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Showing posts from July, 2019

Gujarat worker loses 3 fingers in factory machine, ESI 'refuses' treatment, ambulance to Ahmedabad

Senior health rights activist Jagdish Patel of the Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC) has strongly protested against the manner in which a factory worker, Neeraj Kumar Singh, was treated by the Central government's Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) authorities after he met with an accident on July 30 in which he lost three fingers.
Working in Chopra Industries in Waghodiya, off Vadodara, Gujarat's cultural capital, Neeraj, aged 24, worked as a trainee, and is paid Rs 308 per day, from which his ESI contribution is deducted. As Waghodiya does not have ESI facilities, soon after he lost his fingers while running in a pressing machine, he had to be rushed to the ESI Hospital, Gotri, 25 km away.
From Gotri, he was sent to the Metro Hospital, and at At 1.30 am he was told that they couldn't treat him, and was again send back to Gotri's ESI Hospital, which referred to the Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad. Patel said, the ESI authorities provided him an ambula…

Whither protection? 88% Gujarat employees without job contract, 67% sans paid leave

By Rajiv Shah 
Amidst apprehensions that the Government of India’s new labour codes, tabled in Parliament recently, are driven by the interests of the industry in order to “alter” the labour protection landscape in India “beyond repair and reclaim”, facts have come to light suggesting that “model” Gujarat has been one of the worst states in the country as far as providing any form of protection to its workers is concerned.

Private pressure: Health ministry says, patients must 'obligatorily' pay hospital fees

Counterview Desk
The civil rights network Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA) has demanded from the Union health ministry that it should ensure there is “no dilution” in patients’ rights, insisting, the ministry should adopt the charter on patients’ rights based on the recommendation to the ministry by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) last year.

Reliance on CSR, philandhropic funds 'wouldn't help' raise educational standards

Addressing media in Delhi, Ambarish Rai, national convener of the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, commenting on the draft New Education Policy (NEP), has regretted “poor implementation of the RTE Act, 2009 despite nearly 10 years of its enforcement.” He said, public investment on education has been going down, and should immediately be “reversed” to at least 6% of GDP.
Welcoming the draft NEP, he said, inclusion of 3-18 years in the RTE Act “has been our long-standing demand”, but expressed disappointment over “increasing privatisation of education”, even as objecting to sharp reliance on corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds and philanthropic institutions.
Prof Muchkund Dubey, former chief secretary and president, Council for Social Development, said, while “elementary education is now a fundamental right”, increasing reliance of volunteers through programmes like Remedial Instructional Aids Programme (RIAP) and National Tutoring Programme (NTP) “will lead to informalisation o…

No civil society or activists came to Unnao girl's rescue: Her story 'didn't suit' them

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
The Unnao story is the failure of the Indian system and deep-rooted corruption and nepotism inside it. The girl was fighting a lone battle over a year, especially after she accused Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Kuldip Singh Sengar of raping her. The party did not bothered to take any action against Sanger. And it is equally surprising that, in the city of Unnao, nothing appears to have happened.

Conviction of ex-BJP MP: Punctuation mark in battle against illegal mining mafia?

By RK Misra*
The conviction of an MP for murder by the CBI court in Ahmedabad reveals how the rich and powerful get away with heinous crimes unless the judicial system works as it should. “Not only must justice be done; it must also be seen to be done”, or so goes an old saying.

President as MP was member of committee that 'allowed' autonomy to CIC in 2004

The National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI) has claimed that thousands of people have petitioned the President of India asking that he should not give his assent to the Right to Information (RTI) Amendment Bill, 2019, even as there were massive protests in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and West Bengal.
On Monday, hundreds protested at Jantar Mantar in Delhi. Organised by NCPRI in collaboration with various campaigns and groups, including the National Alliance of Peoples Movements (NAPM), Right to Food Campaign (RTF) and the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW), they insisted that the President should withhold his assent.
Protesters said, the the amendment, passed in Parliament, were brought in because disclosures through the RTI Act were "inconvenient" for the government for disclosure of the Delhi University records of the year in which Prime Minister Narndra Modi graduated. Other "embarrassing" details sought inc…

BJP making RTI toothless, UPA 'failed miserably' to market the great achievement

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
A massive people’s campaign is currently underway in the country to save the ‘Right to Information’ (RTI) Act. The campaign which can be visited at www.SaveRTI.in is also going viral on social media under the hashtag #SaveRTI – with several thousands of eminent and other concerned citizens already having signed it!

Linking aadhaar with election ID would 'disenfranchise' elderly, manual labourers

Counterview Desk
In a letter to the Election Commission of India (ECI), more than 200 prominent citizens have said that a petition Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay vs Union of India before the Delhi High Court seeking an e-voting system using fingerprint and face biometrics should be “dismissed”, as aadhaar linkage with the Election ID “would harm the right to vote that Indian citizens have under our democracy, flowing from the Constitution and the Representation of People’s Act, 1951.”

Govt of India seeking to turn information commissioners into 'caged parrots': Appeal to President

National Campaign for People's Right to Information (NCPRI) leader Anjali Bhardwaj, in a public plea, has asked to concerned citizens, to send an appeal to the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, asking him to “withhold his assent to the RTI Amendment Bill.” The appeal, she says, should be sent to secy.president@rb.nic.in and presidentofindia@rb.nic.in, with a copy it to saverti2019@gmail.com.
Text of the appeal says, the RTI Amendment Bill, 2019 “seeks to undermine people’s right to information”, adding, “No public consultations have been held on the amendments and the bill was not referred to any Parliamentary committee for detailed scrutiny.”
Asserting that Amendment Bill “is aimed at eroding the autonomy of information commissions, the final adjudicators under the RTI law”, the plea says, “Information Commissioners were guaranteed a fixed tenure under the RTI Act passed in 2005. The salaries, allowances and other terms of service of the Chief and information commissions of th…

Rise in regional, secessionist forces 'triggering' heightened violence in India: Study

By Rajiv Shah
Is India compulsively moving towards a situation where centripetal tendencies are increasingly challenging centrifugal tendencies? A new research work, which has studied "link" between regional parties and secessionist forces, and resultant violence, goes a long way to imply that India's federal structure, governed from Delhi, is becoming fragile and may come under stress. For, already, no amount of "appeasement" of regional aspirations or "clampdown" on them is helping mitigate the situation.

Direct cash transfer to poor students? Private interest 'masked' as policy critique

By Sandeep Pandey, Praveen Srivastava*
Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, Professor of Education Economics at University College London and President of City Montessori School Lucknow, in a critique of the draft New Education Policy (NEP) has identified poor school and teacher accountability as the main cause of learning crisis in public schools. She has advocated Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to parents to enable them to have the purchasing power to hold the schools accountable.

Andhra capital project 'failed' to address needs of 21,374 landless households: World Bank

Counterview Desk
Working Group on International Financial Institutes (WGonIFIs), a top advocacy group monitoring involvement of such top global bodies like the World Bank (WB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in projects in India and their impact on communities has said that the WB’s International Inspection Panel’s Report on Amaravati Project has “validated” issues raised by civil society organizations (CSOs).

Uranium mining: 'Frightening' implications for river inflows into Nagarjuna reservoir

Counterview Desk
A civil rights organization fighting for forest dwellers’ rights, Human Rights Forum (HRF), has demanded that the Government of India should withdraw the decision to survey and explore the tiger reserve in Nallamala forest for uranium, even as asking the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governments to reject the survey and exploration proposal.

Cess for Gujarat construction workers: Spending less than 10%; no 'direct help' to beneficiaries

While the Gujarat government’s Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, set up in 2004, as of March 31, 2019, has collected a total cess of Rs 2,097.62 crore from the the builders, it has spent less than 10% -- Rs 197.17 crore. And, as on May 31, 2019, the total cess collection has reached Rs 2,583.16 crore, said a statement issued by Bandhkam Majur Sagathan general secretary Vipul Pandya.
Pointing out that just about 6.5 lakh out of 20 lakh workers have been registered under the board, Pandya said, vis-à-vis other states, Gujarat ranks No 13th in the amount spent on the welfare of the construction workers, while 11th in the amount collected.
And while the builders are obliged to pay just about 1% of the total cost of their project, the calculation of the cess is flawed: It is Rs 3,000 per square yard; accordingly, Rs 30 per square yard is collected. “Had the cess been collected on the real construction cost, it would have been at least Rs 7,000 crore”, Pandya added.
Pan…

Govt of India's new labour codes 'exclude' millions in unorganized, risky, vulnerable jobs

Counterview Desk
In a strongly-worded commentary, the Working Peoples' Charter (WPC), an initiative to bring together all organizations working with, and organizing people dependent on the informal sector, has said that the new labour codes tabled in Parliament are “primarily driven by the interests of the industry” in order to “alter the labour protection landscape in India beyond repair and reclaim”.

Increase in online harassment of India's journalists by troll armies, hate messengers

By Nava Thakuria*
Each India year India records five to six journalists’ deaths take place. In the first half of 2019, so far two incidents of scribes’ murders have taken place. The first victim belongs to Maharashtra. Anand Narayan was reportedly murdered on June 4 at Antop Hill locality of Mumbai. Narayan, 38, was murdered at his residence by the miscreants.

Pay Rs 15,000 as rent to displaced Mumbai toxic hell Mahul residents: SC orders

The Supreme Court (SC) has disposed of Mumbai Municipal Corporation’s Special Leave Petition (SLP) challenging the Mumbai High Court’s (HC's) order which had directed the Maharashtra government to pay Rs 15,000 rent to Mahul residents so as to enable them to move out of Mahul. The HC in April this year gave this direction after it was established that the toxic atmosphere in Mahul is a threat to the lives of the residents living there. However, the Maharashtra government appealed against the HC order in SC.
Claiming that the Maharashtra government's appeal was based on "false reports", Mumbai's Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao (GBGB) housing rights movement, said the SC "made it clear that there is no ground to give any clarification for disposing of the matter."   The SC order is a major setback to the Mumbai authorities, who were forcing slum dwellers to go Mahul. SC directed the slum dwellers to vacate their houses and accept the accommodation offered by the g…

NREGA wages should be 'part of' floor level minimum wages, much above Rs 178

Strongly protesting against the Central government’s plan to keep NREGA workers outside the purview of whatever floor level minimum wage is declared, the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha (NSM) has said that while the BJP government’s Wage Code bill in the Lok Sabha on July 24 2019 which would fix a national floor level minimum wage, the Rural Development Minister “has stated that NREGA wages will continue to be less than this national floor level minimum wage.”
“This implies that NREGA workers will continue to be exploited and will be forced to work at pittance wages”, NSM said, adding, “Ironically, this will result in the Central government disobeying a law that it is making mandatory for everyone else. It will also result in shutting out one of the largest sections of our rural work force from a right that will apply to all other workers.”
Insisting that MGNREGA wages must be “a decent, dignified wage and above the national floor level wage”, MSM demanded that “a clause to this effect must be…

Govt of India 'undermining' state legislatures' powers by amending RTI Act

Counterview Desk
Senior Right to Information (RTI) activist Venkatesh Nayak, who is with the advocacy group Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, in an email alert to Counterview on the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019, passed in the Lok Sabha on July 22 and introduced in the Rajya Sabha on July 24, has argued that the Government of India appears to have undermine state legislatures' powers while pushing through the amendment.

Seven ex-information commissioners oppose RTI amendment, say govt 'not honest'

By Our Representative
Seven former Information Commissioners of the Central Information Commission (CIC) have condemned the move of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government to amend the Right to Information (RTI) Act, terming it a direct attack on autonomy of information commissions and peoples’ fundamental right to know, urging the government to withdraw the "regressive" amendments.

Unresolved? 36 Rafales now cost 7.1 billion euros, 126 in 2012 cost 7.75 billion euros

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Rahul Gandhi tried to make the Rafale issue the sharp edge of the sword to politically slay Narendra Modi. He failed. But that does not absolve the Modi government from providing convincing answers as to why we are paying almost three times more for each Rafale than what was offered in 2014. People need an explanation. It is not a defence secret. It is an essential truth that is being sought.

22,000 children risking lives in India's 'illegal' mica mines, 10-20 die each month

By Rajiv Shah
An investigation by a high-profile e-journal run by a top American digital media and entertainment company focused on young women, Refinery 29 (R29), based in the Financial District, Manhattan neighbourhood of New York City, has raised the alarm that 9,000 miles away, nearly 22,000 children are risking their lives while working for a paltry sum of Rs 20 to 30 per day in mica mines of Jharkhand and Bihar.

Amaravati project: Now China-led investment bank 'withdraws' under public pressure

By Our Representative
In yet another setback to powers-that-be, the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has pulled out of Amaravati Capital City Project of the Andhra Pradesh government. The decision, communicated by its spokesperson Laurel Ostfield, follows the World Bank -- a co-financier of the project -- last week pulling out of the project.

Enrolled but 'not attending': Whither adivasi girls' education in Madhya Pradesh?

By Rahul Banerjee*
I set out four decades ago to try and improve the situation of Adivasis in the Western Madhya Pradesh region but unfortunately have mostly met with failure. However, nothing hurts more than the most recent in this series of failures because it is related to girls' education.

Mob Lynching in Bihar: Nitish Kumar indulging in word play, says NAPM

The National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) has said that Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar instead of taking a recent incident of mob lynching head on is indulging in "idle word play" at time his administration "is not serious about citizens' safety or in promoting a secular environment.
Commenting on the killing of three persons in Saran distict, the CM had said thar it is "not a case of mob lynching but of murder arising out of local situation." In the mob lynching incident, Raju Nat, Bides Nat and Naushad Quereshi of Paigambarpur village were killed on July 19, 2019.
"It has been alleged that the deceased were cattle thieves. The police have stated that villagers caught them while they were stealing cattle and beat them up using sticks and iron rods leading to their death. Three men have been arrested in this case so far", NAPM, a network of tens of grassroots organizations in India, said.
This is the third incident of mob lynching…

Nationwide protests against efforts to 'undermine' Forest Rights Act

Responding to a national call for action by the Bhumi Adhikar Andolan (BAA), more than hundred protest demonstrations and public meeting were organised across the country on Monday, expressing their "disappointment" for the "shoddy" manner in which State governments and the Central government are dealing with the implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA).
Adivasis and other traditional forests dwellers submitted memorandums to the Prime Minister, Chief Ministers and the Ministry for Tribal Affairs through their district administration authorities and demanded that their rights are recognised through effective implementation of FRA. They also sought withdrawal of the Forest Rights Act (Amendment) Bill 2019.
Protest demonstrations were held in Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Rajasthan, Kerala, and Uttar Pradesh.
The action happened in the wa…

RTI amendment: Would Govt of India now 'downgrade' statutory bodies CVC, NHRC?

By Our Representative
Hundreds of people took out a protest march in Delhi on Monday against what its main organisers, the National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI), termed "regressive amendments" being made to the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Shouting slogans of "RTI Bachao, Loktantra Bachao", protestors concluded the march at the Constitution Club where a Jan Manch was held.

Demand to withdraw sedition charge against 30,000 unnamed Adivasis, activists

Counterview Desk
Every 10th Adivasi of Jharkhand’s Pathalgadi area is charged with sedition, Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM), a network of activists and people’s organisations, which organised a protest in Ranchi in front of the Governor's house, has said. In a statement following the protest on Monday, JMM has called for larger support to stand up against violations of Constitutional rights of Adivasis and use of sedition law as tool for repression.

RTI amendment move part of push for 'regressive' changes in pro-people laws

The National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) has said that the proposed amendments to the Right to Information (RTI) Act is part of sinister attempts by the NDA Government to "arbitrarily push ahead regressive" changes in multiple pro-people legislations passed after protracted nation-wide struggles and consultative parliamentary processes when UPA was in power before 2014.
Calling it a move to "dilute" the RTI Act, "one of the most potent tools to ensure governmental accountability", NAPM said, the amendment would undermine the independence and autonomy of information commissions, which a matter of "grave concern."
Introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 19 "amidst a shroud of secrecy and there were no public consultations in this regard", one of India's topmost grassroots organizations said, the law’s passage in Parliament in 2005 was a victory and acknowledgement of the tireless efforts of peoples’ movements and campaigns …

None of India's ministries, departments have mining children on the radar: MPs told

By Our Representative
A delegation of two civil rights groups, Samata and mines, minerals and People (mm&P), has impressed upon several of India's members of Parliament (MPs) to discuss and raise issues relating to illegal mining, the Samata judgment, children in the mining areas and the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) in Parliament, adding, the issue of involvement of gram sabhas in decision making ought to be central for allowing any new projects in forest areas.

UP's Sonbhadra killing of 10 tribals highlights 'failure' to implement Forest Rights Act

Counterview Desk
On July 17, as many as 10 people, including three women, were killed and 28 injured when a village head and his supporters opened fire on a group of tribal farmers in Ubha village of Sonbhadra district in Uttar Pradesh. While the firing took place following a clash between over a land ownership dispute, it reportedly highlights failure of officials enforce Forest Rights Acts (FRA) and Survey Settlement in favour of tribals.

All-India protest action on July 22 against forest dwellers' possible eviction

The Bhumi Adhikar Andolan (BAA), a network of land rights movements across India, will be holding protests all over India against the eviction of forest dwellers on July 22, 2019, ahead of a crucial Supreme Court hearing two days later. The call for action is against the Supreme Court ruling of February 13, 2019 on eviction of millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest-dwelling communities, which was stayed for four months.
BAA said, a protest will also be organized in Delhi a protest demonstration will be held at Jantar Mantar, 12:00 noon onwards, adding, the decision for the action was taken as a two-day National Consultation of Land and Forest Rights Movements held in Delhi early this month, where it was decided to hold programmes and protest actions condemning government actions against forest dwellers and amendments to the Forest Act.
BAA further said, letters have already gone to chief ministers of different states seeking their intervention in favour of the Forest Righ…

Civil society, political parties to hold EVM Hatao protest rallies on Quit India day

Representatives of social movements from 16 states have decided at a national consultation to hold massive long marches and nationwide protests on August 9, the anniversary of Quit India movement, against electronic voting machines being used during the polls. To be bannered “EVMs Quit India! EVM Hatao – Desh Bachao – Ballot Paper Lao!”
Held on July 14, the meeting focussed upon the EVM-VVPAT “fraud” being allegedly perpetrated on the nation, insisting, how the entire election process, including the Election Commission, has been “subverted.”
In a statement, the EVM Virodhi Rashtriya Jan Andolan, which proposes to organize the protest, said, the “unprecedented situation poses a grave risk to the very foundations of our democracy, our Constitution and our institutions because of the EVM-VVPAT.”
Quoting technical experts present at the consultation, the statement said, “The EVMs-VVPATs can be subverted and are clearly pre-programmable. They went on to affirm that the elections results we…

Nationalised banks should serve the poor and the vulnerable: FAN

The civil rights group, Financial Accountability Network (FAN), in a statement on the golden jubilee year of the nationalisation of banks, has demanded that the Government of India should bring back principles of mass banking, adding, "Strong measures should be taken to recover the non-performing assets (NPAs) of corporates", and willful defaulters should be "declared criminal offenders."
Also wanting bank charges to be withdrawn, the statement regrets, the nationalised banks, which contributed hugely to the economy over the last five decades, "are under attack for the past 25 years under the neo-liberal rule", and multiple efforts are on "to privatise banking sector under the dictates of the global capital."
According to FAN, this has happening even though public sector banks still enjoy the trust of the public at a time when they are facing one of the most severe crises, and the principle of mass banking and catering to the poor and the vulne…

Why crib? 4.5% is far better than pre-1980 'Hindu rate of growth': Subramanian replies

By Rajiv Shah
Even as sticking to his original argument that India's gross domestic product (GDP) since 2011-12 has been overestimated by 2.5%, renowned economist Arvind Subramanian has said in a fresh paper that his estimate of post-2011-12 growth rate at around 4.5% is surely not "implausibly low", as some of his critics have been arguing following his controversial June paper.

Govt of India seeks to 'subvert' autonomy of adjudicating authorities: RTI amendment

Counterview Desk
India's independent Right to Information watchdog, The National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI), in a statement, has said that the Government of India’s proposed amendments to the RTI Act to empower the Centre to unilaterally decide the tenure, salary, allowances and other terms of service of Information Commissioners at the Centre and States “seriously undermine” the law.

Govt of India 'lying': MGNREGA budget reduced by Rs 1,084 crore in 2019-20

Counterview Desk
NREGA Sangharsh Morcha, a well-known advocacy group for the rural jobs guarantee scheme, under implementation since 2005, has said that the statement by the Rural Development Minister has a made a mockery of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) on the floor of Parliament, revealing the ruling BJP’s “anti-worker and anti-poor bias”.

Uninterrupted, clean Ganga? Five years of Modi rule 'keeps' the river shackled, shocked

By Vimal Bhai*
In a recent address to Parliament, the President of India said that the government has set a goal for making the Ganga uninterrupted and clean by 2022. Along with the Ganga, the government will work on a similar pattern on the Yamuna, Narmada, Kaveri, Godavari and other rivers. This has got me worried about the future of these rivers in the country.

Introduced in Lok Sabha, amendment proposals a 'blow' to RTI's federal scheme

By Venkatesh Nayak*
In less than two months of returning to power, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA-III) government has revived its 2018 proposal to curtail the autonomy of the Information Commissions established under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act). A similar attempt was made exactly one year ago but the Bill to assume power to regulate the tenure, salaries and allowances of Information Commissioners across the country was not tabled in Parliament.

Sixty citizenship-related deaths in Assam, 28 Hindus, 27 Muslims: CJP

The Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), a Mumbai-based human rights organization currently taking up the cause of those who are being "wrongfully" declared foreigners in Assam, has said that "nearly 60 people have lost their lives and their deaths are connected to citizenship related issues" in the state.
"While some have allegedly committed suicide due to frustration, anxiety and helplessness related to the National Register of Citizens (NRC), some allegedly took their own lives fearing incarceration in detention camps", CJP says, releasing the names of those who have died in Assam.
"There are also some people who died under rather mysterious circumstances in detention camps", it notes, adding, CJP has so far "compiled and verified these deaths as of July 17, 2019... A total of 58 people have died so far. These include 9 women."
According to CJP, "Those who died hailed from low income, underprivileged and marginalised backgroun…

Ahmedabad civil rights organization to launch 'Improve roads, Save lives' campaign

Ahmedabad's civil rights organization, Nagrik Sashaktikaran Manch (NSM), has decided to launch 'Improve roads, Save lives' campaign on Sundays starting July 21 across different parts of the city for the next two months, reminding city authorities that the recent Kankaria incident, in which two persons died and 29 injured when the ride collapsed, was only a grim reminder to "the cost of negligence" on the part of those who had assigned business to the firm which operated it.
Jatin Seth, convener, NSM, in a letter to the Ahmedabad municipal commissioner and mayor, said, such innocents may again be lost if cave-ins, pot/pit holes on roads are not taken seriously. "This will happen if the Ahmedabad Municipal Commission (AMC) keeps on ignoring all warnings issued by news media and citizens when there will be heavy rainfall during the current monsoon season", he added.
The campaign, which will cover Sarangpur, Odhav, Rakhial, Sukhramnagar, Maninagar, Daxin…

PUCL should listen to others sans intrusions of 'received' analysis, ism, political belief

By V Suresh*
In the background of the triumphant re-election of the Modi government for a second term covering 2019-24, more concerns arise than merely the fact that we will witness a continuation of 5 more years of communally divisive, sectarian and majoritarian politics.

As World Bank pulls out of Amaravati Capital City Project, activists call it 'major' victory

By Our Representative
In a significant move, which is likely to have repercussions at multiple levels, the World Bank has decided to pull out of the $300 million lending to the Amaravati Capital City project in Andhra Pradesh. Wthe orking Group on International Financial Institutions (WGonIFIs) and the affected communities of the Amaravati Capital City Project have welcomed the decision, saying the project was being implemented without taking into account threat to people’s livelihood.

Demand for separate anti-atrocities law for minorities in Gujarat

A Gujarat-based civil rights organization has demanded that the state assembly, currently in session in Gandhinagar, should come up with Minorities (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, on line with the anti-atrocities laws for scheduled castes and tribes. The decision was taken at a well-attended meeting of the Minority Coordination Committee (MCC) in the state capital.
Jignesh Mevani, independent MLA from Vadnagar, and a well-known Dalit rights leader and also popular among minorities, told the meeting that he would surely raise the issue of having such a law in the assembly. “I would come up with a private member’s bill on this if this does not happen”, he assured about 600 minority representatives from across Gujarat attending the meet.
MCC convener Mujahid Nafees, addressing the meeting, said that the need for such a law is important because atrocities against minorities are increasing in the state. Even those transporting buffalo are being attacked by cow vigilantes. Even as coming up…

India's top fact-checking site altnews.in non-partisan: IFCN sets aside complaint

In a major victory for India’s top fact-checking website, altnews.in, the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) – a unit of the Florida-based Poynter Institute “dedicated” to bringing together fact-checkers worldwide to “support a booming crop of fact-checking initiatives by promoting best practices and exchanges in this field” – has set aside a complaint that it is violating IFCN’s nonpartisanship policy. The site altnews.in is a certified member of IFCN.
IFCN said, in early June, @factchecknet had “received a series of complaints from India about @AltNews” (the twitter handle of altnews.in), saying that the organization's founder was linked to a political organization.
IFCN’s Baybars Örsek @baybarsorsek said, on June 13, IFCN extended a series of questions to @AltNews and received responses by June 20, adding, “After consultations with the assessor of the application and in-depth consideration of the issue”, IFCN decided that “there is no ground to take any action against @…

Satellite images may be used to support verdict to 'evict' lakhs of India's forest dwellers

By Our Representative
Ahead of a crucial Supreme Court hearing on July 24, indications have emerged suggesting India's top officialdom is preparing grounds to support the controversial petition by hardcore conservationists, which led the apex court to order on February 13 a time-bound eviction of millions of forest dwellers, whose claims for forest land under the Forest Rights Act (FRA) was rejected by authorities across India.