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Showing posts from May, 2017

Narmada dam oustee families manipulated downward from 31,180 to 18,346, forcible eviction on cards: President told

By Our Representative A Left parties-civil society organizations delegation led by CPI-M politbureau member Hannan Mollah, general secretary of the All-India Kisan Sabha, has told President Pranab Kumar Mukherjee that there is a “brazen attempt” on the part of the Government of Madhya Pradesh to “forcibly evict” thousands of Narmada dam oustees from their villages under the pretext of the Supreme Court order dated February 8, 2017.

World Bank: India's GDP drains 2.6% due to fewer females in jobs; most entrepreneurs prefer men as employees

By Rajiv Shah
World Bank report, “India Development Update: Unlocking Women’s Potential” (May 2017), notes that an approximate 10 percentage points decline in female labour force participation rate (LFPR) between 2004-05 and 2011-12 has imposed “constraints on a country’s growth”, and is proving to be a “drag on GDP growth” to the tune of 2.6%.

Shabbirpur violence: Many Dalit families have left village, safer resettlement sought by those left behind

By Our Representative
A Fact Finding team by the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), which visited Shabbirpur village of Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh, has said that the recent violence against Dalits in the village should be seen against the backdrop of “a resurgent Dalit community", which was "moving ahead politically, socially and economically.”

In Gujarat's Meghraj, 77% girls "missed" school to fetch water, look after siblings: Ahmedabad workshop told

By Rajiv Shah
An Australian government-sponsored pilot project, meant to create technical awareness for sustainable groundwater use among villagers of two semi-arid regions of Gujarat and Rajasthan, has revealed how, despite huge official claims, water scarcity continues to bog the regions, adversely impacting girl child education in a big way.

World Bank: Demonetization has hit hard 90% of India's workers, disproportionately impacting poorer households

By Our Representative
The World Bank has raised the alarm that while “the macroeconomic impact of demonetization has been relatively limited”, the informal economy, which makes up 40% of the GDP and employing 90% of India’s workers, is “likely to have been hit especially hard”, even as regretting lack of availability of reliable data on this score.

At Gujarat Dalit rallies starting June 3 at Zanzarka, Dalit MLAs, MPs to be asked: Why are you silent on Saharanpur?

By Our Representative
Defying scorching heat, top Dalit activists of Gujarat have planned a series of public meetings across the state starting with June 3 at Zanzarka, about 110 kilometres south-west of Ahmedabad, to protest against the alleged failure of elected Dalit representatives to speak up against the attack on Dalits in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh.

NHRC orders high-level probe following alleged torture, forced conversion of SIMI undertrials in Bhopal jail

By Our Representative
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), taking a serious view of complaints into unprecedented torture and solitary confinement of 21 undertrials in Bhopal jail, has asked the DIG (investigation) to constitute a team of officers under a senior superintendent of police to conduct an on-the-spot investigation and submit a report at the “earliest”.

Adanis' dream for concessional loan for coalmining project in Australia "dash", as Queensland govt backtracks

By Our Representative
In a surprise move, Australian state Queensland’s Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has declared that she is not going to provide concessional loan support to fund the infrastructure for the powerful Indian group Adani’s $16.5 billion Carmichael coalmine in the Galilee basin. Earlier reports said the state government had “agreed” to provide the loan.

Modi govt "inadvertently" announces its "negatives" alongside "positives" over last three years, withdraws them

By Our Representative
Will the Narendra Modi government ever admit that there are some “negatives” in whatever it has done over the last three years? In a surprise move, the Press Bureau of Information (PIB), operating directly under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, in a press note first published negatives along with positives, but finding it too embarrassing removed it from the website.

Float policy, hand over India's mining wealth to locals with right to inheritance: Representation to President, PM

By Our Representative
A high-level meeting of India’s top advocacy group, mines, minerals and People (mm&P), has decided to represent to President Pranab Kumar Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to implement the concept of "intergenerational equity” to make sure that the next generations are equal shareholders of the natural resources.

Farmers begin to "oppose" Ahmedabad authority seeking to take away land in the name of urban development

By Our Representative
Have the farmers around Ahmedabad city realized that their nod to the Gujarat government proposal to turn their agricultural land into urban hotspots was a major mistake? It would seem so, if meetings held by Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Samaj-Gujarat (KSG) with the farmers of two of the villagers situated about 20 km from the city are any indication.

Ahmedabad farmers realize: They were mistaken in allowing urban authority to put up town planning shemes

By Sagar Rabari*
In 2009, the Government of Gujarat, through a notification, had brought 68 villages (43 villages of Kalol and 25 from Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar talukas) with a total area of 625 sq km (62,500 hectares) into the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) boundary.
In the beginning the farmers were happy with this since they expected many basic amenities to be made available to them. After eight years, and the situation remaining as it was, the farmers have today realised that it is nothing but another ploy by the government to appropriate their land in the name of ‘development’.
While on the one hand their situation has not changed for better, on the other, the merger into AUDA and consequent mutation of their new tenure land into old tenure has brought about a sharp appreciation in the value of their land due to increased jantri rates.
The farmers with a large amount of new tenure land have thus had to endure a major financial blow. Panchayati raj institutions have b…

Adityanath is running quasi-military armed gang, Hinu Yuva Vahini, responsible for Saharanpur conflict

A representation made by four Dalit activists from Gujarat -- Ramesh Babariya, Arvind Khuman, Kishor Dhakhada and Mukesh Vanza -- to the President of India: We undersigned, concerned citizens of Gujarat and India, after visiting Saharanpur, demand to immediately dismiss Mr. Adityanath Yogi’s government in Uttar Pradesh in the wake of complete breakdown of law and order enforcement machinery in the state.
The situation is alarming as central government has to send Rapid Action Force to Saharanpur, the hotbed of caste conflict under the nose of a regime which has been boasting of Hindu Unity and brotherhood among so called higher and lower castes.
In fact, Mr. Adityanath Yogi is running a quasi-military, armed gang named Hinu Yuva Vahini which is responsible for the present conflict where poor and margimalised communities like Dalits and Muslims are the worst sufferers.
The Thakurs of Uttar Pradesh, who are coincidentally belong to Mr. Yogi’s caste are primarily responsible for the ini…

Oustees' massive anti-Narmada dam bullock cart rally, joined by fishermen, women protests absence of rehab sites

By Rahul Yadav*
People displaced due to the Narmada Dam in Gujarat, including farmers, labourers, and potters, took out a bullock carts rally on May 25 in Badwani, Madhya Pradesh, joined by fishmen and women, to protest against the absence of rehabilitation sites, on one hand, and massive corruption in compensation offered to the oustees, on the other.

Hindutva "bid" to change Delhi's history: Why forget that that the Capital is a receptacle of many cultures?

By Sadhan Mukherjee*
Delhi is not just a just a city or the capital of India; it is history itself. Who rules Delhi is important, not only in terms of today but for posterity as well. This is so as there is a conscious attempt to eliminate the past and forget its history.
No other existing city anywhere in the world is as old as Delhi. The Pandavas set up their capital here; then called Indraprastha. As the story is narrated in Mahabharata, it dates back to a period of around 3000 BCE. The inner-family war not only ended the Pandava and Kaurava dynasties but also destroyed Indraprastha as well as Hastinapur and the regimes.
A more modern Delhi became a citadel of Hindu kings who established their rule in 50 BCE in North India. Delhi was named after Mauryan king Dhillu. Much of Delhi’s ancient history is shrouded in myths and legends, not supported by any evidence except that Delhi today represents continuity and change. Many dynasties have ruled from here: the Nandas, the Mauryas (who d…

India's upper caste animosity towards Dalits and tribals extends to religious minorities: US report raises alarm

By Our Representative
A new report by an Indian-American coalition based in Washington, Alliance for Justice & Accountability, has raised the alarm that that over the last three years of the BJP rule in India, “the ‘upper’ castes’ animosity towards the Dalits and Adivasis” has sharply “extended to Muslims and Christians, who are today India’s second and third largest religious minorities respectively”.

As Green Tribunal orders closure of Surat's polluting solid waste site, activists seek removal of Ahmedabad site

By Our Representative
In a ruling of far-reaching implications, not just for Surat but also for Ahmedabad, the National Green Tribunal (NTG) has asked the Surat authorities in South Gujarat to take a decision and “issue work order for commencing the work of closure of Khajod open dumping site within one month”, even as start working on the action plan for scientific disposal of solid waste.

Violent clashes displaced 4.48 lakh in India; communal, caste conflicts led to "smaller" displacement: Norway report

By Our Representative
Estimating that a whopping 4.48 lakh people were displaced in India due to internal conflicts and violence in India last year, a new report, jointly prepared by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has said that there are 7.96 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country.

AfDB meet: Following Chinese, western "land grab" in Africa, Indian corporates seek economic space in continent

By Rajiv Shah
While there isn’t anything extraordinary for the African Development Bank (AfDB) holding its annual meeting outside the continent, in India, experts believe, through the high profile meet in Gandhinagar, which began on May 22 and ends on May 24, the Government of India is seeking to provide a platform to Indian corporates to invest in African continent, especially in agriculture and mining.

To plug human rights violations in Jammu & Kashmir, set up district-level and state-level police complaint authorities

Advocate Syed Mujtaba Hussian’s letter to the Governor and the Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, urging them to constitute police complaint authorities at district and state levels, as directed by the Supreme Court, and as established in various states:
You are already, I believe, aware of the facts of the matter, which are in public domain, about the cases regarding acts of serious misconduct by policemen/officers of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) Police, such as death in police custody, grievous hurt caused by police, rape or attempt to rape, illegal detention, extortion, land/house grabbing or any serious abuse of authority.
Referring to this, the honourable Supreme Court has directed different states to establish police complaints authorities, saying:
“There shall be a Police Complaints Authority at the district level to look into complaints against police officers of and up to the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police. Similarly, there should be another Police Complaints Auth…

1.86 lakh sign petition: Bank account portability an "effective antidote" to Indian banks' restrictive practices

By Our Representative
A whopping 1.85 lakh plus people have signed a petition floated by well-known columnist-activist Sucheta Dalal of the Moneylife Foundation asking Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Urjit Patel to intervene in what it calls “unfair treatment that bank customers suffer in the form of frequent, arbitrary and one-sided increase in banking charges.”

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Idea of fair, tall, customized baby "rooted" in Nazi Germany, RSS' Golwalkar wanted crossbreeding with Brahmins

By Our Representative
Facts have come to light suggesting that the RSS’ experiment to have “fair”, “tall” and “customized” baby has an interesting Gujarat connection: It was first reportedly floated by its topmost ideologue Guru Golwalkar way back in 1960 while giving a lecture in Gujarat University.

15,000 Narmada dam oustees to be evicted in Madhya Pradesh by July 31: June 5-7 'Save Narmada' to protest move

By Our Representative
The Madhya Pradesh government is all set to evict around 15,000 families by July-end in the Narmada Valley, even as Gujarat government is readying itself to close down the 30-odd gates on the Narmada dam in order to take the water level in the dam’s reservoir from the present 121.92 metres to 138.64 metres.

Restricting maternity benefit to first child, institutional births to hit marginalized women: Right to Food Campaign

By Our Representative
Top advocacy group, the Right to Food Campaign (RTFC), has expressed its “deep disappointment” over what it has called “truncated Maternity Benefits Programme (MBP) approved by the Union Cabinet recently, wondering why it is restricted to the first birth and institutional births alone.

Nisarpur village off Narmada river on warpath: Gram sabha passes resolution against "forcible" eviction

By Our Representative
About 100 kilometres from the Gujarat border, not very far from the Narmada river in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh, Nisarpur village is on the warpath. With forcible eviction looming large over the village and government sending police officials to warn people, here, thousands of women and men are on the street every day.

Adanis "offered" $320 million royalties holiday for Australian coalmining project, as expert says it is "not viable"

By Our Representative
In a major boon to India’s powerful industrial group, the Adanis have been offered a $320 million “royalties holiday” in their prestigious coalmining project in Australia. The offer, reports Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), requires the Adanis to pay “just $2 million a year in royalties once the $21 billion project starts operating.”

Narmada Planning Group rejected Modi's pet SAUNI project in 1987, saying there wasn't "enough water"

By Rajiv Shah
The Government of India agency Central Water Commission (CWC) may have denied reports that it has rejected a Gujarat government request for funds for the high-profile Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation Yojana (SAUNI) on the ground that there is not enough water to divert Narmada waters to Saurashtra.

India's job creation down by 64% in 2014-16 in manufacturing and service sectors, "suggest" Govt of India data

By Our Representative
The Government of India’s quarterly employment surveys (QES), which began in 2008, suggest that the rate of job creating in India has contracted sharply by 64 per cent after 2014, the year Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over reins of power in the country.

Swacch Bharat Mission funds "diverted" to transport people for Modi's Narmada rally in Madhya Pradesh

By Our Representative
Were funds meant for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious national cleanliness drive, Swacch Bharat Mission, diverted for making his Narmada rally at Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh a grand success? It would seem so, if facts dug out by the Congress mouthpiece, “National Herald” (NH), are any indication.

Modi's "fight" against terror has 21% fewer supporters in a year, says urban youth survey by LocalCircles

By Rajiv Shah
There is a whopping 21% decline in just one year among urban Indian youth who believe that the Narendra Modi government has been successful in its fight against terrorism. Top Delhi-based consultant, LocalCircles, headquartered in Santa Clara, US, had found that last year 72% urban citizens felt terrorism had reduced under Modi, but this year it is down to 51%.

"Model" Gujarat is second from bottom in % children receiving "adequate" diet in 6-23 months age group: Analyst

By Our Representative
A fresh analysis of the data put out by the National Family Health Survey 2015-16 has found that Gujarat, the state considered model by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for others to follow, has one of the lowest percentage of children in the age group 6-23 months “getting adequate diet”.

Madhya Pradesh officials "threaten" forcible eviction of Narmada dam affected families, admits 8000 still not resettled

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, top anti-dam leader of the  Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) Medha Patkar has raised the alarm that “after almost 32 years of struggle, lakhs of people in the Narmada valley to be affected by the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat, are being threatened with brutal eviction.”

Gujarat Education Board "sets aside" SC order, has no provision for RTI plea for copies of answer sheets: MAGP

By Our Representative
The Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board, which declared science stream results on May 12, wants those seeking copy of the corrected answer sheets to apply online, pay Rs 300 per answer sheet, allegedly in complete in violation of a Supreme Court order, which allows students to obtain it through a Right to Information (RTI) plea within 48 hours.

1500 Mumbai slum houses "cleared" for luxury hotel's approach road, mangroves removed: Fact-finding team

By Our Representative
A fact-finding team consisting of scholars from prominent Mumbai-based institutes has suggested that insistence on an “approach road” for a proposed luxury hotel being constructed by prominent builders could be the main reason behind the recent demolition of nearly 1,500 slum-dwellers’ houses in the in Ambedkar Nagar basti at Cuffe Parade, Colaba.

Chhattisgarh HC had praised suspended Dalit woman cop's battle on "irregularities, corruption, nepotism"

By Our Representative
The Chhattisgarh government may have suspended Varsha Dongre, a Dalit police officer, for a Facebook post for seeking an end to custodial torture of adivasi women, but on August 26, 2016 the state High Court had praised her “persistence and tenacity” for “a long drawn out battle” which brought to surface “irregularities, acts of corruption, nepotism, favouritism etc.”

Bilkis Bano, Gujarat riots gangrape victim, likely to approach Supreme Court if state govt fails to give "reparation"

By Our Representative
Will the Gujarat government, accepting state responsibility, provide “reparation” to one of the worst victims of gang rape, Bilkis Bano, during the 2002 Gujarat riots? Addressing media in Ahmedabad, Bilkis’ husband, Yakub Rasool, declared, he would “wait” to see how the state responds to the recent High Court verdict, and if there is none, Bilkis and he would be forced to approach the Supreme Court.

Adani coalmine delayed? Australian senate fails to pass crucial "reform" amendment for project's financial closure

By Our Representative
In what is being described as a new “new hurdle”, the proposed Adani coalmine in the Queensland state of in Australia failed to get the crucial Australian Parliamentary nod, essential for financial closure for one of the biggest coalmining projects in the world. The government lost the Senate vote 35-33, meaning the legislation won't pass until the Senate returns in mid-June.

Opposition parties, civil society unite, share platform in Lucknow at convention to mark anniversary of 1857 rebellion

By Our Representative
In an unusual show of anti-BJP unity, representatives from Congress, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, and Communist parties shared a civil society platform in Lucknow, where nearly celebrations took place began on May 10 to mark the 160th anniversary of India’s first war of Independence, 1857. They had gathered for a “national convention for safeguarding the Constitution”.

Letter to Gujarat CM: Frustrated farmers see govt gameplan, agree with anti-dam NBA, "waters meant for industry"

By Our Representative
Khedut Samaj Gujarat (KSG), the upcoming non-political farmers’ organization, has threatened state chief minister Vijay Rupani that if the work for providing Narmada waters via minor canal No 4B of the Dholera region south of Ahmedabad fails to begin within a week, its farmers would begin a major protest dharna in Gandhinagar, the state capital.

Gujarat Dalits rally against tougher cow slaughter law, ask 182 MLAs to punish those forcing cows to consume plastics

By Our Representative
In a unique protest in Gujarat’s Surendranagar town, Dalit rights activists on Wednesday handed over 182 bottles filled with plastics taken out of cows’ carcasses to the district collector, who was told to give these to each of the 182 MLAs of the state, asking them to explain to them as to who should be held responsible for the death of these cows.

Advantage Adanis in Australia? TUs divided over concessional infrastructure loan for coalmining project

By Our Representative
Is it advantage Adani Group, one of India’s largest, in Australia? It would seem so, if latest reports coming in from Melbourne, Australia are an indication. Amidst opposition to the concessional loan "offered" to the Adani group for building infrastructure, trade unions appear to divided on the crucial issue.

Majority of French voters have rejected traditional political forces, Left and Right, opting for something new

By Sadhan Mukherjee*
France has won its first battle against ultra-nationalism by electing Emmanuel Macron as President with nearly two-thirds of valid votes. His rival was Marine Le Penn, the ultra-right candidate. After Netherlands, France has thwarted the rightist bid to power in a European country. However, over 25% French voters either abstained or opted for NOTA.
France’s political battle is thus not yet over. The next round is in the offing – the June parliamentary elections (National Assembly - NA) which will decide who will govern France. If the rightist forces are defeated in that election too, France truly will have stalled the “wave” of ultra-nationalism in Europe.
France’s motto of Liberté, égalité, fraternité (liberty, equality, fraternity) has demonstrated its innate strength that has marked the French politics since the Bastille days. But what sort of a government is France is going to have is the moot question today. Macron’s only one-year-old infant party is a centre pa…

Apprehending massive submergence, 10-km human chain along Narmada river opposes Govt of India move on dam gates

By Our Representative
The powerful anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), stepped up pressure on Monday by creating a unique 10 km long human chain against the Narmada Control Authority (NCA), which is to meet on May 9 to decide on closing the Narmada dam’s gates, saying such a step would submerge 244 villages and a town.

May 10 Dalit rally to ask 182 Gujarat MLAs to fix responsibility for death of cows by consuming plastics

By Our Representative Even as the Gujarat state assembly meets on Tuesday for a day to "endorse" the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for the state, a grassroots Dalit rights organization of Surendranagar district, about 100 km from Ahmedabad, has asked 182 MLAs to answer a pointed question: Who is responsible for slaughter of cows by forcing them to eat plastics?

The Hoot: Indian journos faced 54 attacks, 25 threats since Jan 2016; most stressed were investigative reporters

By Our Representative
In a compilation of attacks on the freedom of press in India, well-known media-watch site, “The Hoot” has said that in the 16 months for which it has collected data, from January 2016 to April 2017, as many as 54 attacks took place on journalists, apart from 25 were threats to journalists.

'Having seen AAP from close quarters, I think it is time to put an end to Kejriwal's quixotic charade'

By Firoz Bakht Ahmed*
With the drubbing in the recent MCD election in Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal’s political tantrums have been exposed outright and he has lost his faith, face and trust. Arvind’s earlier allegation about EVM being manipulated and the threat to flood the roads with protestors, is nothing but the exposure of his usual image of an urban Maoist/ Naxal bound to replace poise and tranquility with anarchy in the capital city of India.
Having used Anna Hazare, Santosh Hegde, Kiran Bedi, Prashan Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav, Shazia Ilmi, Mayank Gandhi, Madhu Bhaduri, Dharamvir Gandhi, Captain GR Gopinath, MS Dhir, Anjali Damania, Maulana Shamoon Qasmi, Ashok Aggarwal, Vinod Kumar Binny, Ashwini Upadhyay (the ex-spokesperson AAP), Shakeb Ayaz, Surajit Dasgupta, myself and umpteen others, as tissue paper as part of “use and throw” tact, having left Delhi in the lurch for pouncing upon the prime ministerial berth, having taken the Delhi’ites for a ride by taking umpteen u-turns and having …

19% Kerala's Hindu women suffer sexual violence, as against 13% Muslim and 14% Christian: World Bank study

By Rajiv Shah
A recent World Bank report on gender-based violence in Kerala, the state known for its best social indicators across India, has shockingly found that there is a much higher underreporting of incidence of sexual violence among Hindus compared to the state's two other major religious groups – Muslim and Christian.

Confidential AG opinion told Lok Sabha speaker in 2014: LoP can't be appointed on the basis of 1977 law

By Our Representative
Information obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed that Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan banked on what has been described as “truncated” opinion of the Attorney General of India (AGI) while rejecting the claim of the Indian National Congress (INC) for Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the lower house in 2014.

Health expenses pushed India's 63 million in debt, one third below poverty: Pharma industry sponsored report

By Rajiv Shah
A top healthcare report prepared by one of the world’s most well-known consultants, KPMG, has regretted that currently 60 per cent hospitals, 75 per cent dispensaries and 80 per cent doctors are “located in urban areas, serving only 28 per cent of the country’s population”.