India: December may be second coldest for Delhi in 100 years

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

December may be second coldest for Delhi in 100 years

The mean maximum temperature this month till Thursday is 19.84°C. The lowest mean maximum temperature in the city was recorded in 1997 at 17.3°C.

DELHI Updated: Dec 27, 2019 08:15 IST

Jayashree Nandi
Jayashree Nandi

Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Women seen wrapped in shwals and woollens as the national capital witnesses intense cold conditions, in New Delhi, India, on Thursday, December 26, 2019.
Women seen wrapped in shwals and woollens as the national capital witnesses intense cold conditions, in New Delhi, India, on Thursday, December 26, 2019.(Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)

The national capital is likely to record the second coldest December in a century because of significantly low day temperatures, according to an analysis by the regional weather forecasting centre.

The mean maximum temperature this month till Thursday is 19.84°C. The lowest mean maximum temperature in the city was recorded in 1997 at 17.3°C.

The second lowest mean maximum temperature for December was recorded in 1919 at 19.8°C and again in 1929 at 19.8°C. In 1961, the mean maximum for the month was 20 degrees Celsius. Until December 26 this year, the mean maximum is almost the same as recorded in 1919 and 1929, but the weather office is expecting the mean for the entire month to be lower as Delhi since likely to see at least two to three more “severe” cold days.

Also Watch l North India continues to reel under severe cold, temperature may dip further

North India continues to reel under severe cold, temperature may dip further
Cold wave intensifies in North India as states witness dip in mercury on Wednesday. People in Gorakhpur, Punjab face severe cold conditions. Cold intensified in the national capital too. Minimum temperature was 6 degrees Celsius.
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“We are expecting the mean maximum temperature this year to be in the range of 19.5 to 19.6 degrees Celsius. But we have to wait and see until December 31,” said Kuldeep Shrivastava, head of regional weather forecasting centre (RWFC).

There has been a cold spell in Delhi for the past 13 days, if data from all weather stations except Safdarjung is considered. In 1997, there was a cold spell for 13 days in December, but data from Safdarjung station was considered for it.

On Thursday, another “severe” cold day was registered again in Delhi with the maximum temperature 13.4°C, seven degrees below normal, and minimum of 5.8°C, two degrees below normal.

A severe cold day is defined as one in which the maximum temperature is at least 6.4 degrees below normal and the minimum temperature is under 10ºC.

IMD’s Friday bulletin said that cold day to severe cold day conditions would continue in many pockets of north India due to the persistence of cold northwesterly winds in the lower levels over north-west India, and other localised meteorological conditions. Cold day conditions are likely to abate from December 31, the IMD bulletin said.

A fresh western disturbance is likely to affect the western Himalayan region from December 30, bringing widespread rain and hailstorm in many parts of northwest and central India on December 31 and January 1, according to IMD.

“We are expecting light rain to begin in Delhi and NCR (National Capital Region) from December 31. Wind speeds will also pick up significantly. Rains may continue till January 3, and a cold wave is likely to set in again as wind direction changes to northwesterly. We are not sure yet if there will be a cold spell also,” said Shrivastava.

A press release by IMD on Thursday said: “The most severity [of cold/severe cold day conditions] was observed on December 25 when majority of stations in the region were recorded seven to 12 degrees C below normal with actual maximum temperature of the day varying between nine to 15 degrees Celsius.” The lowest day maximum temperature in the northern plains, 9°C, was reported from Ganganagar and Chandigarh.

The main difference between a cold spell and a cold wave is that the former involves lower-than-normal maximum or day temperatures for 2-3 days in a row while the latter involves lower-than-expected minimum or night temperatures for more than one day. On December 29, we could see both in Delhi according to RWFC.

Air quality inches towards ‘severe’

Air quality in the national capital continued to remain in the ‘very poor’ zone on Thursday, as winds slowed down and a moderate fog layer did not allow pollutants to disperse. The air quality is likely to plunge to ‘severe’ on December 28-29 after wind speed slows down and as there is an increase in dense fog.

The overall air quality index on Thursday, as recorded by the Central Pollution Control Board’s 4 pm bulletin, was 349 in the ‘very poor’ zone.

Scientists at the India Meteorological Department said the average wind speed was 8-10 kmph, which is not
favorable for dispersion of pollutants.

India slips to 112th in gender gap index, bottom 5 of health and economic fronts

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

India slips to 112th rank on WEF’s gender gap index, in bottom 5 on health, economic fronts

While Iceland remains the world’s most gender-neutral country, India has moved down the ladder from its 108th position last year on the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report to rank below countries like China (106th), Sri Lanka (102nd), Nepal (101st), Brazil (92nd), Indonesia (85th) and Bangladesh (50th).

INDIA Updated: Dec 17, 2019 05:37 IST

Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

New Delhi
Worldwide, women now hold 25.2 per cent of parliamentary lower-house seats and 21.2 per cent of ministerial positions, compared to 24.1 per cent and 19 per cent, respectively last year.

India has slipped four places to rank 112th globally in terms of gender gap amid widening disparity in terms of women’s health and survival and economic participation — the two areas where the country is now ranked in the bottom-five, an annual survey showed on Tuesday.

While Iceland remains the world’s most gender-neutral country, India has moved down the ladder from its 108th position last year on the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report to rank below countries like China (106th), Sri Lanka (102nd), Nepal (101st), Brazil (92nd), Indonesia (85th) and Bangladesh (50th).

Yemen is ranked the worst (153rd), while Iraq is 152nd and Pakistan 151st.

“The time it will take to close the gender gap narrowed to 99.5 years in 2019. While an improvement on 2018 -– when the gap was calculated to take 108 years to close — it still means parity between men and women across health, education, work and politics will take more than a lifetime to achieve,” the WEF said.

Geneva-based WEF, an international organisation for public-private cooperation, said this year’s improvement can largely be ascribed to a significant increase in the number of women in politics.

The political gender gap will take 95 years to close, compared to 107 years last year. Worldwide, women now hold 25.2 per cent of parliamentary lower-house seats and 21.2 per cent of ministerial positions, compared to 24.1 per cent and 19 per cent, respectively last year.

However, the economic opportunity gap has worsened, widening to 257 years, compared to 202 years last year. The report said one of the greatest challenges to closing this gap is women’s under-representation in emerging roles, such as cloud computing, engineering and data and AI.

The WEF had published its first gender gap report in 2006, when India was ranked relatively higher at 98th place.

Since then, India’s rank has worsened on three of four metrics used for the overall ranking. While India has improved to 18th place on political empowerment, it has slipped to 150th on health and survival, to 149th in terms of economic participation and opportunity and to 112th place for educational attainment.

The WEF said economic opportunities for women are extremely limited in India (35.4 per cent), Pakistan (32.7 per cent), Yemen (27.3 per cent), Syria (24.9 per cent) and Iraq (22.7 per cent).

It also named India among countries with very low women representation on company boards (13.8 per cent), while it was even worse in China (9.7 per cent).

On health and survival, four large countries — Pakistan, India, Viet Nam and China — fare badly with millions of women there not getting the same access to health as men, the WEF said.

It also flagged abnormally low sex ratios at birth in India (91 girls for every 100 boys) and Pakistan (92/100).

The WEF said India has closed two-thirds of its overall gender gap, but the condition of women in large fringes of India’s society is precarious and the economic gender gap runs particularly deep.

Since 2006, the gap has significantly widened and India is the only country among the 153 countries studied where the economic gender gap is larger than the political one.

Only one-quarter of women, compared with 82 per cent of men, engage actively in the labour market — one of the lowest rates globally (145th).

Furthermore, the female estimated earned income is mere one-fifth of the male income, again among the world’s lowest (144th).

Women account for only 14 per cent of leadership roles (136th) and 30 per cent of professional and technical workers.

“Violence, forced marriage and discrimination in access to health remain pervasive. The situation and the trend are more positive in terms of gender gaps in education… But a large difference persists for literacy rate; only two-thirds of women are literate compared with 82 per cent of men,” WEF said.

India ranks high on the political empowerment sub-index, largely because the country was headed by a woman for 20 of the past 50 years. But, female political representation today is low as women make up only 14.4 per cent of Parliament (122nd rank globally) and 23 per cent of the cabinet (69th), the report said.

Nordic countries continue to lead the way to gender parity and Iceland is followed by Norway, Finland and Sweden in the top-four. In the top-10, they are followed by Nicaragua, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, Rwanda and Germany.

The WEF said one positive development is the possibility that a ‘role model effect’ may be starting to have an impact in terms of leadership and possibly also wages.

“For example, in eight of the top-10 countries this year, high political empowerment corresponds with high numbers of women in senior roles. Comparing changes in political empowerment from 2006 to 2019 shows that improvements in political representation occurred simultaneously with improvements in women in senior roles in the labour market,” the report said.

WEF’s Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab said, “Supporting gender parity is critical to ensuring strong, cohesive and resilient societies around the world. For business, too, diversity will be an essential element to demonstrate that stakeholder capitalism is the guiding principle.” The issue of gender gap is likely to be among key focus areas for discussion next month at the annual meeting of the WEF in Davos, Switzerland.

The WEF said it is has committed to at least double the current percentage of women participants at the Davos summit by 2030.

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An American’s Thoughts On India’s New Citizenship Laws (NRC & CAB)

An American’s Thoughts On India’s New Citizenship Laws (NRC & CAB)

 

Yesterday one of my readers asked me to write this article and I told him that I would once I had had a chance to study it more so this is my effort to fulfill that promise to him. As most American’s know there are big issues politically and personally about the immigration policies here in the U.S. concerning our southern border. So, I am going to try to match up the two nations ongoing concerns about this issue.

 

In India the new law called the NRC (National Register of Citizens) law seems to also be called the “anti-Muslim” Law just as in the U.S. the issues are only at our southern border. To me, the difference is that here in the U.S. I feel that the biggest issue is race (anti-Hispanic) while the biggest issue in India is Religion, not race. There is also the real truth that in both cases there are a lot of people, mostly among the poorest of the peoples about the influx of new immigrants taking what little jobs and housing that they are clinging to at this time. New people to your area still need to have human basic needs like food and housing. Truth is that if there are not jobs for these new people then they will still need an income whether it be from taking your job, having to use your nations welfare system thus draining it from the ones currently using it or be placed in the position of beggar’s or thieves. This is an issue that faces every nation when it comes to immigration. This is one of the biggest concerns of the people who live in the northeast of India at this time yet the biggest issue there seems to be the new laws are written for the purpose of being anti Muslim, or anti believers of the Islamic faith.

 

The government of India says the new law is in part meant to weed out infiltrators or illegal’s from within their nation. The law is designed to be favorable toward six religions that are persecuted in the Islamic nations that are northeastern neighbors of India, nations like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. India’s government is said to be trying to give these persecuted people of these countries a safe place to live, meaning India while at the same time weeding out illegal infiltrators whom seem to be mostly Muslims or in reality, believers of Islam. One of the issues that is going to have to be resolved is if the Indian Constitution allows such curbs on a section of people based on a religious faith. The population of India is about 1.4 billion people with about 180 million of those being believers of Islam. The government is loosely using the reason why these new laws are legal is the fact that Islamic nations do discriminate against all faiths that are not Islamic even to the dividing point of if people are Sunni or Shiite. Being that these Islamic nations do discriminate and persecute against other faiths like the Hindu’s, Parsi’s, Sikhs, Buddhist, Jain’s and Christians that India is simply trying to give them a safe place to live. Concerning the Indian population of Islamic believers it seems to me the government is saying that if their Islamic citizens don’t like the new laws they can move to an Islamic nation. To me, it seems that just like here in the States with the discrimination against Hispanic people whether it is Constitutionally legal if India is going to have to go through the  process to discover if it is legal in India to do the same to a group of people based on religion.

 

 

India’s new ‘anti-Muslim’ law explained

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Citizenship Amendment Bill: India’s new ‘anti-Muslim’ law explained

  • 11 December 2019
Activists of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti shout slogans during a protest against the government's Citizenship Amendment Bill in Guwahati on November 22, 2019Image copyright AFP
Image caption One analyst has called the bill the most consequential action of the Modi government

India’s parliament has passed a bill which offers amnesty to non-Muslim illegal immigrants from three neighbouring countries.

The bill provides citizenship to religious minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

The government, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), says this will give sanctuary to people fleeing religious persecution.

Critics say the bill is part of a BJP agenda to marginalise Muslims.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) passed the upper house of parliament, where the BJP lacks a majority, by 125 votes to 105 on 11 December. It had cleared the lower house two days earlier.

The bill has already prompted widespread protests in the north-east of the country which borders Bangladesh, as many people there say they will be “overrun” by immigrants from across the border.

What does the bill say?

The CAB amends the 64-year-old Indian Citizenship law, which currently prohibits illegal migrants from becoming Indian citizens.

It defines illegal immigrants as foreigners who enter India without a valid passport or travel documents, or stay beyond the permitted time. Illegal immigrants can be deported or jailed.

The new bill also amends a provision which says a person must have lived in India or worked for the federal government for at least 11 years before they can apply for citizenship.

Hindu refugees from Pakistan in a refugee camp in JammuImage copyright GETTY IMAGES
Image caption Hindu refugees from Pakistan in a refugee camp in Jammu

Now there will be an exception for members of six religious minority communities – Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian – if they can prove that they are from Pakistan, Afghanistan or Bangladesh. They will only have to live or work in India for six years to be eligible for citizenship by naturalization, the process by which a non-citizen acquires the citizenship or nationality of that country.

It also says people holding Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards – an immigration status permitting a foreign citizen of Indian origin to live and work in India indefinitely – can lose their status if they violate local laws for major and minor offences and violations.

Why is the bill controversial?

Opponents of the bill say it is exclusionary and violates the secular principles enshrined in the constitution. They say faith cannot be made a condition of citizenship.

The constitution prohibits religious discrimination against its citizens, and guarantees all persons equality before the law and equal protection of the law.

Delhi-based lawyer Gautam Bhatia says that by dividing alleged migrants into Muslims and non-Muslims, the bill “explicitly and blatantly seeks to enshrine religious discrimination into law, contrary to our long-standing, secular constitutional ethos”.

Historian Mukul Kesavan says the bill is “couched in the language of refuge and seemingly directed at foreigners, but its main purpose is the delegitimisation of Muslims’ citizenship”.

Critics say that if it is genuinely aimed at protecting minorities, the bill should have have included Muslim religious minorities who have faced persecution in their own countries – Ahmadis in Pakistan and Rohingyas in Myanmar, for example. (The government has gone to the Supreme Court seeking to deport Rohingya refugees from India.)

Rohingya Muslim refugees protecting in IndiaImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Defending the bill, senior BJP leader Ram Madhav said, “no country in the world accepts illegal migration”.

“For all others about whom the bleeding hearts are complaining, Indian citizenship laws are there. Naturalized citizenship is an option for others who legally claim Indian citizenship. All other illegal [immigrants] will be infiltrators,” he added.

Also defending the bill earlier this year, R Jagannathan, editorial director of Swarajya magazine, wrote that “the exclusion of Muslims from the ambit of the bill’s coverage flows from the obvious reality that the three countries are Islamist ones, either as stated in their own constitutions, or because of the actions of militant Islamists, who target the minorities for conversion or harassment”.

What is the history of the bill?

The Citizen Amendment Bill was first put before parliament in July 2016.

The legislation cleared parliament’s lower house where the BJP has a large majority, but it did not pass in the upper house, after violent anti-migrant protests in north-eastern India.

The protests were particularly vocal in Assam state, which in August saw two million residents left off a citizens’ register. Illegal migration from Bangladesh has long been a concern in the state.

The CAB is seen as being linked to the register, although it is not the same thing.

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a list of people who can prove they came to the state by 24 March 1971, a day before neighboring Bangladesh became an independent country.

The government says the National Register of Citizens is needed to identify illegal migrantsImage copyright AFP
Image caption The government says the National Register of Citizens is needed to identify illegal migrants

In the run-up to its publication, the BJP had supported the NRC, but changed tack days before the final list was published, saying it was error-ridden.

The reason for that was a lot of Bengali Hindus – a strong voter base for the BJP – were also left out of the list, and would possibly become illegal immigrants.

How is the citizens’ register linked to the bill?

The two are closely linked, because the Citizenship Amendment Bill will help protect non-Muslims who are excluded from the register and face the threat of deportation or internment.

This means tens of thousands of Bengali Hindu migrants who were not included in the NRC can still get citizenship to stay on in Assam state.

Later, Home Minister Amit Shah proposed a nationwide register of citizens to ensure that “each and every infiltrator is identified and expelled from India” by 2024.

Indian activists from the right-wing organization Hindu Sena hold placards as they shout slogans against Rohingya Muslim refugees being granted asylum in India, in Delhi on September 11, 2017Image copyright AFP
Image caption Right-wing groups have protested against Rohingya refugees living in India

“If the government goes ahead with its plan of implementing the nationwide NRC, then those who find themselves excluded from it will be divided into two categories: (predominantly) Muslims, who will now be deemed illegal migrants, and all others, who would have been deemed illegal migrants, but are now immunized by the Citizenship Amendment Bill if they can show that their country of origin is Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan,” Mr Bhatia said.

Taken together, the NRC and CAB have the “potential of transforming India into a majoritarian polity with gradations of citizenship rights,” said sociologist Niraja Gopal Jaya.

Related Topics

India’s new Citizenship Act and national register of citizens are inspired by “paranoia”

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF QUARTZ INDIA)

 

REUTERS/RUPAK DE CHOWDHURI
Same-same, but different.
DIVIDED WE FALL

India’s new Citizenship Act and national register of citizens are both inspired by “paranoia”

By Manavi Kapur

India’s contentious Citizenship Amendment Act, which was cleared by parliament last week, has sparked violent protests across the country, for more than one reason. While there is anger that the legislation is discriminatory against Muslims, there are also fears of an influx of settlers.

The legislation aims to fast-track citizenship for persecuted Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, and Christians who arrived in India before Dec. 31, 2014, from Bangladesh, Pakistan, or Afghanistan. For the immigrant religious minorities, the law effectively amends India’s Citizenship Act, 1955, which required an applicant to have resided in India for 11 years.

The upheaval in most of the country, is due to the exclusion of Muslims from the list. Rohingya Muslims fleeing from Myanmar, for instance, will not be given citizenship under the new law. Likewise, for Sri Lankan Tamils. Several people took to the streets in West Bengal, Kerala, and Goa, and some protests turned violent. In Delhi, police allegedly resorted to tear-gas shells, guns, and batons to push back protesters at Jamia Millia Islamia university.

In the northeastthough, the resistance to the legislation has a different hue.

The NRC piece

In Assam, which shares a border with Bangladesh, people fear an ethnic, and demographic shift due to an influx of immigrants—regardless of their religion. Violent protests in state capital Guwahati led the Indian government to shut down the internet in the state on Dec. 11.

Citizens here are also concerned about the controversial National Register of Citizens (NRC), which requires people to produce documents of ancestry to be enlisted as Indian citizens. This exercise, undertaken by prime minister Narendra Modi’s government in Assam between February 2015 and August this year, was meant to “throw out infiltrators.”

The final list of citizens, published on Aug. 31, excluded nearly 19 lakh residents of Assam, including Hindus.

Ever since, India’s home minister Amit Shah has hinted at the possibility of a nationwide NRC. Shah referred to “illegal immigrants” as “termites” in April, and the citizenship act is now being seen in the context of the planned nationwide NRC.

By all accounts, the NRC in Assam only seems to have deepened the divide between the different cultural groups in the state, bringing back memories of the unrest of the 1980’s. This was a time when Assamese-speaking residents of the state feared being overpowered by Bengali-speaking Bangladeshi immigrants after Bangladesh’s liberation in 1971.

Some commentators have equated the NRC with ethnic cleansing, much like what the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar faced. The fear is that a nation-wide NRC could only prove disastrous where residents could be profiled on the basis of their religions and stripped of their citizenship overnight.

Citizenship Act and NRC

Protesters believe that the exclusion of Muslims and a nationwide NRC are products of the same school of thought. The paranoia against “outsiders” and “infiltrators” rings strong in both narratives, though by the government’s own estimates, the citizenship act will help a little over 31,000 people.

Given the exclusionary privileges, those protesting believe that the new law will only be used to polarize Indian communities, especially Hindus, against Muslims. On Dec. 11, just before the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) was cleared, over 700 activists, academicians, and filmmakers wrote a letter to the Indian government expressing grave concern over these two proposed laws. “For the first time there is a statutory attempt to not just privilege peoples from some faiths but at the same time relegate another, Muslims, to second-rate status,” they wrote.

The new law, they wrote, also went against the tenets of the Indian constitution. “The CAB is at odds with Constitutional secular principles and a violation of Articles 13, 14, 15, 16 and 21 which guarantee the right to equality, equality before the law and non discriminatory treatment by the Indian state,” they wrote.

India: Detained Jamia students released; protests in AMU, Hyderabad, Kolkata

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Detained Jamia students released; protests in AMU, Hyderabad, Kolkata over clashes

Of the detained students, 35 were released from the Kalkaji police station and 15 from the New Friends Colony police station, reported news agency PTI quoting a senior police officer.

INDIA Updated: Dec 16, 2019 09:07 IST

Kainat Sarfaraz
Kainat Sarfaraz
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Students from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) hold placards and raise slogans to protest against the Delhi Police action on the students of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), and in solidarity with the students of JMI, outside Police Headquarters in New Delhi on  December 15, 2019. (Photos by Amal KS)
Students from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) hold placards and raise slogans to protest against the Delhi Police action on the students of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), and in solidarity with the students of JMI, outside Police Headquarters in New Delhi on December 15, 2019. (Photos by Amal KS)

As many as 50 Jamia Millia Islamia students who were detained after a clash with the Delhi cops were released in the early hours of Monday after being kept in the police stations for over six hours, police said.

The demonstration against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise took a violent turn on Sunday after protesters attempted to march towards arterial south Delhi roads and were stopped by the cops. The police said they had to resort to lathi-charge and fire tear gas shells after protesters started pelting stones and smashing cars and vehicles. The protesters set fire to at least four DTC buses, too, the police said.

Following the clashes, the police entered the university campus and detained several students. While 35 were detained at Kalkaji police station, 16 were detained at the New Friends Colony (NFC) police station near the varsity.

Chinmoy Biswal, deputy commissioner of police (south-east) said, “35 students detained at Kalkaji police have been released.”

According to some Jamia students, 15 students at NFC police station were also released. Rishabh Jain, a postgraduate student of the varsity present at the police station, said the detained students were released and have been taken to Jasola Apollo hospital and AIIMS trauma centre for medical reports.

On Sunday night, hundreds gathered outside the Delhi Police headquarters at ITO demanding the release of detained students.

The university administration, students and teachers dissociated themselves from Sunday’s violence and said that people from outside the campus were involved in clashes with the police.

Condemning police violence against students, a group of Jamia’s alumni members said, “The police entered the campus without the university authority’s permission and beat up students, injuring dozens, and destroying the university property. Many of them were studying in the university library, which was tear-gassed, and students were detained. By the latest account, students are still being treated for injuries in different hospitals in Delhi.”

After the police crackdown on the Jamia students, protests erupted on the campuses across the country. The situation turned violent in the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) on Sunday night after the students clashed with cops over the alleged police assault on the Jamia Millia Islamia students. The police fired tear gas shells at students outside the Aligarh Muslim University campus after protesters pelted stones at them.

Students of Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), in Hyderabad, Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi and Kolkata’s Jadavpur University also held demonstrations in solidarity with the Jamia students.

Earlier on Sunday night, the Delhi Minority Commission (DMC) issued a direction to the SHO of Kalkaji Police Station to release the “injured” Jamia students. The commission also asked the police to take the students for treatment at a reputed hospital without any delay.

India’s Citizenship Law Triggers Mass Protests

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR NEWS)

 

India’s Citizenship Law Triggers Mass Protests And Violence As Modi Calls For Peace

Protests against India’s new citizenship law include a “mega rally” in Kolkata, where West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, in white, led a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act on Monday.

Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP via Getty Images

Tens of thousands of protesters marched on college campuses across India on Monday, saying a new citizenship law is unconstitutional because it treats Muslims differently from Hindus, Buddhists and other religious groups.

The mass demonstrations followed violence that erupted Sunday night, as police stormed a public university in New Delhi. Many of Monday’s protests were organized at the last minute in solidarity with students in the capital who were beaten by police with batons and had tear gas fired at them. Videos posted to social media show bloodied students fleeing into a library and a men’s restroom.

The Citizenship Amendment Act, which Parliament approved last week, offers amnesty and citizenship to immigrants who aren’t Muslim and who entered India illegally from neighboring majority-Muslim countries: Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Its backers say the law offers religious minorities an escape from persecution. But critics say it goes against India’s constitution to view people differently based on their religion. They also accuse Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi of pandering to his Hindu Nationalist base with the law.

Over the past week, at least six people have been killed in clashes between police and protesters, mostly in India’s far northeast, where immigration is a sensitive issue. Many residents there fear new citizens will dilute their local culture and compete with them for jobs.

Protests have since spread to the capital and other cities, including Mumbai, Hyderabad and Kolkata. On Monday, Modi called for peace and calm after violence erupted at Jamia Millia Islamia University.

More than 200 people were injured when Delhi police stormed the campus on Sunday night. They fired tear gas and beat students with batons. Dormitories were evacuated. Videos posted to social media show bloodied students fleeing into a library and a men’s restroom. The university’s vice chancellor, Najma Akhtar, told reporters she’s filing a police report — against police.

“Damaged property can be recovered, but the emotional toll this has taken on our kids cannot be repaired,” Akhtar said.

Modi says the protests against the new law are “unfortunate and deeply distressing.” And on Monday, he sought to dispel concerns by saying on Twitter that no one who is currently a citizen of India has anything to worry about, regardless of their religion.

A different message is being heard in West Bengal, the eastern state that borders Bangladesh. There, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called for a “mega rally” in Kolkata to protest what she says are unconstitutional changes to India’s laws.

Banerjee, who later walked at the front of a huge march in Kolkata’s streets, said via Twitter, “Come, let us all, every section of society, join this people’s movement in a peaceful manner within the ambit of law.”

In Mumbai, students read aloud the Indian constitution’s preamble — which defines India as a secular democratic republic. In Delhi, protesters hoisted portraits of Mahatma Gandhi, India’s freedom leader. They called the new citizenship law a betrayal of the equal rights and secularism Gandhi stood for.

India has one of the world’s largest Muslim populations — about 180 million people — whom many believe are increasingly disenfranchised under Modi’s government.

India: Factory output shrinks, rising inflation at 5.5%

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Factory output shrinks, rising inflation at 5.5% begins to hurt

Factory output contracted 3.8% in October after shrinking 4.3% in September, in sharp contrast with an 8.4% expansion in October last year. Retail inflation continued to surge in November, fuelled by soaring food prices, as prolonged rains dampened vegetable supplies.

BUSINESS Updated: Dec 13, 2019 08:01 IST

Gireesh Chandra Prasad
Gireesh Chandra Prasad

Livemint, New Delhi
Factory output contracted 3.8% in October after shrinking 4.3% in September, in sharp contrast with an 8.4% expansion in October last year.
Factory output contracted 3.8% in October after shrinking 4.3% in September, in sharp contrast with an 8.4% expansion in October last year.(Reuters File Photo )

India’s industrial output shrank while inflation swelled, official data released on Thursday showed, highlighting challenges for policymakers battling an economic slowdown amid surging food prices.

Factory output contracted 3.8% in October after shrinking 4.3% in September, in sharp contrast with an 8.4% expansion in October last year. Retail inflation continued to surge in November, fuelled by soaring food prices, as prolonged rains dampened vegetable supplies.

Experts said if economic growth does not show signs of an uptick in the December quarter, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may come under pressure to give further monetary stimulus to support the economy, given the fact that retail inflation is driven by food prices and is not across the board. Vegetable prices surged 36% in November from a year ago, data released by the National Statistics Office showed.

Retail inflation surged 5.54% in November as food price inflation measured by the Consumer Food Price Index rose 10% in November from 7.89% in October.

Pointing to a demand slump in the economy, manufacturing output, which accounts for three-fourth of factory output, contracted 2.1% in October. The contraction in consumer durables deepened in October. Production of items such as cars and household appliances contracted 18% in October, after shrinking 9.9% in the month before.

Capital goods production that reflects investments in manufacturing continued its sharp contraction in October too. It has now contracted by over 20% for the last three months. Energy generation, seen as a proxy for living standards, too remained muted. Mining output covering mainly coal and crude oil contracted by 8% in October, and electricity generation by over 12%.

“The broad-based industrial weakness continues. The fiscal and monetary policy measures will have a lagged impact on the economy,” said DK Joshi, chief economist at Crisil Ltd. “If economic growth remains weak in the December quarter, then there is scope for monetary policy to further support economic growth.” He said the factors that may have an impact on retail inflation in the weeks ahead include higher telecom tariffs and a possible increase in goods and services tax rates.

According to Sunil Kumar Sinha, director of public finance and principal economist at India Ratings and Research, the industrial output figures clearly suggest that the festival season could not arrest the declining growth momentum of the industrial sector, resulting in the manufacturing sector clocking degrowth for the third consecutive month in November. “This is unprecedented as the new series of IIP with 2011-12 as base year so far has not witnessed such consecutive months of degrowth either in the manufacturing, electricity or the industrial sector as a whole,” said Sinha.

The government has announced various measures to support the automobile industry, exporters, non-bank lenders and housing financiers in addition to announcing a sharp corporate tax rate cut for domestic companies not availing of any tax breaks and to new manufacturing companies. RBI has so far cut its benchmark repo rate five times in a row this year totaling 135 basis points.

India’s economy grew 4.5% in the second quarter, its slowest pace since March 2013.

India: Preparations on in Delhi’s Tihar jail to hang December 16 rape, murder convicts

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Quiet preparations on in Delhi’s Tihar jail to hang December 16 rape, murder convicts: Official

The preparations include approaching a prison in Bihar for gallows rope, writing to other states for services of hangmen, and inspections of the courtyard as well as the equipment that will be used to carry out the execution.

INDIA Updated: Dec 12, 2019 08:12 IST

Prawesh Lama
Prawesh Lama
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Protestors hold placards to demand justice for the rape and murder of the Unnao rape survivor who was burnt alive by her alleged rapists, at Shahidi Park, ITO, in New Delhi.
Protestors hold placards to demand justice for the rape and murder of the Unnao rape survivor who was burnt alive by her alleged rapists, at Shahidi Park, ITO, in New Delhi. (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

Prison officers in Delhi’s Tihar jail have begun arrangements to execute the four men convicted of the December 16, 2012 gang rape and murder of a physiotherapy student in the national capital, according to officials aware of the preparations.

These include approaching a prison in Bihar for gallows rope, writing to other states for services of hangmen, and inspections of the courtyard as well as the equipment that will be used to carry out the execution.

“We have ordered 10 new ropes from the Buxar jail. We are making preparations so that when the time comes, everything is in place. The ropes are made in Buxar jail by prisoners. They have to be of a particular type and should not break during the hanging or cut the throat. We had some old ropes but we did not want to take a chance,” said a Tihar officer who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Pawan Gupta, Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma and Mukesh Singh are on death row for the gang rape and murder of the 23-year-old woman who was tortured on a bus that she and a friend boarded in south Delhi’s Munirka. A fifth adult suspect in the case, Ram Singh, purportedly committed suicide in prison before the trial ended and a sixth was a minor at the time of the crime.

Prison officials did not indicate when the executions would take place and said that the four convicts were on October 27 reminded that they had exhausted all their legal options and that if they did not file a mercy petition within a week, the department would proceed with the execution process.

Last month, a mercy petition signed by one of the four convicts was first sent to the state government and then to Lieutenant Governor (LG) Anil Baijal. State home minister Satyendar Jain and the LG recommended the petition be dismissed and forwarded the file to the President’s office. The convict, Vinay Sharma, withdrew the petition.

Two officials in the President’s office said there are no petitions from these convicts pending.

In a ruling in 2014, the Supreme Court held that a death row convict must be given a reasonable amount of time to take legal recourse against an execution warrant and to have a final meeting with members of his family. “Convicts need to be given 14 days from the date they have been told that their mercy petition has been rejected. The hanging too needs to be preceded by a notice,” said advocate Rishabh Sancheti, who was part of the legal team involved in the 2014 case and has represented convicts such as Surendra Kohli, whose death sentence was commuted over delays.

All of the preparations, the communications to Buxar prison officials and to Uttar Pradesh state officials (seeking services of hangmen), and the inspection of the gallows, which included a test carried out using a dummy weighing 70-80kg, was done on Monday, multiple officials told HT.

“We received a request letter from the Tihar prison through fax on December 9 (Monday) seeking services of the two hangmen of UP, as they do not have hangman there. The letter makes no mention of the convicts to be hanged but states there may be requirements,” said the director general (DG) of UP prisons administration and reform services, Anand Kumar.

A second Tihar officer confirmed that the department has written to not just UP but several states for the services of a hangman. Tihar does not have a hangman of its own at present. “If we do not get a hangman, it can be done by any jail official. We have to follow the manual and the process. Before Afzal’s hanging, we used the services of a hangman from Meerut, Uttar Pradesh,” this officer said, asking not to be named. Parliament attacks convict Afzal Guru was the last person to be hanged inside Tihar, on February 3, 2013. He was hanged by a jail official, whose name was never revealed by the government.

On Monday, prison officers also opened the gate of the “phasi kotha” in jail number 3, the courtyard where the execution will take place. Officers checked the iron beam, the wooden plank, and the lever. The officers then conducted a mock hanging by using sand bags to test the weight on the beam, plank, and lever.

(With inputs from Rohit Singh in Lucknow)

India: Army Guarding Water In Madhya Pradesh

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Army men guard water body in Madhya Pradesh district to check overdrawing

The army men are patrolling a 12-km stretch near the Chitora stop dam, preventing them from drawing water, allege the villagers.

INDIA Updated: Dec 11, 2019 05:30 IST

Anupam Pateriya
Anupam Pateriya

Hindustan Times, Bhopal/Sagar
Army officials say the water body was designated to army by the Sagar municipal corporation in 1995.
Army officials say the water body was designated to army by the Sagar municipal corporation in 1995. (HT Photo)

The army cantonment in Sagar, 186 km from Bhopal, and residents of around 12 villages in the same district have been locked in a dispute over water from the Chitora stop dam.

Matters have reached a stage where half a dozen army men have been deployed to guard the stop dam, the source of water for the cantonment as well as farmers from the villages. The army men are patrolling a 12-km stretch near the dam, preventing them from drawing water, allege the villagers. In the past fortnight, they add, the army men have seized 14 electric water pumps and water pipes.

Chitora village sarpanch, Vijendra Singh, said: “This unusual step by the army has caused problems for irrigating farmland. Every year, we used to irrigate our crops with the water from this dam but this year they (the army men) are being very strict and are even stopping the farmers from tapping water from canals connected to the dam.”

Army officials say the water body was designated to army by the Sagar municipal corporation in 1995.

Sagar Army Headquarter Commandant, Colonnel Munish Gupta, said: “This is not the first time we have deployed a patrolling party. We are guarding our quota of water which was permitted by the Sagar municipal corporation.”

Sagar Municipal Corporation commissioner RP Ahirwar said, “It is true that we have permitted the army to draw water from Chitora stop dam but why are they stopping villagers from drawing extra water from canals and dam. We will inquire in the matter.”

“Last summer, we faced an acute water shortage. So, this year we came up with a strict plan to guard the water. So far, army men have seized as many as 14 electric motor pump of farmers for disobeying the army order to not take water from the water body,” Commander Gupta added.

Vinod Thakur, a farmer of Barkheri village is one such farmer who had his pump seized. “I was irrigating my land with an overflowing canal connected to the dam but the army patrol seized my motor and pipe. Now, I don’t know how to irrigate my 12 acres of land.”

The villagers claim the water body has traditionally irrigated their land.

Farmer Jahar Singh said: “This water body has been a source of drinking water for us for so many years. We have lodged a complaint with the district administration against the army. We urged the district administration to clearly demarcate the water body earmarking water for the army and the villagers.”

Local BJP MLA, Pradeep Lariya added: “Farmers are facing trouble and the district administration should come up with a solution. If the army is claiming it is their water, what arrangement has the administration made for irrigation of farmers? Things should be cleared by the administration to prevent any further confrontation.”

Deputy director of agriculture department, GD Nema, said, “This is an illogical step by army men as the district received 1717 mm rainfall this year, which is higher than average rainfall of 1124 mm and there is no fear of water crisis. Due to good rainfall, the sowing area of rabi crop has increased from 3 lakh hectare to 3.5 lakh hectare. If farmers don’t get water, it will affect the production of wheat.”

Sagar district collector, Preeti Maithil, said the administration is “looking into the matter.”