ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Terror, Innocence, and the Wages of Official Prejudice

Public awareness of the scale of continuing state injustice in India is not very high, this article points out. It goes on to show that a telling selectivity in popular outrage and the application of the majesty of the law reveal a troubling majoritarian bias in society and the law. This does not sit well with the Constitution’s promise of equal treatment to all before the law.

Wages of Communal Violence in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli

Three years after the communal carnage in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli in Uttar Pradesh, in which close to a hundred people died and an estimated 75,000 were displaced, thousands of survivors have not been able to return to their villages. Even those not directly affected, who fled in the wake of the violence, continue to live in slum-like conditions without basic services. The Aman Biradari team that surveyed these affected villages concludes that the permanent divisions between communities who once lived together peacefully represent the triumph of communal politics.

Greenpeace Ban: Violation of Rights

(The following are extracts from an open letter sent to the Minister of Home Affairs, Rajnath Singh, protesting against the decision to freeze Greenpeace India’s accounts.) The move by the central government to freeze Greenpeace India’s bank accounts and block sources of funds, is a blatant...

Reviving Land Reforms?

The government has notified a Draft Land Reforms Policy which, on paper, has all the requisites of an earnest programme. Yet, the near total failure of earlier efforts at land reforms in India leave little room for hope that something substantial will at last be done to combat landlessness.

Lessons on Food and Hunger

This paper is based on critical policy analysis and reflection on curricular documents, including syllabi and textbooks, and also the Midday Meal programme. Using written and oral narratives, mostly from studies on hunger, the MDM programme and its implementation, it attempts to examine the lived experiences of children in and outside school. It explores the theme of food and hunger as it plays out in young children's lives, in the community and in the school. Using academic, activist and administrative perspectives, this article tries to provide inputs for a new pedagogy.

Attacking INSAF

We the undersigned are shocked and dismayed at the Government of India’s action against Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), a national coalition of 700 people’s movements, social action groups and progressive intellectuals with an active presence in 15 states of India. According to a communication...

Unravelling India's Red Tape

Red Tape: Bureaucracy, Structural Violence and Poverty in India by Akhil Gupta (Durham and London: Duke University Press), 2012; pp xiii + 368, Rs 895.

Abandoning the Right to Food

The proposed legislation on the National Food Security Act has been steadily watered down since it was fi rst mooted in 2009. The Parliamentary Standing Committee that examined the 2011 Bill has disappointingly continued with "targeting". If the government passes the bill incorporating the committee's suggestions, a historic opportunity to combat hunger and malnutrition would be lost.

Broken Lives and Compromise

Victims of mass violence often fail to get justice from the legal system, at least within reasonable time. In the meanwhile, the clamour for "compromise" and for "moving on" often come to dominate public discourse. This article, based on a decade-long intense involvement with the relief and rehabilitation of the victims of the 2002 Gujarat killings, tries to understand what motivates the victims to agree to such "compromises" with the perpetrators of violence on them. It identifies various forms of inducement, coercion, fatigue and despair as probable reasons. It argues that forgiveness can only happen when the victim is empowered enough to decide but in our context, such acts merely hide the victims' inability to receive justice.

Ending Indifference: A Law to Exile Hunger?

Can we agree in this country on a floor of human dignity below which we will not allow any human being to fall? No child, woman or man in this land will sleep hungry. No person shall be forced to sleep under the open sky. No parent shall send their child out to work instead of to school. And no one shall die because they cannot afford the cost of hospitals and medicine. Can we agree that whatever this costs, we will pay? A comprehensive National Food Security Act will be the first step in ensuring a hunger-free India.

Justice for Niyamat Ansari-I

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the recent murder of NREGA activist Niyamat Ansari in Kope Gram Panchayat (Latehar district, Jharkhand), as well as a similar attempt – the same day – on the life of his associate Bhukhan Singh. Briefly, the murder was the culmination of a series of acts of...

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