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Showing posts from April, 2021

Profits before people? Vaccine diplomacy: Why is Modi govt losing out globally

By Shobha Shukla, Bobby Ramakant, Sandeep Pandey* Narendra Modi once said he is a Gujarati and understands business. As time passes his business model is getting exposed and he is becoming more shameless like any ordinary businessman. It is quite clear to the people that he is not withdrawing the three controversial farm laws because all the three laws are meant to benefit the private corporations at the cost of farmers.

Zakat to mosque or madarsa? Businessman who instead addressed shortage of oxygen

By Moin Qazi*  Everyone can recognize an entrepreneur when he sees one, but no one really knows how they became one. Was it nature – they were just born to build things – or was it nurture – their environment moulded them into innovators and path builders.

Misuse of position: Will President, Supreme Court, Election Commission keep a check?

By  Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Open letter to President, Supreme Court, and Election Commission of India: Greetings!  Keeping my hope on the three institutions despite all the speculations raised on their integrity, I write this letter with an earnest request to help the ordinary citizens of India understand the meanings of symbols-statesmanship at a position and in profession. Personally, following the political activities of India closely over three decades, it is realized that some things are changing faster than the citizens can easily comprehend, an important one being the Symbols of Statesmanship at a position and in profession.

India's Covid-19 'nightmare': A product of majoritarian Hindutva ideological praxis?

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Indians struggle to find place and time to bury their dead due to the devastating effects of the second wave of Covid-19 in India. The crematoriums in the capital cities are overflowing with dead bodies. People are dying without oxygen and basic medical support. The cities like Delhi and Mumbai are struggling to cope with the rising number of infections and COVID-19 led deaths. The deaths and destitutions are products of a defunct BJP government led by Narendra Modi.

Modi, BJP doing what they are good at: Attack opponents, communally divide society

By Harshavardhan Purandare, Sandeep Pandey*  India’s premature declaration of victory on coronavirus has proven to be counterproductive, second wave has caught us unawares hitting us harder. Last one year of corona experience and learning has had no impact on our pandemic preparedness; neither our much celebrated ‘world’s largest vaccination programme’ has been effective.

Mostly Dalits, Adivasis, 97% undertials 'falsely' accused, release them, demands JMM

Counterview Desk  Making the 84th birth anniversary of Father Stan Swamy – the veteran Adivasi rights Jesuit priest languishing Taloja Jail, Maharashtra, for about four months for his alleged role in Bhima Koregaon violence – as the occasion, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM), a civil rights organisation, has demanded that “lakhs of undertrials with no justice in sight” should be released immediately.

Telangana ban on 16 civil rights groups: Govt has 'little regard' for dissent, civil rights

Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao with Narendra Modi  By Our Representative  The Telangana Praja Assembly (TPA), a coalition of rights organizations and people’s collectives and concerned citizens, have expressed “alarm” at what it has called “arbitrary and sweeping” decision of the Telangana government to declare 16 civil rights organizations as ‘unlawful’ at a time when the entire country is reeling under an “extra-ordinary pandemic” situation.

Covid crisis? Govt of India brings in new alibi to 'woo' corporates: Systemic collapse

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  “The system has collapsed” – is a general cry these days as events unfolding everyday bring in more uncertainty and desperation. We were never so helpless as we are today. You can’t help anyone, you can’t go to meet your friends and relatives. Common people are alarmed. They wonder what would happen to them if the disease strikes them. People are dying of utter neglect.

Social, political activists seek 'immediate' nationalisation of healthcare infrastructure

By Our Representative  Several social and political activists, including veteran physician Dr GG Parikh, who participated in 1942 Quit India movement and went to jail; Magsaysay award winning social activist Prof Sandeep Pandey; and socialist thinker Brij Khandelwal, among others, have demanded that the Modi government and all state governments “must immediately nationalize all healthcare infrastructure” in view of the current Covid crisis.

Indian media persons collapsing to Covid disease as fast as 3 per day, third highest

Yogesh Sharma, Shailesh Rawal  By Our Representative  The Switzerland based media rights and safety body, Press Emblem Campaign ( PEC ) has said that it is “alarming for Indian journalists”, who have lost at least 107 colleagues to Covid-19”, noting, Indian “journo-colleagues” have been collapsing to the Covid-19 complications now as fast as three scribes per day. In a statement, PEC said, “India with 107 media corona-casualties has already placed itself on the third position just below Brazil (181 dead) and Peru (140) in the list of Covid-19 victims among journalist.”

Ram Temple? Govt 'should take over' existing religious infra, covert them into hospitals

By Bobby Ramakant, Sandeep Pandey*  As India runs a drive for vaccination against Covid the nature reminds us about our diminutiveness by an accompanying surge in Covid cases. In 2020, India had reported the highest number of 98,795 cases in 24 hours on September 17, 2020 but now the new unfortunate peak in April 2021 is past the 3 lakhs mark.

Birthday greetings to Fr Stan Swamy, in jail: 'You taught us true meaning of solidarity'

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* Dear Stan, It is rather unusual and certainly not normal to wish someone who is in prison “A Happy Birthday!” One's birthday cannot be ‘happy’ in prison; however, in wishing you we celebrate your life: your mission and your message and above all, those whom you have so closely identified with, all these years so “Birthday Greetings to you dear Fr. Stan!

Sangh Parivar proto-fascist? Kerala academic's query raises Govt of India eye-brows

By Our Representative  Veteran political scientist and peace and human rights activist Manoranjan Mohanty , who is with the Council for Social Development (CSD), and academic Prem Kumar Vijayan of the department of English, Hindu College, Delhi University, have sought endorsement in support for Dr Gilbert Sebastian of the Kerala Central University (KCU), being “targeted” by Sangh Parivar for seeking a discussion on whether the Sangh Parivar and the Modi government are “proto-fascist”.

Probe sought: Arsenal report 'confirms' jailed activist Sudha Bharadwaj, others framed

Counterview Desk  Seeking release of well-known labour rights leader and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj and others accused in the two-year-old Bhima Koregaon violence and calling for an independent, time-bound probe into the manner in which their computers were reportedly hacked to frame them, Kaladas Dehariya, Kavita Srivastva and Vimal Bhai, “representing” Bharadwaj’s family and friends, have said the development is “deeply disturbing” and “frightening” for India’s citizenry.

Gujarat youth who cares two hoots for those criticising him for 'supporting' Muslims

Vyom Amin with at a unity rally  By Mahesh Trivedi*  Hatemongers have been misusing social media to hurl abuses on communities they dislike. But here is a young, highly-qualified Hindu Good Samaritan who has been silently doing humanitarian work through social media to give a one tight slap on the face of fanatics.

When will Mother India have more of women as PM, home minister, other ministers?

By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Mother India or Bharat Mata is referred metaphorically as a Goddess of the billion plus people of India who is as caring and loving besides strong and powerful, who can guide its children to right path. Today, the children of the Mother India are going through a Tsunami of Covid-19 worsened further with the poor Covid governance . 

Gender bias: India's inheritance laws 'assume' men alone are providers of family

By Urmi Ashok Badiyani*  The subject of inheritance is governed by the personal laws in India. The personal laws regulate marriage, divorce, maintenance, inheritance and succession for the citizens. These laws differ in line with the religion that a person belongs to.

Liberating Bengal Hindus? Worst flames of communal division, lessons from the past

By Shamsul Islam*  The whole thrust of the RSS-BJP election campaign for 2021 state assembly elections in West Bengal has been to save Bengal from the rule of Mamata Bannerjee who is allegedly not a ‘Hindu’. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a self-proclaimed Hindu nationalist, as usual set the polarizing agenda. While addressing the first election rally, he called upon the electorate to overthrow the ‘nirmam’ (cruel) rule of Mamata by showing a ‘Ram Card’. He did not name Hindus directly but there was no confusion about the religious identity of the electorate Indian PM was addressing to.

Provide emergency ration, food to people without ration cards: Petition in Delhi HC

By Our Representative  The civil rights organisation, Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan (DRRAA), in a petition filed in the Delhi High Court, has sought immediate provision of rations and cooked food to needy persons who do not possess ration cards in the light of the fresh curfew imposed in Delhi to curtail the spread of Covid-19. The lockdown-like curfew was first imposed over the weekend for two days and since the evening of Monday, April 20 has been extended till April 26, it said.

Covid-19: 'Scapegoating' of minorities in Gujarat took blame away from state liability

Counterview Desk  A 96-page report, prepared by the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS), Mumbai, “The Covid Pandemic: A Report on the Scapegoating of Minorities in India”, has sought to document how the process of strengthening communal polarization was undertaken amidst the pandemic in six states – Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Orissa and Tamil Nadu.

Free adivasi woman rights leader, drop terror charges on activists: Chhattisgarh CM told

Counterview Desk  Over 1,000 activists, academics, concerned citizens from more than 20 states in India and across the globe, in a letter to the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, have called for “immediate release” of adivasi rights leader and environmentalist Hidme Markam, even as insisting, state “excess” on adivasis in Bastar should end forthwith.

Why are national, global issues a domain of only a Gupta, Sharma, Jha or a Mishra?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Every year various magazines, online portals and newspapers bring out a list of ‘powerful’ people for our consumption. These are brought out on particular occasions after being “judged’ by a few “selected” or “knowledgeable” people who go through the work and achievements of such people during the year in order to come to a conclusion.

Climate emergency ignored? India's position not to reduce total GHG 'obstinate'

By Shankar Sharma*  One wonders as to how long will the diplomatic nicety, as seen in two news paper links (click here and here ), will be continued to be bestowed on India by the global community; especially in the context that India has clearly indicated that it may build many more coal power plants in the near future, and also in the context that it has not committed itself to reduce the GHG emissions at all even by 2040 (as stated in the draft national energy policy, 2017).

Solving vaccine crisis: Will Government of India lift price cap on private distributors?

By Rit Nanda*  The second wave of Covid-19 that is battering India at the moment has focussed on two main threads: the responsibility of the government and authorities, and the responsibility of the common person. With respect to the people, undoubtedly, they have become lax in enforcing social distancing and wearing masks. The government did not help with pronouncements proclaiming a premature victory .

Contested grounds? Ongoing land conflicts in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal

By Mukta Joshi* From March to May 2021, four states and one union territory – Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puduchery – are conducting elections for their respective legislative assemblies. The Bharatiya Janata Party is currently in power in Assam, while Kerala is governed by the Left Front coalition led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Tamil Nadu by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, and West Bengal by the Trinamool Congress.

Activist-journalist Indukumar Jani served marginalised, felt helpless towards end of life

By Martin Macwan* We, his friends and colleagues, lovingly called him Indubhai. He is no more . The vacuum created by his departure into a shrinking space for social activism will be difficult to fill. In his 77 year age, he spent 41 long years, serving the most marginalized through multiple activities, especially through his writings.

Militant, extremist? VHP's religious education in Aussie schools 'alien' to Hindu values

Counterview Desk Australian arm of the Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), a Washington DC-based nonprofit organization founded in 2019, which claims to advocate for pluralism as "rooted" in the values of Hindu faith, has taken strong objection to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of Australia (VHPA) partnering with schools in New South Wales as an approved provider of Special Religious Education, stating, the values VHPA seeks to propagate are contrary to the Hindu view of shanti (peace), nyaya (justice) and satya (truth).

Refusing to develop scientific temper, Govt of India 'loses' historic opportunity

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  The second wave of coronavirus has stuck hard, particularly in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. Was the wave surprising or we allowed it to happen? The number of cases are all set to reach a whopping 300,000 per day.

Independent trustees oppose Gujarat hospital tie-up with defence PSU, budget 'approval'

Counterview Desk Independent board members of Ahmedabad's premier public-charitable health institutions, Chinai Maternity and Sarabhai General Hospitals (VS), in a letter to the Commissioner, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), with copies to the VS Hospital chairperson and the Charity Commissioner, Ahmedabad, have protested against the manner in which the legally constituted VS Board and Trusts were "bypassed" while passing the budget worth Rs 163.85 crore for the hospital.

Mulshi: India's first anti-dam satyagraha and Gandhiji's insistence on non-violence

A Mulshi Dam affected village By Nandini K Oza*  The Mulshi satyagraha (struggle) against a dam being built by the Tata company on the river Mula in Maharashtra is one of the first anti-dam struggles of India, fought nearly a hundred years ago. However, not much is known about this important and powerful struggle, though it has been well documented in the book ‘Mulshi Satyagraha’, by Rajendra Vohra.

Jharkhand Covid restrictions? Hunger may worsen as Central grain stocks pile up

Counterview Desk  As pandemic rages across the nation, the Modi government is busy with election riding on religious majoritarianism, well-known civil rights network, Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM) has said, demanding a large number of urgent measures both at the Central and state levels to stop the fast pace at which the disease is spreading across the country.

OECD aid grossly insufficient to deal with 'lasting impact' of Covid crisis: 76 CSOs

By Our Representative  As many as 76 civil society organisations across the world, including two from India, have have objected to the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the powerful Paris-based intergovernmental economic organisation with 37 member countries, for allocating a mere 161.2 billion USD of official development assistance (ODA), more commonly known as ‘development aid’.

54% youth not job ready, yet NEP fails to recognise widening inequities in education

By Simi Mehta, Anshula Mehta In an endeavour to harness India’s massive potential in the 21st century, the Government of India launched the “National Education Policy 2020”. The policy has been hailed as progressive and revolutionary; it has sparked discourse on the future of education.  Given its potential to initiate massive transformations and create substantial change, it becomes pertinent to analyze and question its comprehensiveness, inclusiveness, flaws, ability to impart value education and skills and whether it can make a peaceful, tolerant and just society.

How marginalised communities gave folk expression to 'lost' inheritance in eastern UP

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Fourteen years ago, when noted Hindi author and historian Subhash Chandra Kushwaha took the initiative to create a space for folk artistes against the culture of indecency and vulgarity in the name of folk culture, particularly in the Bhojpuri heartland, nobody ever assumed that the event would become hugely popular with the masses and ultimately gain international repute, perhaps the most sought after in this rural hinterland in Eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Does Gujarat govt know? Ambedkar advised Dalits to convert to 'gain' self-respect

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* On April 14, the nation gratefully remembered Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar who was born on this day in 1891, 130 years ago! He was a polymath and civil rights activist who contributed immensely to the nation: Among others, as the Father of the Constituent Assembly, as the one who conceptualised the Reserve Bank of India and, above all, as a social reformer who was known for his campaigns against the social discrimination which oppressed the Dalits, women and labour.

Why is it business as usual for India? Arrest of Burmese rights leader Thin Thin, others

Counterview Desk  Seventy three women’s rights defenders from India in an open statement have called upon the Myanmar junta to immediately release Thin Thin Aung, known to many of the signatories during her 15 years in exile in India as a Burmese refugee, as also other “illegally detained” pro-democracy activists.

Recalling Jallianwala martyrs' communal amity as BJP 'warns' of Sitalkuchi everywhere

By Shamsul Islam*  The RSS-BJP rulers declare India to be a battle-ground between Hinduism and Islam. Muslims have been declared as ‘internal threat’ by RSS ideologue MS Golwalkar (“Bunch of Thought”, Chapter xvi). Behaviour of many of their leading cadres, including those who hold high constitutional posts, is such that they seem to be conspiring over-time to ignite a civil war between the two communities. They are under the impression that this would help divert attention from failures of the Hindutva rulers on developmental front.

Repetitive, non-creative strategy? Why is annihilation of caste still a 'distant' dream

By Aviral Anand*  If Dr BR Ambedkar's birth anniversary is a day of celebration, it is also a day of reflection. To honor the struggle of someone as dedicated and revolutionary as Dr. Ambedkar, one must be able to look back on what has been achieved and also look forward to what needs to be done.

April 14 as #DalitDiwali: Are Bahujan leaders 'insensitive' in choosing symbols?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Dr Mama Deshmukh is a veteran Bahujan historian. In a conversation with me recently, he said that only Ambedkarite Buddhists are capable to lead the Bahujan movement. He insisted, they should get united. An interesting part of his discussion was the advise to Ambedkarites to be sensitive towards 'egos' of the Marathas, Kunbis and other Bahujan communities.

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Gujarat love jihad Bill infringes on women's rights, 'criminalises' marginalized Muslims

Counterview Desk  In a memorandum submitted to Gujarat governor Acharya Devrat, signatories on behalf of the India's top civil society network, National Alliance for People's Movements (NAPM), Gujarat, has said that the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Bill 2021, passed recently in the state assembly, is "unconstitutional, infringes on the rights of women and polarizes the society along lines of religion."

Whither reforms? Pandemic 'witnessed' poor labour market governance in India

By Simi Mehta  Eminent labour economist and professor, Human Resources Management Area at XLRI -- Xavier School of Management, Dr KR Shyam Sundar’s new book titled ‘Essays on COVID-19, Labour Market Reforms and the World of Work in India’, released at a virtual event, has been dedicated the book to the premier international academic body (co-founded by former President Shri VV Giri), the Indian Society of Labour Economics.

Farm laws: Modi govt concocting false narratives, 'ignoring' ill-effects of its steps

By Rahul Singh Rana, Sandeep Pandey* The Farmers' protests are into their fourth month now. These protests started with people from Punjab and Haryana breaking barricades and heading towards the Indian capital. As expected, these protesting farmers were met with force at several places. Undeterred by the challenging circumstances, the farmers were able to reach at the borders of Delhi. 

Andhra govt, Centre 'collude' to repeat Bhima Koregaon type case against rights activists

Counterview Desk  In a comprehensive statement, running into about 3,500 words, India's premier human rights organisation, People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), even as condemning the recent "unprecedented attack" on rights activists by the Andhra Pradesh government, with the Centre's National Investigation Agency (NIA) and stood in "solidarity", has said that the main aim of the "witch hunt" is to silence dissent.

Federalism in danger? Law 'paralyses' Delhi governance, follows abrogation of Article 370

Counterview Desk  In an open statement, a group of former civil servants of the all-India and Central services, who have worked for decades with the Central and State governments, have said that the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amndment) Act, 2021, is not only "bad in law", it also "deprives Delhi’s citizens of the right to govern themselves in matters such as health, education, water, power, electric supply and roads."

Myanmar junta crackdown: Demand to allow refugees in India, sign Geneva Convention

Counterview Desk  India's premier civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), even as seeking restoration of democracy in Myanmar and declaring "support" to the "civil disobedience movement" against the military (Tatmadaw), has demanded that the Government of India (GoI) should allow refuge to Myanmar’s citizens "fleeing persecutions and violence."

Varanasi court verdict on physical survey of Gyanvapi mosque 'violates' Ayodhya verdict

By Our Representative  The Popular Front of India, a civil rights network, has said that the Varanasi district court order directing the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to carry out a “physical survey” of the Gyanvapi mosque is a “clear case of abetting the Sangh Parivar assault on the Constitutional rights of religious minorities.”

Chhattisgarh Naxal attack: Why no CRPF jawan from Delhi, Mumbai upscale area?

By Aviral Anand*  A jawan from Tripura about to get married. Another, from a village in Bilaspur, looking forward to a new home. A recent father... The stories of martyred jawans are almost always the same, and the scenes of mourning too similar, set as they are overwhelmingly in rural or mofussil India. Has one ever heard of someone from, say, the preposterously-named residential complexes like "Maple Gardens Society" in the posh outskirts of the national capital, for example, ever falling victim to an ambush in Bastar?

Reminiscing Kashmir human rights lawyer, 'killed' 25 yrs ago by Indian army fugitive

Arshad Andrabi with photo of brother Jalil Andrabi, Srinagar, June 12, 2012 By Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai*  Accused of murdering human rights lawyer Jalil Andrabi, who was chairman of the Kashmir Commission of Jurists, exactly 25 years ago, it became a big news when a former Indian major, Avtar Singh, was found dead after he killed his wife and two children, and finally himself, in Selma, California. The event took place on June 9, 2012.

Sedition law: Independent India carrying imperial legacy to 'silence' dissent, criticism

By Prem Verma* The Indian sedition law owes its origin to the British Sedition Act of 1661, an Act of Parliament of England which was passed as an Act for safety and Preservation of His Majesties Person and Government against treasonable and seditious practices and attempts. However sedition was abolished in Great Britain through the Coroners and Justice Act of 2009.