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Bengal migrant workers 'stuck' in TN on roadside without food, shelter: Help sought

By Our Representative  A senior West Bengal-based civil rights leader has drawn the attention of the Tamil Nadu government towards 13 “helpless conditions of migrant labourers” stuck in the midst of the current pandemic in far away Tamil Nadu, pointing out, Apurba Biswas (mobile number 8388982951) and 12 others of different bordering villages of North 24 Pargana, West Bengal, who are the sole bread winners of their family and employees of Nahi Construction Private Ltd, are “stuck" in a roadside in Madurai.

Sahitya Akademi so-called editorial 'death knell' for Gujarati writers' free expression

Parul Khakhar, Vishnu Pandya Counterview Desk  In a strongly-worded statement, more than 170 Gujarat cultural personalities, activists and academics have strongly protested against “threats" issued against Gujarati writers in the Gujarat Sahitya Academi journal “Shabdsrushti” through an anonymous writeup under the titled “No, This Is Not a Poem, It Is Misuse of a ‘Poem’ for Anarchy…”

Poor health infrastructure, vaccine hesitancy 'rampant' in rural West Bengal

By IMPRI Team  Participating in a webinar on Rural Realities -- West Bengal, organised the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies at the Impact and Policy Research Institute ( IMPRI) , New Delhi, senior activist Sankar Halder, who is founder president, Mukti, has said that while several cyclones that had devastated the South Bengal region since November 2019, the two Covid-19 waves had led to massive devastation of livelihoods of those who depended upon agriculture, fishing and government-aid to survive.

Why India needs to redefine management of third wave for children with chronic ailments

By Dr Palash Baruah, DL Wankhar*  The United Nations’ “Policy Brief: The impact of Covid-19 on children” dated April 15, 2020 was convinced that “Children are not the face of this pandemic.” This was also evident in India when the ‘first wave’ of Covid-19 hit the country. Scientists and experts were convinced that children were less susceptible as compared to adults of advanced age or those with co-morbid conditions.

Rural UP: Not just RTPCR, even antigen facility 'not available' in a radius of 20-25 km

By IMPRI Team  A panel discussion on the working experiences of various professionals especially in the wake of the second wave of Covid in Indian villages, organized by the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS), the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI) , New Delhi, and the Parmarth Sevi Sanstha focused on rural reality of Uttar Pradesh and related issues.

Apex Court order to evict ex-mine workers 'unjustified', violates housing right: NAPM

Counterview Desk  Condemning the “unjustifiable” order of the Supreme Court to evict around one lakh residents of Khori Gaon, Haryana, without rehabilitation in the middle of the pandemic, India’s civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has said that right to housing of working class people living in precarious conditions is inalienable, and ‘environmental protection’ cannot be an excuse to deprive vulnerable people of shelter.

Maharashtra villagers wondered: Why actors and celebrities got beds, and not we?

By IMPRI Team  In continuation with the ongoing discussions on the rural realities around the country, the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS), Impact and Policy Research Institute ( IMPRI ), New Delhi, organized a panel discussion on Rural Realities: Maharashtra Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian Villages.

Contempt? Silicosis deaths: Gujarat govt 'not executing' SC order on compensation

By Our Representative  In a strongly-worded letter to the State chief secretary, senior health rights activist Jagdish Patel of the Peoples Training And Research Centre (PTRC), Vadodara, has accused the Gujarat government of continuing to ignore the Supreme Court order dated April 11, 2017, which asked all State governments, including that of Gujarat, to compensate to tune of Rs 3 lakh to the next of kin (NoK) of those who have died of sthe deadly occupational health disease silicosis.

Hindutva politics has given new lease of life to neoliberal capitalism, initiated by Congress

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The BJP and Narendra Modi had promised “Achhe din” (good days) and “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas” (with all, development for all, faith of all) to capture the political power in Delhi. The majority of corporate media and many liberal intellectuals have projected him as a reformer, popular and experienced leader, who can claim Indian century in the world stage.

Uncomfortable question: Is it a house of Narendra Modi or Prime Ministerial house?

Prime Ministerial House at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg as of today By Mansee Bal Bhargava* Why are the media and masses misguided about the Prime Minister’s House in the Rajpath as current Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s House? For example, Geeta Pandey in bbc.com writes , ‘Central Vista: Does Indian PM Narendra Modi really need a new house?’ Another interesting example is when Sunil Prabhu and Deepshikha Ghosh write , ‘Government Sets Deadline For New PM House Amid Covid Crisis’. This almost sounds like a New PM, as many too may like this to happen soon.

Event on imprisoned Devangana, Natasha: UN official rues Govt of India's no response

Counterview Desk  Friends of Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, two incarcerated young activists in Delhi, who organised an online event to commemorate their year in prison, has seen a large number of academics, activists, journalists and others come together discuss what they called “heightened repression in India in a global context” by using “anti-democratic laws” in order to crackdown on dissent and marginalised communities.

Prepared by top economists, relief package sought for 80% rural, 70% urban households

Counterview Desk  A civil society statement, prepared by senior economists Amit Basole, Babu Mathews, Gautam Bhan, Jean Dreze, Rajendran Narayan and Ravi Srivastava after several rounds of discussion with trade unions, lawyers and grassroots organisation, and endorsed  by several civil society and workers’ organisations as also concerned citizens, has insisted that the Government of India come up with a national relief and recovery package immediately.

Second wave was 'disaster' for rural areas of Jharkhand, Bihar, impacted livelihood

By IMPRI Team  A recent panel discussion focusing upon the conditions of Jharkhand and Bihar villages to share the insights and experiences of the practitioners located in their respective locations highlighted the second wave of the Covid pandemic proved to be disastrous for the interior regions of the country, where people are less aware and the health infrastructure is very weak.

They suffer today in jail because they believed in the 'idea of India, in the Constitution'

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* It was the virtual ‘midnight knock'! The irony was that the knock took place in broad daylight, and expectedly in a blatantly unjust, uncivilised and unconstitutional manner. On 6 June 6, 2018, Sudhir Dhawale, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen and Rona Wilson were arrested from their residences in various parts of the country.

India's 'lag'? How govt is making little effort to achieve Sustainable Development Goals

By Dr Gurinder Kaur*  According to the United Nations Sustainable Development Report released on 5 June 5, 2021, India slipped down by two ranks to 117 from 2020’s 115th rank in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The 193 countries of the United Nations set 17 Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Hunger, lack of food security behind India's 'slip' in UN's sustainable development rank

By Dr Gian Singh*  According to a report released by the United Nations on June 6, 2021, India's ranking of achieving Sustainable Development based on the 17 Social Development Goals (SDGs) set by the 193 countries in the 2003 agenda, which was 115th last year, has slipped to 117th position this year. India ranks not only the lowest among the BRICS countries -- Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China, and South Africa but also below the four South Asian countries -- Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Rural Karnataka: Dependence on small time clinics, quacks; lack of trust in govt hospitals

By IMPRI Team To discuss the impact of  the spread of the second wave in rural areas, the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS) and Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi, organized a panel discussion on Rural Realities: Karnataka Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian Villages.

Collapse of healthcare system? Why 90% of Covid patients treated at home survived

By Bobby Ramakant, Sandeep Pandey* Well known Hindustani classical singer Padma Vibhu shan Channulal Mishra, chosen as one of the proposers of Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha elections, lost his wife and elder daughter to Covid in private hospitals in Varanasi. Younger daughter has accused Medwin Hospital of charging Rs 1.5 lakh for treatement of her sister and not being able to explain the cause of death. Pandit Channulal Mishra has asked for a probe into his daughter’s death from the Chief Minister. The family has also asked for the CCTV footage of the ward where deceased daughter was admitted for a week.

Some so-called experts ask: Are Islam and democracy compatible? Answer is, yes

By Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai*  First of all, let me clarify that not all Muslims rebel, but some do. Not all rebellions are about self-determination, but some are. Civilization and international peace and security will pay a steep price if the only answer to Muslim discontent is bloody fists, not democratic openings. A survey past and present edifies.

Incompetent testing in rural TN 'led to' 15% positive cases, 6.7% Covid deaths of India

By IMPRI Team  To discuss the pertinent topic of the time, measures to tackle the spread of the second wave in rural areas, the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS), Department of Social Work, Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirapalli , and the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi, organized a panel discussion with eminent panelists on Rural Realities: Tamil Nadu Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave.

Ahmedabad: NGO-promoted park Muskaan, devoted to communal harmony, razed

By Our Representative  An Ahmedabad-based NGO, Society for Promoting Rationality (SPRAT) has taken strong exception to what it has called “saga of destruction” of “an innovative, much-admired and multipurpose park AUDA Muskaan , devoted to promoting communal harmony, healthy low-cost adventure, scientific temper and cultural exchanges.”

Why custodial death of Faisal Hussain in Unnao district, UP, stands apart in horror

By KM Yadav, Anil Mishra, Shiv Narayan Sharma, Venkatesh Narayanan*  It is a depressing fact that the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) has to have a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for dealing with after-the-fact custodial deaths and rapes. That such crimes are borne disproportionately by minorities, marginalised communities, Dalits and Adivasis is even more distressing.

Kerala’s Covid numbers 'realistic' unlike states like Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh

By IMPRI Team In continuation with the ongoing discussions on the Rural Realities around the country, the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS), Impact and Policy Research Institute ( IMPRI ), New Delhi, and International Institute of Migration and Development (IIMAD), Kerala, organized a Panel Discussion on “Rural Realities: Kerala Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian Villages”, as the second wave of coronavirus pandemic was engulfing the length and breadth of India, and hitting its heartland, rural areas.

Nobel laureates join international figures, seek release of Bhima Koregaon accused activists

Nobel laureates Olga Tokarczuk,  Wole Soyinka Counterview Desk  As many as 57 top international personalities, including Nobel laureates, academics, human rights defenders, lawyers cultural personalities, and members of Parliament of European countries, have urged the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India to ensure immediate release of human rights defenders in India “into safe conditions”.

Courageous, in-depth attempt to confirm common spiritual values of Christ, Buddha

By RB Sreekumar, IPS*  All religions, both theistic and atheistic designed conceptual and practical architecture, for holistic and comprehensive elevation and enlightenment of humanity. PK Vijayan, in his novel “Nirvana of Jesus Christ” (Notion Press, 2020) through creative imagination portrayed personality evolution of the two progenitors of God-centric and sagaciously logical major religions – Jesus Christ of Christianity and Gautama Buddha of Buddhism.

Rural Gujarat was 'complacent' as second wave took urban cities by storm

By IMPRI Team  To discuss the ways to tackle the spread of the second wave in rural areas, the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS) and the Impact and Policy Research Institute ( IMPRI ), New Delhi organized a panel discussion on Rural Realities: Gujarat Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian Villages.

Modi's new 'universal' vaccine policy still favours urban elite, has no walk-in facility

Counterview Desk  Top international NGO, Oxfam, and health rights network, Forum for Medical Ethics Society, even as welcoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent announcement for partial free vaccines, have insisted on the need to for “a more inclusive vaccine policy”, pointing out, “Efforts are required on vaccine equity to speed up the vaccination process.”

End restrictions on civil society investigating killing of 4 tribals: Chhattisgarh govt told

By Our Representative  India's premier civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM), has demanded “immediate end” to the Chhattisgarh government’s alleged efforts to restrict movement of civil society groups investigating the killing of four Adivasis by security forces in Silger village, Sukma district of Chhattisgarh.

Vaccinating all Indians 'not possible', herd immunity via community spread only hope

By IMPRI Team In continuation with the ongoing discussions on the Rural Realities around the country, the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS), Impact and Policy Research Institute ( IMPRI ), New Delhi, organized a Panel Discussion on “Rural Realities: Telangana & Andhra Pradesh -- Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian Villages”, as the second wave of coronavirus pandemic is engulfing the length and breadth of our country, India, and hitting the heartland of our country which is the rural areas.

Recession? India's govt economists 'don't understand': Growth rate isn't development

By Dr Gian Singh* On May 31, 2021, the National Statistics Office under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation released the economic growth figures for the financial year (FY) 2020-21. India's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 1.6 per cent during the fourth quarter (January-March) of FY 2020-21, while India's GDP contracted by 7.3 per cent during FY 2020-21.

When state failed to deliver, this NGO helped people breathe during pandemic

By Moin Qazi* India’s coronavirus crisis is the worst since the pandemic began, and it will probably worsen before it gets better. Hospitals and clinics around the country are facing a shortage of essential supplies, including beds, oxygen, drugs, vaccines, and Covid-19 tests.

Demise of Ayushman Bharat? Why healthcare privatization is no solution amidst Covid

By Sanjib Pohit*  No doubt, the pandemic has exposed the fragility of India’s health sector. The shortage of doctors, hospital beds, ventilators, oxygen, medicine etc. is the stark reality of the day. The story is true across all over India. Incidentally, none of the metros have stood apart in this pandemic disaster even though health infrastructure is quite well developed in metros than small towns. 

Why 'impose' Goonda Act on Lakshadweep, which has no crime, no locks on doors?

By Our Representative  An online open forum of political and social activists has given a call to “protect” social, cultural, economic and environmental rights of Lakshadweep from what most participants described as “looming threat of the agenda of right-wing BJP and its allies in the Central government.” Part of the daily Satyagraha dialogue series on “Lakshadweep, the burning heart", the forum was hosted by the Socialist Party (India).

Draconian? Lakshadweep regulation allows admin to detain locals without public notice

Counterview Desk  India’s top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), even as “strongly” condemning what it calls BJP’s authoritarian manoeuvres to “destroy” Lakshadweep socially and ecologically, has demanded that the Government of India should immediately recall their administrator and that the “ensure democratic rights to decision-making are held by the islanders.”

Beef ban, lifting of prohibition: Infusing 'communal colour' in sensitive Lakshadweep?

Counterview Desk  More than former 90 civil servants , who are part of the Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG), in a letter to the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and the Minister for Environment and Forests, has sought to draw attention to what they have called “disturbing developments in Lakshadweep.”

Everything made him thoughtful, all Indians inspired him, so he inspired all Indians

By Alexander K Luke* Let us now praise a great man... He was one of us, one amongst us, but he stood apart. Harrow and Cambridge taught him to love English but not England. There was another land, to which he was a stranger, which claimed him, he returned to it. For the next thirty years, ten in jail, he changed his attire and walked with Gandhi in his epic search for freedom and morality. Nehru, our Prime Minister in those first dangerous years, respected by the good and great of the world, a thinker and a man excited by possibilities not yet real; he attracted many, big and small. Andre Malraux of France held intense conversations with him, to children he was Chacha Nehru, and he loved roses. Gandhi pointed to him as our leader, the issue was settled for Indians. Everything made him thoughtful, all Indians inspired him, so he inspired all Indians. Lata's great song brought tears to his eyes, but she could sing it because of him. He made what was beautiful

Non-organic sanitary pads Whisper, Stayfree take up to 800 yrs to decompose: Study

By Our Representative  About 12.3 billion or 113,000 tonnes of used sanitary pads are dumped in landfills in India every year, adding to the already existing plastic pollution in the country, a new study titled 'Menstrual Products and their Disposal' released by the environmental group Toxics Link has said.

Controversial choice of Justice Mishra for NHRC? BJP 'follows' a Congress precedent

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat* Former Supreme Court Judge Arun Mishra has taken over as chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission NHRC). Mishra was over-staying in his official residence after his retirement and had not vacated the place and sought extension under one pretext or other.

Why UP panchayat results aren't a guarantee Samajwadi Party will win Assembly polls

By Divesh Ranjan, Brijesh Kumar Rai, Sandeep Pandey*  Recent Uttar Pradesh Panchayat election results indicate that Samajwadi Party supported candidates have won more number of seats than Bhartiya Janata Party supported candidates in the election of District Panchayat Members. Interestingly, BJP supported candidates have been defeated in bastions key to Hindutva politics like Ayodhya, Varanasi and Mathura. This implies that building a Ram temple is no longer going to fetch votes.

Pandemic-induced disruption of spatial-social order: Domestic violence, funeral pyres

By Sudeshna Roy, Bidisha Chattopadhyay*  Covid-19 has led us to question and rethink the distribution, design and function of public space. Though phase-wise opening up of public spaces has happened, and under the second wave of virus surge in India; intermittent zonal lockdowns, night curfews and weekend lockdowns have been reintroduced, there are multiple questions that emanate from this unforeseen situation.

Ramdev part of Hindutva brigade's lunatic fringe? Allopathy isn't above board either

By Aviral Anand*  I am no fan of Baba Ramdev. I also know that being the devil's advocate in cases like these cannot be a well-liked thing, especially among progressive circles. I also very consciously distance myself from all his Hindutva-like pronouncements.

Choosing Justice Mishra as new NHRC chief a 'brazen blow' to rule of law, human rights

Counterview Desk  In a joint statement, 71 human rights organisations and concerned citizens, protesting against the appointment of former Supreme Court judge Arun Mishra as chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), have said, it just as “another move to subvert and destroy democratic institutions”.

India's decentralized vaccine procurement policy 'ignores' informal sector workers

By Bappaditya Mukhopadhyay*  Preventing the third wave requires a judicious mix of vaccination and lockdown. Our current strategy regarding vaccination is far from what it should be. Let us begin with some numbers. As on May 25, 2021, we have administered close to 19.5 crore vaccines. However, this means only 3% of the population receiving the complete dose and around 11% receiving a single dose.

BJP-RSS dilemma? Electorally winning over Dalits yet 'ensuring' their subordination

By Ram Puniyani*  India’s caste system is the major obstacle for betterment of the socio-economic condition of the downtrodden. The lowest in the rung of caste hierarchy, the victims of caste oppression are addressed as Dalits or Scheduled Castes (SC). There are others who are also on the lower scale of hierarchy, the tribal (ST) and other backward castes (OBC). For centuries the low castes were subject to oppression at multiple levels. Theirs’ was a sort of slavery couched in the wrap of religion.

India tops with 229 journo covid deaths of 1440 in world as GoI offers Rs 5 lakh to 67

By Our Representative  Even as appreciating the Government of India (GoI) move to “offer” financial assistance to the families of Covid-19 victims among journalists to the tune of Rs 5 lakh each, Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), a Switzerland-based media rights body has urged that there is an urgent need to vaccinate all journalists on a priority basis and offer aid to all the victim families so that they can play their roles as frontline corona warriors after the doctors, nurses, other health and sanitation workers.

Unlike other revolutionaries, Hindutva icon wrote 5 mercy petitions to British masters

By Shamsul Islam*  The Hindutva icon VD Savarkar of the RSS-BJP rulers of India submitted not one, two,or three but five mercy petitions to the British masters! Savarkarites argue: “There are no evidences to prove that Savarkar collaborated with the British for his release from jail. In fact, his appeal for release was a ruse. He was well aware of the political developments outside and wanted to be part of it. So he kept requesting for his release. But the British authorities did not trust him a bit” (YD Phadke, ‘A complex Hero’, "The Indian Expres"s, August 31, 2004)

How Ramdev got fixed into RSS scheme of things by raising 'false' sense of pride

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat* Ram Kishan Yadav or Ramdev is a product of grand Hindutva package that works through raising 'cultural' issues. He has indeed succeeded in reaching Indian households, even outside, through his yoga. As we wait for miracles in India, he seemed to be the 'miracle' man. All those who didn't want to put their bodies to trouble felt that his miracles were boon for them. The business started once he became a brand.

Extent of BJP's 'dependence' on RSS for communal polity as it turns into mass party

By Anand K Sahay* Recent observations on India’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic emanating from the highest levels of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) -- praised by many as a selfless, nationalist outfit given to social service, and denounced as a “fascist” or “militarist” body by a range of critics -- have left the country mystified. This is because the RSS is the inspiration behind the founding of the BJP.

Why hasn't Govt of India responded to US critique of freedom of religion under Modi?

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* About two weeks ago, on May 12, 2021, the US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken released in Washington the ‘2020 International Religious Freedom Report.’ This official annual report of the US Government details the status of religious freedom in nearly 200 foreign countries and territories and describes US actions to support religious freedom worldwide. Mandated by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, this report highlights the fact that ‘religious freedom is both a core American value and a universal human right’.

Resist govt move against cultural identity, civil rights of Lakshadweep people: PFI

By Our Representative  Popular Front of India (PFI), a civil society rights organisation, has called upon democratic forces to come forward to resist the Central government move seeking to endanger religious, cultural and linguistic identity and the civil rights of the indigenous people of Lakshadweep Islands.