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Showing posts from August, 2022

Denial of right to continue study to student-activist 'contradicts' the idea of Jamia

Counterview Desk  Over 150 feminist activists, individuals and groups have come together to appeal to the Vice Chancellor and Faculty Committee of the Jamia Millia Islamia to revoke the cancellation of student-activist Safoora Zargar’s admission, and to allow her to submit her MPhil thesis. Safoora acquired prominence during the anti-Citizenship Ammendment Act (CAA) protests that rocked Delhi in early 2020. In custody from 10 April until 24 June 2020, Safoora was accused of being part of a conspiracy to cause riots, of making an inflammatory speech, and of being involved in a "sinister design" with the "objective of uprooting a democratically elected government." She was granted bail by the Delhi High Court and released on 24 June 2020. The statement, floated by the civil rights group Saheli Women's Resource Centre, says, the cancellation of Safoora's admission comes despite the fact that extensions have been granted unconditionally to research scholars e

'Unislamic, draconian': Free Muslim women of talaq-e-hasan clutches too, says plea to SC

By Our Representative  Considered close to the BJP-RSS dispensation, Firoz Bakht Ahmed, formerly chancellor of the Maulana Azad National Urdu University and grandnephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has approached the Supreme Court for a ban on talaq-e-hasan, a form of divorce by which a Muslim man can divorce his wife by pronouncing talaq once every month over a three-month period. He insisted, the perpetrators of this form of talaq should be jailed for 10-years. Calling the practice of talaq-e-hasan or talaq-e-husna "void and unconstitutional", Ahmed cited a petition filed by Benazeer Heena, a journalist, before the Apex Court, stating that the curse is similar to triple talaq, "cured by Prime Minister Narendra Modi", though regretting, the bane of talaq-e-hasan continues to "haunt and horrify Muslim women." In an email alert to Counterview, Ahmed, who approached the Supreme Court through his counsel Atulesh Kumar, said, "The only difference between

'Risky, hazardous': Kerala's fisher, coastal groups oppose Adani seaport project

By Bharat Dogra*  The wider discussion on coastal areas often takes place in the context of their beauty and tourism potential. However ecologists place more emphasis on seeing coastal areas as very significant as well as sensitive areas whose development activities should be carefully monitored and regulated to prevent unintended serious and longer-term harm. The need for this has increased further in times of climate change when several wider aspects need to be monitored carefully and when the need for protective policies has increased further.  In particular the increasing frequency and intensity of cyclones is a very worrying aspect of coastal life related to climate change and anything which increases further the harm caused by cyclones is best avoided. A second aspect of coastal life is that traditional fishers and coastal communities, the children of the sea so to say, have experienced increasing injustice and marginalization during recent decades. Due to mechanization trends an

Covering 13,000 acres, world's largest solar park in Karnataka 'impacts' local biodiversity

By Anirudh Menon*  The world is looking at a transition from energy production using fossil fuels to renewable energy sources i.e, Wind, water and solar (WWS) in order to achieve the carbon net zero targets. India too has committed to achieve the carbon net zero targets by 2070 at COP 26. It has also set an objective of generating 500GW of power from non-fossil fuels by 2030, out of which 450GW is to be generated using renewable energy sources. A move to renewable energy is the need of the hour but in order to achieve this in a truly sustainable manner, there must be consideration of several aspects. One of which is to reduce the ecological damages that are incurred during the setting up of large utility-scale solar parks. An article published back in 2009 , based on a study conducted by Stanford university , gave insight into a complete transition from fossil fuel energies to renewable energy sources by 2035 or the latest by 2050. In the article, the plan put forth was to harvest 51%

Twin towers demolition: couldn't find 'less destructive' ways of punishing violators?

By Bharat Dogra*  On August 28, 3,700 kg of explosives were used in Noida city ( in national capital region) to demolish two 100-metre tall structures called Apex ( 32 storeys) and Ceyane ( 29 storeys), following court orders based on complaints of glaring violations of construction regulations and the builder’s own earlier commitments. These twin towers were not in the original plans of development and were built on what should have been kept as green area for residents. The residents were therefore well justified in going to court for justice and court orders have been praised by many for sending a clear signal that such violations and corrupt practices will not be tolerated. However, a question arises -- as the violations of building regulations are not at all so rare in India, will such drastic actions be repeated? Can we not find less destructive ways of punishing violators of regulations? If following the first news or complaints of violations, the twin towers had been stopped b

NGO green warriors' herculean task in Punjab, whose tree cover is lowest in India

By Sudhansu R Das  The state of Punjab has immensely contributed to India’s freedom struggle. The frontier state worked as an impregnable shield against the marauding foreign invaders. Since independence, the Punjabis have served the Indian army with single-willed dedication, established their business all over the world, and contributed to the sports and agriculture sector. Being a border state Punjab also suffered a lot during the foreign invasions; Punjab was the worst sufferer at the time of partition. During the green revolution in the late 60s and 70s, Punjab became the granary of India. It happened due to the hard work and strong determination of the Punjabi farmers. Punjab has also faced the worst effects of the green revolution; the crop diversity of the state was significantly reduced. In the next three decades after the green revolution, Punjab continued to grow mono-crops like wheat and paddy; the farmers used excess chemical fertilizers, spurious seeds, and over-exploit

Punjab civil rights group campaigns to 'expose' 75th anniversary of Independence

By Harsh Thakor*  Punjab's civil rights organisation, Lok Morcha, launching a campaign engulfing 14 districts of the state, has taken the stand that there is a need to "expose" the true nature of the 1947 Independence in the light of its 75th anniversary. The organisers particularly targeted the Congress, pointing out how the party digressed the path of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru by "diluting the cutting edge of class struggles of the working class and peasantry."  The civil rights leaders sought to analyse the various junctures of the freedom movement -- be it the Quit India Movement, the Non-Cooperation Movement or the Civil Disobedience Movement -- where they said the Congress "nullified the militant resistance of the broad masses." According to them, the Congress and the Muslim League "never waged a secular resistance" to combat partition, but instead danced to the tune of the "notorious divide and rule policy of the B

Home Ministry 'allowed' remission to Bilkis gangrape, murder convicts: Vrinda Grover

By Our Representative  Top Supreme Court advocate Vrinda Grover has said that the Union Ministry of Home Affairs under Amit Shah has "allowed" the controversial remission granted to 11 gang rape and murder convicts in the Bilkis Bano case on August 15. Speaking in Ahmedabad before Gujarat activists gathered for a lecture in memory of well-known state high court lawyer Girish Patel, she said, “It is mandatory for the Central government to approve the remission.” Grover, a human rights lawyer, said, there is “radio silence” on the part of the Government of India on providing remission, despite so much of noise around it. However, the very fact that the committee appointed by the Gujarat government for giving remission is legally bound to take the approval of the Central government suggests that without the latter’s approval the remission would not have happened. “Hence, I assume the Ministry of Home Affairs concurrence was taken”, Grover underlined, regretting, however, “No doc

Crisis-ridden Congress' Bharat Jodo Yatra: 'seeking to gain' from civil society support

By Prem Singh*  Bharat Jodo Yatra of the Congress Party has become a topic of much discussion in the media. The Congress has announced that it will organise a padyatra (foot march) which will start from Kanyakumari on 7th September and reach Kashmir in 150 days. During the padyatra, a route of about 3500 km will be covered through 12 states and 2 union territories. The Congress has taken all possible measures for the promotion and success of the yatra, and will continue to do so. One such measure is to involve civil society organizations, specific civil society members, intellectuals, writers, and others, in the yatra. In this connection, 150 civil society organizations attended a meeting convened in Delhi on 22 August. The names of some civil society members/activists who attended the meeting also appeared in the media. It is said that civil society members/activists who were not called, or could not reach, or reached there but their names did not appear in the media – have become res

Indo-Bangladesh ministerial meet on rivers: a precursor to win-win deal for both sides?

Mashrur Siddique Bhuiyan*  After a decade of hiatus, the long-awaited 38th ministerial-level meeting of the Indo-Bangladesh Joint Rivers Commission concluded in New Delhi on August 25 to discuss water-sharing issues as the two countries share 54 rivers. The Joint Rivers Commission of India and Bangladesh was established in 1972 as a bilateral mechanism to address common border and trans-boundary river issues of mutual interest.  This time, the meeting is significant for two reasons: first, both countries resumed the meeting after a decade in order to work closely together to further deepen and strengthen cooperation in the areas of common rivers and water resource management; and second, the JRC meeting, the first since 2010, comes ahead of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s three-day visit to India in the first week of September at the invitation of her Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi. The visit symbolized the partnership of half a century between India and Bangladesh that

Are rapists, murderers of Gujarat riots less criminal? Ex-civil servants ask Chief Justice

Counterview Desk  As many as 134 former civil servants , belonging to the Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG), in an open letter, have sought the intervention of the Chief Justice of India for rescinding the order for freeing 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano rape and murder case, stating, they are particularly puzzled by the manner in which the Apex Court asked the Gujarat government to urgently take a decision on a plea by one of the convicts for remission as per Gujarat’s 1992 policy, and not its current one. The letter said: “Surely the Supreme Court could not be unaware of the major changes in the punishment for rape and murder and the policy for remission which were made much more severe in 2014 after the Nirbhaya case.”, wondering, “Can persons who committed rape and murder in 2002 be less liable than persons who rape and murder at the present time?” Text: We, a group of former members of the All India and Central Services who have come together as the Constitutional Conduct Group,

Protest against 'turning' Aarey forest into hub of real estate extravaganza in Mumbai

By Harsh Thakor*  A recent a protest demonstration staged at the Picnichen Spot, opposite Shaheed Birsa Munda Statue, Aarey forest, Mumbai, to oppose the present Maharashtra government of Shinde-Fadnavis in installing Metro 3 depot at Aarey sought to project the truth behind depot politics and land scam. More than 500 persons protested from a broad strata of society. Students, Dalits, Adivasis and activists of many NGOs, and members of political parties and social organisations participated. Among the important participants were ex-armymen, members of the Disha students group, Naujwan Bharat Sabha and Bigul Mazdoor Dasta. Around three weeks ago, embarrassed to the core from the growing youth protest, the Shinde-Fadnavis government issued instructions to brutally subvert every initiative to organize people against the illegal destruction of Aarey forest. Avinash, a first year MA student of philosophy of the Mumbai University and member of the Disha students' group, and Dr Pooja,

How RSS-BJP 'persistently denigrated' Tricolour before and after Independence

By Shamsul Islam*  RSS-BJP rulers of India have suddenly developed immense love for the Indian national flag. According to press reports under “Har Ghar Tiranga” campaign Centre facilitated hoisting of the Tricolour at 24 crore homes across the country from August 13 to 15 as part of the celebration of the 75th year of India’s independence. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi who long back identified himself as a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and a Hindu nationalist (Hindu nationalists are committed to replace the Tricolour with the saffron flag) changed his social media profile picture to ‘Tricolour’. Even a chameleon would look like a minion in face of Hindutva rulers’ change of colour regarding the National Flag. To get familiar with the hypocrisy of the RSS-BJP one has just to access the archives of RSS and Hindu Mahasabha led by RSS ‘Veer’, VD Savarkar. Let us begin with the RSS. The RSS, since its inception in 1925, has been opposed to the Tricolour as the Indi

Rice fortification: Govt of India 'covering up' its one-size-fits-all approach to anaemia

By Dr Vandana Prasad, Kavitha Kuruganti  An RTI response by the Ministry of Women and Child Development reveals knee-jerk and self-protecting measures in the form of a few circulars issued by the Ministry of Food and Public Distribution as well as the Ministry of Women and Child Development with regard to fortified rice being distributed in the country under government schemes. These circulars, which are a desperate attempt by the Government of India, to cover up on an unscientific one-size-fits-all approach to anaemia in the country, are apparently in response to grave irregularities in the government’s fortification programme highlighted by Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) and the Right to Food Campaign (RTFC). The Government of India has started scaling up its rice fortification intervention even before the so-called pilots were completed, or evaluation lessons culled out, ignoring numerous scientific, holistic and community-controlled approaches to tackling