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Showing posts from November, 2019

Food security? Tribals rendered 'niraadhaar' without aadhaar in Gujarat's Adivasi belt

By Pankti Jog* Government data on Universal Identity (UID) or aadhaar website may show a coverage of up to 95% till March 2019. But ground realities are not so glorious. In fact, villages of Devgadh Baria block of Dahod, a predominantly Adivasi district in Gujarat's eastern tribal belt, are facing the bitter truth: That you are virtually a niraadhar (orphan) without an aadhaar number.

Gujarat share in manual scavengers' death 17% of India: Modi 'lying India is ODF'

Outside a public toilet in Ahmedabad By Our Representative Gujarat's share in the death of manual scavengers due to asphyxiation in gutters has been a whopping 17% of India, or 130 out of 776. Union social justice and empowerment minister Ramdas Athawala has told the Lok Sabha that of the 130 deaths in Gujarat, which took place since 1993, the state government has compensated a sum of Rs 10 lakh, as required by a Supreme Court judgment, only in 50 cases.

'Model' Gujarat's 46% rural households don't have drainage, worse than UP, Bihar: GoI

By Our Representative “Model” Gujarat’s rural areas continue to suffer from a major lag in the drainage system, if the latest Government of India (GoI) report, “Drinking Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Housing Condition”, a survey carried out between July and December 2018 across the country, is any indication.

Public consultation? Govt of India 'didn't consult' even CIC before amending RTI Act

By Our Representative Information accessed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act shows that the Central Information Commission (CIC) was not consulted before amending the RTI Act in July this year or subsequently when the rules made to implement it. Revealing this, senior RTI activist Anjali Bharadwaj has said, "CIC has confirmed , in response to an RTI application, that the government did not seek its comments."

Transgender Bill testimony of Govt of India's ‘contempt’ for marginalized community

Counterview Desk India’s civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)* has said that the controversial transgender Bill, passed in the Rajya Sabha on November 26, which happened to be the 70th anniversary of the Indian Constitution, is a reflection on the way the Government of India looks at the marginalized community with utter contempt.

If Govt of India constructs Ramlalla temple, we would 'return' to feudal times

By Battini Rao* The November 9 judgment of Supreme Court gives the entire 2.77 acres of the Babri Mosque land to the deity Ramlalla Virajman, It also directs the central government to form a trust to oversee the construction of a temple at the site of the erstwhile mosque. These decisions of the highest court have pushed the country towards a religion based majoritarian polity, where matters of faith would stand above the rule of law, and faith of the majority community will be treated supreme.

Gender bias of NRC process in Assam may 'infect' India's proposed citizenship bill

Counterview Desk In a fact-finding report, a nine-person team, consisting of activists of the civil rights organization Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression(WSS), has taken strong exception to what it calls patriarchal character of the National Register of Citizenship (NRC), implemented in Assam to weed out "foreigners" from its territory.

Competing with Pakistan? India's 38% infants stunted, one of the highest: UNESCO

By Our Representative A recent UNESCO report has noted that, despite “encouraging declines in stunting” among infants across the world under the age of five, the global reductions cannot “mask the reality that, in many countries, huge proportions of children still suffer from stunting”.

Symbolic protest: Gujarat farmers 'sow' potato seed PepsiCo claims it had developed

By Our Representative In a symbolic protest against PepsiCo, which had filed a case against Gujarat farmers for “illegally” using sowing the potato variety FL-2027 the company claims to have developed and hence has intellectual property right (IPR) over it, the affected farmers and their leaders took up the variety’s symbolic sowing at a press conference in Ahmedabad.

NAPM plans black band peace procession on Dec 6 against Ayodhya judgment

By Our Representative The 12th biennial convention of the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), a top civil rights network, underway at the Doodhwawala Dharamshala in Jagannath Puri, concluded on November 25 by adopting a declaration detailing the alliance’s stance on the pressing national issues of today, including majoritarianism, redefining citizenship, unfulfilled promises made to tribal communities and agrarian crisis.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam* Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Whither "we the people"? Have we Indians really 'done away' with our Constitution?

Sworn in, resigned: CM, dy CM, Maharashtra: Devendra Fadnavis with Ajit Pawar By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* Exactly 70 years ago on November 26, 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India adopted and gave to “we, the people” a landmark Constitution. The Constitution of India is the sacred book of every Indian citizen; it is a bulwark of fundamental rights and directive principles, which are a prerequisite for any healthy democracy.

Farmers go 'desperate': Gujarat government buying up groundnut crop at snail's pace

By Our Representative Releasing a  list of 10,136 Saurashtra farmers belonging to just one taluka, Kodinar, who have registered themselves for selling their groundnut crop to the Gujarat government’s offer to buy it all a remunerative support price, well-known farmers’ rights activist Sagar Rabari has revealed that, contrary to the promise by Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani that “all groundnut will be bought over”, things are moving at a “snail’s pace.”

Major 'glitches' in Gujarat's online land record system: Thousands of farmers complain

By Our Representative Even as the Gujarat government officially unveiled the integrated online revenue applications (iORA) 2.0 system, claimed to be the first of its kind in the country, which brings nineteen services under the revenue department online, facts have come to light it is rocked by major glitches.

Fishermen 'protect' ecosystem, yet have no right over water bodies: NAPM meet told

By Our Representative India's top civil engineer rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), which held its 12th national convention on completion of its 25 years in Puri, Odisha, with the participation of over 1,000 people's representatives, saw Lakhan Musafir of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, Gujarat, taking strong exception to the world's tallest Statue of Unity, saying, it has led to tribals losing their agricultural land and fodder for their cattle.

No Muslim would ever oppose Universal Civil Code, claims top RSS ideologue

By Our Representative A conference, called to “educate” people on the Indian Civil Code at the Constitution Club, New Delhi, on Saturday, has seen RSS ideologue Indresh Kumar, an ex-Ajmer dargah terror blast accused, tell Muslims that none of them would object to Uniform Civil Code (UCC), claiming it doesn’t “conflict with any of the tenets of Islam” and as “good” for Muslim women.

'Discussed' with Modi, Gujarat Rann Sarovar proposal for Kutch runs into rough weather

Old Surajbari bridge, proposed spot of the dam to "stop" sea water ingress  By Rajiv Shah Top Saurashtra industrialist Jaysukhbhai Patel’s by now controversial proposal to convert the 4,900 sq km Little Rann of Kutch area, an eco-sensitive zone – a UNESCO biosphere, world’s only wild ass reserve, and a nesting ground of lesser flamingoes – into a huge sweet water lake, called Rann Sarovar, has suffered a major roadblock. At least three Central agencies have expressed serious doubts about its feasibility.

Sixth worker dies of fatal silicosis in 2019 in Gujarat's ceramic hub after govt 'refused' help

Bharat Mohan Parmar By Our Representative In yet another gruesome incident, Bharat Mohan Parmar, aged 46, has died of silicosis on November 23 morning at Thangadh, Surendranagar district, which is the hub of ceramic units in Gujarat. Sixth worker from Thangadh to die of the deadly occupational disease this year, Parmar worked in different ceramic units as a glaze worker for about 27 years. 

Kashmiris 'betrayed', India's solicitor general 'doesn't understand' ground realities

Counterview Desk The National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), India’s top civil society network, has claimed that the Government of India (GoI) us “lying about the situation in Kashmir”, insisting in a statement signed, among others, by Medha Patkar, Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, Dr Binayak Sen, Prafulla Samantara, Lok Lingraj Azad, Kavita Srivastava and Sandeep Pandey that it is totally wrong to say “migrant workers and marginalized communities continue to stand in solidarity with the people of Kashmir.”

Misinformation on sedition: Jharkhand govt 'downplays' repression in Pathalgadi villages

Constitutional clauses written on a pathal in adivasi area Counterview Desk The civil rights organization, Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM), has contested the state government claim that not 10,000 people but only 172 persons have been accused under sections 121A/124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which is regarding waging a war against the state or sedition.

Set up experts committee to find reasons behind high air pollution: Gujarat CM told

By Our Representative Gujarat's premier environmental non-profit organization, Paryavaran Mitra, has asked chief minister Vijay Rupani to immediately set up an expert-level committee to find out the exact reasons for sharp rise in pollution in Ahmedabad. This committee, says a letter by the organization's director Mahesh Pandya, must focus on each of the city's regions as a unit, even as taking the opinion of the people.

Centre's attitude 'ludicrous' as growing list of MPs demand new HC bench for west UP

By Sanjeev Sirohi* It is heartening that one after other leaders both from BJP and Opposition parties like BSP are raising the demand for the creation of a high court bench in West UP. The latest to join the growing list of MPs demanding the creation of a high court bench in West UP is Kunwar Danish Ali of BSP from Amroha. He has demanded that it should be created at the earliest.

Ahmedabad students sign huge banner in support of JNU anti-fee campaign

By Our Representative A left-wing students' union in Gujarat went in for a massive signature campaign in Ahmedabad in support of the anti-fee hike movement of Jawharlal Nehru University (JNU) students. The All-India Democratic Students' Organisation (AIDSO) organised the campaign near the main gate of the historic Gujarat College, whose students had made a major mark during Independence movement.

Now 5 acres for Charminar in Hyderabad? 'Conflict' around Bhagyalaxmi Temple

By Mohan Guruswamy* Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah (1580-1611 CE), the fifth sultan of the Qutb Shahi dynasty of Golconda, laid the foundation of its iconic Charminar to symbolise the founding of Hyderabad. Hyderabad was intended as a citadel of Muslim power in the Deccan. Qutb Shah was an accomplished poet and wrote his poetry in Persian, Telugu and Urdu. His famous ghazal “piya baaj pyaala piya jaye na, piya baaj ek din jiya jaye na” is still a favorite in soirees today.

D Litt to ex-Ajmer dargah terror blast accused at Lucknow minority varsity opposed

By Our Representative In a surprise move, Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti Urdu Arabi Farsi University at Lucknow has conferred honorary D Litt on RSS leader Indresh Kumar, who was an accused in a 2007 bomb blast incident at the Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti Dargah in Ajmer, and an accused in the murder of another Hindutva worker Sunil Joshi.

Sardar Patel was on Nathuram Godse's hit list: Noted Marathi writer Sadanand More

Sadanand More (right) By Our Representative In a surprise revelation, well-known Gujarati journalist Hari Desai has claimed that Nathuram Godse did not just kill Mahatma Gandhi, but also intended to kill Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Citing a voluminous book authored by Sadanand More, “Lokmanya to Mahatma”, Volume II, translated from Marathi into English last year, Desai says, nowadays, there is a lot of talk about conspiracy to kill Gandhi, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, but little is known about how the Sardar was also targeted.

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

Golwalkar, Savarkar By Shamsul Islam* With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here...  ***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism. Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained s

Option before Modi: Kartarpur may help build peace, friendship, 'gain' popularity

By Sandeep and Arundhati Dhuru* It was heartening to hear Narendra Modi praise Imran Khan for facilitating the opening of 4.7 km corridor so that Sikh pilgrims from India could visit the Gurudwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur in Pakistan, after a mostly anti-Pakistan narrative first during the general elections and then after the decision related to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) was taken by his government.

Proposing closure of govt schools, why is NEP 'silent' on universalising school education?

By Dr Aparajita Sharma* The Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009 has been pioneering in many ways, It defined changes to be made within a definite timeline for realising children’s right to education. For the first time in the history of India, children in relevant age groups were conferred the right to free and compulsory education as a fundamental right, which is legally enforceable.

Australia's centre-right govt 'wakes up' to Islamophobia, swears by multicultural legacy

By Neeraj Nanda* In an interesting turn, the federal government in Australia, which is led by the centre-right Liberal Party, has slammed incidents of Islamophobia gripping the country, calling them ‘completely unacceptable’. A media statement from David Coleman, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, has referred to a report released by the Charles Sturt University to point towards the danger.

Indian Muslims' position being 'undermined' by new nationalism gripping the country

By Moin Qazi* Muslims are the second-largest demographic of India, with nearly 14 per cent of the country’s population, or roughly 172 million people, but they are so marginalised that their presence in important public spheres is almost invisible. Most of them are poor, semi-literate and driven into ghettos.

Arrested, JNU students protested imposition of edu-preneurs on varsity: RTE Forum

By Our Representative Condemning the arrest of over 100 Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students, who were marching   to Parliament, the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, an education rights organization, has said that the “ruthless” attack on JNU’s peaceful protesters, who included JNU student’s union president Aishe Ghoshe, is an attack on the their constitutional right.

Weight gain during pregnancy in rural India 7 kg as against 13-18 kg norm: Survey

By Our Representative About half of rural women in India eat less than usual during pregnancy, leading to very small weight gain, on an average just about seven kg in the six states surveyed, compared with a norm of 13-18 kg for women with low body mass index (BMI). The worst is Uttar Pradesh, where the weight gain was found to be just four kg, says the Jaccha-Baccha (Mother-Child) Survey 2019, released in Delhi on Monday.

Sabarimala: Male devotee nurturing unholy thoughts is 'unfit' to visit Lord Ayyappa shrine

By RB Sreekumar, IPS (Retd)* The Supreme Court last week, by 3:2 majority, decided to keep the review petitions in Sabarimala matter pending until a larger bench determines questions related to essential religious practices. The majority of CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra expressed that the issue whether Court can interfere in essential practises of religion needed examination by larger bench. Justices Chandrachud and Nariman dissented.

Narmada dam affected people begin satyagraha in Bhopal following 'violent' attacks

By Our Representative Around 1,500 people displaced and affected by the backwaters of Sardar Sarovar Dam have reached Bhopal and begun an indefinite protest, demanding adequate compensation and rehabilitation, in front of the Narmada Valley Development Authority’s (NVDA’s) office. The protestors included people from different districts of Madhya Pradesh, including Barwani, Dhar, Khargone and Alirajpur. Their satyagraha is led by Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar, who has been fighting for the last 34 years, first against the construction of the dam and now for the dam’s operations to comply fully with the Supreme Court orders, the Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal award of 1979 and the state government’s rehabilitation policy. “We have been forced to come to Bhopal as there has been a violent attack on our Narmada Valley carried out by the callousness of Gujarat and central government,” Patkar said. “We have come to ask questions related to the human rights and livelihoods

Church in India 'seems to have lost' moral compass of unequivocal support to the poor

Saint Teresa By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* In 2017, Pope Francis dedicated a special day, to be observed by the Universal Church, every year, as the ‘World Day of the Poor’. This year it will be observed on November 17 on the theme ‘The hope of the poor shall not perish for ever’; in a message for the day Pope Francis says:

Centre 'discriminating' UP, is refusing more high court benches. Will CJI-designate act?

By Sanjeev Sirohi* If more high court benches are created all over India, as was very recommended by the 230th report of the Law Commission of India, it will produce luminaries like the Chief Justice of India (CJI)-designate Sharad Arvind Bobde. It was the Nagpur High Court Bench which nurtured and groomed him as lawyer.

Himself a victim, Jabbar fought for, led largest group of Union Carbide gas leak survivors

By Sheshu Babu* Another anniversary of Bhopal Gas tragedy will pass by next month but still many poor people are suffering the after effects of the release of poisonous gas. Many activists are still engaged in struggle for justice. One of the oldest activists, Abdul Jabbar led the largest group of survivors of the Union Carbide gas leak in 1984.

Ambedkar denied Aryan migration: He 'didn't have' genome data we have today

By Neeraj Nanda* Melbourne: It’s handy for a person living here to say he/she came from a particular country with the passport stamp giving the date and year of entry into Australia. That makes easier to chart out Australian demography with extensive census statistics. But Tony Joseph answers a similar question in his 262 page multi-disciplinary  book , "Early Indians: The Story of Our Ancestors and Where We Came From" in a different context.

Made to sit for hours in DySP office, Gujarat police tells Ranjanben she was never called

Ranjanben in DySP office on November 10 By Pankti Jog* The alleged illegal detention of a visually challenged Right to Information (RTI) and disability rights activist, Ranjanben Vaghela, has taken an unusual turn, with the police, in a reply to her RTI plea, have said, they did not have “any records” of her “detention.”

Resettled Gujarat Narmada oustees 'lack' proper housing, health facilities: LSE study

A resettlement site By Rajiv Shah A London School of Economics (LSE)-funded study, even as asserting that the Narmada dam oustees resettled in Gujarat are materially better off than their counterparts who have been living in semi-submerged areas and have not been resettled, has admitted existence of poor availability of public health facilities and housing even three or four decades after they began living in the villages with state support.

'First time' since 1970s poverty up 10%, consumer spending down 4%: GoI survey

By Our Representative In what may prove to be a major embarrassment for the Government of India (GoI), a new official survey, carried out in 207-18, has reportedly said that average consumer spending in India fell by more than 4% the previous six years "primarily driven by slackening rural demand." The survey, "Key Indicators: Household Consumer Expenditure in India”, carried out by the National Statistical Office (NSO), says that money spent per person in a month fell by 3.7% from Rs 1,501 in 2011-12 to Rs 1,446 in 2017-18.

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Rushdie, Pamuk Counterview Desk As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Ayodhya: Does appeal for peace, harmony also apply to Hindutva brigade for future?

By Sandeep Pandey*, Lubna Sarwath*, Yugal Kishore Shashtri** With the exception of few, every leader of political or social importance is making an appeal to the common people to maintain peace and communal harmony in the wake of tje Supreme Court judgement in the Ram Janambhumi-Babri Masjid case as part of which the entire 2.77 acres of disputed land has been given for construction of Ram temple and Government has been directed to provide 5 acres of land elsewhere for construction of mosque.

Gujarat govt told: High pollution levels require full-time, technical GPCB chairman

Counterview Desk Taking a serious view of the state of environment in Gujarat, the state’s top environmental NGO, Paryavaran Mitra, in a letter to the state chief secretary, Dr JN Singh, has sought appointment of full-time technical chairman of the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB), the state government’s anti-pollution watchdog.