Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2023

Greater reasons for Asia to unite than Europe, 'overcome' costly hostilities, political egos

By Dr S Faizi*  Europe, once a theatre of internecine wars, now has a robust European Union shaping the common destiny of its people. Although Europe is only a subcontinent of Asia as Arnold Toynbee had observed and as is visible to anyone looking at a map, we still not have a common Asian platform for economic and political cooperation.  It is high time Asia had its well mandated regional organisation to secure a common Asian future, ending the costly hostilities and political egos. We can have the Asian Union even when the bilateral hostilities, unique to Asia, refuse to go away completely.

Not just Karnataka’s tiger reserves, whole of India's ecological environment is in crisis

By Shankar Sharma*  The news article "Fund crunch hits Karnataka's tiger reserves" says: "The fanfare surrounding 50 years of tiger conservation seems to have tapered. Karnataka’s tiger reserves are in a crisis as the Centre has released only half the funds allocated in last year’s budget, thereby blocking the matching grant from the state government."

Amrit Kaal: Hindutva regime 'dislikes' India’s history since 1920, marking rise of Gandhi

By Harshavardhan Purandare, Sandeep Pandey*  One of the topmost priority ideological projects during the Modi regime has been rewriting Indian history and to paint it in saffron color. The famous Maharashtra ideologue of Hindu Rashtra, Bhide Guruji, once said, “Muslim invasions, British capture and Gandhiji’s rise to become father of Modern India are three big historic assaults on our great Hindu culture.”

Leaving Karnataka education system in crisis, govt 'responsible for range of devastations'

Counterview Desk  Bahutva Karnataka, a forum for justice, harmony and solidarity, has released a report on the state of education on the incumbent State government’s policies over the past 4 years. Introducing the report, the forum says, it will enable the public to not just hold the government to account, but also to make an informed choice as they choose the next government.

ONGC, State Bank of India 'stakeholders' in junta-supported Myanmar-China pipelines

By Henrieke Butijn*  Some banks are comfortable financing atrocities, as is clear with the financiers that are bankrolling the fossil fuel giants that run the Myanmar-China pipelines . The Myanmar junta, who began an illegal attempted coup in February 2021, receives revenue from oil and gas projects and profits from the Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) shares in projects.

Civil war, humanitarian crisis in Myanmar amidst 'significant' China support to junta

By Bharat Dogra*  The recent tragic and painful death of nearly 100 persons in air attacks carried out by the military junta in Sagaing region of Myanmar is a grim and cruel reminder that violence and distress of people have become the most defining features of this deeply troubled country.

'Most of our efforts, of Jesuits, of Church, are spent in trying to please the establishment'

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* Dear Stan, It was your birthday on April 26 here on earth! You would have completed eighty-six years, if you were around. Well, that was not to be; on 5 July 2021 you were murdered by a brutal and fascist regime, which did not want a human rights defender like you to continue living! This is your second earthly birthday up above. Not sure how you will be celebrating it!

'All-time high' dissatisfaction with Govt of India's RTI replies, new CIC report suggests

By Venkatesh Nayak*  Two weeks ago, the first set of our findings from a preliminary analysis of the Central Information Commission’s (CIC) 2021-22 Annual Report (AR) was circulated. Readers will recall, the AR contains a wealth of data regarding the use and the implementation of The Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The second set of findings from our preliminary analysis of the 2021-22 AR is given below under the following segments:

Queer, trans persons 'testify': Marital rape, forced marriage, threat of disinheritance

By Rajiv Shah  Even as the Supreme Court begins hearings in front of a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud on “marriage equality”, and the Bar Council of India (BCI) requesting the Apex Court to leave the issue for “legislative consideration” i.e., to Parliament, as the hearing would be treated as being against the culture and social religious ethos, a civil society report has insisted that “queer and transgender persons ought to be given the right to have a chosen family not defined by marriage, birth or adoption alone.”

Poor allocation, negligible disbursement: Whither schemes for transgender welfare?

By Bharat Dogra*  There are not many schemes for welfare of transgender people in India and so special care has to be given for the proper implementation of the few that exist. At the level of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment there is a scheme, or rather a sub-scheme or part of a wider scheme which is devoted exclusively to the welfare of transgender people.

Joshimath: 'Missing' disaster management, information system for Himalayan region

By Ishwar Awasthi*  Unplanned and uncontrolled developmental work in Joshimath led to land subsidence and as a result several houses and roads developed cracks and triggered fear among the residents. Joshimath took place because the grim warnings of the massive flood due to cloudburst in 2013, resulted in fury of devastation and destruction in the state, had gone unheeded.Other towns may gradually see this kind of rage in fragile mountain region unless the development approach is focused on mountain perspective and sustainability.

Ganga: Seeking 'paradigm shift' in order to implement decision, initiate discourses

By Mansee Bal Bhargava*, Proshakha Maitra**  India is blessed with a network of rivers that can accommodate the country's heavy water needs, making it wealthy in water resources. In addition, the literature on water wisdom is blissful from the writings in the Vedas to all the religious-spiritual writings on water and conversation and management of water resources. However, India is still among the worst water crisis hit countries in the world. A country rich with water wisdom if suffers from water woes must really call for a paradigm shift in the way water discourses and decisions are initiated and implemented.

Safdar’s death can’t be undone, heavens don't give salvific dignity to a 'gruesome' killing

By Yanis Iqbal*  On January 2, 1989, a 34-year old Safdar Hashmi, while performing the street play “Halla Bol” in a labour colony at Jhandapur, was beaten to death allegedly by Congress goons. Thrashed at least twenty times on his head with iron rods, he was brought to the hospital with brain fluid leaking out of his nose.

Genocidal climate 'created' during recent Hindu festivals: US Congressional briefing told

By Our Representative  Participating in a US Congressional briefing, Indian activists have warned that hate crimes "are being carried out against Indian Muslims on a massive scale during Hindu festivals, indicating a genocidal climate against Muslims in India." Weaponization of Hindu festivals to attack Muslims another sign of India on “road to genocide”, they insisted.

Central RTI body asks Kashmir activist to seek data on pleas from non-existent state panel

By Our Representative  In a surprise revelation, the India’s top Right to Information (RTI) body, Central Information Commission (CIC), has stated it does not have data on the number of RTI applications and first appeals filed in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) in the past four years. The revelation comes following Irfan Banka, founder, J&K RTI Foundation, an advocacy group, sought details through an RTI plea.

Sambalpur violence: Did authorities survey sensitive areas before Hanuman Jayanti?

By Sudhansu R Das  Tension between two communities has gripped the culturally rich Sambalpur town of Odisha. Recently, some miscreants from a community threw stones at the Hanuman Jayanti procession which injured dozens of people including many police personnel. The injuries on the face and heads of the victims show that the stones were thrown from a higher elevation.

How SRCC students were left with silly one-upmanship jokes, 'scripted' attack on Congress

By Salman Khurshid*  Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) invited me to join their Business Conclave 2023 event last week. There was a panel discussion proposed on Indian Media and Western Media. Other panelists were Mani Shanker Iyer, Sudheendra Kulkarni, J Sai Deepak and Prof Anand Ranganathan of JNU. What was to be discussion was assumed to be a debate by the last two eminent persons against the three of us.

OSOP: Puducherry's Jal Swaraj model to revive ponds with community participation

By Proshakha Maitra, Megha Gupta*, Mansee Bal Bhargava** The earth has almost 70% water of which only 2.5% is fresh on which most living beings on land depend upon. The freshwater sources in and around human habitations are mainly from ponds, lakes, wetlands and rivers. The tropical Indian landscape dots these water systems extensively across the length and breadth of the country.  The ponds are predominantly the one that are small human-constructed rainwater harvesting structures and closely integrated to social-ecological evolution of human settlements and life. All villages, towns, cities are in abundance of ponds despite losing nearly half of them in the past one century in the process of urbanisation in India.

Why eye 3.5 GW N-power by 2030 without diligently prepared national energy policy?

By Shankar Sharma*  There is yet another development of serious concerns in our country's energy sector, as news link NTPC eyes 3.5 GW N-power by 2030, in talks for SMRs  suggests. It is impossible to notice any rationale, or due diligence, or coherence in the approach/ policy/ practice of various segments/ agencies in achieving a common welfare objective in the context of various provisions of our Constitution and various specific laws of the Parliament.

Yogi govt assertion criminals aren't entitled to rule of law antithetical to Constitution: PUCL

Counterview Desk  The People's Union for Civil Liberties, seeking a  halt to encounter killings in UP and end to what it calls "state lawlessness", has said that doubts have arisen about complicity of UP Police in killing of Atiq and Ashraf Ahmed. Signed by Dr V Suresh, PUCL general secretary, in a statement, it seeks to answers to the following questions from UP Police: Why did the UP Police not seek 'Police Custody’ of the killers of Atiq and Ashraf Ahmed when produced for remand before Duty Magistrate on 16.04.2023 itself, and agree to Judicial Custody? If the killer gang was unknown to the police, didn’t the police think it important to interrogate them to find out how the killer gang knew about the police allowing the Ahmed brothers to meet the press at an unearthly hour of 1030 pm on 15.04.2023? Didn’t the UP police think it was important to find out who all were behind the killer-gang by interrogating the 3 youngsters who shot Atiq and Ashraf? Text: PUCL i

Sitharaman aims at 'masking' persecution, discrimination of Muslims in India: IAMC

Counterview Desk  Washington DC-based top diaspora advocacy group, the Indian American Muslim Council ( IAMC ), claiming to the largest of its kind in the US, condemning Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s denial of Muslim persecution in India, has said that the top minister’s statement echoes the popular Hindu supremacist propaganda claim that the Muslim population is increasing at a rate disproportionate to Hindus.

Bournvita controversy snowballs after MNC threatens legal action against small fry

By Rajiv Shah*  Amidst raging controversy over the top children's product Bournvita's allegedly misleading information on claims of "improved brain activity, improved muscles, improved immune system and improved bone health", a spokesperson of the Cadbury's one of the most well-known brands has said, over the last seven decades it "has earned the trust of consumers in India."

Why visit of Prime Minister to Cathedral was but one of 'sheer' political opportunism

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  ‘Opportunism’ is normally defined as “the practice of using situations unfairly to get an advantage for yourself without thinking about the consequences, of how your actions will affect other people”.

'Significant' sites of caste discrimination, exclusion: US workplaces, housing industries

By DB Sagar*  I was around 6 and a half years old when I went to school. I was one of the lucky ones. I got a new school uniform and you all know how it feels to have a new dress that you want to show to your new friends. But when I went to school, none of that happened.

Border security personnel 'restricting' Dalits, OBCs from performing their last rites

Counterview Desk  Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), in a representation to the district magistrate of North Dinajpur, West Bengal, has complained that the Border Security Force personnel have not just placed restrictions on cultivate their fertile agricultural land but also social practices.

Smart cities' stressed water needs as urban green spaces decline from 12.79% to 9.41%

By Monami Bhattacharya*, Mansee Bal Bhargava**  The world is overstressed with the increasing population and decreasing resources. With the urban landscape reeling under the pressure of limited resources and unlimited demands, the need/movement for smart and sustainable solutions are on the rise. The idea for sustainable and smart cities gained momentum as part of that movement.

Odisha turns into burning chamber, historic Cuttack city 'loses' 90% of green cover

By Sudhansu R Das*  The April month has not ended yet. And the effect of the spring season is no longer felt. The state of Odisha is boiling with terrible summer heat which has crossed 40 degree celsius in more than 25 towns and the mercury is hovering around 44 degree in southern Odisha. Schools were closed between 12 to 16 April due to unbearable heat. The reported incidents of acute drinking water shortage and brain strokes are pouring in. The days ahead will be worse. 

'Historic injustice': Modi 'celebrating' tiger conservation at the cost of Adivasi life

Counterview Desk  An all-India fact-finding team has observed "grave violations" of Adivasi rights in Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, Karnataka, even as PM ‘celebrates’ 50 years of ‘Project Tiger’. Calling for immediate measures to uphold the rights of Adivasis as per law and end evictions, intimidation and violence, the civil society team insisted, what is happening in protected areas is "50 years of the torture of Adivasis, through one of the largest land grabs in independent India".

Ghaziabad local body ostracizes waste pickers, appoints contractors 'violating' 2016 rules

Shashi Bhushan, Ashni Tyagi*  In 2016, the Government of India changed the Waste Management Rules which were being implemented for 15 years. The rules have demarcated certain responsibilities and accountabilities for the executive institutions. However, the Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation (GMC) is silent about them since 2016.

'Muslim fisherfolk being targetted': Spate of demolitions near historic Dwarka town

Counterview Desk  In a statement, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Gujarat, condemning the “inhuman demolitions” done by the Government of Gujarat over the past six months at several locations in Devbhoomi Dwarka district, has said targets are "the Muslim traditional fishing communities along the Saurashtra coastline”, regretting, this is happening “without any plans for rehabilitation and restoration of fishing, their traditional livelihood.”

Kashmir, Bastar: How ominous calm, enforced silence 'don’t provide' neat answers

By Harsh Thakor*  The book “Flaming Forest, Wounded Valley: Stories from Bastar and Kashmir” is a gripping account with lively narratives of first hand experiences in Bastar and Kashmir, where repression has simmered to a boiling point since 1947. Author Freny Manecksha illustrates how the fabric of human rights has been ripped apart, violating the laws of the Constitution. More than the commentary -- of violence and atrocities, death and turmoil and also resistance and tenacity -- what is remarkable is the in depth portrayal of how people are besieged in their day to day life. These project the bigger, grimmer picture.

'Huge challenge': Will appointment of new BRICS Bank chief de-dollarise world trade?

By Marco Fernandes*  The first event of President Lula da Silva’s long-awaited visit to China in mid-April 2023 is the official swearing-in ceremony of Dilma Rousseff as president of the New Development Bank (popularly known as the BRICS Bank) on April 13. The appointment of the former president of Brazil to the post demonstrates the priority that Lula will give to the BRICS countries (Brazil, China, India, Russia, and South Africa) in his government. 

Taking advantage of Pakistan's economic crisis, Bangladesh begins 'seed diplomacy'

By Erina Haque*  Bangladesh and Pakistan together make up 5 percent of the world’s population. The possibilities of market value in the case of export and import between these two states are inevitably huge. 

Digital surveillance against women: 'Model' Gujarat's 57% agree, 2nd highest in India

By Rajiv Shah*  Are patriarchal attitudes more prevalent in Gujarat than other parts of India? It would seem so, if one goes by the findings of a study carried out by non-profits Common Cause and Lokniti – Centre for the Study Developing Societies (CSDS).

No to land rights? Thousands of Little Rann of Kutch agariyas face eviction threat

By Pankti Jog*  Way back in January 1973, the Little Rann of Kutch, a mud desert of Gujarat, was declared Wild Ass Sanctuary to protect the wild ass, which was under threat then. Fifty years later, the wild ass population has risen to 6,000 and has reached the stable category. However, the agariya community, involved in salt farming in the Little Rann for centuries, now faces the threat of being evicted.

Global Hindutva: Repercussions of 'strident' anti-caste narrative in US felt in India

By Aviral Anand*  A very interesting struggle is going on in the United States right now. It is, to my opinion, a great example of a sustained and focused struggle at many levels and the utilization of a variety of tactics of resistance and voice-amplification.

Dawat-e-Iftar? Telengana minority budget funds ignore poorest of poor, underprivileged

By Dr Lubna Sarwath*  In the court order dated 17.6.2017 in WP(PIL)143/2017 it is mentioned that 'Learned Additional Advocate General would also state that the expenditure for the dinner to be hosted by the State government in the LB Stadium would not be incurred from the funds earmarked in budget for Minority Welfare'.

NCERT move 'ignores' pre-school education, seeks to add 3 yrs to formal schooling

By Prof Tarun Kanti Naskar*  The National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCFSE), the 628-page document circulated by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) on 8 April last, is framed on the basis of whatever was spelt out in the texts of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 on school education. By this the Central government ignored the countrywide protests that have been voiced by the teachers, educationists and intellectuals since the publication of draft NEP 2019 and announcement of NEP on 29 July 2020.

Fourth aerial bombing in Bastar: 'Civil war unleashed to favour MNCs, corporates'

Counterview Desk  The Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization (FACAM), a New Delhi-based civil rights network, objecting to continued drone attacks in Bastar, Chhatisgarh, has said that it is nothing but a “mockery of democracy”. In a statement, it said, when “the state bombs its own people” it is a clear indication of the “aerial war being waged by the Indian state in Bastar.”

Odisha's Gabada women who wear Kerang, a traditional costume, and beautiful jewellery

By Deepanwita Gita Niyogi  The Gadaba is a major tribe of Koraput district in Odisha found mainly in three blocks: Lamataput, Similiguda and Pottangi. They are mostly involved in the cultivation of millets, pulses and niger. The women often wear Kerang, a traditional costume consisting of two separate pieces, and beautiful jewellery.

Rural Odisha: 81% villages lack drainage facility, swachh gram a 'distant dream'

By Our Representative  Despite the Odisha government's efforts to create clean and hygienic villages, a recent survey conducted by the Atmashakti Trust, along with its allies Odisha Shramajeebee Mancha and Mahila Shramajeebee Mancha, has revealed significant deficiencies in basic infrastructure, including damaged tube wells, lack of soak pits, absence of drainage facilities, inadequate cement concrete (CC) roads, and poor toilet facilities.

Stop 'criminalising' journalists and human rights activists in Kashmir: PUCL

Counterview Desk  The People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has asked the Government of India to stop witch-hunt of journalists and human rights activists in Kashmir. Seeking the release of release Irfan Mehraj, Khurram Parvez as well as Aasif Sultan, Sajad Gul, and Fahad Shah, PUCL in a statement said that the arrests “are a part of the pattern of the Indian state trying to repress the voice of professional and independent members of the journalist fraternity.”

How reliable is CIC claim? RTIs to Govt of India 'rose by 6.55% during 2nd year of pandemic'

By Venkatesh Nayak*  Parliament's Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice (the Standing Committee), recently pulled up the Central Information Commission (CIC) for relying on contractual staff for doing its mandated work while sanctioned posts of full time employees continued to remain vacant. In its 126th Report on the Demand for Grants made by the Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions the Standing Committee also took note of the fact that 95 public authorities had not submitted quarterly data to the CIC about the implementation of The Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act). 

Why Odisha should avoid costly metro rail, other 'unncessary' infrastructure projects

By Sudhansu R Das  Country after country are collapsing while aggressively pursuing infrastructure-based development vision. Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Greece, Argentina and scores of small and big nations have fallen prey to spurious infrastructure development vision. Now Bangladesh is neck deep in external debt and is bound to collapse after Pakistan.

Odisha’s 71% anganwadis don't have access to safe drinking water, 81% lack toilet facility

By Our Representative  Despite the Odisha government claimed efforts to transform the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) through anganwadis, their non-availability in tribal-dominated districts, lack of adequate infrastructure, and lack of its implementation pose a significant challenge to achieving holistic development among children, pregnant and lactating women in rural Odisha.

West Bengal Dalit child workers 'trapped' in hazardous job to run family: Complaint filed

Counterview Desk  Human rights leader Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manbadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), writes to the district magistrate, North 24 Parganas, West Bengal, on how three Dalit children are being forced to take up hazardous job to run family, losing childhood and education, asking the official to take urgent action.

Despite UN move seeking support, Govt of India 'apathetic' to hazards of asbestos

Counterview Desk  In a representation to the Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers, health rights network Occupational & Environmental Health Network India (OEHNI), insisting that the Government of India should support the United Nations move to restrict use of “hazardous asbestos”, has said that the commodity is known to be “carcinogen” and “can also lead to asbestosis and other diseases”.

Setback to self-reliance in PVC production? Adani move to suspend Mundra project

By NS Venkataraman*  There are not many project promoters in India who can qualify to be capable of investing thousands of crore of rupees in large projects that could be globally competitive. Most of such large projects have been set up in the past by public sector organisations such as the Indian Oil Corporation.

Survey: Gujarat tops in 'supporting' digital surveillance to curb opposition, protests

By Rajiv Shah  In a surprise revelation, which may send shock wave among those who consider agitations as a democratic right and believe this right is being eroded by the powers-that-be, nearly 95 percent of the respondents in a recent survey in Gujarat have justified the government’s use of CCTV as a means to control political movements of all sorts.

Joshimath tragedy: How people got deprived of choosing their own path of development

Counterview Desk  The Campaign to Defend Nature and People (CDNP) led by Prof Jagmohan Singh (from Shaheed Bhagat Singh's family) expressing solidarity with the people of Joshimath, has said that the Himalayas are victim of “not natural but development policy-induced disasters.”