Tuesday, February 20, 2018
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Why flag the issue? Communal politics and protests in Kathua
The joint rally by the Hindu Ekta Manch (HEM) and BJP in Kathua on 14th February 2018 demanding the release of SPO Deepak Khajuria, arrested in connection of the abduction, rape and murder of eight-year-old Asifa Bano in January 2018, has brought to the fore the blatant communal politics of the BJP-HEM combine. And, since the Congress is not ready to be left behind, Kathua is fast becoming a communal tinderbox. While the Chief Minister has taken exception to the "desecration" of the national flag in the rally and the National Conference has questioned her for allowing the march, the issues are much deeper and each of them deserves to be condemned in the strongest way possible. 1. The abduction, rape and murder of Asifa who belonged to the nomadic Bakarwal community went unnoticed for a w...
Kashmir Times News Report
No Country for Justice
In Kashmir, concern for the rights of army personnel glosses over the human rights of civilians
By Gautam Navlakha
An ominous sign of jingoism triumphing over the course of justice in Kashmir is the simulated concern over an army officer's plight against whom an FIR (first information report) was sought to be filed after the firing incident on 27 January in Gawanpora village of Shopian district. On 12 February, a petition seeking to "protect the morale of the soldiers" was heard by a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by the Chief Justice of India. The Court ruled in an ex parte order that no "coercive action" be initiated against Major Aditya Kumar of 10 Garhwal Rifles by the Jammu and Kashmir Police. A few days earlier, on 9 February, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) decided to enquire into "stone pelting and assault by an unruly and disruptive mob on army personnel" in respons...
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Zuma is gone but Anc's future is far from secure
New president Ramaphosa has to unite all factions
By John Haylett
South Africa's African National Congress has, in giving Jacob Zuma his marching orders on February 15 and replacing him with Cyril Ramaphosa, shown a capacity for decisive action that many feared beyond it. Ramaphosa's narrow victory over Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for the ANC presidency, his supporters' failure to win a clean sweep of the top six positions and the clear national executive committee knife-edge division into apparently pro and anti-Zuma camps, foretold confusion and indecision. Similarly, Zuma's initial efforts to string out negotiations over retirement encouraged speculation that he might brazen it out, relying on ANC loyalties to thwart opposition no-confidence motions. He has rapidly been disabused of such notions, with even erstwhile Zuma supporters acknowledging the need...
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Beard, the men's facial furniture………..
By Tajamul Hussain
The men's facial furniture, beard, has all along been more than a mere gender signal, a species flag that clearly identified the scary new primate that was starting to roam the land. Male beard is a display of masculine adulthood, kind of male flag. Its main impact is strongly visual. The hairy facial region better retains a number of scent glands and their products therein. Men have heavier jaws. Protuberant bearded chins add to their aggressive facial shape. Because beards were as important as a masculine signal, the rulers of early civilizations devoted an immense amount of time to grooming and decorating them. They used tongs, curling irons, dyes, and perfumes. Their beards were colored, oiled, scented, pleated, curled, frizzled or starched and for special occasions were sprinkled wit...
Kashmir Times News Report
Asma Jahangir: Leaving her track on many stars and planet
By Tapan Bose
My first meeting with Asma Jahangir was in Vienna in 1993 during the World Conference on Human Rights. She was with the late Justice Dorab Patel, and Mr. I. A. Rahman. At the conference, the official representatives of India and Pakistan had hijacked the discussion on right to self -determination by bringing in the Kashmiri issue and reduced the discussion to an ugly exchange of accusations. It as an obnoxious of self-aggrandizement, with each side boasting and preening like peacocks. Some of the non-official India and Pakistan delegates to the conference walked out feeling ashamed. Outside the main hall we met, shame faced and angry. Asma was fuming. We sat down at the cafeteria and over a cup of coffee we discussed how to take the discussions on Kashmir out of the narrow confines of nat...
Kashmir Times News Report
Nothing Succeeds like Failure
By Badri Raina
The Fidayeen attack on the Brigade Headquarters in Jammu City is barely over when news of another daring attack comes, this time from the heart of Srinagar City in the thick of the Karan Nagar colony, a walking distance from the S.M.H.S Hospital from where an LeT terrorist escaped from police custody a week ago. But, not to worry: the official discourse continues to be that the more we fail in Kashmir and vis-a-vis Pakistan, the more we are actually succeeding. That oxymoron may of course be too much for some of us morons. We are invited to understand that the greater the savagery of the firing from across the Line of Control, greater the number of dead and wounded-soldiers and civilians-, greater the misery of marginalised inhabitants along the border to and froing from homestead to bu...
Kashmir Times News Report
Capital gains tax may cool down the overheated market
Government is concerned over unsustainable stock boom
By Nantoo Banerjee
The imposition of long-term capital gains (LTCG) tax on gains from equity and mutual funds trading is possibly the most sensible thing the government could do in its effort to contain the overheated Indian stock market. Taxes are rarely welcomed by those who are subjected to pay. Investments in equity have long enjoyed dividend tax exemption. That policy was sensible and benefited millions of long-term investors in equity, who want to be a part of a listed company by holding its ordinary shares. However, when market speculators in equities turn a bunch of high stake gamblers, there are reasons to worry for both the market regulators and the government. The pre-budget economic survey clearly expressed the government's serious concerns over highly elevated levels in India's stock markets...
Kashmir Times News Report
A Different Perspective on Valentine
By Mushtaq Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander
Every year on Valentine's Day the Muslim world and India too is engulfed in a ferocious debate. The exclusivist, peripheral and in certain cases the fascist groups take to the streets, harassing, molesting or beating those whom they perceive as "Love Birds". Each year same history is repeated on the perception that Valentine brings Immorality with it. It is a Western invention of expressing love that is rendered synonymous with promiscuousness, pre marital sex, lust and immorality by these groups. The worldview of these groups about Western concept of Love is based on hedonistic lust and sexual anarchy. They wrongly uphold that for West there exist no notions or norms of love, but only of sharing bed with multiple partners. So Love cannot exist between a boy and girl. It has to be lust. ...
Kashmir Times News Report
Yogi hopes to deliver UP by creating communal divide
By Lalit Sethi
What is the relatively new flag bearer of the Saffron Brigade up to? What are his super duper loyalists up to? What are his cronies trying to do? The cronies do not show up much in public spaces. They find quite younger elements to stand up and be counted as the unrelenting and undying faithful. What is the command they receive? Pick up a big placard and gather a team as long as possible. What is written on the placard in big letters? The same words they are shouting as loud as possible? What are those words? Here goes: "U.P. mein rehna hai, toh Yogi Yogi kehna hai". This set of a brigade or a few companies may or may not carry the Tiranga or the Tricolour or the Bhagwa or Saffron banner. That is left to the rest or several other innumerable elements in places of choice, especially tense...
Kashmir Times News Report
Jobs: Moravec's Paradox vs. AGI
By Gwynne Dyer
Don't bother asking if jobs are being lost to computers. Of course they are, and the current wave of populist political revolts in Western countries is what Luddism looks like in an era of industrialised democracies. The right question to ask is: what KINDS of jobs are being lost? Moravec's Paradox predicted the answer almost 30 years ago. Right now, it's the jobs in the middle that are at risk of disappearing. Not high-level professional and managerial jobs that require sophisticated social and intellectual skills and pay very well. Not poorly-paid jobs in delivery or the fast-food industry either, although automation will eventually take jobs in the service industries too. But the middle-income, semi-skilled jobs, mostly in manufacturing or transportation, that used to sustain a broa...
Kashmir Times News Report
Master of Dastangoi
By Humra Quraishi
The way Mahmood Farooqui has reached out to the Tihar jail inmates - not just through teaching them English , voice training, conducting theatre workshops but also by starting off the Tihar Akhbar - A weekly paper that he conceptualized and edited, is amazing. Several readers have been relaying that I'm focusing only on the dark realities. Well, a writer dwells on the ground realities; sadly, we are surviving in dark times, with murky political build-ups, dragging along horrifying aftermaths. It's only rarely that one comes across a positive story or a person carrying hope for others! Last month I did come across such a person, who though himself went through a very tough phase, yet he not just withstood that trauma but tried to reach out to hundreds and is still trying to do s...
Kashmir Times News Report
Goodbye My Friend, We In India Will Be Denied Your Last Deedar
By Syeda Hameed
Phaili hain fizaon mein iss tarah teri yaadein Jis simt nazar unthi awaaz teri aaiyee Sau baar chaman mehka sau baar bahaar aiyee Duniya ki wohi raunaq dil ki wohi tanhai You lit up my life as you did the life of thousands like me. Dear friend and mentor Asma Jahangir who would have thought I was seeing you for the last time on November 28 2017, the date is etched on my heart. On reaching Lahore I wrote to you. You had just returned from Islamabad after a difficult day. But your home and hospitality was ready to welcome me. It was an unforgettable evening around your splendid table with family, friends, bonhomie. Then I heard from you the saddest words I had ever heard you speak. We were talking about the total embargo on visas. Friends from Pakistan were longing to come to India; th...
Kashmir Times News Report
Our national dish: Pakoda!
By Sankarshan Thakur
You may have no excuses, you were told a full week ago: India has been done dana done, done dana done, Done. Nothing Happened has finally been banished, thank you and God Bless, things are happening, they are getting DONE. Bakoda has said it is getting done, and Bakoda can say no wrong. Bakoda has proclaimed all it requires is Pakoda. Make a Pakoda and all shall be done dana done done, so Bakoda says and so all patriotic folks should believe, for the good reason that Bakoda says so... Make a Pakoda, and all thereafter shall be well. Bakoda knows, trust me, he has been making Pakodas all his life. He may call himself a chaiwala, but that's just him being humble. Bakoda is a terribly humble man, we know that, so humble he was willing to call himself a chaiwala when he was to the monogram...
Kashmir Times News Report
A perverse ploy
By Swami Agnivesh
I shall die a miserable wretch if I don't utter the truth I know. I follow Maharshi Dayanand. He saw paramatma (or God) as the light of truth. And truth cannot be stretched to suit convenience nor shrunk to fit cowardice. The Ram Janmabhoomi movement is a political ploy, conceived in cynical electoral calculations, in which the faith of the masses is deployed only as firepower and fraudulently projected as religious fervour. I am surprised that anyone can determine the exact place of Lord Ram's birth, born thousands of years ago. The question of someone usurping Ram Lalla's real estate comes only if the exact spot of his birth is determined. There are 16 rival claimants to this distinction in Ayodhya itself. I have participated in various efforts to settle this dispute from the time of ...
Kashmir Times News Report
The Aadhaar Fiasco
By Gokul Balu
Our constitution entitles every citizen, of this great democracy, with meticulously detailed rights which forms the broad strokes that enables one to enjoy the nuances of the method of democracy. As time evolves the broad spectrum offered by these rights starts to branch out into multiple rights of their own drawing existence from the predecessor. One such right is the convoluted 'Right to privacy' which holds much relevance because of the recent discourse around the unique identification number or 'Aadhaar' for short. Right to privacy is not something which is explicitly detailed in our constitution rather it is something that is a by-product of 'Right to Life' & Personal Liberty. Quoting the judgment from the judicial proceedings from the case, which was an unanimous judgment by the Sup...
Kashmir Times News Report
Uncertainty hangs over Nagaland polls
'Solution before election' demand complicates issue
By Barun Das Gupta
An unexpected political development in Nagaland has made the holding of state Assembly elections on February 27 uncertain. On January 29, eleven political parties of the state decided to boycott the elections, demanding an early solution to the Naga political problem. The BJP, which can by no stretch of imagination be called a 'Naga' party was also a signatory to the joint statement, much to the chagrin of the party's central leadership because the boycott was actually to protest the Centre's feet dragging on the issue. The joint statement stated that "the opportunity for a peaceful resolution of the Naga political issue has never been this favourable, as the political negotiations are in an advanced stage and we can't afford to distract the focus from the (peace) process at any cost." Th...
Kashmir Times News Report
Long Live Asma Jahangir
By Marvi Sirmed
Every marginalised and oppressed segment of our society, be it religious or ethnic communities, or issues like rights of children, women, labourers, and farmers, or citizens' right to govern themselves through a democratic system - Asma Ji left her indelible mark in all these struggles, a mark that is impossible to ignore or forget. If death is defined as the end of life, Asma Jahangir hasn't really died. The larger than life, iconic defender of human rights and the most daring challenger of the status quo, Asma Jahangir breathed her last at her home in Lahore on Tuesday. With her, we lost the most towering hero of our age, the tallest of Pakistani, rather South Asian, citizen. My mother broke this news to me calling on the phone from her home in Lahore. With her voice quivering and ...
Kashmir Times News Report
Under the shadow of fear and death
By Ershad Mahmud
“The physical damages and the psychological and emotional trauma have not been properly documented so far. The government rarely highlights the issue of LoC, fearing that it might divert world's attention from the Kashmir Valley which is the epicentre of the conflict. “ Pak-India clashes across the Line of Control have become more intensive as the physical, psychological and emotional damage and trauma remain undocumented] Hardly a day goes by without civilians being hit by the exchange of fire between India and Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir. However, the last month has witnessed an unparalleled rise in casualties which largely remained unreported due to domestic political wrangling. However, vernacular press and social media sites are bustling with hea...
Kashmir Times News Report
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