84-year-old Indian activist, priest and political prisoner Fr. Stan Swamy died at a hospital on Monday, July 5. He died shortly before his plea for medical bail was heard by the Bombay High Court. Swamy, who was arrested on October 8, 2020 in the controversial Elgar Parishad case, had been admitted to the Holy Family Hospital in the city of Mumbai on May 28 after his health deteriorated. Swamy had spent decades working for the welfare of tribal communities in India.
A special court had denied him bail in March 2021. Incidentally, last month, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the case, had filed an affidavit before the High Court opposing Swamy’s bail plea. It had said that there did not exist “conclusive proof” of his medical ailments.
Swamy was arrested under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act which renders chances for bail very difficult. During his time in jail, his health deteriorated drastically, a fact which was repeatedly stressed by his lawyers and well-wishers. In November, Swamy, who suffered from Parkinson’s Disease, had to approach the courts to even access a straw and a sipper. Shortly after being admitted to Holy Family Hospital at the end of May, Swamy reportedly contracted COVID1-19.
Farmers protest against Farm Bills in Haryana. | Image Courtesy: Twitter
The two Bills rammed through Parliament last week were objectionable in every conceivable sense. The very fact of their being rammed through the Rajya Sabha, without being put to vote despite demands for a division, was grossly anti-democratic. The fact of the Centre making unilateral and fundamental changes in agricultural marketing arrangements which fall within the state list of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution was a blow against federalism.
To resurrect the pre-Independence arrangement under which the peasantry was exposed to the capitalist market without any support of the State, and which crushed it during the Great Depression of the 1930s, was a betrayal of the promise of Independence. To pit millions of small peasants against the might of a handful of private buyers, as the Bills propose to do, was to open them up to monopsonistic exploitation.Read More »
Over 180 million workers began a two-day general strike across India yesterday in protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s big business assault on the working class. Tens of thousands of workers defied threats of sacking and pay cut by state governments to join the national walkout.Read More »
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves 10 Downing Street, London, in April 2018
MILLIONS are set to walk out across India tomorrow as a two-day national strike begins against the neoliberal policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s right-wing regime.
Centre of Indian Trade Unions (Citu) general secretary Tapan Sen said: “Public-sector employees, unorganised sector workers, port and dock workers and bank and insurance employees are going to observe the nationwide protest against the growing economic crisis, price rises and acute unemployment.”Read More »
AMONG the series of schemes launched (or repackaged) by the Modi led NDA government, one of the most toxic is the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY). Its purpose is to provide crop insurance to farmers, that is, if the crop fails due to some non-preventable reason like weather calamity etc, then the farmers will be compensated for this loss. The principle is sound – the government should take care of such losses which are very common in India since cultivation is largely dependent on monsoon rains.Read More »
Congregating in Delhi, thousands of farmers and tribals from 26 states of India, marched from Ramlila Maidan to Parliament Street to make their voices heard at the gates of India’s Parliament. Holding red, yellow and green flags, singing songs and shouting slogans, the historic farmers’ march pledged to intensify their struggle against the ‘kisan virodhi’ policies of the Narendra Modi government that had added to their distress, and oust it in the next general elections.Read More »
Sikar, Rajasthan: Close to 15,ooo farmers have been protesting at the Krishi Upaj Mandi in Rajasthan’s Sikar district since September 1, under the leadership of the All India Kisan Mahasabha. Their demands include a complete farm loan waiver, implementation of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission, the withdrawal of the 2017 ban on cattle trade, a solution to the menace of stray cattle and a pension for farmers. The protesters have called for a blockade at the district collectorate today (September 11) to assert their demands.Read More »
A Frontier Editorial | Vol. 49, No.37, Mar 19 – 25, 2017
By demolishing the predictions of all pre-poll surveys, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has won the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls by a thumping majority. It tried hard to win the polls and had a robust organisation. Their efforts have paid ample dividends.
The BJP supporters and ideologues have taken this opportunity to go on claiming that the poll results are a reflection of the endorsement of Modi’s ‘demonetaisation’ and ‘pro-poor’ measures. They called it a referendum on demonetisation which it was not. Those who witnessed the harassments of common money-using people in the wake of demonetisation can easily understand the falsity of this claim. And there is no evidence that Narendra Modi, after becoming the Prime Minister, has formulated a single policy that is directly in favour of the poor. His promise of creating 20 million jobs a year has also turned out to be a damp squib. His professed sympathy for Muslim women is dictated more by hatred of the Muslim community by the concern for his ‘Muslim sisters’. Remember the Israt Jahan case. Also remember that no Muslim woman was fielded as a BJP candidate. By not including any Muslim, man or woman, in its list of candidates, the BJP made it clear that it was not eager to reach out to the Muslim community. The tears about Muslim women were meant only to intensify communal polarisation.Read More »
Apropos to your Editorial “The Saffron Surge?” in Frontier, Vol. 49, No. 37, Mar 19 – 25, 2017, I would like to place some supplementary points for perusal of the Editors and readers of this esteemed magazine.
14.05 crores of voters, 22.3 crores population… well, one may assume number of available workforce of able bodied population (excluding those above 60 or 65 years) above the age of 18 years or more, to be 12-13 crores. Those are all 2017 figures for Uttar Pradesh. And now the number of unemployed is more than 1 crore! Every 1 out of every 8 would like to work and earn but there is no job opening. It was reported in more than one national daily in perhaps January 2017. While doing caste, religious and other arithmetic, many poll wizards did not give the unemployment issue due importance. A connected issue, somehow connected ‘from above’ by the media, is – development is the mantra of the age and it will eradicate unemployment, poverty etc problems. So, unemployment created a ‘demand’ of development. Added up, these two, i.e. unemployment and development took up the ‘main attention’ of more than a third of the population; 36% voted one of these two (in CSDS survey ) as no: 1 problem. And who doesn’t know that Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra stand for good employment prospect to migrant population of India, including those from Uttar Pradesh; and hence, for the migrant and would-be migrant populace, BJP with its development slogan and actualities of some states, albeit some ‘scars and bloodstains’, may mean ‘business’… this idea might as well worked for BJP in UP.Read More »
From May 2014, we are passing through series of gimmicks, Swchhata, Kashmir expedition, patriotism, Border surgical strike etc. etc. and vengeant aggressions, to assert the supremacy of a single phenomena named Modi , predecessor to Trump in USA. The latest one is the dramatic decision of demonetising 500 and 1000 denomination currencies.
Apart from the harassment and trouble caused to the citizens, the Senior Citizens, Housewives, Handicapped persons, or the bedridden ailing victims, poor people, daily wage earners, street vendors, small business, all of whom are now engaged in queuing up in long serpentine lines, for a change, and Tech savvy people running from this to that ATM, in vain, there are other issues. Let us examine.Read More »