Are the Rohingya India's 'favourite whipping boy'?

  • 25 September 2017
  • From the section India
A boy from the Rohingya community stands outside a shack in a camp in Delhi, India August 17, 2017 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Rohingya are described as the world's 'most friendless people'

At home in Myanmar, they are unwanted and denied citizenship. Outside, they are largely friendless as well. Now the government says that Rohingya living in India pose a clear and present danger to national security.

First, a government minister kicked up a storm earlier this month when he announced that India would deport its entire Rohingya population, thought to number about 40,000, including some 16,000 who have been registered as refugees by the UN.

The Rohingya are seen by many of Myanmar's Buddhist majority as illegal migrants from Bangladesh. Fleeing persecution at home, they began arriving in India during the 1970s and are now scattered all over the country, many living in squalid camps.

The government's announcement has come at what many say is an inappropriate time, as violence in Myanmar's western Rakhine state has forced more than 400,000 Rohingya Muslims across the border into Bangladesh since August.

When petitioners went to the Supreme Court challenging the proposed ejection plan, Narendra Modi's government responded by saying it had intelligence about links of some community members with global terrorist organisations, including ones based in Pakistan.

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Why inequality in India is at its highest level in 92 years

  • 12 September 2017
  • From the section India
India homeless Image copyright AFP
Image caption India still remains one of the poorest countries in the world

Did India's economic reforms lead to a sharp rise in inequality?

New research by French economists Lucas Chancel and Thomas Piketty, author of Capital, the 2013 bestselling book on capitalism and increasing inequality, clearly points to this conclusion.

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Obituary: The fearless journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh

  • 6 September 2017
  • From the section India
Gauri Lankesh Image copyright facebook
Image caption Gauri Lankesh inherited a newspaper from her father

"What are we going to fight over today?" a journalist friend of Gauri Lankesh would usually ask her whenever she made an early morning call to him. "What's your grudge?"

In her breathless, high-pitched voice, Lankesh would usually ask her editor friend why his newspaper hadn't taken a stronger stand on an issue close to her heart. "If you big guys can't take a more robust stand, how are we going to do it?"

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How a divided India fuelled the rise of the gurus

  • 25 August 2017
  • From the section India
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Image copyright EPA
Image caption Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has millions of followers in India

The followers of a popular Indian guru in northern India have rampaged through towns, vandalising property, setting railway stations on fire, smashing cars, setting media vans alight and clashing with security forces. Several lives have been lost in the violence.

They are angry because a court found Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh guilty of raping two women at the headquarters of his religious group, known as Dera Sacha Sauda, in 2002.

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How significant is India's landmark privacy judgement?

  • 24 August 2017
  • From the section India
Aadhaar Image copyright Mansi Thapliyal
Image caption More than a billion residents of India have a unique identity number

In many ways, Thursday's Supreme Court ruling that Indians have a fundamental right to privacy is one of country's most significant judgements in the last two decades.

By ruling that the right to privacy is "an intrinsic part of Article 21 that protects life and liberty", the verdict overturned two previous rulings by the top court which said privacy was not a fundamental right.

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Why you could soon be missing your cup of Darjeeling tea

  • 5 August 2017
  • From the section India
Darjeeling tea Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Darjeeling is the world's most expensive tea

If you are a tea connoisseur, here's some bad news: your morning cuppa of steaming Darjeeling tea may soon be difficult to get.

Famously called the "champagne of teas", it is grown in 87 gardens in the foothills of the Himalayas in Darjeeling in West Bengal state. Some of the bushes are as old as 150 years and were introduced to the region by a Scottish surgeon.

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What is India's president actually for?

  • 2 August 2017
  • From the section India
India's new President Ram Nath Kovind waves from a horse-drawn carriage during a ceremony at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi Image copyright Getty Images

Does the Indian president serve a purely ceremonial role? Is this a mere figurehead who, in the words of former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, is a "head that neither reigns nor governs", and holds a position of "authority or dignity" more than anything else?

Last month's election of Ram Nath Kovind as the republic's 14th president reignited the debate. In his inaugural speech, President Kovind, a former spokesman for the ruling BJP, promised citizens he would "stay true to the trust that they have bestowed me".

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Does Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk ignore the role of the Indian army?

  • 27 July 2017
  • From the section India
A scene from the new Dunkirk film Image copyright Warner Bros
Image caption Dunkirk tells the story of British and Allied troops trapped on a beach surrounded by enemy forces in 1940

Christopher Nolan's epic World War Two film, Dunkirk, which tells the story of the mass evacuation of Allied troops from the northern coast of France in 1940, has been getting glowing reviews in India.

But many are glowering over Nolan turning a blind eye to the role of Indian soldiers in the battle. The Times of India wrote that their "significant contribution" was missing from Nolan's "otherwise brilliant" work. Writing for Bloomberg View, columnist Mihir Sharma said the film "adds to the falsehood that plucky Britons stood alone against Nazi Germany once France fell, when, in fact, hundreds of millions of imperial subjects stood, perforce, with them".

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Why is the India-China border stand-off escalating?

  • 20 July 2017
  • From the section India
File photo of an Indian and Chinese soldier on the border Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption India and China have a long history of border disputes

If you browse through the latest headlines about the now month-long border stand-off between India and China, you might think the Asian rivals are teetering on the brink of an armed conflict.

The rhetoric is full of foreboding and menace. A Delhi newspaper says China is warning that the stand-off "could escalate into full-scale conflict". Another echoes a similar sentiment, saying "China stiffens face-off posture".

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Why was Mother Teresa's uniform trademarked?

  • 12 July 2017
  • From the section India
An Indian nun from the Catholic Order of the Missionaries of Charity leaves after taking part in a mass to commemorate the 105th birthday of Mother Teresa at the Indian Missionaries of Charity house in Kolkata on August 26, 2015. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mother Teresa wore a simple white sari with three blue stripes on the border

For nearly half a century, Mother Teresa, the Roman Catholic nun who worked with the poor in the Indian city of Kolkata (Calcutta) wore a simple white sari with three blue stripes on the borders, one thicker than the rest. Senior nuns who work for Missionaries of Charity, a 67-year-old sisterhood which has more than 3,000 nuns worldwide, continue to wear what has now become the religious uniform of this global order.

On Monday, news washed up that this "famous" sari of the Nobel laureate nun, who died in 1997, has been trademarked to prevent "unfair" use by people for commercial purposes. India's government quietly recognised the sari as the intellectual property of the Missionaries of Charity in September last year, when the nun was declared a saint by the Vatican, but the order had decided not to make it public.

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