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Showing posts from 2016

Narmada dam's tribal oustees warned: They would lose compensation claim, as they didn't accept Land Bank offer

By Our Representative
The Madhya Pradesh (MP) government has issued a controversial notice to hundreds of project affected families (PAFs) of Gujarat's Narmada dam, belonging to tens of villages of Badwani and Dhar districts of MP, stating that, since they haven’t accepted the land allocated to them by the Land Bank, their “eligibility for alternative agricultural land has exhausted.”

Chattisgarh cops handing over activists' personal info to "anti-Naxal" vigilante groups: Rights group PUDR

By Our Representative
Are the police handing over personal details of activists working on tribal rights issues in Chhattisgarh to armed vigilante groups, which have cropped up with state support with the claim to fight Naxalism? A premier human rights group, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUDR), has alleged that this is what happened on December 20, following their cadres’ meeting with tribals in Bastar region.

Modi has "revived" infamous 'raid raj' of India’s socialist heyday, "stalled" privatization, economic reforms

By Our Representative
A senior expert with the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C., has sharply criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “muddled thinking on economics”, which he says has “undercut a sensible foreign policy.”

57% of Chetan Bhagat's Twitter followers support Emergency if imposed by Modi, stunning top writer

By Our Representative
Following Chetan Bhagat's twitter survey, which ended with the result that 57% of his twitter followers are ready to support Narendra Modi if the Prime Minister imposes Emergency, as Indira Gandhi did in 1975, the controversial Indian English writer known for his Modi love, is a disturbed man.

Demonetization by itself can't tackle black money, it's one-time tax: Noted economist Bhagwati, a Modi supporter

By Our Representative
Perhaps the world's most powerful voice in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's controversial decision to ban Rs 1000 and 500 notes on November 8, noted economist Prof Jagdish Bhagwati, has said that the move “cannot by itself tackle future of black money”, insisting, the move is no more than “a one-time tax on black money.”

Corruption cases: At 71% Gujarat has one of the highest acquittal rates in India, Crime Bureau data suggest

Counterview Desk
A recent study by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), a well-known rights-based NGO with presence in several countries, has revealed that Gujarat, which happens to be Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “model state”, has experienced one of the lowest conviction rates in corruption cases registered during 2001-15.

Ahead of Ghalib's 220th birth anniversary, Delhi NGO fans protest neglect of Haveli, littered with garbage

By Our Representative
Members of Ghalib Memorial Movement, including eminent Kathak proponent Uma Sharma and grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Firoz Bakht Ahmed, former director of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Suresh Goel and others have protested against the Delhi government’s alleged neglect of the Ghalib Haveli in Delhi.

Telangana police arrests human rights team, hands it over to Chhattisgarh cops; it's brazen, says PUCL

By Our Representative
There is flutter around the arrest of the seven-person human rights team consisting of lawyers, activists and journalists belonging to the Telangana Democratic Forum (TDF) and handing it over to the Chhattisgarh police on December 25 for investigation.

India is 50% urban, Govt of India's 33% estimate based on stringent classification: World Bank-supported report

By Rajiv Shah
A new high-profile report supported, among others, by World Bank, has said that the Government of India estimate that the country’s urban population, 420 million or 33% of its total population in 2015, undervalues the “true extent” of urbanization in the country.

Govt of India, RBI refuse to part with details of internal meetings on Modi's demonetization move before Nov 8

By Our Representative
The Reservation Bank of India (RBI) has rejected a right to information (RTI) plea seeking access to RBI's board meeting minutes and recommendations to the government, as also related file notings, starting with the date on which the recommendation may have been made to demonetize the Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes.

Less than 5% of tribals' forest rights "recognized" in India, no mechanism to ensure land ownership to women

By Asavari Sharma and Gaurav Madan
A new report, “Promise and Performance – Ten Years of the Forest Rights Act (FRA)”, released at a recent national convention in Delhi, has revealed that less than 5% of rights out of a total of over 200 million tribals and other traditional forest dwellers for about 34.6 million hectares (ha) in India has been so far recognized.

Funds cruch in Gujarat has hit drinking water supply to agariya salt producers in Little Rann of Kutch: Govt officials

By Pankti Jog*
The Gujarat government may take pride in organizing Rannotsav, or festival of deserts, in the Rann of Kutch and for giving best of hospitality to the visitors coming from across the world. However, facts have come to light suggesting that it has failed to set up a mechanism which can ensure regular drinking water supply to the nomadic tribes residing inside the Rann.

BJP leader "admits", Modi corruption docs real, were in Finance Ministry's "secret vaults", but leaked out

By Our Representative
Is the top BJP leadership convinced about the authenticity of the documents related with corruption charges against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, first made public by editor, Economic and Political Weekly (EPW), Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, and in possession of Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Congress vice-resident Rahul Gandhi?

Calling noteban immoral, Forbes likens it with Sanjay Gandhi's "Nazi-like eugenics" to control overpopulation

By Our Representative
Forbes, the world's prestigious business magazines, has characterized Prime Minister Narendra Modi's note-ban move as an “awful act” which is “breathtaking in its immorality”, adding, “What India has done is commit a massive theft of people's property without even the pretense of due process – a shocking move for a democratically elected government.”

Lack of environmental concern "endangers" Narmada dam's 48,000 ha catchment area in Madhya Pradesh

Counterview Desk
In a letter to the Union environment secretary, well-known social activist Medha Patkar has apprehended that thousands of hectares (ha) of catchment area in the upstream of the Narmada dam in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat still remain “untreated”, putting villages and towns situated next to the river in peril if the dam’s reservoir is filled up to the brink.

No findings in Indian probe into fraud against Adani Group, coal project to net huge taxes: Australian minister

By Our Representative
The Australian government has brushed aside fresh allegations being made in the country's media on multiple financial crime and corruption probes Adani Group of companies for "siphoning" money offshore and artificially inflating power prices at the expense of Indian consumers, as nothing but “faking news”.

Spectre of anti-nationalism raised, NGOs open to all manners of abuse with FCRA cancellation: ANHAD

By Our Representative
The Government of India canceled the foreign funding license of senior human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi's NGO, Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD) last week, on the basis of “field agency reports” which suggested that it carried out its activities against “national interest”, but it gave no supporting evidence.

Gujarat salt cultivators' forest rights in Little Rann of Kutch not recognized: Agariyas tell Indian People's Tribunal

By Pankti Jog*
Disappointed with the Gujarat government’s reluctance to recognize their seasonal user rights under the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006, over the Wild Ass Sactuary of the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK), agariya salt cultivators of the region have strongly represented their case before the Indian People’s Tribunal, which took place in New Delhi on December 15-16, 2016.

Custodial deaths: NHRC "unwilling" to recommend prosecution of police officers despite prima facie evidence

By Rajiv Shah
A high-profile report by New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), “Bound by Brotherhood: India’s Failure to End Killings in Police Custody”, has accused the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for having “failed to ensure accountability in custodial deaths” in India.

Notebandhi is nasbandi of fastest growing economy in world, will not produce any long-term benefits

By Kiran Pandit*
If the objective of the government was to fight corruption then very clearly notebandhi (demonetization) will not hurt corruption. How do pink coloured notes prevent babus and politicians from not accepting bribes?
Black money that is in our system is not corruption. Demonetization may reduce black money, there maybe more money coming into the banks and people will resort to cashless transactions. That's fine. But how does this make the corrupt honest?
Basically demonetization is barking up the wrong tree.
It has helped only:
Removal of fake currency ( microscopic amount)Put the political parties in a fix before major elections.Already, its business as usual who are with the income tax officers (ITOs). Almost all chartered accountants (CAs) of Delhi have sorted out their clients black cash and are neat and clean to file the returns.
It’s business as usual in Land and Development Office (L&DO), Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and municipalities. Although property m…

BJP Dalit electoral erosion following post-Una campaign main reason for Navsarjan FCRA revocation: Macwan

Counterview Desk
A major reason why the Government of India (GoI) decided to revoke Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) license to Gujarat’s biggest Dalit rights NGO Navsarjan Trust last week is its active participation for Dalit rights campaigns post-Una flogging incident of July 11, 2016 (click HERE), which had allegedly begun to damage the ruling BJP’s Dalit electoral base.

New civil rights group formed in Gujarat to raise minorities' "long-pending" issues, seeks minority govt depart

By Our Representative
In a new effort to lobby for minority rights, a new advocacy group has been formed in Gujarat, Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), on the occasion of the United Nations Minority Rights Day, which fell on December 18. One of its main aims is to provide a united platform for raising long-pending issues with the state government.

Demonetization: In Modi's home state, a tribal sold 10 kg brinjal for Rs 10

By Akash Kumar*
It is already more than a month, and you can still see queues outside of banks and ATMs. The demon of demonetization is still hunting crores of people in India. Everyday changing goals, from black money to cashless economy, providing new withdraw and deposit limits, government mvoes are shocking common people. The fascist nature of the government is throwing crores of common, marginalized people into misery.
A recent report by the research firm New World Wealth said that India is the most unequal country, with 54 percent of its wealth is in the hands of millionaires (who were only 2.5 lakh in 2014). The Modi government's decision of demonetization is not a war against black money but is a trick to snatch poors' savings. Prime Minister Narendra Modi should go to bank queues and see who all are standing there and are suffering from his fascist decision.
Instead of auditing the funding of political parties, raiding ministers and political power houses, builders…

GST, and not demonetization, to be a topic of discussion on finance at Vibrant Gujarat meet: State officials

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government's high-profile biennial global business summit, to be held from January 10 to January 13, is unlikely to see any focus on the controversial demonetization move of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, despite growing apprehensions that it would sharply slow down India's economy and lead to the flight of capital from the country.

Indians donating Rs 10,000 plus to NGO "sent notices" by Govt of India, seeking to know reason for "support"

By Our Representative
In a surprise revelation which may create flutter among those supporting civil rights organizations, the Government of India (GoI) reportedly sent notices to Indians who had donated as little as more than Rs 10,000 to the NGO Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (or Anhad), run by well-known human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi.

A decade after Forest Rights Act, 80% tribal land claims rejected in several states: Bhum Adhikar Andolan

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to the Government of India’s alleged efforts to “undermine” Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2016, Bhumi Adhikar Andolan (BAA), the apex body of tens of people’s movements fighting for land rights, has said that recent move to amend some of FRA’s “strong provisions” has emboldened Indian states to stop implementing it altogether.

Hindu women are less educated than Muslim, their gender gap is worse than all other religions: Pew

By Rajiv Shah
In a revelation which is likely to create ripples among Hindutva advocates, a top US research organization, Pew International, has said that Hindus may have made “substantial educational gains in recent decades”, yet the fact is, they “have the largest educational gender gap of any religion in the world”.

Modi's Varanasi most toxic city of India, has zero good air days: Govt of India's top pollution watchdog

By Our Representative
India’s top environmental watchdog, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), has found Varanasi to be the most toxic city of the country. Notorious for water pollution because of the Ganga river, Varanasi is known to be the most polluted stretch in the country. However, how the CPCB has now found that of the 227 days for which it measured air quality, the holy city recorded zero good air days.

Demonetization: Millions of man hours on queues, 100+ deaths. Why punish 96% of people for crimes done by 4%?

By Ujjwal K Chowdhury*
Let us not fool ourselves and ask the following questions or look into the following issues:
(A) Around 12 lakh crores of 14 lakh crores of demonetized money has come back to RBI and with 20 days to go more. At least 1 lakh crore or more will return. Then there is some money already with RBI from the earlier notes. So where is the black money and counterfeit notes gone? Or have they become white?
(B) It is obvious that less than 10% of the black money was held in cash. Some say only 6%. Above fact shows it. Then why punish 96% of the people for crimes done by 4% or lesser? And what a punishment: millions of man hours on queues, 100+ deaths in lines, 15+ bankers dead on duty, several committed suicides, marriages cancelled or turned skeletal, markets standstill, jobs lost etc. etc. India Express, ABP News and Mint have covered very well the human tragedy.
(C) If only 6% of black money held in cash, then remaining 94% can only be held in land, gold, foreign accounts a…

A clarion call to decide on comprehensive agenda to achieve sovereign rights over forests, its natural resources

The land rights movement, Bhumi Adhikar Andolan (BAA), has organized a march to Parliament on December 15 seeking implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006. A BAA note: 
Sovereign Rights over natural resources in the forest region have always remained a core demand of forest dwelling communities since the colonial days when British colonial power imposed its forcible authority over all natural resources, thus denying the traditional symbiotic relationship between communities and forest resources.
Once colonial power established its eminent domain to plunder all natural resources for its needs to expand the Empire, a conflict situation was created between the colonial state and the indigenous communities and unfortunately this plunder has continued in the post colonial era too. Innumerable heroic struggles were fought against the colonial state by the communities - led by exemplary courage and conviction by the subaltern leadership from amongst the Adivasi people with their indominat…

Nonviolence is the way, something we should begin to put into practice both individually and collectively

By Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*
Violence continues to throttle several parts of the world: in the past few days, bombings in Istanbul, Turkey and in the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt; the escalation of violence in Aleppo Syria -- are just some of the violent acts which have resulted in several deaths and many more injuries. In some places violence has become a way of life, highly institutionalised; little children grow up on stories of war, of how the ‘enemy’ needs to be dealt with. For several across the globe there seems to be nothing to hope for: one act of violence spawns another, for retaliation and revenge. Most are oblivious of the truth that ‘eye for an eye’ makes the whole world blind.
Pope Francis in a style which is characteristic of his papacy, has once again sent out a powerful message to the world. It is a message for the Fiftieth World Day of Peace which will be celebrated on January 1st 2017; entitled ‘Nonviolence: A Style of Politics for Peace’, he emphatically states in t…

Bio-piracy: Govt of India lenient, doesn't support litigations, as it would affect foreign investment: Study

By Rajiv Shah
A just-published study has revealed the Government of India (GoI) has not been supporting litigations arising from violating National Biological Diversity (DB) Act, 2002, pointing towards how the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), the country’s watchdog for implementing the Act, has been at the “receiving end” for most of the litigations.

Polluted villages around Gujarat's cultural capital have brownish red to pale yellow groundwater: CPCB report

By Rajiv Shah
A recent Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) report has found that groundwater of villages near Vadodara, known as Gujarat’s cultural capital, is highly polluted due to “industrial activity”, mainly because of what it calls “unscientific disposal of hazardous waste water” into the effluent treatment channel.

Ankaleshwar industrial waste water "not being treated" as per prescribed norm, allege Gujarat environmentalists

By Our Representative
Well-known Gujarat-based environmental NGO, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), has alleged that the recent decision to lift moratorium on investment in Ankaleshwar, a well-known industrial centre of South Gujarat, was taken without taking into account failure of the Final Effluent Treatment Plant (FETP) to properly treat industrial waste water.

Cancel all dam projects on Ganga to avoid 2013-type flooding in Uttarkhand: Govt of India committee told

By Our Representative
In an event, which is being interpreted by Uttarakhand civil society as suggesting how the Government of India is not serious about preserving Ganga as a national river, a five-person official committee on December 10 reached Devpryag to assess the impact of dams on the river, without allegedly providing any proper information about its proposed visit.

Decline of human rights protection regime: Why Chhattisgarh officials may never appear before NHRC

By Pushkar Raj*
The recent summoning of Chhattisgarh officials by the National Human Rights Commissions (NHRC) for abuse of power is significant due to the expectations from human rights protection institutions in the country to deliver on their mandate.

However, concerned officials may never appear before the commission to explain their conduct indicating a steep decline in human rights protection regime in the country.
Like many other countries, the human rights regime was initiated in India in the aftermath of 1993 Geneva world conference on human rights. Consequently, the Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA) was passed by the parliament for “better protection of human rights” paving way for setting up the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and a number of State Human Rights Commissions (SHRC) in the states.
Reality
Though the task of protection of human rights was to be carried out under the leadership of NHRC, but it has failed to do justice to its mandate. It is evident from …

Jayalalitha and Dravidian movement: How politics in Tamil Nadu became art of managing contradictions

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
Many in media were shocked to see the last remains of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha being buried and not cremated as per the Hindu customs. Actually, the hype of media reached its crescendo and they were well prepared for a grand brahmanical ceremony, but unfortunately their wish could not be fulfilled.
Those who know the legacy of Periyar and Dravidian movement will understand that all of them followed a legacy defined and articulated by Periyar.
Jayalalitha was a non-Tamil and brahmin, yet part of the AIADMK through its thick and thin. Even when it was well known that she diluted the whole Dravidian ideological legacies, the concept of welfare measures are part of this historical legacy and that is why Tamil Nadu remain one of the best Indian states in terms of welfare measures of the people.
The whole concept of Mid Day meal in India actually came through MGR's successful programme in Tamil Nadu. Even today, the meals provided in Tamilnadu r…

Hall of Shame: Web platform launched to map increased attacks on India's RTI users, help activists, policy makers

By Our Representative
To mark International Human Rights Day (December 10), well-know civil rights organization, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative has launched a web platform, http://attacksonrtiusers.org/Home/Index1/, for mapping attacks on right to information (RTI) users in India.

De La Rue: We are not blacklisted in India, we don't supply printing currency to Pakistan, allegations false

By Our Representative
De La Rue has strongly refuted as defamatory and malicious allegations about its business published in Indian media, saying it is “not supplying paper for printing of Indian currency and we are not associated with printing of currency in India at present in any form.”

Gujarat environmentalists seek chemical emergency in Vadodara industry cluster, cite high level of water pollution

Counterview Desk
Two top environmentalists from Gujarat have revealed that a recent joint visit of Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) officials in Vadodara’s industrial region has found the chemical oxygen demand (COD) of 890 to 1,022 mg per litre of water in channels which are supposed to carry treated, against the maximum norm of 250 mg per litre.

India's total wealth declined by 0.8% in 2015-16: Credit Suisse research

By Our Representative
Government of India may claim that the country’s gross national product (GDP) during 2015-16 grew by 7.56%, one of the highest in the world. However, Credit Suisse, a Switzerland-based multinational financial services group, has said that, in real terms, there was a decline of 0.8% in the country’s total wealth in 2015-16.

Ironclad assurance? Adani not to employ Indians, other foreigners in $16.5 billion Australian coal mining project

By Our Representative
No Indians would be allowed employment in the Adani Group’s controversial $16.5 billion Carmichael coal mining project in Queensland province. Melbourne-based South Asia Times (SAT) has quoted group chairman Gautam Adani as having assured the Australian authorities that he would not bring any foreign workers for his project.

Failing to get land, Narmada oustee family in Gujarat sits in protest at Kevadia with dead body of Duljibhai

By Ratan Vasave
The adivasis from Gujarat, affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project, have been on relay fast since July 15, 2016. On November 4 late evening, they changed their venue site. It has been shifted to in front of the Rehabilitation Development Office, at Kevadia Colony, near the dam site, with a dead body kept nearby.

Govt of India outfit says, it has no studies on anti-riots efficacy of pellet guns, which injured 3000 in J&K

Counterview Desk
After declaring two months ago (click HERE) that pellet guns’ sale and efficacy as anti-riots weapon cannot be disclosed in public interest, a top Government of India outfit has stated that it does not have “any studies regarding the efficacy of anti-riot weapons such as pellet guns.”

Australians rally against Gautam Adani ahead of his scheduled Melbourne meeting with Prime Minister Turnball

By Our Representative
Hundreds of people gathered in Melbourne, one of Australia's biggest cities, to protest against the Adani Group's plans to dig a massive coalmine in Queensland province's Galilee Basin, with an actor depicting the country's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull being controlled by “puppeteer” Gautam Adani, Adani Group chairman.

Patna civil society meet seeks anti-BJP joint action with political parties to fight against "undeclared" emergency

By Our Representative
The National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), India's premier apex body of several mass organizations, has called for an urgent coordination between India's different people's movements and political parties in order to fight against what it called “increasing attacks on freedom of expression” by the Narendra Modi government.

2002 Gujarat riots: Didn't receive any grants, donations for welfare of victims in 2007-14, asserts Teesta Setalvad

By Our Representative
Top human rights activist, fighting the 2002 Gujarat riot victims' cases, Teesta Setavlad, has said the organizations she and her husband Javed Anand represent – Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) or Sabrang Trust – never applied or appealed for, or received grants or donations “intended for the financial assistance of any kind” for the welfare of the “victims-survivors of the 2002 communal carnage in Gujarat” between 2007 and 2014.

Modi's demonetization was bad idea, is badly executed, would lead to institutional failure, warns "The Economist"

By Our Representative
In a scathing critique of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetization drive, top British weekly “The Economist”, in its print edition dated December 3, has controversially commented that that “withdrawing 86% by value of the cash in circulation in India was a bad idea”, and is being “badly executed.”

1250 families in posh western Ahmedabad forced to defecate in open, have no houses for 20 years, Gujarat CM told

By Our Representative
Providing a glimpse of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s model city, Manav Garima Trust (MGT), a voluntary organization working among the Valmiki community for over 15 years, has revealed there are as many as 1,250 Valmiki families are living in western Ahmedabad’s post localities without any basic amenities, not to talk of housing.

Coca Cola, Pepsi suffer setback, Madras High Court disallows Tamil Nadu bottling plants from using river water

By Our Representative
The Madras High Court has ordered that water from the river Tamirabarani in Tamil Nadu must not be diverted to Coca-Cola and Pepsi producing plants in Gangaikondan due to the severe water shortages in the area. The court passed the interim injunction disallowing river water to the bottling plants for 2 months on November 21, 2016. The order was obtained by India Resource Center this week.