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Showing posts from 2020

India's 'improved' air quality due to market slowdown, Delhi most polluted world capital

By Rajiv Shah
Stating that, regionally, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East carry the highest burden of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution overall, a high-profile report, jointly prepared by the top environmental NGO Greenpeace has said, "Of the world’s top 30 most polluted cities during 2019, 18 are located in India, 28 in South Asia, and all the top 30 cities are within greater Asia."

Delhi riots: Saffron report admits cop failure, blames 'Left-jehadi' guerrilla tactics

By Rajiv Shah
A new “fact-finding” report, taking a line similar to that of Union home minister Amit Shah, who has termed Delhi riots “pre-planned” and “part of a conspiracy”, has admitted that “the police and law enforcement agencies were on a back-foot” during the riots which have claimed more than 50 lives, rendering hundreds injured and thousands homeless.

Top US think tank wants WhatsApp, social media cos to oppose Modi 'repression'

By Rajiv Shah
The top United States think tank, Freedom House, based in Washington DC, has sought a series of measures, including from top social media companies like WhatsApp, against the Modi government as retaliation against the alleged crackdown in the country’s only Muslim-majority state Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and the “discriminatory” citizenship amendment law, which has sparked nationwide protests, which are sought to be suppressed by Modi administration.

J&K freedom score down by huge 21 points in a year, 'equals' Pak-occupied Kashmir

By Rajiv Shah
In strong message to India’s powers-that-be, a new report by Freedom House, a high profile US organization, has rated the status of democracy in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) as equal to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Giving both J&K and PoK the same score, 28 on a scale of 100, and categorizing both as “Not Free”, the report rates 210 countries, including individual territories, in order to rate two sub-categories, political rights and civil liberties.

South Rajasthan's 54% rural women beaten up for leaving home without nod: Report

By Rajiv Shah
Finding crucial relationship between what it calls “unpaid work” and sexual violence as a social norm in rural Rajasthan, a new study, carried out by high-profile NGO Oxfam India, has found that a whopping 54.4% of women it had interviewed were beaten up as and when they attempted to leave house without permission, while in 86.4% cases they were harshly criticized for this type of “disrespect” shown to their male folks in the family.

Decisively counter Supreme Court tribal eviction order: Oxfam tells GoI, state govts

By Rajiv Shah
In a major effort to counter the narrative created by the Supreme Court order dated February 13, 2019 which had stated that the tribal claimants whose forest land claims under the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006 “have been rejected and have attained finality should be evicted”, a top international NGO has compiled 14 case studies to point out that forest dwellers, in fact, see FRA “as a means to regain control over their forests”, and the apex court must recognize this.

High hopes from young Gandhians as 'goli maro' atmosphere grips Delhi, India

By Rajiv Shah
Founded by Mahatma Gandhi a hundred years ago, Gujarat Vidyapeeth was in news recently for allowing police to enter the campus for the first time ever. The occasion was, some Vidyapeeth students were identified flying objectionable kites on the Makarsankranti day, January 14. The ire was against those who were flying kites printed with anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), anti-National Register of Citizenship (NRC) slogans – a “seditious act” from current standards!

Trump in Ahmedabad: Did Modi display servile colonial mindset towards gora sahib?

By Rajiv Shah
Donald Trump left Ahmedabad for Agra to "enjoy" the Mughal monument Taj Mahel in the afternoon on Monday, leaving behind scores of huge billboards standing across the megacity showcasing larger than life images of the US president and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, some of them boldly captioned: “Two strong leaders of two strong democracies”.

Ramchandra Guha on how Gandhi outgrew his Gujarati bania 'parochialism'

By Rajiv Shah
More than a fortnight ago, prominent historian Ramchandra Guha, who calls himself Gandhi scholar and not a Gandhian, came to Ahmedabad. While I was part of a small group of persons who met him at lunch, his lecture on Gandhi in the evening, where he sought to interpret what swaraj meant to Gandhi, surely, interested the selected audience that had been called to listen to him.

Golden City of India? 40% migration, no jobs, school dropouts, social backwardness

By Rajiv Shah
It is called the Golden City of India. The raison d'ĂȘtre is simple: Virtually no houses in the 70,000-odd population of the small township are made of red bricks reinforced with cement. They are all constructed with yellow sandstone found in the nearby hilly tracks. One can go atop any house, not to talk of the hilltop fort, to fathom that it’s all yellow all the way, everywhere, including the beautiful hilltop Jain temples in the fort premises. Jain temples, we were told, aren’t coloured yellow anywhere, except here.

Bipartisan US senators ask Pompeo to talk Kashmir, CAA with Modi: Trump's visit

By Rajiv Shah
Ahead of President Donald Trump's much publicised India visit, which includes a visit to Ahmedabad on February 24, a bipartisan group of American senators have written to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressing concerns and seeking State Department assessments on India's "crackdown" in Kashmir and the controversial citizenship law.

Top Congress leader Mistry suggests solution to end 'impasse' by amending CAA

By Rajiv Shah
A senior Congress leader, considered close to interim party president Sonia Gandhi, has suggested a way out of the current impasse on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which is being opposed across India for making religion as the basis for providing citizenship to the persecuted minorities from three neighbouring countries -- Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Right-wing ideologues' new assertion: There's 'nothing Indian' about Constitution

By Rajiv Shah
There was a time when we used to reject the Indian Constitution as "bourgeois". Those were the student days of early 1970s. Vigorous, youthful, though controversial. At that time, I used to be part of the Students Federation of India (SFI), CPI-M's student wing. We were told to believe by Delhi University party ideologues that the Constitution served the bourgeois-landlord state, led by the big bourgeoisie, which was in alliance with the imperialists.

China justifies Modi's whopping 4,200 hrs internet shutdown: Economic loss $1.3 billion

By Rajiv Shah
India appears to be competing with terrorist-stricken north-central African nation, Chad, in the number of internet shutdowns. In 2019, says a recent report, released by the UK-based top10vpn.com, which provides services meant to protect online privacy, India experienced 4,196 hours of internet shutdown, next only to Chad, with 4,728 hours of internet shutdown.

Just 7% poor Gujarat kids 'admitted' in private schools under RTE: Who all are left out?

By Rajiv Shah
The other day, I went to attend an NGO event in Ahmedabad. It was called "Policies of Inclusion: Education and Wealth". Organised at the Ahmedabad Management Association by an NGO which claims to be working with governments in 22 states, including that of Gujarat, I attended the event during the second half, and my job seemed limited to answering a couple of queries on the role of media in helping usher in inclusive policies though development journalism.

Repression on anti-CAA, NRC protesters: Are 'notable figures' silent? Not any more

By Rajiv Shah
In an amusing opinion piece in “Washington Post” (WP), former "Tehelka" journalist Rana Ayyub  – whose book on Gujarat riots, “Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up”, based on her undercover operations with government officials as a documentary filmmaker, made her famous – has blamed three Bollywood Khans, but most notably Saif Ali Khan, for playing an “off-screen role, enabling the worst impulses of the government.”