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Only 5.7% foreign prisoners in India received consular access, 65% are from Bangladesh: Report

By Our Representative
The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) in its new publication, ‘Strangers to Justice: A Report on Foreigners in Indian Prisons’, has regretted that only 5.7% of the total foreign prisoners -- i.e. 222 out of 3908 -- have received consular access. Prepared to understand issues of detention and repatriation of foreign nationals in Indian prisons, the report is based on Right to Information (RTI) replies from 26 states.
Shedding light on various problems that affect the lives of foreign nationals confined in prisons in India at every step of the criminal justice process, the report states that in the 26 states and Union territories that responded to the RTI plea, of the 3,908 foreign prisoners, 1,657 are undertrials, 1,382 are convicts and "an astonishing 869 await repatriation." West Bengal, it adds, alone confines 55% of foreign prisoners.
Pointing out that foreign prisoners are from 58 countries, the report says, 65% of them are from Bangladesh, and 522 prisoners are categorised as ‘persons whose nationality is not provided’, essentially meaning that they do not belong to any country.
It says, of the 1,657 undertrial prisoners, 38.5% (638) were charged under Foreigners Act/ Foreigners Registration or Passport Act alone, whereas those charged under other penal laws such as Indian Penal Code, The Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 etc. were 444 and those charged with both offences were 361.
Other issues dealt with in the report include lack of intimation to consulate/diplomatic mission at arrest; lack of nationality verification process at the time of trial; lack of contact with family and friends; lack of provisions to meet special needs; delay in nationality verification; delay in obtaining emergency travel certificate; insufficient funds to support travel; and delay in logistical arrangements, approvals.



ISKCON UK 'clarifies' after virus infects devotees, 5 die due to big temple meet

By Rajiv Shah
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), United Kingdom (UK), has admitted that at least 21 of its devotees were infected because of the spread of the coronavirus amongst the UK devotee community following the March 12 funeral and March 15 memorial of the Bhaktivedanta Manor temple president, in which about 1,000 people participated. Regretting that five of the devotees have passed away, the top Hindu religious in Britain body does not deny more may have been infected.

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Gujarat construction workers walk home as Rs 2,900 crore welfare fund lies unused

By Our Representative
Situated behind the Gujarat University, some of the families of the migrant construction workers from Dahod and Panchmahals districts of Gujarat, and a few from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, who had stayed put in make-shift shanties in Ahmedabad’s sprawling GMDC Ground, have begun a long journey, by foot, back to their home villages in the eastern tribal belt of Gujarat.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.