News Wrap


On 11 June 2019, India's Supreme Court ordered the immediate release of journalist Prashant Kanojia on bail. The apex Court did not have any intention to sit back and watch a citizen deprived of his personal liberty for his social media posts. Mr Kanojia's family has claimed he was picked up from his home on 08 June 21019 by plainclothes policemen, and taken to an undisclosed location, for allegedly showing a video on social media of a woman claiming she has sent a marriage proposal to Uttar Pradesh chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Liberty guaranteed under fundamental rights is sacrosanct. The court called the action taken by the Uttar Pradesh government a "glaring case of deprivation of liberty", in which a citizen had been sent to custody for 13/14 days. Mr. Kanojia's release is an endorsement of his right to personal liberty. The court though not appreciative of his tweets, was bothered about his arrest and incarceration. Mr. Kanojia was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police. He was taken out of Delhi without a transit remand from a local magistrate.

Huge protests by adivasis in Dantewada against a contract awarded to Adani Enterprises Ltd. to mine iron are deposits in a hill in the Bailadila range, has prompted the Chattisgarh state government to halt all mining work for now, and review various permissions granted to the project. At the NMDC Ltd. complex in Kirandul, the site of the projects, thousands of adivasis from Dantewada, Sukma and Bijapur districts have gathered, under the banner of Sanjukt Panchayat Jana Songharsh Samiti. The NDMC has 51% stake and the Chattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation has 49% on NCL. The disputed green hill of iron is, is the Deposit number 13. For thousands of adivasis it is the abode of Pithorometa in Gondi, namely Pithor Rani, the goddess of the adivasis in the region. Deposit number 13 is estimated to contain 10 million tons of iron are per annum. This mining lease is registered with the NDMC and CMDC. While the mining lease has not been transferred to Adani nor to others at any point of time, only the contract of excavation and mine development is awarded to Adani Enterprise Ltd. to work as Mine Develop Operate (MDO). The faith of the adivasis rests with trees, the earth and forests. The district police believe that Maoists have incited the protests.

Peasant uprising leader Charu Mazumder was born in Siliguri, in 1919. He was arrested on 16 July 1972, in Kolkata, and dispatched to the Lalbazar police lock up. After twelve days on 28 July 1972, the West Bengal State government declared him brought dead. There is a belief amongst his family members and fellow Naxalites, that Charu Mazumder was tortured to death. Following the initiative of Mazumder, with cries of revolution and liberation, five decades ago there was a peasant uprising at Naxalbari, in Siliguri Sub-division (North Bengal). The revolt against the "oppressive feudal land holding system" ignited a fire in the hearts of both the rural masses and urban youths. A police inspector Sonam Wangdi was killed when an arrow shot by agitating farmers shot him on 24 May 1967. In retaliation, police opened fire at a crowd on 25 May 1967, killing 11 people, including eight women and two children, in the rural hamlet of Naxalbari. The upsurge turned into a revolutionary movement. The Charu Mazumder Jonmo Satobarsiki Udjapon Committee (Birth Centenary Organi-sing Committee) has called for a united struggle against caste politics and attempts to create divisions on religious grounds being designed by the ruling establishment, across, India. The committee observing the birth centenary of Charu Mazumder, the key figure of the Naxalbari movement stresses on class struggle, with the involvement of students and youth. Year-long programs with marches and meetings are being held, paying tributes to Mazumder.

On 26 May 2019, more than 2000 people marched in Hong Kong, to mark 30 years since a prodemocracy protest in Beijing's Tiananmen Square ended in bloodshed. Holding yellow umbrellas that read "Support Freedom, oppose Evil Laws", demonstrators, took to the streets. On 04 June 1989, leaders of china's ruling Communist Party ordered the military to retake Tiananmen Square, from student led protesters. Hundreds of unarmed protesters and onlookers were killed in the early hours of 04 June 1989, as a result of the martial action. In mainland China, commemorations of the historic event are strictly banned. Those who attempt to raise awareness on merely discuss it, are often punished by authorities. Groups such as the "Tiananmen Mothers" are pressured to stay quiet about the children they lost.

This year the Hong Kong Tiananmen protest marches took an additional significance as opposition to change to an extradition law, widely seen aseroding the Hong Kong Territory's independent legal system Revisions to the law would make it easier to send criminal suspects to mainland China, where critics say they could face vague national security charges and unfair trials.

Vol. 52, No. 1, Jul 7 - 13, 2019