Tuesday, September 15 2020

Dive In

Some people ask: 'Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?' Because that would be dishonest… It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women... For centuries, the world divided human beings into two groups and then proceeded to exclude and oppress one group. It is only fair that the solution to the problem acknowledge that.

That’s the brilliant author Chimamanda Adichie reminding us of the importance of the names we use to describe ourselves. She turned 43 today. Our other fave Adichie quote: “Of course I am not worried about intimidating men. The type of man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in.” We take this happy opportunity to also recommend her TED talk ‘We should all be feminists’. Illustration: Parth Savla

Big Story

The arrest of Umar Khalid

The TLDR: The Delhi police arrested Khalid—who is an activist and an alum of Jawaharlal Nehru University—under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). It is the latest in a string of arrests targeting people who protested the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) back in February. They have now been charged with inciting the violence in Delhi in February which left at least 53 dead, including 36 Muslims. 


Khalid’s arrest created a greater stir since he is a well-known name. But it also reveals how the government has been indiscriminately using UAPA to designate any kind of dissent as a serious crime.


A quick timeline for context: Since it’s easy to lose track of the events that led us to this place, here’s a quick recap:

  • On December 11, 2019, the government passed the Citizenship Amendment Act—which offered citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Christians from neighbouring countries. The notable exception: Muslims. While the government claimed there was no discrimination intended, the law clearly marked Muslims as a ‘special category’ of citizens, excluded from the rights of others.
  • By mid-December, protests against the CAA had spread across the country—the most notable location being Shaheen Bagh. These were peaceful demonstrations where protesters staged extended sit-ins by blocking roads and neighbourhoods.
  • Soon after, the police stormed JNU, Jamia Millia and Aligarh Muslim University campuses on various grounds—which in turn intensified the protests.
  • Hindutva activists and politicians were also targeting these demonstrations—threatening violence 
  • In February, the confrontation between anti-CAA protesters and Hindutva groups resulted in widespread violence in North Delhi—triggered most likely by this inflammatory speech made by BJP leader Kapil Mishra.  
  • Since the lockdown in late March, the Delhi police have been rounding up protesters. They are accused of deliberately conspiring to incite the riots. 
  • So far, 1,575 people have been arrested in 751 cases. Over 250 chargesheets have been filed in the riots related cases against 1,153 people.


Who was Khalid in all this?


In today’s edition

Headlines That Matter

  • TikTok finally says ‘I do’
  • An Agra village on the edge of starvation due to pandemic
  • The big migrant worker question
  • Signs of life on Venus?
  • Hey Big B, turn up the volume!


A list of intriguing fashionable things

  • A Louis Vuitton face shield
  • Christian Louboutin’s latest sneaker named Loubishark

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