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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.”

Women activists object to Allahabad High Court "uncritically" justifying anti-Romeo squads' "job", moral discipline

By Our Representative
Women’s activists, in a joint statement, have taken strong exception to the Allahabad High Court judgment dated March, 2017, which, they say, “uncritically legitimizes” UP’s controversial anti-Romeo squads on the basis of the state DGP’s guidelines.
If the DGP said women policemen in plainclothes would be “posted to help the anti-Romeo squads” so that they could get “correct information” about what is objectionable, the Allahabad High Court justifies the state government saying, “the time has come when they also have to rise to the occasion to act in the aid of the Constitution by educating and informing their children to observe moral discipline”.
Comments women’s activists’ statement, the “rather benign resolve” would only encourage certain “citizen’s groups to “begin moral policing and form vigilante groups in the name of disciplining children.”
“We would like this rectified by the court”, the statement insists, adding, “The court instead could have asked the state government to present a grievance redressal mechanism both for instances of sexual harassment of women and excesses committed by the ‘preventive mechanism called anti-romeo squads’.”
Among those who have endorsed the statement include Aruna Roy, President National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW); Syeda Hameed, Muslim Women’s Forum; Indira Jaising, prominent lawyer and human rights activist; Uma Chakravarti, feminist historian; Kavita Srivastava, feminist activist with the People’s Union for Civil Liberties; Vrinda Grover, senior advocate and human rights activist; Kavita Krishnan, general secretary, All India Progressive Women's Association; and Shabnam Hashmi, convener, Anhad.
Calling anti-Romeo squads “policemen and women and vigilante groups, operating outside the purview of law, with the support of the UP government, the statement says, they “threaten women’s freedoms.”
“The serious issue of violence against women and routine sexual harassment of women in Uttar Pradesh cannot be addressed by setting up anti-Romeo squads”, the statement says, adding, “These squads impose their own aggressive and arbitrary code through moral policing.”
The statement further says, “It has already come to light that in many cases, these anti-Romeo squads have become an even greater source of harassment and fear for women and men, which has even been acknowledged by the DG Police UP in his order of March 22 and 25, 2017.”
“However”, the statement underlines, “the DGPs order of the March 22 also opens up the doorway for moral policing as it talks of leaving alone couples in public spaces if their conduct is well within the traditional code. The term traditional code is ambiguous and not defined which once again allows police and public interference into the people’s privacy and the excesses thereof.”
Disapproving this form of policing, including its outsourcing to private actors in some cases, the statement adds, “We are clear that maintaining law and order is the primary function of the State and nothing can be done contrary to law, while addressing the issue of women's safety.”
Simultaneously, the statement says, it is deeply disturbing that “a tweet by well-known Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan has led to vigilantes attacking his home and the police registering a FIR against him, under Sec. 153A and 295A IPC, in P.S. Hazaratganj, Lucknow.”
“As feminists, our viewpoint on the subject of the tweet is different from that of Advocate Prashant Bhushan.”, the statement says, though adding, “The FIR registered against Bhushan is a clear case of abuse of power, as no such offence is made out on the basis of the tweet in question.”

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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
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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.
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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*
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An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
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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".

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By Sheshu Babu*
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History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
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