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People’s Union for Democratic Rights Condemns Bans on Cow Slaughter

March 27, 2015
Statement by People’s Union for Democratic Rights 
On March 16th 2015, the Haryana Government unanimously passed Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Bill with main opposition parties INLD and Congress supporting the Bill. The new bill passed by the Haryana Government bans cow slaughter and sale of beef and imposes a punishment of rigorous imprisonment of not less than three years extending up to 10 years and fines ranging from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. one lakh. The Haryana Government’s move comes just days after the President’s assent to Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill 1995 early this month. Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill 1995 not only banned beef but also extended the prohibition to slaughter of bulls and oxen. There was already a ban on slaughter of cows in Maharashtra since 1976.  The new amended act imposes a fine of Rs. 10,000 and a maximum prison term of five years for selling or even possessing beef.
What needs to be underlined here is that these bans on cow slaughter are not new; they were in existence in many of the states for many-many years. For example in Delhi, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, slaughter of cows and calves is totally prohibited. In Goa and Andhra Pradesh, ‘cow’ is defined to include heifer, or a male or female calf of a cow under the Goa, Daman and Diu Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act 1978 and Andhra Pradesh Prohibition of Cow Slaughter and Animal Preservation Act 1977, respectively. In some states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Goa and Madhya Pradesh slaughter of bulls, bullocks and adult buffalos is permitted on ‘fit for slaughter’ certificate if the cattle is over 12 or 15 years of age, is not likely to become economical for draught, breeding or milk. Assam and West Bengal provides for slaughter of all cattle which includes bull, bullocks, calves, cows and buffalo on ‘fit for slaughter’ certificate. Meghalaya and Nagaland have no legislation to this effect.

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Tribute to Tahira Mazhar Ali: Kavita Panjabi

March 27, 2015

Guest Post by KAVITA PANJABI

Kavita Panjabi honours the memory of a South Asian feminist from Pakistan who effortlessly produced an ” ‘us’ across generations, contexts and movements”, an ‘us’ across “Kolkata, Dhaka and Delhi, Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi.”

Begum Tahira Mazhar Ali Khan

Just read about Tahira Mazhar Ali passing away, feeling really sad, hence this short piece.

I met her only thrice, and it was like I carried her within me all these years.

The first time was in 2001 at a seminar organized by ASR in Lahore on the 30th anniversary of the genocide in Bangladesh. She came up to chat after my presentation on the Mahila Atma Raksha Samity (MARS) and the Tebhaga women’s movement, excited. It had taken her on a nostalgia trip, and she said she remembered the MARS on a collection drive for the Bengal Famine in Lahore too; many, including she, had taken off the gold bangles they were wearing and contributed on the spot.  Read more…

An Open Letter by the Protestors at National Law University, Delhi

March 26, 2015

An open letter from students at National Law University

Abish Mathew, comedian of the AIB Roast fame, performed at NLU Delhi on the 22nd of March for our annual fest, Kairos. Early in the show, Matthew cracked a joke on domestic violence, at which point, two women students who found the jokes to be extremely misogynistic, walked out, showing him the middle finger. The audience reacted with some tittering, and Abish Mathew fumbled momentarily, before resuming. The audience asked him to carry on and to ignore the protesters. In the mean time, a group of female students marched into the auditorium holding placards reading “Get Out, Sexist Pig”, and also used expletives such as ‘fuck off’.

The auditorium erupted in shouts of “fuck you guys” and the protesters were booed and heckled by the audience members who demanded that the protestors either leave or move to the side. They eventually did move to the side of the auditorium, where they continued to hold their placards up and attempted to interrupt him. Abish was greeted by a standing ovation when he stated that he was an artist and recognized the right of the protesters, and subsequently when he ended his show by stating he had overstayed his welcome.

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Dealing with ‘sexist pigs’? Reflections on the feminist protest against AIB’s Avish Mathew at National Law University, Delhi: A Statement

March 25, 2015

A statement from concerned students and teachers

What does one do sitting in the middle of an audience roaring with laughter at jokes that one might find downright humiliating? Laugh along, retire hurt, or ask people to stop? It’s a dilemma that many of us on the ‘wrong’ side of various lines of privilege (caste, class, gender, race) and those sensitive to these divisions often find ourselves in. Some students at the National Law University, Delhi seem to have been put in a similar situation when during their annual college fest, comedian Avish Mathew of AIB Roast fame would not stop amusing his audience with one offensive joke after another. They first decided to walk out and then came back with a placard saying, “Get out you sexist pig!”

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Communist, Scientist, Activist and Dreamer Daya Varma (August 23, 1929 – March 22, 2015) : Harsh Kapoor

March 25, 2015

Guest Post by Harsh Kapoor

Dr. Daya Varma, life-long communist, scientist, activist, dreamer, pharmacologist, professor emeritus at McGill University, Montreal, passed away on 22 March 2015 in St. John’s Newfoundland, Canada. Former member of the undivided Communist Party of India, founder of Indian People’s Association in North America (IPANA) and the International South Asia Forum, founding member of CERAS (Centre d’Étude et Ressources d’Asie Sud) and was on the board of of Alternatives, a progressive think tank in Canada, He also founded and edited the INSAF bulletin. Many in India remember how when the 1984 Bhopal Union Carbide industrial disaster struck,where thousands died, Dr. Varma spearheaded a study to monitor the effects of MIC on pregnant women whilst participating in activities aimed at supporting their compensation claims.

(Read the complete text here : http://www.sacw.net/article10894.html)

The Death of 66A and The Dawn of a New Era of Free Speech Jurisprudence: Siddharth Narrain

March 24, 2015

Guest Post by  SIDDHARTH NARRAIN

It’s not often that India’s Supreme Court strikes down a law in its entirety as a violation of the free speech. But when it does, boy do you want to stand up and cheer. Before a packed courtroom, Justices Rohinton Nariman and G. Chelameswar, pronounced their judgment in Shreya Singhal & Ors. v. Union of India,, striking down, in its entirety, the controversial section 66A of the Information Technology Act in its entirety. The full text of the decision is not available yet. But Justice Nariman read out parts of the court decision, enough to give us a sense of what is to come.

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Justice for Hashimpura!

March 24, 2015

hashmipura killing Poster (1)

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