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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.”

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%.
Worse, out of 21 major Indian states, Gujarat’s immunization coverage is better than just three states – Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Even Bihar, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, known for extremely poor performance in social sector, have a better immunization coverage among the one-year olds than Gujarat, 80.6%, 82.2% and 91.7%, respectively.
A study of 10 countries, Afghanistan, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan and Uganda, the 92-page WHO report, “Explorations of inequality: childhood immunization”, released this month, seeks to analyze how things stand in each of these countries against the backdrop of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which resolved to combat inequalities within and among countries.
Analyzing DTP3 (which stands for three doses of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccines) immunization coverage, the report states, in India, the “coverage was equal in boys and girls and female- and male-headed households, and there was little difference between coverage in urban and rural areas”.
However, it notes gaps when one takes into account factors like mother’s education level (less-educated subgroups showing lower coverage) and wealth quintiles (poorer quintiles showing lower coverage).“DTP3 immunization coverage tended to be lower among children of mothers aged 35–49 years, children belonging to scheduled tribes and children in certain subnational regions”, the report says, adding, “There was a weak, although significant, association for mother’s age at birth and mother’s caste/tribe as well as for place of residence.”
WHO continues, “Children with highly educated mothers aged 20–49 years who belonged to the richest 20% of the population had a 5.3 times higher chance of being vaccinated, compared with children born to teenaged mothers with no education, in the poorest 20% of the population.”
The report notes, “Sex-related inequality was non-existent, as male and female children presented the same level of coverage (79%)”, adding, “Looking at mother’s characteristics, the coverage of DTP3 immunization was the same for the 15–19 years and 20–34 years subgroups (79%), while coverage was lower in the 35–49 years subgroup (70%).”
Further, it says, “The gap between the no education subgroup and the subgroup with more than secondary education was 18 percentage points.”
WHO report
Then, the report says, “There were small differentials in DTP3 coverage by mother’s caste/tribe: Coverage was higher among those in the scheduled caste, other backward class or other subgroups (coverage around 80%), whereas coverage was lower in the scheduled tribe subgroup (74%).”
It adds, “Coverage across subnational regions varied markedly. Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh had the lowest coverage at 53%, whereas 9 out of the 36 regions reported coverage of 90% or higher”.
The report believes, given this framework, key challenges for India’s health policy for better immunization activities include “weak health information systems and low capacity for monitoring and evaluation (resulting in a lack of evidence for planning and research activities); and human resource shortages in management, research and operations at all levels.”
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Download report HERE

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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.

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.

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…

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".

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.”

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.