Saturday, 16 September 2017


ഗൗരി ലങ്കേഷിന്റെ രക്തസാക്ഷ്യം

ഒരിയ്ക്കലും വൃഥാവിലാവില്ല

നിർഭയമായ പത്രപ്രവർത്തനത്തിനും പുരോഗമനപരമായ സാമൂഹ്യ ഇടപെടലുകൾക്കും മാതൃകയായിരുന്ന ഗൗരി ലങ്കേഷ് കഴിഞ്ഞ സെപ്റ്റംബർ 5 നു വൈകുന്നേരം ബാംഗ്ളൂരിൽ രാജരാജേശ്വരി നഗറിലെ അവരുടെ വസതിയ്ക്കു മുന്നിൽ ഘാതകരുടെ വെടിയുണ്ടകളേറ്റ് മരിച്ചുവീണു. ഗൗരി ലങ്കേഷ് പത്രികെ എന്ന പേരിൽ തന്റെ പത്രാധിപത്യത്തിൽ പ്രസിദ്ധീകൃതമായിരുന്ന കന്നഡ ടാബ്ലോയിഡിന്റെ ജോലികൾ അടക്കമുള്ള തിരക്കുപിടിച്ച ജോലികൾക്കു ശേഷം വീട്ടിൽ പ്രവേശിക്കാൻ ഇരിക്കേയായിരുന്നു അതി പൈശാചികമായ ഈ കൊല  നടന്നത്. വർഗീയ വിദ്വേഷത്തിനും ജാതീയ മർദ്ദനത്തിനും മറ്റെല്ലാവിധമുള്ള സാമൂഹിക അനീതികൾക്കുമെതിരായ ശക്തമായ ശബ്ദമായിരുന്നു കന്നഡയിൽ ഏറെ വായിക്കപ്പെടുന്ന ഗൗരിയുടെ പ്രസിദ്ധീകരണം. മനുഷ്യാവകാശങ്ങളുടേയും സാമൂഹ്യ നീതിയുടേയും സമര  വേദികളിൽ വിശ്രമമില്ലാത്ത ഒരു പോരാളിയായിരുന്ന ഗൗരി കൊല്ലടുന്നതിനു ഏതാനും മണിക്കൂറുകൾ മുൻപ് പോലും വർഗീയതയ്‌ക്കെതിരായ ഒരു കൺവെൻഷനിൽ പങ്കെടുത്തിരുന്നു. സംഘപരിവാർ ചിട്ടയായി വ്യാജ വാർത്തകൾ ഉൽപ്പാദിപ്പിച്ചും ജനങ്ങൾക്കിടയിൽ പ്രചരിപ്പിച്ചും ഏതെല്ലാം വിധത്തിലാണ് സാമുദായികധ്രുവീകരണവും വിദ്വേഷത്തിന്റെ രാഷ്ട്രീയവും വളർത്തിക്കൊണ്ടിരിക്കുന്നത് എന്നത് സംബന്ധിച്ചാണ് ഗൗരി തന്റെ  പ്രസിദ്ധീകരണത്തിനുവേണ്ടി എഴുതിയ അവസാനത്തെ എഡിറ്റോറിയൽ.

ഗൗരി ലങ്കേഷ് വധം നടന്ന രീതിയ്ക്ക് സമീപകാലത്ത് കർണ്ണാടകയിലും മഹാരാഷ്ട്രയിലും ആയി നടന്ന എം എം കൽബുർഗി ,നരേന്ദ്ര ധാബോൽക്കർ ,ഗോവിന്ദ് പൻസാരെ എന്നിവരുടെ കൊലപാതകങ്ങൾ നടത്തപ്പെട്ട രീതിയുമായി വളരെ ഏറെ സാമ്യം ഉണ്ട്. ഗോവ ആസ്ഥാനമായുള്ള സനാതൻ സംസ്ഥാ എന്നു പേരായ  തീവ്ര ഹിന്ദുത്വവാദികളുടെ ഒരു ഗ്രൂപ്പിന് മുൻപ് നടന്ന മൂന്നു കൊലപാതകങ്ങളിലും പങ്കുള്ളതായ സൂചനകൾ ബന്ധപ്പെട്ട അന്വേഷണോദ്യോഗസ്ഥർക്ക് ലഭിച്ചിരുന്നുവെങ്കിലും, സംശയിക്കപ്പെടുന്ന മുഖ്യപ്രതികൾ മിക്കവരും ഇന്ന് ഒളിവിൽ കഴിയുകയാണ്.
ഗൗരി ലങ്കേഷിന്റെ കൊലപാതക വാർത്ത രാജ്യമാകെ ഞെട്ടലോടെ ശ്രവിച്ച അതേ മുഹൂർത്തങ്ങളിലാണ്   സംഘി-ബി ജെ പി ട്രോൾ സേനകൾ സോഷ്യൽ മീഡിയയിൽ ഈ വധത്തെ ആഘോഷിച്ചത്. ഇങ്ങനെ ആഘോഷിക്കുന്നതിനെതിരെ പ്രതികരിച്ച വാർത്താവിതരണ വകുപ്പ് മന്ത്രി രവിശങ്കർ പ്രസാദിന് പോലും പ്രസ്തുത സംഘങ്ങളുടെ എതിർപ്പ് നേരിടേണ്ടിവന്നു. പ്രസ്തുത കൊലയിൽ സംഘ പരിവാറിന് ഉണ്ടാവാൻ സാധ്യതയുള്ള പങ്ക് സൂചിപ്പിച്ച പ്രശസ്ത ചരിത്രകാരനും എഴുത്തുകാരനുമായ രാമചന്ദ്ര ഗുഹയ്ക്ക്  വക്കീൽ നോട്ടീസ് അയച്ചു ബി ജെ പി യുടെ കർണ്ണാടക ഘടകം ഭീ ഷണിപ്പെടുത്തിയിരിക്കുന്നു. അതിനിടെ, കർണ്ണാടകയിലെ ബി ജെ പി എം എൽ എയായ ജീവരാജ്‌ നടത്തിയ ഒരു പ്രസ്താവനയിൽ പറഞ്ഞത് ആർ എസ് എസ്സിന്നെതിരെ എഴുതിയില്ലായിരുന്നില്ലെങ്കിൽ ഗൗരി ലങ്കേഷ് ഇപ്പോഴും ജീവിച്ചിരുന്നേനെ എന്നാണ് !
എന്നാൽ, ഗൗരി ഈ അപകടത്തെക്കുറിച്ച് എപ്പോഴും ബോധവതിയായിരുന്നു. 2008 ലും 2016 നവമ്പറിലും തന്റെ 'പത്രികെ' യിൽ പ്രസിദ്ധീകരിച്ച ചില സ്റ്റോറികളെ ത്തുടർന്ന് ധാർവാഡിലെ ബി ജെ പി എം പി ആയ പ്രഹ്ലാദ് ജോഷിയും അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്റെ പേഴ്സണൽ സെക്രട്ടറി ആയ ഉമേഷ് ദുഷിയും കൊടുത്ത മാനനഷ്ടക്കേസ്സിൽ വടക്കൻ കർണ്ണാടകത്തിൽപ്പെട്ട ഹുബ്ബളിയിലെ ജുഡീഷ്യൽ മജിസ്‌ട്രേറ്റ് കോടതി ഗൗരിക്കെതിരേ ശിക്ഷ വിധിച്ചിരുന്നു. ഈ വിധി  മേൽക്കോടതിയിൽ ചോദ്യം ചെയ്യുന്ന ഒരു അപ്പീൽ അവർ ഫയൽചെയ്തിരുന്നു. ഗൗരിയേയും ഒപ്പം രാജ്യത്തെങ്ങുമുള്ള നിർഭയരായ  പത്രപ്രവർത്തകരേയും കോടതി കയറ്റിയും ഭീഷണിപ്പെടുത്തിയും നിശ്ശബ്ദരാക്കാനുള്ള ശ്രമത്തിൽ ബി ജെ പി ഈ കേസ് ഉപയോഗിച്ചിരുന്നു വെങ്കിലും,  അതുകൊണ്ടൊന്നും ഭയന്ന് പിന്മാറാൻ ഗൗരി കൂട്ടാക്കിയില്ല. കൽബുർഗിയുടെ വധം താനടക്കമുള്ളവർക്കുള്ള സന്ദേശമാണെന്ന് അവർക്കു നന്നായറിയാമായിരുന്നു. ന്യൂസ് ലോൺഡ്രി എന്ന ഒരു വാർത്താമാധ്യമത്തിൽ  2016  നവംബറിൽ പ്രസിദ്ധീകൃതമായ ഒരഭിമുഖത്തിൽ ഗൗരി ഇങ്ങനെ പറഞ്ഞു: "അവരുടെ പ്രത്യയശാസ്ത്രത്തേയോ   രാഷ്ട്രീയത്തേയോ എതിർക്കുന്നവരെ കൊന്നാൽ അഭിനന്ദിക്കുകയും , മരണപ്പെട്ടാൽ ആഘോഷിക്കുകയും ചെയ്യാൻ ഹിന്ദുത്വവാദികൾ ഒട്ടും മടികാട്ടാത്ത ഒരു കാലഘട്ടത്തിലാണ് ഇന്ന് നമ്മൾ കർണ്ണാടകത്തിൽ  ജീവിക്കുന്നത്. എം എം കൽബുർഗിയുടെ കൊലപാതകം നടന്നപ്പോഴും ഡോ . യു ആർ അനന്തമൂർത്തി മരണപ്പെട്ടപ്പോഴും ഉണ്ടായ അനുഭവങ്ങൾ സൂചിപ്പിക്കുന്നത് അതാണ്. എന്നെയും ഏതെങ്കിലും വിധത്തിൽ നിശ്ശബ്ദയാക്കാൻ ഇതേയാളുകൾ ശ്രമിക്കുകയാണെന്ന് ഉറപ്പുള്ളതുകൊണ്ടാണ് ഇപ്പോൾ അവരെക്കുറിച്ചു ഞാൻ എടുത്തുപറയുന്നത്‌ "
ജാതീയ സങ്കുചിതത്വത്തേയും പീഡനങ്ങളേയും നിലനിർത്തുന്ന ശക്തികളുമായും ഗൗരി കടുത്ത പോരാട്ടത്തിൽ ആയിരുന്നു.  സമഭാവനയിലും പുരോഗമന ചിന്തയിലും അധിഷ്ഠിതമായ ബസവണ്ണയുടേയും  അംബേദ്കറിന്റേയും പാരമ്പര്യങ്ങളെ ബോധപൂർവ്വം വികലമാക്കി ഈ ബിംബങ്ങൾ സംഘ് പരിവാറിന് അനുകൂലമാക്കിത്തീർക്കാനുള്ള ശ്രമങ്ങളെ ഗൗരി ധൈര്യപൂർവ്വം തുറന്നു കാട്ടുകയും എതിർക്കുകയും ചെയ്തിരുന്നു. പന്ത്രണ്ടാം നൂറ്റാണ്ടിൽ കർണ്ണാടകയിൽ വീര ശൈവ പ്രസ്ഥാനകാലത്ത് തന്റെ പ്രശസ്തമായ വചന കാവ്യങ്ങളിലൂടെ ജനഹൃദയങ്ങളിൽ ഇടം നേടിയ നേടിയ അക്കാ മഹാദേവിയുമായി പ്രൊഫസ്സർ കാഞ്ചാ ഇലയ്യ  ഗൗരിയെ താരതമ്യം ചെയ്തിട്ടുണ്ട് .ബഹുമുഖമായ പോരാട്ടവേദികളിലൂടെയും ധീരമായ പത്രപ്രവർത്തനത്തിലൂടെയും സ്വാതന്ത്ര്യത്തിന്നും  ജനാധിപത്യത്തിന്നും സാമൂഹ്യ നീതിയ്ക്കും സാമുദായികസാഹോദര്യത്തിനും വേണ്ടി  ജീവത്യാഗം ചെയ്ത ഗൗരിയുടെ രക്തസാക്ഷിത്വം  എന്നെന്നും ഓർമ്മിക്കപ്പെടും .  
ഗൗരി ലങ്കേഷ് അവശേഷിപ്പിച്ചു പോയ ഉജ്ജ്വലമായ മാതൃകയ്ക്ക് അഭിവാദ്യം അർപ്പിക്കുമ്പോൾത്തന്നെ,  അവരുടെ രക്തസാക്ഷിത്വം ഈ കൊലപാതകം ആഘോഷിക്കുന്ന സംഘ്- ബി ജെ പി ശക്തികൾക്കും സംഘപരിവാർ പദ്ധതികൾക്കും കനത്ത തിരിച്ചടിയായിത്തീരാൻപോകുന്നത് കാണേണ്ടതുണ്ട്. ആശയ രംഗത്തെ തങ്ങളുടെ എതിരാളികളെ  കൊലപാതകങ്ങളിലൂടെ നിശ്ശബ്ദരാക്കാൻ ശ്രമിച്ചതിന്   സംഘപരിവാറിന്റെ  ചരിത്രത്തിൽ ഉദാഹരണങ്ങൾ ഏറെയുണ്ട്. സ്വതന്ത്ര  ഇന്ത്യുടെ  ചരിത്രത്തിൽ ആ ർ എസ് എസ് അതിന്റെ ദിശ ഏതെന്ന്  അടയാളപ്പെടുത്തിയതുതന്നെ ഗാന്ധിവധത്തിലൂടെയായിരുന്നു. ഗാന്ധിയുടെ കൊലപാതകം സാധ്യമാക്കിയ അന്തരീക്ഷം രൂപപ്പെടുത്തിയതിൽ ആർ എസ് എസ്സിനും ഹിന്ദു മഹാ സഭയ്ക്കും ഉള്ള ഉത്തരവാദിത്വം നിഷേധിക്കാനാവാത്തതാണെന്നു അന്നത്തെ ആഭ്യന്തര മന്ത്രിയായിരുന്ന സർദാർ വല്ലഭ്  ഭായ് പട്ടേൽ പ്രസ്താവിച്ചു; തുടർന്ന് ആർ എസ് എസ്സിനെ നിരോധിക്കുന്ന അദ്ദേഹം ചെയ്തത്.
While saluting the ever inspiring legacy of Gauri Lankesh, we must see to it that her martyrdom becomes a decisive blow to the fascist design and offensive of the Sangh-BJP establishment which is celebrating her killing. Like communal riots and lynch mob violence, the culture of killing ideological opponents has been integral to the Sangh's history. It is instructive to remember at this juncture how the Sangh's journey had begun in independent India with the assassination of Gandhi. At that juncture the Home Minister of the day, Sardar Patel had held the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha squarely responsible for the creation of the atmosphere in which the ghastly tragedy of Gandhi assassination could take place. Consequently, the RSS was banned.
Seventy years later, the crucial issue once again is to address and transform the environment in which the serial killings are taking place. In a different political climate, the RSS and its affiliates would have been banned, but today with the BJP in power the RSS enjoys utter impunity. The battle to bring the killers of Gauri Lankesh to book and to confront those who have emboldened them is therefore much more difficult today. Despite this, there are encouraging signs that the Indian people are determined to defeat the fascist threat and defend democracy, ranging from the powerful protests across the country in response to Gauri Lankesh’s murder to the recent emphatic verdict delivered by the JNU students against the Modi government's war on JNU and higher education. To consolidate and extend this resistance to fascism is the urgent task now facing all progressive forces in India.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

An Overwhelming Mandate to Left Unity Panel in JNU

The recent elections to the students union in JNU happened at a time of unprecedented attacks on JNU and universities across the country. There is a concerted effort to limit the accessibility of affordable quality education by implementing seat cuts in research and other programmes and imposing massive fee hikes. These have been accompanied by increasing attempts to saffronize education through revising content and appointing people close to the Sangh in institutional positions. The democratic spaces of debate, dialogue and critical thinking within and outside campus have been subjected to brutal crackdowns and violence. Legally mandated reservations and hard-won deprivation points are also being systematically removed. It is in this context that the students of JNU voted in large numbers to reject the right wing forces and give an overwhelming mandate given to the United Left panel in the JNUSU elections. 
The United Left (AISA – SFI – DSF) has won all 4 central panel seats and 13 councilor posts across SSS, SIS and SL as well as the convenorships in all these schools. Com. Geeta Kumari of AISA was elected as President, Com. Simone Zoya Khan of AISA was elected as the Vice President, Com. Duggirala Srikrishna of SFI as the General Secretary and Com. Shubhanshu Singh of DSF was elected as the Joint Secretary of the union. The left unity defeated ABVP’s candidates by margins of 464, 848, 1107 and 835 votes respectively in the posts of President, Vice President, Gen. Sec. and Jt. Sec.
The students of JNU have given decisive mandate against the right-wing forces that have been demanding shut down of JNU. This victory of the left unity panel also comes in an election when the election for students union was not left to be fought among the students. The JNU administration and the RSS-BJP, along with the formidable university machinery available to them, were part of the ABVP’s support team. The victory of the left forces in JNU is victory for the idea of an inclusive and egalitarian higher education. Com. Geeta Kumari also dedicated the victory to the assassinated journalist Gauri Lankesh who was a strong voice of resistance against the right wing forces and reaffirmed the commitment of the panel to strengthen the students’ struggles in the days to come.
ML Update
A CPI(ML) Weekly News MagazineVol. 20 | No. 38 | 12-18 Sep 2017

The Martyrdom of Gauri Lankesh Shall Not Be in Vain

Fearless journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh was assassinated in Bengaluru on 5 September evening when she was about to enter her home in Rajarajeshwari Nagar after finishing her engagements for the day. As editor of the widely read Kannada weekly Gauri Lankesh Patrike, Gauri was a powerful voice against communal hate, caste oppression and all kinds of injustice. She was a tireless campaigner for social justice and human rights. On the day she was killed, she had earlier attended an anti-communal convention. Her last editorial was against the phenomenon of fake news and its systematic use by the Sangh brigade to sharpen communal polarisation and prejudice and mislead the public.
The manner in which Gauri Lankesh was killed bears close resemblance to the assassinations of well known rationalists and scholars Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi in the recent past. The investigation in these previous cases has pointed to the involvement of one Sanatan Sanstha, a Goa-based Hindu supremacist group; most of the key suspects are still absconding.
In the case of Gauri Lankesh, even as the news of her assassination stunned the whole country, the Sangh-BJP troll army began an obscene celebration in social media. Even I&B minister Ravishankar Prasad had to face the wrath of these elements for criticising this social media celebration. And now even as the Karnataka unit of the BJP has sent a legal notice to eminent historian and writer Ramchandra Guha for mentioning the possible involvement of the Sangh brigade in this assassination, Karnataka BJP MLA Jeevaraj has said that had Gauri not been vocal against the RSS she would have been alive today!
Gauri was quite alive to this danger. BJP MP from Dharwad, Prahlad Joshi and his personal secretary Umesh Dushi had slapped defamation cases against her in connection with some stories published in her journal in 2008 and in November 2016, she had been convicted by the Judicial Magistrate of Hubbali in north Karnataka. She had challenged this conviction in the higher courts. The BJP had sought to use this case to try and silence her, and even use this example to intimidate journalists across the country. Gauri had carried on undeterred. She knew that the murder of Kalburgi was also a message for her. Speaking to the website Newslaundry in November 2016, she had observed that ‘in Karnataka today, we are living in such times that the Hindutva brigade welcomes the killings (as in the case of Dr M M Kalburgi) and celebrates the deaths (as in the case of Dr U R Ananthamurthy) of those who oppose their ideology, their political party. I was referring to such people because, let me assure you, they are keen to somehow shut me up too.’
Gauri was also involved in a running battle with the forces of bigotry and caste oppression. She would passionately invoke the egalitarian inspiration of Vasavanna and Ambedkar, and boldly resist the Sangh Parivar's design to appropriate these icons and subvert their legacies. Prof. Kancha Illaiah has described Gauri as the modern Akkamahadevi of Karnataka after the renowned 12th century female poet of the Veerashaiva Bhakti movement famous for her Vachana poems. With her multifarious activism and fearless journalism, Gauri Lankesh will go down as a great martyr who has laid down her life for the cause of freedom and democracy, social justice and communal harmony.
While saluting the ever inspiring legacy of Gauri Lankesh, we must see to it that her martyrdom becomes a decisive blow to the fascist design and offensive of the Sangh-BJP establishment which is celebrating her killing. Like communal riots and lynch mob violence, the culture of killing ideological opponents has been integral to the Sangh's history. It is instructive to remember at this juncture how the Sangh's journey had begun in independent India with the assassination of Gandhi. At that juncture the Home Minister of the day, Sardar Patel had held the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha squarely responsible for the creation of the atmosphere in which the ghastly tragedy of Gandhi assassination could take place. Consequently, the RSS was banned.
Seventy years later, the crucial issue once again is to address and transform the environment in which the serial killings are taking place. In a different political climate, the RSS and its affiliates would have been banned, but today with the BJP in power the RSS enjoys utter impunity. The battle to bring the killers of Gauri Lankesh to book and to confront those who have emboldened them is therefore much more difficult today. Despite this, there are encouraging signs that the Indian people are determined to defeat the fascist threat and defend democracy, ranging from the powerful protests across the country in response to Gauri Lankesh’s murder to the recent emphatic verdict delivered by the JNU students against the Modi government's war on JNU and higher education. To consolidate and extend this resistance to fascism is the urgent task now facing all progressive forces in India.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Journalist Gauri Lankesh:
Latest 
Bold Voice Against Sangh Assassinated

In an assassination that has shocked people all over the country, journalist Gauri Lankesh has been shot dead at her home in Bengaluru by unidentified men on a bike. Gauri Lankesh was a bold and intrepid independent journalist who wrote tirelessly against communal fascists in India. The manner of her death appears to be similar to the assassinations of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi, in which the Abhinav Bharat, a saffron terrorist outfit, had been implicated. The fact that the killers of Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi are yet to be punished is a comment on the impunity which these terrorists enjoy.  
The rise of the BJP and the Modi regime has emboldened the forces of Sanghi terror in the country. They indulge in widespread threats of violence – and assassinations – to silence voices of dissent. Gauri Lankesh was one voice, who in spite of being convicted in a criminal defamation case by a BJP leader, had refused to be intimidated or silenced.    
We demand justice for Gauri Lankesh. The anger against her assassination will only strengthen the determination of democratic forces in India to keep the flame of dissent alive and shining bright.    

Reshuffling Ministers Cannot Hide Government Failures  

BJP’s spin doctors have been trying to push his latest Cabinet reshuffle as an instance of Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Perform or Perish’ mantra. The reality is that the Cabinet reshuffle is Modi’s way of trying to shirk responsibility for his Government’s abject failure to keep his promises even after three years.
The most glaring failure of the Modi Government has been on the employment front: with job growth in 8 key sectors at their lowest level in 8 years. The Skill India program launched in 2015 made tall claims which were found to be a sham by the Government's own committee headed by Sharda Prasad. The committee report found the scheme to be a “hotbed of crony capitalism”, with the private “skill councils” siphoning off public funds while lacking even basic infrastructure to provide training, and making fraudulent claims of enrolment. By dropping Rajiv Pratap Rudy as Skill Development Minister, the Government is trying to protect the PM himself for accountability for the Skill India sham/scam. It is notable that Modi’s admirers try to credit him even with Court verdicts like the Instant Triple Talaq verdict – yet they assign no blame to him for his Government’s failures, even though it is well known that extreme centralization of all power in the PMO is a hallmark of Modi’s governance model.
In the wake of demonetization and GST, the GDP growth rate has slumped to 5.7%, and crores of jobs in the unorganized sector were lost due to demonetization. Who but Narendra Modi himself can bear the burden of blame for these disastrous decisions?    
Another glaring failure is on the agriculture front – with the Modi and Shivraj Governments colluding to shoot dead farmers who were reminding them of Modi’s own promises to increase MSP and waive loans. But the Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan – notorious for blaming farmer’ suicides on love affairs and impotency and for advising protesting farmers to do Yoga – has kept his job. This is probably because the Modi Government is unwilling to concede their failure to address farmers’ distress.
What is the record of the new inductees in the Modi Cabinet? Satyapal Singh, MP from Bagpat, had blamed rapes in Mumbai on “promiscuous culture” and offered moral policing on couples as the solution, when he was the Commissioner of Police in 2013. Satyapal Singh was also a public devotee of the rapist Ram Rahim and notorious for dismissing the Dadri lynching as a “small incident.” A BJP Karnataka MP Anant Kumr Hegde appointed as Minister of State for Skill Development, has qualified for the job with his “skill” in tweeting obnoxious sexist and communal tweets targeting JNU women, as well as Islam, Buddhism and Christianity.  
A section of the media is trying to project Modi’s choice of Nirmala Sitharaman as the first woman Defence Minister after Indira Gandhi as a boost in the arm for India’s women. The fact is that the Modi Cabinet is replete with Ministers who trivialize violence against women. Modi himself publicly praised a rape-accused Dera head in exchange for votes. BJP MPs like Sakshi Maharaj and Subramanian Swamy publicly accuse victims of Asaram and Ram Rahim of being liars. Emboldened by BJP Governments, Sangh outfits all over the country are unleashing organized violence against inter-faith relationships. The Modi Government is offering regressive arguments in Court to defend its refusal to criminalise marital rape. Ms Sitharaman is a JNU alumnus – her party colleagues compete with each other to utter vile sexist slurs against JNU women students and teachers. Ms Sitharaman remained silent on all the violence by her colleagues against women; and she defended Yogi Adityanath’s crackdown on slaughter houses by making the absurd and communal claim that the freedom movement was inspired by cow protectionism. 
The fact the JDU was not accommodated in the Cabinet reshuffle underlines the loss of stature of the party and of Nitish Kumar as a result of his betrayal of the Bihar mandate to make an opportunist alliance with the BJP.
Modi’s Cabinet reshuffle cannot shield him and his Government from the growing sense of disillusionment and anger among people. It is time to hold the Government accountable for its broken promises and its crimes against people. 

NEET Killed Anitha 

The suicide of Anitha, a bright Dalit woman student of Tamil Nadu, has underlined the deeply unjust and biased NEET (National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test) medical entrance test. Anitha had been one of the petitioners from Tamil Nadu in the Supreme Court against NEET. The petitioners had pointed out that while NEET is being introduced in the name of bringing uniformity to the medical entrance test countrywide, the question papers in various Indian languages were more difficult than the ones in English. In other words, not only was there no uniformity, the NEET discriminated against candidates writing in Indian languages.
Students like Anitha – from desperately poor and oppressed households in Tamil Nadu – dreamed of being able to get a chance to study medicine, based on their good performance in school board exams. But the NEET tended to favour those with a CBSE schooling.
Both the Tamil Nadu Government and the Central Government have Anitha’s blood on their hands. The Tamil Nadu Government after posturing against NEET eventually settled for just one year’s exemption from NEET and accepted NEET in principle. It failed to push the Central Government to keep its promise to support the exemption of Tamil Nadu from NEET, in the Supreme Court. The Centre did a U-turn which led to a Supreme Court ruling imposing NEET. Anitha, who had performed extremely well in school exams, did poorly in the NEET exam and, her dream of becoming a doctor shattered, committed suicide.
The Vyapam scam had brought to light the dirty underbelly of medical exam scams in the country. The vicious corruption as well as deep seated bias in medical entrance exams plays havoc with the dreams of India’s younger generation, especially those from the most oppressed and deprived backgrounds.        

Myanmar: Stop Genocide of Rohingya Muslims

India: Stop Deporting Rohingya Refugees, Protect Them From Communal Violence 

The Rohingya people of Myanmar are facing a genocide and ethnic cleansing at the hands of the Myanmar Army. The Rohingya (the majority of whom are Muslim) have lived in the Rakhine State (Arakan) in Myanmar for the past several centuries. But a racist Citizenship Law enacted by Myanmar in 1982 denies the Rohingya people citizenship by refusing to recognise the Rohingya as one of the “national races.” The Rohingya have been subjected to several rounds of genocidal violence that have forced them to flee to Bangladesh and India.
As estimated 138,000 Rohingya were internally displaced and forced to live in unofficial camps for displaced people in Myanmar by 2015. Since August 2017, a fresh round of genocidal violence has been unleashed by the Myanmar military – burning the homes of Rohingyas, raping Rohingya women and massacring people. It is estimated that some 90000 Rohingya people have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh due to this violence.
The Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi is complicit in the communal and racial genocide of the Rohingya people. The Myanmar Government is now blocking UN supplies of vital aid in the form of food, water, and medicines to desperate Rohingyas in rural areas of Myanmar. By shamefully denying that the Rohingyas are facing persecution and refusing to consider amending the Citizenship Law that denies the Rohingya citizenship, Suu Kyi’s claim to be an internationally acclaimed human rights defender stands exposed and irrevocably tarnished.   
The Bangladesh government plans to relocate the Rohingya refugees to a flood-prone silt island, Thengar Char, which only surfaced eight years ago and is unsafe and uninhabitable.
Some 40,000 Rohingya people are refugees in India – where they are increasingly being subjected to communal violence and massacre threats. In April 2017, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Jammu threatened to “identify and kill” Rohingya refugees in Jammu unless they were deported. Just days ago, in Faridabad, Rohingya men and women of 40 Rohingya families living in a jhuggi cluster and eking out a living as rag-pickers, were beaten up by a communal gang because they had bought two buffalo calves for the Eid sacrifice.
In this backdrop, the directive by India’s Home Ministry to all states that Rohingyas be identified, rounded up and deported to Myanmar is unconscionable. India’s Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju, has claimed that India’s plan to deport the Rohingyas is justified since India is not a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Refugees, and therefore India is not bound to recognise the refugee status granted by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to the Rohingyas. But the Indian Government must be reminded that India is bound by the principle of non-refoulement which has time and again been upheld by the Supreme Court of India – which means that refugees must not be deported back if they face danger to their lives in their home country. 
India’s own Standard Operating Procedure also allows for India to grant legal status to people escaping religious persecution in other states, and specifically states that such people would be protected from deportation.
Deportation would mean a death sentence for the Rohingya refugees. The Modi Government’s refusal to recognise the Rohingya as refugees fleeing communal persecution, and its insistence instead on profiling them as breeding ground for terrorism, is consistent with its communal politics.
The Modi Government is on the one hand seeking to amend India’s citizenship laws to allow for Indian citizenship to be granted to refugees from amongst religious minorities in neighbouring Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh – i.e non-Muslim minorities. On the other hand, Rohingyas who are Muslims and therefore a persecuted minority in Buddhist-dominated Myanmar, are being subjected to communal profiling and threatened with deportation by India. Thus, the Rohingya refugees, evicted by genocidal Buddhist nationalism and racism from Myanmar, are now being doubly victimised and discriminated at the hands of “Hindu Rashtra” politics of the Modi Government.          
We demand that Myanmar amend its citizenship law, recognise the Rohingya people as citizens and end the genocide of Rohingyas without delay. We demand that the Indian Government immediately stop all plans to deport Rohingya refugees, and instead recognise Rohingyas as refugees fleeing communal persecution, and take steps to protect them from communal persecution in India.