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Showing posts from October, 2020

Contempt of SC order? BJP candidates with 'serious' criminal charges: ADR report

Chief minister Vijay Rupani in Abdasa  By Our Representative The Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), a well-known elite NGO monitoring political processes, especially elections, in India, has said that despite a Supreme Court order, political parties, including BJP and Congress, fighting eight by-elections in Gujarat, scheduled for November 3, have chosen candidates with criminal cases.

#StandWithStan: It's about Constitution, democracy and freedom of expression

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  It is more than three weeks now: On the night of October 8, 2020, the 83-year-old Jesuit Fr Stan Swamy was taken into custody by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) from his residence in Ranchi to an undisclosed destination. According to his colleagues, the NIA did not serve a warrant on Fr. Stan and that their behaviour was absolutely arrogant and rude.

Survey: Human rights, women's, child rights commissions 'apathetic' during pandemic

By Our Representative A rapid telephonic survey of the Human Rights Commissions, Women’s Commissions, Child Rights Commissions, Minorities Commissions and Lokayuktas at state as well as Central level has suggested that a large number of them have not functioned during the Covid-19 pandemic, even though it is their job to “intervene and uphold the fundamental rights of the stranded workers and provide them with basic amenities.”

1800 signatories across the world protest 'rising' atrocities against Dalits, Advasis

Atrocities on Dalits and Adivasis: Sept 25 to Oct 25, 2020  Counterview Desk The India Civil Watch International, a multinational organization claiming to be committed to uphold democratic rights in India, even as condemning the horrific case of the rape and murder of a Dalit woman in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh (UP) by four dominant caste men, has said that the “brutality” exposes “the Indian police” in the aftermath of the incident.

600 groups observe #IfWeDoNotRise on Hathras day: '10 Dalit girls raped each day'

Shabnam Hashmi By Our Representative To mark one month of the “alleged gang rape and brutalization by upper caste men” of a young Dalit woman from Hathras, a Delhi-based human rights organization Anhad (Act Now for Harmony and Democracy) led by senior activist Shabnam Hashmi, has held a nationwide campaign, #IfWeDoNotRise, on October 29 to give “voice to the cumulative outrage of citizens” against such incidents across India.

Love Jihad: Why every interfaith marriage has potential to turn into communal flareup?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat* A young aspiring Nikita Tomar was murdered by Tauseef, who happened to be stalking her since here college days, as both studied in the same institution in Faridabad, a North Indian town. Nikita, it is reported, had turned down Tauseef’s proposal in the past. The young man could not take the rejection and killed her.

Coal imports to rise? #StopAdani protests against insuring Australian coal project

By Our Representative Even as Adani Australia, subsidiary of India’s powerful industrial group, Adanis, welcomed the Minerals Council of Australia’s economic report from the Commodity Insights, which projects that thermal coal imports to the Asia Pacific region rising by 275 million tonnes through to 2030, climate protesters stepped up #StopAdani campaign, including online, in different parts of the world against insurance companies insuring the Adani coal project in Australia.

48% Indians in US support Modi, but 22% to vote 'American Modi' Trump: Survey

By Rajiv Shah A US think-tank study has said that even though Prime Minister Narendra Modi still enjoys considerable support among Indian diaspora in the country – 48% of Indian Americans approve of Modi’s performance, 32 percent disapprove, while 20% have “no opinion” – the man often dubbed as American Modi, Donald Trump, is unlikely to get more than 22% of their votes in the November 3 US polls, with his rival, Joseph Biden, likely to get 72% of the votes.

Need to reflect: Why 80% Dalit girls faced sexual abuse, 90% 'considered' suicide

By Our Representative In a major revelation, top Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan has said that between 75 and 80 per cent girls, who come to study at the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), founded by Macwan about two decades ago off Ahmedabad to offer alternative training options to manual scavenging and other caste based occupations, have experienced sexual violence or harassment.

Hindutva 'concomitant' with requirements of Indian and global capitalist classes

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* India is facing its worst crisis in its recent history. The Hindutva forces shaped by RSS and politically led by BJP are accelerating the crisis to undo liberal constitutional democracy in India. The political opposition is withering everyday with the help of media, puppet police, investigative agencies and judiciary.

Food security? 15 lakh people of Gujarat's 10 backward districts 'taken off' subsidy list

By Pankti Jog* If a reply received under the Right to Information (RTI) Act is to be believed, a whopping 3.96 lakh ration cards have been deleted from the National Food Security Act (NFSA) benefit in Gujarat. This comes to over 15 lakh people, all of them belonging to tribal and backwards areas. They have been thrown out of the subsided ration cover despite the current Covid situation.

Bihar polls: Nitish Kumar may repent he let BJP ride waves stepping on his shoulders

By Anand K Sahay* Media and facile opinion polls appear to have overlooked two somewhat related perspectives with regard to the upcoming Bihar Assembly elections when the first votes will be cast on coming Wednesday. They have partly relied on the 2015 polling data on caste arithmetic as if this was the sacred “gayatri mantra” itself, besides strongly hinting that the presumed Modi magic could safely take the ruling alliance home.

Gujarat activists, academics, artistes protest closure of 'Kashmir Times' office

Counterview Desk As many as 134 citizens, mainly from Gujarat, condemning the closure of “Kashmir Times” office in Srinagar, have said that entire effort is to silence freedom of expression in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and teach its editor Anuradha Bhasin a lesson for opposing “repressive measures” of the Government of India following the abrogation of Article 370.

Quantum leap towards corporatisation? New policy to 'destroy' public education system

By Dr Prem Singh*  In the new National Education Policy 2020 (NEP), there has been a quantum leap towards neo-colonization of Indian education via privatization to further corporatization of education. There is a crucial need to understand this new dimension of the NEP. Significantly, under the NEP, foreign universities and foreign direct investment (FDI) have been allowed entry in the realm of higher education.

Odisha govt move may close down 14,339 primary schools, spike dropout rate

By Our Representative Education activists and civil society organizations (CSOs) across Odisha have opposed the state government’s move to close schools with low student strength as it will increase dropouts among children, especially in the tribal and backward regions of the state, where children mostly depend on government schools for their education. Due to the government's move, around 14,339 primary and upper primary schools in the state will face imminent closure.

Hathras repeated? Domestic help's death: Delhi cops 'ignore, detain' victim's family

Family members of the victim  Counterview Desk A fact-finding team of the All-India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch comprising of Utkarsha Tomar, Kusum Lata, Cand Asha, has alleged that the family of Neetu, a member of the Other Backward Caste (OBC), who was found dead on October 4 at a residence in Model Town, Delhi, was treated treated in the same way as the family of the Hathras gangrape victim.

Facebook 'declares' activist dead, suspends account, restores it on getting legal notice

Abuzar with Shabnam Hashmi By Our Representative In a shocking incident, a social activist, Mohd Abuzar, woke up to find on September 13, 2020 that his Facebook account had been suspended. He came to know of this after he received numerous calls from friends and relatives, who, wanting to communicate with him, received a strange message that he had died, asking them to pay their tributes Abuzar.

Human rights 'abuses': Funding to India should be vetted, Greens tell Australian govt

Janet Rice, David Shoebrodge, Lee Rhiannon  Counterview Desk A roundtable organised by Australian Greens, which is the third biggest political group in the country, held to discuss human rights situation in India at the New South Wales Parliament in Sydney has insisted that parliamentarians, human rights activists and lawyers should play a more active role “standing up for human rights not just in their own places but also in India.”

Sugarcane fields: Child workers married early to 'avoid' sexual exploitation, says report

Counterview Desk  A report , based on an evidence-based study by a multinational NGO, Global March Against Child, which headquarters in the Hague, providing an overview of child labour with a gender lens in sugarcane harvesting in India, has said that large number of children are pushed into hazardous child labour due to structural poverty among harvesters, most of whom are from scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes.

Covid measure for better nutrition? Odisha PDS 'doesn't offer' enough dal to poor

Wall writing to propagate nutritional value of dal  By Our Representative An Odisha civil society report has revealed that despite the fact that the state government has been offering 1 kg of dal (pulses) per month to each family as a "covid elevation measure", 63% of the families families surveyed said the dal lasted between one and five days, while 27% of families consumed dal between six and 10 days.

Emulating Reliance amidst Covid? Top corporates 'refusing' to invest in big projects

By NS Venkataraman*  With the Covid-19 pandemic causing severe setbacks to the national economy and upsetting the Government of India’s proactive and forward looking programmes, and the Government of India seeking to retrieve the economy and restore it on the way forward, there is the need to boost consumption in the country.

World Economic Forum ideas 'myopic', are driven by a fraudulent economic system

Klaus Schwab  By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* The pandemic has shaken up the neoliberalism as an economic project of capitalism. The economic architecture of neoliberalism based on austerity, liberalisation, privatisation, and globalisation has failed to provide basic dignity of life in terms of basic health, education, home and food security.

Complaint by women on bicycle harassed in 'elite' Delhi area: Six days, abusers untraced

Counterview Desk A women's delegation met the DCP Dwarka, Delhi, on October 22 Santosh Kumar Meena Meena, telling him how in a relatively well-to-do area sexual harassment of women has become a common, even as handing over a memorandum which mentions recent instances of the “unacceptable” incidents.

Activists' arrest: Will political leaders ever speak up, Supreme Court intervene?

Stan Swamy By Vidya Bhushan Rawat* It is good to see Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren speaking so powerfully against the arrest of Father Stan Swamy. Many other voices are also speaking up against his arrest. The 83 year old Stan has been working in Jharkhand for years and runs a centre at Bagaicha, a place for the Adivasis in Jharkhand, particularly those who have been victim of police violence and whose rights have been violated.

Kashmiri diaspora intervene in UN forum, say no to Indo-Pak talks, seek tripartite dialogue

A Kashmiri diaspora protest in US By Our Representative  The Kashmiri diaspora representatives in US have stepped of their campaign for internationalising the Kashmir issue, with one of its youth delegates, addressing an informal debate at the UN, organised by the Office of the United Nations Secretary General’s Envoy of Youth, criticising India for adopting a policy of “obfuscation and deceit” towards Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

#LockdownCasteAtrocities: Human rights social media campaign to petition UN

A Dalit artist's painting on caste atrocities  By Our Representative The Dalit Human Rights Defenders Network (DHRDNet), claiming to be a coalition of over 1,000 Dalit human rights defenders across India, has collaborated with Public Bolti, a citizen journalism  and advocacy platform, to run a social media campaign #LockdownCasteAtrocities on DHRDNet’s official social media handles on Instagram , Facebook , Twitter , Linktree and Youtube .

Malicious campaign of 'calumny' on against soldiers of Muslim faith: 91 civil servants

Lance Naik Mohd Naseer, martyred on Line of Control Counterview Desk As many as 91 former civil servants have, in an open letter, sought investigation into what they call “malicious campaign of calumny” against soldiers of the Muslim faith in the Indian armed forces, stating “the assaults against the dignity of our Muslim citizens, as indeed physical assaults, are becoming commonplace.”

Govt India's festival package selective, 'ignores' vulnerable rural, urban workers, migrants

Counterview Desk Well-known civil rights organization, NREGA Sangharsh Morcha, has regretted that the Government of India-announced stimulus package “has chosen to, once again, ignore the plight of the most vulnerable population which has been hardest hit by the sudden lockdown – the rural and urban workers of the country” – even as distributing festival vouchers to a select few.

Centre undermining federalism, attacking civil liberties: Jharkhand chief minister

By Our Representative Opposition leaders, including Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Kechury, CPI general secretary D Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and NCP MLA Supriya Sulehave have joined top human rights activists, lawyers and academics to denounce the arrest of Stan Swamy and other activists in the Bhima Koregaon case, even as calling for the repeal of the “draconian” Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative  One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

Hathras Dalit victim's family facing pressure from UP's powerful feudal-caste interests

Saffron-clad supporters of Thakur accused entering village By Our Representative  A fact-finding report , prepared after its recent visit to Hathras, has said that ever since the gruesome grangrape incident in Uttar Pradesh on September 14, the victim’s family has had to fight its “battle amidst feudal-casteist environs and politics” in which it is being forced to operate. Worse, hurdles were created for those who seeking to give a supporting hand the family. The victim (identified by the team as Dasya), died in a Delhi hospital a fortnight later.

UN human rights commissioner objects to Stan Swamy's arrest, use of FCRA on NGOs

Fr Stan Swamy, Amnesty office in Bengaluru, now closed Counterview Desk Objecting to the use of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) against Amnesty International, forcing the top NGO to close its office in India, and the arrest human rights activists, especially 83-year-old Fr Stan Swamy, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has asked the Government of India to safeguard the rights of human rights defenders and NGOs, and their ability to carry out their crucial work on behalf the groups they represent.

1.3 lakh children work in cottonseed plots in Gujarat tribal area, claims NGO study

By Our Representative A recent survey, carried out by the Centre for Labour Research and Action (CLRA), a civil rights organization, of cottonseed plots in Danta taluka of Banaskantha district has claimed that tribal children continue to be employed in large numbers for cross pollination work in cottonseed production in Gujarat. While some of the children belong to the farmer households, other children are hired for wages as the pollination work is labour intensive.

Those in sex work are workers entitled to govt schemes: 12,000 activists support NHRC

Counterview Desk A statement signed by nearly 12,000 women’s rights activists and organizations across India, “Sex Workers have Human Rights too”, has taken strong exception to by a letter by Sunitha Krishnan and her organisation, Prajwala, to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which seeks to reduce sex workers to hapless victims of violence and not citizens entitled to rights.

Delhi riots: Even British didn't accuse Bhagat Singh of reading Lenin, Jack London

By Vikash Narain Rai* After the #BlackLifeMatters movement seriously tested the credibility of police across America, the Houston police chief Art Acevado talked of ending “lawful but awful” policing. No comparison, but in India, a citizens’ committee comprising former top judges and bureaucrats is now set to inquire into the role of the state machinery and media in handling the February 2020 Delhi violence, which followed protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), “as the investigation by the Delhi Police has evoked extensive critical commentary in recent times.”

Feminism in Sanskrit classics? Sita refused to prove chastity before kingdom, gave up life

Model of Sita going into Mother Earth, Sitamarhi By Kabita Ghosh, Arup Mitra* There is a strong view that western feminism made the world aware of gender equality and talked about women empowerment openly. Some of the Indian women writers dealing with gender issues contested this view through their writings and held that western feminism may have influenced the feminist movement in India, giving it a concrete shape, but to say that it made India fight for equality is rather an exaggeration.

Kazi Karimuddin wished individuals secured from 'unreasonable' search and seizure

By Moin Qazi* Human civilisation has always believed that there is something primal about the need for privacy, for secrecy, for personal space. This has, in the world of some judicial authorities, taken to mean “the right to be let alone”-- that is, the right to privacy. They believe “privacy is the beginning of all freedom”.

Untangling governance? State policy 'protects' Adivasis, not in terms of rights and identity

By Rajiv Shah A new book, “India’s Scheduled Areas”, has gone a long way to suggest that the contradictions between two diametrically opposite views during the “intensive discussions and debates” at the Constituent Assembly on what policy to adopt towards India’s tribal areas – whether to see them as regions with distinct identity or now – continues to this day. 

Soul of Narmada movement, Jagannath kaka absolves Nehru of sanctioning High Dam

By Nandini Oza* The news of the passing away of one of the senior-most members of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) Jagannath (Kaka) Patidar at the age of 93 seemed as if the foundation of the movement itself has been shaken. There is no hesitation in saying that Jagannath (bhai) Patidar, popularly known as “Kaka” and his family is the first family of the NBA. Hardly anyone in the plains of Nimad, Madhya Pradesh (MP), must have opposed the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) for over five decades with the kind of resilience as that of Kaka.

US polls: Should Indian Americans vote those refusing to condemn RSS ideology?

Kamala Harris, Pramila Jaypal, Ro Khanna  By Mike Ghouse* Why should we support or pull down the Indian Americans running for US Congress or Senate? The answer is simple, almost all Indian Americans have families back in our motherland, and we must support and elect candidates who subscribe to American values. You and I came to America and have cherished this nation for its values of freedom, equal opportunities, equal justice, equal dignity, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We should wish the same for our fellow Indians back home or any people anywhere.

Insurance cos failing to cover poor, allow NGOs in the sector: GoI-supported report

By Our Representative In an unusual development, a Government of India (GoI)-supported report has favoured the NGO model for taking insurance to the poorer sections of the people, stating that since they are aligned with vulnerable communities they can take insurance to them if necessary policy changes are made in the desired direction. The report comes amidst the strong view among Indian NGOs that they have to operate in an “increasingly repressive” political environment.

Control population to abolish bonded labour: NHRC official praises Emergency policy

By Rajiv Shah A senior National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) official, Justice PC Pant, wants the population control policy initiated by Sanjay Gandhi during the Emergency days to return in order to end bonded labour. Speaking on the occasion of a virtual book release function, Justice Pant, who is member NHRC, and was Supreme Court judge between 2014 and 2017, recalled, “During 1975-76 under the 20-point programme there was not only emphasis on abolition of bonded labour but also population control.”

Maharashtra governor, an RSS man, 'ignores': Festival season may aggrave Covid-19

BJP protest demanding opening up temples in Maharashtra By Vidya Bhushan Rawat* Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari is upset with chief minister Udhav Thackeray and his government for not allowing the ‘religious places’ to open up during the festival season. Suggesting that our Gods and Goddesses have been “condemned” to stay under lockdown, he has told Thackeray, "You have been a strong votary of Hindutva. You had publicly espoused your devotion for Lord Rama by visiting Ayodhya after taking charge as chief minister.”

Symbolic rite in memory of Hathras gangrape victim performed by women in 1,000 villages

By Our Representative  About 30,000 people participated in over 1,000 villages of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu and Karnataka in the Prerna Sabha (sacred get together), organised on October 14, to give respects to the Hathras teenage girl, who was gangraped on September 14. The died a fortnight later in a Delhi hospital. 

Attempt to implicate Mahila Ekta Yatra in Delhi riots 'malicious': Judicial probe sought

Counterview Desk More than a dozen women’s rights leaders*, commenting on the chargesheet filed by the Delhi Police in FIR No 59/2020, which assigns blame for the communal violence in North-East Delhi in February 2020 to not just protestors, activists and students, but also participants in a women’s rally in which they provided leadership, have demanded independent judicial inquiry into the manner in which the investigation is being carried out.

Amend food security Act, ensure midday meal to poor kids in private schools: Plea to Modi

By Our Representative A senior Ahmedabad-based environmentalist, Mahesh Pandya, has pleaded before the Government of India to amend Section 5(1) (b) of the Food Security Act, 2013 in order to enable poor students admitted to unaided private schools to get midday meal, compulsory for primary school children under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009.

Fr Stan's arrest turns Bhima Koregaon into 'most sweeping baton' to silent critics

Counterview Desk Commenting on the recent arrest of Jharkhand-based tribal rights leader Fr Stan Swamy and subsequent filing of charge-sheet against several human rights activists, a civil society network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), has said, the Bhima Koregaon-Elgaar Parishad case has turned into the “most sweeping baton used for silencing human rights activists and intellectuals who have stood alongside the struggles of the most marginalised castes, classes and community.”

India among 19 worst countries 'failing' to criminalise bribery of foreign officials: Study

Counterview Desk A new report, “Exporting Corruption”, published by Berlin-based non-profit Transparency International, regrets that although India has been a party to the UN Convention against Corruption since 2011, it has yet to meet the Article 16 obligations to define and criminalise foreign bribery, adding, the country’s legal framework suffers from shortcomings which affect its capacity to prevent and prosecute foreign bribery.

RTI: 9 of 29 information commissions headless, backlog of cases 'steadily' increasing

By Our Representative Marking 15 years of implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Satark Nagrik Sangathan, a civil rights organization, has said that nine out of 29 (31%) information commissions in India are headless, i.e. they are functioning without a chief. “These include the Central Information Commissioner (CIC) and State Information Commissions (SICs) of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Goa, Manipur, Telangana, Jharkhand, Tripura and Nagaland”, it notes in a new report .

Hathras part of 'disturbing' pattern: Delhi riots, Bhima-Koregaon, Jharkhand lynchings

By Our Representative  Civil rights organization Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM), in a statement, has demanded the resignation of the UP chief minister, even as seeking strict action under the scheduled castes/scheduled tribes (SC/ST) Atrocities Act against all those responsible for the recent violence in Hathras, even as offering “comprehensive assistance to the victims.”