Speaker: Dr. Manisha Gupte

Date:   Sept 5, 2015, Saturday

Time:   5.30 pm

Venue: Nath Pai Hall, Rashtra Seva Dal Campus, Sinhagad Road, Opposite Dandekar Bridge Petrol Pump, Pune

All are invited. Do join us for this important talk by a famed social activist and scholar.

अभिव्यक्तीच्या वतीने ऑनर किलिंग या विषयावर व्याख्यानाचे आयोजन

एकविसाव्या शतकात महासत्तेची स्वप्ने बघत असलेल्या भारतामध्ये रुढी आणि परंपरांची चौकट अतिशय घट्ट असल्याचे दिसून येतेजातींचा प्रभाव अद्यापही कायम आहेउलट जात्याभिमान कसा वाढेल ते पाहिले जातेजाती टिकवण्याचा प्रयत्न केला जातोयाच मानसिकतेतून एखाद्या जातीतील मुलगा किंवा मुलीच्या परजातीतील मुलगा किंवा मुलीवर प्रेम केले अथवा विवाह केला तर त्याला कडवा विरोध केला जातोअमानुषपणे मारहाण केली जातेप्रसंगी त्यांची हत्याही केली जातेयालाच ऑनर किंलिंग किंवा इभ्रतीच्या नावाखाली केला जाणारा हिंसाचार असे म्हटले जाते.

प्रतिष्ठेच्या नावाखाली भारतात दरवर्षी १००० तरुणतरुणींच्या हत्या होतातत्यांचा गुन्हा एवढाच की त्यांनी त्यांच्या पसंतीचा जोडीदार निवडण्याची हिंमत केलीआजवर या घटना पंजाब,हरियाणा या राज्यांमध्ये घडत होत्याआता त्याचे लोण महाराष्ट्रातही आले आहेआंतरजातीय विवाह केलेल्या मुलीच्या बापाने गळा घोटण्याची घटना नाशिकमध्ये घडली आहेएव्हरेस्टवीर राहुल येलंगेने आंतरजातीय विवाह केला म्हणून जात पंचायतीने त्याला बहिष्कृत केलेजातींची इभ्रत राखण्याच्या प्रयत्नांमधूनच अशा घटना घडल्या आहेतत्यातच आपल्या जातीतील मुलीने परजातीतील मुलावर प्रेम केले किंवा त्याच्याशी विवाह केला तर इभ्रत जाईल ही भावना उफाळून वर येतेत्या भरात आपल्याच मुलीचा गळा घोटण्यासही मागेपुढे पाहिले जात नाही.

याच विषयावर तरुणाईशी संवाद साधण्यासाठी अभिव्यक्ती या संघटनेच्या वतीने इभ्रतीच्या नावाखाली होणाऱ्या हिंसा या व्याख्यानाचे आयोजन केले आहे.

अभिव्यक्ती आयोजित करीत आहे

व्याख्यानः   इभ्रतीच्या नावाखाली होणाऱ्या हिंसा

वक्त्याः      डॉमनीषा गुप्ते

दिनांकः      शनिवार५ सप्टेंबर२०१५

वेळः          संध्या.३०

स्थळः        बॅनाथ पै हॉलराष्ट्र सेवा दल परिसरदांडेकर पूलाजवळपुणे



Press Statement -Truth about Aurangzeb: Victim of false propaganda

The Indian Express – 3 September 2015

Dal vs State

Thirty years after its creation, the Bajrang Dal continues to challenge an already precarious rule of law

Written by Christophe Jaffrelot

Last week, co-convenor of the Bajrang Dal’s (BD’s) Bantwal cell, Bhuvith Shetty, triggered a controversy by welcoming the assassination of scholar M.M. Kalburgi. Thirty years after its creation, the BD has enlarged its agenda in such a manner that the rule of law is at stake. The BD was founded in 1984 under the auspices of the VHP to increase Hindu mobilisation for the Ayodhya movement.

{photo: While the first leader of the BD, Vinay Katiyar, was a former RSS pracharak, the organisation lacked the disciplinary regimen of the RSS.}

Up until 1993, the BD did not even have a uniform. Bajrang Dalis recognised each other by one sign only: the saffron-coloured headband bearing the word “Ram” that they wore. In 1990, they were among the kar sevaks who stormed the Babri Masjid. On December 6, 1992, they were again at the frontlines, and actively participated in the demolition of the mosque. As a result, the BD was banned by the Narasimha Rao government.

However, the ban was revoked the following year. The rest of the Sangh Parivar then wanted to better control the organisation. On July 11, 1993, the BD was provided with a uniform (blue shorts, white shirt and saffron scarf) and a handbook aimed mainly at those in charge of training. In the preface to this little book, Acharya Giriraj Kishore, then
second in command of the VHP, paid tribute to the heroes of December 6, 1992: “On that day the force of youth, escaping its leaders, and despite their repeated injunctions, went forward to accomplish its mission — a mission aimed to erase the shameful scar [that was the Babri Masjid].” But this was immediately followed by “Whether it is an individual or a nation, the entire society or an organisation, only one who knows discipline can achieve success, awareness and excellence. Without discipline there can be no success. Discipline comes from training and exercise. And if a disciplined man is also brave, what more can you ask for?”

Kishore’s emphasis on discipline was translated into the establishment of a rigorous new system in the 1990s. For one, the BD adopted the specific RSS technique of sermons (baudhik) delivered by a local official. Second, BD officials were now to meet regularly to coordinate their activities.

At the same time, the BD set up training camps where its militants received rigorous physical conditioning but showed little sign of improved discipline. What does the BD use its strike force for after the Ayodhya issue was put on the back burner by Atal Bihari Vajpayee himself? It first sent activists to J&K to help Hindus, especially in the Poonch, Doda and Rajouri districts. The BD also partly redirected its focus towards Christians. In January 1999, in Odisha, one organisation member, Dara Singh, murdered an Australian missionary, Graham Staines, and his sons by burning them alive in their car. In MP and Gujarat, churches, priests and nuns were attacked. Katiyar justified this hostility towards Christians in these terms: “Christians have become aggressive ever since Sonia Gandhi took over as Congress president. Christians feel they have the perfect protector… to convert Hindus.”

In parallel, the BD developed a cultural-policing agenda. Its primary targets were artists who, it believed, didn’t respect Hindu culture. It first attacked M.F. Husain in 1996. The main cause of their fury was a 1976 painting that depicted the goddess Saraswati far too scantily clad for their taste. In the 2000s, Husain, who had waited for legal
protection for years, moved to Qatar.

Hindu artists have also been the targets of BD wrath for their “immoral” treatment of Hindu deities. In January 2004, a gang of militants attacked the Garden Art Gallery in Surat, and destroyed eight canvases not only by Husain, but also by K.H. Ara, N.S. Bendre and Chittrovanu Mazumdar. In May 2007, Bajrang Dalis burst into the fine arts department of MS University (Baroda), and attacked a student, accusing him of painting obscene pictures using religious subjects.

The “blasphemous” nature of certain works of art is not the only motive for the cultural policing that the BD indulged in. Ponga Pandit, a play denouncing the condition of Dalits, was targeted in 2004. Portraying the condition of widows in society is another issue that saw the BD adopt strong-arm tactics, as in the controversies around
Deepa Mehta’s film Water, whose set was ransacked by BD activists. One of Mehta’s previous films, Fire, had already ignited the anger of the Hindu nationalists, for it portrayed the homosexual relationship of two women. The same theme was taken up by Girlfriend, a “Bollywood” film that sparked an even more violent BD campaign in 2004.

In Gujarat, a state where the BD is associated with the name of Babu Bajrangi — who was convicted for his role in the 2002 anti-Muslim violence — the organisation has gone on a crusade to “rescue” Hindu girls who had married Muslims, or men from a different caste. One of its 2007 pamphlets explained that love marriages harmed Hindu tradition, and that rescuing a Hindu girl was equal to saving 100 cows. In the space of a few months, over 700 girls were “rescued”. Some husbands have filed criminal cases but to no avail; moreover, the police appeared to be refraining from carrying out an inquiry on Bajrangi. The Supreme Court had to step in. It initiated an inquiry that finally prompted the BD to disown him in early 2007. He said he would remain a member of the organisation.

This is in the very nature of the BD, which is an elusive body that belongs to those who claim they are part of it — and whose actions are secretly orchestrated.

This elusiveness does not make it more innocuous. All the South Asian countries that have let similar phenomena develop have also seen a decline of the already precarious rule of law, including the multiplication of targeted killings.

Petitioning Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations in India Tell Restaurants to stop charging 14% Service Tax on 100% of the bill

Restaurants are overcharging us by taking advantage of unclear tax rules! What they are doing is illegal and we must hold them accountable.

When you eat out a restaurant, check your bill. You will find that some restaurants charge you 14% service tax on the full bill. This is illegal! A recent Finance Ministry directive has made it clear that restaurants can only charge 14% on 40% of the total bill – that is 5.6%.

That is why I have started this petition asking the Federation of Hotel and Restaurants Association of India (FHRAI) to issue a directive to all its restaurants – asking them not to overcharge. Sign my petition.

I enjoy going out and I don’t mind paying for what I owe. But I refuse to pay extra tax which I am not liable to pay at all.

It is shocking that restaurants have been fraudulently overcharging us! They have taken advantage of confusion surrounding the rules and we, their loyal customers who have suffered.

Sign my petition and ask the FHRAI to issue a directive to all restaurants asking them to charge only the right amount of service tax.

Recently, a customer had to call in the police in order to stop a restaurant from overcharging him. If we join our voices and collectively demand the same – we can ensure that no restaurant overcharges us.

As consumers, we should be aware of our rights and demand them. Sign my petition and make sure the FHRAI issues directives to all restaurants asking them not to overcharge.

Some restaurants have been illegally overcharging us! They are taking advantage of unclear rules and charging us extra service tax.

Ask the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association in India (FHRAI) to direct all restaurants to charge the legally permissible amount of tax. 

Restaurants are charging 14% service tax on the full bill. This is illegal!

A recent Finance Ministry directive has made it clear that restaurants can not charge more than 5.6% of the total bill.

We need to make sure that no restaurant exploits their customers’ confusion. Sign my petition.

P.B>, we are paying customers and restaurants need us. If we demand our rights collectively, they will not be able to ignore us.

Over 20,000 people have already shown their support. P.B>, help me reach 50000 signs before I take this petition to the FHRAI.

It should not be our responsibility to carefully scrutinise a bill every time we eat at a restaurant. It should be the restaurants’ duty to not cheat and overcharge us.


Labour Law Reforms are anti-labour and harmful to labourers’ interest

The Central Govt. is committed to make reforms in the labour laws. Recently, a  labour conference of all the States was convened at the central level. Looking at the  deliberations made therein, it can be said that reforms contemplated in the labour  laws will harm the rights of the labourers. Govt. will confer liberties to the owners to  lay off the employees or to close down the industry at their sweet will or volition and  will, moreover, encourage contract labour. Labour Ministry is of the opinion that in  order to generate more and more employment, a new law should be enacted by

merging three different important Acts such as Trade Unions Act, Industrial Disputes  Act and Industrial Employment Act. As per the new ideology, Govt. is thinking on  the lines such as engaging workers on contract basis, offer them job on casual or  piece meal basis, engage them on a fixed salary, offer different wage rates for the  same type of job and to extract work for 12 hours instead of 8 hours. By doing so,  naturally, the owners will stand to gain and this is what has been thought of.

Looking at the amendments proposed by the Government into these three Acts,
more than 70 % of the labourers will get excluded from the purview of the labour
laws. Because, an industry with less than 40 Nos. of workers will be exempted from
the labour laws. Where the number of workers are more than 300, then for closing
down that industry, it will not be mandatory to obtain permission from the Govt. Now
onwards, factories will be required to furnish labor law related information / data to
the Govt. only once in five years. In the Plants or factories, where less than 40 Nos.
of workers have been working, there will not be need to implement Minimum Wages
Act, or about its payment, Provident Fund Act, Factories Act, Insurance Act, Gratuity
Act, Bonus Act and Workers’ Compensation Act etc.

Distinctly visible, dangerous and anti-labour type laws are like this. The
number of minimum workers in the industrial sector making use of electricity coming
under the Factories Act which was 10 workers, will now stipulate 20 No. of workers
and in small industries not making use of electricity, the No. of workers under
consideration are now 40 Nos. instead of 20 Nos. In order to bring into trap of labour
laws, owners of large industrial units, it has been proposed to increase the No. of
workers from 100 to 300 Nos. For registration of labour unions, it has been proposed
that instead of 7 Nos. of workers, it shall be 10 % of total No. of workers or 100 Nos.
whichever is less. For overseeing implementation of labour laws, now there will not
be any Factory Inspector. Work shift will be of 12 hours instead of 8 hours. Salary
will be deposited in the bank account and hence there will not be any requirement of
disbursing salary on the 7th date.

In case, there will be implementation of such newly stipulated laws, then the
voice of the workers will be entirely strangulated or choked off. Since the number of
workers engaged in the unorganized sector in the country is more than 90 %, it is not
possible to predict as to what will be the fate of Minimum Wages Act, Unorganized
Labour Act, Bonded Labour Act, Migrant Labour Act, Child Labour Abolishment
Act etc. The reforms and defense at the place of employment itself which owed their
origins to the framing of labour laws and which came into being after a long drawn
out struggle will become in fructuous or extinct as a result of this new ideology.

Work lierty among female and male workers, security and human respect shall
certainly be defeated. In the country like India, the labour laws which were in force in
favor of the poor people were quite strong. Its main four pillars such as opportunities
for employment and income, protection of rights at the place of employment, social
security and the system of collective bargaining will be endangered. After attaining
independence, strict laws were framed in favor of the labourers owing to socialist
ideology. Benefits which were gained during the decade of 50s, as a result of
collective fight and hard work shall certainly suffer damage. With the N.D.A. Govt.
coming to power, everything is changed in favor of the industrialists and as a result,
needs of only market driven economy are thrust upon the labour class. With snatching
away of benefits of 90 % of the work force, what will be the condition of peace and
harmony in the country will become known in coming days only. If adequate salary
and benefits are not offered to the workers, then their purchasing power will
diminish. With that, economy will tilt in the direction of recession in place of growth
With the enactment of labour reforms, the Central Govt. has given rise to
problems such as very existence or survival of the workers. It is indeed good that
principal central Labour Unions of the country like Hind Mazdoor Sabha, Indian

National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) and labour unions of the Left parties have
come together to give a fight for this common cause. The thought of industrial policy
or development without proper social security will certainly bring about ruin and it is
not possible for the country to make progress without security and rights of the
workers. Before and after the independence, thanks to the fight by the labour unions,
workers got freedom from inhuman exploitation. For improving the work conditions
and making available benefits of social security, the labour laws had come into
existence. Reforms which have been contemplated in the labour laws at the behest of
the industrialists will once again push the labourers into the ditch of unsafe and
exploitative atmosphere. Country’s industrial development has become possible due
to labour laws and only because of its various provisions, present industrial peace
could be maintained. In fact, there is no need at all on the part of the N.D.A. Govt. to
make any labour reforms in a haste. Now that the ball is in the court of the Labour
Ministry, reforms will have to be brought about by taking labour unions into
confidence. No good would result merely by favoring the industrialists alone.
Country’s labour unions are very much displeased and disturbed with all the reforms
that have been contemplated and as such there is a need to put into practice a view of
“Development of all, with co-operation of all” by constituting joint committees of
Central and State Govt., Owners and Unions in the reforms process. If this does not
happen then leaders of the Labour Unions will have to canvass in and around the
industrial areas and labour colonies that the new reforms are anti-labour in nature and
will have to start activity of disseminating and spreading information about impacts
and ill-effects of such reforms. It will be necessary to think of a plan-of-action to
demonstratively protest by awakening labourers and enlisting their support and co-
operation. At the present, voice of both the labour Unions and that of the leaders of
the Society who have been known to talk in favor or support of the workers has been
strangled or choked. While the Voluntary Organizations have been silenced or muted,
there is a need for the labour unions to work in their own interest on the strength of
workers themselves.
(Author is a Chairman of Indian National Bank Employees Federation)