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Top British weekly blames Amit Shah over 'destabilization' in Assam over citizenship

In a sharply-worded attack on Union home minister Amit Shah, who is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s most trusted Man Friday in the ruling establishment, top British weekly “The Economist” has said that the recent “rant” of the top politician calling immigrants from Bangladesh in Assam “termites” and “infiltrators” is not just “a standard bluster from a nativist politician railing against illegal immigration.”

NBA organizes gathering at Badwani on July 31 to protest 'forcible' displacement

The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) has decided to hold a big gathering at Badwani, Madhya Pradesh, on the banks of river Narmada in order to highlight how even 34 years after the Narmada dam began being constructed about 30,000 families allegedly have not been rehabilitated, and thousands of houses, shops, temples and mosques in the Narmada valley are still in the danger of being submerged.

Demand to urgently repair roads damaged due to Ahmedabad metro work

In a letter to the director, Gujarat Metro Rail Corporation (GMRC) and other officials of the GMRC, as also the Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner and the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation mayor, senior state activist Jatin Sheth, convener, Nagrik Sashaktikaran Manch, has sought urgent intervention to ensure that the roads on which their contracting firms are working to lay down metro rail route in the city should be maintained on a day to day basis.

CBI raids meant to target Jaising, Grover for 'taking up' cases against top BJP ministers

A civil society-sponsored statement, “strongly” condemning the CBI raids on July 11 on the office and residence premises of senior advocates Anand Grover and Indira Jaising of the Lawyers’ Collective in Delhi and Mumbai, has said that at a time when the matter is “under consideration by the High Court” such acts are “a blatant misuse of its agencies.”

Four Adivasis fired upon in Madhya Pradesh, cops refuse to file detailed FIR

Even as the Madhya Pradesh government has decided to reexamine all rejected (and perhaps pending) Forest Rights Act (FRA) claims, the threat to the claimants continues, a state-based civil rights organisation has claimed, citing how on July 9, 2019, at around 9-10 am forest officials accompanied by police and revenue officials started destroying newly planted fields of village Siwal of the Burhanpur district.
Bringing this to light, the Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS) has said that the adivasis had submtted proofs that the land belongs to them dating back to 1988-89. "The force destroyed five fields planted with corn and a traditional rice variety. When villagers gathered in large numbers and started protesting, they were fired upon with pellet guns. Four adivasis were injured."
Those were injured were Gokharsing Badole, Bhuralal Achchale, Rakesh Achchale, and Vakil. Badole was taken to a hospital in Indore, where he being treated.
"When the adivasis refused to d…

Govt of India not allowing UN human rights officials to visit Kashmir: Amnesty

Reacting to the second report released by the UN on the human rights situation in both Indian-Administered Kashmir and Pakistan-Administered Kashmir, Aakar Patel, executive director, Amnesty International India, hss said that “India must pay heed to the UN reports and fulfil its obligations under international human rights law."

Gujarat's Right to Educational rules not disability friendly: UNESCO

A UNESCO-sponsored report has sharply criticized Gujarat for failing to be disability-friendly towards children aged 5-19. The report says that all state rules for implementing the Right to Education Act, 2006, for instance, "provide for safe transportation to and from school for children with disabilities" with the exception of Gujarat and Uttarakhand.

Sanjiv Bhatt's life imprisonment was 'fast track injustice': Wife Shweta

“It is the case of fast track injustice by the court of law; very unfortunate”, Shweta Bhatt, the wife of jailed IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt told the media conference at the Press Club of India in Delhi, adding, “Because, he spoke truth before the Nanavati Commission about perpetrators of 200 Gujarat pogrom. It was the only reason for the Modi regime to target him.”

Minority welfare budget reduced, where is "sabka vishwas"?, asks MCC

The Coordination Committee (MCC), a Gujarat-based civil rights organization, has regretted that the Union budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has "reduced" the total amount for minority welfare to Rs 2,508.78 crore for 2019-20compared to Rs 2,452.55 crore in the previous financial year.
A reduction of Rs 56.23 crore, MCC coordinator Mujahid Nafees said, overall, the size of the budget for the Ministry of Minority Affairs has remained the same as in the previous financial year -- Rs 4,700 crore. He added, under the head social security and welfare, too, the allocation has been reduced by Rs 3.23 crore -- from Rs 494.79 crore to Rs 491.56 crore.
Demanding that budget for the minorities should be at least 10% of the total budget size at a time when the total size of the budget has been increased by Rs 1,33,200 crore, Nafees said, "This is good enough reason to insist that the government should have increased the amount allocated for the minorities,"…

Amidst eviction threat, draft amendment to forest Act to 'undermine' dwellers: UN

UN human rights experts have urged the Government of India to prevent the "potential eviction" of up to nine million people, most of whom are "forest dwellers and members of scheduled tribes with an ancestral link to the land and forest." According to them, the threat of evictions follows a February 13 order of the Supreme Court.

Costs are up, profit margins down, says IIM-A survey of 1,600 companies

The latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES), released by the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) has revealed that 54% of responses obtained from 1,600 companies say that in May 2019 there was increase in costs in May 2019 up by 3% from 50% reported in April 2019 during the last one year.

Arrest warrants against rights activists: Jharkhand, Maharashtra govts 'collaborate'

Condemning the arrest warrant issued against Stan Swamy, Aloka Kujur, Vinod Kumar, Rakesh Roshan Kiro and Babita Kashyap on June 19, 2019, in relation to FIR filed on July 26, 2018 for "waging war" against the state, sedition, conspiracy, and Sections 66 and 66A IT Act "based simply on their Facebook posts", the People's Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) has said it is "part of the continued wave of repressive measures" unleashed by government authorities.

Gujarat meet to demand anti-lynching legislation: Budget 'quiet' on minorities

The Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), a Gujarat-based civil rights organisation, will be holding a state-level conference to demand from the Gujarat government to come up with a separate legislation to prevent rising incidents of lynchings. Proposed to be called Minorities (Prevention of Atrocities) Bill, MCC will hold a meeting on July 18 in Gandhinagar with the participation of minority rights activists and experts.

New education policy draft would stall reforms, warns pro-Modi economist

In a surprise move, top pro-Modi economist Arvind Panagariya, who servedas first vice-chairman of the think-tank Niti Aayog between January 2015 and August 2017, has sharply criticized the 484 pages draft National Education Policy (NEP) 2019, released by the Government of India recently saying the proposal to set up the National Higher Education Regulatory Authority of India as an all-encompassing body that would stall reforms altogether.

Private consumption, key factor for economic growth, has weakened: RBI

A recent Reserve Bank of India report has noted that India’s domestic economy has hit a “soft patch in the last quarter of 2018-19 as private consumption, the key driver of GDP, turned weak.” Pointing out that the economic activity “weakened in the second half of 2018-19, with Q4:2018-19 recording 5.8 per cent growth in GDP”, the report says, this has brought down “the annual growth for 2018-19 to 6.8 per cent from the previous year’s 7.2 per cent.”

Bullet train impact report Japan agency property: Govt of India tells Gujarat NGO

The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) has told Gujarat-based environmental organization, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) that the detailed report of Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) representatives on their visit to Gujarat and Maharashtra assess the impact of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project on farmers is not its property, but that of JICA.

Nitish Kumar's office refuses to accept 3,800 farmers' plea for rehabilitation

In a letter to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, top National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) activists led by Medha Patkar have regretted that an official from his department refused to take the plea of 3800 applicant-farmers, who are affected by frequent flooding of the Kosi river.

Tarbez Ansari murder: US freedom of religion body seeks concrete action from authorities

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) chair Tony Perkins, responding to the "reported murder" of Tabrez Ansari by a mob in Jharkhand, has called upon the Government of India to take "concrete actions that will prevent this kind of violence and intimidation by a thorough investigation of Ansari’s murder as well as the local police’s handling of the case."
Insiting that "lack of accountability will only encourage those who believe they can target religious minorities with impunity", the top USCIRF official recalled that the perpetrators of the brutal murder "forced Ansari to say Hindu chants as they beat him for hours. Ansari later died from the injuries he suffered due to this horrific attack."
USCIRF said, the statement comes close on the heels of its recent Annual Report, released in April, criticising https://www.uscirf.gov/reports-briefs/annual-report/2019-annual-report India "for engaging in or toleratin…

Fresh 'onslaught' on Bengali migrants: Another 1 lakh declared foreigners in Assam

A whopping additional 1,02,462 people have been excluded from the National Register of Citizens (NRC), released on June 26. Explaining the exclusion, the NRC authority said, “The persons whose names appear in the Additional Draft Exclusion list are those persons whose names were included in the draft NRC published on July 30, 2018, but have been subsequently found ineligible."

Gujarat govt wants to fill up Sardar Sarovar dam to supply water to 481 companies: NBA

The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) has said that the statement given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament on Sardar Sarovar dam is “false”, pointing out, though the Sardar Sarovar Dam was meant to provide drinking and irrigation water to farmers, especially in the dry areas of Kutch, Saurashtra and Rajasthan, this is not happening.

Draft Education Policy 'undermines' RTE, will 'close down' schools meant for poor

An Ahmedabad discussion on the New Education Policy (NEP), the draft of which recently released by the Government of India, reached the drastic conclusion that, if implemented, it will “reduce” the number of schools in villages and towns, directly impact minorities, Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalized sections.
Asserting that it seeks to hand over eduction to capitalists, participants in the discussion – who included representatives from the Right to Education (RTE) Forum Gujarat, Students’ Federation of India (SFI), and Minority Coordination Committee (MCC) – the discussion ended with burning of copies of the draft NEP.  MCC convener Mujahid Nafees, who also represented the RTE Forum, said that the government has failed to implement the RTE Act, and the draft NEP talk of doubling the budgetary allocation for education is an “eyewash.”
Pointing towards the draft mentioning the need to relax RTE norms in private schools, Nafees said, the overall quality of education cannot be imp…

Officers not supporting Sanjiv Bhatt working for extremist political regime: Shweta Bhatt

In an open Facebook post addressed to police officials, Shweta Bhatt, wife of former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment in a three decades old alleged custodial death by the Jamnagar sessions court, has warned that what has happened to her husband today may happen to them tomorrow.

National consultation on danger of eviction of lakhs of forest dwellers after July 10

Several civil rights organizations have decided to hold a day-long consultation on forest rights movements and the way forward in New Delhi July 2, 2019 against the backdrop of the fear that lakhs of forest dwellers may again be on the verge of an “existential crisis” after July 10, the date till which the Supreme Court gave a reprieve on February 23 for its controversial February 13 order, directing state governments to evict them if their claims under the Forest Rights Act (FRA) have been rejected.

'Failure' to pay pension led to starvation death of two more persons in Jharkhand

Two more starvation deaths have occurred in Jharkhand recently, one in Jama (Dumka district) and one in Mahuadanr (Latehar district). In both cases, the victims were pensioners but did not receive any pension payment since January 2019. Had pensions been paid on time, Motka Manjhi and Ramachandra Munda would perhaps be alive today, says a fact-finding report by the Right to Food Campaign (RFC), Jharkhand.

80% applicants for pre-matric scholarship approved in 2018-19: Hyderabad NGO

The Confederation of Voluntary Association (COVA) a Hyderabad-bases NGO, has claimed major success in the sanction of pre-matric scholarships for the year 2018-19, pointing out, of the 3,557 students from 32 schools assisted by COVA that applied, 2,828 applications were approved (80.25% success).
"Together they received Rs 1,20,45,161 from the government as scholarships at an average of Rs 4,259 per student. COVA had spent a total of Rs 2,28,652 received as donations for this programme", COVA director Mazhar Husain said in an email alert.
"The results detailed above show that for every rupee donated and used for the scholarships program!e, COVA was able to generate Rs. 52 as scholarships", he asserted. "For 2019-20 the scholarship programme of the government starts from July 1, 2019 and COVA plans to support 15,000 students to access Rs 4.5 crore", he added.

Encephalitis deaths: Civil rights activists protest against Bihar, Union govt "inaction"

Several social movements, community organisations, child rights and women groups and students protested at Bihar Bhawan in New Delhi on June 17 afternoon against the “inaction and incompetence” of the Bihar and Union governments, which allegedly led the death over of 100 children due to encephalitis in Muzaffarpur district.

Ensure Gujarat urban water bodies receive clean monsoon water: Chief Secretary told

Ahmedabad environmental NGO Paryavaran Mitra director Mahesh Pandya, in a letter to Gujarat chief secretary JN Singh has sought the latter's urgent intervention to ensure that wastewater in gutters and storm water during monsoon don't get mixed up and flow into water bodies.
Pointing out that this would create major environmental issues, Pandya said, during the recent cyclonic conditions in some parts of Gujarat, this reportedly became a major menace, adding, one should take care this does not happen in major cities.
According to Pandya, the situation has deteriorated, especially with regard to ponds and lakes in big cities, because the effluent treatment plants are not working in accordance with their requisite standards.
Insisting they should be treating effluent discharged into gutters by observing Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) norms, he added, this would go a long way in keeping urban areas' water bodies clean.
At the same time, Pandya said, the authorities sh…

India's solar installation down by 49%, targets 30% lower than those set by govt

While India's solar installations in Q1 2019 may have "increased slightly" at 1,737 MW, 4% growth compared to 1,638 MW installed in Q4 2018, installations were down by 49% year-over-year (YoY) compared to 3,377 MW installed in Q1 2018, says Mercom Communications India is a subsidiary of U.S.-based Mercom Capital Group, a leading clean energy communications and consulting firm.

PUCL regrets: It failed to start national campaign against "menace of fascism"

Ravi Kiran Jain, national president of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), even as coming down heavily on India’s opposition parties, saying they have “no will or capability to face the ugly situation which has emerged on unprecedented political victory of Narendra Modi”, has regretted, it too has failed start any campaigns against the "menace of fascism".
Even as insisting in a statement in the PUCL Bulletin (June 2019) that in the current scenario "the role of PUCL becomes extremely important”, he said, it failed to launch anti-BJP campaigns, as decided at its National Council meet in Allahabad in September 2015.
The three campaigners it was to launch starting with 2016 were a nationwide campaign for securing the dignity of the individual in practice, a campaign against great threat posed by the divisive and fascist politics of the RSS and BJP, and a meaningful and effective reform of the criminal justice system.
Pointing out that “unfortunately, PUCL has n…

As social media picks up, newspaper readers "decline" from 29 to 18% in 5 yrs: Report

A new report, “Social Media & Political Behaviour” by Lokniti – Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi, has revealed that the rise of social media platforms in India in the recent past “has been accompanied by a steady decline of traditional media over the years”, including newspapers and TV.

Ensure 20% of budgetary allocation for education: Finance minister told

In a representation to Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Right to Education (RTE) Forum national convener Ambarish Rai has said that the forthcoming Union budget must put into effect the draft New Education Policy 2019 view that 6% of GDP and 20% of the budget should be allocates as public investment in education.

Adani coalmining project: Aussie govt told to look into public concern on water resources

In what is being interpreted as fresh trouble for the Adanis in Australia, who are on way to set up USD 16 billion dollar coalming project in the Queensland state, a local court has asked the Federal Government to listen to public grievances on Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme.
The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), which had filed a case the Federal Government has said that the latter has conceded public grievances on the Adani’s water scheme were ignored.
ACF said, "This is a massive outcome for the broader community, who raised grave concerns about the effect this project would have on Australia’s precious water resources", adding, "In conceding the case, the Federal Environment Minister has admitted the Federal Government failed to consider all of the thousands of valid public submissions about if and how Adani’s project should be assessed, in direct breach of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999."
According to ACF, "T…

Raid on Stan Swamy meant to intimidate tribal rights activists: PUCL

The People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has said that the Maharashtra police conducted raid and search in the residence of well-known tribal rights activist 83-year-old Father Stan Swamy at Bagaicha Campus in Namkum, Ranchi, Jharkhand, "without obtaining judicial search warrant", seizing his computer’s hard disk, internet modem and other storage devices, and forcing him to give his gmail and Facebook passwords.
Pointing out that the objective of the raid on Thursday morning was "to intimidate, scare and frighten all others – rights activists, democratically minded groups and concerned citizens – from extending any type of support to Stan Swamy and others", PUCL said, "These activists have for some years now been opposing state terrorism let loose in Jharkhand by a corrupt mafia of corrupt police and government officials, greedy politicians and vested corporate interests who have been attempting to grab valuable forest lands of adivasis."
"…

Maharashtra cops "raid" 83-yr-old Jharkhand tribal rights leader's campus, residence

An eight-person Maharashtra police team has made a surprise raid on the Bagaicha campus in Namkum near Ranchi, the residence of 83-year old Stan Swamy, a well-known activist of Jharkhand. The police searched Stan Swamy’s belongings for about three-and-a half hours. It took Stan Swamy’s hard disk and internet modem and forced him to give his email and Facebook passwords.
Thereafter, according to a statement issued by the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM), the cops changed his passwords and “seized” his accounts. The Maharashtra police earlier raided Stan Swamy’s residence last year as well on August 28, 2018.
Stan, who works for tribal rights in the state, especially on displacement, alleged corporate loot of resources, the condition of undertrials and Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA), 1996, is a known critic of the government’s attempts to amend land laws and the land acquisition act in Jharkhand, and a strong advocate of the Forest Rights Act…

Vadodara ravines, wetlands being "systematically destroyed", yet nobody cares

Several prominent Vadodara citizens have in a letter to the city municipal commissioner expressed concern that ravines and wetlands in Gujarat's cultural capital "are being systematically destroyed and filled with debris and municipal solid waste in order to reclaim land for further 'development'."
According to them, "This will further augment the already existing waterlogging and flooding woes in various parts of the city", adding, "We have raised the issues with the concerned authorities, related to prevention anticipated disasters, flooding and water logging due to deliberate negligence". Yet, what they got was "lip service" regarding cleaning up the debris with all kinds of solid waste.
The letter follows a Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) communication to Gujarat government authorities directing them to take steps to protect "the ecology of the wetlands and ravines there through effective wa…

Democratic organizations should unite to demand protection for Puniyani: AIFRTE

Condemning threats to the life and liberty of noted academic and former Professor of IIT Mumbai, Dr Ram Puniyani, the All India Forum for Right to Education (AIFRTE) has said, his articles, lectures and books are an "important resource for all civil society groups and activists in the struggle for promoting rationalism and scientific temper and opposing the Hindutva forces and ideology that are communalizing India’s polity and social life, in blatant violation of the Constitution."
"The cowards, who failed to identify themselves, telephoned his home on the night of June 6, 2019. They used highly abusive language and accused him of being ‘anti-Hindu’," the statement said, adding, "Dr Puniyani was threatened with dire consequences if he did not stop his activities and leave the city within 15 days."
A member of the Advisory Board of the AIFRTE, Dr Puniyani has filed an FIR with the Powai police station in Mumbai and also written to the Police Commissioner. …

Murder of Aligarh girl being 'communalized' through social media: NAPM

In a letter to the Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh, India’s civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has said that there a deliberate attempt to communalize the murder of two-and-a half-year old girl six days ago by some goons in Aligarh, which “has shaken us all.”
Calling it as “one of the heinous crimes of humanity”, the NAPM statement says, “What is also unfortunate is that some right-wing groups are giving it a communal colour by spreading fake news. Despite Aligarh Police’s continuous campaign to counter the false news, some people are continuing to communalise the painful incident by spreading messages full of hatred through social media.”
“The attempt”, the statement underscores, “Is to generate anger against the Muslim community because the culprit happens to come from this community and the victim is a Hindu girl. We believe that apart from punishing the culprits for their crime, it is also the responsibility of the police to stop att…

India's gender equality index worse than Saudi Arabia: UK report

A new report by a UK-based organization, Equal Measures (EM) 2030, “Harnessing the Power of Data for Gender Equality: Introducing the 2019 EM2030 SDG Gender Index”, has said that India’s Gender Index ranking is 95th among 129 countries it has assessed in order to provide an international to each of the country. This is worse than Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Guatemala, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia and  Ghana.
Among its neighbours, with a score of 56.2 on a scale of I00, India’s rank is better than that of Pakistan (rank 113 score 48.9), Bangladesh (rank 110, score 49.2), Nepal (rank 102, score 52.6), Myanmar (rank 98, score 54.1), but worse than Sri Lanka (rank 80, score 62.1), and China (rank 74, score 64.7).
The report states that “girls’ access to education” suggests “persistent challenges” continue in
“gender equality in education”, adding while in India “almost 70 percent of 15–19 year-olds were in secondary education compared to less than 40 percent of those in the 20–24 year age group”,…

India's unemployment rate reached 7.6% in April 2019: Report

India's rate of unemployment doubled in the past two years, reveals a new report, "State of India’s Environment (SoE) In Figures, 2019", released by Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on World Environment Day. This has particularly affected young graduates, it says.
According to the report, the unemployment rate has gone up from four per cent to 7.6 in the last two years (May 2017-April 2019). The unemployment rate in April 2019 was the highest in two years, it says, adding, the rate for rural areas in this month was also the highest in this period.
According to the report, the youth (between 20-24 years), who constitute around 40 per cent of India's labour force, have an unemployment rate of 32 per cent. The unemployment rate among the educated is even worse. The rate among people with at least a graduate degree was 13.17 per cent in September-December 2018, up from 10.39 per cent in May-August 2017.
In 2017, says the report, a major cause…

Aarti held to highlight Sabarmati pollution beyond Vasna barrage in Ahmedabad

Taking strong exception to the cleaning-up drive of Sabarmati river passing through Ahmedabad on the occasion of the World Environment Day, senior activists Jatin Sheth and Santosh Singh have said that the move started by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) is restricted not to the entire Sabarmati river but to the area of ​​the riverfront in the city.  In a statement, they said, industrial sewage is "being transported to the river without treating it and is being released in the river after the Vasna barrage."
Wondering whether the river beyond the barrage not part of the river, the statement wonders if the Sabarmati riverfront area alone should be part of the authorities' beautification programme.   The statement follows the activists organising Sabarmati aarti next to the Vasna barrage along the Narol Road off Shastri Bridge in order to highlight how polluted water is being flown into the riverbed.

Rise in Ahmedabad's temperature 'related to' higher pollution levels: Green students told

The Green Catalyst team, consisting of 45 volunteers from 15 different colleges of Ahmedabad, organized two different programmes on the occasion of the World Environment Day, supported by Ahmedabad-based environmental organization Paryavaran Mitra.
The team, which works for awareness and education on waste management, including e-waste and plastic waste, organised a rally of about 100 students from Shyamal Char Rasta to Vastrapur with environmental protection banners.
In the second programme, the team organised a prakruti or nature dialogue at Juggernaut Arena on Sindhubhuwvan Road, where Paryavaran Mitra's Mahesh Pandya apprised students of the dangers of increasing city pollution and its relationship with rise in temperature of Ahmedabad, and measures to overcome the problem.
Participating students discussed issues related with water pollution, air pollution and solid waste management.

Madhya Pradesh CM should "personally" pay tribute to martyred Mandsaur farmers

The All-India Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, a platform of 208 farmers organizations, will be paying tribute to the six martyred farmers in police firing on June 6, 2017 at Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh. As many as 70 farmers’ leaders will gather in village Takaravad, including VM Singh, Raju Shetty, Rajaram Singh, Prem Singh Gahlawat, Avik Saha, Pratibha Shinde, Sushila Tai, and others.
The purpose of paying homage to the martyred farmers is to send a message to the farmers of the country that despite the formation of the Modi government at the centre, the unity of the farmers is intact, said executive president of the Kisan Sangharsh Samiti and former MLA Dr Sunilam, regretting, the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh has still not taken back cases filed against farmers for failing to pay debt, which was the main reason behind the Mandsaur movement.
Talking with media, Dr Sunilam appealed to Chief Minister Kamal Nath to personally pay homage to the martyred farmers on June 6 and promise th…

India joined Pakistan, supported Russia, to oppose listing of asbestos as hazardous

The Asbestos Network of India (BANI), which claims to be running the asbestos free India campaign, has said that Government of India has maintained “studied silence” on India's role on white chrysotile asbestos at the United Nations.
Quoting an official press release of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFFC), Government of India, BANI said, has maintained “studied silence about India's role with regard to white chrysotile asbestos at 9th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to UN's Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade.” The theme of the meeting was Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste.
The BANI statement said, “An Indian delegation of the MoEFFC, and comprising other ministries such as agriculture, chemicals, and electronics and information technology participated in the meeting held in Geneva, Switzerland, from Ap…

Costs remain high amidst dormant sales, profits: IIM-A business expectation survey

The latest round of Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES) for April 2019, released by the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), based on the responses of over 1600 companies, has revealed that around 50% of the firms in April 2019 reported increase in costs has been more than 3% (sharply down from 57% reported in March 2019) during the last one year, while the proportion of firms perceiving significant cost increase (more than 6%) in April 2019 has also come down sharply to 25% as compared to 32% in March 2019.
The survey further finds that in April 2019, nearly three fifths of the firms in the sample reported that sales are ‘somewhat or much less than normal’, with this proportion remaining similar during the January-April 2019 period. Further, the proportion of firms in the sample reporting ‘normal or greater than normal’ profit margins has marginally improved to 36% in April 2019 from 33% in March 2019, though overall, the profit margin scenario has remained…

Total Narmada Dam oustees 53,000, not 23,000, NBA tells Govt of India

Narmada Valley Development and Rehabilitation Minister Surendrasinh Baghel's claim in a press communique that all the 83 rehabilitation sites, built in Madhya Pradesh to resettle Sardar Sarovar Narmada Dam oustees, would be given all the facilities till June 20 to make them liveable "is impossible to achieve", the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) has said in a statement.
Asserting that lack of facilities at rehabilitation sites is a violation of all court orders as also the resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) law, NBA said, theere was timeframe for providing facilities -- clearing of cases with the the grievance redressal authority by November 28, 2017, allocation of residential plots till December 31, 2018, ownership registration alongside provision of electricity, street lights and cremation grounds till March 31, 2018, and drinking water by April 31, 2018. Yet, till date things have not moved.
According to NBA, the displaced persons were to be compensated in …

Govt told to implement plea to extend RTE to pre-primary, secondary, higher secondary

The Right to Education (RTE) Forum has welcomed the draft National Education Policy (NEP) proposing to extend the RTE Act to include pre-primary and secondary and higher secondary education, insisting, the government must implement it in its full spirit so that school education becomes a legal entitlement of millions of children of India.
Also welcoming the “emphasis on instruction in the mother tongue of students in schools at primary, preferably at elementary level in the NEP”, the RTE Forum, in a statement by its convener Ambarish Rai, has said, the Forum had been demanding the regularization of teachers and the elimination of Para teachers from schools and this has also been “reinforced in the draft document.”
“Other much needed inclusions are doubling of the overall financial allocation to education, strengthening decentralized mechanisms of teacher management and support, expansion of school nutrition programme from Mid-Day Meal to include provision of school breakfast, and a…

Amit Shah among India's 22 of 58 ministers facing serious criminal charges: Report

Claiming to having assets worth Rs 40.32 crore, fourth highest among India’s new council of ministers chosen by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, de facto No 2, home minister Amit Shah, faces charges related to criminal intimidation (IPC Section-506), mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc. (IPC Section436) promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony (IPC Section-153A), and so on.
A report by National Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms, which analyses the self-sworn affidavits of 56 ministers out of 58 ministers (including Prime Minister) from Lok Sabha 2019 and current Rajya Sabha, says that out of the 56 ministers analysed, 22 (39%) ministers have declared criminal cases against themselves. The details of two minister, Ramvilas Paswan, minister of consumer affairs, food and public distribution, and Dr S Jaisha…

JP Morgan: India's lowest growth in 5 years, 5.8%, worrying; recovery may be slow

Commenting on India’s January-March 2019 GDP growth, which "surprised sharply to the downside, printing at a 5-year low of 5.8%", JP Morgan, the American multinational investment bank and financial services company headquartered in New York City, has said that it has not just "dragged down full-year growth also to a five-year low of 6.8%".
It underlines, "The GDP undershoot reinforces the discernable slowdown that is currently underway. Growth has largely been flying on one engine in recent years – private consumption – and that has gotten progressively exhausted."
Worse, in its commentary, authored by Sajjid Z Chinoy and Toshi Jain, who are with the top MNC's
Emerging Markets Asia Economic and Policy Research wing, say, even this is "buffeted by sustained rural distress and a significant tightening of financial conditions amongst the Non Bank Financial Companies (NBFC), which have largely been financing consumption."
Continue the JP Morg…

Institute special task force to investigate rising Dalit atrocities: Uttarakhand CM told

Several senior activists under the banner of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) in an open letter to Trivendra Rawat, chief minister, Uttarakhand, and Vijay Bardhwal, president, State Women's Commission, have regretted that incidents of rape of Dalits girls is constantly on the rise in the state.
Referring to the May 30 incident, in which 24-year-old Vipin Panwar raped a mine-year-old minor Dalit girl his village in Nainbagh Tehsil, Jaunpur, Tehri Garhwal, the letter said, efforts by the family to get justice failed, but things came to light only after the girl's mother reached Dehradun with her unconscious daughter for treatment.
Pointing out that the accused is absconding, NAPM said, four years ago, a young woman of the Dalit family was gangraped by young men of the village. She was later murdered. The matter was suppressed under the pretext that it would bring bad name to the village.
NAPM said, the incident took place in the village where a Dalit, Jiten…

Why nobody objected to Gautam Gambhir, Sunny Deol in t-shirt, jean?: Activists

Mimi Chakraborty and Nusrat Jahan’s excitement on their first day as MPs was overshadowed by a barrage of sexism over their ‘non- sanskari’ outfits, a group of civil society activists have said in a statement. According to Aarushi Nigam, Divya Kaushik, Riya Sharma, Ruman Ganguly, and Anulekha Agarwal, both Bengali actors and first-time MPs "were certainly excited to take them on when they posted pictures from their new workplace on social media."
Hit by misogynistic comments, the activists say, "Their choice of workwear – jeans and a white button-down shirt for Mimi, a wine-coloured peplum suit for Nusrat – was the first and last word on their political competence for many."
“You’re not on vacation”, “they have mistaken Parliament for Kolkata’s Nicco Park or City Centre”, “this is not a photo studio, this is a place where you should fight for people’s rights and legislate”, “keep some respect towards your Bengali society” were some of the "nicer" things …

721 hate crimes in 2015-18, whither Modi's "promise" to minorities?: Amnesty

Commenting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi starting his second consecutive term, top international human rights organization Amnesty International has said that the recent crackdown by the Indian authorities – treating human rights organisations as criminal enterprises and human rights defenders as criminals – is inconsistent with the “recent promise” made by Modi to ensure that minorities should be made to live without fear.
According to Amnesty, between September 2015 and December 2018, Amnesty India “recorded a total of 721 incidents of hate crimes through its website ‘Halt the Hate’, adding, incidents documented by it “of hate crimes against people from marginalized communities, including Dalits, Adivasis, transgender persons, and migrants, and members of racial or religious minority groups” suggest that he has to take concrete actions for inclusive India.
"Hate crimes motivated by religious bias had risen to a decade-high of 93", Amnesy said, adding, “The year 2018 als…

Andhra Church leaders lend "all support" to Jagan Reddy

The Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches (APFC), an apex body of the Bishops and Church Heads of mainline Churches and major Christian Denominations, has in a representation to new chief minister Jagan Mohan Reddy has said that it hopes he would fulfill “the hopes, aspirations and expectations of the people, especially of the poor and marginalized, without any fright, hatred, discrimination, favoritism and partiality.”
“May God grant you wisdom and discernment, courage and fortitude, generosity and magnanimity”, it said, adding, “We pray in a special way that God may enable and empower you to provide good governance free of corruption and crime, and casteism and communalism.”
APFC further said, “We, the Archbishops, Bishops, Church Heads and Leaders of Churches assure your Government wholehearted support and cooperation in the implementation of the Navaratnalu of your Government for the development of our State and prosperity of our people.” The representation has been signed by APF…

Women's rights organization declares support to complainant against CJI

Well-known women's rights organization, Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS), in an open letter to the complainant in the Chief Justice of India (CJI) sexual harassment case, has assured her that WSS will work with her "to ensure that due process is followed and that all institutions are held accountable, even at the highest court of the country."
Calling the "harassment" she and her family face even since she raised her voice against CJI Ranjan Gogoi as brazenly patriarchal, the letter praises her "resolve" to speak out against CJI.
Saying that it suggests her "resilience", the letter continues, her resolve "has forced into public domain, questions of accountability of the highest judicial body of this country, and demands that they demonstrate their commitment to the rule of law and justice, which they are supposed to uphold."
Signed by WSS conveners Ajita, Nisha, Rinchin and Shalini, the letter continues, &quo…

Punjab-Haryana High Court order "encouraging" UP govt to continue with fake encounters

The Uttar Pradesh civil rights organization Rihai Manch has sharply criticized the Punjab and Haryana High Court for saying that the two State governments should form a law to “finish off” criminals on the pattern of UP within six months, alleging it is speaking the language of UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath.
In a statement, the Rihai Manch said, a delegation of the civil rights body met the family members of Shahzad after they raised questions over the manner in which he was killed in a police encounter in Saharanpur. The delegation consisted of Ravish Alam, Ashu Chaudhary, Engineer Usman, Ash Muhammad, Amir Ahmed, Arsh Tyagi and Sajid.
Following the meeting, the Rihai Manch issued a statement, where it criticized the Yogi government for the law which gives powers to the police powers to finish off gangsters and anti-social elements, insisting the High Court order has come at a time when backwards, Dalits and minorities are being targeted in UP.
In many cases, the National Human …

Rattled Congress "tells" media: Don't fall for rumour mongering, speculations

Rattled by the report that Congress president Rahul Gandhi criticised at least thee senior Congress leaders -- former Union minister P Chidambaram, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath and Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot -- for placing their sons above the party during the Lok Sabha polls, party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala has blamed media for falling on "conjectures, speculations, insinuations, assumptions, gossip and rumour mongering".
Claiming that the Congress Working Committee (CWC) as the highest decision making body was involved merely in "exchange of ideas and take corrective action", Surjewala said, members of CWC had expressed their views in the meeting dated May 25, 2019, looking into "the reverses in the Lok Sabha elections as an opportunity for radical changes and a complete organizational overhaul, for which it authorized Rahul Gandhi."
Calling such media attitude "uncalled for and unwarranted", he asked media …

Adivasi professor in Jharkhand arrested for Facebook post supporting beef eating

Jeetrai Hansda, a tribal activist and professor at the Government School and College for Women, Sakchi, in Jharkhand has been arrested almost two years after he wrote a Facebook post asserting his community’s right to eat beef. Hansda's arrest is based of a complaint filed against by RSS' student wing Akhil Bharati Vidyarthi Parishad.
Arrested two days after the declaration of the Lok Sabha election results, the complaint was ‘investigated’ by inspector Anil Kumar Singh of Sakchi police station, Jamshedpur, Hansda wrote that the Adivasi community in India has had a long tradition of eating beef and ceremonial cow sacrifice. He had added, it is their democratic and cultural right to consume beef.
Supporting Hansda, Dasmath Hansdah, chief of the Majhi Pargana Mahal, in a letter to the vice-chancellor said that there were no inaccuracies in Hansda’s post, calling the assertions made by him a “truthful representation of the cultural and religious traditions of the Adivasi community…