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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.”

Rs 2000 note has radio frequency tracking mechanism: IIM-Bangalore don who advised Modi to demonetize

By Our Representative
While Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has denied as rumours that every Rs 2000 note has a GPS-chip in it, which would be able to tap its movement from a satellite, a top Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore professor, R Vaidyanathan, who was the main brain behind the demonetization move, has said that the new notes do have radio frequency identification (RFID) tags in them.
Vaidyanathan, who was in constant touch with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's national security adviser Ajit Doval ahead of the surprise Modi announcement to demonetize Rs 500 and 1000 notes, has said, the “new notes cannot be easily faked” as the new “Rs 2000 note has RFID tags”, though adding, “The government is not coming forward to announce it.”
Suggesting that this is what he has gathered, Vaidyanathan seems sure, “The new notes have some tracking mechanism in them. ” Vaidyanathan first openly declared the need to demonetize Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes way back in 2012, which is reportedly the basis of the Modi idea to go for it.
Vaidyanathan, significantly, was part of the task force which the BJP set up on January 31, 2011, to suggest measures to tackle black money. While the task force did submit a slew of recommendations on how to combat the menace, the party in its 23 recommendations furnished in a 95-page report did not refer to the need to demonetize Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination notes.
However, even then, Vaidyanathan had been of the view that there is a need to scrap “high-value notes” as a measure to counter the hoarding of black money, something that he continued to doggedly insist on ever since.
After Modi came to power, he began being consulted more often than other experts on issues of black money. In fact, it is Vaidyanathan’s proposal which found “wide acceptance among the key people involved”, says a report.
He reportedly held discussions with Doval, in which a few senior officials from the RBI too were roped in, and informal discussions began with key bank officials from the public and private sector on how to demonetize Rs 500 and 1000 notes.
In 2012, Vaidyanathan wrote, “If the government wants to reduce domestic black money, it should withdraw Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes from circulation”, though adding, it should “replace them with lower denominations such as Rs 100 and Rs 50.”
He insisted, “This can be undertaken in an orderly fashion over a period of say three to four months and all those who possess the higher denominations can exchange it with banking channels for lower denominations. It will automatically bring a huge amount of the funds kept in these denominations into the banking channels.”
Vaidyanathan was of the view, “In our country, cash transactions are more to avoid taxes and generate black money. The higher the denomination, the easier it is to transact and transport. Taking into account our situation, we should evolve laws to prohibit the holding of cash beyond a threshold level and this will go a long way in preventing disbursals for black transactions.”
Hence, he said, “Two steps - demonetising Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes and creating a threshold limit for cash holdings - will facilitate a reduction in domestic black money transactions. These decisions will not eliminate domestic black money, but will help reduce it to some extent.”
However, Modi did not pay heed to this view, but announced introduction newly designed notes of Rs 500 and 2000, with possibilities of introduction of Rs new 1000 notes, too. It is not known whether Vaidyanathan thinks Modi has done the right thing.

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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.”