Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2020

ISKCON UK clarifies after devotees contract virus 'due to' big temple congregation

Counterview Desk
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), United Kingdom (UK), has admitted that at least 21 of its devotees became infectious because of the spread of the coronavirus amongst the UK devotee community because of March 12 funeral and March 15 memorial of the Bhaktivedanta Manor temple president Srutidharma Das, in which about 1,000 people participated.

Asrar Jamayee, great humorous Urdu poet, has passed away as pauper in Delhi

By Firoz Bakht Ahmed*
Hardly anyone had shown at the last rites, journey and burial of Asrar Jamayee (Abrar-ul-Haq) 83, Delhi-based eminent Urdu humorous and satire poet, the last of the series of the greatest mazahiya (humorous) poets, who breathed his last at his friend Mushtaq Alig’s house in Delhi’s Zakir Nagar after a long illness.

Costs built up, sales, profits 'much less than normal' ahead of COVID-19 crisis: Survey

By Our Representative
The Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES) by the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) for the month of February, just ahead of the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis in India, has suggested that the Indian economy had already begun to feel a crisis situation in February, with signs of costs building up, and sales and profits reaching much less than normal.

Telugu Christian body 'offers' premises, hospitals, schools for homeless, migrants

By Our Representative
The Federation of Telugu Churches (FTC), the apex body of archbishops and bishops of churches and heads of major christian denominations in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, has offered its willingness to place the hospitals, schools, training centres and church campuses at the disposal of the government for the purpose of creating quarantine facilities for the homeless and migrants.

God wants us to do more to keep the world going than pay obeisance in large numbers

By Salman Khurshid*
The COVID-19 lock down has come as a boon for reflection. I saw three films again: ‘Man for All Seasons’, ‘Jinnah’, and ‘Gandhi.’ The first for how Thomas More, a brilliant man sacrificed his life for a moral principle; the second for the touching scene in which the founder of Pakistan played by Christopher Lee seeks forgiveness of a little migrant girl for causing the Partition; and finally the last for a dose of Gandhian determination to overcome the shadow that obscures the beauty of our democracy.

DMIC will have to extract 66% of water need from polluted rivers, 'depleted' aquifers

By Gaurav Dwivedi*
Since the inception of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), concerns have been raised by the local communities in different states about the large projects being implemented under it and their serious impacts on the ecology, land acquisition, local economy and livelihoods.

Gujarat rural poor being 'deprived' of ration as per eligibility: NGO tells top officials

By Our Representative
Gujarat’s top NGO, Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), Ahmedabad, giving specific instances obtained from its grassroots activists from across the state, has told top state officials that, despite government notifications requiring free distribution of foodgrains to people during the current lockdown period, a large number of people, especially daily wagers, are unable to feed themselves.

Industrial pollution: Supreme Court asks 3 Gujarat units to pay Rs 10 crore each

By Our Representative
The Supreme Court has asked three top Gujarat-based industries, Alembic Pharmaceuticals Ltd, United Phosphorus Ltd and Unique Chemicals Ltd, to deposit a compensation amount of Rs 10 crore each with the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB), which should use the money for "restoration and remedial measures" to improve the quality of environment in the industrial area in which the industries have been operating.

Central trade unions demand comprehensive income scheme for unorganized sector

Counterview Desk
In a memorandum to Santosh Gangwar, Minister for Labour and Employment, Government of India, major Indian trade union organizations* have expressed concern that the appeals and advisories by the government, both the Labour Ministry and the Home Ministry, are not working at ground level to prevent loss of employment and earnings and also eviction from local residence during the lock-down.

Rationed food by marking on hands 'ignores' issue of dignity, threatens infection: NGO

By Our Representative
Well-known Ahmedabad-based NGO Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) in a detailed note has demanded a “more structured” involvement of civil society organizations (CSOs) in order to provide relief to the vulnerable sections of society, which have been adversely affected because of the coronavirus crisis.

Top Assam rights leader's 'repeated' arrest undemocratic, violates natural justice

Counterview Desk
A statement, issued by 28 concerned citizens of India, well-known literary critic Hiren Gohain, academic and politician Yogendra Yadav, and Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan has deplored the “deliberate circumvention” of the norms of natural justice in detaining Akhil Gogoi, a peasant leader and Right to Information activist from Assam, in case after case to make the bail orders ineffective.

COVID19 an opportunity for India to 'try' non-religious transcendental meditation

By Arlene J Schar, Dr David Leffler*
As the COVID-19 virus pandemic impacts peoples' lives worldwide, society shuts down in an effort to contain it. People find themselves isolated at home, seemingly powerless. Unity is needed during these difficult times. Although people worldwide have been divided, there are points of agreement regardless of political persuasion: people are no longer tolerating corruption in their leadership, and people are no longer condoning the sacrifices of integrity and ethics to intimidation and deal-making.

Withdraw notifications seeking to criminalize, penalise migrants: Rights groups to MHA

Counterview Desk
Two civil rights advocacy groups, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA) and All India People’s Science Network (AIPSN), have asked the Government of India to retract all notifications and orders that allegedly criminalize or use coercion and violence against the movement of migrant workers.

Police surrounded me, wanted me to wind up; Muslim women became my saviour

By Sandeep Pandey*
Before the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act, National Register of Citizens and National Population Register dharna at Ghanta Ghar, Lucknow, was symbolically withdrawn on March 23 morning, I happened to visit the dharna site on March 21 evening with the purpose of sitting there with my spinning wheel or Charkha in support of the women.

Increase relief package by 3-4 times, help migrants: Labour economists' letter to Modi

Counterview Desk
Addressed to prime minister Narendra Modi and state chief ministers, a petition drafted by experts associated with the Indian Society of Labour Economics has said that, as in any natural disaster, the governments’ capacity and preparedness to face the outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic has to be augmented by that of civil society, as has been done in Kerala and Chhattisgarh.

Covid-19 crisis: RTE Forum wants Modi to ensure food security, health for children

By Our Representative
The Right to Education (RTE) Forum, a civil society coalition claiming to represent nearly 10,000 organisations across 20 states, has sought immediate attention of the government of India towards protection of the rights of children during Covid-19 crisis, urging prime minister Narendra Modi to respect food security for them.

Migrants, marginalised 'inhumanly' treated by administration, security forces: Saheli

Counterview Desk
Well-known women's group Saheli has sharply criticized the Government of India for showing “utter insensitivity and callousness” towards the poor and the most vulnerable sections in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Why human lives, animals, environment are 'disposables' under capitalist pandemic

By Dr Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The ugly head of racism is out in open air amidst COVID-19 pandemic. The racism against Chinese people and propaganda against the achievements of the Chinese revolution spreads like coronavirus. The anti-Chinese media coverage also replicates the history of anti-communist propaganda and campaign against the Soviet Union from the days of its inception to fall.

Rs 6,000 crore wage payments pending, FM's package for NREGA workers a 'misnomer'

Counterview Desk
Finance Minister (FM) Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement of providing an average of Rs 2,000 extra per household through the Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) is a misnomer, NREGA Sangharsh Morcha, a civil rights organization working among NREGA workers has asserted.

Paralysing lockdown: Modi's kneejerk decision may kill 'more people' than coronavirus

By Chandra Vikash*
Discerning through the global information on coronavirus Pandemic, it turns out that what I had thought around March 10 that we should allow Herd Immunity to set in was bang on. In retrospect, Prime Minister Narenda Modi and his team made a blunder to stop people from playing Holi, which is scientifically underpinned to ward off viral infections which rise around this seasonal change.

Fear of losing dedicated readers? Newspapers struggle to survive Covid-19, lockdown

By Nava Thakuria*
Newspapers in India face an uphill task to maintain its readership index as New Delhi declared for a complete lockdown till the middle of April because of pandemic Covid-19 outbreak in the large country. A shutdown that instantly prevented the vendors to deliver morning newspapers at their doorsteps of buyers and the rumour that the paper itself can carry the novel corona virus forced many publishers to drastically reduce their circulation figure.

Inadequate? 90% of Sitharaman's COVID-19 package 'includes' already running schemes

By Amarjeet Kaur*
The first round of announcement from the Finance Ministry for some sort of economic package for mainly the registered construction workers, women under Jan Dhan accounts, those families covered under Ujjawala for free cylinders and for farmers is inadequate. Much more needs to be done for the vast majority of workers who remain excluded.

Organize shelter for homeless, migrants sans violence, stigma: Petition to Thackeray

By Natash Maru*
On March 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown as a preventative action against the community spread of the novel coronavirus. But while we remain within the safety of our homes, the homeless, migrant workers, and people of nomadic and denotified nomadic tribes have found themselves stranded and shelterless in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Sitharaman's relief package half-meets poor people's expectations: Senior activists

Counterview Desk
In a critique of Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Rs 1.7 lakh crore package to deal with the economic fallout of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, half-a-dozen senior activists have said, it would have been more appropriate to make such an announcement prior to the lockdown so that lakhs of migrant workers would not have panicked and travelled, creating distress and health hazards.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Seventeen years ago: Two unrelated but 'infamous' incidents in Gujarat's history

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*
Seventeen years ago, two seemingly unconnected, but strangely enough, inter-related incidents, took place in quick succession: the murder of Haren Pandya and the passing of the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Bill. March 26, 2003 would surely go down to rank as one of the most infamous days in the history of Gujarat, and perhaps of India!

Sitharaman's package 'disrespectful': TUs, civil society networks, 900 people tell PM

By Our Representative
While taking note of the 1.7 lakh crore package announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the poor in India, the Social Security Now (SSN) has said that the package is “inadequate” and “disrespectful” of the recipients as it involves transfer of less than Rs 1000 a month to their accounts, and justifies payment of wages less than minimum wages.

Cordoning corona pandemic: Unorganized workers 'highly vulnerable' to infection

By Dr S Jayaprakash, Bharathy, Dr Simi Mehta, Dr Balwant Singh Mehta, Dr Arjun Kumar, Dr Manish Priyadarshi*
We have had an information overdose on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), possible precautions, and treatments from this infection. The major facilitator for this has been the print, electronic and social media. This article focuses on the need for next level planning that is needed to protect the unorganized and informal labourers and those at the bottom of the ladder in India. Ascertaining these measures will answer the basic question whether the humanity still retains its rationality.
Impact on human and economic health In the past, various parts of the world have frequently been gripped by spread of different epidemics. Along with mortality, the fear psychosis of succumbing to the epidemic has often had negative consequences on the overall economy. For instance, the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, which infected 500 million people, which was about quarter of world population a…

Impact of COVID-19 in India, where stigma, public humiliation, lynching are 'endemic'

By Battini Rao*
India is passing through the second stage of the most serious health crisis in its recent history. How we respond to it as a society is crucial to mitigating the effect of COVID 19 virus on our individual health. Democracy is ultimately a system of social relationships, of everyone with everybody else that respects the twin principles of equality and individual autonomy, so that everyone becomes responsible to everyone else without the use of threat, fear, and social power.

Silicosis death of 4 Gujarat workers: NHRC takes 10 years to 'request' compensation

By Our Representative
After waiting for 10 long years of a complaint filed by a health rights organization, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the district collector, Bharuch, Gujarat, to take up the matter of paying compensation to the next of kin (NoK) of four confirmed cases of deaths due to the fatal occupational disease silicosis with the labour department, Rajasthan government.

Gujarat construction workers walk home as Rs 2,900 crore welfare fund lies unused

By Our Representative
Situated behind the Gujarat University, some of the families of the migrant construction workers from Dahod and Panchmahals districts of Gujarat, and a few from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, who had stayed put in make-shift shanties in Ahmedabad’s sprawling GMDC Ground, have begun a long journey, by foot, back to their home villages in the eastern tribal belt of Gujarat.

COVID-19: Top TU demands Rs 5 lakh crore package, as marginalised 'left in lurch'

Counterview Desk
One of India’s top trade union organizations, All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), in a statement, has taken strong exception to a “meagre” allocation of Rs 15,000 crore to fight the deadly coronavirus, has said that little is being done to help the marginalized sections of society, especially daily wagers, migrants, agriculture workers and self-employed persons like hawkers-vendors, porters, loaders, domestic workers etc. who are “losing their livelihood in the lockdown.”

India 'needs' likes of Oscar Romero, who fought injustice, divisiveness, xenophobia

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*
Forty years ago, on March 24, 2020, Archbishop Oscar Romero was brutally gunned down, whilst he celebrated the Eucharist in his native El Salvador. As the world remembers and celebrates the memory of this great Saint of our times, one is reminded of the three Ps that epitomised him: Prayer, Presence, Prophet.

COVID-19: 'Helpless' Gujarat govt can't supply midday meal, ICDS food to children

By Pankti Jog*
Following the coronavirus outbreak, the government declared closure of all schools and anaganwadis of Gujarat. While this is an essential preventive measure, evidence suggests, it has excluded lakhs of children, pregnant women, lactating mothers and adolescent girls from nutrition support they were getting from the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).

Stop harassing Sarvodaya leader: Ex-Gujarat BJP CM, 200 others write to Rupani

Counterview Desk
More than 200 academics, activists, students, business-persons, other concerned citizens have sought Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani's intervention to stop harassment of Gandhian Sarvodaya activist Lakhan Musafir, an active campaigner for tribal rights and opponent of land acquisition for the Statue of Unity tourism project.

Kovind on coronavirus: Govt is 'unwilling' to consider basic philosophical facts

By Sandeep Pandey*
The President of India Ram Nath Kovind has written an article on coronavirus reminding us that we are merely biological organisms, dependent on other organisms for survival and that humankind’s craving to control nature and exploit all its resources for profit can be wiped out in a stroke by a minuscule organism.

Anti-CAA, NPR protests amidst COVID-19: Women's groups ask govt to negotiate

Counterview Desk
Several women's organisations, collectives and individuals* have called upon the State and Central governments, institutions, authorities and elected representatives to urgently address take executive measures to ensure that the entire the process of National Population Register (NPR) data collection is deferred immediately.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Australian NGO: Adani mining site 'may turn' into COVID-19 breeding ground

By Our Representative
In a surprise move, an Australian environmental group, Frontline Action on Coal, has claimed that Adani Mining Carmichael mine site, being operated by the powerful Indian industrial house known to close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is operating in “full swing" during a time Australian states are closing their borders because of the COVID-19 crisis, with many states advocating for only supermarkets and pharmacies to be open.”

Govt's 'misleading' figures to Parliament: Corruption free J&K apple procurement?

By Our Representative
Publicised as a measure to ensure better economic development in the newly formed union territory of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and corruption-free procurement, there appears to be little clarity at the highest level on the apples bought J&K growers under the Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) that the Central and State/UT level governments claimed to have implemented through the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED).

Leadership crisis: Will others in Congress emulate Scindia's 'business model' to join BJP?

By Anand K Sahay* 
Jyotiraditya Scindia’s defection to the BJP was a business decision. Once he lost the Lok Sabha election last May to his secretary, who had joined the BJP, Scindia would have known he would be following suit to protect his investment in politics at the present juncture.

How Matheran, a serene getaway, turned into a tourist hub with shameful irregularities

By Gajanan Khergamker*
Matheran, a hill station in Maharashtra, finds itself mired in controversies. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has flayed the much-touted Zonal Master Plan (ZMP), formulated after a whopping 15 year delay, for being ‘faulty and incomplete’ leading to a violation of environmental laws. NGT has prevented any new constructions in the Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) and put brakes on all things spanking new and ‘developmental’ until concerns raised by environment groups under the eco-sensitive zone notifications are tackled.

Filthy rich love junk food and Modi, and are 'macabrously scared' of coronavirus

By Chandra Vikash*
Of the four deaths reported on account of coronavirus in a nation of 1.3 billion even on the 50th day of the #CoronaVirusPandemic, all of them are comorbidity cases, meaning that they were already severely ill from lifestyle diseases. So, if we really care for human lives, and I agree with fellow traveller Smita Sharma, that every life is precious, we should do the utmost to change our diseased lifestyles. Where do we start?

Cononavirus crisis 'giving rise' to racism, maskophobia against Chinese, migrants

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The coronavirus pandemic is battering lives and wreaking havoc in world economy at the same time. This worldwide health and economic crisis reveal the inherent structural fault lines within neoliberal economic system dominated by global corporations. The fault lines are further exacerbated by the amoral market led states that protect interests of big businesses and pharmaceutical corporations.

COVID-19 'pushes' Jharkhand to economic crisis as migrants return from Maharashtra

Counterview Desk
The civil rights organization Right to Food Campaign, Jharkhand, has called for urgent overhaul of social security and public health system in the state even as the impact of the COVID-19 crisis is beginning to be felt in the state. In a statement, Asharfi Nand Prasad, convener of the campaign, said it is not just the pandemic that concerns the state.

Sanitary workers 'most unprotected' against coronavirus, Gujarat CM told to act

By Our Representative
Manav Garima, a grassroots voluntary organization, which works for the amelioration of the sanitary workers of Gujarat, has raised the alarm that the coronavirus pandemic may harm those involved in different types of cleaning work on streets, in gutters and canals, collecting garbage from individual households and societies, cleaning public toilets, and disposing of dead animals.

Well-established? Why now no one will mind suggestion of Hindu riots or Hindu terror

By Aviral Anand*
Dange Hote Rahe Hain, It’s a Part of Life”, said Haryana Minister Ranjit Chautala on Delhi violence on February 27, 2020.
The now normalised, almost impersonal, term, “dange,” communal clashes, points to the tiresome predictability of so-called Hindu-Muslim confrontations, almost in the mock-exasperated tone of “boys will be boys.” Yes, it has come to that.

Stop celebrations, think: Feminist group comments on Nirbhaya rapists' execution

By Our Representative
A Delhi-based “feminist autonomous women's group” claiming to work on violence against women for over three decades, condemning the hanging of the four December 2012 gang rape and murder convicts, has asserted that “capital punishment is not the answer, it has never worked as a deterrent for any crime.”

26% fall in RTI pleas, Gujarat departments 'not registering' applications: MAGP

By Our Representative
The annual report of the Gujarat’s State Information Commission (SIC) for 2018-19 submitted to the state legislative assembly on the implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) Act shows that there are over 4,800 cases pending before the SIC, even as five commissioners’ posts are vacant.