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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.”

Child marriages in India down by 20%, weddings delayed by 2.3 years where women are panchayat chiefs: Report

By Our Representative
A just-published paper, “Political role models and child marriage in India”, has concluded that the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments, enacted in 1993, which stipulate reservation of pradhans’ positions in one-third of districts by rotation, has led to a situation where the “likelihood of child marriage decreases by 20 percentage points, and age at marriage increases by 2.3 years”, even as delaying the “gauna ceremony is delayed by 1.6 years.”
Authored by Prof Carolina Castilla of the Colgate University, Hamilton, New York, and supported United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research, the paper draws on data from the India Human Development Survey (IHDS), collected by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), New Delhi, and researchers at the University of Maryland.
Castilla says, “In India, marriage traditions dictate that two ceremonies take place: the wedding and the gauna ceremony. These differ in timing and purpose. After the wedding, the bride and groom do not necessarily live together. The gauna ceremony indicates the start of marital life and the consummation of the marriage.”
The paper states, as women in local government are likely to discourage child marriage, even as encourage delay the age at first marriage and the gauna ceremony, the amendments have had “important policy implications for both the bride and her future children as it improves education, autonomy over fertility, and health. The results indicate that after 18 years of implementation, exposure to women in government can reduce the prevalence of child marriage.”
The paper says, “The legal minimum age of marriage in India is 18 and the minimum age of consent is 16. Yet the average age at first marriage in the sample is 17.6, with 46 percent reporting that they married before they turned 18. There is less than a year’s difference between age at marriage and gauna.”
The paper asserts, “There are statistically significant differences between women who married after the first election with reserved seats for women relative to both women in never-reserved districts and those who married before the first election with reserved seats. Women who married after being exposed to women Pradhans on an average married 1.8 years later, and delayed the gauna ceremony by 1.3 years.”
“Further”, it adds, “The prevalence of child marriage is 22 percentage points lower among women who married after the first election with women in local leadership positions.”
Pointing out how the amendments have worked over the years, the paper says, “Women in districts that held elections with reserved seats before to 2000 marry between 1.1 and 2.3 years later than women in the same district who married before the policy. Age at marriage increases by 0.6 to 1 year among women who married after the 2000 to 2003 elections, and increases by one additional year (1.3 to 1.9 years relative to the early elections) after the 2005 election.”
Similarly, the paper says, “After exposure to women in government, women delay their gauna ceremonies by 0.6 to 1.6 years. The effect of women Pradhans is larger among women who married between the 1997 and 2005 elections, and then increases once more after the 2006 to 2007 elections. There is evidence that the two different marriage ceremonies are converging. Age at marriage responds more to exposure to women Pradhans than age at gauna, which is expected as brides are more likely to be beyond the age of consent.”
Suggesting that the reservation policy has also impact socially backward communities, the paper says, “Women in backward and scheduled castes or tribes marry at a small but statistically younger age and have their gauna ceremonies earlier.” However, “the age at marriage increases by 4 months, and the likelihood of child marriage decreases by 5 percentage points” among them “after the first election under the policy”, though “age at gauna does not show any significant differences.”

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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
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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
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Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

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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…

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By Tapan Bose*
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By Rajiv Shah
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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".

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By Nandini Oza*
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Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
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