These Barmer widows and orphans are being turned away from PDS shops

A small settlement of about 250 families in Barmer district, Rajasthan, has been devastated due to alcohol consumption. About three-quarters of the women are widows and, despite being impoverished and living below-poverty line, struggle to avail free ration from the government.

The colony is located about 15 kilometres from the city and has lost most of its men to excess consumption of alcohol, leaving their widows vulnerable and children orphans.

The remaining men work as boot polishers, drive public transport vehicles or find other daily wage jobs. However, even these men suffer serious health conditions, like cirrhosis and brittle bones, due to alcohol abuse.

The women mainly work as waste pickers, earning around Rs 200 daily.

Despite living in such conditions, many people from this settlement are being turned away from ration shops despite having valid cards.

— source | Himanshu Nitnaware | 19 Dec 2022

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Nellie Massacre

A killer can kill again. But, can the dead die again?

In Nellie, they can. In fact, they have died many times over since that fateful late winter day 40 years ago.

On February 18, 1983, a huge mob of Tiwa, Koch, caste Hindu Assamese and members of other local communities brutally slaughtered more than 2,000 Bengal-origin Muslims in and around Nellie, a town in the central Assam district of Morigaon (back then, Nagaon district).

If one has to go by the total number of people killed in any anti-minority pogrom in post-independence India, the Nellie carnage sits somewhere at the top. The Gujarat pogrom of 2002 and the Bombay riots that followed the Babri Masjid demolition by Kar Sevaks in 1992 come close. And if unofficial accounts are to be believed, more than 7,000 were butchered in Nellie, which marks it out as the deadliest anti-minority pogrom in modern India.

What makes Nellie particularly unique was that unlike in other similar cases, not a single individual faced justice for the exceptional act of mass murder. The official inquiry report of the Tiwari Commission remains classified till today. There is not one memorial anywhere in India that commemorates the massacre. In that sense, the violence of Nellie

— source | Angshuman Choudhury | 23/Feb/2023

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Will You Follow Same Rules Here as in Europe, SC Asks Google

The Supreme Court has asked Google whether it will follow the guidelines set on pre-installed apps on Android phones in the European Union in India as well.

Google India has approached the court to challenge the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal’s order declining to stay a Rs 1,338 crore penalty imposed on the company by the Competition Commission of India for unfair and anti-competitive practices.

The CCI told the Supreme Court, LiveLaw reported, that the EU commission had found Google’s practice of pre-installing apps on Android phones unfair in 2016, and the company had since changed how it approached the matter there. However, in India, it continues with its earlier practices and was unwilling to adhere to a similar order passed by the CCI.

On January 6, NCLAT refused to stay CCI’s fine order and told the company to deposit 10% of the fine amount within three weeks. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appeared for Google.

— source | 17/Jan/2023

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Disha Ravi Accuses Police of Leaking Private Info

The Delhi high court on Monday, February 27, ordered the Union government to file an affidavit on the status of the investigation against climate activist Disha Ravi, who is an accused in the 2021 ‘toolkit’ case. Ravi, who secured bail in February 2021, moved the court accusing the Delhi Police of leaking private information about her to the media despite the fact no charge sheet has been filed in the case thus far. This, she said, was “malicious and in violation of the right to privacy and free trial”, reported.

— source | 28/Feb/2023

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The Kachchh caravan stumbles on

Kammabhai’s hopeful tone is understandable given the extraordinary events of January 2022 when 58 camels were detained by the local police in Amravati, Maharashtra. Although released a month later in February, all the camels showed signs of poor health.

Their herders say that during their detention, the animals did not get to eat their regular diet. The gaurakshan kendra where they were held, is a cattle shelter equipped with feed for cows.

In a cruel twist, the hapless herders even had to pay – Rs. 350 for each camel’s daily feed – for the unsuitable food determined by the kendra . The bill came to Rs. 4 lakh, as calculated by the Gaurakshan Sanstha . The cattle-shelter calls itself a voluntary organisation but it levied a fee on the Rabaris towards the care and upkeep of camels.

A year ago, a self-styled animal rights activist from Hyderabad had lodged a complaint in Talegaon Dashasar police station against the five herders. They were accused of transporting camels to slaughterhouses in Hyderabad. The Rabaris were camping in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region. Police arrested the five herders at a village called Nimgavhan, which comes under the Amravati district police’s jurisdiction. The owners were charged under section 11 (1)(d) of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 , and the camels were sent to a gaurakshan kendra in Amravati in detention.

Although the local court immediately granted the owners bail, the battle for their animals dragged on and went up to the district court. On January 25, 2022, a magistrate in Amravati summarily rejected the applications of three animal rights organisations, including the Gaurakshan Sanstha , for custodial rights of the camels. It allowed the application of the five Rabari herders upon their fulfilment of a few conditions.

— source | Jaideep Hardikar, Priti David, Rajeeve Chelanat | Jan. 27, 2023

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Doctors demand ban on GM Mustard, uprooting of trial plantations

Doctors across India have come together to express their concern against the plantation of genetically modified (GM) mustard crops, which recently received the Centre’s go-ahead for its environmental clearance.

A letter has been submitted by 111 doctors across various fields to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding immediate uprooting of the trial plantations of the genetically modified Dhara Mustard Hybrid (DMH) -11. The doctors warned of the possible health concerns introduced in the food system by the crop.

GM mustard was approved for its environmental release October 18, 2022, by the central biotech regulator, Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC). The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Directorate of Rapeseed Mustard Research (DRMR) procured two kilos of GM mustard from its inventor and geneticist, Deepak Pental.

When Down To Earth visited the director of ICAR-DRMR, P K Rai, November 4, he had denied the trial plantation of GM mustard. However, November 14, 2022, he admitted the seeds

— source | Himanshu Nitnaware | 06 Dec 2022

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Over 1,35,000 Vacancies in Army, IAF, Navy; Only 46,000 Posts Advertised in 2022

There are a total of 1,35, 891 vacancies in the three Armed Forces wings – Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Indian Navy, the government has informed Parliament. The total number of over a lakh vacancies are the highest in the Indian Army at 118,485, as on July 1, 2022, a total of 11,587 vacancies in the Indian Navy (sailors) as on September 30, 2022 and 5,819 vacancies in the Indian Army, according to a written reply in Lok Sabha by Ajay Bhatt, Minister of State for Defence. In reply to another question on the recruitment of women as officers in defence sector, Bhatt said they made up for 3.7% of officers (excluding AMC/ADC) in the Army, 21.25% of AMC (Army Medical Corp)/ADC – Aide De Camp (basically medical and assistant) officers, 100% of MNS (military nursing service) officers and 0.01% in the category of JCO/OR, as on July 1, 2022. In the Indian Navy, about 6% women were part of the personnel, while in the IAF 13.69% were officers (excluding the dental branch), as on December 1, 2022.

— source | 09 Dec 2022

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Is Revised Data Protection Bill a Charter of Surveillance Capitalism?

The new avatar of the Indian Data Protection Bill 2022 is not simply a rebirth of its 2019 version. Its earlier objective was to provide a legal framework to the Supreme Court’s Puttaswamy judgement that privacy is a fundamental right. The purpose of the 2022 bill is different. It proclaims the citizen’s right to privacy but allows the government to override it. Its other objective is to enable Big Businesses—Indian or foreign—to use our data for their benefit. In other words, the 2022 bill intends to do the opposite of what it claims: not protect privacy but create the architecture of a surveillance state and build surveillance capitalism.

I don’t argue the 2019 bill was perfect. It was not. The Joint Parliamentary Committee suggested 92 amendments in it. But after extensive reviews in Parliament, public discussions and deliberations in the JPC, the government suddenly withdrew the bill and released a new one without explanation. The answer materialises when we examine the

— source | Prabir Purkayastha | 10 Dec 2022

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Stop Open Field Tests of GM Mustard

Following the go-ahead for production and field testing of hybrid seeds of genetically modified (GM) mustard, All-India Peoples Science Network (AIPSN) has demanded that the open field tests, if any, be conducted with “utmost precautions and in carefully selected locations to ensure strict isolation from neighbouring fields of mustard”. The statement from the AIPSN comes after the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) permitted on October 18 field testing of the DMH II variety of GM mustard. It has called the approval “the most significant step in India regarding GM foods” since the moratorium announced on the release of Bt Brinjal in 2010.

— source | 08 Dec 2022

[Ban GMO]

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