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Fishing communities: the economics of impoverishment

By N P Chekkutty

Foreign trawlers are entering Indian fishing zones as part of global joint ventures, and Indian markets will soon be flooded with foreign fish products. This is yet another nail in the coffin of Kerala's traditional fishing communities, and a major contributor to violence and social conflict

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Tension grows as pressure on marine resources mounts

By N P Chekkutty

For centuries the Hindu, Muslim and Christian fisher communities co-existed peacefully in coastal Kerala. The forces of communalism only surfaced after the 1960s, when mechanised fishing and the pressures of economic liberalisation destroyed traditional knowledge systems and brought new pressures into the lives of fishing communities. This is the first in a series of articles exploring the socio-economic roots of communal strife in Kerala. The series was researched as part of the CCDS Research Fellowships 2006

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Ram-Rahim Nagar: An oasis of peace in Ahmedabad

By Shiv Kumar

A 21-member peace committee formed in 1969 has held the peace in this slum. Ironically, it is poverty and social stigma that binds these 'low-caste' Hindus and Muslims

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Waiting to go home

By Shiv Kumar

Ramesh Patel, sarpanch of Ognej village near Ahmedabad ominously says that Muslims are welcome to return home "at their own risk". Ognej is one of several villages in Gujarat where Muslims are not allowed to return to their native villages

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Commerce papers over the cracks between Hindus and Muslims

By Shiv Kumar

Mercantile relationships between Hindus and Muslims in Gujarat are gradually being restored by exigencies of trade. But it's a tenuous relationship. Cheliya Muslims, who saw 147 of their restaurants burnt in the post-Godhra riots, are taking in Hindu partners in order to stay afloat

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Aliens in the House of Flowers

By Oishik Sircar and Maria Ahlqvist

Phoolbari in southwest Bengal is located in the 150-metre strip of no man's land between India's electric fences and the actual international border with Bangladesh. Entry into 'mainland' India is restricted to a few hours a day, and villagers must hurry back before curfew at 6 pm or be shut out of their own homes. This is a photo-feature on the lives of Phoolbari's borderland people

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Five pledges for dalit shakti

By Freny Manecksha

Martin Macwan's Dalit Shakti Kendra in Gujarat provides vocational training to dalit youth. More importantly, it gives them a sense of identity

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Zagor, the Goan festival of communal amity, under threat

By Shiv Kumar

Will the centuries-old zagor tradition, in which Hindus and Christians jointly celebrate the harvest, be destroyed by commercialisation and communal forces?

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The Haji Malang shrine: Whose God is it anyway?

By Shiv Kumar

The popular shrine of Haji Abdur Rehman Shah Malang near Mumbai, where Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and other communities have worshipped together for generations, is being contested by fundamentalist Hindus and Muslims

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Shirdi is losing its Sufi traditions

By Shiv Kumar

In the temple town of Shirdi, Moharrum is no longer celebrated alongside Ram Navami, a practice begun by the Sufi saint Sai Baba. The cracks in the town's legendary amity between Hindus and Muslims are beginning to show

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Consent cannot be manufactured by guns

By Vidhya Das

Protestors have gathered on the road to the Kalinganagar industrial area in Orissa. The bodies of four of those killed in police firing on January 2, are laid out here. This on-the-spot report records the seething anger against the industries that are usurping the lands, livelihoods and basic rights of adivasi farmers

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Penalising clients of sex workers: Pros and cons

By Nitin Jugran Bahuguna

Will the amendments to the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act proposed by the government protect sex workers from exploitation at the hand of clients and police, or will it end up making them more vulnerable?

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Barbers continue their fight for dignity in Orissa

By Rifat Mumtaz

On October 4, human rights activist Baghambar Patnaik was arrested by the Orissa government for leading over 300 lower caste Bariks (barbers) in a silent protest against inhuman treatment by the upper castes

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The mining mafia calls the shots

By Rashme Sehgal

In the stone quarries of Mirzapur district, Uttar Pradesh, women and children work for as little as Rs 2 and 2 kg of wheat a day. Here there are villages peopled only by the widows of men who have died of lung disorders or mining disasters. But the local administration denies that child labour, bonded labour or exploitative practices exist in its jurisdiction

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Detained for serving meals to 'militants'

By Rashme Sehgal

Hundreds of women are picked up by the police and imprisoned under the draconian Prevention Of Terrorism Act, often under frivolous charges

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Caste wars simmer as defiant barbers refuse to wash the feet of 'upper castes'

By Manipadma Jena

In Puri district of Orissa, the 'lower caste' Bariks (barbers) will no longer wash the feet of upper-caste families at social events. They will no longer perform other caste-driven occupations. The ' upper caste' farmer Khandayats refuse to accept this defiance of the social order and have retaliated with a social and economic boycott. Manipadma Jena travelled to the villages where the caste war has been simmering since 2001

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In the name of the Jarawa

By Pankaj Sekhsaria

While seminars, expert committees and recommendations deliberate the fate of the Jarawas, the 260 original inhabitants of the Andaman rainforests live vulnerable and threatened lives.

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What hope for the Jarawa?

By Pankaj Sekhsaria

The Jarawa, an ancient indigenous community living in the forests of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, have fought off efforts both to 'colonise' and to 'civilise' them. But are they fighting a losing battle?

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Cheap labour for sale in Cyberabad's overflowing addas

By Safia Sircar

At least 40 million Indians are unemployed, and 10 million new job-seekers enter the job market every year. This report zeroes in on Hyderabad's addas where migrant labourers from Andhra Pradesh's water-starved districts struggle to sell their labour for as little as Rs 40 a day

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Land warriors of the Konkan

By Huned Contractor

For over 25 years, land rights activist Surekha Dalvi has been championing the cause of tribal ownership of land in Maharashtra's picturesque Konkan region

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