Ethnic problems:

Adultery no longer a criminal offence in India

India's top court has ruled adultery is no longer a crime.A petitioner had challenged the law saying it was arbitrary and discriminated against men and women. Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that while it could be grounds for civil issues like divorce, "it cannot be a criminal offence".Joseph Shine argued that it discriminated against men by only holding them liable for extra-marital relationships, while treating women like objects."Married women are not a special case for the purpose of prosecution for adultery. They are not in any way situated differently than men," his petition said.The law, Mr Shine said, also "indirectly discriminates against women by holding an erroneous presumption that women are the property of men"."Diluting adultery laws will impact the sanctity of marriages. Making adultery legal will hurt marriage bonds," a government counsel told the court, adding that "Indian ethos gives paramount importance to the institution and sanctity of marriage".The law dictated that the woman could not be punished as an abettor. Instead, the man was considered to be a seducer. It also did not allow women to file a complaint against an adulterous husband.A man accused of adultery could be sent to a prison for a maximum of five years, made to pay a fine, or both. Kaleeswaram Raj, a lawyer for the petitioner, said the adultery law was "often misused" by husbands during matrimonial disputes such as divorce, or civil cases relating to wives receiving maintenance. Why India needs to get rid of its sedition law? Manusmriti, an ancient Hindu text, says: "If men persist in seeking intimate contact with other men's wives, the king should brand them with punishments that inspire terror and banish them"."Husband is not the master of wife. Women should be treated with equality along with men," Chief Justice Misra said.Judge Rohinton Nariman said that "ancient notions of man being perpetrator and woman being victim no longer hold good".


Chechen 'gay purge' victim: 'No one knows who will be next'

Six months after reports emerged that gay men were being detained illegally and tortured in the Russian republic of Chechnya, a young man has spoken publicly for the first time about his ordeal.Maxim Lapunov has described being held for 12 days in a blood-soaked cell, beaten with sticks, threatened and humiliated by police. But despite reporting what he endured to the authorities, his lawyer says no proper investigation has been conducted. Twenty-seven men with similar stories have fled the southern Russian republic since Novaya Gazeta newspaper first reported on the violent round-up in spring. They were helped to safety by a group called LBGT-Network, along with 52 relatives and partners. One of the Chechen men told the BBC at the time that he had been tortured by electric shock and said he believed the aim was to "exterminate" gay men in the republic. Some who fled have since received asylum abroad. Gay Chechen men who have described being detained say they fear that reporting it officially would endanger relatives back home. That is why activists say the case of Maxim Lapunov is so important. "Senior officials including the president say that LBGT people in Russia have no problems," added Igor Kochetkov of LGBT-Network. "To investigate this unprecedented crime… would be to admit that everything they said before was a lie." Maxim Lapunov was eventually released by police after friends posted missing posters around the Chechen capital and his family reported his disappearance. He says his mother had been expecting a call to collect his corpse."I could barely crawl when I left," he said, adding that the groans and screams of other detainees still haunt him in nightmares. "It should not be like this. We are all people. We all have rights," he said. "If those rights can be violated [in Chechnya], it could happen in any region. And no-one knows whose son or daughter will be next."


An Asian American woman’s tweets ignite a debate: Is it okay to make fun of white people online?

Sarah Jeong, a technology writer recently hired by the New York Times for a prestigious post on its editorial board, spoke sarcastically about white people.“Oh man it’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men,” she wrote in one.“White people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants,” she wrote in another. After conservative media seized on the story Thursday, they ignited a firestorm of debate. Jeong is the latest in a long line of people to have their old tweets surfaced for scrutiny in connection with a high-profile career assignment.At right-leaning outlets such as Fox News, the Daily Caller, the Gateway Pundit, Breitbart and Infowars, Jeong’s tweets were skewered as “racist,” “offensive” and “anti-white.” “Jeong was not hired despite her racist tweets, she was hired because of them,” wrote the right-wing site Infowars, known for its vigorous promotion of conspiracy theories.To some conservatives, her hiring, and the subsequent defense issued by the Times, was an example of how liberals get away with their own brand of racism — against white people. “Part of the reason it was so easy for the outrage to be manufactured in the first place was it was completely decontextualized and ahistorified,” said Nolan L. Cabrera, an associate professor at the University of Arizona who will publish a book in the fall about racial attitudes held by white college students. “Then it was easy to drum up anger and say it looks like she hates white people. That only makes sense if you are willfully ignorant of 400 to 500 years’ history and contemporary social context and also the context from which the tweets were sent.” Some edited Jeong’s tweets to hammer home that idea, replacing the words “white people” in her tweets with “black people” and “Jewish people.” But Cabrera said the idea was “a complete false equivalence,” noting that whiteness isn’t a cultural identity the way being black, Japanese American or Jewish is. “You hear that all the time: Substitute white and put in minority group x,” Cabrera said. “The term ‘racism’ is not the equivalence of prejudice or bigotry. It’s an analysis of social inequality along the color lines and an analysis of power dynamics and social oppression. None of which has ever been in the hands of people of color or communities of color: There’s never been the social structure to be able to oppress white people.”



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