Moody Investors outlook for #Vedanta negative #Fakinghappiness


Wednesday, 12 Dec 2012

Moody’s Investors Service has affirmed Vedanta Resources Plc’s corporate family rating at Ba1 and its senior unsecured rating at Ba3.

The outlook for both ratings remains negative. Vedanta’s rating reflects its earnings generation underpinned by its acquisition of Cairn India in December 2011, but its operating cash flow is restrained by softer commodity prices in the current year. While capital investment can be deferred to compensate for weaker cash flow, the purchase of the Government’s stake in Hindustan Zinc at some stage and the Group’s refinancing requirements over the next 9 months, leave undue pressure on its liquidity and rating.

However, Vedanta still showed USD 484 million of free cash flow post expansionary capex in H1 FY13.

Mr Alan Greene VP senior Credit Officer of Moody’s said that “Vedanta’s EBITDA for the financial year ended March 2013 will include a full 12 months of Cairn India instead of the less than four months of contribution made in FY12. However, given the output challenges in the iron ore business and only modest output ramp-ups elsewhere, EBITDA in H2 FY13 is not expected to advance on that achieved in H1 FY13.”

Mr Greene said that “The bedrock of the business is clearly Vedanta’s 58.5% stake in Cairn India, and following its recent restructuring, it is now able to convert its cash flow into dividends.”

Source – Business Line

(www.steelguru.com)

 

Bombay High Court asks #Vedanta Aluminium to deposit a security amount of Rs 187 crore


12 DEC, 2012, 07.54PM IST, MAULIK VYAS,ET BUREAU

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court has asked billionaireAnil Agarwal controlled Vedanta Aluminum to deposit a security amount of Rs 187 crore with the court, till the arbitration proceedings reach a definitive conclusion, based on a plea filed by Chinese power equipment manufacturer Shenzen Shandong Nuclear Power Construction Company (SSNPCC).

The Chinese power equipment manufacturer had filed a plea against Vedanta Aluminum for allegedly causing losses due to work stoppage at the latter’s controversial alumina refinery in Lanjigarh, Odisha.

On Wednesday, the division bench comprising Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Anoop Mohta directed Vedanta Aluminum to deposit the security of Rs 187 crore within 6 weeks. The court also directed the company not to sell, lease or create third party rights on the asset for the same amount.

The genesis of the case of the case lies in the Vedanta’s plan to expand its alumina capacities in Langigarh, Odisha, with bauxite mined from the near by Niyamgiri hills. The environment ministry put a stop to the plans by denying clearance, thus depriving the alumina plant of a crucial raw material and forcing it to shut down.

In the beginning of the year, Chinese firm, SSNPCC filed an arbitration plea to recover its dues against Vedanta saying the firm has incurred ‘tremendous losses’. As per the plea, Vedanta Aluminum gave order to SSNPCC in 2008 for setting up co-generation units on a turn-key basis for the Lanjigarh project.

SSNP has raised an issue on alleged breach of contractual obligations and has staked a claim which has been denied by us. This matter is pending before arbitration,” said Vedanta spokesperson. “The appeal court has completed the hearing today and passed an order. We await the receipt of the copy of the order and on it’s perusal will be able to decide further course of action in the matter,” the spokesperson in an email response said.

Shandong was contracted for five jobs to build a 210 MW co-generation power plant project that included offshore engineering and technical services, an offshore supply contract and onshore supply contract and onshore services & construction contract. Vedanta directed Shandong to suspend all “”construction activities”” at the site after the ministry order. The long duration of suspension, the petition said, has caused “”tremendous loss”” to Shandong. The Chinese company has cited a clause in the contract which empowers it to terminate the contract if the suspension of the agreement continues for over 180 days and at the end of it, after a thirty-day prior notice, Vedanta will pay 105% of the cost incurred by the contractor till the date of termination as compensation.

The Chinese company is represented by Kapil Arora of Kochar & Co along with Mahesh Londhe of Sanjay Udeshi & Co. While, Vedanta Group’s subsidiary is being represented by Mumbai-based corporate law firm Desai & Diwanji.

 

Attn Delhi- Consultation-Land Right Struggles: Prospects and Challenges @13Dec


A Consultation of Activists, Academia and Members of Parliament


Date: 13th December 2012
Time: 10am-5.30pm
Venue: Second Floor, International Conference Centre, YMCA,
New Delhi

Dear friends

‘Land’ and land related issues and conflicts have grabbed media headlines for quite some time now. However, from the days of India’s independence, land related discourse has undergone some substantial vicissitudes.

We have seen this land debate ranging from distribution, reforms, ‘Bhudan’ and acquisition to land capture. In the recent times, however, the discourse has moved on to accommodate the new forms of land struggles happening in the form of ‘land reclamation’, too.

The evolution of people’s struggles and movements across the countryside and in the peripheral regions of Indian metros has seen a shift from struggles for enhanced compensations and rehabilitation to struggles that challenge the very ‘Development’ (now ‘Growth’) paradigm. From ‘Jaan Denge, Zameen Nahi Denge’, the struggles have gone on to assert ‘Jaan bhi nahi, Zameen bhi nahi Denge’ and ‘Jo Zameen Sarkari Hei; Woh Zameen Hamari hei’. The country is dotted with communities resisting State sponsored land grab which resonate the demand for a just law to ensure that there is no forced acquisition of land and resources, including minerals and ground water. The voices from movements across places such as Narmada, Koel Karo, Singur, Nandigram, Sonbhadra, Chindwara, Bhavnagarm, Kalinga Nagar, Kashipur, Raigarh, Srikakulam and mining areas in central India have been putting their protests against the longstanding crisis concerning Land Acquisition and Resettlement & Rehabilitation

It is in this context that the Sangharsh collective is organising a one-day consultation in Delhi on the 13th of December 2012, from 10am to 5.30pm, at YMCA, Patel Chowk, New Delhi to discuss the prospects and challenges facing the new assertive land rights movements. The discussion will be joined by the representatives of political parties, Members of Parliament, representatives of mass movements, academics from across the country.

We do hope you will be able to join the consultation on an important legislation and enrich the debate with your inputs and experiences.

In Solidarity,

Yours Sincerely,

Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan – NAPM
Ashok Choudhary – National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers
Roma, Kaimur Kshetra Mahila Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Samiti – NFFPFW
Gautam Bandopadhyay, Nadi Ghati Morcha, Chattisgarh – NAPM
Guman Singh, Him Niti Abhiyan, Himachal Pradesh
Bhupinder Singh Rawat, Bhumi Bachao Andolan – NAPM
Dr. Rupesh Kumar, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti,UP- NAPM
Vimal Bhai, Matu Jan Sangathan, Uttarakhand – NAPM

contact: madhuresh 9818905316 | sanjeev 9958797409 | shweta 9911528696
email: madhuresh@napm-india.org | sanjeev@delhiforum.net | shweta.tripathi@sruti.org.in | 

 

#Gujarat #Elections -Banned Congress Ad on Modi #censorship


Narendra Modi at a BJP rally

Narendra Modi at a BJP rally (Photo credit: Al Jazeera English)

A hilarious advertisement  in Gujarati censored by election commission.

 

 

 

 

#India – #Chennai- #acidattack victim seek funds for treatment #Vaw #mustshare


By , TNN | Dec 6, 2012, 04.33 AM IST

CHENNAI: A team of doctors at the Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital (KMCH) performed a surgery on the eyelids of software engineer J Vinodhini who was attacked with acid by construction worker Suresh, who had stalked her for months.

Doctors say she has lost vision in both eyes. Her family has started raising funds through donations for her treatment. They have opened a bank account and requested donors to deposit even meagre amounts to help her.

KMCH burns ward chief Dr V Jayaraman said, “A team of doctors performed the surgery on her eyelids on Tuesday. We will take the skin from her thighs to reconstruct the burnt skin of her face.”

Vinodhini was admitted to KMCH with 38% burns all over her body. “We have the facilities to reconstruct and do cosmetic surgery for her face and other body parts. We will perform the surgeries in a phased manner,” Dr Jayaraman added.

Vinodhini’s father V Jayabalan, a security guard at a private school in Karaikudi, requested the public to help him raise funds for her treatment. Jayabalan has opened an account with Indian Bank branch in Kilpauk.

People can deposit the money directly to savings bank account no. 603 899 558 in the name of V Jayabalan. The bank’s IFSC number is IDIB000K037, and the swift code is IDIBINBBTSY. The swift account number is 358 202 118 001. People can also call the branch chief manager on +91-9444391018 if they have queries. 

A police officer said Suresh attacked Vinodhini on November 14 when she was walking with a friend in Karaikal at 10.30pm.

The officer said he was obsessed with her. During interrogation, Suresh told police he had decided to take revenge on her because she had lodged a complaint against him. “Her family complained to police because he had been stalking her and had threatened her several times after she turned him down,” the officer said.

The Karaikal police arrested Suresh, 29, and charged him with attempted murder under Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code.

 

#India- #Jharkhand Dayamani Barla faces government’s wrath over agitation against land grab


Edited by Sabyasachi Dasgupta | Updated: December 11, 2012

 Jharkhand activist Dayamani Barla faces government's wrath over agitation against land grab
RanchiIn Jharkhand, activist and journalist Dayamani Barla has spent the last month and half in prison. Activists in the state allege she is facing government persecution for leading an agitation of villagers near the state’s capital Ranchi. The government says her arrest has nothing to do with any particular agitation and is in line with the law, and related to her participation in earlier agitations across the state where police cases were registered against Ms Barla.

48-year-old Dayamani Barla rose to prominence in the 1990s when she led the ‘Koel Karo’ agitation, protesting against a dam that threatened to submerge 66,000 acres and displace 135,000 tribal families. The plans for the dam had to be finally shelved. Ms Barla also led agitations against all major steel giants in Jharkhand, including ArcelorMittal.

This time though, her agitation against the government seems to have proved costly for this tribal activist.

Since 2010, Ms Barla has led the agitation at Nagri, a village 25 kilometres from Ranchi, where the Jharkhand government is trying to acquire 202 acres of fertile land for building a law university, an Indian Institute of Management and another institute. Ms Barla’s troubles mounted since she began the agitation at Nagri.

On October 16 this year, Ms Barla had to surrender before a Ranchi court in a four-year-old case related to a road block she had led in Ranchi. Ms Barla surrendered after the court ordered her property attached in the case. Activists allege that before the launch of Nagri agitation there was no movement in the case for four years.

In August, Ms Barla got bail in the case within two days, but never came out of prison, as she was rearrested by the Jharkhand Police for allegedly ploughing land at the Nagri village despite government restrictions. Since then, her bail application has been rejected three times by lower courts in Ranchi.

Sushanto Mukherjee, a state member of the Marxist Coordination Committee, the organisations leading the agitation at Nagri, says, “Dayamani Barla is being 100 percent persecuted. The government feels if they keep her in jail, they will manage to grab the lands in Nagri. But we will not let that happen.’

At ground zero of the agitation, people like Kadir Kujur are defiant. He owns a few acres of land at Nagri which he says is extremely fertile and suitable for multiple crops, dismissing the government’s claims of the low fertility of this land. He says Barla’s arrest is a pressure tactic by the Jharkhand government. “Why should the government persecute activists? They are only showing us the way forward in this struggle. I don’t feed Dayamani Barla in return for her contributions to our cause,” said Kujur.

But at the Jharkhand Police Headquarters, Director General of Police GS Rath says all allegations by activists about Dayamani Barla’s arrest are blatant lies. According to Mr Rath Dayamani Barla “is a political activist and the law of the land is the same for everybody. If someone violates the law can you blame the police for acting against them.”

Activists have now approached the Jharkhand High Court in an effort to get bail for Ms Barla, and have also threatened to move the Supreme Court if necessary. But the immediate future looks bleak for Dayamani Barla, as she counts her days in jail with little hope of coming out anytime soon.

Activist Dayamani Barla has spent 45 days in jail now with three of her bail pleas rejected. She is perhaps paying the price for agitating against the Jharkhand government. Human rights activist Binayak Sen speaks to NDTV on the arrest.

http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/india-decides-9/binayak-sen-on-dayamani-barla-s-arrest/257938?v_also_see

Dayamni barla appears at teh court on 12-12-12

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=393580630725146&set=a.393575577392318.91813.373449066071636&type=1&theater

 

 

#India- Here is why section #66A does not ‘protect’ women #FOE #Censorship


by  , FIRSTPOST Dec 12, 2012

One of the arguments Union Minister for Communication, Information and Technology, Kapil Sibal, often gives to justify Section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act is that it is an essential tool in fighting the online harassment of women. “Many kinds of threats can be given on the Internet which cannot be given on a normal communication network. Therefore, the nature of the law has to be different,” reiterated the minister in an interview to NDTV in November 2012.

Online harassment is indeed a serious problem for women. In April this year, for instance, Chennai based writer and activist Meena Kandasamy found herself at the receiving end of sexually charged verbal abuse and threats of violence in response to a 15 April tweet, which said: “Was at the Osmania university beef eating festival. Awesome experience in spite of violence by ABVP.”

In reactionary tweets, totaling more than a hundred, she was called a variety of names including “bitch,” “whore,” and “terrorist.”

“Bloody bitch, u shud be gang raped and telecasted live. That will be awesome experience (sic),” was an example of one such tweet by @sidhh 108.

In October, singer Chinmayi Sripada lodged a complaint with Chennai police that she was getting casteist and vulgar comments about both her and her mother from six twitter handles. “Most of my tweets were misquoted to give a feeling that I am against Tamil, Tamil Tweeters and bloggers and also against Sri Lankan Tamils. Some even started tagging me on Facebook,” Sripada told The Hindu.

This threatening online environment is an extension of real life in terms of the attitude towards the fairer sex. “Just like in real life, women are expected not to comment online about political issues or anything which needs application of the brain. Signs of struggle of power between two genders are very much visible online,” says Vidyut Kale, a Mumbai based blogger, who has received cuss words, rape and death threats. “By the way, education has got nothing to with it,” she adds.

Reuters

While the Internet can be a hostile place for both sexes, women face additional sexist abuse in a way that men do not. “Trans people who have written both as male and female bloggers, for example, have reported a sharp difference between the two in terms of the abuse they received, and the way in which attacks became more personalised and gender-based after blogging as a woman. There certainly is a trend here,” says Dr Anja Kovacs of the Internet Democracy Project, a Delhi based initiative for online freedom of speech which is conducting a study on online harassment.

However, Sibal is wrong to cite online abuse of women as a justification for section 66A of IT Act, which advocates of online freedom of speech claim is a classic case of the cure being worse than the disease.

Moreover, when section 66A was inserted into the IT Act in 2008, the purpose was not to safeguard women from abuse or stalking. According to Kiran Karnik, former president of NASSCOM and member of the expert committee which suggested changes in the IT Act, the amendments proposed by the expert committee were benign, but the Parliamentary standing committee made the law much tighter in its over-enthusiasm.

“Things were added on the pretext of taking care of spam, defamation and that gave huge power to security agencies,” Karnik told NDTV.

Thus, Kapil Sibal’s ‘protect our women’ argument is a post facto and expedient rationale for the amendments.

The argument is also not based on any kind of supporting evidence, and for one simple reason: the government does not maintain any data on the number of complaints filed by women under section 66A.

Except for the case of Chinmayi Sripada — where the police took action against two men allegedly harassing her — there are few other known cases where a woman has taken recourse to section 66A to fight cyber abuse.

In stark contrast, there are many cases illustrating the misuse of 66A: the arrests of cartoonist Aseem Trivedi for lampooning national symbols on his website and Professor of Jatavpur university for mocking Mamata Banerjee on Facebook, the detention of a Puducherry businessman for tweeting that Karti Chidambaram has amassed more wealth than Robert Vadra, and the infamous Palghar case where two girls were arrested under section 66A because they believed that the death of Bal Thackeray did not call for a city-wide bandh.

“After the Shaheen Dada and Rinu Srinivasan case, we know it [66A] is not protecting women, it is jailing some of them who speak. I doubt if anyone who is flaunting Hindutva and threatening gang rape and butchering or calling for a Hindu style fatwa on a writer is going to be going to jail anytime soon,” says Kandasamy.

Therefore, even if we take into consideration Sibal’s argument that Internet is a different beast which wields much more power than traditional media and hence we need a separate law, 66A is so vaguely worded that it can be used at will — not to protect women but to punish those who speak out. If the intent is to crack down on online abuse, then the law has to be sharply and
narrowly defined, and in a way that it does not infringe on the freedom of speech.

Besides, there are many provisions in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which deal with similar offences against women, points out Delhi based lawyer Apar Gupta. “IPC Section 509 deals with words, gestures or acts intended to insult the modesty of a woman. This can be invoked in cases of online abuse of women as well.”

Other parts of penal law may apply as well, including section 499 which deals with defamation, sections 503 which deals with criminal intimidation and and 507 which addresses criminal intimidation via an anonymous communication.

“I think the only space that has any semblance of the free media is the Internet. Section 66A is the only way they are going to go about silencing people who speak their mind. This protecting woman is such a nice facade,” concludes Kandasamy.

#India- Let’s Have a National Debate on the Ambitious Nuclear Program


People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) December 12, 2012
Idinthakarai & P. O. 627 104
Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu
Phone: 98656 83735; 98421 54073
koodankulam@yahoo.com

The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) calls for a national debate on the Indian government’s ambitious and aggressive nuclear power program and for making it a poll issue in the upcoming Parliamentary elections. If the Congress Party or the BJP or any other party for that matter manages to convince the Indian voters about this full-scale nuclearization of the country and obtains absolute majority in the next Parliament, we will call off the ongoing struggle against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) immediately.

Since the incumbent Congress-led UPA government is accused of obscene and rampant corruption and scandals, and have lost all moral authority and legitimacy to rule the country, the people of India cannot and will not let them take this important nuclearization decision about the future and wellbeing of the second most populous country in the world. The whole of India knows how the present Manmohan Singh government manipulates the Parliament and gets through its devious policies and deceitful schemes. They played all kinds of dirty games and dubious politics to get the Indo-US Nuclear Deal passed in the Parliament. The Indian citizens have witnessed a much worse drama on the recent vote on the FDI issue. The Congress-led government threatened and/or seduced political parties and unscrupulous politicians such as M. Karunanidhi, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati, Lalu Prasad Yadav and others with serious cases or selective incentives to win their support for FDI. Now we hear that Walmart has spent an exorbitant amount of money in India to manipulate the entire Parliamentary processes.

Indian citizens simply do not and cannot trust these unprincipled, immoral, corrupt and self-seeking “leaders” and their family-run parties to decide all our fate, our progenies’ destiny, and our precious natural resources. Most of the present-day “leaders” are all sell-outs and they work for foreign governments, their agencies and MNCs. These cancerous elements’ only motive in public life is self-aggrandizement, self-perpetuation, and self-indulgence. Even if these old manipulative Machiavellis lose power (and die), we will still be stuck with their equally bad and corrupt sons and daughters. Nonetheless, let the people of India have a say in the important decision of nuclearizing India.

After all, the nuclear energy program is not just about generating electricity. When the government starts nuclear power plants all along the Indian coast at Koodankulam, Kalpakkam, Kovvada, Pati Sonapur, Haripur, Jaitapur, Tarapur, Mithi Virdi and so on, all these huge and foreign power plants would be dumping hot and contaminated water and radioactive wastes into the sea with disastrous impact on our sea, seafood, ground water, crops and so forth. Our food security and nutrition security will be drastically affected. As it is, some 42 percent of our children are born malnourished and with severe deficiencies. If we lose the cheap and best fish food also, only the politicians’ and bureaucrats’ children will have the physical health and mental faculties to lead normal healthy life. The present-day slavery will be perpetuated.

When the Indian elites build even more nuclear power plants at Kaiga, Chutka, Banswada and Fatehabad and so on, most of the Indian citizens will be exposed to dangerous radiation all over the country and we all will be paying a heavy price for diseases and ill health. The government of India does not take these hidden costs into account as our “leaders” are constantly working for their money and their children’s power.

So, we make the following proposition. Ask the government of India and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) to share the following documents on all the existing and upcoming nuclear projects:
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA),
Site Evaluation Report (SER),
Safety Analysis Report (SAR),
Emergency Preparedness Plan (EPP),
Concerned Reactor’s Performance Report,
Liability Regimes and all other relevant information, documents and details in English, Hindi and the local languages.

Let the whole country discuss these reports and information and engage in a nation-wide debate about the exorbitant cost of nuclear energy, the hidden costs such as food insecurity and diseases, nuclear safety, nuclear waste management, decommissioning technology and costs, and the whole array of related issues.

And then in the upcoming Parliament elections, let us ask the Indian voters to decide on the full-fledged ambitious and aggressive nuclearization of our country. If majority of them endorse the policy and vote overwhelmingly for any party that supports this nuclear policy and projects, we, the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) will immediately withdraw our struggle against the KKNPP project.

If the corrupt “leaders” of India have not sold the country to the United States, Russia and France, let them take up this democratic offer and work with us instead of sending discredited scientists, macho model boys and subservient bureaucrats amidst us to convince the clear-headed citizens of India.

The Struggle Committee
The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)

 

#India- FREE APARNA MARANDI , Human Rights Violation by Jharkhand Police


PLEASE SIGN ONLINE PETITION  BELOW  SHARE WIDELY

http://petitions.halabol.com/2012/12/15/free-aparna-marandi-and-her-4-year-old-son

aparna1

URGENT APPEAL*

*| India |, 11 December 2012*

Aparna Marandi, her four year old son Alok Chandra, Satish (16 years old)
her distant relative and her two friends Baby Turi and Susheela Ekka were
picked up the police on 8th December. The manner in which they were picked
up, interrogated and detained, are in clear violation of all established
procedures and rules. Aparna was forced to sign a confessional statement on
the basis of which she has been taken away to Dumka prison. All of them
were mistreated and mentally tortured during this unlawful interrogation.

Earlier in the day I and my colleagues at Video Volunteers, Anand Hembrom
and Tania Deviah, spoke at length with Baby Turi and her husband Damodar
Turi. Their detailed narration of the last 3 days (below) gives us enough
evidence of grievous human rights violation by the Jharkhand police :
illegal detention, violation of arrest guidelines, forceful confession,
intimidatory and abusive interrogation, threatening to seriously hurt and
kill.

Given that this is not an isolated incident, and marks a pattern of
silencing rights activists who challenge repression and exploitative
‘development’ projects , we must take strong and urgent action on this
matter. I urge you all to take this matter up in your respective individual
or collective capacities to ensure justice to all affected.

*Backstory:*

Aparna Marandi is the wife of cultural activist Jeetan Marandi. Jeetan was
a composer and singer and  sang about poverty, starvation, corruption,
oppression – realities of life in some of the most marginalized regions in
the country. The state reacted to his activism with draconian force and
incarcerated him. Despite being acquitted by the Jhakhand High Court,
Jeetan continues to languish in prison. It has been four long years since
he was arrested.

Since Jeetan’s arrest, Aparna has been indefatigable. With her son in her
arms, she would go from courts to police stations to government officers to
conferences to rallies in the streets in an effort to secure justice for
Jeetan. She is one of the most outspoken voices for human rights and
justice in grassroots Jharkhand.

Baby Turi is the Mukhiya (village council head) of Jitpur panchayat in
Tundi block, Dhanbad district of Jharkhand. Damodar Turi, a well known
human rights activist specifically working against displacement and forced
eviction, is Baby’s husband. Damodar is also accused of being a ‘Maoist
sympathizer’ and has baseless cases slapped on him since the last four
years.

*Baby Turi’s Statement [Given on 11 December]*

On 8th December 2012, I along with  Aparna Marandi , her four year old son
Alok,  Sushila Ekka and Satish Kumar were to take a train from Hatia
railway station to go to Hyderabad to attend the Rajnitik Bandi Rihayi
Samiti (Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners) meeting. At 4pm,
while we were still sitting in the train and waiting for it to move, we
were approached by plain clothed police officers. They told us that they
were Railway Ticket Examiners and that we needed to be interrogated for
traveling on unconfirmed tickets. We were all were made to remove our
luggage and get out of the train. They asked us why we are going to
Hyderabad. Aparna said she is attending the meeting as her husband is a
political prisoner. ‘I will try everything I can to get my husband out of
jail because he is innocent’, she said.

From the railway station we were moved to the CBI office in Ranchi where we
were interrogated about our links to Maoist groups. They kept throwing
names at us but we did not know any of those people. We said that we have
no links or connections with any Maoists group or person. Through out that
questioning they used foul language and kept cursing. Their whole approach
was to scare us, intimidate and to make us to accept their charges and
allegations.

At 10.30 pm on the same night (8th December 2012) they moved us to the
Women’s station in Ranchi. They kept us in the lockup room. We were given
very little food and after demanding it several times. They did not even
give some biscuits to Alok. They used abusive language and wouldn’t allow
us to use the toilet. They said we were faking the urge to use the toilet
because we wanted to walk around.  That night we slept in the lockup room
with one male guard outside. The guards took turns to keep an eye on us.

Next morning, on  9th December, Aparna was called out individually. They
started asking her about her connection to Maoists. They cursed her and
threatened her a lot. The poor thing was very scared. Aparna was asked to
sign a document stating that she was part of group who set a company’s
dumper (truck) on fire in Dumka and in the shoot out in Khatikhund. Aparna
was forced to sign it. She told us later that she had no choice but to sign
it because she felt her life ws in danger. The camera that you (Video
Volunteers) had given her was confiscated. They asked us to us to sweep the
lock up and do things like this. They weren’t giving us food. We told them
that we’ll give them money, just buy us some food! Aparna had picked up the
broom but we told her to drop it. Are we sweepers?

I overheard the police officer talking to her superiors on the phone. She
said ‘we have captured four Naxals and we are taking good care of them
Sir.’ Although it was a women’s police station, there were many CRPF men
guarding both the inside and outside the station. Through that day we were
photographed many times by the police.

When the media persons came, there was more tension. They told us we had
informed the media and that we were lying that we hadn’t contacted anyone.
We know that many activists in Ranchi and elsewhere were calling the SP to
know about our whereabouts and that the SP said that he doesn’t know about
any such arrests. All that time we were in the lock up.

Sushila too was interrogated. ‘How come people from different districts are
here together’, they asked. We explained that we knew each other since
Jeetan and Damodar were arrested under false charges in 2008.

They asked me if I knew about a CRPF camp near my village. I said yes. They
asked if I knew about the murder of a landlord there. I said no. They said,
‘how come you don’t know about it when you are the Mukhiya of the village’.
I said that I was not the Mukhiya (village council head)  at the time of
that killing. The police woman accused me of wining the election with the
support of the Maoists. They were trying very hard to make us accept that
we are Maoists.

Only women police officers were interrogating us. But CRPF men were all
over the station. They even accompanied us even when we went to use the
toilet.

On the evening of the 9th I and Susheela and Satish were asked to write and
sign a document stating that we were taken in for interrogation with Aparna
Marandi and were released without harm and that the police had not
misbehaved with us. We were asked to write that we had gathered in Hatiya
railway station to meet Jeetan Marandi. But we refused to write that part
because this was not true. Jeetan Marandi has been in jail for 4 years so
how can we have gone to meet him at the railway station?!  We protested
vehemently. We insisted that we will only write the facts and they
relented. However, they made us write that we were picked up for
questioning on the evening of the 9th. We told them that we want to put the
actual date which was the 8th. But they started cursing us again and even
threatened to kill us and so we relented to this and allowed them to put
the date as 9th .  We wrote and signed that statement because the three of
us were totally scared for our lives.

That night we were again made to sleep in the lock up. We were not allowed
to contact any our relatives nor did they inform any of our relatives of
our whereabouts or charges on us.

The following day, on 10th of December, at about 11am Aparna was taken away
to be produced before the magistrate in Ranchi. We came to know later that
she was taken to Dumka jail from there.

One police officer wanted the three of us to also a sign the confession
document of Aparna Marandi wherein she was made to write that she was
involved in the two incidents of Maoist attack. We started worrying badly.
Just then another police officer told her that the 3 of us need not be
added to Aparna’s. ‘We’ll slap some other case on them’, she said.

At 4pm on 10th December , Sushila, Satish and I were released. We don’t
know what will happen next. We just know that they have taken our photos
and our signatures on this document. We don’t know how Aparna is doing.

*Damodar Turi statement:* *[Given on 11 December]*

I am the State Convener of the Visthapan Virodhi Janvikas Andolan (People’s
Campaign against Displacement). I have charges under UAPA and under section
17 and 18 CRPC Act filed against me since 24th June 2008.  No FIR was made.
No information was given to me or anyone about this. That night at 9pm,
police surrounded my office in Ranchi and arrested me. Police officers from
5 stations were present, about 100 police men.  They started beating me in
the office itself. They beat me in the vehicle on the way. In the station
they beat me in various ways, kicks, slaps, with sticks. Then they took me
to Lalpur Police Station and began third degree torture. They kept throwing
names of Moist leaders at me and asked me how I knew them. I said I don’t
know any of them and that my work is against displacement and for the
development of Adivasis and Dalits. ‘So you are against all the companies
that want to come to Jharkhand is it”, they asked me. I said that my work
is to secure the rights of the marginalized people. They then asked me how
I met various activists and leaders and where we get funding from. I showed
them receipts of how people donated small funds to the movement. They did
not listen. They confiscated the cash in my office and claimed that it was
“levy ka paisa” (money collected as levy*). I felt upset and protested that
this is not levy money. They tortured me more and made me sign a statement.
The same night they moved me to the Muffosil police station. They
threatened me that they will kill me in an encounter. I told them who I was
and and what my work was and that this fact will not change no matter how
much they tortured me. I told them to go ahead and kill me in an encounter
if they want.

The next morning they took me to a press conference. At first the hall was
empty. Then they took me out of the room and when they brought me back in,
on each of the tables they had laid out *Lal Chingari* pamphlets, alongside
brochures of my organization. Lal Chingari is the pamphlet brought out by
the Moists. I tried to protest and told the press who I am and that the Lal
Chingari pamphlets were not mine. SP (Superintendent of Police) MS Bhatia
told the media persons gathered there that the Lal Chingari were recovered
from my office. The fact is that they did not find any such thing on me or
in my office. This was the only evidence they produced to prove that I am a
Maoist. The press then wrote both sides of the story.

This is the context under which my wife’s recent arrest plays out. In the
biggest democracy in the country, there is a lot of suspicion against the
Adivasi and Dalits. A lot of us are targeted as Maoists and Naxals. We have
no forum to voice our sorrow. There is a report stating how 100s of
Adivasis have been jailed with such charges. All the armed operations
against Maoists have targeted defenseless Adivasis and Dalits in this
state. That is the systematic attempt of the Government. My wife and her
companions are being treated this way because they are Dalits. If they were
women from upper class or upper caste families, I don’t feel they would
have been looked at with such suspicion.

My wife and others were detained illegally. They were picked up police men
in plain clothes, they had no name tags, there were no women police at that
time. This is a blatant violation of law and laid down procedures. They
were not told the reason of their arrest. They weren’t allowed to use the
toilet and were mentally tortured. They were not given adequate food and
had to fight for it. They police used abusive language. They were detained
for more than 24 hrs and were not produced before a Magistrate. The police
kept talking about their connection to Maoist leaders. There were threats
to beat kill them.

Stalin K.DirectorVideo Volunteers – Empowering CommunityVoices

#India-The right to food security #mustread


BMJ 2012; 345 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e8273 (Published 10 December 2012)

Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8273
  1. Veena Shatrugna, formerly deputy director, National Institute of Nutrition1,
  2. R Srivatsan, senior fellow2

Author Affiliations

  1. veenashatrugna@yahoo.com

Communities must push back against global policy decisions that fuel Third World hunger

The report from the Right to Food and Nutrition Watch published during October 2012 considered the effects of globalised food policies on populations in the Third World.1 It offered a very different perspective on food insecurity than that provided by official United Nations/World Bank documents. The authors of the report considered food security in light of social determinants of nutrition, such as food availability, agricultural policy, land transactions, cropping patterns, and agricultural finance. The report focused on the lack of accountability of large food producers that also own vast tracts of land to the people who face hunger and who have a right to food. Their damning indictment is that “the right to food of people around the planet has primacy over the need to fuel cars and economies in the European Union or North America.”

The report included a review of the progress of the Committee on World Food Security (an international body set up by the UN) after it was reformed in 2009 to include people’s organisations. The report stressed the importance of keeping the right to food as a benchmark in policy decisions. The World Trade Organization routinely takes major policy decisions that affect communities’ right to food without due consideration. Other offenders include international investment groups that negotiate the terms of bilateral trade agreements, public-private partnerships that promote directly delivered medicalised nutritional intervention, and those that engage in speculative trading in food. The report reviewed finance capital in agribusiness and outlined the devastating effects on poverty of speculative trading in food. Speculation on food prices has resulted in dangerously volatile food prices since 2007. Agribusiness trades through individual contracts and with little market transparency. The source of finance is surplus funds in the West, but speculation wreaks havoc and impoverishment in the Third World.

The report also presents several case studies that are eye openers to what happens on the ground. They illustrate, for example, how coercive land acquisition (grabbing)—a historical legacy of colonialism in the Arab Spring countries—and allocation of prime agricultural land to non-local industry cause food crises and impoverishment in agricultural communities. The increasing diversion of agricultural land away from food farming and to the cultivation of biofuels needed by Western countries is another major problem currently contributing to hunger in Africa. Widespread economic havoc has been caused in Mexico under the unfavourable North American Free Trade Agreement, which sees Mexico trading agricultural commodities with the United States.

India has had enormous growth in gross domestic product with no evidence of a trickle down effect. In 2006 it was estimated that 51.5% of Indian children were stunted and 54.9% were underweight. About 34.6% of adults reportedly had a body mass index of less than 18.5.2 It seems that there has been little recent change.

India’s long term food policies have resulted in an epidemic of stunting and decreased muscle mass in the children of poor families. Indian national policy has for decades emphasised cheap cereals as the major source of energy for its population. In a 1968 publication, nutrition experts suggested that a mixture of cheap foods like cereals, pulses, and vegetables could provide a mixture of amino acids that was very nearly as good as if animal proteins were consumed.3 This particular statement was reproduced in the 1971 edition of the Indian National Institute of Nutrition’s report Nutritive Value of Indian Foods and every reprint until the latest in 2011. Furthermore, it has influenced policies on food and wages, including the calculation and classification of the “poverty line.”

In 1970, people were regarded as being above the poverty line if they could afford to consume 10 042 kJ (2400 kcal) daily from the cheapest food source. Minimum wages were then calculated to provide this level of intake for a family of five on the assumption that they would consume cheap cereals. The famous “myth of protein gap,” based on an observation in 1971 that undernourished children (1670-2090 kJ daily deficit) could consume adequate protein (20 g/day) from cereal if only “they ate more of their usual foods,” changed the way the diets of poor adults and children were regarded.4 Promotion of a cereal-pulse vegetarian diet effectively removed animal proteins from Indian diets.3 Even consumption of pulses diminished over time. The more affluent vegetarians, a minority, consumed adequate daily protein requirements through sources such as milk and almonds.

In addition to widespread malnutrition and stunting, which underpins negative metabolic consequences in adulthood, more than 70% of women and children in India have anaemia and deficiencies in intakes of most vitamins and minerals.2Against this background of chronic poor nutrition, more food shortages have worsened malnutrition and hunger in the Indian population. A more recent concern in India, however, is the complex association between adult onset obesity and food insecurity. Accumulating evidence suggests that, although severe food insecurity leads to wasting, mild to moderate food insecurity is associated with obesity.5 This hunger induced morbidity pattern will continue to plague India for decades.

The Right to Food and Nutrition Watch 2012 report concludes by discussing how hungry people can regain control over those decisions that affect their food and nutritional situation. The authors highlight several successes, including the first international instrument that applied a human rights approach to agree on tenure of natural resources—the new Guidelines on Responsible Governance on Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests. These guidelines were adopted in May 2012 by the Committee on World Food Security after an inclusive and participatory process. They urge communities to occupy the newly created political spaces for inclusive decision making on food and nutrition.

Notes

Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8273

Footnotes

  • Competing interests: Both authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form at www.icmje.org/coi_disclosure.pdf (available on request from the corresponding author) and declare: no support from any organisation for the submitted work; no financial relationships with any organisations that might have an interest in the submitted work in the previous three years; no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work.

  • Provenance and peer review: Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.

References

  1. Right to Food and Nutrition Watch. Who decides about global food and nutrition? Strategies to regain control. 2012. www.rtfn-watch.org/fileadmin/media/rtfn-watch.org/ENGLISH/pdf/Watch_2012/R_t_F_a_N_Watch_2012_eng_web_rz.pdf.
  2. National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau. Diet and nutritional status of population and prevalence of hypertension among adults in rural areas. Technical report 24. National Institute of Nutrition, 2006. www.nnmbindia.org/NNMBReport06Nov20.pdf.
  3. Gopalan C, Rama Sastri BV, Balasubramanian SC. Nutritive value of Indian foods. National Institute of Nutrition, 2011.
  4. Gopalan C, Narasinga Rao BS. Nutritional constraints on growth and development in current Indian dietaries. Indian J Med Res1971;59:111-22.
  5. Townsend MS, Peerson J, Love B, Achterberg C, Murphy SP. Food insecurity is positively related to overweight in women. J Nutr2001;131:1738-45.