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Showing posts from March, 2017

BRICS bank fails to define sustainable infrastructure, yet "promoting" it to help corporates, MNCs: NGO meet

By Our Representative
A civil society convention in New Delhi has taken strong exception to the National Development Bank (NDB), which is the joint initiative of the five BRICS countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa -- for failing to define “sustainable infrastructure” even as seeking to promote it, wondering whose interests it is serving.

Three years on, Gujarat govt "fails" to implement Supreme Court order to compensate 146 manhole deaths

By Our Representative
In what is being interpreted as a clear violation of the Supreme Court order, the Gujarat government has not begun implementation of the three-year-old apex court order, dated March 27, 2014, requiring payment of Rs 10 lakh compensation to each of the manual scavengers who died cleaning up gutters across the state since 1993.

Prestigious Gujarat institute director’s alleged sexual overtures to ex-journalist staffer "tarnishes" IRMA image

By Nachiketa Desai*
A senior staff member of the country’s premier Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA), which is based in Gujarat,  has filed a police complaint of sexual harassment against its director.
Indrani Talukdar, former journalist and editor of IRMA’s publications, in her FIR filed with the women’s police of Anand district, has cited five instances of sexual overtures by IRMA director RC Natarajan towards her, some of them even in the presence of other staff members.

CCTV in courts outside RTI purview, sans sound recording is against transparency: CJAR on Supreme Court order

By Our Representative
India’s top legal rights organization, Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR), has taken strong exception to the Supreme Court “direction” that “CCTV video coverage will be beyond the reach of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.”

US scholar's book argues Aurangzeb wasn't a Hindu-despising Islamic fanatic, gets hatemails "almost hourly"

Counterview Desk
A new book by senior American scholar Audrey Truschke, “Aurangzeb: The Man and the Myth”, has stirred a major controversy, as it seeks to contest the strongly-held view across India that last of the six great kings of the powerful Mughal dynasty was a Hindu-despising Islamist fanatic.

Madhya Pradesh sexual assault, rape: No effort to book culprits two months after incident, says fact-finding team

By Our Representative
A Madhya Pradesh Mahila Morcha fact-finding team, which visited Holibayda and Bhutiya villages of Dhar district in February third week following complaints of sexual violence against nine tribal women, including two minors, has regretted that even two months after the incident there has not been any arrest.

Finance Bill enables Indian political parties to receive "unlimited, anonymous funding", letter seeks discussion in RS

By Our Representative
Several India’s well-known citizens led by top jurist Fali Nariman have strongly protested against the classification of the Finance Bill, 2017, as a Money Bill’, calling it “illegitimate”, asking Rajya Sabha chairman, vice-president Hamid Ansari in a letter to allow “extensive and uninterrupted discussions into every aspect of the Bill”.

US-based campaign body protests Coca-Cola tieup with Govt of India, says it will "promote" unhealthy products

By Our Representative
India Resource Centre (IRC), an international campaigning organization based in US, has taken strong exception to the Government of India’s tieup with Coca-Cola for food safety and nutrition, calling it “misguided”, insisting that the multinational corporation (MNC) “will use the partnership to promote unhealthy products.”

Why is there no action in Gujarat against industrial discharge of untreated effluents? Ask environmentalists

Counterview Desk
Senior environmentalists of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Vadodara, have asked the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change(MoEFCC), Government of India, to provide information as to under which environment law the effluent treatment plants at Gujarat’s different industrial hugs – Vapi, Ankleshwar, Vadodara, and Ahmedabad – are “allowed” to discharge their allegedly polluted waters.

Mehbooba Mufti is a female CM of Jammu & Kashmir: Women are certainly not in a priority under her government

By Syed Mujtaba*
Kashmir is one of the most long standing and unresolved issues and has faced worst human rights violations and crimes against humanity. Kashmiri people are suffering from torture, extrajudicial killings, mass murders, rape, torture, and abuse, exposition of unmarked graves, detentions and enforced disappearance.
The tales of barbarism in Kashmir has never been highlighted by Indian and international media the way other ordinary issues have been propagated in name of human rights and injustice. UN has miserably failed in resolving this issue. The fact is that in any conflict the first and worst victims are women and children, and same is the case in Kashmir.
Women primarily have been the most terribly injured party, in this decade’s long conflict. Anywhere in the world, women suffer the most in any sort of conflict. Either she is war booty in the hands of belligerents, or she is a widow back at home. She suffers as a daughter, mother, wife and sister, because most of …

India's food security law is against WTO norms, distributes "highly subsidized" food to 67% population: UNDP

By Our Representative
In what may sound music to the ears of the Narendra Modi government, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has warned India that the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, promulgated by the previous UPA government, saying that it has put India at loggerheads with the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Housing for all? Maharashtra govt spends 9% of funds in 2016-17; budgeted amount slashed by 14% in 2017-18

By Our Representative
Amidst the Narendra Modi government's Housing for All (HFA) call, Maharashtra government’s budget for housing for the fiscal 2017-18 has been slashed by 14%. A budget analysis by Ghar Bachao Bhar Banao Andolan (GBGBA), a civil society organization working among Mumbai slums, has said that just about 9% of the funds allocated for housing in the outgoing financial year, 2016-17, have been utilized.

Govt of India for post facto environmental clearance, will give clean chit to illegal operations: Researchers

By Our Representative
In a new notification, issued on March 14, the Government of India has decided to grant “post-facto” environmental approvals, described by senior environmental researchers, Kanchi Kohli and Manju Menon, as suggesting that it is willing to “bend backwards to give a clean chit to units or operations that have been engaged in illegitimate ventures.”

Govt of India deactivated 86 lakh aadhaar cards "without human intervention": Majority of them are children

By Our Representative
Amidst Government of India seeking to make aadhaar mandatory for filing income tax returns, Right to Information (RTI) queries have revealed that the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIAI) has deactivated a whopping 85,67,177 aadhaar cards for “biometric update”, and yet another 408 for “demographic update” between September 2010 and August 2016.

Following Jaipur protest, FIR registered against unidentified cow vigilantes who attacked Hyatt Rabbani run hotel

By Our Representative
Following protests in Jaipur, India's pink city, against “illegal” shutting down Hotel Hyatt Rabbani, the police on March 22 was forced to register first information report (FIR) against the cow vigilantes who had attacked the hotel for allegedly cooking beef in its kitchen. The attack, which took place on March 19, saw the hotel staff being badly thrashed in the presence of the police.

Belgian report alleges MNC Etex responsible for asbestos pollution in Madhya Pradesh town Kymore: COP's Geneva meet

By Our Representative
A comprehensive Belgian report has held MNC Etex, into construction business and one of the richest, responsible for asbestos pollution in Kymore, an industrial town in in Katni district of Madhya Pradesh. The report provides evidence from the ground on how Kymore’s dust even today is “annoying… it creeps into your clothes, you have to cough it”, saying “It can be deadly.”

As 40% of India's deaths occur at home, there's no mechanism to track morbidity, cause-specific death rate: Report

By Rajiv Shah
A research paper on India’s “readiness” to track down how well it is doing to meet international health and nutrition targets has said that the country’s ability to collect data on both morbidity and death is extremely poor, with “no published report giving cause-specific death rates in India.”

Saffron-supported "BBC" site terms Rahul India's most corrupt politician, praises Modi for "approving" hydrogen bomb

By Our Representative
After creating a flutter on by calling Congress as one of the 10 most corrupt political parties in the world, a little known-site with a sensational name, BBC News Point (bbcnewspoint.com), which ironically has nothing to do with the prestigious British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), has called Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi as the No 1 corrupt politician of India.

Need of the hour: Hold Gujarat assembly elections scheduled in December 2017 with the Paper Trail method

By Gautam Thaker*
In the recent elections held in Maharashtra, accusations were made about tampering with the EVMs. In the results of the District Panchayat and Mahanagar Palika polls, it has been revealed that EVMs had been hacked. In many places, large difference has been noticed between the number of voters registered and the votes counted.
In Mumbai, it has been found that one candidate had secured '0' vote. In this context candidates of the respective parties have registered complaints before the Election Commission. Shiv Sena, NCP, MANASE, and Congress candidates have lodged complaints about fraud with the EVMs.
Besides that, it is revealed that tampering has also been done with the electoral rolls. During the polls of Mumbai Mahanagar Palika, 11 lakh voters had lost their right to vote at the last moment, as their names were missing. In one ward of Nasik town it so happened that number of votes cast were more than total No. of voters registered.
In Yeravada ward of Pune,…

Adityanath, Modi's choice, is anti-Muslim extremist, contemptuous of democratic norms: Top British daily

By Our Representative
In a scathing editorial, top British daily “The Guardian” has said that Yogi Adityanath, a person “contemptuous of democratic norms” and “a stridently anti-Muslim extremist” has been “chosen by the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi to lead Uttar Pradesh.”

Adityanath must withdraw "inflammatory" anti-minority statements, demands Amnesty, keeps mum on Modi

By Our Representative
Top international human rights organization, Amnesty International, has demanded that the new Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, “must publicly withdraw” his previous inflammatory statements against Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities.

Maruti workers to protest life sentence to 13 colleagues on Bhagat Singh's day of martyrdom, March 23

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded statement, the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (MSWU) has said that it “rejects the falsehood” being spread by the prosecution, which led to the life sentence to 13 of the Maruti workers on “baseless” charge of ‘murder’ on March 18.

Uttar Pradesh deserved what it wanted: People should be prepared to see how Yogi fulfills Modi's #mankibat

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
Yogi Adityanath has been appointed chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. That shows the power of 'mobocracy' when we call it 'democracy' and paid thugs define it in their different ways wasting time of the nation and confusing people further. I am not surprised at the choice of the Sangh Parivar as they believe in building leaders for future.  Other parties suffer from one individual leader or family and the result is once the individual is defeated or dies or goes to jail the entire party collapses. The RSS is intelligent in this regard so it continue to experiment. It need a leader other than Modi who could be used to vitiate atmosphere further and who can attract votes, a kind of rabble rouser. Yogi is 1972 born yet his ácceptability' is all over the country. As the reports of his being elected as leader of the state BJP party came out there were news of celebrations in many parts of the state. Yogi has equal number of devotees if not more than …

ABVP working in cohorts with flag-bearers of progressivism to delegitimize Dalits' demand and struggle

Statement by Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students' Association (BAPSA), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi:
The appalling pamphlet put out by ABVP calling for a protest outside CHS against Rajini Krish's death is absolutely uncalled for. We unequivocally reject the politically manipulative and conniving concern extended by the Killers of Rohith Vemula and Assaulters of Najeeb Ahmed. It is a dangerous sign of the future to come.
It has been known that whenever Dalit-Bahujans start asserting politically, the right-wing claim immediate stakes on this assertion while the left bastions, even while extending solidarity to the oppressed, affirm the right-wing's claim. In this time of extreme grief, we are now facing a similar two-pronged attack: One, an attempt to appropriate the death of one of us, and our struggle by the saffron right-wing. The other, an accusation by 'thekedars' of left progressivism of being in complicity with and becoming the 'foot soldiers'…

JNU Dalit student's suicide acquires political overtone as ABVP calls for protest, BAPSA terms it "manipulative"

Counterview Desk
The recent suicide of Jawahalal Nehru University student Muthukrishnan Jeevanantham, better known as Rajini Krish, is all set to turn into a major political controversy, with the BJP's students wing, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) distributing a pamphlet calling for a protest at the Centre where he was studying, while an upcoming Dalit students organizations terming the move “politically manipulative”.

Modi's office rejected whopping 2,227 RTI applications using the mysterious "Others" category: Senior activist

Counterview Desk
Data released by the Central Information Commission (CIC), which is the Right to Information (RTI) watchdog of the Government of India, has revealed that during 2015-16 Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office rejected 20.10% of the RTI pleas it received, the rejection rate was particularly high in mysterious “Others” category.

Battle 2019 is still wide open: Anti-caste, secular and social justice forces must unite on one platform

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
After winning Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand and losing other three and stealing two of the three states against all the ethical norms, the next agenda of the Sangh Parivar and their paid trolls is to target the leadership of the three parties... Started with Rahul Gandhi, who they continue to call Pappu with TV anchors have started doing it, putting aside all the decency which is required for the media.
The debate is not on why BJP stole two mandates but about how it won the mandate in UP and Uttarakhand. It happened same last time when the party lost in major states but the entire discussion was converted into humiliating the Congress Party. The ruling party agenda is not satisfied with their victory in Uttar Pradesh but they want to completely eliminate the leadership of the opposition to create anarchy and chaos in their cadres hence we have to be very careful.
For a healthy democracy we need strong opposition and therefore it is our duty to protect our parti…

Trump's clean chit to Modi on human rights? Govt "generally respected" free speech, expression: US state dept report

By Rajiv Shah
In a virtual clean chit and a reversal of the past US state department's viewpoint, the Donald Trump government’s first report on human rights situation in India has said that the Narendra Modi government in 2016 “generally respected” freedom of speech and expression, even though the Constitution “does not explicitly mention freedom of the press.”

India's healthcare spending lower than Sudan, Tanzania, Namibia, Malawi, with very high "catastrophic spending"

By Our Representative
A research paper published in a top San Francisco-based multidisciplinary open access journal by a non-profit, PLOS, has said that the public health spending in India (4% of GDP) is among the lowest, not only in the larger economies of the world, but also compared to poorer countries such as Malawi (8.3%), Namibia (7.7%), Tanzania (7.3%) and Sudan (6.5%).

Big powers, wide range of vested interests, military-industrial complex, playing havoc with lives of Syrians

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
Syria continues to suffer and struggle. March 15th marks the sixth anniversary of the bloody Syrian war. This afternoon (March 14th), a bomb blast in the city of Homs killed one and injured several. On March 12th, a double bombing near a popular Shiite shrine in Damascus killed over fifty and scores more were left injured. Since December, the eastern areas of Aleppo have been evacuated, but the bombings continue.

Education needs a revamp not reversal: Why subjects like banking and finance have been replaced by Gita and Vedas?

By Sadhan Mukherjee*
With the massive electoral victory of saffron forces in UP and UK, and the stitched up seat majority in Goa and Manipur, the intolerance level in our country is bound to increase. The arena of rational debate has already begun to shrink. Frank and open discussion is going to be more difficult.

Gujarat model? Allocation for Dalits 2.67% in 2017-18 budget against 7% population, lurking gap of Rs 7,001 crore

By Our Representative
A budget analysis by the Gujarat-based Dalit Arthik Adhikar Andolan has alleged that the Gujarat government has made the lowest percentage of allocation for the Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan (SCSP) in the state budget for 2017-18, presented in the state assembly last month, ever since 2010-11.

BJP "success": Upper castes 44% of UP assembly strength, but represent 19% of total voters, says political centre

By Our Representative
A political data analysis centre has contested the claim that the BJP won the election in Uttar Pradesh (UP) on the platform of inclusive growth, pointing out that the BJP’s return to power “signifies a resurgence of representation of the upper castes, who make up 44% the new Assembly." Upper castes make up of 19% of voter share in UP.

Now Mumbai terror accused, declared "innocent", publishes book detailing police atrocities, fabricated evidences

By Our Representative
Following the footsteps of Gujarat's Mufti Abdul Qayyum Ahmed Husain Mansuri, another person being acquitted of terror charges, Abdul Wahid Shaikh of Mumbai, has published a book in Urdu, “Begunah Quaidi”, detailing his days in jail, pointing to how he would be subjected to verbal and physical abuse, threats and stripping of clothes during interrogation, though he was innocent.

BJP "diverted" votes to Congress in Punjab to stop Aam Aadmi Party from coming to power: Left-of-centre site

By Our Representative
In an unusual revelation, an authoritative media site, run by a well-known left-of-centre scribe, has revealed that the Congress “returned to power in Punjab after 10 years not due to the charismatic leadership of Captain Amarinder Singh or Rahul Gandhi-Prashant Kishor's planning but on the BJP vote.”

You have challenged the Bishops and the Priests to “smell of the sheep”, to be true Pastors to the flock

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
Wow Pope Francis! You complete four years tomorrow as our Pope! What a simply amazing period it has been for the Church, for the world, for millions of your admirers, for the Society and well, also for me! You have been able to touch all, in such fascinating yet deeply spiritual ways. You have been instrumental in bringing about the much-needed renewal; you have set the course for a new pilgrimage of trust with God! Your words are inspirational; your deeds are exemplary- motivating us all to do much more.
Wow Pope Francis! Four years ago when a friend called me from faraway , in the middle of the night, to tell me that it was a Jesuit who was elected Pope, my immediate response was “Impossible! A Jesuit cannot become a Pope!” A few minutes later, as I browsed the internet, I realized I was very wrong; above all, I felt also elated! Ever since, the joy of being a Jesuit has only deepened. You do not try to hide the fact that you are a Jesuit. I too take genuine p…

In UP elections solidarity aversive Dalit middle class met its ultimate deadlock

By Chittibabu Padavala*
One of the worst hit in Uttar Pradesh elections is a loud rhetorical section that speaks in the name of all Dalits. And, it seems to be, happily, dumb-founded.
The very small Dalit middle class/ employee strata or even tiny elites, drawn almost exclusively from the relatively advanced and reservations-monopolising, Ambedkar-worshipping single castes in their respective regions (Mala, Pariah, Mahar etc.) from the very big Dalit populace (forming one-quarter of the Indian population) is curious in many ways.
Particularly, the second and third generation among them is even unique in its uniformity of conduct and public pronouncements.
This Dalit middle class's structural position is worth considering. This minuscule section takes away all the 16.5 plus 7.5% reservations in jobs and education in public sector. It has a self-interest in not letting the benefits reach beyond their own caste to include other Dalit castes, or at least, no particular interest in such a …

UP BJP win: Congress site praises Amit Shah's killer instinct, Modi's larger than life image, BJP's hunger for victory

By Our Representative
The Congress-owned National Herald in a post-poll analysis has admitted that the BJP's huge victory in Uttar Pradesh (UP) has been made possible "above all" because the saffron party “displayed a hunger for victory that others didn’t”, which was also “helped immensely by its foot soldiers and ‘Parcha Pramukhs’, each of whom was made responsible for mobilising 10 voters.”

India's organized sector job creation plummets post-2010, leaving people under-employed, poorly paid: OECD report

By Our Representative
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the inter-governmental body of rich western countries, has regretted that India has been creating “too few quality jobs to meet the aspiration of its growing workforce, leaving many people under-employed, poorly paid or outside the labour force.”

Anti-corruption rally in Delhi seeks investigation into Kalikho Pul's "dying declaration", Sahara-Birla diary

By Our Representative
In an effort to create public opinion in favour of the campaign on charges of corruption in high places in the suicide diary of former Arunachal chief minister Kalikho Pul, several civil society organizations took out a rally in Delhi, culminating at Jantar Mantar, seeking “credible investigation” about facts mentioned in it.

Thousands gather in Nagpur to support feminist meet, oppose RSS "headquarter" of patriarchy, oppression

By Our Representative
Thousands of women gathered in Nagpur at Indora Chowk Maidan following a rally in a feminist show of strength on the 120th remembrance day of Savitri Bai Phule, one of the first women’s rights activists of India, who fought against patriarchy.

India's business houses increasingly rely on NGOs for spending corporate social responsibility funds: Crisil

By Our Representative
India’s top consultants, Crisil, in its latest “CSR Yearbook”, have said that Indian companies’ attitude towards corporate social responsibility (CSR) “seems to be changing ever so slowly” even though they are “realising that businesses can sustain and thrive only if the communities they serve also endure and flourish.”

Gujarat NGO provides wifi, tablets to poor saltpan workers' children of Kutch, official terms it "temporary solution"

By Our Representative
Even before the Gujarat government initiates its well-publicized decision to provide tablets costing Rs 1,000 to four lakh youths, an Ahmedabad-based NGO has begun a major experiment to train poor primary school children of the saltpan workaers in the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK) to use tablets as a learning tool with the use of wifi through mobile van.

Aam Aadmi Party takes back suspended Gujarat convener to "revamp" organization, make it viable alternative to BJP

By Our Representative
Well-known Gujarat child rights activist Sukhdev Patel, who was suspended from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in 2015, has rejoined the party in an "attempt" to revamp it. Founder of Gantar, an NGO devoted to child rights, Patel decided made his debut into politics in 2012-end, ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Gujarat govt's 23 of 28 depts "fail" to utilize budgeted funds in 2016-17; spending on development "shrinks"

By Our Representative
While the Gujarat government has claimed that the 2016-18 budget seeks to “optimize inclusive development of human resources”, a state-based non-profit budget analysis centre has revealed that, in the outgoing financial year, 2016-17, out of 28 departments, just about five – education, finance, water resources (including Narmada), panchayat and rural housing, and revenue – would spend (or overspend) the funds allocated to them.

Naliya sex scam is tip of the iceberg: What kind of International Women’s Day are we celebrating in Gujarat?

By Dwarika Nath Rath*
8th March, the International Women’s Day, always comes in a year to make firm pledge for the rights of the women. The women all over the world come forward to raise voice against the discrimination of women, sexploitation, which has become the order in the era of liberalization, privatization and globalization or LPG.
The concept of socialist women is becoming a vanishing concept. The historical significance of women’s day is diluted by promoting consumerism and promoting women as sex object by the corporate world. The dignity of working women is purposefully undermined. As May Day is the working class day, so also the 8th March is known as International working women’s day which has been deliberately used as International Women’s Day only. But the honour of women has been shadowed by governments and the corporate world.
In Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is celebrating the day in Gandhinagar. He is addressing the elected women sarpanches of India. He wants …

Modi govt allocates 1% of UPA budget to "rehabilitate" manual scavengers in 2017-18: Govt of India official

By Rajiv Shah
In a shocking revelation, PS Krishnan, IAS (Retd), who is member of the National Monitoring Committee for Education of SCs, STs and Persons with Disabilities, has said that as against the UPA budget of 2013-14, when Rs 557 crore for provided for the rehabilitation of manual scavengers, the Government of India budget provides “less than 1% of it.”

Gujarat's Dalit stir neglected oppression of women, alleges senior feminist-activist Manjula Pradeep

By Our Representative
In an usual move, tens of senior women’s rights activists have got together to hold a feminist rally in Nagpur, Maharashtra, on March 10 to “oppose” Manuvad, the ancient theory which supported oppression of the so-called untouchables, and the "advent" of Hindutva and fascism, which they believe are seeking sharply undermine gender equality.