vivek's blog

Attack Pandi Apprehended; Siege Selvam, Destroy Durai Still on the Loose

By: on 4 Jul 2007

When the leader of a newspaper office-burning mob turns out to be named Attack Pandi, is Tamil cinema reflecting reality or is it the other way around?

Attack Pandi (in white) was found hiding in the belly of this police constable

Tidbit: A Bilingual Joke

By: on 3 Jul 2007

Q: Why did Jet Airways give Murugan a free ticket?

A: Because he'd accumulated enough mayils.



Tidbit: Opulence & Entitlement

By: on 20 Jun 2007


Taken in Madison, Wisconsin

Stop Locking Up the Wrong People [Updated with Delhi Event]

By: on 12 May 2007

(Via Chapati Mystery)

The story is once again in Gujarat, where Lalit Kala Academy award winning art student Chandra Mohan languishes in prison on non-bailable charges. He's been there since Wednesday and he'll be there at least until Monday, when his next bail hearing (he's had two postponed already) takes place.

A student was arrested on charges of hurting the religious sentiments by painting Hindu gods and goddesses and Jesus Christ allegedly in 'obscene postures', police said on Thursday.

Chandra Mohan, a post-graduate student of Fine Arts at M S University [MSU] and winner of last year's Lalit Kala Academy award, was arrested from the university premises for displaying his works at the institution's annual exhibition on Wednesday night, they said.

He will be produced in a local court later in the day, they added.

He has been charged under IPC section 153 (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence language etc.) and 114 (abettor present when offence is committed).

General secretary of the city unit of BJP, Niraj Jain, had registered a complaint against Mohan with Sayajiganj police station after which the latter was arrested (Times of India).

I'm so sick and tired of people being arrested for bullshit reasons under laws which aren't even being used for their intended purpose. As Sepoy at Chapati Mystery points out, the ringleader of the MSU "raid," Niraj Jain, also played a hand in the destruction of a Sufi Dargah last year, the aftermath of which we blogged here.

The university, which has offered no explanation as to why outsiders were allowed on campus without authority, has refused to help Chandra Mohan. In fact, they've put pressure on the Dean of the Fine Arts department, Shivaji Panikkar, to issue a public apology for the display of Chandra Mohan's works. To his credit, Panikkar refused, offering instead the following statement:

The works were not intended to cause hurt or outrage to any public sentiment. Besides, they were not part of public exhibition. If anyone felt that any work had offended their sensibility, it could have been brought to the notice of the authorities without resorting to abusive and indiscriminate behaviour (Indian Express).

Panikkar was, of course, immediately suspended and he IS NOW IN HIDING for fear of reprisal from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).

''In the last few years, university has been taken over by the RSS. What you see today is ultimate saffronisation. Either you agree with us or else we bash you up. It is happening in appointments, promotions. The disgusting thing is the role of the Vice Chancellor who is meant to be a symbol of intellectual freedom,'' Prof Bandukwala, former faculty member (NDTV).

What follows is a first hand account of the events as they've transpired at MSU over the past few weeks, and a call to join students and faculty of the University in a demonstration on Monday. Please take the time to read it and support their struggle any way you can.

Musharraf Saws off Branch, Finds He'd Been Standing on it

By: on 11 May 2007

In his piece on this topic at Sepia Mutiny, Amardeep pointed to an article which called for the US to be a bit more introspective about its role in Pakistan. Commenter Ikram had this to say about it

Pilot Baba, Make My Investment Soar!

By: on 10 May 2007

Hidden somewhere in the following video (after the jump) - which consists largely of overdramatic monologues, soundtrack, and graphics (what else can one expect from TV news?) - is a sting operation exposing three influential godmen as crooks who use their trusts to make some extra cash. The story broke on May 6 and doesn't appear to have gotten much attention since then. Here's the transcript.

Geetha Johri is My New Hero [Updated - Hindu Retracts]

By: on 5 May 2007

In a new report, Inspector General of Police Geetha Johri has suggested that the Gujarat government might have been involved in the deaths of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kausar, and his associate Tulsiram Prajapati. For background, see here.

The Gujarat state government has opposed a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into the matter (The Hindu).

A few days ago, BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu urged other parties not to "politicise" the encounter deaths in Gujarat:

"Encounter deaths have been taking place in Andhra Pradesh for many years; they took place in Maharashtra and even in Karnataka during the Congress rule. Did anyone ask those Chief Ministers to resign? We condemn what happened, but let us not politicise it," he said at a press conference.

Mr. Naidu "warned" the Congress that its campaign "will boomerang if it tries to blame Mr. Modi" (The Hindu)

Johri's report, however, not only recommends that the CBI look into the case, but also suggests that the state government was involved in the killings and cover-up:

Fake Encounter Killings in Gujarat: Background

By: on 5 May 2007

Today's Hindustan Times carries an opinion piece by NDTV 24x7's Barkha Dutt on fake encounters:

And yet, the cynics among us wondered about the pattern to these arrests and how miraculous it was that each time a terrorist was caught, he always had his passport or identity card on him. Not to forget, the hand-scrawled letter in Urdu faithfully ferried in his back pocket.

No one wants to trivialise the gigantic challenge of battling terrorism or undermine the sacrifice of our soldiers and policemen.

So why is there such a crisis of credibility? Why is it that we don’t automatically believe the men and women we count on to keep us safe?

The problem is that ‘encounters’ have become a military euphemism for murder (Hindustan Times).

On April 24, 2007, three officials in the Indian Police Service (IPS) were arrested in connection with a fake encounter death in Ahmedabad in November, 2005:

The arrests were made by CID (Crime) in connection with the death of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, a Madhya Pradesh-based criminal allegedly killed in a gun battle on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on November 26, 2005 during a joint operation by Gujarat's Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) and the Rajasthan police.

After killing Sheikh, police had claimed he was an LeT terrorist on a mission to kill senior BJP leaders, including Chief Minister Narendra Modi (The Hindu).

An aside: one of the accused, DG Vanzara, was greeted at the courthouse by Vishwa Hindu Parishad activists and people from his nearby hometown. They shouted pro-Vanzara slogans and garlanded him (CNN-IBN).

Event: Addressing Sri Lanka's Undeclared War (New York)

By: on 4 May 2007

Sri Lanka Democracy Forum (SLDF)

invites you to a discussion on

Justice and Peace

with speakers

Fred Abrahams, Human Rights Watch

Ahilan Kadirgamar, Sri Lanka Democracy Forum

Moderator: Biju Mathew, Global Movements Urban Struggles


Sunday, May 13th, 2007
5:00 PM

at the

Brecht Forum

451 West Street (between Bank & Bethune Streets)
New York, NY 10014

Tidbit: Fropper

By: on 4 May 2007

This was too funny, couldn't resist:


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