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GoI 'feeling threatened' by forces which can potentially fight 'Brahmanical fascism'

Counterview Desk  A network of civil rights and people’s organisations , Campaign Against State Repression (CASR)*, has characterised the recently-imposed ban on Popular Front of India (PFI), National Confederation of Human Rights Organizations (NCHRO) and other organisations as “Brahmanical Hindutva fascist” move of the Government of India (GoI), calling it “onslaught on democratic dissent”. In a statement, CASR said, the move is aimed at terrorizing and vilifying the Muslim community, adding, at the same time, the GoI is curbing any protest and demonstration against the “fascist diktat of ban”, with peoplebeing “detained and arrested.” It added, “This kind of attack on right to oppose or criticize any step of government should be conceived as an attack on the very democratic values of the people.” Text : On 28 September 2022, Central Government led by BJP-RSS banned the Popular Front of India, National Confederation of Human Rights Organizations, Campus Front of India, National Wom
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Denying dissent democratic space in Gujarat: 'sad narrative of eroding ethical values'

By Sandeep Pandey*  A padyatra (foot march) was to be taken out between 26 September and 4 October, 2022 from Randhikpur village in Dahod district of Gujarat to Ahmedabad to apologise to Bilkis Bano. Randhikpur is Bilkis Bano’s village. In 2002 Gujarat communal violence she was gang raped, her 3 years old daughter, another child in womb and a total of 14 family members were killed. 11 people were convicted and sentenced for life in 2008. However, on 15 August, 2022 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a speech from Red Fort appealing to people to change their attitude towards women and treat them with respect, a district level committee of Panchmahal decided to release the 11 rapists and murderers. A Bhartiya Janata Party leader described four of these criminals as virtuous Brahmins. Before the padyatra could begin from Randhikpur, on 25 September night, 7 activists were picked up from Godhra corporator Hanif Kalandar’s house where they had gone for d

'Incentivize street dog adoption': Ecologist seeks moratorium on fancy breeds sale

By Rosamma Thomas*  In a letter to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan last month, ecologist and member of the Expert Group on Biodiversity and Development of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity Dr S Faizi has suggested that one way to reduce the problem posed to public health by street dogs would be to impose a five-year moratorium on the sale of fancy breeds of dogs. Dog lovers must be encouraged and offered incentives to take in native breeds, so that such a large number of them do not go hungry and roam the streets. Data from the directorate of health services shows that there has been a huge spurt in dog bite incidents in the state. There were 62,280 cases of dog bite in the state in 2013; 2.21 lakh cases were reported in 2021. “Street dogs menace has grown to become a civilizational crisis,” Dr Faizi wrote, adding that local self-government institutions have been hobbled in their attempts to deal with the situation by orders issued by the Union government during the term

Paradox? Heavy military deployment has had 'tangible success' in enhancing J&K security

By Katarzyna Rybarczyk*  An ethnically diverse Himalayan region of Kashmir has been a subject of a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan since the partition in 1947. Despite both countries claiming full control over the region’s entirety, Kashmir is divided between them, into an Indian-administered part and a Pakistan-administered part. For the last three decades, Indian-controlled Kashmir has been characterised by unrest due to a separatist insurgency opposing the Indian rule. Although India’s fragile relationship with Kashmir is not a new issue, tensions intensified when in 2019 India revoked Article 370, depriving the region of its special status and a certain degree of autonomy attributed to it. Article 370 allowed Kashmir to have its own constitution and to make decisions regarding property ownership and permanent residency. As a result, Indians from other parts of the country were not able to purchase property and settle in Kashmir. Scrapping Kashmir’s special status me

Inspired by health for all motto, built by workers: Shaheed Hospital of Chhattisgarh

By Bharat Dogra*  At a time when the trend of trying to maximize profits has led to so many serious distortions in the health sector, the need for at least some efforts which have been consistently providing rationality based, low cost medical care with a special emphasis on trying to reach out to workers and peasants and to all weaker sections of society has increased further. The Shaheed Hospital in Dalli Rajhara (Chattisgarh) region provides one such highly inspiring example. It is, moreover, a very rare example of a hospital which was actually created, built, expanded by workers, using their own hard labor and meager savings (with some help from other well-wishers). It has been a tremendous effort to maintain the continuity of this hospital’s work during the last four decades. The Shaheed Hospital also provides a very inspiring example of many deeply committed doctors, nurses, medical and other workers who have been serving the hospital with the deepest commitment over the years. I

How Gandhian values have become 'casualty' in India under majoritarian BJP rule

By Sandeep Pandey*  A Muslim youth was beaten recently when he tried to witness the famous garba performance during the Hindu religious nine days festival of Navratri in Gujarat. There was a time when Muslims could easily participate in Garbha events in an atmosphere of cordiality. Bilkis Bano was gang raped in 2002 Gujarat communal violence, her 3 years old daughter, the child in womb and a total of 14 family members were killed. 11 accused were awarded life term. However, recently a District level committee has decided to release all the culprits. A ruling Bhartiya Janata Party leader has described some of these criminals as virtuous Brahmins, the highest among the Hindu hierarchical caste system. In a communally polarized Gujarat today most Muslims feel offended by the decision of the government and BJP supporters either justify the release of rapists and murderers or just ignore the ignominious decision. Mahatma Gandhi came from the Guj

West Bengal govt's mining lease to 'impact' sensitive ecosystem, tribal livelihood

Counterview Desk  A senior West Bengal-based human rights activist, taking strong exceptional to the state government leasing out flatlands beside the Tilaboni hills in the Purulia district to a private mining company for granite mining, has said, this was done without considering the eco-hazards of how it would affect the life and livelihood of the mainly tribal villagers, who depend on the hills for their living. Stating that at least four villages -- Tilabani, Ledabona, Parashibana and Madhabpur -- might be particularly badly affected, Kirity Roy, who heads the Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), in a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission chairperson, said, the tribal people here believe that the hills are an abode of their Gods – Goramthan and Marangburu. Hence, their destruction would not only affect their life and livelihood, but also hurt their religious faith. Text : I am writing this to draw your attention towards an incident of illegal confiscation of

Kerala health bill public hearing? Here the minister 'ensured' cameras were turned off

By Our Representative  On Friday, September 30, 2022, about 100 members of the general public gathered at the conference room of the collectorate at Ernakulam, Kerala, to express their apprehensions about the Kerala Public Health Bill, 2021, which the state assembly referred to a 15-member select committee chaired by state health and family welfare minister, Veena George. Minister Veena George asserted at the outset that this was a sitting of the select committee, and all cameras would need to be turned off. Advocate PA Pouran, general secretary of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties in Kerala, stood up in protest, arguing that the meeting was a public hearing and should ideally be televised to reach vast numbers of people. Other members of the audience protested too, but the minister insisted that the gathering was part of a sitting of the select committee.  “Why then did you invite all of us?” protested George Mathew, who had arrived from Aluva and earlier served as a member of t

Indian business cost pressures re-emerge, profits, sales 'sharply decline': IIM-A survey

By Our Representative  The latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES), conducted by the Misra Centre for Financial Markets and Economy, Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), has expressed concern over "reemergence of cost pressures" on Indian business, noting, "Around 59% of the participating firms in the survey perceive significant (over 6%) cost increase, up from 53% reported in the earlier round of the survey." Based on responses of around 900 companies, primarily from the manufacturing sector, the BIES report says, "The percentage of firms perceiving over 10% cost increase y-o-y has also increased. Over 26% of the firms in August 2022 round of the survey perceive that costs have increased very significantly (over 10%) – marginally up from 24% recorded in July 2022." The report also expresses concern over the fact that "firms’ sales expectations have sharply declined", pointing out, "Percentage of firms reporting ‘s

'Massive concern for people': Modi seeking to turn India into global manufacturing hub

By Shankar Sharma*  The news item quoting Narendra Modi at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meet, "Want to turn India into a manufacturing hub: PM Modi at SCO Summit" should be of massive concern to our people. One can only continue to be shocked by such policies, which can be termed as ill-conceived to say the least. Without objectively considering the environmental and social impacts on our communities in the medium to long term, such policies will also result in massive economic impacts because a lack of environmental and social perspective cannot be economically attractive either. In order to become the global manufacturing hub, India will have to meet an enormous demand for energy of various kinds, and in order to meet this much energy demand the economy has to manufacture enormous number of appliances/ gadgets/ machineries (to generate and distribute commercial forms of energy such as coal, nuclear, gas, hydro, and renewable energy (RE) sources such as so