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Showing posts from October, 2019

Mumbai special court rejects NIA plea for 'in camera' Malegaon blast case proceedings

By Our Representative
The Special NIA Court has allowed the intervention application filed by 11 journalists in their individual capacity against the National Investigating Agency's (NIA) plea seeking to make the rest of the 2008 Malegaon blast case "in camera", which effectively means no media reporting. BJP MP Pragya Thakur has been one of the Malegaon blast accused.

Bharat Ratna nominee ‘joined hands’ with British masters to 'crush' Quit India

By Shamsul Islam*
The Quit India Movement (QIM), also known as ‘August Kranti' (August Revolution), was a nation-wide Civil Disobedience Movement for which a call was given on August 7, 1942 by the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee. It was to begin on August 9 as per Gandhi's call to 'Do or Die' in his Quit India speech delivered in Bombay at the Gowalia Tank Maidan on August 8. Since then August 9 is celebrated as August Kranti Divas.

Setback to environmentalists? Adani signs major rail contract for Aussie coalmine project

By Our Representative 
In what appears to be a major setback for environmentalists in Australia, India’s powerful Adani Group, close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has announced a $100 million rail contract with the Martinus Rail for the 16.5 billion Australian dollar Carmichael coal-mining project. The contract took place amidst continuing protests against the project, with pickets being organized at different sites.

Bharat Ratna to Savarkar, the only beneficiary of British masters' 'large-heartedness'?

By Shamsul Islam*
On October 15, 2019, BJP released its manifesto for the Maharashtra Assembly elections. Apart from making miscellaneous promises it made a specific promise to the Maharashtra voters, that BJP would secure Bharat Ratna, the highest national honour, for the Hindutva icon, 'Veer' Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and two of the greatest thinkers and warriors of anti-Brahmanical Dalit resurgence, Jyotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule.

J&K 'atrocities' on children: Juvenile Justice Committee relied just on DGP arguments

Counterview Desk
Well-known human rights organization Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), which actively campaigned for justice for 2002 Gujarat riot victims, and is currently involved in helping out vulnerable sections declared "foreigners", has pointed towards how there is an effort to water down atrocities on children in Kashmir following the August 5 clampdown.

Poor quality post-monsoon road repair work in Ahmedabad: Complaint filed

By Our Representative
A Gujarat civil rights organization, Nagrik Sashaktikaran Manch (NSM), in a letter to Ahmedabad municipal commissioner Vijay Nehra has complained about “poor quality of the resurfacing of road” carried out over the last 24-48 hours. Especially referring to road from Surdhara Circle to Subhash Chowk, NSM secretary Jatin Sheth says, “The quality of material -- asphalt, bitumen, coltar -- is probably lower.” He has attached latest photographs to prove his point.

Gandhi 'didn't like' Dalit, tribal conversion to Christianity, even Sikhism or Buddhism

By Bhaskar Sur*
On January 23, 1999 Graham Stuart Steins, an Australian missionary working among the tribals of Odisha, was burnt to death along with his two children by members of the Bajrang Dal, an outfit close to the BJP. Stein had been working among the tribals and taking care of people suffering from leprosy, and in turn, he was deeply loved adored by the tribals impoverished, exploited and excluded.

RTI amendments regressive, why is Centre not making rules? asks Justice Lokur

By Our Representative
Justice Madan Lokur, retired Supreme Court judge, has told a public meeting in Delhi that the recent amendments made to the Right to Information (RTI) Act are regressive and will have an impact on the functioning of the law. Speaking on the occasion of the 14 years of the existing nce of the Act, Lokur regretted, despite their passage more than two months ago, the Central government has not made rules regarding the salary and tenure of information commissioners.

Narmada dam submergence: SC asks Union water resources secretary to submit report

By Our Representative
The Supreme Court has asked the Union water resources secretary to submit a report on the Sardar Sarovar Narmada dam's reservoir regulation by October 21, even as directing the Madhya Pradesh government to provide basic amenities to the dam evictees.

132 Gujarat citizens, including IIM-A faculty, others declare solidarity with Kashmiris

Counterview Desk
A week after it was floated, 132 activists, academics, students, artists and other concerned citizens of Gujarat, backed by 118 living in different parts of India and the world, have signed a "solidarity letter" supporting the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), who, it claims, have been silenced and held captive in their own land. The signatories include faculty members and scholars of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A).

Shivaji allied with Islamic states, welcomed Muslims in army, had qazis on payroll

Counterview Desk
Referring to her her book on Aurangzeb, Audrey Truschke, assistant professor of South Asian history, Rutgers, Newark, US, has controversially claimed that in the mid-1660s, a Rajput – acting on Mughal orders – besieged Shivaji at Purandar, adding, Marathas and different Rajput lineages often acted differently from one another, even fighting each other.

Muslim elite 'promote' English, regional languages: Just 0.8% enroll in Urdu schools

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, “A New Agenda For The Education Of Indian Muslims in the 21st Century”, claiming to be independent and non-sponsored, has said that the ascendancy of regional languages and English, both in education and in general use, has seen a corresponding decline of Urdu, which is particularly sharp among school-going Muslim children.

For Gandhi sanitation was not just picking up a broom, cleaning for photo opportunity

By Sandeep Pandey*
Mahatma Gandhi’s spectacles are being used as an emblem for Government of India’s sanitation campaign Swachha Bharat Abhiyan (SBA). Even though Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, the ideological parent of ruling Bhartiya Janata Party, abhors Gandhi’s ideology, yet Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to use Gandhi as a symbol for his drive for cleanliness.

Amit Shah 'wrong': Lack of transparency characterized bank frauds, NPAs, jobs data

Counterview Desk
India's senior RTI activists Nikhil Dey, Anjali Bhardwaj, Venktesh Nayak, Rakesh Reddy Dubbudu, Dr. Shaikh Ghulam Rasool, Pankti Jog and Pradip Pradhan, who are attached with the National Campaign for Peoples' Right to Information (NCPRI), have said that Union home minister Amit Shah's claim that the Government of India is committed to transparency stands in sharp contrast to its actual actions.

Untold story of Jammu: Business 'down', students fear lynching, teachers can't speak

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report, seeking to debunk the view that people in Jammu, the second biggest city of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) after Srinagar, people had gone “out celebrating” abrogation of Article 370 which took away the state’s special status, has reported what it calls “abominably high levels of fear” across all sections in the town.

Kashmiris in a civil disobedience mode, are going against 'diktat' to open shops

Counterview Desk
A team of concerned citizens, including Ludhiana-based psychiatrist and writer Anirudh Kala, Mumbai-based activist and public health professional Brinelle Dsouza, Delhi-based journalist and writer Revati Laul, and social activist Shabnam Hashmi, travelled to Kashmir and Jammu to understand the impact of the abrogation of Article 370 and the subsequent security clampdown and communication blockade on the lives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

Retired govt officers 'control' India's poorly staffed top RTI watchdog bodies: Report

By Our Representative
An analysis of information accessed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act from 28 state information commissions (SICs) and the Central Information Commission (CICs) has found that several SICs were non-functional or were functioning at reduced capacity as the posts of commissioners. While the chief information commissioner of Tripura is non-functional since May 2019, Andhra Pradesh faced a similar situation for 17 months (from May 2017 to October 2018).

RSS chief's Hindutva motto seems to be: Down with lynching, long live vadh

By Shamsul Islam*
India has turned into the lynching capital of the world. Our country has been tagged with this infamous identity with Narendra Modi becoming Prime Minister of India in 2014. The Modi rule herald the beginning of nation-wide spree of lynching of Dalits and minorities. Unfortunately, there is no government data collection on hate-crimes but few media outlets have been collecting the lynch data.

Success of 'political' Hinduism: Kashmiris being depicted as antagonists of rest of India

By Anand K Sahay*
There are times in history when facts call attention to themselves; they assert their independence in all its amplitude and are in no need of the crutch of interpretation. Such a moment is visible in Kashmir now. Merely by being on the table, the facts there taunt the regime’s proclamations.

NAPM meet to challenge 'oppressive' policies and politics of India's current regime

Counterview Desk
Deciding to hold its 12th Biennial National Convention on at Puri, Odisha, from November 23 to 25, 2019, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of Peoples’ Movements (NAPM), has said that during its 25 years of "struggle and reconstruction", and for freedom, democracy and constitutional values, there was never such attack as today on the countey's post-Independence ethos.

Why shouldn't citizens of India 'deserve to be treated' judiciously by the judiciary?

By Pannalal Surana*
On October 1, 2019 last, the Supreme Court declined to pass interim order to maintain Status Quo about reorganization of the State of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). The petitions challenged the validity of procedure adopted by the Central government in getting legislation about deleting two clauses of the Article 370.

Reduced motor vehicle fines: Is Gujarat violating Article 254 under public pressure?

By RK Misra*
“If you are gonna be two-faced at least make one of them pretty”, said Marilyn Monroe. Sure Madamoiselle!, would go an imaginary conversation for there is no other way to explain the contradictions in the implementation of the amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act which came into effect from September 1, 2019 and stirred up a hornets nest countrywide.

Khudai Khidmatgar launches website to 'fight' hate, promote social harmony

By Our Representative
Originally founded by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, popularly known as Frontier Gandhi, Khudai Khidmatgar has launched its website http://khudaikhidmatgar.org/ to promote social harmony and inclusion. A discussion on the occasion in Delhi, "Social Media - Hate Mongering & Youth", saw Prof Rajeev Ranjan Giri, associate professor, Delhi University, point towards use and misuse of social media, even as throwing light on the history of hate mongering.

Modi govt's Kashmir moves suggest 'sinister plan' to have one party rule like in China

By Sandeep Pandey*
A National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) delegation was detained at Srinagar airport on the morning of October 4, 2019 by the district administration of Badgam and then sent back to Delhi. Individual notices in the name of three activists issued by district magistrate of Badgam say that there was an apprehension that these activists would organise a protest in Srinagar on the issue of abrogation of Article 370 which could pose a threat to law and order and hence their entry into Jammu & Kashmir was being restricted till further order.

India slips 10 points in global competitive rank, performs poor in social sector

By Our Representative
The powerful international body, World Economic Forum (WEF), has ranked India 68th among 141 countries, down 10 places in a year. WEF’s new report, “The Global Competitiveness Report 2019” said, “The drop is only partly the consequence of a relatively small decline in score (61.4 on a scale of 100, –0.7 points), but also, and more significantly, the progress made by several countries ranked close to India.”

Gujarat CM aide 'doubts' authenticity of Gandhi article published in 'Harijan'

By Rajiv Shah
A top aide of Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani has doubted the authenticity of the article written by Mahatma on Gandhi January 27, 1948, three days before his death. Hitesh Pandya, who was assistant public relations officer (PRO) under Narendra Modi’s chief ministership in Gujarat, and is currently serving as PRO of Rupani, has said, there is “reason to doubt”, since the article appeared on February 1, 1948, two days after Gandhi’s assassination.

Newman influenced Gandhi's satyagraha campaign, to be canonized saint on Oct 13

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
On Sunday October 13, Pope Francis will canonize at a ceremony in St Peter’s Square, Rome, John Henry Newman (1801-90) as a Saint of the Catholic Church. Earlier this month, on October 2, we celebrated the 150th birth anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948). On any count, both are significant events.

Denied permission in Ahmedabad to protest on Kashmir, NGO seeks online support

By Our Representative
Gujarat chapter of the Delhi-based Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD), which calls itself is a socio-cultural organization established “as a response to 2002 Gujarat riots”, has sought support from state academics, activists and professionals for a petition against the “unilateral” decision of the Government of India to “revoke” Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) legislature’s “right to self-governance”.

Telangana editor 'persecuted' for his critical coverage in news site: US journos body

Counterview Desk
US-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which calls itself an independent, nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide and defends the right of journalists to report the news safely and without fear of reprisal, has demanded that the Telangana government should immediately release Ravi Prakash, founder of independent Telugu news website “Tolivelugu”, and ensure he is not harassed because of his work.

Top US history panel objects to JNU decision to 'review' Romila Thapar's status

By Our Representative
The prestigious American Historical Association (AHA) has taken strong exception to the Jahawarlal Nehru University (JNU) seeking Prof Romila Thapar’s curriculum vitae (CV) in order to “review” her status as professor emeritus. John R. McNeill, president, AHA, has written to JNU vice chancellor Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar and said it is meant to “discourage" the university's review of Romila Thapar's status as emeritus professor.

Lift restrictions, end repression in Kasumir: Top US committee, rights body

By Our Representative
Pressure from the United States to lift restrictions in Kashmir has shown an upward trend, with the US House Foreign Relations Committee censuring the Narendra Modi government ahead of slated hearing on Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) in Washington DC on October 22, and a top US-based human rights organization seeking end to "repressive" measures.

Nizam funds: Why High Court of England and Wales rejected Pak 'sovereign' claim

By Sanjeev Sirohi*
In a major legal setback to Pakistan, the High Court of England and Wales has given a landmark judgment on October 2, 2019 after a long-drawn-out legal battle that dates back to 1948, rejecting rightly Pakistan’s claims, ruling that the Seventh Nizam of Hyderabad’s descendants and India can collect 35 million pounds from London’s National Westminster Bank. Thus, the decades old legal battle has now finally culminated in India’s favour.

Maulana Azad 'claimed' Quranic sanction in Hindu-Muslim unity, India's freedom

By Firoz Bakht Ahmed*
In the Shahjahanabadi old city of Delhi, between the Jama Masjid and the Red Fort, both monuments reminding of the Mughal pristine glory, a green and glossy patch covers an area where once stood the houses of the Muslim nobility. They were leveled after the Indian revolt against the British in 1857.

NHRC's 'unconditional' summon to Gujarat jail authorities on Amreli custodial death

By Our Representative
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), taking what it calls “a very serious view” , has issued “unconditional summons” to the Inspector General (IG) of Prisons, Government of Gujarat, to appear before the NHRC on November 8, 2019 at 11.00 am, for hearing on the mysterious custodial death of Jigneshbhai Sondarva, who belonged to Dungar village and was aged 30, in Amreli jail in June 2017.

The Economist: 'Disgrace', Supreme Court not hearing Govt of India 'abuses' in Kashmir

By Our Representative
Top British weekly "The Economist" has said that Supreme Court judges are ignoring the Government of India's "abuses" in Kashmir, stating, "If they put off the decisions long enough, they may not have to rule on anything awkward." The commentary comes amidst the Supreme Court urgently forming a vacation bench to hear on Monday morning a petition on cutting of scores of trees in Aarey forest of Mumbai.

Union home ministry has no papers to justify internet shutdown in Kashmir: RTI reply

By Our Representative
The Union Home Ministry has confirmed in a reply under the Right to Information Act (RTI), Act, 2005 that it does not have any papers relating to the restrictions on telecommunications imposed in in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). It has also claimed innocence of knowledge vis-a-vis the widely reported arrests and detentions of politicians and social activists who are residents of J&K.

Narmada submergence: Why no crop damage assessment, asks NBA, warns protest

By Our Representative
The well-known anti-dam civil rights organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), has warned the Madhya Pradesh government that if it does not act to help rehabilitate the Sardar Sarovar dam oustees, a large number of whose villages are under submergence after Gujarat filled up the dam’s reservoir, it would be forced to launch a strong protest movement.

BJP plans to weed out 'foreigners' across India amidst utter chaos over NRC in Assam

By Nava Thakuria*
As the Union government has decided to screen of all “illegal” migrants who are allegedly taking shelter in the country by seeking to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in order to create a nationwide database of “genuine” Inidan citizens, even as detecting “illegal” foreigners, one can apprehend more chaos and confusion across India in the days to come.

Human rights lawyer Girish Patel remembered as the pioneer of PIL in India

By Our Representative
A public meeting in Ahmedabad to pay homage to well-known human rights lawyer Girish Patel recalled his contribution to the legal world as the pioneer of public interest litigations (PILs) in India. Born in 1932, Girish Patel passed way on October 6, 2018, and is known as a rare Gujarat High Court lawyer who fought for the underprivileged sections of society.

10 million miners exposed to silica dust, 50% suffer from deadly silicosis, ministers told

By Our Representative
A recent seminar in Delhi, held in the presence of two Union ministers, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Ashwini Kumar Choubey, has been told that a whopping 10 million workers working in the mining sector are exposed to silica dust, with 50% of them suffering from silicosis, a deadly incurable lungs disease.

India’s ‘grave’ water crisis a result of misallocation, mispricing, mismanagement

By BN Navalawala*
According to NITI (of Government of India) Report (June 2018), India is now entering in to the phase of "acute water scarcity" and if no adequate measures are taken, then the water demand would exceed water supply by the year 2030. Also, the ground water resources in many cities including Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru would get exhausted.

Delhi's Sewerage Master Plan 2031 'accepts': Some sewers can be cleaned manually

Counterview Desk
A civil society report, giving details of 18 deaths of manual scavengers across the national capital since 2017, has regretted that these have occurred with “growing in frequency” despite the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, which mandates that sending people to manually clean sewers, sewerage facilities and septic tanks without safety equipment, training and protection is a grave offence that carries stringent penalties.

78% of firms report sales are 'somewhat or much less than normal': IIM-A survey

By Our Representative
The latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES) has said that while around 46% of the firms in August 2019 reported increase in costs has been more than 3%, down from 49% in July 2019 and 55% in June 2019, and the proportion of firms perceiving significant cost increase (more than 6%) declined sharply to 23% from 29% reported in July 2019, the situation has worsened insofar as sales and profits are concerned.

NYT seeks UN intervention, says: Modi turning autocratic, talks absurd on Kashmir

By Our Representative
In what appears to be a scathing reply to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much-publicized “New York Times” (NYT) article on Mahatma Gandhi titled “Why India and the World need Gandhi”, NYT’s powerful editorial board has said, Modi “didn’t address” the Kashmir issue in his United Nations (UN) speech, calling his assertion at the Houston rally a few days – that revoking the constitutional clause on Kashmiri autonomy meant “people there have got equal rights” with other Indians – “absurd”.

Second silicosis death in less than two months' time in Gujarat's ceramic hub

By Our Representative
In a second death in a little more than a month’s time, another person suffering from silicosis, Mahendrabhai Vaghela, has passed away in Thangarh, Surendranagar district, which is a ceramic hub of Gujarat. Vaghela died of silicosis on September 28, while Hareshbhai, 46, also from Thangarh, working in a ceramic unit, succumbed to the disease on August 24 this year.

Trump's political exigency chose Modi father of India epithet 'ignoring' history

Ram Puniyani*
The ‘Howdy Modi’ event in Houston was an eye catcher for more reasons than one. While the Prime Minister was saying ‘All is Well’ in India, thousands of protestors outside were showing the real mirror to state of affairs in India. At the same time Donald Trump, US president, due to face the process of impeachment, was trying to promote his electoral prospects in the next US elections.

J&K assembly polls, restoration democratic rights sought before block-level elections

By Our Representative
A group of political and social activists led by Magsaysay Award winning scholar-activist Sandeep Pandey has passed a resolution demanding immediately restoration all communication channels in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), even as insisting, block-level elections in J&K declared by the Government of India should be preceded by assembly elections or may be held simultaneously with consultation with political parties and people.

Gates Foundation study: Child malnutrition reduction targets impossible to achieve

By Rajiv Shah 
A Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded study has found that malnutrition remains the “predominant risk factor for death in children younger than 5 years of age”, accounting for 68.2% of the total under-5 deaths, and remains the “leading risk factor for health loss for all ages” despite the Government of India's huge budgetary funding to the tune of US$1.3 billion and the "hope" that the Swacch Bharat Mission would reduce malnutrition.

Top Ahmedabad hospital trustees tell Modi, Rupani: Allow public hospitals to flourish

By Our Representative In an “appeal” to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, trustees of Chinai Maternity and Sarabhai General Hospitals, Ahmedabad, one of the biggest in Gujarat, have said that the hospital was “inspired by Gandhiji’s vision of trusteeship and Daridra Narayan, regretting, “poor patients” today are falling “within the cracks of the health system.”

When Mahatma said, non-violence is not a garment to be put on and off at will

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
“My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God. Non-violence is the means of realising Him”, said Mahatma Gandhi. Thanks to him, perhaps the greatest gifts which modern India has given to the world are his doctrines of ‘Ahimsa’(Non-violence) and ‘Satyagraha’ (the force of Truth). Appropriately enough, from 2007(due to the efforts of the then UPA Government), the United Nations decided to observe the birth anniversary of Gandhi on October 2 every year as the International Day of Non-Violence.