100 million join general strike in India

first_imgIndia general strike.The working and oppressed classes of India showed their strength and determination on Feb. 20-21 with a general strike that completely shut down many parts of the country and deeply affected many more.The All-India General Strike was called jointly by 11 Central Trade Unions and Independent Federations of Workers and Employees, many of which are affiliated with progressive or leftist parties. The demands include many items that will be familiar to workers around the world: protect the right to organize (end retaliation against organizing workers), stop using contract labor, raise the minimum wage and stop outsourcing jobs.In a press release issued on Feb. 20, the unions stated that “the unprecedented response to the call of strike throughout the country, much beyond our expectations, reflects truly the anger of the people against the persistent increase in the prices of diesel, gas, coal, electricity and other essential goods for the bare need of the common people.” There were also reports that many unorganized workers took part in the strikes and demonstrations. (beforeitsnews.com, Feb. 21)Although largely ignored by the bourgeois world media, the strike had a significant impact. It virtually shut down the banking and insurance sectors, industrial production and educational institutions in many parts of India, despite threats of reprisals by the national and state governments. Workers from private industries, including in the special economic zones, participated alongside public sector workers.The southern state of Kerala was largely shut down, with no buses or open shops and educational institutions and factories closed, despite threats by the state government to deduct two days’ pay from strikers. More than 200,000 garment workers in the industrial city of Tirupur, in the state of Tamil Nadu, went on strike. Coal miners from the state-run Singareni Collieries Company walked off the job in the state of Andhra Pradesh.In northern India, the states of Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh were all heavily affected. In the city of Ambala in Harayana, Narender Singh, a bus driver and treasurer of an affiliated union, was killed Feb. 20 when a bus hit him as he was picketing. Angry protesters clashed with the police after the incident. More than a dozen union activists were injured, five of them seriously.Auto workers in the Gurgaon-Manesar industrial belt, including at Maruti Suzuki, Hero MotoCorp and Suzuki Motorcycle India, joined the second day of the strike. In the western state of Gujarat, nearly 8,000 state-owned buses were off the road, and much of the banking sector was hit.The capital of New Delhi was virtually paralyzed. In the industrial areas of Noida, near New Delhi, hundreds of factories and vehicles, including more than a dozen police cars, were damaged after workers blocked roads and clashed with police. Authorities were forced to bring in police from outside the city, along with the Provincial Armed Constabulary, to suppress protesting workers.‘Total strike’ in most populous stateAcross the country’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, the local media reported that the strike was total in the cities of Meerut, Ghaziabad, Noida, Kanpur, Varanasi, Lucknow, Saharanpur, Unnao, Moradabad and Allahabad. Major markets in Lucknow, like Aminabad and Hazratganj, were deserted, and operations at post offices and state-run banks were disrupted.Thousands of rail and road passengers were stranded in the eastern states of Odisha and Bihar as protesters blocked the movement of trains, buses and auto rickshaws.“Protesters are squatting on the railway tracks or capturing the locomotives. We’re just helpless,” Amitabh Prabhakar, a public relations officer for Indian Railways’ east-central zone, said by telephone. (Reuters, Feb. 20)According to Reuters, “The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry said … the two-day strike was expected to cause a loss of 150 billion-200 billion rupees ($2.8 billion-$3.8 billion), hurting sectors such as banking, insurance and transport.”The workers and oppressed people of India have shown that they will resist both government austerity and increased capitalist exploitation. They deserve the support and solidarity of progressives around the world.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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RSF calls for end to legal proceedings against India’s Cobrapost

first_img to go further RSF demands release of detained Indian journalist Siddique Kappan, hospitalised with Covid-19 Cobrapost named its undercover investigation Operation 136 in reference to India’s ranking in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index (Courtesy : Cobrapost – RSF). News April 27, 2021 Find out more Cobrapost named its undercover investigation Operation 136 in reference to India’s ranking in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index. And what it found could explain why this country, the cradle of an exceptionally dynamic press, has fallen so low.Cobrapost posted an initial series of videos in March and a second series, “Part II,” on 25 May. They show Cobrapost reporter Pushp Sharma posing as a right-wing Hindu nationalist activist meeting the owners of 27 leading media groups while carrying a hidden camera.He offered each of them significant sums of money – to be paid in cash if necessary – in return for favourable coverage of the activities of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the run-up to the 2019 general election. Almost all of these media bosses accepted the offer and most of them promised to set up special teams for this purpose.After the latest series of Operation 136 videos were released, three of the targeted media groups sent legal notices to Cobrapost and to other independent media outlets, such as The Wire and The Quint, that published stories about the Cobrapost sting on their own websites. On the eve of Part II’s release, the Dainik Bhaskar group managed to get an injunction blocking the publication of any material referring to its directors. The Suvarna News group obtained a similar court order after the release.“These are temporary injunctions, not takedown orders,” Cobrapost editor Aniruddha Bahal told RSF. “We don’t get intimidated. It is they who have to worry. Not us.” The legal battle is continuing.“The press groups that have brought legal proceedings against Cobrapost must abandon them at once,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. “Trying to kill the messenger instead of addressing the problems he reported is a terrible admission of weakness, if not guilt. The editorial independence of journalistic staff is one of the pillars of respect for press freedom.”Bastard added: “Cobrapost’s revelations say a lot about the practices of those who run most of India’s leading media groups, and about the pressure they put on their journalists. With a year to go to the next general election, it is high time to allow India’s journalists to again enjoy the freedom they used to have, so that they can provide the public with more impartial news coverage.”“Self-censorship”In the Operation 136 videos, Sharma is seen offering media bosses tens of million rupees in exchange for three things: praise of Hindutva, the fundamentalist Hindu ideology that spawned the BJP; coverage discrediting opposition leaders who could pose a threat to Prime Minister Narendra Modi; and promotion of views liable to polarize voters, for example, by exploiting hatred of Muslims.Only two media groups clearly rejected the offer on ethical grounds. They were Bartaman Patrika and Dainik Sambad, which are both based in West Bengal. All the others agreed readily.“This is dismal,” said Bahal, who launched Cobrapost in 2003. “There is a lot of carrot and stick from the government and a lot of self-censorship as a result. For those who want to expose and investigate, there are just a handful of organizations that would support their endeavour. That is sad.”Open Magazine is the only targeted media that has so far taken measures against those who agreed to the offer of Cobrapost’s undercover reporter. Two Open Magazine executives have been sanctioned by its management.Between the release of the first batch of Operation 136 videos in March and the release of the second batch a few days ago, India fell another two places in the RSF World Press Freedom Index, and is now ranked 138th out of 180 countries. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for the withdrawal of the legal actions that many Indian media outlets have brought against Cobrapost, an investigative news website whose undercover reporting has shown that most of India’s leading media groups would take money from the ruling party in return for favourable coverage. RSF also urges all of these media groups to respect their staff’s editorial independence. Follow the news on India News March 3, 2021 Find out more India: RSF denounces “systemic repression” of Manipur’s media June 6, 2018 RSF calls for end to legal proceedings against India’s Cobrapost center_img News IndiaAsia – Pacific Protecting journalistsMedia independenceProtecting sources CorruptionConflicts of interestEconomic pressure IndiaAsia – Pacific Protecting journalistsMedia independenceProtecting sources CorruptionConflicts of interestEconomic pressure News June 10, 2021 Find out more Help by sharing this information Organisation Receive email alerts RSF_en In rural India, journalists face choice between covering pandemic and survivallast_img read more

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Vancouver police ask for help over theft of highend snake chairs

first_imgThe Canadian Press VANCOUVER — A pair of unusual armchairs valued at about $40,000 each were taken from a high-end furniture store and Vancouver police are asking for the public’s help in finding them.Police say the chairs were taken during a 3 a.m. break-in at the Lloyd Bruce Home Collections store on May 13.The deco-style, off-white chairs designed by Roberto Cavalli have gold coloured metal arms shaped like snakes.Two male thieves were involved and police say they left in a white, Ford F-150 pickup.Investigators say it’s clear the suspects targeted that particular store specifically to take the chairs.Sgt. Jason Robillard says they hope someone will recognize the unique furniture and call police.last_img

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