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The burden of being Muslim

After every terror strike India's Muslim youth are fearful -- of encounters, illegal detention and torture. How long must Muslims live under suspicion of being terrorists or supporting terrorism? The sense of insecurity has become part of our lives, says Mahtab Alam

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Anna Hazare is inspiring India's somnolent people: Irom Sharmila

2,500 km away from the Ramlila grounds where Anna Hazare’s fast has the government in jitters, Irom Sharmila in Manipur continues unheard into the 11th year of her fast protesting human rights abuses under the AFSPA. Thingnam Anjulika Samom asks this prisoner of conscience what makes her continue to uphold democratic ideals with her only weapon – her body

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Hashimpura, the massacre that everyone forgot

By Darshan Desai

A media frenzy next year will mark the 10th anniversary of the horrifying Gujarat riots. But few will remember that 2012 will also mark 25 years after the shocking Hashimpura massacre in which a reserve force of the UP police rounded up 42 people and allegedly shot at them with impunity. After 23 years of research and investigation, former SP Vibhuti Narain Rai’s forthcoming book will for the first time tell the complete story

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Kahani queer India ki

The queer movement has gained visibility and a measure of acceptance in metropolitan India. But the rainbow has only just begun to hover over the rest of India. In Bhadrak, Barasat and hundreds of other places, queer folk are waiting and watching, says Pawan Dhall

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Dalit student suicides: The death of merit

A dalit student group has exposed the extent of caste discrimination in India’s premier educational institutions in two amateur documentaries uploaded on YouTube. These films tell the stories of two final-year medical students, driven to suicide because of the taunts and harassment they faced as dalits

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We are all complicit in the exile of MF Husain

Our ‘patriots’ hounded MF Husain out of his country. Our ‘secularists’ didn’t have the guts to bring him home. All of us are guilty of giving in to intimidation in the name of pragmatic governance, says Dilip Simeon

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WSF: The view from Senegal

Africa was the focus of the World Social Forum 2011 held in Senegal in February. But oddly enough colonialism, which is responsible for depleting the continent’s resources and its present crisis, was simply not discussed, says Sachin Kumar Jain 

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KG Kannabiran: Warrior for civil liberties

Rajindar Sachar pays tribute to KG Kannabiran, one of India’s foremost human rights activists, who died in December 2010

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Malabar, 1811: The long road to freedom from slavery

By N P Chekkutty

Two hundred years ago the first battle against slavery in India was won when Magistrate Thomas Hervey Baber freed 123 slaves, including children, from private trader Murdoch Brown’s plantation in Malabar. This is a story of marauding imperialism, a cruel caste system, and a crusade for human rights which led to a ban on slavery in British India in 1843

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Caste matters: What web matrimonials say

By Ashok Gopal

They might be Web-savvy, well-educated, well-off and living in a big city, but almost all women looking for a partner on India’s popular matrimonial websites want to marry within their religion and within their caste as well

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'Caste no bar'? You've got to be joking

By Ashok Gopal

How much does caste matter to young urban Indians, as reflected in the preferences they post on the hugely popular matrimonial websites? For almost everybody who hopes to find a life partner via the web matrimonial route, revealing one’s jati identity is a prerequisite for getting enquiries. This is Part 1 of a 2-part article on caste in matrimonial portals

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No peace without justice

By Anosh Malekar

If they return to their villages they may not survive. If they stay on in their resettlement colony they will never have basic education, healthcare or livelihoods. Eight years after the Gujarat riots, this is the status of thousands of displaced Muslims in the state.

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Modern-day slaves in a globalised world

By Shamita Das Dasgupta

Blue-collar workers from developing countries often sell everything they own to get a job in the land of milk and honey. An increasing number of these ‘guest workers’ in the US are being exploited and forced to live in inhuman conditions, with the constant threat of deportation

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The veil as a political weapon

Force can never be used to achieve freedom, writes Azar Mahloujian, an opponent of the Islamic regime in Iran, who has been living in Sweden since 1982. Women cannot accept anyone else telling them that they must – or must not – wear the veil

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Life on the line

By Jayanta Kumar Bhattacharya

The new barbed wire fencing India has erected for security reasons along the India-Bangladesh border in Tripura has caused homes to be demolished, people’s movements and employment to be restricted, and compensation, as usual, has been inadequate or non-existent

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Watchdog for women's rights

By Rajashri Dasgupta

Thirty years after CEDAW, does the Convention really serve a useful purpose? Sunila Abeysekera, Sri Lankan human rights campaigner who heads International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific, says the Convention is a good space for democratic countries to reaffirm that they respect women’s rights

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Tiger boundaries

A turned-away tiger complains to the Supreme Court. Ashish Kothari reports on this strange case from the Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh border

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The human rights mathematician

Bobby Kunhu pays tribute to the committed human rights activist and lawyer K Balagopal who passed away on October 8, 2009

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Violence in the jhoom fields

By Anup Sharma

One hospital for a population of 1.86 lakh, 136 villages electrified out of a total of 552, infant mortality at 4 per 10 infants, and per capita income at Rs 39 a day. Such underdevelopment is a fertile breeding ground for ethnic strife and militancy in Assam’s North Cachar Hills district

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Cracks in the citadel of peace

By Raheel Dhattiwala

Inaccessible education, unemployment and fear of displacement are threatening the peace in Ram-Rahimnagar, the settlement in Ahmedabad where Hindus and Muslims have kept the peace over four major communal riots. This is a disturbing picture of a settlement that is celebrated as a model of communal harmony

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