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29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

2002 Gujarat riots: Despite many extreme cases of gender violence, so far just one conviction in Naroda Patiya

Survivors pay homage to those killed at Naroda Patiya
By Rajiv Shah
Although 32 accused – including a minister in the Modi government – were in 2012 found guilty of “murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, spreading enmity and communal hatred” during the 2002 Gujarat communal violence in Ahmedabad’s Naroda Patiya area, so far, just in one case there has been conviction for gruesome acts of sexual violence there, regrets a new American study.
The University of California, Berkeley, study, “Conflicted Democracies and Gendered Violence: The Right to Heal”, says, this happened even though “10 of the 62 defendants were charged with crimes of sexual violence, including rape, ‘assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty’, and an ‘act done with intention of preventing child from being born alive’.”
The study, based on interviews with victims and a plethora of documents, says, “The solitary conviction was premised upon the confession of a defendant, who raped a Muslim girl and killed her by throwing her from a roof.”
Pointing towards failure of the Gujarat government to provide any healing touch, especially to the victims of sexual violence during the riots, the study says, just in one case a gang-rape victim-survivor was ordered “compensation of Rs 500,000”.
Even this victim, the study says, “did not receive the compensation until months later, following several visits from the victim’s lawyers to the state Social Welfare Department and an additional court order.”
The study says, “Police merged the 120 reports filed by victim-survivors of sexual violence into 26 official complaints two to three months following the massacre. These ‘omnibus’ FIRs did not identify individual perpetrators but attributed the violence to anonymous ‘mobs’.”
The study approvingly quotes a victim-survivor as saying, “I am not a ‘mob,’ I am a woman who was gang raped by three men. How can I hope for justice when they don’t even register my complaint properly?”
It notes, this shows how “the prosecutor was unable to bring charges of rape without information about the identities of the perpetrators of sexual violence”, and why “the court was unable to determine criminal liability for the crimes.”
Quoting victims, the study says, “Most of the women victims—girls and women— were raped before they were murdered and burned.”
It adds, “Several victims observed an attacker slice open the womb of a pregnant Muslim woman with a sword, extract her fetus, and subsequently throw both the woman and her fetus into a nearby fire; the woman was at or near full term in her pregnancy.”
“Members of fleeing Muslim families were detained, stripped, raped, and then murdered”, the study says, adding, “One woman recalled seeing ‘a naked girl running from twenty-five men’. Another survivor testified that four men cut off the string of her petticoat, sliced her hand with a sword, and gang raped her.”
“There is evidence that, during the investigation, police mistreated and re-traumatized victim-survivors of sexual violence”, the study notes, adding, “In Gujarat, investigators systematically refused to register complaints from Muslim women victims of gender-based violence.”
While many a time women were themselves reluctant to file complaint, according to the study, “Police officers denied women survivors the right to file FIRs or omitted details about rape and murder victims in recording the FIRs.” It quotes the National Commission of Woman to say that the “number of FIRs registered was much less than the incidents of violence against women reported to the NCW.” In all, 96 persons were killed at Narodiya Patiya, of whom 35 were women and 25 were children.
The 402-page study, which is based on gender violence in four Indian states – Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Odisha and Gujarat – and has a foreword by Navyanethem Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (2008-14), is based on contributions by 10 scholars.
Published by the Center for Social Sector Leadership, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, those who have contributed in the research are Angana P Chatterji, Mallika Kaur, Roxanna Altholz, Paola Bacchetta, Rajvinder Singh Bains, Mihir Desai, Laurel E Fletcher, Parvez Imroz, Jeremy J Sarkin and Pei Wu.
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Download the study HERE

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India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, a top Chinese media outfit, described by BBC as state-run, has said, commenting on India's foreign relations with its neighbours, that "speculation and suspicion" is "certainly not diplomacy". Published in "China Daily", the largest circulating English Monday-to-Saturday newspaper with branches across the world, the editorial notes (September 20) that "several recent events" in Nepal and Bhutan, are "gnawing worrywarts in New Delhi".
The editorial -- which comes close on the heels of a sharp critique of India's foreign policy in a state-supported Russian media outfit, Sputnik International, calling India's anti-Pak diplomacy as having "gone awry" following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "half-baked" push for anti-terror drill down "others' throat" -- says, the " worrywarts" include "Nepalese troops taking part in a joint…

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aïnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
Sons of slaves, these islanders have fallen prey to what the Colombian government calls Colombianization. “It’s a process”, according to her, “which kills the Raizal culture; it’s the killing of the Raizal soul. Colombianization subjugates Afro-descendants of San Andres to an ethnocide.”

Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
Have you ever heard of a Gandhi museum, sough to be projected as the “largest” on the Mahatma, yet totally inaccessible, in sharp contrast to Ahmedabad’s humble, approachable and unassuming Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati, set up by the Mahatma during the heydays of the freedom movement? It exists about 30 kilometres away, its idea was conceived by none other than a person who has today become even more inaccessible than he ever was: Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.

Accused of being RSS plant, Modi man, Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor asks President to probe "irregularities"

Counterview Desk
Refused entry in the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), the central university's newly appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has, in a letter to the President of India, said that MANUU vice-chancellor (V-C) Dr Aslam Parvaiz has accused him of being an RSS plant and a Modi man, whose sole aim is to "interfere in the working of the university".

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
Even the most deserving of women do not find a place that equals their worth in history. Kasturba is one such woman whose contribution to India’s struggle for freedom has been exemplary, and yet, it has not received the recognition it deserves. Kastur Makhanji Kapadia was born in the year 1869, the same year and in the same town of Porbandar in Gujarat as Gandhiji. In fact she was older than Gandhiji by a few months.

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”