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India's senior citizens finally get a hearing

By Neeta Lal

The Union Cabinet's recent decision to approve a new law -- the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill 2007 aimed at helping the elderly live in dignity and peace -- is a welcome move towards the protection and care of India's 77 million elderly citizens


Speaking out against wrong actions is both a right and a duty

By Sandhya Srinivasan

The recent arrests of Binayak Sen in Chhattisgarh and Arun Ferreira in Maharashtra are sending out a clear message that anyone who speaks out against the government and the status quo will be targeted. But surely challenging the conditions in which the vast majority of people live is a duty, not a crime, writes Sandhya Srinivasan


The importance of social medicine

By George Thomas

Binayak Sen, who was arrested in Chhattisgarh in May, is one of very few medical practitioners in India who see their role as not just saving individual lives but examining and highlighting the social context of disease. Is it just to arrest a doctor who is acting according to his conscience?


Playing God: The arbitrary nature of capital punishment

By Rakesh Shukla

The Supreme Court has stated that the death penalty is to be awarded only in the rarest case of exceptional depravity and brutality. But human judgement, as several recent court cases have revealed, is totally subjective


A bargain-basement knowledge 'mandi'

By Rahul Goswami

The new US-India Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture will re-examine and overhaul existing curricula in agricultural education institutions in India. It will also leave Indian agriculture open to the interests of the world's largest food and agri-business corporations, says Rahul Goswami


Refugees are not illegal migrants

By Oishik Sircar

Though India plays host to over 300,000 refugees from neighbouring countries, the country has a completely ad hoc system of refugee determination, deportation and protection


Who says dalits under-perform?

By Chandra Bhan Prasad

Chandra Bhan Prasad responds to the debate about extending affirmative action for dalits to the private sector


Dance bar ahead: Keep out: Part 2: The right to sexuality

By Maya Indira Ganesh

The ban on dance bars in Mumbai is ostensibly to protect youth from the sexualised environment of the bars. Instead of keeping the shadows and silences around sexuality intact, we need a rights-based approach to young people's sexuality, giving them the right to information that has a direct bearing on their health and well-being


Brewing tensions in adivasi India

By Amitabh Behar

From the eviction of adivasis from forestlands in Madhya Pradesh's Burhanpur district to the continued threat to their lives from the army's routine firing exercises in Netarhat, Jharkhand, tribal populations throughout India are being exploited, intimidated and further alienated. The sharpening conflict between the adivasis and the Indian state must be addressed


Untouchability: What the tsunami couldn't wash away

By Chandra Bhan Prasad

The dalit survivors of the tsunami were reportedly thrown out of relief camps, barred from using makeshift toilets, and given stale food. What will it take to wash away this powerful and destructive caste order that is so firmly rooted in Indian society, asks Chandra Bhan Prasad


Baina beach demolitions: What about the sex worker's right to shelter?

By Rakesh Shukla

Acting on orders by the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court, around 250 huts belonging to sex workers, on Goa's Baina beach, were bulldozed in an effort to 'clean up' Goa. 'Operation Monsoon Demolition' appears to have been based on the assumption that sex workers have no right to shelter


Putting a premium on diversity

By Darryl D'Monte

This year's Human Development Report comes as a breath of fresh air. It emphasises that enjoying cultural freedoms in the 21st century is a basic human right. And that instead of viewing diversity as a drag on development, we should consider cultural liberty an integral component of social and economic progress


Untouchables in the world of IT

By Gail Omvedt

While the US's leading private sector IT firm, Microsoft, has recognised the need for affirmative action and is taking steps to increase minority recruitment, no Indian corporate house has declared its commitment to ending caste discrimination


Orissa: A continuing denial of adivasi rights

By Anu Kumar

The recent Justice PK Mishra Commission report on the Maikanch firing in Orissa's Rayagada district, in which three adivasis were killed in December 2000 as they opposed displacement, faults the police for excessive use of force. But the report dilutes its impact by observing that environmental protection cannot hold back Orissa's development


Big Brother in the bedroom: 'Unnatural' offences and Section 377

By Laxmi Murthy

Decriminalising private, consensual adult sexual behaviour, the Indian government feels, might open the floodgates of delinquent behaviour. By refusing to repeal Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, the government is reinforcing 150-year-old strictures disapproving sex for pleasure and not procreation. Shouldn't the State allow consenting adults to make their own sexual choices?


Exile, through the lens

By Kavita

Most of the films screened at the Tibetan Film Festival and the Dharamsala International Film Festival had a strong political theme, reflecting the trauma of a people fenced in and outnumbered at ‘home’, silenced in exile

Dharamsala International Film Festival


The long shadow of dalit massacres

By Subhash Gatade

The Patna High Court’s acquittal of the 23 Ranvir Sena members accused of the massacre of dalits and Muslims in Bathani Tola in 1996 underscores the continuing atrocities against dalits and other oppressed communities. How much has changed since the Keezhvenmani massacre in 1969?

caste violence


February 27, Ahmedabad: The remains of the day

Mari Marcel Thekaekara reports from Ahmedabad on the week-long commemoration of the Gujarat genocide, and the violence that will not go away

communal riots Gulberg Society Gujarat


No reconciliation without remorse

By Mari Marcel Thekaekara

Ten years after the Gujarat genocide 15 cabinet ministers and 28 IAS\IPS officers have been chargesheeted and Narendra Modi has been summoned by the Special Investigation Team. But, activists say, communal harmony will not be restored until the government and Gujarati society express remorse

communal harmony


The other September 11 tragedy

Crimes against scheduled castes have actually increased, according to the government's own figures. But a fact-finding team in Tamil Nadu, where on September 11, 2011 serious police atrocities against dalits were committed, found that the district administration had little awareness about laws and measures for combating crimes against scheduled castes and tribes, writes K S Subramanian

Violence against dalits



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