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Israel’s attack on Palestine: Imperialist designs?

A closer look at the Israel-Paletine conflict that has been reignited recently and has led to death and destruction in the Middle East

20 May 2021

Image Courtesy:countercurrents.org

From May 6, 2021, while Hamas, a radical Palestinian group has launched missiles on Israelis on the issue related to Al Aqsa mosque, Israel has launched close to a full-scale attack on Palestinians. In this conflict, the causalities and destruction have reportedly been more on Palestinian side with the death of nearly 200 people including 60 children. While on Israeli side, ten people including one child have lost their lives. The destruction of buildings housing media centres in particular by Israel is a grave and tragic event.

The perpetual Al Aqsa mosque issue has been projected to be the cause of these acts. The major issue of installing Zionists and carving out Israel as an outpost of America near the oil rich zone of the world needs to be understood. The creation of Israel after the second World war, on the ground that Jews need a country of their own, as they have been tormented in different countries, was the pretext in which the US and Britain in particular planned the area for the Jews in Palestine. As such Israel is a case of settler colonialism, military occupation and land theft.

Palestine has been a country for long. It is not only the Muslims who have been the citizens of this country, Christians and Jews have also been part of the citizenry of Palestine. The area carved out for Jews, and linking it to historical roots of origins of Judaism in this area was the logic proffered for the same. Jerusalem has been the centre of importance for three Abrahmic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

As such the first global meet of Jews, led by Zionists had taken place in 1897 in Germany. They asked for a separate state for Jews. Let’s first understand the difference between Zionism and Judaism. Judaism is a religion of Jews, while Zionism is a politics in the name of Judaism. This is quiet akin to Islam as a religion and Islamic Fundamentalism (Taliban for e.g.) or Hinduism as a religion and Hindutva as politics. While the meeting passed the resolution for a separate country for Jews, there was a great opposition to this resolution from a large section of Jews scattered all over. Their argument was that with such a resolution the Jews will face discrimination and Jewish traders will have to face many problems in their professional life.

The attempt for Jewish state got another shot just before World War I. The German holocaust which targeted Jews gave another shot in the arm to the idea of separate state for Jews. Many of the Jews from Germany itself were opponents of this idea, as they realised that such a state built around the identity of one religion will become as authoritarian and oppressive to other identities as Germany herself became with Nazis in power.

The formation of Israel took away lots of territory of Palestine. And Lakhs of Palestinians were forced to leave their home and hearth. The newly formed state was armed to the teeth, particularly by America. The idea was very clear that western imperialist powers were keen to have a place of strategic importance in West Asia. More so when the politics of control over oil resources began these powers articulated that ‘oil is too precious a commodity to be left to Arabs’. On one hand the US-Britain had designs to strengthen Israel on the other the affluent Jews control many of the power centres within America in particular.

After the 1967 attack by Israel, it grabbed large tracts of Palestine. This led to lakhs of Palestinians becoming refugees in nearby countries. The atrocious, aggressive behaviour of Israel was opposed by the UN. Through various resolutions, the UN had been calling for giving justice to Palestinians, and urging Israel to withdraw from the areas occupied illegally. Israel defied most of UN resolution. Israel could get away with violation of global and human norms mainly because America has been backing it thoroughly.

Religion has no role to play in this dynamic. The real issue is the control of oil resources and military-political domination in the area. Recently the UN Security Council wanted to pass a resolution calling for cease fire by both sides. America with its veto power blocked it and Israel’s defence minister stated that the war will go on till they achieve their goal.

Anti Israel demonstrations are underway all over the world. There is a call for a halt to the attack by Israel. There is no justification for the shelling by Hamas, but in such an oppressed and tortured community few extremist groups do come up and get nurtured because of the extreme injustices hurled on a particular community.

India has consistently taken a pro-Palestine position all through. Starting from Mahatma Gandhi who wrote, "My sympathy for the Jews does not blind me to the requirements of Justice. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs", down till the leaders like Aral Bihari Vajpayee and Sushma Swaraj who took a pro-Palestine position and criticised the Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land. Lately with the sectarian nationalism growing in India, Indian Government is tilting towards Israel, and demanding justice for Palestinians is taking a back seat.

The area has been a hot-spot for the last several decades. It is time that all the global powers follow the resolutions of the United Nations and restore to Palestinians their rightful land and rights. We can’t ignore the rise of Israel as a country also. Keeping in mind the current realities; a solution for demarcation between Palestine and Israel by the United Nations needs to be done and adhered to. The gross violation of human rights of Palestinians is a matter of worry for all those looking forward to a peaceful world order. For this America-imperialists should be made to overcome their ambitions of controlling the lust for oil-power and favour justice for all the people of the Middle East.  

* Views expressed are the author's own. Dr. Puniyani is a human rights defender and a former professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT Bombay). 

Other pieces by Dr. Puniyani:

Bid Curb Inter-faith marriages: Ruse to Restrict Women’s Freedom

Charlie Hebdo Cartoons and Blasphemy Laws in Contemporary Times

Was Mughal Rule the period of India’s Slavery?

Kashi- Mathura: Will temple politics be revived?

 

Israel’s attack on Palestine: Imperialist designs?

A closer look at the Israel-Paletine conflict that has been reignited recently and has led to death and destruction in the Middle East

Image Courtesy:countercurrents.org

From May 6, 2021, while Hamas, a radical Palestinian group has launched missiles on Israelis on the issue related to Al Aqsa mosque, Israel has launched close to a full-scale attack on Palestinians. In this conflict, the causalities and destruction have reportedly been more on Palestinian side with the death of nearly 200 people including 60 children. While on Israeli side, ten people including one child have lost their lives. The destruction of buildings housing media centres in particular by Israel is a grave and tragic event.

The perpetual Al Aqsa mosque issue has been projected to be the cause of these acts. The major issue of installing Zionists and carving out Israel as an outpost of America near the oil rich zone of the world needs to be understood. The creation of Israel after the second World war, on the ground that Jews need a country of their own, as they have been tormented in different countries, was the pretext in which the US and Britain in particular planned the area for the Jews in Palestine. As such Israel is a case of settler colonialism, military occupation and land theft.

Palestine has been a country for long. It is not only the Muslims who have been the citizens of this country, Christians and Jews have also been part of the citizenry of Palestine. The area carved out for Jews, and linking it to historical roots of origins of Judaism in this area was the logic proffered for the same. Jerusalem has been the centre of importance for three Abrahmic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

As such the first global meet of Jews, led by Zionists had taken place in 1897 in Germany. They asked for a separate state for Jews. Let’s first understand the difference between Zionism and Judaism. Judaism is a religion of Jews, while Zionism is a politics in the name of Judaism. This is quiet akin to Islam as a religion and Islamic Fundamentalism (Taliban for e.g.) or Hinduism as a religion and Hindutva as politics. While the meeting passed the resolution for a separate country for Jews, there was a great opposition to this resolution from a large section of Jews scattered all over. Their argument was that with such a resolution the Jews will face discrimination and Jewish traders will have to face many problems in their professional life.

The attempt for Jewish state got another shot just before World War I. The German holocaust which targeted Jews gave another shot in the arm to the idea of separate state for Jews. Many of the Jews from Germany itself were opponents of this idea, as they realised that such a state built around the identity of one religion will become as authoritarian and oppressive to other identities as Germany herself became with Nazis in power.

The formation of Israel took away lots of territory of Palestine. And Lakhs of Palestinians were forced to leave their home and hearth. The newly formed state was armed to the teeth, particularly by America. The idea was very clear that western imperialist powers were keen to have a place of strategic importance in West Asia. More so when the politics of control over oil resources began these powers articulated that ‘oil is too precious a commodity to be left to Arabs’. On one hand the US-Britain had designs to strengthen Israel on the other the affluent Jews control many of the power centres within America in particular.

After the 1967 attack by Israel, it grabbed large tracts of Palestine. This led to lakhs of Palestinians becoming refugees in nearby countries. The atrocious, aggressive behaviour of Israel was opposed by the UN. Through various resolutions, the UN had been calling for giving justice to Palestinians, and urging Israel to withdraw from the areas occupied illegally. Israel defied most of UN resolution. Israel could get away with violation of global and human norms mainly because America has been backing it thoroughly.

Religion has no role to play in this dynamic. The real issue is the control of oil resources and military-political domination in the area. Recently the UN Security Council wanted to pass a resolution calling for cease fire by both sides. America with its veto power blocked it and Israel’s defence minister stated that the war will go on till they achieve their goal.

Anti Israel demonstrations are underway all over the world. There is a call for a halt to the attack by Israel. There is no justification for the shelling by Hamas, but in such an oppressed and tortured community few extremist groups do come up and get nurtured because of the extreme injustices hurled on a particular community.

India has consistently taken a pro-Palestine position all through. Starting from Mahatma Gandhi who wrote, "My sympathy for the Jews does not blind me to the requirements of Justice. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs", down till the leaders like Aral Bihari Vajpayee and Sushma Swaraj who took a pro-Palestine position and criticised the Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land. Lately with the sectarian nationalism growing in India, Indian Government is tilting towards Israel, and demanding justice for Palestinians is taking a back seat.

The area has been a hot-spot for the last several decades. It is time that all the global powers follow the resolutions of the United Nations and restore to Palestinians their rightful land and rights. We can’t ignore the rise of Israel as a country also. Keeping in mind the current realities; a solution for demarcation between Palestine and Israel by the United Nations needs to be done and adhered to. The gross violation of human rights of Palestinians is a matter of worry for all those looking forward to a peaceful world order. For this America-imperialists should be made to overcome their ambitions of controlling the lust for oil-power and favour justice for all the people of the Middle East.  

* Views expressed are the author's own. Dr. Puniyani is a human rights defender and a former professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT Bombay). 

Other pieces by Dr. Puniyani:

Bid Curb Inter-faith marriages: Ruse to Restrict Women’s Freedom

Charlie Hebdo Cartoons and Blasphemy Laws in Contemporary Times

Was Mughal Rule the period of India’s Slavery?

Kashi- Mathura: Will temple politics be revived?

 

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Banish the Law of Blasphemy; It is Crippling the Muslim World

Under the garb of protecting the honor of Islam, the orthodoxy is robbing Muslims of their true potentials

10 May 2021

Recently, Said Djabelkhir, An Algerian Professor, Was Sentenced To Three Years In Jail For Committing Blasphemy. His ‘Crime’ Was That He Wrote What He Believed To Be True

Main Points:

1.    Professor Said is a well-recognized authority on North African Sufism and through his writings, he has been warning against the excesses of Salafis in that region.

2.    He has written against a literal reading of the Quran and asked Muslims to distinguish between history and myth.

3.    The politics of blasphemy does not serve God in any way but is designed to maintain orthodox medievalist ideas. It is this orthodoxy that is being challenged by Professor Said and many others like him throughout the Muslim world.

4.    Under the garb of protecting the honor of Islam, the orthodoxy is robbing Muslims of their true potentials.

Said Djabelkhir, an Algerian academic and activist was handed down a prison sentence of three years after being found guilty of blasphemy. In Algeria, blasphemy is a crime which is punishable by imprisonment up to five years and hefty fine. The term is defined as the insult of ‘Prophet Muhammad or the rest of the Prophets, or ridiculing the basics of Islam or any of its rituals either in writing, drawing, expression or any other manner’. One can see that the scope of this definition is so wide that any form of inquiry into Islam can be construed as blasphemy. Indeed, in Algeria, people have been accused of blasphemy simply because they were playing cards in Ramzan or in one instance because the person had accidently dropped the Quran into a bucket of water!

But Said Djabelkhir ‘crimes’ are more fundamental in nature. Said is a well-recognized authority on North African Sufi traditions and has published widely in the field. Through his writings, he has been warning against the excesses of Salafis who, he argued, have taken over Algeria. However, his worry is not about the linkages between Salafism and terrorism; on the contrary he argues that the majority of the Salafis are quietists. What worries him is the social impact of Salafism: increasing conservatism and a reliance on the literal understanding of the Quran.

Said has been writing and speaking against such a literal reading of the Quran which according to him does not help Muslims and their many modern predicaments. As part of his endeavor to humanize and therefore historicize the Quran and Islam, he suggested that parts of the Quran, such as that containing the story of Noah’s Ark, should not be taken as literal truths. He urges Muslims to make a distinction between history and myth. What landed him in trouble was his assertion that Islamic rituals like the Hajj and animal sacrifice associated with it had its roots in pre-Islamic Arabia. Moreover, he was highly critical of the practice of marrying pre-pubescent girls and appealed that Muslims should put an end to it.

In any sane society, these points would have been debated and thrashed out, first within the intellectual community and then perhaps by the public at large. But this is not the case in many Muslim countries which have blasphemy laws on their statutes. What is astonishing in the Algerian case against Professor Said is that he was dragged to court by a fellow academic. The judge agreed and handed down a three-year sentence. Although Said is out on bail and has vowed to continue the fight for ‘speaking his conscience’, his life is clearly in danger as he has received multiple death threats. Many Muslims think that killing a blasphemer is obligatory and it will assure them a place in heaven. In the coming days, the professor not just has to contend with the courts but also with the larger society which is now baying for his blood.

Is there anything wrong in what Said Djabelkhir has argued? Contrary to what many Muslims believe, Islam did not appear from a void. Pre-Islamic rituals similar to that of Hajj and animal sacrifice has been recorded by historians and it is certainly not a crime to argue that Islam appropriated some of these traditions and gave it a new name and purpose. Historians have even argued that the month of fasting and its culmination with Eid is also a tradition which predates Islam.

How is it problematic to argue that the practice of marrying pre-pubescent girls within many parts of the Muslim world should be stopped? There was a time when such marriages were common in all religious communities. But over time, other communities were able to bring their religious mores in tune with the demands of modernity. Why is it so hard for Muslims to do so?

Part of the problem is that the Quran sanctions such marriages. Again, this problem is not specific to the Quran alone. It is found in almost all religious texts. But other communities have moved on; they do not regard their holy texts as the divine utterance of Almighty. The trouble with Muslims is that they have invested the Quran with divinity and at times regard the text as the uncreated word of God. It is therefore nearly impossible for a Muslim to go against what is written in the Quran and in this sense the majority of Muslims are literalists. Till the time this peculiar relationship between Muslims and Quran is not reworked, they would continue to believe in antediluvian notions like blasphemy.

Normally, blasphemy is considered as an affront to God. But then, we know that in all such cases, God is never a party in the court. Muslims have arrogated to themselves the power of God; they represent Him in courts of law. Nothing could be more blasphemous than representing God Herself. In order to get around this problem, Muslims have expanded the definition of blasphemy to include affront to Prophets and even the rituals associated with religion. Thus, the whole idea behind invoking blasphemy is deeply political and it exists not because any God wants it to but simply because powerful people within the Muslim community want to perpetuate their hegemony of outmoded ideas. It is this orthodoxy that is threatened by Professor Said and many others like him throughout the Muslim world. They are being punished because they want to change the system; they are being punished because they have the courage to speak their minds.

Imagine a Muslim scholar who through her research comes to the conclusion similar to the one reached by Professor Said. Now as a researcher, she is obligated to publish and disseminate her findings. But the moment she does so, she will land in deep trouble because anyone can accuse her of blasphemy. What should she do? Should she change her conclusion so as to make it palatable to the normative structures of Islamic orthodoxy and in the process become dishonest? Perhaps that is the only way out for her for the other path is full of danger many would not like to tread on. It is not surprising therefore that the Muslim world is hardly known for original research in any field of inquiry. All Muslims, who have made fundamental contributions, are located outside the Muslim world’s sphere of blasphemy. 

Islam prides itself that it teaches Muslims to be honest and truthful. But it appears that the obverse is true. Till the time blasphemy is on statutes, truth, honest and originality will continue to be replaced by a servile pastiche. In the name of protecting the honor of Allah, the orthodox are robbing His devotees of their full potential.

Arshad Alam is a columnist with NewAgeIslam.com    

This article was first published in New Age Islam and may be read here

Banish the Law of Blasphemy; It is Crippling the Muslim World

Under the garb of protecting the honor of Islam, the orthodoxy is robbing Muslims of their true potentials

Recently, Said Djabelkhir, An Algerian Professor, Was Sentenced To Three Years In Jail For Committing Blasphemy. His ‘Crime’ Was That He Wrote What He Believed To Be True

Main Points:

1.    Professor Said is a well-recognized authority on North African Sufism and through his writings, he has been warning against the excesses of Salafis in that region.

2.    He has written against a literal reading of the Quran and asked Muslims to distinguish between history and myth.

3.    The politics of blasphemy does not serve God in any way but is designed to maintain orthodox medievalist ideas. It is this orthodoxy that is being challenged by Professor Said and many others like him throughout the Muslim world.

4.    Under the garb of protecting the honor of Islam, the orthodoxy is robbing Muslims of their true potentials.

Said Djabelkhir, an Algerian academic and activist was handed down a prison sentence of three years after being found guilty of blasphemy. In Algeria, blasphemy is a crime which is punishable by imprisonment up to five years and hefty fine. The term is defined as the insult of ‘Prophet Muhammad or the rest of the Prophets, or ridiculing the basics of Islam or any of its rituals either in writing, drawing, expression or any other manner’. One can see that the scope of this definition is so wide that any form of inquiry into Islam can be construed as blasphemy. Indeed, in Algeria, people have been accused of blasphemy simply because they were playing cards in Ramzan or in one instance because the person had accidently dropped the Quran into a bucket of water!

But Said Djabelkhir ‘crimes’ are more fundamental in nature. Said is a well-recognized authority on North African Sufi traditions and has published widely in the field. Through his writings, he has been warning against the excesses of Salafis who, he argued, have taken over Algeria. However, his worry is not about the linkages between Salafism and terrorism; on the contrary he argues that the majority of the Salafis are quietists. What worries him is the social impact of Salafism: increasing conservatism and a reliance on the literal understanding of the Quran.

Said has been writing and speaking against such a literal reading of the Quran which according to him does not help Muslims and their many modern predicaments. As part of his endeavor to humanize and therefore historicize the Quran and Islam, he suggested that parts of the Quran, such as that containing the story of Noah’s Ark, should not be taken as literal truths. He urges Muslims to make a distinction between history and myth. What landed him in trouble was his assertion that Islamic rituals like the Hajj and animal sacrifice associated with it had its roots in pre-Islamic Arabia. Moreover, he was highly critical of the practice of marrying pre-pubescent girls and appealed that Muslims should put an end to it.

In any sane society, these points would have been debated and thrashed out, first within the intellectual community and then perhaps by the public at large. But this is not the case in many Muslim countries which have blasphemy laws on their statutes. What is astonishing in the Algerian case against Professor Said is that he was dragged to court by a fellow academic. The judge agreed and handed down a three-year sentence. Although Said is out on bail and has vowed to continue the fight for ‘speaking his conscience’, his life is clearly in danger as he has received multiple death threats. Many Muslims think that killing a blasphemer is obligatory and it will assure them a place in heaven. In the coming days, the professor not just has to contend with the courts but also with the larger society which is now baying for his blood.

Is there anything wrong in what Said Djabelkhir has argued? Contrary to what many Muslims believe, Islam did not appear from a void. Pre-Islamic rituals similar to that of Hajj and animal sacrifice has been recorded by historians and it is certainly not a crime to argue that Islam appropriated some of these traditions and gave it a new name and purpose. Historians have even argued that the month of fasting and its culmination with Eid is also a tradition which predates Islam.

How is it problematic to argue that the practice of marrying pre-pubescent girls within many parts of the Muslim world should be stopped? There was a time when such marriages were common in all religious communities. But over time, other communities were able to bring their religious mores in tune with the demands of modernity. Why is it so hard for Muslims to do so?

Part of the problem is that the Quran sanctions such marriages. Again, this problem is not specific to the Quran alone. It is found in almost all religious texts. But other communities have moved on; they do not regard their holy texts as the divine utterance of Almighty. The trouble with Muslims is that they have invested the Quran with divinity and at times regard the text as the uncreated word of God. It is therefore nearly impossible for a Muslim to go against what is written in the Quran and in this sense the majority of Muslims are literalists. Till the time this peculiar relationship between Muslims and Quran is not reworked, they would continue to believe in antediluvian notions like blasphemy.

Normally, blasphemy is considered as an affront to God. But then, we know that in all such cases, God is never a party in the court. Muslims have arrogated to themselves the power of God; they represent Him in courts of law. Nothing could be more blasphemous than representing God Herself. In order to get around this problem, Muslims have expanded the definition of blasphemy to include affront to Prophets and even the rituals associated with religion. Thus, the whole idea behind invoking blasphemy is deeply political and it exists not because any God wants it to but simply because powerful people within the Muslim community want to perpetuate their hegemony of outmoded ideas. It is this orthodoxy that is threatened by Professor Said and many others like him throughout the Muslim world. They are being punished because they want to change the system; they are being punished because they have the courage to speak their minds.

Imagine a Muslim scholar who through her research comes to the conclusion similar to the one reached by Professor Said. Now as a researcher, she is obligated to publish and disseminate her findings. But the moment she does so, she will land in deep trouble because anyone can accuse her of blasphemy. What should she do? Should she change her conclusion so as to make it palatable to the normative structures of Islamic orthodoxy and in the process become dishonest? Perhaps that is the only way out for her for the other path is full of danger many would not like to tread on. It is not surprising therefore that the Muslim world is hardly known for original research in any field of inquiry. All Muslims, who have made fundamental contributions, are located outside the Muslim world’s sphere of blasphemy. 

Islam prides itself that it teaches Muslims to be honest and truthful. But it appears that the obverse is true. Till the time blasphemy is on statutes, truth, honest and originality will continue to be replaced by a servile pastiche. In the name of protecting the honor of Allah, the orthodox are robbing His devotees of their full potential.

Arshad Alam is a columnist with NewAgeIslam.com    

This article was first published in New Age Islam and may be read here

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Biden-Harris administration backs IPR flexibility for Covid vaccine

Move will help production of the vaccine in developing nations thereby enabling their availability to a larger number of people

07 May 2021

biden

The United States has expressed support for waiving Trade Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for Covid-19 vaccines. US Trade Representative Katherine Tai shared her country’s stand amidst World Trade Organisation (WTO) discussions on easing global trade rules to enable vaccine access to the developing world, saying, “The Administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines.”

This is significant because many pharma majors are reluctant to allow production of their vaccines in other countries or in facilities not owned or controlled by them. Pharma majors believe this would stifle innovation and disincentivise large investments into Research and Development (R&D). India has already been I the global crosshairs for its thriving generics market where Indian companies allegedly reverse engineer international drug formulations to produce cheaper variants. Thus, the anti-waiver stand of pharma countries and many wealthy nations had significantly reduced the quick and safe availability of high-quality vaccines at affordable prices to people in developing nations.

India has welcomed the Biden-Harris administration’s support for IPS waivers. In a statement released, New Delhi said, “We welcome the statement on US government on 5th May announcing their support for the initiative. We are hopeful that with a consensus-based approach, the waiver can be approved quickly at the WTO.”

India and South Africa had originally proposed the IPR waiver in October 2020. If the waiver was granted, it would allow countries who are WTO members to choose to neither grant nor enforce patents and other IP related to all Covid-19 drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, and other technologies, including masks and ventilators, for the duration of the pandemic. This would provide countries with the policy space needed to collaborate in R&D, manufacturing, scaling up, and supplying Covid-19 tools. The proposed waiver would be applicable only to Covid-19. It does not suggest a waiver from all TRIPS obligations, nor does it suggest a waiver beyond what is needed for COVID-19 prevention, containment and treatment.

In November 2020, Eswatini, Kenya, Mozambique and Pakistan also backed this landmark proposal. But Australia, Brazil, Canada, EU, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, UK and US were opposed to it at that time.

Just hours after Tai’s statement, other nations too started showing support for the idea. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told media persons, “The EU is also ready to discuss any proposal that addresses the crisis in an effective and pragmatic manner.”  

Meanwhile, the EU is also sending medical aid to India in a humanitarian outreach program to help the country combat Covid that is spreading relentlessly. This includes medical equipment and medicines worth € 100 million.

 

 

Meanwhile, shortages of life-saving drugs and Covid vaccines continue in India where over 4 lakh fresh cases are being reported each day for the last one week, and as per government data, as of 8 A.M on May 7, there were 36,45,164 active cases of the disease.

 

 

 

Related:

Did Gujarat get preference over other states in Covid vaccination for 18-44 year olds?

SII provides 3 lakh doses, vaccination for 18-44 age group to begin in Maharashtra

How many Indian adults will manage to get the Covid-19 vaccine on May 1?

Biden-Harris administration backs IPR flexibility for Covid vaccine

Move will help production of the vaccine in developing nations thereby enabling their availability to a larger number of people

biden

The United States has expressed support for waiving Trade Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for Covid-19 vaccines. US Trade Representative Katherine Tai shared her country’s stand amidst World Trade Organisation (WTO) discussions on easing global trade rules to enable vaccine access to the developing world, saying, “The Administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines.”

This is significant because many pharma majors are reluctant to allow production of their vaccines in other countries or in facilities not owned or controlled by them. Pharma majors believe this would stifle innovation and disincentivise large investments into Research and Development (R&D). India has already been I the global crosshairs for its thriving generics market where Indian companies allegedly reverse engineer international drug formulations to produce cheaper variants. Thus, the anti-waiver stand of pharma countries and many wealthy nations had significantly reduced the quick and safe availability of high-quality vaccines at affordable prices to people in developing nations.

India has welcomed the Biden-Harris administration’s support for IPS waivers. In a statement released, New Delhi said, “We welcome the statement on US government on 5th May announcing their support for the initiative. We are hopeful that with a consensus-based approach, the waiver can be approved quickly at the WTO.”

India and South Africa had originally proposed the IPR waiver in October 2020. If the waiver was granted, it would allow countries who are WTO members to choose to neither grant nor enforce patents and other IP related to all Covid-19 drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, and other technologies, including masks and ventilators, for the duration of the pandemic. This would provide countries with the policy space needed to collaborate in R&D, manufacturing, scaling up, and supplying Covid-19 tools. The proposed waiver would be applicable only to Covid-19. It does not suggest a waiver from all TRIPS obligations, nor does it suggest a waiver beyond what is needed for COVID-19 prevention, containment and treatment.

In November 2020, Eswatini, Kenya, Mozambique and Pakistan also backed this landmark proposal. But Australia, Brazil, Canada, EU, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, UK and US were opposed to it at that time.

Just hours after Tai’s statement, other nations too started showing support for the idea. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told media persons, “The EU is also ready to discuss any proposal that addresses the crisis in an effective and pragmatic manner.”  

Meanwhile, the EU is also sending medical aid to India in a humanitarian outreach program to help the country combat Covid that is spreading relentlessly. This includes medical equipment and medicines worth € 100 million.

 

 

Meanwhile, shortages of life-saving drugs and Covid vaccines continue in India where over 4 lakh fresh cases are being reported each day for the last one week, and as per government data, as of 8 A.M on May 7, there were 36,45,164 active cases of the disease.

 

 

 

Related:

Did Gujarat get preference over other states in Covid vaccination for 18-44 year olds?

SII provides 3 lakh doses, vaccination for 18-44 age group to begin in Maharashtra

How many Indian adults will manage to get the Covid-19 vaccine on May 1?

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Manipur HC orders safe passage for 7 Myanmarese to seek protection under UNHCR

 They had fled to India in February, fearing persecution as a result of the military coup that banned their media service, detaining many journalists  

04 May 2021

manipur

In a landmark judgment, the Manipur High Court has ordered for the safe passage of seven Myanmar citizens to New Delhi in order for them to seek protection under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice Lanusungkum Jamir were listening to a petition concerning seven Myanmarese citizens, who entered India after the military coup in February 2021. After the coup, the military junta banned Mizzima, an established Myanmarese media and news service, and arrested/detained several of its journalists.

Of the seven people, two are journalists, and one is a video-journalist with Mizzima. The other four people include one journalist’s wife and their three minor children. They fled their country fearing persecution and physical danger after the violence that broke out after the coup. They entered India and took shelter at Moreh in Tengnoupal district, Manipur.

They sought help from the petitioner (Nandita Haskar) as they feared that they would be sent back to Myanmar by the Assam Rifles, an Indian armed force, as they entered India without proper travel documents.

On March 10, the government of India had directed the authorities of the border states in the North-East of India and the Assam Rifles to check the flow of illegal migrants coming into India from Myanmar.

Court’s observation

The Manipur High Court observed firstly, “Though India’s policy on ‘refugees’ remains rather opaque, if not obscure, and asylum seekers are straightaway branded as ‘foreigners’, if not worse, certain protections are guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21 of our Constitution even to those who are not Indian citizens.”

It said that even a foreigner in India is entitled to protection of life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. “It is in the context of Article 21 that the principle of ‘non-refoulement’ assumes great significance”, said the Bench. This principle forbids the country that receives asylum seekers (in this case, India) to send them back to the original country (Myanmar) if they feel that they are likely in danger of persecution based on “race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”

The High Court ruled that the seven Myanmarese citizens will certainly be in danger if they are sent back to Myanmar. It said, “The media coverage that has surfaced from within Myanmar after the military coup, even if discounted to some extent, leaves this Court in no doubt that these Myanmarese persons, given their links with the banned Mizzima Media Organization, face imminent threat to their lives and liberty if they return.”

The Bench further said, “The far-reaching and myriad protections afforded by Article 21 of our Constitution, as interpreted and adumbrated by our Supreme Court time and again, would indubitably encompass the right of non-refoulement, albeit subject to the condition that the presence of such asylum seeker or refugee is not prejudicial or adverse to the security of this country.”

Therefore, the Court was of the view that even though India may not be a signatory to the Refugee Convention of 1951, its obligations under other international declarations/covenants, read with Article 21 of our Constitution, enjoins it to respect the right of an asylum seeker to seek protection from persecution and life or liberty-threatening danger elsewhere.

Noting that Refugee Status Determination (RSD) is undertaken by the UNHCR in India for conferring such status and for consequential documentation, the High Court said, “It would be essential for these seven Myanmarese persons to first approach the UNHCR at New Delhi and only thereafter, the Union of India would be in a position to take a call as to whether they can be granted refugee status and asylum in India, as was done earlier.”

The Court directed the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) at the Imphal airport to immediately provide them with temporary identification cards to enable them to travel to New Delhi by air, if such identity proofs are necessary.

It also importantly recorded in its order that, “The State and Central Governments shall facilitate their travel to New Delhi and shall not cause any obstruction.”

The judgment may be read here: 

 

Related:

Coup in Myanmar: Military detains Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint

Will India face the impact of US sanctions on Myanmar military companies?

Manipur HC orders safe passage for 7 Myanmarese to seek protection under UNHCR

 They had fled to India in February, fearing persecution as a result of the military coup that banned their media service, detaining many journalists  

manipur

In a landmark judgment, the Manipur High Court has ordered for the safe passage of seven Myanmar citizens to New Delhi in order for them to seek protection under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice Lanusungkum Jamir were listening to a petition concerning seven Myanmarese citizens, who entered India after the military coup in February 2021. After the coup, the military junta banned Mizzima, an established Myanmarese media and news service, and arrested/detained several of its journalists.

Of the seven people, two are journalists, and one is a video-journalist with Mizzima. The other four people include one journalist’s wife and their three minor children. They fled their country fearing persecution and physical danger after the violence that broke out after the coup. They entered India and took shelter at Moreh in Tengnoupal district, Manipur.

They sought help from the petitioner (Nandita Haskar) as they feared that they would be sent back to Myanmar by the Assam Rifles, an Indian armed force, as they entered India without proper travel documents.

On March 10, the government of India had directed the authorities of the border states in the North-East of India and the Assam Rifles to check the flow of illegal migrants coming into India from Myanmar.

Court’s observation

The Manipur High Court observed firstly, “Though India’s policy on ‘refugees’ remains rather opaque, if not obscure, and asylum seekers are straightaway branded as ‘foreigners’, if not worse, certain protections are guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21 of our Constitution even to those who are not Indian citizens.”

It said that even a foreigner in India is entitled to protection of life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. “It is in the context of Article 21 that the principle of ‘non-refoulement’ assumes great significance”, said the Bench. This principle forbids the country that receives asylum seekers (in this case, India) to send them back to the original country (Myanmar) if they feel that they are likely in danger of persecution based on “race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”

The High Court ruled that the seven Myanmarese citizens will certainly be in danger if they are sent back to Myanmar. It said, “The media coverage that has surfaced from within Myanmar after the military coup, even if discounted to some extent, leaves this Court in no doubt that these Myanmarese persons, given their links with the banned Mizzima Media Organization, face imminent threat to their lives and liberty if they return.”

The Bench further said, “The far-reaching and myriad protections afforded by Article 21 of our Constitution, as interpreted and adumbrated by our Supreme Court time and again, would indubitably encompass the right of non-refoulement, albeit subject to the condition that the presence of such asylum seeker or refugee is not prejudicial or adverse to the security of this country.”

Therefore, the Court was of the view that even though India may not be a signatory to the Refugee Convention of 1951, its obligations under other international declarations/covenants, read with Article 21 of our Constitution, enjoins it to respect the right of an asylum seeker to seek protection from persecution and life or liberty-threatening danger elsewhere.

Noting that Refugee Status Determination (RSD) is undertaken by the UNHCR in India for conferring such status and for consequential documentation, the High Court said, “It would be essential for these seven Myanmarese persons to first approach the UNHCR at New Delhi and only thereafter, the Union of India would be in a position to take a call as to whether they can be granted refugee status and asylum in India, as was done earlier.”

The Court directed the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) at the Imphal airport to immediately provide them with temporary identification cards to enable them to travel to New Delhi by air, if such identity proofs are necessary.

It also importantly recorded in its order that, “The State and Central Governments shall facilitate their travel to New Delhi and shall not cause any obstruction.”

The judgment may be read here: 

 

Related:

Coup in Myanmar: Military detains Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint

Will India face the impact of US sanctions on Myanmar military companies?

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Pfizer donates USD 70 million worth of Covid-19 drugs to India

Donation includes medicines identified for Covid treatment, but does not include vaccines as Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has not been cleared by the Indian government yet

04 May 2021

pfizer

Pharma major Pfizer that has also manufactured one of the leading anti-Covid vaccines, has now made a donation of Covid medication worth USD 70 million to India. This was revealed in a letter by Pfizer Chairman and CEO, Albert Bourla to the company’s Indian team that he later posted to his LinkedIn profile.

The letter said, “We are committed to being a partner in India's fight against this disease and are quickly working to mobilize the largest humanitarian relief effort in our company's history.” Bourla said, “Right now, Pfizer colleagues at distribution centres in the US, Europe and Asia are hard at work rushing shipments of Pfizer medicines that the Government of India has identified as part of its COVID-19 treatment protocol. We are donating these medicines to make sure that every Covid-19 patient in every public hospital across the country can have access to the Pfizer medicines they need free of charge.”

The donated medicines include steroid medication to reduce inflammation, anti-coagulants to help prevent blood clotting, and antibiotics. Bourla pegged the value of the donated medicines at USD 70 million.

On the subject of vaccines, Bourla said, “Pfizer is aware that access to vaccines is critical to ending this pandemic. Unfortunately, our vaccine is not registered in India although our application was submitted months ago.”

It is noteworthy that Pfizer was one of the first anti-Covid vaccines to be granted Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) in the United States. However, India is administering the indigenously developed Covaxin by Bharat Biotech, and Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield that is being manufactured in India by the Serum Institute. It has also granted EUA to the Russian manufactured Sputnik V vaccine. Other popular vaccines that are available internationally include those manufactured by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

There is an acute shortage of vaccines in India at present which is why despite being able to register online, few people in the 18-44 age group have been able to book a vaccination appointment.

After a previous decision allowing state governments to independently make arrangements for vaccines, many state governments floated global tenders for vaccines and life-saving medication. Though on Monday, the Supreme Court suggested that the Centre reconsider its strategy and ensure centralized acquisition but decentralized distribution.

Related:

Vaccine policy detrimental to right to health; SC asks Centre to revise

No space to bury the dead in Maharashtra

Pfizer donates USD 70 million worth of Covid-19 drugs to India

Donation includes medicines identified for Covid treatment, but does not include vaccines as Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has not been cleared by the Indian government yet

pfizer

Pharma major Pfizer that has also manufactured one of the leading anti-Covid vaccines, has now made a donation of Covid medication worth USD 70 million to India. This was revealed in a letter by Pfizer Chairman and CEO, Albert Bourla to the company’s Indian team that he later posted to his LinkedIn profile.

The letter said, “We are committed to being a partner in India's fight against this disease and are quickly working to mobilize the largest humanitarian relief effort in our company's history.” Bourla said, “Right now, Pfizer colleagues at distribution centres in the US, Europe and Asia are hard at work rushing shipments of Pfizer medicines that the Government of India has identified as part of its COVID-19 treatment protocol. We are donating these medicines to make sure that every Covid-19 patient in every public hospital across the country can have access to the Pfizer medicines they need free of charge.”

The donated medicines include steroid medication to reduce inflammation, anti-coagulants to help prevent blood clotting, and antibiotics. Bourla pegged the value of the donated medicines at USD 70 million.

On the subject of vaccines, Bourla said, “Pfizer is aware that access to vaccines is critical to ending this pandemic. Unfortunately, our vaccine is not registered in India although our application was submitted months ago.”

It is noteworthy that Pfizer was one of the first anti-Covid vaccines to be granted Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) in the United States. However, India is administering the indigenously developed Covaxin by Bharat Biotech, and Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield that is being manufactured in India by the Serum Institute. It has also granted EUA to the Russian manufactured Sputnik V vaccine. Other popular vaccines that are available internationally include those manufactured by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

There is an acute shortage of vaccines in India at present which is why despite being able to register online, few people in the 18-44 age group have been able to book a vaccination appointment.

After a previous decision allowing state governments to independently make arrangements for vaccines, many state governments floated global tenders for vaccines and life-saving medication. Though on Monday, the Supreme Court suggested that the Centre reconsider its strategy and ensure centralized acquisition but decentralized distribution.

Related:

Vaccine policy detrimental to right to health; SC asks Centre to revise

No space to bury the dead in Maharashtra

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NRIs petition Modi to act, save lives

An online petition by non-resident Indians urges Prime Minister Modi to take responsibility for gross abdication of responsibility, ignoring national and global warnings and, in fact, setting an example that downplayed the continuing dangers from Covid 19

24 Apr 2021

covid crisis

Addressing the online petition to the Indian prime minister, the petition says,

"This is a tragedy of unimaginable proportions for which you as the Prime Minister of India you must take responsibility – more so because your government's policies have contributed directly to this situation.  As senior BJP leader Amit Malviya has revealed, you were aware of the impending second wave. Despite this you continued to export vaccines, continued to export oxygen, and did not stockpile essential anti-viral medications. You actively encouraged the Kumbh Mela, a virus super-spreader to go ahead and you and your party leaders continued holding massive roadshows and election rallies where you boasted of the size of crowds and appeared without a mask...."

 

The rest of the petition may be read here:

https://www.change.org/p/prime-minister-narendra-modi-urgently-act-to-save-lives-in-the-covid-19-crisis

NRIs petition Modi to act, save lives

An online petition by non-resident Indians urges Prime Minister Modi to take responsibility for gross abdication of responsibility, ignoring national and global warnings and, in fact, setting an example that downplayed the continuing dangers from Covid 19

covid crisis

Addressing the online petition to the Indian prime minister, the petition says,

"This is a tragedy of unimaginable proportions for which you as the Prime Minister of India you must take responsibility – more so because your government's policies have contributed directly to this situation.  As senior BJP leader Amit Malviya has revealed, you were aware of the impending second wave. Despite this you continued to export vaccines, continued to export oxygen, and did not stockpile essential anti-viral medications. You actively encouraged the Kumbh Mela, a virus super-spreader to go ahead and you and your party leaders continued holding massive roadshows and election rallies where you boasted of the size of crowds and appeared without a mask...."

 

The rest of the petition may be read here:

https://www.change.org/p/prime-minister-narendra-modi-urgently-act-to-save-lives-in-the-covid-19-crisis

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India's Covid-19 surge through the global lens

Here’s a look at how the unprecedented spread of Covid in India has been covered by international news media, and how they all point towards the Central government’s complacency

24 Apr 2021

covid crisisImage: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

 

The second surge of Coronavirus has brought with it news reports showcasing the bleak nationwide situation. From the shocking spike in the number of Covid-19 cases to the increasing number of deaths, the unavailability of beds, the lack of oxygen, and even bodies of the dead be piled upon one another waiting to get cremated, ground realities are turning darker by the minute and both, national and international news media have found it impossible to ignore the plight of Indians affected by the pandemic.

Tension is palpable even on social media, where resentment among the people is apparent as they see their fellow citizens, netizens or even friends or distant relatives narrate stories of scrambling for medical resources when the state’s unpreparedness and complacency became the cause for it.

As the body count keeps piling, international news media isn’t shying away from pointing to the many gatherings and congregations, the festivals celebrated with massive crowds and elections rallies being held in large numbers clearly demonstrating a government that failed its citizens.

Washington Post

This publication has never minced words while calling out the Modi government for a range of things ranging from targeting dissenters, to manipulating social media, to its general ineptitude to bringing about equitable development and economic growth. On Covid-19, the Washington Post in an opinion piece titled India’s sudden coronavirus wave is not a far-away problem, said, “Tens of thousands of spectators were allowed to fill stadiums for cricket matches; movie theaters were opened; and the government permitted enormous religious gatherings such as the Kumbh Mela, a festival in which millions of Hindus gathered to bathe in the river Ganges. Also, India went ahead with elections and rallies in four states and one union territory; crowds at election rallies have been ignoring guidelines. Lockdowns in major cities triggered another exodus of migrant laborers, crowding bus and railway stations, trying to return home and creating still more potential spread. The nation’s health-care system is in a state of collapse as hospitals are overwhelmed and oxygen supplies run short. India has fully vaccinated only 1.4 percent of its people; 8.3 percent have been partially vaccinated.”

The Economist

The latest issue of The Economist, one of the world’s most respected weekly magazines, that has even in the past not shied away from calling out the Modi regime for its crackdown on freedoms and people’s movements, has once again placed the blame on the Indian government’s distraction and complacency for amplifying the Covid surge which recently reached the daily case mark of 3.15 lakh, the highest ever for any country till date.

In an article titled India’s covid catastrophe the publication said that with its crowded cities and rickety health care, India is not an easy place to curb an infectious disease yet some states were successful at slowing the transmission and with low death rates.

“But through complacency and distraction, Mr Modi has allowed things to spiral out of control. In January he boasted, “We not only solved our problems but also helped the world fight the pandemic.” Yet in early March, as cases began ticking up in the opposition-run state of Maharashtra, his government, far from helping, attacked the state government in the hope of bringing it down,” said The Economist.

The article also points out Modi’s “unrelenting quest for partisan advantage” as he and his party leaders held countless huge rallies in West Bengal during a weeks-long campaign, without masks or any form of social distancing. This not only increased the risk of spreading the disease but also distracted the government from tackling the disease at the Centre. The Economist also says that India's vaccine policy was “in shambles” and said, “By mid-February the government had ordered barely enough doses to protect 3% of the population.”

Until March, India was recording barely 13,000 new covid-19 cases a day, fewer than Germany or France and a drop in the ocean for a nation of 1.4bn. The caseload then began to tick gently upwards, until suddenly, late in March, it was rocketing. The article states that the second wave was inevitable but the government’s failures were not. It also pointed out the under reporting of cases as well as deaths. For instance, in mid-April Vadodara in Gujarat reported 7 deaths while the death count in two hospitals alone was more than 300. Thus, the daily death count of 2000 deaths is actually much higher.

The Economist further says, “The surging caseload has scattered many dominoes, including trust in Mr Modi’s government” while pointing towards the vaccination drive failing as orders were placed belatedly and gross miscalculations meant only 1.3% of Indian population was fully inoculated.

“Worse still was the government’s seeming indifference to the mounting tragedy. Even as the scale of India’s second wave grew obvious, Mr Modi and his top ministers not only failed to block, but actually encouraged vast gatherings of unmasked people, both at their own giant election rallies and at the Kumbh Mela, a month-long Hindu festival that brings millions of pilgrims to a single small town on the Ganges,” it says.

Financial Times

The Financial Times in an article titled It is much worse this time: India’s devastating second wave put the onus squarely on the government for the state of affairs, saying, “The devastation has sparked outrage at the lack of preparation among officials who believed the worst of the pandemic was over.” This publication has also in the past carried pieces by known dissenters like writer and activist Arundhati Roy, who many Indian publications consider radio-active on account of their own allegiance to the regime.

The Times, UK

The Times carried a news report titled Modi flounders in India’s gigantic second wave, where it underscores how record levels of infection have put huge strain on the health service and highlighted the perils of complacency in the nationalist government. It once again blames Modi for publicly making statements like “In all directions I see huge crowds of people I have never seen such crowds at a rally,” thus encouraging people to congregate in large numbers as it suited his political agenda. Modi had made the remark during one of his rallies in West Bengal where his party is engaged in an electoral battle with Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC).

NBC News

American news portal NBC News highlighted how Modi was being blamed for bungling India’s response to the Covid-19 crisis amid a devastating second wave of infections and about the #ResignModi hashtag that was trending on Twitter. It flagged the Kumbh and West Bengal election rallies saying, “As infections spiral, officials are allowing religious festivals and election rallies attended by thousands to continue.”

The Guardian

The Guardian highlighted how many believed that the country had defeated Covid-19 but now hospitals are facing oxygen supply shortage. In a piece titled The system has collapsed: India’s descent into Covid hell, it points to how hospitals are filled to capacity and this time it is predominantly the young getting admitted; in Delhi, 65% of cases are under 40 years of age.

“While the unprecedented spread of the virus has been partly blamed on a more contagious variant that has emerged in India, Modi’s government has also been accused of failures of political leadership from the top, with lax attitudes emulated by state and local leaders from all parties and even health officials across the country, which led many to falsely believe in recent months that India had defeated Covid,” says The Guardian. It also underscored how the elections in West Bengal spread out in 8 phases were not curbed even after infections continued to soar and three candidates across political parties lost their lives to Covid. It also mentions how Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh stand accused of covering up the true death toll from the Coronavirus, with the numbers of bodies stacking up in hospital morgues far outnumbering official fatality figures.

Bloomberg

A Bloomberg article Modi Under Fire for Campaigning as India Reels From Virus Deaths quoted Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray saying that on April 17 he tried calling Modi to address shortages of oxygen and the drug Remdesivir -- but was told the prime minister was too busy addressing rallies. “The growing gap between Modi’s optimism in fighting the virus and the reality on the ground is particularly evident in Delhi, one of the hardest hit places in India,” said Bloomberg.

The article also highlighted the plight of many Indians trying to find beds for their loved ones. “The calls for help on Twitter, echoed across the country, reflected the pain of well-to-do Indians who have usually been able to bypass the disarray of the public health system and pay for better care. Meanwhile, images and reports from government hospitals showed the fear and distress sweeping through the country’s lower-income families,” the article reads.

 

Related:

Covid-19: Bombay HC directs State to vaccinate accused persons above 45 years upon arrest

Centre’s policy to not vaccinate elders at home unreasonable and arbitrary: Bombay HC

Gauhati HC seeks State’s response on vaccinating prisoners

India's Covid-19 surge through the global lens

Here’s a look at how the unprecedented spread of Covid in India has been covered by international news media, and how they all point towards the Central government’s complacency

covid crisisImage: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

 

The second surge of Coronavirus has brought with it news reports showcasing the bleak nationwide situation. From the shocking spike in the number of Covid-19 cases to the increasing number of deaths, the unavailability of beds, the lack of oxygen, and even bodies of the dead be piled upon one another waiting to get cremated, ground realities are turning darker by the minute and both, national and international news media have found it impossible to ignore the plight of Indians affected by the pandemic.

Tension is palpable even on social media, where resentment among the people is apparent as they see their fellow citizens, netizens or even friends or distant relatives narrate stories of scrambling for medical resources when the state’s unpreparedness and complacency became the cause for it.

As the body count keeps piling, international news media isn’t shying away from pointing to the many gatherings and congregations, the festivals celebrated with massive crowds and elections rallies being held in large numbers clearly demonstrating a government that failed its citizens.

Washington Post

This publication has never minced words while calling out the Modi government for a range of things ranging from targeting dissenters, to manipulating social media, to its general ineptitude to bringing about equitable development and economic growth. On Covid-19, the Washington Post in an opinion piece titled India’s sudden coronavirus wave is not a far-away problem, said, “Tens of thousands of spectators were allowed to fill stadiums for cricket matches; movie theaters were opened; and the government permitted enormous religious gatherings such as the Kumbh Mela, a festival in which millions of Hindus gathered to bathe in the river Ganges. Also, India went ahead with elections and rallies in four states and one union territory; crowds at election rallies have been ignoring guidelines. Lockdowns in major cities triggered another exodus of migrant laborers, crowding bus and railway stations, trying to return home and creating still more potential spread. The nation’s health-care system is in a state of collapse as hospitals are overwhelmed and oxygen supplies run short. India has fully vaccinated only 1.4 percent of its people; 8.3 percent have been partially vaccinated.”

The Economist

The latest issue of The Economist, one of the world’s most respected weekly magazines, that has even in the past not shied away from calling out the Modi regime for its crackdown on freedoms and people’s movements, has once again placed the blame on the Indian government’s distraction and complacency for amplifying the Covid surge which recently reached the daily case mark of 3.15 lakh, the highest ever for any country till date.

In an article titled India’s covid catastrophe the publication said that with its crowded cities and rickety health care, India is not an easy place to curb an infectious disease yet some states were successful at slowing the transmission and with low death rates.

“But through complacency and distraction, Mr Modi has allowed things to spiral out of control. In January he boasted, “We not only solved our problems but also helped the world fight the pandemic.” Yet in early March, as cases began ticking up in the opposition-run state of Maharashtra, his government, far from helping, attacked the state government in the hope of bringing it down,” said The Economist.

The article also points out Modi’s “unrelenting quest for partisan advantage” as he and his party leaders held countless huge rallies in West Bengal during a weeks-long campaign, without masks or any form of social distancing. This not only increased the risk of spreading the disease but also distracted the government from tackling the disease at the Centre. The Economist also says that India's vaccine policy was “in shambles” and said, “By mid-February the government had ordered barely enough doses to protect 3% of the population.”

Until March, India was recording barely 13,000 new covid-19 cases a day, fewer than Germany or France and a drop in the ocean for a nation of 1.4bn. The caseload then began to tick gently upwards, until suddenly, late in March, it was rocketing. The article states that the second wave was inevitable but the government’s failures were not. It also pointed out the under reporting of cases as well as deaths. For instance, in mid-April Vadodara in Gujarat reported 7 deaths while the death count in two hospitals alone was more than 300. Thus, the daily death count of 2000 deaths is actually much higher.

The Economist further says, “The surging caseload has scattered many dominoes, including trust in Mr Modi’s government” while pointing towards the vaccination drive failing as orders were placed belatedly and gross miscalculations meant only 1.3% of Indian population was fully inoculated.

“Worse still was the government’s seeming indifference to the mounting tragedy. Even as the scale of India’s second wave grew obvious, Mr Modi and his top ministers not only failed to block, but actually encouraged vast gatherings of unmasked people, both at their own giant election rallies and at the Kumbh Mela, a month-long Hindu festival that brings millions of pilgrims to a single small town on the Ganges,” it says.

Financial Times

The Financial Times in an article titled It is much worse this time: India’s devastating second wave put the onus squarely on the government for the state of affairs, saying, “The devastation has sparked outrage at the lack of preparation among officials who believed the worst of the pandemic was over.” This publication has also in the past carried pieces by known dissenters like writer and activist Arundhati Roy, who many Indian publications consider radio-active on account of their own allegiance to the regime.

The Times, UK

The Times carried a news report titled Modi flounders in India’s gigantic second wave, where it underscores how record levels of infection have put huge strain on the health service and highlighted the perils of complacency in the nationalist government. It once again blames Modi for publicly making statements like “In all directions I see huge crowds of people I have never seen such crowds at a rally,” thus encouraging people to congregate in large numbers as it suited his political agenda. Modi had made the remark during one of his rallies in West Bengal where his party is engaged in an electoral battle with Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC).

NBC News

American news portal NBC News highlighted how Modi was being blamed for bungling India’s response to the Covid-19 crisis amid a devastating second wave of infections and about the #ResignModi hashtag that was trending on Twitter. It flagged the Kumbh and West Bengal election rallies saying, “As infections spiral, officials are allowing religious festivals and election rallies attended by thousands to continue.”

The Guardian

The Guardian highlighted how many believed that the country had defeated Covid-19 but now hospitals are facing oxygen supply shortage. In a piece titled The system has collapsed: India’s descent into Covid hell, it points to how hospitals are filled to capacity and this time it is predominantly the young getting admitted; in Delhi, 65% of cases are under 40 years of age.

“While the unprecedented spread of the virus has been partly blamed on a more contagious variant that has emerged in India, Modi’s government has also been accused of failures of political leadership from the top, with lax attitudes emulated by state and local leaders from all parties and even health officials across the country, which led many to falsely believe in recent months that India had defeated Covid,” says The Guardian. It also underscored how the elections in West Bengal spread out in 8 phases were not curbed even after infections continued to soar and three candidates across political parties lost their lives to Covid. It also mentions how Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh stand accused of covering up the true death toll from the Coronavirus, with the numbers of bodies stacking up in hospital morgues far outnumbering official fatality figures.

Bloomberg

A Bloomberg article Modi Under Fire for Campaigning as India Reels From Virus Deaths quoted Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray saying that on April 17 he tried calling Modi to address shortages of oxygen and the drug Remdesivir -- but was told the prime minister was too busy addressing rallies. “The growing gap between Modi’s optimism in fighting the virus and the reality on the ground is particularly evident in Delhi, one of the hardest hit places in India,” said Bloomberg.

The article also highlighted the plight of many Indians trying to find beds for their loved ones. “The calls for help on Twitter, echoed across the country, reflected the pain of well-to-do Indians who have usually been able to bypass the disarray of the public health system and pay for better care. Meanwhile, images and reports from government hospitals showed the fear and distress sweeping through the country’s lower-income families,” the article reads.

 

Related:

Covid-19: Bombay HC directs State to vaccinate accused persons above 45 years upon arrest

Centre’s policy to not vaccinate elders at home unreasonable and arbitrary: Bombay HC

Gauhati HC seeks State’s response on vaccinating prisoners

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Manipur HC orders safe passage of Myanmar nationals to Imphal

The court observed that sending refugees back to the country where they will face persecution is prima facie violative of right to life

22 Apr 2021

Image Courtesy:telegraphindia.com

The Manipur High Court has directed safe passage of 7 Myanmar nationals from Moreh area to capital city of Imphal in the interim that the case is decided. The bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice Lanusungkum Jamir observed that even if India was not party to the Refugee convention, Article 21 would be violated if these Myanmar nationals are forced to return to a country where they are liable to be subjected to persecution.

Nandita Haksar, the petitioner, had brought before the court the cause of 7 Myanmar nationals, 4 adults and 3 children presently under refuge at Moreh, Tengnoupal who wish to safely reach Delhi to seek protection from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

On April 17, the Court had suo moto impleaded Central Ministries of Home Affairs, Defence, and External Affairs. Meanwhile the petitioner sought interim relief in the form of making necessary arrangements to bring the Myanmar nationals from Moreh to Imphal in terms of the March 29 order of the Manipur Home Department which made it clear that the state was taking all humanitarian steps, including taking injured Myanmar nationals to Imphal for providing them aid

However, the Assistant Solicitor General, S Suresh relied on the March 10 letter issued by Central  Ministry of Home Affairs that steps should be taken to prevent possible illegal influx from Myanmar into Indian territory and to initiate legal proceedings against illegal migrants.

The court observed that it was conscious of the fact that India is not a signatory to the Geneva Refugee Convention, 1951, or the New York Protocol of 1967 but at the same time it is party to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and also the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The court held, “The principle against refoulement, i.e., the forcible return of refugees to a country where they are liable to be subjected to persecution, can prima facie be read into Article 21 of the Indian Constitution”. The court pointed out that protection afforded by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution is not limited to citizens and can be availed by non-citizens also.

The court ordered that in the interim of the case being decided, the 7 Myanmar nationals be safely transported from Moreh to Imphal. The petitioner stated that she would accompany the Deputy Commissioner, Tengnoupal, to the location where these 7(seven) persons are in hiding so that they may be given safe transport to Imphal under appropriate escort and undertook that she would provide them boarding at her own home until then.

The court thus directed that state authorities arrange necessary security at the petitioner’s residence while the 7 persons are boarded there.

“Before they are brought to Imphal, the District authorities at Moreh are permitted to take these7(seven) individuals to the Senior Immigration Officer at Moreh for the purpose of noting their details and also obtaining their biographic and biometric particulars. Thereafter, they shall be brought safely under escort to Imphal and stationed at the residence of the petitioner/party-in-person under adequate security and guard till the next date of hearing,” the court directed.

The court has precluded authorities from taking any coercive action against them. The matter is posted for hearing on April 26 for the ASG to seek instruction from the Central Ministries.

Even as thousands continued to suffer in Myanmar amidst the ongoing military crackdown after the February 1, 2021 coup, India had sealed all entry points along its border with the country. On March 26, the Manipur government had issued an order that there should not be any camp to provide food and shelter to Myanmar nationals and no civil society group should not provide food and shelter to the refugees which was retracted amidst backlash and the subsequent order stated that the state government has been taking all “necessary humanitarian steps, including taking in some injured Myanmar refugees to the state capital Imphal for treatment.

The complete order may be read here:

Related:

Manipur Human Rights group resolves to help Myanmar refugees
It is not possible to grant the interim relief: SC on detained Rohingyas in J&K
Manipur: CSCHR says gov’t must protect Myanmar citizens facing persecution

Manipur HC orders safe passage of Myanmar nationals to Imphal

The court observed that sending refugees back to the country where they will face persecution is prima facie violative of right to life

Image Courtesy:telegraphindia.com

The Manipur High Court has directed safe passage of 7 Myanmar nationals from Moreh area to capital city of Imphal in the interim that the case is decided. The bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice Lanusungkum Jamir observed that even if India was not party to the Refugee convention, Article 21 would be violated if these Myanmar nationals are forced to return to a country where they are liable to be subjected to persecution.

Nandita Haksar, the petitioner, had brought before the court the cause of 7 Myanmar nationals, 4 adults and 3 children presently under refuge at Moreh, Tengnoupal who wish to safely reach Delhi to seek protection from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

On April 17, the Court had suo moto impleaded Central Ministries of Home Affairs, Defence, and External Affairs. Meanwhile the petitioner sought interim relief in the form of making necessary arrangements to bring the Myanmar nationals from Moreh to Imphal in terms of the March 29 order of the Manipur Home Department which made it clear that the state was taking all humanitarian steps, including taking injured Myanmar nationals to Imphal for providing them aid

However, the Assistant Solicitor General, S Suresh relied on the March 10 letter issued by Central  Ministry of Home Affairs that steps should be taken to prevent possible illegal influx from Myanmar into Indian territory and to initiate legal proceedings against illegal migrants.

The court observed that it was conscious of the fact that India is not a signatory to the Geneva Refugee Convention, 1951, or the New York Protocol of 1967 but at the same time it is party to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and also the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The court held, “The principle against refoulement, i.e., the forcible return of refugees to a country where they are liable to be subjected to persecution, can prima facie be read into Article 21 of the Indian Constitution”. The court pointed out that protection afforded by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution is not limited to citizens and can be availed by non-citizens also.

The court ordered that in the interim of the case being decided, the 7 Myanmar nationals be safely transported from Moreh to Imphal. The petitioner stated that she would accompany the Deputy Commissioner, Tengnoupal, to the location where these 7(seven) persons are in hiding so that they may be given safe transport to Imphal under appropriate escort and undertook that she would provide them boarding at her own home until then.

The court thus directed that state authorities arrange necessary security at the petitioner’s residence while the 7 persons are boarded there.

“Before they are brought to Imphal, the District authorities at Moreh are permitted to take these7(seven) individuals to the Senior Immigration Officer at Moreh for the purpose of noting their details and also obtaining their biographic and biometric particulars. Thereafter, they shall be brought safely under escort to Imphal and stationed at the residence of the petitioner/party-in-person under adequate security and guard till the next date of hearing,” the court directed.

The court has precluded authorities from taking any coercive action against them. The matter is posted for hearing on April 26 for the ASG to seek instruction from the Central Ministries.

Even as thousands continued to suffer in Myanmar amidst the ongoing military crackdown after the February 1, 2021 coup, India had sealed all entry points along its border with the country. On March 26, the Manipur government had issued an order that there should not be any camp to provide food and shelter to Myanmar nationals and no civil society group should not provide food and shelter to the refugees which was retracted amidst backlash and the subsequent order stated that the state government has been taking all “necessary humanitarian steps, including taking in some injured Myanmar refugees to the state capital Imphal for treatment.

The complete order may be read here:

Related:

Manipur Human Rights group resolves to help Myanmar refugees
It is not possible to grant the interim relief: SC on detained Rohingyas in J&K
Manipur: CSCHR says gov’t must protect Myanmar citizens facing persecution

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George Floyd murder: White ex-cop convicted

Derek Chauvin has been found guilty on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter

21 Apr 2021

Image Courtesy:thehindu.com

Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, has been convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter for kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during his arrest last May and killing him, reported BBC News.

A 12-member Jury deliberated on the case for less than 11 hours before holding Chauvin guilty and he may face a 40-year jail sentence. Three other former police officers present with Derek while Floyd’s arrest is to go on trial later this year. George’s murder had sparked worldwide Black Lives Matter protests against racism and excessive use of force by police.

George’s brother, Philonise, while speaking to CNN, described sitting in the courtroom and listening to the verdict as, “a moment I would never be able to re-live, I will always have inside of me.”

George Floyd had said, “I can’t breathe”, repeatedly when he was pinned down during the approximately nine-minute encounter with Derek Chauvin on May 25 last year, and the video of it was filmed by bystanders, including a teenage girl, whose footage went viral on social media. Witnesses to the incident had also pleaded with the police to stop and let go of George.

George’s lawyer Ben crump tweeted, “GUILTY! Painfully earned justice has finally arrived for George Floyd’s family. This verdict is a turning point in history and sends a clear message on the need for accountability of law enforcement. Justice for Black America is justice for all of America!”

According to the BBC, George bought a pack of cigarettes at a convenience store in South Minneapolis on the evening of May 25, 2020, and when a shop assistant believed he had used a counterfeit 20-dollar bill, he called the police after George refused to return the cigarette pack.

The four police officers handcuffed George and when he struggled against the force, the police officers wrestled him to the ground and pinned him under their weight. Chauvin pressed his knee into George’s back for over nine minutes while he kept begging that he could not breathe. He was motionless when the ambulance arrived and was pronounced dead after an hour.

Other media reports detailed how President Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the first African American woman in her position, addressed the nation after the verdict was announced. The Hindu quoted Ms. Harris saying, “America has a long history of systemic racism… Black men are fathers, and brothers, and sons, and uncles, and grandfathers, and friends, and neighbours. Their lives must be valued in our education system, in our health-care system, in our housing system, in our economic system, in our criminal-justice system, in our nation.”

President Biden added, “It was a murder in the full light of day.. Let’s also be clear that such a verdict is also much too rare. For so many people, it seems like it took a unique and extraordinary convergence of factors. A brave young woman with a smartphone camera, a crowd who was traumatised… a murder that lasts [sic] almost ten minutes in broad daylight… officers standing up and testifying against a fellow officer instead of just closing ranks… for so many it feels like it took all of that for the judicial system to deliver… just basic accountability.”

Related:

In Memory of George Floyd
Indian feminists condemn George Floyd's murder
Do all Lives Matter in India?

George Floyd murder: White ex-cop convicted

Derek Chauvin has been found guilty on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter

Image Courtesy:thehindu.com

Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, has been convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter for kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during his arrest last May and killing him, reported BBC News.

A 12-member Jury deliberated on the case for less than 11 hours before holding Chauvin guilty and he may face a 40-year jail sentence. Three other former police officers present with Derek while Floyd’s arrest is to go on trial later this year. George’s murder had sparked worldwide Black Lives Matter protests against racism and excessive use of force by police.

George’s brother, Philonise, while speaking to CNN, described sitting in the courtroom and listening to the verdict as, “a moment I would never be able to re-live, I will always have inside of me.”

George Floyd had said, “I can’t breathe”, repeatedly when he was pinned down during the approximately nine-minute encounter with Derek Chauvin on May 25 last year, and the video of it was filmed by bystanders, including a teenage girl, whose footage went viral on social media. Witnesses to the incident had also pleaded with the police to stop and let go of George.

George’s lawyer Ben crump tweeted, “GUILTY! Painfully earned justice has finally arrived for George Floyd’s family. This verdict is a turning point in history and sends a clear message on the need for accountability of law enforcement. Justice for Black America is justice for all of America!”

According to the BBC, George bought a pack of cigarettes at a convenience store in South Minneapolis on the evening of May 25, 2020, and when a shop assistant believed he had used a counterfeit 20-dollar bill, he called the police after George refused to return the cigarette pack.

The four police officers handcuffed George and when he struggled against the force, the police officers wrestled him to the ground and pinned him under their weight. Chauvin pressed his knee into George’s back for over nine minutes while he kept begging that he could not breathe. He was motionless when the ambulance arrived and was pronounced dead after an hour.

Other media reports detailed how President Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the first African American woman in her position, addressed the nation after the verdict was announced. The Hindu quoted Ms. Harris saying, “America has a long history of systemic racism… Black men are fathers, and brothers, and sons, and uncles, and grandfathers, and friends, and neighbours. Their lives must be valued in our education system, in our health-care system, in our housing system, in our economic system, in our criminal-justice system, in our nation.”

President Biden added, “It was a murder in the full light of day.. Let’s also be clear that such a verdict is also much too rare. For so many people, it seems like it took a unique and extraordinary convergence of factors. A brave young woman with a smartphone camera, a crowd who was traumatised… a murder that lasts [sic] almost ten minutes in broad daylight… officers standing up and testifying against a fellow officer instead of just closing ranks… for so many it feels like it took all of that for the judicial system to deliver… just basic accountability.”

Related:

In Memory of George Floyd
Indian feminists condemn George Floyd's murder
Do all Lives Matter in India?

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Dow Jones removes Adani Ports from index for alleged ‘links with Myanmar military’

Adani group was reportedly paying over Rs 225 crore to the military-backed Myanmar Economic Corporation in ‘land lease fees’ for a port in Yangon.

13 Apr 2021

Image Courtesy:scroll.in

New York-based stock exchange S&P Dow Jones Indices has said that it has removed Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd from its sustainability index due to the company’s “business ties with Myanmar military” stated news reports on Tuesday. The Myanmar military has been accused of severe human rights violations that have reportedly followed the coup in February this year.

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd. will be removed from the index prior before it opens on Thursday, April 15, said in a statement on Tuesday. The country's largest private multi-port operator is reportedly paying over Rs 225 crore to the military-backed Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) in ‘land lease fees’ for a port in Yangon .

On March 31, the United States imposed sanctions against two Myanmar military companies. An Australian human rights lawyers collective had claimed that Adani Group is financially involved with one of the companies. It was reported that the US sanctioned Myanmar Economic Corporation as it was “a vital financial lifeline” for the “Junta which has overthrown the elected government and killed hundreds of unarmed protesters”. The Australian lawyers’ report has claimed that Adani is paying about Rs 225 Crore to MEC. According to the Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ) and the Justice for Myanmar group the money was provided to MEC which “stands credibly accused and is being investigated at the ICC and ICJ for crimes against humanity”.

However, the Adani Ports spokesperson has denied the allegation saying, “The Yangon project is independent with no joint venture partners. We are watching the situation carefully and will engage with relevant authorities and stakeholders to seek their advice for the way forward.” But according to NDTV Adani Group had also  said on March 31 it would consult authorities and stakeholders on its port project in Myanmar, after this revelation was made. More than 700 people have been killed since the Feb1 military coup that ousted an elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi. 

And now the news of the firm’s removal has also taken a toll on its listing on domestic index BSE Sensex too stated news reports, adding that “by 10.20 am on Tuesday, its share price had dipped 4.25% compared to its opening mark on Monday.” The company has not yet released an official statement on the Dow Jones’ action. 

Thousands continue to suffer in Myanmar amidst the ongoing military crackdown after the February 1, 2021 coup, India has already sealed all entry points along its border with the country.

Related

Will India face the impact of US sanctions on Myanmar military companies?
Walmart and Adani join hands to build massive warehouse in India
What is India’s stand on humanitarian aid to those fleeing Myanmar violence?
India seals all entry points along Myanmar border
What will become of Jammu’s Rohingya refugees?

Dow Jones removes Adani Ports from index for alleged ‘links with Myanmar military’

Adani group was reportedly paying over Rs 225 crore to the military-backed Myanmar Economic Corporation in ‘land lease fees’ for a port in Yangon.

Image Courtesy:scroll.in

New York-based stock exchange S&P Dow Jones Indices has said that it has removed Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd from its sustainability index due to the company’s “business ties with Myanmar military” stated news reports on Tuesday. The Myanmar military has been accused of severe human rights violations that have reportedly followed the coup in February this year.

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd. will be removed from the index prior before it opens on Thursday, April 15, said in a statement on Tuesday. The country's largest private multi-port operator is reportedly paying over Rs 225 crore to the military-backed Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) in ‘land lease fees’ for a port in Yangon .

On March 31, the United States imposed sanctions against two Myanmar military companies. An Australian human rights lawyers collective had claimed that Adani Group is financially involved with one of the companies. It was reported that the US sanctioned Myanmar Economic Corporation as it was “a vital financial lifeline” for the “Junta which has overthrown the elected government and killed hundreds of unarmed protesters”. The Australian lawyers’ report has claimed that Adani is paying about Rs 225 Crore to MEC. According to the Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ) and the Justice for Myanmar group the money was provided to MEC which “stands credibly accused and is being investigated at the ICC and ICJ for crimes against humanity”.

However, the Adani Ports spokesperson has denied the allegation saying, “The Yangon project is independent with no joint venture partners. We are watching the situation carefully and will engage with relevant authorities and stakeholders to seek their advice for the way forward.” But according to NDTV Adani Group had also  said on March 31 it would consult authorities and stakeholders on its port project in Myanmar, after this revelation was made. More than 700 people have been killed since the Feb1 military coup that ousted an elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi. 

And now the news of the firm’s removal has also taken a toll on its listing on domestic index BSE Sensex too stated news reports, adding that “by 10.20 am on Tuesday, its share price had dipped 4.25% compared to its opening mark on Monday.” The company has not yet released an official statement on the Dow Jones’ action. 

Thousands continue to suffer in Myanmar amidst the ongoing military crackdown after the February 1, 2021 coup, India has already sealed all entry points along its border with the country.

Related

Will India face the impact of US sanctions on Myanmar military companies?
Walmart and Adani join hands to build massive warehouse in India
What is India’s stand on humanitarian aid to those fleeing Myanmar violence?
India seals all entry points along Myanmar border
What will become of Jammu’s Rohingya refugees?

Related Articles


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