The 18th South Asian Associations for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit took place at Kathmandu, Nepal on November 25 and 26. The heads of the eight states of South Asia took part in the summit. Kathmandu was a showcase of what has happened repeatedly in the three decades since the birth of the SAARC. Leaders make rhetorical speeches and spend time on expensive retreats and sightseeing — then head home forgetting what was said in the summit hall.
December 3 marks the 30th anniversary of the horrific Bhopal gas disaster. It also marks 30 years of relentless struggle for justice by survivors. The city of Bhopal, capital of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, was the site of a pesticide plant run by Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) subsidiary of the US-based Union Carbide Corporation. UC became a subsidiary of Dow Chemicals in 2001.
About 100,000 people marched in Kolkata on September 20 against police violence and for gender justice. I have known the city all my life and have not known of a demonstration of that size since the 1960s. The march was in response to a huge police crackdown on a peaceful student protest on Jadavpur University campus, one of the leading universities in the state.
Kavita Krishnan is a socialist activist and a well-known international spokesperson for the movement against sexual violence in India. A Communist Party of India―Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML) Liberation leader, Krishnan was a featured guest at the Socialist Alliance's national conference held in Sydney from June 7 to 9. An abridged version of the speech she gave to the conference is published below the Green Left TV video of her ful speech.
Kavita Krishnan has become a well-known international spokesperson for the movement against sexual violence in India that grew after a horrific, internationally-publicised, gang rape of a student in Delhi in 2012.
Kavita Krishnan is a central leader of the Communist Party of India―Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML) and editor of its magazine Liberation. A former leader of the All India Students Association (AISA), Krishnan is joint secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA), which is active among women workers and agricultural labourers, and has led struggles for the dignity and rights of Dalit (lower caste) women, and against state repression.
India's top court officially recognised transgender rights today in a landmark ruling. The supreme court directed the federal and state governments to allow people to identify themselves as outside the binary male/female gender definitions. The estimated three million transgender Indians will have the same access to welfare programs for the poor, including education, healthcare and jobs to help them overcome social and economic challenges. The court also ordered the government fight the social stigma associated with transgender people through a public awareness campaign.
Campaigning in India's general elections, to be held in phases over April 7 to May 12, has already been marked by a reign of terror that has included the assassination of left activists.
In five-star hotels on Mumbai's seafront, children of the rich squeal joyfully as they play hide and seek. Nearby, at the National Theatre for the Performing Arts, people arrive for the Mumbai Literary Festival: famous authors and notables drawn from India's Raj class. They step deftly over a woman lying across the pavement, her birch brooms laid out for sale, her two children silhouettes in a banyan tree that is their home.
If Bangladesh represents the worst of exploitation in clothing factories, India is home to the most rapacious conditions for auto workers. Auto workers and union supporters in Manesar, India, launched an indefinite dharna (sit-in and hunger strike) on July 18. They demanded the release of jailed co-workers. A staggering 147 workers have spent a year in jail on trumped-up criminal charges after a company-provoked altercation led to the death of a human resources manager who supported the union. Hundreds have pledged to take part in the dharna.