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Showing posts from September, 2017

An Indian company seeking to buy 50,000 tonnes of asbestos every year? It's a clear intention to profit out of mass disaster

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Jagdish Patel*
‘The Mirror’, a well-known daily newspaper of Zimbabwe reported that Government of Zimbabwe muscling its efforts to reopen the Shabani Mashaba Mines (SMM) a principle supplier of Asbestos. The state-run company was shut down amid financial scandals back in 2004 but is set to reopen at full capacity employing up to 5,000 workers. The efforts have been stepped up because an Indian company has shown a keen interest in importing 50,000 tonnes of SMM’s Asbestos.

Police lathicharge on BHU girl students is threat to pluralist, democratic, critical traditions sustaining India's higher education

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The All India Forum for Right to Education (AIFRTE) statement condemning the "vicious" and "lawless" action of the Uttar Pradesh police force in lathi-charging peaceful women students of Benaras Hindu University (BHU) on the night of 23 September 2017:
The girls’ hostel students had for some months been engaged in petitioning the hostel and university authorities against the unconstitutional gender discrimination being practiced by the university. Girls were not allowed use of mobile phones after 10 p.m. and were denied access to WiFi in their hostels. They were not allowed out after 8 p.m. even to visit the library or their families. The girls’ hostel menu did not include non-vegetarian dishes although all these facilities were permitted in the boys’ hostels. The reason given for such absurd discriminatory rules was that women’s sexuality would be aroused in the absence of such restrictions and hence their `safety’ could not be ensured!

Naive to assume Modi wasn't aware of Banaras students' protest when he was in town, or ruthless lathi-charge after he left

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About 50 prominent activists attached with the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) have condemned “state repression” on Banaras Hindu University (BHU) women students, who were demanding a sexual-violence free campus, demanding criminal action against BHU’s vice chancellor for his omissions and commissions in the entire episode. Text of the statement:
The National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) condemns the Uttar Pradesh government’s violent, cowardly and indefensible crack down on the young women-students led movement in the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) campus, seeking a university space with equal rights for women and freedom from sexual harassment and violence. That the long standing and quite simple demands of the students were not being addressed and in fact survivors of sexual harassment were repeatedly being shamed by the male proctors, even as the identified perpetrators were being allowed to go Scot-free, compelled the students to embark on a peaceful mass …

Entry of far right in Bundestag: Assertion of retrograde German nationalism, anti-immigration and anti-Islam

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By Sadhan Mukjerjee*
The election results in Germany show a dangerous portent. Though Angela Markel has become the 4th time Chancellor of Germany but her party CDU-CSU has got the lowest vote since 1949. It has lost substantial voter support. The CDU-CSU has won only a 33% vote, aer CDU-CSUH loss of 8.5%.

Why it is necessary to disprove Modi and his henchmen, who think: Hate, violence, discrimination must to cling on to power

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By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
In a powerful speech to world leaders on September 19th, Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations, kicked off the UN General Assembly 2017. We are living in a world in pieces, he warned the leaders; going on to add, "our world is in trouble. People are hurting and angry. They see insecurity rising, inequality growing, conflict spreading and climate changing."

Japan-India cooperation in conflict mitigation will help respond disaster recovery among Asian communities facing conflicts

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By Mehul Pandya and Vandana Chauhan*
India and Japan individually and jointly offer a wide range of capabilities to protect Asia from disaster risks. The ongoing visit of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan to Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India for the Indo-Japan Summit offers an opportunity to enhance this leadership.
In India-Japan Joint Statement during the visit of Prime Minister of India to Japan in November 11, 2016 the two Prime Ministers shared their intention to expand dialogue and cooperation in the defence sector, to cover exchange of observers in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) exercises, and exchange and train personnel in key fields of mutual interest.

The statement acknowledged the importance of the World Tsunami Awareness Day to raise awareness, promote better understanding of tsunami risks and develop tools to address tsunami at least in Asia if not beyond. An MoU was also signed between the Government of Gujarat in India and Hyogo Prefectural Government in …

Gujarat is thirsty, its fields are parched. For whom have Narmada dam's height increased and its gates closed?

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0pen letter to the President of India by Prakash N Shah of the People's Union for Civil Liberties, Gujarat, and Dwarika Nath Rath of the Movement for Secular Democracy:
We the Indian citizens residing in Gujarat are here with submitting this memorandum with much concern and anguish. Of course it is all about the Narmada Project. Since the inception of this Project, Gujarat has passed through various phases, positive as well as negative. But the matter which causes the most anxiety is the present scenario wherein the very objective of the project has been changed. It’s basic objective was to make its water available for drinking and irrigation.

Neither Gujarat CM nor PM is sensitive to adivasis, farmers, fishworkers who are compelled to sacrifice for Narmada project

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Narmada Bachao Andolan statement on the eve of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's birthday bash at Narmada dam on September 17:
The statement by the chief minister of Gujarat, Mr. Vijay Rupani on Narmada Dam inauguration, on the eve of the Grand Ceremony planned to celebrate PM’s birthday begins and ends with falsehood. It is full of lies as well as serious mistakes, certainly it doesn’t behove the chief minister of state who has to control, operate and monitor the monstrous project.
We have witnessed about this giant, controversial dam during the last 32 years and once again will experience on this special occasion which needs to be dissected and exposed; the plan is of ‘Dedicating the Dam to the Nation’, hence all the people across the country must know the truth through the response from the people of Narmada Valley.
First and the foremost, how has Rupani calculated a period of 56 years since the laying of the foundation stone for today’s Sardar Sarovar Dam? The foundation stone la…

Panels at Sabarmati Ashram create the impression: Modi's "work" is natural extension of Gandhi's experiments with truth

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By Anand K Sahay*
Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accompanied by his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, ended his visit to Ahmedabad, with one of the obvious itineraries being Sabarmati Ashram, it is perhaps necessary to record the recent silent move of the Modi government to gatecrash the Mahatma’s sanctum sanctorum in order to gild the PM’s image.

Greatest tribute to courageous Gauri Lankesh is to ensure that the rich legacy she has left behind will never die

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By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
The celebrated German playwright, poet and fierce anti-Nazi critic Bertolt Brecht once wrote:
“in the dark times,
will there also be singing?
yes, there will also be singing
about the dark times”
.
***

A new lesson in democracy coming soon to schools near you in the form of crappy single-colour badly designed piece of art

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By Stalin K*
If you are a political party running a government in a 'free' and 'democratic' country but interested in being in power forever (some call this aspiration “fascist ” and others mild it down to “authoritarianism” but it is quite likely that this is driven by a higher order nationalist feeling of saving a poor country like ours from expensive elections), you got to do several things. Key amongst them is neutering democracy’s watchdog. Oh, I don’t mean the press. Most news shops, as we know, are happy to self-castrate with memos their corporate bosses dole out. The few “free thinkers” still holding on to journalistic ideals can be character assassinated. Or, well, be assassinated.

Crisis in India's health system: Our children are fated to die because priorities of our Republic have gone awry

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By Jitamanyu Sahoo and Syed Mujataba Hussain*
Of the various reasons to emerge from the Gorakhpur catastrophe, perhaps the most horrifying has been the disruption of ‘oxygen supply’ on August 10, the team of Indian Medical Association has confirmed. The horrible deaths of more than 60 children waiting and waiting for oxygen to be piped in mirrors the agony of our Health Care system.

9/11 and more! Many lessons to be learnt from today’s situation, as also from 2001, 1906 and 1893, to reflect, pray and act

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By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
It is 9/11 today! Grim news continues to come in about ‘Hurricane Irma’, as the catastrophic storm leaves behind it a trail of devastation and even death. Millions all over Florida in the US are badly affected. Our hearts, prayers and solidarity are with all of them and with those who have been affected these past days in the Caribbean, in Cuba, by the earthquake in Mexico, by the terrible floods in several parts of India and the victims of all calamities everywhere. The fury that so many are experiencing today is not merely the ‘wrath of nature’ but has much to do with our lack of sensitivity and care of Mother Earth: our common home!

Politicians, seeking to expand electoral base, pay obeisance to godmen, promote crime in the name of spiritualism

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By Adv Masood Peshimam
Faith has its own logic and discourse. Faith can’t be judged on the touchstone of science. Faith is subjective as well the concept of superstition. There is an extremely thin line between faith and superstition. However superstition can never be justified and acquire legitimacy. What is one’s faith may be blind faith for another . Followers of one faith may invite ridicule from others and vice versa.

Rohingya refugee issue continues to hang fire with no early solution in sight: Modi refuses to discuss it with Myanmar leaders

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By Sadhan Mukherjee* The burden of Rohingya refugee influx continues to be mainly on Bangladesh and India. No rich Muslim country has come forward to financially mitigate the problem. They have only lip sympathy for their religious brethren who are today history’s most persecuted and distressed group of refugees. The rest of the world seems quite satisfied by raising the question of human rights violation and leave it at that.

Power brokers have instinctively realized: In order to control people they first need to control educational matrices

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By Firoz Bakht Ahmed*
Today on Teachers Day, a grateful nation pays its ritualistic once-a-year tribute to the teaching community. As usual, there will be a lot of rhetoric including traditional lectures on ideal teachers and some mandatory awards and a dose of nostalgia.

Remembering Mother Teresa: Need for compassion to overcome divisiveness, racism, communalism and xenophobia

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By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
Mother Teresa was the epitome of compassion. If ever one would dare to give a core competency to her, it is this single characteristic of being a compassionate person. She radiated this quality, when on earth, in a way, few humans could ever do; her love for the marginalized and the vulnerable and particularly for the poorest of the poor and the dying destitute was boundless. She was able to give and not to count the cost. Her ability to be compassionate towards others motivated her to found the Missionaries of Charity. She was effusive in her compassion for the “least of our sisters and brothers” and did not try to hide this fact.

Demonetization: Destruction of India’s growth story will be remembered as Narendra Modi's enduring contribution

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By Anand Teltumbde*
Recall what Modi said to the nation in his first announcement on 8 November 2016: "This step will strengthen the hands of the common man in the fight against corruption, black money and fake currency." Black money, fake money and terrorist money was what he claimed would be destroyed at one stroke. Given the ground reality, none of this was tenable. But he could deceive the gullible masses into believing that he was a brave man, ready to take on the moneyed and the anti-national racketeers.

Neither Modi, nor Jaitley, nor those in PMO or Finance Ministry had any idea about the immediate after-effects of demonetisation

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By Venkateshwar Rao jr
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley can continue to indulge in the rhetoric of demonetisation, but the Reserve Bank of India’s Annual Report for 2016-17 tells an absorbing story of economic disaster management. Modi’s November 8, 2016 televised announcement of withdrawing Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes from circulation was nothing but an act of bravado, meant to take the bulls of black money, counterfeit currency and terror funding by the horns as it were, but basically an empty attention-grabbing gesture.