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Showing posts from March, 2023

Karnataka tribal network opposes capitalist, 'neo-colonial' conservation practices

Counterview Desk  Community Network Against Protected Areas (CNAPA), a newly formed group of community networks consisting of people’s movements and groups resisting colonial conservation, recently organised a week-long padayatra of the indigenous communities of Nagarhole, Karnataka, to protest against the manner in which community lands and forests have been forcibly grabbed to create a tiger reserve.

40,000 Odisha adolescent girls ask CM: Why is scheme to fight malnutrition on paper?

By Our Representative  In unique a postcard campaign to combat malnutrition, aimed at providing dietary diversity, considered crucial during adolescence, especially among girls, signed by about 40,000 adolescent girls from over 10,000 villages, have reminded Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik that his government's Scheme for Adolescent Girls (SAG), which converged with Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman  ( POSHAN ) 2.0 in 2021, is not being implemented in the State.

Protesters across India insist: Bhagat Singh's worldview 'differed' from today's India

By Harsh Thakor*  It was heartening to witness the spirit Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguriu resurrected today engulfing regions of Bihar, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Delhi. In Rohtas in Bihar on March 23rd, commemorating the three martyrs, Kaimur Mukti Morch staged an impactful rally and conference, portraying the misery and denial of rights of the Kaimur Pathar, an Adivasi community.

BBC documentary row: Delhi varsity students detained for holding protest meeting

By Our Representative On March 24, even as commemorating the martyrs Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru on their 92nd martyrdom day, several left-wing students’ organisations -- bsCEM, BASF, Fraternity Movement, SIO, AISA and SFI -- held a protest against the recent action of debarring several students for organising the screening of the banned BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's role in Gujarat riots.

Heat wave: All round 'failure' to fight land loss due to sea intrusion, groundwater salinity

By Our Representative  Calling the recent Synthesis report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report (IPCC AR6) a “warning call”, and insisting on the need for “grounded action” to ensure social and ecological justice, well-known civil society organisation ActionAid Association has insisted, governments must work for “quickly closing opportunity of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees centigrade.”

It's now official: Karnataka second only to Rajasthan in stressed water availability

Counterview Desk  Power and climate policy analyst Shankar Sharma, in a representation to the DG, Environmental Management Planning and Research Institute (EMPRI), Bengaluru, with copies to senior Karnataka and Government of India officials, even as welcoming a recent EMPRI report which says that over half of Karnataka districts stare at water crisis, has expressed concern whether the top government agency would work out requisite policies.

Dalits spend 94% income on food, 15% on ultra-processed, packaged food: Study

By Our Representative  A recent study has revealed that India’s marginalised and economically weak are consuming high quantities of ultra-processed and packaged food. In a country that faces one of the world’s gravest double burden of malnutrition, the lowest income quintile has gone from facing hunger to relying on unhealthy snacks.

Stop corporate loot or face new round of protests: Massive farmers' rally warns govt

By Harsh Thakor*  A massive Kisan Mahapanchayat was organized at Delhi's Ramlila Maidan on the call of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM). Thousands of farmers from all over the country thronged to the venue. A manifestation of the unity and resilient spirit of the farmer’s movement. embarrassing rulers at the centre to the very core and an expression of mass revolutionary democratic consciousness.

As international food aid dwindles, many Rohingyas get involved in criminal activities

By Fumiko Yamada*  In a surprise move, the World Food Programme (WFP) of the United Nations has reduced the amount of food aid to the Rohingya due to lack of funds. Nearly six years into the Rohingya crisis, life-saving aid to Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar has been cut. From March 1, the amount of assistance for each Rohingya was reduced from $12 to $10.

Rohingya repatriation? As ICJ hearing draws nearer, Myanmar begins to 'show concern'

By Sumaiya Jannat  On April 24, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) will hear Gambia's case of Rohingya torture against Myanmar. And before that, Naypyidaw wants to start repatriation of Rohingyas to keep the attitude of the court in their favor. The country has sent a technical team to quickly verify the Rohingya. Earlier, the country had adopted the same strategy.

Chinese pressure? Left stateless, Rohingya crisis result of Myanmar citizenship law

By Dr Shakuntala Bhabani*  A 22-member team of Myanmar immigration officials visited Rohingya refugee camps in Cox's Bazar to verify more than 400 Rohingya refugees as part of a pilot repatriation project. Does it hold out any hope for the forcibly displaced people to return to their ancestral homes in the Rakhine state of Myanmar? Only time will tell.

China ties up with India, Bangladesh to repatriate Rohingyas; Myanmar unwilling

By Harunur Rasid*  We now have a new hope, thanks to news reports that were published in the Bangladeshi dailies recently. Myanmar has suddenly taken initiatives to repatriate Rohingyas. As part of this initiative, diplomats from eight countries posted in Yangon were flown to Rakhine last week. Among them were diplomats from Bangladesh, India and China.

Betrayal of Christ, Constitution? Religious, political leaders seeking to 'sell the soul'

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  For the past couple of days, electronic and print mainstream media in the country, have been highlighting the public ‘promise’ made by the Archbishop of Tellicherry. During a protest rally of some Catholic rubber farmers he offered to help the BJP open an account in Kerala in the next election, provided the price of rubber is increased to Rs 300 per kilogram.

Lack of political consensus 'halting' execution of South Asian quadrilateral initiative

By Dr Shakuntala Bhabani*  The South Asian sub-region consisting of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal has, no doubt, immense potential for economic growth and significant untapped economic potential for intra-regional trade. What has been titled Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN), a quadrilateral sub-regional initiative, was endorsed way back in 1997 to strengthen the region’s pursuit of trade and economic integration, still has a long way to go.

More than 8,200 West Bengal govt schools 'to be closed down'. Can UNESCO help?

By Harasankar Adhikari  Recently, UNESCO showed interest in the West Bengal education system, and the Institute for Lifelong Learning of the United Nations Agency expressed its willingness to join the State’s education system because the government is reportedly taking several initiatives for strengthening the education system. But has this agency collected the information on the ground reality of this state’s education system and its very recent data?

Union minister 'lying': multiple complaints made on NREGA workers' digital attendance

By Our Representative  Taking strong exception to Union Minister Giriraj Singh’s recent statement in the Lok Sabha, statement that the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) had not received any complaints related to the National Mobile Monitoring System (NMMS) digital attendance app, top advocacy network NREGA Sangharsh Morcha has claimed, it relentlessly drew the Ministry’s attention to the chaos that has been unleashed by the NMMS app and the Aadhaar-based payment system (ABPS), both of which are now compulsory for NREGA wage payments.

Punjab farmers hold anti-G-20 protest against state move to support 'imperialist' policies

By Harsh Thakor*  On the call of the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan), thousands of farmers, farm labourers, women, youth and students thronged to Amritsar to protest and hold demonstration against the on-going propaganda for the G-20 summit to be held in Delhi in September this year, demanding that agriculture, industry, education, health, electricity and water etc. should remain free of the tyranny of the imperialist powers.

Even during 1975-77 indoor meetings opposing Emergency weren't banned: PUCL, Delhi

Counterview Desk  Taking strong exception to Delhi police barring a meeting on media freedom in Kashmir, well-known human rights organisation, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, (PUCL), Delhi, has said, the real motive was to gag the freedom of speech on an important public issue involving rights of the people of Kashmir. The move, it added, is in “violation of the constitutional rights of the citizens and are harmful to our democratic system.”

Gujarat farmers allege political discrimination in converting land for non-farm work

By Our Representative  Seeking to “develop” Gujarat by increasing non-farm activities, facts, however, have emerged suggesting that the State government appears to be creating hurdles for converting agricultural land into non-agricultural (NA) land.

Earlier with Human Rights Watch, new US ambassador to India opposed citizenship law

By Our Representative  The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), claiming to be the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States, has said that the confirmation of Eric Garcetti as US Ambassador to India, would help "promote and uphold the values of human rights and religious freedoms."

How family obligations, poor support system 'impact' women's empowerment in India

By Dr Chandrasmita Deka*  Care and home-making have traditionally been viewed as women's responsibilities in India. Despite the changing dynamics of society, women are still burdened with the responsibility of caring for the family and managing the household. There is a need to explore the challenges faced by women in caring for their families and the home and the need for a concerted effort to promote gender equality and women's empowerment.

Banning 27 hazardous pesticides wouldn't impact food security: PAN India tells govt

Counterview Desk  The Government of India has made a U turn by banning only three out of 27 hazardous pesticides it had proposed in 2020, PAN India, a public interest, non-profit, research and advocacy organisation working to eliminate human and environmental harm caused by pesticides and uphold agroecology, has said.

41% Odisha households lack access to safe drinking water, govt must act: NGO study

By Our Representative  To deal with the upcoming heat wave conditions and address persistent water scarcity issues among rural households in the state, the Odisha government should initiate timely actions to ensure safe drinking water for all, revealed a study report conducted by NGO Atmashakti Trust and its allies Odisha Shramajeebee Mancha and Mahila Shramajeebee Mancha, Odisha.

Govt of India seeking to 'undermine' RTI, keep accountability outside the purview of law

By Our Representative  Several political leaders, rights campaigns and others, opposing amendments to the Right to Information (RTI) Act through the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill (DPDP Bill), have expressed the view that the Bill, likely to be introduced in Parliament during the ongoing second half of the Budget session, will severely restrict the scope of the information access legislation. They were speaking at a public meeting organised at the Constitution Club, Delhi.

Karnataka's pumped storage projects may consume 25% more power than can generate

Counterview Desk  In a representation to Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai, with copies to the Union Minister for Power and NRE, the Union Minister for EF&CC, the NITI Aayog Vice-Chairperson, and the Prime Minister, power and climate policy analyst Shankar Sharma has said that the recent decision of the State government to go in for pumped storage projects appears to have been taken without considering their direct and indirect costs to society.

'Ridiculous': Delhi police cancels media event on Kashmir, sites anonymous organisers

Counterview Desk  The civil rights network Campaign Against State Repression (CASR)* has said that the Delhi police decision to cancel the "Media Blackout and State Repression in Kashmir” event, which was scheduled for 15th March 2023 to address the question of continuing harassment and incarceration of journalists is an "undemocratic action" under the "frivolous pretext of law and order situation”.

Modi, Shiekh Hasina to 'oil' friendly relations via 130 km long diesel export pipeline

Dr Arpita Hazarika*  India will begin exporting diesel to neighbouring Bangladesh through a pipeline this month after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina inaugurate the cross-border oil pipeline on 18 March.

Demolished settlement Khori Gaon women insist: We don't beg but demand our rights

By Our Representative  Around hundred people from Khori Gaon, a 50-year old settlement at the Delhi-Haryana border demolished in the middle of the pandemic, gathered to celebrate International Women’s Day, raising slogans “We demand the freedom to go out, the freedom to work” (hum maang karte hai bahaar jaane ki azadi, kaam karne ki azadi), “We don’t beg for rights, we demand our rights” (hum humara haq maangte, nahi kisi se bheek maangte), and “Women power has arrived; a new dawn has arrived” (Mahila shakti aayi hain, nayi roshni layi hain).

River interlinking plan to 'benefit' industry along DMIC, water starve Maharashtra farms

By Parineeta Dandekar*  Pictures above have been taken five days apart. One would think the Inter-Linking of River (ILR) projects entail transferring water from the bountiful right to the thirsty left. In the case of Damanganga-Vaitarna-Godavari Link, it means the opposite: transferring water from the dry Mokhada to the verdant Dev Nadi in Sinnar. Like many ILR projects, it highlights the farce that is “surplus” and “deficit” basins. More rainfall does not secure water access, nor does moderate rainfall negate it. *** As we travelled through the parched but beautiful landscape of Northern Western Ghats in Mokhada, I could see a figure climbing up a hillock at a distance against a blazing midday sun. It was a lady with a pot on her head, dressed in the quintessentially tribal “phadka”.  As we reached closer, I saw a bright-eyed boy, standing precariously on the edge of a well, drawing up water. His mother then carried this water on her head to their precious mango saplings up on a hill.

Indian firms' costs up, profits 'remain muted' despite improvement in sales: IIM-A survey

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad's (IIM-A's) Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES), which claims to provide ways to examine the amount of slack in the economy by polling a panel of business leaders across India, has said that the cost perceptions data indicates “increase of cost pressures”. It says, “Around 42% of the participating firms in the survey perceive significant (over 6%) cost increase, up from 37% reported in the earlier round of the survey. The percentage of firms perceiving over 10% cost increase y-o-y has increased sharply. Over 18% of the firms in perceive that costs have increased very significantly (over 10%) – up from 12% recorded” in the previous survey. Calling the survey unique in that it goes straight to businesses -- the price setters -- rather than to consumers or households, to understand their expectations, BIES selects companies primarily from the manufacturing sector. The latest results are based on the re

Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Ban Ki-moon, others ask Bangladesh PM to 'protect' Yunus

Counterview Desk  A campaign has been launched to support Bangladesh-based economist, micro-finance guru and Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, seeking signatures from citizens across the globe in order to “protect” his work, life and safety.

Natural farming: Hamirpur leads the way to 'huge improvement' in nutrition, livelihood

By Bharat Dogra*  Santosh is a dedicated farmer who along with his wife Chunni Devi worked very hard in recent months to convert a small patch of unproductive land into a lush green, multi-layer vegetable garden. This has ensured year-round supply of organically grown vegetables to his family as well as fetched several thousand rupees in cash sales.

NGO effort 'helping' Rajasthan's Bhil tribals shed migrant labour, be self-reliant farmers

By Bharat Dogra*  Anandpuri block in Banswara district (Rajasthan) is known for high concentration of tribal communities, particularly Bhil communities. Their traditional livelihood and farming patterns based on biodiversity and self-reliance were well-suited to local conditions, but these suffered under exploitative systems of colonial times. 

Social reformer, freedom fighter who lives on in songs, prayers, campaigns of Bhil tribals

By Bharat Dogra*  Recently when I visited several villages of Bhil tribal communities in Banswara district of Rajasthan, the greeting most often heard in villages was Jai Guru. The reference here is to Guru Govind, also known as Govindgiri, a social reformer and freedom fighter of 19th and 20th centuries who continues to live on in the songs, prayers, greetings and campaigns of tribal communities of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh even today.

'BBC film shows only tip of iceberg': Sanjiv Bhatt's daughter speaks at top US press club

By Our Representative   The United States' premier journalists' organisation, the National Press Club (NPC), has come down heavily on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for recent "attacks on journalists in India." Speaking at the screening of an episode of the BBC documentary “India: The Modi Question,” banned in India, in the club premises, NPC President Eileen O’Reilly said, “Since Modi came to power we have watched with frustration and disappointment as his regime has suppressed the rights of its citizens to a free and independent news media."

Over-stressed? As Naveen Patnaik turns frail, Odisha 'moves closer' to leadership crisis

By Sudhansu R Das  Not a single leader in Odisha is visible in the horizon who can replace Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. He has ruled Odisha for nearly two and half decades. His father, Biju Patnaik, had built Odisha; he was a daring pilot who saved the life of Indonesia’s Prime Minister Sjahrir and President Sukarno when the Dutch army blocked their exit.

India 'ignores' renewable energy, approves $3.9 billion hydro projects off China border

By Shankar Sharma*  Our bureaucrats, ministers and political leaders do not seem to believe in learning from our past mistakes and from the best practices reported from all over the world in order to efficiently meet our legitimate demand for electricity/ energy. The enormous social and environmental costs associated with large size dam based hydel power plants seem to have been completely ignored by our authorities, even though we have a plethora of examples of huge societal level associated costs in our own country.

Why Kazi Karimuddin endorsed personal law for minorities in Constituent Assembly

By Moin Qazi*  The discourse over the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code has often stirred up a whirlwind of uproar by political advocates and religious objectors. India follows a system of legal pluralism that allows different religious communities to be governed by their codes of personal law. This has been seen as a way of protecting distinct communal identities and safeguarding the right of citizens to practice their faith, as enshrined in the Constitution.

Importance of Bangladesh for India amidst 'growing might' of China in South Asia

By Samara Ashrat*  The basic key factor behind the geopolitical importance of Bangladesh is its geographical location. The country shares land borders with Myanmar and India. Due to its geographical position, Bangladesh is a natural link between South Asia and Southeast Asia.  The country is also a vital geopolitical ally to India, in that it has the potential to facilitate greater integration between Northeast India and Mainland India. Not only that, due to its open access to the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh has become significant to both China and the US.

Why Bangladesh is achieving 'new heights' amidst economic collapse of Pakistan

By Sufian Siddique*  Pakistan's economy is on the brink of bankruptcy like Sri Lanka's. Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves have fallen below $3 billion. They have asked the IMF for a 'bailout loan' a long time ago, but the IMF is trying to impose strict conditions that Pakistan's current ruling coalition has no capacity to meet. Even China and Saudi Arabia, Pakistan's long-standing loyal friends, are now reluctant to shoulder Pakistan's burden.

Hasn't been easy for these women who dared the system and worked towards 'change'

Savitribai Phule, Fatima Sheikh, Bilkis Bano, Justice Nagarathna By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  On 13 February, a mother and her daughter were burnt alive during an encroachment clearing drive in Dehat village of Kanpur; the incident that killed a 44-year-old mother and her 21-year-old daughter had triggered massive tension between police and the villagers. 

Traditional wisdom in water conservation amidst new, 'dangerous' sources of pollution

By Bharat Dogra*  On the farming map of Uttar Pradesh, Mahoba is generally considered a relatively backward district of Bundelkhand region, but thanks to a recent initiative called Bundelkhand Initiative for Water, Agriculture and Livelihoods (BIWAL), a model combining water conservation and natural farming, has given a new-found strength to many farmers and rural communities. Arunoday and Srijan voluntary organization have collaborated to take this model to several villages, with emphasis on women farmers and relatively weaker sections. Chhitarwara village in Jaitpur block provides an example of a village that is humming with new creativity in the course of experimenting with natural farming. Arvind, a small farmer known for his many-sided skills, was quick to turn his creativity in this direction.  As we now have a very low-cost technology based on improved utilization of cow dung and urine plus other local free resources, Arvind asked himself, won’t it now become viable to tend the