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Discriminatory to take back cases against Patidar quota agitators: Dalit rights body

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The Gyati Nirmulan Samiti (GMS), a grassroots Dalit rights organization of Gujarat, has strongly protested against the manner in which the state government has been allegedly seeking to take back cases against those belonging to non-Dalit and non-Adivasi individuals.  Asserting that this is being done on a mass scale, GMS said, this is "discriminatory", and is being done to please the dominant caste people. "No cases registered against Dalits and Adivasis are being taken back", said GMS convener Sanjay Parmar in a letter submitted to KA Punj, who heads an inquiry commission the state government set up under the chairmanship of retired High Court judge KA Punj said, "This is being done purely for political reasons."  The letter has also been signed by GMS co-convener Rajesh Solanki, a Dalit rights advocate.
In a reported bid to placate the Patidar community, the Gujarat government last year announced setting up of the commission of inquiry headed under Pu…

Minority rights organization asks Ahmedabad municipal commissioner to clarify stance on name change politics

Gujarat's civil rights organization, Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), has asked the Ahmedabad municipal commissioner to clarify his stance on the "politics" currently being played around changing the name of the city from Ahmedabad to Karnavati. In a letter to the municipal commissioner, MCC convener Mujahid Nafees said, "It is well known, and documents prove it, that the city was founded by Sultan Ahmed Shah in 1411, and that he did not capture any town to do name it Ahmedabad."
"Yet", Nafees said, "Efforts are being made to deliberately undermine the peace, security and brotherhood existing in the city. Statements are being made in media about the need to change the name, and rumours are being spread through social media about it." He added, "You must be knowing that UNESCO gave heritage status to Ahmedabad's composite culture. You would be solely responsible if this status is eroded."

Eminent South Asians ask B'desh PM to release photographer-activist Shahidul Alam

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Arundhati Roy, Aparna Sen, Vikram Seth, Romila Thapar, Amitav Ghosh, Shabhana Azmi, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Nandita Das, Mohammad Hanif, Anish Kapoor among other eminent persons from across South Asia have come together to write a letter to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed demanding the immediate release of acclaimed photographer and cultural activist Shahidul Alam on the 100th day of his detention.
The letter states: “As well-wishers of Bangladesh and supporters of its 166 million citizens’ struggle for dignity, social justice and prosperity, we are distressed by the continued imprisonment of photographer and cultural activist Shahidul Alam.”
Alam was forcefully taken from his home on 5th August and has been held at Dhaka Central Jail for the last 100 days. He is accused of ‘hurting the image of the nation’ while reporting on protests by young students demanding road safety. He has been denied bail 5 times.
The letter notes: “Shahidul Alam is a Bangladeshi citizen, but the res…

Maharashtra housing minister gives oral assurance to shift rehabilitated residents from "toxic hell" Mahul

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Maharashtra housing minister Prakash Mehta has agreed to shift the the protesting Mahul residents temporarily to Kurla HDIL, a site that was proposed by members of the Mahul Prakalpgrast Sangharsh Samiti and Ghar bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA). Mehta assured the people that the proposal to shift people to Kurla HDIL will be discussed with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, and a final decision would be taken within four days.
The minister gave these assurances at a meeting with representatives of Mahul residents, led by well known social activist Medha Patkar, following their 16 days' protest. All of them Tansa pipeline displaced persons, they were "rehabilitated" last year in Mumbai’s highly polluted Mahul region, being considered the city's "toxic hell".
However, GBGBA, in a statement, regrets, the minister has only given an oral assurance and there is nothing in writing, adding, resistance would continue till the government provides concrete decisi…

Changing Ahmedabad's name to Karnavati would "efface" Islamic influence and memory

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An online petition, addressed to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, his deputy Nitin Patel and other elected representatives of the legislative assembly of the state of Gujarat has been floated to "assert an opinion" against Patel's statement of November 7, 2018 that the name of Ahmedabad city be renamed as Karnavati. The government is willing to change the name if it gets past the legal hurdles and receives required support, Patel has been quoted as saying.
Pointing out that the city of Ahmedabad was "founded by the King Ahmed Shah in 1411", the petition agreesthat there were two the earlier settlements in and around the area -- known as Karnavati (after the name of King Karnadev) and Ashawal (after the name of Bhil leader Asha), the petition says, "What is objected is the attempt to erase the name of a Muslim ruler from the name of the city and reidentify it after a Hindu ruler."
Giving reasons why the name of Ahmedabad should be left untouched and…

Rihai Manch to launch campaign against name change politics of UP govt

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Rihai Manch, an Uttar Pradesh civil rights organization, has decided to launch a state-wide campaign against change of names of major towns, currently being undertaken by the Yogi Adityanath government. Pointing out that the state government, instead of concentrating on solving burning issues of the state, is getting involved in changing names of Faizabad, Allahabad and cities, Rihai Manch in a statement said, the politics of changing names, coupled with plans to build big idols, "is nothing but misuse of public money."
"Basic problems facing the economy and society -- unemployment, education and healthcare -- could be met from the expenditure incurred in changing names. But the mental bankruptcy of the government is such that it is misusing people's wealth. This is being done when government is doing next to nothing people from UP and Bihari living in Gujarat and Maharashtra are being beaten and forced to flee these states", the statement, issued following a…

78th murder of RTI activist: M'shtra CM asked to make public all info sought by Junawane

The National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI), in a statement, has asked the Maharashtra chief minister to ensure that all the information sought by Rohit Ashok Junawane, murdered by nine armed assailants near his residence in Aundh, Pune, is "put in the public domain and widely publicized," adding, this would "act as a deterrent against such attacks in the future."
Attacked on November 1, 2018 for "seeking information to expose corruption and wrongdoing", NCPRI said in the letter, copy of which has been sent to the State Chief Information Commissioner of Maharashtra "for necessary action", Junawane's killing "marks the 78th murder of an RTI user who has been silenced for seeking to show truth to power."
It added, "The government has failed to implement the Whistle Blowers Protection Act passed by Parliament in 2014 despite the increasing number of attacks and murders of RTI users. Maharashtra has seen the…