Appeal to Election Commission
Hon’ble CEC & ECs of ECI,
This has reference to Violation of (a) the Model Code of Conduct, (b) Sections 123(3) and (3A), 125 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code by Shri Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister, in a speech in Banswara, Rajasthan, on April 21, 2024.

I am Lalita Ramdas, aged 84, a concerned senior citizen of this country and a registered voter in Alibag Taluka, Raigad, Maharashtra. My husband and I have been casting our votes at the Kamarle Village School.

I am also an active community educator and have worked for over four decades with literacy, adult education, and awareness building on the Constitution in urban and rural areas.

I also happen to be a Fauji daughter and Fauji wife.

My father, the late Admiral Ram Dass Katari, was the first Indian to become Chief of Naval Staff in Independent India.

My husband, late Admiral L. Ramdas, who passed away a month ago, has written letters to the ECI–CEC–in the past few years, expressing his concerns and anguish at the violations of the Constitution of India, to which all Servicemen take an oath of loyalty.

I am deeply disturbed and distressed by reports and visuals regarding the serious violation of the above-mentioned provisions of the Model Code of Conduct–which also represents a violation of the Constitution.

Along with many other citizens of this country, I hereby urge the ECI, especially the Hon Chief Election Commissioner Shree Rajiv Kumar and other Honourable Election Commissioners to kindly respond to the public demand for taking action in this case.

Thank you in anticipation as a citizen representing, ‘We the People of India’,
Yours Faithfully,
Lalita Ramdas

‘Gaza Solidarity Encampments’
All India Students Association (AISA) has issued a letter of solidarity to the thousands of students, staff and faculty across the United States in their struggle and rallying cry for divestment from Israel and an end to the Gaza war. These students, staff and faculty have been organising the ‘Gaza Solidarity Encampments’ (sit-in protests) at Yale University, New York University, Harvard University, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Michigan University, Boston University, American University, Columbia University, among others, where, from coast to coast, they are braving unprecedented police crackdown, demanding an end to the complicity of the US government and the US universities in Israel's genocidal war in Gaza and Palestine.

In India, the fascist Modi regime has also unleashed a wave of repression against any voices that stand with Palestine. In fact, USA Ambassador to India HE Eric Garcetti was invited to JNU’s School of International Studies for a talk, to which the JNU Students’ Union held a protest demonstration on April 29th, vehemently condemning the invitation to the Ambassador, stating the US’s complicity in the on-going atrocities against the Palestinian People. A statement by AISA JNU unit read–“We refuse to host HE Eric Garcetti and call upon the administration to retract the invitation.

‘From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free!’

Congress Manifesto
BJP has nothing left to offer to people so they are trying hard to scare people by spreading multiple fake news–

*    Congress will implement Sharia Law–CM Adityanath
*    Congress will redistribute your wealth to minorities–PM Modi
*    Congress will bring inheritance tax–HM Amit Shah
All these claims are 100% fake.

BJP’s top leadership is not just trying to confuse or distract people anymore–they are straight-up LYING. Congress manifesto mentions none of this.

Let’s have a look at what the Congress Manifesto promises to the voters:
*    Congress will provide jobs by filling up 30 lakh vacancies in govt posts. (Page 30 of Manifesto)
*    Congress will not increase any tax on the middle class throughout its term. (Page 31 of Manifesto)
*    Congress will support small businesses so all the nation’s resources don’t get sold to billionaires like Adani. (Page 28 of Manifesto)

It is Modi’s policies like Electoral Bonds which have stolen the wealth from the people of India and given it to billionaires. That’s why one will not find any similar promise in BJP’s manifesto.
Dhruv Rathee

Killing by BSF
In the night between 1st and 2nd August  Mithu Hoque, S/o  Abdul Rahim, aged 35, a resident of Vill: Tutiyar Kuthi, GP: Nayarhat, P.S. Sahebganj, Dinhata II block, was killed by BSF firing. He was killed by BSF personnel attached to 179 Bn BSF posted at Chongar Khata BOP in Mathabhanga I block, which comes under the jurisdiction of Mathabhanga PS, Cooch Behar. The victim sustained three rounds of firing by the said BSF personnel. Mithu Hoque was allegedly associated with cross border smuggling.

The victim could have been apprehended by the BSF personnel and could have been brought to the court of law for his alleged involvement in smuggling. But, instead the BSF personnel involved took the brutal path of summary execution and creation of a fictitious story about self defence. When the Chief Minister of West Bengal is repeatedly condemning violence in the Indo-Bangladesh border area and the prime minister of India is pledging to bring down border killings to zero, why does the Border Security Force involve in such gruesome acts repeatedly?
Kirity Roy, Secretary
Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) &
National Convener (PACTI)
Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity

World Press Freedom Day
May 3rd marks World Press Freedom Day.

Two years ago, regular Guardian contributor–and my friend–Dom Phillips was murdered in the Brazilian Amazon, with Brazilian indigenous expert Bruno Pereira. Guardian reporters have previously been kidnapped in Iraq and Afghanistan, beaten in Pakistan, expelled from Russia, and arrested in Egypt, Zimbabwe. I myself was arrested in China on multiple occasions.

The search for the truth can come at a horrific cost. Last year saw 99 killings of reporters, up 44% on 2022 and the highest toll since 2015. That high toll was almost entirely due to Gaza, where a Guardian editorial noted, “no war has killed so many journalists so quickly.”

The vast majority are Palestinian reporters who, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, appear to have been targeted by Israeli forces.

Reporting on the war against nature may generate fewer headlines than Gaza or Ukraine, but it is also high-risk with little legal protection.

On the first anniversary of Dom and Bruno’s killings last year, the Guardian joined an international collaboration to amplify their work, while a group of Dom’s journalist friends, including myself, are also currently working on a crowd-funded project to finish the book that he was working on at the time of his death: How to Save the Amazon: Ask the People Who Know, which will be published next year.

The number of environmental journalists being attacked or killed is rising and it continues to be one of the most dangerous fields of journalism after war reporting.

Without the courage of correspondents to continue working in conflict areas, press organisations warn the world will start to see “zones of silence” where the risks are so great that important stories go unreported.
This is much more than a matter of principle; solidarity is a matter of survival.
Jonathan Watts
Global Environment writer,
the Guardian

Ukraine Pulls Back
Ukraine's top commander said on April 28 Kyiv's outnumbered troops had fallen back to new positions west of three villages on the eastern front where Russia has concentrated significant forces in several locations.

The statement by Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi reflected Ukraine's deteriorating position in the east that Kyiv hopes it can stabilise once it takes delivery of U.S. weapons under a $61 billion aid package approved this week.

"The situation at the front has worsened," Syrskyi wrote on the Telegram app, describing the "most difficult" areas as west of occupied Maryinka and northwest of Avdiivka, the town captured by Russian forces in February.
President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a fresh plea to international partners to speed arms deliveries so Kyiv could maintain its positions and disrupt Russian plans.

He said he spoke on Sunday with US House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and "underscored that Patriot systems are needed, and as soon as possible."

Syrskyi said Kyiv's troops had taken up new positions west of the villages of Berdychi and Semenivka, both north of Avdiivka, and Novomykhailivka, further south near the town of Maryinka.

"In general, the enemy achieved certain tactical successes in these areas, but could not gain operational advantages," he said, adding that Russia had committed four brigades to the assault.

Freshly rested Ukrainian brigades were being rotated in those areas to replace units that had suffered losses, he said.

His statement did not mention the status of Novobakhmutivka, another village near Berdychi, that Russia's defence ministry said its forces had captured.

Moscow's troops have been slowly advancing since capturing the bastion town of Avdiivka, taking advantage of Ukrainian shortages of artillery shells and manpower.
A Correspondent

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Vol 56, No. 47, May 19 - 25, 2024