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Showing posts from 2024

AMR: A gathering storm that threatens a century of progress in medicine

By Bobby Ramakant*  A strategic roundtable on “Charting a new path forward for global action against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)” was organised at the 77th World Health Assembly or WHA (WHA is the apex decision-making body of the World Health Organization – WHO, which is attended by all countries that are part of the WHO – a United Nations health agency). AMR is among the top-10 global health threats “Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a growing and urgent crisis which is already a leading cause of untimely deaths globally. More than 2 people die of AMR every single minute,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the WHO. “AMR threatens to unwind centuries of progress in human health, animal health, and other sectors.”

Why capitalism seeking homogeneous cultural identity meets with resistance

Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The concept of identity, as a reflection of one's own self as an individual, is intricately intertwined with various factors such as birth, sex, and a myriad of social, political, cultural, and economic determinants. These determinants, ranging from class and race to region, religion, gender, and nationality, wield significant influence in the formation of one's identity. 

Adopting natural farm techniques, this Dalit farmer 'earns enough' from his two acre field

By Bharat Dogra*  At a time when many of the bigger farmers are complaining of indebtedness and non-viability while also causing ecological ruin, a dalit (weaker section) farmer has shown the way forward by combining highly creative, satisfying livelihood with environment protection. He is very happy working on his farm with his wife and other family members and exploring various creative possibilities. 

Saving farmers and consumers from GM crops and food: Philippines court shows the way

By Bharat Dogra*  At a time when there is increasing concern that powerful GM crop lobbyists backed by enormous resources of giant multinational companies may be able to bulldoze food safety and environmental concerns while pushing GM crops, a new hope has appeared in the form of a court decision from the Philippines. 

What stops Kavach? Why no time to focus on common trains meant for common people?

By Atanu Roy  A goods train rammed into Kanchenjunga Express on 17th June morning in North Bengal. This could have been averted if the time tested anti-collision system (Kavach) was in place. 

Why Union Raiway minister Vaishnaw needs 'close citizen monitoring'

By Rosamma Thomas*  At least 13 people died when two trains collided in West Bengal on Monday, June 17, 2024. Just days before this crash, former bureaucrat Ashwini Vaishnaw was sworn in for the second time as Union Minister for Railways. On May 28, 2024, The Hindu newspaper carried an edit page article by K Balakesari, former member of the Railway Board, indicating why this minister might need special and careful monitoring by alert citizens.

New Odia CM's tribal heritage 'sets him apart' from Hindutva Brahminical norms

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Mohan Charan Majhi took the oath as the new Chief Minister of Odisha following the electoral defeat of the BJD led by Naveen Patnaik, who served as Chief Minister for twenty-four years. The new Chief Minister is the son of a security guard and a four-time MLA who hails from the remote village of Raikala in the Keonjhar district. He belongs to the Santali tribe and comes from a working-class family. Such achievements and political mobilities are possible only in a democratic society. Majhi’s leadership even in the form of symbolic representation in a democracy deserves celebration.

Manipur strife: State, Union govts allowing things to slide into ‘tribal’ age

By Sandeep Pandey*  Over the past one year Manipur has been witness to Meitei-Kuki conflict like nowhere seen even among Hindu-Muslim communities. Even if you may have totally segregated Hindu and Muslim residential areas like in some places in Gujarat, it is possible for a person of one community to pay a courtesy visit to the other community. But not so in Manipur. A Kuki government official cannot work in a Meitei area and vice-versa. When one moves from one area to another there are check posts, manned and womanned by both communities in their respective areas, in addition to the army, para-military and the Manipur police, sometimes total numbering upto half a dozen.

Ram Teri Ganga Maili: How to maintain ethics in a polluted environment?

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  Is the holy Ganges getting more polluted every day? In addition to daily rituals, bathing, and religious activities performed on its banks, since ancient times, the new age industrial and population pressures are increasingly polluting the holy river. Over the decades a number of government schemes, rules and regulations to purify the Ganges have met with limited success.

Govt of India 'ignoring' land acquisition law: Plan for international airport in Great Nicobar

Counterview Desk  In an open letter on the Social Impact Assessment (SIA) of the proposed international airport project in Great Nicobar, the Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG), which has former civil servants belonging to the All India and Central Services as its members*, has suggested that the proposed project is likely to have a significant adverse impact on the Tribal Reserve in Great Nicobar and its vulnerable tribal groups.

FIR against Caravan journos suggests 'continuing pattern of persecution'

Counterview Desk  The civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), has demanded withdrawal of FIR against three "Caravan" journalists who faced "assault" while reporting on the 2020 Delhi "pogrom." "As it comes back to power with a reduced majority, the BJP seeks to continue its offensive against democratic voices, including independent media", NAPM asserted.

Medha begins indefinite fast, seeks 'fair compensation' for 16,000 Narmada dam oustees

By Om Patidar, others*  The 15th of June marked the beginning of an indefinite fast by Medha Patkar, for justice in the Narmada valley. The demands from this fast include, rehabilitation of all the remaining project affected as per the laws, policies, and Supreme Court orders. 

Seeking permission to protest, cops 'abduct, arrest' Adivasi activists

By Our Representative  The civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), has blamed the police force for alleged the abduction of  three activists associated with the Moolwasi Bachao Manch, Sodhi Bhima of Jabbagatta village in Bijapur, Madkam Joshan of Gudrajguda village in Sukma, and Madkam Joga of Gomaguda village of Bijapur from Polampalli in the Dantewada district on June 8.

Russian war in Ukraine ‘helping’ US corporates expand in Western Europe

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The NATO-led, imperialist-imposed ongoing Russian war on Ukraine is not only creating a daily human catastrophe but also reshaping the present and future of Western Europe through American shock therapy. This unjust war has led to deaths, destitutions, significant civilian sufferings, with countless lives disrupted, communities devastated, and families ruined. This completely avoidable war is pushing the entire European continent into a state of nuclear war and turmoil.

Sanction to persecute Arundhati Roy under UAPA politically motivated: PUCL

Counterview Network  Top human rights group, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, has demanded that the authorities should immediately withdraw the prosecution against top author Arundhati Roy and Dr Sheikh Showkat Hussain, a Kashmir academic, under the " unconstitutional"  Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act  (UAPA), calling the Delhi  Lieutenant-Governor nod for the Delhi police move "politically motivated".

Deep into debt, failing to pay back loan, Banda farmer commits suicide

By Bharat Dogra*  In a country that has already heard about so many suicides by farmers, perhaps the recent suicide by one more farmer will not attract much attention, but nevertheless the extremely distressing story of the recent death of a young farmer Ramnihor -- in Baragaon village (Baberu block) of Banda district, Uttar Pradesh, must be told.

'Distress driven, nothing unusual': Recent increase in rural female labour force participation

By Sapna Goel*  Female Labour Force Participation (FLFP) rate in India has been declining, by and large, since the first quinquennial Employment-Unemployment Survey (EUS) of National Sample Survey (NSS) in 1972/73 until 2017/18. There were brief increases during 1983-1987/88 and 1999/00 and 2004/05, the periods marked by agrarian distress . 

Anonymous? Following BJP debacle, social media began getting memes calling voters 'traitors'

By Rathin Das*  It was an election with a difference that taught the 'party with a difference' a lesson it will never forget. The planet's largest party, the BJP, had put its stakes so high that even a normal victory looks like a defeat.

Pellet gun fire severely injures Dalit worker off Bangladesh border

By Kirity Roy*  This is regarding an incident of firing pellets by the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel attached with Panchadoji Border Outpost of ‘E’ Company of 90 BSF Battalion on a Schedule Caste youth of village Parmananda under Dinhata Police Station of Cooch Behar district of West Bengal. The victim was severely injured and one portion of his face became disfigured due to pellet firing by the BSF.

Lack of Indo-Pak dialogue 'risky', strengthens those interested in dividing two nations

Counterview Desk  In an open letter to  Prime Minister  Narendra Modi, the top advocacy group,  South Asia Peace Action Network (Sapan), has said that  the absence of an invite to Pakistan for his oath-taking ceremony is not in the spirit of the concept of "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam" – the world is one family – which he claims to advocate.

Lip-service on World Environment Day vs 'watered-down' eco-safeguards

By Shankar Sharma*  Just a few days ago, the world remembered the routinely forgotten global environment on the occasion of World Environment Day, briefly though, maybe just for the day. There were reports of a few high profile ceremonies in different parts of the country, including a few in New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly asked the people of our country to plant one tree per each person as a mark of respect/ gratitude for our mothers.

In Delhi's Safeda Basti, daily struggle in heatwave 'beyond one can imagine'

By Nimisha Agarwal*  In Delhi, while the richer areas enjoy cool air from air conditioners, the people of Safeda Basti face the brutal heat of summer with very little to help them. This neighborhood is filled with hardworking laborers, street vendors, hard working women and others who are vital to the city’s economy but often overlooked. In India, approximately 461 million people reside in urban areas, with about 17 percent living in crowded, informal settlements. These areas, plagued by rapid urbanization and inadequate infrastructure, feature self-constructed homes using various traditional building methods.

Ensure stay on new 'anti-democratic' criminal laws: Petition to Chandrababu Naidu, Nitish Kumar, others

Counterview Desk  Close to 3,700 signatories, including Tushar Gandhi, Tanika Sarkar, Henri Tiphagne, Major Gen (retd) Sudhir Vombatkere, Teesta Setalvad, Kavita Srivastava, Shabnam Hashmi and others have sought the urgent intervention of Chief Minister Andhra Pradesh, Chandrababu Naidu asking him to ensure a stay on the implementation of the new criminal laws.

Moving towards sustainable development? Social, environmental implications of HCES data

By Dr Vandana Sehgal, Dr Amandeep Kaur*  Sustainable development, the high time agenda, encompasses economic, social, and environmental dimensions, aiming for a balance between all these aspects to ensure long-term well-being and prosperity for all. One of the crucial aspects of sustainable development is consumption patterns. Consumption patterns refer to the way individuals, households, and societies use resources and goods. Sustainable consumption patterns entail using resources efficiently, minimizing waste, and considering the environmental and social impacts of consumption choices.

Diagnosed with hepatitis B, TB, manual scavenger was 'exposed to toxic gases'

By Sanjeev Kumar* We extend our condolences to the family of Sher Singh who passed away on June 8 after battling for life for the last 5 years. In May 2019, Sher Singh was exposed to poisonous gases while cleaning a septic tank in Bhagya Vihar, Delhi. Two workers died on the spot while cleaning the septic tank and Sher Singh had been in a critical condition ever since. Sher Singh was a migrant worker, coming from Tundla (UP) and belonged to the Dalit community. After being unconscious in the septic tank for hours, he was exposed to poisonous toxic gases and his health has been deteriorating since then. After this incident, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis, hepatitis B, and many other life threatening ailments. At 1:30 am, Sher Singh passed away after a 5 year long battle. His wife and four children have been facing the brunt of the tragic incident. Sher Singh was the sole earning member of the family and after his illness, his wife and eldest son have been working odd jobs to pay for

Modi 'victory' hoardings to be displayed at 578 free sites across Rajasthan, agencies shortlisted

By Rosamma Thomas*  The joint director of the Department of Information and Public Relations of Rajasthan has digitally signed an order approving over Rs 15 lakh for installing large flex banners as part of the outdoor publicity of Narendra Modi’s third term as prime minister. A list of firms allotted the task of putting up these hoardings, that will come up at 578 sites across the state, where such hoardings can be erected for no fees, was issued on June 10, 2024.

High on aesthetics, this 'pro-Naxal' Punjabi poet shunned sloganeering

By Harsh Thakor*  Surjit Patar, one of Punjab’s top progressive poets, whose life journey symbolised crusade against oppression, died of cardiac arrest at his residence on Barewal Road in Ludhiana, on 11 May 2024, at the age of 79. In Barnala, on June 9th, a gathering of around 10,000 persons for all walks of life was staged in his memory, by the Gursharan Singh Lok Kala Salam Kafla. An award was presented to members of Patar’s family.

Main stumbling block for dynamic, young leaders: Party supremos in 70s

By Sudhansu R Das  A massive expenditure of Rs 1.35 lakh crore was reportedly spent to conduct the Lok Sabha election 2024. Nearly 968 million people have waited for five years to select their representatives. People have given their leaders immense power to rule and manage the country’s resources. 

Elite 'promote, practice' hereditary politics to undermine democratic struggle

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Democracy is not only a product of the struggles of the working classes, but its survival against all odds also depends on the unwavering commitment of the working people. Historically, the working class has played a pivotal role in the establishment, promotion and preservation of democratic processes and institutions. 

'Attack on free expression': ABVP 'insults' Udaipur professor for FB post

Counterview Desk   People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Rajasthan, condemning what it called "insult of Professor Himanshu Pandya" by students affiliated with with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarti Parishad (ABVP) in Udaipur, has said he was evicted from the class where he was teaching after raising "ugly slogans", forcing him to "leave the university".

'Time to ponder': Wind, solar energy costs drop by 59, 88%, coal, nuclear up by 9, 23%

By Shankar Sharma*  A recent report from Australia's CSIRO has detailed the cost of nuclear power with regards to various other well-established sources of electricity, and the same should be seen as a highly relevant one to India's power sector scenario.

Heatwave in Bundelkhand: 'Inadequate attention' on impact on birds, animals

By Bharat Dogra, Reena Yadav*  While the heat wave and its many-sided adverse impacts have been widely discussed in recent times, one important aspect of heat waves has not received adequate attention and this relates to the impact on birds and animals.

Indian policy makers 'not alive': Collapsing ecosystem has led to unprecedented heat wave

By Dr Gopal Krishna*  Environmental health researchers, lawyers and activists are at their wits' end because an ideology of “development at any cost” is creating an impression that environmental regulations are a hurdle in the process of financial growth and development. The threat to the integrity of the natural systems is a threat to human health, and such threats have become routine because of myopic industrial agriculture, blind urban development, regressive transport systems and criminal neglect of non-human species.  While legislative safeguards for environmental protection do seem to exist on paper, homicidal ecological lawlessness has led to rampant industrial pollution, soil erosion, agricultural pollution, and genetic erosion of plant resources. This trend must be arrested in right earnest. It is evident that the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), which gives mandate to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, is not alive to the collapsing ecos

Access to clean water eludes poor families in Bundelkhand amidst severe heat wave

By Bharat Dogra*  Aggravation and intensification of heat waves has been reported from several countries. This has resulted in increasing problems for many millions of people including increasing livelihood and health problems. Increased mortality has also been reported. Well-informed people have stated that these estimates of increased mortality may be serious under-estimates, particularly in poorer societies.

Thrashed by landlord's men, Dalit boy's death 'result of feudal oppression'

By Bharat Dogra* On the morning of June 5, 18 year old Ratnesh Kumar Shrivas, widely known for his gentle nature and behaviour, was walking on a road to catch some transport for taking him to the town of Banda, where he hoped to get some plumbing work for this day.

How Congress leaders' 'arrogance', BSP's politicking helped BJP alliance to return to power

By Divesh Ranjan, Sandeep Pandey*  There are celebrations in the opposition circles that Bhartiya Janata Party has not been able to reach the half way mark to form the government and will be dependent on coalition partners to run the next government. It is being expected that alliance partners will exert some influence on the BJP to check its unbridled way of functioning where it does not even consult its own legislators. 

Elections saw a nasty media 'promoting' animosity between communities

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat* The results of the General Elections 2024 have thoroughly exposed the corporate media and its dominant caste proponents. I have never trusted them but they took 10 years of Modi rule to get exposed completely.  VT Rajshekar,  editor of "Dalit Voice", which flourished in the 1990s, always mocked at their claim of ''merit". He wrote, 'Merit: My Foot'. Many people would question him and blame him for criticising ''liberals'' but he remained categorical that the Brahmanical liberals are more dangerous.

No event inflicted as much wound on Sikh community as Operation Bluestar

By Harsh Thakor*  Forty years ago, from June 3-8, 1984, on the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s call, the Indian army staged an attack on the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar, Punjab. This event carved a permanent niche amongst the attacks in the history of religious sanctity or religious monuments.

Will numerically strong opposition in Lok Sabha strengthen democracy?

By Prem Singh*  After the first phase of the 18th Lok Sabha elections, which were conducted in seven phases, it was already indicated that a large part of the country's population had decided to contest the elections against the present government. A large number of unemployed youth and the already agitating farmers played a major role in this act of protest. 

Migrant worker dies; bick kiln owner 'didn't want him die' at worksite

By Bharat Dogra*  On an extremely hot afternoon of May 22 people saw a pathetic scene near Gwalior railway station. A woman with three small children was standing near a rickshaw and weeping loudly. On the rickshaw was spread the body of a very weak man who appeared to be dead.

Financing industrial livestock 'undermines' US banks’ climate commitments: Report

By TJ Helmstetter*  A new study conducted by the Netherlands-based research group Profundo and U.S.-based environmental organization Friends of the Earth examines U.S. banks’ financing of meat, dairy, and feed corporations and the sizable climate impact of that financing.

'Social parasites': Amazon, Google, Facebook benefit disproportionately from digital economy

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Social parasites are capable individuals who live off the values, products, services, donations, and sacrifices resulting from the labour of others. These individuals are like priestly class who remain in their comfort zones, refraining from engaging in any meaningful work, and they consider this parasitic lifestyle as normal and natural. Such social parasites neither contribute to the meaningful growth of their own lives nor to the well-being of their families, societies, or states in any significant way. 

Banks 'fueling' climate chaos: Financing of metallurgical coal mining on the rise

By Cynthia Rocamora * Despite the urgent need to decarbonize the steel industry, which heavily relies on coal, the Banking On Climate Chaos report has revealed that banks continue to provide even more financial support to metallurgical coal. In 2023, 48 companies active in metallurgical coal mining received 2.54 billion US$ in financing, slightly up compared to 2022. Even companies with controversial mining projects, such as Whitehaven Coal in Australia, have received significant financial support. This remains possible due to the lack of commitments from banks regarding coal, particularly metallurgical coal.

Enhanced rock weathering leads to 9-20% higher crop yield, help climate resilience

By Aishwarya Singhal, Lubna Das*  Enhanced rock weathering -- a nature-based carbon dioxide removal process that accelerates natural weathering -- results in significantly higher first year crop yields, improved soil pH, and higher nutrient uptake, according to a new scientific paper, released in PLOS ONE, a peer-reviewed open access mega journal published by the Public Library of Science since 2006.

Adivasi rights leader arrested, 'taken away' in unregistered police vehicle

By Our Representative   In a surprise move, a People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) activist, Sunita Potem, who has been raising issues of Adivasi rights in Bastar, has been arrested from Raipur. She was arrested by a team led by DSP Garima Dadar on June 3 "after being pulled out of her room at 8:30 in the morning by the team", sources said. 

Ayodhya sends out message to those 'playing politics' in Lord Ram's name

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  The people of Ayodhya have sent a resounding message to those who played  hate politics in its name. The people of Mujaffarnagar defeated the champion of divisive hate politics. The people of Hyderabad and Amaravati, too,  defeated the divisive propagandists. 

Will TDP demand for special status to Andhra Pradesh put BJP on backfoot?

By Sudhansu R Das The voters can be said to have performed well in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.  The National Democratic Alliance could not win 400 seats as hyped by their leaders and by most exit polls despite the politicisation around the construction of Ram Mandir, the scrapping of Article 370, and India being a trillion-dollar economy. NDA won 292 Lok Sabha seats, which is a comfortable majority.

Naveen's 'surrender to Hindutva' result of following BJP-type policies

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  “Here richly, with ridiculous display, The Politician's corpse was laid away. While all of his acquaintance sneered and slanged I wept: for I had longed to see him hanged. Another on the Same” ― Hilaire Belloc The 20th-century conservative French and English poet Hilaire Belloc did not write this poem, 'Epitaph on the Politician Himself', to pen the political obituary for the long-serving outgoing Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik.  However, each word of the poem aptly resonates with the political and electoral transformation in Odisha. Ordinary people push all-powerful to the dustbin of history and make them irrelevant in public life while exercising their democratic dissent in the form of voting during elections. No one is studying Odisha politics immediately after the recent electoral defeat of Naveen Patnaik led Biju Janata Dal (BJD) which has governed the state for more than two decades.  The 4th of June election result has already wri

Dalit villagers' crop destroyed: 'Security forces, Bangla infiltrators responsible'

By Our Representative  A senior human rights leader, in a representation to the National Commission For Scheduled Castes chairperson, has drawn its attention "over pathetic situation" of farmers living in the  Mahishmri village, Sitalkuchi block of Cooch Behar district, off  the India-Bangladesh border, saying, they have  lost standing crop worth Rs 1.25 lakh because of the restrictions imposed by the Border Security Force on reaching their farms.