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Showing posts from January, 2024

As free space shrinks, Gujarat human rights meet wonders: Where do we go from here?

By Rajiv Shah  In yet another confirmation of how space for free expression is shrinking in Gujarat, a human rights conference, attended by some well-known names – Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, environmentalist Vandana Shiva, People’s Union for Civil Liberties leader Kavita Shrivastava, Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar, among others – was held at a private terrace in Ahmedabad instead of a public space.

Jeff Thomson created a more electrifying and intimidating effect than any bowler ever

By Harsh Thakor*  Jeff Thomson is arguably the fastest and most lethal fast bowler ever. Hard to visualise any paceman intimidating, tormenting or crippling opponents at such a scale or as electrifying or explosive. .No paceman set out more on a mission to inflict pain or hurt an opponent. Thomson was the ultimate freak, of the cricketing fraternity. Noone ever instilled the fear of God into the best of batsmen, through pure pace, taking speed to almost transcendental heights. The deliveries that reared from a length, were almost unplayable, giving vibrations of a dynamite exploding .They would kick the glove or even ascend shoulder height. Thomson was also blessed with high reserves of stamina. Suppleness and elasticity was his forte. Although not classical, Thommo was as effective as the very best, with his thunderbolts.Thomson possessed a characteristic slinging action, reminiscent of the punch of a heavy weight boxer. He did not swing a ball much, but no pace bowler ever obtained

Uphold human rights, democratic values in relations with India: Euro Parliament insists

By Our Representative  A European Parliament resolution on India, which seeks to address the critical concerns surrounding human rights and religious freedom issues in India, has expressed concern over "violence, increasing nationalistic rhetoric, and divisive policies" and called upon Indian political leaders to refrain from making inflammatory statements, insisting on the importance of upholding "human rights and democratic values" in EU-India relations.

Conversation with SV Rajadurai, Scholar on Periyar, Dravidian movement, Tamil identity

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Sharing here this conversation of mine with Thiru S V Rajadurai, a noted Tamil scholar on Periyar, Dravidian movement and Tamil identity question. Mr Rajadurai has been actively involved in the human rights and left movement in Tamil Nadu.  Of course, his association with Periyar and his ideology started since his student days when he got an opportunity to share the platform with Periyar. He has translated international works into Tamil as well as written numerous articles in English and Tamil. That apart, his work on Periyar and Dravidian movements are considered to be classic and highly popular among the common people. This conversation was recorded at his home in the foothills of Nilgiris near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu on July 15th, 2023.  Human rights defender. Facebook: X: @freetohumanity. Skype: @vbrawat

Gandhi's strong emphasis on experimenting with frugality in food, health, education

By Bharat Dogra*  What is common to the great struggles associated with such great leaders as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Badshah Khan in places so distant from each other? What is common to such famous environmental movements as Chipko/Appiko (for saving forests) and Narmada Bachao Andolan (for saving rivers)? 

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha role in Gandhiji's murder? What documentary evidence reveals

By Shamsul Islam*  Following is the compilation in chronological order the communications of Sardar Patel's home ministry, his letters to Nehru, Syama Prasad Mookerjee and Golwalkar on Gandhiji's murder. This chronological presentation shows how Sardar Patel developed his understanding (which must have been based on facts supplied by his officials) of the alleged role of RSS and Hindu Mahasabha involved in Gandhiji's assassination.

'Fake encounter': Chhattisgarh's Abujmarh has 3 paramilitary personnel for every 7 locals

Counterview Desk  The civil rights network*, Forum Against Corporatization And Militarization (FACAM), commenting on what it calls “fake encounter of three Villagers in Nendra, Bijapur”, Chhattisgarh, has said that the incident comes “as part of the escalation that began on the 1st January 2024, when the Indian state initiated Operation Kagar in Abujmarh area, as an expansion to the ongoing Operation Samadhan-Prahar (OSP).”

How political citizenship is being undermined to favour 'moral and religious' agenda

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Citizenship is a product of working-class struggles against feudalism, colonialism, fascism, Nazism, capitalism, imperialism, and all other forms of authoritarian dominance. These struggles have led to the deepening of democracy and expansion of citizenship rights. Therefore, citizenship is a product of political struggles to ensure the collective realization of inalienable individual freedom. Essentialist freedoms are based on the immediate needs of individuals, families, societies, and states, while emancipatory freedoms are rooted in struggles to change conditions that act as obstacles to realizing both essentialist and emancipatory freedoms. Essentialist freedom contributes to emancipatory freedom, establishing conditions central to the creation of global citizenship without any form of discrimination and exploitation.

'Stop arbitrary blockades on roads to farm land, mosque off West Bengal border'

Counterview Desk  In a complaint to the District Magistrate, Coochbehar, West Bengal, human rights defender Kirity Roy, who is secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), has said that there is “unlawful restriction of villagers” from not only going to their own farmlands”, but also their mosque, imposed by BSF personnel in the Jhaukuthi Village of Tufanganj I block, under Tufanganj PS.

Lenin-Liebknecht-Luxemburg demonstration in Berlin manifests anti-fascist spirit

By Harsh Thakor*  On the Sunday, January 14, the traditional “the three Ls” demonstration was held, commemorating Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg and Lenin in the city of Berlin. Among many groups, the Red League and Partizan participated in the march with slogans upholding   the heroic Palestinian National Resistance (slogans prohibited in Germany for “anti-Semitism”) and red flags. Also slogans for the International Communist League could be heard. The two founders of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) were assassinated by right-wing paramilitaries (on the orders of a social democratic government) on January 15, 1919. For over a century, demonstrators have commemorated their memory every second Sunday in January, marching to the Socialist Cemetery and planting huge piles of red carnations on the graves. The police brutally assaulted the protesters and detained the speaker of the Palestinian Bloc, which caused a 45-minute tussle where the revolutionaries retaliated the fascist aggre

Climate emergency: No official substantiation why India focuses on coal, nuclear power

By Shankar Sharma*  In the new year, will the Government of India fulfill the much needed commitment and success in formulating and implementing effective policies to meet the growing electricity demand of our people on a sustainable basis and at the lowest overall cost to the society?

'Climate destruction': Top Asian banks, three from India, keep doors open to finance coal

By Rajiv Shah  A new report released by a top Netherlands-based advocacy group, BankTrack , has said that of the nine major Asian banks which “are open for business in coal, dirtiest of fossil fuel” three are from India: State Bank of India, Axis Bank and Bank of Baroda. Other major Asian banks in the business of coal are Mizuho, SMBC and MUFG in Japan, and Bank Mandiri, Rakyat and Negara in Indonesia.

Broadcasting Bill to 'control' digital media, put small news operators out of business

By Our Representative   In a submission to the I&B Ministry, the Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI) has raised concerns over the proposed Broadcasting Bill with its potential to control and overregulate broadcast and digital media. NWMI said, the Bill could drastically alter the media landscape in India and exhorted the government to refrain from going ahead with it without exhaustive consultations with all stake-holders.

NEP in 1991, followed by Babri demolition in 1992, reached its destination on 75th R-Day

By Prem Singh  The narrative of Republic Day and Sovereignty, which started changing with the implementation of New Economic Policies in 1991 and the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992, has reached its destination on the 75th Republic Day. The corporate-communal nexus defines the Indian republic and sovereignty today. This paradigm shift is being praised all around. Following comment was written on the occasion of 68th Republic Day – 26 January 2017. The same is again released to the youth of the country for their serious consideration. --- The Constitution of India was adopted on 26th Jan 1950 and we entered the world stage as a sovereign republic. Ever since 26 January is celebrated as the Republic Day, a celebration of our sovereignty. Vibrant tableaus of various states and departments are part of the parade. But predominantly it is a celebration of the display of military prowess. On careful observation you will find that after the adoption of the new economic policies in 1991—

Why the temple that PM inaugurated at Babri site could, in time, be called Modi Mandir

By Rosamma Thomas*  A webinar on recent developments in India on the occasion of Republic Day saw one speaker mention that if the mosque that Mughal Emperor Babur built at Ayodhya was named Babri Masjid, then the temple that Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated at the same site on January 22, 2024 could, in time, be named “Modi Mandir”. 

Temples should propagate equal respect to all religions: Gandhi on inaugurating Birla Temple

By Ram Puniyani*  Satyapal Malik, the ex-Governor of many states stated that the role of Pulwama and Balakot was very much there in the victory of Modi-BJP in the previous 2019 General elections. He also predicted some other major spectacle may happen before the 2024 elections. The hysteria created around the temple consecration is a spectacle of high order. 

Well-planned Hindutva strategy to convert India into a theocratic, totalitarian state?

By Shamsul Islam*  Ever since Narendra Modi, who claims to be a ‘Hindu nationalist’ and is a member of RSS, took charge as PM of India, the largest democracy in the world has had no respite from receiving fatal blows. The consecration of Ram Temple by Modi performing the role of a main priest on January 22, 2024 seems to be the beginning of end of the Indian Republic.

US State Department should ask Indian govt to stop stoking anti-minority sentiments

Washington DC-based Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) statement condemning state complicity in extremist violence across India following Ram Mandir Consecration: --- The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) today strongly condemned Hindu extremist violence against Muslims and Christians in the wake of Ram Temple ceremonies this Monday. Following Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s consecration of the controversial Ram Temple — itself built on the ruins of the mob-destroyed Babri Mosque — extremist groups have weaponized ensuing celebrations, convening massive processions to attack Muslims and destroy Muslim-owned businesses, homes, and mosques. State officials have been complicit in enabling these violent processions, with BJP lawmaker Nitesh Rane threatening to “ find and kill” those who had put up defensive barricades to protect a Muslim neighborhood in Mumbai. Rane later ordered state bulldozers to advance into the neighborhood, destroying structures belonging to 55 Muslim

Bilkis case: When those who greet criminals with garlands are exonerated of crime

By Vikas Parasram Meshram  While ruling on Bilkis Bano's plea against the amnesty granted to the gang rape and murder perpetrators, the Supreme Court categorically termed the amnesty granted to the 11 criminals as fraudulent and termed the Gujarat government's act as an attempt to encroach on justice.  According to the Supreme Court's decision, even if the eleven rape and murder accused get some leniency in their sentences, it will come under the purview of the Maharashtra government and not the Gujarat government, where the court handed down the sentences.

Dark clouds: Geo-political factors that may lead to escalation of Israel-Hamas conflict

By Bharat Dogra*  Several leading Middle-East analysts have been warning about the possibilities of the Gaza war escalating and also an even wider regional conflict emerging. The killing of a Hamas commander in Beirut and an Iranian military leader in Syria (allegedly by Israel), attacks in the Red Sea on merchant ships by the Houthis and the US-led response, the growing tensions on the Israel-Lebanon border and the exchange of rockets between the Hezbollah and the Israeli forces, the attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria and the US response to this, the US bringing two aircraft carriers and their striking units within the regional waters -- all these have been seen by some as signs which indicate the emergence of a wider crisis or even a wider war. However the risks of a wider conflict have increased much more with the powerful bomb blast in Iran, resulting in over 80 deaths, on January 3, on the sensitive occasion of the death anniversary of the Iran General Quassem Soleimani who as

How India’s ascendance as a major power is 'threatening' US-led global order strategy

By John P Ruehl*  Since mid-2023, a series of assassination plots have strained India’s relations with Canada and the U.S. In June 2023 , a Sikh separatist activist living in Canada was reportedly killed on orders from Indian security services. Subsequently, in November , it came to light that U.S. authorities were investigating an assassination attempt against another Sikh separatist figure on U.S. soil. While India vehemently denied the accusations from Canada, it later committed to conducting an investigation following the accusations by U.S. authorities.

Killing of 35 security personnel: Maoists are still a 'formidable force' in Chhattisgarh

Grenade launcher shells used by PLGA in attack on CRPF camp By Harsh Thakor*  The people of Maad in Chhattisgarh are being hounded and are facing survival crisis due to “Operation Kagar”, a mobilization of the Indian state’s paramilitary, which arose immediately after the victory of the BJP government in Chhattisgarh.

Three persons killed in 'fake encounter' in Chhattisgarh: CASR seeks judicial probe

Counterview Desk  The civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR)*, condemning what it calls “fake encounter" of three villagers by police in Nendra, Chhattisgarh, has demanded immediate judicial enquiry into the fake encounter and the end of killings in the name of curtailing Maoists or national liberation movements.

Will interim budget 2024 focus on rural development to enhance jobs generation?

By Puneet Kumar Shrivastav, Mitali Gupta, Ujala Kumari*  The Union Budget has the potential to impact the lives and livelihoods of all significantly and lastingly, living up to its title of ‘budget for all’. The Interim Budget 2024-25 is going to be critical not only for the incumbent government but also for the common man as this is going to be the last budget of the Modi 2.0 regime.

New chain of actions ignite support to struggling Palestinians all over the globe

By Harsh Thakor*  The anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist war has turned a spark into a prairie fire in the  Middle East, involving the guerrilla masses of Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and depending  on the intervention of the Iranian government, against Israel and Yankee imperialism, and its smaller partners, such as the United Kingdom. The Palestinian cause, which before the Al-Aqsa Flood seemed to drifting towards complete alienation, with the collusion and connivance of the ruling classes of the Arab countries in the face of Zionism, resurrected in a spectacular fashion to counter the plans of Zionism, and gave a severe jolt to the strategic plans of Yankee imperialism.  There is no doubt that Iran’s recent bombings against Yankee and Zionist military positions in Iraq gave a cutting edge in the Palestinian people’s war of national liberation. Iranian bombings now add to the Houthis’ daily operations in Yemen and the Red Sea, which have inflicted severe economic and political damage t

As pollution levels rise, 91% informal labour 'feel sick', 75% face workplace exposure

By Bharat Dogra*  Many informal sector workers are more exposed to pollution because they work outdoors or else work indoors in polluting conditions. Hence, the health risks they face when air pollution levels are high are much higher compared to the risks faced generally by other citizens.  To avoid high health risks sometimes the authorities place many restrictions on  construction and industrial activities for certain periods of high pollution levels, or else sometimes place a complete ban on construction and certain other activities for extended periods.  When they hear about this, several citizens may heave a sigh of relief as they expect reduction of pollution due to this, but in the case of a large number of workers this means that for an extended period they will have no employment and hence no income.  They may not even be able to arrange such basic needs as vegetables or school fees as they have very limited savings. Hence on both sides of the pollution debate --

Solicitor General of India's utterances in the GM case 'misleading and irrelevant': NGO

Counterview Desk  The  Coalition for a GM Free India has  said, it condemns "misleading and irrelevant" utterances by the Solicitor General in the GM Case, equating the "highly-avoidable risk of some amount of GM edible oil imports illegally with the risk of cultivation of HT crops in Indian conditions. Stating that it "defies the very science of risk assessment", the top advocacy group underlines in a statement, "Several illegal and improper procedures were followed for biosafety assessment and clearance given to environmental release of GM mustard."  It adds, "No health expert participated in the health safety assessment of GM mustard." Text :  The Coalition for a GM-Free India condemns the irrelevant and misleading arguments of the Solicitor General of India on 18th January 2024, when the Supreme Court of India reserved the batch of petitions related to GMOs including GM foods for judgement. Gene technologies in agriculture constitute irr

Ministries told to work with Health Ministry to eliminate filariasis as public health problem

A Centre for Advocacy and Research note:  --- Dr VK Paul, Member, Niti Aayog, has urged all key ministries to work with the Health Ministry to eliminate filariasis as a public health problem through mass drug administration from 10th February, 2024. Lymphatic Filariasis (Hathipaon) is a priority disease for the Government of India and is targeted for elimination by 2027. The country adopted the enhanced elimination strategy under which the Mass Drug Administration (MDA) is planned in a Mission Mode on 10th February and 10th August, 2024, together with National Deworming Day. The strategy demands synergy of efforts by all Ministries and Departments to culminate into a Jan Andolan for improved compliance in MDA. To sustain the momentum for intersectoral convergence, a virtual meeting under the Chairmanship of Dr VK Paul, Hon’ble Member, Niti Aayog, was held on 16 January, 2024, wherein senior officials of all leading Ministries – Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Women and Child