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First time in 40 years of its history, Minority Commission to be headed by a little-known 'social activist'
Mumtaz Alam, IndiaTomorrow.net, New Delhi, May 25: After facing criticism by Opposition and a section of media for keeping the post vacant for two and half months, the Narendra Modi government on Wednesday appointed a little-known ‘social activist' Ghayorul Hasan as Chairperson of the National Commission For Minorities (NCM).   ‘Social activist' Hasan will take charge from former IAS and former Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, Naseem Ahmad who headed the commission from 4.3.2014 to 3.3.2017. The contrast between the profiles of the two runs across the 40-year history of the NCM. Most of its chairpersons since its inception in 1978 have been former judges, civil servants, academicians or big politicians.   It is different this time.   "So far the tradition was that the Commission had a retired judge or bureaucrat as its chairperson or member. It is perhaps for the first time that all the members are social activists who know the ground...




Whither India's culture? The curious silence at the top
Why hasn't the Sahitya Akademi, which gloriously calls itself "India's National Academy of Letters", spoken a word against it?Saket Suman,It seems to be yesterday once more with the deafening silence of the Sahitya Akademi and other cultural institutions over the provocative threat that acclaimed actor and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker Paresh Rawal has made against writer Arundhati Roy.Why hasn't the Sahitya Akademi, which gloriously calls itself "India's National Academy of Letters", spoken a word against it? Why hasn't the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), which aims to promote cultural exchanges with other countries, uttered a word for the writer who brought us international fame by becoming the first Indian to win the Booker Prize? And by the way, where is the Culture Minister?Rawal kicked up a storm late Sunday by his tweet targeting Booker Prize-winning novelist and activist Arundhati Roy. The vicious comment that urged violence against the...




'Beheading' of constitutional institutions set up for minorities
Does keeping such institutions headless serve the idea of ‘Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas’? Ghazanfar Abbas, IndiaTomorrow.net,New Delhi, May 23: The BJP-led central government completed its three years last week and on the occasion celebrated its ‘achievements’ under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship slogan ‘Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas’. Along with other ministers, Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi while highlighting works of his ministry said the Modi government in last 3 years “took educational empowerment of Minorities as a mission which has given results on ground level.” He may have proofs of “results on ground level”, but what is known to all is that three key constitutional bodies established to safeguard the constitutional, legal and educational rights of religious minorities and scheduled castes have been made almost defunct as they remain headless for past several months and years. T...




Tie Arundhati Roy on Army jeep. Who said this? A BJP MP
Opinion IndiaTomorrow.net, New Delhi, May 22: On Twitter, he describes himself as "THE ACTOR, Padma Shri & PARLIAMENTARIAN of INDIA" but what action he suggests about India's celebrated writer is not much different from what mob of tribals did in Jharkhand last week or cow vigilantes did in Alwar of Rajasthan last month.   Apart from ACTOR, BJP's Paresh Rawal has highlighted the word PARLIAMENTARIAN in his description on the micro-blogging site. But what Rawal suggested Sunday night cannot or at least should not come from the mouth of a parliamentarian for an eminent citizen of the country who is not facing any heinous criminal charges that many of his co-parliamentarians including several from his BJP are.   "Instead of tying stone pelter on the army jeep tie Arundhati Roy !" tweeted Paresh Rawal.  Instead of tying stone pelter on the army jeep tie Arundhati Roy !— Paresh Rawal (@SirPareshRawal) May 21, 2017 We have a wide varie...




Triple Talaq: A social issue that needs to be addressed by society
Abu Haris, The controversy over Triple Talaq (in a single sitting) is a case of social problem. In any case, the court would do what it is supposed to do but every social issue has to be addressed through the society also. Everybody would agree that any social issue cannot be resolved by just a law to ban that. The problem of dowry is a glaring example of what the law can do and what it cannot. In fact, there are cases where the dowry act has been misused for the opposite purpose and our police officers and courts are riddled with false cases.  Triple Talaq (in a single sitting) is such a delicate issue that it cannot be resolved through a debate anchored by anyone who is still in his/her school days mode. When the moderator of a discussion becomes a party the real issue gets lost. There are two issues; one to ban the triple talaq (in a single sitting) and the other is to eradicate it. Banning it is a contentious issue but the eradicating it is not. In fact, eradication of trip...




Kashmir could turn out to be Modi's biggest failure
The appearance of schoolgirls on the streets to join the teenage boys to throw stones at the security forces shows that the familial and social norms are breaking down Amulya Ganguli, There is little doubt that notwithstanding any achievement of Narendra Modi in the economic field or in partially curbing the saffron hotheads, Kashmir will be the scene of his biggest failure unless he is able to accomplish a dramatic breakthrough in the near future.Such a feat will justify Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti's belief that only Modi can solve the state's problems.At the moment, however, an expectation of this nature appears unreal because militancy in the Valley has become a great deal more intense than before, making the situation "scary", as the Election Commission has been told by the state government in the context of the Anantnag parliamentary by-election, which had to be cancelled.The ridiculously low polling percentage of seven in last month's Srinagar...




Why Mishra observing fast after filing corruption complaints with CBI?
Has he got hints that his charges against Arvind Kejriwal may not stand long in the probe?  IndiaTomorrow.net, New Delhi, May 10: Day after filing corruption complaints against Aam Aadmi Party convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with the Anti-Corruption Branch and Central Bureau of Investigation, sacked AAP minister Kapil Mishra on Wednesday sat on indefinite hunger strike at his home.   This might have surprised many. Rather than waiting for the probe by ACB and CBI, why did he decide to observe hunger strike?   Mishra, who was water minister in Kejriwal's cabinet, has himself answered. He said he would not end his hunger strike till Kejriwal made public the details of foreign trips of his "five friends -- Sanjay Singh, Ashish Khetan, Satyendar Jain, Raghav Chadhha and Durgesh Pathak".   Mishra claimed that "Many people have said the amount of the hawala money, discrepancies in donations, cash transactions would be revealed ...




Of rich and powerful: How system bends to provide them comfort in jails
Saket Suman, Title: Behind Bars: Prison Tales of India's Most Famous; Author: Sunetra Choudhury; Publisher: Roli Books; Pages: 266; Price: Rs 395Jail is a fearsome word for almost everybody and the general perception that revolves around the lives of inmates -- that they lead a miserable life with yucky food, little care and all things contrary to comfort -- is challenged in this well-researched offering that attempts to throw sufficient light on the "prison tales of India's most famous".Penned by journalist and news anchor Sunetra Choudhury, the book takes its readers on an unusual ride through many jails in the country and shows how the treatment that the inmates receive may vary from person to person. Those that people think have been punished by the law, the book reminds, may well be leading a comfortable life inside the prison.What is more astonishing is the fact that Choudhury provides enough evidence to suggest that these high-profile inmates are not only at ease in pr...




Why this incident should serve as alarm for even Hindu owners of cow
IndiaTomorrow.net, New Delhi, May 6: What happened in Greater Noida, the twin city of India's national capital, must be sending fear waves down the veins of even Hindu owners of cows.   Bhoop Singh (45) and Jabar Singh (35), uncle-nephew in relation, had bought a cow and a calf from Mehndipur village and were returning to their home on Thursday afternoon (4th May). Due to scorching sun, they stopped at a place called Jewar to drink water and take some rest under a tree. It was when a gang of self-styled Gau Rakshaks spotted them and pounced on them instantly without asking any question.  According to media reports, the uncle-nephew duo repeatedly told the attackers that they were not smuggler, they were dairy farmer and they even said that they were not Muslim. Yet, the brutal Gau Rakshaks continued beating them and took them to the local police station.   According to The Indian Express, in his complaint, Bhoop Singh told police that they "were attacked witho...




Indian Americans can help India realise its full potential
Indian Americans have the character, capacity and competence to be leaders in addressing the pivotal areas  Frank F. Islam, In 2010, during his first visit to India, President Barack Obama proclaimed: "I believe that India and America are indispensable partners in meeting the challenges of their times."I agree wholeheartedly with the assessment and feel strongly that Indian Americans can play a key role in strengthening that partnership and helping India achieve its full potential.Because of their accomplishments in the United States and understanding of India, Indian Americans are uniquely positioned to step forward and provide assistance to address pressing issues in their mother country.Consider the following remarkable statistics reported by Indiaspora, a non-profit organisation based in San Francisco with a mission of transforming the success of Indian-Americans into meaningful impact worldwide:* Highest household income of any ethnic group in the US -- $100,000 ver...




Mr. PM, how can one believe your concern over Triple Talaq when you are silent on Muslim women being widowed by Gau Rakshaks?
IndiaTomorrow.net, New Delhi, Mary 01: Two more Muslims fell to violent cow vigilantism on Sunday. The month of April started with lynching of dairy farmer Pahlu Khan in Rajasthan, the state ruled by BJP, and ended on lynching of two more Muslims - in Assam, also run by BJP. More than one dozen Muslims have been killed by self-styled Gau Rakshaks in the last two years.   Even though ‘victims' of Triple Talaq in the Muslim community are very small in number, and the issue mostly remains a family matter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, besides his colleagues in the government, has expressed his concern over the issue and extended his sympathy for ‘victim Muslim sisters' several times in the last six months. But the seriousness of that concern comes under cloud as similar concern is not expressed when some Muslim men are murdered and consequently their women widowed by Gau Rakshaks, and the entire community is frightened.   PM, or anyone for that matter, is right...




BJP couldn't sweep MCD polls the way it wanted or did in UP Assembly polls
AAP only gained, had nothing to lose IndiaTomorrow.net, New Delhi, April 26: For BJP, it is the first MCD elections when it is in power in the Centre; its strongest ever leaders are Prime Minister and party president; and it is on winning streak in recent Assembly polls. Its win in the Delhi municipal polls, therefore, should not be surprising at all. When it won in 2012 and 2007 MCD polls when it was not in power in Centre, it would be shocking for it if it had failed now.   What is surprising, however, is: Though BJP has improved its success from the previous MCD polls of 2012, it could not root out Congress and Aam Aadmi Party as it had wanted and expected. Moreover, it could not sweep this poll as it did recent UP Assembly polls or AAP did the Delhi Assembly polls two years ago. Out of 270 MCD seats, BJP is seen winning around 181 seats. In the 2015 Delhi Assembly polls, AAP had won 67 out of total 70 seats.   Another important point that we should no...




Babri demolition case may bring out skeletons in BJP's closet
The ascent of no other party in modern history has taken place against such an inglorious background -- except that of the Nazis in Germany Amulya Ganguli,Just when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was hoping for success across the board from panchayats to parliament, the revival of the case against some of its leaders in the Babri Masjid demolition case of 1992 has raised the possibility of revealing the party's communal face which it has recently been trying to hide.The BJP may continue to win elections if only because the issues relating to the demolition are not of much consequence to today's voters. Even then, the possible indictment of some of the leaders, including former Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and Union Minister for Water Resources Uma Bharti, cannot but dent the party's image and be an international embarrassment.The reason is the seriousness of the charges against them such as the promotion of enmity between communities. These accusations not only show Adva...




Will Uma Bharti resign as Union Minister and Kalyan Singh as Rajasthan Governor?
IndiaTomorrow.net, New Delhi, April 19: In the wake of the Supreme Court order restoring trial of BJP stalwarts including LK Advani, Union Minister Uma Bharti and Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh besides others in the 25-year long Babri Masjid demolition case, a dilemma has emerged before Bharti and Singh who hold constitutional posts.   The apex court has asked the trial court in Lucknow to resume trial within four weeks and conclude it in two years through day-to-day hearing.   Even though Kalyan Singh enjoys constitutional immunity as Rajasthan Governor and can be tried only after he leaves office, will he himself resign to ensure speedy justice in the case? Singh was Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1992 when the 15th century mosque was razed to ground by a huge Hindu mob in Ayodhya town of the state. He had assured the Supreme Court about the protection of the mosque.   Similarly, will Uma Bharti, who is water minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabin...




Turkey Referendum: China fears it may increase militancy in Xinjiang
Abu Zafar, Soon after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Sunday night that people of Turkey accepted presidential democracy by 51.41 percent and 48.59, China expressed its concern over the development telling that this can be exploited by the radical Islamic forces to make it again a centre of Islam. China also fears that Islamic identity of Turkey can also provide shelter to separatists' group East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) in China's Muslim majority province.   In an article, Turkey's referendum may affect future of the Islamic world, published on China's official Global Times, writer Zhang Yi, also accused Turkey for its ambiguous attitude toward ETIM.   Global Times is a mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party of China (CCP) on international issues and editorials and opinion published here is considered as an official version of CCP.     ETIM is a separatist group founded by Uighurs in China's Xinjiang province. ET...




In today's India, the mind is not without fear: Filmmaker Vikram Bhatt
Bhatt says it would be unfair to draw that difference between Hollywood and Bollywood as in India, the "law and the government don't protect us" Kishori Sud,In a nation where Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore wrote "Where The Mind Is Without Fear" -- a stirring ode recited with immense pride by India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru -- filmmaker Vikram Bhatt believes the golden words now are "unfortunately not true".The film fraternity in Hollywood has always been very vocal about its opinions -- be it on Donald Trump becoming the US President or the "white vs black" controversy in showbiz.Often, a question has been raised about why most celebrities in the Hindi film fraternity do not speak up on important issues of the country -- and instead only tweet and write about the day-to-day events in their lives.When something unjust happens in the country, why do Bollywood stars disappear?Bhatt says it would be unfair to draw that differ...




And now, RSS has West Bengal in its cross-hairs
Milinda Ghosh Roy,  Kolkata, April 12: In its bid to expand its sphere of influence, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) -- the ideological parent of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that rules at the Centre -- has zeroed in on West Bengal as its next big target, contending the situation in the state is "unprecedented".The RSS is focussing on increasing its strength and presence in West Bengal in a bid to "combat rising radicalism and fundamentalism" in the eastern state that, according to a top functionary of the local unit or the organisation, poses "a major threat to the nation's security"."The RSS generally focuses on places that pose a major threat to the nation. The situation in Bengal is very much similar. The radical forces, Maoists and other separatist powers have combined with the state's ruling (Trinamool Congress) party to work together."The situation is unprecedented. This nexus of jihadis and radicals in Bengal is a major thr...




Prejudice and violence against Africans tarnish India's image
There have been far too many incidents of mob violence in recent months to be brushed aside as the occasional rampages of hooligans which can be controlled by stricter policing. Evidently, a deep personal and societal flaw is at work. Amulya Ganguli, The continued presence of insensate prejudice and brutal violence in public life has again been highlighted by the recent attacks on African students in Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh, a township near New Delhi.With its well-kept and well-lit roads, bustling malls and shopping arcades and rows of high-rise residential complexes, Greater Noida -- like Gurugram in Haryana -- is typical of a booming India whose affluent citizenry have been compared by Nobel laureate Amartya Sen with the denizens of California.But in the midst of the razzmatazz lurk ill-bred and ill-educated louts ready to vent their spleen on anyone who either rouses their antipathy, like Africans or people from India's northeast with their Mongoloid features, or look...




Combating prejudice against Africans: India has a lot to lose
Kul Bhushan,  India has a great deal to lose by mistreating and beating up Africans who come to study or live in the country. The latest attacks on March 27, 2017 on Nigerian students living in Greater Noida bordering New Delhi and part of the National Capital Region have made breaking news on all TV news channels and front-page headlines in leading newspapers.While playing up ad nauseum the sensational news story is supposed to increase the viewership of TV channels and boost dwindling newspaper readership, it inflicts massive harm to India-Africa bilateral relations, Indian investment in Africa, and Indian diaspora in Africa. The medium and long term repercussions and massive damage to India's goodwill internationally is lost on the angry, racist and violent Indian goons who assault and injure Africans.The tragedy is that this is not an isolated incident resulting in injuries to Africans inflicted by boorish locals. Such incidents have been happening in major metros for years, e...




Will a Grand Alliance be experimented in coming UP by-polls?
Five ministers including Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his two deputies will have to become Member of either Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council to continue as Ministers. Besides, Lok Sabha seats of Gorakhpur and Phulpur will also go to polls.  Mumtaz Alam, IndiaTomorrow.net, Now that it has become clear that far more than communal polarization, it is the huge division of non-BJP votes that defeated Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Congress in the recently-held Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, it is now on them to decide their future course of action as they are facing existential threat.   Necessity for By-polls After the grand victory in the Assembly polls – wherein the BJP alone won 312 seats in the 403-Member Assembly – the party formed the government in Lucknow earlier this month. Party’s firebrand leader Yogi Adityanath took oath of office of Chief Minister along with his 44 ministers. Five of them, including Yogi and his...




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