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.

Adani Group declares it will "self-finance" Australian coal mining project: Traditional group registers fresh opposition

The controversial Adani Group's Carmichael coal mine and rail project in Queensland, Australia, will be "100% financed" through the Group’s own resources, Adani, Mining CEO Lucas Dow has said. A South Asia Times, Melbourne, report has quoted Dow as saying in Queensland, “We have already invested $3.3 billion in Adani’s Australian businesses, which is a clear demonstration of our capacity to deliver a financing solution for the revised scope of the mine and rail project."
Pointing out that "the project stacks up both environmentally and financially", he added, "Today’s announcement removes any doubt as to the project stacking up financially... The Carmichael Project will deliver more than 1,500 direct jobs on the mine and rail projects during the initial ramp-up and construction phase, and will support thousands more indirect jobs, all of which will benefit regional Queensland communities.” The project faces fierce opposition from environmental groups, w…

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.

Shocking that Madhya Pradesh CM asked Modi not to implement land rights law: NAPM

Commenting on a recent HuffPost India story which said that, in controversial move, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan wrote a letter to the Prime Minister to stop the implementation of Section 24 (2) of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013 -- which gave land and property rights to farmers -- rop civil rights network National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) has said the move has adversely affected displaced farmers in the state.
Chouhan argued in the letter that if farmers and other affected people are are not displaced, it would adversely affect capital investment and infrastructure projects, including dams. Calling the letter "shocking" and "objectionable", NAPM said, land acquisition, displacement, poor compensation and weak rehabilitation helped the corporates in every possible way, adding, it also led to early displacement of the Narmada dam affected people in the state.
NAPM added, in complete violation of the Narmada Tribunal award, the…

Move seeking religious identity of Gujarat's Muslim students discriminatory: Milli Council

Close on the heels of the Gujarat government starting to collect "details" of Muslim students, the All-India Milli Council (AIMC) has said that the move is against the secular character of the India. In a statement, AIMC Gujarat chapter general secretary and editor, siyasat.net, Abdul Hafiz Lakhani, insisted, the state government "cannot ask only Muslim students of their identity. It should be for all students."
In a statement, Lakhani said, Muslims students cannot be discriminated like this. The Constitution forbids state from mixing religion with education. The state being secular in character cannot identify itself with any one religion or religious denomination. Religion cannot play any role in governance of the country, which must at all times be secular in nature.
AIMC Gujarat president Mufti Rizwan Tarapuri said, freedom of religion in India is a fundamental right guaranteed by the constitution. Modern India came into existence in 1947 as a secular nation an…

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.

Restore Constitutional rights to Adivasis: South Gujarat tribal body writes to governor

In a strongly-worded representation to the Gujarat governor, the Bandharan Adhikar Amalikaran Samiti, a South Gujarat-based civil rights organization advocating the implementation of constitutional framework for tribals, has said that even 60 years after the Indian Constitution was promulgated, its provisions are not being implemented in letter and spirit.
"According to the Constitution's fifth schedule, Article 244-1, the Adivasis of India have been given the right to self-rule over their land and natural resource. The constitution also says that in case the authorities or the government that these rights are snatched away from them, these should be restored", the representation, signed by the Samiti's president Priteshbhai D Chaudhary, says.
"Yet", says the Samiti, which is based in the Adivasi town Vyara, "The the implementation authorities are found to be failing to implement the constitution. Adivasis are being alienated from their land is being sn…

18-month-old pellet gun victim Hiba: Human rights defenders seek NHRC intervention

Human rights defenders Syed Mujtaba Hussian and Mirza Jahanzeb Beg have filed a case with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) against an 18-month-old pellet gun victim Hiba Nisar. Hiba was with her mother inside their house at Kapran village in south Kashmir when pellets hit the infant in her right eye.
According to the victim’s mother Fancy, they were forced to leave the home due to suffocation caused by teargas shells fired by the forces. When she was on her door, forces fired pellets on them. Fancy covered Hiba’s face with her hand but couldn’t save her from the pellets. She too received pellets on her left hand while making an unsuccessful attempt to protect her infant daughter.
The activists, who have also written to the Special Rapporteurs to the United Nations and Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that the baby is the "youngest victim of oppression" adding, "Pellet guns are used nowhere on civilian population in this wor…

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.

Gujarat NGO launches campaign to end violence against women, girls

Ahmedabad-based NGO Utthan has launched a campaign with a “collective call to end all form of violence against women and girls.” Started on November 25 and ending on December 10. The campaign has been launched in association with four district women’s organizations and and 50 Gram Panchayats of Dahod, Mahisagar, Bhavnagar and Amreli districts.
Pointing out that district-level events are being organized involving village stakeholders, with the participation of block and district government officials, an Utthan communiqué says, Gujarat is faced with the highest decline in sex ratio at birth in the country, from 911 in 2011 (Census 2011) to 842 (SRS, 2017). Other crimes against women and girls continue to be alarming, it adds.
The campaign is said to be in line with the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, an international campaign convened the world over as an organizing strategy to call for the elimination of all forms of gender-based violence. It takes place every year …

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.

UP BJP leaders "preparing" for riots ahead of Constitution day: Rihai Manch

UP's civil rights organization, Rihai Manch, has accused Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Shiv Sena of making preparations for riots at Ayodhya and elsewhere in the state. Pointing out that this being done ahead of the Constitution Day, November 26, the civil rights body said, Hindutva forces, who demolished the Babri years ago, are planning to hold a huge meeting for riots in the name of Ram Mandir a day before the Constitution Day.
Rihai Manch president Muhammad Shoeb said, BJP leaders are all set to "break the Constitution" by declaring that they are starting to build a temple at the Babri site. These leaders are BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, and state cooperative minister Mukund Bihari Verma. Verma went so far as to say, "We are determined to build a temple, the Supreme Court is also ours and the judiciary is also ours."
Pointing out that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has given a go-ahead to the move, Shoeb further said, already, people ar…

Rafale deal: French NGO seeks "clarification" from country's financial prosecutor office

Sherpa, a French NGO, has filed a complaint with the National Financial Prosecutor's Office seeking clarification as to under which conditions 36 fighter aircraft produced by Dassault Aviation were sold to India in 2016 and the choice of its Indian partner, Reliance, "a group led by a close partner of the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi."
In a press release, Sherpa says, "This complaint follows the complaint lodged on the October 4, 2018 by a former Indian Minister and an anti-corruption lawyer with the Central Bureau of Investigation in New Delhi, against the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for 'abuse of authority' and 'grant of undue advantages' in connection with the sale of Rafale, and the facts revealed by Mediapart and Sherpa’s investigation."
It continues, "Anil Ambani, Narenda Modi close associate, Eric Trappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation, and the former Indian Minister of Defense Manohar Parrikar have also been targeted in th…

Foreign funding: Gujarat's RSS-controlled NGO among 1,775 warned of "appropriate action"

A top RSS-controlled NGO, operating from the Dr Hedgewar Bhawan, Kankaria, Ahmedabad, is one of the organizations which receives foreign funds but has failed to file its Foreign Contribution Regulation Act(FCRA) return, as required by the Government of India.
It is one of the 1,775 NGOs across India, of which 60 are from Gujarat, which has been issues a show cause notice asking its managers as to "why appropriate action" under Sections 13 and 14 of the FCRA "may not be initiated" against it within a fortnight of the notice, which was issued on November 16.
The NGO, Sewa Bharti, operates from Gujarat's RSS headquarters, and has not filed its returns, as required, electronically, for the year 2013-14, the notice, carrying the list of all the NGO "defaulters", shows.

"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.

Bihar govt "losing" interest in education: Roundtable on girls' education told

Addressing the Round Table Discussion on "Education of Girls in Bihar: Present Challenges and Initiatives", organized by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, Ambarish Rai, its national convenor, said that the government, teachers and civil society must work together to educate girls. The roundtable took place at the Sinha Institute, Patna.
Rai said, "The basic issue of education has not yet become the subject of our discussion and concern. In such an environment, girls' education remains neglected. It is therefore necessary that education should be brought to the centre of politics and political debate." He added, "Bihar is a state where people still believe in government school system. But regrettably it is now beginning to lose interest and is tilting in favour of the private sector."
Those who participated in the discussion included Prof Pushpendra of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Patna, senior social worker and educationist Akshay Kumar, p…

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.

Pope Francis appreciates Indian human rights activist's story in a book by him, friends

Indian human rights activist Fr Cedric Prakash's story "Love", based an interview by journalist Rosemary Lane, finds its place in “Sharing the Wisdom of Time”, a book by Pope Francis " and friends ". The concerns the time when, after having spent a long time working on a document, highlighting passages and scribbling in notes and sub-notes, a friend came up to Fr Cedric and spilled his whole cup of coffee on it.
Fr Cedric was instinctively upset, as loves to put down words, phrases, ideas on plenty of sheets of paper, jotting down things in what he terms "ugly scrawl”. He recalls, “It was several hours of work gone – it was all blotched, nothing to be saved, as the pen I was using was one of these fluid ink types... I didn’t know what to do”.
He reflected on that several possibilities -- of “being angry, crying… because it was just work that was gone”. But finally, this is what he did: “So I smiled as said to him: Shall I make you another cup of coffee?”
The…

Dalit housing societies in Ahmedabad "fraudulently" taken away by non-Dalits: Activist writes to Gujarat CM

Veteran Dalit rights activist Valjibhai Patel has alleged that as many as 33 societies -- such as Valmiki and Savaiyanath -- in Ahmedabad's posh Bodakdev and Navrangpura areas, reserved for scheduled caste (SC) people, have fraudulently passed on to upper caste sections, who have constructed bungalows and flats on them. "This is based on a survey which we carried out in the city", he claimed.
In a letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, Patel, who is general secretary, Council for Social Justice (CSJ), said that poor people living on 1.23 square metres of land in six major cities of Gujarat -- Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot, Surat, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar -- have been displaced, and SC community people have not been provided with alternative housing despite the clearcut legal provision.
"We wrote letters to the district collector's offices in the six cities about this two years ago, apprising them that the slum clearance law, which came into effect in 1970, h…

Vadodara authorities "least concerned" about environmental destruction along Vishwamitri: Concerned citizens

Several concerned citizens of Vadodara have said that the reply of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) regarding destruction of the environment along, in and around the city's Vishwamitri river is casual, trivial, and flippant even as responding to their letter dated November 16, 2018. The letter concerned the demolition, tree felling and clearing of vegetation, dumping of debris, discharge of untreated sewage, dredging, digging, filling, levelling, construction, etc. next to the river.
They said in a letter to senior Gujarat government and Government of India officials that the local authorities were least concerned with the orders of the Gujarat High Court, the National Green Tribunal (Western Bench), and the Supreme Court.The letter had been signed by Rohit Prajapati, environmental activist; Dr Shishir R Raval, landscape architect; Dr Ranjitsinh Devkar, zoologist; Dr Deepa Gavali, wetland ecologist; Dr Jitendra Gavali, botanist; Neha Sarwate, urban planner; Shakti Bhatt, w…

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…

Rally in Patna: Non-farmer bodies to highlight plight of agriculture in Eastern India ahead of march to Parliament

Ahead of the march to Parliament on November 29-30, 2018, organized by over 210 farmer and agricultural worker organisations of the country demanding a 21-day special session of Parliament to deliberate on remedial measures for safeguarding the interest of farm, farmers and agricultural workers, a mass rally been organized for November 23, Gandhi Sangrahalaya (Gandhi Museum), Gandhi Maidan, Patna.
Say the organizers, the Eastern region merits special attention, because, while crisis of farmers and agricultural workers in Western, Southern and Northern India has received some attention in the media and central legislature, the plight of those in the Eastern region of the country (Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Eastern UP) has remained on the margins.
To be addressed by P Sainath, founder of People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI), a statement issued ahead of the rally says, the Eastern India was the most prosperous region in the country till the 1950s, maintain…

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.

Civil society campaign against name change politics begins in UP

Campaign against the UP government's name change politics began in Lucknow on November 20 with senior political activist Shakeel Quraishi saying that that the Yogi government is exploiting religion for political ends. The chorus of building the Ram Mandir has followed the issue of entry of women in Sabarimala temple by violating the Supreme Court order.
Organised by Rihai Manch and Khidmatgar-Insani Biradari, Malik Shahbaz, who has worked in a private company, told the campaign that the security of ordinary people in the country is in danger. The most vulnerable are women and children. But the question of security is beyond the priority of the government. The government is silent on important issues like jobs, which is dangerous.
Abhinav Singh, who has been working in a private bank, said that restrictions on small and marginal traders has adversely impacted employment opportunities. In the name of investments in development, Modi travels abroad but this has not led to any benefit…

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.

Groundwater of residential complexes in Ankaleshwar turns yellow: NGO demands action from Central authorities

A South Gujarat-based environmental NGO, Prakruti Suraksha Mandal (PSM), has raised the alarm that a large number of illegal borewells have come up in and around industrial estates of Bharuch district, sharply reducing groundwater levels and polluting the water. PSM director Salim Patel, in a letter to senior officials of the Central Groundwater Authority (CGA), Government of India, and Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB), has said that at several places industrial units have been found to be illegally releasing untreated water underground. And, even after repeated complaints, GPCB has not taken any action against industrial units.
Patel said, the information it received under the Right to Information (RTI) Act revealed that just 67 units of the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) estate in Ankaleshwar have taken permission from the authorities for constructing borewells.  Clearly, there are many more units which have constructed borewells illegally, he asserts, adding…

Call to "enjoy" pilgrimage of Sabarmati beyond Ahmedabad, where river water turns black

Nagrik Sashaktikaran Manch (NSM), a Gujarat-based civil rights organization, has called upon the state's citizens to join in a "unique yatra" along the river Sabarmati, starting in Ahmedabad and ending off the Gulf of Khambhat, where the river is supposed to merge with the sea. Pointing out that in Hindu culture, rivers are equated with Mother Goddess, NSM convener Jatin Seth says, it will be a "special event of pilgrimage", because, just like Ganga, Sarbarmati possesses "special properties."
"Starting at Giaspur, one can see how industries are releasing chemicals in Sabarmati, and you get a Thumbs-Up like colour of the water, and if you drink it, you are sure to be at least affected by cancer, and this way would enable you to book your ticket in the paradise. The river has a special smell, too, emanating from a black cocktail-type colour", says Seth in a statement.Insisting that this would be occasion for "unique darshan", Seth sa…

Rights defender seeks resolution of Kashmir issue through tripartite dialogue

Human rights defender from Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Syed Mujtaba called on OP Shah, noted political analyst and track II diplomat, who heads the Centre for Peace and Progress, at Delhi, to discuss the concerns about the Article 35A of the Constitution, which relates to special rights and privileges of the state's permanent residents, and early resolution (of K-issue) and meaningful tri-party dialogue as the best way to resolve the Kashmir issue.
The meeting comes after Shah met all across political spectrum in the Kashmir valley last week.
“For the past seven decades the people of Kashmir remain trapped in status quo. The baggage of history weighs heavy on us. And the change in this shift is possible only through dialogue — dialogue as we all understand is currently the most civilised and humane way to resolve conflicts”, Mujtaba said.
He stressed, “India and Pakistan should resume the dialogue process and engage people of J&K for an acceptable solution”, adding, it sho…

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)".

Gujarat govt "paying" 700% more to Vodafone for telecom than offer by BSNL: Gohil

Gujarat's senior Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil has alleged that the state BJP government is "squandering public money by paying crores of rupees to Vodafone for the services which are available at a very low tariff." Gohil, who is the party's national spokesperson and Bihar in charge, has demanded that the government give details of the deal with the private company, "which is minting money at public cost".
Gohil said, the state government is paying "700 percent more to Vodafone for the services which were available at a much cheaper rate", adding, the General Administrative Department (GAD) alone is "paying exorbitant charges for 2,000 telephones. Other government organisations are following GAD and number of telephones with higher tariff runs into thousands."
Releasing copies of the government resolution (GR), issued by GAD (CEL10203-1478), to media, Gohil said, the "government’s own company BSNL was offering unlimited local…

Chancellor, dubbed Modi choice, boycotts Hyderabad Urdu varsity convention, says it's a den of corruption

Recently-appointed chancellor, Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), Hyderabad, Firoz Bakht Ahmed, on the eve of the university’s 7th Convention, in a letter to the registrar said he was boycotting the function, because MANUU has turned into “a den of corruption and unabated cases of sexual abuse of girl student.”
Stating that he would never wish to be clubbed with the “desecrators and destroyers of the sacred institution”, Ahmed, who is grand nephew of Maulana Azad, said: “I, Firoz Bakht Ahmed, Chancellor, Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), have boycotted the Convention 2018 on account of umpteen unresolved cases/ controversies of heinous and horrendous injustice.”
The letter cited instances of sexual abuse of girl students, irregularities in appointments, embezzlement of funds in all sorts of expenditures, as some of the reasons for the boycott.
According to Ahmed, there exists an “ambience of fear psychosis and fascism, making people phobic” and “annihilation of…

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.

Cow vigilantes in Ahmedabad attack two persons taking buffaloes in truck, stab one

In yet another clear case of mob lynching, saffron vigilantes have attacked two persons belonging to a minority community transporting eight buffaloes in Gujarat. The incident happened between 1 and 2 am when they were taking the animals from Deesa in Palanpur district in North Gujarat to Bharuch in South Gujarat.
The attack, said a media alert by Minority Coordination Committee (MCC) convener Mujahid Nafees, took place when the vehicle, a truck, in which they were taking the buffaloes passed through Ahmedabad's Ramol police station area. "They were attacked by four persons riding on two motorcycles", Nafees said, adding, " One of them, Zaheer, was attacked with a knife. Badly injured, he is currently taking treatment in Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad."
The second person, Mustafa, Zaheer's brother, saved his life by hiding in a police car parked nearby. MCC activists Jameela Khan and Danish Khan helped the victims at the Civil Hospital. An FIR, lodged with the …

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.

Andhra RTI users complain: State Information Commission not functioning for 18 months

A public hearing in Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, on the Right to Information (RTI) Act, saw participants from across the state highlight problems faced by people, as the state information commission (SIC) is not functional for the last 18 months. Co-organised by the United Forum for RTI, Andhra Pradesh, and the National Campaign for Peoples' Right to Information (NCPRI), those who heard people's testimonies included EAS Sarma, former IAS officer, Anjali Bhardwaj, co-convener, NCPRI, and B Ramakrishna Raju, national convenor, National Alliance for Peoples' Movements (NAPM).
After the bifurcation of the state of Andhra Pradesh in 2014, the SIC of Andhra Pradesh continued to function as the information commission for both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The commission became defunct in May 2017 after the serving informational commissioners retired. Since then, the commission has been non-functional, it was pointed out. RTI activists, meanwhile, have filed cases in the Hydera…

NRC-related suicides in Assam reach 33: Two more take their lives after wives declared foreigner

Two more persons have committed suicide in Assam, reportedly on being harassed and depressed on being declared foreigners, taking the total National Register of Citizens (NRC)-related suicides to 33. Samsul Hoque (46) and Abdul Jalil (35) took their lives after they found that the names of their wives did not appear in the final draft NRC, which was published on July 30. The incidents took place in Bagariguri under Sorbhog police station in Barpeta district of Assam.
Samsul Hoque, who committed suicide on November 14, was a daily wage agricultural worker.His family members and neighbours residents allege that he was frustrated, as the name of his wife Maleka Khatun had not appeared in the final draft. Said Shajahan Ali Ahmed, general secretary of the NGO Association for Protection of Indian Citizenship Rights, "Due to the rude behaviour of the officials involved in the NRC process and the absence of proper counselling, Samsul Hoque was pushed or compelled to commit suicide.&q…

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.

Sitting on dharna in Amreli, father of murdered Dalit youth seek justice from Gujarat CM

In a letter, Ratilal Ramjibhai Zala, father of Mahesh Ratilal Zala, who was murdered in Amreli town on October 1, 2018, has asked Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani to ensure that the accused should be arrested forthwith. Currently, the Zala family, with the support of other Dalit activists under the leadership of human rights defender Kantilal Parmar, are sitting on dharna in front of the district collector’s office demanding justice.
Mahesh was killed by three persons in Amreli, yet, says the letter, till today none of the three accused have been arrested. All three have run away from their residence. As a consequence of this incident, his family members are living under fear. Hence, there is an urgent need to arrest the accused. As many as 45 days have passed, yet the accused are roaming free.
The letter also asks the chief minister to immediately respond to the human rights violation by compensating the family as per rule 12(4) of the Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1995, with pens…