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Letter to PM about US-India Bilateral Relations on Intellectual Property

October 31, 2014

Dear Prime Minister Modi ji,

We, the undersigned, wish to share with you some of our concerns on India’s position on intellectual property (IP), particularly in the context of bilateral relations between the United States of America and India. We gather from the US-India Joint Statement dated 30 September 2014 that the Indian Government

(a)greeing on the need to foster innovation in a manner that promotes economic growth and job creation…committed to establish an annual high-level Intellectual Property (IP) Working Group with appropriate decision-making and technical-level meetings as part of the Trade Policy Forum. 

The necessity for setting up the joint Indo-US IP Working Group is not entirely clear. As the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP)‘s press release of 3 October 2014 mentions, there is already in operation an Indo-US Trade Policy Forum since 2010. Therefore, we request your Government to kindly make the specific purpose of this joint Working Group publicly known. Read more…

Witness Account of the Trilokpuri Clashes on October 25, 2014: A.M

October 30, 2014

AM, a journalist,  writes on Sabrang. Excerpts below and link to the whole piece at the end.

I with a colleague of mine reached East Delhi’s Trilokpuri by 12:00 pm on Saturday. News about alleged clashes had reached us late on Friday night. We were told that the clashes had broken out at around 8:00 pm on Friday but no one was visibly injured. Bricks and empty beer bottles were hurled to and fro interspersed with occasional gunshots. The police reached the area and restored calm. Heavy police presence in the area restored confidence and sent people back into their homes. This is what we had heard.

When we reached the spot on Saturday afternoon at around 12:00 pm, both of us happened to walk right into a mob which had assembled on the main road. Then they started hurling bricks into the air, upped with roaring jubilation and thrill. All at a physical enemy that was not visible. Terrified and taken by surprise, we ducked and ran over to a nearby car parked by the curb. We crouched behind it for over five minutes till we could run farther down to a relatively deserted and safer stretch next to a mother dairy kiosk. That was only one of the many such walk-ins we had and had walked in and out of…

This senseless and directionless fury, we realised, was being whipped up for the fun of it. And, as journalists, we sensed individual families had gathered ammunition, mainly bricks and beer bottles, over the night for a final showdown on Saturday morning. A couple of hours later, my colleague followed a rag picker collecting in a sack bricks strewn over various roads. He saw the rag picker climb into a house and he heard him saying, “Chalo bhai, aaj ke raat ka intezaam ho gaya hai.”…

The atrocities started when policemen began arbitrarily searching houses and rounding perpetrators in the absence of clean evidence or proof. Almost 1000 persons were actively involved in the stone throwing and no one knows which blocks they belonged to and where they had walked to to participate in the violence. Police, clueless and worked up, therefore, randomly began banging on closed doors and shoving their lathis into houses to drive fear and establish control over residents. Most of these houses, however, happened to be in Muslim dominated areas especially in Blocks 14 and 27. The Indian Express reported that “the police have arrested 44 people — 32 Muslims and 12 Hindus” on charges of rioting as listed in the FIRs. This despite Trilokpuri comprising 80 per cent Hindus ( Balmikis) and 20 per cent Muslims. Lopsided statistics and arrests say much about what was happening on the ground…

I was witness to how the Delhi police, had brazenly, in view of  journalists, albeit without cameras employed anarchic, illegal arrests, communal and extrajudicial tactics to impose what they call ‘law and order’- a phrase which constantly equivocates with us, we who lie on the “clean” side of law and those who live outside its underbelly.

READ THE WHOLE ACCOUNT HERE.

त्रिलोकपुरी के कुछ सवाल

October 29, 2014

त्रिलोकपुरी की हिंसा की व्याख्या तरह-तरह से करने की कोशिश हो रही है. जो बात साफ है, वह यह कि हिंसा रोकी जा सकती थी, अगर प्रशासन ने वक्त पर सख्ती की होती. लेकिन दिल्ली में दीपावली के आस-पास जैसे कोई प्रशासन नहीं था.गनीमत यह थी कि त्रिलोकपुरी में रोड़ेबाजी तक ही हिंसा सीमित रही और दूसरे हथियारों का इस्तेमाल नहीं हुआ. शायद उसका इरादा भी न था. मकसद एक सीमा तक तनाव और तापमान बढ़ा देना था जो उस इलाके के हिन्दुओं और मुसलमानों में शक और नफरत भर दे और दोनों को एक-दूसरे से दूर-दूर कर दे.

तरकीब जानी पहचानी थी. दो लोगों के बीच झगड़े की खबर आगे बढ़ते-बढ़ते तरह-तरह की शक्लें अख्तियार करती है और फिर एक बार हमला होता है.अगर झगड़ा बीस नंबर ब्लॉक का था तो वहाँ से दूर पंद्रह नंबर ब्लॉक या सताईस नंबर ब्लॉक में रोड़ेबाजी क्यों हुई.मोबाईल और व्हाट्स ऐप पर अफवाहें कौन उड़ा रहा था?

सवाल और भी हैं .इस तनाव में स्थानीय विधायक और सांसद की क्या भूमिका थी? विधायक दृश्य पटल से गायब थे. वे आम आदमी पार्टी के हैं.उनसे बार-बार संपर्क की कोशिशों के बावजूद वे सक्रिय नहीं हुए. सांसद भारतीय जनता पार्टी के हैं.उन्होंने जो बयान दिया, उसमें इशारे से हिंसा के लिए मुसलमानों को दोषी ठहराया गया था. उनके पूर्व विधायक का रोल तो आग लगाने का था.कुल मिला कर,दोनों की दिलचस्पी अमन के लिए हस्तक्षेप में न थी. दीपावाली के अगले दिन, जब रोड़ेबाजी ज़ोरों पर थी और कुछ भी घटने की आशंका थी, लगभग हर राजनीतिक दल से संपर्क की कोशिश हुई. नतीजा प्रायः सिफर था. Read more…

त्रिलोकपुरी में शांति है!

October 29, 2014

आशंकाओं के द्वीप

त्रिलोकपुरी में शांति है. त्रिलोकपुरी में तनाव है. त्रिलोकपुरी में स्थिति नियंत्रण में है. नियंत्रित तनाव की शांति भी नियंत्रित ही होती है. बीच-बीच में अफवाहें उड़ती हैं और लोग सावधान हो जाते हैं. पुलिस की गश्त बढ़ जाती है.

दीवाली की रात से सक्रिय हिंसा शुरू हुई. लेकिन यह हिंसा भी नियंत्रित थी. सिर्फ ईंटों के टुकड़े बरसाए जा रहे थे.त्रिलोकपुरी की सड़कें इन टुकड़ों और कांच से आज भी इस कदर पटी पड़ी हैं कि उनसे बचकर आप पैदल भी नहीं चल सकते. प्रशासन एकसाथ शांति कायम रखने और सडकों को साफ कराने का काम नहीं कर सकता, भले ही स्वच्छ भारत अभियान की सफलता के लिए पत्रकार अपनी कलम को झाड़ू बना चुके हों. ताज्जुब सोचकर होता है कि इतनी ईंटें अचानक कहाँ से आ गई होंगी.

शांति है. धारा एक सौ चवालीस लगी है. अपनी दीवाली खराब करके सैकड़ों पुलिसकर्मी गश्त लगा रहे हैं. लेकिन इस पहरे का नतीजा प्रायः रोजाना काम करके पेट पालने वालों को भुगतना पड़ रहा है. यह इत्तफाक की बात ही होगी कि शिकायतें मिल रही हैं कि ज़्यादातर मुसलमानों को दूध, सब्जी, जैसी ज़रूरियात की खरीदारी करने या काम पर जाने के लिए बाहर निकलने में दिक्कत हो रही है. एक का कहना है कि दाढ़ी देखते ही सुरक्षाकर्मी सावधान हो जाते हैं और उनमें तनाव आ जाता है. उनकी लाठी में भी उस वक्त ज़्यादा ज़ोर आ जाता है. क्या यह सिर्फ उसका वहम है? Read more…

Ghulam Azam : Death of a War Criminal

October 29, 2014

Wily strategists meet their nemesis in unexpected ways.

Ghulam Azam, the once all powerful leader of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, who died recently, might have brooded over this old dictum, in his last days in detention. It was only last year that he was sentenced to 90 years of imprisonment for his crimes against humanity which he committed when people of the then East Pakistan – todays Bangladesh – had risen up against the occupation army of Pakistan in the year 1971.

It was not surprising that the funeral of this man who evoked intense hatred and loathing from a large cross-section of the population of B’desh for his role during and after the liberation of the country witnessed protest demonstrations all over the country. There were even demands that his body be sent to Pakistan for final rites and should not be buried here.

“The janaza (funeral prayer) of a war criminal can never be held at the national mosque,”

Ziaul Hasan, chairman of Bangladesh Sommilito Islami Jote, an alliance of progressive Islamic parties, said at a human chain near the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque where Azam’s body was taken for funeral prayers. (The Telegraph, 27 th Oct 2014). Read more…

Goodbye Politics, Hello Social Science 
- A Reply to Ranabir Samaddar and Others on Recent Students’ Politics in Jadavpur: Rajarshi Dasgupta

October 27, 2014

Guest Post by RAJARSHI DASGUPTA

[ This post by Rajarshi Dasgupta continues the debate with Ranabir Samaddar's piece on the character of the students' movement that has begun in Jadavpur University which was published recently in DNA, also critiqued in a recent post in Kafila by Uditi Sen ]

Nobody knows why social science routinely condemns the lack of radicalism in society when social scientists with radical pasts so easily dismiss new radicalisms as harmful and shallow. I was attending a meeting on students’ politics in the campus I work on the other night, when some colleagues, who have long been part of progressive politics since their student life, voiced such sentiments. I was struck by the arguments they made against what they saw as merely fancy and passing fashion. They were rather similar to a set of arguments made by an older generation of teachers about my colleagues when they were young and radical students. I think these arguments are worth a little discussion since they show something like a pattern that is predictable to some extent, and which may reveal a more uneasy relationship between social science scholarship and social transformation than we usually care to admit. They also have a deep affinity with the criticisms aired about the recent students’ unrest in Jadavpur university, by Ranabir Samaddar among others. Unlike some who have written in support of the students, there are senior scholars like Samaddar who have expressed profound and serious misgivings that must be tackled head on. I will argue in the following that such misgivings result from a muddle of liberal and leftist understanding of the student’s place and the academy’s role in society. A more clear understanding becomes possible, incidentally, in this case, if one returns to a basic capitalist framing of the university.

Read more…

On a Long Road to Justice: Simin Akhter

October 27, 2014

This is a Guest post by Simin Akhter, with inputs from Kamal Pant, Naina Singh and Vikas – 16 December Kranti

(Notes from the ongoing protests in the child sexual abuse case against Toddlers International Playschool, Rohini)

In a heinous and unfortunate show of power and violence, a two and a half year-old girl was raped by a male attendant at Toddlers International playschool (Rohini). Though the parents could manage to file an FIR, the management has threatened them with dire consequences. The principal has been openly shielding the accused, Amit Kumar, despite prior complaints of inappropriate behaviour by aggrieved parents and was allegedly shameless and audacious enough to tell the parents, ‘The police have been fed too well enough to open their mouths’! It also came to light during the protest yesterday that a similar FIR was filed two years back too but no police records could be found for the same; no wonder!

Almost 30 other girls have been detected with a certain strain of bacterial urinary infection, indicating the said two-year old is not the only victim. Many other children have been suffering from mouth-ulcers and a general loss of appetite too, reflecting also on the general lack of health and hygiene practices in the school. A group of parents, grandparents and concerned citizens, mostly young women and men, from in and around Rohini have got together for a relay protest but parents of other victims have not been forthcoming with formal complaints. Needless to say, the greater the delay in filing the complaints, the more legal intervention will get delayed.

Read more…

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