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Showing posts from May, 2024

Trafficking of West Bengal teenage girl: Rights leader alleges police inaction

By Our Representative Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), a Hooghly-based human rights group, has asked additional director general of police (ADGP), CID, West Bengal, to ensure quick investigation into the trafficking of a 17-year-old girl, alleging police inaction despite complaint filed more than one-and-a-half months back.  The girl belongs to a poor scheduled caste family from village Hariharpur, Police Station Basirhat of 24 Parganas (North) district, said Roy, naming a resident of village Pathankhali, Police Station  Gosaba, district 24 Parganas (South), for abducting the girl daughter when she had out of her residence to buy some items on March 26.  "Hariharpur village is situated at the bank of river Ichamati and adjoined to India-Bangladesh border. The villagers were mostly dependent on fishing in Ichamati river, but now fishing is being restricted by the posted Border Security Force personnel and forced the villagers to sustain their fam

'Vicious' assault on Nehru led by small men who confuse Taxila with Patna

By Mohan Guruswamy*  Jawaharlal Nehru died sixty years ago on May 27, 1964. He was seventy-four. He had a stroke that morning at 6.25 am and lost consciousness almost immediately. He died without regaining consciousness, and according to a member of his household, his death was due to "an internal hemorrhage, a paralytic stroke, and a heart attack." He had returned the previous day from Mussourie, “hale and hearty” but Nehru was clearly ailing. Parliament, then in session, and the nation were told about his death at 2.05 pm. A major event such as this inevitably gives rise to “where were you?” questions. Where were you when Kennedy was assassinated? Where were you when Indira Gandhi was killed? Where were you when the World Trade Center was brought down? The shock of the event magnifies the immediate around you and imprints it in your mind. I still can vividly recall the day Nehru died and the moment I learnt about it. I was in Poona studying German at the Goethe Institute, a

Unresponsive to people's needs, Japanese funders 'failed' Karnataka chipko stir

By Bharat Dogra*  While observing the 50th anniversary of the Chipko movement for saving forests many inspiring stories were related but we did not hear much about the highly inspiring Appiko movement of Karnataka and some other parts of South India. I visited some of the villages where the movement gained strength and found that  while many persons, particularly villagers, contributed so much to this collective effort, the most central and pioneering contribution was  by Pandurang Hegde.

Educational system today catering to needs of 'techno-feudal' economy

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Education stands on the twin pillars of essentialist and emancipatory consciousness. Education, in terms of skills, qualifications, grades, marks, and employability, reflects the essentialist criteria of consciousness, which are crucial for meeting the everyday requirements of human life and ensuring a dignified living. It plays a vital role in helping individuals recover from poverty, homelessness, hunger, and illiteracy.

Police action on students campaigning for poll boycott 'assault on dissent'

Counterview Desk  The civil rights network* Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), has said that the police action against members of the  Bhagat Singh Chhatra Ekta Manch (bsCEM) in Delhi University (DU) campus for putting up wall paintings asking people to boycott elections is an assault on democratic right of citizens to express their view.

Growing stream of pollution infecting homes, bodies in US, Vietnam

By Erica Cirino*  Louisiana’s “River Parishes,” located along the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, shoulder some of the worst industry impacts in the United States. As a result, this region has acquired a grim reputation as “ Cancer Alley .” 

Apprehending hung Lok Sabha, ex-civil servants ask President to ensure there is no horsetrading

Counterview Desk  As many as 102 former civil servants, who are part of what is called Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG), apprehending a hung Parliament, have said that "onerous responsibilities will be placed upon the shoulders of the President of India" to follow "the established democratic precedent of first inviting the pre-poll alliance that garnered the largest number of seats", even as preempting the "possibilities of horse-trading."

'More divided, unequal society': Modi govt economic policies' contribution

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  No amount of propaganda can hide that Narendra Modi is riding on the rising tides of debt and destitution. The Modi-led Hindutva government of India is pushing the country into an economic landscape that breeds billionaires while increasing the central government debt to 58 percent of GDP in the financial year 2024. 

Sarfraz Nawaz pioneered art of reverse swing, was as lethal as any pace bowler

By Harsh Thakor*  Sarfraz Nawaz in many ways was the pioneer of the art of reverse swing bowling. The veteran who was born in 1948 was hardly remembered on his 75th birthday, on December 1st, last year.

Decision on political wing of RSS 'was taken' in the wake of Gandhiji's murder

By Ram Puniyani*  As the election season (April-May 2024) is in progress there are observations by some that this time RSS volunteers (swayamsevaks) are not on the field to help the BJP for electoral mobilization, barring the one of 1984, in the aftermath of the anti-Sikh pogrom. 

NGO responds to India's urban areas fast turning into hubs of sweltering temperatures

By Nimisha Agarwal*  In many bustling cities and towns across India, residents face a recurring and escalating challenge, intense heat waves. Known for their vibrant culture and dense populations, urban areas across the nation are now also becoming known for sweltering temperatures that impact daily life each summer. 

ECI told to disclose authentic record of voter turnout, be transparent

Counterview Desk  The legal rights network, National Alliance for Justice, Accountability and Rights (NAJAR), has said that the Election Commission of India's (ECI's) affidavit regarding disclosure of voter turnout data before the Supreme Court is "misleading, legally untenable and violative of democratic principles".

Northeast India’s way: Recording more voter turnout than national average

By Nava Thakuria*  Amid the national elections of India, where five phases of polling were successfully completed (another two are waiting), various sections have expressed concern over the low voters’ turn out in the largest electoral show on earth. Election Commission of India (ECI), which conducts all important polls under constitutional provisions in the country of 1.4 billion populations, reveals the polling percentages as 66.14, 66.71, 65.68, 67.25 and 60.09 in the concluded five phases of voting respectively. 

'Ugliness of US-imposed wars': Context - deadly bombardment of Gaza

By Vijay Prashad*  In the apartment of my friends in Baghdad (Iraq), they tell me about how each of them had been impacted by the ugliness of the 2003 U.S.-imposed illegal war on their country. Yusuf and Anisa are both members of the Federation of Journalists of Iraq and both have experience as “stringers” for Western media companies that came to Baghdad amid the war. 

'Uncertainty in Iran': Raisi brokered crucial Chabahar Port deal with India

By Pranjal Pandey*  Ebrahim Raisi, the Iranian President, and the country’s foreign minister were tragically found deceased on May 20, 2024, shortly after their helicopter crashed in foggy conditions. In response, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei swiftly appointed a relatively unknown vice president as the interim leader.

Why is Rs 5500 crore Pune Riverfront Development Project facing backlash

By Aneesh Parnerkar, Bhavi Lunawat, Jaisila Menon*  The rivers of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad face a critical moment, challenged by ambitious development projects, uncontrolled sewage, and dam-based water management constraints. 

WHO move can 'enable' India to detain citizens, restrict freedom, control media

Counterview Desk  In an an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with copies to concerned Cabinet ministers, bureaucrats and MPs,  health rights network  People’s Alliance for Public Health (PAPH alias JanSwasthya Morcha), has urged that India should not be a signatory to the World Health Organization ( WHO) Pandemic Agreement and Amendments to the  International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005  to be adopted at the 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva from 27th May to 1st June, 2024.

Delayed wages, contract labour caused sanitation worker's death: JNUTA

By Our Representative  On 20 May, Vijay Valmiki, a sanitation worker who was posted at Paschimabad was found hanging from a tree in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). Earlier in the day, he had performed his duties, and then within a short time died a tragic death.  Vijay Valmiki was a resident of Kusumpur Pahari. His wife and three minor children along with the family, and co-workers are in a state of shock. 

Desist from academic censorship, stop threatening scholars: Letter to ICMR

Counterview Desk  In a letter to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) director, the Universal Health Organisation (UHO) which consists of prominent health experts, has insisted that the Government of India’s top medical research agency should lead high quality research on vaccine safety and “desist from academic censorship”.

'Enough evidence': Covid vaccines impacted women's reproductive health

By Deepika*  In 2024, the news outlets have suddenly started reporting about covid vaccine side effects in a very extensive manner. Sadly, the damage is already done.

Informal, outdoor workers 'excluded': Govt of India's excessive heat policies

Counterview Desk  Top civil rights network, National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), has demanded urgent government action to protect millions of outdoor workers from extreme heat and heatwaves, insisting declaration of heatwaves as climatic disaster.

Dadi, poti discuss 'injustice' under 10 yr Modi rule: Video campaign goes viral

By Our Representative  Watan Ki Raah Mein, a civil society campaign of the Samvidhan Bachao Nagrik Abhiyan, has released a short video conversation on social media of an exchange of letters between a dadi and her poti discussing poverty, unemployment, corruption and women’s safety. The letters also raise the question of  suppression of our fundamental rights of speech, expression and justice. 

Territorialisation to control resources 'threatening' citizenship rights

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Working people have historically fought against various forms of oppression, including feudalism, capitalism, colonialism, imperialism, and religious fundamentalism, to advance democracy and secure citizenship rights. 

US 'frustrated' with India’s discomfort: Maritime exercise in South China Sea

By Vijay Prashad*  In early April 2024, the navies of four countries -- Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States -- held a maritime exercise in the South China Sea. Australia’s Warramunga, Japan’s Akebono, the Philippines’ Antonio Luna, and the United States’ Mobile worked together in these waters to strengthen their joint abilities and -- as they said in a joint statement  -- to “uphold the right to freedom of navigation and overflight and respect for maritime rights under international law.” 

Flash floods wreak havoc as Afghan economy under Taliban down by 27%

By Pranjal Pandey*  Nearly 315 people have died, and over 1,600 have suffered injuries in catastrophic flash floods that swept through various provinces in Afghanistan on Friday, May 10. Authorities have declared a state of emergency in response to the situation. Northern Baghlan province bore the brunt of the devastation, with a death toll of over 300 and thousands of houses either destroyed or damaged. Torrential rains have wreaked havoc in several provinces, including Takhar, Badakhshan, Ghor, and Herat.

JP Nadda's 'big joke': BJP independent of RSS, a cultural-social organisation

By Shamsul Islam*  BJP president JP Nadda in a recent media conversation  has claimed that “RSS is a cultural organisation and we are a political organisation… It’s (RSS is) an ideological front. The RSS and the BJP have their own areas of working very clearly established”.

Muslim population growth fell 5% in 2000s: Whither 2011-21 Census data?

By Dipankar Bhattacharya*  On 7 May when the third phase of the ongoing elections was taking place in India, the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (EAC-PM) issued a working paper ostensibly to present a comparative study on the changing share of religious minorities in 167 countries of the world between 1950 and 2015. 

Modi 'boosting' anti-Muslim rhetoric, creating 'Hindus in danger' scare

By Ram Puniyani*  As the election season is in progress the divisive propaganda is also peaking. Chief propagandist of the ruling BJP is Prime Minister Modi himself. In these elections his narrative has been built around the falsehood that if the INDIA alliance comes to power they will give all the facilities to Muslims, they will ensure that Muslims have the first right to live and they will make changes in the Constitution whereby Hindus will become second class citizens. 

Resistance fighter who planted seeds for new roses to bloom for free, democratic Austria

By Harsh Thakor*  On 14 April, 2024, at the ripe old age of 98 years, Kâthe Sasso, a resistance fighter, passed away. A courageous and relentless combatant against fascism, a model of how to wage resistance, the intensification of Austro-fascism in the mid-1930s and the rule of Nazi dictatorship from 1938 propelled the course of Kathe Sasso’s life. As political opposition was turning illegal, anti-government activists were compelled to function underground and beyond the boundaries of mainstream society.

BJP caused large-scale deforestation, 'evading' forest rights in poll campaign

By Our Representative  A new report , released by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties-Maharashtra, Fridays for Future-Karnataka, and Bahutva Karnataka has sought to contrast claims versus realities on the environment and climate change during the last ten years of NDA’s governance.

Indian authorities 'evading' discussion on battery energy storage system

By Shankar Sharma*  In the larger context of the ever growing need and importance of renewable energy sources for a sustainable energy/ electricity sector in our country, the critical role of energy storage systems, especially the battery energy storage system (BESS), is being emphasised frequently at the global level, such as the one by  the International Energy Agency (IEA). Unfortunately, our authorities in India seem not to attach the same level of importance, which the BESS deserves.

Deforestation, mining, poaching, urban growth: Odisha 'axing its own leg'

By Sudhansu R Das  The heat wave in Odisha is increasing every year due to loss of forest cover and the green trees in urban and rural areas. It has made human survival difficult.  It adversely affects the socio-cultural and economic environment; it reduces productivity hours, devastates the livelihood of people. 

Right to health and informed consent: Why 'revisit' Mission Indradhanush?

By Deepika*  Extending on to the subject of Misleading ads and acting responsibly , another aspect that needs highlighting is our right to health and to be made aware of quality of products, as pointed out by the Supreme Court.

'Scientifically flawed': 22 examples of the failure of vaccine passports

By Vratesh Srivastava*   Vaccine passports were introduced in late 2021 in a number of places across the world, with the primary objective of curtailing community spread and inducing "vaccine hesitant" people to get vaccinated, ostensibly to ensure herd immunity. The case for vaccine passports was scientifically flawed and ethically questionable.

'Bastar becoming warzone': Death of 2 children by mortar shell explosion

Couterview Desk  The civil rights network* Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization (FACAM) has said the death of two children caused by the mortar shell explosion  in Bijapur, Chhattisgarh,  highlights the grim reality of the larger Bastar area turning into a warzone in the name of countering Maoism. 

What made stressed voters 'celebrate' 100% voting in MP village Gajraha?

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  We are in the middle of the election now with 4th phase of voting on May 13th at 96 constituencies of 10 states . I am keen to share an experience of celebrating 100% voting for the first time in life in the past 30 years of my voting. In my immediate acquaintances, we are five people out of which only I exercised my voting and the rest four could/did not vote.

Alarming rise in Delhi, UP manhole workers' deaths, govt 'unconcerned'

By Sanjeev Kumar*  In a Press Conference held at the Press Club of India, New Delhi, many advocates, journalists, and social activists expressed concern for the alarming number of deaths due to manual scavenging within the last week. These deaths are testimony that manual scavenging is still prevalent in this country even after a decade of the practice being banned. 

No compensation to family, reluctance to file FIR: Manual scavengers' death

By Arun Khote, Sanjeev Kumar*  Recently, there have been four instances of horrifying deaths of sewer/septic tank workers in Uttar Pradesh. On 2 May, 2024, Shobran Yadav, 56, and his son Sushil Yadav, 28, died from suffocation while cleaning a sewer line in Lucknow’s Wazirganj area. In another incident on 3 May 2024, two workers Nooni Mandal, 36 and Kokan Mandal aka Tapan Mandal, 40 were killed while cleaning the septic tank in a house in Noida, Sector 26. The two workers were residents of Malda district of West Bengal and lived in the slum area of Noida Sector 9. 

Custodial death of 27-year-old youth in West Bengal 'projected' as suicide

By Kirity Roy*  In a grave instance of human rights violation, there was custodial death of Daud Seikh, a 27-year-old youth from village Hausnagar, Police Station Samshergunj, District Murshidabad, West Bengal.

Custodial torture not justified even in exceptional circumstances: JAACT

Counterview Desk  Th civil rights group, Joint Action Against Custodial Torture (JAACT), referring to the alleged custodial torture of  Savukku Shankar, against whom there are serious charges of making derogatory and disrespectful remarks against women working in the police, has said that while his act is  unpardonable and and is a grave violation of human rights, "Under no exceptional circumstances can torture be resorted to."

India 'not keen' on legally binding global treaty to reduce plastic production

By Rajiv Shah  Even as offering lip-service to the United Nations Environment Agency (UNEA) for the need to curb plastic production, the Government of India appears reluctant in reducing the production of plastic. A senior participant at the UNEP’s fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4), which took place in Ottawa in April last week, told a plastics pollution seminar that India, along with China and Russia, did not want any legally binding agreement for curbing plastic pollution.

'Misleading' ads: Are our celebrities and public figures acting responsibly?

By Deepika* It is imperative for celebrities and public figures to act responsibly while endorsing a consumer product, the Supreme Court said as it recently clamped down on misleading advertisements.

BJP candidate 'targets' Muslim women wearing burquas, or with headscarves

Counterview Desk  Telangana for Peace and Unity (TPU), claiming to be an independent forum of concerned citizens of the State working towards peace, communal harmony and constitutional values, in a representation to the Chief Electoral Officer, Telangana, has said that Madhavi Latha, the Bharatiya Janata Party MP candidate in Hyderabad, has been intimidating voters and disrupting harmony at polling booths.

Vaccine nationalism? Covaxin isn't safe either, perhaps it's worse: Experts

By Rajiv Shah  I was a little awestruck: The news had already spread that Astrazeneca – whose Indian variant Covishield was delivered to nearly 80% of Indian vaccine recipients during the Covid-19 era – has been withdrawn by the manufacturers following the admission by its UK pharma giant that its Covid-19 vector-based vaccine in “rare” instances cause TTS, or “thrombocytopenia thrombosis syndrome”, which lead to the blood to clump and form clots. The vaccine reportedly led to at least 81 deaths in the UK.

Spark that led to North America, Europe wide anti-Israel protests on campuses

By Sandeep Pandey*  Now Israel has killed over 34,700 Palestinians in its war on Gaza during the last seven months and taken seize of Rafah, the point from where Palestinians can go only into Egypt, where they are not welcome. It cannot be more humiliating for the Palestinians. The humanitarian aid has also been disrupted once again. 

Bassem Yousef is right: Pro-Zionist forces have 'codified' sacredness around Holocaust

By Sameer Dossani*  One of the more frustrating debates I’ve seen on Gaza in the last few months -- and I’ve seen a lot of them -- was between Bassem Youssef and Konstantin Kisin of the YouTube channel Triggernometry . At the beginning of the interview, Kisin asks a question which he pretends (or perhaps actually believes) to be perfectly reasonable: “If you were in charge of the Israeli government, what would you have done on October 8, 2023?”

US Maoist who was critical of Cultural Revolution, saw Tiananmen massacre

By Harsh Thakor*  William H Hinton, who reflected in his writings the strides of China secured under Mao Zedong, died 20 years ago on May 15th, 2004, at a nursing home in Concord, Massachusetts, US. He was 85.  His writings illustrate Mao’s Chinese experiments, claiming, autonomy of workers and peasants surpassed level of any western democracy or third world country. He wrote about the historical periods from the land reform movements  in the pre-revolutionary period of the 1940s to later stages of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.  Hinton was born February 2, 1919, in Chicago. He accepted the Harvard admission, but postponed college and instead traveled to the Far East, supporting himself with odd jobs. He attended Harvard from 1937 to 1939, then transferred to Cornell, and in 1941 took a Bachelor of Science degree in agronomy and dairy husbandry. Hinton returned to China during World War II as a propaganda analyst for the Office of War Information, and then again in

How teachers' recruitment scandal 'dashed' a Bengal family's dreams

By Atanu Roy*  Rabi is a member of our extended family, rather our ‘inner’ family. He has been driving our car for many many years. Sometimes I liked to drive and drop my two sons to their school, but most of the days I had been preoccupied and Rabi was there to help me out.  He had a dream ... to impart good education to his two sons and achieve social mobility, he wished his sons to do something better than him.

'Fake encounter': Among those killed 5th class student, mentally challenged

Counterview Desk  The civil rights network*, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), even as  condemning “the cold blooded murder of 12  Adivasis  by security forces in Bijapur, has demanded that the government should “stop the  genocidal war against its own people”. Among the killed persons is Sethu Kunjam, a 5th class student studying in Basaguda School, and another is Channu Avalam, who is of unsound mind, it said.