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Showing posts from September, 2019

'No regulation' in India on use of deadly chemical in surfactants, consumer products

By Our Representative
A new study released by Toxics Link, ‘Dirty Trail: Detergent to Water Bodies’, has found alarming levels of the toxic chemical nonylphenol in detergents as well as in river water in India. The detergent samples were taken from the local markets of Delhi and water from six rivers i.e. Garh Ganga and Hindon in Uttar Pradesh, Krishnan in Andhra Pradesh, Tapti in Gujarat, Bandi in Rajasthan, Mahanadi in Odisha and Ambazari lake in Nagpur.

Mumbai education company to 'empower' women through abacus training

By Our Representative
Kids Inteligence, which calls  itself a supportive education company engaged in providing end-to-end solutions for the development of children’s brains, has decided to incentivise homemakers and professionals to join its abacus coaching business. The organization claims itself to be a leading abacus teaching and training institute of Mumbai.

Kandla Port Trust activities 'destroyed' mangroves, affecting rare camel species: NGT

By Rajiv Shah
Taking serious note of large-scale destruction of mangroves on about 750 acres in Bhachau taluka of Kutch district, the National Green Tribunal (NGT), Delhi, has “directed” the Gujarat government, its forest department, and the Gujarat Coastal Zone Management Authority (GSZMA), to “jointly inspect the area” and fix responsibility as to who is “responsible for obstruction of the creeks” next to the Kandla Port Trust (KPT), leading to the damage to the plantations in the area.

Narmada valley: SC notice to Gujarat, MP, M'rashtra on submergence sans rehabilitation

By Our Representative
Thr Supreme Court has issued notice to Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra governments following a Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA)-backed petition seeking the explanation as to whether large areas of Narmada Valley have gone into submergence by filling up the Sardar Sarovar dam up to the full reservoir level (FRL) without rehabilitating the project affected families (PAFs).

Australian environmentalists block Adani coalmining site for four hours

By Our Representative
Around 30 environmentalists on Wednesday block access to Indian tycoon Adani's Carmichael coalmine site in Australia, disrupting work for four in the morning. The group blocked the gates of Adani workers’ camp, stopping workers from entering the proposed mine site. The group declared that with Prime Minister Scott Morrison set to "snub" the United Nations Climate Action Summit next week, there is an urgent need to take action and stop the construction of new coal mines.

Amidst Modi celebrations, thousands protest 'massive' submergence in Narmada Valley

By Our Representative
Thousands of women and men gathered on at the Shaheed Stambh in Badwani, Madhya Pradesh, to raise their voice against what they called "the destruction of the Narmada Valley", protesting against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Gujarat BJP rulers for celebrating the Sardar Sarovar dam being filled up to the full reservoir level (FRL) on September 17, which also happens to be Modi's birthday.
Calling it a black day for the people of the Valley, whose villages and farms got submerged because of highest-ever water level having been achieved in the dam, the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), which organised the parallel rally across the border with Gujarat, regretted in a statement that Modi's celebration at the dam took place amidst " martyrdom of the Valley".
The demonstration in Badwani was preceded by a vehicles rally, which took rounds of the city streets. They were joined by people from several villages of Dhar district. They gather…

As villages submerge, earthquake tremors felt in Narmada valley: Centre 'indifferent'

By Our Representative
The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), India’s top anti-dam campaign organization, that following the Sardar Sarovar dam reaching full reservoir level (FRL), 138.68 metres, villages in the upstream have begun experiencing “earthquake tremors.” In a statement issued from Badwani, where NBA is holding a major rally to protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday bash at the dam site, NBA said, this is happening alongside “drowning” of villages in the Narmada valley.

Tarbez lynching case: IIM-Bangalore faculty, students, staff seek Modi intervention

By Our Representative
In an unusual move, over hundred faculty, staff and students of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore, have made an appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking his office to intervene in the Tabrez Ansari lynching case. The statement comes close on the heels of national outrage over the manner in which police and doctors have reportedly tried to undermine the motive behind the lynching of Tabrez, religious fanaticism.

Religious 'motivations', cops' negligence, doctors' lapses behind Tabrez's death

Counterview Desk
Ravi Kiran Jain, national president, and Dr V Suresh, national general secretary, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), have said, there is clear evidence to suggest, Jharkhand’s Tabrez Ansari “lynching murder case” is sought to be watered down by state authorities, including police officials and doctors, insisting, the government should “restore the murder charge under Section (u/s) 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)”, even as taking steps against the prosecuting police officials and doctors for “criminal negligence.”

Gujarat NGO 'certified' best workplace for women for second year in a row

By Our Representative
SEWA Rural, a Gujarat-based NGO, has been certified as the best workplace for women for second year in row by the Great Place to Work, which, says an NGO communique, is a global authority in “creating, sustaining and recognizing high-trust, high-performance culture at workplaces”. The organization partners more than 10,000 oragnizations across 60 countries to help them build a great work culture for their employees.

Gujarat Human Rights Commission seeks report on workers entering gutters sans mask

By Our Representative
The Gujarat State Human Rights Commission has asked the Patan district collector and the chief officer, Patan municipality, to respond detail within 20 days on what action have they taken regarding a complaint it received on gutter workers being forced to enter into manholes without necessary safety equipment, including oxygen masks, putting at risk their life.

Saltpan workers' body opposes proposal to turn Rann of Kutch into sprawling lake

By Our Representative
The Agariya Hit Rakshak Manch (AHRM), an organization working among Gujarat's saltpan workers, has opposed the proposal to turn the Rann of Kutch into a huge lake. Floated by Jaysukhbhai Patel, managing director, Ajanta-Oreva group, the industrialist claims that once the lake on a 4,900 sq km takes shape, the barren Rann would become arable, and the water problem of entire Kutch-Saurashtra region would be solved.

Raise human rights concerns on Kashmir at UN General Assembly: India's 'partners' told

Counterview Desk
Top rights-based organization based in New York, Human Rights Watch (HRW), has called upon India to free Kashmiris arbitrarily detained, especially those who have been held for “more than a month without charge”, even as insisting that the UN Human Rights Council, at its current session in Geneva, should “urge India to act on recommendations in the report of the UN high commissioner for human rights.”
Also demanding that the upcoming meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York, India’s international partners “should put human rights concerns at the center of their engagement with Indian officials and press the government to uphold international human rights standards”, HRW’s Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director, has been quoted as saying that India is making a “mockery of its human rights commitments by denying Kashmiris a voice in their future, jailing political leaders, and suspending basic freedoms.” The HRW statement, issued ahead of Prime Minister Narendra M…

US Air Force expert smells regional security threat following Chandrayaan mission

Counterview Desk
A United States Air Force expert, writing on India’s Chandrayaan -2 mission, has expressed the apprehension that Indian moon probe’s “failure” won’t stop an Asian space race that “threatens regional security.” Affiliated with the US Air Force School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Wendy Whitman Cobb, who is Professor of Strategy and Security Studies, believes like other space powers, India may be “seeking to improve its technology”, but advances can “also bring greater security concerns.”
Currently, admits Cobb, “These efforts have been primarily civilian and peaceful in nature.” However, India’s turn toward the military uses of space, so much so that lately it has been developing its own military satellites providing services such as remote sensing, tracking and communications “with greater frequency” has begun to “concern” the neighbours.
In her disclosure statement to an article published in the e-journal “The Conversation” Cobb, however, states that whatever…

Historic Chikhalda, temples, mosques submerged, activists 'rescue' Gandhi idol

By Medha Patkar
The first farmer of Asia was born in Chikhalda, if one is to believe archaeological researchers. A historic village, 50 percent of its population is of Hindus and 50 percent of Muslims, yet it has always remained peaceful. Chikhalda has struggled to save water, land and people along Narmada river.

NAPM's Puri biennial meet in November to discuss Narmada, Kashmir, UAPA, FRA

By Our Representative
The National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has announced it would be holding its 12th biennial conference of national coordination at Jagannath Puri, Odisha, on November 23-25, and the issues to be discussed would include the struggle of the Narmada dam oustees, implementation of the Forest Rights Act, amendment to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, and the situation in Kashmir.

South Gujarat wastewater carrying pipeline damaged, 'harming' farmlands

By Our Representative
The pipeline carrying industrial wastewater to the Gulf of Khambhat from Jhagadia industrial estate in Bharuch district has been found to have damaged for the eighth time over the last one and a half months. The crack, says a local environmental organisation, has occurred at Hansot, endangering agricultural farms.

Narmada oustees to protest in Badwani, as Modi prepares to 'celebrate' submergence

By Our Representative
As the water level in the Narmada dam has reached 138.68 metres mark, which is the full reservoir level (FRL), ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's birthday, September 17, the Narmada Bahcao Andolan (NBA) has called for a major protest rally in Badwani, the town in Madhya Pradesh bordering Gujarat.

Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra tribal oustees of Narmada dam 'not rehabilitated': NBA

The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) has protested against the Madhya Pradesh government seeking to declare that all the tribal villages affected by the Sardar Sarovar dam as having been rehabilitated, a flawed stand, it claims, was also taken by the previous state BJP rulers of Madhya Pradesh, as also the present rulers of Maharashtra. Pointing out that the present Congress rulers had assured reconstitution of all rehabilitation committees, NBA in a statement wonders, why they have still not been formed.
“Where are the MLAs, MPs and ministers, who gave statements in favour of the affected people?”, asks NBA, pointing out, “The extent of plight on the tribals can be seen when one looks at Manilal Gopal Tadvi, aged 75, and his wife Judd Kaki, whose houses in Manibeli village of Maharashtra were drowned in 1993. Like many other Tadvi families, they have received no assistance.”
The situation is the same with “After declaring Bhitada as the model village of Alirajpur district in Madhya Prade…

Rescind Gates Foundation award to Modi, demand three Nobel Peace laureates

Counterview Desk
In a major boost to those opposing the award to the Gates Foundation’s proposed to be awarded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, three Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Mairead Maguire (1976), Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman (2011) and Shirin Ebadi (2003), have in an open letter called upon Milinda and Bill Gates to withdraw their decision, stating Modi is allegedly involved in human rights violations.

Kashmiris are one of world's most 'muted, marginalized, misrepresented' people

By Shama Naqushbandi*
Like countless others, I have heard no news from my loved ones in Kashmir since India emptied the region of tourists and flooded in tens of thousands of additional troops, before severing all communications with the outside world. Only Kashmiris can understand what decades of militarization does to the psyche, and the magnitude of suffering that results from the sustained brutalization of a people.

Karma tribal festival an occasional to campaign for tribal rights: IPMSDL

By Our Representative
The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), in a solidarity statement has suggested that the current Karam festival of Central India -- which seeks to promote sisterhood, friendship, cultural unity, and closer link to nature -- should be the occasion to campaign against alleged efforts to violently drive away forest dwelling communities from their forest homes.
"Millions are threatened to lose lands and livelihood under the implementation of Forest Rights Act (FRA) of 2006", the statement States, adding, "As corporate interests continues to enter tribal territories and extract profit from its natural resources, indigenous people are pushed to further marginalization and discrimination."
Asserting that indigenous movement in India "remains steadfast in keeping their culture, deeply linked to their lands alive by carrying out their heritage and struggles", IPMSDL, even as extending "…

Now clampdown on rally, arrest of pro-freedom activists in Pak-occupied Kashmir

Counterview Desk
In a fresh evidence, international human rights organizations are not just confining their attention on the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), whose special status was taken away by the Government of India in early August, leading to an unprecedented clampdown on the region. They have simultaneously begun focusing on the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), where the situation is said to be worsening.
Thus, the International Human Rights Council ((IHRC) Hong Kong (HK), a top human rights organisation, said to be working towards to the promotion peace, equality, fundamental rights and social justice “as enunciated in the UN Human Rights Charter and other instruments of human rights”, has noted now a new wave of independence movement has struck PoK.  With offices in US, UK, Switzerland and Hong Kong, and having Kirity Roy and Lenin Raghuvanshi as IHRC office bearers from India, in a statement, it has claimed that on September 7 one of the biggest pro-Independenc…

Environmentalists block way to rail project for Adanis' Aussie coalmine venture

By Our Representative
The Adani Group's controversial Carmichael coalmine in Australia was again in news as environmentalists blocked the road leading to the spot where the project's rail line is to be laid. A release by Frontline Action for Coal said, a group of 15 people blocked access to workers entering the site on Friday morning.

Nehru's 'top' blunder: Acted on Kashmiri Pandit advise to arrest Sheikh Abdullah

By Our Representative
Former Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) chief secretary Moosa Raza has said one of the “biggest blunders” of Jawaharlal Nehru vis-à-vis Kashmir was he acted on the advice of Kashmiri Pandit advisers in 1953 and arrested Sheikh Abdullah, the popular Kashmiri leader, one of whose major contributions has been land reforms and abolition of feudal land holdings in the state.
Raza, which was chief secretary in 1988, in his new book “Kashmir: The Land of Regrets”, says Nehru arrested Abdullah on advise of Kashmiri Pandit advisers as he was told that Adbullah wanted “full independence” for Kashmir, so “sooner you get him out better it would be India.”
Raza suggests, the blunder stemmed from the Kashmiri Pandit advisers hostile attitude towards the “whole area”, i.e. Kashmir.  Interviewed by senior journalist Barkha Dutt, who praised the book as “fascinating”, talks of "Four culprits responsible for Kashmir crisis – Mountbatten, Hari Singh, Jinnah and Nehru", even a…

Allow international human rights observers, media to access Kashmir: US lawmakers

Counterview Desk
In a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, two members of the American Congress, Pramila Jayapal and James McGovern, raising "significant concerns" about what they call "humanitarian and human rights crisis in Jammu & Kashmir”, quoting "credible reports" from journalists and advocates on the ground" have said that "the Indian government has detained thousands of people with no recourse, imposed de facto curfews on residents' and cut off internet and telephone access in the region.”

Jharkhand riverine terminal: 485 families 'displaced', lose land, livelihood in Sahibgunj

Counterview Desk
Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposes to inaugurate on Thursday India’s second riverine Multi-Modal terminal (MMT) at Sahibganj in Jharkhand, built at a cost of Rs 290 crore reportedly in a record time of about two years, several civil rights organizations* have said that the government has failed to address the high-profile terminal’s social and environmental concerns.

16,000 oustee families to benefit if Centre 'agrees' on Narmada backwater level demand

By Our Representative
The Madhya Pradesh government has asked the Central Water Commission (CWC) to reconsider the backward level of the Sardar Sarovar dam, which were revised  in 2015. The revision had "kept out" a whopping 15,946 oustee families out of the project affected areas, claiming, these would not suffer drowning.
This was revealed during a meeting the anti-dam body, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), with Madhya Pradesh government officials led by Narmada minister Surendra Singh Baghel in Indore. Based on the review of the backwater levels, the previous state government had talked of "zero balance" for oustees' rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R).
The meeting took place even as oustees continued their protests in the Narmada valley amidst rising water levels leading to sinking of roads in several villages, ruining crops, turning mohallas into small islands, ​​and submerging houses. Those present from the NBA side included its leader Medha Patkar and …

US Kashmiri diaspora body: World leaders, UN 'not acting', India enjoys total impunity

Counterview Desk
Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly session, to begin on September 17 in New York, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, secretary-general of the World Kashmir Awareness Forum, a non-profit organization based in Ohio, US, claiming to focus on providing information on Kashmir, has regretted that despite "violent" behaviour of Indian authorities in Kashmir, they enjoy "total impunity" across the world.

Brahmin superiority? PUCL calls Lok Sabha speaker's remark casteist

By Our Representative
The People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Rajasthan, has taken strong exception to Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla's recent tweet following a meeting of the Brahmin Mahasabha in Kota on September 8, 2019 that "Brahmins have always held a high position in society", which is the result of their "sacrifice and penance", adding, this is the reason why the Brahmin community has "always been in the role of a guide ".
PUCL president Kavita Srivastava and general secretary Anant Bhatnagar, in a statement have said that Birla's tweet is "against Article 14 of the Constitution", as it seeks to establish the supremacy of one community over other communities, even as suggesting that a certain caste is in superior to other castes.
Wondering how could a person make such a casteist statement publicly while he in a constitutional office, PUCL asked Birla to withdraw his tweet, pointing out, it proposes to send its complaint to …

New sample suggests high pollution off Vadodara effluent channel, 'requires' action

Counterview Desk 
Gujarat’s top environmental group Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) has sharply criticized the Gujarat Pollution Control Board’s (GPCB’s) “on-serious, casual letter” dated September 5, which allegedly suggests that the top state state agency does not favour taking any action Central Gujarat’s effluent treatment plant, Vadodara Enviro Channel Ltd (VECL).

Govt of India 'moves' to hold Assam-type foreigners' tribunals across India, warns report

Counterview Desk
A People’s Tribunal on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) has warned in its interim jury report that two recent notifications of the Government of India may lay down the groundwork for triggering an NRC process in different parts of the country, pointing towards recent moves towards this.

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk
“Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

Australian protesters picket, stop work of Adani contractors for Carmichael coalmine

By Our Representative
Australian protesters have stopped work at the Mackay office of piping company AC Whalan, demanding the company withdraws its tender from Adani’s controversial Carmichael coalmine mine.Twenty-year-old Lisa Amato locked herself to the gate of the facility, while a group of 30 people formed a picket line. Adani is a top Indian tycoon close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The group say they have information that AC Whalan have put in a tender for Adani’s polyethylene pipe contract, though the company have not publicly announced. Spokesperson Donna Smit said, “AC Whalan have not publicly declared their interest in Adani’s Carmichael mine, understandably because the majority of Australians do not want this climate destroying mine.”
“The message we are sending to AC Whalan and all other companies involved with Adani is that we have our eyes on Adani’s contractors. With the effects of climate breakdown being seen right now across this country, any company that hopes to…

Decision to merge nationalised banks violates national law: Civil society seminar told

By Our Representative
Is the Government of India decision to merge 10 nationalised banks without any legal basis? Speaking at a recent seminar organised by the Financial Accountability Network India (FANI), Dr Thomas Franco, former general secretary, All-India Bank Officers’ Confederation, said, “Bank merger is against the Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Act, 1970, which stipulates that the consent from board and shareholders is mandatory.”

Assertion that Gujarat Police didn't have ex-SIMI chief's address for 19 years 'laughable'

By Our Representative
Calling the Gujarat Police action of issuing non-bailable warrant against the banned Students' Islamic Movement of India's (SIMI's) ex-president Shahid Badar Falahi and taking him to Gujarat without completing legal formalities in a 19-year-old lawsuit an attempt to "plot communal division", UP civil rights organization Rihai Manch said, it is "a laughable argument that the Gujarat Police did not know about Shahid Badar's address all these years."

Madhya Pradesh using 'false' Narmada dam oustee figures of previous govt: Medha Patkar

Counterview Desk
In her strongly-worded letter to Gopal S Reddy, additional chief secretary, Narmada Valley Development Department, Government of Madhya Pradesh, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar has asserted that he and his government have "failed" to properly convey actual position of the Narmada dam oustees to the Central agency Narmada Control Authority (NCA) and the Government of India, a major reason why large areas upstream of the dam are facing submergence.

TN woman's No Caste, No Religion struggle 'follows' ideals of Marx, Ambedkar, Periyar

By Sheshu Babu*
In these days of rising communal tensions, a courageous woman from Tamil Nadu achieved her dream of obtaining 'No Caste, No Religion' certificate through persistent struggle. This is quite a significant achievement. It comes alongside some colleges in West Bengal introducing 'humanity', 'agnostic' , 'secular' or 'non-religious' in the application forms for online submission for students who are unwilling to disclose their faith.

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Modi used to 'run errands' during Emergency, his role was that much: Top JP associate

By Rajiv Shah
In a sharp exposure, well-known Gujarati critic, journalist and activist Prakash N Shah, who had been among the main contact persons of Jay Prakash Narayan (JP) in Gujarat, has recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “merely running errands” during the Emergency (1975-77) period, adding the PM’s stature has been “sought to be unnecessarily inflated”, though adding, he is not saying this to “belittle him.”

Corporate investment in Kashmir in highly communal atmosphere 'can't hold' promise

Pushkar Raj*
Last month, the Government of India with a presidential reference abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution that gave special status to the state under its agreement of annexation with India in 1947. Under the article the state had its own constitution, flag and assembly to guard its autonomy, but now it would be governed from New Delhi.