s hand in nudging Vijayakant to say no to the DMK. If these two former allies join hands as they suspect, it could fetch them more votes from the minority communities, the DMK leaders believe. The party already has a good relationship with the IUML, and hopes that the recent developments would strengthen this bond. Another section of the leaders believe that the four-party People’s Welfare Alliance may join hands with the DMDK, which they feel could split the votes against it between AIADMK and the PWA. In such a scenario, the focus should be on the manifesto and choosing candidates carefully, DMK leaders said.

Even as they put up a brave face on the DMDK’s announcement, second-rung leaders said they believe the party invested too heavily on Vijayakant.

The party leadership is concerned over the impact it will have on the morale of the cadre, as they were given hopes that the alliance was clinched with only a formal announcement pending.

The meeting at Karunanidhi’s residence was attended by his son and party treasurer M K Stalin and his half-sister and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi, senior leaders T R Baalu, Durai Murugan, A Raja among others. “Karunanidhi had invited the DMDK to join our front. But it is their decision to join the alliance or not. This certainly won’t affect the winning prospects of the DMK,” Stalin told reporters on Friday.

The hindu

The return of paternalism


It is generally agreed that theories of social democracy, in comparison to theories of formal political democracy, take cognisance of background inequalities that hamper the realisation of basic rights, prioritise neutralisation of social infirmities through redistributive justice, and concentrate on the recovery of dignity which is the due of human beings. The ultimate objective is to ensure that each citizen participates in the multiple transactions of society with confidence, and with the assurance that her ‘voice’ carries as much weight as her neighbour’s. That is, the transition from subject to agent can only be achieved if people are liberated from debilitating poverty and grinding illiteracy, malnutrition, hunger and homelessness. This is the essential precondition of citizen participation in democratic life. Once upon a time the leaders of India’s freedom struggle had some vision of what democracy was supposed to achieve: freedom, equality, dignity and justice. Over time political imaginations have withered, millions eke out a wretched and cheerless life, and our leaders focus on manufactured non-issues, such as anti-nationalism.

It wasn’t always so

Compare this lack of imagination to the prescience of the first generation leaders of the freedom struggle. In 1928, Pandit Motilal Nehru, the chairperson of a committee to draw up a draft constitution, observed, “We cannot believe that a future responsible government can ignore the claims of mass education, or the uplift of the submerged classes, or the social or economic reconstruction of village life in India.” Political power, he went on to remark, can be justified only by the institutionalisation of a comprehensive scheme of rights, including social and economic rights. The constitutional draft thereon incorporated a list of social rights in fundamental rights, for example the right to free elementary education. The draft obliged a future Parliament of independent India to enact laws for the maintenance of health and fitness of all citizens, secure a living wage, protect people against the economic consequences of old age, infirmity, and unemployment, ensure fair rent, and guarantee fixity and permanence of tenure for agricultural tenants.

The leadership had presciently gauged the pressing needs of Indian society in the early decades of the twentieth century. But when the time came to draft a Constitution it decided to drop social and economic entitlements, even though social and economic ill-being continued to wrack the lives of millions in 1947. In the Constituent Assembly rights that form the core of social democracy were demoted to the ‘Directive Principles of State Policy’.

Record in social policy

It was only in 2001 that a number of civil society organisations mobilised and began to demand that some of the Directive Principles be upgraded to legally enforceable rights. Backed by a supportive Supreme Court, the new political agenda gained traction. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition under the leadership of the Congress Party initiated in Parliament legislation on a number of social rights. The slew of social legislation prompted many scholars to ask whether social democracy had finally found its way to the country. We were not in the middle of a social revolution; many of the rights fell short of civil society demands, and in other cases goods to which citizens had rights were not provided by the government. But at least political attention shifted to zones of ill-being, where lives of our own people are blighted by multiple deprivations.

Matters changed dramatically with the 2014 general election. The agenda of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has not been precisely distinguished by concern for the poor. Politics is however unpredictable; and the party realised that it had underestimated the hold of entitlements on the popular psyche. Under attack by a parliamentary Opposition, and charged with being anti-poor, the government moved to repair its image as pro-rich. It declared the establishment of a social security regime and introduced some measures towards that end.

These schemes have aroused deep scepticism. For even as it encouraged the opening of bank accounts in order to benefit from insurance schemes, the government slashed expenditure on centrally sponsored social welfare schemes. Education, health, agriculture, livelihood security, food security, local self-government institutions, drinking water, and Scheduled Castes and Tribes sub-plans have been sorely affected by cutbacks in funds. According to the Central government, the onus falls upon the State governments who now receive an increased share of tax revenues. The record of State governments in social policy has, however, been uneven and untrustworthy.

A step backward

More worryingly, the government dismisses the rights-based discourse in development emphasised by civil society activists during the time of UPA-I and -II. Now we see the enactment of some sort of social policy ‘from above’.

The approach that governed welfare legislation in post-Second World War Europe, particularly Scandinavia, recognised the significance of a rights-based approach, because it grants status to citizens. The belief that citizens had intrinsic and inalienable rights to social goods, and that these rights placed an obligation on governments to provide access to these goods, ruled out paternalistic states and charity. The BJP government has decided to adopt the vocabulary of social security as part of governance and inclusiveness, in consonance with the East Asian experience. The move is a step backward, not forward, because what has been subverted is the standing of citizens as people who matter, and who should matter. They have now been turned into consumers of goods mandated by a paternalistic state.

Notably, social security schemes that the government proposes to implement demand investment not from a social democratic state, but from proposed beneficiaries. Contributory social insurance schemes are an accepted mode of welfare policies. The assumptions of this mode of policy are that (a) people need to be protected against unanticipated disasters, and (b) the existence of low to moderate poverty levels. These are hardly relevant to a country where over 300 million live in absolute poverty. The presumption that the poor should contribute to the betterment of their lives, or of that of their families after death, is both implausible and cynical. They have to be protected against the exigencies of daily life, and not only against unforeseen hazards or disasters. But it is precisely protection that is denied to the people of India by the present dispensation. Whatever remained of the social democratic imaginary has been firmly put to rest.

Above all, the present moment is marked by the marginalisation of civil society. The BJP government has neither any use for civil society activism, nor for the politics of dissent. This poses a problem for unlike Scandinavian countries, in India civil society activism filled in a gap created by the inability of trade unions to represent the interests of casual workers, poor peasants and landless labour. In the first decade of the 21st century, India generated a new model of social democracy, one propelled by civil society organisations.

Paying a price

The efficacy of civil society activism, however, depends on freedom and space. Ultimately the precondition of a civil society that strives to shape political agendas is a democratic state that welcomes the shaping and reshaping, the expansion and the deepening of the social democratic project. But this government is unlikely to abandon its open dislike of civil society. And the space of civil society has shrunk dramatically since the BJP came to power. The party prefers to legislate security schemes ‘from above’ rather than consult civil society activists, so we have rights but we do not have any assurance of what the status of the bearer of rights is, or will be. What we have by way of a nod to the basic inclinations of social democracy are social insurance policies from above. This subverts the entire project of social democracy: that of giving voice to the voiceless, or of enabling the transition from subject to agent. India has paid a heavy price for failing to institutionalise social democracy.

(Neera Chandoke is a former Professor

of Political Science, Delhi University.)

News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET

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