Skip to main content

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 a statement, NAPM said, the overnight action of demolition by the government, right after the huge public meeting against the government decision for demolition, is not only “a deliberate attempt to suppress public voices”, but “plans to hand over this land to capitalists in the name of ‘Railways’.”


12th August, 2023 witnessed a horrific and shameful attack on the ideas and values of Gandhi, Vinoba and Jayprakash Narayan by this fascist regime. Sarva Seva Samiti, situated in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, which has been active in the last 6 decades, fostering democratic ideals was brutally bulldozed by the BJP Govt. The Samiti campus consisting of more than 10 thousand progressive books, which preserved a remarkable history of the country, was razed to the ground.
The Hon'ble Supreme Court in its Order dated 7th August, 2023 had directed the lower court to conduct the hearing expeditiously. Despite being pending in the court, the process of demolition started at 6 am on 12th Aug morning without any competent order.
On 11th August, 2023, a large public protest meeting was organized in which representatives of people’s organizations from all over India and hundreds of common citizens of Banaras were also present. The meeting was addressed by many well-known leaders and activists including Prof. Anand Kumar, Rakesh Tikait, Medha Patkar, Yogendra Yadav, Faisal Khan, Dr. Sunilam, Feroze Mithiborewala etc. 
The meeting challenged the ruthless bulldozer policy of the Govt, be it in UP or Haryana, especially targeting muslims and also raised the issue of illegal occupation of lands of fisherpeople and other marginalized communities in the name of ‘development’.

We see this overnight action of demolition by the government, right after the huge public meeting as a deliberate attempt to suppress public voices.
Throughout yesterday 10 activists from various civil society groups and organizations opposing the demolition were arbitrarily detained and let off late in the night.
The Sarva Seva Samiti played an important role in strengthening the Indian progressive ideas. Hence, this should be seen as an attack by the present ruling party on the ideas that strengthen Indian democracy.
Besides, there are concerns that the Government plans to hand over this land to capitalists in the name of ‘Railways’.
National Alliance of People’s Movements strongly condemns this unconstitutional, subversive activity by the BJP Government. We demand that this demolition of Sarvaseva Samiti be stopped immediately, the buildings must be restored back to their original form and the said land must not be given out for any capitalist ventures. The Govt. must be held accountable for its unlawful actions of demolition and related arbitrary detentions, in violation of judicial orders.



'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site The article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Don't agree on domestic subsidies, ensure food security at WTO meet: Farmer leaders

Counterview Desk  The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (ICCFM), a top network of farmers’ organizations in India, in a letter to Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has asked him to “safeguard food security and sovereignty, even as ensuring peasants' rights" at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO MC 13), to take place from 26 to 29 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi.

Sharp 61-85% fall in Tech startup funding in India's top 'business-friendly' States

By Rajiv Shah Funding in Tech startups in top business-friendly Indian states has witnessed a major fall, a data intelligence platform for private market research has said in a series of reports it has released this month. Analysing Tech startup data of Telangana, Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, Tracxn Technologies Ltd , the Bengaluru-based research firm, finds that except for Kerala, funding witnessed a fall of anywhere between 61% and 85%.

Students, lawyers, professors detained in Delhi for demonstrating in support of farmers

By Our Representative  About 25 protestors, belonging to the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a coalition of over 40 organisations, were detained at Jantar Mantar for holding a demonstration in support of the farmers' stir on Friday. Those detained included students, lawyers and professors, including Prof Nandita Narain and Prof N Sachin. 

Maize, bajra, jute, banana cultivation banned off West Bengal border: Plea to NHRC

Counterview Desk  West Bengal-based human rights defender Kirity Roy, who is secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Manch, and is national convenor of the Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, second within few days, has bought to light one more case of trespassing and destruction of a fertile banana plantation by BSF personnel along the Indo-Bangladesh border, stating, despite a written complaint to the police has taken "no initiative".

Solar energy funding dips 9% in 2023; 2024 'kicks off' with US$1 billion investment

By Lakshmitha Raj*  Solar energy tech companies have already secured slightly over US$1 billion in funding in 2024 (till Feb 7, 2024) after total funding into Solar Energy companies in India fell 9% to US$1.55B in 2023 from US$1.7B in 2022. A total of 39 $100M+ rounds have been closed till date, with Delhi leading the city-wise funding, followed by Gurugram and Mumbai.

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Mahanadi delta: Aggressive construction in flood plains, reduced fish stock, pollution

By Sudhansu R Das  Frequent natural calamities, unemployment, low farmers’ income, increase in crime rate and lack of quality human resources to strike a balance between growth and environment etc. continue to haunt the state. The state should delve into the root causes of poverty, unemployment and natural calamities.