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Letter to death penalty lovers on Facebook

The death penalty for some of those who raped and killed Jyoti Singh Pandey may bring a sense of satisfaction to some. But let’s not fool ourselves by calling it justice. It’s more like revenge, says Debolina Dutta

Rape Death penalty

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Patriarchal underpinnings of caste violence

By Subhash Gatade

Dalits are not allowed inside temples in 12 districts of Tamil Nadu, and 460 tea shops in Madurai still follow the two-tumbler system for dalits and non-dalits. Why is this state, with its 100-year-old anti-caste movement, a shadow of its former self, asks Subhash Gatade in this comment sparked by the recent death of Ilavarasan

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Triple oppression of dalit women panchayat members

By Subhash Gatade

Affirmative action might get dalit women into panchayats, but caste compounds the gender discrimination they face and stymies real empowerment, says Subhash Gatade 20 years after panchayati raj in India

Women in panchayats

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Impunity under AFSPA

The impunity under AFSPA of law-enforcement personnel guilty of sexual offences against women is most pronounced in the Northeast, writes KS Subramanian

Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958

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Schools of discrimination

By Subhash Gatade

The removal of a dalit cook from the anganwadi in Majure village, Karnataka, indicates that top-down measures to address caste discrimination are changing little on the ground

Midday meal scheme

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The ashes of Dharmapuri

The dalits whose homes were attacked by dominant castes in Dharmapuri district on November 7 would do well to invoke the special provisions of the Prevention of Atrocities Act in pursuing justice, as the dalits of Tsundur, Andhra Pradesh, did over a 20-year struggle, writes Subhash Gatade

VIOLENCE AGAINST DALITS

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Crime and punishment

A nation consumed by outrage and a sense of retribution easily confuses punishment and revenge, justice and vendetta, says the PUCL in a statement following the hanging of Ajmal Kasab and asking for a rethink on the death penalty

Ajmal Kasab  death penalty

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Can we afford to be culturally blind?

By Shilpa Kameswaran

India's state and market institutions promote only a passive respect for religious and cultural co-existence. Ethnic sensitisation stops at caste-based affirmative action. What are the perils of the absence of institutional diversity-education in a country as heterogeneous as India?

promoting cultural diversity

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Assam violence: Land, identity and immigration

The conflicts in and around the Northeast have little to do with religion and everything to do with land and identity, writes Walter Fernandes, detailing the history of immigration to the Northeast

Northeas Immigrants

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Dronacharyas all: Caste discrimination in higher education

By Subhash Gatade

A committee has recommended legal action under the SC/ST Atrocities Act against faculty of the Vardhman Medical College for caste-based harassment of 35 students. This is only the latest in a long list of similar cases in India’s institutions of higher education. Subhash Gatade provides the details

Caste discrimination

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The shaky foundations of dalit capitalism

Is economic prosperity the road to dalit emancipation? Or will it just serve to co-opt dalits into the system, asks Subhash Gatade

Milind Kamble, Chairman, Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

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Jharkhand: The failed promise of an adivasi state

By Richard Toppo

A tribal perspective from Jharkhand describes how the creation of the state, ostensibly for the welfare of tribal populations, has only led to their exploitation and displacement

Displacement of tribals

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Questionable inclusion?

Recent data reveals that around 40% of the positions of ‘sweeper’ in the central government are now filled by non-dalits. Does this suggest a more progressive society, or simply one where the post of government sweeper is acceptable for the security it offers, but the work continues to be done by the socially-excluded, asks Alok Srivastava

Poverty and Social Exclusion in India

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Manufacturing offence: The cartoon controversy

Ambedkar knew that the best way to eliminate caste is education that encourages critical thought. Seen from this perspective, manufacturing offence in order to attack the 2006 NCERT textbooks is undoubtedly a betrayal of his legacy, writes Rohini Hensman

Ambedkar

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Truth and reconciliation in Kashmir

Burhan Majid points out why a truth and reconciliation commission is appropriate for Gujarat 10 years after the Godhra riots but makes absolutely no sense in Jammu & Kashmir

Kashmir conflict

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Persistent exclusion of Muslims in India

India’s Human Development Report 2011 cites only a minuscule improvement in the socio-economic status of Muslims in India compared with other excluded groups. Ayesha Pervez explores the government’s response to this situation and explains why the extreme deprivation and exclusion of Muslims continues despite these measures

Poverty of Muslims

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The language that fosters social change

Caste bias and prejudice runs deep in India. But when court judgments display such conscious or unconscious biases they confer legitimacy on an institution we are trying to uproot, says Rakesh Shukla

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Flaws in the Communal Violence Bill

A law that differentiates between Hindu and Muslim victims and proposes separate courts to try Hindu and Muslim accused only legitimises communal resentment and polarisation, writes Jyoti Punwani in this analysis of the Communal Violence Bill

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In times of war and extremism: State praxis and the Constitution

The Supreme Court judgment condemning Chhattisgarh state’s use of the Salwa Judum to counter the Maoist menace is not infringing on the security responsibilities of the executive or legislature, but safeguarding constitutional values and fundamental rights such as equality and right to life, says Rakesh Shukla

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From Empire to Monsanto: Challenges of seeking the truth

Using the MNC Monsanto as a metaphor for concentration of money power and political influence, Rajni Bakshi asks: How should we tackle the enormous distortions of power that are as much a reality in our times as the British Empire was in Gandhiji’s time? Can we speak truth to power today in the dialogic and persuasive manner that Gandhiji did?

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Backgrounders

Agriculture And Food Security : Background & Perspective

Agriculture And Food Security : Background & Perspective

By Devinder Sharma

Pre-Independence India suffered repeated famines, drought and food shortages. But following the Green Revolution in the '60s, yields and foodstocks rose manifold. Now, 30 years later, Indian farmers have realised the follies of their tryst with intensive agriculture. Despite 70 per ...

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Analysis

The organic foods divide in India

The organic foods divide in India

By Rahul Goswami

The divide between farmers growing and selling organic produce in India and the major organic foods and beverages retailers is widening, to the detriment of organic farmers. This was evident at Biofach India 2013 held in Bengaluru

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Features

Ragi over rice

Ragi over rice

By Ananda Siddhartha

As in the rest of India, in Pavagada taluka of Karnataka, ragi is losing out to rice, groundnut and other cash crops. Until 15 years ago, it was the reverse. What are the market and policy pressures that have caused this reversal, and what are its consequences on health and nutri...

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Books & Reports

Vertical farms

Vertical farms

By Sudhirendar Sharma

A new book by Dickson Despommier posits the farm of the future as a vertical farm over 30 floors in any city centre. Powered by renewable energies a vertical farm could meet the food needs of 50,000 people, consume 70-95% less water, restrict the use of harmful agro-chemicals and...

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Punjab Series

Nation's food bowl in crisis

By Anosh Malekar

When the state that was the country's biggest agricultural success story in the 1970s tops the list of indebted farmers, it is obvious that there is something very rotten in the state of agriculture in the country. A three-part series that looks at the agriculture crisis in India's fo...

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News

Stories of change

Nalbari farmers resume cultivation after 25 years

By Ratna Bharali Taukdar

Thousands of farmers in Borigog-Barbhag block, in lower Assam’s Nalbari district, joined hands to dredge a 15-km stretch of a water channel that had blocked and flooded farmlands across 50 villages. For 25 years, farmers had abandoned work on their waterlogged lands. No...

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Changemakers

Urban poverty and the food crisis

A grain in an empty bowl: Government services in the urban context

By Maheen Mirza

Anganwadis, ICDS and PDS are huge government programmes meant to cater to the health and nutritional requirements of the poor. Yet 72.4% of urban poor children in Madhya Pradesh are underweight, 60.4% are undernourished and almost nine out of 10 are anaemic. The fifth and final part o...

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Backgrounders

IT And Development : Background & Perspective

IT And Development : Background & Perspective

By Aditya Dev Sood

What use can a computer be to someone earning less than a dollar a day? What use is information technology in a country that has a low penetration of telephony and computers, where even electricity is not assured, and where millions are still illiterate? These are standard questions...

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Analysis

Free culture for a free society

By V Sasi Kumar

What is it that prompts a group of people in Calicut to start the Chamba Swatantra Cinema Project? How did the world move from copyrights over knowledge, introduced in the 16th-18th centuries and codified as the Statute of Anne, to free software, free knowledge and free culture? And w...

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Features

Do you want to be watched?

The new rules for surveillance under the IT Act are an assault on our freedom. They also seem misguided, says Sunil Abraham . How many terrorists or criminals will be arrested in India thanks to the new ID requirements at cybercafés or a ban on public wi-fi? Intelligence work cannot be replaced...

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Changemakers

Stories of change

The people's voice

By Sherna Gandhy

Every citizen in this country has a right to be heard. But what happens when you live in an area where no mainstream media organisation bothers to penetrate, and when you speak a language no media organisation knows or understands? CGNet Swara uses mobile telephony to break through th...

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News

India turns to ICT for better delivery of welfare schemes

Bihar will become the first state in the country to videograph the distribution of PDS coupons to weed out ineligible recipients. And the Union human resources ministry proposes to use a cheap, indigenously made tablet PC to record BPL and caste data

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