Saturday, December 16, 2017

India Breakup; Pakistan NGO Expulsions; Alabama Democrat Jones' Upset Win

Does Lord Meghnad Desai's question "A country of many nations, will India break up" raised in his latest book "The Raisina Model" make any sense? Why would India break up? What are the challenges to India's unity? Is there an identity crisis in India? Is it the power imbalance among Indian states? Is it growing income disparity among peoples and states? Is it religious, ethnic, caste and/or regional fault lines running through the length and breadth of India? Is it beef ban?

Growing Income Gap of Indian States. Source: Bloomberg

Why is Pakistan expelling dozens of foreign-funded NGOs? Is it the fall-out from Save The Children NGO's alleged collusion with the CIA in fake polio vaccination scheme to find Osama Bin Laden? Is it a general concern about the NGOs role in subverting and corrupting society as explained by Stephen Kinzer's book "The Brothers" about John Foster and Alan Dulles? Is it the State Department documents describing US-funded international NGOs as "force multipliers", "partners", "agents of change" and "an efficient path to advance our foreign policy goals"?

Map of India(s) on the eve of British conquest in 1764

How did Democrat Doug Jones' pull off a win in the US Senate race in deep red Alabama? Did the allegations of sexual harassment against Republican Roy Moore play a big role? Or was it the heavy turn out of black voters that overwhelmed the vast majority of white voters (65% of white women, 74% of white men) who voted for Roy Moore? Would the result have been different if more women voted for Moore? Does it save considerable embarrassment for the Senate Republicans to see an openly racist, Islamophobic, homophobic, pedophile Judge Rpy Moore lose in a state in the Deep South?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with Misbah Azam and Riaz Haq (

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Disintegration of India

Dalit Death Shines Light on India's Caste Apartheid

US Hypocrisy in Dr. Afridi Case

Who Killed Sabeen Mahmud?

Trump's Dog Whistle Politics

Funding of Hate Groups, NGOs, Think Tanks: Is Money Free Speech?

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel


Riaz Haq said...

Demand For #Meat, including #Beef, Is Growing Rapidly in #India. This Could Impact All Of Us. #Modi #Beefban #Hindutva #Islamophobia via @forbes

India is projected to be one of the largest growth areas for consumption in chicken, beef, and mutton. And while vegetarianism is often believed to be widespread in India, influenced by religion and other factors, the data seems to suggest otherwise.

According to the sample registration system (SRS) baseline survey 2014 released by the registrar general of India, 71 percent of Indians over the age of 15 are non-vegetarian. While that means 330 million of India’s 1.2 billion people are vegetarian, it obscures the fact that many are rapidly abandoning their vegetarian diet due to an increased desire for meat.

Higher meat consumption in India is not entirely surprising, as meat-heavy diets are often correlated with an increase in wealth. As the emerging market countries like India gain a larger share of the economic pie, the trend is likely to continue.

This is important for many reasons, as the world is already grappling with climate change and water scarcity. It takes over 8,000 liters of water to produce 1 kg of mutton and 4000 liters for 1 kg of chicken, which is significantly larger than that of plant-based protein. Chicken production also releases 25 times more CO2 than grain production per calorie.

Market Opportunity

While this all sounds quite sobering, it does afford opportunity for companies that provide the experience of eating meat, without the sustainability challenges.

Surprisingly, there's very little competition in the meat-alternative space in India, given the apparent market opportunity. Up until now, most of the product innovation has been occuring in the US and Europe. The food system is also quite fragmented in India. Unlike America, where it seems like Walmarts are everywhere, India is comprised of a vast network of small stores, making distribution more of a challenge.

One company does seem to be on the right track, and that is Good Dot. Based in India, Good Dot was founded by Abhishek Sinha (CEO of India), Stephanie Downs (CEO), and Deepak Parihar (CFO). They are leveraging their understanding of India’s complex distribution network to get their alt-meat products to consumers. Currently, their distribution includes 12 million members, 1.2 million distributors, and 7500 pick-up centers.

They’ve secured funding from the likes of New Crop Capital to roll out production of plant-based meats at a price below conventional meat ($1.75 per 250/g versus $2.00). In just three months, they sold half a million units, suggesting the kind of demand they'll need in order to scale throughout the country.

‘The meat industry is our biggest competitor. There are a few other options in the market (such as Ahimsa or Sunshine), but they don't look or taste like real meat and have very small distribution, even they have been around for awhile. We are the first to be focused on converting non-veg to veg, while the others cater to the veg market.’ - Co-founder Stephanie Downs

The sustainability challenges linked to the world's current eating habits are well documented. To make matters worse, the planet is expected to see it’s population grow to 9 billion people by 2050, largely because of India and other emerging market countries. If companies like Good Dot don’t succeed in helping consumers eat more sustainably in India and beyond, our ability to feed the planet is going to get a lot harder.

Riaz Haq said...

An Unfinished Revolution: A Hostage Crisis, Adivasi Resistance and the Naxal Movement review: From ground zero

A journalist’s troubled stories from the heartland
On March 14, 2012, two Italian tourists, Paolo Bosusco and Claudio Colangelo, were taken hostages by Naxalites in Kandhamal district of Odisha. During the month-long crisis, Kishalay Bhattacharjee was part of a team of journalists that engaged with Sabyasachi Panda, leader of the Maoist group, and facilitated the release of Colangelo.

This is the typical boots-on-the-ground reportage that takes a reader deep into the jungles of eastern India, where Maoists and mosquitoes swamp the anonymous lives of Adivasis. Bhattacharjee and a host of other TV reporters landed up in a small township, Daringbari, on the fringe of that forest in Kandhamal in 2012, in search of news on the two Italians who had been kidnapped.

And thus began an unusual saga that is one of the key highlights of this narrative. A small township bathed in harsh summer sun and poor mobile connectivity was now a key dateline. TV journalists were competing to do live telecasts, and one of those days Bhattacharjee and team slipped out into the forest.

Bhattacharjee places his entire experience against his growing up years of the 1970s and 1980s, when a wave of armed left-wing movements struck at the zamindars and police in various parts of India. What started in the Naxalbari village of West Bengal later became a fad among the restless youth of many campuses, and urban youth descended in dozens into the forests of central India. They were there to fight for the rights of the Adivasis, against the oppressive state.

The romance has all but disappeared. The movement of urban youth is now mostly populated by Adivasis, who are now its foot-soldiers.

This book is a sobering read about the reality of modern India. Across the wildly beating heart of this country, where tribals live in harmony with thick forests and wild animals, under which great mineral wealth is deposited, the nation is at war. The Adivasi is caught in the middle. Every actor in the theatre — extraction industry promoters and police, the Maoist fighters and the NGO activists, missionaries and religious leaders — is claiming that his actions will improve the lot of Adivasis. For now, however, there is only blood on their broken streets and sleepless nights. Unless peace returns to the heartland, India will never find its place among liberal democracies

Riaz Haq said...

What the Kulbhushan Jadhav Saga Reveals About India and Pakistan’s Balochistan Problems
India’s Quint published and deleted a story alleging that Jadhav was indeed spying for India. What does that tell us?

This weekend, a report in India surfaced that confirmed Kulbhushan Jadhav was an asset of Indian intelligence. Jadhav, a former Indian naval officer, is currently on death row in Pakistan for spying, having been captured in Balochistan in early 2016. Until now, New Delhi has publicly denied that Jadhav had any relationship with the Indian state since his retirement from the navy. To the contrary, New Delhi alleged that Jadhav was a legitimate businessman kidnapped from Iran by Pakistan’s intelligence services.

The “legitimate businessman” fa├žade has slowly been chipped away over 18 months. Leaving aside major complications in India’s story, such as Iran’s silence in the face of this ostensibly daring violation of its sovereignty, even reporters closely tied to India’s security establishment revealed that Jadhav offered to spy for Indian intelligence “several times” between 2010 and 2012, only to be rebuffed. What was new about this weekend’s report, however, was that for the first time, an Indian outlet essentially confirmed Pakistan’s version of events. In the report, both serving and retired Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) officers claimed that Jadhav was indeed spying for India in Balochistan.

The reaction was swift. Minutes after being published, the article was vociferously denounced by Indian journalists and analysts on social media, and in the comments section by readers, as being irresponsible and treacherous. Hours later, the article was taken down entirely. Though an archived version of the article still exists, there is otherwise no trace of it ever being written. The author and editor in question have not publicly explained why or how the article was published or taken down. There has been no follow up to the article’s startling admission by major newspapers or television channels.

South Asia is no stranger to the phenomenon of external actors intervening in their neighbors’ domestic conflicts. Most famously in 1971, during Pakistan’s civil war, India corralled, trained, and supplied the Mukti Bahini, which became strong enough to be one of the very few rebel groups to win a secessionist war and change an international border. Pakistan, for its part, has repeatedly sought to spark or fuel rebellion in Kashmir, most prominently in the early 1990s, as well as other secessionist hotspots, such as Punjab in the 1980s or the Indian northeast in the 1960s. Bangladesh and Myanmar have hosted militants targeting India’s northeast. India has returned the favor with each, and supported Tamil militants taking on the Sri Lankan state in the 1980s too.

Unlike India, the country most beset by secessionism, Pakistan does not have manifold separatist movements threatening its territorial integrity today. With the loss of East Pakistan in 1971, and the dampening of Sindhi and Pashtun nationalism in the last four decades, Pakistan finds itself much closer to Sri Lanka than its eastern neighbor: facing one, and only one, major separatist movement.

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian officials banned from #Sikh #Gurdwaras in #US, #UK and #Canada. #India News | Al Jazeera

Sikh religious organisations in Canada, the US, and the UK have banned Indian officials from making formal visits to temples in response to the arrest of a Sikh activist in India and what they call interference in their affairs.

Campaigners accuse India of torturing British Sikh
The ban started in Canada and spread to temples in the US and the UK, with more than 100 places of worship now involved.

Davinder Singh of the Sikh Federation UK, one of the organisations supporting the campaign, said that the ban would apply to official visits but not personal trips to temples.

The November arrest of British Sikh activist Jagtar Singh Johal by Indian authorities and "interference in Sikh affairs" by Indian officials had led to the move, he told Al Jazeera.

Johal was detained in the northern state of Punjab and accused of involvement in the killings of prominent Hindu figures.

His family has rejected the allegations against him, explaining that he was in India to get married.

Sikh activists say his arrest was politically motivated.

"People are really upset," said Davinder Singh. "If someone goes to India to get married, the last thing they expect is to be picked up and abducted, not to be charged, to be subject to third-degree torture.

"I think it's cases like this that got a reaction from the Sikh community."

1984 massacre
While Johal's arrest triggered the latest dispute between the Indian government and some members of the Sikh diaspora, tensions between the two sides date back decades.

In the summer of 1984, Indian troops battling Sikh fighters stormed Sikhism's holiest Gurdwara, the Golden Temple, leaving hundreds dead.

Later that year, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was shot dead by her Sikh bodyguards, who held her responsible for the bloodshed.

In the aftermath of Gandhi's death, thousands of Sikhs were killed as sectarian mobs targeted Sikhs in Punjab, and the Indian capital New Delhi.

Sikhs have described the killings as a genocide.

Riaz Haq said...

Celebrating Bhima Koregaon is unpatriotic? So why not other British victories in India too?
The Battle of Saragarhi is commemorated with a holiday in Punjab and the British Indian Army’s role in World War I is widely celebrated.

Is celebrating a British victory over an Indian kingdom unpatriotic?

It is, or so appears to have been the motivation, partly at least, behind the attack on Dalits by saffron flag-waving mobs in Bhima Koregaon village of Pune on New Year’s Day. The Dalits were commemorating a battle fought in 1818 as part of the Anglo-Maratha Wars. A small British force had engaged a much larger army commanded by the Peshwa, the head of the Maratha confederacy. The battle ended in a stalemate but given how outnumbered they were, the British took it as a sign of their army’s bravery.

A victory obelisk erected at the site later listed the names of the soldiers who had died fighting against the Peshwa, a substantial number of whom were Mahars, Maharashtra’s largest Dalit caste. In 1927, Dalit leader BR Ambedkar visited the obelisk, starting a tradition of commemorating the battle as a Mahar victory over the upper-caste Maratha confederacy.

Ambedkar’s reason for celebrating a British victory was simple: he characterised the Maratha confederacy as a socio-political system that brutally oppressed Dalits. Ambedkar recounted that any non-Brahmin reciting the Vedas would have his tongue cut out in the Peshwa kingdom. In the 1850s, a young Dalit girl in Jyotiba Phule’s school wrote that being buried alive was a common punishment for Dalits. For even as minor a caste transgression as passing by a talimkhana, or school, a Dalit’s “head was cut off playfully”.

The fall of the Peshwai was, therefore, a boon for Maharashtra’s Dalits. Ambedkar himself was a beneficiary of this. His parents came from army families and he grew up in a cantonment town, which allowed him access to education that would otherwise have been denied to him as a Dalit. In fact, a sixth of the East India Company’s armies in the Bombay Presidency until 1857 comprised of Mahars – a circumstance that was unthinkable in the strict caste system of the Maratha confedaracy.

Placed in this context, the Dalit celebration of the Bhima Koregaon battle seems rather logicial.

Different standards
In fact, Bhima Koregaon is not the only British victory celebrated in India. Sikhs, for example, celebrate the 1897 Battle of Saragarhi, when the British Indian army took on a large number of Pashtuns in what is now the Khyber Pakhtunwa province of Pakistan.

But, unlike Bhima Koregaon, celebrating Saragarhi has not been controversial. In fact, far from considered anti-national, celebrating the battle is seen as being in consonance with Indian nationalism. Its anniversary is marked as the Regimental Battle Honour Day for all battalions of the Indian Army’s Sikh regiment. The Punjab government has declared the anniversary a state-wide holiday. Bollywood is, at this moment, making as many as three films celebrating the battle.

What differentiates Bhima Koregaon and Saragarhi? Why is one battle commemorated by just a few thousand Dalits while the other is a state celebration? Why is celebrating only one of them anti-national?

All nationalisms strategically mine history in order to prop themselves up. Indian nationalism is no different. In Saragarhi, the villains were the tribal Pasthuns, a people who have little stake in the modern Indian Union. Moreover, in cases such as the 1576 Battle of Haldighati – where both sides were Indian – modern majoritarian narratives quite easily paint the Muslim side as the antagonist. Pratap, the ruler of a small principality, has got himself a statue in Parliament while his opponent in Haldighati, Akbar, probably the most powerful, and enlightened, ruler of his time, struggles to receive even a fraction of the attention.

Riaz Haq said...

Have #Hindutva forces in #India reignited the #Sikh #Khalistan movement overseas? #Modi #BJP … via @dailyo_

Indian embassy officials in North America and Europe have been banned by Sikh religious organisations from visiting gurdwaras of late. The move, aimed at "resisting Indian officials' interference in Sikh affairs" first started on the east coast of Canada and has now spread to the US and the UK. Not only Indian government officials, even RSS members have been asked not to enter gurdwaras. This development is an ominous sign for Delhi as it clearly indicates that the Sikh diaspora is coming together on an anti-India platform and is preparing to go back to its open support for an independent state for Sikhs.

Though Sikh militancy, demanding Khalistan, has somewhat disappeared from India in the mid-1990s, it still continues to exist and simmer among the Sikh diaspora. After Hindutva forces came to power in India, militancy got a fertile ground to re-emerge. More than eight million Sikhs, out of a total population of 30 million, live outside India. As the Sikh diaspora constitutes about 25 per cent of the total Sikh population, it has significant influence over the community's politics back home.

Punjab came to be seen as the Sikh homeland in the early 1900s with the rise of Sikh nationalism in British India as a reaction to the Muslim demand for a separate state. However, political mobilisation for this objective started only in the 1960s with the rise of a small group of Sikh separatists in the UK, US and Canada. The demand transformed into a full-scale violent secessionist movement for Khalistan in 1978 and continued until 1993. The Sikh diaspora played an active and crucial role in fomenting this insurgency, providing critical financial and political support, making public speeches and campaigning for the cause.

NRI Sikhs facilitated militants to travel to Pakistan to receive military training as well. After the Indian Army's attack on the Golden Temple in 1984, several groups came together to form the Khalistan government in exile. During that period, many separatist militant outfits such as Babbar Khalsa, the Khalistan Commando Force, the Khalistan Liberation Force, Bhindranwale Tiger Force of Khalistan, the Khalistan Liberation Organisation, and the International Sikh Youth Federation also mushroomed.

While events such as Operation Blue Star to flush out militants from the Sikh holy shrine in Amritsar and the anti-Sikh riots following the assassination of Indira Gandhi drew support for independence from both those in India and those living abroad, the ability to campaign abroad and harness international media resources enabled the diaspora to greatly influence the discourse on the movement.

While India used strong-arm tactics to muzzle the separatist movement in Punjab, it simultaneously pursued electoral politics to bring back dissenting Sikhs to the mainstream. Incidents of separatist violence started decreasing from 1994 onwards and that made Sikh militant groups largely defunct in India. However, these groups still have a political presence among the Sikh diaspora. Over the last two decades this group has been fighting in the name of justice and human rights.

Riaz Haq said...

Have #Hindutva forces in #India reignited the #Sikh #Khalistan movement overseas? #Modi #BJP … via @dailyo_

There are a number of gurdwaras in Europe and North America which continue to support and propagate separatist ideology by highlighting the issues of injustice and human rights abuse by India in 1980s and 1990s at various public and private forums and collect funds and funnel them into a variety of sympathetic organisations in Punjab. Besides fund raising, many of these gurdwaras display photos of militants killed in Punjab conflict and observe remembrance days such as Operation Blue Star and the post-Indira Gandhi assassination Sikh massacres to keep the memory of the struggle alive.


With Narendra Modi becoming Prime Minister, the diaspora comprising Hindus has become more vocal about its backing for a Hindutva ideology. In the West, Hindu revivalism among the diaspora has been gathering strength since the Ayodhya movement, but has now assumed a powerful political shape. This has made Indian from other communities living abroad insecure. By backing Hindu revivalism among those living abroad, Modi seems to have instigated the Sikh diaspora to mobilise again to promote a separate Sikh identity and demand a separate homeland.

In the 2017 election in Punjab, a large number of Sikhs settled abroad came back to India to campaign for their favourite candidates, particularly of parties opposing BJP and its coalition partner Akali Dal. Diaspora usually enjoys a superior social status in Punjab.

Due to its access to wealth and information, NRI Sikhs started hoping to influence not only the voting behaviour of members from their community in Punjab, but also to recreate the support for secessionist movement. Through personal connections, travel and the use of information technology, the Sikh diaspora hope to reshape the political identity of Sikhs and mobilise them again to support their struggle for a separate statehood.

The Sikh diaspora has not only become a major actor in its homeland politics, it is also playing an active role in the politics of many host countries. Growing numbers and economic success has helped hardliner Sikhs to join active politics in many Western countries. In the UK election in June 2017, Sikh diaspora worked overtime to get a turban wearing MP elected to the British Parliament for the first time. Four Sikhs are now in Canada's cabinet and according to the chief minister of Punjab, Amrinder Singh, they are all Khalistan sympathisers. A Sikh legislator in the Ontario has successfully managed to get the support of the House to recognise 1984 anti-Sikh riots following the assassination of Indira Gandhi as genocide. A turban wearing Sikh, Jagmit Singh, is now the leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada and a potential prime ministerial candidate in his country. Sikhs in Canada accuse RSS of doing all it can to sabotage Jagmit Singh's election as party leader.

There has been an increased lobbying by the Sikh diaspora in the US Congress to declare the 1984 anti-Sikh riot as "genocide". There is a growing campaign by Sikh organisations existing abroad to amend Article 25(2) (b) of the Indian Constitution, which declares Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists as part of Hinduism. There are reports that Sikh and Kashmiri militants living in Europe have revived their ties.

The idea for an independent Sikh state is being reignited not from the people or political parties of Punjab, but by Sikh expatriates. The politics of "one nation, one religion, and one leader" by Hindutva nationalistic forces have provided the Sikh diaspora an opportunity to once again mobilise support at home for the cause of Khalistan. India needs to do something before it gets too late.

Riaz Haq said...

‘#Hindi imposition isn’t nationalism, #India isn’t #China’: India’s #Language Divide

How can we make politicians and people from the Hindi-belt understand that many states in India are subjected to Hindi imposition, and that it is wrong?

At the ongoing India Today Conclave South 2018 in Hyderabad, former Human Resource Development Minister MM Pallam Raju, Congress Spokesperson Brijesh Kalappa, actor Prakash Belawadi and Kerala-based writer NS Madhavan, tried their hand at explaining why the south is peeved with the Centre’s push for Hindi.

Titled 'The Language Divide: Whose Hindi is it?’, the panel discussion was moderated by senior India Today journalist Rahul Kanwal.

Why must promoting Hindi be equated with nationalism?

Promoting Hindi as ‘rashtra bhasha’ or as the main Indian language is often justified in the garb of nationalism. But Prakash Belawadi called that out and said that those two did not necessarily go hand in hand.

“The idea of Hindi imposition and to conflate it with nationalism is entirely bogus. It’s not correct,” he said.

NS Madhavan also pointed out how attempts to impose Hindi were being made subtly. "After demonetisation, when the new currencies were printed, Hindi numerals were used. This is against the official language policy of Government of India. A person from Tamil Nadu went to the High Court on this issue. We can understand speaking Hindi or even the letters but placing Hindi numerals on national currency is imposition," said the writer.

Prakash also questioned why a country should have just one dominant language. "The idea is an archaic one,” he said, “It is not about being anti-Hindi, it is about equity. It is about common sense. In Karnataka, if bank forms don’t have Kannada, and people who have studied till class 10 go to a bank, they feel illiterate. Their primary education has been in Kannada medium. Why do you impose a situation, where you make people feel inadequate in their own place?”

Critiquing justifications to promote Hindi

Moderator Rahul brought up the example of China, and how it is used by people to further justify the promotion of Hindi. “Even though many dialects are spoken in China, they push for one language, and that becomes a global showcase. People in the world then learn Mandarin in hopes that they can do better business with China,” he said.

MM Pallam Raju replied that it is not a fair comparison as "China works in an autocratic manner". "I think India’s greatest strength has been its soft power – it has arisen from its heritage, culture. Those are the strengths we should encourage. Every language has its subtle nuances which relate to its unique identity and I think that’s what makes India great,” he said.

Raju however refused to draw a political correlation to the imposition of Hindi and said that any attempts to thrust Hindi upon Indians will be met by resistance.

Why Hindi, why not another language?

Rahul asked Madhavan why there wasn’t a strong anti-Hindi sentiment in Kerala as there had been witnessed in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Madhavan explained that people in Kerala had had to learn Hindi in the past decade or so because there were over 30 lakh Hindi-speakers in the state, who were mostly employed in manual labour. “So to communicate with them, we need to learn Hindi. But this doesn’t mean that the feeling of Hindi being imposed on other parts of the country is not there,” he said.

Riaz Haq said...

India's Richest 1% Cornered 73% Of Wealth Generated Last Year: Oxfam Survey
Besides, 67 crore Indians comprising the population's poorest half saw their wealth rise by just 1 per cent, as per the survey released by the international rights group Oxfam.

Besides, 67 crore Indians comprising the population's poorest half saw their wealth rise by just 1 per cent, as per the survey released by the international rights group Oxfam hours before the start of the annual congregation of the rich and powerful from across the world in this resort town.

The situation appears even grimmer globally, where 82 per cent of the wealth generated last year worldwide went to the 1 per cent, while 3.7 billion people that account for the poorest half of population saw no increase in their wealth.

The annual Oxfam survey is keenly watched and is discussed in detail at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting where rising income and gender inequality is among the key talking points for the world leaders.

Last year's survey had showed that India's richest 1 per cent held a huge 58 per cent of the country's total wealth higher than the global figure of about 50 per cent.

This year's survey also showed that the wealth of India's richest 1 per cent increased by over Rs. 20.9 lakh crore during 2017 -- an amount equivalent to total budget of the central government in 2017-18, Oxfam India said.

The report titled 'Reward Work, Not Wealth', Oxfam said, reveals how the global economy enables wealthy elite to accumulate vast wealth even as hundreds of millions of people struggle to survive on poverty pay.
"2017 saw an unprecedented increase in the number of billionaires, at a rate of one every two days. Billionaire wealth has risen by an average of 13 per cent a year since 2010 -- six times faster than the wages of ordinary workers, which have risen by a yearly average of just 2 per cent," it said.

In India, it will take 941 years for a minimum wage worker in rural India to earn what the top paid executive at a leading Indian garment firm earns in a year, the study found.

In the US, it takes slightly over one working day for a CEO to earn what an ordinary worker makes in a year, it added.

Citing results of the global survey of 120,000 people surveyed in 10 countries, Oxfam said it demonstrates a groundswell of support for action on inequality and nearly two-thirds of all respondents think the gap between the rich and the poor needs to be urgently addressed.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi attending the WEF meeting in Davos, Oxfam India urged the Indian government to ensure that the country's economy works for everyone and not just the fortunate few.

It asked the government to promote inclusive growth by encouraging labour-intensive sectors that will create more jobs; investing in agriculture; and effectively implementing the social protection schemes that exist.

Oxfam also sought sealing of the "leaking wealth bucket" by taking stringent measures against tax evasion and avoidance, imposing higher tax on super-rich and removing corporate tax breaks.

The survey respondents in countries like the US, UK and India also favoured 60 per cent pay cut for CEOs.

The key factors driving up rewards for shareholders and corporate bosses at the expense of workers' pay and conditions, Oxfam said, include erosion of workers' rights; excessive influence of big business over government policymaking; and the relentless corporate drive to minimise costs in order to maximise returns to shareholders.

About India, it said the country added 17 new billionaires last year, taking the total number to 101. The Indian billionaires' wealth increased to over Rs. 20.7 lakh crore -- increasing during last year by Rs. 4.89 lakh crore, an amount sufficient to finance 85 per cent of the all states' budget on health and education.

Riaz Haq said...

India Ranks Below China, Pakistan On This World Economic Forum Index
Norway remains the world's most inclusive advanced economy, while Lithuania again tops the list of emerging economies, the World Economic Forum said.

Davos: India was today ranked at the 62nd place among emerging economies on an Inclusive Development Index, much below China's 26th position and Pakistan's 47th.

Norway remains the world's most inclusive advanced economy, while Lithuania again tops the list of emerging economies, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said while releasing the yearly index here before the start of its annual meeting, to be attended by several world leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump.

The index takes into account the "living standards, environmental sustainability and protection of future generations from further indebtedness", the WEF said. It urged the leaders to urgently move to a new model of inclusive growth and development, saying reliance on GDP as a measure of economic achievement is fuelling short-termism and inequality.

India was ranked 60th among 79 developing economies last year, as against China's 15th and Pakistan's 52nd position.

The 2018 index, which measures progress of 103 economies on three individual pillars -- growth and development; inclusion; and inter-generational equity -- has been divided into two parts. The first part covers 29 advanced economies and the second 74 emerging economies.

The index has also classified the countries into five sub-categories in terms of the five-year trend of their overall Inclusive Development Growth score -- receding, slowly receding, stable, slowly advancing and advancing.

Despite its low overall score, India is among the ten emerging economies with 'advancing' trend. Only two advanced economies have shown 'advancing' trend.

Among advanced economies, Norway is followed by Ireland, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Denmark in the top five.

Small European economies dominate the top of the index, with Australia (9) the only non-European economy in the top 10. Of the G7 economies, Germany (12) ranks the highest. It is followed by Canada (17), France (18), the UK (21), the US (23), Japan (24) and Italy (27).

The top-five most inclusive emerging economies are Lithuania, Hungary, Azerbaijan, Latvia and Poland.

Performance is mixed among BRICS economies, with the Russian Federation ranking 19th, followed by China (26), Brazil (37), India (62) and South Africa (69).

Of the three pillars that make up the index, India ranks 72nd for inclusion, 66th for growth and development and 44th for inter-generational equity.

The neighbouring countries ranked above India include Sri Lanka (40), Bangladesh (34) and Nepal (22). The countries ranked better than India also include Mali, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Ghana, Ukraine, Serbia, Philippines, Indonesia, Iran, Macedonia, Mexico, Thailand and Malaysia.

Although China ranks first among emerging economies in GDP per capita growth (6.8 per cent) and labour productivity growth (6.7 per cent) since 2012, its overall score is brought down by lacklustre performance on inclusion, the WEF said. It found that decades of prioritising economic growth over social equity has led to historically high levels of wealth and income inequality and caused governments to miss out on a virtuous circle in which growth is strengthened by being shared more widely and generated without unduly straining the environment or burdening future generations.

Riaz Haq said...

#Khalistan resurrected! #Sikh diaspora ‘at war’ with #India!! Ban #Indian officials from #gurdwaras!!! via @ThePrintIndia

Sikh groups in Canada, the US and UK openly support a separate Sikh nation, and Indian security agencies believe they are trying to revive militancy in Punjab.

Chandigarh: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, on his first visit to India this month, is expected to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. The Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which manages this holiest of Sikh shrines, is all set to lay the red carpet for him, for in Sikhism, the house of the Guru is open to all.

But the irony of his visit to the Golden Temple will hardly be lost on anyone, least of all on the Indian government and consular officials accompanying Trudeau, considering that last month they were banned from entering gurudwaras in Canada. Some local gurudwara committees decided they needed to “protect” their followers from the “interference” of Indian government officials.

The ban was infectious. A fortnight later, a host of gurudwara bodies echoed the ban in the US, and now the Sikh Federation UK (SFUK) is trying its best to invoke a similar embargo in Britain and Europe.


Trudeau’s cabinet to blame?

Trudeau’s Sikh minister Amarjeet Sohi was arrested in 1988 under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (known as TADA) and remained in jail for over 21 months in India before being released for lack of evidence.

Canadian defence minister Harjit Sajjan’s parents are believed to be closely associated with the World Sikh Organisation, a Sikh advocacy group which supports the Khalistani movement.

Last year, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh refused to meet Sajjan when he visited Punjab in April, and has been exhorting the Canadian government to come clean on the issue of supporting Khalistanis.

“Captain Amarinder has sought a one-to-one meeting with Trudeau during his visit to Punjab to underline his concerns,” said Raveen Thukral, the CM’s media adviser.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi too is said to have taken up the matter of Khalistani movements playing out on Canadian soil with Trudeau, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meet in Davos last month.

Expanding to the UK

The SFUK, which claims to be “the first ever Sikh political party in UK”, spearheaded a viral social media campaign to save 30-year-old British Sikh national Jagtar Singh Johal alias Jaggi, arrested by the Punjab police in November.

Jaggi was arrested for allegedly furthering the cause of Sikh militants that is suspected to have led to seven murders, including those of Hindu Right-wing leaders in Punjab in the past two years. According to the police, he was a crucial link between Sikh militants living in Britain, Germany, Canada and Pakistan, and their men in Punjab.

Created in 2003, the SFUK is suspected to be the successor to the separatist outfit Indian Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) created in 1984. It was proscribed as a terrorist organisation in 2001 by London. In March 2016, Britain lifted the ban on ISYF following intense pressure from the SFUK. Sikh MPs Preet Gill and Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, who were supported by the federation during their elections in June, were among the first to ask the British High Commission to intervene in the Jaggi issue. New Delhi has recently asked London to consider banning SFUK.

The situation in the US

Last week, Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), a rights group based in the US, “invited” gangsters operating in Punjab to fight for the Sikh cause. The SFJ’s legal adviser Gurpatwant Singh Pannun put out a video message, saying gangsters should not waste their lives. “Instead, work for the Khalsa panth and your name will be written in golden letters and remembered for centuries,” he said.

Riaz Haq said...

The Russians Tried to Destabilize American Politics the Same Way They’ve Destabilized Their Own

Among the many striking passages in special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment against the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency and other Russian individuals for interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election is the description of how the defendants allegedly sponsored both pro- and anti-Trump rallies shortly after his election:

After the election of Donald Trump in or around November 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators used false U.S. personas to organize and coordinate U.S. political rallies in support of the president-elect Trump, while simultaneously using other false U.S. personas to organize and coordinate U.S. political rallies protesting the results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. For example, in or around November 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators organized a rally in new York through on ORGANIZATION-controlled group designed to “show your support for President-Elect Donald Trump” held on or about November 12, 2016. At the same time, Defendants and their co-conspirators, through another ORGANIZATION-controlled group, organized a rally in New York called “Trump is NOT my President” held on or about November 12, 2016. Similarly, Defendants and their co-conspirators organized a rally entitled “Charlotte Against Trump” in Charlotte, North Caroline, held on or about November 19, 2016.

The notion of backing both the president and his ostensible opponents simultaneously is one that feels very reminiscent of Russia’s own “managed democracy.”

Specialists known as “political technologists” have been a feature of politics in Russia and other former Soviet countries since the early post-Communist parties. They are not quite the same as the “spin doctors” of democratic politics, or the blunter propagandists of totalitarian systems. Rather than just promoting their own favored candidates, they manufacture entire political narratives, including opposition, to keep them in power. As the British scholar Andrew Wilson puts it in his book Virtual Politics, the technologists act as “political meta-programmers, system designers, decision-makers, and political controllers all in one, applying whatever technology they can to the construction of politics as a whole.”

There’s some similarity to proud American political traditions like “astroturfing”—manufacturing fake grassroots movements—or “ratfucking,” using dirty tricks to undermine or discredit your opponents. (Roger Stone, confidant of Nixon and later Trump, is famous for doing things like sending donations to Nixon’s Republican rivals in the name of the Young Socialists Alliance. But the Russian variant is more precise and comprehensive.)

The best known political technologist today is Putin’s Tupac- and Allen Ginsberg–loving aide and chief ideologue Vladislav Surkov. Journalist Peter Pomerantsev describes the methods of Putin’s “grey cardinal” as follows:

One moment Surkov would fund civic forums and human-rights NGOs, the next he would quietly support nationalist movements that accuse the NGOs of being tools of the West. With a flourish he sponsored lavish arts festivals for the most provocative modern artists in Moscow, then supported Orthodox fundamentalists, dressed all in black and carrying crosses, who in turn attacked the modern-art exhibitions

Surkov recently took his postmodern provocateur act to a new extreme by writing a novel under a pseudonym (he denied, unconvincingly, being the author) that satirizes the Russian political system he himself created, then attacking the author under his own name in print.

Riaz Haq said...

We don’t have to fear that Pakistan will split up India – we’ll do it ourselves
March 8, 2018, 3:43 PM IST Jug Suraiya in Juggle-Bandhi

One of the main obstacles to finding a lasting solution to the ‘Kashmir problem’, as it’s long been tagged, is that India fears that the Pakistani demand for an ‘azad Kashmir’ is only Islamabad’s first move in its ultimate aim at balkanising India, splitting it into small states the way it was before Independence.

This suspicion of Pakistani ‘salami tactics’ of slicing up India is what makes New Delhi even more wary than it would otherwise have been of granting any further concessions regarding greater autonomy for Kashmir.

Indeed, ever since India and Pakistan were created, Islamabad has always wanted to split up India. This resolve has been strengthened after 1971, and the transformation of East Pakistan into Bangladesh, which would not have happened without India’s help.
But despite this we shouldn’t really fear Pakistan’s designs of splitting us up. For the simple reason that we’re increasingly likely to do this ourselves, without external intervention.

Even as the saffron right wing espouses a Hindu-Hindi supra-nationalism, an equal an opposite force of sub-nationalism, or regionalism, has gained greater force and stridency.

Following the exposure of the PNB scam, yet another parliamentary log jam was created, with the opposition assailing the NDA government about the Rs 12,000 crore fraud, and the treasury benches retaliating by flank attacking the Congress by bringing up the charges of bribery levelled against the son of the former finance minister, P Chidambaram.

Meanwhile, Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP has threatened to walk out of its alliance with the NDA as its demands for a special status for Andhra have not been met, as promised.

Another increasingly restive ally of the BJP, the Shiv Sena, added to the din in Parliament by demanding classical status for the Marathi language.

The revived talk about forming a non-Congress, anti-BJP ‘Third Front’ to fight the 2019 general elections will further strengthen the growing assertion of regionalism.

With the prime minister more busy on whirlwind campaigning tours of the country, it’s anyone’s guess as to who, and how, India is being run.

Pakistan should be pleased. It seems to have been relieved of the chore of balkanising us, a task which we appear to have taken up for ourselves. Jai Hind. Or, Jai many Hinds?

Riaz Haq said...

India’s north-south fissures deepen over national budgeting
Southerners feel penalised for progress as the political agenda is set by the north

These fissures are being laid bare in a fierce debate over the allocation of public resources to states, in a once-in-every-five years budgeting exercise. They are likely to intensify over the next decade when India redraws its parliamentary map. For decades, New Delhi has allocated funds and parliament seats based on states’ population data from the 1971 census, before the mixed results of its family planning drive sent them on radically different demographic trajectories.

But Narendra Modi’s government, whose core support lies in the Hindi heartland, has decided the 2011 census should be used as the basis for resource allocation over the next five years. This process and parliamentary redistricting due by 2026 are likely to see affluent southern states lose out financially and politically, due to their diminishing demographic weight after years of promoting small families. Money and parliamentary seats will be diverted to the more populous north. Southerners are up in arms.

“This is something being done by the northerners for the northerners,” says Krishnamurthy Subramanian, a finance professor at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad. “There is a sense of unfairness. Why are we being penalised for doing good things?” He adds: “Northern states will end up benefiting from their profligacy.”

Tension over resource transfers — both within and between nations — are a growing cause of global friction. They have an extra edge in India, where a population as ethnically and linguistically diverse as Europe’s coexists in a single state.

India’s north undoubtedly faces severe challenges. But if redistribution is not perceived as fair, it may unleash dangerous resentment. And tackling northern India’s problems will take more than money. There are lessons to be learnt from Hyderabad’s success: if you lay a strong foundation, investors and prosperity will come.

Riaz Haq said...

1) NGOs undermine, divert, and replace autonomous mass organizing.

NGOs have come to occupy a central role in social movements and political activism in the US and elsewhere —what Arundhati Roy calls the “NGO-ization of resistance.”

Sincere people often believe that they will be able to “get paid to do good,” but this is a fantasy. Nina Power writes that “there is no longer any separation between the private realm and the working day,” contending that “the personal is no longer just political, it’s economic through and through.” While she does not explicitly make this connection herself, the mushrooming of “social justice” and political NGOs is a good example of the erosion of this separation.

For those of us involved in organizing, there is an eerily familiar pattern: Some atrocity happens, outraged people pour into the streets, and once together, someone announces a meeting to follow up and continue the struggle. At this meeting, several experienced organizers seem to be in charge. These activists open with radical language and offer to provide training and a regular meeting space. They seem to already have a plan figured out, whereas everyone else has barely had time to think about the next step. The activists exude competence, explaining—with diagrams—how to map out potential allies, as they craft a list of specific politicians to target with protests.

They formulate simplistic “asks” to “build confidence with a quick win” and anyone who suggests a different approach — perhaps one involving the voices of people other than the mysterious default leaders — is passive-aggressively ignored. Under their guidance, everyone mobilizes to occupy some institution or the office of a politician, or to hold a march and rally. The protest is loud and passionate and seems quite militant, yet, the next thing you know, you find yourself knocking on a stranger’s door, clipboard in hand, hoping to convince them to vote in the next election.

There are certainly variations on this theme, but the central point remains: NGOs exist to undermine mass struggle, divert it into reformist dead ends, and supplant it. For example, at many “Fight for $15” demonstrations in Miami, the vast majority of participants were paid activists, employees of NGOs, CBOs (Community Based Organizations), and union staff seeking potential members. Similarly, some Black Lives Matter protests in Miami have been led and largely populated by paid activists who need to demonstrate that they are “organizing the community” in order to win their next grant.

Activism is being capitalized and professionalized. Instead of organizing the masses to fight for their interests, NGOs use them for their own benefit. Instead of building a mass movement, they manage public outrage. Instead of developing radical or revolutionary militants, they develop paid but ineffective activists along with passive recipients of assistance.

2) NGOs are a tool of imperialism.

Military invasions, or the threat of invasion, still play an indispensable role in aiding imperialist1 countries in their quest to extract and exploit resources and labor in the global periphery. But the “boots on the ground” tactic has more and more become a measure of last resort in a broader, more comprehensive strategy of control that today also includes less costly and socially disruptive methods.

NGOs, like missionaries, are used to penetrate an area to prepare favorable conditions for agribusiness for export, sweatshops, resource mines, and tourist playgrounds. While these days military action is usually characterized (at least to the home population) as a humanitarian intervention, the ostensibly humanitarian character of NGOs seems to justify itself. But it is essential to apply the same critical eye to NGO interventions that we do to military interventions.

Riaz Haq said...

What were we smoking then?
Pritish Nandy
1 August, 2018
We’ve voted to power people who believe intellectuals must be shot, minorities packed off, and Dalits and farmers don’t count for anything. Will we make the same choice in 2019?

Last Thursday, a BJP MLA from Karnataka, Basanagouda Patil Yatnal declared at a Kargil Vijay Diwas function that India was facing a grave danger from within, from its intellectuals and liberals who were nothing but a drain on the State. They were all, he said, anti-nationals and had he been the home minister, he would tell the police to line them up and shoot them.

Luckily, he is not. But, well, four intellectuals, including journalist Gauri Lankesh, have already been shot dead in Karnataka and neighboring Maharashtra. No, not by the police but by hired assassins — hired by those who, I presume, think like Yatnal. All of these four were respected figures — and five others are currently living under police protection in Karnataka because it is believed they could be the next targets.

Yatnal is the same guy who had said earlier, in a viral video, that his party corporators will not work for Muslims, that burkha-clad women and men who wear skull-caps should not follow him around. For he will only work for Hindus. He is not alone. We have heard similar views from some others in his party who see thinking people, liberals, seculars, minorities, farmers, Dalits and tribals and women as their enemy, people to be put down. They may say it in different ways but it is clear that such people offend them, as also do those who speak the language of modern science. For them, these are The Others — and they must be taught a lesson in nationalism.

They want to change the textbooks, too. If they had their way, the Mughal period would vanish from our history. So would the British rule. In Rajasthan’s class X textbooks, students are being taught that Maharana Pratap won the battle of Haldighati, while others elsewhere learn that he lost to Akbar’s army. Akbar himself has been erased from Rajasthan’s textbooks, where he was once extolled as a great Mughal emperor. Another leader fighting for his existence is Tipu Sultan who died fighting the British. He has been designated a villain, black as black can be, and every attempt is now being made to wipe out his legacy.

But it’s not just the history books. They also disapprove of Darwin. The junior minister of HRD, the ministry in charge of the schools and colleges where our children study, has sworn to take Darwin’s theory of human evolution off textbooks because he claims “nobody, including our ancestors, in written or oral, have said they saw an ape turning into a man”. (I presume the next target will be Einstein for, by the same logic, no one has actually seen ‘e’ become ‘mc’ squared.) But Satyapal Singh, a former top cop who often boasts he is the most educated man in the ministry, is not alone. There are many more in his party who are in a tearing hurry. They are in a hurry to change our Constitution. They are in a hurry to pack off Muslims to Pakistan — and, now, Bangladesh. They are in a hurry to stop all inter-caste, inter-faith marriages. They are in a hurry to stop Dalits from going horse-back to their weddings. They are in a hurry to take the Mahatma off the pedestal and replace him with his assassins.

We even have a governor in Tripura who described the killing of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 as positive action. The chief minister of Tripura is no less. He has advised the youth of his state not run after government jobs but to stay at home and milk cows or open paan shops. He wants only civil engineers in the civil service for their qualifications match the job.

Riaz Haq said...

#Tamil #Dravidian #DMK Leader Stalin : Will Support Formation of Separate Country if #Southern States Want to Break Away From #India #Modi #BJP | India News,

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) working president MK Stalin on Saturday said that he would support if the southern states demand the formation of a separate country ‘Dravida Nadu’. He said that he would welcome any situation in which the southern states demand to break away from India.

“If such a situation comes, it would be welcome. We hope that such a situation arises,” Stalin said in Erode,” he said, The Hindu reported.

Dismissing Stalin’s comments, RK Nagar MLA and ousted AIADMK Deputy General Secretary TTV Dhinakaran said that the route DMK leader has taken, will lead him nowhere. “First let him focus on Cauvery issue, what has he done in all these years when he was in power? He should use his influence to solve the matter, he is taking a route which leads nowhere,” he said.

P Maniarasan, the leader of the Tamil Desiya Periyakkam, said, “If he is really serious about creating Dravidanadu, let him visit the neighbouring states and muster support,” adding, “s he ready to include the proposal in the election manifesto of his party? Is he ready to convene a special general council of the DMK to propagate the idea?” The Hindu reported.

Stalin later said that he didn’t mean that he would start a campaign for the formation of Dravida Nadu but was merely answering a question. “Yes I had made remarks on Dravida Nadu but it was only after I was asked a question on it, but this does not mean that I am undertaking campaign for Dravida Nadu,” Stalin said.

Stalin’s comment has come merely a week after two southern Chief Ministers complained that southern states contribute more to the taxes than it gets in return.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's #Maharashtra state ruling party Shiv Sena's warning to #Modi: “If the Central government does not realise that they are harming people for political gains, it will not take much time for States in our country to break away like the Soviet Union"

Relations between the Centre and Maharashtra have been on a slow decline for a while. But, on December 27, Saamna, the Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece, carried a more-than-usual vitriolic attack on the Centre in its editorial, saying that the way the Central government was running the country could result in States breaking away, as it happened in the erstwhile Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The editorial said: “If the Central government does not realise that they are harming people for political gains, it will not take much time for States in our country to break away like the Soviet Union. The year 2020 has to be looked at, creating a question mark on the capacity and credibility of the central government.”

The editorial expressed disapproval at the manipulations of the Centre in the politics of the States. It said that Kailash Vijayvargiya, national general secretary, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had disclosed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made a determined attempt to destabilise the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in Madhya Pradesh. Commenting on this, Saamna said: “What if our Prime Minister is taking a special interest in destabilising State governments? The Prime Minister belongs to the country. The country stands as a federation. Even the States which do not have BJP governments, those States also talk about national interest. This feeling is being killed.”

The editorial pointed a finger at the Centre, saying the same tactics were being used to try and overthrow the Trinamool Congress’ Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal. “Political defeats in a democracy are very common,” the editorial censoriously said, “but the way Central government is being used to oust Mamata Banerjee is painful.”

With its typical brand of anger and sarcasm, the editorial pointed out the hypocrisies of the Centre. “Large-scale rallies and roadshows are going on and the country’s Home Minister is leading it. At the same time, night curfew is required in States like Maharashtra to avoid congestion in the context of coronavirus. The rulers break the rules and the public has to pay.” Another example of such hypocrisy, it said, was the manner in which the Modi government had overextended itself to help Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami and the actress Kangana Ranaut recently.

Riaz Haq said...

In an interview on BBC's Hard Talk with Indian journalist Karan Thapar in 1999, ex Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh: "Great Nations like the Soviet Union have perished. If we continue to mis manage our economy and continue to divide our country on the basis of religion, caste or other sectarian issues there is a danger of that sort of thing happening".

Riaz Haq said...

Book Excerpt (Aakar Patel's Price of the Modi Years): The Many Anti-Muslim Laws Brought in By the Modi Government
While the Citizenship Amendment Act rightly was criticised around the world for specifically targeting Muslims along with the NRC pincer, other laws India has passed since 2014 have not received as much notice.

These are those laws the Modi years have given us:

1. The Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 2015

Under this law anyone found in possession of beef would be jailed for up to five years. It also banned the slaughter of bulls, bullocks and calves in addition to the existing ban on cow slaughter.

2. The Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act, 2015

Possession of beef punishable by up to five years in jail. Sale of cows for slaughter to another state punishable by seven years in jail. Cow slaughter would attract jail of up to 10 years. The burden of proof would be on the accused.

3. The Gujarat Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 2017

This law extended the punishment for cow slaughter from seven years to life. It allows permanent forfeiture of vehicles transporting animals except under prescribed conditions. It also increased the fine from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. Minister of state for home Pradipsinh Jadeja said the logic was to equal cow slaughter with murder.

4. The Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Ordinance, 2020 repealed the 1964 law which allowed the slaughter of bullocks.

It made cow slaughter punishable by up to seven years. Purchase, sale, disposal or transport of cattle outside the state except in prescribed manner would be punishable by five years in jail. Fines of up to Rs 10 lakh are also imposed.

The Maharashtra law has this clause: “9B. Burden of proof on accused. In any trial … the burden of proving that the slaughter, transport, export outside the State, sale, purchase or possession of flesh of cow, bull or bullock was not in contravention of the provisions of this Act shall be on the accused.”

Meaning that you are guilty unless you can prove yourself innocent. If you are found with a bloody knife next to a corpse, you are presumed innocent. It is the State that has to demonstrate that you committed murder. But if you are found with or found near meat and accused of possessing beef you are presumed guilty of possessing beef till you disprove this to the satisfaction of the State. This is an invitation to violence. Two weeks after Maharashtra, on 17 March 2015, Haryana under the BJP passed its law criminalising possession of beef. The law has this section: ‘No person shall directly or indirectly sell, keep, store, transport or offer for sale or cause to be sold beef or beef products.’ Burden of proof was reversed here also. Punishment is up to five years.

While the Citizenship Amendment Act rightly was criticised around the world for specifically targeting Muslims along with the NRC pincer, other laws India has passed since 2014 have not received as much notice. The judiciary has been supine and allowed a de facto Hindu Rashtra to emerge through legislation. These laws have been written and passed and are being applied across India, targeting Indian Muslims, brutalising them constantly, while a demented media and a bored public have looked away.

Aakar Patel is Chair of Amnesty International India and author of Our Hindu Rashtra. His Price of the Modi Years will be released on November 14.

Riaz Haq said...

Has Modi Pushed Indian Democracy Past Its Breaking Point?
With the media and judiciary already under attack, the Prime Minister’s main opponent was just banned from Parliament.

New Yorker's Isaac Chotiner: Modi is probably the most popular leader in the world. His party has amassed incredible power to a degree not seen in India in many decades. Yet, at the state level, especially in the south, you see regional parties keeping the B.J.P. out of power. How has this been possible?

Christophe Jaffrelot: He’s not as popular as he claims. The B.J.P. never got more than thirty-seven per cent of the vote nationally. They control half a dozen big states, and most of them are in the Hindi Heartland. [These are states in the northern and central parts of the country.] If you look at the periphery, if you look at the states which are outside the Hindi Heartland—they do not control Tamil Nadu and they will never control Tamil Nadu. They do not control Kerala and they will never control Kerala. Look at West Bengal and Punjab, and even Maharashtra, which is not a finished story. There is a kind of exaggeration of the control they exert. And they exert control not because of the popularity of the B.J.P.; they exert control largely because Modi gets the B.J.P. elected every five years, which means that, after him, the B.J.P. may be in trouble. They have so much power because of their totalitarian modus vivendi, not because of their popularity.

NY: I’m looking at Morning Consult’s global approval-rating tracker for world leaders. Modi is currently at seventy-six-per-cent approval. That is fifteen percentage points higher than any other world leader.

CJ: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But if you go by the voting patterns of Indians, which is for me the real measure of popularity, Indians in more than half of the country’s states do not vote for the B.J.P. and for Modi when he is the candidate.

In that case, how do you understand this dynamic, where Modi himself is personally popular but he can’t yet lead the B.J.P. to take control of a majority of states?

There are very strong regional identities that are not represented by the B.J.P. The B.J.P. is seen as a North Indian, Hindi-speaking party. It’s also seen as an upper-caste party. So those who are not Hindus—in Kashmir, of course, and Sikh people in Punjab—do not vote for the B.J.P. And those who are not Hindi speakers in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Kerala cannot share this ideology of the B.J.P.’s.

Riaz Haq said...

A Republic of South India is not entirely unthinkable | Mint

There can be an argument that no matter what the circumstances, nothing can take on the idea of India. But the fact is no one knows what keeps India together. The quickest way to get Indian intellectuals to bloviate is to ask them what keeps India together. I have heard “English", “cricket’ and “Bollywood". I think there are no reasons. A nation is simply a habit. As time goes by, it becomes a stronger habit that is harder to break. But then South India, too, is a habit.


The political swag of the south ensures that there may be no such being as the ‘Indian nationalist’, there is only the North Indian nationalist.


The five southern states, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka, have a vague sameness about them and a clear distinction from the north. They have their own riparian, lingual and ethnic discords, and within these states, there are caste and religious divisions, but they have always had a collective grouse—the north’s political domination of India. This wariness is a reason why when Modi visits Tamil Nadu, he needs to speak in English, even to the poor who come to see him. It may sound odd for a nationalistic prime minister to speak in English to Indians, but he has to endure it. Hindi remains a symbol of the north, and the conceit of the south is that it finds English more palatable. This has no emotional basis anymore, but the south is not going to make things easy for the north.

Traditionally, South Indian politicians have disliked the powers of the central government, especially when a single party has controlled it. Like the Congress, the BJP too has harassed states. Recently, Tamil Nadu passed a resolution against its governor for stalling bills passed by the state’s legislature. The state’s chief minister, M.K. Stalin has spoken out against the BJP’s ways. A few days ago, he wrote a letter asking all states that are not governed by the BJP to pass similar resolutions against their governors, the appointees accused by BJP rivals of frustrating states that do not toe the Centre’s policies.

In 2022, when the Centre questioned the habit of some states to give away freebies to people, Tamil Nadu finance minister, Palanivel Thiagarajan told a magazine, “Either you must have a constitutional basis to say what you are saying, in which case we all listen, or you must have special expertise… or you must have a Nobel Prize or something that tells us you know better than us. Or, you must have a performance track record…"

A few days ago, when Modi visited Telangana, the state’s Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao did not attend Modi’s public events. They insulted each other. Major politicians from Kerala, Andhra and Karnataka, too, have expressed their dislike for the Centre’s muscle-flexing.

But no one of any significance in the south has, in recent times, talked of seceding from India. And that is not only because it might be a crime. There is no emotional support for the idea. But that could change if three things happen. One, the BJP grows stronger and stronger in the north, continuing to repress other political parties and the states it does not govern. The second factor is a major economic shock that could be attributed to the central government, something like ‘demonetization’ or even a major recession. The third is the rise of a South Indian strongman who could use these factors to ask a disturbing question: What does the south lose by leaving the north?

Riaz Haq said...

‘Separation is the only answer’: #Manipur violence fuels calls for separate state in #India. Leaders of the mainly #Christian hill tribes say that living alongside the mostly #Hindu Meitei people is ‘as good as death for our people’ #Hindutva #Modi

Leaders of the mainly Christian hill tribes say that living alongside the mostly Hindu Meitei people is ‘as good as death for our people’

Amrit Dhillon in New Delhi
Mon 15 May 2023 22.23 EDT
In towns and villages across India’s north-eastern state of Manipur, some houses have been reduced to ashes while neighbouring properties stand untouched, after an eruption of ethnic violence in which more than 70 were murdered and 30,000 forced to flee.

The bloodshed which began on 3 May has mostly abated, but there is little hope of a swift return to normality.

Food is scarce; a curfew is still enforced by the army and paramilitary troops; the internet remains suspended; shops, schools and offices are closed; thousands of people remain stranded in crowded and unsanitary refugee camps. And reports of fresh violence over the weekend prompted fresh displacements.

“This is a civil war situation,” said John Mamang, a lawyer and relief volunteer in the town of Churachandpur.

A villager inspects the debris of a ransacked church that was set alight during ethnic violence in Heirokland.
‘Everything is gone’: entire Indian villages burned in ethnic violence
Read more
Shortages of food and medicine are becoming acute, said Mamang, who on Monday was unable to even find rice to donate to a nearby camp.

“People are beginning to starve. Some haven’t eaten for two to three days. When I reached the camp, a woman had just delivered a baby, with no medicines or medical help and in the clothes she’d been wearing for five days,” he said.

Most of the victims were from the mainly Christian hill tribes such as the Kukis, but members of the mostly Hindu Meitei people were also targeted.

And in towns where the two communities once lived warily alongside each other, the idea of a return to such uneasy harmony seems unthinkable after so much violence – when friends and neighbours stood by as men, women and children were killed.

“It’s impossible. They can never be our neighbours. Not after what’s happened,” said Alun Singh, a Meitei in Imphal.

Moses Varte, a Kuki in Churachandpur, said “separation is the only answer”, adding “This was ethnic cleansing of the hill people. Now we can only feel safe as a minority if we have our own state.”

Debory Fimsangpui’s home in the region’s capital, Imphal, was burned down by a mob, and she and her family survived only because they happened to be away at the time.

“If we had been there, we would not be alive today. But we will not forget those who died, the elderly, those who could not run away,” said Fimsangpui, a college lecturer.

The fact that Kukis were targeted in the city – despite the presence of security forces – has for many hill tribe members underlined a sense that they cannot be safe anywhere in the state.

“Before, Kukis used to send their children to Imphal for higher studies,” said Fimsangpui. “I have one son, Daleed who is 24. Do you think I would ever send him to Imphal now? We can never trust the Manipur government or the police again.”

The spark for the fuse
The states of north-east India – wedged between Bangladesh, China and Myanmar – are a patchwork of ethnic groups, many of them shot through with longstanding enmities.

The spark for the latest outbreak of violence in Manipur was a plan to grant the majority Meitei the status of a “scheduled tribe” which would give them access to quotas in government jobs and colleges under India’s affirmative action policy.

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian Consulate in #SanFrancisco Set on Fire.
#Khalistan supporters linked to the attack. #Sikhs #US #California

The Indian consulate in San Francisco was set on fire early Sunday morning, as reported by a local U.S. channel. The incident has been verified by the Consulate General of India in San Francisco. Fortunately, the fire was quickly suppressed by the San Francisco Department, resulting in limited damage and no harm to the staff. Local, state, and federal authorities have been informed. According to the channel, Khalistan supporters have been linked to this act of violence. Matthew Miller, the spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, strongly condemned the reported vandalism and attempted arson, stating that such acts against diplomatic facilities or foreign diplomats in the U.S. are criminal offenses.

Riaz Haq said...

Lee Kuan Yew, the founder of modern Singapore, used to say: “India is not a real country. Instead it is thirty-two separate nations that happen to be arrayed along the British rail line"