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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.”

In desire to control media, Modi envisages journalism univ by ex-propaganda officials: Global media watchdog

By Our Representative
Thanks to what has been described as “global decline” in press freedom, India has “improved” its ranking in the Press Freedom Index (PFI) from 140 in 2014 to 136 in 2015 and 133 in 2016. Ironically, the “improvement” has come about alongside deterioration of its overall PFI from 40.34 in 2014 to 40.49 in 2015, and 43.17 in 2016. The calculation is based the criterion “higher the figure, the worse the situation”
Released on Wednesday, the 2016 edition of the Paris-based not for profit Reporters Without Borders (RWB), its Global PFI ranking suggests, the only consolation for India is, four of the neighbouring countries – China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Burma – have been given a worse ranking. Thus, China is at virtually at the rock bottom, ranking 176 out of the 180 countries, Pakistan 147, Bangladesh 144, Burma 143, and Sri Lanka 141.
Interesting though it may seem, Afghanistan is found to rank better than India, at 120, and so do Nepal at 105 and Bhutan at 94. Singapore, often projected as a "heaven", ranks 154.
Commenting on India, RWB blames the Modi government for its “indifference to threats against journalists”, saying, “Journalists and bloggers are attacked and anathematized by various religious groups that are quick to take offence.”
It says, “It is hard for journalists to cover regions such as Kashmir that are regarded as sensitive by the government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems indifferent to these threats and problems, and there is no mechanism for protecting journalists.”
“Instead”, it adds, “In a desire to increase control of media coverage, Modi envisages opening a journalism university run by former propaganda ministry officials.”
It blames the government for taking “little action in response to violence against media personnel”, adding, it was found “sometimes directly involved in violations of their freedom.”
According to RWB, “Frequent lawsuits against journalists by local officials and draconian legislation on defamation and online publications impose major constraints on the media.”
It adds, “Violence has emerged as the main brake on media activity in recent years, especially for reporters in the field and investigative journalists.”
“Wherever they work, Indian journalists are exposed to growing violence. As well as frequent verbal and physical violence, attacks by armed groups are on the rise in several states and the local authorities have had little success in reining it in”, it underlines.
Among comparable BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries, other than India and China, Russia scores 148, down 15 points as against India, though South Africa scores a high 29, and Brazil 104.
On China, RWB notes, adding, “The Communist Party took repression to new heights. Journalists were spared nothing, not even abductions, televised forced confessions and threats to relatives.”
Scandinavian countries are found to be among the best performers, with Finland topping the global PFI, followed by the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark. United Kingdom ranks 38, United States 41, France 45, and Japan 72.
RWB notes, “The global indicator decline since 2013 is 13.6%.The global indicator has gone from 3,719 points last year to 3,857 points this year, a 3.71% deterioration.”
The RWB works out its ranking based on pluralism, media independence, environment and self-censorship, legislative framework, transparency, infrastructure and abuse.

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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".

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.”

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.