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Arrest warrants against rights activists: Jharkhand, Maharashtra govts 'collaborate'

By Our Representative
Condemning the arrest warrant issued against Stan Swamy, Aloka Kujur, Vinod Kumar, Rakesh Roshan Kiro and Babita Kashyap on June 19, 2019, in relation to FIR filed on July 26, 2018 for "waging war" against the state, sedition, conspiracy, and Sections 66 and 66A IT Act "based simply on their Facebook posts", the People's Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) has said it is "part of the continued wave of repressive measures" unleashed by government authorities.
PUDR said, this has been happening against the backdrop of the Jharkhand government FIR 124/2018 at Khunti PS against 20 writers, intellectuals and activists against the Pathalgarhi movement in the state over June-July 2018, wherein more than 300 villagers have also been slapped with sedition cases without their knowledge, and there has been deployment of security forces, raids and constant surveillance over the past one year.
"The arrest warrant has been issued close to one year after the FIR was filed, with no follow-up investigation, even though the Supreme Court has struck down S.66A as unconstitutional as far back as 2015, and has held repeatedly that sedition cannot be invoked to target speech, unless there is direct incitement to violence", PUDR said.
"Yet, the Jharkhand government continues its fear tactics against writers and activists working or writing on issues of land rights and the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) for adivasis in the state. Without taking lawful action on FIR, those named in the FIR have been subject to raids and continued surveillance, even as a petition for quashing the FIR remains pending before the Ranchi High Court since last year without a hearing", it added.
Referring to the recent "attack" on Stan Swamy, who is 80 plus, PUDR said, "He was one of the six activists whose houses were raided on the morning of August 28, 2018 as part of the Maharashtra government’s conspiracy related to Bhima Koregaon, and his premises have been raided again on June 12, 2019. As he continues to be threatened as part of that conspiracy, the Jharkhand government, on the encouragement of the CID, is attempting to further target him through the present FIR."



Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

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.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Tata Mundra's possible closure? Power ministry's 'pressure tactic' on consumer states

By Bharat Patel*
Tata power has announced to the Union Ministry of Power that Tata Power may be forced to stop operating  its imported coal-based Mundra Ultra-Mega Power Project (UMPP) after February, 2020. It is not only unfortunate but also criminal that irreversible damage has been caused to the fragile ecosystem of Mundra coast for a project that will have a running life of only seven years.

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

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.

Population control? 10% Indian couples want to delay next pregnancy, but fail

Counterview Desk
Shireen Jejeebhoy, director at Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing, previously senior associate at the Population Council, India, argues that the debate on the country's population was fuelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address to the nation, where he drew attention to “concern” about the challenges posed by this ‘exploding’ population growth, needs to centre around the promotion of rights and education, instead of the language of explosion and the threat of coercion that this term implies.

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.

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' 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”.