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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

By Rajiv Shah
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.…

CRZ Plans: Paryavaran Mitra notes Gujarat govt "indifference" towards holding public consultations

By Our Representative
Gujarat’s well-known environmental NGO Paryavaran Mitra has asked the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) to transparently hold public consultations in the coastal areas for preparing state-level Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP). In a letter to the GPCB member-secretary, the NGO director Mahesh Pandya has said that this is necessary in accordance with the state’s Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2011. Following the preparation of the draft CZMP, it would be obligatory to get it approved from the Government of India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change.
Taking objection to the state government’s and GPCB’s indifference towards preparing CZMP, Pandya has said, so far, the GPCB has still not put details of public consultation on its website, nor does it has put a summary of the CZMP draft on the site. In fact, says the letter, the Gujarat Ecology Commission and the Gujarat Coastal Zone Management Authority has also not put up a s…

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.

1400 hectares of 145 villages to be acquired for Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train

By Our Representative
India's top civil rights network, Bhumi Adhikar Andolan (BAA), has estimated that the Japan- backed Bullet Train Project known as Mumbai –Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Corridor aims to acquire 1400 of hectares (ha) tribal-agricultural land. In a statement ahead of a seminar in Delhi, BAA said, of this 350 ha will be acquired in Maharashtra and the rest in Gujarat.
"This is divided into 7,000 plots, in 195 Villages in Gujarat and in 104 villages in Maharashtra", it says, adding, "The project covers three district in Maharashtra and eight in Gujarat, besides a small area in Dadar & Nagar Haveli."
The seminar is being held against the backdrop of sharp protests in Maharashtra and Gujarat against the Rs 1.08 lakh crore project. BAA wonders whether India should spend so much of public money for the bullet train to run on just 508 km, to be used by well-heeled passengers, when 90% of rail passengers in India travel by sleeper class or lower …

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).

Gujarat farmers not paid MRP for chickpea, to agitate

By Our Representative
Raising sharp questions over the way the authorities in Gujarat are implementing the Minimum Support Price (MRP) to be paid to the state's farmers, Khedut Samaj Gujarat (KSG) has said that in Aravalli district, of the 1,420 farmers only 200 have been paid MRP for for their agricultural produce chana (chickpea). In a statement, KSG said, 22,737 quintals of chickpea was bought from the district's farmers.
"For this, the farmers should have been paid more than Rs 9.65 crore of MRP. The government still needs to pay up about Rs 8 crore to the farmers", Aravalli district KSG's leader Nikul Patel said in a statement. The pending amount, he suggested, has not been paid for a month now, blaming "docile government officials" for the state of affairs. "We will be forced to launch an agitation, for which the authorities would be solely responsible", he warned.

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.

Take action against cops who attacked Chharanagar: Congress

By Our Representative
The Congress has taken strong exception to the police clampdown on Chharanagar, a colony with about 3,000 houses in Ahmedabad, where members of the denotified tribe, Chharas reside. In a statement, party spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil said, the police clampdown on the poor people living in Chharanagar was without any reason. If any person commits a crime, action should be taken against that person oly, and one should not punish the entire community for it.
Demanding immediate action against responsible police personnel, even as compensating for the loss suffered by the innocent people as result of the cops’ midnight clampdown, Gohil said, those who have fallen victim of the attack include a press photographer, a playwright, and a lawyer. “The incident reflects anti-poor mentality of the BJP government”, he added.

Amnesty petition asks Modi not to pass whistleblowers Bill

By Our Representative
Amnesty International has begun an online petition asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop the passage of the Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015 in the Rajya Sabha. Sharply criticizing Modi for "going back" on his word of providing a "transparent and corruption-free government", Amnesty has said, the amendment "weakens the already inadequate whistle blower protections" provided by law and drastically increases the risks for whistle blowers.
Passed by the Lok Sabha in May 2015, it is currently pending before the Rajya Sabha. Pointing out that the amendment would make whistleblowing "much more unsafe", it provides three instances which suggest why a strong law to protest whistleblowers is needed:
In 2003, Satyendra Dubey, an employee of the National Highways Authority of India was murdered for exposing corruption in the construction of national highways.In 2005, Shanmugam Manjunath a sales officer with the …

Chharanagar attack: Set up SIT, register FIR against cops, demands Gujarat Dalit leader

By Our Representative
Gujarat Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani has warned that the alleged police attack on about 200 denotified tribal group Chhara community people, including women and children, to avenge a fight with a police sub-inspector “will not be tolerated in any way.” Addressing a well-attended meeting in Chharanagar, Ahmedabad, where Gujarat cops carried out late night operation, he wondered why was no FIR registered against the cops.
“If FIR could be registered against Chhara community people, why were the misbehaving cops spared?”, he wondered. Mevani demanded setting up a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the whole incident, which took place on July 27 night. He also demanded a Rs 25 crore package for the rehabilitation of the group.

Gujarat chief minister "misled" Niti Aayog: Ex-BJP CM Suresh Mehta

By Our Representative
Gujarat’s Lokshahi Bachao Andolan (Save Democracy Campaign), which is led by former BJP chief minister Suresh Mehta, has accused the state’s chief minister, Vijay Rupani, for misleading the Government of India’s top think-tank, Niti Aayog, by saying that the government has “revived” 32 rivers. In a statement signed by Mehta and two civil rights leaders, Mahesh Pandya and Prof Hemant Shah on behalf of the campaign body, they have said that nothing of the sort has happened.
“The Sujalam Sufalam recharge canal of North Gujarat has not revived any river. The state government website has not even given the names of the rivers that it claims to have revived. There is no water in any of the rivers that connect the canal. Where is the question of reviving the dead rivers?”, the statement says, seeking complete accounts of money spent on the canal network and revive rivers.

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.

Bhuj court sets aside Adanis' criminal complaint against news portal The Wire

By Our Representative
A court in Bhuj, district headquarters of Kutch, Gujarat, has rule in favour of the news portal, The Wire, in a high-profile criminal defamation case filed by the Adani Group. The Adani Group’s complaint was against an article by Paronjay Guha Thakurta, originally published in the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW), and then republished in The Wire.
Guha Thakurta, who was editor of EPW at the time, resigned after the journal’s after EPW insisted the article be taken down from its website following receipt of a legal notice from the Adani Group.
While Thakurta resigned from EPW, which withdrew the article, The Wire refused to do it despite Adanis insisted upon the news portal to do it. The article was on how the Modi government had tweaked the rules governing Special EconomicZone (SEZ), where the company had invested.
Click HERE to read more

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

By Our Representative
Reproduced 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?

Uttar Pradesh doesn't have child rights commission for a year

By Our Representative
Score Uttar Pradesh, the state chapter of the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, conducted a state-level meeting in Lucknow on Friday and decided to launch a campaign demanding equal rights to education to all (Sabko shiksha ek saman, mang raha Hindustan') for making education a prime agenda in coming parliamentary elections.
During the discussion, activists who had come to know from outside UP to attend the meeting were surprised to know that Uttar Pradesh does not have a State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR), a monitoring body for implementation of RTE Act.
RTE Forum's Ambarish Rai, noting this, said, SCPCR is "non-existent in Uttar Pradesh for more than a year. There are several cases of violations of the Act but there is no any mechanism for grievance redressal in place. It shows the lack of seriousness on the part of the state government and neglect of the fundamental right to education."

Students arrested for showing black flag to BJP chief Amit Shah

By Our Representative
At least four Samajwadi Party supporters, Rama Yadav, Neha Yadav, Ashvini Maurya and Mohit Yadav, all of them students, were taken into custody in Allahabad for showing black flags to BJP president Amit Shah. According to local sources, they organized a homage program to Judge Loya. Shah cancelled his program of addressing party workers, with BJP sources saying it had to be done because of rains in the city. Another two students were arrested from ADC crossing in Keedganj police station area.

GPCB investigation sought for releasing poisonous water into river

By Our Representative
Taking a serious view of the news that the dyeing and printing units of Jetpur, Rajkot district, have been releasing chemical-infested poisonous waste water into Bhadran river without treating it, Ahmedabad NGO Paryavaran Mitra, in a letter to the chairman, Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB), has demanded that this should be immediately investigated into and necessary action should be taken against the units found be doing the illegal activity.
Citing Section 17 of the Pollution Control Rules, 1974, NGO director Mahesh Pandya, who has signed the letter, said, despite the fact that the Supreme Court in its order dated February 22, 2017, took gave necessary directions on such gross violations, GPCB is not doing anything. On one hand, Gujarat has been experiencing water shortage, following which the government undertook the water conservation campaign, but on the other these units are dumping water into river, which is a very serious matter, he added.

Demand for legal action against Ahmedabad units "illegally" releasing waste water

By Our Representative
Ahmedabad-based environmental group, Paryavaran Mitra, has demanded that that the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) should begin legal action against those units operating in the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC), which have been found be releasing industrial waste water from their factories into the Kharicut canal, which passes through portions of the city.
In a letter addressed to the chairman, GPCB, dated July 27, Paryavaran Mitra’s director Mahesh Pandya has said similar action should be taken against four units operating behind in the Behrampura ward, operating behind the Barrel Market and Chiragh Park, for illegally releasing their waste water in the gutter.
Pointing out that the action should be initiated under the Water Pollution Control Rules, 1974, which prohibit dumping waste water illegally. The letter follows news reports that while the GIDC Association, Naroda, has been fined Rs 10 lakh, the four factories in the Behrampura wa…

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.

Chhara community "attacked" in Ahmedabad, police "beat up" men, women and children

By Our Representative
Senior human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi has sounded alert over the alleged sudden midnight police attack on a colony of a denotified tribe colony of Ahmedabad, ccharas. Quoting senior theatre and film director of Budhan theatre Dakxin Chhara and a number of other activists, she said, "According to the information available, there was some altercation between a few chhara boys, who were drunk at night, and they had some fight with policemen on duty."
"Police returned around midnight in full force -- hundreds of them from what I have been told by a number of local activists -- attacked the cchara colony, breaking vehicles, cars, getting into people's homes, breaking whatever they could lay hands on, attacking men, women and children, even media and lawyers who tried to intervene", said in a media alert.
She added, "Dakxin himself has been beaten up, his old mother-in-law has been attacked. Another theatre actor Atish Indrekar was…

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.

Delhi starvation death of 3 minor girls "linked" to lack of food security

By Our Representative
The Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan (DRRAA), a civil rights group, has said the deaths of three minor girls (aged 2, 4 and 8). in Mandawali, East Delhi, due to starvation, is directly linked with the issue of lack of food security and social security of the poor and marginalized in the country’s capital.
A statement by DRRAA said, adding, the situation is especially dire for children, elderly and the homeless, who are the most vulnerable, stressing on the need to remove barriers which prevent people from accessing it, such as need to show identity proof/residence proof/Aadhaar etc., which is “inhumane and a violation of the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution.”
Those who have signed the statement include co-convenor of the National Campaign for People's Right to Information Anjali Bhardwaj, Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan’s Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shankar Singh, and Prafulla Samant…

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.

New women's peace campaign, Batein aman ki, to start on Sept 22

By Our Representative
A new campaign, Baatein Aman Ki, is proposed to be organised comprising of 5 Women Yatras covering all Indian states between September 22 and October13, culmination in Delhi. They will start from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, and Delhi. While the routes are being finalised, the one starting from Delhi will cover central India and come back to Delhi. The aim of the five, Yatras, Baatein Aman Ki, consisting of 25 women per yatra, is to take the message of love, harmony, peace, non-violence across the nation.
"In times of hate we spread the message of love and sisterhood", a message sent by NGO Anhad's Shabnam Hashmi said, adding, "We invite women groups, people's movements, funding organisations, individual women, artists, film makers, social media experts to join the campaign." Details of the campaign can be found HERE

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.

Gujarat activists condemn attack on Swami Agnivesh

By Our Representative
A meeting of concerned citizens of Gujarat met on July 19 in Ahmedabad under the auspices of Movement for Secular Democracy (MSD), chaired by eminent journalist, activist and convenor of MSD Prakashbhai N. Shah, condemning the recent attack on Swami Agnivesh and rise in ‘mobocracy’ in the country was passed.
It expressed shock over the fact that, on one side, the Supreme Court, is warning the Central Government over mobocracy, on the other, a ‘saffron’ mob attacks Swami Agnivesh in Jharkhand! It asked civil society to stay vigilant. Copy of the resolution was sent to the President of India.

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.

Farmers' "no confidence motion" against Modi govt

By Our Representative
Thousands of representatives from over 200 farmer organisations under the banner of the All-India Kisan Sangharsh Samanvay passed what has been called the "no-confidence motion" against the current Indian government outside the Parliament. Those who addressed the rally included Yogendra Yadav, Medha Patkar, Darshanpal, Jagmohan Singh, Atul Kumar Anjan, Ashish Mittal, Kavita Kuruganti, Dr. Sunilam and Member of Parliament Raju Shetty.
The no-confidence motion Recently, Government of India declared a Minimum Support Price (MSP), which is merely 10-20% more than input costs as against the 1.5 times price set by Swaminathan Committee. "This MSP too is only declared for Kharif crops", it said, even as demanding to stop land grab, which it said, "has reached an all time high in the name of big projects like Industrial Corridors, Dams, smart cities etc."

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.