Protests by local people forced the abandonment of a plan to train Sri Lankan military officers at India’s Defence Services Staff College in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu, a state in southern India. The Times of India said at least two towns in Nilgiris were shut down by a strike on June 24 in protest at the plan. The Indian government then offered to train the Sri Lankan officers elsewhere in India, but the Sri Lankan government turned the offer down.
Australian politicians often describe India as “the world’s biggest democracy”. The reality is somewhat different. I found this out when I attended the ninth congress of the Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist (CPI-ML) from April 2-7. Two CPI-ML members were killed in the lead-up to the congress.
The dominant media narrative about the two-day all-India strike, called by trade unions for February 20 and 21, was one of “hooliganism” by workers and inconvenience caused to the “public”. As usual, the main demands of the striking workers found little space in the media's discussion of the strike. The working class — usually invisible, both at the workplace and where they live — attained visibility on TV screens only as a “mob”. Workers, whose labour is, after all, the source of all production, are seen and shown as a source of wanton and mindless destruction.
Indian socialist feminist Kavita Krishnan spoke to Green Left TV's Pip Hinman about the new movement against gender violence in India. Kavita is Secretary of the All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA) and has been a leading activists in the campaign that has swept India (and beyond) since the brutal gang rape of a woman student in Delhi in a public bus. The woman, badly injured in the attack, died two weeks later despite being flown to Singapore for treatment. Her male companion, who was also severely assaulted, survived. Six suspects are being tried.
The statement below was released n December 24, condemning the culture of impunity for rape as well as opposing the death penalty for perpetrators as a solution. It is reprinted from KAFILA.org. See also the article by Kavita Krishnan (a signatory to this statement) on the explosion of protests defending 'a women's right to freedom without fear'. * * *
In the midst of the unspeakable horror of a rape and attempted murder in Delhi [since the article was written, the victim has died in hospital] is a spark of hope that we nurture, cradling it with our hands lest it be snuffed out, helping the spark to grow into a steadier flame – and then spread into a forest fire. A young woman, a 23-year-old student of physiotherapy, boarded a bus in Delhi with a male friend. They were alone on the bus but for a group of men, who began taunting the woman for being out at night with a man.
Yasin Malik is the chairperson of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, a secular nationalist organisation formed in 1977 to struggle for the independence of Kashmir. Since 1947, Kashmir has been divided between Indian and Pakistani occupied areas. Both claim the whole of Kashmir and have fought three wars over the country. The JKLF launched an armed struggle in 1988, but changed tactics to non-violent struggle in 1994.
Millions of workers joined a one-day strike in India on February 28 in defence of public ownership and for stronger labour rights. Eleven major trade unions called the action to protest against the United Progressive Alliance government's policy of selling stakes in state-owned companies. They also demanded an amendment to minimum wage laws to keep pace with inflation, pensions for all workers and the registration of trade unions in different industries.
When the early morning fog rises and drifting skeins from wood fires carry the sweet smell of India, the joggers arrive in Lodi Gardens. Past the tomb of Mohammed Shah, the 15th century Mughal ruler, across a landscape manicured in the 1930s by Lady Willingdon, wife of the governor-general, recently acquired trainers stride out from ample figures in smart saris and white cotton dhotis.
World renowned novelist and global justice activist Arundhati Roy is facing escalating threats of violence in India because of her support for justice in Kashmir — the disputed region partitioned between India and Pakistan and occupied by military forces in the area India controls. Roy faced sedition charges for comments she made about Kashmir at a public meeting in October. The government has since indicated it would not pursue the charge.