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Showing posts from August, 2019

Delhi advocacy group 'regrets' perception gap between Kashmiris, rest of India

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In a representation, prepared for forwarding it to the President of India, a Delhi-based advocacy group, Sadbhav Mission, has regretted that the Government of India's "perceptions" Kashmiris and the rest of the country are very different.

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

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Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.

Use of live ammunition in Kashmir amounts to violation of right to life: UN experts

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Five UN human rights experts have called upon on the Government of India to end the “crackdown” on freedom of expression, access to information and peaceful protests imposed in Kashmir, even as pointing out that the use of “excessive” force against protesters, including the use of live ammunition, amounts to “violations of the right to life”.
“The blackout is a form of collective punishment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, without even a pretext of a precipitating offence”, the experts said, adding, they were “deeply concerned” by reports that security forces were conducting night raids on private homes leading to the arrests of young people.
“Such detentions could constitute serious human rights violations,” the experts said, adding, “We are gravely concerned about allegations that the whereabouts of some of those detained is not known as well as the general heightened risk of enforced disappearances, which may proliferate against the backdrop of mass arrests and restricted acc…

2002 riot victims haven't been rehabitated, compensated: Ahmedabad minority meet

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A meeting organised by the Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), Gujarat, which observed the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief  on August 22 at Siddiqabad rehabilitation colony in Ahmedabad, has insisted that the 2002 Gujarat riots are a living example of oppression based on religion.

New Gujarat governor 'assures' Dalits he would work to end untouchability in state

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Gujarat Dalit community representatives, who met governor Acharya Dev Vrat to congratulate him for taking over the constitutional post in Gujarat, have handed over a list of demands to end untouchability especially in the state’s rural areas. Meeting the governor at Raj Bhawan, Gandhinagar , the statement issued by them following the meeting claimed that they had a “a positive discussion on the issue and discussed the abolition of untouchability.”
During the meeting, the governor said, several of the Dalits’ problems were solved when he was the governor in Himachal Pradesh. Temples put up boards allowing access of Dalits in temples, which wasn’t the case earlier. The governor, who asserted he was a follower of Arya Samaj, said, he spread the message of equality and harmony by having meal in Dalit households in Himachal Pradesh, adding, he was determined to eradicate the stigma of harassment in Gujarat.
Those who met the governor included Kirit Rathore, Kanti Parmar, PK Kalapi, Kanubha…

Bhim Army warns Bharat bandh if Ravidas Temple in Delhi not restored

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In a statement, the well-known Dalit rights organization, Bhim Army, has said that its peacefully protesting activists, as also those belonging to the Ravidasiya community were lathicharged “brutally”, tear gas was used and bullets were fired in air. It added, the organization’s chief Chandrashekhar Azad “got injured" in the lathicharge.
Pointing out that instead of taking him to hospital, the police arrested Azad as well as the Bhim Army’s national president Vinay Ratan Singh, the statement said, “We have no idea about their whereabouts and demand their immediate release”.
The protest took place after the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) demolished the Sant Ravidas temple at Tughlaqabad on August 10 on the orders of the Supreme Court.
Warning the BJP government at the Centre and the Aam Aadmi Party Delhi state government not to use oppressive measures on peacefully protesting Bahujan community through violence and police force, the organization has warned of nationwide prote…

Don't allow Narmada dam to be filled up to full reservoir level: NBA plea to Govt of India

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A delegation of the well-known anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), has asked secretary, Jalshakti Ministry, UP Singh, who is also chairman, Narmada Control Authority (NCA), that Sardar Sarovar dam should not be allowed to fill up to 139 metres, which is the full reservoir level, pointing out, so far, 32,000 families in 172 villages “still need to be rehabilitated satisfactorily.”

India 'shifting' in favour of renewables? 90% decline in finance to coal power projects

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The Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), a top Delhi-based advocacy group, has said that an analysis of 52 project finance deals comprising loan component across coal-fired power and renewable energy projects (hydroelectric, geothermal, wave, wind and solar power projects), shows that 80 per cent of the project money went to renewables last year.
Pointing out that coal received just 20 per cent of the project finance, the analysis said, of the total lending to coal power projects (Rs 6,081 crore), Rs 3,938 crore came from majority government-owned financial institutions. On the other hand, of the total lending to renewable power projects (Rs 24,442 crore), Rs 18,263 crore came from majority privately-owned commercial banks. The CFA analysis asserted that this trend is consistent with findings from 2017, adding, the deals were identified via investigation of subscription-based financial databases provided by Bloomberg Professional, IJGlobal, Thomson Reuters and market disclosu…

National award winning film 'Hellaro' co-produced by three chartered accountants

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“Hellaro”, a Gujarati feature film produced by Saarthi Productions in association with Harfanmaula Films (Ahmedabad) was declared as the Best Feature Film at the National Film Awards which was conferred by the Government of India. The film also won the Special Jury Award for the Best Actress to all the 13 actresses of the film.

Why is UP govt so afraid of activists holding meetings?, asks Sandeep Pandey

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In a statement in Lucknow one day after the Uttar Pradesh government barring eight activists from addressing scribes in Ayodhya, senior Magsaysay award winning social activist Sandeep Pandey and advocate Mohammad Shoaib have wondered, "Why is the government so afraid of us holding meetings?"

Communal harmony meet: Activists barred from addressing media in Ayodhya

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The Uttar Pradesh government has barred Magsaysay award winning social activist Sandeep Pandey and others to hold press conference at the Ram Janki temple in Saryu Kunj, Vasishtha Kund, Ayodhya.

Vadodara floods: Authorities served legal notice for turning river bed into dumping site

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Senior environmentalist Rohit Prajapati has served legal notice to the authorities of the Gujarat Pollution Control Board, Gandhinagar, and the Vadodara Municipal Corporation for allegedly violating the Construction and Demolition Rules and Section 15 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
Prajapati demanded clear-cut explanation within 15 days as to why "irreversible" structures were allowed along the river Vishwamitri and the riverbed was to turned into a dumping site for debris, which led to one of the worst floods in the city a fortnight ago.
Talking to media, Prajapati said in Vadodara, legal actions will have to be taken against the authorities concerned for this state of affairs, pointing out the “smart city" Vadodara does not have full time municipal Ccommissioner for about a month and an "experienced-qualified" town planner since 2006. Administrative inertia led to waterlogging and flood, he added.
According to Prajapati, time has come that p…

Civil society meet decides to campaign against Centre's recent 'undemocratic' steps

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The All India Peoples' Forum (AIPF), a civil rights organization, following its National Council meeting in Durg, Chhattisgarh, has decided to launch a nationwide campaign against the "unconstitutional" move to abrogate Article 370 and "other undemocratic" moves of the Central government next month, culminating on Gandhi Jayanti, October 2.

Activists blame govt: Denial of permission to show Kashmir video at Press Club

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In a statement, four authors of 'Kashmir Caged’ report, Kavita Krishnan, Jean Drèze, Maimoona Abbas Mollah, Vimal Bhai, have said that they stand by the statement that permission to screen this short video report at the Press Club of India (PCI) on 14 August was denied, “reportedly under pressure”. However, they say, their quarrel “is not and was not with the PCI, but with the Government of India that is seeking to censor such spaces.”

Anti-Sterlite demonstration shootout 'biggest' massacre of activists in 2018: Global Witness

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A new report, “Enemies of the State?: How governments and businesses silence land and environmental defenders”, published by Global Witness, a human rights organization based in London, has said that India saw the third highest number of activists killed, 23, in 2018 following Philippines 30 and Columbia 24.

RSS 'denigrated' triclour, birth of democratic-secular India on Independence eve

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Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has quoted the English organ of the RSS, "Organiser", in its issue dated August 14, 1947, as stating, "The people who have come to power by the kick of fate may give in our hands the Tricolour but it will never be respected and owned by Hindus. The word three is in itself an evil, and a flag having three colours will certainly produce a very bad psychological effect and is injurious to a country."
In the same issue of the RSS English organ, Prof Islam, formerly with the Delhi University, says, it had condemned the "birth of democratic-secular Independent India" in the following words:
"Let us no longer allow ourselves to be influenced by false notions of nationhood. Much of the mental confusion and the present and future troubles can be removed by the ready recognition of the simple fact that in Hindusthan only the Hindus form the nation and the national structure must be built on that safe and sound fou…

300 women with 30,000 rakhis 'refused' to meet jailed ex-IPS Sanjiv Bhatt, detained

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In a unique protest, Shweta Sanjiv Bhatt, wife of Sanjiv Bhatt, former IPS officer, serving life sentence for a two decades old custodial death, tried to meet her husband along with 30,000 rakhis, 300 women, 50 men, and her son. She had gone to Palanpur in North Gujarat to give Sanjiv Bhatt "the respect and love sent by women from all across the globe in the form of tens of thousands of rakhis", she says.

Supreme Court refusal to pass order to lift restrictions a blow to J&K people: Amnesty

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Top international human rights organization, Amnesty, has said that the Supreme Court decision  August 13 refusing to pass an order on lifting restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), including restoring communication services, "a blow" to the people of J&K.

Don't allow water levels in Narmada dam to reach beyond 127 metres: NBA to Modi

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In an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) has alleged that even though resettlement of 244 villages and one town is pending, and 32,000 families are still residing in the submergence area of ​​the Sardar Sarovar dam, the rehabilitation of oustees remains incomplete.

NRIs in Australia hold separate rallies opposing, supporting govt's Kashmir move

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Two separate rallies -- one support of the Government of India move to revoke Article 370 and the other opposing the move -- were held in Melbourne, the business capital of Australia. Neeraj Nanda, editor, "South Asia Times", told CV News that while the Kashmiri Pandits in Melbourne and others held a rally at the Federation Square at the same spot opposing the Indian action.
Nanda said, the second rally was much bigger, and the slogan shouting, in which Indian diaspora from different parts of India, including Sikhs, participated, was so powerful that could be heard at the dias of the Indian Film Festival event "taking place adjacent, though not very near", the Federation Square.

Rehabilitating Narmada dam oustees: Gujarat not 'not cooperating', says MP minister

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The Madhya Pradesh government has said that the neighbouring Gujarat government is “not cooperating” for ensuring that thousands of Narmada dam oustees are properly rehabilitated in Madhya Pradesh. Talking with oustee representatives in Badwani, Madhya Pradesh, state Narmada minister Surendra Singh Baghel, however, assured oustees that he would stand by them and would try to “convince the authorities not to offend” the oustees in any way.

Khudai Khidmatgar launches Yuva Nafrat Chhodo campaign against hate crimes

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On the 77th anniversary of launch of Quit India movement, August 9, Khudai Khidmatgar launched its nationwide Yuva Nafrat Chhodo campaign from the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was shot dead. Recently revived, Khudai Khidmatgar was originally founded by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, also known as Frontier Gandhi, during the freedom movement.

Bifurcation of J&K has internationalised internal Indian issue: World scholars

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Around 200 scholars from around the world -- mainly from renowned universities and institutes of USA and Europe -- and concerned individuals have said that the Government of India move to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into two union territories "is an attempt to transform Kashmir from an international issue to a domestic one."

Article 370: Kashmiri Pandits, Dogras, Sikhs oppose 'coercive' Modi move on Kashmir

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More than 60 signatories -- including Prof Rabinder Singh, Air vice marshal (retd) Kapil Kak, cardiologist Dr Upendra Kaul, "Kashmir Times" executive editor Anuradha Bhasin, and theatre and film artist MK Raina -- have in a petition said that Governments the of India has moved to abrogate Article 370 through "coercive means".

Now Gujarat 'closes' all Narmada dam gates; Patkar says it will lead to mass lynching

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In a sudden U-turn, the Gujarat government has closed down all the gates atop the Narmada dam just three days after it opened 25 of the 31 gates to “ensure” that the reservoir waters do not rise above 131 metres so that dam oustees’ villages are not submerged. Earlier, late on Saturday, it closed 10 of the 25 gates it had opened.

10 of 25 Narmada dam gates closed: Lives of 32,000 oustees put in 'jeopardy'

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The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), which had suspended its Narmada dam oustees' agitation at Badwani in Madhya Pradesh following the Gujarat government decision to open 25 of the 31 gates of the dam to keep water levels in the reservoir at 131 metres, has asserted that the state government is now "playing" with the situation.

Oustee agitation in Madhya Pradesh 'forced' Gujarat Govt to open Narmada dam gates

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While the Gujarat government has been "forced" to open 25 gates of the Sardar Sarovar dam in order to save the lives of thousands of dam oustees following a Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) agitation at Rajghat, Badwani, Madhya Pradesh, NBA in a statement said, the drowning of the affected villages continues unabated following incessant rains.

Shoddy road repair work putting lives at risk: NGO letter to Ahmedabad authorities

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Gujarat civil rights leader Jatin Sheth, convener, Nagrik Sashaktikaran Manch, in a letter to Ahmedabad municipal commissioner Vijay Nehra has sought his intervention for proper repair of roads which have suffered major damage due to monsoon rains. Providing several photographs, Sheth has cited the road cave-in at Helmet Circle, where shoddy work repair job is allegedly putting lives of people riding vehicles at risk.

NBA begins satyagraha for rehabilitating 'thousands' of Narmada dam oustees

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The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) has begun satyagraha at Rajghat in Badwani in Madhya Pradesh, on the banks of Narmada river, to urge authorities complete rehabilitation before submerging the villages affected by the Sardar Sarovar dam. An NBA note issued on the occasion claimed that even today, along the ​​214 km length of the Narmada river, 32,000 of 192 villages of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat remain to be rehabilitated.
Criticizing the “insensitivity” of the rulers, NBA said, people are fighting in a non-violent way against the “unjust decisions” which has led to the displacement of peasants, labourers, fishermen, potters, boatmen and traders. The corrupt broker-officer nexus has looted the poor by making wrong lists of rehabilitated families, it added.
Saying that the Congress-led Madhya Pradesh government it has learned some lesson after holding dialogue with NBA, the people’s organization regretted, even today corruption continues unabated in the allocation of liv…

New York Times on Kashmir: Govt of India step dangerous, wrong, bloodshed is certain

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In a scathing critique of the Government of India's decision to revoke the "semiautonomous" status of Kashmir, which was "accompanied" by a huge security clampdown, the New York Times (NYT) has called the step "dangerous and wrong", warning, "Bloodshed is all but certain, and tension with Pakistan will soar."

Capital dredging in inland waterway: Govt of India 'violating' environmental laws

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The Manthan Adhyayan Kendra (MAK), a non-profit study centre based in Pune, has alleged that the Inland Waterways Authority of India has been carrying out capital dredging to maintain an assured draft in the navigation channel for National Inland Waterways in violation of the country’s environmental law.
In a note in its newsletter, MAK said, “Capital dredging and maintenance dredging are covered in the list of activities which require environmental clearance under item 7 (e) to the schedule of Environment Impact Assessment Notification 2006, as amended from time to time.”
It added, “The Ministry of Shipping has been evading the environmental clearance by declaring most dredging operations as maintenance dredging, which is exempted from environmental clearance by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change after a high-level meeting (held in October 2017) of Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Shipping, and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.”
According to…

Abrogating Article 370 without consulting Kashmiris would alienate people: Amnesty

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Terming it a "unilateral decision", top international NGO Amnesty has said that the Government of India decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) "without consulting J&K stakeholders and amidst a complete clampdown on civil liberties and communications blackout is likely to inflame prevailing tensions."

Century mill workers' 656-day-old struggle continues: Demand to control unit

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The Shramik Janata Sangh (SJS), led by top Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar, claiming to be representing the 1,000-odd workers of the Century Mills, closed since October 17, 2017, has said that the mill owners have been eyeing on selling its assets, which are worth Rs 2.5 billion, adding, the workers' struggle to reopen the mill and run it under their control would continue.

Police detain 66 RTI activists at Rashtrapati Bhawan seeking to petition President

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On August 1, several activists who had gone to the Rashtrapati Bhawan to petition the President to appeal to him to withhold assent to the RTI Amendment Bill were detained by the police and taken to the Mandir Marg police station. They were planning to hand over petitions the President, which are claimed have been endorsed by lakhs of people.

Just 11% Odisha construction workers benefit from govt welfare board schemes

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A recent sample study involving Odisha’s construction workers has found that of the 140 persons working in three project settlements (80 from Kargil Basti, 45 from Kelasahi and 15 from Palaspalli), only 101 (Kargil Basti 71, Kelasahi 19 and Palaspalli 11) are registered under the Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Act and Cess (BOCWWC) Act, 1996.

Indian companies' profit margins, sales levels lowest since May 2017: IIM-A survey

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An Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) survey has said that around 55% of the firms in June 2019 reported that increase in costs has been more than 3% during the last one year, adding, the proportion of firms perceiving significant cost increase (more than 6%) in June 2019 has increased noticeably to 31% as compared to 26%reported in May 2019.
The “Business Inflation Expectations Survey” (BIES), based on responses from over 1,600 companies, further says that in June 2019, almost three-fourths of the firms (highest ever since the inception of the survey in May 2017) in the sample reported that sales are ‘somewhat or much less than normal’. This proportion has increased significantly in June 2019, it adds.
The survey further says, for the first time since May 2017, the proportion of firms in the sample reporting ‘much less than normal’ profit margins has crossed beyond 50%. On the other hand, the proportion of firms in the sample reporting ‘normal or greater than normal’…

Veteran Gujarat politician apologises to NBA for opposing anti-Narmada dam movement

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Is the support for the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), considered an "untouchable" by politicians of all hues, growing in Gujarat? It would seem so, if one goes by what a veteran leader from Saurashtra, Pravinsinh Jadeja, former Gujarat environment minister, had to say at an NBA-sponsored meet in Badwani, Madhya Pradesh, where hundreds of displaced persons had gathered in a protest rally.