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Showing posts from June, 2020

Setting dangerous precedent: Allowing projects to start without an eco-clearance

Submission by independent researchers Meenakshi Kapoor and Krithika A Dinesh , independent researchers, working on environmental regulation and policy matters for years, to Rameshwar Prasad Gupta, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, on the Draft Environmental Impact Assessment Notification 2020: ***

Systemic racism in Canada: Relationship of Indigenous people to justice system

Reproduced below is an article published in "The Globe and Mail" by Jody Wilson-Raybould , independent member of Parliament for the British Columbia riding of Vancouver Granvill, and. author of” From Where I Stand: Rebuilding Indigenous Nations for a Stronger Canada”:  ***  There are few periods in my life where I have felt such intense emotions as in recent weeks. The murder of George Floyd, along with the killing of six Indigenous people by Canadian police since April, has left me outraged and incredibly sad. At the same time, I am not despondent. I have been heartened by the activists and protesters who have taken to streets around the world in a push for systemic change. I have lately wondered: Are we at a tipping point in the fight against systemic racism and injustice? Is long-overdue transformative change, including in Canada’s justice system, finally upon us? I believe we are in such a moment, and I am hopeful for our future – I have to be. Actions and protests in su

Democratic governance, central to the idea of India, undermined: Covid governance

Rahul Mukherji, Jai Prasad and Seyed Hossein Zarhani of Heidelberg University, Germany, argue in this article, published in Identities Journal, that COVID-19 management has undermined democratic governance central to the idea of India and close to the heart of founders of modern India. These values were undermined in a number of ways. First, sub-national states and politicians were not adequately consulted before the lockdown on 24 March 2020, even though Kerala’s spectacular performance was well known.

Combating pandemic: Janvikas-CSJ response mechanism, support to vulnerable sections

A note on Covid-19 response mechanism and support to the vulnerable communities by the civil society organization (CSO) Janvikas, Ahmedabad, with its associates, Institute for Development Education and Learning-Centre for Social Justice ( IDEAL-CSJ) and Institute for Studies and Transformations (IST): *** Relief provided by CSOs included food, ration kits and safety kits to 45,804 individuals in Gujarat and Delhi; support to 42,596 migrants in Gujarat, including travel support to 14,000 migrants; legal support to 6,428 persons in Gujarat, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh; capacity building to 1,600 community leaders of Gujarat, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh; cash transfer to 416 individuals; five sanitization tunnel built in Gujarat and Rajasthan; and dissemination of information to three lakh individuals in Ahmedabad. It all began with advocacy efforts by engaging government with the aim of activating the Public Distribution System (PDS), mid-day meal and ICDS system through state, city and lo

Sanction for prosecution under J&KAFSPA: CIC rejects detailed information

By Venkatesh Nayak*  Readers may remember reading a previous despatch sent in April 2018 , about an RTI intervention, regarding certain data tabled in Parliament that year, about cases involving allegations of custodial deaths and disappearances of civilians, alleged fake encounters, alleged instances of rape, and allegations of kidnapping, torture and extortion in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). The Government of J&K had sought sanction from the Central Government for prosecuting the accused in 50 such alleged cases that had occurred between 2001 and 2016. This is an essential requirement under the The Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act,1990 (J&K AFSPA) under which armed forces of the Union operate in J&K. The Government had informed the Rajya Sabha that request for sanctioning prosecution was refused in 47 cases due to lack of sufficient evidence, prima facie . Subsequently, an application was submitted to the Union Ministry of Defence (MoD) under The Rig

CIC advisory to Health Ministry to publish list of designated COVID facilities

By Venkatesh Nayak* Even as I draft this despatch, States and Union Territories (UTs) which are reporting very high numbers of COVID-19 infections are allegedly running out of beds for infected people who need urgent medical attention. The media is reporting case after case of ailing individuals breathing their last waiting for admission to a designated COVID treatment hospital. The family of the deceased allege, the hospitals refuse admission, whereas the hospitals counter them claiming, the patient was found dead on arrival or that they did not admit the patient because the infection was not detected by their own testing centre. There are media reports of COVID designated hospitals refusing treatment for non-COVID ailments resulting in the death of the patient. Similarly, there are other reports of deaths caused by the novel Corona virus because the patient was taken to a hospital that was not officially designated as a COVID treatment centre. Amidst all of this confusion, India

Dalits feel suffocation in India just as Blacks and coloured people do in US

Human rights activist and founder, Navsarjan Trust, Martin Macwan, recipient of the prestigious Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award for the year 2000, has drafted an open letter to President Donald Trump following the turn of events in the light murder of George Floyd. Seeking signatures for the letter, Macwan asks people to light a lamp in the memory of George Floyd on June 10 at 7 pm, the day when his mortal remains will be laid to rest. Introducing the letter, he wonders by innocent people are being pushed behind the bars in India, charged under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, including scores of human right activists like Prof Anand Teltumbde. Text of the draft letter: *** You were very recently an honoured guest of India. Part of preparation to receive you in the city of Ahmedabad, the civic authorities had built a wall exactly opposite Gandhi Ashram to hide from your eyes, the presence of the slumdwellers. Earlier, during the visit of other international dignitaries, the sl