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Showing posts from August, 2023

Sleeping with the enemy? Ethical behaviour talk amidst physician-pharma interface

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  In recent weeks a flutter was created around a gazette hastily released by the National Medical Commission (NMC) on the Code of Conduct by Registered Medical Practitioners of modern medicine.  Clause 35 of the Gazette notification, dated 02 Aug 2023 and published on 09 Aug 2023, which has been paused due to push back from many quarters, including the Indian Medical Association (IMA), looks at any alliance between registered medical practitioners of modern medicine and the pharmaceutical industry with a jaundiced eye.

Corporate-backed police 'repression' in South Odisha: Call to support agitating Adivasis

By Kavita Srivastava, V Suresh*  In the wake of World Indigenous Day on 9th August, when local Adivasi and Dalit communities of the mountainous, bauxite-rich region of South Odisha, particularly, parts of undivided Koraput and Kalahandi districts, were getting ready for the celebration to assert their rights over sacred land and mountains, the Odisha police have unleashed severe repression by resorting to mid-night raids, abductions, illegal detentions, physical assault and incarceration as part of the road clearing operation for companies to loot bauxite reserves. 

Hundreds of women safai karmacharis take part in #StopKillingUs campaign in Delhi

By Bezwada Wilson*  Hundreds of women safai karmacharis gathered at the Jantar Mantar on August 28 in order expose the lies of the government about sewer and septic tank deaths at the Safai Karmachari Andolan’s (SKA's) 475th day of #StopKillingUs campaign.

Abetting bauxite miners? Plain clothed motor bikers 'pick up' protesters with cop help

By Golak Bihari Nath, Deba Ranjan*  We, on behalf of Ganatantrik Adhikar Suraksha Sangathan, Odisha, strongly condemn the ongoing state repression in various proposed mining areas of south Odisha for last three weeks. On August 23, 2023, two office-bearers of the Mali Parvat Suraksha Samiti, Koraput, Abhi Sodi and Das Khara were picked up by plain clothed motor-bikers.

Adivasi protest follows Madhya Pradesh tribal rights leader's arrest in a 'false' case

By Antaram Awase, et al*  In the continuing assault on the Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS), on August 28, Nitin, an activist of Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan, was arrested after being implicated in a false case. This is the latest in a series of attacks by Madhya Pradesh government against JADS over the past few months when in addition to campaigning for forest rights and they started protesting against state connivance in massive deforestation in Burhanpur district .

How NGO's 'sustained work' has brought hope to weaker section villagers of Bundelkhand

By Bharat Dogra*   In times of climate change and adverse weather conditions, rural livelihoods come under increasing strain and there is increasing need   for efforts which can protect sustainable livelihoods, particularly in the context of small and marginal famers and other weaker sections. In Bundelkhand region of Central India the work of Arunodaya Sansthaan (AS), a voluntary organization, has consistently lived up to this role. 

Global NGO begins training counsellors of trauma-ridden Rohingiyas in Bangladesh

By Abigail Van Neely*  A Rohingya woman tells a forum of peer counselors the story of her divorce. A survivor of domestic abuse, she has started a new life alone with her daughter. She has weathered a storm of neighbors telling her she was the problem. Now, she provides the support she didn’t have to other women like her.

Why eyebrows were raised on Modi meeting Xi during Johannesburg BRICS summit

By NS Venkataraman*  With the United Nations Organisation steadily losing it’s relevance and no more enjoying the confidence of the world community that it can ensure world peace and international cooperation there is widespread view that UNO General Assembly is now only a discussion forum. 

Small Dalit farmers 'get into' highly diverse, mixed, creative farming in Buldelkhand

Pajan Lal with his wife Bhuniya By Bharat Dogra*    If you meet Komal Prasad Aharwar in passing in his village ( Teraih, in Talbehat block of Lalitpur district, Uttar Pradesh), you may well ignore him as any other ordinary villager, but once you speak to him at length about his livelihood, you are likely to be highly impressed by the recent initiatives of this Dalit farmer.

Introducing tigers in Kumbalgarh extremely risky: Researchers forewarn Rajasthan CM

By Rosamma Thomas*  On November 8, 2016, when Prime Minister  Narendra Modi appeared on television to announce the demonetization of all Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, it was unclear on whose advice he was acting. It later became apparent that the move was a disaster, wrecking the economy, causing needless death and livelihood loss while not achieving any of the aims initially listed as the purpose of the move . The plan to introduce tigers in the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary could have similar consequences, and the state government has been forewarned.

Fear of losing caste, class dominance reason for 'resistance' to common school system

Dhaval Patel By Riya Jain, Sagar Sengar, Sandeep Pandey*  A Gujarat government Indian Administrative Service officer Dhaval Patel after visiting six primary schools in Chhota Udepur district among the tribal area made the following observation:  "These poor tribal children do not have any other source of education. It is my strong opinion that we are doing injustice to them by giving them this rotten education. We are ensuring that they continue doing labour work generation after generation and not move forward in life. This is the height of moral decadence where we are cheating students and their parents who trust us blindly."

Madhya Pradesh small farmers adopt natural farming sustainably, 'improve' savings

Water conservation effort in Bahera village By Bharat Dogra*  Phoola Devi and Devidayal work hard on their small plot of less than two acres of farmland in Larvari village, in Niwari district of Madhya Pradesh. Despite their best efforts, things had been becoming quite difficult, but then some important changes they initiated in recent times have given them new hope.

Manipur violence: State is 'culpably absent' from relief and rehabilitation of victims

By Jatin Sharma  Karwan-e-Mohabbat (Caravan of Love), a citizen initiative from 2017 which has strived to reach out to victims of hate violence to offer solace and solidarity to the survivors in far corners of the country, spent four days in violence-torn Manipur from July 25 to July 28. Team Karwan e Mohabbat undertook a journey to Manipur to attempt to understand the nature and scale of the conflict and to offer support to victims of hate violence and to assess relief efforts by the state and the central government. 

Poor safety norms in mega projects 'led to' migrants' death: Mizoram bridge collapse

By Kirity Roy*  It has been widely reported in the media that at least 26 migrant workers from West Bengal were killed after an under-construction Railway bridge collapsed in Mizoram on 23rd August, 2023, all of them are from marginalised sections, either from Dalit or from religious minority group. 

Wooing corporate interests? Nagaland move to 'massively rely' on non-native palm oil

Counterview Desk  A report on a virtual meeting organised by the civil rights organisation Kezekevi Thehou Ba has the said that the “bid to push oil palm cultivation in the North-East” has rung “alarm bells” in the ecologically fragile and biodiversity rich region. Attended by over 60 people that also included organisations and institutions from Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland, the meeting found community leaders eager to hear the hitherto “untold” facts associated with oil palm cultivation from several experts, the report claimed.

'Move to curtail democratic rights': Farmer's death in Chandigarh, attack on protesters

Counterview Desk The civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), even as “strongly condemning” the alleged murder of farmer Pritam Singh and “repression” against Kisan Union by police, has said that the incident took place as a result of chaos following a police lathi charge against protesting farmers who were marching to Chandigarh to raise their demands against Punjab and Hayana governments.

Ambedkar University an example why public varsities are a 'pain to autocratic govts'

By Rosamma Thomas*  On August 17, 2023, the faculty association of the BR Ambedkar University, Delhi, issued a press release with a charter of demands. The university was set up by the Delhi government in 2008, with Prof Shyam Menon as its founding vice chancellor. It had grown to become a prominent institute for research and education in the social sciences and humanities. In recent years, however, all the news from this university has been distressing. 

Farmers-workers meet calls for action against GoI's 'aggressive' pro-corporate policies

By Our Representative  The All India Joint Convention of Workers and Farmers, held at the Talkatora Stadium, New Delhi, has sharply criticised the Government of India (GoI) for creating "alarming situation" by pursuing "aggressive pro-corporate policies" since 2014, insisting, "Anti-worker, anti-farmer, anti-people, and anti-national policies have resulted in disastrous consequences for the economy, unity, and integrity of the nation."

Artists' alternative vision of India now in Ahmedabad: 'Moral critique of the present'

By Rajiv Shah  It was a pleasant surprise the other day. I received a phone call from Sohail Hashmi, who during my early college days initiated me into Left-wing student politics in Delhi University; the year was 1971. Sohail said he was in Ahmedabad. I asked him to come over. However, he told me he had come with an exhibition of the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust ( Sahmat ) on creative expressions of artists on 75 years of India’s independence. So I should reach there at its inauguration.

‘Harmful for society’: When a cruel, sadistic Hindi movie character turns attractive

By Bharat Dogra, Madhu Dogra  Bharat Dogra and Madhu Dogra on their recently published book Hindi “Cinema and Society” (Saptarishi, pages 234, Paperback)... Hindi cinema has an overwhelming presence in Indian society. Whether it is a young man humming a romantic song constantly, or a girl trying to dress up like her favorite film star, these are only the more obvious signs of the presence of popular films in our life. Much more important are the many important ways in which films impact several important social trends in society, intentionally or unintentionally, visibly or implicitly.

Lathis, axes Odisha adivasis traditionally carry cited for 'applying' anti-terror law UAPA

Counterview Desk  Hundreds of activists, citizens and people’s organizations from across the country have expressed at the “outrageous” imposition of the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) cases against nine adivasis and activists of the Niyamgiri Surakhya Samiti (NSS), which spearheaded the struggle against bauxite mining by Vedanta Company, in the ecologically bio-diverse Kalahandi and Rayagada regions of Odisha.

Electoral funding totally opaque, open to wholesale corruption: Ex-babus seek action

Counterview Desk  The former civil servants organisation, Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG), in an open letter to the Election Commission of India, pointing towards the measures to be taken to ensure free and fair elections to state assemblies and the Lok Sabha, has said that it should focus on electoral funding,which is “now totally opaque and open to wholesale corruption.”

Covid vaccine: Want of evidence of adverse reaction 'shouldn't mean' absence of proof

Dr Randeep Guleria By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  On 19 August 2023, the former director of the All India Institute Of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, Dr Randeep Guleria, issued a rather irresponsible statement saying that there is no evidence linking vaccines to serious health issues such as blood clots or heart attacks. As an epidemiologist with over four decades of experience, my reaction was biblical with this thought, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Let me explain.

'Dalits kept as cleaners': Brahmins dominate Sulabh toilets' top managerial positions

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  The founder of Sulabh International, Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, passed away in a hospital in Delhi a few days back. Pathak was 80 and was known as the 'toilet man' of India. He is said to have brought 'revolution' to the toilet system in India by introducing the concept of 'paid toilet' system.

Top footballer Habib an 'example' of how, except cricket, other games occupy backseat

By Firoz Bakht Ahmed*  A football enthusiast, I was witness to Mohammed Habib's wily goal for Mohammedan Sporting FC against Bank of Seoul of South Korea in the DCM Football Cup final in 1980 at the Corporation Stadium (now Ambedkar Stadium), Delhi. 

Protesters in Atlanta, US, regret 'utter silence' of Govt of India on Manipur violence

By Our Representative  A US senator, who joined Indian Americans and allies at a protest and vigil, has demanded an immediate halt to the ongoing violence gripping India's northeastern state of Manipur, which has left over 150 dead and 50,000 displaced.

As friend, philosopher, guide, Achyutbhai made me aware of 'elusive' Gujarat model

By Rajiv Shah  I had just joined as assistant editor of the Times of India, Ahmedabad, in June 1993. Though born in this city, as it would happen in traditional homes where mother gives birth to her child in her paternal house, I was absolutely unaware of its milieu, its culture, its people. In fact, I was basically a Delhi-ite. While I could read Gujarati, though with some difficulty, whenever I would try speaking with my relatives, they would immediately advise me to better switch to Hindi, as they wouldn’t understand what I was trying to say in my mother tongue.

Himachal disaster: Seeking Central aid, NGOs ask Modi to reevaluate development model

Counterview Desk  Asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to urgently declare the ongoing emergency situation in Himachal Pradesh as a national disaster / calamity of rare severity and provision for Central level assistance to the State, several NGOs and concerned citizens have said that heavy rainfall, floods and landslides has forced the State to struggle to mitigate the situation “without the required support from the Central government”.

State 'attacking activists' to break tribal struggle for land in bauxite-rich Odisha hills

Counterview Desk  The human rights network* Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), “strongly condemning” of slapping of the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) on activists of the Odisha civil rights group Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, has said that this is being done in order to suppress “people’s movement against corporate loot.”

Why appeal to PM to 'draw a line' when his politics feeds on communal hatred, violence?

By Prem Singh*  The editorial titled 'Draw the Line' in 'Indian Express' (August 2, 2023), the first one to be written in the context of communal violence in Haryana's Nuh town and killings in the passenger compartment of Jaipur-Mumbai Central Superfast Express, is noteworthy. The title of the editorial 'Draw the Line' reads like a directive and warning. 

Rampant? Illegal distribution of land titles of India's forest areas to 'ineligible' claimants

Counterview Desk In a representation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as many as  63 former Indian Forest Service (IFS) officers , referring to the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 -- or Forest Rights Act (FRA) -- have regretted that Forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribes (FDST) and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFD)   are facing gross injustice because of the misuse of FRA across India. 

Why addressing Dalit, human rights, racism, combatting corruption 'makes MBA holistic'

Sandeep Pandey By Rishabh Bansal*  When you envision a typical MBA student, especially one hailing from a prestigious institution like the IIM, various thoughts arise – from accounting, economics to finance. Considerations encompass placement rates, lucrative compensation packages, and industry giants like Tatas, Big 4, MBBs, and other influential firms.

A design to 'communalize' judicial process, Sanskritize nomenclature of legal provisions

Union home minister Amit Shah introducing the bills By Kirity Roy*  In the name of denouncing the colonial criminal laws in the country, the present Union government introduced and subsequently sent the three new bills to the Parliamentary standing committee, while changing the erstwhile legal provisions named as Indian Penal Code, 1860; Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 and Indian Evidence Act, 1872 to Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita; Bharatiya Nagarik Surakshya Sanhita and Bharatiya Sakshya Bill.

'Constitutional impropriety rampant': Ex-BJP CM to head non-partisan Gujarat platform

By Our Representative  Former BJP chief minister Suresh Mehta has alleged that the Gujarat government is “openly violating basic constitutional norms” by refusing to be transparent on certain mystereious financial transactions. Talking with media, Mehta, who has just turned 87, said, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report mentions that huge funds from the state exchequer are being used, yet the state government has refused to reveal detail where they are going. BJP CM in mid-1990s, Mehta, who resigned from the BJP in 2007 following differences with Narendra Modi, who ruled Gujarat then, said, mysterious budgetary subheads are being created under “head 800”, where funds are being sent, but “there are no accounts” which could suggest how much the amount is. “It could run in thousands of crores”, he said, adding, “CAG has taken serious note of such a situation.” Offering an example of the “unaccounted funds”, Mehta said, when international dignitaries visit Ahmedabad

Why Yamuna floods of Delhi are only a trailer of bigger floods to come in future

Counterview Desk  In a detailed interview by Questions of Cities, Bhim Singh Rawat , associate coordinator of the advocacy group South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), talks on multiple issues affecting the Yamuna and offers some corrective measures to improve the overall condition of the river.

Independence day kite flying in walled city of Delhi 'signifies' communal concord

By Firoz Bakht Ahmed*  "Chali chali re patang meri chali re/ Ho ke badlon ke paar/ Ho ke dor pe sawar/ Chali chali re!" (My kite goes soaring, zooming in the sky, over the clouds, riding the string, higher and higher!) A kite, largely known as an aerial toy, covered with paper or fabric supported on bamboo strips and flown with a cord, has been capturing the imagination of one and all for centuries.

Independence day? Women form staggering 70% of poor; earnings half of men's

By Moin Qazi*  August 15 is the most cherished date in the Indian calendar. It was on this momentous day, more than seven decades back, that we were born an independent and free country. Mahatma Gandhi's luminous leadership finally made the British Quit India in 1947. It is undoubtedly an occasion for celebration. 

'Incomplete' Independence: 23.3% women in age group 20-24 yrs married before 18

By A Rama Krishna Raju*  As we celebrate 76th Independence Day, it is imperative to reflect on the real essence of freedom that our nation's builders ever envisioned. Despite significant strides in various sectors, one deeply rooted practice continues to question the idea of freedom is Child marriage.

Govt planning to 'hand over' land to tycoons: Demolition of Varanasi Gandhian institute

Counterview Desk  Calling it a “shameful attack on democratic ideals of Gandhi, Vinobha Bhave and Jay Prakash Narayan”, India’s premier civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has said that the “brutal bulldozing of the Sarva Seva Samiti in Varanasi is “in violation of orders of the Supreme Court”.

In India's Manchester, impoverished residents 'still forced to' defecate in the open

By Rachit Gupta*  During a field visit to Shankar Bhawan in Shahpur, Ahmedabad, I was appalled by the dire conditions faced by impoverished residents. They were compelled to defecate in the open due to the absence of a proper sewage system and lack of water supply in the community washrooms. These purported washroom facilities seemed more like breeding grounds for diseases than conveniences for the residents.

Unsafe sanitation: Ahmedabad slum struggles with open defecation, non-functional toilets

By Rachit Gupta, Rishabh Bansal, Saurav S, Siddhika Parekh*  A distressing situation in the Jogrimatanichali area near Bhavan College/Cama Hotel was brought to our attention by a group of students from the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM Ahmedabad) who raised the alarm over the deplorable living conditions faced by the residents, including rampant open defecation, non-functional public toilets, and the prevailing practice of manual scavenging.

UP girl student's suicide: 'Preposterous', private schools, MLAs backing accused

By Sandeep Pandey*  On 31 July, Class XI student Shreya Tiwari at Children’s Girls College in Azamgarh allegedly committed suicide by jumping from the 3rd floor of the school building. The college principal, Sonam Mishra, and the class-teacher, Abhishek Rai, have been arrested. The private schools across Uttar Pradesh observed a day long strike by keeping the schools closed and a local parents’ association called upon the parents to not send their children another day as a protest against tyranny of private schools. In U.P. Legislative Council representative of teachers’ community demanded the immediate release of teacher and principal.

Will modern day Draupadi 'break her silence'? Gujarat women protest Manipur outrage

By Pradip More*  The word 'development' is heard again and again, if development was taking place, would violence against women increase or decrease? India has reported a total of 31,967 incidents of rape on Dalit and Tribal women between 2014 and 2021 in a period of only eight years under the rule of NDA, which amounts for 40 percent of the total cases as reported above in past 46 years. 

25,000 Punjab women-led protest rally in Mohali solidarises with Manipur rape victims

By Harsh Thakor*  Revolutionary democratic spirit has flowed at full fervour engulfing many regions of Punjab in condemning the Manipur violence. There have been massive demonstrations in Sangrur, Patiala, Malerkotla, Mohali, Barnala, Ludhiana, Mansa, Bathinda, Moga, Faridkot, Jalandhar and Fatehgarh Sahib over the last few weeks.

Himachal disaster raises 'serious questions' on role of hydroelectric power projects

By Bhim Singh Rawat  The official report of what has transpired in Sainj Valley under Banjar subdivision of Kullu district during July 8-10, 2023 is still not in public domain. However, multiple media reports suggest it to be one of the worst flood disasters for the valley and have once again raised serious questions on the role the hydroelectric power (HEP) projects. 

India's ratings to drop by 2 notches without emission reduction, says new UK study

By Rahul Sejwal  Climate change will increase the cost of sovereign and corporate debt worldwide according to new research* led by the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the University of Cambridge. Published in the journal Management Science, the study is the first to anchor climate science within “real world” financial indicators.

Gang which 'opposed Quit India' rules today, claims to symbolise Indian nationalism

Savarkar, Syama Prasad Mukherjee By Shamsul Islam*  On the occasion of 81st commemoration of the glorious Quit India Movement [QIM] we must evaluate the role of the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha led by Hindutva ideologues, VD Savarkar and Syama Prasad Mookerjee who lived through it. QIM also known as ‘August Kranti' (August Revolution) was a nation-wide Civil Disobedience Movement for which a call was given on August 7, 1942 by the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee.

Prioritise human rights during India visit: US NGOs urge Congressman Ro Khanna

By David Kalal*  A coalition of Indian American civil society organizations has met with Congressman Ro Khanna, the first Indian American to lead the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans. The meeting was held ahead of Congressman Khanna's upcoming trip to India, during which he aims to highlight and discuss critical priorities for the region. The coalition presented diverse perspectives, shedding light on various concerns within the Indian American community.