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Showing posts from July, 2023

New Govt of India move to harass, persecute 'free-thinking' former officials: Ex-babus

Bureaucrat-turned-activist Harsh Mander Counterview Desk  The Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG), consisting of retired civil servants, protesting against the amendments to the All India Services, has said the aim of the Government of India move is to armed itself with “unlimited powers to harass and persecute any pensioner, whose action is not to its liking, whether it be an article, an interview, participation in a protest march or seminar, or any form of criticism.

'Liberated' 70 yrs ago, former 'criminal tribes' continue to endure stigma, discrimination

By Noor Mohammad, Sion Kongari*  During British colonial rule in India, around 200 tribal communities across India were notified as “criminal tribes” under the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871. Members of these “notified tribes” were said to be "addicted to the systematic commission of non-bailable offences". 

Micron in Gujarat de-risking strategy to shift low end production to India, Malaysia

By Kavita Kabeer*  When a deal takes place between two parties, it is supposed to be fruitful for both. But the recent deal with Micron, signed on PM Modi’s visit to the US and initially hailed as a major technological breakthrough, seems to be falling flat of its tall promises .

Incarcerated in Bihar jail under 'draconian' UAPA for a year for anti-corporate stories

By Abhay Kumar*  Adivasi rights journalist Rupesh Kumar Singh completes one year in jail. In his absence, the family has suffered hardship. Her wife Ipsa Shatakshi has been fired from her teaching job at a private school, yet she remains resolute in waging the battle outside.

As headscarf controversy grips MP school, CM told not to communalise education

Counterview Desk  An open appeal to the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh to stop communalization of education, allowing the Ganga Jamuna HS School, Damoh, to function, has said that the   school  came under controversy because of their uniform which included a headscarf for adolescent girls. 

Commerce 'shaping' medical practice in India, as academic research loses innocence

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*   Decades ago, when test matches were the dominant form of the game, I, like most of my peers, was addicted to cricket, both playing and watching or rather listening as those days we did not have TVs but the transistor. During the test matches be it in Australia, West Indies, India, England, or anywhere else, there used to be groups of young and old around “paan” shops trying to catch the running commentary. Students and office goers, young and old had their ears glued to the transistor following the ups and downs of the two teams and individual players over the course of the 5 days test match, with one day break for rest in between.

Activists across India use social media, ground campaign to oppose forest conservation Bill

By Our Representative  In the backdrop of the Joint Parliamentary Committee giving its go ahead on the controversial Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill 2023, citizens, forest and climate action groups across India have been begun holding on-ground demonstrations in Delhi and more than 16 states. An online nationwide tweetstorm with hashtags #SaveIndianForests and #ScrapForestConservationAmendmentBill2023 was trending at number 4 in all India trends on 24th of July with 11,000 plus tweets.

Manipur violence: Why are President of India, State governor, both Adivasi women, silent?

By Nasri Bai Ningwal et al*  Adivasis of Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS) in Barwani, Burhanpur and Khargone organized protests on 26-27th July against the state-sponsored violence against Adviasis in Manipur. Violence and illegal eviction in the name of "conservation" is not new for Kukis and other forest dependent Adivasis in Manipur. A number of villages were recently displaced in one such drive in February-March, sparking fierce protests from Adivasis in Manipur.

NCW 'fails to take cognisance' of torture, rape, molestation, lynching of Manipur women

Rekha Sharma Counterview Desk  Releasing an open letter to the National Commission of Women (NCW) signed by about 400 activists , several women’s organisations (Unity in Compassion, National Federation of Indian Women, Indian Christian Women's Movement, All India Mahila Samskritik Sanghatan and Young Women's Christian Association) have taken strong exception to NCW for being unresponsive to their effort to meet its chairperson, Rekha Sharma, despite several pleas to discuss violence against women in Manipur.

Indian diaspora, allies in 3 US states protest against 'anti-Kuki violence' in Manipur

By Our Representative  Indian Americans and allies have held protests in California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts to condemn the ongoing ethnic violence in the northeast Indian state of Manipur, which has left at least 130 dead and 35,000 displaced. The brunt of the violence has predominantly impacted Manipur’s Christian Kuki-Zomi community, leading to the destruction of thousands of Kuki-owned homes and hundreds of churches, the protesters said.

Gujjar Bakarwals, 12 J&K tribal groups oppose GoI move to include non-tribals in ST list

Counterview Desk  Top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), expressing “solidarity to the tribal uprising in Jammu & Kashmir”, has accused the Government of India (GoI) of attempting is to “include non-tribals in the Scheduled Tribes (ST) list”, which is “condemnable” -- apparently in line with what the BJP government tried to do in Manipur.

Outlawed Manipur militant groups used sexual violence as weapon: Tribal women leaders

By Rishit Neogi  Giving details of a report prepared by the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF) ‘Crimes against Kuki-Zo women by the Meiteis, May 3-July 6, 2023’, Dr Vasvi Kiro of the Indigenous Women’s India Network, and ex-member, Jharkhand State Women’s Commission, has blamed the “preplanned” violence against Kukis in Manipur on outlawed Meitei militant groups like Arambai Tenggol and Meitei Leepun.

Drop in confidence 'reason' 6,500 high-net-worth individuals may leave India this year

By Kavita Kabeer  As many as 6,500 high-net-worth individuals are going to leave India this year, as per the latest Henley Private Wealth Migration Report . Last year, 7,500 millionaires left India. Worldwide, a total of 122,000 millionaires are moving from their home countries in search of greener pastures, a number that is steadily on the rise since 2013, briefly interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

Did leaked Manipur video shake India, where indifference is said to rule the roost?

By Liaquath Mirza  The horrific incident of Manipur has once again left Indians hanging their heads in shame. It shook the insides of even the so-called apolitical denizens with revulsion. Tears trickled down looking at the gut wrenching visuals of death of humanity in Kangpokpi. The distressing video melted even the most corroded hearts so much so that even trolls of establishment raised their hands in helplessness initially at least.

'Dismiss Manipur CM': 5500 citizens seek urgent justice to victims and survivors

Counterview Desk  More than 5500+ activists, academics, artists, bureaucrats and ordinary citizens have demand justice for the women in Manipur belonging to the predominantly Christian minority Kuki Zo and other communities who have been brutally assaulted.

Govt of India move will 'allow' corporates to take control of Odisha's Niyamgiri forests

By Manohar Chauhan*  Despite reservation and hue and cry form many sections including retired forest officials, environmentalist, forest conservationist, forest rights activists, etc., the joint parliamentary committee has given green signal to the amendments brought by the Modi government in the Forest Conservation Act (FCA). The Bill is to be tabled in the monsoon session in the Parliament. One of the important amendments brought by the Modi government in the FCA on 28th Mach, 2023 is altering the definition of “forest” set by the Supreme Court of India in 1996. The amendment Bill proposes that the FCA would be applicable only to the forests/plots that have been notified as "forest" according to the Indian Forest Act, 1927 and plots/areas recorded as "forest" in government records as on or after October 25, 1980. It is to be noted that in the 1996 hearing of the Godavarman case, the Supreme Court of India in its landmark judgment had ruled that FCA would be applic

Two Rajasthan Bills 'as strong response' to GoI equating welfare rights with freebies

By Our Representative  Calling it a "significant development", several civil rights leaders , welcoming the Rajasthan Minimum Guaranteed Income Bill, passed in the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly, has said that it is a "strong response to the ongoing political discourse pushed by the Government of India (GoI) that equates welfare rights to doles and freebies."

Violation of Kuki-Zo women: President Murmu urged to immediately visit Manipur

Counterview Desk  In an open appeal endorsed by over 3,100 concerned citizens , the top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), has asked President Draupadi Murmu to immediately intervene for ensuring restoration of peace and justice in strife-torn Manipur and “support to violated Kuki-Zo women.”

Even cloned copies of planted evidence 'not supplied' to Bhima-Koregaon accused

Counterview Desk  The National Campaign to Defend Democracy, which claims to be a coalition of 100 human rights organisations, in a note signed by about a dozen senior activists*, has asked leaders of all opposition parties to ask the Central government to ensure that all Bhima Koregaon accused, currently languishing in jail, some for the last five years without trial, be released on bail immediately.

Telangana turns into experimental theatre to misuse suppressive laws: CASR meet

By Our Representative  Speakers at a media conference, organised by the civil rights network Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), even as discussing "suppression of democratic voices" using suppressive laws in the light of the Tadwai case , where 152 activists of Andhra-Telangana were named under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), have demanded repeal of the "draconian" law.

Lack of field channels forces Gujarat farmers to 'illegally' suck out Narmada canal water

By Rajiv Shah  Recently, I went with a small group of friends to the south of Ahmedabad. I was part of the team which was called to enjoy rural dinner. Previously an arid, the entire agricultural land in the area, I found, has been turned green. What a site, I thought, even as I was told by a farmer that they produce different vegetables. I found small trucks reaching the small farm house where we were to dine to upload several bundles of vegetables, including tomatoes, which are in the news for their high costs.

GoI 'suspiciously removes' anaemia, high in Gujarat, West Bengal, as health indicator

By Our Representative   The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), a top Left-wing women's group, has expressed "deep concern" about the decision of the Government of India (GoI) to remove "anaemia" as one of the indicators from its National Family Health Survey-6 (NFHS- 6) for 2023-23, which follows NFHS -5. Expressing surprise, AIDWA said, the this is especially strange as NFSH-5 had revealed that over 57% of women and over 67% of children suffered from anaemia in India. Prevalence of anaemia to such an extent cannot be dismissed as a mild problem or an isolated occurrence. 

'Relevant for India': N-power too expensive, too slow to reach net zero in Australia

By Shankar Sharma*  It has been reported in The Guardian, quoting a study, that nuclear power is too expensive and slow to be part of Australia’s plans to reach net zero. This situation cannot be any better in the case of India. As a matter of fact, it will be of a much worse case because of the huge population, constrained natural resources, and the huge demand for electricity projected by 2050/60.

Succeeding in creating total polarisation, for BJP it's a 'win-win situation' in Manipur

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat* The incident of rape and parading of two Kuki women in Manipur is outrageous and barbaric, to say the least. For the last three months, the state is suffering from violence, which has been deliberately encouraged by those in power. Why is Manipur burning and why our Prime Minister or Home Minister had no time to speak about the horrific incidents in the state for so long?

Destruction of 15,000 acre forest land, attack on tribal leaders: MP women lead protest

By Our Representative  Thousands of tribals of Barwani, mobilized against the alleged attack on tribals under the banner of the Jagrut Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS), have protested against the Madhya Pradesh (MP) government for the destruction of 15,000 acres of forest, insisting, the guilty officials should be punished. Gathered in in Barwani, JADS particularly objected to the order banishing tribal leader Madhuri Behan, associate of the Burhanpur Sangathan, to district Badar, terming it as an “attack on conscience of the tribals.”

Call to urgently build resistance against mega projects causing havoc in Himalayas

By Our Representative  Sounding alarm over the recent devastating disasters that have wreaked havoc in Himachal Pradesh, civil rights group Himalaya Niti Abhiyan (HNA) at a review meeting in Kullu has expressed concern over the calamitous situation prevailing in the Beas River Basin and downstream. The meeting drew on extensive experience by activists in the Himalayan region.

Will India care for human rights by releasing undertrial activists ahead of G20 summit?

By Bharat Dogra*  India has a very rich tradition of opposing wrongly arrested persons, going back to the days of the freedom movement, when hundreds of thousands of freedom fighters including such legendary leaders as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Bhagat Singh, Badshah Khan and Subhash Bose were arrested time and again by colonial rulers. Despite all the repression and cruelty of colonial rule, India could defeat the biggest imperialism force of those times.

Will new opposition alliance 'reject' Hindu, Hindi, Hindutva, neo-liberal economic policies?

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  In the nine years that have passed since the BJP-led Modi government assumed office, there has been little or no opposition to the Hindutva fascist doctrine at work in India. This has allowed the government to implement most of its reactionary agendas and transformed India into a party state. The lack of political opposition has provided Hindutva with the opportunity to remain as a dominant political force, effectively concealing the glaring failures of the Modi government on every front.

Difficult to reconcile massive persecution in India, democracy: US Congressional briefing

By Our Representative  A US congresswoman and top officials from the United Nations (UN) and the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) have expressed “deep concerns” over the ongoing “horrific” violations of human rights and religious freedom in India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rule. They called on the Biden administration to designate India as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC).

Polygyny 'going down' among Muslims, says GoI supported institute amidst UCC talk

By Syed Khalique Ahmed*  The Mumbai-based International Institute of Population Sciences (IIPS), working under the Central government, has blasted the myth that Muslims are the only polygynous community, with males having more than one wife. IIPS’ recent research report, uploaded on its website, says that polygyny is the highest among Christians in India, followed by Muslims and Hindus.

Saudi scholar's visit: BJP 'shows concern' for need to mollify opinion in Islamic world

By Abhay Kumar*  Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, Muslim World League’s (MWL), secretary general and former minister of Saudi Arabia, recently visited India and met Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He also gave a talk on diversity and pluralism in New Delhi. The Saudi scholar is considered a moderate voice and a supporter of reforms in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ahead of the General Elections 2024, his visit is quite significant.

Dignified disposal sought for hundreds of unidentified bodies in Manipur mortuaries

By Our Representative  Top women’s rights group, National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW), has sought urgent intervention of Union home minister Amit Shah for quick and dignified disposal of “several decaying dead bodies reported to be lying unidentified and unclaimed in several mortuaries in Manipur.”

BJP MLAs join activists, protest Gujarat govt barring Agariyas from Little Rann of Kutch

By Pankti Jog*  Gujarat has been producing more than 73% of India’s total salt production. Salt is produced in the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK) and along the coastal areas of the state. The one produced in Little Rann of Kutch is called as “Vadagaru Salt” or Gangadavalu or Ganga-type salt, and has the history of over 600 years. The traditional communities possessing skill of making crystal salt inside LRK are recognized as Agariyas in Gujarat.

Odisha's infrastructure-based development 'hasn't led to' inclusive economic growth

By Sudhansu R Das  A treasure trove of natural resources, rich handicraft traditions, crop diversity, and a vibrant natural sector, Odisha is facing several challenges on the economic, social, and cultural fronts. There is a massive migration of educated youth, skilled and semiskilled laborers to other states for employment which has not only created an acute shortage of quality human resources but a scarcity of agricultural labour. 

200 units of free electricity? How Karnataka continues with its 'unscientific' subsidy

By Shankar Sharma*  Recent news items (click here , here , here and here ) suggest the issue of the financial crisis being faced by Karnataka's public sector units  KPCL , KPTCL and ESCOMs , catering to the energy sector. Though not entirely new, the crisis should be a cause of major concern for the overall financial scenario and the larger welfare of our people in the state.   Whereas these power sector entities have been generally facing financial issues for decades, and the financial woes are also being faced by the electric companies in other states also, the increasing level of financial woes within the state, as reported in the media, should mean that the developmental activities in the state can get seriously hampered, if the same are not addressed urgently.

Designers of new Parliament 'appear to lack' understanding of Hindu Vastu principle

By Narendra Raghunath*  In my ancestral lineage on my mother's side, my great-grandfather was a traditional Ayurvedic practitioner and astrologer, which was a common combination during his time as a medical professional. He was also highly skilled in mathematics. Recognizing my interest in these subjects, my grandmother passed on to me the majority of his books, which I have used for my studies and preservation. 

Most worrying, Centre wants to divert forest land for 'any purpose' it deems fit: MPs told

Counterview Desk  In an letter to MPs of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, more than 100 former civil servants have urged them to refuse to pass the Forest Conservation (Amendment) Bill 2023 in its present form “in view of the likely long-term damage to the country's environment.” Introduced in Parliament in March 2023, the Bill is slated to be passed in the coming monsoon session.

Why repeal biometric aadhaar Act after proposal to withdraw DNA technology Bill

By Dr Gopal Krishna*  The DNA Technology Regulation Bill which made provisions for collection of “biometric information” and “biological attributes” has been listed for withdrawal in the upcoming session of Parliament from 20 July, 2023 as part of Government Business expected to be taken up during the Twelfth Session of Seventeenth Lok Sabha, 2023. It was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 8 July, 2019.

'Cruel to immigrants': How Rishi Sunak govt policies 'ignore' ethnic minority concerns

By Neema Begum, Michael Bankole, Rima Saini*  There’s no question that British politics is becoming more diverse. From only four minority ethnic MPs elected in 1987, now 67 MPs are from a minority ethnic background. The Scottish first minister, Humza Yousaf, recently became the first minority ethnic leader of a devolved government and the first Muslim to lead a major UK party. Yousaf follows a number of historic firsts: a Muslim mayor of London (Sadiq Khan), the first British Asian UK prime minister (Rishi Sunak), and the first female minority ethnic home secretary (Priti Patel) succeeded by another minority ethnic woman, (Suella Braverman).

Hydro project on Yamuna 'bitter lesson' for those calling it cheap green energy source

By Bhim Singh Rawat*  The 120 Mw Vyasi HEP built by Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd (UJVN Ltd.) in Vikas Nagar tehsil of Dehradun is on its way to become the textbook example of how thoughtlessly pushed hydro power projects are proving a nightmare for local people, a costly affair for the state and the nation and a disaster for free-flowing living river.

Vyasi HEP dam reservoir on Yamuna turns into 'watery grave' for aquatic eco-system

By Bhim Singh Rawat*  Vyasi hydroelectric power (HEP) on Yamuna river is latest example of how the hydro power projects being pushed in the name of clean and green energy sources are failing on all fronts and proving a costly affair for the river, people and the nation. The people who still think that the Run of the River (RoR) projects do not require a dam and cause no submergence of land; must visit the Vyasi HEP to witness the about 4 km long reservoir behind the 86-meter tall and 200-meter-long dam there.

Why teaching 'how to make profit at the cost of human welfare' is not education

By Ekitha Gangavath, Ayush Bajpai, Amit Singh, Sandeep Pandey*  The ideal of education... Unfortunately, this theme gets people’s attention only when some students commit suicides. As public memory is short things relapse to normal soon. The academic atmosphere becomes more competitive and then we have more suicides a few years down the line.

Aerial bombing, violence: Why poor coverage in India?, asks global rural NGO network

By Our Representative  A global rural peoples' movement, People's Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCSF), taking strong exception to bombings in rural areas of Asia, has said that India has witnessed "airstrikes and militarization on plundered land". Recalling recent incidents, it accused the Indian government for launching " aerial bombing campaign in Bastar, targeting the border regions of Telangana, Chhattisgarh, and Odisha."

Land acquisition for green power? 'Worst decision' by Union govt on environment

  By Shankar Sharma*  This has reference to a news report which says that the Central government is looking for land acquisition for 500 GW green power projects. Only a few days ago, a recent amendment seeking to implement the Time-of-Day (TOD) metering system to optimise the usage of electricity across the country so as to minimise the overall societal level costs, was welcomed as one of the best decisions to be implemented to improve the overall performance of electricity sector in the country in recent years. It was long overdue.

Seeking more wages, Haryana's Manesar unit workers on dharna for more than fortnight

By Harsh Thakor*  For more than a fortnight, around 200 workers are sitting on a dharna in the Proterial India Private Limited Company, formerly Hitachi Metals, located in front of Gate Number 3 of Maruti Suzuki Company in IMT Manesar, Haryana.

Muslim law offers more protection to women in divorce, inheritance: Gujarat rights group

Counterview Desk  Gujarat civil rights group, Movement for Secular Democracy (MSD), in a representation to the chairman and members of the 22nd Law Commission of India, has said that while reforms of civil code are vital, one should not delve into the emotionally charged topic of the Universal Civil Code (UCC).  “In Muslim law, marriage is seen as a contract that provides greater protections for women during divorce, while Hindu law considers marriage as a sacrament that may not provide the same safeguards”, MSD asserted.

'Repeal AFSPA': European Parliament blames Manipur violence on Hindu majoritarianism

By Our Representative  In an unprecedented move, the European Parliament has passed a resolution blaming intolerance towards religious and belief minorities, including Christians; politically motivated, divisive policies promoting Hindu majoritarianism; increase in activity by militant groups; and partisan involvement by security forces for the ongoing violence in Manipur.

Lakhs 'evicted' in the wake of G20 summit, families given 3 hours to 'pack things'

By Our Representative  Testimonies at a public hearing in the wake of preparations for the G20 summit, where representatives from Mumbai, Kolkata, Nagpur, Indore, Udaipur, apart from different bastis in Delhi, have revealed "harrowing experiences of forced evictions", a report prepared by the organisers identifying themselves as Concerned Citizens of India has claimed.