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Showing posts from February, 2019

Protesters' police complaint indicts Modi: No NREGA wage transfer Oct 2018-Jan 2019

Counterview Desk
The NREGA Sangharsh Morcha (NSM) organized a nation-wide protest on February 28, 2019, following which the protesting NREGA workers filed police complaints against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, allegedly for “fraud in NREGA wages of workers”. Alongside complaints at hundreds of police stations across the country, a petition was sent to Modi and the Union Minister of Rural Development for “immediate release” of Rs 25,000 crore for the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) budget.

Jharkhand Adivasis protest failure to get ration for months, Aadhaar biometric snag

By Our Representative
Hundreds of Adivasis of several villages of Jharkhand’s Khuntpani block (West Singhbhum district) protested at the block administration’s office against the denial of ration, use of Aadhaar and other irregularities in the Public Distribution System (PDS). The protest took place following widespread unrest because of the “failure” to distribute ration in several of the villages for the last several months.

US Supreme Court order "clears way" to file case on IFC funding of Tata Mundra plant

Counterview Desk
The Centre for Financial Accountability (AFC), a New Delhi-based NGO, referring to the US Supreme Court 7-1 order in the Jam vs International Finance Corporation (IFC) case, allowing individuals and organizations to sue international organizations like the World Bank Group, has said has said that this has opened the way to sue IFC funding of the power plant in Mundra, Gujarat.

Need to ask: Why did the GoI once again "use" military operation for publicity?

By Rajiv Tyagi*
On February 26 morning as I woke up at 5 am in Gurugram, I was informed of an IAF strike on Balakot, in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunwa area, approximately 200 km north-west of India's nearest Air Force station at Avantipur, South East of Srinagar. A few phone calls later, I learned it was a pre-dawn attack at 0330 hrs, which delivered 1,000 kg bombs to a designated target area.

Terror attack, aftermath: Tactical move by JeM to "ensure" BJP returns to power?

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
All we are saying is give peace a chance/ All we are saying is give peace a chance, is the chorus of an anti-war song "Give Peace a Chance written by the famous Beatle John Lennon and performed with Yoko Ono in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, exactly 50 years ago in May 1969. It became an anthem of the American anti-war movement during the 1970s. Give Peace a chance! was the message sent by Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday February 24.

Convention planned at Bhilai to counter "ongoing" propaganda of cultural fascism

Counterview Desk
Several cultural and civil rights organizations from across India have come together to organize an all-India cultural convention on March 16-17, 2019, at Bhilai, Chattisgarh, to analyse the role of culture at a time when India is allegedly undergoing social, political and economic unrest on a massive scale.

Surgical strike: Calling for restraint, Indo-Pak forum asks Pak to act against terror camps

Counterview Desk
In a move that is likely to raise the eye-brows of sections of "nationalists", the national committees of the Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD), based in Lahore and New Delhi, with branches in Mumbai, Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Jammu, Bhubaneshwar and Srinagar, even as condemning India's second surgical strike in the wake of the recent terrorist attack on CPRF jawans, killing more than 40 jawans, has called for "restraint" from both the sides.

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

Detecting defective EVMs: High margins of error "unacceptable", ex-babus tell poll panel

Counterview Desk
As many as 73 ex-civil servants, in a letter to the Election Commission of India (ECI), have sought urgent steps from ECI to make electronic voting machines (EVMs) more secure and less vulnerable to manipulation and tampering ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, scheduled in April-May this year. According to them, ECI’s audit plan is unable to detect outcome-altering miscounts due to EVM malfunction or manipulation, which defeats the very purpose of introducing ‘voter verified paper audit trail’ (VVPATs).

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

Seoul peace prize to Modi, who "isn't seeking" peaceful solution to Kashmir: Korean NGOs

Counterview Desk
As many as 28 Korean human rights and civil organizations, in a joint statement titled "Seoul Peace Prize to PM Modi: Why should we feel embarrassed, while they know no shame", has denounced awarding a ‘Peace Prize' in the name of Seoul to Modi, saying he is "accountable for the murders of thousands of Muslims".

Attack on Kashmiri students: Modi's response "woefully inadequate", follows SC order

Counterview Desk
Reacting to recent attacks on Kashmiri students and traders, civil rights organization People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS) has regretted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the incidents more than a week of violence began, which is "woefully inadequate".

Disappearance of environmentalist "suggests" police role against anti-Sterlite protestors

Counterview Desk
In a letter to Tamil Nadu chief secretary Girija Vaidyanathan, eminent citizens have expressed serious concern over the mysterious disappearance of environmental and human rights defender S Mugilan of Tamil Nadu, saying, he is "a target of attack by the state apparatus."

Ex-Navy chief: No amount of muscular policy can quell anger, alienation of Kashmir youth

Counterview Desk
Admiral L Ramdas (retd), former former Chief of the Naval Staff, PVSM AVSM VrC VSM, and Magsaysay Awardee for Peace, in a letter to the President of India, has argued, in the wake of the recent terrorist attack in Kashmir, that there cannot be a military solution to the Kashmir problem; it has to be a political one, he insists, adding, a political solution must involve a genuine and continuous dialogue with the people of Kashmir – including dissidents and separatists, and governments of Pakistan and India.

Unequal treatment: Kendiya Vidyalaya spends Rs 27,000 per child; govt schools Rs 3,000

Counterview Desk
A recent policy brief by Oxfam, “India Public Good or Private Wealth? The India Story”, insists that “universal health, education and other public services reduce the gap between rich and poor, and between women and men”, something that is not happening in India today.

Haryana cow lynching case: How police, "acting" under political pressure, wavered

Counterview Desk
A 25-year-old man from Jalalabad in Shamli district of Uttar Pradesh, identified as Naushad, was reportedly brutally thrashed by cow vigilantes at Bhalout village of Haryana's Rohtak district on January 19 night on suspicion of cow smuggling. A vigilante on a scooter followed Naushad, who was transporting a buffalo and its two calves in a vehicle to UP, and forced him to stop.

BJP's "intentional" non-implementation of FRA: Political parties told to up the ante

Counterview Desk
India's top land rights network Bhumi Adhikar Andolan (BAA) in a statement has said that the recent Supreme Court verdict on Forest Rights Act (FRA) is a continuation of historic Injustices over Adivasis and other forest dwelling communities, insisting, if implemented, FRA 2006 would become "dysfunctional".

Whose bogus claims? Anti-forest rights petitioners' arguments "misleading"

Counterview Desk
The forest rights organization, Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD), claiming to have presence in a dozen states, has strongly contested the statement issued by Wildlife First's Praveen Bhargav "on behalf of" petitioners in Writ Petition 109 of 2008 -- -- in defence of the recent Supreme Court order, which, they said, is being wrongly interpreted as underling the Forest Rights Act.

Whither critical wildlife habitat? 72 lakh ha "given way" to forest dwellers since 2008

Counterview Desk
Following widespread apprehensions across India that the recent Supreme Court order on Forest Rights Act (FRA) would lead to the eviction of about 10 lakh forest dwellers, depriving them of their rightful ownership of forest land, a statement issued by Wildlife First's Praveen Bhargav "on behalf of" petitioners in Writ Petition 109 of 2008 -- Kishor Rithe, Nature Conservation Society, and Harshwardhan Dhanwatey, Tiger Research and Conservation Trust -- has claimed that the order does not affect genuine claimants.

Letter to Modi: 18 whistleblowers killed, as govt refuses to implement Act to protect them

Counterview Desk
The National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI), in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding non-implementation of the Whistle Blowers Protection (WBP) Act, passed 5 years ago, on February 21, 2014, has said that government indifference stands in sharp contrast to scores of whistleblowers being threatened, attacked and even killed.

International law "set aside": SC order on Forest Rights Act to "trigger" forced eviction

Counterview Desk
In a strong reaction, one of the top-most international NGOs, Amnesty International, has termed the recent Supreme Court ruling of Forest Rights Act (FRA) as “devastating”, warning, this could render over a million indigenous people homeless. A statement issued by Amnesty International’s India office in Bangalore says that India is party to a number of international human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which prohibit forced evictions.

Half of non-Dalits in Rajasthan, UP, one third in Delhi report "practicing" untouchability

Counterview Desk
A recent paper “Open defecation: Manual scavenging’s legacy in rural India” by Payal Hathi and Diane Coffey of the Research Institute for Compassionate Economics, has undertaken a mobile phone survey, called Social Attitudes Research, India (SARI), in order to collect data on caste prejudice among adults in several states in India, claiming to confirm what manual scavenging activists have long argued: that Indian society suffers from deeply ingrained casteist attitudes.

44 cow-related deaths: US-based rights body blames BJP rulers for violence, cover-ups

Counterview Desk
The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), in detailed report, "India: Vigilante ‘Cow Protection’ Groups Attack Minorities", has blamed for BJP for increasingly using communal rhetoric since it came to power in May 2014, spurring a violent vigilante campaign against beef consumption and those deemed linked to it.

How most wanted terrorist Azhar Masood has come to rescue Hindutva establishment

By Shamsul Islam*
All Indians are devastated by the massacre of 44 para-military personnel and maiming of many of them by the notorious, Azhar Masood led Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) who tops Security Council’s list of most wanted terrorist. The most heinous part of this carnage was that the victims were not on the battle-front but travelling.

All-India protest against commercialization and communalization of education

By Prof Madhu Prasad, Dr Vikas Gupta*
The All-India Forum for Right to Education (AIFRTE) organized on February 18 in Delhi a protest demonstration at Parliament Street, a nation-wide referendum on education policy, a People’s Parliament (Jan Sansad), and an evening of cultural resistance as part the full-day All-India Shiksha Hunkar Rally.

Contempt petitions against Prashant Bhushan meant to intimidate critics: Top activists

Counterview Desk
More than 100 activists, academics and former civil servants have signed a statement expressing solidarity with leading human rights advocate Prashant Bhushan, against whom contempt petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court. The statement says, "Unfortunately, expressing an apprehension that the government might be misleading the apex court is being alleged to be contempt of court."

Modi wants Pak govt be held responsible for JeM terror strike: World doesn't agree

By Sandeep Pandey*
I went to participate in a candle light homage paying event at Dr BR Ambedkar's statue organised by about 200 Dalit students on Hazratganj main crossing in Lucknow on February 16, 2019 evening, two days after the dastardly terrorist act in Pulwana, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), in which 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel was killed.

North-East: Generating patriotism by raising anti-Citizenship Amendment Bill banner

By Nava Thakuria*
It would seem that the people of northeast (NE) India have become more conscious about India’s constitution, rule of law and its secular image abroad. Indeed, groups of people, including politicians, civil society group representatives, media personnel etc. recently hit the streets raising strong voices against the Union government’s proposed citizenship amendment initiatives.

Militant talking about fidayeen strike before Pulwama attack "suggests" security lapse

Counterview Desk 
A statement issued "on behalf of" Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace & Democracy (PIPFPD), a civil society organization seeking to promote peace between the two neighbouring countries, commenting on the Pulawana terror attack, has wondered, "how many deaths will it take till we know that too many people have died?"

Failure of democratic ways to resolve Kashmir unrest root cause of JK terror attack: NAPM

Counterview Desk
The National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), India's well-known civil rights network, even as condemning the "fatal attack" on the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy at Pulwama, killing 44 jawans, has insisted that "military and militant violence must end and give way to democratic aspirations of people of Kashmir". 

Pulwama terror attack: Need to adopt "proven" state-of-art, non-violent reponse

By LtGen (Ret) Clarence McKnight, MajGen (Ret) Kulwant Singh, and Dr David Leffler*
In a speech regarding the Pulwama terror attack; India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that “India will give a befitting reply to this incident. The security forces have been given full freedom to decide.” We salute the Prime Minister for granting India’s security forces a free hand to decide the best response to this incident.

Selection of information commissioners shouldn't be limited to bureaucrats: SC

By Our Representative
The Supreme Court bench of Justices AK Sikiri and S Abdul Nazeer, deliverint the judgment in the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) regarding non-appointment of information commissioners by the central and state governments and the lack of transparency in the appointment process, has observed that appeals/complaints should be decided by information commissions within the shortest time possible, which should normally be within a few months.

J&K terror attack: Intelligence sent reports 10 days back on fidayeen, local JEM plans

By Law Kumar Mishra*
The deadliest-ever attack on the security forces in Kashmir martyred 42 jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on National Highway (NH) 44 (Jammu-Srinagar) near Awantipura, 20 kms from Srinagar on Thursday noon. Unprecedented, it was the act of a coward newly recruited militant from an adjoining village on the convoy of the CRPF.

Bangladesh's streets quiet for a short term: It's "not well" for the future of the country

By Syed Mujtaba Hussian*
The 11th General elections in Bangladesh were held on December 30, 2018. The result was an overwhelming victory for the Awami League-led by Sheikh Hasina. For the first time in a general election Bangladesh made use of electronic voting machines but only in a limited scale. The elections were marred by violence and claims of vote rigging, in response of which the Bangladesh Election Commission said it would investigate reported vote-rigging allegations from across the country.

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

In India, beggars from Brahminical caste are "treated differently" from Dalits

By Sheshu Babu*
"They are but beggars that can count their worth" -- William Shakespeare in "Romeo and Juliet"
Whenever poorly-clad, dirty and expectant people gathering along major road junctions, bus stands, temples, mosques or churches, rail stations, etc. pleading for a coin or two are seen, they are either abused or evaded, or some coins are thrust into their empty bowls helplessly.

How much more does Narendra Modi earn in comparison to average Indian citizen?

By Jasmine Gearie*
Income inequality is on the rise in India, according to an Oxfam report released last month. The greater amount of national income going to an increasingly smaller percentage of individuals in both developed and developing countries has contributed to the political upheaval in recent years.  With the general election approaching, job search engine Adzuna analysed how much more Prime Minister Narendra Modi earns in comparison to the average Indian.

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

Gujarat's concerned citizens demand to make public details of "polluted" Narmada waters

Counterview Desk
Several concerned citizens* of Gujarat led by top Vadodara-based environmentalist Rohit Prajapati have in a letter to the chairperson, Narmada Control Authority, Government of India have demanded immediate disclosure of reasons behind the presence of sulphide and decrease in dissolved oxygen (DO) in Sardar Sarovar Dam and its canals, which has led to the death of fishes.

India’s oil, gas, coal subsidies more than triple the value to renewables, electric vehicles

Counterview Desk
A recent research paper, "India’s Energy Transition: Subsidies for Fossil Fuels and Renewable Energy, 2018 Update", published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), an independent Canada-based think tank, has said that though fossil fuel subsidies are on decline, subsidies to oil, gas and coal were more than triple the value of subsidies to renewables and electric vehicles in India in FY2017.

Seismic activity "responsible" for polluted Narmada waters, make data public: NBA

Counterview Desk
Well-known anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), has alleged that seismic activity could be a major reason why the Narmada water got polluted and undrinkable. A statement signed by several senior NBA activists, including Medha Patkar, Kailash Awasya , Mukesh Bhagoriya, Kamla Yadav, Rahul Yadav, Suresh Patidar, Jagdish Patel and Devram Kanera, has asked the Madhya Pradesh government to pressure the Gujarat government to make public all the data on seismic activity along the dam and its impact.

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

Congress, Left lack strategy to counter "dangerous" trend for the future of India

By Sheshu Babu
Many analysts have pointed out the 'interim' budget as 'populist', promising 'sops' to many sections of society. Most of these promises are, in actuality, the need of the hour for weaker sections, which have been long overdue. But, will these promises be kept after elections? Yet, the fact is, while presenting the budget, many crucial questions remained unanswered.

Yunus Dehlvi was the Mirza Ghalib and Maulana Azad of Urdu magazines!

By Firoz Bakht Ahmed*
We have all grown through the fragrant flairs of our childhood, one of them being our childhood mother-tongue historic magazines like, “Thakurmar Jhuli” (Bengali), “Khilauna” (Urdu), “Hans” (Marathi), “Parag” (Hindi), “Chitralekha” (Gujarati), “Chandamama” (Telugu), etc.

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

Any Indo-Pak dialogue "incomplete" without involving people of Jammu & Kashmir

By Syed Mujtaba*
Kashmir has been a zone of chaos for long. It is one of the highest militarised zones in the world. Kashmir is also a bone of contention between two nuclear-powered countries. Indeed, the independence of India and Pakistan gave the birth to conflicts, chaos, and hatred here. This is the state of affairs ever since two independent dominions of Pakistan and India were born on August 14 and 15, 1947, respectively.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

Odisha tribals are not beneficiaries, they are forest rights holders: State govt told

By Our Representative
The Odisha state chapter of the Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD), the national level forum of tribals and forest dwellers which struggled for the enactment of Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006, has raised serious concern over the use of the word “beneficiary” instead of “forest rights holder” by the scheduled caste (SC)-scheduled (ST) development, minority and backward classes welfare department, Government of Odisha on its website.

Child labour "rampant" 15 km off Gujarat capital in Shertha chili segregating fields

By Kevin Antao*
Shertha, a semi-urban town area 15 kilometres away from Gujarat capital Gandhinagar, and situated on the bustling Ahmedabad-Mehsana highway, comes to life from the first week of February till April-end, when its fields are filled with different shades of red chilies or red peppers.

Mob Lynching, cow vigilantism: "Changing pattern" of communal violence in India

By Irfan Engineer, Neha Dabhade, Suraj Nair, Siddhi Pendke*
The year 2018 saw 84 incidents of mob lynching. According to  Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS) findings, 60 lives were lost and 102 persons were injured in 84 incidents of mob lynching reported in five newspapers. For mob lynching too like incidents of communal violence, CSSS monitored Mumbai editions of five newspapers namely, “The Indian Express”, “The Times of India”, “The Hindu”, “Safahat” and “Inquilab”.