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NL Hafta

NL Hafta

Author: Newslaundry.com

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Weekly wrap of events of the week peppered with context, commentary and opinion by a superstar panel. Click here to support Newslaundry: http://bit.ly/paytokeepnewsfree

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In this week’s Newslaundry’s panel of Abhinandan Sekhri, Manisha Pande, Raman Kripal, and Anand Vardhan are joined by Suraj Yengde, an award winning scholar, author, and activist in the field of caste, race, and ethnicity studies and labour migration in the Global-south. Currently, he is a senior research fellow at Harvard-Kennedy School. Suraj has also been nominated for the ‘Sahitya Akademi Award’ and is a recipient of  the ‘Dr.Ambedkar Social Justice Award’ in 2019 and the ‘Rohith Vemula Scholar Award’ in 2018.  The conversation begins with discussing the reclamation of Dalit identities in pop culture. Explaining this with the rise of Chamar pop with tracks like ‘Put Han Chamara De’, Suraj says it is counterintuitive to the masculine, toxic Jat pride seen in pop-culture spaces and the embracing of Dalit identity, but not through the Brahiminical lens. ‘The way that Jat is used not just as Jat pride, but also to make other people feel low’, he adds. Suraj also talks about the discomfort around Dalit folks owning their ancestry, and the reason behind the loudness of Dalit politics. He says, “ If a Dalit claims his or her Dalitness, the other person feels attacked all of sudden. They say, ’Why do you even mention that, I don’t look at you as a Dalit’.” Raman asks Suraj whether there are any Dalit political leaders who can match Kashi Ram’s counter-culture since Mayawati’s impact seems to fading. To this, he says “India is a petri-dish of identity-based politics,” and there needs to be a decentralisation of Dalit political future. He also discusses the role of media and how it only highlights a few individuals. Suraj adds, “Media manufactures leaders in India. Media manufactured Modi as a leader, and even in the Dality community that’s the same.” He also explains the deep distrust amongst Dalits against the current political dispensation, “where it will probably take two Ambedkars and two Gandhis to really bring back the faith in electoral democracy.” Abhinandan brings up Chandrashekhar, the emerging face of Dalit politics in India and asks Suraj about his impact. Suraj points to the immense pressure on the Bhim Army leader who has been slapped with draconian laws. He says, “Chandrashekhar really needs to embrace Kanshi Ram,” and start caderising to  bring out the subaltern stories.  The panel also discusses the ‘survival burden’ of Dalits and the exclusion of Dalit voices in national matters, the New Education Policy, and how far has RSS been successful in shaping it since 2014. This and a lot more, only on NL Hafta. Tune In! Song: Jhootha Kahin KaTimecodes0:21:  Introduction and Headlines09:51:  Caste Annihilation45:48:  India’s new education policy1:17:37:  Subscriber Letters1:35:58:  Saifuddin Soz’s Detention1:50:26:  Subscriber Letters 2:07:23:  Recommendations See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
In this week’s NL Hafta, Newslaundry’s Abhinandan Sekhri, Raman Kirpal, Mehraj D Lone and Manisha Pande are joined by Sushanta Talukdar, editor of NEZINE, an online magazine focusing on India’s Northeast region.The discussion starts off with the Assam floods, which has affected over 28 lakh people so far. Floods are a recurring issue during the monsoons in Assam, but the government has still not found a way to contain the toll it takes. “The problem is, people forget about the Assam floods after the last day of the floods,” Sushanta says.The conversation shifts to a National Centre for Disease Control survey that said nearly 23 percent of people surveyed in Delhi had developed antibodies for the Covid infection. Manisha calls the survey heartening, since it “shows that the pandemic is not that terrible, because a lot of people survived”, though Mehraj disagrees. India’s increasing cases and low death rate has also been controversial, and Raman says he’d like to “investigate” the Covid death toll, since it’s not very clear.On the ongoing political crisis in Rajasthan, the panel debates the importance of a floor test. Abhinandan asks if the situation is nearing a “constitutional crisis” with all the horse-trading going on. The panel also discusses the Supreme Court issuing suo motu contempt proceedings against lawyer Prashant Bhushan over his allegedly derogatory tweets against the judiciary. Can a tweet about a judge be considered contempt of court? Mehraj says, “You can criticise their judgements but you cannot criticise the judges. You will be hauled up for that.” Raman says contempt of court is an “outdated law”.The podcast also covers the recent death of a journalist in Ghaziabad, and a lot more. Tune in!Song: Mast PunjabiTimecodes00:05: Introduction and headlines04:59: Assam floods33:07: Uttar Pradesh journalist’s murder35:35: How subscriptions fund independent journalism at Newslaundry41:54: Subscriber letters52:33: Delhi's serology survey and questions over community transmission, deaths and vaccines01:03:22: Rajasthan political crisis01:11:32: Subscriber letters01:20:35: Supreme Court’s contempt of court proceedings against Prashant Bhushan01:29:46: Subscriber letters01:32:48: Recommendations See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
In this week’s NL Hafta, Newslaundry’s Abhinandan Sekhri, Raman Kripal, Mehraj D Lone, Manisha Pande and Anand Vardhan are joined by Suhasini Haider, diplomatic editor of the Hindu. The conversation kicks off with discussing how Iran dropped India from the Chabahar-Zahedan rail project. Abhinandan asks Suhasini how this might affect India. “There’s this kind of FOMO. Right now, you don’t want to be cut out of any geo-strategic game, especially when a country like China is signing a massive deal with them,” she says. She also talks about the scanty coverage of foreign policy issues in the current political climate.The discussion moves on to “cancel culture”. Has it been taken too far, or is it a “conspiracy” by boomers to call post-millennials “too soft”? In Manisha’s opinion, “Cancel culture kills innovative thoughts.” Mehraj brings up the privileges and narrowed gaze of cancel culture. He adds, “There’s no greater threat to free thought than self-censoring.” The panel also discusses whether cancel culture is an elite fad of the West, and if it works in the Indian context.On the ongoing political crisis in Rajasthan, Raman believes it was triggered by chief minister Ashok Gehlot, whom he says was promoting his sons and the Gujjar netas in the state. Sachin Pilot, he says, was “hardly functional” as deputy chief minister, and “at this juncture, it was important for him to revolt”. Mehraj thinks the victimhood of Pilot is “amusing, as there’s no ideological battle here” .The panel also compares Jyotiraditya Scindia and Pilot, discusses the curious case of apologies by Indian comedians, and debates whether ideology really matters in Indian politics. Tune in!Timestamps:00:00: Introduction and headlines8:43: India dropped from Chabahar Rail Project36:01: Subscriber letters on safetyism, cancel culture, and freedom of speech1:10:51: Sachin Pilot vs Ashok Gehlot1:28:48: Subscriber rebuttal to Anand's article1:33:15: Agrima Joshua, limits of comedy, and apologies1:46:00: Subscriber letters1:56:43: Assam floods and the inevitability of disasters2:00:40: Recommendations See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
In this episode of NL Hafta, Newslaundry’s Abhinandan Sekhri, Manisha Pande, Mehraj D Lone, Raman Kirpal, and Anand Vardhan are joined by two guests: Mohan Guruswamy, author and chairman-founder of the Centre for Policy Alternatives & The Guruswamy Center, and Tanmoy Goswami, the Correspondent’s sanity correspondent who writes on mental health. Among other things, the panel talks about the India-China border flare-up, and Sushant Singh Rajput’s death and how the media covered it.Mohan explains the location of the Line of Actual Control and how the India-China skirmish came about. “There are two LACs, the Chinese LAC and the Indian LAC; they overlap,” he says. Abhinandan asks him what triggered the Chinese action. Mohan speculates that alarm bells in China could have been raised by Amit Shah’s statement on recovering Aksai Chin, and India’s push for a WHO investigation into Covid-19. Mohan adds that the Chinese are “hyper-aggressive on all sectors of their borders”. Anand weighs in by pointing out the recent pattern of China’s militarism and aggression. The panel also discusses the difficulties in reporting on issues like this one, given the ambiguity surrounding the whole episode. Moving on to the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, Abhinandan asks Tanmoy about the media coverage, and the broader norms of reporting on people who die by suicide. Tanmoy says the attitude of many senior media professionals towards suicide is informed by the fact that suicide was criminalised in India for a long time. “Suicide was reported by crime reporters, and so there’s a legacy of those days,” he says. Now, Tanmoy says, editors have started responding positively to contentions against sensationalist headlines or triggering illustrations. “The number of vigilant eyes in India has multiplied,” he says. He also talks about the intersectional nature of problems causing suicide, and how always equating suicide and mental illness is a “horrible myth”.The panel also discusses the lacunae in entertainment and sports reporting, nepotism and cliques in several industries, frivolous court cases, and much more. Tune in! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
In this week’s NL Hafta, the Newslaundry panel of Abhinandan Sekhri, Raman Kirpal, Mehraj D Lone and Manisha Pande discuss gangster Vikas Dubey’s arrest, Jyotiraditya Scindia’s speech, and cancel culture.The discussion starts with Scindia naming former chief ministers Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh in a speech, where he reminded them that he’s still around and powerful. Talking about Scindia’s legacy, Raman says, “Scindia may become a power figure with the Centre’s help.”Moving to the arrest of Vikas Dubey for killing eight policemen, Mehraj talks about how Dubey flourished in Uttar Pradesh “because of political patronage.” (Note: This podcast was recorded before Dubey was killed.) The panel also discusses how casteism runs the police and bureaucracy in Uttar Pradesh, and how people are likely to applaud the police and chief minister Adityanath, who openly boasted about controlling crime in the state with encounters.The discussion then moves on to CBSE scrapping chapters on citizenship, nationalism and secularism from the curriculum of some classes. The revisions were made to “rationalise” the syllabus in view of the pandemic, CBSE said. Abhinandan questions the choice of the chapters that were deleted, and the panel discusses whether the decision was politically motivated.Abhinandan brings up a letter on free speech, signed by multiple bestselling authors and intellectuals, which acknowledges the national reckoning over racism and social injustice, but also argues that the protest movements have helped weaken the norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favour of ideological conformity. The panel also discusses the idea of “safetyism” — that people are weak and should be protected, rather than exposed to challenges. Manisha points out, “The word ‘trigger’ is being used very loosely and when used so loosely, somehow the heft goes.”This and a lot more, only on NL Hafta. Tune in! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
In this week’s NL Hafta, the Newslaundry panel of Abhinandan Sekhri, Raman Kirpal, Mehraj D Lone, Manisha Pande and Anand Vardhan are joined by Sandhya Ravishankar, award-winning journalist and editor of the Lede. The conversation centres on police brutality in India, in the context of the custodial deaths of a father and son in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi.Sandhya talks about how the vernacular media in Tamil Nadu covered the custodial deaths of Jayaraj and Bennix from the start. Manisha and Abhinandan point out how Delhi-based news channels offered greater coverage of George Floyd than the Thoothukudi case. Describing the past record of the policemen involved in the deaths, Sandhya says that police brutality in the southern states is “as bad, if not worse, than our north Indian counterparts”, in response to Abhinandan calling some northern states “especially notorious” when it comes to police brutality. Anand says this incident is not an outlier, and that the human rights departments within some police forces are viewed as “punishment postings”. Mehraj discusses instances of brutality and corruption by the Jammu and Kashmir police, while Raman describes problems in police and constabulary recruitment and training.The panel moves on to the crossfire between armed forces and militants in Sopore, and the death of a CRPF jawan and a civilian. They bring up the controversy around the BJP’s Sambit Patra’s tweet on the incident, and the journalistic ethics of publishing controversial photographs, especially of minors. Anand lists instances of the regional press publishing very graphic images. He says the use of pictures to evoke horror only becomes controversial when political forces use them to score points. Abhinandan talks about magazines in the West that publish photographs of children dying in the Middle East. He wonders if they’d do the same thing if the photos were taken in the US.In the context of Prime Minister Modi’s recent speech on extending the Garib Kalyan Yojana, Mehraj says the public distribution system is “robust”, despite its flaws. Abhinandan highlights the importance of transparency to ensure last-mile delivery of welfare schemes.The panel also talks about Modi’s new look, life in Kashmir, and a lot more. Tune in! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
In this week’s NL Hafta, the Newslaundry team of Abhinandan Sekhri, Manisha Pande, Mehraj D Lone and Raman Kirpal are joined by Anoo Bhuyan, a reporter with IndiaSpend currently writing on healthcare. Among other things, the panel talks about the healthcare crisis and challenges brought about by the Covid-19 outbreak, the fire in Assam’s Baghjan oil field, and two important media-related developments.Beginning with the Delhi government’s handling of the Covid crisis, Anoo discusses the perceived binary between affordable-but-bad government hospitals and good-but-expensive private hospitals, mentioning the lack of accountability in the latter. She thinks that declaring community transmission is a political call, as it has to do with the admission of failure. “To say that there is community transmission is to say that it’s not in our hands anymore,” she says.While explaining how the fire in the Baghjan oil field came about, Mehraj says: “They have been trying to douse the flames, but it will at least take a month.” He also draws attention to the ecological, economic and human costs of the fire. Abhinandan and Manisha add that a story like this would have received much more attention if it had happened close to Delhi and not in Assam.Moving on to the new media policy in Jammu and Kashmir, Raman says it should be struck down by the judiciary. “This is in violation of Article 14,” he says. He thinks that if the policy finds success in Jammu and Kashmir, “it will spread over to the entire country”. Mehraj points out that much of what the new policy says has already existed in practice in Kashmir. The panel discusses another media story: the resignation of James Bennet, the editorial page editor of the New York Times, after publishing a piece by Senator Tom Cotton that argued in favour of calling the military to control the Black Lives Matter protests in the US. Manisha reads out an excerpt from the op-ed, pointing out the irony in how the NYT has in the past championed sending US troops to the Middle East. She says the newspaper could have published a counter-view, adding: “An editor need not have lost a job because of that.” Abhinandan says, “On stuff like this, I don’t have a theorem I go by. I go by the specifics.” Also, Mehraj has something to say about liberal hypocrisy. The panel also talks about previous NL Sena projects, racism in cricket, the silence of Indian elites, India’s obsession with fairness, and much more. Listen up! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
In this edition of Hafta, Newslaundry’s Abhinandan Sekhri, Manisha Pande, Mehraj D Lone and Raman Kirpal are joined by Ajai Shukla, a defence journalist, former colonel of the Indian army, and current consulting editor at Business Standard. The panel discusses the developments in and the broader implications of the India-China border flare-up, Patanjali’s Coronil debacle, and the Jagannath Rath Yatra.Ajai explains the chronology of events from April onward at the border. He says Chinese soldiers “marched into three different sectors of India and occupied a chunk of Indian territory”, measuring about 60 sq km, where they started building defences. Initial reports were either ignored or dismissed by official sources until 20 Indian soldiers were killed, he adds. The panel discusses why this episode is unique, why the government might have denied these reports, the reasons for China’s new aggression, and how this incident might affect the balance of power between India and China. “There is absolutely every prospect that China might do something to activate the Arunachal border,” Ajai says. The conversation shifts to the Supreme Court allowing the Jagannath Rath Yatra to take place in Puri. The panel talks about how the state government and public health experts should have made this decision, not the court. In the context of how Patanjali used its licence to manufacture immunity boosters to promote “Coronil” as a cure for Covid-19, Manisha says questioning Ramdev has been equated to questioning ayurveda itself. Mehraj details the bogus testing methods that Patanjali followed. The conversation also spans the complexity of calls to boycott Chinese products, the development of indigenous industrial capacity, whether there is a global resurgence of socialism, Delhi’s coronavirus mathematics, and much more.Tune in! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Chhota Hafta 282

Chhota Hafta 282

2020-06-2731:29

In this edition of Hafta, Newslaundry’s Abhinandan Sekhri, Manisha Pande, Mehraj D Lone and Raman Kirpal are joined by Ajai Shukla, a defence journalist, former colonel of the Indian army, and current consulting editor at Business Standard. Ajai explains the chronology of events from April onward at the border. He says Chinese soldiers “marched into three different sectors of India and occupied a chunk of Indian territory”, measuring about 60 sq km, where they started building defences. Initial reports were either ignored or dismissed by official sources until 20 Indian soldiers were killed, he adds. To listen to the full episode, subscribe to Newslaundry. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
In this episode of NL Hafta, Newslaundry’s Abhinandan Sekhri, Anand Vardhan, Mehraj D Lone and Manisha Pande are joined by Emily Schmall, South Asia correspondent for the Associated Press. The panel discusses the murder of George Floyd and the protests that followed. “Polls show that most Americans are in favour of these protests,” Emily says. “You can get a sense of that by seeing how corporate America has responded.” The panel also compares the reaction of Indian celebrities to police brutality in the US to their silence when it comes to similar incidents in India.Anand talks about migrant workers returning to Bihar, even as Covid-19 cases climb in the state. He says the condition of Bihar’s quarantine centres “has not been consistent” and is “largely bad”. Abhinandan is pessimistic about the spread of Covid-19 in India, saying: “I don’t think we will be able to flatten the curve. I think India should be ready for a steep rise until a cure or a vaccine or herd immunity happens.” The group discusses India’s comparatively low mortality rate, and Mehraj suggests that one should be sceptical of official data.The discussion shifts to the role of social media platforms in publishing and moderating content. Mehraj says that Twitter’s recent fact-checking of Donald Trump was “not out of the goodness of their heart”, pointing out that the organisation gave blue ticks to “rabid bigots and Islamophobes”. Manisha argues that Twitter’s decision was not very smart because “fundamentally, there is a difference between a platform and a publisher.” She adds that if you want to be a publisher, you had “better face the music that publishers face”.The panel also discusses the possible opening of religious places, tackling bigotry at home, subscription models of journalism, principles of equality in Indian politics, and Indian conservatism.For this and much more, tune in! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
In this episode of NL Hafta, Newslaundry’s Abhinandan Sekhri, Manisha Pande and Mehraj D Lone are joined by Shoaib Daniyal, associate editor at Scroll. The panel starts with a discussion on Cyclone Amphan and the resultant devastation in West Bengal. Shoaib says: “This was so fearsome that it came into Kolkata also, which is a good 100 km from the sea...It was a pretty scary sight that day and, of course, the city then went through terrible problems for the next few days.” He adds that casualty numbers are relatively low, despite the cyclone’s severity, “because of basic precautions. Just putting people in a pakka house — that very simple act saves lives.”The panel also discusses the media coverage of Amphan. Manisha acknowledges that there are possible constraints for media organisations. However, channels like Zee Bangla and News18 Bangla still managed to cover the cyclone, but Zee and News18’s Hindi counterparts did not, “despite having this great resource of reporters being on the ground for the Bengali channels,” she says. “So I think it’s more wilful than the lack of being able to get someone.”Moving on to the rerouting of Shramik Special trains, Mehraj says, “I am just at a loss. Even incompetence alone doesn’t explain this. This is a time when they are running a fraction of the usual number of trains...It is not just that these trains are getting lost, but they are also not providing food or even water.” Bemoaning the government’s inability to coordinate the provision of food with civil society groups, Abhinandan says the government “doesn’t want to talk to anyone. Because they think of everybody as an enemy. When you are such a hostile and venom-filled entity, you will not reach out to anyone to collaborate.”The panel also discusses the recent India-China dispute, Newslaundry’s coverage of different issues under constraints, lockdowns in other countries, Rahul Gandhi’s recent comments on the Maharashtra government, and the possibility of opening places of religious worship. For this and much more, tune in! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Chhota Hafta 281

Chhota Hafta 281

2020-06-2031:51

In this episode of NL Hafta, Newslaundry’s Abhinandan Sekhri, Manisha Pande, Mehraj D Lone, Raman Kirpal, and Anand Vardhan are joined by two guests: Mohan Guruswamy, author and chairman-founder of the Centre for Policy Alternatives, and Tanmoy Goswami, the Correspondent’s sanity correspondent who writes on mental health. Abhinandan asks Mohan what triggered the Chinese action. Mohan speculates that alarm bells in China could have been raised by Amit Shah’s statement on recovering Aksai Chin, and India’s push for a WHO investigation into Covid-19 See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Chhota Hafta 280

Chhota Hafta 280

2020-06-1336:28

In this week’s NL Hafta, the Newslaundry team of Abhinandan Sekhri, Manisha Pande, Mehraj D Lone and Raman Kirpal are joined by Anoo Bhuyan, a reporter with IndiaSpend currently writing on healthcare. While explaining how the fire in the Baghjan oil field came about, Mehraj says: “They have been trying to douse the flames, but it will at least take a month.” He also draws attention to the ecological, economic and human costs of the fire. Abhinandan and Manisha add that a story like this would have received much more attention if it had happened close to Delhi and not in Assam.To listen to the full episode, subscribe to Newslaundry. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Chhota Hafta 279

Chhota Hafta 279

2020-06-0627:30

In this episode of NL Hafta, Newslaundry’s Abhinandan Sekhri, Anand Vardhan, Mehraj D Lone and Manisha Pande are joined by Emily Schmall, South Asia correspondent for the Associated Press. The panel discusses the murder of George Floyd and the protests that followed. “Polls show that most Americans are in favour of these protests,” Emily says. “You can get a sense of that by seeing how corporate America has responded.” The panel also compares the reaction of Indian celebrities to police brutality in the US to their silence when it comes to similar incidents in India. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Chhota Hafta 278

Chhota Hafta 278

2020-05-3040:47

In this episode of NL Hafta, Newslaundry’s Abhinandan Sekhri, Manisha Pande and Mehraj D Lone are joined by Shoaib Daniyal, associate editor at Scroll. Discussing the rerouting of Shramik Special trains, Mehraj says, “I am just at a loss. Even incompetence alone doesn’t explain this. This is a time when they are running a fraction of the usual number of trains...It is not just that these trains are getting lost, but they are also not providing food or even water.” To listen to the full episode, subscribe to Newslaundry. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
In this episode of NL Hafta, Abhinandan Sekhri is joined by our in-house team of Raman Kirpal, Mehraj D Lone, Manisha Pande and Anand Vardhan. Discussing the recent border dispute between India and Nepal, Anand describes the dispute’s historical context and the causes of the current fracas. Mehraj argues that this could be attributed to India’s “projection of power” since the start of the new millennium, which might have become less effective after a decade-long slowdown in economic growth. Mehraj adds that “our national imagination, especially the kind that the BJP and the Hindutva camp has...can’t accept that we are equal with these people. You have to project power, you have to project greatness. But the basis of that greatness is no longer there. Because your own economy is struggling.” Abhinandan says: “As long as Covid is dominating the world, these will be just side acts.”The panel shifts to the controversy over the Congress providing the Uttar Pradesh government with buses to transport migrant workers. Abhinandan says, “I am no fan of the Congress, but here I think there is a lot of monkey balancing [by the media]. What the UP government is doing is disgusting.” Mehraj agrees, deploring the government’s general treatment of migrant workers. Moving on to the finance minister’s announcements over the past week, Mehraj says the government should have put more money in the hands of the people. Raman says, “You introduced Aadhaar. You made it compulsory for people to open bank accounts. But when the time has come to transfer money, you aren’t doing it.” Anand suggests that the government focused on structural reforms. However, he acknowledges Abhinandan’s point about “the lack of policy imagination in offering immediate succour”. In response to a subscriber email, the panel also discusses conservatism in India, and Anand argues that the ideology is essentially “continuity with change”. Finally, the panel talks about the Covid-19 cases at Zee News, and Newslaundry’s recent report about the cluster. Abhinandan says the employees who tested positive “might not get the sympathy that they should get, because of how Sudhir Chaudhary and other people like him have positioned themselves. That is a sad outcome.” Manisha is more optimistic, hoping that “people will make the distinction between Sudhir and regular Zee workers who are living alone or living with family.”The panel also talks about Cyclone Amphan, Barkha Dutt’s ground reporting during the pandemic, and the arrest of Rwanda genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga.For this and much more, tune in! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Chhota Hafta 277

Chhota Hafta 277

2020-05-2340:51

In this episode of NL Hafta, Abhinandan Sekhri is joined by our in-house team of Raman Kirpal, Mehraj D Lone, Manisha Pande and Anand Vardhan.Talking about the Covid-19 cases at Zee News, and Newslaundry’s recent report about the cluster, Abhinandan says the employees who tested positive “might not get the sympathy that they should get, because of how Sudhir Chaudhary and other people like him have positioned themselves. That is a sad outcome.” Manisha is more optimistic, hoping that “people will make the distinction between Sudhir and regular Zee workers who are living alone or living with family.”To listen to the full episode, subscribe to Newslaundry. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
In this episode of NL Hafta, Abhinandan Sekhri, Manisha Pande, Mehraj D Lone, and Anand Vardhan of Newslaundry are joined by Shelly Walia, senior editor at the Quint.Rather surprisingly, this episode kicks off with a healthy debate on whether litti chokha belongs to Uttar Pradesh or Bihar. The panellists then engage in an extended discussion on their favourite regional delicacies. Mehraj finally ends the discussion with a tongue-in-cheek remark: “Vegetarian and delicacy don’t go together in the same sentence.” Shelly then turns to the subject of Amulya Leona, a young woman from Karnataka, being slapped with a sedition case for saying “Pakistan Zindabad” at an AIMIM rally in Hyderabad. Mehraj explains how this issue pertains to which side of the free speech debate one stands on. Shelly argues that the BJP latches onto such statements to divert attention from real problems. “Just think of the things that you got to hear before the Delhi election when it was constantly, like, India, Pakistan, Muslim, Hindu, current puhuch jayega and goli maaro. The kind of shit that is being said by our ministers...and here is a 20-year-old ‘woke’ woman who says something like that and we call her idiotic. I don’t think that’s a fair thing because I just feel things are going off track.”Abhinandan disagrees, arguing that every protest can’t be about everything. “If every protest becomes bhadaas nikalna, then the repercussions will also be bhadaas nikalne wala,” he says. While Mehraj bats for absolute freedom to say whatever one wants, Abhinandan puts the AIMIM at fault for not vetting what was to be spoken from their stage. “I think it is a dumb thing to give platform to someone like that to make a fool of themselves. Of course, the person has the right to make a fool of themselves, but is that good for the movement I am fighting for?”On Donald Trump’s visit and the possibility that there won’t be a trade agreement, Anand opines that the fact the US president is visiting India alone is a symbolic step towards de-hyphenating India-Pakistan. “We are in a phase where the big power and the emerging power equations would be more guarded by complex interdependence rather than clear takeaways from each other.” Bringing in a less discussed nuance, Abhinandan argues that Trump’s visit will refuel the BJP’s discourse which has been dulled by its electoral loss in Delhi. The panellists also talk about AAP legislator Saurabh Bharadwaj organising monthly Hanuman Chalisa prayers in his constituency, and his demand for erecting a Hanuman statue at the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya; the Supreme Court’s order granting women permanent commission in the Army; the importance of formal education; the New York Times publishing an article by Taliban leader Sirajuddin Haqqani; and much more. Tune in! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
In this episode of NL Hafta, Abhinandan Sekhri, Manisha Pande, Mehraj D Lone, and Raman Kirpal of Newslaundry are joined by Neha Dixit, journalist and professor at Ashoka University.The podcast starts with a discussion on media reports on the Delhi riots. Neha says, “Lots of people are claiming that their relatives are missing. Dead bodies have been dumped at the hospital with no identification made since the investigation officers are too busy to get the post-mortem started. So the death toll will still go up.”Talking about the overnight transfer of Justice S Muralidhar, Abhinandan says, “It is rather alarming the brazenness with which the state is carrying out whatever their project is.“ Manisha reasons why the violence is centred in North East Delhi, saying, ”This is where Amit shah gave his ‘Shaheen bagh ko jhatka lagega’ speech, along with a large number of unemployed youth from both sides present there.” Regarding the Delhi police’s inaction during the riots, Abhinandan says this “disrespect” now for the police will outlast Modi and Shah. “The police have shot themselves in the foot.” Mehraj talks about the judiciary’s role in the violence. “If you go back and see books and reports on instances of communal violence since 1947...if you take the names of the places away, you can’t tell one from the other,” he says. “Everywhere, the police has sided with the rioters and the judiciary has been stacked against the victims. The only difference this time is that everything is being recorded on camera.”Raman believes the riots were orchestrated. ”The circumstantial evidence, so far, are strongly indicating that the people who orchestrated all this came from the border areas,” he tells the panel. The panel also discusses the media coverage of Trump’s visit, the Delhi government’s inaction during the violence, #MeToo in India, and more. Tune in! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
In this episode of NL Hafta, Abhinandan Sekhri, Raman Kirpal, Anand Vardhan, and Mehraj D Lone of Newslaundry are joined by Kapil Komireddi, author and journalist.They start with a discussion on the Delhi violence. Abhinandan asks the panellists how precisely they will describe what happened. Was it “riot” or “pogrom”? Kapil believes it was more than a riot and, had it continued to escalate, could have become a pogrom. Anand sees it purely as communal violence and a confrontation between supporters and opponents of the citizenship law. Mehraj prefers the term “communal carnage”.Talking about the foreign media’s coverage of the violence, Kapil says there’s a lack of nuance. “When a piece is written in Delhi and sent to London or New York for editing, I think the editors add their own language, they compress language, nuance somehow gets eliminated from that coverage,” he adds.He, however, rejects the suggestion that such coverage is a conspiracy to defame India. “I think India is supplying enough material to people who dislike the country,” he argues.Kapil goes on to question Narendra Modi’s competence as a leader, “For weeks, Gujarat burnt around him and he did nothing. In Delhi, in the capital of the country, the city burnt for three days and again he was incompetent, he could not do anything. So the defining characteristic of the prime minister is incompetence.”Speaking about how the violence started, Raman says, “I think prima facie, it was deliberate. It was started with some intentions to teach a lesson.” He adds that Muslims retaliated where they were in large numbers, making it a full-blown riot.About the police’s role, he says, “There are few brilliant individuals in any institution. But let us face it, on those three days, these men in khaki, they behaved like Hindus.” Anand, however, argues that it is early to say the police were incompetent considering the sequence of the events is still unclear. He says, “The cause and effect relationship, what caused it, is still very hazy.”Mehraj disagrees. “If we have to find the truth, we have to go beyond these institutions, beyond the police,” he says. “This is a police that not only sided with the rioters but was complicit in the violence”. He notes that the police actively destroyed CCTV cameras to ensure there was no evidence of their actions.The panel then discuss the coronavirus pandemic. “It seems a lot more alarming but when you see the age-wise break-up of fatality, for a young fit person, this is like a flu that goes away,” Abhinandan says, initiating the conversation.Mehraj, however, points out that the fatality rate being low doesn’t mean that the threat isn’t severe for a country like India, where “without a proper healthcare system, you are asking for disaster.”They also discuss the suspension of seven Congress MPs, Justice S Muralidhar’s transfer from the Delhi High Court to Punjab, freedom of speech, and much more.Tune in! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
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