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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.”

Jaitley's "outburst" against judiciary suggests he is feeling sidelined under Modi: Ex-Gujarat BJP CM Suresh Mehta

By Our Representative
In a scathing letter to Union finance minister Jaitley, former BJP chief minister of Gujarat, Suresh Mehta, has said that Jaitley’s recent outpourings (click HERE) against thejudiciary is the direct result of what he calls BJP’s “flamboyant Rajya Sabha MP” Subramaniam Swamy’s attacks on him.
“Shocked” to read Jaitley’s statement in the Rajya Sabha (May 11, 2016), where he said that the judiciary is destroying the edifice of India’s legislature “step by step, brick by brick”, Mehta, in his four-page letter to Jaitley, release to media, says, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi appears keen to pit Swamy against you.”
Recalling how Swamy recently alleged in a recent TV interview that Jaitley was trying to “undermine the investigation into AugustaWesland chopper scam” amidst reports that Swamy may be replaced as India’s finance minister, Mehta tells Jaitley, “I wonder if you are feeling nervous."
Mehta – who became compromise Gujarat chief minister in October 1995 following a rebellion against the then chief minister Keshubhai Patel, led by current Congress leader Shankarsinh Vaghela and reportedly engineered by Narendra Modi – resigned from the BJP in December 2007.
Mehta says in his letter, “Your statement particularly acquires significance as it comes one day after the BJP lost the floor test in Uttarakhand, thanks to Supreme Court intervention.”
Regretting that the statement accusing the judiciary has come from “an eminent and perceptive Supreme Court advocate”, Mehta, who has been a lawyer by profession, says, “It is not the judiciary which is seeking to undermine the executive or the legislature. Rather, it is the executive, led by Modi, which is seeking to destroy the independence of judiciary.”
Providing instances, Mehta says, its first indication was in April 2015, when the Prime Minister told a joint conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices of High Courts that India’s courts “need to be cautious against perception-driven verdicts", accusing “five star activists" of being the resource persons for providing material for such verdicts.
“Modi’s statement on ‘perception-driven verdict’ came just around the time when clean chit was sought to be given to BJP president Amit Shah, one of the prime accused in two of the most notorious fake encounter cases of Gujarat -- Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Ishrat Jahan”, Mehta says.
“The whole effort of the Prime Minister was to drive home the point that the judiciary should not go by the ‘perception’ supposedly held by activists that a criminal politician, who acts behind the scene, is responsible for crimes committed on the ground”, Mehta says.
In a second instance, Mehta says, the Modi government has been “stalling the appointment of around 170 judges to High Courts, recommended by the Supreme Court collegium”, with the perception having gone strong that “this is happening because the Supreme Court struck down its efforts to take under it wings all the powers of appointing judges through a National Judicial Appointments Commission.”
“Clearly, the government appears not very keen to allow smooth functioning of the Supreme Court collegium, which has the powers to appoint judges. In fact, it wants to have a say in recommending names of candidates, insisting that the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) for appointing judges”, Mehta says, referring to recent reports on government’s suggestions for MoP.

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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.

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…

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.

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.”