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Karnataka High Court quashes ED decision to freeze Greenpeace accounts

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The Karnataka High Court has quashed the freezing of accounts of Greenpeace India by the Enforcement Directorate, holding the order of freezing to be null and void. Funding to the top international environmental watchdog was blocked following a raid by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) at its Bangalore office in October 2018.
In a setback to the ED move, not only has the High Court allowed funding of Greenpeace, it has directed immediate defreezing of Greenpeace India’s account.
Diya Deb, campaign director at Greenpeace India, has welcomed the Karnataka High Court's decision to unfreeze the bank accounts of Greenpeace India, saying, the decision not only strengthens its "belief in democractic values and constitutional propriety but also attests our stand that the organisation functions in accordance with Indian laws and for the benefit of society at large."
The campaigner adds, "We hope that the attempts to shut us down will continue to be thwarted by the Courts which…

NGO working in J&K border area, two others receive Rs 5 crore HCL CSR grant each

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HCL Foundation, the CSR arm of HCL Technologies, has granted Rs 5 crore each to three NGOs -- She Hope Society for Women, Wildlife Trust of India and Srijan Foundation Noida, India -- under the top industry's corporate social responsibility programme.
The grants were handed over to the three NGOs in the presence of Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, and Sourav Ganguly, former captain of the Indian National Cricket Team. These were in recognition of the NGOs' exemplary work in the field of healthcare, environment and education, respectively.
The HCL Grant award ceremony, held at the HCL Technologies campus in Noida, was also attended, among others by Shiv Nadar, founder and chairman, HCL, Roshni Nadar Malhotra, vice chairperson, HCL Technologies.
The She Hope Society for Women Entrepreneurs works in remote, border and isolated areas of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) on physical rehabilitation. It would use the grant as humanitarian assistance to strengthen inclusion and safet…

Protest organized against Hyderabad national Urdu varsity chancellor, a "Modi appointee"

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A protest took place on the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) campus in Hyderabad against its chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, dubbed as an RSS appointee and a Modi man. The protesters sought Ahmed's removal from his post, alleging interference.
Calling it "very unfortunate" and "wayward", Ahmed in a statement said, first the university "hurt the national sentiment in the aftermath of the martyrdom of our 44 soldiers by celebrating a gala musical evening and then followed it up with this protest against the chancellor, who had reprimanded the administration for having gone through with this festivity."
Alleging that the protest was engineered by the vice chancellor, Ahmed said, it is being used "as fodder" to create an atmosphere against the chancellor, whose photograph was blackened. He added, "The future of these poor students is not in safe hands."

Police raid 40 minority houses in Gujarat village, beat up women, children: Complaint to district admin

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About 300 individuals belonging to the Muslim community, in a representation to the Amreli district collector, have complained that the policemen, forest staff and electrical staff of the Pashchim Gujarat Vij Nigam raided 40 houses of Semardi village of Dhari taluka belonging to the minorities and looted them.
The representation said, this happened on February 17 afternoon. Not just males, even women and children were not spared. They were indiscriminately beaten up. They did not even spare children's toys, even as they destroyed TV, fridge, fans, treasury closets, window bars, bathroom and toilet doors, bicycles, motor bykes, etc.
Asking the district officialdom to immediately rehabilitate the victims, carry out a survey to make payment against the destruction of property, take legal steps to ensure equal justice for all to regain trust in law and order machinery, the representation wanted the officialdom to ensure that those who raided the houses return cash, jewellery and othe…

SC order may be made pretext to attack lakhs of forest dwellers across the country

The forest rights organization, Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD), has said that the latest Supreme Court order in a case challenging the Forest Rights Act (FRA) is a major blow to the struggle of tribals and forest dwellers for justice and to the homes, lands and livelihoods of millions of our poorest people.
A CSD statement said, the Government of India, for the fourth time in a row, chose not to argue at all in the Court. "As no other party can speak effectively in defense of a law, the version of the petitioners – forest officials, ex-zamindars and a handful of wildlife NGOs – was hence taken to be the truth."
The Supreme Court’s order directs various State governments to report on the status of people’s claims for their traditional rights over lands, forest and forest resources under the FRA, and – for some States – goes on to state that claimants whose rejections have “attained finality” should now be evicted.
According to CSD, "The fact is that numerous of…

Gujarat budget allocation for minorities' welfare discriminatory: MCC

Calling the Gujarat government allocation for the minorities in the state budget “discriminatory”, Minorities Coordination Committee (MCC) convener Mujahid Nafees has said, as against its population of 11.5% of the state, the state government has set aside only Rs 5.51 crore for them. Total size of the 2019-20 budget, presented in the state assembly on February 19, is Rs 1.92 lakh crore.
Giving a breakup, MCC says, quoting budget papers, while the Gujarat Minority Finance Development Corporation has been given Rs 1 lakh, Rs 1.50 crore go to the National Minority Finance and Development Corporation, and Rs 4 crore for the Multi-Sectoral Development Plan (MSDP), meant for minorities.
The civil rights organization had demanded Rs 5,940 crore for the development, protection, education and employment of minorities. In a statement, it regrets, “But the current government, which talks about development, has deliberately neglected the plight of 11.5% of the population in Gujarat.”
It underl…

Atmavodhanand's fast unto death: Civil society to protest against govt "silence"

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Several civil society organizations have decided to hold a foot march starting near Amar Jawan Jyoti, India Gate, to Jantar Mantar via Copernicus Marg on February 23 afternoon, followed by a public meeting, to protest against the government’s alleged silence on fast unto death by Swami Aatmabodhanand for free Ganga since October 24, 2018.
A National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) statement ahead of the protest rally regrets, "Regardless of all the claims being made in the Ardhakumbha, the symbol of the Ganga-Jamuni culture, river Ganga is in danger. While the Ganges in Uttarakhand is suffering from dams, pollution, sand mining, barrages and waterways affect the river in the plains."
Aatmabodhanand, 26, of Matri Sadan is on fast unto death after the death of Swami Sanand (Prof GD Agrawal), who gave up his life after 111 days of continuous fast for the noble cause of free flow of Ganges.
A student of computer science, Aatmabodhanand took sanyas at the age of 22 under…

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