Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from February, 2017

2002 Gujarat riots "update": 1,926 lost their lives; "historic" efforts on to link violence with state culpability

By Rajiv Shah
India's most renowned human rights activist who has taken up the 2002 Gujarat riots cases, Teesta Setalvad, has told Counterview that a fresh exercise by her NGO, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), suggests that “as many as 1,926 lives were lost in the reprisal violence that broke out after the Godhra tragedy from February 28, 2002.”
Contesting the official figures of the Gujarat government, according to which 1,044 persons (790 Muslims and 254 Hindus) died during the riots, Setalvad says, CJP is now involved in a “major exercise to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Gujarat genocide”, which is to “account for the dead and missing to end for once and for all the falsification of figures by the state.”
In a note sent to Counterview on 2002 riots, she says, “Once compiled we shall seek through opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) that the figures on the record of Parliament are also corrected.”
Talking of CJP's “single most significant achievement”, Setalva…

60% Indians favour strong leader who can break rules, anti-terror ops over protecting civil rights: UK survey

By Rajiv Shah
A high-profile online survey in 23 countries, including India, claims that 63% Indians, one of the highest among the countries surveyed, insist on the need to to prioritise stopping terrorism over protecting civil rights. While the average for the 23 countries is 45%, interviewees from only two countries feel so more strongly about this – Serbia 73% and Turkey 69%.
The countries selected for the survey, carried out by Ipsos-MORI, the second largest market research organisation in the United Kingdom, are – Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States.
The countries which refuse to give much priority to terrorism over protecting civil rights include – US 37%, Brazil 37%, Italy 35%, Mexico 34%, Canada 31%, Spain 31%, Argentina 30%, and Japan 25%.
In all, 16,597 adults aged 16-64 across the 23 countries were int…

Gujarat govt admits slow progress in land allocation to tribal farmers, sends identical letters rejecting claims

By Rajiv Shah
In a sharp admission, a Gujarat government resolution (GR) has said that there has been "slow progress" in measuring land under the possession of tribal farmers in South Gujarat, one reason why there is a failure to hand over cultivation rights to them under the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006.
Under FRA, 2006, those cultivating forest land as on December 13, 2005 would become rightful owners of the land their land.
The GR, which is based on a recent meeting held in Gandhinagar Sachivalaya, with the participation senior officials of forest and tribal departments, heard the state tribal secretary as admitting that "there has been strong opposition from the local people of Tapi and Valsad disricts" to measurements by the agencies appointed by the state government to carry on the job, one reason for the slow progress.
"There is lack of support", the GR, a copy of which is with Counterview, admits, adding, "As a result, officials are unable to …

India's Magsaysay winning rural journalist "differs" with Ambedkar, who favoured Dalit migration to cities

By Rajiv Shah
Well-known Magsaysay award winning writer P Sainath, who is renowned more for extensive, in-depth reports on rural India as a top journalist, has said he “differs” from Dr BR Ambedkar’s view about the need for achieving greater pace of urbanization to fight caste discrimination.
Talking with Counterview on the sidelines of a recent NGO function in Ahmedabad, Sainath said, his “disagreement” with Dr Ambedkar stems from the fact that the Dalit icon believed the rural-to-urban migration would end casteism, which has not happened.
“When he called upon Dalits to move to cities, Dr Ambedkar was speaking in a specific context and time”, Sainath, who is currently involved in an ambitious project in creating a people’s archives of rural India, said.
Calling himself "leftist journalist", Sainath, however, said, “Casteism remains alive in urban India in all its manifestations”, adding, “You just need to have a look at the matrimonial columns of newspapers to see this.”
Sainat…

India's democracy score under NDA "better" than that of previous UPA rule: British conservative thinktank

By Rajiv Shah
The Economist Intelligence Unit (The EIU), attached with the powerful British conservative weekly “The Economist”, has assessed India as ranking No 32nd, much better than the four peer countries South Africa (39th), Brazil (51st), Russia (134th), and China (136th) in its report Democracy Index 2016.
The EIU report comes despite doubts being expressed worldwide, including in India, about alleged efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to undermine democratic institutions.
Not only does the report, which is sub-titled “Revenge of the ‘Deplorables’”, rank India quite high, it insists, India is among the group of countries such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan which are “close to being classified as ‘full democracies’ (from 'flawed democracies') and could make the transition over the coming years, depending on public support for democratic governance, increased voter turnout or stronger confidence in political parties.”
Significantly, the report, which ranks in all 167 c…