Lawless Lawyers
India shall truly be a lawless land if lawyers are permitted to prevent their fellows from defending those accused of terrorism. These people appear not to know the meaning of "accused" and the necessity of defence lawyers if those accused of crimes are to get justice.
Mukul Dube, Delhi

Lawyer Attacked

Some lawyers allegedly with saffron bias attacked and seriously injured a lawyer defending Khalid Mujahid who was murdered in police custody on 19 May while being transported from Faizabad to Lucknow.

A large march was organised on May 20, at Faizabad from the Eidgah to the Commissioner's office to protest against the custodial murder of Khalid Mujahid, a terror-accused who, alongwith the co-accused Tariq Qasmi, was found innocent by the Nimesh Commission.

The May 20 march of around 700 people included some lawyers who had been defending the terror-accused despite opposition by partisan saffron lawyers who had in the past attacked such lawyers in the court premises. The attack took place after the Faizabad bar association passed a resolution condemning lawyers defending the terror-accused.

Police admitted Advocate Mohammad Shakeel in the Faizabad district hospital in serious condition.
Ghufran Siddiqi, Shah Alam,

Press club or police club?
Under the clear instructions of the Indian State, the Press Club officials (themselves journalists) cancelled the booking for the Press Conference called to condemn the illegal detention of Yasin Malik at the last minute at Jantar Mantar. The officials used the language of the state by branding it 'anti-national' which again is the language of the Indian State to justify the suppression of all dissenting voices. This is the first time the Press Club of India cancelled such an event at the venue in the name of 'protecting sentiments'. Further, the officials, along with the Delhi Police and right wing organizations gathered at the venue, bodily pushed and heckled Vara Vara Rao and others attending the Press Conference.

Vara Vara Rao said to the press, "Today, while Jantar Mantar has been shut for the democratic right to protest, now even the Press Club of India has been shut to our fundamental right to freedom of expression." He added, "The Press, which is supposed to be the fourth pillar of democracy, has fallen prey to the control of the Indian State, its Police force and the right wing organizations." There lies the clear collusion of the Indian State, the Police, and the right wing forces to suppress all voices of dissent. Aam Aadmi Party cadres were seen holding placards wearing party-caps along with many other right wing organizations and did not allow this press conference to take place.

The press conference was called in protest of the arrest of Yasin Malik as well as the denial to express the anguish of hundreds of Kashmiri families through the democratic means of protest in the form of a two-day hunger strike at Jantar Mantar. These Kashmiri families have been victims of persecution as members of their family have either been the target of forced disappearances or have been languishing in Indian jails for many years and in some cases even decades. Not only were the democratic right to protest and their demand for the release of these political prisoners denied, these families are also being harassed by the Delhi Police, threatened with arrest, surrounded and detained by the police force.
SAR Geelani, Vara Vara Rao, G N Saibaba and others,
Committee for Release of Political Prisoners

Hemendra Kumar Roy
It matters little that the literary world forgot his 125th birth anniversary. If anything thousands of young children, like this correspondent, have grown up to remember Jayanta-Manik and Kumar as doorkeepers to a world of adventure, unbelievable but mesmerising, a part, everyday, of the universe of discourse of the child's mind, so much of it poignantly imaginary like Hemendra Kumar's creations. Jakher Dhan, Abar Jakher Dhan, were easy to read, eminently suitable for new readers and new dreamers. Second hand? So were the plots of the Elizabethan playwrights.
Dipanjan Rai Chaudhuri, Kolkata

Beyond Shahbag
The younger generation of Bangladesh has been able to rekindle the spirit of the 1952 language movement, which was mounted against attempts by the ruling West Pakistani elite to impose Urdu as the national language on he Bengali-speaking East Pakistan. That year also laid the foundation for a dream of a secular nation, a dream fulfilled in 1971 after a mass uprising followed by a bloody, nine-month war. Similarly, a multitude poured on to the streets in December 1989, fought pitched battles with soldiers, and forced the military dictatorship to abdicate power.

What these crucial events in the history of Bangladesh establish is that its people have a tremendous capacity to correct the path of its polity whenever it veered away from its core value of liberal syncretism.

Jamaat, an extension of the Salafist doctrine, is a living refutation of these Bangladeshi ideals. Hence, throughout the '80s and the '90s, targets of Jamaat and its associated terror groups such as JMB (Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh), JMJB (Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh) or HUJI (Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-lslami) were the progressive, secular elements of society and rural women empowered by NGOs.
The Jamaat is also in a desperate struggle. They can sense the rising public sentiment against them; thus they have embarked on a path of violent confrontation with the state. By blaming India, Hindus in Bangladesh and orchestrating attacks on minorities, they are merely trying to divert attention from the real issues.

The Shahbag Square uprising, fuelled by the elite, middle class and subalterns alike—in sharp contrast to the Anna Hazare-led movement in India—finds Bangladesh in another watershed moment in its history. The world is witnessing a course correction of momentous nature, but unfortunately fails to grasp its importance.
NA, Delhi

Vol. 45, No. 48, June 9-15, 2013

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