Protest Against BKU Activists’ Arrest

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait on Tuesday, March 29, started an indefinite dharna along with his supporters at a police station here against the arrest of some activists of the farmer outfit. Ten activists of the BKU were arrested following a clash at the district hospital here on Monday night, police said. Protesting at the Kotwali police station here, Tikait demanded the immediate release of the activists, alleging that they have been falsely implicated in the case.

— source thewire.in | 29/Mar/2022

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Save Sabarmati Ashram

Sabarmati Ashram is not only a monument to Bapu and Ba. It is a monument to Satyagraha, our unique non-violent mass movement for freedom. The soul and spirit of satyagraha resides at Sabarmati Ashram, and continues to inspire people the world over to fight for right and never to succumb to might.

The philosophy and ideology governing Bapu’s life and the life at the Ashram was based on the ideals of simplicity, frugality and minimal consumption. Today these principles are very difficult to believe. When one visits Sabarmati Ashram, its stark simplicity, frugality and minimal consumption become starkly evident. Hriday Kunj, Ba and Bapu’s humble abode at the Ashram, is a living example of simplicity, frugality and minimal consumption. It must be preserved in the same manner as must the entire precinct of the Sabarmati Ashram.

History of the Sabarmati Ashram

It was between 1917 and 1926 that Bapu purchased land parcels on the bank of the Sabarmati River, across from the city of Ahmedabad, with the intention of establishing an Ashram there. He wished to live away from the city community and wanted to establish a self-reliant community of Ashramites on the lines of his Ashrams in South Africa — Phoenix and

— source newsclick.in | Tushar Gandhi | 29 Mar 2022

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Understanding the granularities of Kashmir’s context

A few days before his assassination on 21 May 1990, Mirwaiz Moluvi Mohammad Farooq, one of the most significant clerics in Srinagar, gave a respected scholar-activist a call. Farooq wanted the scholar to use his good offices to prevail on the authorities to arrest him as he feared for his life. Farooq’s fears were based on the environment of fear psychosis prevailing in the Kashmir valley as militants had carried out numerous targeted assassinations. There was an administrative and security collapse.

Historically, the Mirwaiz in Kashmir acquired a political role in the second quarter of the 20th century. It was not a surprise that Mirwaiz Farooq was one of the targets of the militants. He was critical of some of the acts of militants, including the kidnapping of Rubiya Sayeed, daughter of the then Indian Home Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, on 8 December 1989 and reportedly called the act un-Islamic. The scholar-activist whom Farooq had approached was widely respected by all political parties for his knowledge of Jammu and Kashmir. He reached out to many in the power structure, including the Jammu and Kashmir governor, and alerted them that Mirwaiz Farooq was facing danger.

The scholar-activist was told Farooq should ask for security, which he would be granted immediately. He reminded the authorities of the compulsions of a Mirwaiz’s standing.

— source newsclick.in | Luv Puri | 03 Apr 2022

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Bhagat Singh: An Unsung Hero of Political Journalism

Bhagat Singh is widely venerated as a radical thinker; political revolutionary; a great intellectual, despite his young age; and a martyr, who was reading Lenin in his last moments before being hanged in a Lahore jail on March 23, 1931. However, he is seldom celebrated as a journalist; an identity that was quite intrinsic to his critical thinking, individuality and revolutionary integrity.

Indeed, the thinking aspect of his personality – which made him stand out markedly from among all modern political revolutionaries – manifested itself, to a large extent, through his journalistic endeavours.

Singh was a committed, multi-lingual journalist. He frequently produced politically charged and socially-rooted writings on several pressing contemporary issues. He mostly wrote

— source thewire.in | Naren Singh Rao | 23/Mar/2022

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Two Petitions that Tell Us the Difference Between Hind and Hindutva

Eighty-five years ago, on March 23, 1931, Shaheed Bhagat Singh and his two comrades-in-arms, Shaheed Rajguru and Shaheed Sukhdev were hanged in Lahore by the British colonial government. At the time of his martyrdom, Bhagat Singh was barely 23 years old. Despite the fact that he had his whole life ahead of him, he refused to seek clemency from the British as some well-wishers and family members wanted him to do. In his last petition and testament, he demanded that the British be true to the charge they laid against him of waging war against the colonial state and that he be executed by firing squad and not by hanging. The document also lays out his vision for an India whose working people are free from exploitation by either British or Indian “parasites”.

At a time when the Bharatiya Janata Party national executive has decided to make nationalism its rallying cry, it is useful to compare the patriotic attitude and vision of Bhagat Singh with that of the Sangh parivar’s icon, V.D. Savarkar, author and originator of the concept of ‘Hindutva’, which the BJP swears by.

Sent to the notorious Cellular Jail in the Andamans in 1911 for his revolutionary activity, Savarkar first petitioned the British for early release within months of beginning his 50 year sentence. Then again in 1913 and several times till he was finally transferred to a mainland prison in 1921 before his final release in 1924. The burden of his petitions:

— source | 23/Mar/2022

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BJP Gets Cheaper Ad Rates on Facebook Due to its Polarising Content

Facebook’s algorithm grossly favours Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) advertisements because of the divisive nature of the content, as revealed by part four of a year-long investigation conducted by Kumar Sambhav of The Reporters’ Collective (TRC) and Nayantara Ranganathan of ad.watch, a research project that studies political ads on social media.

The first three parts of the investigation focused on how Facebook helps BJP in the digital space by promoting advertisements from its surrogates. The first part of the investigation found that Facebook carried 718 surrogate political ads of Reliance Jio-funded New Emerging World of Journalism Limited promoting the BJP and denigrating its rivals costing Rs 52,00,000 viewed more than 290 million times in those 22 months.

The second part of the investigation discovered that at least 23 ghost and surrogate advertisers paid more than Rs 5.8 crore to Facebook to run 34,884 ads either to promote

— source newsclick.in | 17 Mar 2022

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Facebook ‘Charged BJP Less’ Than Rivals

In a huge and unfair advantage to the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook promoted the party’s advertisements at 29% less price than the amount paid by its arch-rival Congress during 10 elections between February 2019 and November 2020 (22 months), allowing it to reach a wider audience than opposition parties.

Part three of a year-long investigation conducted by Kumar Sambhav of The Reporters’ Collective (TRC) and Nayantara Ranganathan of ad.watch, a research project that studies political ads on social media, and published by Al Jazeera has revealed that Facebook showed a BJP ad on average one million times but charged only Rs 41, 844 from the party, its candidates and affiliated organisations.

On the other hand, the report discovered that the social media giant charged the Congress, its candidates and affiliated organisations Rs 53,776 on average to show one ad for the same number of times.

— source newsclick.in | 16 Mar 2022

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Court Allows Filing Sedition Charges Against 36 Accused in Bulandshahr Violence

An incident on December 3, 2018, made national headlines, in which 54-year-old police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh was allegedly lynched by a mob led by a Hindu Right-wing group who had gone on a rampage after a cow carcass was found in a sugarcane field near Mahav village in Siyana, Bulandshahr district.

Three years later, the court of the Additional District and Sessions Judge has allowed the police to book all 36 accused under Section 124A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in the incident, including the key accused, Yogesh Raj, a Bajrang Dal member who allegedly incited the mob for violence.

Additional sessions judge (ADJ) Vineeta Vimal, in her order, said, “It has been confirmed from the police investigation that the accused were part of an unruly mob with weapons. They arrived at the spot with an aim to disturb the peace. The court allows Section 124-A (sedition) in the charge sheet, and trial will take place accordingly.”

The orders were shared with all the accused who pleaded ‘not guilty’.

— source newsclick.in | Abdul Alim Jafri | 18 Mar 2022

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They Cannot Silence Dabholkar, Pansare, Kalburgi, or Gauri Lankesh

Seven years ago, on 16 February 2015, the veteran communist leader, rationalist thinker, senior labour lawyer, and prolific writer Govind Pansare was shot at close range outside his house. On 20 February, he succumbed to his injuries. We lost a rare person.

Maharashtra has a rich legacy of egalitarian saints and social reform movements as well as the legacy of warrior-king Shivaji. But at the same time, Maharashtra is one of the places that is the origin of the radical Hindutva ideology, represented by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. In the 1990s, the state was led in dangerous direction. The demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 and the communal riots that followed in different parts of the state polarised our minds in a communal way, shaking the secular mindset of Maharashtra.

At that time, Comrade Pansare started openly speaking about the simultaneous impact of the forces of neoliberalism and religious fundamentalism. He promoted progressive, secular,

— source newsclick.in | Dr. Megha Pansare | 16 Feb 2022

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