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Varavara Rao's letters from prison 'sing solidarity' from heartland of resistance

By Aviral Anand* “Look At the moonlight Trapped in this rectangle. I raise my head And see my poetry Gleaming like a moonbeam In the sky." (“Captive Imagination – Letters from Prison”, Varavara Rao)

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Arif Mohammad Khan, Prof Irfan Habib Counterview Desk In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.

Jamia: Inquiry commission sought on 'excessive, unauthorised' use of police force

Counterview Desk A six-member team of the People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR), which conducted a four-day fact-finding from December 16 to 19 into the incidents at the campus of the Jamia Milia Islamia on December 13 and 15, has sharply criticized the Delhi police’s “combative and communal treatment” of the student protesters against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019, passed by Parliament on December 11.

Titles of Modi's schemes like Greek and Latin to people in non-Hindi regions

By NS Venkataraman* During the last six years, after assuming the position as Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi has been striving hard to improve the conditions in India in several spheres. He has launched a number of schemes that can have potentially far-reaching impact on the country. Some of the schemes that have been initiated are the first time efforts in India.

Police entered Jamia girls' reading hall, broke bathroom doors, switched off lights...

Chanda Yadav Counterview Desk A civil rights organization, Independent Women’s Initiative* has released a 82-page report “Unafraid: The Day Young Women Took the Battle to the Streets”, carrying testimonies of 18 women, mainly students, who participated in protests against the recently passed Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019 and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, where violence broke down on December 13 and 15.

Upendra Baxi on foolish excellence, Indian judges and Consitutional cockroaches

By Rajiv Shah In a controversial assertion, top legal expert Upendra Baxi has sought to question India's Constitution makers for neglecting human rights and social justice. Addressing an elite audience in Ahmedabad, Prof Baxi said, the constitutional idea of India enunciated by the Constituent Assembly tried to resolve four key conflicting concepts: governance, development, rights and justice.

Meerut anti-CAA 'violence' led to death of poor, marginalized: Fact-finding report

Counterview Desk A fact-finding report on the violence in anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests in Meerut on December 20, leading to the death of 11 persons, has said that those who became it's victims were poor, underprivileged people, adding, what is worse is, cases have been filed against those who died. "No FIR is being accepted by the police on behalf of the family members of the deceased", the report says.

Reconsider, withdraw 'false' cases on peaceful anti-CAA protesters: Letter to UP CM

SR Darapuri, former IPS Counterview Desk Magsaysay awardee Sandeep Pandey, in an open letter, has warned Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, "If you'll send social activists, who have faith in the Constitution, to jail because your police in unable to identify the anarchist elements then the space for peaceful means of expressing dissent with the government in a democracy will be eliminated and anarchist elements will be easily able to mislead the common people."

Christmas is sharing with poor, excluded, victims of 'unjust' CAA, NCR, NPR

Placard says, "This year Santa won't come to India, he doesn't have documents" By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* Christmas is a seven-point star. The seven-point star which guides, directs and protects! In Christianity, seven has from time immemorial been regarded as a perfect number. The seven-pointed star also represents the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, fear of the Lord, and delight in the Lord. Very significantly the seven points of the Christmas Star all begin with the letter ‘S’; they are:

Gujarat sewage treatment plants sources of river pollution: Govt 'not serious'

Rohit Prajapati By Our Representative The Vadodara-based environmental NGO Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) in a letter to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India, with copy to the official's counterparts in Gujarat, has said that the sewage treatment plants (STPs) across Gujarat are a "prime source of pollution" of the state's rivers, and the authorities are not serious about remedying the situation.

What about religious persecution of Dalits, Adivasis, asks anti-CAA meet off Ahmedabad

Martin Macwan (left) next to "14 Pe Charcha" poster. Right: Dalit rights meet By Rajiv Shah A well-attended Dalit rights meet under the banner “14 Pe Charcha” (discussion on Article 14 of the Indian Constitution), alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi well-known campaign phrase of the 2014 Parliamentary elections, “chai pe charcha” (discussion over cup of tea), organized off Ahmedabad, has resolved on Wednesday to hold a 14 kilometres-long rally on April 14 to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), enacted on December 10-11.

Poser to Gujarat CM: Why permit pro-CAA rally when anti-CAA rallies not allowed?

A poster at Sabarmati Ashram for rally in support of CAA By Our Representative Taking strong objection to the Government of Gujarat permitting an organization called Citizens’ Committee to hold a rally in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), an Ahmedabad-based civil rights activist in a letter to chief minister Vijay Rupani has wondered why rallies to protest against CAA, which allegedly violates Articles 5, 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution of India, are not being allowed.

Rejoinder: Story on presence of carcinogenic chemical in detergents 'factually incorrect'

By Satish Sinha* This is to draw your attention on the news story , “Nirma told to publicly declare it's 'not using' carcinogenic chemical in detergents”, by Rajiv Shah. We would like to assert that the report is factually incorrect and misrepresents facts. The author has incorrectly attributed quotes that were never mentioned and some have been incorrectly contextualized. We completely disagree with the text and find the reporting misleading.

Implement Right to Education, provide Rs 2 lakh crore to 'laggard' states: RTE Forum

By Our Representative The Right to Education (RTE) Forum, in a submission to the pre-budget consultation for 2020-21 on December 23 to the Union Finance Ministry, has said that though this year marks 10 years of completion of the enactment of RTE Act, 2009, "Evidence both based on the field reports and macro-data, CAG reports as well as independent studies, points to the multiple areas of non-compliance."

Detentions galore in Ahmedabad, Vadodora on Kakori martyrs' day: An 'insider' story

Protesters in Ahmedabad being taken away in police van  By Bhavik Raja* It was the morning of December 19, 2019 – a historic day for our country. It is the martyrdom day, a day to remember Kakori martyrs Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqulla Khan and Roshan Singh. We remember the martyrs with great respect, and it reminds us afresh that our freedom movement was conducted by lakhs of people from all communities, religions, castes, races and regions.

Restore democracy, withdraw army from internal J&K areas, says Delhi NGO meet

By Our Representative A day-long meeting of 50-odd civil society and political activists from Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and other parts of India has demanded that the pre-August 5, 2019 position in J&K should be revived, internet and other mobile based services should be restored, educational institutions should be resumed, and all detainees and people from J&K put in jail for political reasons should be released.

Emperor has no clothes: Modi's 'veiled' attack on dress as identity reveals stark bigotry

2011: Modi refusing to wear skullcap By Ananda Maitreya* "Jo aag laga rahe hain, TV pe unke jo drishya aa rahe hain, yeh aag lagaane vaale kaun hain, woh unke kapdon se hi pata chal jaata hai" (from the visuals on TV, those setting the fire can be identified by their clothes), Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at an election rally recently. No one was fooled regarding his reference to the clothes and the clothe-wearers he pointed to.

Citizenship law: Would Govt of India give in to 'mob' pressure? There is precedent

By NS Venkataraman* The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was passed in both the houses of Indian Parliament after majority of members voted in favour of the Act. The immigrant issue emerged following the partition of India in 1947. Several prime pinisters in the past, including those of the Congress. wanted to regularize citizenship in India , but they were not courageous enough to catch the bull by the horn.

Dalits rights meet planned on how citizenship law 'negates' Ambedkar's equality focus

Martin Macwan By Our Representative A Dalit rights meet has been planned at the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), Sanand, Ahmedabad district, to discuss implications of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), passed by Parliament on December 10-11, for Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalized sections. Announcing the decision, DSK director Martin Macwan said, the meet would take place on December 25, 2019, at 11.00 am, to commemorate the anniversary of burning of copies of Manusmriti by Dr BR Ambedkar.

Nirma told to publicly declare it's 'not using' carcinogenic chemical in detergents

By Rajiv Shah An influential Delhi NGO has told the powerful Gujarat-based industrial house Nirma that it should come up with a public statement stating it is not using nonylphenol, a “disrupting chemical” commonly used to manufacture detergents, which the NGO claims is “a persistent, toxic, bioaccumulative chemical” that acts as a “hormone disruptor” and can be responsible for a number of "adverse human health effects”, including cancer.

Modi like Trump 'turning' undocumented immigrants into nationalist issue: NYT

By Our Representative In a hard-hitting editorial titled "Modi makes his bigotry even clearer" in the wake of the new citizenship law, which "helps non-Muslim refugees from Muslim-majority countries but ignores Muslim refugees from other nations", "The New York Times" has said that it is "the first action" that links "religion to citizenship, undermining a fundamental tenet of India’s democracy."

Magsaysay award winners to Modi: CAA, NRC 'discriminatotory', violates Constitution

By Our Representative Indian recipients of the prestigious Magsaysay Award, Aruna Roy, Admiral (retired) Laxminarayan Ramdas, Bezwada Wilson, Rajendra Singh, P Sainath, Shantha Sinha, TM Krishna, Deep Joshi and Sandeep Pandey, have expressed their "deep sense of concern and anguish" over the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the Government of India's decision to link it with the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

'Allow critical thinking': SAARC-sponsored varsity teachers support protesting students

By Our Representative Teachers of the high-profile South Asian University (SAU), a New Delhi-based international institute sponsored by eight member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – have supported “peacefully protesting students and other citizens” against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019 and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Jama Masjid Shahi Imam only 'reiterated' Modi-Shah view of new citizenship law

Syed Ahmed Bukhari, Amit Shah By Sanjeev Sirohi* “To protest is the democratic right of the people of India. No one can stop us from doing so. However, it is important that it is controlled. Keeping our emotions in control is the most important part”, Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari has said, calling upon people to exercise restraint and keep their emotions under control while demonstrating.

India-wide protests: People reject rulers' 'Brahmanical' divide and rule policy

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat* Nationwide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens (#CAA and #NRC) have reflected the mood of the nation. They categorically rejected the attempts to divide the country and create a Brahmanical theocratic state. Even when the rulers seek to pretend by bowing to the Constitution, we know what they have in mind: To polarise the nation and enjoy the fruits of 'division'.

6 Indian journos killed in 2019, 2 confirmed while on duty: 49 scribes died in world

K Satyarayana, Chakresh Jain By Nava Thakuria* As the year 2019 approaches the finish line, India appears set to improve its journo-murder index with two casualties, where as the northeastern region evades any incident of scribes’ murder for the second consecutive year, though the South Asian region has witnessed confirmed murder of 12 journalists while doing their during the year.

Recalling Hindu-Muslim martyrdom of December 19, 1927 in times of CAA, NRC

By Shamsul Islam* The Kakori conspiracy (or Kakori train robbery or Kakori case) was a train robbery that took place between Kakori and, near Lucknow, on 9 august 1925. This 'robbery' was organised by the Hindustan Republican Association (later was named as Hindustan Socialist Republican Association). It was executed by Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan, Rrajendra Lahiri, Roshan Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Sachindra Bakshi, Keshab Chakravarty, Manmathnath Gupta, Murari Lal Gupta, Mukundi Lal and Banwari Lal.

Recalling Modi's clothes remark, top British daily editorial calls it rankest hypocrisy

By Our Representative Strongly pointing out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s citizenship law is "dangerous for all", and insisting that the new Indian legislation "purports to help those fleeing persecution abroad – but deepens communal divides at home", in a strongly-worded editorial, the British centre-left daily "Guardian" has said   that it "signals that Muslim citizens are not 'truly' Indian."

UP civil rights advocate fighting for youth 'falsely' implicated in terrorism arrested

By Our Representative In view of the protests planned on December 19, 2019 against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), 72-years-old Advocate Mohammad Shoaib, who is a civil rights leader and is president of the Socialist Party (India), Uttar Pradesh, has been put under house arrest at his residence in Lucknow.

CAA: Indigenous Assamese fear, they would be 'outnumbered' by Bengali Hindus

By Anuradha Sen Mookerjee* The state of Assam in India is currently burning with violent protests against a new citizenship law passed by both houses of the Indian parliament in early December. The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) will ease the Indian citizenship process for undocumented migrants in India who come from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh – but only for those who are not Muslim, undermining the promise of equality by the Indian Constitution.

Arrests of peaceful protesters violate India’s obligations under international law: Amnesty

In response to Modi saying protesters can be identified by their clothes By Our Representative Responding to the "brutal crackdown" on student protests across the country, protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), executive director of the Amnesty India Avinash Kumar has said that "students have the right to protest" and "violence against peacefully protesting students cannot under any circumstance be justified."

Why can't India treat all persecuted people of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan equally?

Counterview Desk The People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS), in a statement, has said that the Citizenship Amendment Act violate the fundamental principle of secularism of the Indian Constitution of India, pointing out, after the partition, while Indian laws treated anyone who had come to India equally, irrespective of their religion and belief, and this is what distinguished India from Pakistan.

Jamia event is govt’s 'anti-democratic' attack on higher education institutions: AIFRTE

Counterview Desk The All-India Forum for Right to Education (AIFRTE), in a statement, has called the police entrance into the Jamia Millia Islamia campus as “unprovoked and unauthorized”, adding, the attack on students in the library reading room, in the hostels and the Masjid was brutal, adding, there was “sexual assault on women students in hostel rooms and toilets”.

Jamia, Aligarh, Assam: Police using excessive, unnecessary force, says US rights body

Counterview Desk Asking the Government of India to "show restraint at demonstrations" referring to what called "possible excessive use of police force against citizenship law protesters", the Human Rights Watch, in a statement from New York, has apprehended that "international standards" should be observed in "policing assemblies".

New citizenship law: Only option left for ‘we the people of India’ is civil disobedience

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* The nation is on fire! The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) which was promulgated on 12 December 12 after the President of India gave his assent to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (CAB), which was earlier passed by both the lower and upper houses of Parliament is blatantly discriminatory, divisive and draconian: besides, it is patently unconstitutional and it goes against the grain and spirit of India’s democratic framework.

Institute independent inquiry into 'brutal' attack on Jamia, Aligarh students: PUCL

Counterview Desk The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has said that attack on the students of the Jamia Millia Islamia, the Aligarh Muslim University and the Delhi University is the result of fast "a vengeful Central government permitting the police forces to use  their brute power to silence, crush and intimidate ordinary citizens from protesting the new citizenship law passed in Parliament.

Indian economy data unreliable, appoint Abhijit Banerjee to remedy things: GoI told

Abhijit Banerjee By Rajiv Shah Even as suggesting a series of measures to push out the Indian economy from the current “great slowdown”, well-known economist Arvind Subramanian has advised the Government of India (GoI) to urgently set up a committee under the leadership of Nobel Prize winner Professor Abhijit Banerjee in order to trigger the process of “generating and disseminating accurate data.”

Indian economy’s illness 'severe, unusually so', situation 'puzzling and frustrating'

Arvind Subramanian, Josh Felman Counterview Desk In a fresh paper published by the Harvard University Center for International Development, “India’s Great Slowdown: What Happened? What’s the Way Out?”, Arvind Subramanian, former chief economic adviser to the Narendra Modi government, and Josh Felman, Director of JH Consulting, California, have said that “standard structural and cyclical factors cannot explain the long slowdown, followed by a sharp collapse.”

New citizenship law 'negates' India's Dec 2018 UN stance on non-discriminatory migration

By Our Representative Commenting on the latest amendment to the Citizenship Act, which gives priority to Hindus, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians resident in India before 2014, but excludes Muslims, including minority sects, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), has said, “Although India’s broader naturalization laws remain in place, these amendments will have a discriminatory effect on people’s access to nationality.”

PUCL: Citizenship law to create new class of subordinated citizens with restricted rights

Counterview Desk In a statement, Ravi Kiran Jain, national president, and Dr V Suresh, national general secretary, People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) have expressed concern that, following the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in Parliament, religion will be the "key determinant for obtaining Indian citizenship", with "communal, anti-Muslim bias inbuilt" into it.

RTI activist's murder: Odisha CM urged to pressure Centre, effect Whistleblowers Act

Naveen Patnaik Counterview Desk The National Campaign for Peoples Right to Information (NCPRI), in a letter to Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik, has sought "a thorough, timely and effective investigation" into the murder of Right to Information (RTI) activist Abhimanyu Panda, who was shot outside his house in Kandhamal on December 10, 2019 at 7:30am by two unidentified assailants.

Hindutva founders, not Congress, were actual 'proponents' of two-nation theory

Amit Shah paying tribute to Savarkar By Shamsul Islam* No other organization, in the present world, can beat Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in double-speak. In fact, what George Orwell termed as "doublespeak" would be an understatement in the case of RSS. The latest proof of this nasty case was provided by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, de facto Prime Minister and senior RSS leader in the Lok Sabha (akin to the House of Commons in England) on December 9, 2019.

IGP Mumbai Abdur Rahman's 'civil disobedience': Decides to resign from service

Counterview Desk Senior IPS officer Abdur Rahman, IGP, Mumbai, resigned to register his civil protest against the passage of the Citizen's Amendment Bill (CAB) on December 11, the day CAB was passed in Parliament. In an open letter he had addressed to “brothers and sisters”, hours before CAB was voted in the Rajya Sabha, he said, "This Bill is against the religious pluralism of India. I request all justice loving people to oppose the bill in a democratic manner. It runs against the very basic feature of the Constitution.”

With cops' help? 40,000 trees cut in western Odisha for establishing open pit coalmine

Tree felling in Talabira forests under police protection By Prafulla Samantra* In the same week as the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) summit , as world's leaders discuss climate change, in the industrial belt of Western Odisha, more than 40,000 trees were cut in Talabira forest on December 9 and 10 for establishing an open pit coalmine. 

80 RTI activists killed since 2014, yet Modi govt 'refuses' to implement whistleblowers Act

By Our Representative Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over power in 2014 at the Centre, more than 80 have been killed “in their quest for information and accountability” through the Right to Information (RTI) Act, a public hearing in Delhi has been told. Senior politicians from opposition parties, including Congress and Left, heard people express their anguish over the manner in which the government was treating the RTI Act, even as refusing to operationalise the Whistleblower Protection Act, passed in 2014.

Gujarat citizens: Citizenship Bill refuses to provide 'equal rights' to all religious groups

Human rights day being observed by Gujarat activists on December 10 Counterview Desk A group of 232 activists, academics, students, artists and concerned citizens*, mainly from Gujarat, have signed a statemen condemning the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), saying, not only is CAB discriminatory, worse, the Government of India has has had little or no communication with neighbouring countries on the practical aspects of its execution, especially deportation of migrants.

Central control 'draconian', offer Article 370 'special status' to villages, towns, districts

By Chandra Vikash*  Growing up in the industrial town complex of Bokaro Steel City. currently in the state of Jharkhand, hailed by India’s legendary Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru as among the “modern temples of India” and amidst school friends and neighbors from diverse parts of India, the feeling of national integration has been strong in my upbringing.

Amit Shah 'resurrects' RSS' most important ideologue Golwalkar, admirer of Hitler

By Shamsul Islam* The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (CAD) that promises to open the door for Indian nationality to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians and Parsis who got into India (on or before December 31, 2014) from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, facing religious persecution, was introduced in the Lok Sabha by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on December 9, 2019.

Tribal women of Gujarat's Devgadh Baria speak up for their rights at public hearing

Demonstration by tribal women of Devgadh Baria By Our Representative Are the tribal women of Devgadh Baria, an eastern-most hilly taluka of Gujarat, coming out of their long-standing fear and beginning to speak up? It would seem so, if a public hearing organised by civil rights organizations Anandi and Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel (MAGP) next to the office of the sub-divisional magistrate (DSM) on December 10, International Human Rights Day, was any indication.