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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.”

18% victory chances for criminal-candidates to win Indian polls, just 6% for non-criminals: US-based expert

By Our Representative
A recent book by a top-ranking Indian-American political scientist has calculated, on the basis of India’s data of general elections, that a candidate with serious criminal cases against him has 18 per cent chances of winning a general election in India, while a candidate with no cases has just six per cent chances of winning.
Milan Vaishnav, who senior fellow with the US-based thinktank Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s South Asia programme , further says in his book, “When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics” (Harper Collins), “The median ‘clean’ candidate has a personal wealth of just above Rs 9 lakh, compared to roughly Rs 41 lakh for the median candidate with a serious criminal charge.”
Basing his analysis on the general elections in 2004, 2009, and 2014, the book, released even as the Uttar Pradesh was about to go the polls early this year, does not spare Prime Minister Narendra Modi either.
Referring to Modi’s campaign in Uttar Pradesh during the Lok Sabha polls, Vaishnav quotes Modi as saying, "We need to rid Parliament of criminals... I won't let them off the hook if I'm elected to power", and further: "No [criminal] accused will dare to fight polls.”
Suggesting that this was just a rhetoric, Vaishnav says, “Of its record number of MPs (282), 35 per cent faced ongoing criminal cases, and 22 per cent had serious cases pending, according to affidavits candidates themselves submitted to the Election Commission.”
Worse, he says, many of the BJP's suspected MPs found themselves into Modi's first cabinet, including eight with serious cases, with the BJP claiming, “the cases against their party men were politically motivated and lacking any legal basis, a standard first line of defense.”
“One such MP earning a ministerial berth was Sanjeev Baliyan, a man allegedly connected to the tense ethnic situation in the Western Uttar Pradesh town of Muzaffarnagar, which was the sight of grisly riots in 2013”, says Vaishnav.
In an interview with a top news agency about his book, Vaishnav later said, “Eight BJP MPs with serious cases eventually found their way into Modi’s first cabinet. Even Amit Shah, Modi’s long-time number two in Gujarat, was connected to three cases of extortion and conspiracy when the prime minister tapped him to be the BJP party president after coming to power in Delhi.”
On the latest polls in five states, including UP, Vaishnav’s book says, “In February and March 2017, voters in five Indian states are going to the polls. In each instance, the share of wealthy candidates in the fray is even larger than in the previous election.”
Vaishnav adds, “In the north Indian state of Punjab, for instance, 37 percent of contestants are “crorepatis” (that is, they possess a wealth greater than one crore, or 10 million rupees). In the tranquil coastal state of Goa, the assets of sitting politicians have grown by 50 percent in the past five years.”
The UP polls confirm Vaishnav’s analysis: An analysis of 402 MLAs has found that 143 MLAs or 36 per cent have declared criminal cases against themselves. Of these, 114 are from the BJP. Further, 107 MLAs or 26 per cent of the MLAs, have declared serious criminal cases like murder, attempt to murder etc., against them.

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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.

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…

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.

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.”