An urgent appeal for support to terminated Dalit judge Prabhakar Gwal

 

Dear friends

This comes as an urgent appeal to you seeking support and solidarity for Mr. Prabhakar Gwal. Gwal has been a well known people's judge from Chhattisgarh. Gwal a Chief Judicial Magistrate who was known for his integrity was dismissed in April 2016. He was last posted as Chief Judicial Magistrate in Sukma where from he was dismissed from his services by state government.

Who is Prabhakar Gwal?

Prabhakar Gwal has been born in a Dalit (Ganda) community in a small village namely Nanakpali, near Saraipali of Mahasamund district. A community and region which has a history of bonded labour He has come up through all the pains his parents faced and bore the burden of the social system of caste in every day life from his childhood. After completing his early studies, he joined for law and become a lawyer. He practiced for 10 years after which he joined the judicial service in 2006. Life as an untouchable has given him the orientation on socio-cultural and political patterns of Indian society, which reflected in his tenure as a judge.

Gwal had reputation of an upright judge who had become an eyesore for the powerful politicians and bureaucrats, as he took cognisance of corruption related complaints and took strong action. He has questioned the manner in which the police have been indiscriminately arresting tribals in the conflict zones of Chhattisgarh.

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An Open Letter to AUD: "The many ways a student can be violated by an institution"

 

Aroh Akunth 

15202561 1276117309113187 3344554481599643730 nI am no more a student of Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD). My right to education has been obstructed. This letter lists out the reasons which have kept me from pursuing my education at AUD. It's been two months since I first informed the authorities about the issues I have been facing with regards to my education. Neither have efforts been made to resolve my case nor have I received any kind of redressal.

A Bachelor's second year student needs to pass at least 14 courses to be promoted to the third year; I passed 12, failed 1 and challenged the results of 3 courses. This makes it impossible for me to be promoted unless I pass in at least two of the 'challenged' courses. In the absence of a redressal mechanism, I approached the then dean Prof. Rachna Johri, who allowed me to attend third-year courses till my matter is resolved.

1) One of my course coordinators had refused to accept my assessments on the day of the submission because they were handwritten, which resulted in me failing the course. In the process of rejecting the submission in various formats, she also went as far as to remark and question my Dalit Queer identity multiple times on email, despite having full knowledge that I was seeking therapy to deal with homophobic and casteist elements on campus. The teacher deliberately failed me despite knowing that not grading my report, on the basis of which she took a viva and graded it, can result in me failing my year. To look into this case the present Dean of School of Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Tanuja Kothiyal instituted a 4 person internal committee comprising of two teachers at least from the department of the teacher involved (School of Human Studies) with no student representation on the committee, let alone a Dalit.

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“Zero Harm”: Minutes of Vedanta Resources' 2017 AGM

 

Foil Vedanta

This year was Vedanta's 14th AGM, since registering on the London Stock Exchange in December 2003, and the 14th year that dissident shareholders have attended the meeting to hold the company to account for their environmental and human rights abuses. The minutes published by activist shareholders every year, documenting the company's response to these, and other questions, represent important disclosures on Vedanta's operations, finances and legal issues. Please spread them far and wide!

vedanta1

In the beginning

1. After lengthy introductory remarks, the Chair, Anil Agarwal, opened the meeting. He called 2017 a year of great potential for Vedanta, noting they were now the sixth largest diversified resources company.  He claimed that since 2003 the group has returned over £2 billion to shareholders, and heralded Vedanta’s  positioning, because India and Africa give a unique opportunity for growth. While other companies look to China, he said, Vedanta has India, which is the fastest growing country in the world. Vedanta claims to be one of the biggest tax payers in India. By way of demonstrating his political connections in India, Mr. Agarwal noted he was able to join the Indian State visit to South Africa.

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What's caste? What's reservation?

 

Vinay Shende

Every few days, there are news and reports that come out telling us that SC/ST/OBC students committed suicide or dropped-out from College/ University due to Caste discrimination. Many of the students may not have a complete knowledge or awareness of issues like Caste/Reservation. Many students hear of taunts of Reservation right from Day one, when they enter college. Jokes float around. Heated debates go on. The SC/ST/OBC students find it difficult to react to these. Either, they go silent and completely hide their identity, or they get aggressive while responding to it. Both these reactions have many emotions and this leads to energy being spent on this rather than on academics.

Keeping this in mind, Bahujan Career Professionals (BCP), a small organization aimed at guiding young Bahujans in their careers, tried to discuss with young people of the Institute of Chemical Engineering (ICT), Mumbai, India on the 19th of August,2017. Overall about 13 students all from SC/ST/OBC backgrounds attended it.

Vonay BCP1

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The lifeless life of JNU’s politics

Ankit Kawade

ankit w I do not feel the need of reading the parchas of political organisations anymore. I think I will be speaking in tune with a lot of other students who feel similarly. The environment of disappointment, disenchantment, alienation, even hatred against the way the union has functioned last year is starkly visible and audible on the campus today. If the ruling union thinks this description is a wishful thinking of a few students, then one can only feel sorry for them. The levels of disgust against the compromises and step-backs of the union are harmful enough; what is infinitely worse is the distance one feels with all forms of political protest on the campus today. 

 The indifferent turning away of the necks at the sparse rehearsed shouting at the ad-block is visual proof for everybody who wished every passerby to heed to the appeal of common interest, yet walked on. Walking back to our hostels after every march seemed only to replicate the indifference of every passerby who did not- would not- show any interest. It takes special skills to lie to oneself of the meaning and necessity of even bothering about all this, it concerns our future yes, but why does fighting for our futures have to lead us to such a sorry feeling?

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Altering the language of Justice: State violence and Legal battles

 

Lakshmi KTP

lakshmiforartiIn a deepening environment of utter dissatisfactions, depression, and negativity with the present state of affairs in the country with the Hindu state and its Brahmanic rule, it is important to talk about what solidarities should mean. It is very natural for one to stay back and say that there is nothing we can do because of the unimaginable enormity of the enemy and lose our 'hope' in the judiciary, state and the human rights discourse itself. One can be very secular and liberal in their beliefs and stay away from the matters of state. Because the very secular state makes them more or less immune to state indulgence as they are not impending 'threats' to the national security. They are not Muslims, Dalits, Adivasis or physically as well as multiply-disabled, those who are termed to be in need of the state "protection."

Some questions of anguish are emerging from people who believe themselves to be engaging in protests against the state violence on 'individuals': Why do these people still believe in the judiciary? What gives them hope in human rights discourse? Why Abdul Nasar Madani has to still 'cling' onto his belief in the judicial system of India? Why should Hadiya seek legitimacy for her conversion and marriage in front the same state which 'victimizes' her? These are questions that provide utter hopelessness and negativity to the whole movement and transformative political engagements that are happening now. One is forced to lose hope in slower legal struggles and live in the dreams of 'radical' changes. One has to understand on a deeper level, the engagements of these 'individual victims' with the state and legality. It is always easy to ascribe victimhood, but it is also important to know what do they 'do' as active agents and citizens of a country in transforming the very language of justice that is in use.

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An Open Letter to the IIM Leadership

 

IIM Directors Meeting, 28th August 2017: An Open Letter to the IIM Leadership

Dear IIM Directors:

RE: IIM Directors Meeting, 28th August 2017: An Open Letter

We would like to introduce ourselves as Siddharth Joshi and Deepak Malghan. Joshi is a Fellow of IIM Bangalore (2017) and Malghan is on the faculty at IIM Bangalore. However, we write this to you in our personal capacities.

 As part of your packed agenda for the IIM Directors meeting on August 28th 2017, you are also slated to discuss the doctoral programmes at IIMs (currently called the Fellow Program in Management, or the FPM). We want to bring to your attention years of willful circumvention of constitutional mandates and statutory provisions governing admissions at public institutions such as IIMs. FPM admissions have for a number of years turned a blind eye to questions of diversity and social inclusion. One direct consequence of the IIM FPM programmes not making a concerted effort to recruit a socially diverse doctoral student body is the utter lack of diversity on the faculty bodies at various IIMs. Of the over five hundred faculty members at IIMs where data is available, only two are from the SC group, and reportedly IIMs currently do not have any representation from the ST group on its faculty. IIMs are not only "consumers," but also "producers" of management faculty. A third of all current IIM faculty members received their doctoral training within the IIM system. This proportion of IIM-trained faculty will only go up in the next several years as newer IIMs expand their faculty and the FPM programmes themselves expand (as discussed in the IIM Directors meeting with the HRD Minister, Shillong, September 2016). Had IIMs paid attention to questions of diversity and inclusion in the FPM programme, the acute diversity deficit on the faculty bodies would have been surely less stark.

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