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Showing posts from November, 2018

Adani Group declares it will "self-finance" Australian coal mining project: Traditional group registers fresh opposition

The controversial Adani Group's Carmichael coal mine and rail project in Queensland, Australia, will be "100% financed" through the Group’s own resources, Adani, Mining CEO Lucas Dow has said. A South Asia Times, Melbourne, report has quoted Dow as saying in Queensland, “We have already invested $3.3 billion in Adani’s Australian businesses, which is a clear demonstration of our capacity to deliver a financing solution for the revised scope of the mine and rail project."
Pointing out that "the project stacks up both environmentally and financially", he added, "Today’s announcement removes any doubt as to the project stacking up financially... The Carmichael Project will deliver more than 1,500 direct jobs on the mine and rail projects during the initial ramp-up and construction phase, and will support thousands more indirect jobs, all of which will benefit regional Queensland communities.” The project faces fierce opposition from environmental groups…

Shocking that Madhya Pradesh CM asked Modi not to implement land rights law: NAPM

Commenting on a recent HuffPost India story which said that, in controversial move, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan wrote a letter to the Prime Minister to stop the implementation of Section 24 (2) of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013 -- which gave land and property rights to farmers -- rop civil rights network National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) has said the move has adversely affected displaced farmers in the state.
Chouhan argued in the letter that if farmers and other affected people are are not displaced, it would adversely affect capital investment and infrastructure projects, including dams. Calling the letter "shocking" and "objectionable", NAPM said, land acquisition, displacement, poor compensation and weak rehabilitation helped the corporates in every possible way, adding, it also led to early displacement of the Narmada dam affected people in the state.
NAPM added, in complete violation of the Narmada Tribunal award, th…

Move seeking religious identity of Gujarat's Muslim students discriminatory: Milli Council

Close on the heels of the Gujarat government starting to collect "details" of Muslim students, the All-India Milli Council (AIMC) has said that the move is against the secular character of the India. In a statement, AIMC Gujarat chapter general secretary and editor, siyasat.net, Abdul Hafiz Lakhani, insisted, the state government "cannot ask only Muslim students of their identity. It should be for all students."
In a statement, Lakhani said, Muslims students cannot be discriminated like this. The Constitution forbids state from mixing religion with education. The state being secular in character cannot identify itself with any one religion or religious denomination. Religion cannot play any role in governance of the country, which must at all times be secular in nature.
AIMC Gujarat president Mufti Rizwan Tarapuri said, freedom of religion in India is a fundamental right guaranteed by the constitution. Modern India came into existence in 1947 as a secular nation a…

Restore Constitutional rights to Adivasis: South Gujarat tribal body writes to governor

In a strongly-worded representation to the Gujarat governor, the Bandharan Adhikar Amalikaran Samiti, a South Gujarat-based civil rights organization advocating the implementation of constitutional framework for tribals, has said that even 60 years after the Indian Constitution was promulgated, its provisions are not being implemented in letter and spirit.
"According to the Constitution's fifth schedule, Article 244-1, the Adivasis of India have been given the right to self-rule over their land and natural resource. The constitution also says that in case the authorities or the government that these rights are snatched away from them, these should be restored", the representation, signed by the Samiti's president Priteshbhai D Chaudhary, says.
"Yet", says the Samiti, which is based in the Adivasi town Vyara, "The the implementation authorities are found to be failing to implement the constitution. Adivasis are being alienated from their land is being s…

18-month-old pellet gun victim Hiba: Human rights defenders seek NHRC intervention

Human rights defenders Syed Mujtaba Hussian and Mirza Jahanzeb Beg have filed a case with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) against an 18-month-old pellet gun victim Hiba Nisar. Hiba was with her mother inside their house at Kapran village in south Kashmir when pellets hit the infant in her right eye.
According to the victim’s mother Fancy, they were forced to leave the home due to suffocation caused by teargas shells fired by the forces. When she was on her door, forces fired pellets on them. Fancy covered Hiba’s face with her hand but couldn’t save her from the pellets. She too received pellets on her left hand while making an unsuccessful attempt to protect her infant daughter.
The activists, who have also written to the Special Rapporteurs to the United Nations and Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that the baby is the "youngest victim of oppression" adding, "Pellet guns are used nowhere on civilian population in this wo…

Gujarat NGO launches campaign to end violence against women, girls

Ahmedabad-based NGO Utthan has launched a campaign with a “collective call to end all form of violence against women and girls.” Started on November 25 and ending on December 10. The campaign has been launched in association with four district women’s organizations and and 50 Gram Panchayats of Dahod, Mahisagar, Bhavnagar and Amreli districts.
Pointing out that district-level events are being organized involving village stakeholders, with the participation of block and district government officials, an Utthan communiqué says, Gujarat is faced with the highest decline in sex ratio at birth in the country, from 911 in 2011 (Census 2011) to 842 (SRS, 2017). Other crimes against women and girls continue to be alarming, it adds.
The campaign is said to be in line with the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, an international campaign convened the world over as an organizing strategy to call for the elimination of all forms of gender-based violence. It takes place every year…

UP BJP leaders "preparing" for riots ahead of Constitution day: Rihai Manch

UP's civil rights organization, Rihai Manch, has accused Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Shiv Sena of making preparations for riots at Ayodhya and elsewhere in the state. Pointing out that this being done ahead of the Constitution Day, November 26, the civil rights body said, Hindutva forces, who demolished the Babri years ago, are planning to hold a huge meeting for riots in the name of Ram Mandir a day before the Constitution Day.
Rihai Manch president Muhammad Shoeb said, BJP leaders are all set to "break the Constitution" by declaring that they are starting to build a temple at the Babri site. These leaders are BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, and state cooperative minister Mukund Bihari Verma. Verma went so far as to say, "We are determined to build a temple, the Supreme Court is also ours and the judiciary is also ours."
Pointing out that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has given a go-ahead to the move, Shoeb further said, already, people a…

Rafale deal: French NGO seeks "clarification" from country's financial prosecutor office

Sherpa, a French NGO, has filed a complaint with the National Financial Prosecutor's Office seeking clarification as to under which conditions 36 fighter aircraft produced by Dassault Aviation were sold to India in 2016 and the choice of its Indian partner, Reliance, "a group led by a close partner of the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi."
In a press release, Sherpa says, "This complaint follows the complaint lodged on the October 4, 2018 by a former Indian Minister and an anti-corruption lawyer with the Central Bureau of Investigation in New Delhi, against the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for 'abuse of authority' and 'grant of undue advantages' in connection with the sale of Rafale, and the facts revealed by Mediapart and Sherpa’s investigation."
It continues, "Anil Ambani, Narenda Modi close associate, Eric Trappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation, and the former Indian Minister of Defense Manohar Parrikar have also been targeted in t…

Foreign funding: Gujarat's RSS-controlled NGO among 1,775 warned of "appropriate action"

A top RSS-controlled NGO, operating from the Dr Hedgewar Bhawan, Kankaria, Ahmedabad, is one of the organizations which receives foreign funds but has failed to file its Foreign Contribution Regulation Act(FCRA) return, as required by the Government of India.
It is one of the 1,775 NGOs across India, of which 60 are from Gujarat, which has been issues a show cause notice asking its managers as to "why appropriate action" under Sections 13 and 14 of the FCRA "may not be initiated" against it within a fortnight of the notice, which was issued on November 16.
The NGO, Sewa Bharti, operates from Gujarat's RSS headquarters, and has not filed its returns, as required, electronically, for the year 2013-14, the notice, carrying the list of all the NGO "defaulters", shows.

Bihar govt "losing" interest in education: Roundtable on girls' education told

Addressing the Round Table Discussion on "Education of Girls in Bihar: Present Challenges and Initiatives", organized by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, Ambarish Rai, its national convenor, said that the government, teachers and civil society must work together to educate girls. The roundtable took place at the Sinha Institute, Patna.
Rai said, "The basic issue of education has not yet become the subject of our discussion and concern. In such an environment, girls' education remains neglected. It is therefore necessary that education should be brought to the centre of politics and political debate." He added, "Bihar is a state where people still believe in government school system. But regrettably it is now beginning to lose interest and is tilting in favour of the private sector."
Those who participated in the discussion included Prof Pushpendra of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Patna, senior social worker and educationist Akshay Kumar, …

Pope Francis appreciates Indian human rights activist's story in a book by him, friends

Indian human rights activist Fr Cedric Prakash's story "Love", based an interview by journalist Rosemary Lane, finds its place in “Sharing the Wisdom of Time”, a book by Pope Francis " and friends ". The concerns the time when, after having spent a long time working on a document, highlighting passages and scribbling in notes and sub-notes, a friend came up to Fr Cedric and spilled his whole cup of coffee on it.
Fr Cedric was instinctively upset, as loves to put down words, phrases, ideas on plenty of sheets of paper, jotting down things in what he terms "ugly scrawl”. He recalls, “It was several hours of work gone – it was all blotched, nothing to be saved, as the pen I was using was one of these fluid ink types... I didn’t know what to do”.
He reflected on that several possibilities -- of “being angry, crying… because it was just work that was gone”. But finally, this is what he did: “So I smiled as said to him: Shall I make you another cup of coffee?”

Dalit housing societies in Ahmedabad "fraudulently" taken away by non-Dalits: Activist writes to Gujarat CM

Veteran Dalit rights activist Valjibhai Patel has alleged that as many as 33 societies -- such as Valmiki and Savaiyanath -- in Ahmedabad's posh Bodakdev and Navrangpura areas, reserved for scheduled caste (SC) people, have fraudulently passed on to upper caste sections, who have constructed bungalows and flats on them. "This is based on a survey which we carried out in the city", he claimed.
In a letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, Patel, who is general secretary, Council for Social Justice (CSJ), said that poor people living on 1.23 square metres of land in six major cities of Gujarat -- Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot, Surat, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar -- have been displaced, and SC community people have not been provided with alternative housing despite the clearcut legal provision.
"We wrote letters to the district collector's offices in the six cities about this two years ago, apprising them that the slum clearance law, which came into effect in 1970, …

Vadodara authorities "least concerned" about environmental destruction along Vishwamitri: Concerned citizens

Several concerned citizens of Vadodara have said that the reply of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) regarding destruction of the environment along, in and around the city's Vishwamitri river is casual, trivial, and flippant even as responding to their letter dated November 16, 2018. The letter concerned the demolition, tree felling and clearing of vegetation, dumping of debris, discharge of untreated sewage, dredging, digging, filling, levelling, construction, etc. next to the river.
They said in a letter to senior Gujarat government and Government of India officials that the local authorities were least concerned with the orders of the Gujarat High Court, the National Green Tribunal (Western Bench), and the Supreme Court. The letter had been signed by Rohit Prajapati, environmental activist; Dr Shishir R Raval, landscape architect; Dr Ranjitsinh Devkar, zoologist; Dr Deepa Gavali, wetland ecologist; Dr Jitendra Gavali, botanist; Neha Sarwate, urban planner; Shakti Bhatt,…

Rally in Patna: Non-farmer bodies to highlight plight of agriculture in Eastern India ahead of march to Parliament

Ahead of the march to Parliament on November 29-30, 2018, organized by over 210 farmer and agricultural worker organisations of the country demanding a 21-day special session of Parliament to deliberate on remedial measures for safeguarding the interest of farm, farmers and agricultural workers, a mass rally been organized for November 23, Gandhi Sangrahalaya (Gandhi Museum), Gandhi Maidan, Patna.
Say the organizers, the Eastern region merits special attention, because, while crisis of farmers and agricultural workers in Western, Southern and Northern India has received some attention in the media and central legislature, the plight of those in the Eastern region of the country (Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Eastern UP) has remained on the margins.
To be addressed by P Sainath, founder of People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI), a statement issued ahead of the rally says, the Eastern India was the most prosperous region in the country till the 1950s, maintai…

Civil society campaign against name change politics begins in UP

Campaign against the UP government's name change politics began in Lucknow on November 20 with senior political activist Shakeel Quraishi saying that that the Yogi government is exploiting religion for political ends. The chorus of building the Ram Mandir has followed the issue of entry of women in Sabarimala temple by violating the Supreme Court order.
Organised by Rihai Manch and Khidmatgar-Insani Biradari, Malik Shahbaz, who has worked in a private company, told the campaign that the security of ordinary people in the country is in danger. The most vulnerable are women and children. But the question of security is beyond the priority of the government. The government is silent on important issues like jobs, which is dangerous.
Abhinav Singh, who has been working in a private bank, said that restrictions on small and marginal traders has adversely impacted employment opportunities. In the name of investments in development, Modi travels abroad but this has not led to any benefi…

Groundwater of residential complexes in Ankaleshwar turns yellow: NGO demands action from Central authorities

A South Gujarat-based environmental NGO, Prakruti Suraksha Mandal (PSM), has raised the alarm that a large number of illegal borewells have come up in and around industrial estates of Bharuch district, sharply reducing groundwater levels and polluting the water.  PSM director Salim Patel, in a letter to senior officials of the Central Groundwater Authority (CGA), Government of India, and Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB), has said that at several places industrial units have been found to be illegally releasing untreated water underground. And, even after repeated complaints, GPCB has not taken any action against industrial units.
Patel said, the information it received under the Right to Information (RTI) Act revealed that just 67 units of the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) estate in Ankaleshwar have taken permission from the authorities for constructing borewells.  Clearly, there are many more units which have constructed borewells illegally, he asserts, add…

Call to "enjoy" pilgrimage of Sabarmati beyond Ahmedabad, where river water turns black

Nagrik Sashaktikaran Manch (NSM), a Gujarat-based civil rights organization, has called upon the state's citizens to join in a "unique yatra" along the river Sabarmati, starting in Ahmedabad and ending off the Gulf of Khambhat, where the river is supposed to merge with the sea. Pointing out that in Hindu culture, rivers are equated with Mother Goddess, NSM convener Jatin Seth says, it will be a "special event of pilgrimage", because, just like Ganga, Sarbarmati possesses "special properties."
"Starting at Giaspur, one can see how industries are releasing chemicals in Sabarmati, and you get a Thumbs-Up like colour of the water, and if you drink it, you are sure to be at least affected by cancer, and this way would enable you to book your ticket in the paradise. The river has a special smell, too, emanating from a black cocktail-type colour", says Seth in a statement. Insisting that this would be occasion for "unique darshan", Seth …

Rights defender seeks resolution of Kashmir issue through tripartite dialogue

Human rights defender from Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Syed Mujtaba called on OP Shah, noted political analyst and track II diplomat, who heads the Centre for Peace and Progress, at Delhi, to discuss the concerns about the Article 35A of the Constitution, which relates to special rights and privileges of the state's permanent residents, and early resolution (of K-issue) and meaningful tri-party dialogue as the best way to resolve the Kashmir issue.
The meeting comes after Shah met all across political spectrum in the Kashmir valley last week.
“For the past seven decades the people of Kashmir remain trapped in status quo. The baggage of history weighs heavy on us. And the change in this shift is possible only through dialogue — dialogue as we all understand is currently the most civilised and humane way to resolve conflicts”, Mujtaba said.
He stressed, “India and Pakistan should resume the dialogue process and engage people of J&K for an acceptable solution”, adding, it sh…

Gujarat govt "paying" 700% more to Vodafone for telecom than offer by BSNL: Gohil

Gujarat's senior Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil has alleged that the state BJP government is "squandering public money by paying crores of rupees to Vodafone for the services which are available at a very low tariff." Gohil, who is the party's national spokesperson and Bihar in charge, has demanded that the government give details of the deal with the private company, "which is minting money at public cost".
Gohil said, the state government is paying "700 percent more to Vodafone for the services which were available at a much cheaper rate", adding, the General Administrative Department (GAD) alone is "paying exorbitant charges for 2,000 telephones. Other government organisations are following GAD and number of telephones with higher tariff runs into thousands."
Releasing copies of the government resolution (GR), issued by GAD (CEL10203-1478), to media, Gohil said, the "government’s own company BSNL was offering unlimited loca…

Chancellor, dubbed Modi choice, boycotts Hyderabad Urdu varsity convention, says it's a den of corruption

Recently-appointed chancellor, Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), Hyderabad, Firoz Bakht Ahmed, on the eve of the university’s 7th Convention, in a letter to the registrar said he was boycotting the function, because MANUU has turned into “a den of corruption and unabated cases of sexual abuse of girl student.”
Stating that he would never wish to be clubbed with the “desecrators and destroyers of the sacred institution”, Ahmed, who is grand nephew of Maulana Azad, said: “I, Firoz Bakht Ahmed, Chancellor, Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), have boycotted the Convention 2018 on account of umpteen unresolved cases/ controversies of heinous and horrendous injustice.”
The letter cited instances of sexual abuse of girl students, irregularities in appointments, embezzlement of funds in all sorts of expenditures, as some of the reasons for the boycott.
According to Ahmed, there exists an “ambience of fear psychosis and fascism, making people phobic” and “annihilation o…

Cow vigilantes in Ahmedabad attack two persons taking buffaloes in truck, stab one

In yet another clear case of mob lynching, saffron vigilantes have attacked two persons belonging to a minority community transporting eight buffaloes in Gujarat. The incident happened between 1 and 2 am when they were taking the animals from Deesa in Palanpur district in North Gujarat to Bharuch in South Gujarat.
The attack, said a media alert by Minority Coordination Committee (MCC) convener Mujahid Nafees, took place when the vehicle, a truck, in which they were taking the buffaloes passed through Ahmedabad's Ramol police station area. "They were attacked by four persons riding on two motorcycles", Nafees said, adding, " One of them, Zaheer, was attacked with a knife. Badly injured, he is currently taking treatment in Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad."
The second person, Mustafa, Zaheer's brother, saved his life by hiding in a police car parked nearby. MCC activists Jameela Khan and Danish Khan helped the victims at the Civil Hospital. An FIR, lodged with t…

Andhra RTI users complain: State Information Commission not functioning for 18 months

A public hearing in Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, on the Right to Information (RTI) Act, saw participants from across the state highlight problems faced by people, as the state information commission (SIC) is not functional for the last 18 months. Co-organised by the United Forum for RTI, Andhra Pradesh, and the National Campaign for Peoples' Right to Information (NCPRI), those who heard people's testimonies included EAS Sarma, former IAS officer, Anjali Bhardwaj, co-convener, NCPRI, and B Ramakrishna Raju, national convenor, National Alliance for Peoples' Movements (NAPM).
After the bifurcation of the state of Andhra Pradesh in 2014, the SIC of Andhra Pradesh continued to function as the information commission for both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The commission became defunct in May 2017 after the serving informational commissioners retired. Since then, the commission has been non-functional, it was pointed out. RTI activists, meanwhile, have filed cases in the Hyder…

NRC-related suicides in Assam reach 33: Two more take their lives after wives declared foreigner

Two more persons have committed suicide in Assam, reportedly on being harassed and depressed on being declared foreigners, taking the total National Register of Citizens (NRC)-related suicides to 33. Samsul Hoque (46) and Abdul Jalil (35) took their lives after they found that the names of their wives did not appear in the final draft NRC, which was published on July 30. The incidents took place in Bagariguri under Sorbhog police station in Barpeta district of Assam.
Samsul Hoque, who committed suicide on November 14, was a daily wage agricultural worker.His family members and neighbours residents allege that he was frustrated, as the name of his wife Maleka Khatun had not appeared in the final draft. Said Shajahan Ali Ahmed, general secretary of the NGO Association for Protection of Indian Citizenship Rights, "Due to the rude behaviour of the officials involved in the NRC process and the absence of proper counselling, Samsul Hoque was pushed or compelled to commit suicide.&…

Sitting on dharna in Amreli, father of murdered Dalit youth seek justice from Gujarat CM

In a letter, Ratilal Ramjibhai Zala, father of Mahesh Ratilal Zala, who was murdered in Amreli town on October 1, 2018, has asked Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani to ensure that the accused should be arrested forthwith. Currently, the Zala family, with the support of other Dalit activists under the leadership of human rights defender Kantilal Parmar, are sitting on dharna in front of the district collector’s office demanding justice.
Mahesh was killed by three persons in Amreli, yet, says the letter, till today none of the three accused have been arrested. All three have run away from their residence. As a consequence of this incident, his family members are living under fear. Hence, there is an urgent need to arrest the accused. As many as 45 days have passed, yet the accused are roaming free.
The letter also asks the chief minister to immediately respond to the human rights violation by compensating the family as per rule 12(4) of the Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1995, with p…

Discriminatory to take back cases against Patidar quota agitators: Dalit rights body

The Gyati Nirmulan Samiti (GMS), a grassroots Dalit rights organization of Gujarat, has strongly protested against the manner in which the state government has been allegedly seeking to take back cases against those belonging to non-Dalit and non-Adivasi individuals.  Asserting that this is being done on a mass scale, GMS said, this is "discriminatory", and is being done to please the dominant caste people. "No cases registered against Dalits and Adivasis are being taken back", said GMS convener Sanjay Parmar in a letter submitted to KA Punj, who heads an inquiry commission the state government set up under the chairmanship of retired High Court judge KA Punj said, "This is being done purely for political reasons."  The letter has also been signed by GMS co-convener Rajesh Solanki, a Dalit rights advocate.
In a reported bid to placate the Patidar community, the Gujarat government last year announced setting up of the commission of inquiry headed under Pu…

Minority rights organization asks Ahmedabad municipal commissioner to clarify stance on name change politics

Gujarat's civil rights organization, Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), has asked the Ahmedabad municipal commissioner to clarify his stance on the "politics" currently being played around changing the name of the city from Ahmedabad to Karnavati. In a letter to the municipal commissioner, MCC convener Mujahid Nafees said, "It is well known, and documents prove it, that the city was founded by Sultan Ahmed Shah in 1411, and that he did not capture any town to do name it Ahmedabad."
"Yet", Nafees said, "Efforts are being made to deliberately undermine the peace, security and brotherhood existing in the city. Statements are being made in media about the need to change the name, and rumours are being spread through social media about it." He added, "You must be knowing that UNESCO gave heritage status to Ahmedabad's composite culture. You would be solely responsible if this status is eroded."

Eminent South Asians ask B'desh PM to release photographer-activist Shahidul Alam

Arundhati Roy, Aparna Sen, Vikram Seth, Romila Thapar, Amitav Ghosh, Shabhana Azmi, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Nandita Das, Mohammad Hanif, Anish Kapoor among other eminent persons from across South Asia have come together to write a letter to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed demanding the immediate release of acclaimed photographer and cultural activist Shahidul Alam on the 100th day of his detention.
The letter states: “As well-wishers of Bangladesh and supporters of its 166 million citizens’ struggle for dignity, social justice and prosperity, we are distressed by the continued imprisonment of photographer and cultural activist Shahidul Alam.”
Alam was forcefully taken from his home on 5th August and has been held at Dhaka Central Jail for the last 100 days. He is accused of ‘hurting the image of the nation’ while reporting on protests by young students demanding road safety. He has been denied bail 5 times.
The letter notes: “Shahidul Alam is a Bangladeshi citizen, but the res…

Maharashtra housing minister gives oral assurance to shift rehabilitated residents from "toxic hell" Mahul

Maharashtra housing minister Prakash Mehta has agreed to shift the the protesting Mahul residents temporarily to Kurla HDIL, a site that was proposed by members of the Mahul Prakalpgrast Sangharsh Samiti and Ghar bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA). Mehta assured the people that the proposal to shift people to Kurla HDIL will be discussed with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, and a final decision would be taken within four days.
The minister gave these assurances at a meeting with representatives of Mahul residents, led by well known social activist Medha Patkar, following their 16 days' protest. All of them Tansa pipeline displaced persons, they were "rehabilitated" last year in Mumbai’s highly polluted Mahul region, being considered the city's "toxic hell".
However, GBGBA, in a statement, regrets, the minister has only given an oral assurance and there is nothing in writing, adding, resistance would continue till the government provides concrete decisi…

Changing Ahmedabad's name to Karnavati would "efface" Islamic influence and memory

An online petition, addressed to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, his deputy Nitin Patel and other elected representatives of the legislative assembly of the state of Gujarat has been floated to "assert an opinion" against Patel's statement of November 7, 2018 that the name of Ahmedabad city be renamed as Karnavati. The government is willing to change the name if it gets past the legal hurdles and receives required support, Patel has been quoted as saying.
Pointing out that the city of Ahmedabad was "founded by the King Ahmed Shah in 1411", the petition agreesthat there were two the earlier settlements in and around the area -- known as Karnavati (after the name of King Karnadev) and Ashawal (after the name of Bhil leader Asha), the petition says, "What is objected is the attempt to erase the name of a Muslim ruler from the name of the city and reidentify it after a Hindu ruler."
Giving reasons why the name of Ahmedabad should be left untouched and…

Rihai Manch to launch campaign against name change politics of UP govt

Rihai Manch, an Uttar Pradesh civil rights organization, has decided to launch a state-wide campaign against change of names of major towns, currently being undertaken by the Yogi Adityanath government. Pointing out that the state government, instead of concentrating on solving burning issues of the state, is getting involved in changing names of Faizabad, Allahabad and cities, Rihai Manch in a statement said, the politics of changing names, coupled with plans to build big idols, "is nothing but misuse of public money."
"Basic problems facing the economy and society -- unemployment, education and healthcare -- could be met from the expenditure incurred in changing names. But the mental bankruptcy of the government is such that it is misusing people's wealth. This is being done when government is doing next to nothing people from UP and Bihari living in Gujarat and Maharashtra are being beaten and forced to flee these states", the statement, issued following a…

78th murder of RTI activist: M'shtra CM asked to make public all info sought by Junawane

The National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI), in a statement, has asked the Maharashtra chief minister to ensure that all the information sought by Rohit Ashok Junawane, murdered by nine armed assailants near his residence in Aundh, Pune, is "put in the public domain and widely publicized," adding, this would "act as a deterrent against such attacks in the future."
Attacked on November 1, 2018 for "seeking information to expose corruption and wrongdoing", NCPRI said in the letter, copy of which has been sent to the State Chief Information Commissioner of Maharashtra "for necessary action", Junawane's killing "marks the 78th murder of an RTI user who has been silenced for seeking to show truth to power."
It added, "The government has failed to implement the Whistle Blowers Protection Act passed by Parliament in 2014 despite the increasing number of attacks and murders of RTI users. Maharashtra has seen the…

Declared foreigner, Dalit Hindu lies handcuffed in Assam civil hospital, "battling" for life

In a disturbing revelation, Ratan Chandra Biswas, a Dalit Hindu, declared a "foreigner" by the National Register of Citizens, is lying handcuffed in Assam’s Goalpara Civil Hospital. Bringing this to light, a human rights site, Sabrang India, reports, he has been found “battling for his life, emaciated and shivering”, pointing out, “His condition is a bitter testimony to the ghastly conditions in Assam 's six detention camps, where over 2,000 persons are estimated to be have been incarcerated.”
Biswas is son of Ananda Chandra Biswas, received a “doubtful foreigners” notice about two years and eight months back. A resident of Gerukabari Village under Manikpur Police Station of Bongaigaon district, he panicked. After receiving the new status, he tried communicating to a local Police Station through a 'middle man'. He paid Rs 500 for the favour. There was no help or clarity forthcoming. Three months later he was arrested and sent to the Goalpara Detention Camp.
At…

As 30 million hectares India's cultivable land goes saline, activists demand ecological, income security for farmers

About 13 per cent of India’s 159.7 million hectares cultivable land has gone saline over the last three decades, mainly due to the use of ecologically “unsustainable” agricultural practices promoted by India’s Central and state governments and adopted by farmers. Revealing this, Kirankumar Vissa of the Rytha Swarajya Vedika, working in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, told CV News on the sidelines of the fourth Kisan Swaraj Sammelan, which ended on Sunday at Gujarat Vidyapeeth, yet another problem India’s agriculturists are against because of the climate change is desertification.
“In Anandpur district of Andhra Pradesh and Mehboobnagar district of Telengana, where we are working, we already witness a huge fertility soil loss because of salinity and desertification”, Vissa, who is national co-convener of the ASHA-Kisan Swaraj Alliance, said, insisting on the need to adopt ecologically sensitive policies as a way out of this grave situation. “A large number of alternatives have been work…

Demand for SC status to Dalit Christians, subsidy to pilgrims to Jerusalem

Federation of Telugu Churches (FTC), the apex body of bishops and Church heads of major Christian denominations in Telugu states, has appealed to political parties to bring pressure on the Central Government to extend scheduled caste (SC) status to Dalit Christians by deleting “the unconstitutional and discriminatory Para 3 of Constitution (Presidential) Order 19 of 1950.”
In a series of demands, put forward ahead of the 2019 polls and signed by Christian interests.” Fr Dr Anthoniraj Thumma and B Danam IAS (Retd), executive secretaries, FTC has insisted that the Prevention of Communal Violence Act and Prevention of Minorities Atrocities Act (in line with the “Prevention of SC ST Atrocities Act) be enacted in the State and Centre in order to “prevent the continuing attacks on the Christians and atrocities on the pastors.”
Seeking strengthening of the Telangana State Christian (Minority) Finance Corporation and allocation of at least 25% of the funds and schemes under the minority we…

Kisan sammelan ends, decides to "adopt" sustainable agriculture

The 4th biennial Kisan Swaraj Sammelan ended on Sunday in Ahmedabad, resolving to re-build Indian agriculture in a sustainable and equitable fashion. Participated by more than 1,000 delegates from across India, including women farmers, those who participated included farmers, scientists, academics, researchers, innovators, media representatives, NGO personnel, farm union leaders, activists and senior bureaucrats.
Adopting a “comprehensive alternative plan” for environmental sustainability in order to address issues such as climate change, nutrition security and food safety, a statement adopted at the meet decided to adopt initiatives like universalization of natural farming in Andhra Pradesh and large scale millets mission in the state of Odisha.
Eminent political analyst Yogendra Yadav, speaking at the three day meet, emphasised on the need for a “holistic and comprehensive” policy for the emancipation of farmers, saying, farmers’ movements will be successful only if they can make f…

Kashmir students apprised of human rights issues, told to join hands with "common cause"

Human rights defenders Syed Mujtaba, advocate, who interacted with students at the Kashmir Law College, Nowshera, said that they could play a vital role in a protection and promotion of human rights. The interaction, which took place on November 3, was aimed at providing the students first hand information of institutional mechanism for the protection of human rights, even as apprising them with the situation on ground.
Mujtaba sensitized students about various academic and practical issues related to human rights like right to life, right to equality, dignity , liberty and life, right to health , right to education, right to freedom of expression and rights of other vulnerable sections of the society, which formed the central theme of the interaction.
Attending the session, Suhail Mehraj, Youth Assembly member, United Nations, focused on the importance of education as foundation for a progressive and knowledge based society, which should be viewed in the human rights perspective.

"Rampant" land acquisition for polluted industries in Caddalore, Tamil Nadu

The National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)-sponsored Samvidhan Bachao Andolan, on reaching Tamil Nadu, found that in Cuddalore district, chemical industries have adversely affected about 50 villages. The yatra participants, who included senior social activists Prafulla Samantara, Sandeep Pandey, Gabriele Dietrich, Arundhati Dhuru, Ashish Ranjan, and Meera Sanghamitra, were told that land acquisition for industries is carried out by SIPCOT (State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamilnadu Ltd).
A major chunk of land is being acquired in the name of SIMA (South Indian Millers Association), which has acquired about 250 acres of land. However, their requirement is more than 400 acres. Local leaders said, Caddalore is already under severe pollution and it is also ranked 3rd in the Comprehensive Environment Pollution Index (CEPI), which is a study done for understanding the extent of pollution by Central Pollution Control Board. The other two top polluted industrial estates are…

UP tribal woman human rights defender Sokalo released on bail

After almost five months in jail, Adivasi human rights defender and forest worker Sokalo Gond has been finally released on bail.Despite being granted bail on October 4, technical and procedural issues kept Sokalo behind bars until November 1. The Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) and the All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP), which are backing Sokalo, called it a "major victory."
Sokalo's release follows the earlier releases of Kismatiya and Sukhdev Gond in September. "All three forest workers and human rights defenders were illegally incarcerated under false charges, in what is the State's way of punishing those who are active in their fight for the proper implementation of the Forest Rights Act (2006)", said a CJP statement.

Case filed with NHRC on Kashmiri student's sudden disappearance in Delhi

Human rights defenders, advocate Syed Mujtaba and Mirza Jahanzeb Beg, have filed a case with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) regarding the disappearance of a Kashmiri student from Sharda University, New Delhi. Ehtisham Bilal, an 18-year-old boy went missing on October 28. He was reportedly beaten up some local students on October 4. He is a student of radiology.
Briefing media, the activists said that the number of Kashmir students being attacked and harassed in Indian colleges and universities is rising at an alarming pace. There have been various cases of students disappearing from universities and colleges, and it is not known whether they are alive or dead.
They said, media has created a dangerous image of Kashmir in India, which leads to hate crimes against the Kashmiri students in Indian universities. Also, rising intolerance, culture of mob lynching, religious fanaticism, pseudo-nationalism and Islamophobia have escalated the situation.
The activists continued, th…

Total bandh in most of Gujarat's tribal towns, as Modi Inaugurated Sardar statue

There was complete bandh in large number tribal areas of Gujarat on October 31, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi was dedicating the world's tallest 182 metre statue of Sardar Patel, called Statue of Unity, to the nation. Bandh was observed in all major tribal towns around of the spot where the statue stands, 3.2 downstream of the Narmada dam.
According to reports bandh was observed in Saputara, Dharampur, Kaprada, Chikhli, Anaval, Vansda, Rankuva, Uchchal, Dolvan, Madhi, Mandvi, Netrang, Sagbara and many other places.
The bandh took place even as 100 people across the Adivasi areas were detained by police. Those detained included a large team is at Jitnagar Police Quarters in Narmada district, including ex-CM Sureshchandra Mehta, ex-minister Pravinsinh Jadeja, Adivasi Ekta Parishad leaders, and representatives of People's Union for Civil Liberties.
The urrounding areas of the Statue of Unity saw major protests against the "neglect" of the Adivasi area at the …

16 PAC cops convicted for "targeted killing" of Muslims in 1987: Demand for apology from Rahul Gandhi

In what has been described as a "landmark verdict", 16 PAC cops have been convicted by Delhi High Court for Hashimpura of targeted killings of Muslims 31 years ago. The Delhi High Court has overturned the acquittal of the Trial Court. The High Court has convicted the 16 surviving PAC personnel under Section 302 IPC for life imprisonment holding that this was a case of targeted killings of the minority community.
Rebecca Mammen John represented the victims, while Vrinda Grover appeared for the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in the highly-discussed case. The Delhi High Court judgment in Hashimpura PAC massacre case said, "We have proceeded to reverse the judgment of the trial court as the evidence is of a clinching nature. This is a case of targeted killing of members of the minority community by state forces. The GD entry and statement of accused recorded on April 16, 2018 prove their presence beyond reasonable doubt."
Grover, however, regretted, "The …