India

India’s judiciary seeks to burnish its reputation with some belated guilty verdicts

By Parwini Zora and Kranti Kumara, 3 February 2007

India’s State High Courts have recently delivered guilty verdicts in a number of high profile cases arising from brazen violent crimes committed over a decade ago by wealthy and politically well-connected individuals. Those convicted include a cabinet minister in India’s Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, a sitting Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP, the son of a senior police commissioner, and the son of a wealthy Congress Party leader.

West Bengal Left Front’s pro-investor land grab results in deadly clashes

By Arun Kumar, 26 January 2007

West Bengal’s Left Front government has temporarily suspended its policy of expropriating large tracts of agricultural land on behalf of domestic and foreign investors after violent clashes erupted at Nandigram that resulted in up to a dozen fatalities.

Government report concedes India’s Muslims are a socially deprived, victimised minority

By Deepal Jayasekera, 30 December 2006

A report prepared by a seven-member committee headed by Justice Rajinder Sachar has conceded that India’s Muslim minority faces appalling socioeconomic deprivation and is the victim of official neglect and frequent police harassment and violence.

Millions of Indian workers strike against Congress-led government’s economic policies

By our correspondents, 19 December 2006

Millions of workers throughout India participated in a one-day general strike on Thursday, December 14, to oppose the neo-liberal economic policies that have been implemented single-mindedly by the Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government since it came to power in May 2004.

Millions to join one-day, all-India general strike

By Keith Jones, 14 December 2006

Millions of workers across India will participate today in a one-day, nationwide general strike called by the Left Front-aligned Trade Union Sponsoring Committee to oppose the neo-liberal policies of India’s United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

West Bengal’s Left Front regime suppresses protests against land seizures

By Kranti Kumara, 12 December 2006

Nothing better illustrates the relentless rightward thrust of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPM] than the pro-investor economic policies that West Bengal’s CPM-led Left Front government is implementing with the support of the police and courts.

International report documents repression in Indian-controlled Kashmir

By Parwini Zora and Daniel Woreck, 30 November 2006

A recent report by the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) documents the systematic human rights abuses carried out by the Indian security forces in the state of Jammu and Kashmir with the protection of the Indian government and legal system.

US Senate endorses Bush’s nuclear accord with India

By Kranti Kumara, 29 November 2006

The United States Senate voted 85 to 12, November 16, to exempt India from the nuclear-trade restrictions currently in place under the US Atomic Energy Act (USAEA), thereby overturning longstanding US nuclear non-proliferation policies.

India: Stop the state murder of Mohammed Afzal

By Keith Jones and Arun Kumar, 14 November 2006

The Indian state and India’s political establishment are preparing to execute Mohammed Afzal, a 39-year-old Kashmiri and citizen of India.

India: Court-directed campaign to seal “illegal” buildings in Delhi provokes social turmoil

By Kranti Kumara, 10 November 2006

The Delhi High Court and Indian Supreme Court have provoked a massive social crisis in Delhi, a city of 14 million and the seat of India’s government, by issuing a series of uncompromising court orders directing the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to demolish or seal all “illegal” buildings in the city.

India: Vidarbha farmers face health disaster

A further indictment of the state of public health

By Parwini Zora, 8 November 2006

The 3.2 million-plus cotton growers in Vidarbha, a region of the state of Maharashtra that is popularly known as India’s cotton belt, have been hard-hit in recent years by plunging cotton prices and the rising cost of fertilizer and other inputs. Crushed by mounting debts, thousands of peasants have committed suicide. In recent months these woes have been aggravated by extensive drought followed by floods, which have devastated crops and precipitated an outbreak of “Chikungunya” viral fever.

India’s policy on Special Economic Zones under fire

By Jake Skeers, 27 October 2006

Only eight months ago, when the Indian government’s Special Economic Zones (SEZ) legislation commenced, it was touted as a lever to modernise India’s infrastructure and economy for the coming decades. Today, business and political commentators are already branding the SEZ law a failure.

In response to intensifying class antagonisms

India’s Congress Party revives discredited “Garibi Hatao” slogan

By Kranti Kumara and Keith Jones, 21 October 2006

India’s Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has decided to revive the populist electoral slogan “Garibi Hatao” (eliminate poverty), first popularized by Indira Gandhi during the 1971 parliamentary elections, in the hope that it can provide political cover for a new wave of neo-liberal reforms.

India’s prime minister pledges to accelerate neo-liberal ”reform”

By Kranti Kumara and Keith Jones, 21 October 2006

Within hours of the Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government reviving Indira Gandhi’s populist cry of “Garibi Hatao” (Banish or Eliminate Poverty) as its main slogan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other leading government figures were pledging before big business audiences that the UPA will accelerate the implementation of neo-liberal reforms.

Amid mounting tensions

India and Pakistan agree to resume “composite dialogue”

By Deepal Jayasekera and Keith Jones, 30 September 2006

India and Pakistan—bitter rivals since the 1947 partition of South Asia—have agreed to resume the “composite dialogue” they initiated in early 2003 in the wake of a year-long war crisis that saw New Delhi amass a million troops in battle-formation along the Pakistan border and Islamabad issue thinly veiled threats of nuclear retaliation .

What the debate in India over the US nuclear pact shows

By Keith Jones, 29 August 2006

In recent weeks, the debate within India’s ruling elite over the Indo-US nuclear accord has intensified. On August 17, Prime Minister Mammohan Singh gave a major parliamentary address in response to warnings from the scientific-military establishment that the US Congress is trying to attach new conditions to the accord, and last week the Lok Sabha debated its merits.

West Bengal Stalinists sign deal with firm tied to ex-Indonesian dictator

By Ajay Prakash, 25 August 2006

Last month, West Bengal’s Stalinist-led Left Front government signed India’s biggest foreign direct investment (FDI) deal with the Salim Goup, an Indonesian conglomerate closely linked to the former Indonesian dictator General Suharto.

Indian flood deaths highlight government indifference to recurring social calamity

By Kranti Kumara, 18 August 2006

In what has become a tragic annual ritual during the summer (June-September) monsoons, rains and overflowing rivers have killed at least 400 people and left more than 4 million homeless in the Indian states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh over the past two and a half weeks. The lives of as many as 15 million people have been disrupted by the flooding.

Behind India’s near-total silence on the Israeli assault on Lebanon

By Arun Kumar and Keith Jones, 12 August 2006

India has pretensions to be a world power, professes to be a spokesman for the underdeveloped countries in world affairs, considers west Asia to be part of its “extended neighbourhood,” and has hundreds of soldiers deployed in Lebanon as United Nations peace-keepers. Yet it has remained all but completely silent on the four-week-old Israeli aggression against Lebanon—an aggression that has cost more than a thousand Lebanese civilians their lives, forced a million Lebanese to flee their homes, destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure and threatens, due to the blockading of vital food and medical supplies, to cause an even greater humanitarian crisis.

In wake of Mumbai bombing

India increases its censorship of the Internet

By Ajay Prakash and K. Nesan, 29 July 2006

An Indian government order to Internet service providers (ISPs) to block 17 Internet web sites and web pages resulted in Indians being denied access for well over a week to whole swathes of the Internet, including the blogs hosted on blogspot.com, typepad.com and Geocities.

Indian prime minister visits rural Vidarbha

Move to deflecting mounting anger over agrarian distress

By Parwini Zora, 25 July 2006

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited the drought-stricken Vidarbha region of the state of Maharashtra for two days beginning June 30 as part of a larger tour of impoverished rural areas by Singh and other Congress Party leaders.

Following Mumbai terror attack

India indefinitely postpones peace talks with Pakistan

By M. Nessan and Keith Jones, 19 July 2006

India has indefinitely postponed peace talks with Pakistan, after accusing “elements from across the border” of having a hand in last week’s terrorist atrocity in Mumbai and demanding Pakistan do more to suppress armed, anti-Indian Islamicist and Kashmiri nationalist groups.

Hindu supremacists, media seize on Mumbai atrocity to push India’s government further right

By Keith Jones, 14 July 2006

Officials close to the investigation into Tuesday’s terrorist atrocity in Mumbai claim that they soon should “have something substantial” to say about who perpetrated the coordinated bombings of seven commuter trains in India’s most populous city and financial center.

Terrorist atrocity in Mumbai

the Editorial Board, 12 July 2006

The World Socialist Web Site condemns the coordinated bombing attack carried out yesterday in Mumbai, India’s most populous city and financial center. At least 179 people were killed and 400 injured when eight bombs exploded, in quick succession, on or near seven commuter trains traveling along the Western Railway during the Tuesday evening rush hour.

India: UPA government forced to put disinvestment plans on hold

By T. Kala and Arun Kumar, 11 July 2006

India’s United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government announced the temporary suspension of its disinvestment/privatisation programme last Thursday, after a member of the Congress Party-led coalition threatened to quit the government if it proceeded with the sale of a 10 percent interest in the Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC).

Gyrations of Indian stock market point to future economic instability

By Parwini Zora and Kranti Kumara, 8 July 2006

The wild fluctuations in Indian share prices over the past two months point to the increasing power foreign finance capital is exerting over Indian equity markets and indirectly the Indian economy.

Indo-US nuclear accord approved by key US Congressional committees

By Deepal Jayasekera, 6 July 2006

Two key US congressional committees have given overwhelming support to the Bush administration’s nuclear accord with India. This means it is highly probable that by mid-August the US Congress will have made virtually all the requisite legal changes for the nuclear accord to come into force.

London art gallery closes M.F. Husain exhibition after paintings vandalised

By Ajay Prakash, 3 July 2006

On May 22, London’s Asia House Gallery shut down a major exhibition by 91-year-old Maqbool Fida Husain, India’s most famous contemporary artist, after three men entered the gallery and defaced two of his paintings—Durga and Draupadi.

India: Gujarat Congress party lines up with BJP’s campaign against actor Aamir Khan

By Ajay Prakash, 1 July 2006

The Congress Party in Gujarat has lined up with the Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ruling party in the west Indian state, in its campaign against the world famous Bollywood actor Aamir Khan. A Muslim, Khan is probably best known to Western film audiences as producer and lead actor in the 2002 Oscar-nominated film Lagaan.

Indian prime minister ignores opposition to Narmada dam extension

By Jake Skeers, 21 June 2006

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Indian Supreme Court have both refused to halt construction on raising the height of the Sardar Sarovar (Narmada) dam from 110.64 to 121.92 metres, despite clear evidence that the extension flouted resettlement procedures and will leave tens of thousands of families homeless.

Exploitation of child labourers in India

By T. Kala, 8 June 2006

The desperate conditions affecting the rural as well as the urban poor in India are forcing growing numbers of children to toil often in subhuman conditions. They are deprived of their most basic rights as children, including education and a joyful childhood. Most have never been to school or dropped out at very young ages.

India’s Supreme Court intervenes in caste-reservation controversy

By Keith Jones, 3 June 2006

India’s Supreme Court has intervened in the controversy over the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s plans to expand caste-based reservations (mandatory affirmative action programs) at the country’s premier universities and professional institutes, saying the issue “requires judicial review.”

Caste-ism vs. ‘Merit’:

India’s toilers should reject framework of reservation debate

By Kranti Kumara and Keith Jones, 25 May 2006

The plans of India’s United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government to expand caste-based reservations in central government-funded universities, including a series of elite professional schools, have provoked widespread student protests and an outcry from the corporate media and big business. Doctors in Delhi, Mumbai and many other cities have mounted walkouts in support of the students and the Indian Medical Association has lent its voice to the protests.

Indian state election results: a distorted expression of popular opposition to neo-liberal reform

By Deepal Jayasekera, 16 May 2006

The results of the five state and Union territory elections held in April and early May point to continuing mass disaffection with the neo-liberal agenda of the Indian bourgeoisie. However, this disaffection could find only distorted expression in the polling, since all the contenders fully support the bourgeoisie’s drive to make India a center of cheap-labor manufacturing, research, and business-processing for international capital.

India: Maharashtra cotton farmers face destitution

By Parwini Zora, 12 May 2006

Around 1,000 cotton farmers in the Indian state of Maharashtra staged a protest at Yavatmal in the Vidharbha region on May Day to highlight the indifference of state and national governments to their plight. Their central demand was for a state-sponsored fresh crop loan to every farmer, regardless of previous debts. The demonstration followed a similar protest in the neighbouring state of Karnataka in late April demanding quality cotton seed.

Indian government connives with BJP in Gujarat following anti-Muslim provocation

By Kranti Kumara, 11 May 2006

At the request of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, India’s Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government dispatched army and armed police units to the state of Gujarat on May 3, with the aim of intimidating and if necessary violently suppressing protests by Muslims in and around the town of Vadadora.

West Bengal state elections: Left Front lurches further right

By Arun Kumar and Keith Jones, 8 May 2006

The Left Front’s campaign to win re-election in West Bengal, India’s third most populous state, has exemplified its role as a political prop and servant of the Indian bourgeoisie.

India: government policies lead to terrible toll in rural suicides

By M. Kailash, 28 April 2006

Indebtedness, crop failure and the inability to pay back loans due to high rates of interest have led as many as 25,000 peasants in India to commit suicide since the 1990s, according to official figures. The systematic neglect of India’s multi-million peasantry, combined with the free market policies implemented by successive governments, are responsible.

Indian Stalinists reaffirm support for UPA government

By Keith Jones, 25 April 2006

The Communist Party of India (Marxist), the dominant partner in the Left Front, has reaffirmed its intention to sustain the Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in power for a full five-year term—even whilst conceding that the UPA has implemented neo-liberal socioeconomic reforms and has aligned India with US imperialism.

Indian Supreme Court gives green light to sell off Mumbai mill lands

By Parwini Zora and Daniel Woreck, 17 April 2006

The Indian Supreme Court early last month sanctioned the sale of hundreds of acres of land occupied by textile mills in Mumbai (Bombay) to private developers despite widespread protests. In all, 58 mills sit on 602 acres of prime land in the heart of a city where prices are high even by world standards. The land will be used to build expensive shopping malls and high-end apartments for the affluent few.

Behind the Indian press’s adulation of Sonia Gandhi

By Sarath Kumara and Keith Jones, 17 April 2006

When Congress Party boss Sonia Gandhi announced last month that she was resigning her parliamentary seat only to seek re-election in the by-election her resignation triggered, India’s corporate media all but unanimously proclaimed her a master political strategist. Once again, Gandhi had confounded her political opponents, or so the story went, while bolstering her credentials as a politician uninterested in the perks of office.

US-India deal on agricultural research: no benefit for India’s rural poor

By Sarath Kumara, 11 April 2006

One aspect of US President Bush’s high-profile trip to India last month was a deal known as the Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture (KIA), which is being hailed as the basis for an “Evergreen Revolution” that will assist India’s 650 million rural population. Far from helping impoverished Indian farmers, the initiative is likely to prove a boon for US agribusiness, both directly by capitalising on access to Indian researchers and research, and indirectly by shifting Indian agricultural policy.

Bush administration presses for speedy adoption of Indo-US nuclear accord

By our reporter, 1 April 2006

The Bush administration is moving with great speed to secure US Congressional approval of the nuclear accord that the US president and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced March 2.

India’s pro-investor plans for urban renewal

By Jake Skeers, 24 March 2006

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh launched an “urban renewal” program last month designed to attract private investment to 63 of India’s largest and most important cities. His government is proposing to supply more reliable infrastructure and services, remove city regulations that act as impediments to the market, abolish rent caps and provide reliable and enforceable property rights.

India: Police and Hindu supremacists engage in provocations following Varanasi bombings

By Kranti Kumara, 11 March 2006

At least 20 people were killed and more than 100 injured in two separate bomb blasts on March 7 in the Hindu holy city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh (UP).

India’s “pro-poor” budget boosts military spending and market reforms

By Sarath Kumara, 6 March 2006

The Indian budget for 2006-07, brought down last Tuesday, was a cynical exercise in dressing up a program of further market reforms and increased military spending. The thin veneer of “pro-poor” handouts will do nothing to reverse the deepening social gulf between the wealthy few and hundreds of millions of Indians who struggle to survive from day to day.

Bird flu in India: profits override public health concerns

By Parwini Zora, 4 March 2006

When the first bird flu outbreaks were reported in India last month, the central government issued mixed messages to the public, at times minimising the arrival of avian influenza in the country, while taking sweeping measures to cull bird flocks.

Hundreds of thousands protest Bush’s visit to India

By a WSWS reporting team, 3 March 2006

While visiting US president George W. Bush has been accorded a red carpet welcome by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, hundreds of thousands of workers, peasants, students and youth have taken to the streets in all parts of the country to protest his visit and the policies of the US government. The demonstrations have targeted the Bush administration’s attempt to assert global US hegemony and in particular its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Bush secures nuclear accord with India

By Keith Jones, 3 March 2006

US President George W. Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced in New Delhi yesterday that they had “finalized” an accord under which the US will push for India to be given a “unique” position within the world nuclear regulatory regime.

Protests against Bush in India: For an international socialist strategy to fight imperialism

the Editorial Board, 1 March 2006

Supporters of the World Socialist Web Site will be distributing this statement at rallies in India protesting against the visit of US President George W. Bush. The statement is also available as a PDF file. We urge readers and supporters in India to download the statement and distribute it as widely as possible.

Ahead of Bush’s visit, Chirac pushes French interests in India

By Sarath Kumara, 28 February 2006

A three-day visit by French President Jacques Chirac to India last week highlighted the growing competition of the major powers for influence in New Delhi. Chirac’s trip is to be followed by this week’s visit to South Asia by US President George Bush, who, like his French counterpart, is seeking to cement economic and strategic ties, particularly with India.

Bush travels to South Asia in pursuit of key strategic “partnership” with India

By Keith Jones, 28 February 2006

US President George W. Bush travels to South Asia this week with the aim of cementing a strategic and “global” partnership with India. According to his aides, the trip is among the most important that Bush has made in his entire presidency.

Indian government opens retail sector to foreign corporations

By Jake Skeers, 22 February 2006

In a decision that will have devastating consequences for some of the poorest sections of Indian society, the Indian cabinet last month approved the opening up of the country’s retail and other sectors of the economy to foreign investment.

Assam: Police kill at least 10 during protest against Indian Army murder

By Kranti Kumara, 20 February 2006

In keeping with the arbitrary and violent manner that Indian security forces typically respond to protests in the country’s north-east, police shot and killed at least 10 villagers and wounded more than 20 others during a February 10 protest in the state of Assam. The demonstrators were demanding punishment of Indian Army personnel responsible for the murder of a young villager who had been taken away from his house by army personnel.

Indian Supreme Court imposes sweeping ban on public debate on toxic warship

By Sarath Kumara, 18 February 2006

Last Monday, India’s Supreme Court issued a sweeping ban on public debate and protests over plans to decommission the Clemenceau, a French aircraft carrier, at a demolition yard in Alang, in the west Indian state of Gujarat. Although French President Jacques Chirac, in response to a critical French court ruling, has now ordered the Clemenceau to return to France, the Indian court ban sets an ominous precedent.

Indian government launches rural employment guarantee

Band-aid for a social calamity

By Parwini Zora and Kranti Kumara, 14 February 2006

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi inaugurated the much-touted National Rural Employment Guarantee Program (NREGP) at a ceremony in an impoverished Andhra Pradesh village February 2.

South Indian villagers speak about rural crisis, job guarantee

By our reporting team, 14 February 2006

WSWS reporters travelled to Arasampattu in the Thiruvannamalai district, Tamil Nadu, on February 6 and spoke with small peasants and landless agricultural workers. The village falls within the 200 most impoverished districts of India where the new National Rural Employment Guarantee (NREG) program is to come into effect over the next 6 months. Under the NREG scheme, the government has promised to provide one member of every rural household 100 days of manual work per year and has indicated scheme recipients will be paid at least Rs.60 ($1.33) per day. (See: Indian government launches rural employment guarantee: A band-aid for a social calamity)

India’s role in US-led gang-up against Iran inflames debate over Indo-US ties

By Vilani Peiris and Keith Jones, 10 February 2006

The Indian government’s decision, made under heavy pressure from the United States, to vote at last weekend’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting to report Iran to the UN Security Council has further inflamed the debate within India’s political, military, and corporate elite over the extent to which India should bind its future to the US.

Child malnutrition in the Indian state of Maharashtra

By Karen Holland, 9 February 2006

Two studies on child deaths in one of India’s most economically-developed states, Maharashtra, vividly expose the social reality faced by millions across the country as a result of decades of neglect and deceit by both Bharathiya Janatha Party (BJP) and Congress-led governments at state and national levels.

Indian union leaders cave in over airport privatisation

By Nanda Wickremasinghe and Peter Symonds, 8 February 2006

Indian trade union leaders last Saturday shut down a four-day strike by thousands of airport workers against the privatisation of the country’s two major airports in New Delhi and Mumbai (Bombay). The walkout had erupted on January 31 after the Indian government agreed to grant long-term leases to two private consortia—GMR-Fraport and GV-ASCA—that will come into effect on March 31.

With cabinet changes, India’s UPA government tilts still closer to Washington

By Kranti Kumara and Keith Jones, 3 February 2006

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a major shuffle of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) cabinet January 29.

Indian airport workers strike against privatisation

By Nanda Wickremasinghe and Peter Symonds, 3 February 2006

A national strike by Indian airport workers against the privatisation of the New Delhi and Mumbai (Bombay) airports is entering its third day, despite government efforts to intimidate and suppress their protests.

Indian PM threatened to resign to ensure success of Indo-US military exercise

By Kranti Kumara and Keith Jones, 1 February 2006

According to recent press reports, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a series of extraordinary threats to secure a guarantee from the Left Front government of West Bengal that a joint Indo-US military exercise would proceed unimpeded. The threats included Singh resigning as head of the United Progressive Alliance coalition government and the placing of West Bengal under “presidential” or central government rule.

Homeless suffer in Indian cold wave

By Deepal Jayasekera, 25 January 2006

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India: victims of Gujarat pogrom found in mass grave

By Jake Skeers, 24 January 2006

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India: twelve protestors killed in police shooting

By Parwini Zora, 17 January 2006

Twelve tribal villagers in India were shot dead by police on January 2 during a demonstration against the development of the Kalinga Nagar steel complex in the eastern state of Orissa. The impoverished protestors were demanding a halt to construction by steel developers on their traditional land. A 13-year-old boy and three women were among those killed.

India’s tsunami victims abandoned

By T. Kala and Ram Kumar, 30 December 2005

One year after the tsunami devastated southern Asia, millions of people in the southern and eastern coastal areas of India are yet to return to their normal lives. Contrary to the big promises made by the national and Tamil Nadu state governments, relief and rehabilitation measures largely remain in the distant future.

India’s foreign policy struggle intensifies

Natwar Singh forced from cabinet

By Arun Kumar, 24 December 2005

The removal of Natwar Singh from the Congress [party] Steering Committee and the Union cabinet is further evidence of the fierce struggle within India’s political and economic elite over the country’s foreign policy. At the center of this struggle is the extent of India’s military and geopolitical ties with the United States, a country which during the Cold War was firmly aligned with India’s traditional arch-rival, Pakistan, and repeatedly tried to bully New Delhi into serving its interests.

India: Dozens killed in second stampede at Chennai flood relief centre

By Arun Kumar, 22 December 2005

In the early hours of Sunday morning, 42 people were killed, including 23 women, and 37 injured in a stampede at an emergency flood-relief distribution centre in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The tragedy took place as flood victims queued to receive food aid at the Arignar Anna Model Higher Secondary Corporation School in MGR Nagar, in Central Chennai. The stampede was the second at an aid centre in Tamil Nadu since floods devastated areas of the state in October. On November 6, six women were trampled to death and 20 others injured in Vyasarpadi, north Madras.

India: floods kill hundreds in Tamil Nadu

By T. Kala and Ram Kumar, 6 December 2005

At least 279 people have been killed, and an estimated 200,000 made homeless, in severe floods in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The flooding was caused by torrential rain over four weeks in October and early November, and was compounded by more monsoonal storms which hit the region between November 21 and 24. The authorities’ lack of precautionary flood prevention measures and grossly inadequate emergency relief measures exacerbated the plight of ordinary people affected by the natural disaster.

India in quandary over US-Iran conflict

By Vilani Peiris and Keith Jones, 30 November 2005

India’s United Progressive Alliance government made it known early last week that, when the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) met in Vienna November 24, it would oppose referring charges that Iran has failed to fulfill its Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations to the United Nations Security Council.

Study documents exploitation in Indian call centres

By Jake Skeers, 23 November 2005

The Indian media and business elite never tire of enthusing over India’s growing role as an IT and business-processing outsourcer to the world. Yet a recent study of working conditions in Indian outsourced call centres has pointed to the high levels of labour exploitation in the industry—including constant surveillance, long hours, health problems and burnouts.

India: removal of foreign minister points to struggle over extent of US ties

By Arun Kumar and Keith Jones, 22 November 2005

The “temporary” removal of Natwar Singh as India’s external affairs minister underscores that a furious struggle is now under way within the Indian elite over the extent and nature of India’s ties to the US. And that the faction in the ascendance wants to clutch with both hands the Bush administration’s offer to assist India in becoming a world power.

Indian Stalinists pledge to stamp out further IT work disruptions

By Keith Jones, 9 November 2005

The Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPM, has concluded a weeks-long internal debate over strikes that disrupt information technology (IT) and IT-enabled service (ITES) industries and over the rights of workers in these rapidly expanding sectors of India’s economy. Speaking to the press October 26, CPM leaders said that their just concluded two-day Polit Bureau meeting had affirmed that IT and ITES workers should have the right to form unions and to bargain collectively, including in some instances the right to strike.

Monsoon rains reveal social crisis in Bangalore, the city hyped as India’s Silicon Valley

By Kranti Kumara, 4 November 2005

Last month’s late monsoon rains have demonstrated that the unplanned growth and decrepit infrastructure of Bangalore—the southern India city that is the center of the country’s burgeoning information technology (IT) and business processing industries—constitute a major health hazard. They have also demonstrated that the city mythologized by India’s corporate media and western outsourcing companies as India’s “Silicon Valley” and touted as proof of India’s status as an emerging world-power is home to millions of people who are forced to live in abject poverty.

New Delhi bomb blasts a heinous crime

By Deepal Jayasekera and Keith Jones, 3 November 2005

Last Saturday’s serial bombings in the Indian capital of New Delhi were a heinous crime that can only strengthen reaction.

India: Advani resigns as BJP president amid party crisis

By Jake Skeers, 28 October 2005

Amid intense inner party turmoil, Lal Krishna Advani announced late last month that he would resign his post as president of India’s Hindu chauvinist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in December. Advani will remain the BJP’s parliamentary leader, but media speculation is rife that he will be compelled to exit “gracefully” from this position sometime in 2006.

Leading Indian daily calls for suppression of strikes and unions

By Keith Jones, 7 October 2005

The New Indian Express, one of India’s leading English-language dailies, published an extraordinary editorial in its issue of Friday, September 30, calling for the outlawing of strikes and trade unions.

Indian prime minister cements relations with Afghanistan’s puppet regime

By Deepal Jayasekera and Kranti Kumara, 28 September 2005

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a two-day official visit to Afghanistan in late August as part of an aggressive attempt by the Indian ruling elite to realise their strategic ambitions in south and central Asia. These ambitions include containing traditional rival Pakistan and using Afghanistan as a “land-bridge” to the oil reserves and markets of the former central Asian republics of the Soviet Union.

World Bank President Wolfowitz pledges $9 billion in loans to India

By Kranti Kumara, 10 September 2005

During an official visit to India last month, Paul Wolfowitz, the World Bank (WB) president and former US deputy-secretary of defense, strongly endorsed the neo-liberal “reforms” pursued by Indian governments of all political stripes since 1991. To further entrench this strategic shift, he committed the bank to providing India with $9 billion in loans—$3 billion annually for the next three years.

Fifty-four years in jail without trial: the plight of prison inmates in India

By Parwini Zora, 26 August 2005

Machang Lalung, aged 77, was released from incarceration last month in the northeast Indian state of Assam after spending more than half a century behind bars awaiting trial.

Torrential rains and flooding hit India’s financial centre

By Ram Kumar, 8 August 2005

Torrential rains and flooding have had a devastating impact on Mumbai (Bombay), India’s financial capital, and surrounding areas over the last week. The death toll has climbed to more than 1,000 and tens of thousands more than been left homeless. Overwhelmingly, the worst affected have been the poor from the city’s slums and from outlying rural villages.

5 July 2005

Sudheendra Kulkarni resigned Sunday from all three leadership posts he held in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP): party national secretary; secretary to BJP president L.K. Advani; and member of the national executive.

India adopts WTO patent law with Left Front support

By Kranti Kumara, 16 April 2005

In a move designed to make India’s patent legislation conform with the World Trade Organization’s Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) patent regime, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has pushed a patent amendment bill through India’s Parliament with the support of the Stalinist-led Left Front. The patent amendment covers the food, pharmaceutical and agribusiness sectors and can be expanded over time to other sectors.

Indian government to merge state-run oil firms

By Parwini Zora and Daniel Woreck, 12 April 2005

While continuing the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government’s neo-liberal agenda of deregulation and privatisation of state-owned firms, the present Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has decided to sustain and expand the Indian state’s virtual monopoly in the oil and natural gas sector.

India joins the scramble for oil

By Parwini Zora and Daniel Woreck, 12 April 2005

“None of us in Asia should fall victim to the strategies of outsiders. The only way to counter the geopolitics of others is to have our own geopolitics”

German business to strengthen its involvement in India

By Parwini Zora and Daniel Woreck, 9 April 2005

The economic and labour minister in Germany’s Social Democrat (SPD)-Green coalition government, Wolfgang Clement, flew to New Delhi on April 4 for the fifteenth meeting of the Indo-German Joint Commission on Industrial and Economic Co-operation. Clement’s three-day visit focused on bilateral trade issues with the Indian government. A swarm of 90 German CEOs and parliamentarians accompanied Clement and attended the two-day meeting. Indian Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and 68 Indian CEOs greeted them.

Indian Stalinists reaffirm support for Congress-led regime committed to neo-liberal policies

By Keith Jones, 7 April 2005

At Wednesday’s inaugural session of the 18th national congress of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the CPM’s two senior-most figures delivered addresses aimed at defending and legitimizing the party’s continued support for the 11-month United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

Burma visit highlights India’s “Look East” strategy

By Sarath Kumara, 6 April 2005

Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh made a four-day visit to Burma in late March for discussions with the country’s military junta on closer relations. The trip was not the first by a top Indian politician, nor was there much media coverage. But it does highlight a significant, though little publicised, feature of New Delhi’s strategy. It is the so-called “Look East” policy—an economic and strategic orientation to South East Asia.

Indian budget: a balancing act that cannot long be sustained

By Deepal Jayasekera, 23 March 2005

The budget that India’s Congress-led coalition government presented February 28 shrouded neo-liberal measures in populist rhetoric and gestures.

India: further evidence Hindu-supremacist BJP culpable in Gujarat pogrom

By Kranti Kumara, 9 March 2005

Fresh evidence has emerged that demonstrates that the February-March 2002 pogrom against Gujarat’s Muslim minority was orchestrated by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the dominant partner in India’s then coalition government, and its Hindu-supremacist allies.

India’s tsunami victims left without government assistance

By Sasi Kumar and M. Kailasam, 23 February 2005

Nearly two months after the tsunami struck the southern Indian coast, thousands of the survivors are living in difficult conditions. Having lost family members, houses, possessions and in many cases their livelihoods, they are struggling to cope day to day. Those who spoke to the World Socialist Web Site expressed their resentment and anger at the failure of authorities—local, state and national—to alleviate their suffering.

Why has India blocked foreign tsunami aid to the Nicobar and Andaman islands?

By Parwini Zora and Daniel Woreck, 25 January 2005

The remote Andaman and Nicobar group suffered a devastating blow from the December 26 tsunami. The low-lying and mostly uninhabited chain of 572 islands in the Bay of Bengal was the closest Indian territory to the epicentre of the massive earthquake. As well as being swamped by the sea, it was hit by a series of substantial aftershocks.

Tsunami survivors in southern India speak to the WSWS

By Ram Kumar and Sasi Kumar, 21 January 2005

Ten days after tidal waves hit south India on December 26, corpses were still being recovered from the sand and wreckage in Nagapattinam district when World Socialist Web Site reporters visited the area on January 6.

South Indian fishing villages devastated by tsunami

By Ram Kumar and Sasi Kumar, 19 January 2005

Cuddalore, a coastal district 175 kilometres south of Madras, the Tamil Nadu state capital, was one of the areas worst affected when the tsunami hit India’s east coast on December 26. According to official reports, 51 villages were seriously damaged, 15,000 dwellings wiped out and 615 killed in the already poverty-stricken district. Another 214 were injured and an estimated 99,700 people have been displaced by the disaster.

India: tsunami warnings could have been made

By Ganesh Dev, 10 January 2005

Thousands died or were left homeless when the December 26 tsunami struck India’s eastern coast and engulfed the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal. The response of the Indian political establishment has revealed its indifference and contempt toward the poverty-stricken villagers and fishermen who were the main victims.

India: over 14,000 dead and hundreds of thousands displaced

By Arun Kumar, 4 January 2005

The tsunami that killed over 140,000 people in southern Asia has taken at least 14,000 lives in India. Nine days after the catastrophe, Indian governments at the state and federal levels have yet to establish relief operations in a number of areas. This slow and inadequate response is now threatening thousands more lives as epidemics begin to emerge.

Black fever in India: an epidemic rooted in poverty

By Parwini Zora and Daniel Woreck, 30 December 2004

Kala-Azar—known medically as visceral leishmaniasis and in popular English as black fever—is a curable illness, but it has become the second most fatal parasitic disease in India, claiming 60,000 victims annually. Only malaria causes a higher number of deaths. Most of the victims of black fever are from India’s rural poor.

Congress-led government offers band-aid to haemorrhaging rural India

By Parwini Zora and Daniel Woreck, 16 December 2004

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh travelled to a remote village in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh last month to announce the launching of a National Food For Work Program (NFFWP).

India: political posturing over oil price hikes

By Ganesh Dev and Singam Thayan, 9 December 2004

The petroleum price increases India’s United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government announced last month have occasioned theatrics from all sides of the Union parliament.