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Showing posts from October, 2018

"Massive" turnout for all-India protest against proposed shipping corridor

By Our Representative
The National Fishworkers Forum (NFF), which called for a nation-wide protest on October 30, 2018 against the proposed shipping corridor, has claimed “massive turnout” of thousands of fishermen and general public in several Indian states. In Kerala, KV Thomas, MP, inaugurated the protests, while in Maharasthra various fishing unions rallied for livelihood and opposed the government’s “one sided notification”, even as Mahadev Janker, Minister of Cattle and Dairy Development, Fisheries, attended the protests and heard the fishing communities’ demands.
In Goa, fishermen burned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s effigy, pointed towards what their leaders called “disastrous effects of the Blue Economy, including the Sagarmala project”. In West Bengal, fishing unions submitted a memorandum outlining their fears and listing their demands to the concerned Ministry. Odisha and Tamil Nadu also saw a turnout of hundreds of fishermen standing in solidarity with each other and ag…

Jharkhand govt's "forced" land acquisition for Adanis' zero displacement power plant

By Siraj Dutta*
With much fanfare, the Jharkhand government signed an MoU with the Adani Group in 2016 to setup a power plant in Godda district. A recent fact-finding visit of members of Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, an umbrella network of more than 30 people’s organisations, found that this project has gathered several accolades in the last two years - forceful acquisition of land, severe violation of processes set by land acquisition Act, 2013, bulldozing standing crops of farmers, lying to people about the potential benefits, intimidating affected people with police brutalities, lawsuits and so on.

Tribal farmers' arrest ahead of Statue of Unity function "biased, repressive": mm&P

By Our Representative
In a representation to the Gujarat governor, the top advocacy group, mines, minerals and People (mm&P) has said, it strongly condemns the recent arrest of tribal activists Amarsinh Choudhari, Ashok Choudhari, Bupendra Choudhari, Lalsinh Gamit and others. The arrests took place ahead of the inauguration of Statue of Unity in Gujarat by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Calling the Statue of Unity "a threat to the tribals and farmers whose only source of livelihood is farming”, the representation, signed by Rebbapragada Ravi, chairperson, mm&P, and Ashok Shrimali, secretary general, mm&P, said, “The statue will open tourism leading to forceful land acquisition. The protest by the tribals and farmers came after repeated plea to the government asking for intervention. The tribals are lacking access to basic facilities like schools, public health, safe drinking water etc. and government has spent Rs 3,000 crore for the construction of the statue.”
Termin…

Around 90 activists arrested ahead of Modi's Statue of Unity inauguration

By Our Representative
In a swoop ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicating the Statue of Unity to the nation, more than 90 activists from around Gujarat have been detained by the Narmada district police in Rajpipla and other places. The move comes amidst a civil society declaration that, as a mark of protest, people of 72 Narmada-dam affected villages have decided not to cook food on October 31.
Among those who who are reported to have been detained include Gandhian activist Nita Mahadev, social activist Mudita Vidrohi, top environmentalist Rohit Prajapati, anti-Narmada dam campaigner in Narmada Valley Lakhan Musafir, apart from several tribal activists such as Amarsinh Chaudhary, Bhupendra Chaudhary and Virji Varadia. Narmada is a predominantly tribal district. No reason for detention has been given.
According to reports from local sources, a whole government -- the executive, administration, regular police, Reserve Police Force, Home Guards-- from across the state has descend…

Statue of Unity? Expressionless, unconcerned with Sardar's fight for farmers, tribals

By Ravi Kuchimanchi*
My main problem with the statue of Sardar Patel is that it looks like an enlargement of a passport size picture. It may be the tallest statue but does it make an impact? Built to mimic a photograph, devoid of any artistic license, with hands to the side just dangling doing nothing, this is the statue that is supposed to depict unity and pay homage to Sardar Patel.

Dholera SIR: As forcible acquisition fails, Gujarat govt seeks to "persuade" farmers to give away 50% of land

By Our Representative
While waters have started flowing the Narmada canal in the Bhal region of Gujarat, farmers of the Special Investment Region (SIR) of Dholera, forming part of it, are perturbed: Government officials have begun a fresh campaign to take away 50% of their land in the name of development and hand it over to industry. The view, therefore, has gone strong: Narmada water has begun flowing only for industry, not farmers.
Pointing this out, Sagar Rabari, well-known farmers' leader, said that the campaign to persuade farmers to hand over 50% of their land has begun after the state government failed to forcibly acquire land for the SIR, where a smart city project is being implemented. "I will be undertaking a meet the people programme from November 9 to 11 by marching on foot SIR villages to make farmers aware of how the official campaign would actually harm the farmers", Rabari said in a statement.
The official campaign has been launched following the Gujarat…

Communal incident in Bahraich, UP, meant to "terrorise" minority community: Rihai Manch

By Our Representative
The communal incident in Kharia Bazar area of Bondi police station, Bahraich district, UP, during the during immersion of Durga idols on October 20, was "meant to terrorize minority groups", Rihai Manch, a UP civil rights group has said in a letter to the Superintendent of Police (SP).
Objecting to several members of the minority community having been arrested under the "draconian" Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and various provisions of the IPC, the civil rights group said, it is clear from the statements recorded in the first information report (FIR) that the incident took place at night, yet the person who lodged the FIR remembers the names of 80 people who allegedly caused the incident, while does not remember the names of those who were injured.
The statement given in the FIR does not seem credible, Rihai Manch insisted, adding, a civil rights delegation which visited the spot of the communal clashes found that even a week after t…

Deepak Debnath: 30th person to commit suicide on being branded "foreigner" in Assam

By Our Representative
Deepak Debnath of Udalgiri district, Assam, has become the 30th person who committed suicide by hanging himself in a grove near his house after being accused of being a ‘foreigner’. Reporting on the suicide death, Sabrang India, a human rights site, said, Debnath’s name appeared in the first draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), published on December,31, 2017 but had been struck off the NRC final draft released on July 30 this year.
The site underlined, "The reason listed for rejection was a 'Pending case in Foreigners Tribunal’ case that the Border Police has mysteriously foisted on him in the intervening months. In a cruel twist of fate, his ‘legacy’ data, that establishes him as a bonafide Indian citizen as his name in the 1971 voter list."
It added, "The humiliation of being labelled a ‘foreigner’ in his own land, fearful of what the future holds for him and his family, especially in the light of rampant fearmongering by right-…

Tata Mundra case: US Supreme Court to hear whether World Bank group is immune from law suits

Counterview Desk
On October 31, the US Supreme Court will hear arguments in Budha Ismail Jam vs International Finance Corporation (IFC), a case that will consider whether international organizations, like the World Bank Group, are immune from lawsuits in US courts.

Anti-bullet train campaign: Opposition parties seek "personal hearing" with Japanese funding agency

Counterview Desk
The Bhumi Adhikar Andolan (BAA), in alliance with 12 representatives of major Indian political parties, have submitted a memorandum to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which is funding Ahmedabad-Mumbai Bullet Train Project, claiming that farmers, Adivasis and other affected communities want the project to be scrapped, as it is being implemented alleged through coercion and impingement on their democratic rights.

Sardar Patel became anathema for Congress, particularly after advent of Indira Gandhi

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Narendra Modi will tomorrow inaugurate the giant Sardar Patel statue facing the Narmada Dam, 3.2 km away on the river island called Sadhu Bet near Rajpipla in Gujarat. Standing almost six hundred feet tall, it is the world's tallest statue. The project began in December 2013, and is probably the only achievement the Modi government has to show. The project worth Rs. 2989 crores was won by Larsen and Toubro (L&T). Initially the total cost of the project was estimated to be about Rs 3,001 crore and was paid for by the Government of India.

Bullet train: Just one hectare acquired out of 1,400 ha required for the massive project

By Mahesh Trivedi*
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been shouting from rooftops that the 750-seat, 10-coach, 350-km-an hour train linking India’s financial capital Mumbai with Ahmedabad, the largest city of his home state of Gujarat, will cover the 508-km elevated rail line in two hours flat even after halting at 12 stations and will benefit well-heeled textile traders, diamond merchants and other professionals shuttling between the two metros.

Statue of Unity: Sardar would have been "uncomfortable" seeing so many laws violated

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicating the 182-metres high statue of Sardar Patel to the nation, a well-known advocacy group, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), has said that even the Sardar would have felt "uncomfortable" with the so-called Statue of Unity. The reason, according to SANDRP, is that the statue has been built setting aside all environmental and legal prerequisites.

Mumbai's Mahul residents protesting against industrial pollution arrested

By Our Representative
Mumbai's 100 Mahul residents, protesting at Tilak Nagar, Ambedkar Nagar, were picked up by Mumbai Police at 11:30 am on Monday. Following the development, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA), which has been taking up their cause, said, "While the Maharashtra government has not fulfilled any of its demands till now, it has ordered their arrest and trying to subvert people's voices. More than 100 deaths of residents have already happened due to inhabitable circumstances and critical level of industrial pollution in Mahul."
It added, "This is nothing less than the attempt to dismantle the movement fighting for right to life. The state government must stop the genocide of Mahul residents."
In a recent order the Bombay High Court gave judgement in favour of Mahaul residents. The High Court declared the conditions inhabitable for living and asked the government to compensate for faulty resettlement and provide proper rehabilitation. Mahul…

Demand to make self-defence, sex and relationship education compulsory in schools

By Our Representative
Floating an online petition to Maneka Gandhi, Aditi Khare has insisted that the government make Self-Defence and Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) awareness mandatory in all schools starting from age of four onwards, adding, these two streams should be added in the National Policy on Education (NPE).
The petition regrets, the government may have allocated Rs 164 crore for self-defence training by the government, yet schools are yet to receive paisa. The petition, seeking 10,000 endorsements, says that in India, a child is sexually abused every 15 minutes, women are raped every 29 minutes and dowry death happens occurs every 77 minutes.
“Recent study shows, in India there is only one cop for every 663 members of the public. It is of prime important that everyone, including every child in India, should be able to take responsibility of their safety and be trained to protect themselves 24X7”, the petition says, adding, “There are few colleges and schools in In…

Out of 190 Goan panchayats, 140 have passed resolution against shipping corridor to "help" corporates

By Our Representative
The National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF) has said that the Sagarmala project and its impacts on local communities are going to be huge. Port advancements, connecting it to industries, and creating coastal economic zones will only alienate the fisherpeople and handover the natural resources in the hands of corporates, Olencio Simmoes of NFF said at Panjim, Goa, while addressing participants of the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)-sponsored Samvidhan Samman Yatra.
Simmoes said, “Six rivers in Goa are proposed to be nationalised, under National Waterways Act, and thus Goa will lose 184 Kms of its rivers to corporates and their greed. Plans are afoot to build shipping corridors where fishing will be restricted for local communities. It is only to benefit private players.”
He informed the participants in the yatra, “Out of 190 Panchayats, almost 140 Panchayats have already passed resolution against this. In the name of autonomy to ports, land grabbing is …

Telangana's Rs 8,000 per acre compensation scheme "only meant for landed farmers"

Telangana’s small and marginal farmers have strongly objected to the much-discussed scheme of Rs 8,000 per acre started by the state government, pointing out that it is “actually only applicable to landed farmers and not for the cultivators, who actually work day and night to secure nation’s food security.”
Speaking at a rally in Mehboobnagar, where the Samvidhan Samman Yatra organized by the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) reached on October 27, Laxmi, widow of a farmer, said, “We have 3 acres of land but since last 3 years, the crops had failed. We were in debt and in February this year my husband committed suicide as bank officers had started harassing and humiliating us consistently. The Govt. also refused to recognize it as suicide due to agri-crisis and termed it a cause of family disputes.”
“The Govt promised 3 acres land to all the Dalit families but we never got any benefit despite being eligible. The scheme was only a fake promise as every political party does…

There is robust evidence: BJP govt is using UAPA to silence India's dissent

Counterview Desk
Several Central trade union organisations have come together to insist on the need to repeal Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), because it is allegedly being used to silent dissent in India. Even as demanding the withdrawal of "fabricated charges" against those arrested under UAPA and National Security Act (NSA) and the release of activists arrested under them in the recent past, they said, "An overwhelming number of UAPA detenues are acquitted after years of incarceration. This is robust evidence that government merely uses UAPA as a means to victimise democratic dissenters."

India's majoritarian politics is "demonising" Muslims

By Moin Qazi*
Do not show the face of Islam to others; instead show your face as the follower of true Islam representing character, knowledge, tolerance and piety. ― Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (October 17, 1817 – March 27, 1898)
An educated, secular and liberal Indian Muslim is in a bind; he is torn between finding the right balance between loyalty to his faith and adherence to the new tests of patriotism being imposed by certain intolerant groups. The high voltage saffronisation wave that is demonising Muslims has broken the resistance of even strong neutral and secular groups who are now inclined to go with the official tide.

Dismay over Delhi Varsity decision to drop Kanchi Illaiah's books, disallow 'Dalit'

Counterview Desk
Members of the Delhi University’s Academic Council have protested the university’s decision to remove Kancha Illaiah Shepherd’s books from the curricullum, saying, "The Standing Committee on Academic Affairs carries no brief on the privilege of determining the academic value of his works. By branding him ‘anti-Hindu’, it conflates the philosophical critique of Brahminical Hinduism with the abuse of faith."

South Korean NGOs protest Seoul Peace Prize to Modi, say it's a disgrace

By Our Representative
Twenty six Korean NGOs, including human rights groups, have protested the Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation’s recent decision to award Prime Minister Narendra Modi this year’s Seoul Peace Prize, saying he "does not deserve the honour as he has a history of being complicit in violence against Muslims in India."
“We demand (the Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation) retract its decision to give the Seoul Peace Prize to Modi,” the 26 groups, including the Center for Refugee Rights in Korea and the Korean House of International Solidarity, said at a press conference in Seoul.
.Calling Modi “the perfect candidate,” the prize committee had said the Indian prime minister was being recognized for “Modinomics,” saying the economic reform programme had “reduced social and economic disparity between the rich and the poor” in India. The award follows Korean President Moon Jae-in's Delhi summit with Modi in July.
Human rights groups in Korea said, "Mo…

Caste and regional divide "replacing" Gujarat's communal cleavage begun in 2002

By RK Misra*
Pebble-stirred ripples both caution and crush. In either case they leave a lasting impact. Three news items that appeared in the recent past bear eloquent testimony to it.The first, pertains to the account of Lt Gen Zameer Uddin Shah (retd) who had been dispatched at the head of a 3,000 strong army contingent to control the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat.

Statue of Unity "undermines" Adivasis' faith in Varata Baba on Sadhu Bet: NBA

By Our Representative
The anti-dam movement, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "undermining" the Adivasis' faith by seeking to dedicate on October 31 the 182-metre high Statue of Unity in the name of Sardar Patel to the nation on Sadhu Bet, which is known among them as Varata Baba Hill. According to NBA, the Adivasis' faith in the shrine has been "suppressed" by allowing 1,500 Chinese workers to build the Sardar Statue instead of employing local Adivasis.
In a statement, NBA said, the Narmada project has adversely affected at least 72 tribal villages, and while taking over their land for the project, they were never been told that a tourism plan would now take over their land. The land grab has begun."
Modi is seeking to celebrate the construction of the statue at a time when the Narmada river has gone dry, with saline sea water intruding in the riverbed, destroying farmland on both the sides. While farmers and fi…

Sabarimala and #MeToo: Cases of sexual abuse of marginalised women remain largely "unaddressed"

By Sheshu Babu*
This is a rare phase in history where women are fearlessly voicing their rights despite the obstacles raised by male chauvinists. While many people are applauding the movements some are either deriding or expressing some apprehensions. The movements have not only brought out tales of exploitation of women but also exposed caste contradiction and communal discrimination to the fore.

Kerala temple managers should liberate women from spiritual slavery: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
RB Sreekumar, IPS (Retd), former DGP, Gujarat, in a letter to Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister of Kerala, has said that the state is passing through an "existential crisis" because of the "retrogressive agitation to oppose entry of women in Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple".

Dongaria Kondhs demand immediate halt to Odisha police "repression" in Niyamgiri Hills

By Manohar Chauhan
Dongaria Kondhs, under the banner of Niaymgiri Surashkya Samittee (NSS), has demanded immediate halt to police repression and asked for peaceful life in Niyamgiri Hills. Alleging state repression on their peaceful movement towards saving Niyamgiri Hills, Lada Sikaka, president of NSS, accused the Government of Odisha of pushing pro-corporate and anti-tribal activities in the state.

Bank account frozen, raid on Amnesty office: Govt of India "treating" human rights NGOs like criminal enterprises

By Abhirr VP*
Amnesty India’s bank accounts have been frozen by the Enforcement Directorate, effectively stopping its work. Amnesty India is thus the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month.

Haridwar Professor-Swami's death was "mob lynching", state-sponsored "killing"

By Sandeep Pandey, Lubna Sarwath, Gurumoorthy M*
Whether it was a slightly high dose of Potassium at the All-Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Rishikesh which ultimately caused cardiac arrest or deliberate neglect by the government over 112 days of fast-unto-death to demand a law for conservation of Ganga by Professor Guru Das Agrawal turned Swami Sanand, the Central government, and especially the Prime Minister, will be held responsible for his death. Matre Sadan, the ashram in Haridwar where Prof Agrawal fasted, has accused the government of murder by poisoning him.

India's influential people are "practicing" seven sins cautioned by Gandhi

By RB Sreekumar*
Mahatma Gandhi cautioned all citizens about seven evil tendencies or sins increasingly enfeebling ideals of Indian culture and ethos. These sins are:
1. Education without character
2. Pleasure without conscience
3. Worship without sacrifice
4. Wealth without work
5. Service without humanity
6. Commerce without morality
7. Politics without principles

15% India is undernourished, as Rs 50,000 crore food goes waste

By Sheshu Babu* 
Sujalam suphalam bharat desh mein/ Roti mehengi kyon rey bhai (In Bharat, where there’s plenty of water and resources, why is bread so very costly?). -- From 'Bharat Apna Mahan Bhumi', performed by the Revolutionary Cultural Front. Song originally written by poet-singer Gaddar, translated into Hindi by Villas Ghogre

Challenging Article 35-A: A BJP "assault" on special rights given to Kashmiri people

By Syed Mujtaba*
The former ruler of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), Maharaja Hari Singh, signed the Instrument of Accession on October 26, 1947, joining the whole of his princely state to the Dominion of India. By accepting the accession, the Dominion of India acquired jurisdiction over the state only with respect to defence, external affairs and communications. Clause 7 of the Instrument of Accession specifically protected the state’s right to ratify the application of any future constitution of India in its territory.

Revolutionary books by Pansare released at NAPM yatra in Kolhapur

By Our Representative
In its second phase, the Samvidhan Samman Yatra, organized by the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), travelled through Islampur, Kolhapur, Vaibhav Wadi, and Kankavali on the third day, with people expressing concern that rightwing forces were hell bent on changing the Constitution, vowing to unitedly defeat these elements.
In Kolhapur, the yatra was welcomed by Shobha Bondre, city mayor. Participating in a public rally, she released revolutionary books written by Govind Pansare. NAPM convener Madhuresh Kumar said, “When activists like Dabholkar, Kalburgi, Gauri Lankesh, and Govind Pansare were killed, we all joined the fight against fascist forces.”
He added, “They didn't get killed because of personal grudges but their strong opinions against extreme and violent Hindutva, casteism, religious intolerance got them killed. They fought for the opinions and rationality which opposition wanted to silence. We are now determined to fight for our cons…

Memorandum to Gujarat govt demands for separate data base, budget for women farmers

By Our Representative
The Working Group of Women and Land Ownership (WGWLO) has demanded separate budgetary allocation for women working in agriculture. A day-long WGWLO workshop, held in Gandhinagar, and participated by over 250 representatives from Gujarat’s 17 districts, put forward this demand, pointing out that 65% agricultural workers in India are women. In Gujarat, as per the 2011 Census, about 44 lakh women are involved in farming activities.
The workshop heard views of women farmers on erratic monsoon, organic agriculture, contribution of women in agriculture, and providing forest land rights to women farmers. At the end of the workshop, a memorandum consisting several demands by women farmers was handed over the Gujarat government. The memorandum insisted, there should be a separate data base for male and female farmers, even as seeking special concessions as bank loans to women farmers and their organizations.
Other demands put forward at the workshop included ensuring land…

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.”

When radical lawyer-activist Girish Patel's prophecy on "cchote Hitler" came out to be true

By Darshini Mahadevia*, Ghanshyam Shah**
Girish Patel, a prominent presence and voice in the radical section of Gujarat’s civil society, human rights lawyer and social activist, breathed his last on 6 October 2018, at the age of 86 years. Girishbhai, as he was popularly known, was the son of a sanitary inspector in the Ahmedabad municipality. His career began in 1958 as a professor in one of Ahmedabad’s law colleges. He went on to study at the Harvard Law School where he got his Master of Laws degree and also learnt about the vast philosophical aspects of law. He then studied at The Hague Academy of International Law.

#MeToo movement: Justice eludes Bhanwari Devi for 26 years

Counterview Desk
“As India's #MeToo movement mounts, we mustn't forget Bhanwari Devi's struggle”, says Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) in an email alert. Releasing her profile, CJP, one of India’s premier civil rights organizations, has pointed towards how, despite the “horrific assault” on her, she has retaliated with “path-breaking work as a saathin”, and “for over 26 years, Bhanwari has fought a long and challenging battle in the pursuit of justice.”
At the same time, CJP regrets, despite the “ground-breaking Vishakha Guidelines, where the Supreme Court laid down legally binding obligations for institutions regarding the prohibition, prevention and redressal of sexual harassment in the workplace”, these couldn’t come to her aid. It underlines, “Unfortunately, Bhanwari herself could not be covered under the Vishakha judgment, because as per the law, her rapists were not her ‘employers’ and were not at work.”
Text of Bhanwari Devi’s profile by Sushmita: “Indian cu…

#MeToo moment in Hyderabad Urdu varsity? Two girl students seek action against authorities

Counterview Desk
Has the #MeToo movement reached Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU)? It would seem so if a recent letter by newly-appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed to MAANU vice-chancellor Dr Aslam Parvaiz is any indication. Seeking reinstatement of two girl victims of “sexual harassment and humiliation”, the letter specifically names head of the department of the Media Centre for Journalism, suspecting, the problem could be much deeper.
Text of the letter: It is a matter of utmost perturbation for me to receive the two representations from the girls studying in the MCJ (Media Center for Journalism) regarding their sexual and subsequently, mental and social harassment at the hands of Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan, the HOD, MCJ.
We do not know, how many girls have been exploited by him and preferred to be silent for saving their family’s honour; however, there are two brave girls who stood to the depraved advances and misuse by Prof Ehtesham and came up with written complai…

NAPM yatra pays tribute to India's first anti-dam campaigner

By Our Representative
Samvidhan Samman Yatra of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), which passed through Pune and Satara, paid tribute to Senapati Bapat, the revolutionary freedom fighter and leader of the first anti-dam movement in the country. He fought against the Mulshi Dam in 1921. It recalled the struggle of the five generations of the dam displaced people who travelled with the Yatra and supported their demand for return of the land occupied by the dam operators, Tatas.
The yatra, which began on October 2 at Dandi and will reach Delhi on December 10 after travelling the whole of India, comprises of 75 people from 15 states. Speaking at a public rally in Pune, Subhash Ware, eminent constitutionalist, said that Dr Ambedkar was aware of the fact that courts or Parliament alone cannot guarantee the rule of law. There is a need to struggle to achieve justice.
Medha Patkar of NAPM, who is leading the yatra, said that every woman is asserting today with movement…

#MeToo petition seeks internal complaint committees in every workplace in India

By Our Representative
A #MeToo petition begun by Koshika Krishna, addressed to Union Minister For Women & Child Development Maneka Gandhi, has said that time has come for Indian workplaces to “experience its #MeToo moment.”
Taking a cue from Roya Sarkar, a US-based law student, who created a flutter by published a list on Facebook accusing more than 50 Indian professors of sexual harassment, and actor Tanushree Dutta, who called out co-actor Nana Patekar, Krishna says, while many women have found the courage to speak out, what’s disturbing is that there is “deafening silence and lack of support for those individuals who have spoken out.”
Pointing out that most companies have not set up Internal Complaints Committees (ICCs), as mandated under the Sexual Harassment at the Workplace Act, 2013, the petition regrets, in the media world, only 7 out of 17 major production houses in Mumbai confirmed that they had sexual harassment committees in place.
Seeking signatures, the petition…

Vadodara redevelopment "polluting" river Vishwamitri's environs

By Our Representative
Several senior environmentalists and academics of Vadodara have written an open letter to the Municipal Commissioner, Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC), asking the administration to take immediate steps to “immediately stop demolition, tree felling and clearing of vegetation, dumping of debris, discharge of untreated sewage, dredging, digging, filling, leveling, construction, etc. along the city’s Vishwamitri river and its environs.”

Chemical waste being "dumped" in Bharuch from outside: NGO busts racket

By Our Representative
The Prakruti Suraksha Mandal (PSM), a Bharuch-based environmental NGO, has claimed that it has busted a waste disposal racket in Bharuch district. In a statement signed by PSM’s Salim Patel, it said, the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) was informed about how polluting units were “illegally” discharging chemical waste from outside and dumping it into Bharuch district.
PSM said, it “gathered information” and caught a tempo containing highly acidic chemical/drug-filled drum, adding, the drum contained chemical waste from Vadodara district’s Nandesiri industrial area. The tempo driver admitted that it did not have any appropriate document to carry the waste, hence GPCB officials were informed about it, PSM added.
As a result of the complaint lodged by PSM, a team consisting of GPCB, Vadodara, led by Bhadresh Patel and Ashish Patel, have begun investigation.

Focus on environmental, livelihood issues as second phase of Samvidhan Samman Yatra begins in Mumbai

By Our Representative
The second phase of the Sanvidhan Samman Yatra, organised by well-known civil rights network National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), began on October 20, with a public meeting held at Chaityabhumi, Dadar, Mumbai, highlighting increasing attacks on marginalised sections. Begun with protest songs performed by the Swadeshi Hip-Hop collectives, environmentalist Stalin Dayanand of the Save Arey movement insisted on the need to preserve Aarey forests in order to save Mumbai.
Another environmentalist Prakash Bhoir, also belonging to Save Arey movement, said 145 acres from the land of Adivasis has been given to the Veterinary College, where adivasis are treated worse than animals. “We had to fight even for the basic facilities like toilet. Our land has been given for construction of the Mumbai Metro and now they are throwing us out of the our land”, he said.
Rekha Ghatge, activist, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA), said, she was a victim of the failed re…

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.”

National TUs' betrayal? Birla-Century workers seek coop ownership

Counterview Desk
Well-known civil rights organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), which claims to have championed the cause of 900 protesting workers of the Birlas-owned Century mills in Madhya Pradesh, has taken strong objection to established unions such as INTUC (Congress), AITUC (CPI) and Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BJP) for failing to consult the workers in agreeing to choose the option of voluntary retirement scheme (VRS), one of the three offered by the Birlas.

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.

India's polluted stretches along rivers rise from 302 to 351 in two years

By Our Representative
The number of critically polluted stretches of the country's rivers has increased to 351 from 302 two years ago, and the number of critically polluted stretches has gone up to 45 from 34, according to a recent assessment, released by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
The report analyses the water quality data under national water quality monitoring programme for the years 2016 and 2017. Scrutinizing the situation statistically. the report seeks to identify monitoring locations for water quality, identifying their polluted levels.
The polluted locations in a continuous sequence are defined as polluted river stretches and categorised in five priority classes based on BOD concentration exceeding to BOD levels >30 mg/l, BOD between 20&30 mg/l, BOD between 10&20mg/l, BOD between 6-10 mg/l and BOD between 3& 6 mg/l.

J&K Governor's rule: BJP's "failure" to go ahead with 44-plus strategy

By Syed Mujtaba Hussian*
Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) continues to witness cataclysm of events ever since the killing of editor-in-chief of “Rising Kashmir”, Shujaat Bukhari, followed by the BJP’s deliberated parting of ways with its coalition partner, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and imposition of Governor rule.

Sanjiv Bhatt's arrest in 22 years old case: Govt lawyers' "delaying" tactics

By Our Representative
Shweta Sanjiv Bhatt, wife of former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who was arrested in a 22 year old case, has strongly objected to the government lawyers' “delaying tactics” at the Sessions Court in Palanpur, Banaskantha district. In a Facebook statement, Shweta Bhatt said, “On October 16, the Sessions Court was supposed to hear Sanjiv’s bail application. The audience was scheduled at 10:30 am. Nevertheless, in a flagrant display of tactical lateness, government lawyers arrived at 3 pm.”
She added, “Shamefully attempting to further delay the hearings, they asked for another 10-days extension to prepare the case. Another 10-days extension, even though Sanjiv was taken away from home 44 days ago; one might wonder what the government lawyers have been doing since! Another 10-days extension in a 22-year old case, already heard and stayed by the Supreme Court 22 years ago.”
According to her, it is a case “which used to be the State of Gujarat Vs the State of Rajasth…

Instead of alleviating poverty, Govt of India imported arms worth $14 billion, "supported" cronyism

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ
On October 17, the world community once again commemorated the ‘International Day for the Eradication of Poverty’. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the declaration by the General Assembly, (in its resolution 47/196 of December 22, 1992) of this special day. It also marks the 30th anniversary of the ‘Call to Action’ by Father Joseph Wresinski — which inspired the observance of October 17 as the World Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty — and the recognition by the United Nations of the day as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

Govt of India "fails" to recognize: Muslims are educationally most disadvantaged

By Moin Qazi*
India’s economy is booming but Muslims continue to suffer great economic deprivation. Muslims are the second largest religious group of India, with nearly 14 per cent of the country’s population or roughly 172 million people. Their situation is so dire that, for them, economic reforms need precedence over all other amelioration policies. In fact improvement in social and educational conditions as also the much talked about gender reforms can automatically follow as a byproduct of economic redemption.

Fight for conserving Ganga far from over: Priests warn Modi

By Medha Patkar and Sandeep Pandey*
The legendary Prof Guru Das Agrawal, who got promoted from a lecturer directly to professor at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur after having finished his PhD from University of California at Berkeley in two years and laid the foundation of India's anti-pollution regimen as the first member-secretary of Central Pollution Control Board, ultimately failed to convince a government about his viewpoint on rejuvenation of river Ganga and had to pay for this with his life.