Publishers, editors hounded as part of condemnable caste politics


 

A national conglomerate of rights organisations has come out in support of the two publishers and as many poets-cum-book editors from Barnala and Patiala who are facing legal action for reprinting poetry of the late Babu Rajab Ali that carries caste-denoting words.

Act has been withdrawn against editors Sukhwinder SinghSwatantar and Jagjit Singh Sahoke, all four are still accused under section 153 ((promoting enmity on grounds of religion, race, etc)  of the IPC. And the SC/ST Act cases still stand against Sangam Publishers’ Ashok Garg of Samana (Patiala) and Amit Mittar of Tark Bharti Parkashan, Barnala. This exposes the anti-democratic nature of the government, of the electoral and identity politics, and the conflicted nature of the so-called rule of law,” recounts the statement issued by the CDRO (Co-ordination of Democratic Rights Organisations). 

The CDRO believes the controversy and protests are “obviously motivated”. “By all accounts the four accused have been targeted as they are progressive and Leftist voices supporting rights’ struggles of farmers and labourers across communities.”

It has also noted that the only reason why charges under SC/ST Act against Sahoke and Swatantar have been dropped is because “it has suddenly dawned on the Punjab police that the two are Dalits, and under the SC/ST Act only non-SCs and non-STs can be accused of atrocities”. HT had reported that the police lied about not knowing of the editors’ castes while levying the SC/ST act in the first place.

The act was withdrawn two weeks after the September 15 arrests, though three documents prepared right that day in both FIRs at Barnala and Samana mentioned the editors’ castes several times. The documents were signed by the DSPs, who are complainants in the cases.

The NGOs have also criticised the “continued application” of section 153 for “constant harassment and intimidation”, and also noted that “local electoral and caste politics over benefits of reservations have played a hand”.

“Allegations of casteism have been made by some Balmiki and Mazhabi Sikhs…Balmiki organisations have been agitating for sub-reservations of 12.5% alleging that the benefits of reservation are garnered largely by the Chamar community. The Badal government has assured them of restoration of the sub-reservation. Thus, the acts of omission and commission on the part of the administration stand explained.”

The CDRO has demanded dropping of all charges against the accused, arrest of officers under the SC/ST Act for atrocities against Swatantar and Sahoke, and for wrongful arrest; arrest of those responsible for filing false FIRs; and removal of section 153 and all such “undemocratic” sections from the IPC.

The CDRO comprises the Association for Democratic Rights, Punjab; Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee; Association for Protection of Democratic Rights and Bandi Mukti Committee, West Bengal; Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, Mumbai; Coordination for Human Rights, Manipur; Human Rights Forum, Andhra Pradesh; Lokshahi Hak Sangathana, Maharashtra; Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti, Assam; Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights; Organisation for Protection of Democratic Rights, Andhra; People’s Committee for Human Rights, J&K; People’s Democratic Forum, Karnataka; People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand, Nagpur, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu units; People’s Union For Democratic Rights, Delhi; People’s Union for Human Rights, Haryana; and Assansol Civil Rights Association.

 

Commemorate World Day Against the Death Penalty #mustshare


 

The Advocates Post
By Rosalyn Park | 10:20 am

Our graphic design volunteer, Cuong Nguyen, and I pondered the scribbles on our notepads, stumped. We were charged with developing this year’s poster forWorld Day Against the Death Penalty. World Day on October 10 marks the date when activists around the world rally to oppose the death penalty and commemorate the day with educational events, demonstrations, and other initiatives to voice their opposition to this human rights violation.

We were creating this poster at the request of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (www.worldcoalition.org), an international coalition that opposes the death penalty. The World Coalition spearheads World Day, along with many other campaigns, in its efforts to end the death penalty around the world. This October 10, 2012 is particularly special, because it marks the tenth anniversary of the creation of the World Coalition.

The poster would be a pivotal piece in the World Day campaign as the rallying symbol for hundreds of death penalty activists around the world. Our main challenge was that the World Coalition’s Steering Committee specifically requested a positivemessage in the poster. But how to convey a positive image about the execution of people and the end of human life? There’s nothing innately positive about the death penalty– images typically used to portray capital punishment are morbid: nooses, syringes, knives, stones, and execution chambers. Not exactly the ingredients for positive messaging.

Fortunately, the World Coalition suggested we focus on progress made over the past ten years—and there’s much to celebrate in this regard. The World Coalition has grown from a fledgling initiative to an independent organization composed of almost 140 members from around the world. Member organizations hail from numerous countries, such as Morocco, France, Iran, Lebanon, Taiwan, Japan, Puerto Rico, India, Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger, UK, Nigeria, and of course, the United States. As The Advocates’ representative on the World Coalition’s Steering Committee I have been privileged to meet and work with an inspiring group of individuals from all over the world.

The work of the World Coalition and other abolitionists has had a big impact. Today, 141 countries are abolitionist in law or in practice (97 countries have passed laws that have eliminate the death penalty, and 36 countries have not legally abolished the death penalty but have not used it in years). A glance at some of the countries that have abolished the death penalty in the past ten years shows the trend is global and reaches all corners of the world: Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Bhutan, Burundi, Cook Islands, Gabon, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Mexico, the Philippines, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, Togo, Turkey, and Uzbekistan. Some countries that have not abolished the Death Penalty have signified their strong disinterest in continuing the practice: Sierra Leone and Nigeria have declared a moratorium on executions and Tajikistan has had a moratorium on both death sentences and executions since 2004. Finally, eight countries have restricted the scope of their death penalty and abolished its use for ordinary crimes.

Even in the United States, where the use of the death penalty is one of the gravest human rights violations, we’ve seen a demonstrable shift by states toward rejection of the death penalty. In April 2012, Connecticut became the 17th State to abolish the death penalty, closely following Illinois in 2011, New Mexico in 2009, and New Jersey in 2007. California will be putting the vote to the people when the death penalty is up for referendum this November—a recognition that public support is waning.

Indeed, looking at these facts and figures, the progress is astonishing. It is clear: the global trend is countries moving away from using the death penalty.

Thinking about the death penalty in light of these developments was inspiring for Cuong and me as we sought to portray this message. W hile we still face dire problems with capital punishment here in the United States and elsewhere, the world overall is shifting toward abolition. It’s a positive sign and one that we can truly celebrate.

Given this insight, we decided on the simple image of the world atop a broken noose. We finished it with an inspiring message to capture our past progress and the brighter future we all face:  Abolish the death penalty. It’s a better world without it.

For more information about the death penalty, please see The Advocates’ Death Penalty Toolkit at http://discoverhumanrights.org/Death_Penalty.html.

This post was written by Rosalyn Park and originally published on The Advocates Post. Follow The Advocates Post on Twitter: @The_Advocates.

 

Attn Delhi-Protest-The Draconian Mental Health Care Bill- Oct 10th #Mentalhealthday


 

Disability Rights Group (DRG)

&

National Alliance for Access to Justice for People Living with Mental Illness (NAAJMI)

 

Protest

 

The Draconian Mental Health Care Bill

 

Time: Wednesday, 10th October, World Mental Health Day

 

Time:  11 A.M.

 

Venue: In front of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare office,

at Nirman Bhavan, C Wing, New Delhi

 

 

India is home t0 30-40 million people living with psychosocial disabilities or what we refer to as disability caused due to a ‘mental illness’.

 

The archaic Mental Health Act of 1987, an offshoot of the colonial Lunacy Acts, makes people with ‘unsound’ mind non-human! They are not considered to have opinions, wishes or feelings; and cannot act upon their own will, as per laws.

 

The Disability Act of 1995 defines ‘mental illness’ as a disability. India has also ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) that talks about India’s obligation to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights ofALL persons with disabilities.

 

However, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare seems to be ‘unaware’ of this. Nothing explains why then it has come out with a Mental Health Care (MHC) Bill, while completely failing to include mental health & well being to the Right to Health Act!

 

The draft of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2012 recently unveiled by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (MSJE) guarantees the ‘legal capacity’ and the ‘right to choice’ of all persons with disabilities, including those with psychosocial disabilities. The Ministry of Health has gone drastically against CRPD and the draft Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill and has advocated for involuntary incarceration and continuing with electric shock treatments and even lobotomies!

 

  • The rights of people with psychosocial disabilities must be governed by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment. Why is the Health Ministry then overstepping its turf? What is the Health Ministry’s motivation?
  • While the draft Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill of MSJE talks about ‘full legal capacity’, MHC Bill talks about ‘involuntary incarceration’? What is the Government of India’s stand on the issue if two of its Ministries are talking diametrically opposite on this?
  • Involuntary incarceration, over drugging, mental asylums, electric shock treatment and the rampant abuse & exploitation that goes on in the name of psychiatry and mental health goes against the letter of CRPD that India has ratified. What is India’s answer to the international community?

 

WE DEMAND AN IMMEDIATE STOP TO THE PROCESS OF BRINGING A DRACONIAN MENTAL HEALTH CARE BILL

 

Narandra Modi’s Vibrant Gujarat Story: Propaganda vs Fact #mustread


cartoon courtesy- satish acharya -cartoonistsatish.blogspot.com
By Raza Elahi

The recent article in a national newspaper by a Columbia University professor about the economic advances of Gujarat under the chief ministership of Narendra Modi has overlooked many hard realities that may not suit the later at a time when he is seeking votes.

Though Modi and his PR exercise have been successful in projecting the positive economic indicators during his tenure since 2001, yet it is also a fact that Gujarat was a much better state before Modi. The state has, in fact, slipped many notches in various economic and social parameters since Modi came to power.

During the period 1960–90, Gujarat had already established itself as a leader in various industrial sectors – textiles, chemicals, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, engineering, cement, dairy and gems & jewellery, etc. The Congress’ economic liberalisation policy further boosted the state’s economy. Between 1994-2001, Gujarat’s state domestic product grew at 10%-13%, much higher than the all-India average. In manufacturing sector during 2000-01, Gujarat’s share at the national level was an impressive 28.71%. All these happened before Modi took the charge of the state. 
But Modi’s Gujarat is now ranked sixth among major states in terms of per capita income (PCI). In 2011, its PCI was Rs 63,996, after Haryana (Rs 92,327), Maharashtra (Rs 83,471), Tamil Nadu (Rs 72,993), Uttarakhand (Rs 68,292) and Punjab (Rs 67,473).

In terms of annual rate of growth, Gujarat under Modi regime (2001-10) stands third at 8.68% after Uttarakhand (11.81%) and Haryana (8.95%)during the period.
On industrial growth front, too, Gujarat with 12.65% growth between 2005-09 lagged behind smaller states like Orissa (17.53%) and Chhattisgarh (13.3%) during the period.

There are many more indicators like manutrition and literacy rate, where `Vibrant Gujarat’ story looks hollow. According to latest government data, about half of Gujarat’s children under five are short for their age or have stunted growth. Modi, who is aspiring to become prime minister, recently gave a childish and immature reasoning of `beauty conscious’ behind this problem. Does anyone know in which part of the world five-year-old girls are known to be figure-conscious?

Further, the argument that Gujarat’s progress in literacy rate, compared to its low literacy level during Independence, looks more impressive than that of even Kerala is another example of good PR skills. The truth, however, remains that in literacy rate, Gujarat today remains below Kerala and Maharashtra.The Gujarat’s growth story as propagated by Modi and his cronies deserve to be countered as it is not the story of all-inclusive. How can one beat the drum of his own success when many sections of the society — tribals, dalits, Muslims, women and farmers — suffer due to his government’s indifference?

Despite all the claims, it is a truth nothing but a truth that the 10 most backward talukas in the state are the tribals. Apply any indicators and parameters and you can find that the tribal regions and people there are the most backward in Gujarat.What Mr Modi’s slate say about the suffering of cotton farmers? The Maharashtra government declared a package of Rs 2,000 crore for the cotton-growing farmers, but the Gujarat government’s silence on helping them deserves to be condemned. Prior to Modi, the state government used to purchase cotton from the farmers through state federations. But Modi government has closed down all the federations.

The conditions of women, too, in the state have deteriorated during the last decade. According to a recent report, the percentage of women suffering from anemia in the state has risen from 46.3% in 1999 to 55.5% in 2004.While there is not much development in tribal areas of Gujarat, many Muslim pockets in the state lack even basic amenities. The Muslims claim whether it is the state’s biggest Muslim pocket Juhapura in Ahmedabad or Muslim localities in smaller towns of Nadiad and Godhra, all are being denied safe drinking water, street lights, drainage facilities and good roads. Many of them believe that the state government discriminates these pockets in opening up schools and dispensaries.

Post-Godhra riots, Muslims are still struggling to regain some space in the state’s socio-economic fabric. The government’s inability to protect them and their businesses during the riots is still fresh in their mind. Prior to the riots, Muslims dominated the state’s textile, diamond cutting & polishing, pharmaceuticals and processing industries etc. But their share in these manufacturing and organised sectors in the state is now just 13%, compared to all-India level of 21%. The Gujarat figure is much lower than Maharashtra (25%) and West Bengal (21%).

Does Modi not bother about their safety and growth? Is he simply trying to rehash the pages of history to project himself as “Vikas Purush”.

#Haryana: Minor Girl Raped, Mentally Disabled Assaulted #vaw #shame


 

OCT 03, 2012http://news.outlookindia.com

Adding to the spree of crimes against women in Haryana, a minor Dalit girl was allegedly kidnapped and raped in Rohtak, while a mentally challenged woman was sexually assaulted in Jind district.

Main accused in both the cases have been arrested.

A 15-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly lured by three women relatives in Kachchi Garhi Mohalla colony of Rohtak and then raped by a youth last evening, police said.

The girl was called out of her house by the accused women and was taken to an abandoned house in a car on the Hisar road on the outskirts of the village where she was raped.

Police have registered a case against five persons, including the three relatives of the victim and also arrested the key accused.

The latest incident occurred in Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda‘s home district Rohtak, where opposition BJP-Haryana Janhit Congress women leaders took out a rally and raised slogans against the Hooda regime for allegedly failing to protect the women of the state.

Yesterday, a mentally challenged woman was allegedly sexually assaulted by a man in Narwana area Jind.

Meanwhile, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today condemned the incidents and said “any culprit, whosoever was involved in such heinous crimes would not be spared at any cost.”

Hooda, who was speaking after presiding over the first meeting of State Police Board here today, said that not only the perception of the police should be good, but it should also be visible and easily accessible.

The chief minister said he had reviewed the working of the police organisation and also various steps taken by it to maintain law and order in the state.

“Detailed deliberations were also held regarding the strengthening and modernisation of the police force,” he said.

Haryana DGP, Ranjiv Singh Dalal said there should be a strength of 82,000 police personnel, but as against it there were only 56,000 at present.

The government has sanctioned to recruit 11,000 police personnel for which the process would soon commence, he said.

Dalal said it was necessary to further improve force multiplying efficiency, for which latest Close Circuit TV cameras were required in towns.

“For this Rs 200 crore have been sought to implement this five-year plan to install cameras as these would further improve efficiency of police and provide vital information as proof in case of any incident,” he said.

Dalal while referring to the recent rape incidents in the state, claimed that a team of National Commission for Women “has expressed satisfaction over the prompt action taken by the Haryana Police.”

He stressed the “need for parents to keep an eye on the activities of their children”.

The DGP said that parents “usually do not give proper attention to the boys and remain unaware of their activities. There had been cases where the young boys consumed liquor in the day and were involved in violent activities. The parents need to take strict note of the daily activities of their children,” he added.

In another incident, a spokesman of Jind district police today said they have arrested four youths, including Amarjeet alias Jeeta, while they were planning to carry out a loot.

Jeeta, during his interrogation, revealed that he was involved in a gangrape of a woman in Jind on August 18. Police had earlier registered a case against the accused in this incident, but the accused were absconding.

Earlier, a rape incident took place in Hisar on September 9, where a Dalit teenage girl was gangraped in Dabra village.

After the Dabra gangrape incident, a married woman was gangraped in a Jind village, a teenage girl was gangraped by some youths in Gohana in Sonepat district while another teenage girl was raped in a moving jeep in Bhiwani distric

 

Al Jazeera: Report says EU nuclear reactors need $ 32 BILLION to prevent disaster!


 

Report says EU nuclear reactors need repair

A leaked report on Europe’s nuclear reactors found that up to $32bn needs to be invested to prevent disaster.
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2012 09:23

Almost all of Europe’s nuclear reactors are in need of an urgent overhaul that could cost as much as $32bn, according to a leaked draft-report by the European Commission.

The Commission is expected on Thursday to finalise its stress test report, which was designed to ensure that a disaster similar to the one at Japan‘s Fukushima could not happen again.

The report will be debated by EU ministers later this month..

After that, the Commission intends in 2013 to propose new laws, including on insurance and liability to “improve the situation of potential victims in the event of a nuclear accident”, the draft obtained by Reuters news agency said.

Of the 134 EU nuclear reactors grouped across 68 sites, 111 have more than 100,000 inhabitants living within 30 km.

Safety regimes vary greatly and the amount that needs to be spent to improve them is estimated at $13-32bn across all the reactors, the draft says.

France‘s nuclear watchdog has already said the country, which relies on nuclear power for about 75 per cent of its electricity, needs to invest billions of euros.

The lesson of Fukushima was that two natural disasters could strike at the same time and knock out the electrical supply system of a plant completely, so it could not be cooled down.

The stress tests found that four reactors, in two different countries, had less than one hour available to restore safety functions if electrical power was lost.

By contrast, four countries operate additional safety systems fully independent from the normal safety measures and
located in areas well-protected against external events. A fifth country is considering that option.

The main finding, the draft says, is that there are “continuing differences” between member states’ safety regimes.

It also says provisions to ensure the independence of national regulators are “minimal”.

Imad Khadduri, a nuclear analyst, told Al Jazeera that this report reflects “what is now an issue in Japan, which is the complacency of the nuclear industry, and the following up with modifications and updates on safety issues.”

“European power reactors should take much more strident efforts in fixing and implementing the safety issues.

Khadduri went on to say that if the public “is going to be alarmed by the $30bn cost of it all, they should be more worried about how much it could cost to decommission reactors, which is incredibly costly.”

Voluntary exercises

The stress tests are a voluntary exercise to establish whether nuclear plants can withstand natural disasters, aircraft crashes and management failures, as well as whether adequate systems are in place to deal with power disruptions.

All 14 member states that operate nuclear plants took part, however, as did Lithuania, which is decommissioning its nuclear units.

From outside the 27-member bloc, Switzerland and Ukraine joined in the exercise.

The tests were meant to have been completed around the middle of the year, but countries were given extra time to assess more reactors.

Non-governmental organisations are among those who have criticised the process as not going far enough and having no powers to force the shut-down of a nuclear plant.

“The stress tests only give a limited view,” said Roger Spautz, energy campaigner at Greenpeace, which believes nuclear power should be phased out.

He cited independent research earlier this year which said some European reactors needed to be shut down immediately, as well as the example of Belgium, where the Doel 3 and Tihange 2 reactors have been halted because of suspected cracks.

The draft report says the stress tests are not a one-off exercise and will be followed up. Existing legislation also needs to be enforced, it said.

The deadline for passing the existing nuclear safety directive into national law was July 2011. The Commission started infringement proceedings against 12 member states that missed it.

To date, two have still not complied but the report did not specified which ones.

The Commission does not comment on leaked drafts.

But on Monday, the EU energy spokeswoman said the recommendations were being finalised and would not be “very,
very detailed”.

In France, the nuclear watchdog and operator EDF said they would not comment before seeing the official report.

 

 

Invitation- Oct 6th Meeting on #Mumbai Development Plan Revision Process 2012 #mustshare


Meeting to develop intervention strategies for public participation in Mumbai DP revision process

 

 

Many individuals and organizations in the city have been working on various issues relating to the development plan revision process but the Municipal Corporation has not accorded any recognization to them. As a matter of fact the Corporation has no intention, as it seems till now, to allow people’s participation in the DP revision process. It seems that the development plan department of the Corporation is carrying-out the revision process through a FrenchIndian Consultancy Company only through the expert advice of our appointed committee.

 

We firmly believe that the new development plan that is to be launched in 2014, must reflect the needs and aspirations of all the people of the city and not based on the ideas of few officials of the Corporation and the government. It is shocking to know that even the survey of existing land-use that is being carried-out by the French-Indian Consultancy company is ridden with major mistakes and discrepancies.

 

In order to challenge this exclusive DP revision process and to demand a participatory frame-work,  several groups have decided to call a wider citizens meeting. The agenda of the meeting would be to discuss threadbare various aspects of a participatory frame-work for the survey of the existing land use and subsequently for the preparation of the new Development Plan.

 

Development plan defines the land-use in the city thereby and thereby greatly affecting our lives. We all have to actively intervene in this revision process and facilitate a wider public dialogue and participation.

 

We therefore request you to kindly make it a point to attend this meeting on Saturday, 6th October. Also please invite representatives of citizens associations, ALMs and NGOs who you think would be interested in participating in this discussion.

 

 

Meeting Date: 6th October, 2012

 

Time: 3.30 p.m. – 7.00 p.m.

 

Venue: Vanmaali Hall, 3rd Floor, Dadar (W), Mumbai

Organizers

 Akshara, Beghar Adhikar Abhiyaan, CCDT, Maharastra Machimar Kruthi Samithi, Mumbai Nagrik Vikas Manch, Nivara Hakk  Open Mumbai, SOS, Shahar Vikas Manch, TISS, UDRI, YUVA………………. and many more.

 for more information contact-dhanraj.k@yuvaindia.org

 

Rajasthan-Helpline for women in distress #mustshare


 

TNN | Oct 3, 2012, 01.15AM IST

 JAIPUR: A helpline meant to help women in distress, is now functional across the state. In a unique initiative, the Rajasthan State Women’s Commission has started a helpline number where female victims can call and speak to the experts in various fields ranging from law, sociology and psychotherapy for counseling.

The service was started with an aim to protect women’s rights in the state and ensure justice for victims.

Commission’s chairperson Ladkumari Jain told TOI that the helpline was introduced early in September. “As of now, we have a regular seven-digit landline number-0141-2744596. We will soon get a four-digit toll free number,” said Jain.

Jain added the helpline service is open 24 hours and seven days a week. “We have appointed counsellors who are experts in various fields including law, sociology and psychotherapy. These counsellors work in shifts and are available even during the night hours,” she said.

To know more, TOI called the helpline number, where a counselor Santosh Sharma said the service is becoming a real-time solution to problems faced by women in the state.

“We get calls even from rape victims, following which we immediately take action. If a woman is a victim of domestic violence, we speak with her husband and family members. If the issue can not be resolved by talking, we even advise the women to take the legal course. Women can also register complaints if the police or other authorities fail to respond to their complaints,” Sharma said.

The chairperson also said the victims often hesitate to approach the police and other law enforcement agencies fearing it might boomerang. “In most cases, they don’t get proper response also. Besides, they have to go through several legal formalities. But the helpline provides swift solutions to their problems,” said Jain.

She added that woman can also seek assistance on how to register their complaints on the helpline, “We take cognizance of the women’s complaints and initiate action on our own,” said Jain.

However, the helpline service is getting a lukewarm response even a month after its launch because most people are unaware of its existence. Counselors are getting only 3-4 calls every day. spread awareness regarding the number

“We are waiting for the four-digit toll-free number which will be introduced within a few days. We will popularise the service after that,” said Jain.

Service at a glance

- Helpline number – 0141-2744596

- Four-digit toll free number in the offing

- The service is available 24×7

- Access to various experts from fields like law, sociology and psychotherapy

 

When ISI became a ‘front for SIMI’ #ban


Muzamil Jaleel : New Delhi, Mon Oct 01 2012, Indian Express
 

In the circles of police’s “SIMI investigations”, the name Maulana Naseeruddin comes up often. Sometimes he has been charged, sometimes his sons, sometimes his acquaintances. In one such case against an “associate” of his son, the Hyderabad police filed an affidavit before the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal calling Pakistan’s ISI a front of SIMI.

Asked by the tribunal to explain his claim, P Devender, then inspector in Saidabad police station, reiterated that “it is correct that in my affidavit when I referred to Inter Service Intelligence, I am referring to Inter Service Intelligence of Pakistan” and that the nodal officer of Andhra Pradesh will be “filing a secret note on the basis of which this statement has been made”.

Moutasim Billa

DEVENDER’S affidavit, filed on June 11, 2010, was part of the government’s evidence to justify the continuance of the ban on SIMI. To substantiate his claim that SIMI was “functioning under various fronts like the ISI”, Devender cited a case registered in March 2008 at the Saidabad police station when he was an inspector there.

It concerned Moutasim Billa, 22, of Jevan Yar Jung Colony, Saidabad, who had been arrested on March 5, 2008, from near his residence. Devender claimed that Billa was arrested because he had been booked in an FIR (198/2007) at the Gopalapurram police station.

Devender also called him a close associate of “the son of Maulana Naseeruddin”, who is a “SIMI activist”. Naseeruddin and Billa’s father, Mohammad Aleem Islahi, are well-known clerics in Saidabad and their families used to be close then. Along with Naseeruddin’s, Islahi’s is the other address frequently at the centre of any terror investigation in Hyderabad.

At the time of Billa’s arrest, the Hyderabad police had claimed that it was in connection with two “rioting” cases registered against him, in 2004 (an incident involving the death of his brother) and in 2007 (for terror conspiracy and sedition, registered at the Gopalapurram police station). Hyderabad police had booked 21 Muslim youths including Billa for a terror conspiracy and subsequently linked them to the Mecca Masjid blasts. Billa and the other accused were acquitted on December 31, 2008. The Mecca Masjid blast case finally took a new turn after Swami Aseemanand’s confession in December 2010, which implied that these Muslim men had all been wrongly blamed. Eighty-two Muslim men had been picked up, interrogated or booked and all were subsequently acquitted.

In May this year, Billa was again named, this time in four cases of rioting and disturbance of peace, and shown as an “absconding accused”. “These recent cases were registered one after another in a single day,” said Billa, who recently earned a B Tech degree. “They have shown me as absconding, which means, ‘You can go on with your life till we want to take you away again’.”

Maulana Naseeruddin

THE 2004 rioting case against Billa, in fact, provides the context to this entire story. That October 31, Naseeruddin had gone to the DGP’s office along with his lawyer and a few other people to sign his weekly attendance, necessary because of an earlier case of communal violence. “Two months earlier, I had been arrested after police claimed I was going to plant bombs in a Ganesh temple. This absurd allegation came as a shock; I fell ill and was shifted to hospital. Our lawyer friends secured bail; this weekly attendance was a condition,” Naseeruddin said.

“That day, I reached the office late. My son-in-law Khalid, who is a lawyer, and a few others accompanied me. The CID officer who would take my signature asked me to wait, saying a senior officer wanted to talk to me.” Naseeruddin said he was taken to the IG, who told him a warrant for his arrest had come from Gujarat. A contingent of Guajarat Police led by then ACP Narendera Amin (now in jail over the murder of Sohrabuddin and Kousar Bi in a fake encounter) were waiting for Naseeruddin, “accused of a role in (former Gujarat minister) Haren Pandya’s murder”.

“People from our neighbourhood collected outside the gate,” Naseeruddin said. “They didn’t allow the Gujarat police vehicle to leave and there was a scuffle. Narendra Amin opened fire.” Mujahid Saleem, 26, Billa’s elder brother, was killed, protests followed, and the Andhra government promised a magisterial inquiry besides filing a case against Gujarat police. Police registered a case of rioting against Billa, too.

The maulana was taken to Gujarat and was initially arrested on charges of instigating Pandya’s killers, and subsequently booked in the Ahmedabad conspiracy case — an alleged conspiracy to avenge the Gujarat riots. On January 12, 2010, a designated POTA court acquitted the maulana along with others and he was released.

THE MAULANA’S SONS

“A lot had happened during those five years. My three sons had all been arrested,” Naseeruddin said. He said the two elder sons were framed but added that the youngest, without the family’s knowledge, had gone to Pakistan for arms training.

“When the Gujarat police shot Mujahid Saleem, my youngest son Raziyuddin Nasir was there. He saw Saleem die. This affected him deeply. When I was in jail in Gujarat, my wife told me he had to be taken to a psychiatrist,” Naseeruddin said. “After some time, he went for Umrah (pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia). He went missing for one-and-a-half years. During that time, he had gone to Pakistan for arms training. We had no clue,” he said. “We heard about him only when the Bangalore police arrested him (in 2008).”

He said his two elder sons, Maqeemuddin Yasir and Baleeguddin Jabir, were framed. “Yasir has three children and was the manager of our workshop while Jabir was a third year student at Deccan Engineering College. The police accused them of being involved in the Mecca Masjid and other blasts and arrested them, a year after the blasts,” he said. “They couldn’t show even a bit of evidence but didn’t release them. They were shifted to Madhya Pradesh where their names had been included in a SIMI case in Dhar. They had never been to Dhar.”

He said for the next few years, their case didn’t move. “The case was shifted to Indore where the trial concluded earlier this month; both were acquitted… This country is our home too. Why is there no justice for us?”

THE YOUNGEST SON

ON JANUARY 30, 2008, according to Satyapaa Sambha Khote, then DSP, Special Enquiry Squad, Bangalore, a youth named Mohd Asif was stopped by an inspector of Gokul Road police station, Hubli, for speeding with his motorcycle. “It was found that he did not have documents of the motorcycle. Hence the PI (inspector) seized the vehicle and filed a case,” Khote said.

Investigations allegedly revealed Asif’s “involvement” with SIMI. The police made 18 more people accused on March 20, 2008, including Raziyuddin Nasir. In the affidavit, Khote claimed that Asif, a medical student at Hubli, and two other accused had met in “Castle Rock, Haliyal Road farmhouse, and Soudatti Road Darga” in the last week of April 2008, “aimed inter-alia at Islamisation of the world by means of Jihad”. According to Khote, the three held another “conspiracy meeting” at Castle Rock in November 2007 where they decided to “damage the sovereignty of the government of India and to ignite anti-national sentiments… ultimately changing the elected sovereign government and establishing Islamic government”.

Khote went on to give a long list of their “targets” — Kaiga nuclear plant, Infosys in Bangalore, Dell, IBM etc. For this mammoth task, they were apparently armed with four country-made revolvers — three of these rusted and defunct — and homemade grenades with gelatin sticks.

Khote produced a “confessional statement” by Nasir to Karnataka police, admitting he had gone to Pakistan for arms training. In the statement, Nasir says he was disillusioned after his father’s arrest and the death of “our family friend” Mujahid Saleem during the protest. Nasir was later booked in the 2008 Ahmedabad blasts case and is currently in Sabarmati jail in Gujarat.

THE WOMEN

In his affidavit filed on June 11, 2010, inspector Devender said that after Billa’s arrest on March 5, 2008, the women of Billa’s family — whom Devender calls “SIMI support militant ladies” — led by Billa’s sister Huma Islahi and Maulana Naseeruddin’s wife Tasneem Fatima had “attacked” the police station. Thirty women and children were rounded up in March 2008, including one with her seven-year-old daughter. Seven of them were students, 15 aged 19. Nine of the women were sent by the court for age determination tests to check if they were minors.

While most of the women were from Billa’s family or his neighbours and there was nothing to link them to SIMI, the affidavit called it a “rare case in entire India where SIMI militant activists organised their lady activists and… assaulted police”. Devender admitted that investigation records do not show these women as SIMI members. “This is as per my knowledge while working in the department and as per intelligence sources,” he said.

The posters that landed retired SIMI secy in jail #draconianlaws #ban


 

Muzamil Jaleel : New Delhi, Fri Sep 28 2012, 03:41 hrs

Cases registered 12 years ago — before SIMI was even banned — on flimsy charges and an investigation that has been rapped for loopholes left Munir Deshmukh a wanted man for years and have kept him in jail for the past 21 months. Once the SIMI national secretary, Deshmukh retired from the organisation in February 2001, seven months before it was banned.

OCTOBER 22, 2000

It was 11 months before the first ban on SIMI in September 2001 that Deshmukh had the first FIRs filed against him in two police stations in Bhopal the same day. Both FIRs related to exactly the same “incriminating” evidence — a SIMI poster.

The Taliyya police station registered an FIR that said a poster with “Students Islamic Movement of India (West) MP” written in English on it had been found pasted near Kulsum Bi’s mosque, near Budhwara, Bhopal. No individual was named. Subsequently, police alleged that posters similar to the one pasted near the mosque had been seized from Deshmukh and five other accused: Sorab Ahmed, Maulana Arsad, Abdul Razzaq, Mohd Alim and Kashlid Naim.

The seizure memo stated that on October 25, three days after the FIR, police seized five posters and 10 pamphlets from “under the bed of Munir Deshmukh” at his house, A-47, Shahpur, Habibganj, Bhopal.

The poster had “Pasbode na bano, sulah ki darkhwasth na karo, tum hi Ghalib rahoge, Navede Sehar conference 10, 11, 12 November 2000 Mukam Wadi e sehar, Dragaah Maidan ke Pas, Khajra, Indore, also written in English. The pamphlet had “Indore Chalo, Indore Chalo in bold letters”, said the FIR.

The writing the police found incriminating is actually from Verse 35 of Surah Mohammad of the Quran. The conference was primarily a religious congregation. In fact, the poster had the address and phone number of the organisers on it.

The chargesheet was filed five years later, on July 13, 2005, against the six accused under various sections of the IPC and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The second FIR against Deshmukh was registered at the Shahjahanabad police station in Bhopal. Deshmukh was again charged along with the same five other accused for a similar SIMI poster, this time near Murgi Wali Masjid in Shahjahanabad.

The police claimed to have raided Deshmukh’s house on October 23, 2000, which was two days before the raid on his house in the earlier case. The seizure memo stated the police recovered 14 posters with the Quranic verse “pasbode na bano…”, 20 pamphlets that had “Students Islamic Movement of India, MP” and “Indore chalo” written on them, and a June 2000 edition of Tehreek magazine.

The chargesheet against the six was filed on December 6 that year for “promoting communal disharmony and committing acts detrimental to national integration”.

It was never explained how the same set of posters seized on October 23, 2010, from Deskhmukh’s house turned up again at his residence two days later. And not just at his house but at those of the five other accused too.

SEPTEMBER 27, 2001

The day SIMI was banned, a third FIR was registered against Deshmukh, at the Habibganj police station in Bhopal under the UAPA. Inspector Girish Bore stated that he was tipped off about “SIMI activist” Munir Deshmukh “running activities from his residence”. A team raided Deshmukh’s house in the presence of two witnesses, Akhilesh Jain and Naval Singh, but didn’t find him. The FIR said that he had absconded “with the document and the campaigning material”. The chargesheet was filed on December 24, 2002. Apart from the UAPA, Deshmukh was booked under IPC sections 153 B (committing acts detrimental to national integration) and 295 A (outraging the feelings of a religious group).

According to advocate Sajid Ali of Bhopal, yet another FIR was filed in Habibgunj in 2001 against Deshmukh under the Prevention of Corruption Act, accusing him of having assets disproportionate to his sources of income. He said judge R P S Chouhan acquitted Deshmukh in that case earlier this week.

DECEMBER 11, 2010

In December 2010 — 10 years after the police first filed an FIR against him and nine years after they said he was absconding — Deshmukh was arrested. After his arrest, Deshmukh, who had been living in Hyderabad where he ran an IT firm, had another case slapped against him in Andhra Pradesh, this time for impersonation, for having documents stating his name as “Munir Ahmad”.

THE CASES IN COURT

* In the first case registered at Taliyya police station, first class judicial magistrate Rama Jayant Mittal acquitted Deshmukh and the other accused on July 10 this year.

* In the second identical poster case, first class judicial magistrate Varsha Sharma sentenced Deshmukh and the others to three years of rigorous imprisonment on August 3, 2011, for creating “unpleasantness between Hindus and Muslim community’’ after eight years of trial.

During the trial, one of the witnesses said he “does not recognise the accused”, a second witness said the police made him sign documents but didn’t know whether the documents were “blank or filled up” and a third witness said he didn’t know anything about the incident.. An appeal has been filed against the judgment.

* Ruling in the third case on October 22, 2011, R P Sonkar, additional CJM and special judge, Bhopal, threw out the charges under the UAPA but convicted Deshmukh and the others under Sections 153 B and 295 A of the IPC, holding them “guilty of committing acts detrimental to national integration and outraging the feelings of a religious group”. They have gone into appeal against this order too.

Judge Sonkar’s court held that there were evident gaps in the version of the prosecution – the original seizure memo and case diary had gone missing/were “misplaced” and most of the evidence that was filed before the judge was in the form of illegible photocopies. The prosecution had claimed that the written statements of key witnesses had been enclosed in the missing case diary. One of the witnesses, incidentally, turned hostile during the trial and denied the prosecution’s version.

The order noted that the officer who granted sanction for prosecution in the case under the UAPA, Alok Ranjan, MP’s secretary (home), had said during cross-examination that “he was not aware when he granted the sanction” and that “at the time of granting the sanction he had no knowledge about statements of which witnesses were enclosed”.

The judge also remarked that Ranjan was junior in rank to that prescribed under the UAPA for clearing prosecution. Deshmukh was charged under Sections 10 & 13 of the UAPA, which needed sanction from the Centre.

Deshmukh’s Bhopal-based lawyer Parvez Alam accuses the government and courts of ignoring rules.“According to sections 45 and 42 of the UAPA, the state government does not have the power to issue the sanction. Then again according to section 45 of the UAPA, the court cannot take cognisance of charges without the sanction of appropriate authorities. The home secretary is giving sanction for prosecution under all sections when he can do so only under sections 7 and 8. The courts accepted that,” Alam said.

He said police are missing deadlines for filing chargesheets; on occasions they took five years. “In a case under section 153A and B of IPC (promoting communal disharmony and acts detrimental to national integration), if the chargesheet is filed after three years, the court cannot take cognisance.”

About the loss of the case files, he said the court had asked the DGP to register a case within six months against those involved in misplacing the original file but police didn’t do anything.

Deshmukh had four case in Indore and one in Ujjain against him, Alam said, adding he got bail in the Ujjain one last week