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Aligarh encounter was fake, the two youth were picked up from their house on Sept 16: Rihai Manch letter to DGP

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In a letter to the Uttar Pradesh police chief, civil rights organization Rihai Manch has accused the police of "killing" two youth, Rashid and Irfan, in a fake encounter in a town in Aligarh district. Releasing a video shot by a news agency, the letter, signed by Rihai Manch president Mohammad Shoeb and general secretary Rajiv Yadav, says that the encounter, which the police claims took place in Harduaganj in Aligarh district on September 20, says that, strangely took place after the media was called to watch the scene.
The letter states, the video clearly suggests that the cops were relaxed, which shows that there was no live encounter, as claimed by the police. It quotes family members of the two youth as  claiming that the two were picked up by the police from their houses on September 16. But when the family members reached the police station to find out about them, they were told, the two had fled. However, according to the family members, they suspect, they were in po…

COVA to "delegitimize" fake news, to hold workshop for journalists, IT professionals, social activists, faith leaders

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The Confederation of Voluntary Associations (COVA), a Hyderabad-based network for responsible citizenship and global peace, has begun a new initiative, Check-It, to “delegitimize” fake news. The Check-It programme, says COVA, aims to sensitize and educate people to delink the perceived legitimacy of all printed word and broadcasted messages and properly verify the veracity before accepting and more importantly forwarding it with others, especially on social media platforms.
Partners for Check-It IT TechCamp, which is scheduled for September 29-30 in Mahabubnagar, Hyderabad, would include IT professionals, reporters from print and electronic media, faith leaders, social activists, police, and concerned citizens active on social media.
The Check-It TechCamp would be on the theme ‘Decoding Fake News and Propagating It’, and it will address and counter the spread of fake news, with participants are being trained in harvesting fake news, decoding fake news, propagating the decoded fake ne…

New Gujarat govt death compensation to farmers "not applicable" to landless, sharecroppers, tribal cultivators

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Gujarat's top farmers' leader Sabar Rabari has said that there is "nothing new" in the announcement made by deputy chief minister Nitin Patel regarding increase in accidental death compensation to farmers from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh, and for serious injuries from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh.
In a statement, Rabari has pointed out that the announcement had been made several years ago when Anandiben Patel was Gujarat chief minister, adding, "In insofar as farmers are concerned, the government headed by the Vijay Rupani-Nitin Patel duo has proved itself to be a miser. Anandiben Patel had announced that the death compensation would be Rs 4 lakh. Instead of implementing her announcement, this government has reduced the amount by half."
Further, Rabari regretted, only those farmers and their families who have land titles in their name have been included for compensation. "The reality is, Gujarat has a large number of landless agricultural workers. Many of them …

Dialogue on dams in Indore to review impact of big projects across India

The Narmada Bachao Andolan, in association with the Matu Jan Sangathan and the Bargi Bandh Visthapit Evam Prabhavit Sangh, will be holding a dialogue on dams on September 30 at the Hindi Sahitya Samiti, Indore, in order to highlight that with the disaster in Uttarakhand and Kerala, and threats faced and felt in the Narmada valley, it is now more important than ever before to come up with a "sustainable a just way to harness resources and monitor their utilisation and distribution of benefits, drinking water, irrigation and power generation."
In a joint statement, the three civil rights organizations have said, "Dams are in the public domain again! Not all, check dams to small dams, but large dams especially, have become an issue to be debated for their costs, impacts, benefits and resultant equity to injustice. These dams, as symbols of development paradigm, need to be reviewed."
Pointing towards the need for a dialogue on dams, it adds, "Dams have an insepara…

Thousands of displaced gather in Madhya Pradesh along Narmada to protest Modi declaring dam completed a year ago

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Thousands of displaced persons – tribals, farmers, labourers, fishermen and other people living in Narmada Valley of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat – gathered in Chhota Barda, Badwani, on September 17 to protest against Prime Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing the completion of the construction of the Sardar Sarovar dam exactly a year ago.
Organized by Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), the gathering highlighted how around 35,000 affected families of Sardar Sarovar are still living in the submergence area. NBA said in a statement, “By changing the backwater level, 16,000 families have been left out from getting any benefit which other displaced persons are to get. They don’t have complete right to farming or livelihood, or housing.”
“In 65 villages of Badwani district alone, a total of 4,500 families are left out”, NBA said, adding, “Despite the Supreme Court order, few thousand applications are pending for special grant of Rs 60 lakh. There is a complete lack of facilities…

Take action against those who killed Himachal RTI activist: Letter to chief minister

In a letter to Jai Ram Thakur, chief minister, Himachal Pradesh, insisting upon the need for “immediate action” on those accused of killing social worker Kedar Singh Jindan, a social activist, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has said, in all, 72 RTI activists in the country till now, and it is highly condemnable and shameful that the state government “has increased another figure to this.”
The work that Jindan did was exemplary, NAPM said. “Through his RTI pleas, he ensured the work that many government agencies should be normally doing. He helped people below the poverty line this way. This could not be digested by people of the ruling establishment in his area.”
Demanding strict action against the culprits and “suitable compensation” to his family, NAPM said, Jindan was lawyer by profession was a Dalit, who “constantly struggling for the upliftment of the society. His endeavour was always to get the right to education”, adding, “The killers of Kedar Singh Jindan …

Left Front should allow dissent: NAPM tells Kerala govt on anti-pharma MNC activist's arrest

In an “explanatory” note on its recent statement (click HERE) on the promoter of alternative medicine Jacob Vadakkanchery’s arrest, the top civil rights network has said that it “does not seek to hold any brief for the merits or demerits of Jacob as a medical practitioner”, since it is “not competent to do so” and it is “the subject matter of experts in the domain of medical and public health.”
However, it insists, as for Jacob’s arrest, “We wish to state that we expect more maturity on behalf of a government in such a situation, particularly a left-ruled government in Kerala, to deal with dissenting opinions, in ways other than arrest.”
Pointing out that the arrest of the anti-pharmaceutical MNC activist has “obfuscated the deeper questions”, it adds, “We are of the considered opinion that independent of the opinions he holds, Jacob is entitled to all civil liberties, like any other citizen”, hence such “arbitrary action, including arrest”, should be taken against him.”
At the same …

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