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Showing posts from December, 2023

Persecution of Christians rampant, PM didn't have time to visit Manipur: Rights leaders

Counterview Desk  As the year draws to a close, senior minority rights leaders Apoorvanand, John Dayal, ASR Mary Scaria SCJM, AC Michael, Minakshi Singh and Shabnam Hashmi have noted with agony the Prime Minister couldn't find to visit Manipur, the "site of the greatest communal crimes and human tragedy since Gujarat 2002 and Kandhamal, Orissa 2008."

Protestors across India seek release of youth arrested for bursting canisters in Parliament

By Our Representative  A civil rights group-organised country-wide protest demanding the release of four youth -- Neelam, Amol, Manoranjan, Sagar and Lalit Jha -- and two of their friends who had participated or helped organise the bursting of yellow smoke canisters in the New Parliament building. The protestors said that act was meant to “convey their concern and anger towards growing unemployment, inflation and fascism” in the country.

Action against Kashmiri tribals following terror attack in Poonch extrajudicial: CASR

Counterview Desk  The civil rights network* Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) has described the recent action following th terrorist attack in Poonch, Kashmir, in which five jawans were killed, as "extrajudicial killing and torture of Kashmiri tribal men". Calling the security forces' move as as part of "Poonch witch hunt" following the terror attack, CASR quoted the Indian Army as stating that “they have been killed due to their ‘mistake’.”

'Bad for nutrition, ecology': World Bank funded 1 lakh litre Himachal apple wine unit

By Bharat Dogra*  One of the biggest distortions of the food system is that several highly nutritious foods, particularly fruits, are being increasingly diverted for the production of various alcoholic drinks at a time when these are needed so much to eliminate or reduce malnutrition.

No salary for 2 months, hundreds of Delhi safai karmacharis sacked: Public hearing told

By Sanjeev Kumar*  Hundreds of contractual sewer workers from different zones of Delhi, working under Delhi Jal Board have been removed without any prior notice in the past month. Most of these workers, who have been working since the past 10-15 years, were not given their salary for the last 2 months and were suddenly removed from their jobs this month. No notice was issued by the authorities, and shocked by the sudden removal of hundreds of workers, there was a Public Hearing held at the Constitution Club of India, New Delhi on 28th December 2023.

Salt farming in Little Rann allowed for only 'eligible' Agariyas: Gujarat govt responds

By Our Representative  Agariyas of the Santalpur block of Patan district, Gujarat, have not been allowed to enter the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK) for salt farming since September 2023. After repeated representations at the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests' (PCCF's) office, Agariyas reached the Patan district collector to announce that they were going to protest against the “discrimination” done by the forest department.

Terminate sexual predators, suspension not enough: Women's groups tell Sports Ministry

Counterview Desk  Taking strong exception to the Union Ministry of Sports merely suspending the new executive committee of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) led by Sanjay Singh, and not terminating it in the wake of strong protest by wrestlers for announcing the hosting of nationals in the “fiefdom” of Uttar Pradesh BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, several women’s rights organisations have said the “sexual predators” should be actually terminated.

New SARS-CoV-2 sub-variant JN1: Why panic and propaganda shouldn’t prevail

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  “The Art of War teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.” -- Sun Tzu *** A new sub-variant of the SARS-CoV-2 is in the headlines. Identified in Luxembourg in August 2023, the sub-variant JN.1 has reached 41 countries, which include USA, China, Singapore and India. The rise in Covid-19 cases has sent the nation into a tizzy. 

Refusal to allow salt farming in Little Rann 'pushes' 1200 Gujarat Agariyas to margins

Agariyas represent to Patan district collector By Harish Pandya*  Unemployment is one of the severe and burning issues of our time. The government is celebrating Vibrant Gujarat, where one of the focuses for attracting investment is generating employment opportunities.

Odisha CM's overreliance on 5T secretary: 'Risk' of centralization, autocratic tendency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The 5T (Teamwork, Technology, Transparency, Time, and Transformation) initiatives introduced by the Government of Odisha aim to enhance governance efficiency and effectiveness. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik emphasizes "the 3Ts of governance: Teamwork, Transparency & Technology leading to Transformation."

Education, health infrastructure crumbling, yet temples are top Odisha govt priority

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  People in Odisha face a myriad of challenges, ranging from economic uncertainties, unemployment, illiteracy, homelessness, illness, underdevelopment, and regional tensions to environmental crises and public health emergencies in both urban and rural areas. Navigating these complex realities demands the streamlining of resource allocation to prioritize the welfare of the state's people.

Myanmar's China-backed insurgents begin 'coordinated strikes' at army posts

By Ibrahim Khalil Ahasan*  On January 31, 1949, the Karen National Union launched a revolt that marked the start of the war in Myanmar. Following 112 days of combat, the Myanmar Army routed the Karen National Defence Organisation in May 1949 and retook control of Yangon. The Karens are still engaged in this battle since it was their attempt to equalise possibilities with the Bhamars.

Marxists, Gandhians, Lohiaites, Ambedkarites come together in Kolkata to Varanasi yatra

By Harsh Thakor*  A Jan Chetna Yatra, organised by a conglomeration of Left-wing associations -- trade unions, students’ organisations, women's groups and citizens rights groups -- with the slogan Fight Fascism and Neoliberalism written in the central banner, was planned from Kolkata to Varanasi from 6th to 20th December 2023. It aimed at raising awareness among people about the “communal agenda” of RSS-BJP and their “corporate-friendly anti-people and pro-imperialist policies.” The organisations which took part in the yatra constituted Akhil Hind Forward Block (Krantikari), Azad Gana Morcha, BAFRB, Bihar Nirman va Asangathit Shramik Union, Chay Bagan Sangram Samiti), CCI, CPI-ML, CPI-ML (ND), CPI-ML (RI), FIR, Janwadi Lok Manch, Marxist Coordination Committee, MKP, Nagrik Adhikar Raksha Manch, PCC CPI-ML, PDSF, SNM, and other individuals. More than a thousand people joined the inaugural rally in Kolkata. Around 50-100 people continuously marched on the whole path, while people fr

Indian diaspora in US mimic Donald Trump, create fake Modi: 'I could shoot someone'

By Our Representative   In a surprise but controversial move, a giant puppet of Indian Prime Minister Modi rode Fifth Avenue, New York City, in a convertible on December 19, with a banner declaring, "I could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it, OK?"

BSF personnel 'ignore' NHRC order, destroy West Bengal Dalit fisherman's property

Madhai and Aparna Mondal Counterview Desk  In a representation to the Chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), human rights defender Kirity Roy, Secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), has alleged Border Security  Force (BSF) personnel, stationed near the Indo-Bangladesh border, have "completely destroyed" a West Bengal Dalit fisherman's property, "ignoring" NHRC directives. 

Manipur remains as bitterly divided as before: Harsh Mander asks MPs to intervene

By Harsh Mander*  I am taking the extraordinary step of writing to all Members of the Indian Parliament after I traveled in Manipur seven months after it had exploded with violence and hate. I encountered a land still badly broken -- smoldering, wounded and aching.

Uranium costs escalate, supply uncertain, yet India plans 275,000 MW N-power by 2050

By Shankar Sharma*  This has reference to a news report in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on a steep increasing trend in the price of uranium, which is required for nuclear power production, an already difficult scenario with regard to a steady supply of the fissile materials, and the stated/ implicit policy of the government to increase the number of nuclear power reactors in the country by an astonishing margin.

Parliament 'reduced' into appendage of executive? Suspension of Opposition MPs

Counterview Desk  Demanding revocation of suspension of 146 MPs from Parliament, the top human rights group, People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), has said the move has "reduced" Parliament  to an appendage of the executive.

With NGO help, Bundelkhand women 'lead' water conservation, sanitation efforts

By Bharat Dogra*  Important initiatives regarding rural water supply and sanitation have been taken in India in recent years. In this context the need for community mobilization on these important issues has increased further. As ground water is tapped more and more to meet the requirements of taps in all rural homes, the need for water conservation is also increasing more and more.

Pathetic state of affairs, 'mismanagement': Water conservation, wetlands in urban India

By Abhilash Khandekar*  The scarcity of water, how we use and misuse it and thus the very importance of this very precious resource is yet to dawn upon most Indians. Not that different awareness campaigns in various parts of the country are not held regularly. The media stories about deep water crisis, the plight of most of our rivers and lakes is all known yet criminal neglect of the water sector continues.

Mimicking Rajya Sabha chairman: What happens when political elite mocks Rahul?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  The controversial mimicry of the Rajya Sabha chairman would not have become a news if Rahul Gandhi had not made the video of what happened. Interestingly, the video was not circulated by Rahul,  yet he has become the target of the right-wing eco-system, which  refuses to ask tough questions to the government on the issue of the security of Parliament. 

Masses remain mere spectators amidst spurt in Maoist violence in several states

By Harsh Thakor*  A series of violent incidents spurred by the CPI (Maoist) have come to light. A head constable of the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) was killed by an explosive planted by Maoists in Gariaband, Chhattisgarh on the 17th of November. The head constable was escorting a team of electoral officials returning from the voting booths.

Signs of a 'broader' social crisis, suffocation of democracy? 'Unruly' MPs' suspension

By Vijay Prashad*  On December 18 and 19, 141 members of the two houses of India’s Parliament were suspended , as of December 19, by the Speaker of the lower house, Om Birla. Each of these members belongs to the parties that oppose the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its leader, Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The government said that these elected members were suspended for “unruly behavior.” 

No prima facie evidence, Parliament jumping case youth wanted to strike terror: PUCL

Counterview Desk  Top human rights organisation, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), has asked the Government of India to drop the charges under the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) against the youth arrested in the Parliament jumping case.

Pandemic treaty: WHO to acquire autocratic powers over nations? Critics disagree

By Rosamma Thomas*  While a group of lawyers, doctors and scientists from India has written to the Prime Minister and the Union health minister seeking that India refuse to accept the Global Pandemic Accord of the World Health Organization (WHO), critics of the move believe it would be wrong to dissociate with the WHO. 

Haryana's 'savage move' to send construction workers to Israel to replace Palestinians

Counterview Desk  UP Joseph, General Secretary, Construction Workers Federation of India (CWFI), opposing the Haryana government's "savage" move to send construction workers to Israel, has said that this follows the Israeli Builders' Association asking for 50,000 -100,000 Indian construction workers to replace Palestinian workers.

Rural West Bengal: Open defecation rampant, border area programme 'not implemented'

Counterview Desk  Alleging "lack of access to sanitation and omission of duty of government officers" in rural North 24 Parganas district, West Bengal, in a letter to the National Human rights Commission (NHRC) chairperson, Kirity Roy, secretary Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), has said that this forces vulnerable sections of the society resorting to open defecation, affecting cleanliness.

Adanis' IANS takeover: Media 'becoming suspect' in public eye, losing independence

By NS Venkataraman*  Adani group, one of India’s largest business conglomerates, involved in multiple fields including mining, airport, renewable energy and so on has now  acquired   50.5% stake in newswire services provider IANS India Pvt. Ltd. With this acquisition, Adani group owns three media properties  namely the NDTV broadcasting network, Quintillion Business Media Pvt Ltd, which operates the business and financial news digital media platform BQ Prime and now IANS.

To release on Feb 2, Kamthan a stress busting film on 'thief' who burgles a cop's home

By Our Representative   The makers of Gujarati film “Hellaro” are back with a bang. Four years on, they are all set to release their second feature film, “Kamthan”, on February 2, 2024. “Kamthan” is based on popular Gujarati writer Ashwini Bhatt’s last of dozen-odd Gujarati novels, also called “Kamthan”. It revolves around the mess created by a thief,  belonging to a denotified tribe -- a community traditionally identified in the so-called civilised world as consisting of criminals.

WHO accord anti-Constitutional, will lead to authoritarian rule, reject it: Letter to PM

Counterview Desk  Several prominent lawyers, doctors and citizens across India led by Dr Jacob Puliyel, Dr Amitav Banerji, Narasimha Reddy Donthi and Aruna Rodrigues have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union health and family welfare minister Mansukh Mandaviya stating that the draft ‘global pandemic accord’ of the World Health Organisation (WHO) is “ultra vires of the Constitution of India”, insisting India should not be a signatory to it.

NGO effort, MGNREGA funds help women restore, repair water bodies in Jhansi dist

By Bharat Dogra*  Maanpur Tank, located in a village of the same name in Babina block of Jhansi district, was constructed during the times of Chandel kings several hundred years back. It is spread well over a hundred acres of land and has been a source of pride for this village for a long time. An irrigation canal that takes off from the outlet of the tank has provided a very important source of irrigation for this village for a long time.

Covid lockdowns spawned a new class of economic abuse of women in India: Research

By Punita Chowbey*  In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, the United Nations (UN) identified what it called a “ shadow pandemic ” of domestic violence against women. The UN includes in its definition of domestic violence what it refers to as “ economic violence ”, which it explains as: “making or attempting to make a person financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding access to money, and/or forbidding attendance at school or employment”.

Bundelkhand poors' 20 yr struggle for land pattas, water conservation, natural farming

By Bharat Dogra*  It was nearly 20 years back that a young social activist Basudev made the rather difficult decision to move from a bigger voluntary organization in Chitrakut to a very remote area called Marwada (Lalitpur district of Uttar Pradesh). This was an area much affected by feudal terror, and when a call for working here came there were not many takers. Finally Basudev decided to come, although coming here with family was a difficult decision for the young man.

Insignificant increase in costs; sales, profits improve: IIM-A surveys Indian business

By Our Representative  In its fresh Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES), an Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) report has said that cost perceptions data in October 2023 “does not indicate any significant increase in cost pressures.”

Chhattisgarh crackdown on anti-mine struggle meant to 'uproot' mass movements

Counterview Desk  The civil rights network, Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization's (FACAM)*, commenting on the recent arrests of two activists Tirumal Lakhma Koram and Ranu Podyam of the Modanaar Jan Andolan and Orcha Jan Andolan in Chhattisgarh, and the District Reserve Guard's crackdown on anti-mining struggle, has said that this is the latest in a "spate of brutal state repression" on the Adivasis.

Beef eating: BSF man 'harassing' minority person, threatens cow smuggling case

Counterview Desk  In a complaint against a serving BSF personnel for allegedly threatening and abusing a "respectable member" from the minority community, human rights activist Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), has said that for the last three months he is bing threatened that he would be implicates in cases on cow smuggling and other illegal activities.

How UK-based Ambedkarite-Buddhist 'fought' within-community traditional onslaught

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat* The journey of Daulata Ram Balley from Phillor to Birmingham is the story of a strong willed Ambedkarite who fought against all odds both of caste as well as of class in society. Ambedkarism and Buddhism were the tools that ensured him a dignified life in England.

India's energy sector planners failing to gauge 'escalating threat' of climate change

By Shankar Sharma*  Recent news items (click here and here ) on energy conservation and efficiency related issues, should make our society extremely concerned on the associated problems to the society. Whereas, it is desirable to encourage "best practice" in every energy related sector of our economy, it pains to know that as a country, we have not given adequate focus on energy conservation and efficiency, with the consequence that our natural resources are increasingly being driven to an ever declining status with the passage of each month/ year.

Dubai climate meet: Yet another talk show; wishful thinking, stumbling blocks continue

By NS Venkataraman*   COP 28 should have officially concluded at Dubai on 12th December,2023. However, the deadlock due to difference of views on overcoming climate issues have persisted. There have been considerable discussions and wrangling over what the final version of the agreement should look like and there have been differences with regard to the language of the resolution and therefore it became a stumbling block in finalisation of the text of the resolution. Of course, now that COP 28 has ended, finalisation of the language of the resolution is no substitute for actual achievements on the ground.

Methane emission from deep ocean, called fire-ice, 'responsible' for climate change

Aishwarya Singhal, Lubna Das*   Researchers from Newcastle University have produced a new study that demonstrates how vulnerable fire-ice -- frozen methane sealed as a solid underneath our oceans -- is to melting as a result of climate change and potentially spilling into the ocean. According to this study (Davies, R. J., Yang, J., Ireland, M. T., Berndt, C., Morales Maqueda, M. Á., & Huuse, M. ( Long-distance migration and venting of methane after marine hydrate dissociation ), published in the journal Nature Geoscience, this suggests that as a result of climate change, a lot more methane may be vulnerable and released into the atmosphere.

Political protest by desperate youth: Left groups on yellow scare in Parliament

By Our Representative  Amidst what has been described as “stunning smokescreen” on the 22nd anniversary of the December 13, 2001 terror attack on Parliament, few know who the six persons who created scare inside and outside the House were. While two of them were allowed inside the House by Mysore BJP MP Pratap Simha, a known Hindutva hardliner, ironically, left-wing organisations have revealed some details of their identity.

Elections 2024: Children demand gender-rights for sexual minority, vulnerable kids

By Jag Jivan  Thousands of children from across the country recently gathered online to release their unique ‘Election Manifesto -- of, for and by children’ in the hope of influencing the manifestos of all political parties, if not each individual candidate, seeking to contest the upcoming General Election in 2024. The vote4me campaign is an effort to rally 4 million VOTE(s) (Voices Of The Empowered Children).

Mahua Moitra expelled from Parliament for 'fearlessly' exposing crony capitalism: PUCL

Counterview Desk  Top civil rights organisation People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), commenting on the expulsion of Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra from Parliament, has said the move is against the principle of natural justice, adding, it is meant to silence dissent.

Diaspora group objects to Indian intelligence 'campaign' targeting Modi's critics in US

By Our Representative  The diaspora group Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) has objected to the findings of  the Disinfo Lab , reported in the "Washington Post", calling it  an India-based “propaganda group that runs extensive disinformation campaigns aimed at silencing and discrediting US government figures, researchers, humanitarian groups and Indian American rights activists and organizations.”

Gandhi wasn't a man of jumlas, or Union Home Minister Amit Shah's electoral promise

By Rosamma Thomas*  In November 2023, in a speech at Bucharest, Romania, Belgian clinical psychologist Dr Mattias Desmet alluded to the power of Mahatma Gandhi, and his weapon of non-violent resistance. He explained that Gandhi considered “sincere speech” to be the core and essence of non-violent resistance. 

Paris meet discusses importance of laicity for women's rights, atheism in Islamic context

  By Maryam Namazie*   For the first time in France, an international conference brought together defenders of laicity from around the world on December 8 and 9, 2023 at Paris City Hall. The conference was co-organised by the Association Laïques Sans Frontières (LSF) and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB), in collaboration with the Comité Laïcité République (CLR) and the EGALE Association (Equality Secularism Europe) and in partnership with Charlie Hebdo, Marianne magazine, Freedom From Religion Foundation (USA), National Secular Society (UK) and Center for Inquiry (USA).

A Gandhian solution to Palestine-Israel strife? Case for non-violent resistance to injustice

Graffiti paintings on the Israeli West Bank barrier By Prem Singh*  A lot of advocacy and analysis work has been done in the last 75 years regarding the nearly century-old Palestine-Israel conflict. Now its permanent solution is a need of the hour. This will be possible only when all stakeholders involved in this perhaps the most complex problem in modern world history make efforts towards solving it with seriousness, sincerity and mutual trust.

European financiers extensively funding cos linked to Israel’s 'illegal' settlements

By Giulia Barbos*  Updated research reveals, for the third year in a row, billions worth of loans, underwriting, shares and bonds of 776 European banks, asset managers, insurance companies and pension funds in 51 companies that are involved in violations of human rights and international law.

New Andhra law to hasten land alienation of tribal farmers, 'legitimise' illegal holdings

By Palla Trinadha Rao*   The Land Titling Act 2023 (LTA) (Act 27 of 2023) enacted recently by the Government of Andhra Pradesh helps promote land market and ease of doing business benefitting the affluent sections while facilitating easy land alienation of especially the tribal people.