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Shining India

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The female pregnant elephant that stood in the river for three days waiting to die

Some people fed the elephant pineapple full of explosives and this is another story of the decline of humanity in the struggle for life between humans and animals.

The elephant was about 14-15 years old, according to forest department officials.

After being injured inside, she was in so much pain that she stood in the Valiar River for three days, but all attempts to provide her with medical assistance failed.
 

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The female pregnant elephant that stood in the river for three days waiting to die


This is heartbreaking, and wrong on so many levels, I dont even know where to start.
 

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8 hospitals in 15 hours: A pregnant woman's crisis in the pandemic
23.06.2020
By Jeffrey Gettleman, Suhasini Raj
1592958361500.png

Medical workers speak with family members outside the COVID-19 ward at Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, 15 June, 2020, New Delhi, India. Source: AAP

Her baby was coming, and her complications were growing more dangerous. But nowhere would take her - an increasingly common story as India’s health care system buckles under pressure.

Neelam Kumari Gautam woke up at 5am with shooting labor pains.

Her husband put her gently in the back of a rickshaw and motored with her to a hospital. Then another. Then another. Her pain was so intense she could barely breathe, but none would take her.

“Why are the doctors not taking me in?” she asked her husband, Bijendra Singh, over and over again. “What’s the matter? I will die.”


Mr Singh began to panic. He knew what he was up against. As India’s coronavirus crisis has accelerated — India is now reporting more infections a day than any other nation except the United States or Brazil — the country’s already strained and underfunded health care system has begun to buckle.

A database of recent deaths reveals that scores of people have died in the streets or in the back of ambulances, denied critical care. Ms Gautam’s odyssey through eight different hospitals in 15 hours in India’s biggest metropolitan area serves as a devastating window into what is really happening in the country.

Indian government rules explicitly call for emergency services to be rendered, but still people in desperate need of treatment keep getting turned away, especially in New Delhi, the capital. Infections are rising quickly; Delhi’s hospitals are overloaded; and many health care workers are afraid of treating new patients in case they have the coronavirus, which has killed more than 13,000 people in India.

“There is currently little or no chance of admission to hospitals for people with COVID-19, but also for people with other intensive care needs,” read a warning just issued by the German Embassy in New Delhi.

After watching reports on Indian television showing dead bodies in the lobby of a government hospital and crying patients being ignored, a panel of judges on India’s Supreme Court said, “The situation in Delhi is horrendous, horrific and pathetic.”

The bigger picture is that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is struggling with overlapping crises. Last week, Chinese troops beat 20 Indian soldiers to death along their disputed border in the Himalayas, triggering the most dangerous showdown between the two nuclear powers in decades.

At the same time, India’s economy is nose-diving, and the coronavirus pandemic has cost this country more than 100 million jobs. Desperate to turn the economy around, Mr Modi has rejected health experts’ counsel to put the country back under lockdown, saying that India must “unlock, unlock, unlock.”

When things got better, Mr Singh and his wife had hoped to buy an apartment in a gated community in Noida, a satellite city of New Delhi crammed with tall glass buildings, many malls and many hospitals. She worked on an assembly line producing electrical wire. He serviced machines at a printing press.

1592958665800.png

A family photo from 2018 of Bijendra Singh and Neelam Kumari Gautam with their son, Rudraksh.
Courtesy the family of Bijendra Singh


Together, Mr Singh, 31, and Ms Gautam, 30, earned a respectable $8,000 a year, putting them solidly in India’s rising middle class. “Two wheels of a well-oiled machine, making our family go around,” Mr Singh said.

Their son, Rudraksh, turned 6 just before their new baby was due.

As Ms Gautam entered her ninth month, she ran into some health problems and spent five days in late May and early June in the hospital for pregnancy-related high blood pressure, bleeding and possibly typhoid.

On 5 June, as she began to go into labour, the first hospital they tried was the ESIC Model Hospital, a sprawling government facility in Noida. Mr Singh said that the first thing the doctor said to her was, “I’ll slap you if you take off your mask.”

They were shocked, Singh said. But Ms Gautam was having trouble breathing. They didn’t argue. She begged for oxygen, which the hospital had, along with ventilators. But instead of helping, the doctor told them to go to another government hospital, on the other side of town. There, too, she was turned away.

An administrator at the first hospital declined to comment, and a doctor at the second hospital said Ms Gautam needed intensive care, which the hospital couldn’t provide.

Even before COVID-19 arrived, Indian hospitals were beleaguered. The Indian government spends less than 2,000 rupees (about $26) per person per year on health care. The hope during India’s lockdown, which began in late March but was mostly lifted by early June, was that the restrictions would slow the spread of the virus and give cities time to scale up hospital capacity before the worst hit.

That didn’t happen, or not nearly enough, and Delhi now finds itself thousands of beds short; the central government just repurposed hundreds of railway cars to be used as sick bays. And still there is great confusion about admitting patients who don’t have the coronavirus.

Some hospitals say they need to test every patient before treating them. Others simply perform a quick temperature check.

The third hospital that Ms Gautam went to, Shivalik Hospital, was the one that had treated her for her prenatal troubles. This time, doctors gave her a little oxygen, but her husband said they feared she might have the coronavirus and abruptly ordered her to leave.

“We are a small mother and child hospital,” said the hospital’s director, Ravi Mohta. “We did what we could.”

The couple hobbled back to the rickshaw. Ms Gautam was fading. She stopped talking and began heavily sweating. She clung to her husband’s hand.

It wasn’t simply that the doctors couldn’t help her, her husband said. It was as if they didn’t want to help her.

“They didn’t care if she was dead or alive,” he said.

At a fourth hospital, a branch of Fortis, an Indian health care giant, he pleaded for a ventilator. Mr Singh said the doctor’s response was, “She’s going to die. Take her wherever you wish.”

In a statement, the hospital said that it had no space for her, tried to stabilise her and then offered to take her by ambulance to another hospital. Mr Singh said that the hospital’s efforts were cursory and that there was no offer of an ambulance.

They tried three other hospitals, hurrying from one to the other, losing precious time. When all refused, Mr Singh called the police.

He said that two officers met him at the entrance of the Government Institute of Medical Sciences, a large public hospital, and tried to persuade the doctors to admit his wife. But the doctors wouldn’t listen to the police officers, either.

Administrators at that hospital declined to comment.

'Save me'
After that failed, they raced in an ambulance to Max Super Specialty Hospital in Ghaziabad, more than 40 kilometres away. It was now late afternoon, still bright, around 37 degrees outside. More than eight hours had passed since Ms Gautam and her husband had set off from their home, eager to meet their new baby soon.

But the Max hospital — their eighth that day — gave them the same heartbreaking answer: no beds.

Ms Gautam closed her eyes and whispered, “Save me.”

Mr Singh told the ambulance to rush back to the Government Institute of Medical Sciences.

He hunched in the back, leaning over his wife, pleading with her not to give up. He looked down at her face. She reached up and clutched his shirt. Her hands tightly clenched the fabric.

As they finally pulled into the hospital, she stopped breathing. Her neck slumped. Mr Singh jumped out of the ambulance, grabbed a wheelchair and frantically wheeled her into the emergency room.

At 8.05pm after eight different hospitals and 15 hours, Ms Gautam was pronounced dead. The baby also died.

A preliminary government investigation said, “Hospital administration and staff have been found guilty of carelessness.”

She has not been the only pregnant woman to die in labor after being turned away. The same thing happened to a young mother in Hyderabad and another in Kashmir. In that case, the family said, the hospital staff were so uncaring that they didn’t even help with an ambulance to take the body home. The woman’s family had to wheel her body down the road, in a stretcher, for several kilometres.


As authorities consider criminal charges in Ms Gautam’s case, her husband spends his days at home looking after his son, Rudraksh. The boy asked him to throw away all of his mother’s clothes.

“They remind me of her,” he said.

The spark has gone out of Rudraksh’s eye, Mr Singh said.

A few days ago, he told his dad that when he grows up, he wants to be a doctor, so “I can make dead people come alive.”

By Jeffrey Gettleman and Suhasini Raj © 2020 The New York Times
 

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8 hospitals in 15 hours: A pregnant woman's crisis in the pandemic
23.06.2020
By Jeffrey Gettleman, Suhasini Raj
View attachment 13985
Medical workers speak with family members outside the COVID-19 ward at Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, 15 June, 2020, New Delhi, India. Source: AAP

Her baby was coming, and her complications were growing more dangerous. But nowhere would take her - an increasingly common story as India’s health care system buckles under pressure.

Neelam Kumari Gautam woke up at 5am with shooting labor pains.

Her husband put her gently in the back of a rickshaw and motored with her to a hospital. Then another. Then another. Her pain was so intense she could barely breathe, but none would take her.

“Why are the doctors not taking me in?” she asked her husband, Bijendra Singh, over and over again. “What’s the matter? I will die.”


Mr Singh began to panic. He knew what he was up against. As India’s coronavirus crisis has accelerated — India is now reporting more infections a day than any other nation except the United States or Brazil — the country’s already strained and underfunded health care system has begun to buckle.

A database of recent deaths reveals that scores of people have died in the streets or in the back of ambulances, denied critical care. Ms Gautam’s odyssey through eight different hospitals in 15 hours in India’s biggest metropolitan area serves as a devastating window into what is really happening in the country.

Indian government rules explicitly call for emergency services to be rendered, but still people in desperate need of treatment keep getting turned away, especially in New Delhi, the capital. Infections are rising quickly; Delhi’s hospitals are overloaded; and many health care workers are afraid of treating new patients in case they have the coronavirus, which has killed more than 13,000 people in India.

“There is currently little or no chance of admission to hospitals for people with COVID-19, but also for people with other intensive care needs,” read a warning just issued by the German Embassy in New Delhi.

After watching reports on Indian television showing dead bodies in the lobby of a government hospital and crying patients being ignored, a panel of judges on India’s Supreme Court said, “The situation in Delhi is horrendous, horrific and pathetic.”

The bigger picture is that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is struggling with overlapping crises. Last week, Chinese troops beat 20 Indian soldiers to death along their disputed border in the Himalayas, triggering the most dangerous showdown between the two nuclear powers in decades.

At the same time, India’s economy is nose-diving, and the coronavirus pandemic has cost this country more than 100 million jobs. Desperate to turn the economy around, Mr Modi has rejected health experts’ counsel to put the country back under lockdown, saying that India must “unlock, unlock, unlock.”

When things got better, Mr Singh and his wife had hoped to buy an apartment in a gated community in Noida, a satellite city of New Delhi crammed with tall glass buildings, many malls and many hospitals. She worked on an assembly line producing electrical wire. He serviced machines at a printing press.

View attachment 13986
A family photo from 2018 of Bijendra Singh and Neelam Kumari Gautam with their son, Rudraksh.
Courtesy the family of Bijendra Singh


Together, Mr Singh, 31, and Ms Gautam, 30, earned a respectable $8,000 a year, putting them solidly in India’s rising middle class. “Two wheels of a well-oiled machine, making our family go around,” Mr Singh said.

Their son, Rudraksh, turned 6 just before their new baby was due.

As Ms Gautam entered her ninth month, she ran into some health problems and spent five days in late May and early June in the hospital for pregnancy-related high blood pressure, bleeding and possibly typhoid.

On 5 June, as she began to go into labour, the first hospital they tried was the ESIC Model Hospital, a sprawling government facility in Noida. Mr Singh said that the first thing the doctor said to her was, “I’ll slap you if you take off your mask.”

They were shocked, Singh said. But Ms Gautam was having trouble breathing. They didn’t argue. She begged for oxygen, which the hospital had, along with ventilators. But instead of helping, the doctor told them to go to another government hospital, on the other side of town. There, too, she was turned away.

An administrator at the first hospital declined to comment, and a doctor at the second hospital said Ms Gautam needed intensive care, which the hospital couldn’t provide.

Even before COVID-19 arrived, Indian hospitals were beleaguered. The Indian government spends less than 2,000 rupees (about $26) per person per year on health care. The hope during India’s lockdown, which began in late March but was mostly lifted by early June, was that the restrictions would slow the spread of the virus and give cities time to scale up hospital capacity before the worst hit.

That didn’t happen, or not nearly enough, and Delhi now finds itself thousands of beds short; the central government just repurposed hundreds of railway cars to be used as sick bays. And still there is great confusion about admitting patients who don’t have the coronavirus.

Some hospitals say they need to test every patient before treating them. Others simply perform a quick temperature check.

The third hospital that Ms Gautam went to, Shivalik Hospital, was the one that had treated her for her prenatal troubles. This time, doctors gave her a little oxygen, but her husband said they feared she might have the coronavirus and abruptly ordered her to leave.

“We are a small mother and child hospital,” said the hospital’s director, Ravi Mohta. “We did what we could.”

The couple hobbled back to the rickshaw. Ms Gautam was fading. She stopped talking and began heavily sweating. She clung to her husband’s hand.

It wasn’t simply that the doctors couldn’t help her, her husband said. It was as if they didn’t want to help her.

“They didn’t care if she was dead or alive,” he said.

At a fourth hospital, a branch of Fortis, an Indian health care giant, he pleaded for a ventilator. Mr Singh said the doctor’s response was, “She’s going to die. Take her wherever you wish.”

In a statement, the hospital said that it had no space for her, tried to stabilise her and then offered to take her by ambulance to another hospital. Mr Singh said that the hospital’s efforts were cursory and that there was no offer of an ambulance.

They tried three other hospitals, hurrying from one to the other, losing precious time. When all refused, Mr Singh called the police.

He said that two officers met him at the entrance of the Government Institute of Medical Sciences, a large public hospital, and tried to persuade the doctors to admit his wife. But the doctors wouldn’t listen to the police officers, either.

Administrators at that hospital declined to comment.

'Save me'
After that failed, they raced in an ambulance to Max Super Specialty Hospital in Ghaziabad, more than 40 kilometres away. It was now late afternoon, still bright, around 37 degrees outside. More than eight hours had passed since Ms Gautam and her husband had set off from their home, eager to meet their new baby soon.

But the Max hospital — their eighth that day — gave them the same heartbreaking answer: no beds.

Ms Gautam closed her eyes and whispered, “Save me.”

Mr Singh told the ambulance to rush back to the Government Institute of Medical Sciences.

He hunched in the back, leaning over his wife, pleading with her not to give up. He looked down at her face. She reached up and clutched his shirt. Her hands tightly clenched the fabric.

As they finally pulled into the hospital, she stopped breathing. Her neck slumped. Mr Singh jumped out of the ambulance, grabbed a wheelchair and frantically wheeled her into the emergency room.

At 8.05pm after eight different hospitals and 15 hours, Ms Gautam was pronounced dead. The baby also died.

A preliminary government investigation said, “Hospital administration and staff have been found guilty of carelessness.”

She has not been the only pregnant woman to die in labor after being turned away. The same thing happened to a young mother in Hyderabad and another in Kashmir. In that case, the family said, the hospital staff were so uncaring that they didn’t even help with an ambulance to take the body home. The woman’s family had to wheel her body down the road, in a stretcher, for several kilometres.

As authorities consider criminal charges in Ms Gautam’s case, her husband spends his days at home looking after his son, Rudraksh. The boy asked him to throw away all of his mother’s clothes.

“They remind me of her,” he said.

The spark has gone out of Rudraksh’s eye, Mr Singh said.

A few days ago, he told his dad that when he grows up, he wants to be a doctor, so “I can make dead people come alive.”

By Jeffrey Gettleman and Suhasini Raj © 2020 The New York Times
This is wrong on so many levels! It is simply appaling, I'm horrified, don't know what to say!
 

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The spectre of Indian caste in Silicon Valley
Dalit immigrants are rising up against discrimination at their workplaces in the US
Published: July 19, 2020
Yashica Dutt, New York Times

1595167212400.png

The Cisco System logo is seen on the exhibit floor at the National Cable and Telecommunications Association Cable Show in Washington, D.C. (Picture for illustrative purpose only)
Image Credit: Bloomberg

On June 30, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing regulators sued Cisco Systems Inc., for discrimination. The cause was not, like most workplace discrimination lawsuits, based on race, gender, age or sexual orientation. It was based on caste.

The lawsuit accuses Cisco, a multibillion-dollar tech conglomerate basted in San Jose, California, of denying an engineer, who immigrated from India to the United States, professional opportunities, a raise and promotions because he was a from a low caste, or Dalit, background. The lawsuit states that his Indian-American managers, Sundar Iyer and Ramana Kompella, who are described as high-caste Brahmins, harassed the engineer because of their sense of superiority rooted in the Hindu caste system.

Many Indian-Americans reacted with disbelief that a giant corporation in Silicon Valley could be mired in caste discrimination. For Dalit Americans like me, it was just another Wednesday.

Dalit, which means “oppressed,” is a self-chosen identity for close to 25 per cent of India’s population, and it refers to former “untouchables,” the people who suffer the greatest violence, discrimination and disenfranchisement under the centuries-old caste system that structures Hindu society.

After decades of being silenced, Dalit Americans are finally finding a voice that cannot be ignored. I was able to come out as Dalit because after moving to New York and avoiding Indian-only communities, for the first time, I was not scared of someone finding out my caste.
- Yashica Dutt, Indian journalist
Caste is the gear that turns every system in India. “If Hindus migrate to other regions on earth, Indian Caste would become a world problem,” B.R. Ambedkar, the greatest Dalit leader and one of the architects of the India Constitution, wrote in 1916.

Caste prejudice and discrimination is rife within the Indian communities in the United States and other countries. Its chains are even turning the work culture within multibillion-dollar American tech companies, and beyond. The Cisco engineer, whose complaint led to the lawsuit and who identifies himself as a Dalit, has not been named in the lawsuit.

From the mid-1990s, American companies, panicking at the feared “millennial meltdown’ of computer systems, were hiring close to 100,000 technology workers a year from India. An overwhelming majority of the Indian information technology professionals who moved to the United States were from “higher castes,” and only a handful were Dalits.

Caste matters, not professional qualifications
Over the Fourth of July weekend, I participated in a video call with about 30 Dalit Indian immigrants. A Dalit information technology professional on the video call spoke about moving to the United States in 2000 and working at Cisco between 2007 and 2013. “A large percentage of the work force was already Indian,” he told us. “They openly discussed their caste and would ask questions to figure out my caste background.”

Higher caste Indians use the knowledge of a person’s caste to place him or her on the social hierarchy despite professional qualifications. “I usually ignored these conversations,” the Dalit worker added. “If they knew I was Dalit, it could ruin my career.”

According to the lawsuit, Iyer, one of the Brahmin engineers at Cisco, revealed to his other higher-caste colleagues that the complainant had joined a top engineering school in India through affirmative action. When the Dalit engineer, the lawsuit says, confronted Iyer and contacted Cisco’s human resources to file a complaint, Iyer retaliated by taking away the Dalit engineer’s role as lead on two technologies.

Discrimination, harassment and retaliation

For two years, the lawsuit says, Iyer isolated the Dalit engineer, denied him bonuses and raises and stonewalled his promotions. Cisco’s human resources department responded by telling the Dalit engineer that “caste discrimination was not unlawful” and took no immediate corrective action. Kompella, the other Brahmin manager named in the lawsuit, replaced Iyer as the Dalit engineer’s manager, and according to the suit, “continued to discriminate, harass, and retaliate against” him.

In 2019, Cisco was ranked No. 2 on Fortune’s 100 Best Workplaces for Diversity. The technology giant got away with ignoring the persistent caste discrimination because American laws don’t yet recognise Hindu caste discrimination as a valid form of exclusion. Caste does not feature in Cisco’s diversity practices in its operations in India either. It reveals how the Indian information technology sector often operates in wilful ignorance of the terrifying realities of caste.

In The Other One Percent: Indians in America, a 2016 study of people of Indian descent in the United States, the authors Sanjoy Chakravorty, Devesh Kapur and Nirvikar Singh estimated that “over 90 per cent of migrants” came from high castes or dominant castes. According to a 2018 survey by Equality Labs, a Dalit-American led civil rights organisation, 67 per cent Dalits in the Indian diaspora admitted to facing caste based harassment at the workplace.

The overwhelmingly higher-caste Indian-American community...has engendered a narrative that is as diabolical as it is in India: insisting that they live in a “post-caste world” while simultaneously upholding its hierarchical framework that benefits the higher-caste people.
-
In the backdrop of caste supremacy in the Indian diaspora in the United States, when higher caste Hindus often describe and demonise Dalits as “inherently lazy/ opportunistic/ not talented,” even apparently innocuous practices like peer reviews for promotions (Cisco and several other tech companies operate on this model), can turn into minefields, ending in job losses and visa rejections for Dalits.

Almost every Dalit person I spoke to in the United States, after California filed the lawsuit against Cisco, requested to remain anonymous and feared that revealing their identity as a Dalit working in the American tech industry filled with higher-caste Indians would ruin their career.

Those words also governed my life till 2016, when I decided to publicly reveal my caste identity and “come out” as Dalit. Growing up “passing” as a dominant caste person in India while hiding my “untouchable,” caste I lived in the same fear that stops most Dalits from articulating their harassment and asserting their identity in India and the United States.

The overwhelmingly higher-caste Indian-American community is seen as a “model minority” with more than an average $100,000 median income and rising cultural and political visibility. But it has engendered a narrative that is as diabolical as it is in India: insisting that they live in a “post-caste world” while simultaneously upholding its hierarchical framework that benefits the higher-caste people.

Ranging from seemingly harmless calls for “vegetarian-only roommates” (an easy way to assert caste purity), caste-based temple networks that automatically exclude “impure” Dalits, and the more overt and dangerous arm twisting of American norms — right-wing Hindu activist organisations tried to remove any mention of caste from California’s textbooks in 2018 — caste supremacy is fiercely defended, almost as a core tenet of Indian Hindu culture.

Yet after decades of being silenced, Dalit Americans are finally finding a voice that cannot be ignored. I was able to come out as Dalit because after moving to New York and avoiding Indian-only communities, for the first time, I was not scared of someone finding out my caste. Finding comfort and inspiration in movements like Black Lives Matter and Say Her Name and the tragic institutional murder of a Dalit student activist in India, I was able to understand and acknowledge that my history was a tapestry of pride, not shame.

Most Dalits in America still live with the fear of being exposed. But the pending California vs. Cisco case is a major step in the right direction.

— Yashica Dutt is an Indian journalist and the author of the memoir, “Coming Out as a Dalit.”
 

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An invisible humanitarian crisis in India
Harsh Mander
August 07, 2020




The state and the rich and middle classes remain indifferent as millions slip into chronic hunger and intense poverty
India’s labouring poor have largely disappeared even from the inner pages of newspapers and from television screens. It is as though, after the country has gradually unlocked and most migrants have returned home, the wrenching distress of mass hunger and sudden unemployment that racked their lives has somehow passed. The reality is entirely the reverse. The devastating impact of the unprecedented closure of the entire economy, which was already in recession, will endure for a long time. However, the immense suffering of the poor has been rendered invisible by the collective indifference of the state and the rich and middle classes.

Slipping deeper into want
On the banks of the Yamuna, adjacent to the largest cremation ground in Delhi, is an embankment called Yamuna Pushta, home to 4,000 homeless men. In normal times, they survived by doing casual wage work, mostly in eateries or construction. Work was uncertain and always underpaid; still they managed to keep raw hunger at bay by eating food provided by religious food charities in gurdwaras, temples and dargahs. I met them recently. Their destitution and desperation were palpable. There is still no work, and shrines have still not adequately revived their food charities. The Delhi government has mostly ended its free cooked food distribution programme. At the peak of the programme, about 10 lakh people were being fed in over 1,000 centres. I was critical then of the indignity of forcing people to line up for hours each day for a ladle of food. But although it could have been organised with more compassion and respect, that was still a crucial public lifeline for people thrust suddenly into mass hunger. With that lifeline snapped, there is nothing except for some small private charities to shield them from the blistering winds of hunger.

My comrades, including those working with homeless people in other cities, activists of the right to food campaign countrywide, and volunteers for food relief of the Karwan-e-Mohabbat, all report conditions of even more worrying precarity and deprivation from around the country. There are communities in the countryside — in forests, deserts, hills, river islands and Dalit ghettos — who even in normal times survived on the edge of hunger. They used to depend on remittances from migrants for their survival; today they have to feed the migrants who returned. Casual daily wage workers, weavers, artisans, home-based workers, rickshaw-pullers and street vendors have always lived precarious lives too. But they have slipped much deeper into want. And there are millions of new entrants into the ranks of the hungry, including laid-off employees of small enterprises and eateries, domestic workers, sex workers, workers in the gig economy, and even teachers in low-income private schools and those taking private tuitions.

All of these workers, and tens of millions more, are bracing themselves for the ways that the dispossessed have learnt, from time immemorial, and that are hardwired into their DNA, to live with chronic hunger. The first is to eliminate nutritious but unaffordable portions of one’s diet, including dal, milk, vegetables, fruit, eggs and meat. Many families report that they are eating only coarse rice and roti with salt. The next step is to reduce food intake, cutting down on both the quantity eaten during each meal and the number of meals, teaching one’s body to endure with less and less. As households slide further down this steep slope, there are increasing numbers of nights when they have to sleep hungry. Children who could earlier depend on the school or preschool centre for at least one nutritious meal are now being sent out to work, including scrabbling through waste for anything which can be eaten or sold.

Public policy failures
A number of global reports warn that hundreds of millions of people are being thrust into extreme poverty and hunger because of the economic impacts of the lockdown and the raging pandemic. A United Nations University paper (Precarity and the pandemic, June 2020) estimates that 400 million new workers are at risk of slipping into extreme poverty, of less than $1.90 a day. What is even more worrying is that “the location of global poverty is likely to shift towards middle-income countries and South Asia and East Asia.” The impact could intensify because of “pre-existing conditions of fragmented or insufficient social protection systems” and could last for “years to come”. The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, similarly estimated in a study published in early July that more than 250 million people are at risk of acute hunger. This impact, he believes, “will be long-lasting”. He is critical of governments which “rather than acknowledging how badly the efforts to ‘end poverty’ have been faring, and how relentlessly the pandemic has exposed that fact... are doubling down on existing approaches that are clearly failing”. His angst about public policy failures to deal with the scale and depth of the humanitarian crisis is entirely justified. First, at senior levels of the Indian government, there is little acknowledgement of the depth of the crisis of hunger and the annihilation of livelihoods. To revive the economy and, in particular, MSMEs — the sector employing the most people outside agriculture — the Finance Minister relies mostly on credit rather than on fiscal transfers, unmindful that when both demand and production have crashed, credit will have few takers and can accomplish little.Also read | Fight against hunger disrupted by coronavirus-induced recessionSecond, governments also sought to revive the broken economy by excluding workers from regimes of labour rights protections, ostensibly for attracting capital investment. Instead of atoning for the immense distress of unprotected workers and mitigating future suffering by building sturdy legal walls for their protections, many State governments used the pandemic to further weaken the scant protections which the law currently provides informal workers. Some governments attempted to extend the workday to 12 hours, to suspend the protections of various labour laws for three years, and regulate the movement of workers across State borders.

Abandoned by the state
Even prior to the pandemic, India slipped to the 102nd position in the Global Hunger Report of 2019 that ranked 117 countries. It had fallen behind its neighbours Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The economy was also stuttering, with unemployment at a 45-year high. In the midst of this smouldering crisis, the most stringent lockdown in the world was imposed, nearly halting both demand and supply overnight. As the COVID-19 infection spreads to States with the most broken public health systems, such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, and with the homeless and the poor being excluded from highly privatised health facilities in cities, the problems of the poor will further exacerbate. As the virus ravages bodies enfeebled by hunger and distress, they remain abandoned by the state, with no reliable access to care.

Through all of this, the political establishment, the media and the middle class remain culpably indifferent, preoccupied instead with buying legislators and toppling governments; purchasing military aircraft; jailing dissenters; and divisive agendas like the triumphalist construction of a Ram temple at the site of a demolished medieval mosque. With millions slipping invisibly into chronic hunger and intense poverty, India is hurtling silently into its gravest humanitarian crisis in over half a century.
Harsh Mander is a human rights worker, writer, teacher, and author of several books including Partitions of the Heart: Unmaking the Idea of India
 

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India: Minister says, 'coronavirus will not come near me' because she was 'born in cow dung'​

BJP member Imarti Devi also said she was forced to wear a face mask



Published: September 08, 2020 17:20

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Months after an Indian politician had recommended papads to fight against coronavirus, a minister from the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, Imarti Devi, has said she believes that she is immune to the infection because she was born in cow dung and mud. According to reports, the comment was made during a confrontation with the media on September 3 and it is being widely shared online.

"I am born in mud and cow dung. Corona[virus] cannot come near me," Devi, Minister of Women and Force Development of the state, said while talking to local media amid rumours that she had tested positive for COVID-19.


In the clip, the politician, a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), points at her mask, hanging by her chin, and said that she was wearing it forcefully.

A video of the incident went viral on social media.

हम गोबर में पैदा हुए हैं जी, कोरोना हमारा क्या बिगाड़ लेगा @vivekti21529941 @izhar_eazy @Sanjeevvermakte @Ankur31640275 @Sandeep20949153 @b_patrakar @ImartiDevi pic.twitter.com/b31L1bnfuP
— KumarVikas (@kvtiwari1) September 6, 2020
Earlier, an Indian minister, Arjun Ram Meghwal, had claimed that a brand of papad (a thin fried cracker made from lentils) has ingredients to fight coronavirus, causing Twitter users to slam the unscientific claims while trolling him.


In the clip, Meghwal, currently India's Union Minister of State in Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and Parliamentary Affairs, was seen talking about the ingredients of a brand called ‘Bhabhi ji papad’ and said that it helps “develop antibodies” needed to fight against COVID-19.

However, a few weeks later, the minister tested positive for the virus.
 

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India: Minister says, 'coronavirus will not come near me' because she was 'born in cow dung'​

BJP member Imarti Devi also said she was forced to wear a face mask



Published: September 08, 2020 17:20

View attachment 16352

Months after an Indian politician had recommended papads to fight against coronavirus, a minister from the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, Imarti Devi, has said she believes that she is immune to the infection because she was born in cow dung and mud. According to reports, the comment was made during a confrontation with the media on September 3 and it is being widely shared online.

"I am born in mud and cow dung. Corona[virus] cannot come near me," Devi, Minister of Women and Force Development of the state, said while talking to local media amid rumours that she had tested positive for COVID-19.


In the clip, the politician, a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), points at her mask, hanging by her chin, and said that she was wearing it forcefully.

A video of the incident went viral on social media.



Earlier, an Indian minister, Arjun Ram Meghwal, had claimed that a brand of papad (a thin fried cracker made from lentils) has ingredients to fight coronavirus, causing Twitter users to slam the unscientific claims while trolling him.


In the clip, Meghwal, currently India's Union Minister of State in Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and Parliamentary Affairs, was seen talking about the ingredients of a brand called ‘Bhabhi ji papad’ and said that it helps “develop antibodies” needed to fight against COVID-19.

However, a few weeks later, the minister tested positive for the virus.
She's not wrong. Even coronavirus is going Ewwww...
 

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India in shock over 86-year-old grandmother's rape

BBC News, Delhi
Published 7 hours ago

The 86-year-old grandmother was raped in Delhi


Tens of thousands of rapes are reported in India every year, but some stand out for being deeply disturbing.
In one particularly shocking case, police in the capital, Delhi, have arrested a man in his 30s for the rape and assault of an 86-year-old grandmother.

"The woman was waiting outside her home on Monday evening for the milkman when she was approached by her attacker," Swati Maliwal, head of the Delhi Commission for Women, told the BBC.

"He told her that her regular milk delivery man wasn't coming and offered to take her to the place where she could get milk."
The octogenarian trustingly accompanied him, said Ms Maliwal, adding that he took her to a nearby farm where he raped her.

"She kept crying and begging him to leave her. She told him that she was like his grandmother. But he ignored her pleas and assaulted her mercilessly when she tried to resist and protect herself," Ms Maliwal said.

Local villagers who were passing by heard her cries and rescued her. They handed over the attacker to the police.
Ms Maliwal, who visited the survivor at her home on Tuesday, described her meeting as "heart-breaking".

"Her hands are totally wrinkled. You get a shock when you hear what she went through. There are bruises on her face and all over her body and she told me that she had vaginal bleeding. She is suffering from extreme trauma."

Ms Maliwal has demanded the death penalty for the attacker, whom she described as "not human".
"I'm writing to the chief justice of Delhi High Court and the lieutenant-governor of the city to fast-track the case and hang him in six months," she said.

Rapes and sexual violence have been in the spotlight in India since December 2012 when a 23-year-old physiotherapy student was gang-raped on a moving bus in Delhi.
She died a few days later from injuries sustained during the assault. Four of the accused were hanged in March.
But despite the increased scrutiny of sexual crimes, their numbers continue to rise.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, police recorded 33,977 cases of rape in India in 2018 - that works out to a rape every 15 minutes. But campaigners say the actual numbers are much higher as many cases are not even reported.
And not all make news - only the most brutal or shocking get reported in the press.

In the last few days, while India has been struggling to cope with the coronavirus pandemic, there have been reports of an ambulance driver who allegedly raped a Covid-19 patient while ferrying her to hospital.

Last month, a 13-year-old girl was found raped and murdered in a sugarcane field and her father alleged that her eyes were gouged out and her tongue had been cut.

And in July, a six-year-old girl was abducted and raped and her attacker inflicted severe injuries to her eyes apparently so she couldn't identify him.

As women's activist Yogita Bhayana points out, no age group is safe.

"I have met a month-old girl and women in their 60s who've been raped," Ms Bhayana, who works for People Against Rapes in India (Pari), an NGO working with survivors, says.

After the global outcry over the brutality of the December 2012 Delhi bus rape, India introduced tough new rape laws, including the death penalty in especially horrific cases, and promised to set up fast-track courts to try rape cases.

But, campaigners say, things have not changed much on the ground.
"The situation hasn't changed because protecting women and girls should top the list of government priorities, but it does not even figure there," Ms Bhayana says.

"India talks about external security, but I ask them what about internal security? What are you doing to ensure the safety of women and girls?"

Ms Bhayana says over the years, she has written more than 100 letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking justice for rape victims, but hasn't received a single response.
"Why doesn't he talk about it?" she asks.

While in opposition, Mr Modi had described Delhi as "the rape capital" in several election rallies.


And after taking over as the prime minister in 2014, he appeared to make it a priority - in his first independence day speech that year, he talked about rape and offered parents some advice on how to bring up better sons.

"When we hear about these rapes our heads hang in shame," he said.
"In every home, parents ask daughters lots of questions as to where she is going, when will she return, and ask her to inform them when she reaches her destination.

"But have you ever asked your son where he is going, why is he going and who are his friends? After all, the person committing the rape is also someone's son," he said, advising parents to keep tabs on their sons.

In India's largely feudal and patriarchal society, this was seen as ground-breaking.

But since then the growing cases of sexual violence, many of them involving influential people, have made news - and Mr Modi has mostly kept silent, except for one tweet in 2018 that "India's daughters will get justice" after rape allegations involving members of his own party became headline news.

Ms Bhayana says there is "no magic wand, no one thing" that can make this problem of gender violence disappear overnight.

She says a lot needs to change - police and judicial reform, greater sensitisation of police and lawyers, and better forensic tools.
"But above all, we need gender awareness, we need to work to change the mindsets, to prevent such crimes from happening in the first place."

And that is a tough ask, she adds.
"There is no sign that any government, be it the Delhi government or the federal government, is serious about tackling gender violence.
"I've been working in the field for eight years. I've never met anyone who's really serious about the issue."

Ms Bhayana says there are hoardings in public places about all sorts of issues, about various achievements of government, about Covid-19, or cautioning people against drug use.

"But have you ever seen a hoarding in any city about rape or gender violence?" she asks.

"We often see hoardings with Mr Modi's pet slogan, "Beti bachao, beti padhao [Educate daughters, save daughters]. I say why don't we change it to Beta padhao, beti bachao [Educate your sons, save daughters]?"
 

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Dubai suspends Air India Express flights: Why, for how long, and what now?

Updated: September 18, 2020

This is the second time a jurisdiction has suspended flights from India; the Hong Kong government last month suspending Air India from flying to its airport for bringing in Covid-19 positive passengers.

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State-owned low-cost airline Air India Express has been banned from flying to airports in Dubai for 15 days after the carrier flew a travller who had tested positive for Covid-19 from Jaipur to Dubai on September 4. This is the second time a jurisdiction has suspended flights from India; the Hong Kong government last month suspending Air India from flying to its airport for the same reason.

Till when have Air India flights been suspended to Dubai?
All operations of Air India Express to Dubai airports are temporary suspended, for a duration of 15 days, effective from Friday, September 18, until October 2, 2020.

What does this mean for Air India Express?
The Dubai Civil Aviation Authority has said that in addition to the suspension of operations, the airline will also be notified to pay all the expenditure incurred by the respective authorities for medical services and/or quarantine of the passenger, and the other passengers in the said flight.

What happens to passengers booked to fly on Air India Express to Dubai in the next 15 days?
Given the ban, the airline has diverted its flights to Dubai scheduled over the next 15 days to Sharjah. “For the resumption of operation to Dubai Airports, you will be requested to submit a detailed corrective action/procedure implemented to prevent such incidents from occurring again, for this authority review and assessment,” the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority has said in its notice of suspension.
 

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How India's ancient caste system is ruining lives in Silicon Valley​

Over 90% of Indian techies in the US are upper-caste Indians and many of them are allegedly making life a living hell for Dalits, those who are classified as the lowest of the low in India, whose horrifying historical persecution has continued in the cradle of tech.

By Rajiv Rao for New Tech for Old India | September 22, 2020

It may seem bizarre that the caste system, a centuries-old system that organises and stratifies human society, continues to play a heavy role in deciding which Indians prosper and which don't within a space many consider to be an uber-meritocracy -- the US tech landscape.

A recent lawsuit against two Indians, filed by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing on behalf of another Indian, has made waves over the past few months for all the wrong reasons. It has illuminated how the Indian caste system has terrorised one of the most marginalised groups in India.

Except, this time, it is happening in the US tech industry, a place that people normally associate with egalitarianism and a thirst for talent regardless of colour, race, religion, or any other creed.

Caste is a 2,000 year-old system for classifying society in the Indian subcontinent -- or whatever other definition that can be used for the geographic spread that was depleted and then amputated by British colonial rule.

In this stratification, the priests -- or the "Brahman" class -- were at the top, the warriors or "Kshatriyas" came next, the merchants or "Vaishyas" formed the third tier, while labourers, artisans, and servants, known as "Shudras", came last and essentially served the other three castes. Of course, it's not so simple -- in reality, there are over 5,000 castes and over 25,000 sub-castes in India, spawned by sheer geographical, cultural, and religious diversity.

What is homogenous across the country, however, is another category that exists completely outside of the caste system, on a rung so low that if you were forced to come up with the worst moral and physical degradations that you could think of, they would in all likelihood pale in comparison to what has transpired in India over centuries and continues to do so today.

These people that are deemed to be on the lowest rung are the Dalits. Self-named, Dalit means "oppressed", but they are also referred to by Indian society as "achoot", or, "untouchable". Dalits have historically been involved in occupations such as working with leather, cleaning sewers, or killing rats and were therefore considered "spiritually impure".

Not so long ago, if a Dalit saw a higher caste walking down the road, they would have to flung themselves to the ground to not contaminate the upper caste (UC) person with their shadow. Violaters would be beaten, often to death, and incredulously, they still are today.

All across India, Dalits -- who comprise at least 25% of the population, or a staggering 400 million people -- are barred from drawing water from the wells of UCs. Dalit children are either denied education or cannot study with UC peers; their villages are separate and hence, they are forbidden from walking through upper caste ones; they cannot eat where UCs eat; they cannot pray where UCs pray and God help them if they marry out of their caste. Their woman and children are physically and sexually abused on a serial scale.

If a person is born as a Dalit, they will die a Dalit, and their children are almost certainly destined to a life with no upward mobility.

While many scholars contend that the caste system became more inflexible under the British, who transformed it into a rigid, more easily governable structure that privileged Brahmans even more, others say this narrative is just an attempt by upper-caste Indian Americans to rewrite history books and erase any mention of Dalit oppression. While the British Raj did have a complex, destructive effect on caste, India's pre-modern history was also most definitely defined by castes.

Coming back to the lawsuit, it focuses on a Dalit engineer -- John Doe for the lawsuit's purposes -- who has twenty years of experience in software development that was placed under the leadership of Sundar Iyer at Cisco.

Iyer was a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), and grew up in Bombay as an upper-caste Indian. He also completed his PhD at Stanford, founded two companies that were both acquired by Cisco, and has been named MIT Innovator of the year. A man of science and reason, and a person who places a premium on ideas, you would imagine.

Much like Iyer, John Doe also graduated from IIT.

The lawsuit alleges that the upper-caste Iyer recognised John Doe and instantly began ridiculing him in front of all the other higher-caste Indian employees at Cisco, saying that John Doe was a Dalit and only got into the engineering school because of affirmative action, which India implemented in 1980 under the then-Prime Minister VP Singh.

When John Doe indicated to Cisco's human resources team that he wanted to file a complaint, he was allegedly told by the department that "caste discrimination was not unlawful". Soon after, John Doe found himself demoted from his lead role on two projects. The lawsuit says that for two years, Iyer waged a sustained onslaught against John Doe's career. He isolated him, didn't give him any bonuses, and thwarted any chances for promotion.

Then, in a tragic double-whammy, Iyer was replaced by Ramana Kompella, also an upper caste engineer, who in a not-so-remarkable coincidence -- considering how heavily networked upper-caste Indian techies are -- also went to IIT. 90% of Indian immigrants in the US are upper caste. He was one year behind Iyer for his studies and also went to Stanford. Kompella eventually went on to teach at Purdue before leaving for Google, and then worked at Cisco.

If John Doe thought his salvation had finally arrived, he couldn't have been more mistaken. The same pattern of intimidation allegedly continued under Kompella.

"Because both knew Doe is Dalit, they had certain expectations for him at Cisco," the lawsuit alleges.

"Doe was expected to accept a caste hierarchy within the workplace where Doe held the lowest status within the team and, as a result, received less pay, fewer opportunities, and other inferior terms and conditions of employment because of his religion, ancestry, national origin/ethnicity, and race/colour."

Cisco has vehemently denied any of this. "Cisco is committed to an inclusive workplace for all," the company said in a statement to online news site thewire.

"We have robust processes to report and investigate concerns raised by employees which were followed in this case dating back to 2016, and have determined we were fully in compliance with all laws as well as our own policies. Cisco will vigorously defend itself against the allegations made in this complaint."

So far, neither Iyer nor Kompella have come forth with public statements about the lawsuit.

The lawsuit immediately opened up a wave of stories by Dalit techies who detailed their persecution in the US by high-caste Indians. At least 250 Dalit techies working in firms such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and Netflix have reported instances of harassment, humiliation, bullying, and career-halting interventions by high caste Indians.

One Dalit woman who is from the Valkimi caste, whose occupation historically has been to clean up excrement, was humiliated by her Indian co-workers and asked to clean up after team meetings as some sort of sick joke. Another Cisco hand who worked there between 2007 and 2013 said his peer group discussed their own caste identities incessantly and were constantly trying to figure his out.

Dalits are still looked at as essentially subhuman, genetically inferior, and lazy by most upper-caste Hindus. This has been a special societal coding, effortlessly passed down from generation to generation.

You may be designing the hottest network switches or AI visual interfaces and have graduated from the most elite institutions, but that has not made a difference on how people have been conditioned to think when it comes to what cradle of caste people are disgorged from.

So, when a tightly knit club of upper-caste Indians get together, you can be assured that there's a good chance that team composition for prized projects, promotions, and bonuses will only be for the chosen ones.

Meanwhile, the life of Dalit engineers are stalked by the daily terror of being outed.

Bullied, humiliated, with careers in tatters and H-1B visas revoked, their history continues to be a living nightmare.

 

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India: Argument over 'buffalo's tail' turns into a bloodbath, video of sickle attack goes viral

CCTV visuals of the fight that happened in UP’s Etawah district were shared on Twitter

Published: September 25, 2020

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Image for illustrative purposes
Image Credit: Stock image


An argument between two neighbours turned into a bloodbath yesterday in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The reason? One’s car had accidentally injured a buffalo that belonged to the other.

Shocking CCTV visuals of the fight that happened in UP’s Etawah district were shared on Twitter showing the car owner attacking the buffalo owner with a sickle, causing serious injuries.

WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO

A bloody , brutal fight between two neighbours in UP’s Etawah , over ...... hold your breath ..... a ‘bhains ki pooch’ ( buffalo’s tail ) ! Am not joking .... pic.twitter.com/i98MToNYbL
— Alok Pandey (@alok_pandey) September 24, 2020
The police have identified the attacker as Rakesh Rathore, a banana trader, and the injured man as Kishanpal Rathore.

A police official told local news media outlets: "They are neighbours. Earlier, in the day, the tail of Kishanpal's buffalo got stuck in Rakesh's vehicle, which he uses to transport bananas, injuring the animal. When Kishanpal complained to Rakesh, it led to an argument that escalated. Rakesh then seems to have taken the sickle that he used to cut bananas with, and attacked Kishanpal, who has sustained serious injuries to his neck.”

The video shows Rakesh repeatedly assaulting Kishanpal with a sickle as onlookers try to intervene. By the end of the fight, Kishanpal had blood all over his white shirt and visible injuries to his neck.

According to an Indian news website, visuals from a hospital he was taken to show him with bandages on his head and chest. However, doctors said he would survive the brutal assault.

Police took immediate action and have arrested Rakesh Rathore. And the police have filed a case of attempt to murder against him.
 

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Massive Farmer Protests In Punjab, Haryana, Parts Of UP Over 3 Bills

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Bharat Bandh: The most widespread protests took place in Punjab and Haryana, but demonstrations were also reported from Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Kerala and Karnataka.


New Delhi: Over 265 farmers' groups took to the streets today to block roads and carry out rallies and marches in a nationwide agitation against the controversial farm bills. The protests will intensify, the farmers said, unless the bills are repealed.

Opposition parties like the Congress, the RJD and the Trinamool, as well as 10 central trade unions, have voiced their support for the farmers.

Faced with the protests, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today hailed the farm bills as "historic" and hit out at the opposition for misleading the farmers.

The government has said the bills will help farmers get better prices by allowing them to sell their produce at markets and prices of their choice. Farmers, however, fear the loss of the price support system (MSP) and the entry of private players who, they say, will put small and marginal farmers at risk.

Here are the top 10 points in this big story:

  1. Addressing a virtual meeting of BJP leaders today, the PM said small and marginal farmers would benefit most from the reforms. However, despite the Prime Minister's (repeated) assurances on MSP (and the centre revising these rates), large numbers of farmers are unconvinced. Massive protests broke out in Punjab and Haryana (states known as the grain bowls of India) as well as Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and even Karnataka.
  2. "More than 265 farmers' groups affiliated with the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) took part in protests today. Additionally, around 100 non-affiliated groups also participated. I have received inputs from organising secretaries that protests were held at around 20,000 spots nationwide," Avik Saha, the AIKSCC General Secretary, told NDTV.
  3. In Punjab, a "complete shutdown" was called for by 31 farmers' groups protesting under the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) banner. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh earlier said the Congress-led state government supports the farmers and no FIRs will be registered for violation of prohibitory orders. Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who resigned as Union Minister last week, joined protests in her constituency of Bathinda. The Akalis - long-time BJP allies - are said to be considering their ties with the ruling NDA. Apart from political leaders, Punjabi singers and actors also sat in on the protests. Sidhu Moosewala, a singer, said: "We will not stop our fight here. It will continue".
  4. As angry farmers occupied highways and shut down all non-essential traffic - the Punjab-Haryana border was sealed near Ambala - a key border crossing. The Delhi-Amritsar highway was blocked at several places by farmers from the BKU and the Revolutionary Marxist Party of India. Several of the farmers' protests were noteworthy in that they refused to allow politicians to sit in with them. They criticised parties for only caring about votes - polls are due in Punjab next year and the Akalis count farmers as their key constituency.
  5. The "rail roko" that began in Amritsar and Ferozepur districts yesterday continued today and has been extended till Tuesday (September 29). In addition, to the above two districts, tracks will be blocked in Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Jalalabad, the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti said Friday evening. The group also hit out at BJP workers spreading "rumours" that the protesting farmers would engage in violence.
  6. Farmers also gathered in Uttar Pradesh's Noida (which borders national capital Delhi), prompting deployment of police in riot gear to keep them from crossing the border. Around 200 farmers were stopped in Noida's Sector 14A. After protesting for over three hours, they dispersed. In parts of UP, escalating protests led to the Ayodhya-Lucknow highway being blocked. Farmers also blocked the Delhi-Meerut highway in Modinagar near Ghaziabad. Farmers from the state's Kheri district have also gathered in protest.
  7. In poll-bound Bihar, opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav took part in a tractor rally to protest the farm bills. In visuals shared by news agency ANI, the RJD chief can be seen slowly driving a blue tractor down a main road in Patna as a large crowd of farmers, marshalled by armed policemen, march alongside.
  8. In Bengal farmers' groups affiliated to Left parties took out rallies in some districts and blocked roads for some time. There were protests in the rural belts of Hooghly, Murshidabad, North 24 Parganas, Bankura and Nadia districts, among others. Some carried agricultural produce and shouted slogans against the PM and Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar. Farmers' groups linked to the ruling Trinamool Congress also protested; some farmers burned copies of the bill and effigies of Prime Minister Modi.
  9. Members of the Karnataka State Farmers' Association protested on the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu highway. Around 250 were taken into preventive custody at Mysore Bank Circle in Bengaluru. A group of farmers met with Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa but failed to reach an understanding. A statewide protest called for on Monday will go ahead as planned. In Tamil Nadu, farmers from the National South Indian River Interlinking Farmers' Association protested in Trichy with human skulls, chained hands and nooses tied around their necks.
  10. Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi both, of whom have been active in the criticism of the bills, tweeted again today. Mrs Gandhi Vadra said: "They (the farmers) will be forced to become slaves of trillions through contract farming." Mr Gandhi said: "... The new agriculture laws will enslave our farmers".
With input from ANI, PTI
 
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