IAMC Weekly News Digest, 11th June 2021
… Sewa International…. “Help India Defeat COVID-19” media campaign has raised millions of dollars from more than 100,000 donors since late April…. In the devastated areas they were sent to, Sewa volunteers made a concerted effort to convert Christians, Muslims, and other minorities to Hinduism; prioritized aid for higher-caste Hindus instead of equally attending to Indians of all religions and castes; blocked assistance from other humanitarian organizations; constructed new Hindu temples; and imposed lavish Hindu ceremonies upon the populace…. A 2002 investigation by the U.K.’s Channel 4 tracked money raised from British donors by Sewa International for earthquake relief and found that they went toward Hindu nationalist organizations and projects in India…. These findings were bolstered in a 2004 report by the U.K.-based, South Asia–focused human rights group Awaaz, which detailed how internationally raised relief funds went to groups that directly incited communal violence in 2002 during the Gujarat riots, which saw months of attacks on Muslims by Hindu extremists….
India’s “confused” government focused on taking credit for its actions, rather than working to restrict the spread of COVID-19, resulting in schizophrenia that led to massive troubles, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has said…. Mr. Sen’s remarks came in the backdrop of the second wave of the pandemic seeing the number of officially reported cases topping over 4 lakh a day and over 4,500 deaths daily, and also concerns over under-reporting. Some eminent personalities have said a sense of early “triumphalism” led to the crisis…. Mr. Sen said India was already afflicted with social inequities, slowing growth and unemployment at record highs, which came to haunt it during the pandemic….
On 5 December 2020, Praful Khoda Patel, a senior politician of the Bharatiya Janata Party, took charge as the administrator of the union territory of Lakshadweep…. On 22 December, the Lakshadweep administration did away with the mandatory quarantine rules for those arriving from outside…. Just over three weeks later, Lakshadweep reported its first case of the novel coronavirus and as of 10 June 2021, the UT had recorded 8,874 cases and 42 deaths in a population of just over 66,000…. In January, Patel introduced the draft Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Regulation – commonly called the Goonda Act – which residents and local politicians told me was an attempt to stifle dissent in the UT. The administration has already started cracking down on protests against Patel’s decisions. In addition, Patel drafted the Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation in April, which allows the administration to seize land for a wide range of uses with minimum protection for the landowners, among other contentious provisions…. Mannel told me he feared for the future of democracy on the islands. “…. They are trying to saffronise such a place.”… There is a curfew here. No one can go out. They can fine us or file a case against us. That is a way of culling this movement.”