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Showing posts from June, 2015

UN report "regrets" extra-judicial killings in Gujarat, objects to reinstatement of responsible cops in higher positions

By Our Representative
A top United Nations (UN) report has taken strong exception to the Gujarat government failing to act against high level police officials  responsible for encounter killings of individuals in the aftermath of the 2002 communal riots. The report, released recently, notes that “police officers who have been suspended upon their arrest in cases of suspected extrajudicial killings and charged with extrajudicial killings have been reinstated in senior positions.”

Child immunization: Gujarat slips to 21st rank, reveals The Economist citing UNICEF's unpublished data

By Our Representative
Well-know British weekly, The Economist, has created flutter by publishing United Nations Children Fund's (UNICEF's) unpublished data which suggest that Gujarat's ranking in immunization of children has slipped from 16th to 21st position between 2001, when Narendra Modi came to power as state chief minister, and 2014, when he became India's Prime Minster, "riding" on a developmental agenda.

Katju approaches apex court: Parliament resolutions condeming critique of Gandhi, Bose "infringe" academic freedom

Counterview Desk
Justice Markandey Katju, former chairman, Press Council of India and ex-Supreme Court judge, has filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court against Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha resolutions condemning his Facebook posts which had called Mahatma Gandhi and Netaji Subhas Bose British and Japanese agents, respectively. He has filed the petition through senior counsel Gopal Subramaniam, as he is abroad.

Gujarat cops under Modi, Amit Shah "snooped" on young woman architect even in Karnataka: Gulail tapes reveal

By Our Representative
Fresh tapes released by an investigative news site, http://gulail.com/ have made further revelations on how Gujarat government under ex-chief minister Narendra Modi had controversially “snooped” on an innocent young Bangalore-based woman architect. It adds, what is new in the fresh set of tapes is, she was being “stalked like a criminal or a terrorist by the anti-terrorist squad and intelligence machinery” beyond the boundaries of the state.

Instead of seeking debate with public and in Parliament, govt chooses to pass laws first through ordinance

By Kriti Sharma*
The real test of a government is its commitment to its very own people, the adivasis, minoritie, sexual or religious, women and dalits. Reference here is not to the politics of doling out that turns up election fever, but the ability to ensure a life of dignity, equality and just entitlement to nation's subalterns. The most controversial bill of this year the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Amendment Bill 2015, however, attempts to rob adivasis, small farmers and forest-dwellers of just that.
In one stroke it does away with first, the recognition of relationship of land with its people; second, the basic principle of allowing affected persons to give consent and have a say; and third, the requirement of 'social impact assessment' to fully understand the implications of land acquisition. Thus, it allows for redistribution of land from the poor to the non-poor in certain controversial projects i…

Centre to drop CEPI index on critically polluted areas: Setback to identifying environment-health relations

By Our Representative
The Government of India (GoI) is all set to “drop” one of the most powerful calculation tool – Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) – it had adopted in 2009 to measure the level of pollution in India’s different industrial clusters. One of India’s senior-most environmentalists Rohit Prajapati has said he has received “clear indications” that CEPI wouldn’t be used anymore, there is a strong view in GoI that it “harms” foreign industrial investment into India.

India "beats" China in carbon dioxide emission growth: British Petroleum

Counterview Desk
In a major revelation, “India Spend” India’s first data journalism initiative, has said that a recent, on the basis of an analysis of latest study released by top MNC British Petroleum (BP), that India has becoming the world’s “fastest-growing major polluter”. Prepared on the basis of analysis of a plethora of data in the study, analyst Sajai Jose has said, in 2014 India’s “carbon dioxide emissions growth accounting for the largest share of global emissions growth”.

Tata Power rejoinder on Counterview article on child abuse in villages surrounding mega Gujarat plant

By Our Representative Following is the text of the rejoinder to Tata Mundra article published (withdrawn) in www.counterview.net:    Serious concern with your article “Child labour on rise around Tata Mundra plant, teenage girls being forced into sexual abuse: Report” dated June 19, 2015
This is with reference to the article titled ‘Child labour on rise around Tata Mundra plant, teenage girls being forced into sexual abuse: Report’ published by Counterview on June 19, 2015.

Nehru had said, "Who indeed could afford to ignore science today?" Modi Sarkar has proved Nehru wrong

By PVS Kumar*
During the past one-year we have witnessed an unprecedented attack on scientific temper, rational thinkingand scientific establishment of the country. The assault has been four pronged:
1. Spreading and providing credibility to myths, superstitions, irrational beliefs among the masses;
2. Occupying spaces such as science congress, workshops and conferences and use the official and unofficial platforms for anti-science activities;

US report: Gujarat govt moved against top activist Teesta Setalvad after she sought to indict Modi in 2002 riots

Counterview Desk
The latest US government's "India 2014 Human Rights Report" has criticized Gujarat government for filing a misappropriation case against well-known human rights activist Teesta Setalvad. This, it notes, was done "after a December 2013 decision by a Gujarat lower court rejecting a protest petition "to force the state to file criminal charges against then-Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and other officials for allegedly failing to stop Hindu reprisals in Gujarat in 2002."

Education under Modi: Coercive exclusion of books, films, clothes, cultural activities perceived as inimical to 'faith'

By Karen Gabriel and P K Vijayan*Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been reported as having stated, in an interview to Time magazine, that 'You don't need dictatorship in India, democracy is in our DNA'. Modi says, 'It is not just as per our Constitution that we are a democratic country, it is in our DNA.... I firmly believe that for us, democracy and belief in democratic values are a matter of faith.'
He apparently also goes on to remark that acceptance of all religions was 'in our blood':
“All religions and all communities have the same rights and it is my responsibility to ensure their complete and total protection. My Government will not tolerate or accept any discrimination based on caste, creed and religion. So there is no place for imaginary apprehensions with regards to the rights of the minorities in India” (Indian Express, 8 May 2015).
What stands out in these observations is the use of the word 'faith'. This term has two broad referential f…

Jay Prakash Narayan "made mistake" in forming Janata Party, RSS-Jana Sangh "suddenly became alive" because of him

Counterview Desk
Well-known sociologist Prof DL Sheth has said that, thanks to Indira Gandhi’s imposition of Emergency on June 25, 2015, the RSS-Jana Sangh became part of the mainstream politics from the very “fringe”. Simultaneously blaming Jay Prakash (JP) Narayan for giving holding their hand to the Sangh, Prof Sheth -- who was one of closest associates of top academic who opposed Emergency, late Rajni Kothari -- reveals, the Sangh at one point, even supported the Emergency.

There is very little likelihood that government hostility to civil society activism will end in the near future

By Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*
Civil society activism is under attack in India as never before! A careful analysis of this past year clearly reveals that those who have accompanied the poor and the marginalised, the vulnerable and the victims of society have often to take up cudgels against the powerful and other vested interests; more often than not, it is also against the Government be it State or Central.
Civil society activism in India today involves a whole range of stake-holders which include individuals, academic institutions, writers – scholars, human rights and other non-government organisations and in short anybody and everybody genuinely concerned about what is happening in the country today. There are individuals and institutions who work at the grassroots with Dalits and Adivasis, with women, children and LGBTs, with small farmers, with the displaced and refugees, with slum-dwellers and with the differently-abled and perhaps with every disadvantaged individual or group who have…

RTI plea: Info on Adani visit to Prime Minister's residence "denied" under Modi pressure, no secrecy involved

By Our Representative
Denial of information to Paragkumar Ashokkumar Patel, the Gujarat citizen who under the right to information (RTI) Act wanted the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to tell him the dates of top Indian tycoon Gautam Adani's visit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's residence, is all set to turn into full blown controversy. Patel has decided not to take things lying down, and has gone into an appeal saying that the denial runs counter to the RTI Act, alleging the PMO's Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) has done it under "pressure" from Modi.

PM office denies datewise info on Modi meetings with Adani, invoking unwarranted invasion into privacy clause

By Our Representative
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office does not think that it is obligatory on its part to reveal even elementary information about the date-wise number of visits made by a top tycoon to his official residence in Delhi. This has come from a right to information (RTI) plea by a Gujarat-based citizen by Paragkumar Ashokkumar Patel, who wished to “total number of visits, datewise” by Gautam Adani.

UN's post-2015 draft goals: Indian civil society objects to greater role to private sector, neglect of Dalits

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to the recently-released revised draft of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, proposed to be adopted at the UN General Assembly this September, a group of 18 top India-based non-government organizations (NGOs) has said that it fails to take into account the broader context of "declining role of the state vis-à-vis the private sector and businesses."

Yoga wasn't part of ancient Indian medical system, there is little evidence to prove it can cure diseases: Study

Counterview Desk
A comprehensive study, "No, Yoga Does Not Cure Any Disease", by a Karnataka-based researcher-consultant, Dr Srinivas Kakkilaya, has said that "all the available evidence as of now, and the systematic reviews and meta-analyses, indicate clearly that yoga does not cure or prevent, or significantly alleviate, any ailment, that affects humans", adding, "If a lie is repeated often, it is said, people will eventually believe it."

Preventing detention of activists ahead of Gujarat CM programme "no violation of human rights", is perfectly "legal"

By Our Representative
In an official communication, the Gujarat police suggests it doesn’t think there is anything wrong with detaining activists seeking to protest against programmes involving state chief minister Anandiben Patel. In a letter to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), New Delhi, the state police has justified the detentions, which took place on December 20, 2014, ahead of the chief minister’s visit to Chhotaudepur in South Gujarat.

Morgan Stanley: Nonsense and ridiculous to say India's GDP grew at 7.5 per cent

By Our Representative
Following Reuters Breakingviews Index, which said early this month said that India's gross domestic product (GDP) did not grow by 7.5 per cent in the first quarter of this year, as claimed by the Modi government but just around 5 per cent (click HERE to read), world's leading consultants Morgan Stanley has created a flutter by declaring that India could not have growth "anymore than 6 per cent."

Gujarat govt's new super-specialty hospital would be "unapproachable" for the poor

By Our Representative
Four independent members of the board of management, Chinai Maternity and VS General Hospitals, Ahmedabad, have strongly protested against the Gujarat government’s move to convert the hospital into a super-specialty unit. In a statement to the media, they have said, for two long years their plea not to convert it into super-specialty hospital is pending before the charity commissioner court, but without “any progress.”

Cost of filing RTI with police in Gujarat: Activist-journalist Shailesh Patel "murdered" by bootleggers

By Pankti Jog*
In Mahatma Gandhi’s dry state, even asking for information about illegal liquor trading has proved to be life snatching. Shailesh Kantilal Patel of Surendranagar district of Gujarat filed a right to information (RTI) application on June 15, 2015 at 12 noon at the district superintendent of police’s (DSP’s) office of Surendrangar district. He was murdered on the same day late night.

One year of Modi sarkar: Hate speeches, weapon with those thriving on politics of exclusion, galore

By Ram Puniyani*
The coming to power of Narendra Modi in a way gave an open license to all the affiliates of RSS combine to indulge in open hate speech against the religious minorities. The current agenda behind the hate speech is to consolidate the communal polarization of the society along lines of religion. The well known case of MIM's Akbarudin Owaisi’s hate speech has been despicable and very rightly Akbarudin Owaisi had to be in jail for some time.
The case against him should be pursued and the legal course of action must be pursued. At the same time what about the hate speech indulged in by the likes of Pravin Togadia, Subramaniam Swamy, Giriraj Singh, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Sadhvi Prachi, Sakshi Mahraraj, Yogi Adityanth, Sanjay Raut and company?
Apart from these associates of Hindu right-wing patriarch, RSS, who are reported in the media, there are many more indulging in the divisive speech and worsening the communal situation. During this year they have started feeling emb…

Adverse impact of industrialization along Kutch coastline: Fisherfolk turned into wage labourers, child labour on rise

Counterview Desk
Belonging to Mota Kandagra, one of the adversely affected villages as a consequence of industrialization along the coastal region of Kutch district, Gujarat, Minal, 11, and Sonal, 13, remember the joyful lives they led just two years ago. They never knew what hunger was. They went to the local school, played with their friends and were loved and treated well. Their father had a small farm and was a successful farmer.

The Pope doesn't spare Catholic Church priests, calls upon faithfuls to engage on environmental issues

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
The long awaited encyclical on ‘environmental issues’ by Pope Francis is finally here! Released on June 18 in the Vatican, the encyclical is certainly not merely a defining moment for the Catholic Church but in fact for the whole of humanity. Entitled ‘Laudato Si’ (Praised be to you!) – ‘on care for our common home’, the first two words of a thirteenth century prayer written by St Francis of Assisi and called the ‘Canticle of the Creatures’ or the ‘Canticle of the Sun’.

The words ‘Praised be to you’ refers several times in this beautiful prayer which praises and thanks God for giving us the whole of creation and particularly for ‘Brother Fire’ and ‘Sister Water’. Pope Francis already set the tone of his papacy when on March 13th 2013, the day he was elected Pope, he took his name from St. Francis of Assisi who is universally regarded as the Patron Saint of the environment and in his identification with poverty and with peace.
‘Laudato Si’ has come in when the wo…

Modi in his first year in office has led our nation into a long, blistering majoritarian summer

By Harsh Mander*
Of all the major political parties seeking votes in the 2014 elections, the BJP, through its prime ministerial candidate, offered the Indian electorate perhaps the most cohesive, if troubling, vision for the country. Modi offered a combination of three fundamentalisms. First, a market orthodoxy which guarantees unprecedented levels of subsidies to big business in the form of long tax holidays, soft loans, cheap land and electricity, at the expense of public expenditure on education, health, social protection and public infrastructure.
Next was communal fundamentalism, constituting barely disguised hostility towards religious minorities, especially Muslims, which was the main rallying agenda on the ground in electorally crucial states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. And the third was a militarist fundamentalism, envisioning an aggressive foreign policy, including war with Pakistan.
Modi's offer to the voters was a kind of 'buy one, get two free' political barga…