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Showing posts from February, 2019

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”.

Modern religions "akin" to great commercial enterprises like Coke, Pepsi, seek market

By Mohan Guruswamy* 
When the late J Jayalalithaa opened up the debate on conversions by passing an ordinance during her second tenure as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu that made the choice of faith subject to the state’s approval, not surprisingly, the VHP, RSS and the BJP hailed it as a great achievement. Not surprisingly their Muslim and Christian counterparts severely castigated it.

Non-lethal injuries? Pellet guns have led to major "public health crisis" in Kashmir

By Jitamanyu Sahoo*
At a first glance, their scars will appear as pitted marks. Their eyes padded and bruised. Some of the eyes are closed as they are scared of their own vision; some of the eyes are open but their vision is blurred. Kashmir’s men, women and children are gazing at nothing. They are staring at the darkness that surrounds them in life, as they have been partially or fully blinded by pellets.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

Mental illness: Gujarat's vulnerable sections "forced" to approach quacks, private doctors

Counterview Desk
A recent scrutiny into the state of public health in Gujarat by a voluntary organisation, Sahaj, with the help of two dozen-odd activists and experts, has found that things are particulalry bad with regard to mental healthcare for the backward sections of society. Offering four case studies, it says, there is, in fact, "no public health system that deals with the issue of mental illnesses in the area which is particularly vulnerable because of extreme poverty, chronic health issues."

State "unleashed" repression on industrial workers in Rajasthan's Japanese zone

Counterview Desk
A team of 11 members of various organizations visited the families of workers as well as police stations and courts in the Shahjahanpur, Neemrana and Behror areas, Alwar district, Rajasthan, in the wake of the news of alleged police repression upon workers who participating in the All India Worker’s Strike, which took place on January 8-9.

Not just Indian women engineers, men too face sexual harassment at workplace: US study

By Rajiv Shah
A recent research, carried out jointly by two US-based non-profit organizations, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Center for WorkLife Law (WLL), based at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, has found that 45% of women engineers as against 28% of men engineers complained that it was perceived as “inappropriate when women argued at work, even when it was work-related.”

Appropriating an icon? Why is RSS-BJP "celebrating" Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose

By Ram Puniyani*
On tJanuary 23, BJP-RSS organized various programmes to honour Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. In one of these programs, a clash took place leading to a curfew in Kendrapada, Orissa. In different meeting organized by BJP-RSS, an attempt was made to draw parallel between Bose and Savarkar, Bose and RSS.

Relocation of crocodiles from Narmada dykes for tourism safety "mindless, contentious"

Counterview Desk
In a letter to the Union environment, forests and climate change minister, senior officials of the ministry under him and their Gujarat counterparts, including chief minister Vijay Rupani, top Vadodara-based environmentalist Rohit Prajapati has demanded that the government must immediately stop translocation of the crocodiles from the lakes near Sardar Sarovar Dam, as the translocation of crocodile is “not a viable/appropriate solution”, and it is short-sighted with long term adverse impacts.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Invisible? Union budget 2019-20 "ignores" women farmers, agricultural labourers

By Dr Soma KP*
The Government of India has placed a budget before us without attention to the analysis of its own achievements and failures, which an assessment of the economy should normally provide. In the absence of an assessment it is like shooting in dark for quick and sharp political gain and media byte by hyping what's good for the middle class who construct the discourse and debunk any debate about rising poverty and inequality.

NREGA: Jharkhand govt "deletes" 7 lakh job cards: 39% work demand unfulfilled

By James Herenj, Taramani Sahu* 
On one hand migration is increasing in Jharkhand, on the other hand the central and state governments are constantly undermining and weakening the constitutional guarantee for employment in rural areas. February 2, 2019 is the 13th anniversary the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) was enacted in Parliament. However, the right to work has become a mockery in today’s time. On this occasion, one would like to draw attention to government’s inaction in regard to the constant subversion of the rights of the workers.

Gujarat riots: Officials "seldom" lived up to commitments, cops were "mute" spectator

Counterview Desk
Lt Gen Zameer Uddin Shah PVSM, SM, VSM (Retd), in his recently-published memoirs, "The Sarkari Mussalman: The Life and Travails of a Soldier Educationist", has pointed towards how, during the deployment of the army under him following the 2002 Gujarat riots, he found that the state's civilian administration "appeared to lack resolve to stem the violence", adding, as for the police, it was "very ineffective".

BJP rulers are "helping" business houses at the cost of public sector units

By Syed Basharat*
Developments over the last four years suggest that the BJP's rise was largely due to the support it got from a conglomerate of corporate houses such as Ambanis, Tatas etc. More recent developments also show that there that the Government of India (GoI) is simultaneously making an all-out effort to undermine public sector units (PSUs) by selling or privatizing profitable production units.