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Showing posts from July, 2018

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…

Top civil rights body plans India-wide tour to "restore, protect" the values of Constitution, democracy

By Our Representative
The National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), one of India’s largest civil society networks, is all set to begin a nation-wide march, Samvidhan Samman Yatra, meant to protect the basic tenets of the country’s Constitution, starting on October 2 in Dandi, Gujarat, and ending on December 10 in Delhi.

Australian community turns down proposal to install Mahatma Gandhi's statue in Melbourne

By Neeraj Nanda*
A proposal by the Federation of Indian Associations of Victoria (FIAV) to install a life-size statue of India’s Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, opposite top Australian city Melbourne’s Dandenong Station, adjacent to Little India, Foster Street shops, has been shot down in a community consultation survey, which closed on June 7, 2018.

Why are BJP chief's "lackeys" crying wolf over Imran Khan's overtures of building bridges with India?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
Pakistan's election results have finally come. According to the Election Commission of Pakistan, Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-i- Insaf Party (PTI) has won 115 seats in the 270 member national assembly, which means that party would need independent MNAs to come to power. The problems of PTI party are further aggravated with many candidates contesting more than one seat.

Fresh controversy surrounds year-old Amarnath report on "excessive" military presence, "abuse" of environment

By Our Representative
Even as the Lok Sabha elections draw nearer, controversy is sought to be once again created around more than a year-old report “Amarnath Yatra: A Militarized Pilgrimage” in order to point towards how it is “defamatory”, was published by a Bengaluru-based “foreign funded NGO”, Equitable Tourism Options (EQUATIONS), in alliance with what is termed an “Islamist group” (sic!), Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS).

Why are "saner" voices failing to curb the insanity of mob lynching despite concern by Supreme Court

By Adv Masood Peshimam*
Hatred many a time has no basis. It’s the philosophy of dislike that foments unrest, sometimes leading to dangerous consequences for the person or the group hated. Hatred is simply unassailable, and any person or group hated is not advised to convince the hater, as the hating instincts cannot be sublimated into love or intimacy. Hatred is a complex phenomenon, many a time based on false pretexts, which are created to generate hatred in order to spew venom and target the person hated or resented.

The other side of elections: Pakistan's Dalit women assert for their rights by seeking space in country's politics

By Sheshi Babu
As election results are almost declared, Pakistan is entering the new phase of governance under a new premier. Hindus comprise about 1.85% of Pakistan’s population. In fact, it has the fifth largest Hindu population in the world. Pakistan’s census separates scheduled castes from the main body of the Hindu population; thus they constitute a further 0.25% of national population. Clearly, Dalits constitute significant numbers in the population of Pakistan.

Rahul not looking to be PM, for 3 decades no Gandhi family member occupied the post: Sachin Pilot

By Our Representative
Even as "predicting" that the Congress will lead the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) to victory during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, senior Congress leader known to be close to party president Rahul Gandhi, Sachin Pilot, has given clear indications that Rahul may give up his claim for Prime Ministership for the sake of opposition unity.

Civil society gears up to protest "disparaging" remarks on sex workers, transgenders by Govt of India minister

By Our Representative
A civil society group has floated a memorandum taking strong exception to what it calls "disparaging anti-women, anti sex-worker and anti-transgender person remarks in Parliament" this week by Maneka Gandhi, Minister, Women and Child Development, Government of India, during the discussion on Anti-Trafficking Bill, 2018. Released by members of the Coalition on Inclusive Approach and proposed to be given to the minister, it seeks signatures from concerned citizens.
"In case you wish to endorse, please send in your name via WhatsApp and/or e-mail to Shakun @  9448480954 | shakun00@gmail.com" it says.

Maneka Gandhi's "insensitive" remark invites angry reaction from transgender community, sex workers

By Our RepresentativeReproduced below is an angry of transgender a person over Union minister Maneka Gandhi during the debate on the anti-trafficking Bill in the Lok Sabha this week:
*** Can anything/anyone be more dehumanizing?

13th starvation death in Jharkhand: Family of Birhor was "denied" ration card in the absence of aadhaar

By Asharfi Nand Prasad et al*
On July 24, 2018, 39-year old Rajendra Birhor of Chainpur village (Gram Panchayat Nawadih, block Mandu, district Ramgarh) succumbed to poor nutrition and illness. A civil society fact-finding team, which visited the village on July 26, 2018 to investigate the death of Birhor in the village, has been told that his family not issued a ration card under the National Food Security Act.

Govt of India's draft data protection bill "undermines" RTI, gives unique powers to UIDAI to adjudicate: Report

By Our Representative
The Government of India's new data protection Bill a year after it constituted a committee of experts chaired by former Supreme Court judge BN Srikrishna to prepare a draft on it, may mire into controversy. Reason: It's proposed amendments to the Aadhaar Act, 2016, and the Right to Information Act, 2005, seek to empower the bureaucracy even more than what it is today.

32% processed food GM-contaminated, says study: Refutes Govt of India claim no such food sold in country

By Our Representative A laboratory study has claimed that 32% (21 out of 65) of the food product samples were found to be genetically modified (GM)-positive, and 80% (16 out of 21) of those which tested positive were imported. It contends, these products are being sold in the Indian market, despite the law – Section 22 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 – does not allowed GM food “to be manufactured, imported or sold in India.”

WHO: "Model" Gujarat's immunization coverage 73%, national average 79%; 17 of 21 major states perform better

By Rajiv Shah
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state, Gujarat, which he propagated as the “model” for other states to follow, is facing a major challenge on the health front: If the World Health Organization (WHO) is to be believed, Gujarat’s immunization coverage of one-year olds is one of the worst among Indian states – 72.8% as against the national average of 78.8%.

Why is JNU administration hell-bent on violating High Court order, denying student leaders their right to education?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat* It is criminal on part of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration to continue in their effort to destroy the career of students such as Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and others, who have been imposed disproportionate fine and expulsion from hostel.

Trivializing deaths due to potholes in big Indian cities reflects political apathy towards a serious issue

By Sheshu Babu* 
When terrorists attack, the media splashes news quickly and continue to discuss at length. The politicians try to use the news for boosting their political career. But deaths due to cleaning drainage holes or potholes on roads are rarely discussed by either media or politicians.

Indian industry feeling Modi govt heat? Opposes move to provide competitive advantage to PSU power cos

By Our Representative
Has the Indian industry begun to come off its shell, beginning to see that something is fundamentally wrong, detrimental to its interests, with policies adopted by the Government of India (GoI)? It would see so, if the latest move by the Association of Power Producers (APP), is any indication.

Parliamentary panel doubts Centre "declaring" 9 top states, including Gujarat, 100% villages open defecation free

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to the Government of India declaring villages of 10 major Indian states – Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand – as having achieved 100% sanitation coverage, a Parliament committee report, released in the Lok Sabha on July 19, has observed the dream of the Father of the Nation “for total sanitation for all and a clean India is still elusive.”

Wither Make in India? New investments dropped by one third in three years, as stalled projects climbed: Bloomberg

By Our Representative
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South Korean President Moon Jae-in may have celebrated the inauguration of what Samsung Electronics' what is claimed to be the "world’s largest mobile phone factory", with Modi characterizing it as “extremely important” for his Make in India initiative to boost manufacturing to 25% India’s economy by 2020 and create millions of jobs.

Silicosis: Gujarat HC asks Employees' State Insurance Corp to pay compensation to 9 victims of deadly disease

By Jagdish Patel* 
The Gujarat High Court has dismissed the appeal filed by the Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), Vadodara, challenging the order of the ESI Court, Vadodara to pay disablement benefit as compensation to nine silicosis victims, all of whom are adivasis from Gujarat.

60% rise of reported rapes in India since 2012: It's not just patriarchy, misogyny, atrocity, it's more than that

By Sheshu Babu*
'I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection' -- Sigmund Freud
Condemning rapes and harassment of women has become a routine with increase of these cases over the years. Among the ten countries reporting incidents of rape, nations like America, Canada, Sweden and UK appear in the list (wonderlist.com, Ejaz Khan). About 36% of women globally have been reported experience either physical or sexual intimate violence.

Indian Muslim personal law board "favours" one night marriage, forced sex by supporting nikah halala: IMSD

By Our Representative
A Mumbai-based civil rights geoup, the Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy (IMSD) has strongly opposed what it called "All-India Muslim Personal Law Board's (AIMPLB’s) anti-woman and unconstitutional views", saying, they only go to "aid Sangh’s communal agenda." In a note released on July 19, the civil society group said, the AIMPLB's stand on triple talag, nikah halala and polygamy are "retrograde."

Employment rate down, unemployment rate up: CMIE "contradicts" Modi claim that it's data crisis not jobs crisis

By Our Representative
Virtually contradicting Prime Minister Narendra Modi's claim that India is not facing a jobs crisis but data crisis, the country's top data consultating firm, Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) has declared that the labour force participation rate -- expressing the desire the able-bodied persons to find a job -- continues to decline.

High medical costs pushed 38 million Indians into poverty, led to financial catastrophe of 18% households

By Rajiv Shah
A recent paper, published in a top London-based research journal, BMP Open, has said that the out of pocket (OOP) expenditure on healthcare in general and medicines in particular, over the last two decades, has gone up from 4.49% to 6.77% in India, leading to “financial catastrophe” of 18% of the country’s households.

Why BJP in Gujarat has begun to poach Congress "deadwood" with eye on 2019 Lok Sabha polls

By RK Misra*
If you can’t beat them, deplete them.
After over 20 years of uninterrupted rule in its model state, Gujarat, the BJP is still foraging for rival’s crumbs to fill its overloaded basket. And so it was that on July 14, it inducted Mahendrasinh Vaghela, former Congress legislator and son of the eternal rebel, Shankersinh Vaghela into their party.

New ‘special anti-lynching’ law will not "easily quell" murderous mobs, it's also necessary to punish Godses

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
On 17 July renowned social activist and Arya Samaj leader Swami Agnivesh was brutally beaten up and verbally abused in Jharkhand by a violent mob apparently having allegiance with the ruling BJP. Fortunately, they did not succeed in murdering the seventy-nine year old Swami.  However, a couple of day earlier, thirty-two year old Mohammed Azam, a techie from Hyderabad, who worked with Accenture, was not so lucky.

When just 8% schools comply with Right to Education, retaining "weak" children in same class will punish millions

By Mitra Ranjan*
The Right to Education (RTE) Forum has strongly condemned the passing of ‘The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Second Amendment) Bill, 2017 in Lok Sabha. It has scrapped the ‘no detention’ provision. Ambarish Rai, National Convener, RTE Forum, has said, "No detention withdrawn by the Government of India in parliament will punish millions of children despite systemic failures and non-implementation of RTE Act.”

Unpaid, delayed NREGA wages: Govt of India "fails" implementation despite Supreme Court order

By Our Representative
India’s top civil societies network campaigning for the rural jobs guarantee scheme has revealed that despite the Supreme Court dated May 18, order to “prepare an urgent time bound mandatory program to make the payment of wages and compensation” to the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), the Government of India has refused to do it.

India a key country witnessing autocratic trend, thanks to Modi's "hardline" Hindu nationalism: Swedish report

By Our Representative
A recent report  by a Swedish institute has identified India as one of the top countries where it has witnessed “disquieting trends” for the future of democracy. Other “key countries”, where a similar trend is visible are Brazil, India, Poland, Russia, Turkey, and the United States.

Modi govt move to "weaken" institution of information commissions, adversely impacting their autonomy

By Anjali Bharadwaj, Nikhil Dey, Venkatesh Nayak*
The text of the Right to Information (RTI) Amendment Bill is finally available, one day before Parliament’s monsoon session will commence. The secrecy around the amendments has prevented any meaningful debate or public engagement with the proposed changes. It is a matter of grave concern that the government does not value the opinion of millions of people and information seekers whose fundamental right to information will be impacted through this amendment.

13 yrs after Modi pressure, SEWA reiterates political, bureaucratic interference, refusal of space in New Economy

By Rajiv Shah
Nearly 13 years after the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat reportedly tried to pressure the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) for his political ends, India's premier organization, headquartered in Ahmedabad, and working with poor women in the informal sector, thinks that even today political-bureaucratic pressure remains high, mainly due to its wide support among women.

Call to join campaign against "unlivable" Narmada oustee rehabilation sites, starting July 31 at Badwani

By Our Representative
Giving a call to activists across India to join its campaign to “save” Narmada river, starting at Badwani along the Narmada river on July 31 and ending on August 2 at Manibeli, the anti-dam Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) has alleged that the campaign is in response to the February 8, 2017 Supreme Court judgment, which, over the last one year, has “created panic” and “outcry” across the valley.
The Supreme Court judgment – even as ordering Rs 60 lakh and Rs 15 lakh compensation to two different categories of Narmada dam oustees of Madhya Pradesh (MP) – asked the state government to begin vacating all oustee families from the submergence area starting July 31, 2017.

58% of India's business leaders feel manufacturing cost is up, 61% say profit is less than normal: IIM-A survey

By Our Representative
An Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) survey has found that nearly one-fourth of Indian manufacturing firms have reported “significant increase (by 6.1% to 10%) in costs”, while around three-fifth of firms reported that “increase in costs has been more than 3% during the last one year”.

No criminal intention made out against Mother Teresa's charity, says ex-vice chief NMC; demands judicial probe

By Our Representative
In sharp defence of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity in Jharkhand, Dr Abraham Mathai, former vice chairman of the National Minorities Commission (NMC), has said that it is being "falsely accused of child trafficking", as alleged by the state police. Even as the Roman Catholic Church has come out in its support following the arrest of a nun and an employee, saying that nun is "innocent", and her confession was extracted under pressure, Dr Mathai insists that "no criminal intention is made out, hence the FIR appears motivated."

Would Jyant Sinha, Giriraj Singh, who felicitated those accused of mob violence, ever be brought to justice?

By Adv Masood Peshimam*
Felicitation or feting of mob-killing persons under one pretext or the other, or criminal participation of individuals in communal violence, is not acceptable. Cases of lynching as a result of fake news have recently grown dramatically, sharpening communal polarisation, especially after Narendra Modi came to power. The weak justice delivery system has further aggravated the situation. This is happening because of blatant misuse of power.

Govt of India seeking to "centralise" all higher education powers: Proposed commission will be just an advisory body

By Gautam Thaker*
The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India's draft enactment for forming Higher Education Commission (HEC) by scrapping the University Grants Commission (UGC) is meant to concentrate on educational matters in the hands of MHRD by placing all financial matters under the direct control of the Ministry. This means that MHRD will decide whether or not to give grant, or how much grant to give to an institution. This will result in direct intervention by MHRC.

Modi govt "fulfills" 50% of 14 criteria of fascism; things would reach peak if re-elected: Book on NDA's 4 yrs

By Our Representative Four years of NDA governance with Narendra Modi as Prime Minister, reviewed and compiled in a new report ‘Dismantling India’, with articles by 24 writers, all critical on the government’s “actions, policies, and directives”, has said that the difference between earlier governments and the present government is that, the latter has reached the 50% mark of the 14 points which qualify fascism, warning, if it comes to power again in 2019, fascism would reach its peak.

Two women tribal leaders "go missing" in Uttar Pradesh for a month: Police claims they were released on June 8

By Our Representative Two Uttar Pradesh forest rights leaders belonging to the All-India Union of Forest Working Peoples (AIUFWP) Sukalo Gond and Kismatiya Gond have reportedly gone "untraceable" even though the state government claims both were released over a month ago. Belonging to the Sonbhadra district, the police couldn't "trace" them and produce them before the Allahabad High Court at the second hearing of a Habeas Corpus petition on July 9.

Aadhaar, "failure" of NREGA rural jobs guarantee scheme "main reason" for 13 starvation deaths in Jharkhand

By Our Representative On July 13, a group of activists from Jharkhand held a protest demonstration at Jharkhand Bhavan, New Delhi, to highlight a spate of recent starvation deaths and lynchings in the state. The protest demonstration follows a statement (click HERE to read) issued by a group of 52 activists from across India condemning the growing attacks on right to life in Jharkhand.

Unpaid domestic work: India "competes" with Pakistan in high gender gap. Reason: Poor public spending

By Rajiv Shah With 78.2% Indian females doing what is called “unpaid care work” -- as against just about 2.9% males -- a new International Labour Organization (ILO) study has found that the country’s gender gap in taking care of their families is among the highest in the world.

Safe child birth? 41% of all deliveries in private hospitals are caesarian, 28% in urban India; WHO norm: 10-15%

By Our Representative A new research paper published in a prominent journal has raised the alarm that, while the World Health Organization (WHO), at a 1985 interdisciplinary conference on appropriate technology for birth, unanimously accepted a 10-15% caesarean section (CS) rate "as reasonable" to assist women to deliver safely in the face of complications, in India's urban areas it has reached a whopping 28.3% as against the national average of 17.2%.

Sardar Patel, not Nehru, dropped proposal to reconstruct Somnath with govt funds on Gandhiji's suggestion

By Dr Hari Desai* Sometimes people are made to believe that descriptions in historical novels are real history. Even courtier historians who present history as per the convenience of rulers find their way to textbooks, polluting the minds of younger generations. A perverted version of history is taught to students till historians dare make corrections, or ask rulers to get things corrected.

Top military veterans demand minister Jayant Sinha's resignation for garlanding lynching accused

By Our Representative Following 50 former IAS, IPS and IFS civil servants, nearly as many military veterans belonging to all three wings of the armed forces, have demanded immediate removal or resignation of Union minister Jayant Sinha for garlanding a group of men accused of lynching a meat trader, Alimuddin in Ramgarh.

Benzene pollution level 5000% higher, is life threatening in Mumbai's industry-intensive Mahul rehab site

By Bilal Khan et al* The Maharashtra government recently assured the Bombay High Court that Mahul is safe and habitable, ignoring the health issues frequently faced by people living in the region. This assurance is, in fact, fraudulent and even contradicts the state government’s own previous statements and studies.
The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board’s (MPCB’s) report on high level of pollution in the area and the National Green Tribunal’s observations are proof that the place is uninhabitable.