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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.”

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.”
Pointing towards how Shiv Kumar, a Dalit, won the elections to the post of village pradhan in 2015, even though it was not a reserved seat, suggesting political empowerment of the community, a report prepared by the team insists, the resentment of dominant castes of "this forward movement cannot be ignored” while analysing what happened in Shabbirpur.
The team –which consisted, among others, of Ajit Kumar Yadav of the Swaraj Abhiyan; Ashok Bharati, Chief Advisor, National Confederation of Dalit Organizations; Ashok Chaudhury or the All India Union of Forest Working People; Ram Kumar, President, Dynamic Action Group, Lucknow; Dr Ramesh Nathan, General Secretary, NCDHR, visited Shabbirpur on May 14, and 15, 2017 – believes the May 5 violence appears to have been “pre-planned by the Thakurs.”
The team’s report, a copy of which has been forwarded to Counterview, says, “The administration, in particular the police, failed on serious counts to prevent, contain and stop the violence”, adding, “Trouble had been brewing in these areas since April in relation to Ambedkar Jayanti, and yet, the police did not take adequate precautionary measures.”
Referring to the Ambedkar Shobha Yatra on April 20, taken out by Raghav Lakhanpal, BJP MP, through Sadak Dudhli village, an area mostly dominated by Muslims, the report says, UP Police registered an FIR against the BJP MP, yet neither he nor his supporters were arrested. “Instead, SSP Love Kumar, who registered the FIR against the MP, was transferred out immediately thereafter”, it regrets.
“UP Police also did not take any of the preventive measures allowed under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 and the accompanying Rules (1995), such as recommend removal of a person likely to create unrest from a particular area for a specified period of time”, the report says.
Post-April, says the report, in the event to commemorate Maharana Pratap Jayanti at the Maharana Pratap Memorial Inter College on May 5, BJP leaders – including minister Suresh Rana and BJP MLAs Kunwar Brijesh and Nakli Singh – were present, and an accused in the Phoolan Devi murder case, Sher Singh Rana, was facilitated.”
This was followed by a procession, in which the Rajputs played “loud DJ music and shouting slogans such as Jai Sri Ram and Ambedkar Murdabad”, the report says, adding, “When Dalits of the village asked for permission papers, Rajput community started attacking the Dalits, who retaliated by throwing stones.”
Noting that “false rumours” were spreading that one or two Thakur youth had been attacked, leading to Thakurs from the nearby villages converging into Shabbirpur in thousands, the report says, “The fact that such large numbers were able to assemble so quickly does suggest that this very rapid mobilization was perhaps prompted by advance planning.”
“What followed for the next few hours was selective and targeted burning of 55 houses of Dalits of Shabbirpur village. Before the Thakurs set the houses on fire, they looted—jewels, cash, clothes and whatever they could lay their hands on”, the report says, adding, “The Ravidas temple situated in the midst of the Dalit settlement was attacked” and “Dalit women complained that the assailants sexually harassed them.”
Referring to the Dalit meeting at Ravidas Hostel on May 9, 2017, the report says, “The meeting was stopped in the name of law and order. Later when Dalits gathered at Gandhi Park demanding justice and rehabilitation and compensation, the police lathi charged the peaceful gathering.”
The situation has reached such a point, says the report, that “the administration has started to come heavily on the activists and leaders of Bhim Army, an organization of Dalit youths. Several false charges have been filed against the founder member of Bhim Army, Chandrashekhar Azad.
Pointing to several Dalit youths having been “arrested and put behind bars in Saharanpur District Jail”, with the Dalit community being “considered under the National Security Act” for social media posts, the report says, “Many Dalit families have left the village and those left behind are demanding resettlement in a place where they will feel safe.”

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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.”