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Showing posts from February, 2017

Backed by senior Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, investigation sought against chief justice, top judge

By Our Representative
Creating a major legal controversy, late Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Kalikho Pul’s wife, Dangwimsai Pul, has asked India’s vice president Hamid Ansari to take cognizance of a 1991 Supreme Court judgment, consult apex court judges, and “permit” filing of FIR against Chief Justice of India JS Khehar and Justice Dipak Misra.

Don’t sign “anti-people” Telangana land Bill, it’s a repeat of govt order quashed by High Court: President told

By Our Representative
Several civil society organizations have, in a joint representation to the President of India, asked him not to give assent to the Telangana Land (Acquisition) Amendment Bill, 2016, which, according to them, is anti-farmer and anti-people, it because nullifies “progressive” provisions of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement (LARR) Act, 2013.

2002 Gujarat riots "update": 1,926 lost their lives; "historic" efforts on to link violence with state culpability

By Rajiv Shah
India's most renowned human rights activist who has taken up the 2002 Gujarat riots cases, Teesta Setalvad, has told Counterview that a fresh exercise by her NGO, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), suggests that “as many as 1,926 lives were lost in the reprisal violence that broke out after the Godhra tragedy from February 28, 2002.”

India's manufacturing falls by 3.7%; micro, small industries suffer 35% job loss, revenue dips by 50%: Report

Counterview Desk
A top data site has revealed that sales of manufactured goods fell 3.7% during 2015-16 – the first decline in seven years – sparking fears of layoffs in the coming months. In a major expose, quoting Reserve Bank of India (RBI) figures, the site says, “The sales of manufactured goods were falling even before demonetisation, affecting sectors ranging from textiles to leather to steel.”

Do cricketer Sehwag, actor Hooda believe all Muslims are Pakistanis?, wonders Gujarat human rights activist

By Our Representative
In an unusual investigation, Gujarat human rights activist Pratik Sinha has revealed that top cricketer Virendra Sehwag and actor Randeep Hooda have been unusually critical of Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur for a video she posted on social media, where she explains how she came off the impression as a six-year-old child that all Muslims are Pakistanis.

The book that disappeared: Readers have right to know what transpired between YB Chavan and journalists

By Prabhakar Kulkarni*
Editors and journalists in the electronic and print media in India are enjoying press freedom. But this freedom is without any special provision in any law or the Indian Constitution. Individual freedom of expression is being used by editors and journalists and media organizations.
But is this freedom used to suppress the truth? Can a book once published be dumped and made not available to readers who have right to know the truth?
A Marathi book ‘Patra Samvad’ which was published but later disappeared and no copy is now available. The book relates to letters received by ex-Union defense minister and India’s deputy prime minister late YB Chavan.
The letters were selected by veteran editor and history researcher SM Garge of Pune; ex-civil servant Ram Pradhan (ex-Governor of Arunachal Pradesh) was the executive editor.The book was published by the Yeshawantrao Chavan Pratishtan, formed in memory of the veteran national leader.
The letters seem to be examples as to ho…

AIFRTE demand: Hold high-level inquiry against ABVP, consider debarring it from university campuses

The All-India Forum for Right to Education (AIFRTE) statement against Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad’s (ABVP's) "assault" on university campuses:
AIFRTE condemns in strongest terms the violent assault on the academic community by RSS student wing ABVP at Ramjas College (Delhi University) and Jai Narayan Vyas University, Jodhpur. What is even more disturbing in both the cases is abject surrender amounting to connivance of the university/college authorities to the rowdy tactics of ABVP as clearly visible in suspension of Dr Rajshree Ranawat by the Jodhpur University administration.
Dr Ranawat, an assistant professor in English department of the university was reportedly the key organizer of a seminar earlier in February in which Prof Nivedita Menon of JNU was invited as a speaker. The ABVP, which has little stomach for independent and critical academic discourse, has since then carried a malicious propaganda against Prof Menon and Dr Ranawat. Unfortunately, the universit…

Judicial probe sought into midnight arrest of Telangana statehood leader, "repressive" action against others

By Our Representative
The recent Telangana government to refuse permission for holding a rally and a dharna in Hyderabad, even as resorting to mid-night arrest of senior leaders such as Prof N Kodandaram and hundreds others, who were central to the struggle for Telangana’s statehood, has attracted strong criticism from civil society activists across India.

472 rape cases in Gujarat, Kutch registered 117 in 6 months, BJP responsible for Naliya sex racket: Online petition

By Our Representative
A civil society-sponsored online petition has claimed that the Naliya sex racket, rocking Gujarat for about a fortnight now, is just a “tip of the iceberg”, insisting, “For last so many years sexual crime in Gujarat is increasing day by day” and “rape has become the epidemic in Gujarat.”

Amartya Sen favours globalization of economy, polity, society; says sedition "outrageously misused" in India

By Our Representative
Nobel laureate Prof Amartya Sen has taken strong exception to the current “misunderstanding of what globalisation is”, insisting, “I don’t want to see countries withdraw into their shell and detach themselves from the rest of the world, and that applies to the world of ideas as well as the world of political practice, economic relations and social priorities.”

Right to dissent under stress, feel Delhi prefessors following ABVP attack on Ramjas event, Culture of Protest

By Our Representative
The quiet and sprawling, though busy, campus of the Delhi University (DU) is in the throes of a new change. There is a strong flutter among students and faculty of the campus and DU-affiliated colleges, following the February 21 BJP students' wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) “attack” on a Ramjas College seminar, that the right to dissent has come under extreme stress.

If Marxists and Islamists have been "hostile" to sociology, Hindu fundamentalists use it to ensure hold on power

By Bhaskar Sur*
Though Karl Marx was one of the founders of modern sociology, Marxists in general have been hostile to it. For ruling Marxists it was a bourgeois subject, decadent and subversive. It is only natural that a ruling elite which would like to perpetuate its rule to eternity in the name of 'historical necessity', find the critical method of sociology, casting doubts on such claims rather disturbing.

Gujarat BJP MP instructs officials not to provide info under RTI, activist objects, complains to Lok Sabha speaker

By Pankti Jog*
When a law maker become law breaker, democracy is in danger. But when a law maker instructs offices to break a law, the situation becomes even more dangerous. On February 3, 2017, BJP MP from Navsari (Gujarat) CR Patil, wrote a letter to the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) virtually instructing it not give information to citizens under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005.

India may have to import milk in five years: Increasing pressure on pastures leads to sharp shortage of fodder

By Our Representative
Would India, which boasts of having the largest cattle population of the world, be forced to import milk in the next four years, thanks to increasing shortage of fodder supply? It would seem so, if a recent investigation on “rising pressure on land” leading to reduction pastures is any guide.

Keep out Supreme Court judges named in ex-Arunachal CM's suicide note from any investigation: Legal rights NGO

By Our Representative
"Clearing" the controversy surrounding Dangwimsai Pul's decision to withdraw her application from the Supreme Court (SC) to investigate the suicide note of her husband, ex-Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Kalikho Pul, a foremost legal rights NGO, Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) has said, she did this because she felt it was not appropriate for the chief justice of India (CJI) to choose a particular bench for hearing.

Andhra project to "submerge" 11,200 acres of revenue, 6,600 acres of forest land; 70,000 to lose livelihood: Report

By Our Representative
A fact-finding committee has estimated that 11,200 acres of revenue land of 127 villages, apart from 6,600 acres of forest land, would be submerged in Andhra Pradesh as a result of the proposed Rs 4,910 crore Chintalapudi Lift Irrigation project. Also displacing 16 adivasi villages, the team has further estimated that 70,000 people would lose their livelihood “entirely or partially”.

Stop vicious campaign against Dr Rajshri Ranawat, revoke her suspension

A signature campaign has taken place against the suspension of Dr. Rajashri Ranawat, Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the Jay Narayan Vyas University, Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Text of the statement on which signatures have been sought:
It is extremely disturbing that Dr. Rajashri Ranawat, Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the Jay Narayan Vyas University, has been suspended by her university for having disobeyed the orders of the university.
The suspension letter does not mention which orders she has not obeyed. It can therefore be concluded that Dr. Ranwat has been punished for having invited Prof. Nivedita Menon as a speaker in an academic conference which had academics and civil society workers from different disciplinary and ideological backgrounds participating in it.
The conference was very successful with students and teachers interacting with scholars in a free atmosphere. After its conclusion, a nasty campaign was launched by some newspapers with t…

Gujarat Dalit families of Par village "forced" to migrate to Patan town following social boycott by dominant castes

By Our Representative
Fresh facts have come to light of dominant castes in North Gujarat villages violently reacting to refusal of Dalits to pick up dead cattle for skinning, a caste-based occupation mainly restricted to the Rohit or Chamar sub-caste, following the gruesome Una incident, in which four Rohit youths were badly thrashed by cow vigilantes on July 11, 2016.

Modi in tune with ideological trends of last 30 yrs, combines empowerment, ambition: Top essayist Pankaj Mishra

By Our Representative
A top Narendra Modi critic, who has described the Indian Prime Minister as “the divisive manipulator who charmed the world", has suggested Modi qualifies to be a rebel, insisting, “As the son of a chaiwallah who has overcome all kinds of adversity, including violent, vicious attacks from the country’s English-speaking elites who wanted to bring him down but failed.”

Limiting free expression in Britain to that which is acceptable for Islamists restricts right to speak

By Maryam Namazie*
According to a recent report, more than nine in 10 UK universities are restrictive of free speech. This doesn’t surprise me at all. I continue to face restrictions of varying degrees, though this is changing due to the widespread push-back in defence of free expression.
Nowadays, I find that universities don’t bar me outright as Warwick University initially did nor do Islamic Societies (ISocs) organise to cancel and threaten my talk as at Goldsmiths. Their efforts are often more covert though no less sinister.
Take Westminster University where I will be debating Tariq Modood on Secularism and Diversity on 24 February. The Islamic Society didn’t call for an outright ban but issued a statement asking: “How do you feel about Maryam Namazie speaking?” (with the word feel underlined) and telling students to contact the university secular adviser to “voice [their] concerns”. The Islamic Society getting in touch with its “feelings” is the same one that has members who refuse…

Series of terror attacks in Pakistan: What religion are fundamentalists following?

By Sadhan Mukherjee*
Another report of a terrorist attack in Pakistan has come today (February 21). At least six people including a lawyer were killed and more than 20 injured at a sessions court in Charsadda near Islamabad by suicide bombings.
Terror is not to be identified with any particular religion and terrorists do not believe in any religion as their acts violate all religious norms and tenets. When terrorists claiming allegiance to one religion kill people belonging to the same religion, what religion do they follow? No religion teaches killing and terrorism. The recent Islamic terror acts are in the focus of world’s peaceloving peoples and the terrorist acts in Pakistan are inexplicable.
Derived from the Arabic root "Salema", Islam means peace, purity, submission and obedience. In the religious sense, Islam means submission to the will of God and obedience to His law. It believes in one God.
We have seen school children wantonly murdered in Pakistan. On December 16, 20…

Question haunting Scots: Will there be a referendum again – to leave UK or not?

By Sadhan Mukherjee* The Scots are having a nightmare. Their Scotch seems to have lost its soothing effect on the politico-economic aliment that Scots survived on so far. They voted against leaving European Union (EU) during Brexit referendum hoping that Britain’s membership in the EU will be retained. But they were outvoted by the rest of Britain. They had even preferred three years ago to remain with Britain foregoing their own independence. They thought that independence from Britain may prevent their own independent membership in the EU due to firm opposition from Spain that is already fighting the Catalan bid for independence.
Scotland now needs EU more than ever before though it’s major economy is integrated with Britain. However, it had developed relations with other EU members over the years and its foreign trade accounted for almost 25% with countries other than Britain. Now that Brexit is going to be a reality soon, the Scots are worried. They need to remain in the EU but that…

Bureaucratic corruption goes unchecked as politicians are directly or indirectly involved in grabbing wealth

By Prabhakar Kulkarni*
India aspires to be a super power and competing with other countries in Asia. But a survey, carried out by Transparency International India (TII) – which is a leading non political, independent, non-governmental anti-corruption organization, with extensive expertise and understanding of issues of corruption – has found that Indian bureaucracy is the worst in Asia.
However, why it is worst and whether it is duly sheltered by political wings of the government needs further analysis. It is not merely a matter of efficiency but also corruption. Because this bureaucracy turns quite efficient the moment it is bribed.
The bribery is not duly checked by politicians as they are also directly or indirectly involved in grabbing wealth and assets. Thus, India seems to be the most corrupt in Asia and this is periodically exposed in both the television and print media.
The exposure is indicative of the very system, which fails at whatever attempts are being made to make India a…

Fourth phase of UP polls: BJP leads with 19 or 40% out of 48 candidates with criminal cases, RJD is a close second

The Uttar Pradesh Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) have analysed the self-sworn affidavits of all 680 candidates from 98 political parties, including 6 national parties, 5 state parties, 87 unrecognized parties and 200 independent candidates, who are contesting in the fourth phase of Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections to be held on 23Th February, 2017. A synopsis:
Criminal Background
· Candidates with Criminal Cases: Out of 680 candidates analyzed, 116 (17%) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.
· Candidates with Serious Criminal Cases: 95 (14%) candidates have declared serious criminal cases, including cases related to murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, crimes against women etc.
· Candidates with cases related to murder: 7 candidates have declared cases related to murder (Indian Penal Code Section-302).
· Candidates with cases related to Attempt to Murder: 18 candidates have declared cases related to attempt to murder (Indian Penal Co…

Congress, Left share platform to protest against Modi's demonetization at Delhi civil society sponsored rally

By Our Representative Long-time political opponents Congress and the Left "converged" on Sunday to protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s controversial demonetisation move at a civil society-sponsored meet in Delhi, sharing platform to declare that that it has been a  big disaster, especially for the poorer sections of the people.

Advantage BJP in UP as shrill Modi campaign now attempts to create Hindu-Muslim divide: Top scribe

By Our Representative
Virtually backing the banned exit polls carried out by the Hindi daily Dainik Jagran's online site as also other surveys, top scribe Rajdeep Sardesai has predicted in a blog, written by him at the end of the three rounds of polling for UP state assembly, it's “advantage BJP”, with Samajwadi Party (SP)-Congress alliance being “still in the hunt.”

Aadhaar authentication: 66% Hyderabad households report technical issues in getting ration from PDS

By Our Representative
A new survey of the Aadhaar-based Biometric Authentication (ABBA) system, introduced in all Public Distribution Systems (PDS) in Hyderabad between February and March 2016, has found major “complexities and problems” with the use of the Aadhaar card for obtaining essential commodities from city’s shops.

Owner-created climate of fear in Indian media has led to an unchecked proliferation of paid news

A note on newspaper employees' unions' protest in Mumbai on February 13 against "sacking" of working journalists:
More than 150 journalists and non-journalist employees of several newspapers and a news agency held an hour-long spirited demonstration before the Hindustan Times (HT) office in the country's commercial capital Mumbai raising slogans against the mass termination of media employees. Apart from raising slogans, Media employees also waved placards that said 'Journalists-Media Workers unity Zindabad', 'Media barons: Honour SC order and Implement Majithia wage board' and 'Dont shoot the Messenger, Don't sack the Messenger'.
The demonstration in front of HT office in India Bulls Towers, Senapati Bapat Marg, in Central Mumbai was part of a campaign to 'Fight undeclared Emergency in the Media', and oppose sacking of media employees, organised by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) to fight for the Implementation of the Majithia…

World Social Justice Day: Xenophobia and jingoism seem to be on the rise across the globe as never before

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
“Preventing Conflict and Sustaining Peace through Decent Work” is the theme of the 2017 World Social Justice Day, which will be observed on February 20th. As a justification of the theme the UN lists the following objectives:(i) to highlight the importance of employment-centred strategies and programs and their contribution to international efforts to prevent conflicts, sustain peace, build resilient societies and promote social justice;(ii) to explore the intersectionality of employment, peace and social justice across the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development; and  (iii) to expand knowledge sharing and collaboration with the UN system and other key stakeholders on effective strategies for peace, social justice and development.
Both the theme and the objectives are certainly laudable! Wars and conflicts have held centre-stage across the globe in the last few years. It has cost the world enormously in every sense of the word.  With over 65 million people as refu…

Gujarat Dalit families in Mehsana village refuse to dispose of dead animals: Decide to fight social boycott

By Kaushik Parmar*
The slogan “Gaay nu punchhdu tame rakho, amne amari jamin apo” (keep the tail of the cow with you, give us our land), which roared in Gujarat after the gruesome Una incident, appears to be playing a catalytic role in the Dalit rights movement in the state.
Day by day, ever more villages are boycotting the traditional occupations imposed upon them through caste-based society systems. As expected, upper caste communities are trying to suppress Dalits' voice through violence and social boycott, with the state machinery remaining a silent spectator.
Over the last one week, around 35 families faced social boycott by upper caste communities in Randej village of Bechraji block in Mehsana district of Gujarat. This happened following an afternoon feast was organised at a “sthapana pooja” in the newly built temple of the village.
However, the upper caste community arranged for a separate sitting arrangement for the Dalits, thus discriminating against them, and violating …

Need to investigate Kalikho Pul's suicide note by SIT of 5 senior judges who are not mentioned in it

Statement by Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) on the suicide note of former Arunachal Pradesh CM Kalikho Pul:
Kalikho Pul was the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh who was unseated on account of a judgment of the Supreme Court, which quashed the imposition of President’s Rule in Arunachal Pradesh and restored status quo ante. He committed suicide on 9th August 2016.
Immediately after his suicide a 60 page suicide note/diary was discovered. This note was signed on every page by Kalikho Pul and the last page is dated 08th August 2016, the day on which he committed suicide.
The contents of this 60 page note with redactions of some of the names contained in it, have been published by various media outlets in the country. They contain very serious allegations of corruption especially in the highest judiciary of India. Though it is not necessary that all the allegations contained in the note even those which are made from his personal knowledge are factually correct, …

Why India's higher courts have ignored suo motu cognisance of mass crimes, including 2002 riots?: Teesta Setalvad

By Our Representative
In her new book, “Foot Soldiers of the Constitution: A Memoir”, well-known human rights activist wonders as to why India's High Courts and the Supreme Court, who are vested with a unique power of the suo motu jurisdiction, have failed to use it with any communal riots across the country.

PIL in High Court: Central University of Gujarat appointments dilute quality, undermine excellence

By Dr Chhagan Lal*
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was admitted in the Gujarat High Court against what it calls large-scale illegal appointments being made in the Central University of Gujarat (CUG), Gandhinagar, a public funded national institution.
The PIL, filed by the Anamat Samarthan Samiti, has alleged that appointments of senior teachers in CUG were being made based on personal contact and consideration of the vice-chancellor rather than on issuance of advertisement and open selection based on merit through duly constituted selection committee, which is seriously compromising academic standards, diluting the quality of teachers and undermining excellence associated with central universities.
It claims that Prof SA Bari, vice-chancellor, has illegally appointed his wife Dr Rachel K Bari as Professor of English Studies, Dr Tamishraha Bagchi as Professor of Nano Sciences, Dr JPN Mishra as Professor of Life Sciences, and Dr Muttayya Koganuramath as Professor of Library Science with…

Modi, Amit Shah "misleading" voters on UP's crime rate: It's lower than most states/UTs, says data site

By Our Representative
A top data analysis site has said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s and BJP chief Amit Shah’s claim during the Uttar Pradesh (UP) polls that that the state is “number one” in crime has no basis, insisting, “The facts – garnered from the Centre’s own crime database – did not support the assertions made by Modi and Shah”.
Modi made the claim on February 5 and 10, 2017, while BJP chief Amit Shah said this on February 3, 2017.

Economic freedom: India ranks worse than Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, says US conservative thinktank

By Our Representative
In a major setback to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claimed successes in opening Indian market for foreign investors, the world’s foremost conservative political think tank, Heritage Foundation, has ranked India 143rd in economic freedom index, worse than Pakistan (141st), Bangladesh (128th), Nepal (125th), and Sri Lanka (112th).

60% Indians favour strong leader who can break rules, anti-terror ops over protecting civil rights: UK survey

By Rajiv Shah
A high-profile online survey in 23 countries, including India, claims that 63% Indians, one of the highest among the countries surveyed, insist on the need to to prioritise stopping terrorism over protecting civil rights. While the average for the 23 countries is 45%, interviewees from only two countries feel so more strongly about this – Serbia 73% and Turkey 69%.

Indian soldiers forced to buy duplicate medals? Army has handful of them; 10 lakh pending for delivered: Ex-Lt Gen

By Our Representative
A retired lieutenant general of Special Forces of the Indian Army has alleged a major scam going on in India's armed forces – of forcing soldiers to buy up duplicate medals, because the Ministry of Defence, Government of India, claims the medals are "in short supply.”

Reflecting on real meaning of love on Valentine's day, walking through refugee colony of Amman, Jordan

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
Amman, the capital of Jordan, is a wonderful city complete with history, tradition and modernity. Amman, however, on a very cold (temperature less than 5 ℃) and rainy day is not the most exciting place to be in. Above all, since Amman is built on hills (jabal) and has several valleys (wadi), walking distances from one house to another, is certainly not something that one easily relishes.
Nevertheless, walking today in the rain with Esraa and Mohamed, two volunteers with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) here in Jordan, was indeed a very special experience. ‘Camp Hussein’ not far from downtown, in north-west Amman, was set up in 1952 to house thousands of Palestinian refugees, after the Arab-Israeli war of 1948. Today, the winds of change have blown over this sprawling area. It however continues to be one of the poorer quarters of the city; the people who live here are not only Palestinians but also refugees from other countries like Iraq, Syria, Sudan, and Somali…

Perhaps it’s easy to defy Trump, Modi or Mamta than taking on the behemoths inside media empires

The following letter by Biswajit Roy, a journalist with The Telegraph (TT), the flagship of the Amrit Bazar Patrika Group of Calcutta, has gone viral on the social media:
Finally I resigned from The Telegraph, albeit under duress like 700 odd fired journalists and non-journalists in the ABP Group. Twenty journalists including 17 district correspondents in TT Bengal reporting have lost their jobs in this round.
The ABP management did not allow me to write my resignation letter but got me signed on a one line format that had no mention of the company’s current culling of its workforce. Instead, it pretended that I left out of my free will. Neither had I received a written assurance on the details of the ‘special package’ and statutory dues when I had to sign another format about payments.  One of editorial bosses countersigned the latter as I asked for a promissory note from the management. My human relations (HR) handler told that the company would not commit formally to an individual (ev…