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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.”

Gujarat environmentalists seek chemical emergency in Vadodara industry cluster, cite high level of water pollution

Counterview Desk
Two top environmentalists from Gujarat have revealed that a recent joint visit of Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) officials in Vadodara’s industrial region has found the chemical oxygen demand (COD) of 890 to 1,022 mg per litre of water in channels which are supposed to carry treated, against the maximum norm of 250 mg per litre.
Pointing out that the latest tests wree carried out between November 21 and 23, 2016 at a village Vedach situated in Bharuch district after the channel passes through 24 villages in Vadodara district, senior environmentalists Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant have alleged that the high level of pollution in water in the 55.6 km long effluent channel of the Effluent Channel Project (ECP) in Vadodara suggests that ECP is “not able to meet the norms since many years.”
Chemical oxygen demand (COD) test is used as a useful measure the amount of organic pollutants in surface water, including wastewater to ascertain of the water quality. It is expressed in milligrams per liter (mg per litre), which indicates the mass of oxygen consumed per liter of solution.
Asking Government of India to declare chemical emergency for ECP industrial cluster of Vadodara district, even as cancelling consolidated consent and authorization of the Vadodara Envior Channel Limited, responsible for ECP, the environmentalists have also sought cancellation of environment clearance of all the defaulting polluting industries of the ECP industrial cluster of Vadodara District.
In a letter to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India, the environmentalists have said, the ECP channel passes through 24 villages and prime agricultural land, which is known as the vegetable basket of Gujarat.
Commissioned in 1983 to carry treated industrial effluent from industries near Vadodara to estuary of River Mahi, Gulf of Khambhat, the environmentalists say, the channel carries the effluent of Nandesari Industrial Estate and Vadodara Industrial Complex, apart from a number of polluting industries started coming up on along both side of ECP.
“Since 2004 the villages around the ECP channel have experienced ground water contamination at alarming rates”, they say, adding, “The pollution began because of the seepage, leaching, leaking and overflowing of effluent from the channel and later from illegal untreated effluent discharged by number of polluting industries.”
Pointing out that there have been several investigations conducted by CPCB and GPCB, and other agencies appointed by the concerned authorities, they say, the latest in the series of indictments is “Ground Water Pollution In Luna, Dudhawada, Piludara Area Near Vadodara, Gujarat”, released in July 2016, which followed “Report On Effluent Conveyance System for Nandesari Industrial Area And Industries Located Near Vadodara, Gujarat” of February 2010.
“Nobody, neither even GPCB nor industrialists, have denied that the groundwater is severely contaminated and contamination is spreading in different areas and has reached irreversible level because of industrial activities”, environmentalists contend adding, investigations reveal that “almost all wells and bore wells were contaminated.”
Citing a study in Luna Village conducted in May 2015, they say, it “prima facie proved that its ground water is severely contaminated and contamination is spreading”, adding, “In April 2015 another investigation was conducted by GPCB in Dudhwala village of Vadodara district and in villages Piludara and Vedach of Bharuch district, which illustrated the fact that the bore wells of even these villages too are severely contaminated.”

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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.”