Issue-3: No dissent, no data in new India

Modi govt is busy locking up anti-CAA protestors, denies pandemic-related data

Hello and Welcome to Rayaan Writer Newsletter. This is the Third Issue after making a few tweaks. I hope to keep you engaged.

Since the beginning of this pandemic, the Narendra Modi government has taken various steps to lock up anti-CAA protestors. Here’s a short recap of what it is; The Citizenship Amendment Act was passed by the Indian government on December 2019 in a bid to provide citizenship to “illegal migrants of  Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist,  Jain, Parsi, and Christian religious minorities, who had fled persecution from Pakistan,  Bangladesh and Afghanistan”.

However, it denies citizenship to Muslims. It also marks the first time in the history of the Indian constitution that citizenship is provided on basis of religion. The Act was received with widespread criticism leading to protests across the country. Critics said that CAA in combination with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) might leave several citizens stateless.

Numerous human rights groups and other international organizations like the United Nations labeled CAA as “discriminatory” in nature. The protests eventually led to violence in North East Delhi. As the dust settled, the protests fizzled out as the coronavirus pandemic began. Likewise, the government too announced that the implementation of CAA is temporarily on hold owing to the pandemic. However, that hasn’t stopped the government to put out charges against anti-CAA protestors including activists like Umar Khalid.

Political commentator, Sushil Aaron, in his piece for The Wire, "Why Is the Modi Government Targeting Umar Khalid Now?" wrote, "The Narendra Modi government is now clearly abandoning any pretense of staying within the spirit of the Indian constitution. It has pitilessly imprisoned Sudha Bharadwaj for the last two years – she has been someone who gave up her US citizenship to speak on behalf of the poor in Chhattisgarh. The Delhi Police is trying to implicate leading intellectuals like Sitaram Yechury, Apoorvanand and Jayati Ghosh in the Delhi riots cases. And now drawing on its when-in-doubt-try-a-Muslim playbook, the scholar Umar Khalid has been arrested under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) legislation." Sushil noted that "the young historian’s arrest is many things – about using the pandemic to reinforce majoritarianism, imposing political limits on Indian Muslims, and the moral universe that the BJP wants Indians to live in".

The Delhi Police filed a charge sheet running at over 17,000 pages against the CAA protestors. But it is interesting to note that the charge sheet has not mentioned the names of BJP leaders like Kapil Mishra who openly called for violence. Earlier, during the Delhi election rally, another BJP leader Anurag Thakur shouted “Desh ke ghaddaron ko (the traitors of the country)”, which was responded by his supporters chanting, “Goli maaron saalon ko (shoot the traitors)!”.

Aninda Dey wrote in FirstPost, that “Biased Delhi Police charge sheet against CAA-protestors shows how institutions become victims of political duress”. You can also watch a simple analysis of the charge sheet by NDTV, pointing out what the Delhi police missed. Watch below👇🏽.

While the government has been busy arresting people showing dissent, it has clearly ignored to share data on essential issues such as the death of migrant workers who returned home during the lockdown, the number of citizens who lost their jobs, and the death of frontline health workers fighting the pandemic at hospitals.

  • This is a list of things that the Modi government has said, “No data”. Read here.

  • India continues to lose its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. New stats reveal that the nation is struggling to contain the number of cases. “With its latest one million cases recorded in just 11 days, a world record, India now has 5.02 million infections,” reports say. (Always follow social distancing, wear face masks, and regularly wash your hands).

  • Farmers’ Issue👨🏽‍🌾🌽: Farm Bills Clear Parliament Amid Unprecedented Drama In Rajya Sabha. "The opposition, which lacked the numbers to block the bills, had demanded that the bills be sent to a select committee for further discussion," reported NDTV. "Two of the three big-ticket farm bills of the government were passed in Rajya Sabha by voice vote today amid unprecedented uproar and protests. The opposition claimed the government did not have the numbers and there was rampant violation of rules that helped the BJP. "This does not end here," said Trinamool Congress's Derek O'Brien, terming it a "murder of democracy"'. Read here.

  • Farmers’ Issue👨🏽‍🌾🌽: Union Cabinet Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned from the cabinet on 17 September to protest against a few farmers’ related ordinances and legislation. In the earlier edition of this newsletter, I mentioned had that "Farmers in Punjab and Haryana are protesting against three central laws promulgated through ordinances". They fear that their trades will get affected due to these laws. You can read in detail regarding the protest here and reasons why Harsimrat Kaur resigned here.

Foreign Affairs🌏
  • India-China Border Crisis🎖️: "Month before the standoff, China blocked 5 patrol points in Depsang", reported the Indian Express. "Not having access to these patrolling points means that the Chinese soldiers are blocking Indians from reaching and asserting control over an area which, according to India, is on its side of the LAC". Read here. “China continues to be in illegal occupation of approximately 38,000 sq kms in the Union Territory of Ladakh,” the defense minister said on the fourth day of Parliament’s Monsoon Session. Read his statement here.

  • Child and Women’s Safety🤰🏽: "Crimes against children, women continue unabated in Tamilnadu," reported the Times of India. According to the article, "Young girls continue to be victims of inappropriate behaviour and sexual abuse from their family members and data shows that Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act cases top the statistics among grave crime against women and children". Read here.

  • Tech👨🏽‍💻: Tamil Nadu becomes the first state to unveil ethical AI, blockchain, cybersecurity policies in India. "This policy recommends the Six-Dimensional TAM-DEF Framework for evaluation of AI-based systems. The framework’s factors like transparency & audit, accountability & legal issues, misuse protection, digital divide and data deficit, ethics and, fairness and equity, ensure that the evaluation is aligned to democratic values," said a report in The New Indian Express. Read here.

  • Child Care👶🏽: As children spend a lot more time at home owing to the pandemic, parents are complaining of gaming addiction. Increased screen time has brought behavioral changes among kids. Read the report by Chindu Menaka, a child psychologist.

  • Mental Health🧠: "No support system for families losing loved ones to suicide," said a report by The Times of India. "Surviving a loved one's suicide is in itself a difficult task. And when society attaches a stigma to the family, life becomes miserable. In most cases, the blame falls on the parents who spend the rest of their lives grief and suffering from survivors' guilt," it said. Read here.

  • Empire of the Sun☀️: Yoshihide Suga has been elected as Japan's new Prime Minister. Son of a farmer and a former cardboard factory worker, 71-year-old Suga replaces Shinzo Abe, Japan's longest-serving Prime Minister, who announced his intention to resign in August due to health problems. Read the report on CNN.

  • Passing of a feminist icon👩🏻‍⚖️⚖️: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, supreme court justice of the United States, dies aged 87. "Her death thrust an immediate spotlight on who might fill the vacancy on the court, with just over six weeks before the election. The news was received with alarm by liberals and moderates who feared that Republicans would exploit the narrow window to install a third Donald Trump appointee on the supreme court," said a report in The Guardian.

  • To infinity and beyond🔭🧪: In an amazing piece of news in recent times, scientists have found a possible sign of life on Venus. "Traces of gas in Venus' clouds could indicate some form of life may exist there, according to a study published. Scientists have been musing about the possibility that life exists in Venus' temperate clouds for decades. If confirmed as a sign of life, the finding would open up a new era of science," said a report on Axios.

  • Emmy Awards 2020🏆: Comedy Series 'Schitt's Creek' wins 7 awards while 'Succession' and 'Watchmen' catch four. Read the full winners list here.

  • Cricket🏏: Chennai Super Kings (CSK) beat Mumbai Indians (MI) by 5 wickets with 4 balls to spare in the opening match of IPL 2020.

  • Tennis🎾: Dominic Thiem beat Alexander Zverev to win the US Open in an epic final scoring 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (6). He became the first man in 71 years to win the final after dropping the opening two sets. Read the match report here.

  • Features📰: "The company that wants to preserve our data for 500+ years" by The Hustle. "Buried in a remote mine in Norway, the Arctic World Archive wants to safeguard our digital footprint for future generations. Will it work?". Read here.

  • Learning Resource📚: "Marketing for Beginners: The Best Articles and Expert Resources" by The Morning Brew. This is an amazing compilation of articles and online classes on marketing. Perfect for beginners. Read here.

This marks the end of today’s edition. See you soon! Stay safe, wear masks, wash your hands, and spread love. Feel free to forward this email to your family and friends. 😊❤️

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