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Showing posts from April, 2024

Kejriwal arrest: Why is poll panel silent on politics of vendetta?, ask ex-civil servants

Counterview Desk  As many 87 former civil servants, who are part of the Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG), in an open letter to the Election Commission of India, referring to the recent arrest of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, have wondered whether the top poll panel is abiding by its own commitment for level playing field between different political parties.

Deepening leadership crisis in Odisha: Why is media unable to project genuine leaders?

  By Sudhansu R Das  There has been a sharp decline of the political environment in Odisha. The state has become a happy hunting ground for turncoat politicians who hop from party to party mocking at the verdict of people, democracy, party ideologies, judiciary, media and the intellectual class. The acrobatics of the turncoat politicians in the state should be stopped before they wreak havoc in the state’s economy, social and cultural life.   

20 yrs ago, Lara scored record breaking 400 with 'god given artistry', sans any blemish

By Harsh Thakor*  Brian Lara on April 12th completed the 20th anniversary of his record breaking 400 in 2004, at Antigua cricket ground, the first ever in history of test cricket to penetrate the barrier of the quadruple.  For 766 minutes and 682 deliveries Lara did not commit a blemish, to climb an epic, with his god given artistry. The very manner he climbed his summit is a separate story itself, resurrecting glory in the manner of a messenger of god. 

A stark narrative: Workers who build hospitals 'often die' without access to health services

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Capitalism has managed to establish a perverted society where the individuals who construct homes often endure homelessness, those who produce food often go to bed hungry, and those who build roads frequently lack a footpath to walk for themselves. Moreover, individuals involved in constructing schools, colleges, and universities find that their own children lack access to quality education.

Attempting to dictate beliefs, courts often seek to 'undermine' India's secular ethos

Counterview Desk  In a representation to the President of India and the Chief Justice of India, Supreme Court nearly 200 concerned citizens have said that recent controversies surrounding the Places of Worship Act, 1991 (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Act’), have posed “significant challenges to one of the most cherished tenets of secularism – faith”.

Political violence in Sikkim is 'harming' peace and stability of Himalayan State

By Tsring Gyatso  Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) and Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), as the two main local political parties in Sikkim, have attacked each other in the Sikkim general election, creating an atmosphere of violence and terror, causing many bloody incidents. Currently, supporters of both sides continue to face off in many constituencies in Sikkim, causing chaos.

Indians witnessing 'regression to Hindutva politics' under Modi ahead of elections

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The forthcoming general election in India, scheduled from April 19, 2024, to June 1, 2024, to elect the 543 members of the 18th Lok Sabha and the new Government of India, carries immense significance for the preservation of India's identity as a liberal, secular, and constitutional democracy.

Will Diocese of Idukki be prosecuted for showing 'A' film on love jihad to children?

Counterview Desk  A statement signed by concerned Catholics regarding the screening of the ‘Kerala Story’ by the Diocese of Idukki has said that showing the film to school students to make them aware of love jihad “defies logic”, as it is clearly a propaganda film “created to further the Hindutva narrative that is trying to destroy the secular nature of our country.”

BJP 'likely to use' Ram Navmi for religious divide: NGO warns Election Commission

By Our Representative  A delegation of the Loktantra Bachao 2024 campaign, which consists of around 30 people's organisations, has expressed the apprehension that Ram Navami, which is on 17th April, is likely to be used by BJP "for religious polarization before the elections." Making a representation before Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Jharkhand, K Ravi Kumar, it demanded "fair and peaceful Lok Sabha elections in the state without religious and political interference."

Alleged killing of another Bangladesh youth inside Indian territory: NHRC inquiry sought

By Kirity Roy* There was yet another incident of the killing of a Bangladeshi youth by the Border Security Force personnel attached with ‘Barthar’ BOP of ‘G’ Company of 75 BSF Battalion. In last five years several incidents of killings happened under this police station’s jurisdiction and the cases will get the award as “Not Guilty” as usual.

Bail to Shoma Sen suggests 'fabricated nature' of Bhima Koregaon conspiracy: PUDR

By Joseph Mathai, Paramjeet Singh*  The People’s Union For Democratic Rights (PUDR) has expressed relief at the Supreme Court’s granting of bail to Prof Shoma Sen on April 5 after nearly six long years of pre-trial incarceration. Charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the infamous Bhima Koregaon (BK) conspiracy case, Shoma Sen is the fourth accused to be released on ‘bail on merits’ by the Supreme Court, after Anand Teltumbde, Vernon Gonsalves, and Arun Ferreira.  

' Heroic victory': Acquittal of 23 protestors criminalised for fighting for justice in Brazil

By Harsh Thakor* After almost 10 years of a process based on no material act that constitutes the commission of crimes, the Judiciary finally recognized that the young people, who participated in the Days of People’s Struggle, in 2013 and 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, were not guilty of any crime, exonerated of all set up charges.

Brahmanical legacy? Spineless paratroopers leaving Congress 'shouldn't worry' party

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat* The so-called 'exodus' of spineless paratroopers from the Congress party should not worry anyone. At the moment, any such parasite who can abuse the Gandhis and the Congress would be seen by the Manuwadi Brahmin-Bania media as BJP's great achievement.

Nuclear power expansion: Is AEC's new, 'unrealistic' target fully backed by PMO?

By Shankar Sharma*  Another unrealistic and tall claim by Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) has been announced: India is eyeing 100 GW nuclear power by 2047, the AEC chairman  AK Mohanty   has said. A few years ago, the dream target for the Indian nuclear establishment was 275,000 MWe of nuclear power by 2050 (as per DAE document of 2008 "A Strategy for the Growth of Electricity in India”). Now this target of 100 GW nuclear power by 2047. And as at the end of February 2024, the actual nuclear power capacity was only 7,480 MWe, which formed only 1.7% of the total power capacity in the country. 

Women innovators on simple, revolutionary alternate solutions for water problems

By Proshakha Maitra, Mansee Bal Bhargava* The detrimental effects of uncontrolled population rise and accelerated change in the global climate have posed tremendous pressure on the water and sanitation. This calls all stakeholders, from both developed and developing nations, to improve their resilience and to instigate sustainability. It is more crucial than ever to optimise the use of the resources we have on hand since the world population is projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050.

Modi model, Hindutva icon 'justified' alliance with Muslim League before Independence

By Shamsul Islam*  Our PM describes himself as ‘Hindu’ nationalist and member of RSS. He proudly shares the fact that he was groomed to be a political leader by one of the two fathers of the Hindutva politics, MS Golwalkar (the other being VD Savarkar) and given the task of establishing Hindutva polity in India after eradicating secularism.

Socialist, satyagrahi, satyashodhak, inspired by Jyotiba Phule, Ambedkar, Gandhi, Shivaji

By Bharat Dogra*  Baba Adhav, 93,  has led a life of many struggles and efforts made in very difficult conditions, spread over seven decades, which brought hope to millions of workers. These efforts were particularly concentrated among the poorest and unorganized sector workers.

Making aadhaar compulsory for Central entrance test 'violates' Supreme Court order

Counterview Desk A human rights group, Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), has said that, violating the Supreme Court judgment, the Union education ministry’s National Testing Agency (NTA) went ahead with making mandatory the 12-digit Unique Identification (UID)/ Aadhaar Number for registering under the Central University Entrance Test (CUET).

'Critical for cultural and ecological security': Ladakh women seek statehood, self-rule

By Our Representative Six Ladakhi women from different organisations in the region, who concluded their 10 day fast, have told an online press conference that it is necessary to provide statehood to Ladakh, even as declaring the region under the 6th schedule, for “deepening democracy, preserving ecology, and for survival.” Feminists across India joined the media meet in solidarity with the Ladakh movement “for 6th schedule, statehood and justice.”

Neat portrayal of Quit India chapter amidst propaganda films: Ae Watan Mere Watan

By Prem Singh*  We, a few comrades of Delhi, used to organize an annual programme in the memory of Allah Baksh under the auspices of Samajwadi Manch. On the suggestion of Anil Nauria, the first programme was organized in Queen's Park (opposite New Delhi Railway Station) in 1995 or 1996. 

How huge crowd at Mukhtar Ansari funeral is comparable to BJP's 'people's court' talk

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  The massive crowd at the funeral of Mukhtar Ansari in Mohammadabad reflects the power and influence that his family wields in the area. One can't deny that he had enormous power in Ghazipur and Mau districts. But the crowd that came and chanted slogans in his favour does not exonerate him of his conviction by the court.  It is important that we understand this. 

Key Bastar anti-mining, anti-displacement tribal stir leaders being arrested: FACAM

Counterview Desk The civil rights network* Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization (FACAM), seeking the release of Chhattisgarh Adivasi leader Surju Tekam, arrested following a raid on his village residence, has demanded that there should be an “end to fake encounters and false arrests in the name of Maoist links”.

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

'Enviromental issues missing': Parties told to include river rejuvenation in poll agenda

By Our Representative  Representatives from diverse organisations based in different parts of the country have raised concerns about the developmental policies of Central and State governments that have  allegedly "contributed to the commodification, privatization, appropriation and pollution of our riverine ecosystems."

India 'neglecting' air, water, vegetation as its world air quality index ranking decelerates

By Dr Gurinder Kaur* The World Air Quality Report 2023 , prepared by a Swiss technology company IQAir, was released on 19 March 2024. According to this report, India is the third most polluted country in the world after Bangladesh and Pakistan, and the capital of India, New Delhi, is the most polluted capital in the world.

How primate life demands host of skills that aren’t passed down through instinct alone

By Brenna R Hassett*  Anthropological science is our species’ attempt to address our most fundamental questions about who we are and how we got here. It asks for evidence of the evolutionary path we have traveled to become the most successful primate on the planet; it seeks clues as to why Homo sapiens — and not our recent relatives — came to be the sole survivor of millions of years of hominid evolution. 

Kerala model empowering communities, reducing inequalities: Top ISKCON official

Counterview Desk Gauranga Das, director of ISKCON’s Govardhan Ecovillage (GEV), founded by Radhanath Swami, has insisted that Kerala’s decentralized planning experience is one of the successful initiatives in “reducing inequality and promoting inclusivity”, underscoring the importance of “holistic approaches and global collaboration in addressing the root causes of exclusion.” He was invited to speak at the G20’s C20 conference of Brazil.

Philanthropy of ordinary people 'ensures': their precious donation is used wisely

By Bharat Dogra*  Philanthropy is generally associated with rich people, but some of the best work for the poor can be done with the help of small donations given by ordinary people. One reason for this is that unlike extremely rich people, ordinary people are much more likely to identify with issues of justice and equality. 

Why shifts and inconsistencies in Nepali politics 'haven't resonated well' with people

By Pranjal Pandey*  Nepal’s two largest communist parties have united to establish a new coalition government, including smaller parties as partners. Pushpa Kamal Dahal, leader of the Maoist party, will continue as prime minister, a year after his initial election.  Dahal has severed ties with the Nepali Congress Party, the largest parliamentary group, and has allied with the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), the second-largest party led by Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli. Following the shift in coalition dynamics, the prime minister is obligated to seek a vote of confidence in Parliament within 30 days, a process anticipated to result in his favor.

Thousands of children may be pushed into marriage during Akshaya Tritiya, warn NGOs

By Jitendra Parmar*  To ensure that no child is pushed into child marriage during the upcoming wedding season in the country, community social workers (CSWs) of various NGOs of the Child Marriage Free India coalition got together to chalk out a strategy for the same in Delhi.  The ‘Capacity Building Workshop for Community Social Workers’ was organized by India Child Protection Fund and supported by ‘V For Her Foundation’ and ‘Just Rights for Children’.  

Madurai NGO helps revive tank system, receive water from rainfall, reservoirs, canals

By Proshakha Maitra, Mansee Bal Bhargava* In India, agriculture accounts for 85% of freshwater usage. Of this freshwater usage, 65% is extracted from groundwater sources, making overexploitation of groundwater reserves a significant concern for today and tomorrow’s water needs for all purposes. As, the intensive use of groundwater for irrigation has led to significant ecological and socio-economic challenges.

Pitted against corporatization of mineral rich area, Chhattisgarh Adivasi leader arrested

By Our Representative  Chhattisgarh Adivasi leader Sarju Tekam has been arrested following a security forces' raid on his house in Kalwar village of Manpur Mohalla District in Bastar region on 2nd April 2024 . Ahead of his arrest, the security forces who raided his house conducted several seizures, being described as violation of "all norms and laws". Condemning the arrest, the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), called it "yet another attempt to silence the voice of Adivasis."

'Mockery of democracy': Distributing tickets to turncoats, film stars or celebrities

By Sudhansu R Das*  The candidates’ capacity to spend and win elections is not his real capacity to protect the interest of the state. So, distributing tickets on the basis of the candidates’ chance of winning is a political blunder because it excludes a large number of leaders who can’t spend but are quite capable of contributing to improve the governance and quality of life in the country.

Crusader for people’s causes, this Hollywood actor entered 'unexplored zones' in US

By Harsh Thakor*  Marlon Brando on April 3rd completes his birth centenary. He perished in 2004, on July 1, aged 80 years. Arguably in Hollywood Brando penetrated sensitivity and versatility at an unparalleled scale and discovered new horizons or explored path breaking zones in acting.

This film argues India got Independence not through non-violence but through violence

By Ram Puniyani*  Films have been a powerful medium which create a social understanding in various ways. We had films which reflected social realities and promoted progressive values. Films like ‘Mother India’, ‘Do Bigha Jameen’ and ‘Naya Daur’ are just a few of these. Some biopic films have also contributed a lot in disseminating social common sense, which are close to reality and promote inclusive values. Attenborough’s 'Gandhi' and 'Bhagat Singh' were greatly inspiring. Many of these were based on immaculate research and brought out the true spirit of the people on whose life they were based.

Ruling, non-ruling elite working together to 'control, perpetuate' capitalist hegemony

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The world is witnessing growing confusion in politics, economy, culture, society, and life on a scale never seen before. There is confusion in different aspects of life perpetuated by the ruling elites, who use 'confusion' as a strategy to spread dominant narratives without any form of scrutiny.

Ex-RSS supporter asks: Does Pradhan Sevak need sengol to proclaim himself Emperor?

By Rosamma Thomas*  Bhanwar Meghwanshi’s book , ‘I Could Not be Hindu: The Story of a Dalit in the RSS’ (2020), is known to have been translated in several languages; it seeks to acquaint the readers with the fact that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has little respect for Dalits within its ranks, and why many Hindus have distanced themselves from the outfit. It insists, India is a secular nation, and must remain so to be true to the Constitution. 

Ravish Kumar, others in Hindi book on threat to democracy amidst 'corporate loot'

By Bharat Dogra*  These are difficult times for democracy and this book on democracy in Hindi has thus been published at just the right time. Although it is mainly centred on India, it also ventures from time to time to comment on the situation in other parts of the world too.

Stories that can bring a positive change 'deserve to be called news': Binu Mathew

By Abhay Kumar*   At a time when the Indian media is increasingly being controlled by the rich and dominated by the caste elites, has set up an example of giving space to multiple voices. On the 22nd birth anniversary of the news website, Binu Mathew, the editor, talks to Abhay Kumar on his two-decade-long journey.

Climate change 'disproportionately' burdens women and girl children with water distress

By Ayesha Khan, Garbhit Naik, Mansee Bal Bhargava*  The Sixth Assessment Report of the IPCC findings emphasize on the impacts, adaptation and vulnerability of climate change, with recommendations for urgency of immediate and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. 

Why it's time to question the very need for hydel power projects of any kind in India

By Shankar Sharma* An opinion piece , ‘Dam(n) it, what’s wrong with India’s hydropower push?’, has raised a number of very serious concerns to our people from the large number of hydel power projects being planned and built in the country. Whereas, the issues have been raised many times in the recent past, civil society has not been able to persuade the concerned authorities, especially the Ministry of Power, Ministry of Environment, NITI Aayog, and PMO, to provide satisfactory clarification to any of these concerns.

Will Govt of India set up land bank, ‘reclaim' wasteland to set up solar power projects?

By NS Venkataraman* Acquiring land for setting up solar power projects is one of the biggest challenges for solar project developers in India. Solar power project require large track of land and the cost of land is critical in reducing the overall project costs. To set up solar power project of one megawatt capacity, around 6,000 square metre (around 1.5 acre) of land is required.