De Radicalisation
You might ask General Hasnain if he could persuade the CDS to speak also about the need to "de-radicalise" Hindutva terror, which, many feel, has been particularly active and virulent since the 2014 general election? That is, if indeed he wishes "to ensure that no misinterpretations of religious texts are fed to youth" (nor of history, one might add).
Mukul Dube, Delhi

"Health for All by When?"
A slogan is popularly publicised that India is aspiring to be a superpower. But what about the equity and quality of health care is? After about four decades of Alma Ata Conference on Primary Health Care in USSR in the year 1978 where it was declared to achieve health for all by 2000 and India signed it, India's healthcare system is till poor and is lagging far behind.

Since independence India has been launching various programme like National Health Mission (rural and urban). But improvement is very slow in health care. According to the Central Bureau of Health intelligence (2018), the infant mortality rate (IMR), was 34/1000 live births for the whole country. It was 38/1000 live births in rural India and this rate is 39 for female infants and 35 for male infants. This report showed that Maternal mortality rates (MMRs) was 130/1 lakh live births in the country.

Healthcare Access Quality (HAQ) Index shows that India stands at the 145th position, out of the 195 countries, while Bangladesh and Sri Lanka is at the 133rd position. There is huge disparity in the socio-economy power, income, goods services and so forth influencing people's awareness, education, beliefs, trust and participation in decisions making process, etc. Poverty and health are in the vicious cycle. In addition to this, the primary healthcare system of the country is inadequate and inaccessible to the poor population.

The International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai(2013) surveyed that 'only 69% of PHCs had at least one bed, only 20% had adequate communication, and only 12% were properly maintained.' These are worse in poorer states. Private health facility is spreading rapidly. But it is for economically better off sections. But would be then for the poor India who have to face the economic burden and overcrowding and neglect in government hospitals.

The National Health Policy 2017 has been promised to cover the goal of universal health care facilities. And government has been assured to increase investment upto 2.5% of GDP by 2025. The launch of "Swatch Bharat" and "Ayusman Bharat" schemes by the government of India are significant so far as the political will are concerned. But it has been noticed that it suffers from proper implementation.

Therefore, there is a simple asking when the government would meet the health needs for all for a healthy nation.
Harasankar Adhikari, Kolkata

Society Must Be Defended
A collection of lectures of Michel Foucault at the College De France (1975-76) was published with the above title. While introducing the text, Arnold I.

Davidson observed: "Society Must Be Defended" is Foucault 's most concentrated and detailed historical examination of the model of war as a grid for analyzing politics.

In stating the object of his enquiry, Foucault said: "Our object is... to understand power in its most regional forms and institutions, and especially at the points where this power transgresses the rules of right that organise and delineate it, oversteps those rules and is invested in institutions, is embodied in techniques and acquires the material means to intervene, sometimes in violent ways".

While theorising the exercise of power in modem times, Foucault raised a seminal question: "If we look beneath peace, order, wealth, and authority, beneath the calm order of sub-ordinations, beneath the State and State apparatuses, beneath the laws, and so on, will we hear and discover a sort of primitive and permanent war?"

The recent State onslaught on members of the minority community and civil/human rights activists in different parts of India and violent modes of exercise of power in Kashmir, particularly after the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, remind us of nuanced theorisation of power. Foucault's discourse on power also makes us of our social obligation "Society Must Be Defended".
Arup Kumar Sen

India–a Police State
The Chennai police detained five women human rights defenders, Gayatri, Pragati, Aarti, Madhan and Kalyani, for drawing kollams (colourful patterns) on the street. The police said they were being arrested for protesting without permission, however, the organisers of the event iterated that they were neither raising slogans nor holding placards, and only two or three of them were working on one kollam each, a form of cultural expression which does not require permission.

In Uttar Pradesh, human rights defenders including Mohammad Faizal, Deepak Kabir, Pawan Rao Ambedkar, Anoop Shramik, Dalit rights defender Shushil Gautam, Robin Verma, Sadaf Jaffar, Mohammad Shoaib and Kafeel Khan, were detained for peacefully protesting against the CAA. On 20 December 2019, women human rights defenders Arundhati Dhurru, Meera Sangamitra and Madhavi were arrested while inquiring into the whereabouts of human rights lawyer Mohammad Shoaib.

In Assam, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) leader Akhil Gogoi was arbitrarily arrested by the Assam police after delivering a speech on the CAA. He was later handed over to the National Investigation Agency and charged. On 24 January 2020, he was sent to judicial custody for fourteen days. Four others who work for Satra Mukti Sangram Samiti, an organisation affiliated with KMSS, were similarly detained and charged. Manash Konwar and Lakhyajyoti Gogoi were released on bail while Dairjya Konwar and Bitu Sonawal are still in detention. On 27 December 2019, Assam police picked up human rights defender Seram Herajit Singh and kept him in custody before a First Information Report was even filed. He was released only after two weeks.

The statement also recorded the attacks on the students of the Jamia Millia Islamia University where the police used tear gas and batons on students who were peacefully protesting against the CAA.

Front Line Defenders said that rather than addressing the issues raised by the protestors, the government has resorted to shutting down any form of dissent by restricting internet access, imposing curfews and detaining hundreds of peaceful protestors and human rights defenders. The police, while falling to exercise their duty to protect the people, have been using excessive force against those who are merely exercising their fundamental rights.
Frontline Defenders

Over to NIA
Modi-Shah Duo has dealt yet another blow to federal structure which is important basic structure of the constitution. The central Home Ministry has taken away Elgar Parishad case from Pune police and handed it over to National Investing Agency—NIA.

Elgar (meaning popular uprising) Parishad was held at Pune on 31st December, 2017 in which Dalit and other progressive leaders had exhorted the masses to participate in a ceremony to pay homage to the brave dalit warriors who had defeated Peshwa i.e. Brahminical ruler) two.hundred years back at Bhima—Koregaon, (38 km from Pune). Two Hindutwa leaders, Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide had instigated Maratha people of Koregaon to create disturbances in Dalit rally. As a result, there were violent attacks on Dalits on 13 January, 2018 at the war Menorial at Bhima Koregaon. The police had registered FIR against Ekbote and Bhide. Ekbote was released on bail but the police did not apprehend because Bhide was touting as yes—man of Narendra Modi. And, at the instance of the them CM Devendra Fadnavis, had booked a case against Anand Teltumbade, Sudha Bhardwaj and seven other academics-cum-activists on the ground that they had links with Naxalites. The evidence produced by the police is that some of them had in their possession war and peace, the classic novel written by great pacifist list Leo Tolstoy and books by Dr B R Ambedkar, Karl Marx, etc. The police also say that they have recovered an e-mail message suggesting that uprising be organised to overthrow Modi government. A lengthy legal battle is going on.

After installation of Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress coalition government in Maharashtra, Shri Sharad Pawar, president of NCP has requested Maharashtra Government, to review the case because there is reason to believe that the nine academics-activists whom Modi-Shah labelled as "Urban Naxal" are falsely incriminated. The very next day the central Home Ministry transferred the case to NIA on the spacious ground that grave threat to national security is involved. This is highly objectionable. In the first place, police and crime is a state subject. Decency demands that if the centre wants to interfere, it should hold consultation with the state throwing all those constitutional obligations to the wind, Modi-Shah duo has perpetrated this second blow to the federal structure.
Pannalal Surana
President, Socialist Party India

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Vol. 52, No. 36, Mar 8 - 14, 2020