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Showing posts from March, 2024

A peep into the state's 'orchestrated' cyberwar against so-called Bhima Koregaon-16

By Harsh Thakor* ‘The Incarcerations’ written by professor Alpa Shah cuts the ribbons of Indian democracy to narrate the sensational story of the Bhima Koregaon case, in which 16 human rights defenders (the BK-16) – professors, lawyers, journalists, poets – had been fabricated without any trial as Maoist terrorists.

BSF responsible for 'killing' of Bangladeshi youth, investigate impartially: Plea to NHRC

Counterview Desk Human rights defender Kirity Roy, secretary of the West Bengal-based Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), in a representation to the chairperson, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has alleged that the Border Security Force (BSF) is responsible for the killing of a Bangladeshi youth. Second incident this year (click here for the earlier incident), Roy said, “As usual the BSF complaint mentioned that there was a group of men involved in cross border smuggling and they intended to attack the BSF party while restricted and self defence two BSF personnel shot one round each.”

India 'needs a Romero' who takes a stand for those who are harassed and incarcerated

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  This year, 24 March, was pregnant with meaning! For a large percentage of Indians, it was ‘Holika Dahan’, the start of the great festival of Holi! For most Christians, it was the commemoration of ‘Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord’, the commencement of their holiest of week. 

India's 78% firms think achieving net zero is cost to business, 52% say it's risky: Report

By Rajiv Shah A leading global management consulting firm working with more than three-quarters of the Fortune Global 500, as well as with government bodies and nonprofit organizations, has said that while vast majority of Indian businesses surveyed (91%) claim they have set targets to reach net zero, with 51% of them viewing these targets as “highly achievable”, ironically, most of them (78%) consider sustainability as a cost to business rather than opportunity.

India 'lacks' institutional mechanism: Is there any scope for climate justice in action?

By Varsh Bhagat-Ganguly, Arun Prasad* Emerging discourse on climate change has evolved a set of concepts and vocabulary of its own, such as climate mitigation, climate adaptation, climate resilience, climate justice, climate action, climate education, climate law/ litigation, climate finance, climate engineering, and so on, over the last 15 years. As the discourse moved from global warming to climate change almost 15 years ago, global climate negotiations through COPs has made shifts in the discourse.

Niti Aayog 'fails to recognise': Small modular N-reactors not a well-accepted technology

By Shankar Sharma*  A recent statement by Dr VK Saraswat, member, NITI Aayog, advocating widespread usage of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) in India, assuming that it is endorsed by NITI Aayog and the Union government, raises many serious concerns on policy in the energy sector, hence it needs serious introspection by the Union government.

Resigned to fate? Odisha CM pitted against a ‘viciously organised' Hindutva force

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  All attempts by senior leadership to form an electoral alliance between the BJD and BJP in Odisha have failed due to popular opposition to such an alliance in forthcoming elections. Both parties have declared their candidates for the general and state elections.  Naveen Patnaik has also announced his candidates for the BJD.  At this stage, it seems like the narrative of the ruling party under the leadership of  Patnaik resembles that of a surrendered general who wishes to become a philanthropist in electoral politics to hide his failures for more than two decades. The notion of philanthropy in politics may seem conceivable, yet within the realm of electoral politics, there exists no straightforward or adept method of disarming and overcoming political opposition.  Despite this, the political opposition, led by the BJP in the state, has operated akin to a second-hand ruling party, lacking the vigour expected of a true opposition force in democracy. As Chief Mi

Water scarcity likely to emerge as a major issue in Lok Sabha elections in Telangana

By Sudhansu R Das  People in Telangana need a few basic human necessities. They need pure water to drink; they need water to grow crops and keep milch animals for income.  They need water bodies to charge the groundwater and green native trees to keep their surroundings cool. Hyderabad was ruled by the great kings and monarchs: the Mauryas, the Satavahanas, the Ikshvakus, the Guptas, the Chalukyas, the Rashtrakutas, the Kakatiya and more recently by the Nizams. 

Burning Kadam tree for Holika dahan, washing parking, driveway with freshwater

By Mansee Bal Bhargava*   Open letter to La Habitat Ahmedabad and to similar housing societies... Greetings, This is a long pending letter to La Hab. The Holi celebration at LaHab finally pushed to pen the withered attitude of the township towards water and vegetation. A brief disclaimer beforehand that my behaviour sways with how people deal with water and vegetation. It may be interpreted by many as having an attitude. My belief is that it is ok to have an attitude towards protecting environment in the current times of climate crisis.  My family is among the earliest occupants of La Habitat in 2009. We bought a flat in the township because the property offered 100% white transaction between builder and us (with 60-40% black n white usually in the real estate market in Ahmedabad).  Thinking that co-inhabitants moving into this township will be of clean practices, it was a naivety of the youthful days to (mis)interpret it to be directly proportional to be sensible and sensi

India already late in 'properly managing' water resources: Case for rainwater harvesting

By Proshakha Maitra, Megha Gupta, Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Every World Water Day is a call for reflection on where humanity stands in the water matters. While the natural water crisis linked to the climate change conveniently, the humanly constructed crisis of access to water is a result of the socio-economic fabric of any given society, be it developed, developing or under-developed countries.

PUCL to set up independent citizens panel to examine 'deep fissures' in Manipur society

Counterview Desk  The well-known human rights group, People’s Union For Civil Liberties (PUCL), claiming to be deeply concerned over the state of continuing violence in Manipur ever since 3rd May, 2023, when the first incident of ethnic conflict broke out, has decided to set up an Independent Citizen’s Tribunal on Manipur in order to document the "violations" suffered by the people, and examine and analyse the performance and responsibilities of the constitutional authorities.

100 NGOs admit 'alarming rise' of Hindu supremacy in US, express acute concern

By David Kalal*  Over 100 civil society groups have signed onto a declaration expressing "acute concern about the alarming rise of Hindu supremacy, also known as Hindutva or Hindu nationalism, in the United States.” The declaration, released by Savera – an interfaith, multiracial, anti-caste coalition of Indian American and partner civil rights groups – warned that the Hindu supremacist movement “now finds itself in a deepening alliance with various facets of the American far-right,” and pledged to take action to combat its spread in the United States.

'Irrefutable evidence': NHRC failed to uphold mandate to protect, promote human rights

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  The accreditation review of the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRCI), is scheduled to take place in the last week of March 2024 and in the last week of April 2024.  This year, the Sub-Committee on Accreditation (SCA) of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) will consider the reports about the NHRCI, received from civil society (both national and international), the NHRCI and other stakeholders, including UN Special Procedures on 26 March and will have a separate sitting in the in the week of 29 April to 3 May, when they will conduct their actual internal review.

Global body urged to downgrade NHRC: 'Failure' to address human rights violations

Counterview Desk   The International Non-Governmental Organisation, in a letter to the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), Geneva, ahead of  the review of the accreditation status of the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRCI), has insisted upon amending the current ‘A’ rating of the NHRCI, as it has allegedly failed to address "the deteriorating human rights situation in India."

'Wrong direction': Paris NGO regrets MNC ArcelorMittal still using coal-based steel

By Rajiv Shah  A new report by Paris-based non-governmental research and campaigning organization, Reclaim Finance, has blamed the MNC ArcelorMittal – formed in 2006 following the takeover and merger of the western European steel maker Arcelor (Spain, France, and Luxembourg) by Indian-owned Mittal Steel – for using use “climate destructive” metallurgical coal for its projects in India.

Why are new guidelines for Net-Zero Banking Alliance 'too little, too late, too slow'

By Quentin Aubineau*  Recently, the Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA) published the  second version  of its Guidelines for Climate Target Setting. Three years after the launch of the Alliance and the publication of the first version of the Guidelines, the 142 member banks of the alliance, together representing 40% of global banking assets,  voted  to “reinforce the guidelines”. This new version will enter in force on April 22, 2024. The  Net-Zero Banking Alliance  defines itself as a group of leading global banks committed to financing ambitious climate action to transition the real economy to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

India 'continues' carcinogenic asbestos use, trade, manufacture amidst US import ban

By Dr Gopal Krishna*  ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), a member of Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI), has welcomed total import ban on White Chrysotile Asbestos, a mineral fiber that causes laryngeal cancer, lung cancer, mesothelioma, and ovarian cancer by USA under the the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) which was amended in 2016. 

BBA rescues teenage domestic help, viciously tortured by her Ghaziabad employer

By Jitendra Parmar*  A teenage girl Pushpa (name changed) from West Bengal, who worked as a domestic help, was rescued from under the stairs of a society in Ghaziabad’s Vasundhra area where she was hiding after being beaten up mercilessly by her employer.

'Rampant' militarisation, 'fake' encounters continue in Adivasi areas, notes Delhi meet

By Our Representative A civil rights network Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization (FACAM)-sponsored Adivasi Adhikar Sabha in Delhi has taken strong exception to the use of drones for aerial bombing since 2021, especially in Adivasi areas. Held on 23rd March 2024, the Bhagat Singh-Rajguru-Sukhdev’s martyrdom day, a monthly newsletter, ‘Kaar: Chronicle of the Indian State's War on People’, was released on the occasion in order to raise awareness regarding “corporate loot of natural resources” in Adivasi areas.

As double engine takes backseat in Odisha, BJP is pitted against 'firmly rooted' BJD

By Sudhansu R Das  BJP has got 25 years to build its party base in Odisha. After 25 years, it felt helpless and insecure to fight elections on its own strength. The party was almost crazy to have an alliance with the ruling BJD in Odisha.  Looking for alliance at the time of election shows that the party has not groomed its grassroots level workers into potential leaders.  The state BJP leaders woke up and convinced the Central leaders that they are capable of going solo; the alliance was stillborn. The question is can BJP defeat BJD which is firmly rooted in Odisha after launching piles of populist programs in the state.  

Class collaboration in action? ‘Friendly’ electoral match of BJD with BJP in Odisha

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Amidst the flurry of frantic speculations, clandestine discussions, and fleeting moments of camaraderie, the anticipation of an electoral alliance between the ruling BJD and the opposition BJP fizzled out. The BJP decided to go alone in the forthcoming elections. The aspirations of Mr. Naveen Patnaik to position himself as a junior partner to the BJP were dashed as the BJP chose to distance itself from any such arrangement, ultimately abandoning his overtures.

Lockdown 'total failure' of science more than of politics: Open letter on 4th anniversary

Counterview Desk  In an open letter to fellow academicians, scientists and medical practitioners in India, marking the fourth anniversary of India's lockdown (25 March 2024), the Managing Committee* of the Universal Health Organisation (UHO) has insisted on the need to "repair two years of immense damage to science".

Wangchuk's hunger strike: Movement against 'corporate loot' of Ladakh natural resources

By Rimmi Vaghela  Sonam Wangchuk's hunger strike in Ladakh entered 18th day on Sunday, with more than 300 hundred people supporting him under the open sky and of course at minus 10°C. Scores of people are joining his movement in all corners of the Himalayan region. The issue has arisen after the revocation of Article 370, which snatched the special status from the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) on August 5, 2019, by the brutal majority in Parliament. Leh-Ladakh was a part of the state of Jammu Kashmir. The manner in which this happened was extremely humiliating for the people of Kashmir.

Poor mental health: Alienation, be it from labour, nature or society, a 'capitalist product'

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Capitalism, once hailed as the harbinger of peace, prosperity, and happiness in its quest for global dominance as the sole available alternative, now faces a stark revelation. The recently unveiled "Mental State of the World Report", an annual publication by the Global Mind Project conducted by Sapien Labs, exposes a troubling reality: citizens of capitalist nations are grappling with the most severe mental health challenges. 

Kejriwal arrest: 95% leaders targeted by ED under Modi govt are from opposition parties

Counterview Desk  Top human rights group, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL),  condemns the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi,   is meant to weaken the Aam Aadmi Party on the eve of the Lok Sabha elections, weaken the Aam Aadmi Party on the eve of the Lok Sabha elections, as all senior leaders and strategists of the party have been "silenced and forced out of any form of public action". "The terror of Enforcement Directorate (ED) is so widespread that even without any case being filed, mere apprehension of ED raids and arrests have led to politicians switching sides and supporting the central ruling establishment", PUCL said in a statement. "While corruption in public life is well known across political parties, its selective use and misuse to browbeat the opposition seems to be one of the final nails in the coffin for democracy", it added.  Text :  Chief Minister of Delhi by the ED People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) condemns

Urgently wanted courageous Joseph amidst aura of 'divisiveness, hate, violence' in India

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* Our world today (particularly, India) is broken and fragmented; divisiveness, hate and violence hold way! The people cry out for exemplars: women and men who can transcend exclusiveness, pettiness and jingoism!

Attack on foreign students: Gujarat varsity's reputation, ranking at stake, say academics

Counterview Desk  Expressing anguish over the attack on international students in Gujarat University hostels, a letter claimed to have been signed by 122 current and former academics has asked the Gujarat Vice Chancellor, Dr Neerja Gupta, to provide emotional support to the attacked students and to ensure their physical safety.  

In a world driven by market-driven culture, power politics, this Gandhian stood apart

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Rabi Mausa, popularly known as Rabi Narayan Jena, who departed on March 17, 2024, at the age of 79, was a truly unique Gandhian figure. Despite the pervasive influence of mass consumerism, he remained steadfast in his commitment to Gandhian principles, both in his personal conduct and his political endeavours.

Riverfront development? Cosmetic changes along Hyderabad's Musi river 'mean nothing'

By Sudhansu R Das  Why do our political leaders  compare  Indian river with Thames, Hudson or Rhine of the western countries? Indian rivers are no less beautiful and economically productive than any other rivers in the world.  

Reducing emission? India among top nations whose coal as energy source going up

By NS Venkataraman*  The State of the Global Climate report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) confirmed that the year 2023 was the warmest year on record, with the global temperature of 1.4 degree celsius above pre-industrial 1850-1900 base line.

Green credits: Govt of India seeking to allow private investors to 'exploit' forest land

Counterview Desk In an open letter to the Union minister for environment, as many 91 former civil servants, objecting to the new green credit rules, have said that, if implemented, these would have “adverse impact on the environment”. Recently notified by the Government of India, the ex-officials belonging to top civil services of the country, said, the rules, notified recently, should be “withdrawn”.

India's climate-tech sector's 2023 investment only 57% of 2022, just $2,853 million

By  Ayman Ujjainwala*  While investments in India's climate-tech sector grew significantly in previous years due to increasing interest from domestic and international investors, the funding momentum waned by the end of November 2023, reveals consulting firm FSG's new report 'India's Green Revolution 2.0 – Trends Shaping India's Climate-Tech Sector'. According to the report, the sector attracted US$ 2,853 million till November 30, 2023, representing only 57% of the total investment garnered in 2022.

Poor private sector engagement 'impacting' carbon pricing policy in Global South

Counterview Desk  The joint report by Environmental Defense Fund and Observer Research Fund, "Navigating Carbon Pricing: The G20 Experience and Global South Prospects", delves into the complex landscape of carbon pricing, examining its application within the G20 nations and the potential implications for emerging economies in the Global South.  The report claims to provide insights and recommendations for effective carbon pricing strategies in diverse economies.  A note: The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Observer Research Foundation (ORF) have launched the Navigating Carbon Pricing: The G20 Experience and Global South Prospects” report. The report delves into the complex landscape of carbon pricing, examining its application within the G20 nations and the potential implications for emerging economies in the Global South. The report offers a comprehensive analysis of various carbon pricing instruments currently in existence, providing valuable i

Branded Maoist, ex-political prisoners narrate how they were 'wrongfully' incarcerated

By Our Representative  Celebrating the International Day of Solidarity with Political Prisoners, which fell on March 18, the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a joint platform of 35+ organizations, held a public gathering in Delhi titled “Life in Anda Cell: Political Prisoners and Wrongful Incarcerations” at the Press Club of India, Delhi, in order to mark the acquittal and prison experience of cultural activist Hem Mishra and his family.  The Bombay High Court recently cleared him, along with Dr GN Saibaba, journalist Prashant Rahi, Adivasi activists Vijay Tirki, Mahesh Tirki and Pandu Narote, of all the charges.

'Waiving' proof of persecution, CAA makes religious identity as the basis of citizenship

By Ram Puniyani*  Even as the massive scam in the form of electoral bonds was unfolding,  Union home minister Amit Shah decided to implement the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), passed nearly four years ago, by coming up with its rules and procedures. There is a direct correlation of its implementation today: the electoral bonds scam had already emerged on the surface ahead of the general elections. Strictly following its pattern of divisive politics, BJP decided to implement CAA.

Asymptomatic Covid cases made headlines, vaccination deaths ignored: Victims' kin

By Rosamma Thomas*  On March 19, 2024, members of five families from different states in southern India got together at the Kochi Press Club to appraise the press about the loss of loved ones after Covid vaccination. Venugopalan Govindan and his wife Sujini were there from Coimbatore, to explain that they lost their young daughter Karunya after a spell of inflammation following Covid vaccination in 2021. 

A question to Gujarati friends: Is attacking a person weakened by fasting honourable?

By Suranya Aiyar*  A question for all Gujarati friends... For the last three years I have been working closely with the Jain Gujarati community and BJP supporters regarding the racist and cruel snatching of the child of a tech family from Gujarat in Germany. For years I have been helping them write their appeals to Indian and German officials pleading for the religious and cultural rights of the baby to be respected.

Attack on foreign students: Gujarat govt failed to prevent hate driven criminals, says PUCL

  Counterview Desk  India's top human rights group, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), in a representation to the Police Commissioner, Ahmedabad City, stating that the attack on the foreign Muslim students in the Gujarat University hostel during night time on the 16th of March, 2024 is a "matter of extreme concern and shame for Gujarat", has said, "It is unfortunate that the State government has not been able to prevent such hate driven criminals from unleashing."

Delhi meet demands release of NewsClick editor, protests attacks on right to dissent

By Our Representative   “Release Prabir Purkayastha”,  “Protect Journalists’ Livelihoods”, “Save Journalism for Tomorrow”,  “ Protect Press freedom and Working Journalist Act” , “We say no to repressive press laws”,  were major demands raised at a recent meeting held by the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) at the Press Club of India to protests attacks on press freedom and the democratic right of dissent.

Is India under BJP joining the ‘democracy suppressors’ club of Pak, Sri Lanka et al?

By Ram Puniyani*  The leaders of BJP,  the ruling dispensation, have been claiming to be winning more that 400 (370 BJP + 30 allies) seats in the forthcoming parliamentary elections (Char sau paar) of 2024. This is not based on any psephological analysis but purely propagated for political reasons.

Invincible, Modi 'taller' than BJP, RSS: An opportunity for Congress beyond 2024?

By NS Venkataraman*  With the announcement of poll schedule for the 2024 parliamentary election, there is palpable excitement and expectation amongst the countrymen  about the shape of things to happen in India after the  results of the election would be announced. There is also speculation abroad about the future course of developments in India.

Allahabad police 'blocks' women activists' move to commemorate anti-British Rani

By Our Representative  In an unusual move, the Allahabad police on March 17 blocked commemoration of 200 years of courageous resistance against British imperialism by Rani Chennamma of Kittur, Karnataka, whose valour is compared with Rani Lakshmibhai of Jhansi.

Indo-Bangla border: Farmers facing 'illegal obstacles' in harvesting, transporting yields

  Counterview Desk  In a representation to the chairperson, National Human Rights Commission, human rights defender Kirity Roy, who is secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), has said that Border Security Force (BSF) personnel are creating "illegal obstacles" for farmers seeking to harvest their ripened yields and transport them to the market in village Jhaukuthi of Cooch Behar district.

How international aid is dragging developing countries from one crisis to another

By John P Ruehl*  On February 1, 2024, Ukraine secured a €50 billion aid package from the European Union (EU), aimed at bolstering its defense capabilities and facilitating the country’s reconstruction. Dozens of other countries , along with Western-dominated multilateral lenders like the International Monetary Foundation ( IMF ) and the World Bank , as well as private investors , have contributed billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in 2022. Billions more are pledged.

'A war crime': This Ramadan starvation is general condition for Palestinians in Gaza

By Vijay Prashad*  Speaking in Rome, Italy, the head of the United Nations World Food Program Cindy McCain said , “If we do not exponentially increase the size of aid going into the northern areas” of Gaza, “famine is imminent. It’s imminent.” Over 30,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza by the genocidal Israeli war, and the Palestinians in Gaza are on the verge of famine. Palestine’s Permanent Observer at the United Nations Riyad Mansour said that over half a million people are “one step away from famine.” 

Hindutva 'threat' to Odisha's indigenous leadership, grassroots empowerment

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Democratic identity encompasses more than just political processes and governance structures; it is about the empowerment and development of citizens. At its core, democratic identity reflects the intricate interplay between the state, government, political parties, and citizens, influenced by diverse ideologies aimed at fostering democratic progress and ensuring the well-being of the populace.

Environmental concern: It was Sterlite; now it's Coromandel. What next in Tamil Nadu?

  By NS Venkataraman* It is reported in the media that around 200 Chennai residents  came together for a demonstration at Besant Nagar  in Chennai on 3rd March,2024 in solidarity with the residents of Ennore, who have been demanding that the fertiliser unit of Coromandel International at Ennore in Chennai should be closed once for all.