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India

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India (Listeni/ˈɪndiə/), officially the Republic of India (Bhārat Gaṇarājya),[c] is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the south-west, and the Bay of Bengal on the south-east, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west;[d] China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north-east; and Burma and Bangladesh to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; in addition, India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.

Home to the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation and a region of historic trade routes and vast empires, the Indian subcontinent was identified with its commercial and cultural wealth for much of its long history. Four world religions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism—originated here, whereas Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islam arrived in the 1st millennium CE and also helped shape the region's diverse culture. Gradually annexed by and brought under the administration of the British East India Company from the early 18th century and administered directly by the United Kingdom from the mid-19th century, India became an independent nation in 1947 after a struggle for independence that was marked by non-violent resistance led by Mahatma Gandhi.

The Indian economy is the world's tenth-largest by nominal GDP and third-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies; it is considered a newly industrialised country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption, malnutrition, inadequate public healthcare, and terrorism. A nuclear weapons state and a regional power, it has the third-largest standing army in the world and ranks ninth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal constitutional republic governed under a parliamentary system consisting of 29 states and 7 union territories. India is a pluralistic, multilingual, and a multi-ethnic society. It is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.

Conservation efforts

One of 17 megadiverse countries, India hosts 8.6% of all mammalian, 13.7% of all avian, 7.9% of all reptilian, 6% of all amphibian, 12.2% of all piscine, and 6.0% of all flowering plant species.

India has about half of the world's estimated 3,200 tigers in dozens of wildlife reserves. The pervasive and ecologically devastating human encroachment of recent decades has critically endangered Indian wildlife. In response the system of national parks and protected areas, first established in 1935, was substantially expanded. In 1972, India enacted the Wildlife Protection Act and Project Tiger to safeguard crucial wilderness. Some state even allow forest rangers to kill poachers on sight without fear of persecution.

The western Indian state of Maharashtra has passed laws that allows forest rangers and guards to shoot poachers on sight in the state’s four tiger reserves. Killing poachers won’t be considered a crime and no case will be registered if the forest staff catch them in the act and open fire. A legal provision had been made to protect staff from “excesses by so-called human right activists.”

Forest officers have also been provided with more, better weapons, 100 vehicles, and additional funds to hire informants to track poachers, according to the Hindustan Times, allowing the officers to maintain a 24x7 vigil on the reserves.

The directive has been in place since 2002, when the department first armed its staffers for self-protection. But guards were still reluctant to fire their weapons because of being taken to court for human rights violations after firing their weapons. [1]

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img Simi Rehman posted a review

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has vowed his country will go "above and beyond" the 2015 Paris accord on combating climate change.

Speaking at a news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, Mr Modi described the agreement as part of "our duty to protect Mother Earth".

Several global leaders have criticised President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the US from the Paris accord.

Mr Trump said the deal would impoverish the US and cost American jobs.

The Paris agreement commits the US and 194 other countries to keeping rising global temperatures "well below" 2C above pre-industrial levels and "endeavour to limit" them even more, to 1.5C.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-40144613?SThisFB

3 weeks ago
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img Ahmed Malik posted a review

It is believed that the first sound entering a new-born Muslim’s ears should be the Azaan or the Kalma. Either one must have been the first sound I heard too, though, of course, I have no memory of it now.

Even though I am no longer a practising Muslim, and in fact had never been overly aware of a Muslim identity, the sentimental urge that made me perform this rite for my children as well did not seem paradoxical. My wife Ratna is Hindu, and we were married much before the term ‘love jihad’ was coined and acted upon. She and I both have no more than a ritualistic connection with our respective religions. Eid and Diwali are joyous occasions for us and we celebrate both with equal gusto - so our disparate religious upbringings didn’t merit a thought.

The first tricky moment was our decision to not fill in the column asking ‘religion’ at the time of our childrens’ school admission. Apart from objecting to this in principle, we averred that we genuinely had no idea what their religion was at that time or what it would be later. Not considering a religious education of any kind necessary, we had decided to leave the choice of faith to them. Religion never played a major part in my life anyway and my attempts to be what was called a ‘true muslim’ ended when I was about twenty. I abandoned religion then and have never felt the need for it; Richard Dawkin‘s statement that religion has “nothing whatever to do with goodness” does not need any verification when one looks at what’s happening everywhere in the name of religion.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/i-cannot-recall-a-time-when-muslims-were-suspected-en-masse-of-being-unpatriotic-naseeruddin-shah/story-L4xVpcVEluGV3fRmoEsSvN.html

3 weeks ago
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img Ahmed Malik posted a review

I came to India three years ago. When the plane that brought me from Nigeria finally touched down in Delhi, I felt exhilarated. I was ready to embrace a new culture and its people. This, after all, was the land of Mahatma Gandhi.

Then 21 years old, I was almost childlike about wanting to discover India — its history; its vast and varied territory; its diverse people; its food; its languages; its music and its movies. I had enrolled for a course at the Delhi Paramedical & Management Institute, and I walked into class with a broad smile on my face.

I was unprepared for the racist onslaught. It has hit me with unforgiving consistency, every single day, for the last three years that I have been here. The racist slurs, the frightened looks, the deep and long stares are a part of my everyday life. I am not alone. Every African in India has the same experience.

The first Hindi word I learned was ‘kallu’. I continue to hear it everywhere I go. In the classroom; on the street; at the vegetable vendor’s stall; in the neighbourhood where I live in South Delhi — I am constantly reminded that I am black, and that I am judged by the colour of my skin.

Fear is a constant companion. I am acutely conscious of being ‘different’. I don’t know when I’ll be told I’m a ‘cannibal’, or when the police will knock on my door and allege that I’m a ‘drug peddler’. There is a disastrous pornographic image of Africans that Indians carry in their heads in which I am some kind of ‘pimp’. I cannot even think of approaching a pretty lady in a restaurant to say hi because I have already been typecast.

on May 27, 2017
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img Ahmed Malik posted a review

A 23-year-old Indian woman has cut off the genitals of a Hindu religious teacher in the southern state of Kerala, claiming he raped her for years.

Police said the suspect, named as Gangeshananda Theerthapada, would come to the woman's house to perform prayer rituals for her father's health.

Her mother had hoped the self-styled holy man would ease the family's woes.

Instead, her daughter claims he assaulted her at every opportunity.

On Friday night, she grabbed a knife and attacked him when he allegedly tried to rape her, and then called the police herself.

The alleged rapist was rushed to Thiruvananthapuram Medical College for emergency surgery.

The hospital said in a statement: "A 54-year-old man from Kollam was admitted at 12.39am [19:09 GMT] to the hospital on Saturday. His penis had been cut (90%) and was hanging precariously. There was no way it could be stitched back.

"Plastic surgeons who are urology experts in the hospital did emergency surgery to stop the blood loss and to enable him to pass urine."

on May 23, 2017
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img Jawad Khan posted a review

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that triple talaq is a matter of faith being practised by Muslims for the last 1,400 years and hence, the question of constitutional morality and equity did not arise.

The Muslim body also equated triple talaq with the Hindu belief that Lord Rama was born at Ayodhya.

"Triple talaq is there since 637. Who are we to say that this is un-Islamic? Muslims are practising it for last 1,400 years. It is a matter of faith. Hence, there was no question of constitutional morality and equity," former Union Law Minister and senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for AIMPLB, said.

"If I have faith that Lord Rama was born at Ayodhya, then it's a matter of faith and there is no question of constitutional morality," Sibal told a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar.

He also referred to the fact that the source of triple talaq can be found in Hadith and that it came into being after the time of Prophet Muhammad.

The AIMPLB is advancing arguments before the bench which also comprises Justices Kurian Joseph, RF Nariman, UU Lalit and Abdul Nazeer.

On Monday, the Centre had told the apex court that it will bring a new law to regulate marriage and divorce among the Muslim community if all forms of divorce including triple talaq are struck down.

Tuesday is the fourth day of the hearing on a clutch of petitions challenging triple talaq, polygamy and 'nikah halala' which is going on before a bench comprising members of different religious communities including Sikh, Christian, Parsi, Hindu and Muslim.

on May 17, 2017
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img Lucas Lynch posted a review

India's Supreme Court has formally opened hearings into a number of petitions challenging the controversial practice of instant divorce in Islam.

The court said it would examine whether the practice known as "triple talaq" was fundamental to the religion.

India is one of a handful of countries in the world where a Muslim man can divorce his wife in minutes by saying the word talaq (divorce) three times.

But activists say the practice is "discriminatory".

Many Muslim groups have opposed the court's intervention in their religious matters, although the move has the backing of the current Indian government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The sensitive issue is being heard by a multi-faith bench made up of five judges - a Hindu, a Sikh, a Christian, a Zoroastrian and one Muslim.

The bench has combined several petitions from Muslim women and rights groups into one to examine the issue.

The opposing sides have been given three days each to argue their cases, with the court saying the hearing will end by 19 May.

A judgement is expected to be delivered in the coming weeks.

on May 14, 2017
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img Zainab Zaidi posted a review

A Muslim woman who was gang raped in India has said her attackers asked her whether she ate beef in what some suspect was another crime by Hindu vigilante groups.

The 20-year-old and her 14-year-old cousin were attacked by a group of men who trespassed into their home in Mewat, Haryana, and murdered their uncle and aunt before sexually assaulting the female victims two weeks ago.

Local police originally arrested four men for trespass and sexual assault, but after protests from the local community the men were charged with murder.

on May 10, 2017
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img Dev Achmed posted a review

One April afternoon, a group of men clad in saffron scarves barged into a house in Meerut, 40 miles northeast of here, and dragged out a young Muslim man and a Hindu woman. Their offense: They were an interfaith couple in love. 

The men, part of a self-appointed enforcement group called the Hindu Youth Brigade, beat the man, videotaped the incident and then handed him over to police for charges of obscenity. The traumatized woman, who wept and covered her face with her scarf, was let off with a warning. 

“We are not against love, but this guy changed his name (to a Hindu one) to mislead the girl. Let police investigate,” said Nagendar Pratap Singh Tomar, chief of the brigade.

The April 12 Meerut incident is the latest example of Hindu vigilantes attacking Muslims in this overwhelmingly Hindu country, especially with the gains made by the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in March elections.

Several similar attacks have occurred since March, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose an anti-Muslim firebrand, Yogi Adityanath, to be chief minister of India's largest state, Uttar Pradesh, the heartland of the nation's Hindu population.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/05/05/attacks-indias-minority-muslims-hindu-vigilantes-mount/100951514/

on May 9, 2017
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