Skip to main content

Posts

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…

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

As submergence stares Narmada valley, Patkar says: With powerful in throne, we're helpless

Counterview Desk
Well-known anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), plans to begin its “Resist Illegal Submergence in Narmada Valley” satyagraha on August 21 at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, amidst news that the situation in the valley is “critical”, with two persons having already died in flood-related incidents in the upstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam.

RTI Act holy cow for Govt of India? Official insists, don't ask why, when, what, where

By Pankti Jog*
The Government of India appears to have begun treating the Right to Information (RTI) Act as a holy cow. Its officials seem to believe that the Act is a sacred law, under which people shouldn't be questioning its functioning. One recalls what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing an RTI convention in 2015: “Why should government wait for people to ask information, we will have all information out in the domain, we have nothing to hide."

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.