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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.”

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".
Rejecting the argument of lawyer of the Rohingyas that the government's move was against the UN charter, the Supreme Court accepted the Central Government's statement that the Rohingya were illegal immigrants and Myanmar had accepted them as citizens.
The seven Rohingya refugees were bussed to the border on Wednesday to be deported.
Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, additional director general of police in the northeastern state of Assam, told Reuters, “This is a routine procedure, we deport all illegal foreigners.” However, this will be the first time Rohingya immigrants would be sent back to Myanmar from India.
It is wrong to say that these Rohingya have been recognised as citizens. A letter issued by the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Branch) on September 27, 2018 shows that the Special Branch of Delhi Police is clearly collaborating with Myanmar Government. It has accepted a separate nationality verification form issued by the Embassy of Myanmar and is coercing the Rohingya refugees to fill and sign this form.
This form includes additional identifiers which were not included in the form circulated by Indian Home Ministry in October, 2017. Rohingya refugees have said that the form given by the embassy is the same as National Verification Card (NVC) which falsely frames Rohingyas as "foreigners or foreign-born or those with foreign roots”.
It effectively frames Rohingyas as "foreigners or foreign-born or those with foreign roots”. It is not clear whether the Supreme Court has seen the form and satisfied itself about the status of citizenship that Myanmar has granted to the seven Rohingyas.
This is being done when the UN refugee agency has clearly said that the conditions in Rakhine were not conducive for the safe, dignified and sustainable return of the Rohingya.
Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has come under fire, including in the latest UN report and by prominent human rights organizations, for remaining silent on the military’s brazen brutalities against the minority community. UN rapporteur on racism Tendayi Achiume in a letter to Government of India on October 2, 2018 has pointed out:
“Given the ethnic identity of the men, this is a flagrant denial of their right to protection and could amount to refuoulement… The Indian Government has an international legal obligation to fully acknowledge the institutionalised discrimination, persecution, hate and gross human rights violations these people have faced in their country of origin and provide them the necessary protection.”
Though India is not a signatory, it has a history of generosity towards persecuted people seeking safety within its borders. However, changes in people's attitude to Rohingyas first began in August 2017, when news emerged of guidance sent by the BJP-led Central government to all the 29 states, asking local officials to identify illegal immigrants for deportation -- including, Rohingya Muslims who had fled Myanmar.
Kiren Rijiju, junior Home Minister told the Parliament on August 9, 2017, "The government has issued detailed instructions for deportation of illegal foreign nationals including Rohingyas."
The words from one of Kiren Rijiju set off a wave of fear and uncertainty across Rohingya settlements in India. As Ali Johar, a Rohingya refugee who challenged the Home Ministry order told me, "We felt scared, we asked people about what we should do, who we should talk to? Where else can we go?"
In an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court on September 18, 2017 the government said that there exists "authentic material indicating linkages of some of the unauthorized Rohingya immigrants with Pakistan based terror organizations" and "that many of the Rohingyas figure in the suspected sinister designs of ISI/ISIS and other extremist group." Though the government said that it would submit evidence of this to the Supreme Court in a "sealed cover," to date, no evidence has been made publicly available that firmly links Rohingya refugees with international terrorist networks.
The Indian government may not be a signatory to the specific UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, nor the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, it is party to many other international conventions, like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which include the principle of "non-refoulement," which is the right to be protected from violence in their home country.
It is clear that the Indian government is now going back on its long-stated policy towards refugees. In the case of Rohingyas, the BJP led government is playing domestic communal politics by trying to whip up communal sentiment, by labeling them as Muslims and potential terrorists. As the debate rages on publicly, Rohingya refugees continue to live in fear as they encounter more local hostility.
It is appalling that at a time when the world community is moving towards prosecuting the Myanmar government for genocide, India, the world’s largest democracy, has become the first country to deport members of the world’s most persecuted community back to Myanmar, where they have been systematically, torture, raped, butchered and forcibly evicted.
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*Writer and documentary filmmaker, member of the Free Rohingya Coalition, former secretary-general of the South Asia Forum for Human Rights (SAFHR) based in Hong Kong and Kathmandu

Comments

Uma Sheth said…
One cannot get away from the feeling that had the Rohingyas not been Muslims, they would have been allowed to stay on.

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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…

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.