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A question is boggling my mind again and again. Let me tell you honestly that I had not heard about Gauri Lankesh earlier nor was being aware of her popularity as an anti communalist journalist and a trenchant opponent of fundamentalist fanatics. What makes me disturbed is the fact as to how come in a democratic country anyone can kill a women journalist in a cold blood for being outspoken and crusader against orthodox conventions and religious fanaticism.

According to the available statistics of,”India Spend,” seventy journalists have been killed from 1992 to 2016 and more than 140 physically thrashed or attacked in a two years’ time till 2015. Just two days after Gauri Lankesh’s gruesome murder and national outrage a journalist in Bihar’s Arwal district was shot at by two motorcycle borne criminals, injuring him grievously, who also looted him of Rupees one lakh in cash which he had withdrawn from the bank at that point of time. In an infamous Vyapan scam of Madhya Pradesh last year, a journalist of a leading news channel was also killed clandestinely while he was investigating the story of this multi-crore scam. Rajiv Ranjan, a brave, fearless and courageous journalist who worked for a leading Hindi daily of Bihar was also hacked to death while he exposed the mafia don n politician of Bihar Shahabbudin, now in Tihar Jail. Gauri’ s diabolical murder also reminds me of the brutal lynching of Umesh Dobhal, a popular journalist of Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand during the eighties, who was the victim of the highly influential liquor mafia, operating in Garhwal, Uttarakhand during the eighties. Umesh Dobhal worked for Amar Ujala as its Garhwal based special correspondent then and exposed the liquor mafia by exposing their illegal acts and scandals.

There was tremendous protest all around and the culprits were brought to justice by the CBI, though they got killed later on in a gang shoot out. But there is a difference between the cold blooded murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh and majority of the journalists killed in their line of duty. While the killers of the journalists are all criminals but the reason for the killing seems to be different. While journalists like Rajiv Ranjan and Umesh Dobhal became the victims of hard core criminals for exposing their ill designs and criminal acts, progressive journalists like Gauri Lankesh, writers, thinkers like Dabolkar, Kulbargi, Pansare, and others were hacked to death because of their being the victim of fundamentalist fanaticism, religious chauvinists, and bigots. Gauri Lankesh was the relentless fighter and a trenchant and vociferous opponent of superstitious beliefs, conventions, fundamentalist fanatics and blind propagators of communal flare-ups in the society and had been exposing them through her articles, writings, and news reports thus having become the KIRKIRI in the eyes of the powers that be, and those horribly provoking, aiding and  abetting these divisive and reactionary forces n tendencies.

The entire media fraternity, the intellectual community, the women and the commoners of the country came forward in large numbers to protest and the print, as well as electronic media too, have contributed tremendously by covering her despicable murder. This undisputed unity has compelled the state and central governments to concentrate their best efforts to nail the culprits who are unfortunately still at large. The murder of Gauri has sent shock waves in the entire journalistic fraternity of the country, particularly for those who expose the ill conceived designs and notions of the criminals, mafias, and politicians who are clandestinely in collaboration with these elements. In the despicable murder of trenchant opposer of fundamentalism, communalists, religious fanatics, and bigotry while the progressive society has lost a valiant ideological fighter those on the path of following the ideals of Gauri Lankesh and the likes would have to be more careful of their safety and security.

There was a time, a decade ago when journalists had full guarantee of their lives’ safety and security despite their being extremely outspoken, anti establishment and against the political and principled ideology of their opponents but in a decade or so physical attacks on journalists have increased manifold and if the latest statistics of India Spend and the barbaric murder of woman journalist Gauri Lankesh is taken into consideration, it seems that free speech and press freedom in India is terrible and shockingly at stake and vocal and outspoken journalists’ life is at God’s mercy. God save the humanity.

SUNIL NEGI (PRESIDENT, UTTARAKHAND JOURNALISTS FORUM)

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Facebook and volunteers of a social organisation helped in uniting an old woman to her family! Kudos

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The social networking site Facebook and whatsapp are extremely significant if used for good and healthy purposes, but has its ugly consequences as well if the users have ill conceived notions and intentions. There are cases of ugly nature happening when people are compelled to watch immoral, obnoxious and uncivilised material and pictures posted intentionally by notorious and disgruntled elements or hackers intruding into accounts of others to derive pivotal informations clandestinely.

But there are intellectuals, social activists, journalists and people with ethics who rightfully use this important via media for exchange of healthy and intellectual views seeking and providing significant information good for one and all. There have been lots of positive incidents that have happened due to facebook like delivering a particular group of blood to the needy, financially helping poor and hapless patients, providing job opportunities to the needy and even helping people and women in distress. This pivotal via media has also helped bringing issues of burning nature to the knowledge of the authorities concerned and simultaneously getting them resolved. Important and sensitive issues such as that of Jessica Lal murder, diabolical murder of Amit Kataria, gang rape and brutal murder of Nirbhaya of Vasant Vihar and Nazafgarh and Kathua rape and horrendous murder of a girl child also acknowledged tremendous momentum nationally through this important social networking sites finally leading to capital punishment to the guilty human beasts and stringent amendments in the laws of the land to severely punish the perpetraters of gruesome crime.

Just two days ago a great job could be executed successfully through the publicity of a missing illeterate old woman of Uttarakhand in Delhi who could finally been restored back to her family. According to BM Upreti of a social organisation of Uttarakhand in Delhi, Uttarakhand Lok Manch an old women probably in her eighties, namely Bhagwati Devi of Kumaon, Uttarakhand who was living in Sagarpur, Delhi for the last two months disappeared after she left the house alongwith her grandson. Since she was illeterate and new in Delhi, was completely unaware about anything, the addressand locality. Not well versed in Hindi she could’nt explain anything about the family and the address.

However, she was left at the Sagarpur, police station by someone. But the police was unable to locate the family as the address and other details of the family was unknown. The volunteers of Uttarakhand Lok Manch Prithvi Rawat and Vijay Gosain put her picture in the Facebook with a message to help locate her family. The message and the picture became viral and finally the Lok Manch’s dedicated team was able to restore the old woman back to her son from the Old Age Home where she was given refuge with the help of police authorities and Uttarakhand Lok Manch. After the ordeal of ten hours and the best possible efforts of the police and volunteers of the Uttarakhand Lok Manch particularly Prithvi Rawat and Vijay Gosain, it was finally the facebook post with the picture of the old woman that she could be united with her son, daughter in law and her grandson who were not only badly worried having searched all the nook and corners of the city but were also apprenhesive of her being met with some accident or UNHONEE.

Thanks Facebook, police and the social organisation Lok Munch and Prithvi Rawat n Vijay Gosain for this marvellous job of reuniting the old woman with her son n family. Let’s imbibe the positive efforts of these young men and help people in distress in future.

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Kairana by poll significant to test BSP, SP’s political clout in UP after victories in Phulpur n Sitapur

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The byelection in Kairana, Uttar Pradesh slated for May 28 is going to be the barometer of the popularity of prime minister Narendra Modi, the BJP as well as the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditya Nath. It will on the other hand also test the relevance and significance of the anti BJP opposition front or alliance that is slowly but steadily taking final shape against the BJP and Modi, particularly in view of the 2019 general elections. It’s primarily again a litmus lest for the SP, BSP combine who are outrightly backing the RLD candidate in Kairana after having earlier scored victries in two bye elections

Though the byelections are also being held in Palaghat and two other parliamentary constituencies and 28 assembly seats in other states including Noorpur in UP but Kairana by poll is important because its the parliamentary seat of the largest state which brings 80 MPs in Lok Sabha and several law makers in the upper house and also impacts the national political scenerio of the country.

All would remember that the recent two by poll defeats of the ruling BJP and the victory of BSP supported SP candidates in Phulpur and Sitapur, the home turfs of the UP CM and deputy CM have tremendously denigrated the ruling party’s image and in a way led to the assumption that prime minister Modi and Amit Shah are losing their political clout consistently in view of the anti BJP opposition unity.

The Kairana seat has been vacated by the sitting BJP MP Hukum Singh’s untimely demise which was won by him by a huge margin of over five lakh votes defeating the Lok Dal candidate in 2014 after the riots that polarised the Jat and Gurjar votes to a huge extent.

The Kairana seat however had been the stronghold of the Rashtriya Lok Dal. The BJP has given the ticket to Hukum Singh’s daughter Mriganka Singh to cash on the sympathy vote and a one sided vote bank of the Gurjars who are about one lakh twenty five thiudand in number.

The RLD has allotted ticket to the muslim women candidate banking on the majority minority votes which are more than 5 lakhs, a sizeable chunk to decide the winning chances. Dalits votes too are about two lakhs in numbers and the Jat votes over 1.5 lakhs.

In all, there are 19 lakh votes in this constituency. After the successful example of the one sided victory of SP candidates in Phulpur and Sitapur defeating the BJP in the saffron vote bank turf of Yogi Adityanath, the Congress, BSP and SP have not fielded their candidates but have promised to support the RLD candidate of Choudhary Ajit Singh, who happens to be a women from the minority community.

The BJP is trying to capitalise on the majority vote bank already apprehensive of the minority votes likely to go in favour of Ajit Singh’s RLD candidate, the Dalits too may probably back the RLD in view of the BSP’s support to Chaudhary Ajit Singh.

Congress support may also help to an extent to derive votes of youths and other communities apart from minorities and the Dalits.

Sources reveal that the polarisation trend which helped Hukum Singh of BJP win this seat with a heavy margin in 2014 may perhaps not be the factor this time and the opposition unity minus BJP may work well in favour the the RLD candidate who is already having the advantage of the large chunk of minority vote bank.

The Jats and Gurjars who had inclined towards the BJP in view of the influence of the Hindu Muslim riots and played a pivotal role in the victory of the BJP candidate Hukum Singh may still be there but 25 to 30% of them may tilt this time in the favour of RLD and earlier mentor Ajit Singh whose prestige is actually at stake.

After the formation of the Congress JD(S) combine government in Karnataka and the credible victory in Phulpur and Sitapur by elections, the morale of the anti BJP opposition in the saffron ruled state seemed to be quite high, particularly after the involvement of the ruling BJP MLA in a rape and murder case in Unnao, grave unemployment and existing agrarian crisis in the state compounded with several other factors as the detetiorating law and order situation, false encounters and inflation of essential commodities.

The alleged communal hatred environment in the state and the country has also led to the consolidation of the minority vote bank to a huge extent, who are more than five lakhs and a major factor towards victory are bound to be an asset n a credible winning factor for the RLD candidate Tabbassum.

Since prime minister Narendra Modi usually avoids campaigning in the byelections it may also amount to a big loss to the BJP which is now left with the only alternative to bank on jat leaders like former minister Baliyan and the saffron robed chief minister Yogi Aditya Nath.
What’s your take, friends?

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Modi’s charisma and the anti BJP unity ! Which one will fructify ?

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If the prime minister of India Narendra Modi is weighed or compared individually in terms of his charismatic leadership stature and eloquent speeches including his outstanding politcally manipulative abilities no leader, singularly, in the entire opposition leaders’ crowd matches as far as his highly enhanced popularity graph in the country is concerned despite some of the downsliding that has started gaining ground during the last one year.

It’s also a hard fact that prime minister Narendra Modi and the national BJP chief Amit Shah have after assuming power in 2014 over shadowed the entire gamut of party leadership giving an unambiguous impression that it’s only because of former’s political charisma that the BJP has secured power in 20 states of the country including having been credited for being the single largest party in Karnataka as well where Congress and JD(S) rode to power after forming a post poll alliance. As the 2019 general election are approaching near, the over ambitious non BJP opposition leaders are trying to establish the unity in diversity by alligning together undrr the common ideological formula of defeating the communal forces and working out the anti BJP opposition unity on secular credentials.

The recent victories in the Phoolpur, Gorakhpur, Alwar and other byelections in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar where BJP was defeated badly and the formatin of the government in thesouthern state Karnataka on unity pattern between Congress and JD(S) has transmitted a new lease of life in the entire non BJP opposition parties who are otherwise scattered and see no chance of defeating Modi and BJP in case they do not unite on honest terms giving up their vested squeezed political interests.

The way after 2014’s resounding victory at the centre the charismatic Narendra Modi and subsequent saffronisation factor has resuted in an incessant winning spree in 20 states on the country with being the single largest party in Karnataka the anti BJP opposition had no option but to think earnestly on unity for 2019 and the Congress JD(S) in Karnataka paved the way for them to come together. The historical presence of almost all the anti BJP national and regional opposition parties in Bengaluru , except the conspicuous absence of Navin Patnaik of Orissa and Chandra Shekhar Rao of Telangana has proved beyond doubt that a nationalpolitical alternative is in the making for 2019 that can to a great extent create a dent to the BJP led NDA and if situation warranted even miracles can happen.

The recent prediction of the CSDS and Lokniti Mode of the Nation pre poll analysis also suggests heavy anti incumbency in the BJP ruled states like Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh going in favour of the Congress and more than half of the country’s minorities and Dalit’s not interested to give Narendra Modi and the ruling party another chance with reduction in 25% Modi fan following as well.

But despite all this prime minister still posseses an edge over his political rivals as a national leader of maximum liking. It’s however a universal fact that every gvernment in ruling invite anti incumbency during the next election but its actually not always as Congress ruled at the centre for ten years before losing power to Modi due to excessive corruption and Shiela Dikshit ruled Delhi for fifteen long years before losing to Arvind Kejrival.

Similarly the CPM ruled Bengal for 34 protracted years and The BJP is ruling in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chatisgarh for two three terms incessantly. It has been usually witnessed that after two terms the anti incumbency factor starts working usually.

Political analysts are of the unambiguous opinion that if Narendra Modi is compared individually with any individual leader of the opposition as of now, his stature and popularity stands too above them but if the entire anti BJP opposition transparently and meticulously unites against him and the saffron party at the regional as well as the national level earnestly forgetting their vested and squeezed interests the new anti BJP alliance can be definitely a formidable force posing him a direct credible challenge.

If we go by the performanceof the present regime, broadly speaking on theinflation front, petro products front, employment front, bringing back black money from foreign bank’s front, GDP front, communal harmony front, women safety front, GST n demonetisation front and on the front of over all infrastructural development there have been more dissatisfaction than appreciation though people of the country seem more impressed by BJP on saffronisation and majoritarianism which pays it handsomely in every election.

However, a hard fact also can’t be denied that Mamata Bannerjee of TMC, Mayawati of BSP and Rahul Gandhi of Congress consider them selves as front runners for the prime minister’s post against Narendra Modi. But whether any one of them would click against the politically invincible Modi is anybody’s guess or will the anti BJP opposition parties really unite to fight Modi’s unstopping juggernaut still remains to be seen.

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