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"Enthusiastic" response to 16-day Utthan campaign to end violence against women

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The 16-day campaign on ending violence against women, launched by Utthan, ended with district-level programme organized in Dahod, Mahisagar and Bhavnagar districts on December 10 and 11, in which 1,500 delegates from 50 villages (including sarpanches, panchayat members, local leaders, and women) participated. During the 16-day campaign, more than 12,500 people from 50 villages of Dahod, Mahisagar, Bhavnagar and Amreli districts participated enthusiastically.
Conducting the campaign, Utthan activists apprised people that violence against women and children in the country has been increasing steadily over the past few years. There has been an 83% increase in the incidence of violence against women between 2007 and 2016, which is worrying.
The awareness campaign to end violence collectively, supported by the Edelgive Foundation, commenced on November 25. Several panchayats came forward to pass resolution to free their village of violence against women. People participated in signatur…

Farmer organizations to hold protests ahead of Vibrant Gujarat summit in mid-January

Around 30 organizations working with agricultural labourers, farmers, tribals and women farmers, who gathered at the Sardar Patel Smarak Bhavan, Bhadra, Ahmedabad, discussed issues like debt eradication, crop insurance, irrigation and drought, affecting Gujarat farmers. They also discussed issues related with forest land rights, tribal council, use of ST plan funds, PESA Act, mining etc.in tribal areas. Issues of saltpan workers, fisherfolk and farm labourers also cropped up during the meet.
The meeting decided to oppose the Vibrant Gujarat summit, even as focusing on how it runs against society's interests. A programme of action was chalked out to hold a foot march from Karamsad to Gandhi Ashram, Ahmedabad, from January 9 to 11, 2019, three days ahead of the summit. It was also decided to hold meetings on the same lines in Bhavnagar, Rajkot, Sabarkantha, Surendranagar, Bharuch and Ahmedabad districts.
Ahead of the state-wide protests, on December 26, 2018, it was decided, farmers…

Public hearing on right to food organized for Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups

A civil society-supported public hearing has been organized for Thursday, December 13, for the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) from all over Manika Block in Latehar District, Jharkhand, in order to empower them to help make them aware of their right. All PVTG families are entitled to Antyodaya cards, and in Jharkhand they are also entitled to a social security pension.
A NREGA Sahayta Kendra statement, ahead of the public hearing, said, "Because their traditional livelihoods have declined, these entitlements are critical lifelines for PVTGs", adding, "A recent survey in Manika, however, reveals that many PVTG families are still deprived of pensions and food rations. Further, they are struggling with numerous problems related to Aadhaar, such as freezing of bank accounts, refusal of school admission and delayed NREGA wage payments."
Pointing out that the survey also exposes several acts of gross exploitation of PVTGs, for instance by a para-teacher in …

Church priest tries to "stall" screening of film on atrocities on Christians

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KP Sasi, a Bengaluru-based human rights activist, writer, cartoonist and film maker, has regretted that a Christian priest tried to stall the screening of their documentary, `Voices from the Ruins' in a Church in Pune, even though the film, according to him, was on the largest attack on the Christian community during the last few centuries. In an email alert, circulated through Dalit Media Watch, Sasi says, "I did not have much space to talk. That was fine. The pastor who organised the screening spent more than one hour shouting `Hallelujah' on top of his voice. And I was sitting behind the crowd wondering why the hell did I make this film. The film was on the persecution of Christians in India. But I was a total failure in communicating."
Sasi continues, "This idiot was not interested in discussing the real issue. And when I came out, a couple of youngsters came to discuss with me. At that time, the same pastor came and piled on to me. His problem was that I w…

Politics shouldn't come in way of SAARC summits: J&K rights defender

Syed Mujtaba, a well-known human rights defender from Jammu & Kashmir, has said that the Kashmiris are sandwiched between the unstable political relations between India and Pakistan, insisting, "For greater peace of the South Asian region, political issues should not be allowed to derail the South Asian South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summits nor it should be held hostage to the bilateral relations between India and Pakistan."
Mujtaba said this even as India declared New Delhi will not participate in SAARC summit, to be hosted by Pakistan, till Islamabad does not stop terror activities in India. Sushma Swaraj, external affairs minister, said this in reaction to Pakistan's statement that Modi would be invited to the SAARC summit.
He was addressing a roundtable meet at the India International Centre, New Delhi, organised by Centre for Peace and Progress founded by OP Shah on J&K: Road Ahead, attended by Round table discussion was atte…

Bullet train project ignores environmental, social impact: Gujarat environmentalists tell JICA

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Gujarat’s top environmentalists, belonging to the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Vadodara, in a representation before the main funders of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Project, Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Surat, where they were called for a meeting, have said that the bullet train project violates JICA guidelines on environmental and social impacts of the project.
Raising three main issues before JICA officials, Rohit Prajapati, Kriashakant and Swati Desai sought answer as to why was the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is absent during public consultations in Gujarat and Maharashtra, where the project is being implemented, while a foreign government agency is participating in it.
Insisting that the ongoing consultation accepts the need for environmental concerns, they queried, “Why environment laws of India and MoEFCC have no role in the process?”, adding, “Are the MoEFCC and environment laws of the land mortgaged to JI…

15,000 March in 4 Australian cities to protest against Adani coal mining project

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As many as 15,000 people are claimed to have marched in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Cairns demanding that permissions to Adani’s mega coal mine in Australia be withdrawn. Responding to Adani’s announcement that it would start work by Christmas, and led by school students and first nations people, snap marches took place in the four cities.
Meanwhile, a new national ReachTel poll said that eight out of 10 Labor Party voters want to #StopAdani, while nine out of 10 Labour Party voters support students’ right to demand climate action. The marches come after thousands of school students walked out of school last Friday around the nation to demand urgent climate action, as bushfires raged across the country and two states continued in the drip of crippling drought.
Kelly Albion, campaigns and communications director with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition said: “If Labor doesn’t oppose Adani now, it will haunt them every day of the Federal election campaign and beyond. We will put …

NAPM to celebrate Jashn-e-Samvidhan on Dec 10, Human Rights Day, calls for support

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The National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) has decided to observe December 10, 2018 as Jashn-e-Samvidhan in order to "celebrate" dissent and resistance. Giving reason, NAPM, calling for widest possible support for the event, says, "Our country is currently being ruled by an extremely conservative and communal government."
Planned on the occasion of 70 years of International Human Rights at Parliament Street, New Delhi, it adds, "Institutions of governance are being weakened systematically and independent institutions are under stress from the ruling government to bend their laws in their favour."
Pointing out that 70 years ago, on December 10, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted and initiated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), NAPM statement says, "However, human rights are being threatened and violated across all countries, at a time when rapidly developing nations should have aided welfare instead of destroy…

Dalit youth tied to tree, beaten up till he became unconscious; time to protest: Jignesh Mevani

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Strongly objecting to what he called "police terror" in Ahmedabad, Gujarat's top Dalit rights leader Jignesh Mevani has said that cops of the city's Kagadipith police station "tied Dalit youth named Umesh Solanki with a tree till they became unconscious", recalling, "We remember what Modi had said  -- it you want to attack, attack me, not my Dalit brothers."
In a statement, Mevani said, "I appeal to the Dalit brothers of entire Gujarat and others, too, that these atrocities in the BJP regime should be answered in 2019" even as demanding "strict legal action against the policemen who attacked our innocent brother." He added, "Even if this person of a Dalit community is involved in any illegal activities, the police have no right to take the law into its own hand."
Continued Mevani, "Two days ago in Ahmedabad city, a Muslim community person was murdered in custody. A few months ago, cops entered in the houses of …

RBI survey: Consumer confidence on jobs, economic situation deteriorates

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Results of the Consumer Confidence Survey (CCS), carried out by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for November 2018, suggest that growing pessimism on general economic situation and employment scenario. Conducted in 13 major cities – Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Chennai, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Patna and Thiruvananthapuram - RBI said, "Future expectations index (FEI) also moderated due to lower optimism on the employment scenario and household spending."
Based on 5,326 responses on households’ perceptions and expectations on the general economic situation, the employment scenario, the overall price situation and their own income and spending, the survey results show, to quote RBI, that the current situation index (CSI) "declined further in November 2018 in a phase that commenced in November 2016, on the back of growing pessimism on the general economic situation and the employment scenario as also some cutback in spending."
RBI…