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Showing posts from August, 2019

Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary: Khudai Khidmatgar to hold yatra in South India

By Our Representative
The revived Khudai Khidmatgar, the social harmony front originally founded by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, has announced it would celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi by holding a "people meet rath yatra from Chennai to Rameshwaram via Coimbatore.
In a statement, Khudai Khidmatgar convener Faisal Khan said, the year 2019-October to 2020-October, would be "a better opportunity for all the peace loving, progressive thinkers those strongly believes in the freedom of every human being in this world."
Insisting that the aim of the yatra is to connect with the large population with a strong message to stand up for equality, protection, justice, peace and maximum humanitarian values with the environment we live, Khan said, "Through this yatra we will connect with at least one lakh people by organizing 150 village level meetings, 150 college level meetings, 150 school level meetings, 150 civil society organizations.
"At last we w…

JICA hands over crucial bullet train report to Gujarat farmers, denied by Govt of India

By Rajiv Shah
Chief representative of Japan International Co-operation Agency’s (JICA) India office Katsuo Matsumoto, who visited the office of senior Gujarat High Court advocate Anandvardhan Yagnik in Ahmedabad on August 30, has handed over a crucial report it had prepared on its December 8-9, 2018 meeting with Gujarat and Maharashtra farmers, affected by the high-profile Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, as also senior activists.

Madhya Pradesh govt not doing enough to support Narmada dam oustees: NBA

By Our Representative
The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) has criticised the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh for failing to do enough to ensure that the Narmada dam oustees do not suffer because because of the rising water level in the river.
A statement issued on NBA leader Medha Patkar's hunger strike entering the sixth day for 32,000 oustee families' rehabilitation said, "Although the Kamal Nath government of Madhya Pradesh has started a process of dialogue with NBA, it has failed to comment on the order of the Gujarat government and the Narmada Control Authority by which gates of the dam have been closed and the water level is continuously rising in the submergence area."
Mea while, support for Patkar's hunger strike grew, members of the MGNREGA Mazdoor Union staging protest in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Parliamentary constituency, Varanasi, outside the district collector's office. Union representatives submitted a memorandum to the collecto…

NGO launches digital campaign in Jharkhand to fight malnutrition among girls

By Our Representative
Recognising that in Jharkhand six out of 10 girls drop out of school and become child brides, and the state is among the worst in human trafficking, bonded labour and malnutrition, making it a challenging place to empower women, Happy Ratio, an Indian health startup, has launched #YehHaiMeriLife, what it calls “an impactful digital campaign.”
Focusing on the importance of complete nutrition for girls in sports, the startup said in a statement, young girls in India face multiple challenges on a daily basis such as social inequality, lack of opportunities, malnutrition and trafficking. “With the support of partners, Happy Ratio, in collaboration with Yuwa, an NGO in Jharkhand, it is providing girls 100,000 complete nutrition drinks.”
Launched on August 29, the campaign coincides with India’s National Sports Day. Asserting that gender stereotypes have had “a huge impact on the girls in India”, the statement said, “While India’s women athletes have been breaking r…

Rehabilitate Narmada dam oustees on war footing: NBA petition to Kamal Nath

Counterview Desk
A separate petition to Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath, floated by the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), close on the heels of a similar plea by “Friends of Narmada” to the President, the Chief Justice of India, and the Prime Minister, has sought “immediate action” to rehabilitate thousands who have been displaced due to the Sardar Sarovar project in Gujarat.

Narmada: Petition for President, CJ, PM, saying 2 lakh people may face submergence

Counterview Desk
An open petition floated by what have been called “Friends of Narmada”, addressed to the President of India, the chief justice and the Supreme Court and the Prime Minister, has asserted that the people of Narmada valley are facing an unprecedented crisis, claiming, nearly two lakh people are “threatened” with submergence as the Narendra Modi government is slated to close the Sardar Saovar dam gates within a few weeks.

Modi appeasing increased global acceptance of anti-Muslim 'bigotry': US Congressman

By Rajiv Shah
In a surprising assertion, Andy Levin, who represents Michigan’s 9th District in the United States Congress, and is also a foreign policy expert, has gone a long way to suggest that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Kashmir move -- to take away the state's special status -- wouldn't face opposition from influential quarters internationally.

Medha Patkar rejects chief minister Kamal Nath's plea to end hunger strike

By Our Representative
Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar has rejected Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath's plea that she should end her hunger strike, which has entered the fifth day. On satyagraha along with her NBA supporters at Chhota Badda in Barwani district against "illegal drowning" of Narmada dam oustees, 10 more activists joined her hunger strike on Thursday.
The ten persons who joined Patkar belong to the affected villages of Bhavati, Bijasan, Ganpur, Chhota Badda, Rajghat and Gangli. A statement issued by NBA said, the Centre and the Government of Gujarat remain insensitive to the point of thousands of families in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat, who are forced to face drowning without policy-driven rehabilitation.
It added, the Narmada Control Authority (NCA), a central government agency, is deliberately trying to drown the peasant-tribals, cattle herders, potters, and landless laborers without rehabilitation by increasing the da…

Deepening industrial crisis, Gandhian model of economy and post-globalisation scenario

By Sandeep Pandey*
On August 20, 2019 the "Indian Express" e-paper carried  an unusual advertisement by the Northern India Textiles Mills Association about Indian spinning industry facing a huge crisis. The spinning mills are incurring huge loses, they are not in a position to buy Indian cotton, livelihood of 10 crore people, directly or indirectly, dependent on textile industry and a larger number of farmers who produce cotton are in jeopardy.

Pathalgadi: Jharkhand govt's 'violent' response to non-violent tribal rights movement

Counterview Desk
A Jharakhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM)-supported fact-finding team, consisting of senior civil rights activists, has insisted, on the basis of a spot inquiry, that Pathalgadi, an adivasi movement in the state, is “non-violent response to specific policies of the government, primarily attempts to change land laws”.

50% cops feel Muslims 'naturally' commit crimes, 20% call anti-atrocities law biased

By Our Representative
A recent report, “Status of Policing in India Report” (SPIR) has found that 14% police personnel feel Muslims are ‘very much’ naturally prone to committing crimes, while 36% feel they are ‘somewhat’ naturally prone to committing crimes. Also, 25% personnel, according to survey (to a large extent and somewhat combined), feel that “natural for a mob to punish the culprit in case of cow slaughter.”

As Narmada water levels rise, MP minister 'supports' fasting Medha Patkar's demands

By Our Representative
Madhya Pradesh home minister Bala Bachchan called on Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar, who is on fast for the last four days to demand opening of gates of the Sardar Sarovar dam to ensure that the water levels in the dam are kept at 130 metres so that there is minimum submergence of villages in the upstream.
Even as expressing concern over the health of Patkar, who has been fasting for the last 4 days, Bachchan promised to resolve the demands by taking them to chief minister Kamal Nath. Parkar and her supporters told the minister that the dam’s water levels, which have already reached 134 metres, should be reduced to 130 meters.
Taking the water levels to the full reservoir level, 138.68 meters without rehabilitation would mean end to a living civilization, which would also mean infringement of the Narmada Tribunal award and various court orders, they asserted.
NBA activists said, the state government should push for a timetable for filling up N…

India 'houses' 13 of world's top 40 coal-fired anthropogenic SO2 emission hotspots

By Rajiv Shah
Close on the heels of top international environmental NGO Greenpeace reportedly identified six coal-fired power plants and industrial clusters as India’s “worst nitrogen oxides (NOx) hotspots” on the basis of data from Tropomi, a Dutch satellite instrument, the NGO has now found, on the basis of data obtained from NASA, that India houses 13 of the world’s top 40 anthropogenic sulfur dioxide (SO2) emitting hotspots, resulting from coal combustion.

Mining in Bhavnagar district would render 25,000 jobless, 'impact' Asiatic lions

By Our Representative
Farmers’ rights leader Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), in a letter to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), has wondered how could the Government of India grant environment clearance (EC) to the UltraTech company for mining limestone in Bhavnagar district by taking away the livelihood of 25,000 people. As against this, the company, he claimed, would be employing just 30 people.
UltraTech’s EC has been approved for excavating limestone in Talaja and Mahuva talukas of Bhavnagar district in Gujarat despite protests by people, Rabari said, adding, this was done without verifying the details the government was provided.
According to Rabari, a right to information (RTI) plea suggests has there are several Asiatic lions, as also other rare wildlife species, living in the area. Asserting that wildlife would therefore get disturbed, he added, mining would be allowed on 1715.1311 hectares (ha) of land, affecting 13 villa…

Kashmir: Gujarat civil society appeals to apex court for 'constitutional propriety'

By Our Representative
Gujarat’s 22 civil rights activists, in a letter to the Chief Justice of India, protesting against the three-week-long clampdown in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), have said this has create an undeclared state of emergency in Kashmir.  The decision to write the letter was taken following a recent meeting of the Movement for Secular Democracy in Ahmedabad.
Claiming that about 4,000 persons have been arrested amidsgt a huge military presence – there is one military man for almost five civilians – the letter says, this is alarming because, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), endangers “sexual violence against women” and “violation of human rights” in J&K.
Protesting against the “continuing restrictions on phones and internet, disrupting publications of newspapers and curbing the freedom of press as a form of collective punishment”, the letter says, this has crippled the daily life and economic activity of Kashmir.
“Appalled” by the way in which “in on…

Farmers, fisherfolk, agariyas oppose Rann Sarovar project in Little Rann of Kutch

By Our Representative
A well-attended meeting held at Nimaknagar in the presence of Dhangadhra MLA Purushottam Sabariya, and with the participation of agariyas, farmers, fisherfolk, maldharis and charcoal makers, has expressed deep concern over the probable impact the proposed Rann Sarovar project in the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK).
The meeting was organized by the Agariya Heet Rakshak Manch (AHRM), and was presided over by its secretary, Harinesh Pandya, who said that there was a need to recognise the contribution of the community in conserving wildlife and ecosystem of LRK. Speaking on the occasion, Sabariya assured people that he would convey to their concerns to the authorities on what would happen to 150 villages of five districts surrounding LRK in case the project was undertaken.
Fisherfolk representatives expressed their apprehensions about the future of prawn fishing of LRK, valuing a business of Rs 300 crore during just four months of monsoon. Prawns from LRK are of export qu…

Who ate our foodgrains? Ration cardholders of Jharkhand’s West Singhbhum ask govt

By Siraj Dutta
Hundreds of ration cardholders of 11 villages from across West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand have protested in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office against the denial of their Public Distribution System (PDS) foodgrains for “many months” over the past two years. Following the protest dharna, a list of demands was forwarded to the district administration, stating, pending grains of all the villages from 2016 onward should be immediately distributed to the cardholders.

RSS international wing 'infiltrating' US offices: American minorities body raises alarm

By Our Representative
The Organization for Minorities of India (OFMI), a US-based body claiming to represent India's minority communities, including Dalits and Adivasis, living in America, has raised the alarm that the international wing of the RSS has penetrates government offices across America, citing how the "US affiliate of Indian paramilitary" has been busy hosting "events with police, fire, elected officials".

Kashmiri Pandits have first, uncontested claim over Valley resources: Jammu-based editor

By Nava Thakuria*
It was an amazing interaction with a senior journalist based in Jammu, organized through video-conference at a time when the entire Kashmir Valley is under strict internet censorship, allegedly as a precautionary measure taken by the Government of India following the revocation of Article 370 and 35A, and also the reorganization of the extreme northern State.

Amnesty protests 'detention' of Mehbooba Mufti, Farooq Abdullah, Shah Faesal, others

Counterview Desk
One of the world's topmost human rights organisations, Amnesty International, has called upon the Government of India to immediately release all political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and put an end to the deliberate silencing of voices in the region, pointing out that human rights violations risk in the state is going unreported because of communication blockade.

All-party meet in Kargil 'condemns' Govt of India's Kashmir clampdown

By Our Representative
In Drass sector, a town in the Kargil District, a meeting was held by the locals to discuss the current situation of the Jammu and Kashmir state and its regions in light of the recent abrogation of Article 370, 35A and bifurcation of the state.
A meeting attended by members of various religious communities in Drass, a town in Kargil district, including Sunni, Shia, Ahle Hadith, Noorbakshia, along with members of political parties National Conference, Indian National Congress, People Democratic Party, and Bhartiya Janata Party has reportedly protested against the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir.
A statement made public by senior human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi said that local elected representatives of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (Kargil) also attended the meeting, where a decision was taken to form a coordination committee of Drass to work out how to move forward at a time when there was continuous …

Medha Patkar begins fast to protest Gujarat govt refusal to open Narmada dam gates

By Our Representative
Narmada Bachao Andolan (NDA) leader Medha Patkar has begun fast, alongside 24 women associated with the top the anti-dam organization at Chhota Badda village in Badwani district of Madhya Pradesh, against the alleged refusal of the Gujarat government to close open Sardar Sarovar dam’s gates in order to keep the reservoir level low, less than 130 metres.
Blaming the Government of India’s and Gujarat government’s “adamancy”, in a statement, NBA said, the water levels in the dam’s reservoir have reached 133 metres, turning hundreds of villages and farms into islands. Even at 130 metres, temples, buildings, shops had begun being submerged.
Pointing out that World Bank apprehensions, when it withdrew from the project in 1993, that the dam would lead to unprecedented submergence, are providing to be true, the statement said, the villages which are most affected are situated in Barwani, Dhar, Khargone and Alirajpur districts of Madhya Pradesh.
Meanwhile, in a letter t…

To India's FM, informal sector, contributing 54% to GDP, isn't 'real' wealth creator

By Joe Athialy*
The press conference addressed by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on August 23 is an indication that, finally, the government acknowledges that the economy is crumbling and nearly hitting the rock bottom. That a 5 trillion dollar bubble can burst within two months of announcing it in the Union budget would be a record set for a long time to come!

National meet to discuss UAPA changes allowing govt to 'brand' anyone terrorist

By Our Representative
Several civil society activists have called for a National Convention in Defense of Democratic Rights on August 31-September 1 at Rajendra Bhawan, ITO, New Delhi, especially focusing on the recent amendments to the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), empowering government to brand, without due process, any person 'a terrorist', strengthening of the National Investigation Agency Act (NIA) and the dilution of Protection of Human Rights Act.
The convention, says a statement issued by the Delhi Solidarity Group’s (DSG’s) Priya Pillai and Anil Tharayath, would also focus on the “persistence” with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, the threat of a nationwide NRC, the undemocratic abrogation of Article 370 and 35A of the Constitution of India and the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir are all steps to legislatively institutionalize an authoritarian state.
The signatories, who include Kavita Krishnan, Harsh Mander, Vimalbhai, Madhuresh Kumar, …

Govt of India 'has no plan' to reduce energy, fossil fuel consumption, emissions

Counterview Desk
In his representation to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Government of India on draft National Resource Efficiency Policy (NREP), 2019, top power policy analyst Shankar Sharma has insisted that there is imminent need to consider the economic activities at the national/international level very carefully from the perspective of climate change.

Manifesto against democratic 'deficit' and capitalist Westphalian nation state

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* 
What is happening to democracies across the globe? Democratic deficit, neoliberalism and rise of authoritarianism moving together by dismantling social harmonies and states… The rise of Donald Trump in USA, Narendra Modi in India, Boris Johnson in United Kingdom, Erdoğan in Turkey, Jair Messias Bolsonaro in Brazil and many others are not only examples of the symptoms but also the results of democratic deficits in the world today.

Delhi advocacy group 'regrets' perception gap between Kashmiris, rest of India

By Our Representative
In a representation, prepared for forwarding it to the President of India, a Delhi-based advocacy group, Sadbhav Mission, has regretted that the Government of India's "perceptions" Kashmiris and the rest of the country are very different.
Seeking activists' signature across the country, it notes, "Complete lock down in Kashmir under heavy army deployment indicates a deep uneasiness of the Kashmiri people while there are provocative jubilations in other parts of the country.
Pointing out that "grievances as well as local aspirations of any people should find expression through their political representatives and elected bodies such as panchayats and assemblies, the draft representation says, "Reducing the status of J&K Assembly to two Union Territories is a serious curtailment of political rights of local populace, something unheard of in free India."
The civil rights group asserts, "Article 370 was introduced as …

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

$5 trillion 'plan' to increase India's land, air, water pollution, solid, liquid, gaseous wastes

Counterview Desk
Well-known power policy analyst Shankar Sharma, based in Vijayanagar Sagara, Karnataka, in a representation to Reserve Bank of India governor Shaktikanta Das has taken strong objection to the latter’s recent statements (click HERE and HERE), where he wants to pursue a higher rate of growth as the “highest priority.”

Ambedkar 'staunchly supported' plebiscite in Kashmir, 'never opposed' special status

Counterview Desk
As many as 132 activists, academics, students, artistes and others have condemned the support shown by some Dalit-Bahujan politicians, without taking their name, for the Government of India’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s (J&K’s). Among those who had shown to the Government of India included Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati and BSP MP Satish Chandra Misra.

Use of live ammunition in Kashmir amounts to violation of right to life: UN experts

By Our Representative
Five UN human rights experts have called upon on the Government of India to end the “crackdown” on freedom of expression, access to information and peaceful protests imposed in Kashmir, even as pointing out that the use of “excessive” force against protesters, including the use of live ammunition, amounts to “violations of the right to life”.
“The blackout is a form of collective punishment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, without even a pretext of a precipitating offence”, the experts said, adding, they were “deeply concerned” by reports that security forces were conducting night raids on private homes leading to the arrests of young people.
“Such detentions could constitute serious human rights violations,” the experts said, adding, “We are gravely concerned about allegations that the whereabouts of some of those detained is not known as well as the general heightened risk of enforced disappearances, which may proliferate against the backdrop of mass arre…

RSS 'demonizing' Muslim demographics: Hindus' growth rate decline 2.5% lower

By Mohan Guruswamy*
The RSS is riding its old hobbyhorse again. Addressing the Yuva Dampati Sammelan attended by reportedly 2000 young couples organized by the RSS’ Kutumb Prabhodan in Agra on August 21, the RSS Sarsanghchalak, Mohan Bhagwat, apparently concerned about the “declining Hindu population” exhorted young Hindu couples to have more children.

River interlinking to transfer tribals' drinking, irrigation water to Maharashtra industries

Counterview Desk
Top advocacy group, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), recently submitted its comments on the Damanganga–Vaitarna-Godavari Intrastate Link project to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), a project sought to be packaged by the Maharashtra chief minister as diversion of water from allegedly water surplus Konkan region to the drought-affected Marathwada region.

2002 riot victims haven't been rehabitated, compensated: Ahmedabad minority meet

By Our Representative
A meeting organised by the Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), Gujarat, which observed the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief  on August 22 at Siddiqabad rehabilitation colony in Ahmedabad, has insisted that the 2002 Gujarat riots are a living example of oppression based on religion.
Speaking on the occasion, MCC convener Mujahid Nafees said, the victims of the communal carnage haven't yet been properly compensated by the government, and many of them have still not been rehabilitated. Road, water and street lights have not provided to rehabilitation colonies like Siddiqabad, which was set up by a private trust, as the government did not provide housing to the victims.
Explaining the importance of the day, Nafees said, incidents of attacks on religion and people of other faiths have increased worldwide, one reason why the United Nations at its 73rd session seriously discussed events around the world …

New Gujarat governor 'assures' Dalits he would work to end untouchability in state

By Our Representative Gujarat Dalit community representatives, who met governor Acharya Dev Vrat to congratulate him for taking over the constitutional post in Gujarat, have handed over a list of demands to end untouchability especially in the state’s rural areas. Meeting the governor at Raj Bhawan, Gandhinagar , the statement issued by them following the meeting claimed that they had a “a positive discussion on the issue and discussed the abolition of untouchability.” During the meeting, the governor said, several of the Dalits’ problems were solved when he was the governor in Himachal Pradesh. Temples put up boards allowing access of Dalits in temples, which wasn’t the case earlier. The governor, who asserted he was a follower of Arya Samaj, said, he spread the message of equality and harmony by having meal in Dalit households in Himachal Pradesh, adding, he was determined to eradicate the stigma of harassment in Gujarat.
Those who met the governor included Kirit Rathore, Kanti Pa…

Bhim Army warns Bharat bandh if Ravidas Temple in Delhi not restored

By Our Representative
In a statement, the well-known Dalit rights organization, Bhim Army, has said that its peacefully protesting activists, as also those belonging to the Ravidasiya community were lathicharged “brutally”, tear gas was used and bullets were fired in air. It added, the organization’s chief Chandrashekhar Azad “got injured" in the lathicharge.
Pointing out that instead of taking him to hospital, the police arrested Azad as well as the Bhim Army’s national president Vinay Ratan Singh, the statement said, “We have no idea about their whereabouts and demand their immediate release”.
The protest took place after the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) demolished the Sant Ravidas temple at Tughlaqabad on August 10 on the orders of the Supreme Court.
Warning the BJP government at the Centre and the Aam Aadmi Party Delhi state government not to use oppressive measures on peacefully protesting Bahujan community through violence and police force, the organization has wa…

Golden age of Guptas? Hindutva 'plan' to impose ancient Brahminism on vast majority

By Sheshu Babu*
Extreme violence has a way of preventing us from seeing the interests it serves'. -- Naomi Klein in 'The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism'
Many analysts have presented critique of the abrogation of Article 370 and its impact on the political and social conditions but not much has been expressed about the causes of such hasty policy decisions. While the ' timing' has been somewhat unexpected, there were many indicators that led to such a move. Hence, the decision is not very much surprising.

Why Gandhi's thought, practice of communal harmony 'waned' post-Babri demolition

By Sandeep Pandey*
It is well known that Mahatma Gandhi began his meetings with a all faith prayer - reciting portions from various religious texts. Gandhi was a firm believer in the idea of communal harmony. From his childhood as he used to nurse his father, he got an opportunity to listen to his father's friends, belonging to different religions including Islam and Zoroastrian, about their faith.

Here's proof: Manual scavenging is rampant, Ahmedabad isn't open defecation free

By Parsottam Vaghela*
Authorities of Ahmedabad, the largest city of Gujarat, may have gone into full swing in its cleanliness drive under the Swachh Bharat mission after the city was awarded the open defecation free plus (ODF+) certificate by the Union government’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. However, my visit to some of the areas of the walled city of Ahmedabad on August 7 in order to ascertain whether it has become open defecation free suggested that the claim is a total humbug.

Don't allow Narmada dam to be filled up to full reservoir level: NBA plea to Govt of India

By Our Representative
A delegation of the well-known anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), has asked secretary, Jalshakti Ministry, UP Singh, who is also chairman, Narmada Control Authority (NCA), that Sardar Sarovar dam should not be allowed to fill up to 139 metres, which is the full reservoir level, pointing out, so far, 32,000 families in 172 villages “still need to be rehabilitated satisfactorily.”
The delegation, which was led by Vimal Bhai, a close associate of well-known NBA leader Medha Patkar, said, the rising waters are threatening their life and livelihood, insisting on the urgent need to complete their rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R). “Until that happens let the gates of the Sardar Sarovar Dam be lowered so that water recedes from the villages of the Narmada”, it said.
An NBA release claimed, the secretary “didn’t have a word of assurance or even action to the delegation”, but only “kept repeating the same official line that R&R is complete a…

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

India 'shifting' in favour of renewables? 90% decline in finance to coal power projects

By Our Representative
The Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), a top Delhi-based advocacy group, has said that an analysis of 52 project finance deals comprising loan component across coal-fired power and renewable energy projects (hydroelectric, geothermal, wave, wind and solar power projects), shows that 80 per cent of the project money went to renewables last year.
Pointing out that coal received just 20 per cent of the project finance, the analysis said, of the total lending to coal power projects (Rs 6,081 crore), Rs 3,938 crore came from majority government-owned financial institutions. On the other hand, of the total lending to renewable power projects (Rs 24,442 crore), Rs 18,263 crore came from majority privately-owned commercial banks. The CFA analysis asserted that this trend is consistent with findings from 2017, adding, the deals were identified via investigation of subscription-based financial databases provided by Bloomberg Professional, IJGlobal, Thomson Reuter…

National award winning film 'Hellaro' co-produced by three chartered accountants

By Our Representative
“Hellaro”, a Gujarati feature film produced by Saarthi Productions in association with Harfanmaula Films (Ahmedabad) was declared as the Best Feature Film at the National Film Awards which was conferred by the Government of India. The film also won the Special Jury Award for the Best Actress to all the 13 actresses of the film.
Ashish Patel produced the movie, which has been co-produced three co-producers, Aayush Patel, Prateek Gupta and Mit Jani, all of whom, interestingly, started their filmmaking journey after becoming Chartered Accountants in 2012.
“Hellaro” is directed by Abhishek Shah, who has been working in Gujarati theatre since the past 17 years as writer, director and actor and has received numerous awards for his plays. He has also worked as a casting director for 12 films.
“Hellaro” is a period drama based in Kutch and has been co-written by Abhishek Shah and Prateek Gupta. Gupta previously received the Best Debut Director Award, along with Mit Jan…

UN experts object to GoI move to 'reinforce' trend of prosecution, eviction of tribals

Counterview Desk
In a report sent to the Government of India, three United Nations (UN) special rapporteurs, expressing "concerns" over the failure to ensure "adequate" implementation of the India Forest Rights Act (FRA), have regretted that the Government of India has not cared to reply their previous communications on this.

Why is UP govt so afraid of activists holding meetings?, asks Sandeep Pandey

By Our Representative
In a statement in Lucknow one day after the Uttar Pradesh government barring eight activists from addressing scribes in Ayodhya, senior Magsaysay award winning social activist Sandeep Pandey and advocate Mohammad Shoaib have wondered, "Why is the government so afraid of us holding meetings?"
Claiming that there were five attacks on freedom of expression in 10 days, they by said, "On August 11 and 16, 2019, advocate Mohammad Shoaib, Sandeep Pandey, Rajeev Yadav and others were house arrested in their homes to prevent them for participating in candlelight demonstration in support of people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K)."
Then, on August 17, 2019, Prof Ram Puniyani, Sandeep Pandey, Rajeev Yadav, Hafeez Kidwai "were stopped from proceeding towards Ayodhya to participate in a communal harmony meeting and sent back from Raunahi." This was followed on August 19, 2019, when Acharya Yugal Kishor Shashtri, Faisal Khan and Sandeep Pandey we…