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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.”

Fighting polls on Hindutva agenda to garner votes is a "corrupt practice" under Indian law:Teesta Setalvad, others

By Our Representative
Three left-of-the-centre citizens, top social activist and anti-communal crusader Teesta Setalvad, well-known academic Shamsul Islam and senior journalist Dilip Mandal, have, through a civil application, sought the intervention of the seven judge constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court to look into the crucial issue whether garnering votes on the basis of Hindutva is against India’s basic Constitutional premises.
The applicants say, they are of the view that the interpretation given to Section 123(3) and (3A) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 in the case of Dr Ramesh Yeshwant Prabhoo versus Prabhakar K.Kunte, reported in 1996 (1) SCC 130, “has had the effect of encouraging political parties to use religious appeals for garnering votes under the colour of the proposition that ‘Hindutva’ is not a religion but a ‘way of life’.”
They insist, “This has had devastating consequences leading to demands of homogenization and assimilation of minority communities and SC/ST in the Hindutva way of life”, adding, “Hindutva has become a mark of nationalism and citizenship. Such an interpretation has curtailed the faith in secularism, which is a basic feature of the constitution.”
The applicants have especially objecting to the interpretation of Hindutva, which says, “Ordinarily, Hindutva is understood as a way of life or a state of mind and it is not to be equated with, or understood as religious Hindu fundamentalism”, as it aims at “Indianisation” or “developing a uniform culture by obliterating the differences between all of the cultures coexisting in the country.”
Objecting to this interpretation, the applicants say, “The above opinion indicates that the word ‘Hindutva’ is used and understood as a synonym of ‘Indianisation’, i.e., development of uniform culture by obliterating the differences between all the cultures coexisting in the country.”
Saying that this amounts to “misuse” of Hindutva or Hinduism “to promote communalism”, which should not go unchecked, the applicants say, “It is indeed very unfortunate, if in spite of the liberal and tolerant features of ‘Hinduism’ recognised in judicial decisions, these terms are misused by anyone during the elections to gain any unfair political advantage.”
They add, “Fundamentalism of any colour or kind must be curbed with a heavy hand to preserve and promote the secular creed of the nation. Any misuse of these terms must, therefore, be dealt with strictly.”
Pointing out that allowing such terms to be used for electoral purposes “can lead to a dangerous situation”, the applicants say, as a result, the proponents of different religions could “manipulate the vulnerabilities of religious beliefs that people hold”, as has happed “for the past two and a half years”.
They underline, recent articulations of a “narrow, supremacist variety have engendered a deep feeling of insecurity for minorities, free thinkers, atheists and all those who uphold the Constitutional ideal of an India meant for all, irrespective of caste, creed, gender, politics or faith.”
The matter, the applicants say, is “not simply” an issue of “a technical interpretation of the statute, as it relates to the issue of the relationship between a registered political party, its candidate, and those ‘leaders’ who campaign for votes during an election.”
Against this backdrop, the applicants have sought Supreme Court view on “whether a candidate who contests on the ticket of a political party which in its manifesto/plank appeals to ‘Hindutva’ as being the political agenda of its party, is not thereby guilty of corrupt practice within the meaning of Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.”

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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.”