Tuesday 3 May 2016

Muslim vote- key to Mamata returning to power in West Bengal

The Muslim voter is expected to play a key role in determining who wins the West Bengal Assembly elections. The state accounts for the second highest population of Muslims in India (2.47 crore) and third highest, in terms of proportion of the population (27 per cent).

The Muslim vote could determine winners in 102 constituencies (35 per cent of Assembly strength). The Left-Congress alliance has made the elections, which would have otherwise been a walk over for chief minister Mamata Banerjee an interestingly close affair.

The Muslim population is more than 25 per cent in the districts of Malda, Murshidabad, North Dinajpur, South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas, Nadia and Birbhum. In three districts of West Bengal - Malda, Murshidabad and North Dinajpur - the population of Muslims is higher than that of the Hindus.

The Muslim vote is all the more important this time around because of the saffron surge, the state witnessed in the Lok Sabha polls in 2014 in which the BJP recorded twice the vote share of the Congress (17 per cent versus nine per cent) and got as many seats as the Left Front (two).

The landscape of Bengal also provides an opportunity to the BJP to experiment and shed the inhibition that it is a party representing Hindus. After all, it had nothing to lose. The BJP is always criticized of issuing very few tickets to Muslim candidates. It was announced in December 2015 that the party would field Muslim candidates in areas where they are dominant, totaling some 44 seats. However, the list has Muslim candidates numbering in single digits. Frustrated, the state minority cell chief has left the party.

In the five years she has been in power, she has sought to consolidate the Muslim vote: there have been the controversial stipends to imams, the setting up of Haj houses, a new campus for Aliah University, sanction for 400 madrasa hostels, and scholarships for Muslim students.

The Mamata government has taken a lot of measures for the welfare of Muslims with allowance/stipends for imams, free cycles to girls studying in madrasas, scholarships to Muslims students (class one to ten), reservation for Muslim OBCs (Left had initiated it), ban on the telecast of a drama series by controversial author Taslima Nasrin and making Urdu the second official language in districts where Muslim population is more than ten per cent. Mamata made a strong anti-Modi pitch in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and secured maximum votes from the Muslims.

Ms. Banerjee, however, has got many factions of the Muslims, including the most powerful one led by Siddiqullah Chowdhury, the State chief of JamiatUlema-I-Hind, to back her. Similarly, the TMC has closely coordinated with another powerful community leader PirzadaToha Siddiqui in south Bengal to ensure that the Muslim votes of at least south Bengal, where 75 per cent of the seats are located, remain undivided.
Muslims, who had traditionally largely voted for the LF, had abandoned it in 2011 because they felt betrayed. One, the Sachar Report made clear that the community had lagged behind in socio-economic terms; two, the events in Nandigram, that has a 50 per cent Muslim population made the community feel they were being deliberately targeted to separate them from their land.

Today, rural Muslims in many parts of Bengal, largely secular, are rethinking their 2011 decision.

Mayank Verma
PG MEDIA (2015-2017)

Monday 2 May 2016

Sting operation

Sting operation is a deceptive operation designed to catch a person committing a crime. A typical sting will have a law enforcement officer or cooperative member of the public play a role as criminal partner or potential victim and go along with a suspect's actions to gather evidence of the suspect's wrongdoing. Even mass media journalists resort to sting operations to record video and broadcast to expose illegal things.
Sting operations are fraught with ethical concerns over whether they constitute entrapment. Law-enforcement may have to be careful not to provoke the commission of a crime by someone who would not otherwise have done so. Additionally, in the process of such operations, the police often engage in the same crimes, such as buying or selling contraband, soliciting prostitutes, etc. In common law jurisdictions, the defendant may invoke the defense of entrapment.
Contrary to popular misconceptions, however, entrapment does not prohibit undercover police officers from posing as criminals or denying that they are police. Entrapment is typically a defense only suspect are pressured into committing a crime they would probably not have committed otherwise, but the legal definition of this pressure varies greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
For example, if undercover officers coerced a potential suspect into manufacturing illegal drugs to sell them, the accused could use entrapment as a defense. However, if a suspect is already manufacturing drugs and police pose as buyers to catch them, entrapment usually has not occurred.
Thus, the term "sting" was popularized by the 1973 Robert Redford and Paul Newman movie The Sting, but the film is not about a police operation. It features two grifters and their attempts to con a mob boss out of a large sum of money.


PG MEDIA (2015-2017)

Saturday 30 April 2016

JNU: Much ado about nothing

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

This poem by Rabindranath Tagore is the contemplation of the Poet’s credence about the kind of freedom he trailed and invoked to God. True freedom means liberation from fear and head ‘held high’ is a manifested posture of that liberated mind. True freedom lies in the mind which is always led forward by the universal mind of the father into ‘ever-widening thought and action.’
But the irony lies here. Being a treasurer of culture, India is far way from this kind of freedom. Freedom is here being treated as Prometheus, who is chained by the Zeus, a capitalist sovereignty.

In India, if some students in a university had buoyed slogans against the state and demanded to over through a democratically elected government on the basis of some unsubstantial or factual grievances, how would have the state reacted? The recent Jawaharlal Nehru University mishaps have raised mammoth probe into freedom of speech. The contributors of the meet allegedly shouted anti-India slogans, leading to the arrest of JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar. This scintillated a debate regarding what constitutes sedition, who was in the wrong during & the aftermath of the clash and how much of what the media reports is true. At this juncture, Let us take a hypothetical example of US where this kind of anti-national sloganeering had been raised and neither the university authorities nor the State mandarins would have taken notice of the matter. “That is a point of view and all points of view are welcome in a university campus” – this would have been their standard reply. Only if the sloganeering by the students would have been escorted by violence or destruction of property, then the might of the State would have come down heavily on them because such rowdy behaviors would have adversely affected the freedom of the fellow students.
So long as their revolutionary fervor was confined to words, verbal or written, they would be protected by the First Amendment –“The Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or press or assembly”.

  Writer and social activist Arundhati Roy has strong views on the strife-torn and troubled Valley, which many may disagree with, or regard as extremely contentious. But what possible justification can there be — as the Bharatiya Janata Party has outrageously demanded — for slapping a case against her under Section 124 (A) of the Indian Penal Code, for exciting “disaffection” towards or bringing “hatred or contempt” against the government? Do we lock up or threaten to silence our writers and thinkers with an archaic section of the law that carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, merely because they speak their minds.

This exact things took place On the night of 9 February 2016, left-wing students organisation Democratic Students Union (DSU) held a protest at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus against capital punishment that was awarded to 2001 Indian Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. The university authorities withdrew permission for this event after protests by members of the right-wing students union Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. Anti-India slogans were raised at the DSU-protest, which not only led to the arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar but also of Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya on charges of sedition, the latter two being the organizers of that particular event.

JNU Vice-Chancellor constituted a disciplinary committee for investigating the controversial event. On the basis of the initial investigation report, Kanhaiya Kumar and seven other students were academically debarred. Kanhaiya Kumar has been granted six month interim bail by the High Court, on 2 March 2016. On 11 March the involved students were allowed to attend their classes again. The high-level inquiry committee of Jawaharlal Nehru University found out that provocative slogans were raised by a group of outsiders, wearing masks inside the campus. This is the story of JNU in a nutshell.

In his classic defense of free speech, On Liberty, John Stuart Mill laid down what is known as the ‘harm principle.' It suggests that the only justification for silencing a person against his will is to prevent him from causing harm to others. It is the powerful libertarian mid-19th century principle that we are stuck to the idea and free speech cannot be tabooed merely because we find it disagreeable, and that suppressant may be imposed only if such proclamation comprises a direct, explicit, and indubitable incitement to violence.
 There is no such nexus in sloganeering anti-national slogans on Kashmir & India, which are shaped around the theme of gross human right violation. But it is a tragic comic that there is talk of ‘sedition' at a time when it is regarded obsolete in many countries. Courts have ruled that laws that aim to punish people for bringing a government into hatred or contempt. In Britain, the last completed trial in a sedition case dates back to 1947. In the United States, Supreme Court rulings have rendered toothless the most recent sedition law, the Smith Act enacted in 1940.
                                                               If the First Amendment in the US gives the American student the unhindered right to profess subversive ideas, why can’t the Article 14 of our Constitution give the students of JNU, or students of any campus for that matter, a similar right? Those who are pitching in favor of sedition must be some illiterate, weak or pusillanimous person knows nothing about the true meaning & difference of patriotism and freedoms of speech.
So, the controversy over anti national remarks in JNU is essentially much ado about nothing.

Joy Das
( PG MEDIA 2015-2017)

The Scenario of India's Social Security

When we talked about social security, first we have to understand what it is? Well Social Security is a concept enshrined in Article 22 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which says that society, in which a person lives should help them to develop and to make the most of all the advantages like – culture, social welfare, work etc. which are offered to them in the country. The service providing social security are often called social services. This term is known by many of us.
Now in our country India, social security system is decided as a number of schemes and programs which are extended throughout a variety of laws and restrictions. But one main thing, the Indian Government controlled social security system in very small portion of the population. This is not foe each and very Indians.
India has a very basic social security system,
1)      Employee’s Provident Fund Org. (EPFO).
2)      Employee’s state Insurance Corporation (ESIC).

The ESFO is also known as a pension Scheme and as an insurance Scheme. On the other hand ESIC covers low earning employees providing them with basic healthcare and social security schemes.
In more specific Indian Social Security schemes are generally the following and they cover social insurances:
Health Insurance and Medical,

Pension: the EPFO under the ministry of labor and Employment. Presently only about 35 million out of a labour force of 400 million have access to formal social security in the from of old age income protection.out of these 35 million, 26 million workers are members of the EPFO.

Health Insurance and Medical:indan has a national health service, but this does not include free medical care for the whole population. In case of sick leave, te employer will pay half salary to the employees covered under the Employee’s State Insurance Act.

Disability: the workmen’s compensation Act requires the employer to pay compensation to employment related injuries resulting in death or disability.
Death: 50% of the monthly wage multiplied by the age factor.
Total permanent disablement 60% of the monthly wage multiplied by the age factor.

Maternity: the maternity benefit act requires an employer to offer 12 weeks wages during maternity as well as paid leave in certain other connected contingencies.

Gratuity:for establishments with ten or more employees, the payment of gratuity act requires the payment of 15 days of additional wages for each year of service to employees who have worked at a company for five years or more.

Anyone working in india for a prolonged period of time will have to pay social security contributions of 12% of their income if they are employed by a the EPFO. Which will in turn match the 12% contributed by the employee. 

Pallavi Das
( PG MEDIA 2015-2017)

Friday 15 April 2016

Congress and CPM team up to beat TMC

The two arch rivals in politics for decades – the Congress and the Communists  – have finally reached a workable “understanding” in sharing seats in the West Bengal state assembly polls to put up a combined fight against the ruling Trinamool Congress
But for the moment, the two seem to have buried all their animosity as they say: “We are ready to do anything to oust this “despotic and autocratic” rule of the Trinamool Congress, and Mamata Banerjee.

Releasing the names of 116 of the 294 candidates for the upcoming Assembly polls in West Bengal, Left Front chairman Biman Bose said on Monday that they have only entered an “electoral understanding” with the Congress and there has been no alliance between them. “In an attempt to prevent division of votes, we had asked all Left-minded and democratic parties to come together. Because the Congress is no longer an ally of the TMC, we welcome them. But there shall be no alliance with them. Their symbol is theirs, ours is ours,” he said, after releasing the candidates names.

Lauding the ‘positive’ role of CPI(M) in forging an alliance with his party, Bengal Congress president Adhir Chowdhury on Saturday said more than 90 per cent Assembly seats in the state would have one-on-one fight with the Trinamool Congress. Congress leaders in the poll-bound West Bengal are mounting pressure on the party’s central leadership, including president Sonia Gandhi, to form an alliance with the Communist party CPI(M) to take on the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) in the upcoming Assembly elections.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) owes it very origin to antipathy towards the Congress party. Back in 1964, leaders such as JyotiBasu were anti-Congress before it was cool, splitting the Communist Party of India on the basis of its perceived closeness to Indira Gandhi (one of the snide names the CPI was called at the time was Communist Party of Indira). Mamata Banerjee might seem invincible after grabbing 34 out of 42 LokSabha Seats in the 2014 General Election but the ground reality actually isn’t that rosy. While she may hold 63% of the seats in the state Assembly and a whopping 81% of West Bengal’s LokSabha seats, this is more a function of the fact that the Trinamool’s opposition is divided and the vagaries of the first-past-the-post system, which is designed to heavily magnify vote-share leads in terms of seats.

Central West Bengal, which is where Malda is located, is an area in which the TMC has a limited presence. However, as ShuvojitBagchi points out, writing in the Hindu, communal turmoil like the episode witnessed in Malda recently is likely to boost both the TMC as well as the BJP in this region. The ensuing polarization will help the TMC mop up Muslim votes and the BJP attract Hindu voters. This should, of course, greatly worry the Congress, which has dominated central Bengal since 1947. Which is why the state Congress is so keen on an alliance with the CPI(M), which would ensure that its base remains secure.

Anurag Singh
( PG MEDIA 2015-2017)

Politics and war: Synonimous

John Lily’s phrase “All is fair in love and war” in the Novel “Euphues”: The Anatomy of Wit” published way back in the year 1579 seems to be the most relevant phrase in the recent political scenario of West Bengal, as two of the uncompromising fighting giants in Bengal’s politics joined their hands with a close up smile, by way of seat adjustment in the ensuing Assembly Election of the State with a mission to up-root the ruling Trinamool Congress from the State.

 We have experienced U.P.A. Government at the Centre lead by the Indian National Congress supported by the Lefts from outside, though the experience was not at all sweet for the Congress. But in our State these two parties were the main political rivals till the end of the twentieth century. The CPIM led Left Front came into power in the State in the year 1977 and ruled the State for thirty four years and Congress party was the main opposition party in the State for about twenty five years of the Left regime. Congress party in the State suffered a division in the year 1998 when Trinamool Congress took its birth under the leadership of Ms. Mamata Banerjee and soon it became the main opposition party driving the Congress party from the chair of opposition in the State Assembly.

 Trinamool Congress started hue and cry against the ruling Left Front government and gained peoples’ attention and confidence. Several anti-government movements of the party were joined by the mass of the State picking up the movements to its thresh-hold point. Major movements at Singur and Nandigram against the land policy of the Left Front government drew attention of the entire Nation and beyond. Congress party in the State gradually became almost ‘name-plate’ with the advancement of the Trinamool Congress in the State.

 In 2011 Assembly election the 34 year old Left Front government in the State had to leave the chair miserably beaten by the Trinamool Congress-Congress alliance. The alliance of Trinamool Congress and Congress did not last and the Congress party had to come out of the government. In last five years thousands of Left and Congress supporters joined the Trinamool Congress. Even some of the senior Left as well as Congress leaders preferred to change their colours to enjoy the power. Hundreds of party offices of the CPIM in the State remained closed, thousands of party members abstained from renewal of party membership. The CPIM led Left Front and the Congress party lost miserably in Panchayat and Corporation elections.

 The Left Front and Congress faced disastrous defeat in the Parliament election in 2015 when the Trinamool Congress won 34 out of 42 parliamentary constituencies in the State despite the nation-wide absolute Modi wave. In this election the Left Front could manage to get only two parliamentary seats while Congress bagged only 6 seats. Both the Left Front and Congress party in the State after the 2015 Parliamentary election could finally realize that it would be just next to impossible for any one of them to fight against almighty TMC. Both the parties could realize that the ruling party is quickly loosing its popularity for numbers of reasons.

 Sarada scam has forced one of the State Ministers to rest behind the bars while the All India General Secretary of the party has lost his chair. Many more reasons influenced the mass at large in the State to think twice before casting their votes. Both the Congress party and the Left Front thought this moment to be the ideal time to appear before the public in joined hands. Think-tanks of both these parties calculated the percentage of votes for the respective parties and concluded with the opinion that combined votes for the two parties would cause defeat for the ruling party in most of the seats in the ensuing Assembly election.

The dream of the Pundits of both the parties may yield positive result in the election, but there are lots of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ in it. The most significant factor is the credibility factor.  34 years of the Left rule in the State produced tremendous negative feeling for the Left parties while Congress party has almost no impact in the minds of the voters in the State. Another important factor is development. The ruling party in the State has done lot of infrastructural development in the State which may attract the voters. The allegation of corruption against the ruling TMC party shall have some impact in the Ballot box, but the question is how far? The voters of the rural Bengal are somewhat been benefited by the ‘Kanyasree’ and other projects of the State government. BPL card holders are being benefited by having rice at the rate of Rs.2/- per Kg. All these factors may jeopardize the calculations of the think-tanks of Left as well as Congress leaders, but both the parties have nothing to lose out of this seat adjustment. Is it true?

NO. If the equations of the Pundits fail in this election, I am afraid there will be just no-opposition in the State in the next ten years which is dangerous for the democracy. I strongly believe that there should be a strong opposition to build ‘shadow ministry’ to protect the citizens from the abuses one party rule.

Sreemoyee Bhattacharya
( PG MEDIA 2015-2017)


Authenticity of a Sting Operation

In more refined terms, it can be called Investigative Journalism or Undercover Journalism. A Sting Operation is an operation designed to catch a person committing a crime by means of deception. A complicated confidence game planned and executed with great care. Sting Operation is an information-gathering exercise; it looks for facts that are not easy to obtain by simple requests and searches, or those that are actively being concealed, suppressed or distorted.
There are times when sting operations, according to the result and consequence got divided into two types.
Positive Sting Operation: Positive Sting Operation is one which results in the interest of the society, which pierces the veils of the working of the government. It is carried out in the public interest. Due to positive sting operation society is benefited because it makes government responsible and accountable. It leads to the transparency in the government.
An operation by an online news site called Tehelka to catch top politicians and army officers taking bribes from journalists posing as businessmen.
Negative Sting Operation: negative sting operations do not benefit the society, but they do harm the society and its individuals. It unnecessarily violates the privacy of the individual without any beneficial results to the society.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday, 7th February, 2007, issued notices to a private news channel and its reporter for carrying out a sting operation carried out in the year 2004, which allegedly showed a non-bailable warrant could be procured against any person by paying a hefty amount in the court. 
The recent sting operations have brought a huge change in the society where people somehow are able to open their eyes on different perspectives.
India TV’s casting couch expose:
It was probably the biggest shock to the entertainment industry when India TV exposed actor Shakti Kapoor and Aman Verma allegedly involved in seeking sexual favors for struggling actors. India TV in a sting operation sent an undercover agent as struggler to the aforementioned, who were caught on tape seeking seeking sexual favor from the reporter. This sting operation even marked an emergence of India TV in mainstream media.
Cobra Post sting operation:
The online magazine Cobra Post, over a period of several months, conducted a sting operation on three big banks – HDFC, ICICI, Axis alleging how these banks are involved in channeling huge amounts of black money into the banking system as laundered white money. Employees of these banks were caught n camera offering to convert black money into white money.

Now there will be questions if sting operation should be carried on or not?
Sting operation is deemed to be legal by Delhi high court. Its legal under Article 51A (b) of the Indian constitution! But sting operations are only legal if you do it for the betterment of society and public good. In any other reason apart from this, it will be considered invasion of privacy and hence, illegal!

Sting operation is a fantastic tool not only for the media but also for a common for catching anybody red handed. It can be used for throwing light on the topics likes corruption, bribe and frauds. 

Rohit Mitra
( PG MEDIA 2015-2017)

T20 Cricket: Good and Bad at the same time?

Champions League T20 or Twenty20 is a typical international cricketing event of three hours with each innings lasting around 75–90 minutes having a 10–20-minute interval. This is much shorter than previously-existing forms of cricket. In total 12 teams participate of with ten of them being the permanent members of ICC, while the remaining two are chosen by the Board through qualifying matches for the final event. However, in 2014 16 teams participated in it.

Since its inception the game has been very successful, resulting in its spread around the cricket world.  The inaugural ICC World Twenty20 was played in South Africa in 2007. Every two years an ICC World Twenty20 tournament is to take place, except in the event of an ICC Cricket World Cup being scheduled in the same year, in which case it will be held the year before. In cricket, the concept of franchises or clubs hasn’t really caught on before the advent T20. For the fans, cricket has mostly been about national passion and they are used to the national rivalries, having been fed on nation versus nation confrontations for years now.

Twenty20 cricket is claimed to have "raised the bar" in terms of fitness levels for all players, demanding higher levels of strength, speed, agility and reaction time from all players regardless of role in the team. This might lead to fatigue and tiredness among players. Indian Premier League was the dawn of a new era in T20 cricket.  Unlike football, it is still more about the cricketers than the team itself. If a cricketer of any team (upon whom audiences & other team members can support) fails to give his best, then the whole team suffers for this.

However, the biggest problem of the CLT20 seems to be the scheduling of the tournament also. Players hardly get time for rest to give their best in the 20-20 overs. A continuous pressure of various matches before and after T20 disturbs their concentration. So, to some extent T20 is causing a great massacre of cricket, as a result of which cricket gradually is loosing its charm. There are no specific formats of batting. Runs play major roles, a match is a success if it possesses maximum number of runs.

The format of ICC World Cup T20 is first World Cup starts with round robin, which is followed by Super 8s & then the Semi-Finals & the Finals which detect the winner. Since 2007 five seasons of T20 was successfully played till now. This year INDIA hosted the event & the finale was held on APRIL 3, 2016 AT EDEN GARDENS between ENGLAND & WEST INDIES

                                                            Aindrila Chatterjee
                                                              ( PG MEDIA 2015-2017)