A Parliamentary Trap?
The young men who suddenly appeared in parliament invoking Bhagat Singh were probably enacting a drama carefully orchestrated by the ruling party. The Ruling party member who provided passes for them to enter parliament has not even been questioned! The Home Minister has quietly passed on the responsibility of the security of parliament house to another agency. How smoothly all this has been done.

The drama actually realised its objective of providing a cover to suspend opposition MPs so that draconian laws could be passed without a murmur. This was a well thought out trap. The ruling party is pass master in laying such traps. The pangs of unemployment were only a facade.
Madhu Bhaduri

Navlakha Granted Bail
The Bombay High Court in its judgement granting bail to human rights activist Gautam Navlakha, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, has noted that ‘there was no material on record to infer prima facie that he conspired or committed any terrorist act’. Navlakha turned 71 a week ago. His health is deteriorating. The order, however, stayed for three weeks for NIA to move Supreme Court.

Last year the National Investigating Agency [NIA] opposed his bail application, claiming that he had been introduced to a Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence [ISI] general for his recruitment, which shows his nexus with the organisation.

The court refused to accept the NIA’s allegation that Navlakha had connections with Pakistan’s ISI as he had written a letter to a US court judge seeking clemency for Ghulam Fai (a US based Kashmiri separatist). Navlakha is currently under house arrest in Navi Mumbai as per Supreme Court’s directive.

Incidentally most of the 16 co-accused in the Elgar-Parishad case are out on bail. While scholar-activist Anand Teltumbde, lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, Vermon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Mahesh Raut are out on regular bail, Telugu litterateur Varavara Rao is out on bail on health grounds. Stan Swamy, an 84-year-old Jesuit activist of Jharkhand died of ’post-Covid complications’ in judicial custody.
A Reader, Kolkata

Who will listen to us?
Since the past month, there have been many complaints of contractual sewer workers under Delhi Jal Board (DJB) being unexpectedly removed from their jobs. The number of these complaints have been increasing with workers coming from all different zones of Delhi with similar cases. The sudden removal of hundreds of contractual sewer workers has not been covered by most media agencies and there has been no public debate on its repercussions on sewer maintenance.

Some of the workers have been working since the last 10-15 years in hope to secure regular employment under DJB. These workers, who were already facing financial difficulty because their salary was not released even during the festival season, are now left jobless and struggling to make ends meet.

Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch (DASAM) has been working with sewer workers since the past few years and has been meeting with administrative bodies regarding their issues.
DASAM, Delhi

Manipur: Dead Bodies
According to a report by a Supreme Court-constituted committee to look into the violence, 175 deaths were reported during the clashes and 169 bodies were identified.

The bodies of 64 victims of the Manipur violence lying in morgues since ethnic clashes broke out in the state in May were handed over to their families recently under tight security.

According to a report by a Supreme Court-constituted committee to look into the violence, 175 deaths were reported during the clashes and 169 bodies were identified.

The bodies of 60 members of the Kuki community, which were kept in the JNIMS and RIMS hospitals here, were airlifted amid tight security arrangements put in place by the Manipur Police and the Army's Assam Rifles unit.

Four bodies of Meiteis that were lying at a morgue in Churachandpur, a district dominated by tribals, were also brought to Imphal and handed over to their families for the last rites.
A Reader

BSF ‘Ignores’ NHRC Order
In a representation to the Chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), human rights defender Kirity Roy, Secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), has alleged Border Security Force (BSF) personnel, stationed near the Indo-Bangladesh border, have “completely destroyed” a West Bengal Dalit fisherman’s property, “ignoring” NHRC directives.

Providing chronology of the MASUM complaint to NHRC, Roy said, the value of the property destroyed by BSF personnel stood at Rs 700,000, pointing out, this happened after repeated NHRC directives to BSF to allow the Dalit fisherman, Madhai Mondal, to go on fishing.

Tragically enough no notable action has been taken to address the concerns of the residents of Amudia village in particular and Swarupnagar block or taluka in general. The village falls under the North 24 Parganas district in West Bengal. Complaints against personnel of the BSF (Border Security Force) stationed near the Indo-Bangladesh border on deliberate interference in the livelihood activities of the rural poor have largely gone unaddressed.

MASUM has repeatedly written to all the concerned authorities and also to NHRC office with the hope of effective redress of the legitimate grievances put forward by the villagers, primarily dependent on farm-based livelihood activities. A specific complaint from Ms Aparna Mondal, wife of Mr Madhai Mondal of Amudia village, to SP Basirhat Police District was also submitted.

Names of the perpetrators: 1) Company Commander of Amudia BOP, 112 BN BSF; 2) Mr. J C Pan 2 IC of 112 BN BSF; 3) Mr Jaffar Hossain Khan, ‘G’ Branch, 112 BN BSF; 4) Other labourers engaged by BSF to destroy properties of victims.

It is a direct attack on the life and livelihood of Mr Madhai Mondal and his family members, along with a number of households dependent on farm-based livelihoods in villages near the international border with Bangladesh.
A Correspondent, Counterview

Gutenberg Undefeated
Sales of physical books are booming, despite the rise of e-books. The growth of the Amazon Kindle and other e-readers in the early 2000s was predicted to kill off print books and, perhaps, the independent bookstore. But print-book sales are up 10-14% over the last three years across English-speaking markets, an industry analyst told CBC: Nice numbers “for an industry that many people thought was dying.” Surprisingly, e-readers are more popular among older people—being able to make the text bigger is a plus for the varifocal generation—while younger readers, driven by the growth in genre fiction and young-adult novels, and by social-media trends like “BookTok,” are buying print books in ever-greater numbers.
Brandie Weikle,
CBC Radio, Canada

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Vol 56, No. 28, Jan 7 - 13, 2024