The Delhi High Court today granted bail to student activists Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita and Asif Iqbal Tanha in the North East Delhi riots conspiracy case filed under the stringent provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The High Court while granting bail observed that the distinction between constitutionally guaranteed right to protest and terrorist activity seems to be getting “blurred” and “if this mindset gains traction, it would be a sad day for democracy”.

Kalita and Narwal, both JNU scholars and members of the women’s collective Pinjra Tod, and Tanha, a student of Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi, had been incarcerated in Delhi’s Tihar Jail for the last one year, for their alleged role in the anti-CAA protest and the ensuing Delhi riots early last year. They had been repeatedly denied bail. Earlier, Kalita and Narwal chronicled their lives, their anxieties and their hopes from inside Tihar in letters to the fellow members of Pinjra Tod. The Caravan brings you excerpts from the epistles.

There has been a dramatic increase in the filing of sedition cases in recent years, impinging on the citizen’s liberties. Since 2014, sedition cases have shown a 28 per cent increase. Suno India analyses this disturbing trend.

Covid and the consequent disruption has impacted children and schooling severely. Our grantees Mojo Story, Asiaville and The Wire delve into the various aspects of the state of schooling and learning under the pandemic – the digital divide in learning due to the uneven access to online resources, the increase in child labour as families at the margins struggle to survive the loss of jobs; and how the students with offers from universities for admissions in the United States are in limbo due to Covid-related travel restrictions and closure of consulates.

In another instance of impact on the ground, Down To Earth's report on fatalities due to the severe shortage of oxygen in a Covid hospital in Odisha’s Nuapada district not only impelled the district administration to act decisively towards saving lives but also inspired the expat Odias in Japan to come to their aid.

While on Down To Earth, we are delighted to note that editor Sunita Narain had the distinction of being one of five ‘health leaders’ chosen to analyse the results of a survey involving 73 experts polled by TIME magazine as part of its study titled ‘Blueprint for Preventing Another Pandemic’. Narain pointed out in her piece that while poor people are at greater risk during pandemics, climate change only exacerbates the problem.

For more from our grantees on the issues of the week, please read on.


Sunil Rajshekhar

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“Love and Rage”: Natasha and Devangana’s letters of hope and resistance from Tihar Jail 6

Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, doctoral students at JNU, and members of the women’s collective Pinjra Tod and Asif Iqbal Tanha, a student of Jamia Millia Islamia, were granted bail by the Delhi High Court today. They had been incarcerated in Delhi’s Tihar Jail since the last one year as undertrials. They were arrested in different cases for their alleged role in the anti-CAA protests and the Delhi riots in February last year and have been repeatedly denied bail. They wrote letters from jail to their fellow members in Pinjra Tod where they chronicled their daily lives in Tihar, the struggles, their anxieties and even their hopes. The Caravan brings you excerpts from the letters.

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Why have over 400 people been booked for sedition for just criticising govt?

Suno India in its latest episode speaks to Lubhyathi Rangarajan, head of Article 14’s ‘Sedition Database India’, and an independent lawyer, to examine the correlation between the rise in the number of sedition cases and the governments in power. It is estimated that nearly 11,000 people have been charged for sedition since 2010, ranging from journalists to academics, authors to opposition leaders. Since 2014, the cases filed for sedition have registered a 28 per cent increase.

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"Reopen Schools" argues WHO & UNICEF | Do Indian Principals and Parents Agree

A WHO and UNICEF study has called for a global reopening of schools. But can India afford to reopen its schools? What is the impact of online education on India’s children? Mojo Story brings together paediatricians, child rights activists, lawyers and school principals to deliberate on the way forward.

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"I have to work because of my family situation" | Children on Child Labour | Ground Report

The disruption caused by the pandemic, and the consequent job losses have hit children and students hard, especially from vulnerable families. This has also led to an increase in child labour. Asiaville speaks to children in Tamil Nadu who recount that some of their friends had to drop out of schools to help their parents, who lost their jobs during the pandemic, to eke out a living.

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DTE Impact: COVID-19 coverage spurs action in Odisha's Nuapada

Down To Earth's reportage on the shortage of oxygen leading to a rise in Covid-19 fatalities at a Covid hospital in Odisha’s Nuapada district spurred the district administration to spruce up healthcare facilities in the hospital. This included CCTV cameras being set up, a 24-hour presence of doctors in the Covid wards and adequate stock of oxygen cylinders and medical supplies, resulting in a decline of Covid deaths in the hospital. The story also brought an outpouring of support and aid from expatriate Odias in Japan.

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More from the grantees
For Many Indian Students, Their American Dream Is in Limbo
Last year, almost two lakh Indian students were enrolled at American universities. However, this year, a combination of Covid-related restrictions on travel, the difficulties in accessing vaccines and the closure of consulates have severely impacted students with offers of admission to universities in the United States, with many of them staring at the prospect of losing an academic year. The Wire reports.
For India, a Moment of Reckoning in the Neighbourhood
The India Forum argues that India’s declining stature – the eroding democratic credentials, its declining economy and the virulent second phase of the pandemic – has seen its influence wane in the neighbourhood. China, with its deep pockets and its ‘wolf warrior diplomacy’, has moved in to elbow India out.
महोबा: व्यक्ति को घोड़ी पर बैठकर बारात ले जाने के लिए लेना पड़ रहा पुलिस का सहारा | KhabarLahariya
Khabar Lahariya reports from Madhavganj, a village in Mahoba district of UP, where a bridegroom belonging to a scheduled caste community has to seek the assistance of the police to enable him to arrive at his wedding ceremony on a horse, as the traditional ritual was objected to by the upper caste residents of the village.
Nallur Tamarind Grove: An Ecological Treasure In Need Of Conservation
Feminism in India highlights the need to conserve the Nallur Tamarind Grove, home to about 278 tamarind trees. The ecological treasure located a few km away from the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru.
Matrimonial ads seeking vaccinated groom! True or Fake?
Recently an image of a matrimonial ad in a daily went viral on social media. The ad sought applications from ‘vaccinated’ grooms and was also tweeted by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor. YouTurn fact-checked this image and found that that ad was fake and was created using a web tool.
"Villagers along Assam-Bhutan border still drink water out of a ditch
EastMojo turns its lens on the Goya Community, who reside along the Assam-Bhutan border, to highlight the issue of water scarcity, which they have had to put up with for years now. They are forced to use sludgy, unclean water for sustenance and are prone to waterborne diseases.
Bengaluru Rohingya refugees say govt has not come forward to get them vaccinated
The News Minute reports that Rohingya refugees, who live near Bengaluru’s Lumbini Garden in Dasarahalli, have been left out of the government's Covid vaccination drive. Human rights activists have reached out to civic bodies to help vaccinate the refugees.
Poor People Are at Greater Risk During Pandemics. Climate Change Exacerbates the Problem
While scaling up vaccine capability may be one of the panaceas to combat the next pandemic, the real solution lies in focussing on equity in health services and surveillance systems; and alleviating, and rolling back the impact of climate change by putting the poor at the centre of solutions. Sunita Narain writes in the TIME magazine.

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