Kovvada nuclear power plant will displace about 8,000 people



Author(s):
Issue Date:
2012-11-2, DowntoErath

Andhra government declares five villages in Srikakulam district as project affected

Proposed nuclear<br />
power plant site” src=”<a href=http://www.downtoearth.org.in/dte/userfiles/images/Kovvadasite.jpg&#8221; />

 

 

Proposed nuclear power plant site

The Andhra Pradesh government has issued an order, notifying villages that are likely to be affected fully or partially by the proposed nuclear power plant at Kovvada in Ranasthalam block of the coastal district of Srikakulam. The order issued on November 1 by Mrutunjay Sahoo, principal secretary, states that 1,916.27 acres (1 acre equals 0.4 hectare) of land, including 604.12 acres of private land, will have to be acquired for the 6,000 MW project. As per the government’s estimation, 1,983 families (7,960 persons) in five villages will be displaced by the nuclear plant.

The government issued the notification as per the state’s policy—Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) for Project Affected Families, 2005. Villages which figure in the notification of “Project Affected Zone” are Ramachandrapuram, Gudem, Kotapalem, Tekkali and Jeeru Kovvada. The main source of income of people who would be displaced are agriculture, fishing and wage labour, notes the order.

The Department of Atomic Energy of the Central government had given in-principle approval for the 6X 1,000 MW nuclear power plant comprising light water reactors in 2009. The ambitious Rs 60,000 crore plant is being set up by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL).

The government order says the district collector of Srikakulam, in a letter dated June 20, 2012, has stated that the chief engineer of the NPCIL has submitted a proposal for acquiring 2,436.77 acres of land in these villages for installing the reactors, establishing a township and rehabilitating the displaced families. The state government had sanctioned a Land Acquisition Unit in last December for starting the land acquisition process by identifying the land. The acquisition of land and houses will be under the Land Acquisition Act of 1894, says the order.

Land to be acquired (in acres)
Poramboke (government) land 763.51
Village sites 52.89
Assigned land (government land
distributed to the landless):
495.76
Private land 604.12
Total 1,916.27

Immediate Release- Patients succeed in overturning first ever product patent on medicine in India #goodnews


Hope for hep-C patients:

Context and Background 

Today, the Bench of Intellectual Property Appellate Board, comprising Justice Prabha Sridevan (Chairperson) and Mr DPS Parmar (Technical Member), set aside the first ever product patent on a medicine granted in India to Roche for Pegasys (a medicine used to treat Hepatitis C) on an appeal filed by a patients’ group. 

In 2005, to comply with its international trade obligations, India re-introduced a system of granting product patents on medicines. In 1970, it had changed its patent law to disallow such patents precisely because they had resulted in high prices of medicines in India. This was the first product patent granted under the amended 2005 patent law.

As you know, a product patent on a medicine allows the patentee to prevent others from making or selling the medicine. This means that the patentee is able to set monopolistic prices. In the case of Pegasys, Roche charges approximately INR 4,36,000 for a course of six-months’ treatment. There may also be a relapse in which case the treatment course will have to repeated.

The Indian patent law provides for several tiers of protection to ensure that only genuine inventions are protected by patents. For instance, it allows “any person” to file an opposition challenging its grant. This could prevent a patent from being wrongfully granted in the first place. If a patent is granted, it can still be challenged by a “person interested” in a post-grant opposition or in a revocation proceeding. 

The order delivered by Justice Prabha Sridevan is important for several reasons. 

Sankalp, a patients’ group, had filed a post-grant opposition, which was rejected by the Patent Office. In the appeal filed by Sankalp before the IPAB, Roche sought to place a narrow interpretation on who a “person interested” could be. It argued that Sankalp is not a “person interested” because it was not a business competitor or a researcher. This issue probably arose for the first time before the IPAB. Rejecting Roche’s contentions, the IPAB held that a patients’ group that is a “person interested” in whether a patent is revoked or not. Justice Sridevan noted that the revocation of a patent could bring down the costs of the medicine as well as increase supply. She also held that public interest is persistently present in intellectual property law. 

On the merits, the IPAB revoked the patent on the ground that Roche’s claim of combining interferon (a protein known to treat Hepatitis C) with an inert PEG structure using conventional methods to obtain predictable results was obvious to a person skilled in the art. The IPAB also held that Roche did not show that this pegylated interferon showed enhanced efficacy over other known pegylated interferons –  a requirement under section 3(d) of India’s patent law.

By setting aside the patent , this order now paves the way for Indian companies that may decide to launch biosimilars of this medicine in India.

 

PRESS RELEASE

2 November 2012, New Delhi.

 

In a landmark victory for patients’ groups fighting against patents to ensure access to medicines, the bench of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) comprising Justice Prabha Sridevan (Chairperson) and Mr. D. P. S. Parmar (Technical Member), has revoked a patent granted in India to F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG (Roche) for pegylated interferon alfa-2a (Pegasys, a medicine used to treat Hepatitis C) as well as held that a patients’ group can challenge the validity of granted patents.

 

Mr. Eldred Tellis, Director of Sankalp Rehabilitation Trust, who had challenged the patent, said, “We hope that the absence of patent barrier will spur generic competition to bring down the price of this much-needed drug for those suffering from Hepatitis C. We also hope that the Government will now take concrete steps to start providing access to this medicine. It is unacceptable that people are dying due to Hepatitis C because they cannot afford to buy the medicine.”

 

As may be recalled, this patent granted to Roche in 2006 was the first product patent on a medicine in India under the new TRIPS-mandated product patent regime for medicines. The patent granted a monopoly to Roche to market pegylated interferon alfa2a. Patients with chronic Hepatitis C, who need a six-month course of treatment of Roche’s pegylated interferon alfa2a, have to purchase it at a cost of approximately INR 4,36,000 [USD 8,752.38] (available at a discounted price of INR 3,14,496 or USD 6,313.28). Again, it has to be taken in combination with ribavarin, which alone costs INR 47,160 [USD 946.70].

 

Concerned about the impact of this patent on access to medicines, Sankalp—an organisation that provides treatment and rehabilitation support for injecting drug users—filed a post-grant opposition challenging the grant of the patent with technical and legal aid from Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS Unit.

 

Mr Anand Grover, senior counsel and Director of Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS Unit, who appeared for Sankalp in this matter, said, “This victory will facilitate early entry of generics which is likely to lower the prices. If this happens, millions suffering from Hepatitis C, both in India and globally, will benefit. It is also historic because this was the first ever product patent granted on a medicine in India since 1970.”

 

Hepatitis C represents a huge public health problem in India and globally. An estimated 10–12 million people in India, including 50% of IDUs nationally and 90% of IDUs in the northeast, are infected with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). Left untreated, Hepatitis C can lead to liver cirrhosis, liver cancer or liver failure. Hepatitis C is especially of concern for those co-infected with HIV, as several studies have shown that HIV-HCV co-infection leads to increased rates of disease progression. Injecting drug users are especially vulnerable to HIV-HCV co-infection with HIV-HCV co-infection rates as high as 93% among IDUs in Manipur. However, unlike both first- and second-line HIV treatment, which is available to all people living with HIV who need it,   Hepatitis C treatment is not available in government hospitals largely due to its high cost and treatment programmes do not even bother to screen patients for HCV due to the unavailability of treatment.

 

Despite Sankalp’s case that Roche’s clams did not satisfy the patentability requirements under Indian law, in 2009, the Patent Office rejected the post-grant oppositions filed by Sankalp and an Indian company and upheld the validity of Roche’s patent. Sankalp then filed an appeal before the IPAB challenging this decision.

 

Before the IPAB, Roche also challenged Sankalp’s standing to file the post-grant opposition as well as the appeal. Roche argued that because Sankalp was not a business competitor or a researcher in the sector, it could not have challenged its patent at all. Sankalp argued that its members were directly affected by Hepatitis C as well as that it represented a community of drug users who are particularly at risk to Hepatitis C. The IPAB observed that “public interest is a persistent presence in intellectual property law” and also held that it was against public interest to “allow unworthy patents to be on the Register”. Holding that “the appellant who works for the community which needs the medicine, is definitely ‘a person interested’”, the IPAB noted that a successful challenge would “break the monopoly” and “bring the drug within reach of the community for whom it works, not only by reduction in cost, but also because of increase in supply”.

 

Mr. Grover said, “We are happy that the IPAB has recognised the element of public interest in setting aside undeserving patents and held that patients’ groups, who are directly impacted by patents on medicines, can challenge granted patents. This will be of import as concerned patients’ groups will now have better clarity in challenging patents on medicines for HIV, cancer and other diseases.”

 

Setting aside the patent, the IPAB held that Roche’s pegylated interferon was obvious to a person skilled in the art. It also found that Roche has not provided any evidence, in the specification or even otherwise, to prove that pegylated interferon has enhanced efficacy. The IPAB, however, held that Roche’s claims were novel.

 

Welcoming the findings on obviousness and section 3(d), Mr. Grover said, “The IPAB has rightly observed that the patentee used conventional methods to pegylate interferon and obtained predictable results, thereby rendering it obvious to a person skilled in the art. It also correctly held that the patentee has failed to satisfy the requirement of section 3(d) of showing enhanced efficacy. We hope that the Patent Offices too follow these standards while deciding pre- and post-grant oppositions.”

 

The text of the order can be accessed at the website of the IPAB.  We will upload a copy of the official certified copy on our website as soon as we receive it.

 

Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS Unit and Sankalp Rehabilitation Trust

 

For further information, contact
Anand Grover: +91.9820184788, Eldred Tellis: +91.9820194363
Prathibha Sivasubramanian / Julie George: +91.11.46805506; +91.9968050357

#America- Shocking Facts about Rape #WTFnews #Vaw #Torture


Number of States in Which Rapists Can Sue For Custody and Visitation Rights — 31 — and Other Shocking Rape Facts

For months now we’ve been subjected to surreal revelations when it comes to what people think about rape. Here is some real, fact-checked information.

October 28, 2012  |   Alternet .org

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/Oleg Golovnev

Remember facts? Remember facts about rape? Because it turns out that a whole lot of people know less than nothing about the subject. Indeed what they think they know is a whole lot of something that is wrong and dangerous to our heath, safety and well-being. Republican Representative Richard Mourdock‘srecent ” misspeaking” is unexceptional. Despite what he may have meant when he said “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that… is something God intended to happen,” he is unexceptional. He’s not an outlier. Not a radical. In no substantive way different from his conservative peers in this regard (see below if you disagree).

Indeed, he and others, like Todd Akin and Paul Ryan , are part of an age-old tradition of men with power defining when women are raped. And others whoenable them to do it for their own gain. But, they are not just the Republican party’s legislative norm, they are a fair reflection of our cultural tolerance, one without party affiliation, for rape and its qualifications. For months now we’ve been subjected to surreal revelation when it comes to what people think and understand about rape, god and women’s magical bodies. Here is some real, fact-checked information from a list originally published last week inRHRealityCheck .

And this is trigger warning. You may want a strong cup of coffee. Or a drink. Or an empty stomach. There is nothing remotely divine about rape. But steeping our selves in denial or happy oblivion is hurting too many people and has the potential to hurt a lot more.

50 Facts About Rape

    1. Low estimate of the number of women , according to the Department of Justice, raped every year: 300,000
    2. High estimate of the number of women raped , according to the CDC: 1.3 million
    3. Percentage of rapes not reported : 54 percent
    4. A woman’s chance of being raped in the U.S.: 1 in 5
    5. Chances that a raped woman conceives compared to one engaging in consensual sex : at least two times as likely
    6. Number of women in the US impregnated against their will each year in the U.S. as a result of rape: 32,000
    7. Number of states in which rapists can sue for custody and visitation : 31
    8. Chances that a woman’s body ” shuts that whole thing down“: 0 in 3.2 billion
    9. Rank of U.S. in the world for rape: 13th
    10. A woman’s chance of being raped in college : 1 in 4 or 5
    11. Chances that a Native American woman in the U.S. will be raped : 1 in 3
    12. Percentage of women in Alaska who have suffered sexual assault: 37 percent
    13. Number of rape kits untested by the Houston police force: 6,000-7,000 (Texas ranked second in nation for “forcible rape”)
    14. Number of adult men accused of repeatedly gang raping 11-year-old girl in Texas: 14
    15. Quote in the New York Times regarding the rape: “They said she dressed older than her age.”
    16. Age of woman raped in Central Park in September, 2012: 73
    17. Number of rape kits left untested in Detroit , listed by Forbes as one of two the most dangerous places for woman to live in the US: 11,303
    18. U.S. state in which, in September 2012, mentally disabled rape victim was required to provide evidence of her “kicking, biting, scratching” in objection to her rape: Connecticut
    19. State seeking to reduce childcare welfare benefits to women cannot provide proof of their pregnancy-causing rapes: Pennsylvannia
    20. Percentage of sexual assault and rape victims under the age of 12 : 15 percent
    21. Percentage of men who have been raped : 3 percent
    22. Percentage of rapists who are never incarcerated : 97 perent
    23. Percentage of rapes that college students think are false claims : 50 percent
    24. Percentage of rapes that studies find are false claims : 2-8 percent
    25. Number of rapes reported in the military last year: 16,500
    26. Pentagon’s estimated percentage of military assuaults not reported: 80-90 percent
    27. Percentage of military rape victims who were gang raped/raped more than once : 14%/20%
    28. Percentage of military rape victims that are men : 8-37 percent
    29. Percentage of military victims who get an “involuntarily” discharge compared to percentage of charged and accused who are discharged with honor : 90 percent involuntary to 80 percent with honor
    30. Chances an incarcerated person is raped in the U.S.: 1 in 10
    31. Increase in chance that LGTB prisoner is raped: 15x greater chance
    32. Number of men raped that could be counted as legally raped before the FBI changed its definition in December of 2011: 0
    33. Number of rapes noted in commonly used World War II statistics: 0
    34. Number of rapes of WWII c oncentration camp inmates : Untallied millions
    35. Number of rapes of German women by Russian soldiers at the end of WWII: between 1m and 2m
    36. Number of women raped in 1990s Bosnian conflict : 60,000+
    37. Number of women raped per hour in Congo during war: 48
    38. Country where 12 year old was forced to participate in the rape of his mother: U.S.
    39. Country where women are imprisoned for being raped: Afghanistan
    40. Age of Moroccan rape victim who committed suicide after being forced to marry her rapist: 16
    41. Worldwide number of “child brides” under the age of 18forced to marry every day : 25,000
    42. Ages of girls forced to marry a 59-year-old at the Tony Alamo Christian Ministry in Arkansas : 8, 14, 15
    43. Estimated number of people, primarily children, sexually abused by priests in the U.S. versus the number of senior Catholic officials found guilty of sexual abuse related crimes in the U.S.: 10,667 to 1
    44. Chances that a woman in the U.S. is raped versus gets breast cancer : 2 to 1
    45. Chances that a victim is ” Emergency Raped ” by a strangerversus percentage of victims who consider their rapes emergencies: 7 percent versus 100 percent
    46. Percentage of victims of rape who report the use of a weapon: 11 percent
    47. Prison sentences for four men found guilty of participating in gang rapes of two teenage girls in France over two years: one year, six months, suspended sentence
    48. State where in 2012 a doctor is facing the loss of her medical license for providing an abortion to a pregnant 10-year old incest rape victim : Kansas
    49. Country where doctors (but not the rapist) were excommunicated for performing a life-saving abortion to nine-year-old incest rape victim: Brazil
    50. Country where major party’s vice-presidential candidate wants to criminalize all abortions including rape-related ones, because rape is just ” another method of conception “: U.S.

Had enough? Me, too. And, believe me, this is the Cliff Notes version. Some people are offended by frank conversation about violence, especially sexualized violence. I’m offended by tolerance for these assaults, scientific denialism, entertainment at the expense of people’s safety and bodily integrity, and shame-infused legislation that hurts children and women and is based on the belief that all men are animals at heart .

Rape happens everywhere . All over the world rape acceptance, rape tolerance, rape denial and rape ignorance at best are used to restrict women’s reproductive rights and impede women’s equality. At worse, rape is used strategically and with violence and malevolence as a weapon in war and as a tool of active oppression. Keeping the reality of rape in the shadows has obviously done us a massive disservice and provided cover for rapists and their apologists. So, even though it’s not easy information to digest, it’s important. Maybe information is part of god’s divine plan.

In an excellent and thorough overview of our problem, Ending Rape Illiteracy,published yesterday in the Nation, Jessica Valenti, coauthor along with Jaclyn Friedman of Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape, wrote: “Every day, the severity, violence and criminality of what rape is — its very definition — is distorted in a way that makes it more difficult for survivors to come forward and for anti-violence advocates to do their work, while making the world easier for victim-blaming and for rapists themselves.”

Akin, Mourdock, Ryan, et al are the distortions. If men like Mitt Romney really doesn’t agree with them then he should grow some ovaries, so to speak, and stop playing in the same political sand box. And, please, these men are not alone: “legitimate rape” versus non legitimate rape. “Forcible rape” as “stock language,” “lemons from lemonade.” Women “should make the best of a bad situation,” “horribly created gifts from God,” husbands can’t rape their wives,because of science and technology no woman ever needs an abortion, “emergency rape,” women lie about rape legislation, “honest rape,” rape blackmail“the sodomized virgin” raperape is like auto theft. But, again, all of this goes hand-in-hand with Facebook rape pages, Daniel Tosh rape jokes,Reddit rapist threadsmusic, videos, movies, ad infinitum. This recent political display of religiously convoluted rape “reasoning” in legislation is a national shame with deadly consequences for women here and abroad. But, just as these legislators want to decide for themselves when a woman is raped, they also want to control when a woman can and cannot be pregnant and they infuse the same level of malignant know-nothingness into those decisions, too. And, no, it does not make me feel any better that Republican Representative Steve King has “never heard of a girl getting pregnant from rape or incest.” At least he cleared this up for me, I used to think “ignorant buffoon” was spelled with 15 letters.
Resources
If you want to understand more about the continued use of rape and its role in culture here are some suggested books.

Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape
Jaclyn Friedman (Author), Jessica Valenti (Author)

Transforming a Rape Culture [ Emilie Buchwald (Editor), Pamela Fletcher (Editor), Martha Roth (Editor)

The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and and How All Men Can Help
Jackson Katz

The Color of Violence: The Incite! Anthology

I Never Called It Rape by Robin Warshaw

Voting is a resource, too. Please, don’t vote for these people who fundamentally believe that women are essentially incubators first and foremost and that our rapes are of marginal importance to our breeding capabilities. As Jill Filipovic put it in the Guardian:

“Rape treats women as vessels, disregarding our autonomy and our right to control what happens to us physically and sexually. The Republican position is that women are not entitled to make fundamental decisions about our own bodies and our own sexual and reproductive health. When that position is written into the GOP platform and is a legislative priority, can we really be surprised when it’s further reflected in Republican legislators’ comments on rape?

Soraya L. Chemaly writes about feminism, gender and culture. She writes for The Huffington Post, The Feminist Wire, BitchFlicks and Fem2.0 among others.

 

#India-Maharashtra food scam: Private companies eat up Rs 1,000cr meant for poor


, TNN | Nov 3, 2012, 01.12AM IST

Maharashtra food scam: Private companies eat up Rs 1,000cr meant for poor
In Maharashtra, private firms floated fronts as ‘mahila mandals‘ and now control rations worth Rs 1,000 crore, the report said. It also specified violations in Karnataka, UP and Meghalaya.
NEW DELHI: Private companies have hijacked the government’s flagship scheme to provide food to poor children and their mothers, the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), with contractors in Maharashtra alone controlling Rs 1,000 crore worth of supplies in contravention of Supreme Court orders, a report of the SC commissioners office has said.The SC orders bar contractors from supplying rations under the scheme. It only permits village communities, self-help groups and mahila mandals to buy grains and prepare food for children.

The commissioners’ report, submitted to the court on Friday, warned that the contractor-corporate lobby had a firm grip over ICDS rations supply business, worth Rs 8,000 crore, in several states. It specifically referred to Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Meghalaya, besides Maharashtra.

Detailing Maharashtra’s case, the report said private companies had floated fronts in the names of ‘mahila mandals’ or women’s organizations to corner the lucrative Rs 1,000 crore annual supply of rations.

The ICDS is India’s primary social welfare scheme to tackle malnutrition and health problems in poor children below 6 years of age and their mothers. It is considered the backbone of government’s efforts to improve the dismal family health indices in India – some of the worst even among developing countries.

The commissioners recommended that an independent investigation be conducted under theapex court’s supervision to investigate the possible nexus “between politicians, bureaucrats and private contractors in the provisioning of rations to ICDS, leading to largescale corruption and leakages”.

The report, prepared by the principle advisor to the commissioners, said the Maharashtra chief minister had been made aware of the scam by the commissioners as well as the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights. They said the fact that the corrupt system continued unchecked showed the “level of influence” the contractors had over the “levers of power in Maharashtra”.

This report lays bare the modus operandi companies used to corner the lucrative contracts in Maharashtra. The state government first changed its rules in 2009 to allow not only community-based organizations but also ‘women’s institutions’ to bid for the supply – a loose enough term to permit any contractor, company or agency with women on board to bid for the contracts.

Only three of these ‘women’s institutions’ got contracts for the entire state’s ration supply which is worth over Rs 1,000 crore annually. None of these three mahila mandals – Venkateshwara Mahila Audhyogic Sahakari Sanstha, Mahalaxmi Mahila Grhaudyog & Balvikas Buddhesiya Audhyogic Sahakari Sanstha and Maharashtra Mahila Sahakari Grahudhyog Sanstha Limited — had any production capacity of their own.

The three mahila mandals each formed sub-committees with select members handling complete control of administration, finances and operations of the organizations. The sub-committees then gained legitimacy by directly contracting with the state government, securing bank guarantees as well as opening separate bank accounts.

The sub-committees went on to contract five companies to supply the rations. But the members on board these sub-committees were all relatives of the owners of the five companies.

In other words, the companies had formed shell agencies to bid for the contracts on the pretext of being community-based women’s organizations.

Venkateshwara formed two sub-committees. One sub-committee farmed out contract to Swapnil Agro Limited owned by Ulhas Pagariya. The sub-committee comprised Pagariya’s wife and two relatives. The second sub-committee gave a contract to Paras Agro Private Limited, with one Satishrao Munde as managing director. Munde’s wife and daughter comprised the sub-committee.

Similarly, Mahalaxmi formed three sub-committees giving out contracts to Indo Allied Protein Foods run by Rajan Shankar Jadhav, Sai Food and Sai Food Products owned by Pradip Auradkar and Sanjay Auradkar and Kota Dal Mill based in Rajasthan.

Maharashtra Mahila Sahkari, which is actually a company and not a society with Rama Agrawal as vice-chairman, gave the contract to Sagar Foods run by her father-in-law Prabhudayala Agarwal.

The principle advisor to the court commissioners, Biraj Patnaik, refused to comment when contacted.

His report said lab reports testing the quality of food grains supplied was also suspect as all three mahila mandals went to the same private lab but government testing found the food lacking. The report said media had earlier highlighted how the ration was of such bad quality that it was at times sold as cattle feed and many times, fungi and termites were found in them. A case on the matter is being heard in the high court as well.

The author added that the report should be seen as a preliminary inquiry and not a comprehensive indictment of the parties. They have asked for court directions for an independent authority carrying out an investigation. The apex court gave the state the opportunity to respond to the report and posted the next hearing for November 23.

 

Gujarat govt admits some documents related to 2002 riots were destroyed #NarendraModi


Published: Friday, Nov 2, 2012, 21:04 IST
Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: PTI

 

The Gujarat government has admitted before Justice GT Nanavati Commission that some documents related to 2002 post-Godhra riots were destroyed by it ‘in routine course’.

This was disclosed today in an order passed by the Commission on an application filed by suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who had sought inspection of certain sensitive documents pertaining to the riots.

In its order today, the Commission referred to the letter received from the office of Additional Director General (Intelligence) on October 18, 2012 which said, “Some of the documents sought for inspection have been destroyed in routine course and they are not available for producing them before this Commission”.

Referring to the letter, the Commission today directed the state government to file an affidavit.

“A responsible officer of the Government should put this fact in an affidavit for final clarification,” the Commission said.

With the state seeking time to file an affidavit till November 6, the Commission has scheduled further hearing in the case on November 7 when it may decide the question of relevance of those documents for examination by Bhatt.

Defending the government, counsel for the state government today argued that, “those documents were falling in the Category ‘G’ and it is a routine procedure not to keep them beyond one year.”

Last year also, a senior counsel appearing for the state government had told the media that documents sought by Bhatt were already destroyed. The state government, however, had denied that documents were destroyed.

Responding to the state government’s admission, Bhatt said today, “This is evidence of systematic effort to destroy sensitive documents pertaining to 2002 riots which can corroborate the complicity of the state machinery.”

Bhatt, who alleged complicity of Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots, had sought inspection of certain documents to file an affidavit before the Commission probing the riots cases, in support of his allegations.

The Commission had denied him access to those documents. Bhatt then filed a PIL before the High Court last month which accepted his plea and allowed him access to those documents.

Incidentally, during the course of the hearing on his PIL, Advocate General of the state had assured the court that documents sought by Bhatt would be submitted soon.

When Bhatt sought access to 47 documents for inspection based on the court order, only 16 were produced and state has opposed the access to others by citing provisions of the Gujarat Police Manual. PTI ADT PD ABC SMI RYS 11022053 NNNN

 

Khan, Taliban and the Crackpot Science


By Anas Abbas | DAWN.COM

If nothing else we Pakistani agree on one thing. Whatever little hope there appears is the last hope. A recent example of this was the invention of water as fuel for cars, which soon came crashing down. When we are too desperate for hope that is what happens. We believe it even if all evidence goes against it. But desperation is such a state that never lets a people learn. They bow down to miracles of crackpots just so that things change without their having to invest in knowledge and scientific progress.

Lately Pakistani urban youth has obsessed with another “Last Hope” who is an ideological lapdog of Hamid Gul and Jamaat-e-Islami whose looks and past athletic achievements are inversely proportional to his current ideology.

As readers might have guessed correctly, yes, its Imran Khan, the ‘playboy cricketer’-turned-politicianwho once threatened to abduct the greatest Pakistani humanitarian, Abdul Sattar Edhi and whose supporters are anxiously awaiting his triumph in upcoming polls. The demoralised and despondent youth that forms the major chunk of Pakistani population explosion feels abandoned by their government and seeks Khan as the solution to their insurmountable issues. Thanks to the gullibility of these overseas and domestic followers, Khan has earned the status of a Messiah who is expected to transform Pakistan to the ‘Norway of Europe’ in a short span of time by rooting outcorruption in 19 days, containing and eradicating terrorism in 90 days and becoming theSaudi Arabia of coal in, again 9-something days. These ludicrous claims of Khan and his party PTI have mammoth selling price at home but in reality they seem idealistic, incredulous and mostly fallacious in nature.

Take for instance, his stance on the issue of terrorism: he holds the ongoing War on Terror (started on 7th October 2001) responsible for not only the mounting polarization, extremism and terrorism in Pakistani society but also for the inception of Pakistani Taliban (TTP).

Recently his comments of Taliban fighting a jihad in Afghanistan faced severe criticism from not only the Afghan government but also from the Afghan public who protested against his comments.

Of course Khan and his brigade of trolls branded all criticism as ‘International Conspiracy’ and Khanfurther defended his comments by proposing myths that Bin Laden and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar were trained and indoctrinated by the CIA in 1980s.

However there are some pertinent questions which must be answered in order to ascertain whether or not there is any substance to Khan’s claims. The questions are:

Is the Taliban fighting a ‘Holy War’ in Afghanistan for the freedom and rights of afghan people as claimed by khan?

Is War on Terror the root-cause for the menace Pakistan has faced in the last decade?

In the above screenshot (Video courtesy Youtube, banned in Pakistan) Imran Khan addresses a gathering at Dar-ul-Uloom Haqqania which was the breeding ground for the Taliban leadership and was well known for its support of Bin Laden. See also Haroon Rashid BBC Report: “The University Of Holy War”.

Even a cursory examination of history can tell us that the Taliban had nothing to do with Afghanistan and were the product of Pakistani JUI-run religious schools for Afghan refugees. Ahmed Rashid, a world renowned expert on Taliban provides a great insight on their emergence in his book “Taliban” (published in 2000). He describes the significant role of Maulana Samiul Haq andColonel Imam in the emergence of Taliban. Haq is a Pakistani religious and political leader whose madrassaDar-ul-Uloom Haqqania became a major training ground for the Taliban leadership.

Protesters led by Maulana Samiul Haq chanting slogans in support of Bin Laden. Picture courtesy: Khyber Gateway

In February 1999 Haq gave an interview to Rashid in which it was revealed that he was directly managing Taliban leader Mullah Omar in forcefully implementing puritanical brand of Sharia. He was also the chief organizer for recruiting Pakistani students to fight for the Taliban against the Northern Alliance and whenever the Taliban required reinforcements, Haq, along with the ISI provided them with the essential manpower.

The chart below shows the contribution of Pakistani and Al Qaeda militants in Afghan Taliban military force:

Graph below gives an estimation of Pakistan’s (Central Board of Revenue): The Economic loss suffered by Pakistan due to Taliban’s illegal transit trade & nexus with Pakistani transport, trade and drug mafia:

In his book Fundamentalism Reborn? Professor William Maley writes “Many Taliban carry Pakistani identity cards, as they spent years in refugee camps in Pakistan, and thousands voted in the 1997 elections in Balochistan for their favorite Pakistani party – the Jamiat-e-Ulema-i-Islam (JUI)”.

Afghans under the Taliban rule suffered some of the worst oppression in human history. It was a period of the Afghan Holocaust that witnessed ethnic cleansing campaigns, massacres, human trafficking, mass starvation and other forms of humanitarian crisis. According to a 55-page report by the United Nations, the Taliban conducted 15 colossal massacres between 1996 and 2001 in order to consolidate their brutal rule in Afghanistan. Shias were branded as “apostates” and there were organised ethnic cleansing campaigns against the Hazara community where women were raped, and thousands of people were either killed or locked in containers and left to suffocate.Women experienced a terrible form of repression where they were banned from education and employment, and were relegated to perpetually living behind the veil.

The savage Taliban, also termed as the “Holy Warriors” by Imran Khan, even closed down hospitals, and not only thwarted the efforts of aid agencies in providing relief to the Afghan people but also refused to cooperate with the UN led polio immunization campaigns for children.

Let’s look at some pictures to get a real feel of life under the Taliban regime, which the Afghans suffered:

Scenes from the Kabul soccer stadium where spectators once enjoyed watching football games now watch in awe and horror as hangings are carried out in public. – Photo courtesy RAWA

Public executions carried out against the Shiite minority in the province of Herat by the Afghan Taliban. – Photo courtesy RAWA

Tortured war prisoners’ bodies are left in the open to rot as the Taliban forbade their burial in Herat. – Photo courtesy RAWA

Paintings by children of RAWA schools and orphanages in Afghanistan depicting the obscurantist Taliban era. – Photo courtesy RAWA

Female passengers had to travel in trunks of cars like animals because the Taliban forbade taxi drivers to pick women without their close male relatives.– Photo courtesy RAWA

A well-known 90 year old poetess, Aunt Saman Boo who had to resign to begging in Herat due to Taliban aggressions. The old woman carries her published book of poetry with her while roaming the streets in search of a few Afghanis or food.– Photo courtesy RAWA

The Taliban regime proved cataclysmic especially for women who were publicly punished, often, by death. According to the Physicians for Human Rights, no other regime has inflicted such repression on half of its population.– Photo courtesy RAWA

Life under the Taliban as Afghanistan underwent the worst drought in its history.– Photo courtesy RAWA

Scenes from the Yakaolang Massacre carried out by the Taliban where relatives are trying to identify their relatives and loved ones.– Photo courtesy RAWA

Taliban phenomenon was not only confined to Afghanistan, even before 9/11 its tentacles had begun gradually spreading over and taking hold of Pakistan. This Talibanization of Pakistan was predicted in the late nineties by Olivier RoyWilliam Maley, and especially Ahmed Rashid, who documented in his book (Taliban) that by 1998, Pakistani Taliban groups were forcibly imposing their Sharia laws and consequent punishments in FATA as were implemented in Afghanistan. Similar incidents of Talibanization of Pakistan were also documented by senior journalist, Rahimullah Yousufzai in 1998.

As we have seen above that Imran Khan’s “Holy Warriors” are actually savages and beasts who have not only caused mass devastation in Afghanistan but have also become the ideological foothold of Pakistani Taliban (TTP) that has been killing thousands of Pakistanis in recent years. These Taliban were never accepted as legitimate rulers by the Afghan people and from their beginning were considered Pakistan’s proxies.

Imran also expressed great sympathy for these barbaric criminals in his recent book “Pakistan: A Personal History”.  In chapters 8 (Pakistan Since 9/11) & 9 (The Tribal Areas: Civil War? My Solution), Khan provides a grossly misleading narrative that the Taliban were willing to handover Bin Laden after 9/11 and that the American invasion of Afghanistan was motivated by “Imperial Hubris”. However the book fails to mention that America was in negotiations with Taliban on the Bin Laden issue since 1996 and had pressurized them to hand over Bin Laden through a series of UN resolutions such as 107611931214,12671333 and 1363. Nevertheless the Taliban defied this pressure as it was never in their interest to hand over Bin Laden since his fighters had played a substantial role along with Pakistani assets in their victory against the Northern Alliance and it was their turn to return the favour to their guests.

Exploring Khan’s claim that Pakistan has been wrong in fighting the American “War on Terror” since it hasonly brought destruction and disgrace to the nation, this seems another bogus assertion of his, based on highly erroneous information.

Between the years 2001 to 2006, Pakistan’s annual GDP growth was at an average of a whopping 7 per cent as compare to the 3 per cent annual growth in 1999 to 2001. This was made possible, not because Musharraf was some Stalwart, a Warren Buffet, or an economic gold medalist like Manmohan Singh,instead the boom was predominantly facilitated by incentives such as removal of all sanctions, debt rescheduling, waiving of export quota restrictions and greater market share that were offered to Pakistan for its participation in the “War on Terror”. Furthermore the relations with India improved significantly due to immense American pressure, due to which, Pakistan curtailed its support for Kashmiri insurgency.

Indeed after 9/11, Pakistan faced an enormous increase in violence which resulted in 40,000 civilian casualties and an economic cost of around $70 billion but an ample proportion of this staggering cost was also attributable to the Balochistan Conflict and ethnic violence in Karachi which had nothing to do with the War on Terror. In any case, the destruction wrecked by TTP was inevitable, even if Pakistan had not participated in the war on terror, as Pakistanis who were assisting the Afghan Taliban had started various movements even before 9/11 within FATA to implement the same rule which later evolved into the ruthless Pakistani Taliban (TTP). The chickens came home to roost for the country when it fought against terrorism and it paid a regrettable price for nurturing Islamic militants and sustaining them. In doing so, Pakistan lost 5,000 of its security forces. A similar cost was paid by the US in the form of 9/11 attacks after it conveniently left Afghanistan in a dilapidated state which later on morphed into a breeding ground for al Qaeda.

By calling Pakistan’s ‘war on terror’ a mistake, elements such as Imran Khan are an affront to the soldiers (such as Major General Faisal Alvi) who have bravely fought against Al Qaeda and laid down their lives. In fact, the correct approach is to slam the peace deals that Pakistan conducted with militants in FATA post 9/11 which were instrumental in giving militants the necessary breathing space that subsequently gave them the required strategic advantage.

One of the main architects of these deals was General Aurakzai, who not only supported the 1999 Musharraf coup but was also condemned by the UN for his pro Taliban views and by thePakistani XI Corps Commanders for his inept military operations. Aurakzai has been widely quoted by Imran Khan who is inspired by him in his defence of peace deals. However, it’s very naïve and illogical to blindly follow the narrative of a slippery character like Aurakzai who drew blame on the US for his own lack of competence in leading military operations.

Khan is an ardent promoter of these peace deals and continues to deceive the public by calling these the solution against terrorism and by linking it to the Northern Ireland peace process. He fails to understand that this process was only made possible after the successful “Decommissioning”where the IRA had to surrender its weapons. One can never expect the Taliban and al Qaeda to adopt“Decommissioning” since their ideology and struggle is religiously motivated unlike the IRA conflict. Currently the US is also striving towards similar agreements with Taliban where the latter are required to abandon their weapons and accept Afghan Constitution.

To sum it up Khan’s views on Taliban and his policy of countering terrorism is based on myths and distorted facts which promotes the conspiracy theory culture. His views remain unchallenged by a majority of the Pakistani Youth and media because they themselves are ignorant of history and are mostly the product of the TV Boom of 2003. He further misguides the public by terming the Pakistani Hazarasectarian cleansing as an international conspiracy and refrains from highlighting the link between these ethnic killings and those carried out in Afghanistan by the Afghan Taliban before 9/11. The latest example of his propagandist attitude is the drama he orchestrated about hisflight from Toronto to New York during which he was questioned. He made an issue that he was harassed and grilled due to his stance on drones only to be later confirmed by officials that the reason was that the donations he collected were illegal on the visa he was travelling.

In the end, Imran is a ‘Taliban Khan’ not because he wants his people to be slaughtered in soccer stadiums, but because he strategically supports Taliban for two main reasons:

a)    To remain in the good books of a faction of Military establishment that has always viewed Taliban as a proxy and is leading Pakistan into disaster.

b)    To exploit and fuel Anti-Americanism,  the best-selling product in Pakistan and which directly results in keeping a deafening silence on Taliban’s terrorism and instead blaming the ‘War on Terror’ for all the ills befalling Pakistan.

This strategy of Imran Khan can be further evidenced in the absurd claim he made of blaming the War on Terror for the murder of Salman Taseer while conveniently ignoring the murders of thosesuch as Justice Arif Iqbal Bhatti, who have been killed like Salman long before 9/11, only because they defended blasphemy victims.

If Imran Khan really is as daring as he purports to be, he should openly confront and condemn the Taliban leadership by name, which he does not have the courage to do. He should learn a lesson from Malala who defied the Taliban’s ban on education of women.

References:
Roy, Olivier, ‘Domestic and Regional Implications of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan’, 24 April 1999.
Syed Saleem Shahzad 2011, Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11.
Pakistan: A Personal History by Imran Khan
Roy, Olivier, Middle East Report, Winter 1997.
Yousufzai, Rahimullah, ‘Pakistani Taliban at work’, the News, 18 December 1998.
Ahmed Rashid: Descent into Chaos 2008
Ahmed Rashid: Taliban, Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia

http://www.rawa.org/murder-w.htm

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011%5C11%5C12%5Cstory_12-11-2011_pg3_4

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Pakistan_gdp_growth_rate.svg&page=1

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011%5C11%5C12%5Cstory_12-11-2011_pg3_4

The writer is an investigative Counter Terrorism Analyst. He blogs at aacounterterror.wordpress.com and tweets at @Anas_Abbas1.

 

 

Well-known Pakistani journalist Marvi Sirmed shot at


Press Trust of India | Updated: November 02, 2012 22:42 IST

IslamabadUnidentified gunmen today attacked prominent rights activist Marvi Sirmed in the Pakistani capital. She escaped unharmed.

The gunmen, who were in a black car, fired at Sirmed’s vehicle at Murree Road near Bani Gala on the outskirts of Islamabad while she was returning home from work. Sirmed has received threats from extremist groups several times in the past.

“They tried to target us twice and fired several shots at my car which they missed. Luckily, my driver sped away and we escaped,” Sirmed told PTI.

Sirmed is an outspoken defender of democracy and human rights, especially the rights of minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Shias. She has received threats from rightwing and extremist groups several times in the past, forcing her to change her residence frequently.

Often seen wearing a sari and a bindi, Sirmed has also faced accusations of being “pro-Indian” from extremists.

However, threats have never deterred her from taking steps to protect the rights of minorities and she was recently at the forefront of a campaign to prevent the abduction and forcible conversion of Hindu girls.

Sirmed, who works as the manager of a UN project to strengthen Pakistan’s democracy and parliament, also played a key role in the recent campaign to free Rimsha Masih, a Christian girl who was wrongly accused of blasphemy after a Muslim cleric planted evidence against her.

Friends who had visited Sirmed at work two days ago said they had spotted a suspicious looking car parked outside her office late at night.

Police officials said they had launched an investigation into today’s shooting.

No group claimed responsibility for the incident.

In a message posted on Twitter, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said Sirmed had been provided security at her residence.

Malik said he had asked authorities to submit a report on the attack on Sirmed’s car.