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Emergency-type judgment, ruthlessness: 260 prominent persons on arrest of Teesta, others

Teesta Setalvad, RB Sreekumar, Sanjiv Kumar Counterview Desk  As many as 260 prominent human rights activists, intellectuals, journalists, artists and community leaders from all over the world, strongly condemning the arrest of human rights activist Teesta Setalvad and former Gujarat DGP RB Sreekumar, and former Gujarat cadre IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt (already in prison for over 18 months) as well as journalist and fact checker Mohammed Zubair in India, have said that what the present government is doing is “Governance by Fear” in its rawest form. As part of the newly launchedbroad-based alliance, Solidarity for the Prisoners of Conscience in India, they add, “On the anniversary of the Emergency, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have the habit of issuing statements condemning the Emergency as a dark chapter in the history of independent India, one imposed to quell dissent and free voice. But both of them are doing much worse now.” Text: We the undersigned, concer
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Toxic hate taking 'epidemic form': Shabana Azmi, others condemn Udaipur beheading

By Our Representative  In a statement, actor Shabana Azmi, writer Ramachandra Guha, former Chief of Indian Navy Admiral L. Ramdas, former Planning Commission member Dr Syeda Hameed, Air Vice Marshal (retd) Kapil Kak, Major General Sudhir Vombatkere (retd), danseuse Mallika Sarabhai, and musician TM Krishna, among others, have urged the Government of India to “immediately act to stop hate mongering by all sections in all forms.” Issued in the wake of “the barbaric and brutal beheading of a person in Udaipur for a social media post defending an obnoxious and reprehensible statement against Prophet Mohammed during a TV discussion recently”, the statement says, “That it is done in the name of religion makes it even more condemnable.” Stating that no religion, including Islam, allows individuals to take law into their hands and a due process of law is mandated by all faiths before any person is held guilty and punished”, the statement demands that the killers, already arrested, should be t

Concerned at 'calls for genocide' of Muslims, US begins to directly deal with Indian officials

By Our Representative  The US is concerned at open calls being made for a genocide of Indian Muslims, US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain has said. Dehumanizing rhetoric was escalating the persecution of India’s minorities, creating a challenge for the United States, he added.  He was speaking at a three-day International Religious Freedom (IRF) Summit in Washington DC during the panel discussion on Religious Freedom in India: Challenges for the US. The discussion was organized by the Indian Working Group of the International Religious Freedom Roundtable, claiming to be the world’s largest civil society collective on the issue. “We've had open calls for [a] genocide [of Muslims] in India. We've had demolitions of [Muslim] homes,” Hussain noted, recalling, the Early Warning Project of the US Holocaust Museum had “designated India as the number two country in the world at risk of mass killings." Hussain said the “rhetoric” openly being

'Highly abnormal': AltNews journo's arrest suggests 'deterioration in media freedom'

By Bharat Dogra*  Leading media organizations have come out in strong support of recently arrested journalist Mohammed Zubair. These organizations include, among others, the Editors Guild of India, the Press Club of India, the Delhi Union of Journalists and DIGIPUB, a platform for several important digital media organizations. All these organizations have condemned the recent arrest of the noted journalist and demanded his immediate release. While leading human rights organizations and political parties have also made somewhat similar statements, the strong support of media organizations is particularly important as the effort of the authorities has been to try to present the arrested journalist as someone who has been indulging in irresponsible journalism.  In such a situation the support of those media organizations who are familiar with his work and who are most capable of judging the quality of his work is very important. In this context it is important that some media organization

Technocratic globalism, tyranny? Health Ministry warned: bill to 'enslave' Indians

Sandeep Pandey, Tushar Gandhi By Rosamma Thomas*  Union of Concerned Citizens, a group comprising Magsaysay Award winner Prof Sandeep Pandey, human rights activist Tushar Gandhi, former judge of the Bombay High Court BG Kolse Patil, pediatrician Dr Jacob Puliyel and several renowned Indian citizens have written to the Union Health Minister cautioning him against tabling the draft Public Health Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament. “The Public Health (Prevention, Control And Management Of Epidemics, Bio-Terrorism And Disasters) Bill, 2017 and a Prospective Bill of 2022 as discussed in news articles, is straightforwardly violative of Fundamental Rights of the citizens of India and therefore, Ultra Vires of the Indian Constitution. It contravenes several International Treaties and Conventions including the Nuremberg Treaty of 1947 which was enacted to ensure that no country would repeat such inhuman medical atrocities on fellow human beings”, the 12-page letter reads. “Strangely, t

Making aadhaar must for anganwadis will exclude migrants' children: GoI told

Counterview Desk In a letter to Indevar Pandey, secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India (GoI), the well-known civil rights group Right to Food Campaign (RtFC) has said that while it may be “important” to include migrants in the anganwadi programmes, this should not be done at the cost of another form of exclusion due to aadhaar linking and digitalization-related problems. Condemning any attempt to make aadhaar mandatory for any child to access basic entitlements through anganwadi centres and schools, RtFC said, schemes be made truly universal, whereby any child or woman who accesses an anganwadi centre is provided with the services without any further requirements. Text : An article in the Indian Express on June 19, 2022 reported that the Ministry of Women and Child Development is working towards the inclusion of migrants in the anganwadi programme. While this is a positive step, it is worrying that this seems to be based on digitization and aadhaar lin

Why did ATS arrest Teesta? Is she terrorist? Are cops incompetent?: Top SC lawyer

By Our Representative  Top Supreme Court advocate Kamini Jaiswal, speaking to the recent Supreme Court order rejecting Zakia Jafri’s petition seeking culpability of Narendra Modi in the 2002 Gujarat riots, has wondered why was the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) sent to arrest well-known human rights activist Teesta Setalvad. Are she a terrorist? Or is the normal police to incompetent?, she asked. Nowhere does the Apex Court order talk of her connection, if any, with terrorist activities, she added. The arrests took place in the wake of the Supreme Court stating in the order that all those who had the “audacity to question the integrity” and abused “every functionary” who was heading the state during the 2002 riots “need to be in the dock” for keeping the “pot boiling” for 16 long years. It insisted, these persons should be dealt with “in accordance with the law”. A day after the order, Setalvad and Sreekumar, whom the order specifically mentions, were picked up and arrested by ATS and Guj

Majoritarian silence helping Hindutva forces 'handover' national resources to corporates

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The majority of Indian citizens are witnessing the persecution and everyday violence against their fellow citizens who are Muslims and religious minorities. The growing assaults on reason, science, secularism, Indian democracy and constitution are going to be landmarks in Indian history of diminishing democracy and citizenship rights. It is clear that Hindutva ideology is directly promoting sectarian politics of hate which is dangerous for the unity and integrity of India, peace and prosperity of Indians. The majoritarian silence helps in empowering Hindutva and their electoral dividends. From witnessing the persecution in the sidelines to the active participation and cheering loud or silence accelerates violence against our neighbours and our fellow citizens. How and why do majority of Indians stay silent and contribute to the persecution of their fellow citizens who are Muslims and religious minorities? The question baffles me as an Indian because I have gr

Protesters demand release of Teesta Setalvad, Sreekumar, seek review of SC order

By Our Representative  Protests broke out across India on June 27 following Teesta Setalvad’s arrest demanding her immediate release. Sabrang India , a site run by Setalvad, claimed she was “arrested on trumped-up charges after the Supreme Court dismissed the petition moved by Zakia Jafri demanding an investigation into the larger conspiracy behind the 2002 Gujarat violence.” The protesters also demanded release of former DGP Gujarat police RB Sreekumar, also arrested simultaneously. The protests were preceded by over 2,200 people from across the globe signing a statement demanding their immediate release. Leading signatories such as People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) general secretary V Suresh, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) convenor Medha Patkar, former Naval chief Admiral Ramdas. “The state has used the observations made in the judgment to falsely and vindictively prosecute those who had struggled for justice even in the face of state callousness and complicit

Electoral bonds scheme 'compromises' voluntary nature PM relief fund donations

By Rosamma Thomas*  The Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) is meant to collect voluntary donations from the general public, either individuals or organizations, to enable assistance to people in times of natural disaster, or for expensive medical treatment. That fundamental voluntary character of the fund, however, has changed in recent years.  The gazette notification of January 2018 announcing the Electoral Bond scheme states, in Clause 12 (2): “The amount of bonds not encashed within the validity period of fifteen days shall be deposited by the authorized bank to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund”. The Union government has, thus, through notification, directed funds to be deposited into what was meant to be purely voluntary. Commodore Lokesh Batra, who has been campaigning for transparency in government functioning, holds that once a gazette notification has been issued directing that funds be deposited into the PMNRF, the character of the whole fund has changed,