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Showing posts from August, 2019

J&K remained for long 'sole' shining example of land reforms among Indian states

By Prabhat Patnaik*
Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) was the first state in the country to introduce land reforms. There were two components of J&K’s land reforms. First, the system of absentee landlordism that had prevailed during the Maharaja’s time was completely done away with. The land of the absentee landlords was taken over without any compensation and simply distributed among the tenants; whoever was cultivating whatever amount of land on the absentee landlord’s estate as tenant was simply given ownership of that much of land without having to pay any amount of money for obtaining ownership.

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

Kashmirisation of India? Ayodhya communal harmony meet: Activists stopped, detained

Counterview Desk
In a joint statement, three civil rights organizations, Rihai Manch, National Alliance of People's Movements and Lok Rajniti Manch, and Socialist Party (India), have taken strong exception to the Uttar Pradesh government taking "preventive" steps against those seeking to hold a meeting on communal harmony at Ayodhya.

Can't go to court with RTI information, rule Ahmedabad authorities: Kankaria accident

By Pankti Jog*
In a shocking reply to an application filed by me, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) authorities have said that the information provided under the Right to Information (RT) Act should be used in court or in a judicial process. The Act is known to be a major tool that enables citizens to seek certified copies of documents, records from any public authority of state and Central government within 30 days, as per provisions of the Act.

Strategy for united struggle against Hindutva 'fascism': Ideological silence is 'no option'

By Dr Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
Electoral alliance and opportunism of national and regional political parties, neoliberal economic marginalisation and soft secular Hindutva line pandering to Hindu majoritarianism laid the foundation of Hindutva fascism in post-colonial India.

Modi's Gujarati mind? Why govt move to 'sell-off' defence PSUs isn't in national interest

By Sandeep Pandey*
The Standing Committee on Defence, 2017-18, of the 16th Lok Sabha highlights the idea of Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured). The Committee expressed concern over the import content of equipments produced and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories (OFs) and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) because of the dependence it creates for military hardware on foreign suppliers.

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Central Gujarat effluent channel 'releasing' highly polluted industrial wastewater: PM told

Counterview Desk
Senior environmentalists of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Vadodara, Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant, in an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Gujarat chief minister, the Gujarat chief secretary, and senior Government of India and Gujarat government officials dealing with environment, pollution and climate change have said that the authorities’ response their pleas to take action against the leakages and flow of polluted wastewater from the effluent channels of Central Gujarat industrial areas has met with complete inertia.

Congress' anti-democratic laws led to Modi govt's 'Constitutional' changes: Scholars

Counterview Desk
A large number of academics* said to be belonging to several Indian and international institutions, even as taking strong exception to the Narendra Modi government's alleged move to amend the Constitution through "illegitimate" means, have taken strong exception to their colleagues in academia who we have become "all too accustomed to adopting a calculated silence in the face of such indignities."

Tryst with Independence: India falling behind most its neighbours in social indicator

By Moin Qazi*
August 15 is the most cherished date in the Indian calendar .it was on this momentous day, more than seven decades back, that we were born an independent and free country .Mahatma Gandhi’s luminous leadership finally made the British Quit India in 1947. It is certainly an occasion for celebration.

Kashmir normal? Schoolboys, teenagers being arbitrarily picked up, detained: Report

Counterview Desk
A four-person team, consisting of Jean Drèze, well-known development economist; Kavita Krishnan, who is with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist); Maimoona Mollah of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA); and Vimal Bhai of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), back from a five-day fact-finding mission (August 9-13) from Kashmir, has said that people they spoke to “expressed their pain, anger, and sense of betrayal against the Government of India.”
In a report, “Kashmir Caged”, released along with a short eight-minute film, they said, the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, dissolution of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), and bifurcating it into two Union Territories, is not being supported by anyone they met, except for BJP spokesperson on Kashmir affairs Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, who claimed 46% vote share in J&K.
Excerpts from the report: When our flight landed, and the airlines staff announced that passeng…

Impact of state repression? Kashmir's 65% people prefer independence: Cambridge study

By Rajiv Shah 
Even as the Government of India’s controversial move to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into two union territories is not only refusing to down die but has acquired international dimensions, a recent study, published by the Cambridge University Press, has claimed “pro-independence attitudes” among that 65% of Kashmiris, warning, this sentiment worsens when the state machinery resorts “repressive violence”.

Modi's Kashmir move meant to 'solidify' Hindu majoritarianism, 'demonize' Muslims

By Battini Rao*
The parliament of India on August 6 put its stamp of approval on bills abrogating article 370 and downgrading the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) to two union territories. When the representatives of the people of India were deciding the fate of the state, the people of J&K were forced into collective house arrests.

Kashmir kayoed, bhakts 'jubilant': Much like crowds when Hitler purged Jews, Catholics

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
August 12, 2019 was the great festival of Eid al-Adha (incidentally, for Jews, Christians and Muslims – the sacrifice of Abraham is a very significant one); for the people of Kashmir however, this year Eid was a sad day indeed, what with the lockdown and communications blockade!

J&K curbs 'violate' International Covenant on civil, political rights: Letter to Modi

Counterview Desk
The International Federation for Human Rights (IFDH), a Paris-based human rights NGO with global presence, has sent an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the decision to “reconfigurate” Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), remove its special status and impose a “complete lock-down of the region” violates Kashmiris’ “fundamental right to self-determination and their right to participate in crucial decisions that affect their lives.”

Skewed sex ratio 'behind' ban on rural Thakor girls' mobile use, inter-caste marriage

By Jharna Pathak*
On July 14, 2019, the Thakor community of 12 villages of Banaskantha district in Gujarat announced a ban on the use of mobile phones by unmarried women. Simultaneously, they imposed penalties on inter-caste marriages. The family of any girl of the community marrying without the consent of her parents would now be fined Rs 1.5 lakh while that of a boy marrying a girl from other community without his family’s consent would be penalised with a fine of Rs 2 lakh.

NGO identifies 202 victims of child sexual abuse who haven't yet been compensated

Counterview Desk
In a letter to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, 1,500 survivors of rape and sexual violence and their families, even as welcoming the recent suo moto public interest litigation (PIL) on the rise in cases of child rape, have requested to consider treat commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of children as serial rape.

Were JVCs, rock cutters 'reinforcing' Statue of Unity base on dry Narmada riverbed?

By Kevin Antao* 
Having seen photographs and write-ups on the world’s tallest Statue of Unity, constructed and assembled off Narmada dam in South Gujarat, I always wanted to visit the site and see for myself the great marvel that it was being made out to be.

Sardar Patel's 'notable' achievement on J&K: Insertion of Article 370 in Constitution

By Shamsul Islam*
One of the "truths" manufactured in the boudhik shibirs (ideological training camps) of the RSS is that it was Jawaharlal Nehru who forced Article 370 on India while Sardar Patel, the first home minister of India, was opposed to it. The RSS leaders both inside the Modi government and outside ceaselessly keep on blaming Jawaharlal Nehru as the sole architect of Article 370, giving Kashmir special status.

SEWA coops may explore 'using' digital platforms UrbanClap, UPI, Amazon, Myntra

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), India’s premier organization representing mainly working women in the informal sector of Ahmedabad, and cooperatives promoted by it, readying themselves to enter into the new arena of finding a space in the online market? It would seem so, if a two-day SEWA workshop, in which, among others, tens of representatives of national and international women’s cooperatives participated is any indication.

Colonial legacy? Scrutinizing legal challenges to abrogation of J&K’s special status

By Anuj Bansal, Sandeep Pandey*
In an unprecedented move to fulfill its manifestoed promises, the Central government has, through a Presidential Order, rendered Article 370 of the Indian Constitution inoperative ipso facto. While the frenzy of netizens has hailed it as a firm footing towards full integration of the state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) into the Union of India, certain legal infirmities could pose a stiff challenge to the Presidential action and thus halt New Delhi’s objective.

Kashmir 'clampdown' on journalists: It's easier to move around without a press card

Counterview Desk
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an independent, nonprofit organization with headquarters in New York, has taken strong exception to curb on media freedom following the recent crackdown in Kashmir, saying, "Obstruction, confiscated equipment, and hand-carrying stories and photos on flash drive" is all that the journalists in the state are facing.

Kids couldn't fathom why there was no state-imposed night curfew in Mumbai...

By Saket Gokhale*
A few years ago, a friend who works with a non-government organization (NGO) had organized a trip of Kashmiri school children to Mumbai. On the last day of the trip, the kids were being shown around different places in Mumbai for sightseeing. They were all between ages of 8-14. I went along to help her out. After an evening of sightseeing, we took the kids out for dinner followed by ice-cream.

Quit India Movement 'betrayal' and dubious role of Hindu Mahasabha, RSS leaders

By Shamsul Islam*
After the recent guillotine of Article 370, Hindutva ideologue Ram Madhav, while celebrating the occasion stated that it was honouring of the sacrifices of Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and thousands others who laid down their lives for its removal. It is to be noted that Dr Mukherjee was a cadre of RSS and was groomed into a Hindutva leader by another Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar.

Xenophobic nationalism on Kashmir to divert attention from 'erosions' in economy

By Rahul Pandey, Sandeep Pandey*
In a single stroke of decisions, the Indian government has revoked Articles 370 and 35A, bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into J&K and Ladakh, and reduced their status to Union Territories.

IITs, IIMs: 'Stark' discrimination leads to higher Dalit, Adivasi, OBC dropout rate

By Sheshu Babu*
Flaws in Indian education system have been discussed at length by various analysts and root causes have also been pointed out. Still, the situation has not improved. Marginalised sections find it difficult to pursue higher study, even though some of them successfully clear entrance examination and enter reputed institutes like Indian Institutes Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs).

Lives, rights, aspirations, hopes of people of Kashmir are 'biggest' casualties: PUCL

Counterview Desk
India’s well-known human rights organization, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), has said that the decision to drop the special status to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is “a coup against the Constitution and the Kashmiris”, adding, the change in the status of J&K from a state to a Union territory is “an unethical and undemocratic act”, as it “robs the people of Kashmir the little democratic space they have.

Dominated by Brahmanical leaders, Congress shows 'absolute' bankruptcy on Kashmir

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is known to be committed to its ideology on Kashmir. The Sangh Parivar has used Kashmir as a tool to spread the propaganda of Muslim "appeasement" over and over again. Stories of Shayama Prasad Mukherjee's death reverberate  their discussions. So, one shouldn't mind that, when they are in power, they would do everything to please their core voter.

Parliament becoming space where democratic values are being 'eroded ruthlessly': NAPM

Counterview Desk
The National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), a network of tens of rights-based NGOs and mass organizations led by well-known social activist Medha Patkar, has characterized the NDA government's decision to repeal of Article 370 of the Constitution “autocratic”, even as calling it “a monumental fraud on the Constitution and onslaught on democracy.”

Panic was rife, there was no relief... On way to Srinagar airport, people 'begged' to get past

Counterview Desk
In a series of tweets, one Sanna Wani, who seems to be based in Toronto, Canada, apparently on a visit to her relatives in Srinagar, describes the scene in Srinagar, as as she saw it, on the eve of the Central decision to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and abrogate Articles 370 and 35A. Wani also provides a graphic picture of what she saw on her way to the airport on August 5 morning to catch a flight to Amritsar – perhaps to fly back to her residence in Canada.

Address grievances of Kashmiris, stop silencing opposition voices: HRW to GoI

Counterview Desk
Sharply criticizing the Government of India (GoI) decision for revoking the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), one of the world’s topmost rights-based NGOs, Human Rights Watch (HRW), in a statement from New York, has taken strong exception to the manner in which this was done – by refusing to respect the human rights or of everyone, including protesters.

India needs economic solace, prosperity more than 'transient' excitement over Article 370

By Shantanu Basu*
The sordid saga of select politicians pillaging public funds and bankrolling their re-election and paying mercenaries to hold out terror and violence as an instrument of state policy for common citizens is the hallmark in Kashmir, North-East India, indeed behind nearly all insurgency (remember the mercenaries of Purnea that was made into a successful movie in Bombay?).

Turning J&K, Ladakh into UTs? Modi govt 'hasn't learnt' lesson from Nagaland

By Mohan Guruswamy*
The Narendra Modi government’s action of abrogating Article 370 is reminiscent of the precipitous “demonetisation” that marked the downturn of the economy which still shows no sign of looking up. The sudden bifurcation of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into two union territories (UTs) of J&K and Ladakh effectively means liberating Ladakh from the troubled state, but leaving behind a union of two very dissimilar regions, one mostly Muslim and the other mostly Hindu.

Award a protection against 'autocratic' tendencies, but Magsaysay is not infallible

By Sandeep Pandey*
There could not have been a better choice than Ravish Kumar for this year’s Magsaysay Award. Ravish has demonstrated exemplary courage in questioning the sectarian, communal, jingoistic and irrational politics which has dominated the narrative in this country over the last five years when one by one most of the saner voices were made to disappear, some made compromises or simply surrendered and worst there were others who decided to collaborate with this insidious project of right wing fundamentalism.

NGO 'demand': Hand over Narmada water distribution in Ahmedabad to private party

Counterview Desk
In a surprise move, a senior Gujarat civil society leader has suggested that powers-that-be hand over the distribution of Narmada water, provided to Ahmedabad’s residents by pumping it into Sabarmati river, be handed over to a private party. Insisting that this should be done a public-private partnership (PPP) model, Jatin Sheth, who heads Nagrik Sashaktikaran Manch, a platform for citizen empowerment, believes that this would go a long way to “conserve water”.

19% rural UP women taking maternal care 'shouted upon, insulted, threatened': Survey

By Our Representative
A recent study funded, among others, by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, seeking to analyse what it calls person-centred maternity care or PCMC, has found that 57% of the 1,475 women surveyed taking maternity care in India reported that health service providers, including hospital managers, doctors and nurses, “never asked permission before performing medical procedures”, while 69% of women “reported that providers did not explain the purpose of examinations or procedures”.

How would Modi justify nation's security being 'mortgaged' to private companies?

By Sandeep Pandey, Sanjay Singh*
A fact to which the press, and by extension the public, did not pay much attention was when Modi, serving Chief Minister of Gujarat, came to New Delhi in 2014 to take oath as Prime Minister, he used Adani's aircraft. The implication of it only now dawns on us as Adani emerges as the biggest beneficiary of Modi's government.
As Modi returns to power with thumping majority in 2019, a group of Ministers have been empowered to proceed with fast pace disinvestment of various public sector units like Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC), Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Coal India Limited (CIL), Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) speech the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman announced that the government will look to reduce direct controlling stakes in some of the state runs firms by bringing down its holding below 51%…

EVM Quit India call on August 9: Civil society poses 10 'unanswered' questions

Counterview Desk
EVM Virodhi Rashtriya Jan Andolan has given a call for people’s march against electronic voting machines (EVMs) for August 9, 2019. Proposing a rally at 11 am from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, the #BacktoBallot campaign has begun following the National Consultation in Delhi, held on July 14, where it was decided hold nationwide protests on the day Gandhiji gave the clarion call British Quit India!

Bulky, shy and awkward? Why body shaming in any form is toxic, should be overcome

By Satyajit Majumder
I believe in simplicity. I would choose comfort over luxury any day. I don’t have any addictions but social media. Also, my dietician has suppressed the big foodie inside me. I believe am a good singer, and I would like others to believe that, too. From being called an “elephant” to running a popular blog, I think I shaped my destiny the way I dreamed...

Would Govt of India make law, ensure MSP for agriculture is 3 times the crop cost?

By Rajeev Khanna*
In a recent order, the Punjab and Haryana High Court said the minimum support price (MSP) in agriculture should be three times the cost of production of major crops to save farmers from distress. It asked the Government of India and the the Punjab government that MSP should be provided legal status, by coming up with a suitable legislation.

Official 'negligence' behind rural jobs scheme worker Lakhan's suicide in Jharkhand

Counterview Desk
The Jharkhand NREGA Watch, in a Fact Finding Report on the death of Lakhan Mahto, 43, last week, has said that the chief reason for his suicide is failure of the government administration, which refused to re-imburse the “outstanding amount of Rs 1,18,545 from the government for the wages and material payments”, which he badly needed in order repay the loan he had taken from informal sources. 

Draft education policy 'ignores' 4 crore out of school migrant, abandoned children

Counterview Desk
The Right to Education (RTE) Forum, India’s foremost civil rights organization advocating right to education has opposed the recommendation of the draft National Education Policy (NEP) released recently that teaching requirements of schools should be met by peer tutoring, educated members of the community and volunteers.