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Showing posts from 2023

Persecution of Christians rampant, PM didn't have time to visit Manipur: Rights leaders

Counterview Desk  As the year draws to a close, senior minority rights leaders Apoorvanand, John Dayal, ASR Mary Scaria SCJM, AC Michael, Minakshi Singh and Shabnam Hashmi have noted with agony the Prime Minister couldn't find to visit Manipur, the "site of the greatest communal crimes and human tragedy since Gujarat 2002 and Kandhamal, Orissa 2008."

Protestors across India seek release of youth arrested for bursting canisters in Parliament

By Our Representative  A civil rights group-organised country-wide protest demanding the release of four youth -- Neelam, Amol, Manoranjan, Sagar and Lalit Jha -- and two of their friends who had participated or helped organise the bursting of yellow smoke canisters in the New Parliament building. The protestors said that act was meant to “convey their concern and anger towards growing unemployment, inflation and fascism” in the country.

Sympathetic initially post-retaliation, world opinion is now turning against Israel

By NS Venkataraman*  When Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel that resulted in the killing of more than one thousand innocent Israel citizens, the world opinion was largely  sympathetic to Israel and unequivocally condemned attack by Hamas. When Israel reacted to the situation by launching an attack on Hamas, most sections of the world opinion felt that Israel was justified  in exercising its right of defence. Only a few Islamist groups and Islamic terrorists and some motivated so called human rights defenders criticized Israel for its counter attack.  The fact  that most of the Arab nations virtually kept silent and did not extend support to Hamas shows clearly that Israel’s position has been vindicated by majority of the Arab nations. This is a significant moral victory for Israel , clearly establishing the fact that most Arab nations have accepted the sovereignty of Israel as a nation. Perhaps,  only Qatar seem to have extended indirect support to Hamas , with Iran almost dir

Action against Kashmiri tribals following terror attack in Poonch extrajudicial: CASR

Counterview Desk  The civil rights network* Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) has described the recent action following th terrorist attack in Poonch, Kashmir, in which five jawans were killed, as "extrajudicial killing and torture of Kashmiri tribal men". Calling the security forces' move as as part of "Poonch witch hunt" following the terror attack, CASR quoted the Indian Army as stating that “they have been killed due to their ‘mistake’.”

Why Bangladesh's Jan 7 elections are crucial to its democratic, sustainable development

By Anup Sinha*  The upcoming national election is now a hot topic in Bangladesh. There is no end to people's enthusiasm around the upcoming 12th National Assembly elections which is scheduled to held on January 7, 2024. Out of the 44 parties registered in the Election Commission, 27 parties are participating in the elections this time. The participation of 27 parties actually implies a participatory, competitive and contested election.  There is no pressure, many parties have come to the polls with independent decisions. It is clear that the 12th National Assembly elections will become competitive and contested. Already there are candidates of 27 registered parties including Awami League, Jatiya Party and many independent candidates in 300 seats.  Therefore, it is visible that there is no shortage of people’s enthusiasm around the elections. In 300 seats, the total number of candidates from various parties and independents stands at 1,896. Trinamool BNP and BNM are in the election.

'Bad for nutrition, ecology': World Bank funded 1 lakh litre Himachal apple wine unit

By Bharat Dogra*  One of the biggest distortions of the food system is that several highly nutritious foods, particularly fruits, are being increasingly diverted for the production of various alcoholic drinks at a time when these are needed so much to eliminate or reduce malnutrition.

No salary for 2 months, hundreds of Delhi safai karmacharis sacked: Public hearing told

By Sanjeev Kumar*  Hundreds of contractual sewer workers from different zones of Delhi, working under Delhi Jal Board have been removed without any prior notice in the past month. Most of these workers, who have been working since the past 10-15 years, were not given their salary for the last 2 months and were suddenly removed from their jobs this month. No notice was issued by the authorities, and shocked by the sudden removal of hundreds of workers, there was a Public Hearing held at the Constitution Club of India, New Delhi on 28th December 2023.

West Bengal politics amidst people's moral degradation and self-centeredness

By Harasankar Adhikari  Politics is certainly an important and significant determinant of the socio-economic status of a nation as well as its population, particularly in a democratic nation. There has been a long-standing political history in Bengal since the colonial period. Its contributions to a nation’s development are to glorify the nation. Social, economic, educational, and political reforms in India were started in Bengal by a group of eminent thinkers and intellects. Bengal has taken the most glorified part in freeing India from colonial rule. After the independence of India, Bengal's think tanks played a vital role in reforming and reconstructing the nation socially, educationally, and economically because every policy and program in India is formulated according to the expertise and opinion of the think tanks in Bengal. For example, the formation of the Planning Commission of India and its functions was initiated by the unforgotten leader, Nataji Subhash Chandra Bose. An

Salt farming in Little Rann allowed for only 'eligible' Agariyas: Gujarat govt responds

By Our Representative  Agariyas of the Santalpur block of Patan district, Gujarat, have not been allowed to enter the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK) for salt farming since September 2023. After repeated representations at the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests' (PCCF's) office, Agariyas reached the Patan district collector to announce that they were going to protest against the “discrimination” done by the forest department.

Terminate sexual predators, suspension not enough: Women's groups tell Sports Ministry

Counterview Desk  Taking strong exception to the Union Ministry of Sports merely suspending the new executive committee of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) led by Sanjay Singh, and not terminating it in the wake of strong protest by wrestlers for announcing the hosting of nationals in the “fiefdom” of Uttar Pradesh BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, several women’s rights organisations have said the “sexual predators” should be actually terminated.

New SARS-CoV-2 sub-variant JN1: Why panic and propaganda shouldn’t prevail

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  “The Art of War teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.” -- Sun Tzu *** A new sub-variant of the SARS-CoV-2 is in the headlines. Identified in Luxembourg in August 2023, the sub-variant JN.1 has reached 41 countries, which include USA, China, Singapore and India. The rise in Covid-19 cases has sent the nation into a tizzy. 

Refusal to allow salt farming in Little Rann 'pushes' 1200 Gujarat Agariyas to margins

Agariyas represent to Patan district collector By Harish Pandya*  Unemployment is one of the severe and burning issues of our time. The government is celebrating Vibrant Gujarat, where one of the focuses for attracting investment is generating employment opportunities.

WG Grace, who gave birth to modern cricket, achieved pinnacle never conquered

By Harsh Thakor*  WG Grace was the pioneer in giving the game of cricket its form and defined a new epoch or era in sport. None contributed as much in the evolution of the game. Rarely has any sportsman and no cricketer ever as much ruled or governed the course of the game or exuded as towering a presence. Grace was born in 1848, on July 18th, into a cricketing family, being born the fourth son of Martha, wife of the cricket adoring Henry Mills Grace, a practicing doctor. WG was fortunate to have his upbringing in middle class England when cricket fever was simmering at it’s boiling point. About 175 years after his brith, and 150 years since Grace became the first ever to score 2,000 run and take 100 wickets in a single season, it is worth remembering his contribution. It is very hard for any adjective which would do justice to the sheer impact of Grace, who would pull crowds like magnet. No sportsman possibly touched longevity or popularity in such realms of as much manifested an in

Odisha CM's overreliance on 5T secretary: 'Risk' of centralization, autocratic tendency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The 5T (Teamwork, Technology, Transparency, Time, and Transformation) initiatives introduced by the Government of Odisha aim to enhance governance efficiency and effectiveness. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik emphasizes "the 3Ts of governance: Teamwork, Transparency & Technology leading to Transformation."

Assassination plots that killed some of world’s topmost leaders, threatening others

Clockwise: Martin Luther King, John F Kennedy, Mujibur Rahman, Patrice Lumumba, Salvador Allende By Bharat Dogra   Which world leader faced the most attempts on his life or other attempts to injure and harm him? The answer to this question is very clear—Fidel Castro, President of Cuba. There were so many attempts made to kill or harm him that he and his security personnel must have lost count (in addition there were attempts also to kill or harm Raul Castro). Most of these efforts were made by the CIA, or those adversaries of the Castro led government having close links to this agency. However much to the credit of his security personnel, Fidel Castro managed to survive all these attempts. Unfortunately some of the other most promising emerging leaders of the majority world did not have equal protection or equal luck. Some of those who died in CIA directed operations had the promise of emerging as the most popular leaders of their country and even continent in due course of time. They

Education, health infrastructure crumbling, yet temples are top Odisha govt priority

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  People in Odisha face a myriad of challenges, ranging from economic uncertainties, unemployment, illiteracy, homelessness, illness, underdevelopment, and regional tensions to environmental crises and public health emergencies in both urban and rural areas. Navigating these complex realities demands the streamlining of resource allocation to prioritize the welfare of the state's people.

Myanmar's China-backed insurgents begin 'coordinated strikes' at army posts

By Ibrahim Khalil Ahasan*  On January 31, 1949, the Karen National Union launched a revolt that marked the start of the war in Myanmar. Following 112 days of combat, the Myanmar Army routed the Karen National Defence Organisation in May 1949 and retook control of Yangon. The Karens are still engaged in this battle since it was their attempt to equalise possibilities with the Bhamars.

As far right takes over, Argentinians protest against changes in labour contract laws

By Harsh Thakor*  Javier Milei is the new president of Argentina. For the first time a far-right candidate comes to power. His capturing power is victory for neo-fascism nationally and internationally and illustrates how bourgeois parliamentary capitalist democracies, sow the seeds for its germinating. It manifests the escalation of the far right trend or waving of the neo-fascist banner on a global scale, springing from the unparalleled economic crisis. The weakness or lack of presence of a genuine socialist alternative party or movement has bred the ascendancy or created the ground for the far right. Javier Milei, the candidate of the Liberty Advances far-right libertarian party, triumphed in the second round presidential elections in Argentina held on November 19. Milei accumulated around 55% of the vote, while his opponent, center-left peronist Sergio Massa of the Union for the Homeland coalition, trailed behind with 44.3%. Milei took office as president on December 10. In his v

Europe started two world wars, but can play most important role in preventing third one

By Bharat Dogra  Europe started the first two world wars and played a key role in them, even though the extensive distress caused by them spilled over, directly and indirectly, to the greater part of the world. Now Europe can more than make up for this by playing perhaps the most important role in preventing the third one. This is not to say that at present Europe is already playing this role, or is well on the road for this. Far from this. However the potential clearly exists, and it is for the forces of peace in Europe to realize this potential. In fact during the recent past in 2022-23 Europe has come as close as ever before to again becoming the starting point or the central point of another world war as high risks of the Ukraine conflict escalating into a wider war involving Russia and the USA/NATO directly on two sides were widely discussed. Fortunately this did not happen but the danger has not entirely gone away yet. Other flash-points for the third world war starting may be in

Marxists, Gandhians, Lohiaites, Ambedkarites come together in Kolkata to Varanasi yatra

By Harsh Thakor*  A Jan Chetna Yatra, organised by a conglomeration of Left-wing associations -- trade unions, students’ organisations, women's groups and citizens rights groups -- with the slogan Fight Fascism and Neoliberalism written in the central banner, was planned from Kolkata to Varanasi from 6th to 20th December 2023. It aimed at raising awareness among people about the “communal agenda” of RSS-BJP and their “corporate-friendly anti-people and pro-imperialist policies.” The organisations which took part in the yatra constituted Akhil Hind Forward Block (Krantikari), Azad Gana Morcha, BAFRB, Bihar Nirman va Asangathit Shramik Union, Chay Bagan Sangram Samiti), CCI, CPI-ML, CPI-ML (ND), CPI-ML (RI), FIR, Janwadi Lok Manch, Marxist Coordination Committee, MKP, Nagrik Adhikar Raksha Manch, PCC CPI-ML, PDSF, SNM, and other individuals. More than a thousand people joined the inaugural rally in Kolkata. Around 50-100 people continuously marched on the whole path, while people fr

Indian diaspora in US mimic Donald Trump, create fake Modi: 'I could shoot someone'

By Our Representative   In a surprise but controversial move, a giant puppet of Indian Prime Minister Modi rode Fifth Avenue, New York City, in a convertible on December 19, with a banner declaring, "I could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it, OK?"

Religious conversion, freedom of religion or belief: Appraisal of anti-conversion laws

By Rachel I Dsilva*  Anti-conversion legislations in India have been enacted in several states, including Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh. BJP led governments has done this citing the issue of fraudulent mass conversions to Islam and Christianity.  India's population data, however, do not support the conspiracy of mass conversions to Christianity and Islam used to justify anti-conversion laws and no individual has ever been convicted of the crime of forced conversion. These anti-conversion laws, and the false narratives about religious minorities used to justify their enactment, have significantly contributed to the deterioration of religious freedom in India. This article discusses how legislation curbing religious freedom is a growing threat.  Madhya Pradesh's Anti Conversion law sets the terms of forceful religious conversions if found guilty with a jail term of one to five years and imprisonment and a fine of 25,

The Left may argue that religion is opium, but isn't secularity a religious identity?

By Harasankar Adhikari  According to dictionary meaning, ‘secular’ means worldly, not spiritual, and not concerned with religion. Therefore, ‘Secularism’ means the theory or doctrine that supports worldly affairs and is not spiritual or concerned with religion. Further, 'religion is an aspect of the human world by which human beings can connect with the eternal world. Religion is a path for attainment of 'moksha' or salvation.' Swami Vivekananda viewed that secularism means ‘to provide equal status to all religions, and all-embracing love for every human being is again established.’ It is very relevant and appropriate.  Dr. S. Radhakrishnan opined, “When India is said to be a secular state, it does not mean that we reject the reality of an unseen spirit, the relevance of religion to life, or that we exalt irreligion. It does not mean that secularism itself becomes a positive religion or that the state assumes divine prerogatives. We hold that no one religion should be g