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Showing posts from July, 2022

Growing culture of depoliticization is 'sharply accelerating' fall of democracies

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* Rule of law, transparency, accountability and citizenship rights are fundamental pillars of constitutional democracy. These pillars are eroding rapidly. The democratic cultures based on equality, liberty, justice, reason, science, secularism, tolerance and mutual respect for dissenting and diverse opinions are declining across the globe. The corporatisation of electoral campaigns, market command over political parties, corporate control over political processes and policies are mortal threat to the citizenship rights and democratic polity. The capitalist assault on democratic governance is creating conditions of political, economic, social and cultural crises, and giving rise to reactionary forces. Major democracies in Europe, Americas, Asia, Africa and Oceania are facing the crisis of legitimacy and citizens are losing trust over their own states and governments. The democratic governments are not representing their citizens interests but standing behind the

Bihar cops enjoy impunity as rapes rise 10%, assault on women 87%: Report

By Our Representative  A report, researched and authored by Dalit women activists and human rights defenders, has revealed that in Bihar, there was a 10.4% rise in incidents of rape and 87% rise in cases of assault on women with an intent to outrage their modesty in 2020. In this period, 628 rape cases were registered in the state under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The report, titled ‘Caste-Based Sexual Violence and State Impunity’, said, in spite of increased reporting of cases of sexual violence, justice is not achieved because of the complete impunity displayed by the state duty-holders, including the police and medical personnel. This not just affects the reported cases, but also the ones which remain unreported. Releasing the report at the Nav Jyoti Niketan, Kurji More, Patna, Santosh Suman Manjhi, minister of SC/ST welfare of Bihar, said, “It is our social responsibility to understand issues affecting Dalit women. We need to empower all communities

India a source, destination, transit of human trafficking, yet crucial Bill remains pending

By Risha Syed*   Trafficking in human beings is one of the largest organized crimes violating basic human rights. Trafficking in human beings may be for sexual exploitation as well as in many other forms including forced labour. This crime is primarily fuelled by poverty, illiteracy, lack of livelihood options, etc. India is a source, a destination as well as a transit country for trafficking. Majority of the trafficking happens within the country but there are also a large number of persons trafficked from and to neighbouring countries and to other countries, especially Middle East Asia. Internationally, India has ratified the United Nations Convention for the ‘Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others’ which declares that prostitution and the accompanying evil of the traffic in persons for the purpose of prostitution are incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person and endanger the welfare of the individual, the family

Why big fuss about special issue on Savarkar? None cared for 'real' Gandhi till now

By Prem Singh*  Some Gandhians appear to be indignant about the special issue of 'Antim Jan' on Sarvakar. It is a monthly magazine published by a government organization, Gandhi Darshan and Smriti. Some journalists, intellectuals and party spokespersons/ leaders too have expressed their unhappiness over the special issue. Gandhi's great-grandson Tushar Gandhi's statement has also reacted to it. 'Gandhi Darshan and Smriti' is an organization related to the life and thoughts of Gandhi. Opponents believe that this institution's special issue on Savarkar is part of the 'Hindutva' agenda of the present government. They say that by doing so the government has tried to distort Gandhi's philosophy and reduce his stature. Gandhi received recognition due to his life, his role in Indian politics, and his philosophy based on his beliefs. This was evident on the amphitheatre of India and the world. Even after he was gone, Gandhi's stature has remained unc

Ironic? Called development sector, NGOs 'don’t want' a buoyant development media

By Rajiv Shah*  A couple of days after I did a story in Counterview titled "Why Gujarat Dalits want huge brass coin placed in new Parliament building base" ( April 17, 2022 ) the person who had conceptualised the unique 1000-kg brass coin idea, Martin Macwan, a well-known human rights leader, phoned me up to find out why dominant newspapers had “ignored” the event. Indeed, none of the two major papers which come out of Gujarat, “The Times of India” and the “Indian Express” wrote a word about it. The big brass coin has been prepared with the help of three Dalit artists – one from Odisha and two from Delhi – who have been involved gold plating the Somnath temple. Lord Buddha on one side, and Baba Ambedkar on the other, along with the big coin, a large number of small one foot coins have also been minted – all from about 2,700 kg brass donated largely by Dalits in Gujarat’s around 750 villages, as also a dozen other states across India. Embossed is the writeup on each of them: W

'Go against tide, question authority': Scientist does a Socrates at St Thomas College

By Rosamma Thomas*  “So how many of you have swum in the Meenachil?” asked Dr TV Sajeev, scientist at the Kerala Forest Research Institute, of the over 100 undergraduate students who had gathered for a talk on climate change and nature conservation at St Thomas College, Pala, Kottayam district, on Wednesday. None of the students had wet their feet in the river, which flows right behind the college.  Dr Sajeev explained that after all these years, the memories that remained with him of his time as a student were the days he went swimming in the river nearby. “I don’t recall my examinations, how much I scored,” he said. Asking students to question authority, he mentioned that the biggest and most revered figures through history were people who went against the tide – Socrates, Christ, Buddha. They were not people who conformed to society’s expectations. “If you conform, you will study, marry, produce children and die – that is the trajectory of life that society and your parents wish for

'False persecution narrative' being woven around Hindu minority in Bangladesh

By Samina Akhter*  In the wake of the recent eruption of communal violence in Bangladesh against Hindu minorities, a countless arguments and numerous criticisms have been brought to light. Something odd is happening – Bangladesh is being painted by elements as a violent state from which Hindus are persecuting and fleeing away, into India continuously. Hindus are being tortured in Bangladesh. Some claimed that Bangladesh has become quite a case of ethnic cleansing -- subtly but forcefully ousting Hindu minorities across the border. Some even went further claiming that Bangladesh has failed to form a state where different religious and ethnic groups can coexist based on the principle of secularism, one of the four fundamental pillars of the liberation war in 1971. To cast evidence to those criticisms, most of them point fingers to the continuous decline of Hindu minority population in Bangladesh- a case drawn to demonstrate Bangladesh as a prolific ground of persecution against Hindu. Bu

Security personnel in West Bengal 'torture' poor farmer: 'particular section targeted'

By Our Representative  In a gruesome incident, a poor farmer is alleged to have been tortured by two constables of the Border Security Force (BSF) and one G branch officer attached with Bithari Border outpost, Naga Company, 112 Battalion, West Bengal. The victim and his family reside in Daharkanda village under Swarupnagar block and police station in the North 24 Parganas district. Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), and national convener, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI), in a complaint to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairman, said, "When Isarul Dafadar went into the field to fetch his cow, the BSF personnel stopped him and they beat him repeatedly with bamboo sticks, gravely injuring him on head, back and leg. Blood clotted in the injured part of his body." Roy added, "There is about one kilometre distance between the International Border Pillar and the place of the incident. That means BSF pers

Organic agriculture: Why Modi's 'advise' overlooks disastrous Sri Lankan experience

By NS Venkataraman*  Addressing a conclave virtually in Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the farmers to adopt natural farming (organic farming) to protect the soil from the harmful impact of chemicals. Further, the Prime Minister said that crop produced from a chemical free process will fetch higher prices in the international market due to the growing demand for organic products. The Prime minister pointed out that 90,000 clusters have been created all over India under the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) and the target is to cover 10 lakh hectares under the scheme for organic farming. The above statement of the Prime Minister clearly indicates his target and hope to promote organic farming in a massive way in India . All the information that he gave are factually correct. However, a careful study of the ground conditions and considering the need to sustain and promote the production of food grains in a massive way and the agricultural productivity issues in

One nation, one tax, one market? Harmful impact on rural poor, small businesses

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  High inflation, growing unemployment and depreciating rupee are three fundamental issues faced by Indian economy today. The educational and health infrastructure is falling apart. Human development is in the bottom of the nadir. The Modi government has no plans to take responsibility to navigate Indian economy away from these crises. It is passing on its responsibility on Indian people by reckless hiking of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on food and other essential items. This nationwide rent seeking activities in terms of high taxation on goods and services that are part of the rent-seeking process. It will have devastating impact on poor and malnourished population, small businesses and rural poor. Such a policy will help corporates and it is going to push poor people into a regime of inescapable hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity. Hindutva is transforming India into a rent seeking market society, where welfare and social loss is immanent. The GST h

Bangladeshi women: More instances of 'no effort' to probe human trafficking angle

Counterview Desk  Revealing more instances on how security forces in West Bengal are seeking to turn Bangladeshi women and children as victims of human trafficking into accused under the Foreigners Act, Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), and national convenor, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI), has said that the authorities do not seem to be interested in initiating proper investigation. In a second letter to the chairman (click here for the earlier one), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), within a span of few days on the subject, the Hooghly-based activist said, "Cross border trafficking is very organized crime where touts or middlemen are operating this crime in connivance with border guards of both sides, India and Bangladesh", hence women and children crossing the border should be treated with a human approach. Text : I am writing this complaint regarding detention of Bangladeshi women in West Bengal and ac

Threats bore results, breathing wasn't easy: Malaysian narrative of Covid-19 handling

By Jay Ihsan  It was astounding that a so-called pandemic succeeded in bringing the world and humanity to its knees. Life literally came to a standstill with the world baffled at how best to tackle the coronavirus disease 2019 or Covid- 19. Governments the world over did the unbelievable and unexpected --forcing the people into taking the mRNA untested Covid- 19 vaccines, protecting instead the vaccine makers and not the end users. For those refusing to buy into the Covid-19 narrative, be it wearing the face mask in public spaces or be vaccinated, the government threatened to make life difficult for them. The drill back in Malaysia, a country of 32.37 million people, was no different. Lockdowns, face masks and vaccination were topmost priority. While the Malaysian government held back from making Covid-19 vaccination mandatory, breathing easy was nowhere on the horizon. Face masks became a regular feature in public spaces and places of prayer. So was the deal with vaccination – it

Choice of President, past and present: Where Congress 'failed' but BJP 'succeeded'

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Droupadi Murmu has expectedly won the Presidential contest defeating Yashwant Sinha with a huge margin. A large number of individual members of non-NDA political parties supported her, apart from the ruling parties in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Jharkhand. These parties did not want to be seen as opposing the candidature of the first President of India hailing from an Adivasi community. Indeed, Adivasis are the first citizens of the country. They have got the first right over our natural resources, which they have protected. Hence, a right person at the right place needs to be applauded. Yet, the fact is, the President’s post is ceremonial in nature. Obviously, one can’t expect Murmu to go against the government, which brought her into the Rashtrapati Bhavan. However, expectations run hight that she will speak up on the critical issues where things might go wrong, particularly with regarded to Adivasis, Dalits and other marginalised communities, who are victim