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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.”

Conservative US thinktank expert: Space to criticize govt till 2019 polls may further shrink under Modi watch

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded opinion piece, a top American conservative thinktank expert, Sadanand Dhume, has warned that, in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the “space to criticize the government or the ruling BJP without fear of retaliation… may shrink even more.”
Resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a columnist for America’s top business daily “Wall Street Journal” (wsj.com) , Dhume, who has been an ardent supporter of the Prime Minister’s economic reforms agenda unraveled in 2014, says, what is particularly disturbing is, this is happening on Narendra Modi’s “watch.”
Referring to the June 2 CBI raid on the residence of NDTV founders Radhika and Prannoy Roy, Dhume disagrees with the government version that this has nothing do with media freedom, adding, “In anonymous leaks to sympathetic media outlets, alleged government officials suggest they may also pursue more serious charges, including money laundering and concealment of income.”
Pointing out that the “government’s argument appears shaky”, Dhume says, “In India, large borrowers owe government-owned banks many billions of dollars. That the CBI’s case hinges on a nine-year-old loan repaid to a private bank seems to suggest, at the very least, an odd set of priorities.”
Dhume says, “The move against NDTV comes against the backdrop of a media landscape that has tilted noticeably toward the government. Prominent news channels now spend more time attacking the enfeebled opposition than scrutinizing the government.”
He adds, “The front pages of several major newspapers increasingly read like official press releases. The burden of holding the government accountable for its missteps has largely shifted to opinion writers and a clutch of online publications with far less reach than TV or newspapers.”
Noting that “for the most part, Modi eschews interviews and press conferences, preferring to communicate directly through Facebook ,Twitter and a regular radio address”, Dhume says, “His junior foreign minister, VK Singh, has helped popularize the pejorative term ‘presstitute’ to describe journalists.”
Sharply criticizing the BJP pays for paying “lip service to the idea of a free press”, Dhume underlines, “In party President Amit Shah’s formulation, criticizing the government remains permissible but criticizing the nation is out of bounds.”
Pointing out the type of persons the government has been appointing to gag media, Dhume says, “Earlier this year, the party appointed as its spokesperson Tajinder Bagga, notorious for a televised 2011 assault on a left-wing lawyer and anticorruption activist he deemed too sympathetic to Kashmiri separatists.” Bagga had tweeted, “He try to break my Nation, I try to break his head.”
Suggesting that corporate interests are the main reason why Indian media bends so much, Dhume says, “The owners of most major TV channels and newspapers juggle other business interests as well. They must negotiate a plethora of opaque laws and regulations that would make them vulnerable to government pressure.”
He adds, “Many outlets also rely on government advertising to stay afloat. All this ensures that Indian journalism maintains a long tradition of kissing up to power rather than questioning it.”
According to Dhume, “This government is particularly ruthless about cutting off access to reporters it deems unfriendly. The BJP also appears to at least tacitly encourage social-media lynch mobs that go after any journalist seen to be stepping out of line. No other major political party appoints trolls to responsible positions.”

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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.”