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Showing posts from June, 2023

Uniform Civil Code 'politically motivated': Adivasis, Mizo people oppose uniformity

By Dr Abhay Kumar*  The call for Uniform Civil Code is politically motivated, Flavia Agnes, eminent scholar and women's rights lawyer has said in an interview with me. Flavia Agnes has expressed disappointment that while the 21 Law Commission underscored the importance of ending gender discrimination and economic inequality against women, the Government has not taken a single step to implement the 21 Law Commission’s report.

US Indo-Pacific strategy: 'Anti-China' military move defying UN Laws of Sea convention

By Vijay Prashad*  On June 3, 2023, naval vessels from the United States and Canada conducted a joint military exercise in the South China Sea. A Chinese warship (LY 132) overtook the U.S. guided-missile destroyer (USS Chung-Hoon) and speeded across its path. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command released a statement saying that the Chinese ship “executed maneuvers in an unsafe manner.” 

How neoliberal globalization, hybrid economic model benefited China 'disproportionally'

By Richard D Wolff*    The year 2020 marked parity between the total GDP of the G7 (the U.S. plus allies) and the total GDP of the BRICS group (China plus allies). Since then, the BRICS economies grew faster than the G7 economies. Now a third of total world output comes from the BRICS countries while the G7 accounts for below 30 percent.  Beyond the obvious symbolism, this difference entails real political, cultural, and economic consequences. Bringing Ukraine’s Zelenskyy to Hiroshima to address the G7 recently failed to distract the G7’s attention from the huge global issue: what is growing in the world economy vs. what is declining.

Modi trying to woo Pasmanda Muslims? They won’t join communal forces: Ali Anwar

By Dr Abhay Kumar*  A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi tried to woo Pasmanda Muslims during the BJP workers' meeting in Bhopal, former Member of Parliament and leader of the Pasmanda Movement Ali Anwar has said that Pasmanda Muslims will not join the communal forces because secularism is in their DNA.

At the core of 'irregular' plastic pollution in Ganga basin: Irresponsible tourist behaviour

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  These are some initial thoughts, ideas and approach of applied research on tracking plastic pollution for tackling plastic pollution. An all-women research team has started this endeavor to join the global movement on #beatplasticpollution. This writeup is meant to seek more support for peer learning and sharing and simultaneously encourage youth enviropreneurs and hydropreneurs to take up the burning issue of plastic polluting our land, water and all creatures.

Govt's tall claims on renewable energy 'not supported' by plan of action, timeline

By Shankar Sharma*  Many of the opinion pieces, official claims, and sponsored articles, being noticed recently in our national media, can be said to suffer badly from the absence of a holistic view of true welfare of all sections of our society on a sustainable basis.

Indian corporates 'guilty of using' deadly asbestos mostly imported from Russia

By Dr Gopal Krishna*  Responding to a letter addressed to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on the subject of "Why India must support inclusion of Chrysotile asbestos in the UN’s list of Rotterdam Convention", Hazardous Substances Division, Ministry of Environment Forests & Climate Change has informed on 26 June, 2023 that “the decision to include chrysotile asbestos in the UN list was deferred at the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure (PIC) for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (RC COP-11) in Geneva during 1-12 May 2023.”

Mamata is right, we submitted 2,000 cases of BSF atrocities; but will she act?: MASUM

Counterview Desk  Commenting on West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s statement that the Border Security Force (BSF) is responsible for atrocities at the Indo-Bangladesh border, human rights leader Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), has said that it is an acknowledgement of the “heinous torture” is happening at the behest of the BSF.

Sarva Sewa Sangh building to be demolished following takeover, Gandhians protest

By Rosamma Thomas*  Mahatma Gandhi had plans for an independent India, and called a meeting at Wardha in Maharashtra on February 2, 1948 of workers who planned to collaborate for the achievement of Swaraj (self-rule) through the philosophy of Sarvodaya (universal uplift).

India one of 5 countries yet to ratify UN convention against torture: Asian NGOs

Counterview Desk  Several Asian advocacy groups have come together to take note of the fact that in India there is no special anti-torture laws “which can bind the arms of the perpetrators.” Their statement says, “The persistence of inhuman treatment by the police and state officials makes it apparent that India is determined to protect violence by the police”.

Hyderabad law varsity 'enforcing' caste-class segregation in serving meals to workers

By Ajay Kranthi, Sandeep Pandey*  Students coming together for a progressive cause is nothing unusual. Most students are inspired by some idealism, and at times, putting their careers at risk, they take up social issues. Sometimes they coalesce as part of formal organisations; at other times, they may assemble as a loose coalition. Most political parties have their student wings which exist on major academic campuses.

What RSS archives say about its 'betrayal' of struggle against Indira-imposed Emergency

By Shamsul Islam*  On the 48th anniversary of the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi [June 25, 1975-March 21, 1977] we are witnessing once again the farce of RSS claiming that it opposed it with full might. PM Modi described it as the “darkest period” in Indian history in his weekly radio talk, ‘Mann ki Baat’ on June 18, 2023.

Modi's ‘mother of democracy’ talk develops clay feet: RTI plea on PM Cares funds

By Rosamma Thomas*  Prime Minister Modi often refers to India as the “mother of democracy”, arguing that the democratic spirit is ingrained in the very DNA of the nation. For democracy to thrive, though, citizens should be aware of the ways in which government funds are utilized, and the procedures through which decisions are arrived at by the government. 

BJP's divide and rule 'experiment' in Manipur on a people known for fighting injustice

By Sandeep Pandey*  Manipur has been known for more than just the existence of numerous insurgent groups. It is known for the bravery of its people, especially women, against the injustices of the state. Who doesn’t remember the one of its kind protest, in 2004, in front of Assam Rifles headquarters when 2-3 dozen naked women protested with the banner ‘Indian Army Rape Us’ after the abduction and murder of a young lady Manorama or the 16 years long lonely battle that Irom Sharmila fought from the hospital with a rubber tube inserted in her nose to feed her as she fasted against the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act? 

GoI document ignores 'inherent' inequality, discrimination, segregation in education

Counterview Desk  Commenting on the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) for School Education, 2023, the Right To Education (RTE) Forum, claiming to be India’s largest education civil society network working on realising RTE, has said that while the emphasis on teaching children about India’s contribution to the world is welcome, “At the same time, the child should also learn to critically appraise India’s weaknesses so that she will learn from past mistakes and find out a way for the future.”

Prioritize human rights in US foreign policy toward India: Congresspersons tell Biden

By Our Representive  Coinciding with Prime Minister Modi's address at the joint meeting of Congress three US Congresspersons and a US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) commissioner joined human rights experts and leaders of Indian-American advocacy groups have told a policy briefing in Washington DC that the Biden government must hold the "authoritarian rule" in India responsible for "human rights abuses".

Why so many people from 'model' Gujarat risk money, life, seek to illegally enter US

By Sandeep Pandey*  Narendra Modi’s United States visit has made big news. In his seventh trip to that country as the Prime Minister he has been able to get himself invited as a state guest for the first time, riding on the back of a proposal from an Indian private company Air India to buy 220 aircrafts from another U.S. private company Boeing.

'Ecological disaster': Aravalli mines causing NCR, Haryana, western UP desertification

By Bharat Dogra*  Recent preliminary findings of important research conducted by the Central University of Rajasthan has identified over 31 hills in the upper Aravalli range that have disappeared during just the last 20 years or so. This has been recorded in the context of Naraina, Kilwar, Kotputli, Jhalana and Sariska (Rajasthan), with heights of 200 to 600 meters above sea level. The number of hills similarly affected in the lower and middle ranges of the ancient hills are many more.

Admirers, followers 'scandalised': Rammohun Roy 'rejected' Sanskrit, even Vedanta

By Bhaskar Sur*  Rammohun Roy (born May 22, 1772) lived in many worlds -- Hindu, Islamic and the European. Though deeply imbued with the late Mughal culture, he nevertheless had a feeling that it was a vanishing world giving way to a more vigorous, varied and profound European way of life. It was not a starry eyed view of a colonized 'native' but one who had developed a deep sense of history and a comparative view of civilizations.

As Modi meets Biden, Indian diaspora protest 'assault on democracy' in Washington DC

By Our Representative  Hundreds of Indian Americans and their allies gathered at Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, DC, to stage a demonstration against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's alleged assault on democratic values and ongoing human rights violations.

Stop repression on social movements, activists in Telangana: NAPM writes to CM

Counterview Desk  In a letter to K Chandrashekar Rao, Telengana chief minister, India’s top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), seeking closure of FIR No 152/2022 to uphold “the rights of democratic activists and movements in Telangana”, has asked him to intervene in view of the recent “arbitrary” move by the state police against 152 social activists “under various provisions of UAPA, Arms Act and IPC”.

Telangana police labels intellectuals, activists urban Maoists; interlocular 'not spared'

Counterview Desk  The civil rights network Campaign Against State Repression (CASR)*, commenting on what has called “blatant use” of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) by Telangana Police to suppress dissent voices, has said that not only 152 activists and intellectuals, including Prof G Haragopal, Prof Gaddam Laxman and Prof Padmaja Shaw, have been sought to be implicated, even late Justice H Suresh “finds mention in the accused list”.

Why blame BJP? Congress propagated values of Gita Press, an 'anti-woman' outfit

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  The Gita Press, Gorakhpur, has been awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize. Our 'intellectual' circles of the right, centre and left are fighting among themselves whether the award was rightly given or or not. Frankly speaking, it is not the award but the authority that the government gives that is important. The current regime would go to any extent to 'help' its cronies and darbaris. The Gita Press is not a darbari of the BJP but of the Brahmanical system.

A heavenly advice from Gita Press: 'It's better for woman (rape victim) to keep mum'

By Shamsul Islam*  Gita Press, Gorakhpur, has been awarded the 2022 Gandhi Peace Prize, the prestigious international award instituted by Government of India in 1995 while commemorating 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. It was to be conferred on those individuals/organizations which contributed in carrying forward the ideals espoused by him.

Don't bargain away human rights: US experts, 'victims' of Modi government urge Biden

By Our Representative  Speaking at a press conference hosted at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached the US capital for his high profile official state level visit, the country’s human rights experts and those claiming to be victims of Indian government persecution have called on the Biden administration to hold Modi accountable for his association with “violent Hindu extremist ideologues and his regime’s attacks on Indian democracy.”

Talks fail to bring Indo-Bangla border killings to zero, region 'remains trigger-happy'

Counterview Desk  Hooghly-based human rights group, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), apparentlly taking strong exception to the narrative that is sought to be planted that the recent Indo-Bangladesh talks on bringing down border killing to zero was a major confidence building measure, has said that it once again failed to centre-stage the crucial issue.

'Victims of child trafficking': Ugly truth behind many missing girls who ‘elope’ to marry

By Anil Pandey*  There are often reports of young minor girls eloping with someone in pursuit of marriage, and many families end up either disowning such children or give up searching for them assuming they have left their parental homes on their own. But a recent incident at Mughalsarai Railway Station shakes this entire belief and makes everyone question if the files of such children are being closed too soon.

Mann ki baat: WHO using pandemic as pretext to seek Emergency; will Modi speak up?

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his “Maan Ki Baat” broadcast on 18 June 2023 reportedly called the Emergency “a crime that put freedom in danger.” He went on to say that the Emergency was a dark period in India’s history. Strong words indeed, definitely worthy of praise.

Modi in US as Manipur burns: Why what is happening is a 'foretaste of tomorrow'

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  To say that ‘Manipur is burning’ is not merely a gross understatement, but belies the terrible reality which has gripped the tiny State in North-East India since 3 May. For almost fifty days now, Manipur has been experiencing unprecedented violence and mayhem; more than one hundred people have been killed, thousands have been rendered homeless; there has been burning, arson and loot of houses, Churches and other institutions.

A sagely warning against Green Revolution: Abandon genetic modification of crops

By Rosamma Thomas*  Journalist Bharat Dogra is unique among journalists for never having taken up a full-time position with any media house. He has always only served as a freelancer, following issues he feels interested in and writing about things he feels readers must know. After a long career in journalism spanning more than four decades, he now distils his experience in book form. 

India's free trade talks 'ignore' human rights, social justice, environmental impact

By Our Representative  More than 130 organisations and civil society leaders have expressed concern at the lack of transparency and non-inclusive consultation processes adopted by the Union Government in the negotiations for entering into free trade, comprehensive economic partnership or investment related agreements. 

Urban segregation, neglect of Indian Muslims, Dalits 'akin to' American Blacks: Study

By Rajiv Shah  A new research paper by five scholars from top institutions of the United States and the United Kingdom has come to the drastic conclusion that the levels of urban segregation in India faced by Muslims and Scheduled Castes (SCs) “are comparable to Black/White segregation in the US”, underlining, “Within cities, public facilities and public infrastructure are systematically allocated away from neighborhoods where many Muslims and SCs live.”

False narratives, political expediency 'core of British politics' from Churchill to Sunak

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The hundred and six pages Partygate inquiry report, conducted by the Privileges Committee of the British Parliament, not only highlights the evident character of Boris Johnson as a habitual liar but also exposes the deceptive political strategies employed by the Tories.

Ramifications of Indo-Bangla border talks on shooting, killing, injuring ‘unarmed’ citizens

By Safowan Hossain Khan*  The 53rd Director General (DG) level border conference between the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) and the Border Guards of Bangladesh (BGB) took place in Delhi from June 11 to 14, lasting four days. Major General AKM Nazmul Hasan, Director General of BGB, led a 14-person delegation from Bangladesh while Sujoy Lal Thaosen, Director General of BSF, led a 10-person team from India at the four-day conference.

'Indigenous options ignored': Govt of India prefers ecologically disruptive palm oil trees

By Bharat Dogra*  Recent government policy has resorted to huge promotion of exotic palm oil trees to end edible oil shortage in the country. However this is associated with highly disruptive ecological costs, as has been seen from the experience of several countries. The kind of high rainfall conditions needed for its high yield are not readily available in India and this will lead to heavy extraction of already scarce groundwater. Plans of its large scale introduction in ecologically fragile regions have already faced much criticism.

Lessons for India from Swiss asbestos tycoon found guilty for causing death of 392 people

By Dr Gopal Krishna*  The fate of Stephan Schmidheiny, a Swiss billionaire who has been sentenced to 12 years in jail on aggravated manslaughter charges connected to the deaths of hundreds of people due to asbestos exposure by an Italian court on 7 June, 2023 has lessons for India. Similar fate awaits the manufacturers of asbestos based products in India who are endangering the lives of all present and future generations of Indians. 

'Favour rooftops': Large size solar power parks 'would lead to' massive land diversion

By Shankar Sharma*  My recent representation to the Union Power Minister based on the news article "Renewable energy: Why there is an urgent need for collective ownership" (see this   report) needs to be elaborated further on in the context of relevant studies from around the world, which are of huge relevance to the Indian economy. Whereas the focus of my representation was on the electricity sector, the larger and relevant ramifications to the national economy should become obvious.

How MNCs use 'unfair means' to speed up highly hazardous introduction of GMOs

Robert Kennedy Jr By Bharat Dogra*  While several reputed scientists of great integrity have consistently spoken against GM (genetically modified) crops and a lot of evidence regarding their harmful impacts has accumulated, one argument that has been often used to still promote their spread is that after all GM crops have been spread the most widely in the USA, and so there must have been some case for allowing such wide approval.

'Speak up': Ex-US Congressman, rights leaders want Biden to hold Modi accountable

By Our Representive  Former Congressman Andy Levin has joined human rights experts and activists in urging the Biden administration to hold Prime Minister Narendra Modi accountable for his attacks on democracy and his party’s role in instigating violence against religious minorities.

Sonali's crime result of 'lack of social support' to families seeking to care elderly parents

By Rosamma Thomas*  A two-column news item appeared in The Hindu newspaper on Wednesday, June 14, 2023. “Woman kills mother, takes body to police”, read the headline of the report that said Sonali Sen admitted at the police station in Mico Layout, Bangalore, that she had killed her mother. Biva Paul, Sonali’s mother, had been living in Bangalore with her daughter, son-in-law and grandson for five years, ever since her husband passed away. The mother and daughter would quarrel frequently, and the report mentioned that after a recent fight, Biva Paul had asked her daughter to kill her. Sonali Sen force-fed her mother an overdose of blood pressure tablets, which caused the death. Police have arrested Sonali Sen. This situation of caring for an elderly parent in a city to which the parent has moved to be with a child is fraught with tension – the parents who move often leave behind their friends and other kin, and are excessively dependent on their children for all social interactions; th

Manipur: How peace has become the first casualty with 'shrinking space' for pluralism

By Biswanath Sinha*  Unlike most of the states in India including the northeastern states (except Tripura) Manipur as a nation-state has existed for many years. The ancient chronicle of the Meiteis, the dominant community there the Cheitharol Kumpapa, lists 74 Meitei kingdoms going back in time to 33 A.D. The kingdom known as Meitei-Leipak, Poirei-Lam, Kangileipak, etc had possessed a distinct political and territorial status for centuries. 

'Targeting Kukis': BJP 'exacerbating' age-old ethnic tension in Manipur for political gain

Counterview Desk  A civil rights appeal, seeking wider support, floated by well-known human rights leaders and concerned citizens*, expressing "deep concerned about the continuing ethnic violence in Manipur between the Meitei community and the tribal Kuki and Zo communities", has said that the state is burning "due to the divisive politics played by the BJP and its governments at the Centre and State." 

Refusing to follow Uttarakhand HC order, top TV channel 'vitiating' communal situation

By Our Representative   The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), in an open letter to the Uttarakhand Chief Secretary, with copy to the Director General of Police and the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, has regretted that the Sudarshan TV and its editor Suresh Chahvanke are refusing to comply with the order passed by Uttarakhand High Court to cancel the proposed Mahapanchayat, apprehending it might further deteriorate the already vitiated communal situation in the State.

Conservation? Massive hotel emerges from ‘repaired’ Mt Abu heritage structure

By Rosamma Thomas*  Limbdi House was listed in the Master Plan 2030 document of Mt Abu, Rajasthan, as a Grade 1 Heritage Building – the top-most grade among heritage buildings, such buildings are deemed to be of national or historical importance, and no structural changes are permitted. (Limbdi, in Surendranagar district of Gujarat, was a princely state in pre-independence India ruled by the Jhala dynasty.)

Mahila Panchayat calls for national protest on June 16 in support of women wrestlers

By Our Representive  A National Mahila Panchayat, held in Delhi with the participation of hundreds of women, has given a call of national protest on 16th June if the government fails to fulfill its promises to the struggling wrestlers.

'Hate campaign in Uttarakhand leading to Muslim exodus': CJI asked to intervene

Muslims asked to vacate their shops Counterview Desk  In a representation to Dr DY Chandrachud, Chief Justice of India (CJI), the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), pointing towards "alarming rise of hate speech, vigilantism, and targeted communal violence against the minority Muslim community in Uttarakhand", has said that freedom of speech and expression does not extend to the ‘advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence’.

Continued suppression from Sita to Sakshi amidst claimed righteousness of Sengol

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  If you are reading this essay, you may like to Sign the Petition #JusticeForWrestlers ! India (read Indian men as mostly led by men in this patriarchy) is keen to empower its long intimidated and vulnerable women from the time of Sita and Draupadi. However, India is yet to learn and be interested to learn how to deal with the empowered women.

Remember, Ambedkar consigned Manusmriti to flames: PUCL reminds CJI, Gujarat HC CJ

Counterview Desk  Commenting on “uncalled for” remarks by Gujarat High Court judge Justice Sameer Dave on pregnancy and child birth even as approvingly referring to Manusmriti in this context, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Gujarat, has stated that such practice of citing scriptures and religious texts “could negate the very basis of our constitutional jurisprudence.”

Controlled by MNCs, GM crops likely to worsen climate change problems for farmers

By Bharat Dogra*  The shadow of climate change related problems hangs heavy over most farmers as they struggle increasingly against unexpected weather conditions, extreme weather events and disasters. In such conditions it is very important for government policy to avoid any changes that can aggravate such difficulties and problems faced by farmers.

Why is 'expel Muslims' campaign allowed in Uttarakhand? 52 babus write to CS, DGP

Counterview Desk  In an open letter to the chief secretary (CS) and the director general of police (DGP), Government of Uttarakhand, seeking immediate action on the communal situation in the State, a group of 52 civil servants, who are part of the Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG), have expressed dismay that despite prior information being available, the criminal campaign against minority communities is being allowed.

Kolhapur violence: Hindutva rulers' real target 'egalitarian, pro-woman, Dalit tradition'

By Shamsul Islam*  The June 7, 2023 violence at Kolhapur as per the claims of the perpetrators affiliated to the Hindutva groups was a reaction to ‘provocative’ social media posts which carried photographs of Mughal ruler Aurangzeb (1618-1707) and Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore who was killed by the British army with the help of Nizam’s army on May 4, 1799.

Gujarat govt data reveal Dalits 'not safe' in state, anti-atrocities law being ignored

By Our Representative  The Gujarat government data have revealed a total of 5,588 incidents of atrocities on Dalits have been reported in different police stations of the State in the last four years, from 1st January 2019 to 31st December 2022. Of this, a total of 123 were murders, with Ahmedabad district topping with the highest number (28), followed by Rajkot district (21), Surat district (15) and Vadodara district (7).