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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.”

Govt of India outfit says, it has no studies on anti-riots efficacy of pellet guns, which injured 3000 in J&K

Counterview Desk
After declaring two months ago (click HERE) that pellet guns’ sale and efficacy as anti-riots weapon cannot be disclosed in public interest, a top Government of India outfit has stated that it does not have “any studies regarding the efficacy of anti-riot weapons such as pellet guns.”
The reply comes in the wake of a Right to Information (RTI) plea by senior activist, Venkatesh Nayak, who is with the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), a Delhi-based NGO. The Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), which operates under the Ministry of Defence, Government of India, is engaged in research, development, production, testing, marketing and logistics used in air, land and sea.
The reply further says that the OFB does not manufacture “anti-riot weapons such as pellet guns but only the ammunition used with it.” Interestingly, instead of providing the information sought under RTI, the OFB just “printed out the webpages from the OFB's website regarding the specifications of the pellet cartridges and sent them to me after stamping them with a seal saying document issued under the RTI Act", says Nayak.
Nayak wonders, in an email alert, if the Khadki Ordnance Factory (OFK), Kokata, operating under OFB, does not manufacturing the anti-riot weapon called pellet guns, where are law enforcement agencies, particularly the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in J&K, buying these pellet guns from.
He further wonders, “If as the manufacturing entity, OFK does not have any study reports regarding the efficacy and expected impact of pellets on human beings, how are they authorised to manufacture such ammunition and under whose orders?”
Nayak asks, “If there is no written record about how such ammunition will impact on the intended targets, how can any standardisation of ammunition be achieved?”
OFK is a public sector enterprise which sells arms and ammunition not only to the defence forces and law enforcement agencies but also to civilians in the form of weapons for hunting, sporting and self-defence.
Comments Nayak, “Such a body is claiming that they do not have studies which show how such anti-riot ammunition will impact on human beings. This is indeed a very strange admission.”
According to a news report, the Indian paramilitary fired up to 3,800 cartridges between July and August, each containing 450 metallic balls, totaling up to 1.7 million pellets. About 3,000 civilians have been injured due to pellet guns as of 24 August.
Meanwhile, Nayak says, a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Committee report on riot control methods remains a secret. The committee, was formed following reported instances of numerous youngsters being injured severely by pellet guns, resulting in extensive eye damage, many of whom were innocent bystanders.
“The seven-person committee said to have submitted its report to the Government. This report has not been officially placed in the public domain. There is an urgent need to make the report public. A similar report prepared in 2010 was made public by the Delhi Police after I filed an RTI application”, says Nayak.
“There is no reason why the 2016 report should not be made public, especially, when organisations like OFK are manufacturing ammunition for riot control without knowledge of what their impact is on the human body”, Nayak asserts.

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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.”