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Showing posts from 2020

A versatile singer, SP Balasubrahmanyam 'represented' idea of India, now under attack

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
SP Balasubrahmanyam (June 4, 1946-September 25, 2020), popularly SPB, who has the world record of singing more than 40,000 songs in 16 different languages of India, represented the idea of India, which is currently under attack. The film industry in Mumbai has been in Hindustani, and not Hindi. Bollywood was built mostly by those whose mother tongue was neither Hindi nor the city’s original mother tongue, Marathi, or what is often called Bambaiya Hindi.

Dubbed urban Naxal, Arun Ferreira a 'victim' of BJP govt's sectarian, vendetta politics

By Atul, Sandeep Pandey*
Arun Ferreira is a civil rights activist and human rights lawyer. He has been behind bars since June 6, 2018, when he was arrested in connection to the Bhima Koregaon event held earlier that year. Like many other activists, he was slapped with Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, sedition and other anti-terror related offenses allegedly for inciting the ensuing violence that police claimed was calculated to disturb public peace.

Farm bills: Centre 'pushing' 75 crore Indians dependent on agriculture to uncertainty

Counterview Desk
Stating that the three farm bills passed in Parliament are “against farmers and food security for all”, and urging the President of India not endorse them, the civil rights organization Right to Food Campaign has said that they seek to reduce the state’s role in procurement of foodgrains, even as opening up markets for corporate interests without any protective regulation.

Jamia, Shaheen Bagh: Did fifth columnists infiltrate unique movement from beginning?

By Salman Khurshid*
The protests at Shaheen Bagh and Jamia Millia Islamia, not to mention the protests inspired by them across the country against the CAA-NRC-NPR, were a remarkable break from the past and a repudiation of stereo- types. Virtually leaderless masses of students and women took to the streets to register their presence and participation in Indian democracy.

An insider's view of Bhagat Singh amidst global rise of 'sectarian, fascist forces'

By Vidya Bushan Rawat*
The revolutionary ideals of Shaheed Bhagat Singh have become more than relevant in today's time. It is beyond the imaginations of many how a man who just lived 23 years of his life had so much of idealism. In his prime time, he spent his life in jails under difficult circumstances.

'Disappointing': No SC relief to winner of US feminist jurist award Sudha Bhardwaj

Counterview Desk
Friends and family members of Sudha Bharadwaj, a top undertrial human rights activist who is in jail for her alleged involvement in the controversial Bhima-Koregaon case, have said that they are “disappointed” that the Supreme Court has not granted any relief to her on medical grounds.

Greatest of 19th century liberals to whom a Brahmin, a Sudra, a Muslim were all alike

By Rit Nanda*
“The reason for the special distinction that we find in Bengal is that many great men were born there during the last century. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was the greatest among them all. He was not an ocean of learning alone; he was an ocean of compassion, of generosity, as well as of many other virtues. He was a Hindu and a Brahmin too. But to him a Brahmin, a Sudra Hindu and a Muslim were all alike”. – Mahatma Gandhi in ‘Indian Opinion’, 1905

Gujarat govt's 'political move' to appoint lokrakshak constables: HC seeks report

By Our Representative
The Gujarat High Court has issued notice to the state government regarding alleged refusal to appoint Class-III lokrakshak unarmed police constables, armed police constables and jail sepais in pursuant of advertisement by the Lokrakshak Bharti Board dated August 15, 2018 taking into account the meritorious criterion.

India's fragile formal sector: 18.9 million white collar job loss 'difficult' to retrieve

By Balwant Singh Mehta, Arjun Kumar*
The novel coronavirus pandemic and recession has destroyed the jobs of millions of people across the world at staggering levels. Due to lockdown and social-distancing, many self-employed, casual workers and regular workers were unable to work, and many has to lose their jobs and source of livelihoods.

US Kashmiri diaspora group seeks Turkish president's mediation for J&K settlement

By Our Representative
Even as India rejected Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s comments that the Kashmir dispute is a “burning issue” for the stability of South Asia, saying they were tantamount to “gross interference” in the country’s internal affairs, a Washington, DC-based Kashmiri diaspora group has said that the Turkish leader’s statement for “multilateral dialogue” is “consistent” with the stance taken by “the President of the United Nations General Assembly.”

Agricultural reform? Small farmers will be more vulnerable, corporates to 'fix' price

By Dibyendu Chaudhuri*
Agriculture employs 42% of the total work force whereas it contributes only 16% to the country’s GDP. The average annual growth rate in agriculture has remained static to 2.9% since the last six years. This means that the post-green revolution conventional agriculture has reached its peak. Responsiveness of soil fertility to fertiliser application, an indicator of stagnancy in agriculture, shows declining trend since 1970. The worst sufferer has been the small and marginal farmers who constitute 86% of total farmers.

Arrests in Kerala under terror law UAPA just for distributing pamphlets, pasting posters?

Counterview Desk
A letter written from the prison at a time when the media predicted imminent arrest of CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechuri, which was later denied by the Delhi Police, has caused considerable consternation -- as it accuses the Kerala government under the Left-democratic dispensation of being as vindictive towards activists as the BJP rulers at the Centre.

25% out of school children may never return to school post-pandemic: RTE Forum

By Our Representative
In a scary scenario, a Right to Education (RTE) Forum programme has been told that, post-pandemic, “the number of out of school children may increase manifold”, with more than “25 per cent of them may never return to school.” Ambarish Rai, national convener, RTE Forum, said, girls are likely suffer the most.

RSS founders 'endorsed' Nazis: It’s well-nigh impossible for races, cultures to 'coexist'

By Shamsul Islam*
The process of Hindutva takeover of the democratic-secular Indian polity got huge push with Narendra Modi, a seasoned RSS ideologue, becoming PM of India in 2014. His commitment to the cause of the Hindutva politics and hatred for the Indian democratic-secular polity has been unambiguous. While ruling the State of Gujarat as the chief minister in 2013 he had declared himself to be a Hindu nationalist.

Adieu natural justice? Order banishing tribal activist from 5 Gujarat districts 'bad in law'

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and state governments in India, along with the machineries at their disposal, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the Statue of Unity (SoU) Project in Gujarat.

Migrant workers' saga: Farmers protesting, why Indian labour is 'unable' raise its voice?

By Aviral Anand*
It is heartening to see that farmers in several states have risen up against some of the new farming changes being proposed by the government. Almost surreptitiously and slyly, the government had introduced various changes by means of these farm bills. Most of the proposed changes have to do with some form of an increased stake of private players in the farm sector.

Subverting rule of law, democracy, Modi 'downplays' political defiance to farm bills

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
Narendra Damodardas Modi is a consummated practitioner of politics of Hindutva politics, which is wedded to hate. He does not spare a moment to capture the headlines with his diversionary tactics, which makes him as one of the sharpest managers of media and prime master of propaganda.

Conflation of dissent with anti-nationalism as India 'slides' towards authoritarianism

By Our Representative
The global civil society alliance, CIVICUS, in its new report: “Punished for speaking up: The ongoing use of restrictive laws to silence dissent in India”, has taken strong exception to the judicial harassment of activists, targeting of journalists and crackdown on protesters, even as pointing towards how rights violations have continued during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second term, including during the pandemic.

Kashmir's new riposte: Will Valley parties hold their nerve amidst repression, allure?

By Anand K Sahay*
Recently, on August 22, a little over 12 months after the Modi regime wreaked the constitutional havoc by embarking on a dangerous and destabilizing course by tearing up the delicate arrangement free India entered into with the Maharaja Hari Singh on the morrow of Independence, Kashmir’s major political parties came together to announce a riposte.

Kashmir: Pak move to annex Gilgat-Baltistan 'justifies' Modi action on Articles 370, 35A

By Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai*
Mohammad Zafrullah Khan, Pakistani foreign minister and delegate to the United Nations, had made it clear on January 16, 1948 during the 228th meeting of the Security Council that Gilgat-Baltistan is the part of the State of Jammu & Kashmir. Here is the part of his eloquent speech:

Modi 'transforming' Covid into pandemic of fear, curtailing citizens’ right to dissent

By Pragya Ranjan*
In April Dr David Nabarro, a WHO special envoy on Covid, singled out India’s coronavirus response for praise, saying ‘Indians know how to do it’, after the country decisively locked down the entire country to prevent the disease from spreading. What we see in India today tells a very different story.

Investigate 'enforced' disappearance of 4 Indians, 3 Bangladeshis: Plea to NHRC

By Our Representative
Kirity Roy, secretary of the West Bengal-based human rights organisation Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), in a letter to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has regretted that at a time when the whole world was observing the international day of the victims of enforced disappearance on August 30, seven incidents of “enforced disappearance” occurred along the Indo-Bangladesh border.

Rural women amidst pandemic: 43% report violence next door, 38% admit verbal abuse

Counterview Desk
An Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), Delhi, conducted a survey among 4,500 women respodnetns in rural areas of 20 Indian states during the month of July and August 2020 has found that the Covid-19 pandemic has had huge impact on women’s lives, work, livelihoods, and entitlements.

Farmer leader's custodial 'torture': Gujarat High Court seeks report from state govt

By Our Representative
The Gujarat High Court has decided to adjudicate upon a contempt application by Paalabhai Raambhai Ambalia, president of the farmers’ wing of the Gujarat Congress, following his allegation of  custodial torture at the hands of Jaydeepsinh Sarvaiya, DCP Rajkot district, and police inspector Hitesh Gadhvi, Rajkot Police Commissioner’s office.

Sabarimala, Ayodhya: Undermining rule of law principle, apex court 'favoured' executive

By Our Representative
Justice AP Shah, former chief justice of the Delhi and Madras High Courts, has regretted that the start of the Supreme Court’s decline “coincided with the coming to power of the BJP-led NDA government in 2014”, adding, “Every institution, mechanism or tool that is designed to hold the executive accountable is being systematically destroyed.”

Untold story of Delhi riots book: A 'planned' conspiracy against activists, communities

Counterview Desk
Even as the Delhi police is investigating into the Delhi riots, three human rights organizations, Karwan-e-Mohabbat, Anhad and Muslim Women’s Forum, have release an exhaustive review of the controversial book authored by Hindutva protagonists, “Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story”, whose PDF version they say has gone viral after the publishers, Bloomberg, withdrew it, though it is available on a top online store.  

Black sheep in industry 'tarnishing' banks' image, why should pensioners suffer?

By Moin Qazi* Public banks have played a historically stellar role in financial inclusion and the development of the underserved sector. These banks have been the backbone of the government’s socio-economic agenda. State-owned banks in developing countries have to shoulder the main burden of the government’s development policies -- from rural lending to infrastructure development.

Gujarat govt externment order to grassroots leader meant to 'silence' Narmada adivasis

By Our Representative
Several senior human rights and environmental activists, protesting against the Gujarat government decision to order externment of Lakhan Musafir from five South Gujarat districts, have said the charges against a grassroots activist fighting for tribal and forest rights in the area around the Sardar Sarovar dam are “ridiculously false.”

GST payment to states a must to 'stimulate' demand amidst pandemic, recession

By Dr Arjun Kumar*
Since 2017, India has been governed by a single tax regime with the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) after almost two decades of deliberations and hard work. It has facilitated the unification of the Indian market by allowing free movement of goods and services across the state borders which, earlier, acted as the major barriers in such mobility.

Parliament to take up manual scavengers bill 'without consultation': Dalit rights group

By Our Representative The Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch (DASAM), a civil rights network, has demanded that “the due process” for the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation (Amendment) Bill, 2020, scheduled for in current session of Parliament, should be followed before passing it.

Violence against women amidst pandemic: 600 rights groups seek gender segregated data

By Our Representative
More than 600 women’s groups, LGBTQIA communities, human rights organisations, trade unions and farmers’ organisations have demanded that the Government of India should set up a committee, with 50% women as members, for gender segregated data on severity of impact of pandemic on different sections of women, adding, a reliable and accurate data are necessary “to record all forms of gender-based, caste and religion-based violence.”

Present growth model renders us partners in 'war' against climate change, tribal people

By Ankit Goyal*
I don't know if it is right to attribute this to the education system and societal values but the most important thing that is sought after in life is 'career' and 'money'. Because let’s face it, it is only after possession of this that you can afford the most sought after livelihood...

Slogans Jai Shree Ram, Allah-o-Akbar 'war cries' defeating the whole purpose of religion

By Sandeep Pandey, Shivi Saba*
What purpose does a religion serve? It serves you the meaning of living a life in the right way. Lately, the sentiment around the religion in our country is undergoing transformation, religion has become a marker of character. Earlier this thinking was limited to a very small section of society but now the politics of majoritarianism has taken over. It has influenced the government, administration, police, judiciary and the media.

Total disconnect? It's as if Emperor Nero 'isn't aware' his Rome is burning to ashes

By Prem Verma* We are living in very challenging times. There are problems galore and new ones keep mounting. We have experts in creating situations which spawn fresh problems to face and solve. We are sliding down into an abyss from where escape will become increasingly impossible. The value of human life is of no consequence as long as individually the fortunate few at the top of the pyramid can continue to enjoy a lifestyle as if nothing has happened.

Modi govt 'throttling' NGOs: Raids, arrests, license cancellations, stringent regulations

Counterview Desk
A new civil society report by top NGO network Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (WNTA), seeking to provide an assessment of one year of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government after it came to power, has regretted that the Government of India has continued its “blow-hot-blow-cold relationship” with civil society organizations (CSOs).

Umar Khalid arrest: Erosion of democracy hasn't been as blatant, 'save Emergency rule'

Counterview Desk
Condemning the arrest of formerJawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Umar Khalid by the Delhi Police, the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a platform of over 36 organisations, including students’ and teachers’ groups, trade unions and women's groups, who claim to have come together against “increasing state repression, targeting of academics, activists, journalists, lawyers, trade unionists”, has demanded his release and immediate cessation of “relentless harassment of activists and intellectuals in the name of investigation.”

Changes in manual scavengers Act seeks only technical solutions, 'has no rehab plan'

Counterview Desk
An open letter distributed by the Dalits Media Watch, which networks news related to underprivileged sections on the proposed amendments to the Prohibition of Engagement as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation (PEMSR) Act, has regretted that it completely ignores to identify and rehabilitate the workers who had been forced by caste-based Indian society to engage in manual scavenging.

Detention centre in Ghaziabad 'suggests' anti-minority, anti-Dalit mindset of UP govt

By Our Representative
Several well-known social and political activists from across India fear that the “decision” of the Uttar Pradesh government to to convert an Ambedkar hostel in Ghaziabad into a detention centre will be used for detaining those who are declared foreigners after they are unable to prove their citizenship, insisting, this is happening on lines of the detention centres for alleged foreigners set up in Assam.

NAPM demands safety of Umar Khalid amidst climate of 'fear, terror, lies, hate'

Counterview Desk
The National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), India’s top civil society network, even as condemning the arrest of former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student and youth activist Dr Umar Khalid, has said that the Delhi police must immediately stop coercing ‘confessional’ statements to manufacture evidence and refrain from painting the democratic anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Conspiracy of Delhi riots? PUCL objects to 'evidence' from unnamed informant

Counterview Desk
The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has asked Delhi police commissioner SN Srivastava to “urgently stop motivated and malicious investigation”, and instead carry out “bona fide” investigation into the violence that shook North-East Delhi on February 23-26, 2020, which took 53 lives and caused injured scores of others.

Chhattisgarh: NGO's empowerment mission as disabilities people spike 48% in a decade

By Gazala Paul, Rimpa Verma*
Some challenges are seemingly lifelong. And so it is with Nomesh Kumar Verma of Tekari village of Dharsiwa block in Chhattisgarh's Raipur district. When he was only seven years old, Nomesh was diagnosed with sickle cell disease, a group of disorders that cause the red blood cells to become misshapen and break down. The red blood cells (RBCs) contort into a sickle shape, the cells die early, leaving a shortage of healthy RBCs, causing infections, pain, fatigue and in many cases a distinct limp.

'Avoidable' Gujarat floods: Flood manual puts onus on Narmada dam operators, not NCA

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government’s Flood Manual (FM) does not appear to think that the Narmada Control Authority (NCA), the powerful inter-state body with Central water resources secretary as its chairperson, has any role to play in the flood management and gate operation on a day-to-day basis of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD) on Narmada river in Gujarat.

India's future CJI's 'deafening' silence on ex-CJIs' postings due to political favouritism

By NS Venkataraman*
Justice NV Ramana, who is next in line to become the Chief Justice of India, has said that judges are becoming victims of juicy gossip and slanderous social media posts. He was speaking at the launch of the book, ‘Judiciary, Judges and the Administration of Justice’, written by former Supreme Court judge Justice R Banumathi.

Gandhi a racist, Mandela, Martin Luther King 'imposed' by colonialists: Dr Kambon

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
Dr Ọbádélé Bakari Kambon, PhD, is an Afrikan anti-amerikkkan. In India, he has been known for advocating vociferously for the removal of the statue of Gandhi, from the University Campus in Ghana which was gifted by the government of India. He had famously advocated that ‘we need Ambedkar and not Gandhi’.

WHO chief ignores India, cites Pak as one of 7 top examples in fight against Covid-19

By Our Representative
In a move that would cause consternation in India’s top policy makers in the Modi government, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, has singled out Pakistan among seven countries that have set “examples” in investing in a healthier and safer future in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Delhi riots: Cops summoning, grilling, intimidating young to give 'false' evidence

Counterview Desk
More than 440 concerned citizens have supported the statement issued by well-known bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander ‘We will not be silenced’ which said that the communal riots in Delhi in February 2020 have not been caused by any conspiracy, as alleged by the Delhi Police, but by “hate speech and provocative statements made by a number of political leaders of the ruling party.”

When those seeking to treat Covid with Gau Mutra used sticks to enforce ‘science’

By Pramod Ranjan*
The deliberately-created confusion over facts related to Covid-19 has left most of us puzzled and bewildered. We have suspicions about the facts that are being bandied about by our governments and by organizations like the WHO. But we are hesitant to air our suspicions from public platforms.

A Swami who fought for Haryana bonded workers, Dalit entry in Nathadwara temple

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
The death of Swami Agnivesh is a great loss to the civil society movement in India, of which he was an active member all through his life. Those of us who have been frequenting various protests at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi knew him well how he would encourage youngsters and join their protests at any available time.

Tropical humour in cold spa on 'degenerating' Indian democracy, economy and society

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
Self-deprecating humour is a survival strategy of human beings, and coping mechanism of the society during the dark times. That is true to the letter as well as to the spirit when it comes to Avay Shukla’s book ‘PolyTicks, DeMocKrazy & MumboJumbo’. It is an insider masterpiece of political satire on Indian society and politics from 2014 to 2020.

Online education 'driving' digital divide: $1.97 bn industry's paid users grow at 6x rate

Counterview Desk
The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Maharashtra, in a new report in the series on Lockdown on Civil Liberties focusing on education has said that there is a huge “push-out” children due during the pandemic, with deepening digital-divide playing a major role.