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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.”

Young Ambedkarite leader attacked in South Gujarat govt office: Documents on "illegal" mining snatched

By Our Representative
In a gruesome incident, young Ambedkarite social activist, working among South Gujarat tribal farmers, Romel Sutariya, was attacked by unidentified persons in the Tapi district collector’s premises on Feruary 2, injuring him. He had to hospitalized, and his leg was plastered as it suffered a fracture.
The attack took place, Sutariya, 25, said in an email to www.counterview.net, as he was going for a hearing in the district collector’s office regarding illegal sand mining, rampant in the district. “The papers in my possession regarding illegal mining, which we had obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, and on the basis of which were considering to talk to officials, were snatched”, he said.
Leading Adivasi Kisan Sangharsh Morcha (AKSM), Sutariya said, this was not “an isolated incident.” Earlier, he and other AKSM activists, who campaigned against the sand mafia, were attacked in separate incidents in Tapi and Chhotaudepur districts. Things went so far as to declare Sutariya a “Naxalite”.
Exactly a year ago, the Gujarat government has imposed curfew under Section 144, prohibiting assembly of more than ten people in Chhotaudepur district for a fortnight. An order, dated January 31, 2015, said that it has been “imposed in order to prevent terrorist activities in Chhotaudepur town and all the talukas of the district”.
Around the same time, Jayram Gamit, an AKSM activist, was mysteriously picked up by cops from Tapi district under the Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act (PASA Act) ahead of a major protest the organization were to lead against sand mafia. Sent as far away as Rajkot, he was released two months later.
In yet another incident, seven Adivasis, including three women, of Manekpur village of Bardoli taluka, were brutally attacked in April 2015. All of them were members of the AKSM. Following the attack, the Adivasis had to admitted in hospital. It took place ahead of Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel’s visit to Vyara, Tapi district headquarters, for Gujarat foundation day function on May 1.
The latest attack follows information gathered by Romel Sutariya under RTI about illegal activities sand mining and stone crushing on common village and government land in talukas of Tapi district -- Valod, Vyara and Songadh. Of the total of 62 leases, in as many as 15 cases, “illegal” activities were allowed.
Sutariya termed this as a violation of the Supreme Court direction of 2011, which asks all state governments to “restore” common grazing and government lands -- handed over in the past for activities other than what it they are meant -- to the villages to which they actually belonged.
Strongly taking objection such activities, Sutariya wrote a letter to Gujarat chief secretary GR Aloria, which said that, while AKSM has for long been fighting against the adverse environmental impact on vegetation because of such activities, the latest revelation through an RTI plea clearly suggests a lot of such "illegal" activity has been going on, on government and common village land.
The letter sought the chief secretary’s “immediate intervention” for stopping these illegal activities on not just on government or grazing land, but also on private land, as it is causing “immense harm to the health and agriculture of the tribal farmers.”

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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.”