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Showing posts from October, 2018

"Massive" turnout for all-India protest against proposed shipping corridor

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The National Fishworkers Forum (NFF), which called for a nation-wide protest on October 30, 2018 against the proposed shipping corridor, has claimed “massive turnout” of thousands of fishermen and general public in several Indian states. In Kerala, KV Thomas, MP, inaugurated the protests, while in Maharasthra various fishing unions rallied for livelihood and opposed the government’s “one sided notification”, even as Mahadev Janker, Minister of Cattle and Dairy Development, Fisheries, attended the protests and heard the fishing communities’ demands.
In Goa, fishermen burned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s effigy, pointed towards what their leaders called “disastrous effects of the Blue Economy, including the Sagarmala project”. In West Bengal, fishing unions submitted a memorandum outlining their fears and listing their demands to the concerned Ministry. Odisha and Tamil Nadu also saw a turnout of hundreds of fishermen standing in solidarity with each other and against the proposed shi…

Tribal farmers' arrest ahead of Statue of Unity function "biased, repressive": mm&P

In a representation to the Gujarat governor, the top advocacy group, mines, minerals and People (mm&P) has said, it strongly condemns the recent arrest of tribal activists Amarsinh Choudhari, Ashok Choudhari, Bupendra Choudhari, Lalsinh Gamit and others. The arrests took place ahead of the inauguration of Statue of Unity in Gujarat by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Calling the Statue of Unity "a threat to the tribals and farmers whose only source of livelihood is farming”, the representation, signed by Rebbapragada Ravi, chairperson, mm&P, and Ashok Shrimali, secretary general, mm&P, said, “The statue will open tourism leading to forceful land acquisition. The protest by the tribals and farmers came after repeated plea to the government asking for intervention. The tribals are lacking access to basic facilities like schools, public health, safe drinking water etc. and government has spent Rs 3,000 crore for the construction of the statue.”
Terming the arrests “politic…

Around 90 activists arrested ahead of Modi's Statue of Unity inauguration

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In a swoop ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicating the Statue of Unity to the nation, more than 90 activists from around Gujarat have been detained by the Narmada district police in Rajpipla and other places. The move comes amidst a civil society declaration that, as a mark of protest, people of 72 Narmada-dam affected villages have decided not to cook food on October 31.
Among those who who are reported to have been detained include Gandhian activist Nita Mahadev, social activist Mudita Vidrohi, top environmentalist Rohit Prajapati, anti-Narmada dam campaigner in Narmada Valley Lakhan Musafir, apart from several tribal activists such as Amarsinh Chaudhary, Bhupendra Chaudhary and Virji Varadia. Narmada is a predominantly tribal district. No reason for detention has been given.
According to reports from local sources, a whole government -- the executive, administration, regular police, Reserve Police Force, Home Guards-- from across the state has descended on Kevadia for Mod…

Dholera SIR: As forcible acquisition fails, Gujarat govt seeks to "persuade" farmers to give away 50% of land

While waters have started flowing the Narmada canal in the Bhal region of Gujarat, farmers of the Special Investment Region (SIR) of Dholera, forming part of it, are perturbed: Government officials have begun a fresh campaign to take away 50% of their land in the name of development and hand it over to industry. The view, therefore, has gone strong: Narmada water has begun flowing only for industry, not farmers.
Pointing this out, Sagar Rabari, well-known farmers' leader, said that the campaign to persuade farmers to hand over 50% of their land has begun after the state government failed to forcibly acquire land for the SIR, where a smart city project is being implemented. "I will be undertaking a meet the people programme from November 9 to 11 by marching on foot SIR villages to make farmers aware of how the official campaign would actually harm the farmers", Rabari said in a statement.
The official campaign has been launched following the Gujarat High Court order, stay…

Communal incident in Bahraich, UP, meant to "terrorise" minority community: Rihai Manch

The communal incident in Kharia Bazar area of Bondi police station, Bahraich district, UP, during the during immersion of Durga idols on October 20, was "meant to terrorize minority groups", Rihai Manch, a UP civil rights group has said in a letter to the Superintendent of Police (SP).
Objecting to several members of the minority community having been arrested under the "draconian" Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and various provisions of the IPC, the civil rights group said, it is clear from the statements recorded in the first information report (FIR) that the incident took place at night, yet the person who lodged the FIR remembers the names of 80 people who allegedly caused the incident, while does not remember the names of those who were injured.
The statement given in the FIR does not seem credible, Rihai Manch insisted, adding, a civil rights delegation which visited the spot of the communal clashes found that even a week after the incident, the poli…

Deepak Debnath: 30th person to commit suicide on being branded "foreigner" in Assam

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Deepak Debnath of Udalgiri district, Assam, has become the 30th person who committed suicide by hanging himself in a grove near his house after being accused of being a ‘foreigner’. Reporting on the suicide death, Sabrang India, a human rights site, said, Debnath’s name appeared in the first draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), published on December,31, 2017 but had been struck off the NRC final draft released on July 30 this year.
The site underlined, "The reason listed for rejection was a 'Pending case in Foreigners Tribunal’ case that the Border Police has mysteriously foisted on him in the intervening months. In a cruel twist of fate, his ‘legacy’ data, that establishes him as a bonafide Indian citizen as his name in the 1971 voter list."
It added, "The humiliation of being labelled a ‘foreigner’ in his own land, fearful of what the future holds for him and his family, especially in the light of rampant fearmongering by right-Wing politicians and re…

Mumbai's Mahul residents protesting against industrial pollution arrested

Mimbai's 100 Mahul residents, protesting at Tilak Nagar, Ambedkar Nagar, were picked up by Mumbai Police at 11:30 am on Monday. Following the development, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA), which has been taking up their cause, said, "While the Maharashtra government has not fulfilled any of its demands till now, it has ordered their arrest and trying to subvert people's voices. More than 100 deaths of residents have already happened due to inhabitable circumstances and critical level of industrial pollution in Mahul."
It added, "This is nothing less than the attempt to dismantle the movement fighting for right to life. The state government must stop the genocide of Mahul residents."
In a recent order the Bombay High Court gave judgement in favour of Mahaul residents. The High Court declared the conditions inhabitable for living and asked the government to compensate for faulty resettlement and provide proper rehabilitation. Mahul residents are still …

Demand to make self-defence, sex and relationship education compulsory in schools

Floating an online petition to Maneka Gandhi, Aditi Khare has insisted that the government make Self-Defence and Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) awareness mandatory in all schools starting from age of four onwards, adding, these two streams should be added in the National Policy on Education (NPE).
The petition regrets, the government may have allocated Rs 164 crore for self-defence training by the government, yet schools are yet to receive paisa. The petition, seeking 10,000 endorsements, says that in India, a child is sexually abused every 15 minutes, women are raped every 29 minutes and dowry death happens occurs every 77 minutes.
“Recent study shows, in India there is only one cop for every 663 members of the public. It is of prime important that everyone, including every child in India, should be able to take responsibility of their safety and be trained to protect themselves 24X7”, the petition says, adding, “There are few colleges and schools in India, who are already gi…

Out of 190 Goan panchayats, 140 have passed resolution against shipping corridor to "help" corporates

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The National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF) has said that the Sagarmala project and its impacts on local communities are going to be huge. Port advancements, connecting it to industries, and creating coastal economic zones will only alienate the fisherpeople and handover the natural resources in the hands of corporates, Olencio Simmoes of NFF said at Panjim, Goa, while addressing participants of the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)-sponsored Samvidhan Samman Yatra.
Simmoes said, “Six rivers in Goa are proposed to be nationalised, under National Waterways Act, and thus Goa will lose 184 Kms of its rivers to corporates and their greed. Plans are afoot to build shipping corridors where fishing will be restricted for local communities. It is only to benefit private players.”
He informed the participants in the yatra, “Out of 190 Panchayats, almost 140 Panchayats have already passed resolution against this. In the name of autonomy to ports, land grabbing is being facilitated to pr…

Telangana's Rs 8,000 per acre compensation scheme "only meant for landed farmers"

Telangana’s small and marginal farmers have strongly objected to the much-discussed scheme of Rs 8,000 per acre started by the state government, pointing out that it is “actually only applicable to landed farmers and not for the cultivators, who actually work day and night to secure nation’s food security.”
Speaking at a rally in Mehboobnagar, where the Samvidhan Samman Yatra organized by the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) reached on October 27, Laxmi, widow of a farmer, said, “We have 3 acres of land but since last 3 years, the crops had failed. We were in debt and in February this year my husband committed suicide as bank officers had started harassing and humiliating us consistently. The Govt. also refused to recognize it as suicide due to agri-crisis and termed it a cause of family disputes.”
“The Govt promised 3 acres land to all the Dalit families but we never got any benefit despite being eligible. The scheme was only a fake promise as every political party doe…

South Korean NGOs protest Seoul Peace Prize to Modi, say it's a disgrace

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Twenty six Korean NGOs, including human rights groups, have protested the Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation’s recent decision to award Prime Minister Narendra Modi this year’s Seoul Peace Prize, saying he "does not deserve the honour as he has a history of being complicit in violence against Muslims in India."
“We demand (the Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation) retract its decision to give the Seoul Peace Prize to Modi,” the 26 groups, including the Center for Refugee Rights in Korea and the Korean House of International Solidarity, said at a press conference in Seoul.
.Calling Modi “the perfect candidate,” the prize committee had said the Indian prime minister was being recognized for “Modinomics,” saying the economic reform programme had “reduced social and economic disparity between the rich and the poor” in India. The award follows Korean President Moon Jae-in's Delhi summit with Modi in July.
Human rights groups in Korea said, "Modi deliberately allow…

Statue of Unity "undermines" Adivasis' faith in Varata Baba on Sadhu Bet: NBA

The anti-dam movement, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "undermining" the Adivasis' faith by seeking to dedicate on October 31 the 182-metre high Statue of Unity in the name of Sardar Patel to the nation on Sadhu Bet, which is known among them as Varata Baba Hill. According to NBA, the Adivasis' faith in the shrine has been "suppressed" by allowing 1,500 Chinese workers to build the Sardar Statue instead of employing local Adivasis.
In a statement, NBA said, the Narmada project has adversely affected at least 72 tribal villages, and while taking over their land for the project, they were never been told that a tourism plan would now take over their land. The land grab has begun."
Modi is seeking to celebrate the construction of the statue at a time when the Narmada river has gone dry, with saline sea water intruding in the riverbed, destroying farmland on both the sides. While farmers and fishermen are made to suf…

Revolutionary books by Pansare released at NAPM yatra in Kolhapur

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In its second phase, the Samvidhan Samman Yatra, organized by the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), travelled through Islampur, Kolhapur, Vaibhav Wadi, and Kankavali on the third day, with people expressing concern that rightwing forces were hell bent on changing the Constitution, vowing to unitedly defeat these elements.
In Kolhapur, the yatra was welcomed by Shobha Bondre, city mayor. Participating in a public rally, she released revolutionary books written by Govind Pansare. NAPM convener Madhuresh Kumar said, “When activists like Dabholkar, Kalburgi, Gauri Lankesh, and Govind Pansare were killed, we all joined the fight against fascist forces.”
He added, “They didn't get killed because of personal grudges but their strong opinions against extreme and violent Hindutva, casteism, religious intolerance got them killed. They fought for the opinions and rationality which opposition wanted to silence. We are now determined to fight for our constitutional values like…

Memorandum to Gujarat govt demands for separate data base, budget for women farmers

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The Working Group of Women and Land Ownership (WGWLO) has demanded separate budgetary allocation for women working in agriculture. A day-long WGWLO workshop, held in Gandhinagar, and participated by over 250 representatives from Gujarat’s 17 districts, put forward this demand, pointing out that 65% agricultural workers in India are women. In Gujarat, as per the 2011 Census, about 44 lakh women are involved in farming activities.
The workshop heard views of women farmers on erratic monsoon, organic agriculture, contribution of women in agriculture, and providing forest land rights to women farmers. At the end of the workshop, a memorandum consisting several demands by women farmers was handed over the Gujarat government. The memorandum insisted, there should be a separate data base for male and female farmers, even as seeking special concessions as bank loans to women farmers and their organizations.
Other demands put forward at the workshop included ensuring landownership to women, i…

NAPM yatra pays tribute to India's first anti-dam campaigner

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Samvidhan Samman Yatra of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), which passed through Pune and Satara, paid tribute to Senapati Bapat, the revolutionary freedom fighter and leader of the first anti-dam movement in the country. He fought against the Mulshi Dam in 1921. It recalled the struggle of the five generations of the dam displaced people who travelled with the Yatra and supported their demand for return of the land occupied by the dam operators, Tatas.
The yatra, which began on October 2 at Dandi and will reach Delhi on December 10 after travelling the whole of India, comprises of 75 people from 15 states. Speaking at a public rally in Pune, Subhash Ware, eminent constitutionalist, said that Dr Ambedkar was aware of the fact that courts or Parliament alone cannot guarantee the rule of law. There is a need to struggle to achieve justice.
Medha Patkar of NAPM, who is leading the yatra, said that every woman is asserting today with movements such as #MeToo on th…

#MeToo petition seeks internal complaint committees in every workplace in India

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A #MeToo petition begun by Koshika Krishna, addressed to Union Minister For Women & Child Development Maneka Gandhi, has said that time has come for Indian workplaces to “experience its #MeToo moment.”
Taking a cue from Roya Sarkar, a US-based law student, who created a flutter by published a list on Facebook accusing more than 50 Indian professors of sexual harassment, and actor Tanushree Dutta, who called out co-actor Nana Patekar, Krishna says, while many women have found the courage to speak out, what’s disturbing is that there is “deafening silence and lack of support for those individuals who have spoken out.”
Pointing out that most companies have not set up Internal Complaints Committees (ICCs), as mandated under the Sexual Harassment at the Workplace Act, 2013, the petition regrets, in the media world, only 7 out of 17 major production houses in Mumbai confirmed that they had sexual harassment committees in place.
Seeking signatures, the petition says, “In a country whe…

Chemical waste being "dumped" in Bharuch from outside: NGO busts racket

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The Prakruti Suraksha Mandal (PSM), a Bharuch-based environmental NGO, has claimed that it has busted a waste disposal racket in Bharuch district. In a statement signed by PSM’s Salim Patel, it said, the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) was informed about how polluting units were “illegally” discharging chemical waste from outside and dumping it into Bharuch district.
PSM said, it “gathered information” and caught a tempo containing highly acidic chemical/drug-filled drum, adding, the drum contained chemical waste from Vadodara district’s Nandesiri industrial area. The tempo driver admitted that it did not have any appropriate document to carry the waste, hence GPCB officials were informed about it, PSM added.
As a result of the complaint lodged by PSM, a team consisting of GPCB, Vadodara, led by Bhadresh Patel and Ashish Patel, have begun investigation.

Focus on environmental, livelihood issues as second phase of Samvidhan Samman Yatra begins in Mumbai

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The second phase of the Sanvidhan Samman Yatra, organised by well-known civil rights network National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), began on October 20, with a public meeting held at Chaityabhumi, Dadar, Mumbai, highlighting increasing attacks on marginalised sections. Begun with protest songs performed by the Swadeshi Hip-Hop collectives, environmentalist Stalin Dayanand of the Save Arey movement insisted on the need to preserve Aarey forests in order to save Mumbai.
Another environmentalist Prakash Bhoir, also belonging to Save Arey movement, said 145 acres from the land of Adivasis has been given to the Veterinary College, where adivasis are treated worse than animals. “We had to fight even for the basic facilities like toilet. Our land has been given for construction of the Mumbai Metro and now they are throwing us out of the our land”, he said.
Rekha Ghatge, activist, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA), said, she was a victim of the failed rehabilitation at Mahul…

India's polluted stretches along rivers rise from 302 to 351 in two years

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The number of critically polluted stretches of the country's rivers has increased to 351 from 302 two years ago, and the number of critically polluted stretches has gone up to 45 from 34, according to a recent assessment, released by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
The report analyses the water quality data under national water quality monitoring programme for the years 2016 and 2017. Scrutinizing the situation statistically. the report seeks to identify monitoring locations for water quality, identifying their polluted levels.
The polluted locations in a continuous sequence are defined as polluted river stretches and categorised in five priority classes based on BOD concentration exceeding to BOD levels >30 mg/l, BOD between 20&30 mg/l, BOD between 10&20mg/l, BOD between 6-10 mg/l and BOD between 3& 6 mg/l.

Sanjiv Bhatt's arrest in 22 years old case: Govt lawyers' "delaying" tactics

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Shweta Sanjiv Bhatt, wife of former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who was arrested in a 22 year old case, has strongly objected to the government lawyers' “delaying tactics” at the Sessions Court in Palanpur, Banaskantha district. In a Facebook statement, Shweta Bhatt said, “On October 16, the Sessions Court was supposed to hear Sanjiv’s bail application. The audience was scheduled at 10:30 am. Nevertheless, in a flagrant display of tactical lateness, government lawyers arrived at 3 pm.”
She added, “Shamefully attempting to further delay the hearings, they asked for another 10-days extension to prepare the case. Another 10-days extension, even though Sanjiv was taken away from home 44 days ago; one might wonder what the government lawyers have been doing since! Another 10-days extension in a 22-year old case, already heard and stayed by the Supreme Court 22 years ago.”
According to her, it is a case “which used to be the State of Gujarat Vs the State of Rajasthan, but has suddenly …

Murder of Amreli Dalit youth: Action sought to arrest 3 accused, who are at large

In a letter to Nirlip Roy, Superintendent of Police, district Amreli, Dalit rights leader Kantilal Parmar has sought urgent action for arresting the accused who are involved in the murder of a schedule caste (SC) community youth Mahesh Ratilal Zala on October 1, 2018. Pointing out that three persons belonging to a dominant caste killed Zala, Parmar said in the letter, "Till today there are none of the three accused have been arrested. All three have run away from their residence."
The letter added, "As a consequence of this incident, the family members of the scheduled caste community are living under fear. I request to you to look into this personally and intervene in this case to deliver justice to the schedule caste community family, which has lost its son. The arrest of the three accused alone would help reduce the atmosphere of fear in which the family members of Zala are being forced to live."

Odisha civil society condemns custodial "torture" of forest rights activist

Several civil rights groups and activists have come together to condemn "illegal detention and custodial torture" of Dadhi Kadraka, forest rights activist of the Niyamgiri Surakshya Samiti (NSS), by the Rayagada Police, Odisha. They have also condemned the threat being issued to Lingaraj Azad by the Superintendent of Police of Kalahandi District in order to force him not to organize any meeting and protest in the locality and suppress him to postpone the proposed rally against police brutality for October 23 at the district headquarters.
In a joint civil society statement, they have described such incidents as attack on democratic rights of people as well as state-sponsored attack on dissent, and in the interesst of corporate giant Vedanta. "On October 6, the police picked up Kadraka from his village without any warrant and severely tortured him for four days and left him in a nearby police station on October 10. He is incapable to walk", the statement said.
Those…

NGO involves students as green catalysts for environmental awareness during Navratri

Ahmedabad-based environmental non-government organization (NGO), Paryavaran Mitra, has decided to create public awareness campaign for preserving environment during the Navratri festival in the city. The NGO will be involving college-going students from October 15 to 17 for this on e-waste, pastic waste and cleanliness.
The students, who will be identified "Green Catalysts", will be holding skits during the garba programme in Gujarat Vidyapeeth, a communique by the NGO convener, Mahesh Pandya, said, even as calling upon all to participate in the programme.

Land rights body to hold dialogue with political parties on "risky" bullet train project

A conglomerate of several civil rights organizations, Bhumi Adhikar Andolan (BAA) has decided to hold a Janmanch, a meeting with political parties on the proposed Bullet Train project to discuss its various facets on October 15 at the Constitution Club, New Delhi.
In a statement ahead of the consultation, BAA has said, the project is being implemented in violation of land acquisition law and is an assault on democratic norms, adding, the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Corridor has already hit a roadblock, as its main financiers, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has decided to “revisit” the project, especially taking cognizance of opposition to the project, led by farmers and other stakeholders.
Quoting reports, BAA says, JICA, which has till now given Rs 125 crore till now, wants the government to take notice of the agitation of the farmers. “The bullet train aimed to be constructed by 2022 will pass through Maharashtra and Gujarat acquiring hundreds of hectares rich t…

Hyderabad Urdu Varsity vice-chancellor curtailing my entry into campus: Chancellor writes to Prakash Javdekar

In a letter to Prakash Javadekar, Union human resources minister, Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who was recently appointed chancellor of the Hyderabad-based Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), has complained that its vice chancellor Dr Aslam Parvaiz has “curtailed” his entry into the campus because he has “envisioned a reform plan of the university badly mauled owing to its deeply mired into corruption of all types.”
Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Azad, said in his letter that the VC convened an almost three-hour meeting on October 4, 2018 in the Academic Council, “condemning all the reforms of the Chancellor, including reviving the Maulana Azad Centre for Progressive Studies and the Centre for Empowerment of Muslim Women”, adding, the council also displayed “the lowest ethics by leading a hate campaign against me to by condemning my constitutional and legal prerogative of taking steps to reform the university.”

Eco-campaigner's death: File FIR against Modi, Gadkari, Uma Bharati, demands Haridwar-based civil rights body

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A Haridwar-based civil rights organization, Matu Jansangthan, expressing anguish over the death of Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand (GD Agrawal), who was on hunger fast for 111 days, has characterized this as “government assassination” of the top environment campaigner for cleaning up Ganga.
Former professor of at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, one who served as the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB's) member secretary, the 87-year old campaigner, said Matu Jansangathan, demanded free flow of Ganga at a time when top government ministers, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi callous towards his demand.
Signed by the organization’s convener, Vimal Bhai, its statement said, an FIR should be registered under Sec 302 of IPC, and in this Narendra Modi, Nitin Gatkari and Uma Bharti should be named “for the murder of the Swami, because in a letter he has said that Modi will be responsible for his death.”
Pointing out that Matu Jansangathan has been raising environ…

Opposing capital punishment, CJP says, in only sought life sentence in 2002 Gujarat riot convictions

The Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), in a statement October 10, the 16th World Day Against the Death Penalty, has insisted that there is a need to "draw attention to the rights abuses inherent in the practice of capital punishment, with this year focusing on the living conditions of those on death row."
"At CJP, we have fought for reformative justice in the courts since our inception. We stand by the evidence that the death penalty is an ineffective method in deterring serious crimes, that fails to treat the true problem at hand and disproportionately affects offenders of minority groups", it said.
"CJP was born as a response to the horrific instances of violence displayed during the 2002 Gujarat riots, where we have battled over 68 cases to bring powerful, but criminally culpable people to justice. Although the crimes committed during the carnage were gruesome and premeditated, we worked with survivors to fight for life sentences, not the death penalty&qu…

Migrant workers in, around Ahmrdabad do not get any welfare facility: Ajivika Bureau

Ajivika Bureau, a Gujarat-based charitable organization which works on the problems and needs of unorganized workers, even as strongly condemning attacks on migrant workers from UP and Bihar, forcing them to flee the state, has said in a statement that most of them work in unsafe working conditions, without any social security.
Characterizing their condition as an example of Gujarat model, the statement said, labour laws at the spots where they work are openly being violated and the labour department is working to save only entrepreneurs and industrialists.
In and around Ahmedabad alone, it said, there are about 14 to 15 lakh migrant workers, most of them working in factories in industrial estates or in hotels, restaurants, and construction sites. "These labourers are paid Rs 180 to 320 per day, and they do not get any welfare facility. The government does not support them either. Nor is there is any helpline for workers", it added.

Poverty, social reasons force 20% UP children to remain out of school: Survey

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The Right to Education (RTE) Forum, with the support of Council for Social Development, Delhi and Malala Fund, has found in a survey that about 20% of children in Hamirpur district, Uttar Pradesh, are forced to stay outside the scope of school education, 10% children migrate to other places with their parents in search of employment, and 8-10% girls get married at a young age.
Released in Hamirpur at an activists' seminar, the draft report based on the survey says that the situation is extremely worrisome, as things are even worse in villages. While state minister, Uttar Pradesh, Nand Kishore told the seminar that "non-teaching incentive" may have played an important negative role in the field of education, Uttar Pradesh's RTE Forum convener Sanjeev Sinha said that children are forced to stay out of school in such a large numbers due to poverty and social reasons.
The seminar was also attended, among others, by Binod Sinha (Oxfam, Uttar Pradesh) and Sajita Majumdar…

PIL in Gujarat High Court against discrimination of minorities by govt board

The Gujarat-based Minority Coordination Committee (MCC) has filed a PIL in the High Court against "discrimination on religious grounds" by the Gujarat government's Pavitra Yatradham Board, saying taxpayers' money is being misused for promoting religious spots in a discriminatory manner.
MCC convener Mujahid Nafees has said, "This petition says that the country's constitution clearly states that the state will not promote any particular religion, and that it will see all of them with an equal eye. However, the Board in Gujarat is clearly supporting one religion, even as ignoring others. It demands the government to survey all the religious institutes without discrimination."
The High Court heard the PIL on Tuesday, issuing notice to the Chief Secretary, Gujarat, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Board for reply by December 12, 2018, when the next hearing is scheduled.

Parvez, family being "harassed" for refusing to withdraw case against Adityanath: Complaint filed before NHRC

Rihai Manch (RM), a Uttar Pradesh civil rights organization, has accused the state government of harassing the family of Parvez Parvaz, who is fighting a case against UP CM Yogi Adityanath. It quotes Parvez's wife, who in a letter to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has feared that members of the family could be implicated in false cases.
Accusing Adityanath of terrorizing the family of Parvez Parvaz, RM said, complaints have also been lodged to Uttar Pradesh's Principal Secretary, Home, Director General of Police, and senior police officials of Gorakhpur.
RM said, the CM is misusing his post, adding, the matter is in the Supreme Court, and the Chief Justice should take cognizance so that Parvez and his family feel secure, as the law suit filed by social activists Asad Hyatt and Parvez against Adityanath is pending in the Supreme Court about his "inflammatory" speech of 2007.
RM president Muhammad Shoeb said that there is no case against any member of Pa…

Girish Patel was an ardent supporter of Narmada dam-affected people: NBA

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The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) has described the demise of advocate Girish Patel on October 6, 2018 morning a great loss to all people's struggles and causes of democratic and human rights. Calling him a legal luminary and social activist, who remained committed to all causes of human and Constitutional rights as well as civil liberties, NBA, in a statement signed, among others, by Medha Patkar, says, "He was an ardent supported of the movement by the Narmada dam-affected in Gujarat, taking a courageous and confident position."
NBA particularly recalls that Girish Patel's book "Kona bhoge, Kona mate", saying, it raised "all the issues related to the Sardar Sarovar dam which have proved to be correct even today". It adds, "He was active in various ways against atrocities against dalits, adivasis and influenced hundreds and thousands of social activists to sensitise intellectuals, including lawyers and law students, who he continued to educa…

Uproot BJP govt: NAPM yatra exhorts people in Rajasthan

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The Constitution Samman Yatra, organized by the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), completed its Rajasthan leg, holding a conference and a public meeting in Udaipur calling upon people to uproot the BJP government to protect the constitution. Issues discussed during the yatra included pension, ration card, MNREGA, all of which have "failed" to be implemented by the government.
During its meeting with the people, the yatra highlighted burning issues such as robbery of resources, violation of the PESA law by snatching the rights to gram sabha, onslaught of minorities, even as terming Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Gaurav Yatra "shameful yatra".
Before reaching Madhya Pradesh's Balagudha village, the yatra visited Mandsaur, Ratlam and Dungarpur. While at Dungarpur, the yatra heard people complaint about adivasi rights, at Ratlam it found people, pointing towards adverse impact of the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway and the industrial corridors. Pe…

Adivasi peace march to hold "dialogue" despite Maoist threat

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A Shanti Padayatra, claimed to be innovative, has completed a week of gruelling march through a dangerously beautiful territory. It will reach Jagdalpur for the so-called Bastar dialogue on October 13. A march by adivasis, accompanied by a few non-adivasi activists, Maoists have condemned the effort for dialogue.
Even before the march started, Maoists reportedly ordered the local adivasis to boycott the yatra; they also targeted its principal organiser Shubhranshu Choudhary as a corporate agent. The order has reduced interaction between the local population and the yatris, but the yatra continued in defiance of the diktat. Maoists have always ordered boycott of the electoral process, threatening people with physical harm if they disobeyed.

Sagar Rabari resigns as secretary, Khedut Samaj, Gujarat; says he wants to remain strictly apolitical

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Sagar Rabari, well-known farmers’ leader who, as secretary of the Khedut Samaj, Gujarat (KSG), is known to have fought and won many a battle for the farmers, has resigned from his post. In an open letter, posted on his Facebook timeline, Rabari said, he decided to work as secretary of the KSG because it was a purely non-political organization, wedded to farmers’ rights. “I decided that I would not join any political party, in order to ascertain that people’s interests are taken up without taking into account this or that political party interests”, he said.
Pointing out that he had sent across his resignation to the KSG leadership on August 27, telling them to appoint a new secretary in his place, Rabari said, “I had expected that in the executive meeting of the KSG, a decision on this would be taken on this. But there has not been any meeting, nor have they accepted my resignation, hence I decided to make public my decision to quit as KSG secretary.”
Claiming that under his leaders…

SEWA Rural one of the 15 best workplaces along with Tata Communications, HP, American Express, GE

The Society for Education Welfare & Action (SEWA) Rural, Jhaghadia, Bharuch, a Gujarat-based NGO, has been recognized as providing one of the top 15 best workplaces for women nationally for the 2018-19. Felicitated by the Great Place to Work, a global institute, a communiqué by SEWA Rural says that the NGO is inspired by the ideals of Swami Vivekananda and Gandhiji.
Established in 1980, the NGO says, “The purpose of the existence of the organization is to reach out to poor and underprivileged through a variety of health, education and economic development programmes.”
“The Great Place to Works is the global authority on building, sustaining and recognizing high-trust, high-performing workplace cultures, which has crafted its perspective by learning from great leaders, surveying millions of employees, and examining thousands of the best workplaces around the globe”, the NGO adds.
Started operations in India in 2003, Great Place to Work every year studies more than 700 organization…

Judgment to deport seven Rohingiyas a dark day for Indian human rights: Amnesty

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By Amnesty International India in a statement has said that the Supreme Court nod for "forcible" expulsion of seven Rohingya men, Mohammad Jalal, Mokbul Khan, Jalal Uddin, Mohammad Youns, Sabbir Ahamed, Rahim Uddin and Mohammad Salam to Myanmar by the Indian government marks a dark day for human rights in India.  "These seven men are at grave risk of being subjected to serious human rights violations by the Myanmar government", Amnesty said, adding, "This decision negates India’s proud tradition of providing refuge to those fleeing serious human rights violations. It endangers the most persecuted population in the world and is bereft of any empathy.”
"The petitioners had requested the Court to allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) access to the men to ascertain whether they needed protection under refugee law — this was not allowed", Amnesty said, adding, "The seven were earlier found to be ‘illegal immigrants’ under t…

Save the Constitution campaign highlights "indiscriminate" land acquisition in Dholera SIR

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On October 3, the National Alliance of People's Movements' (NAPM's) nationwide campaign to save the Constitution, Samvidhan Samman Yatra, reached Dholera in Ahmebabad district, where Dholera Special Investment Region (SIR) Virodhi Andolan, Bhaal Bachao Samiti, and others welcomed the yatra. Farmers in large numbers along with other communities gathered in Baavaliyari village for a public meeting organised by local movement groups. The meeting was attended by people from all 22 villages coming under Dholera SIR.
Addressing people, farmers' leader Pradhyuman Singh said, Dholera has been planned as an SIR under the industrial corridor project, where about 922 square kilometers of prime agricultural, forest, and saline land of 22 villages are getting pooled. It is an investment region to satisfy the greed of big corporates for setting up their facilities and industries. Here, bureaucrats are far more dangerous than any industrialists. The notification for acquisition or…

NAPM's cross country yatra begins at Dandi against human rights "violations" of the BJP government

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The National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) began its nationwide "save the constitution" yatra at Dandi on October 2 against human rights violations of committed by the BJP government and looting of resources taking place ​​across the country. Those who came in support of the yatra, which began from the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Dandi, included Prafulla Samantara (Lok Shakti Abhiyan, Odisha), Suhas Kolhekar (NAPM, Maharashtra), Dr. Sunilam (Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Madhya Pradesh), Nita Mahadev (Gujarat Lok Samiti, Gujarat), others.
While flagging off the yatra, Prafulla Samantara said that today's situation is getting worse than the slavery of the British. The country's resources are being auctioned in favour of some big industrial houses. Go anywhere today, the farmers of the country, the tribals, the labourers, the youth, the aged, all are upset. Every value of the Constitution is being eroded.
Traveling through Dandi, the yatra reached Paradi village…

Maharashtra MLAs refuse to meet Mahul residents seeking implementation of HC order on relocation

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Angry Mahul residents, facing health related issues due to high level of pollution, hit the streets and gheraoed fives MLAs outside their residences and offices. The MLAs were Prakash Mehta, Ghatkopar (East), BJP; Ram Kadam, Ghatkopar (West), BJP; Parag Alavani, Andheri (West), BJP; Sanjay Potnis, Santacruz Kalina, Shiv Sena; and Trupti Sawant, Bandra, Shiv Sena.
The action followed the Bombay High Court order to the Government of Maharashtra to either relocate or compensate enough so as to enable the people to live on rent at a better place by October 1. Despite the order, there is no news about the decision of the government, the reason why Mahul residents decided to ask about it from their representatives.
Listed as voters in the previous place of residence, from where they have been shifted to Mahul, the Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA), the NGO that represents them, said, "MLAs of these areas are still accountable to them. They are duty bound for the safety of Mahul …

Big dams lead to "tremendous losses" to environment and livelihood: Activists, exprerts

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Participating in a dialogue in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, environmentalists and activists said that presented said that big dams lead to "tremendous losses" to the environment and livelihood of the people. The dialogue was organized by Narmada Bachao Andolan, Matu Jan Sangathan and Bargi Bandh Visthapit Sangh.
Social activist Medha Patkar presented several case studies to outline how undemocratically and unscientifically dams are being pushed forward without credible studies over environment, social and economic repercussions. Not even one third of irrigation targets have been achieved by the Sardar Sarovar Dam and the electricity generation is shut for a year. About 21,000 km of canals are yet to be completed, dry Kutch has also been left halfway from the benefits of this water, she added.
Vimal Bhai from Uttarakhand blamed the dams on Ganga-Bhagirathi in the Himalayan region for the 2013 floods. GO Jose from Kerala raised the same issue in the context of Kerala and demanded a…

Mahul pipeline affected residents to gherao MLAs, seek implementation of HC order

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In a major victory for the Bhar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA), the Bombay High Court recently asked the Maharashtra government to either relocate or compensate the the Tansa Pipeline Affected Persons in Mahul. The compensation, HC said, should be enough so as to enable them to rent a house in Mumbai.
In its order dated August 8, 2018, uploaded a couple of days ago, the Bombay HC asked the government to decide on one of the two options latest by October 1. "We have not heard of any decision from the government till date. Residents of Mahul feel agitated by this callous attitude of the government even when the HC has approved of their grief", GBGBA says.
It adds in a statement, "Aggrieved residents of Mahul have decided to do the gherao of the MLAs of the areas where they were previously residing. As the residents of Mahul are still listed as the voters of their previous areas, they think that their MLAs -- especially who are part of the party in power -- are duty b…

Petition asks AICTE to withdraw book making "outlandish" claims on history of Indian science

A petition to Prof Anil Sahsrabuddhe, Chair, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), has taken strong objection to AICTE’s endorsement of the book "Bharatiya Vidya Sagar" for an elective course on on ‘Ancient Knowledge Systems’ as part of its model curriculum. This model curriculum would be adopted in more than 3000 technical colleges in the country.
Floating the petiton, a concerned citizen, Aniket Sule, says, while the idea of making "technical students aware about history of Indian science and philosophy is a laudable", the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan's reference book "makes a number of unsubstantiated and most outlandish claims".
These include Rishi Agastya invented elctro-voltaic cell, Rishi Agastya gives method of electrolysis to produce Oxygen and Hydrogen from water, Rishi Kanad in 'Vaisheshik Sutra' discusses types of motion as well as Newton’s laws of motion, the book ‘Vaimanika Shastra’ was written by Rishi Bharadwaj about 50…