Weekend Reads

  1. In Indian prisons, caste-based labour is not just still prevalent – it even finds mention in official manuals, reports Sukanya Shantha in The Wire.
  2. “Every Indian is affected,” writes P Sainath about the new farm laws that have sparked protests. “Translated into English, the legal-lingo of these laws also convert the (low-level) executive into a judiciary. Into, in fact, judge, jury and executioner. It also magnifies the already most unjust imbalance of power between farmers and the giant corporations they will be dealing with.”
  3. Parth MN speaks to R Ramakumar in First Post about the impact that large corporations might have on small and marginal farmers.
  4. Abid Hussain and Shruti Menon break down the report of a European non-governmental organisation that claimed to have exposed an Indian disinformation effort spanning 15 years.
  5. “In India, people can be accused of being terror operatives on the flimsiest of charges,” writes Amit Kumar in Article 14. “A disproportionate number are Muslim, with many cases built on paper-thin evidence and police confessions that are legally inadmissible.”
  6. Also in Article 14, Samrat Choudhury speaks to journalist Kishorchandra Wangkhe, who has been “jailed thrice in the last two years, charged with sedition twice, and spent 133 days in prison in preventive detention under the National Security Act, all for Facebook posts critical of the current Manipur government”.
  7. “In the last two years, the Bharatiya Janata Party government has liberally used the harsh anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, against students, academics, lawyers, writers, and activists whose only crime seems to be that they are vocal dissenters of the ruling dispensation,” writes Priya Ramani in Bloomberg Quint. “As families wait endlessly for their loved ones to be released, they must keep their stories alive in the public imagination. In addition to tackling rejected bail applications, delayed trials, endless paperwork, and tighter prison rules in the pandemic, they must also be the gladiators who ensure that nobody will forget their loved ones.
  8. Joel Gunter and Vikas Pandey tell the story of Waldemar Haffkine who, working in Paris and India, created the world’s first vaccines for the plague and cholera, before an accidental mass poisoning changed his life.
  9. “More than just a buzzword, dual circulation describes the deeply pessimistic worldview that has settled over Beijing,” writes James Crabtree. “Once China’s leaders saw opportunity in globalization. Now, they expect the U.S. and its allies to deny China the technology it needs to build “a modern socialist country” by mid-century, meaning a wealthy superpower fit to rival the U.S.”
  10. An Israeli professor who was head of the country’s space programme for 30 years has claimed that Israel and the US have both been dealing with interplanetary aliens for decades.