Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from November, 2018

Huge 68% opposition to Govt of India's pro-industry "changes" in coastal norms

Counterview Desk Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research (CPR)-Namati Environmental Justice Programme, involved in the analysis of the draft Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification, 2018, has found that a great majority (68%) of representations on the draft sent to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change do not want the Government of India to finalize it in its present form, even raising serious objections to it.

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Budget for 2018-19: Ahmedabad authorities "regularly" under-spend allocation

By Mahender Jethmalani*
The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation’s (AMC's) General Body (Municipal Board) recently passed the AMC’s annual budget estimates of Rs 6,990 crore for 2018-19. AMC’s revenue expenditure for the next financial year is Rs 3,500 crore and development budget (capital budget) is Rs 3,490 crore.

"No future" for muscular policy in Kashmir; "needed": Peace, reconciliation

By Syed Basharat Hussain*
After alleging the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) to be responsible for worsening security situation in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) left the ruling coalition. BJP, which had allied with PDP in 2015 to rule, had 25 lawmakers in the J&K assembly, while the PDP had 28 -- which was more than the majority mark of 45.

J&K governor Malik's only achievement: To serve "short-sighted" interests of BJP

By Anand K Sahay*
Satya Pal Malik is a widely travelled man. He knows a thing or two about defections, too. There probably isn’t a worthwhile political entity in Parliament of which he has not been, at least briefly, a part -- what a success this nondescript politician’s career has been as a result!

Only 350 of 5,500 families living in Mumbai "toxic hell" can be shifted to new site: CM

Counterview Desk
Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA), Mumbai's civil rights organization, fighting for the slum dwellers' rights, feels that the resettled residents of Mahul, considered the city's toxic hell because of extreme industrial pollution, have been cheated after Maharashtra housing minister Prakash Mehta promised them to be shifted to Kurla's Housing Development & Infrastructure Limited (HDIL) area.

Forced child labour rampant in Uttar Pradesh sugarcane fields: Oxfam study

By Rajiv Shah
A 14-year-old boy and his older brother were hired by an agent from Bihar under the pretext of getting them a job in a shoe factory in Uttar Pradesh. The agent brought with him a dozen-odd to Uttar Pradesh under the pretext of offering work to them in a factory. Only upon arrival in Muzaffarnagar, the boys were told that they would be working in a sugarcane field.

Name change politics around Ahmedabad a "distraction" from dismal state of Gujarat

By RK Misra*
Narendra Modi brought BJP to power single-handed in 2014, cresting a promise to change the ethos of Indian politics and governance. He electrified hope. He energised India. With just months to go for his five year term to end, the man and his weather-beaten party machine stand reduced to niggling name changers.

Modi govt "interfering" in judiciary, is "destroying" autonomy of statutory bodies

Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
On November 26, the country observes yet another Constitution Day, the day on which in 1949, the Constituent Assembly adopted and gave to the people of India a landmark Constitution. The Constitution of India besides being sacrosanct to every citizen of the country is the bulwark of fundamental rights and directive principles, which are a prerequisite for any healthy democracy.

Assembly elections in 5 states: Clock is being turned back with Ayodhya hitting headlines

By Anand Sahay*
We are in the middle of elections to five state Assemblies, whose outcome will be no less than a landmark in our political life. Undue notice may not have been taken of these polls if the ruling BJP were not seen to be on trial in three of the five states.

"Meaningful" India-Pakistan dialogue: Whither Kashmiri stakeholders?

By Syed Mujtaba, Mirza Jahanzeb Beg*
Since 1989, the People of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) were killed, tortured, humiliated, and disappeared. Thousands were killed due to the cycle of violence prevalent in J&K. Thousands became permanently disabled due to thr ongoing cycles of violence. Many are those who lost their beloved children, daughters, sisters, mothers; some women have lost their beloved husbands who were the only earning hands in the family.

A migrant from East Bengal, Manoranjan Byapari "interrogated" his life as chandal

By Sheshu Babu*
There are many Dalit writers who have tried to expose oppression through their literary works. Some of them had to change their names so that their caste could not become an obstacle in their forward journey. One of them is Manoranjan Byapari who changed his surname to conceal his identity as Dalit Namashudra. In his autobiography 'Interrogating My Chandal Life: An Autobiography of Dalit' (Ittibrette Chandal Jivan) , translated by Sipra Mukharjee, he talks about his traumatic life as a child in the refugee camps of West Bengal.

#MeToo: BJP-RSS "steeped" in Manu Smriti, unabashedly defend male domination

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
According to the United Nations, “Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding it.

"Anathema" for minorities in Gujarat to speak for their Constitutional rights

By Mujahid Nafees*
It is indeed a strange irony here in India. When a person from a minority community raises her or his voice for constitutional rights, she or he is easily blamed for being radical or fundamentalist. At the same time, a person belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC) or Scheduled Tribe (ST) community is applauded for the courage and speaking against discrimination. It’s difficult for the society to oppose this person; the points raised are never rejected easily. Rather, this person’s acts are taken as strengthening of Constitution.

Govt of India rejects RTI plea on 26/11 terror attack report placed in M'rashtra assembly

By Our Representative
Is the Government of India becoming increasingly unenthusiastic towards the Right to Information (RTI) Act? It would seem so, if a recent RTI reply to a plea filed by Ventatesh Nayak of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), Delhi, is any guide.

India's 50% parents in old age live "miserably": Lonely, isolated, without care, support

By Ashok Kumar*
According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) and HelpAge India, the population of senior citizens in India is expected to reach 173 million by 2026, and they will constitute one-fifth (20 percent) of country’s population pie by 2050. Parallel to their growth, their problems are also increasing simultaneously in the changing cultural scenario and loneliness is one of the most terrifying aspects of their life.

80% school children are beaten up, 91% parents "approve" of it: Report

By Rajiv Shah
A recent report, prepared by researchers with the civil rights group, Agrasar, has revealed that of the 521 children from marginalized groups surveyed in Gurugram, Haryana, 80% said they are punished at school. Based on data collected from semi-urban communities in Gurugram, the report’s conclusions also take into account survey 100 parents, personal interviews with 26 children, three focus group discussions and one seasonal calendar exercise with 29 parents.

Of 1,324 Odisha patients "listed" for treatment, 483 die of chronic kidney disease

Counterview Desk
Odisha-based civil rights organization, the Ganatantrik Adhikar Suraksha Sangathan (GASS) has found that nearly 3% of the population of Narasingpur block in Cuttack district is suffering from chronic kidney disease. A note following it's spot inquiry in eight villages, prepared by Deba Ranjan, General Secretary, GASS, says that nearly one third of patients undergoing treatment die because of the disease.
The reason, says Ranjan, is that there is no medical care facility available in Narasingpur block, one reason why those who can afford go to Cuttack for treatment. A detailed report on the dire state of affairs will be published soon, he adds.
Text of the note: A large number of people in all 157 villages of 33 Gram Panchayat of Narasingpur block in Cuttack district are continuously suffering from Chronic Kidney Diseases (CKD). Patients are also continuously dying because of lack of proper treatment.The Government of Odisha has closed its eyes from this epidemic l…

Violence against children up by 11%: As 2019 polls approach, are we listening to them?

By Dr Aparajita Sharma*
In one of the children's group meetings held in a village in Rajasthan in August 2018, the sarpanch was perplexed: Would children be able to speak about their rights? The meeting was organized a week before the Gram Sabha was to be held, so that children could present their charter of demands to the panchayat.

#SmashBrahminicalPatriarchy: Why is twitter "backlash" seeking to claim victim hood?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
Smash Brahminical Patriarchy has created a lot of hurt among the 'liberal' Brahmins while the hardcore are threatening twitter to apologise. A privileged Brahmin journalist wrote that it has become a norm to 'blame' Brahmins who are a 'minority' community. She compared attacking Brahminism to Nazi treatment to Jews during Hitler's regime.

Using Statue of Unity "appeal": Top academic proposes to involve tribals, Amul

Counterview Desk
At a time when controversy around the Statue of Unity is running high, Prof Anil Gupta, visiting faculty at the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), has insisted that there is an urgent need to turn the Statue, which is supposed to be a “tribute” to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, into an opportunity for the Adivasis living in the region. Built in the downstream of the Narmada river, the statue, which is one-and-a-times higher than one of the tallest dams of the world, Sardar Sarovar, can be help not just ignite values of unity, diversity, integrity, but also development of the region, he argues.

Declare chemical emergency in Gujarat's vegetable basket: Environmentalists demand

By Our Representative
In a letter two senior environmentalists of Gujarat, Rohit Prajapati and Krishna Kant, have asked above a dozen senior Government of India and Government of Gujarat officials, to declare chemical emergency in the Vadodara district, pointing out that the Effluent Channel Project (ECP) of Vadodara, which is in force along 24 villages' prime agricultural land, known as the Vegetable Basket of Gujarat, is polluting land next to the 55.6 km long effluent channel.

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

Two more "aadhaar-linked" Jharkhand deaths: 17 die of starvation since Sept 2017

Counterview Desk
A fact-finding team of the Right to Feed Campaign, pointing towards the death of two more persons due to starvation in Jharkhand, has said that this has happened because of the absence of aadhaar, leading to “persistent lack of food at home and unavailability of any means of earning.” It has disputed the state government claims that these deaths are due to reasons other than starvation, adding, the authorities have “done nothing” to reduce the alarming state of food insecurity in the state.

Haren Pandya murder: Big guns free; lower rank officers, constabulary face music

By RK Misra*
Ghosts from the past have an uncanny way of turning up in the present with immense potential to blight the future of the most powerful. On November 3, a key witness in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh alleged fake encounter case told a Mumbai court that the murder of senior BJP leader and a former Gujarat minister Haren Pandya in 2003 was a contract killing executed at the behest of former IPS officer DG Vanzara.

Smartness, brilliance, humbleness are all caste traits, say top Indian varsity students

Counterview Desk
A research paper by two research scholars with the Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA, Gaurav J Pathania and William G Tierney, based on campus interviews with students of a high-profile educational institute, suggests how deep caste prejudices and discrimination are rooted among the educated youth.

Four children die after poor UP Dalit, Muslim families forced to flee to forest area: PVCHR

Counterview Desk
Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has said that the forest department police’s crackdown, allegedly without any prior notice, on Dalit and Muslim households in Dakhin Tola, Churk Bazaar, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, beating up “children and old people, women, and men in an inhuman way”, has led to “forced displacement, starvation and discrimination”. This has reportedly affected about 350 people.

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

Gujarat's budgetary outlay, expenditure "never" in proportion to SC population

By Mahender Jethmalani*
In order to ensure direct “policy-driven” benefits for Scheduled Castes (SCs) through specific interventions, the Planning Commission during the 1970s introduced plan strategies known as Special Component Plan (SCP). The main objective of SCP was to channelize plan funds for the development of SCs in accordance with the proportion of SC population.

Vedanta is out but corporate loot continues in Odisha: Local activists tell NAPM yatra

By Our Representative
Lok Shakti Abhiyan leader Prafulla Samantara, winner of the Goldman Environmental (also known as Green Nobel) Prize in 2017, has regretted that though Sundergarh in Odisha, like other forest areas, is a fifth schedule area, where Forest Rights Act (FRA) and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) is applicable, but these laws are being “outrightly violated to facilitate corporate loot.”

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.

"Larger conspiracy" on build up to 2002 Gujarat riots: SC to hear "fresh" evidence

Counterview Desk
The Special Leave Petition (SLP) of Zakia Jafri -- widow of late Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who was killed on February 28, 2002, the day on which Gujarat riots killing more than 1000 persons began -- has been placed for hearing in the Supreme Court on Monday, November 19. SLP challenges the order of the Gujarat High Court (dated October 5, 2017) dismissing her challenge to Magistrate Ganatra’s Order (dated December 26, 2013) and confirming the Closure Report of the SIT (dated December 8, 2012).

Buddhist Ayodhya? Ayuththya's ruins in Thailand "show" rich civilizational linkage

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
Many of us have the firm belief that Ayodhya, for which the Brahminical Hindus have been shouting loud to develop into a Holy place of Hindus, actually belong to Buddhists. My dear friend Vinit Maurya is now a party in the Ayodhya case seeking to hand over the entire land to Buddhists and asking the government to release the details of the digging happened there.

Social workers, architects, students, historians, common people come together, protest "politics" of renaming Ahmedabad

By Nandini Oza*
No sooner did the BJP leaders of Gujarat announce the intention of changing the name of Ahmedabad to Karnavati just before Diwali, on November 7, 2018, many people’s mood changed from festivity to heated debate and furor across the state. For many of us, an online petition, initiated by Bandish Soparkar, on change.org protesting name change came to immediate rescue.

Assam’s detention camps for foreigners: Where hope "fades", time "stands still"

Counterview Desk
The Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), in a detailed note, has likened Assam’s detention camps, created in Assam to lodge “declared” foreigners, with “purgatory”, which, in Catholic theology, is an intermediate state after physical death in which some of those ultimately destined for heaven must first "undergo purification”.

A Gandhi-made nationalist, Sardar Patel survives as "maker" of majority Hindu India

By Nilesh Jain*
“It would perhaps not be unfair to say that Vallabhai Patel was the founder of Indian Partition" – Maulana Azad (‘India Wins Freedom’, 1988, page 198)
Whenever we talk about the partition of India, we almost always end-up discussing the man who broke up India. And, the discussion almost always leads to the conclusion that, it was Jinnah, if Indians are discussing, and it was Gandhi, Nehru or Patel, it’s happening in Pakistan. The inherently biased results are the products of Indian nationalism, and/or Pakistani nationalism.

Forced displacement, starvation deaths, industrial pollution "rampant" in Jharkhand

By Our Representative
After successfully completing two-phases, traversing through 11 states, top civil rights network National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)-sponsored Samvidhan Samman Yatra began its third phase this week from Jharkhand. Travelling through Odisha, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand, it will culminate in Delhi on December 10, International Human Rights Day.

60 ex-civil servants seek release of CAG reports on Rafale, demonetisation before 2019 polls

Counterview Desk
As many as 60 retired civil servants have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to expedite the release of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal. The letter, signed mainly by former Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service officers, regrets that the status of the audit is "unclear”. According to them, “An impression is gaining ground that CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government”.

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

Protesting Mumbai “toxic hell” residents form 3-km human chain, minister agrees to meet

By Our Representative
Hundreds of residents of Mumbai’s highly-polluted Mahul area gathered on Sunday, on the 15th day of their protest, to form a human chain in order to capture the attention of the Maharashtra government towards the plight of over 30,000 citizens, who were “rehabilitated” here last year. The three kilometres long human chain saw the participation of people from other slums in Mumbai, students of the Mumbai University, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, IIT Bombay, representatives from several civil rights organizations, NGOs and individuals.

Unemployment rate 6.9%: Industry admits, retaining employees becoming tough

By Mahesh Trivedi*
India may be the world’s fastest-growing major economy, but the link between growth and job creation is clearly weakening. According to expert estimates, the current growth rate of 7% is only leading to just 1% improvement in employment. Indeed, the view has gone strong, if the Government of India (GoI) fails to create opportunities for the young workforce hunting for decent jobs, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s re-election dream may be smashed to smithereens and the economy’s current pace of expansion would be stonewalled.

Saints dying for Ganga's sake keep piling up: Modi's Achilles heel in 2019 polls?

By Sandeep Pandey*
Former Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, professor, Guru Das Agrawal, who became an ascetic in 2011 at the age of 79 years and came to be known as Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand, died on October 11, 2018 on the 112th day of his fast, demanding a law for conservation of river Ganga, at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Rishikesh.

"Fudging" data and "misinterpreting" them are now part of Modi's and Jaitley's nature

By Mohan Guruswamy*
The tale of King Canute holds a salutary lesson to our Prime Minister. Canute set his throne by the seashore and commanded the incoming tide to halt and not wet his feet and robes. Yet continuing to rise as usual the tide dashed over his feet and legs without respect to his royal person. Then the king leapt backwards, saying: 'Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws.'

"False" charges may be levelled against Adivasi-Dalit rights leader: Top Dublin-based NGO

Counterview Desk
Front Line Defenders (FLD), a Dublin (Ireland)-based UN award winning advocacy group, which works with the specific aim of "protecting" human rights defenders at risk, people who work, non-violently, for the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, has expressed the apprehension that cops may bring in "false charges" against Degree Prasad Chouhan, convenor, Adivasi Dalit Majdoor Kisan Sangharsh, which operates from Chhattisgarh.

Statue of Unity? Dedicating it to nation, Modi "subtracted" all that Sardar Patel stood for

By RK Misra*
The 182 metre tall Statue of Unity built on the Narmada river at a cost of Rs 2,989 crore facing the sprawling 1210 metre long sardar Sarovar dam, in Gujarat has been billed as the tallest in the world, surpassing China’s spring temple Buddha. Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi dwelt at length on the legendary vision of the first deputy Prime Minister, who had unified the country and appealed to countrymen to remain united against divisive forces.

Recalling Kristallnacht: When will our rulers learn India is about diversity, harmony?

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
It is exactly eighty years since that infamous night of November 9-10, 1938. The world will never ever forget that night known as the ‘Reichspogromnacht’ or by a seemingly more pleasant sounding ‘Kristallnacht’ (crystal night), which ironically refers to the litter of broken glass strewn on the streets after the pogrom. The Nazis and their henchmen were on the onslaught as they attacked Jews and destroyed their property in a night of bloody violence and terror, across Germany and Austria.

Media houses told to reject Sabarimala Karma Samithi "misogyny" in deploying journos

Counterview Desk
The Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI), strongly reacting to the Sabarimala Karma Samithi -- which wrote to editor’s news media owners, asking them to refrain from deputing women of certain age groups from reporting on Sabarimala on November 5, when a special puja was to take place -- has said that all media houses should refuse to entertain such "misogyny" and to "deploy the best journalist for the job, not limiting the choice to men.”

Peaceful protests: UP police’s behaviour "unlawful, violent", NHRC told to act

Counterview Desk 
In a representation to National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairperson Justice HL Dattu, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), a well-known human rights organization, has said that the right to protest peacefully, enshrined in Article 19 of the Indian Constitution, is being eroded across the country, citing several instances where the police are cracking down on those demanding action or raising awareness about legitimate issues.

Sabarimala: Civil servants ask SC to take legal action against BJP chief's "blatant" contempt

Counterview Desk
As many as 50 retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officers have reportedly written to the Election Commission, Supreme Court, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ramnath Kovind, seeking action against BJP chief Amit Shah for his speech in Kannur, Kerala, on October 27, he where extended support to those who had been protesting women’s entry into the Sabarimala temple despite the Supreme Court.