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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.”

Indore-Patna Express train accident seen as opportune time to switchover to "safer" stainless steel coaches

By Our Representative
India's stainless steel industry sector, which constitutes about 4 per cent of the total steel production in the country, sees the recent tragic train accident involving the Indore-Patna Express that took about 150 lives, as a turning point, requiring urgent move over to “safer” stainless steel coaches for “passenger safety.”
Calling it one of the deadliest train accidents in the last 17 years, which led to critical injury to over 200 people, the Indian Stainless Steel Development Association (ISSDA), the apex body representing the stainless steel industry, said.
“In the light of the accident, the conversion of coaches needs to be fast tracked by the railways before any more many innocents lose their lives”, it added.
“Developed countries like USA, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Korea and Australia and many East Asian countries use stainless steel for passenger coaches”, ISSDA, which represents about 145 players in the stainless steel industry, said.
The ISSDA statement follows Indian Railways announcing replacement of all old steel coaches by stainless steel in a phased manner.
Production of stainless steel in 2015 was 190 times higher than in 1978, 15 times higher than in 1990 and more than 3 times higher than in 2000, reaching 3.5 million tonnes in 2015. On an average India had an annual growth rate of 16% since 1978. The production of stainless steel stagnated in 2014, but recovered in 2015.
Currently, the dominant demand of stainless steel comes from the utensils and kitchenware application segment (65 per cent), while the industrial applications constitute about 35 per cent of the overall demand. The local product range capability is rather limited, so imports are vital for high end advanced materials requirements of end users.
Claimed ISSDA, stainless steel coaches are stronger and absorb more energy during collision as compared to carbon steel. They also have the ability to withstand considerable impact without fracturing. Since it progressively crumples from the point of impact, risk of injury and fatalities are drastically reduced.
“The lesser deformation of damaged coaches further helps in rescue operations”, it said, adding, “If one were to look at the current accident, the old design coaches were so badly mangled and deformed that precious time was lost in trying to reach to the passengers trapped inside. As a result, the number of casualties was far higher than it should have been.”
Quoting the Anil Kakodkar High-Level Safety Review Committee, ISSDA said, it has mandated “a complete switchover” to stainless steel coaches within five years. “We expect railways to act now on immediate basis and switch to stainless steel coaches for making rail journey safer and prevent any further loss of lives due to accidents”, stressed K.K Pahuja, President ISSDA.
Currently, Indian Railways use stainless steel coaches for Rajdhani, Shatabdi and other premium trains. These coaches are designed to be anti-telescopic, which means they do not pile up over each other in the event of derailment thereby reducing casualties.
Stainless steel coaches, said industry sources, entail a weight reduction of about 2.5 tonnes. An empty chair car weighs 43 tonnes, while a loaded one is 47 tonnes.
“Approximately 22 million people, every day commute through trains in India. Hence, there is an urgent need to replace existing coaches with stainless steel coaches to ensure better safety for the passengers”, the statement said.
It added, the coaches “made of stainless steel are designed to be lighter but stronger than normal steel coacher. Further, these coaches have a competitive longer life cycle, better life cycle cost and good corrosion resistance.”

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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.”