Panchayet Poll
In representative democracy, election is the most important democratic tool of selection of representatives from lower to upper houses. In India an election is considered as the 'vote festival' because of people's active participation whether voters of India are politically aware or not about their democratic rights. It might be also an important question to all. People participate because of gaining something as per their desires. However, in this democracy, the opponent/opposition is the vital pillar of the government because opposition's involvement and role & responsibility also determine the success or failure of government.

Filing of nomination of candidature in the election is the 1st step of the electoral processes. One observes in the concurrent Panchayet Election of West Bengal that there is a political warming throughout the state in relation to filing of the nomination of candidatures. Everyday political chaos, conflict, violence and injury as well as murders are taking place. The political party of the ruling government is trying to oppose the filing of nomination by other parties through open violence and torture while opposition is very weak comparatively. It is surprised to note that the ruling government has taken various development packages/incentives from its very beginning of the journey, the packages even include compensation/incentives to rape victims and the family of poisonous liquor death. The political party of this ruling government and its Department of Information and Culture publicise that Bengal is floating with the tide of development. But the opposition is skeptical.

Why this political party is afraid of voters? Does it read the voters' psychology and voters' opinion which might be against this party?

Tactically, this political party is creating an environment of political warming by which voters would be afraid to think altarnative by exercising their voting rights. Hooliganism during the filing of nomination is the only right option to keep away the voters from EVM. Another tactic is due to this political warming when a voter would try to reach to the booth, he/she would never think any alternative because of fear and its dire consequences.

The administration is the silent spectator. It has worn a special optic of not seeing anything. It only takes steps against the opposition of the government.

The global warming changes the climate globally and people are facing its consequences every day. Will this political warming bring changes in Bengal's societal environment and what will be its impacts'? That might be thought again and again and what will be future of democracy. People might be waited for a new law of the ''Rights to what they (political parties) like".
Harasankar Adhikari, Kolkata

Right to Employment
New Delhi, March 25, 2018, Sunday. Thousands of Anganwadi Women, youth, students, workers from Delhi, Haryana, Mumbai and Bihar marched from Ramleela Maidan to Parliament demanding the implementation of 'Bhagat Singh National Employment Guarantee Act' (BSNEGA). Around 12 in the noon scores of Anganwadi Women holding banners listing their demands led the march from Ramleela Maidan which was joined by students, workers from all walks of life. Raising slogans like 'Give Employment to all or else leave the government!', 'Employment is everyone's birthright and we shall have it!', etc reverberated in the rally. From Ramleela Maidan to Parliament street the rally of thousands of protesting women, workers, youth distributed pamphlets along the way, urging the common citizens to join the march for their right to employment. Through BSNEGA the agitating youth and workers are demanding the inclusion of the right to 'permanent employment, equal rights and free education to every citizen' in the fundamental rights by constitutional amendment. The rally was jointly organised by Naujawan Bharat Sabha, Disha Student Organisation, Delhi State Aanganwadi Workers and Helpers Union, Krantikari Mazdoor Morcha, among several other organisations. The rally culminated in a public meeting near the Parliament.

Addressing the gathering near Parliament Sunny Singh, a member of the BSNFGA campaign coordination committee, who is also a steel workers activist said that "It will not be an exaggeration to call the Right to Employment, the Right to live. But the crisis of unemployment in the country has increased horribly today. Whatever little work was available earlier to the working masses has now become scarce and even more difficult to come by today. Lakhs and lakhs of posts are lying vacant at the level of Centre and State. The hard-working population of the country survives on empty stomach to provide education to their children but the Modi government is betraying them".

Surveys reveal that two crore jobs have been snatched in the organised- unorganised sector in Modi Raj.
Abhinav, editor of a workers’ monthly called 'Mazdoor Bigul' also addressed the gathering. He said, "Recently changes made through a gazette notification dated 16 March 2018 in the Industrial Employment (standing orders) Central Rules, 1946 replacing 'fixed term employment' for the textiles and apparel industry' which facilitates the employers to hire and fire workers at their whims is a clear indication of a vicious plan in store. Ending job security amidst rampant unemployment should not only be condemned but questioned. The motive behind the move is absolutely clear. Under the excuse of 'ease of doing business' the Modi government is planning to open the gates for even more brutal and inhuman exploitation of workers in the country. As of now the gazette mentions just textile workers but what is the guarantee that this Government that is increasingly encroaching workers’ rights by making Labour Laws extremely pliable does not extend this to all sectors. Already more than 25 crores of India's population is unemployed, this move of 'hiring and firing' the workers will only add to the miseries of common people as it snatches away whatever little power the workers have when they raise the demand of implementation of Labour laws".
Naujawan Bharat Sabha, Delhi

Azad—India’s MalcomX
The continued, unjust imprisonment of Dalit activist and Bhim Army leader Chandrashekhar Azad 'Ravan' by the Uttar Pradesh government doesn't get much attention from the civic society.

Azad has been in prison since June 2017, put away as a threat to 'national security' for championing the cause of India's Dalits—a community repeatedly subjected to racist violence, rape, inhumane untouchability practices, social, cultural and political discrimination. Due to the high level of impunity in cases involving Dalit victims, they have no way of asserting their rights through the judicial system.

Like Malcolm X, the visionary leader of the black community in the United States, Azad is searching for ways to protect Dalit rights fearlessly in a way that is not only constructive but also effective.

Going beyond mere rhetoric Azad organised Dalits into the 'Bhim Army'- named after Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, one of India's greatest intellectuals, who drafted the Indian Constitution. The Bhim Army's main work has been to form over 300 study circles among Dalit students in western Uttar Pradesh to spread education and organise self-defence against violent attacks by high caste groups.

Azad was initially arrested on charges of 'inciting violence', following clashes between upper caste Rajputs and Dalits in Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh. In November 2017 the Allahabad High Court granted bail in all four cases against him and his associate Kamal Walia, observing the charges were false and politically motivated.

The regime however promptly re-arrested Azad under the draconian National Security Act (NSA), that allows the state to keep anyone behind bars without bail for a year. The NSA is in a long line of Indian repressive laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (DAPA), that violate all known norms of civil rights and are used by the Indian authorities to suppress democratic dissent.
The serious threat posed to the life of Azad is similar to that faced by countless other human rights defenders throughout India, in places like Kashmir, Chhattisgarh and the North-East.

It is in this context that we, the undersigned, call for Chandrashekhar Azad's immediate and unconditional release from prison and the dropping of all false charges against him.
K P Sasi, Film Maker, Writer, Activist
Satya Sagar, Public Health Activist, Journalist
Dr Goldy George, Social Scientist, Founder of Dalit Mukti Morcha,
Binu Mathew, Editor,

Vol. 50, No.42, Apr 22 - 28, 2018