#India – Why Narendra Modi behaves like larger-than-life Rambo


This Pic is by Amir Rizvi

This Pic is by Amir Rizvi

Economic Times, Kigshuk Nag, 28 Jun, 2013
Narendra Modi hasn’t formally studied economics or sociology, but he sure has intimate knowledge about the theory of expectations.

In essence, the theory suggests that a person will decide to act in a way that will lead to the fulfilment of what he expects to happen.

So, Modi knows that if electors can be convinced to believe that he will win in 2014, they will actually vote for him. Thus, his whole effort now is to convince theelector that he alone will be the victor.

Though given to talking big for a long time – lately earning him the epithet of feku – this is the real reason for Modi for projecting himself as a Rambo who rescued 15,000 Gujarati pilgrims from Uttarakhand in a day.

The logic works like this: if a particular elector believes that electors in general are convinced that Modi is a Rambo, he will expect them to vote for the Gujarat chief minister and make him the winner.

This, in turn, will induce this particular voter to be in tune with the general mood and plump for Modi (unless he has specific reservations).

Expand this particular voter to the universe of all voters and it is easy to figure out how a general expectation that Modi will win can lead to his actual victory.

Of course, the reverse is also true. A general belief that he cannot win will induce non-committed voters to cast their franchise for someone else. Modi is also using the expectation theory when he warns CBI officers that the government could change in the near future. Read this as, proceed gingerly in the Ishrat Jahan case and do not cross me because tomorrow I willbe your boss.

As a matter of strategy, Modi is also using the theory of expectations along with the public mood in the country that is for “change”. The mood for change first became clear from the massive support garnered by Anna Hazare in 2010-11. Hazare’s enormous popularity was because people saw him as the change agent. But this was short-lived because people soon realised that Hazare could not deliver on the change that they wanted. Actually, the people also do not know the “change” that they seek.

Modi is cognisant of this and is offering himself as the change agent.

The task of Modi’s spin doctors will be to build more attributes for the man, so that they tend to align with the change that the people want. Some changes that people want are fairly clear: they want an honest, transparent regime.

That such a revolution cannot take place in India through our defective electoral system – where loads of moolah is needed – may be known to analysts but not to the common man.

Thus, Modi’s men will project him as clear-as-a-crystal leader who delivers on his promises without fear and prejudice. At the same time, they will de-emphasise some of the attributes that have stuck to Modi.

The most obvious of them is his being anti-minority. To counter this, BJP proposes to produce a vision document for minorities.

Slowly, Modi is also being seen as a handmaiden of big business. As evidence of this, last week, a huge crowd of farmers rode into Ahmedabad in trucks, tractors and trailers protesting the Modi government move to forcibly acquire 50,887 hectares of farm land for a special investment region. Expect Modi nowto become pro-farmer.

Modi’s biggest apprehension, however, is that the 2014 elections becoming a referendum on him. This is in spite of Modi revelling in being perpetually in public gaze and nothing can be a bigger ego-booster than a national election exclusively focused on him. A poll where Modi is pitted against Rahul Gandhi or Manmohan Singh is less difficult for him to manage considering the Congress’ two-term anti-incumbency effect.

But a battle that becomes a choice, want Modi or don’t want him, can become an almost insurmountable obstacle for Modi to cross.

This is because many who prefer Modi to Rahul will pause and evaluate carefully whether they want Modi at all. Many who will give the thumbs down to Rahul will not approve of Modi in isolation because they know he is a feku, projecting a larger-than-life image of himself.

The writer is resident editor, Hyderabad, The Times of India

 

#Irom sharmila- Starving to live, not die #hungerstrike #AFSPA


March 30, 2013 , The Hindu

Goutham Shivshankar
Suhrith Parthasarathy

TOPICS
When the Supreme Court has recognised the right to go on hunger strike, why is Irom Sharmila’s protest against impunity of the armed forces a criminal act?

Over the past 12 years, Irom Sharmila Chanu has carried on an inconceivable hunger strike, which has seen her body wither and her skin turn pale. During this period, she has emerged as the face of the civilian resistance to the immunity, and impunity, granted by the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act to the army in Manipur. The Indian state has done its part to disfigure that face, by exhibiting either an inability or unwillingness to meet Sharmila’s demands. Today, it is impossible to think of Sharmila without recalling images of the feeding tube that has been forcibly thrust down her nose to keep her alive. However, the repeal of AFSPA and justice for the 10 civilians who were shot dead in November 2002 by the Assam Rifles in supposed retaliation to an attack by insurgents in Malom, Manipur — which triggered Sharmila’s protest — still remain elusive. Instead, Sharmila’s dissent expressed via her fast unto death has repeatedly been viewed as criminal.

Sharmila has put the Indian state in a peculiar position, by reconfiguring the dynamics of power through a public sacrifice of her body. Should the state, as it has done so far, view her indefinite fast through the lens of criminality and consider it “an attempt to commit suicide,” when Sharmila has unequivocally asserted her love of living? Or is it incongruous to do so, especially when the Supreme Court, in its recent and much-hailed intervention in the Ram Lila Maidan protests against corruption, has recognised that “hunger strike is a form of protest which has been accepted, both historically and legally in our constitutional jurisprudence”? In fact, Sharmila’s hunger strike is an area of stark legal vacuum. When there is a conflict between her freedom of expression and the Indian state’s interest, and perhaps duty, in keeping her alive, can a balance between these conflicting ends be struck without criminalising Sharmila’s actions?

The history

Examples of hunger strikes used as an expression of dissent are copious; the suffragettes used them in their campaign seeking the vote for women in England during the early 20th century. Hunger strikes around the world have typically, though not exclusively, been waged by prisoners. Such was the case when some imprisoned Irish Republicans famously went on a hunger strike in 1981 to protest British rule of Ireland, leading to the death of Bobby Sands and nine others. Prisoners tend to use hunger strikes as a mode of protest, either to advocate a cause disagreeable to the state or to express their dissent against what they believe to be a wrongful conviction. In the former category fall cases like that of Marion Wallace Dunlop, a pioneering suffragette who was sent to prison for printing an extract from the Bill of Rights on the wall of St. Stephen’s Hall in the House of Commons. In prison, Dunlop commenced a hunger strike to continue her protest seeking the right of women to vote. In the latter category fall prisoners like William Coleman, who has been on a hunger strike lasting almost five years in a jail in Connecticut, U.S., to protest what he believes to be his wrongful conviction. Since the global trend has been for persons already imprisoned to resort to a hunger strike, this mode of protest has usually been viewed abroad as a prisoners’ rights issue. The state’s response of force-feeding prisoners has been considered by some as being tantamount to torture and an unacceptable intrusion in the autonomy of the prisoner, akin to rape.

However, India’s own experience with hunger strikes, which has been very well documented, has shown that viewing the issue through a prisoners’ rights framework is ill-advised. Our freedom fighters, Mahatma Gandhi in particular, developed and perfected this non-violent form of protest as a facet of satyagraha, and although several hunger strikes were carried out by freedom fighters during periods of incarceration, the resort to this mode of protest has never been an exclusive domain of the imprisoned. For instance, Potti Sreeramulu, a freedom fighter and Gandhian, fasted to his death, in seeking the creation of a separate State of Andhra Pradesh in independent India. The Narmada Bachao Andolan movement witnessed hunger strikes in 2002 to protest the construction of dams over the Maan River in Dhar, Madhya Pradesh.

More recently, Anna Hazare and his associates carried on hunger strikes against corruption. All of these protests were, and continue to be, carried on for the large part, outside the walls of prison. For this reason, a prisoners’ rights framework may, by itself, be insufficient to view the legality of hunger strikes in India.

Attempted suicide?

An alternative way to analyse hunger strikes, especially fasts unto death, is through the framework of a constitutional right to die. In India, not a little morbidly, this argument seems to have reached a “dead end.” Although the Supreme Court in P. Rathinam v. Union of India (1994) initially asserted that the Indian constitutional guarantee of a fundamental right to life carries with it a fundamental right to die, subsequent decisions in Gian Kaur v. State of Punjab (1996) and Aruna Shanbaug v. Union of India (2011) overruled that view, and it is now conclusively established that Indian citizens do not have a fundamental right to die. In Gian Kaur, the Supreme Court upheld the validity of Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises the “attempt to commit suicide” (i.e. the provision under which Sharmila has been charged, and previously convicted). In Shanbaug, the Supreme Court allowed only for a highly circumscribed right to approach courts to seek withdrawal of life support systems for patients in a permanent vegetative state. Thus, it appears futile to argue that Indian citizens have a right to fast unto death when, according to the apex court, they have no right to die. However, this does not automatically mean that the undertaking of fasts unto death is criminal or that one does not have a fundamental right to hunger strike of a definite period where there is no danger of death being caused. One may not have the right to do something, but to do it nonetheless needn’t be criminal.

In independent India, the resort to hunger strikes has usually, though with some exceptions (such as the hunger strike by prisoners within a jail), not been viewed through the lens of criminality. For instance, Potti Sreeramulu was never considered criminal or suicidal by the Indian state for his fatal hunger strike. Anna Hazare likewise has undertaken several indefinite hunger strikes for various causes, but has never been perceived as a criminal on this account. The most prominent example of the Indian state criminalising a fast unto death per se is that of Sharmila’s. If we really believe rape is as vile as we have recently claimed it to be, then would it be just to treat Sharmila’s strike against AFSPA, a law that shields rapists from prosecution, differently from Hazare’s strike against corruption? More importantly, would it be just for a society’s laws to selectively criminalise hunger strikes depending upon the objectives such strikes seek to achieve?

This brings us to the question of whether Sharmila’s case, and more generally fasts unto death, are appropriately viewed as “attempts to commit suicide” under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code. Any criminal offence, barring certain exceptions, requires the proof of a mens rea, or the existence of a guilty mind. Sharmila has been fasting not with an intention to die, but with an intention to achieve a desired result from the state. Her refusal to consume food or water can be criminalised only if she has acted in furtherance of a conscious endeavour to commit suicide. In the absence of such conscious endeavour, to accuse and prosecute her for an offence under Section 309 is misconceived.

Freedom to express

The questions of whether to treat Sharmila as criminal and whether the state should be allowed to force-feed her are distinct. As misguided as Sharmila’s prosecution may be, the question regarding the legality of nasally force-feeding her to keep her alive still remains open. The Supreme Court has, on the one hand, held that the threat of going on a hunger strike extended by Baba Ramdev at Ram Lila Maidan, cannot be termed illegal. Presumably, this right that the court spoke of flows from a citizen’s right to freedom of expression. That right is subject to “reasonable restrictions” in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, public order, decency, morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence. If Sharmila’s fast unto death is essentially an exercise of her fundamental right to freedom of expression, the state, in force-feeding her, may presumably be acting in furtherance of its right to impose reasonable restrictions as permitted by our Constitution. However, force-feeding, even if conducted in a humane and largely non-intrusive manner, has been widely considered to be tantamount to torture. Even though the state might merely be imposing restrictions that are reasonable within the meaning of Article 19 of the Constitution, the measure might nonetheless be a violation of Sharmila’s right to life and personal liberty under Article 21.

In our opinion, fasts unto death occupy an area of legal vacuum that offer no easy solutions. Should the state allow Sharmila to die and, in the process, abdicate its duty to protect life? Or must it resort to force-feeding her, even though such actions hit at the core of her bodily integrity? While neither offers a perfectly tailored legal solution, what is certain is that a balance ought to be struck between these starkly conflicting ends without criminalising Sharmila’s actions. For, to do so would be tantamount to stigmatising an exercise by a citizen of her right to freedom of expression in advocating a particular cause when other citizens have used the freedom in exactly the same manner without suffering prosecution, simply because they advocated causes of a different, and less complex, nature.

(The authors are advocates practising in the Madras High Court)

Mahatma Gandhi’s;Granddaughter opposes #Deathpenalty #Vaw #Rape


: Monday, February 25, 2013, Zee News
Melbourne: Amid a debate in India over capital punishment for rapists, the granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi on Monday said the death sentence is not the solution to end violence against women and the society needs to promote gender consciousness.”Capital punishment itself will not change the attitude towards gender, nor (the) Anna Hazare-led stir on bringing a law against corruption alone will change the system,” Ela Gandhi, a former South African MP said during her visit to Australia. “Well it’s 2013 but lots of mothers still buy pink for their girls and blue for the boys, that’s just one little thing in which they differentiate. I think if you just go from there, you see little issues in the way we bring up our children, that you know makes these roles separate, that children grow up thinking that we are different,” she said. “There is a difference between girls and boys but that difference is not, you know, in terms of roles and so on. That difference has been exaggerated and that is what we need to curb, ABC news quoted her as saying. And the social activist, who is working to end domestic violence thinks the society needs to “become more gender conscious”. “You know, there has to be real community outreach programs with parents, with young people in schools. Everywhere, gender consciousness needs to be a part of the syllabus of every child, that from infancy to tertiary education and in the community,” she said. She also expressed shock over alleged murder of model Reeva Steenkamp by gold medalist paralympian Oscar Pistorius. “Steenkamp’s death by the hands of her boyfriend has reinforced the unfortunate fact that South Africa is battling with the deep-rooted culture of violence? possession of arms such as a gun lead to these kinds of irreversible consequences,” she said. She also participated in various events framed around the theme “Global Problems, Local Solutions”.

What Ashis Nandy said #JLF


No room for nuance in this fragile republic

HARSH SETHI, The Hindu

MISREADING THE CONVERSATION: The days when such an event would have been dismissed as irrelevant, if not comic, are now over. Instead, we want instant retributory action without pausing to ascertain the facts. Photo: Rohit Jain Paras
The HinduMISREADING THE CONVERSATION: The days when such an event would have been dismissed as irrelevant, if not comic, are now over. Instead, we want instant retributory action without pausing to ascertain the facts. Photo: Rohit Jain Paras

In the rush to condemn Ashis Nandy and demand that he be jailed, no one bothered to understand what exactly he had said about corruption and caste

It is symptomatic of the times we live in, of the climate of political discourse that we have contributed to, that even relatively innocuous statements can get so easily misrepresented and twisted to convey a meaning that is diametrically opposite to what was said and meant. The Jaipur Literature Festival 2013, which until the morning of Republic Day had managed to successfully steer clear of any controversy, was suddenly rocked by angry protests based upon (and this must be stressed) a total misreading of remarks made by Ashis Nandy.

The panel discussion on “The Republic of Ideas,” featuring IBN7 Managing Editor Ashutosh, author and Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal, historian Patrick French, philosopher Richard Sorabji, and social psychologist Ashis Nandy, was moderated by the author and publisher, Urvashi Butalia. Following a fascinating exchange on the “promise” of the Indian Republic and Constitution, the discussion turned to the theme of corruption and the significance of the anti-corruption protests led by Anna Hazare.

Making a passionate plea to deconstruct the sociology of corruption, Tarun Tejpal argued that we need to understand the “corruption” of the poor and the marginalised as a necessary strategy to break through the stifling nature of our rules, regulations and laws. Characterising Indian society as deeply stratified, hierarchical and oppressive, our laws and rules, he claimed, are mostly designed to “keep out” the erstwhile excluded strata from having their say. The corruption of “people like us” — an elite which has both the resources and power to subvert the system — often goes unnoticed, and if discovered, rarely results in prosecution. The misdemeanours of the “others,” in contrast, not only get caught, but also generate outrage, in part because they do not have the necessary skills to successfully cover up their corruption.

Grounded in earlier remarks

Subsequent remarks made by Ashis Nandy need to be read and understood in the context of what Tarun Tejpal said speaking before Nandy did. Agreeing with Tejpal, Nandy went on to argue that such “corruption” of the excluded — the Dalits, tribals, Other Backward Classes (OBC) and minorities — is inevitable if they are to break out from the bonds of an oppressive web of rules and regulations. He went on to say, referring to both himself and Richard Sorabji, that if they “arranged” to get fellowships for their children at Harvard or Oxford, as part of a trade in mutual and selective favours, none will comment about that, as if it is axiomatic that the fellowship was awarded on the basis of merit. Politicians or leaders of the oppressed strata, being new to the game and relatively untutored in the skills of manipulation, are unlikely to seek academic fellowships as a form of graft, and are more likely to covet and corner licences to operate petrol pumps. These pumps are publicly noticeable and can provoke outrage. Their licensees are linked to their “corrupt” benefactors, who are then condemned by the chattering classes in metropolitan cities.

So far so good. Nandy then went on to more provocatively stretch the argument, asserting that it is precisely this kind of “corruption” that has “saved” the Republic and democracy by enabling a degree of social and economic mobility and pluralising the composition of India’s elite. Furthermore, he argued, that it is most likely the list of “corrupt” could be inordinately dominated by Dalits, tribals, minorities and OBCs. Despite his prefacing his last remarks, saying that what he was about to say may shock many people, and that he nevertheless wished to stress the point about how we understand corruption, many in the audience (and one on the panel) completely missed Nandy’s point, and immediately accused him of casteist bias, calling upon him to withdraw his remarks and tender an apology. Some in the audience demanded that he should be charged under the Protection of Civil Rights Act for hurting the sentiments of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

Competitive outrage follows

Nandy’s protestations that what he said and meant was completely the opposite of what he was being charged with were not persuasive once the atmosphere was charged with heightened emotions. Competitive outrage, taking on the familiar form favoured by some overly strident and aggressive TV anchors, evidently gives no quarter to nuanced arguments, any irony, or even black humour. When Nandy characterised the former Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Madhu Koda (now in jail), as India’s first dollar billionaire, he was hardly extolling the virtues of corruption or turning a blind eye to the “perfidies” of upper caste politicians. At best, in an underhand and sly way, he was expressing admiration for the abilities of a tribal leader in matching up to what has hitherto been an exclusive preserve of India’s upper caste elite.

Accusations of Nandy of being anti-Dalit/tribal/minority groups, the calls for registering a FIR against him, and demanding that he should be arrested would, in our better days, have been dismissed as an irrelevant, if not comic, aside. Such innocent days have faded, unfortunately, into a distant past. So quick are we now to take offence and demand immediate retributory action against alleged offenders that we almost never take a moment to pause, to ascertain the facts, understand what was said and meant, in what context, and to what ends. All we want is action, and now!

Signals shrinking discourse

Subsequent demands by the Bahujan Samaj Party leader, Mayawati, by the chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes P.L. Punia, and others, to arrest Ashis Nandy, even though none of them was present during the discussion, illustrates the danger of a growing kind of prickliness and intolerance. Worse still, such occasions are used by politicians to signal their commitment to their constituencies and shore up their images. In the process we are left with a diminished public discourse. Even liberals, usually quick to defend “freedom of speech,” advocate caution and temperance in the expression of reactions to intemperate allegations of the kind made against Nandy. Is this stance, one wonders, a compensatory guilt, marking what is politically correct, an obverse privileging of the erstwhile dispossessed?

Ashis Nandy’s choice of words, phrases, and examples can be questioned. He is not an organised and scintillating public speaker. One can also differ with his argument and analysis, for instance, his failure to distinguish between “corruption of the poor” and the “corruption of their leaders,” whose subversion of rules often results in them robbing the very poor who are also their constituents. Nevertheless, Nandy’s argument that the “rules of the game” have been set by an elite class to which he belongs, which remains a privileged lot, and therefore, that the deliberate subversion of those rules is an inevitable strategy for those striving for survival and upward mobility, certainly has merit. Clamping down on nuanced utterances and elliptical statements of the kind Nandy made will only make us a poorer democracy and Republic.

(Harsh Sethi is Consulting Editor, Seminar magazine.)

#Delhigangrape Month after : Jantar Mantar is a beacon of hope for justice seekers #Vaw #Justice


Published: Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013,
Place: New Delhi | Agency: IANS
Protestors protest against the Delhi gang-rape
Reuters

Jagjeet Kaur, a 30-year-old rape victim from Punjab, was frustrated after running from pillar to post for two years seeking justice. Finally, she landed in Delhi, beginning her hunger strike at Jantar Mantar, the tourist landmark in the centre of Delhi that has been the month-long epicenter of the protests against the Delhi gang-rape that she says inspired her to fight on.

“I saw on TV how hundreds of people were gathering here demanding justice for the rape victim. Some of them were on hunger strike too. The determination of the protesters inspired me to come here,” Jagjeet Kaur, who began her hunger strike Monday, told IANS.

“This is the appropriate place for me to raise my voice against rape,” added Jagjeet Kaur who sat on a mattress covered in blankets in the middle of the road next to a makeshift memorial consisting of flowers, candles and placards erected for the 23-year-old woman who was brutally raped by six males on a moving bus on December 16.

According to Jagjeet Kaur, who works for an NGO in Ludhiana, she was raped by a senior police officer in 2010.

Like her, there were many victims as well as their relatives who came from far and wide to seek justice and they all thronged to Jantar Mantar, an 18th century observatory that abuts Connaught Place, the business and shopping hub of New Delhi.

Since the December 16 incident, hundreds and, on occasions, thousands of people, young and old, came to Jantar Mantar.

All of them are united in their fight to get justice for women. Most of them want death for the six males who raped and then threw the paramedical trainee out of a moving bus on a cold December night along with her friend, bleeding and without clothes. The woman died of her injuries 18 days later in a Singapore hospital.

A month after the incident that shook the collective conscience of a nation, the protest site continues to see gatherings of people who have come together with their demand for safety of women. Surprisingly, it is for the first time that an agitation without any leadership has sustained itself for so long at the venue – or, for that matter, at any venue in the country.

Prior to this, activist Anna Hazare‘s anti-corruption agitation had managed to attract crowds for several days.

“No political party has paid us to come here; neither are we here because a civil activist made an emotional appeal. It is our anger and frustration with the system and the hope to see a safer tomorrow for our sisters and daughters that we are here,” Saleem Parvez, 55, who has often been coming to Jantar Mantar, told IANS.

Crowds consisting mainly of students and social workers usually gather at the site every morning with placards and banners and sit till dusk, braving the winter chill. The numbers swell on weekends.

Vowing to “fight till the end,” many protesters claimed that they would agitate at the site till their demands are met.

“I won’t lie, the crowds are thinning every week but we are still determined and the time till even one of us is protesting here, the movement will be alive,” said Abhishek Singh, 24, who claimed that he had been coming to Jantar Mantar daily since Dec 18, 2012.

“We will not let her death be in vain. We hope we will see changes in the laws that will make the country a better place for our daughters to live,” said Kishan Datt, 70, a retired government official, who has been regularly coming to the venue for some time now.

 

Immediate Release- POSCO and its sponsored goons threatening villagers


Dear Friends,

 

We had to confront with yet another pre-planned strategy of POSCO and its sponsored goons who were determined to threaten and humiliate our innocent villagers and almost forced us to give up our struggle against the forceful land acquisition by POSCO. On 5th December 2012, few POSCO sponsored goons and villagers started to ring the bell to convene a village meeting in order to force us to extend our cooperation to start the land acquisition process. When our villagers opposed this undemocratic and uncalled for move, the sponsored goons started beating our people. Not surprisingly, the police have filed 12 more fabricated false cases against our people.

 

Out of desperation POSCO is following a divide and rule strategy in  Gobindpur village. The Posco officials are trying to allure and divide our people by bribing the goons for acquiring the forest land adjacent to Gobindpur. However, our people are strongly determined to fight back and would not make it success at all.

 

As you know, in the course of our peaceful and democratic non-violent struggle to prevent our lands from being forcibly acquired by POSCO, our people have been brutally attacked by paid goons of the company and subjected to grueling economic blockades by the local administration. Several of our leaders have been put behind bars. False charges have been foisted on over 200 activists, both men and women.

 

On November 29, 2012, more than 3000 people had observed anti-violence day at Dhinkia village. You may remember that on November 29th of 2007, the state government has unleashed series of brutal repression against our people. Again the police has made repression on our people on May 15th 2010. We are attaching herewith the link of a videohttp://www.videorepublic.tv/2011/12/25/the-big-fat-brutal-lie/ where the state police is burning the huts, beating and firing at the villagers.

 

On 30th November 2012, the anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare attended a farmer’s rally at Jagatsinghpur and condemned the state government’s attempts to hand over 4,000 acre of land to the South Korean steel major POSCO. He said that “Instead of a policy to ensure the rights of farmers and make use of our natural resources, the government is busy appeasing and promoting foreign companies,”. He also said that “problems faced by farmers cannot be solved by bringing foreign currency into India. Laws need to be changed for their betterment”.

 

In a desperate damage controlling mode, POSCO started to distribute the POSCO TJ Park Foundation Scholarship to 10 students of BPUT (Biju Patnaik University of Technology) and KIIT (Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology) University on 27th November 2012. Besides, POSCO distribute fellowships at Delhi University, OUAT, Bhubaneswar and the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi every year. Needless to say that this is an initiative to develop it’s goodwill among the intelligentsia and get sympathy from these institutions.

 

At this juncture, we strongly urge the students and faculties of the above esteemed institutions to discard this award. We also earnestly request these institutions to compel POSCO to respect the unanimous resolution on Dhinkia gram sabha ( Panchayat level assembly of adult members) i.e. on 18th of October 2012 , where more than 2000 people participated in the meeting and  refused to grant consent to the proposed diversion of land for POSCO under the rights provided to the Gram Sabha under the Forest Rights Act, 2006.

 

Kindly circulate this mail widely.

 

In Solidarity,

 

Prashant Paikary

 

Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti

 

Mobile no-09437571547

 

E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

 

Five reasons why India can’t censor the internet-removed by TOI, HT,ET


Prasanto K  Roy, 12,  Nov 2012
Among all my columns and articles on various technology subjects (which are all still around), I just discovered that my pieces on censorship are being removed by the media sites.For instance, this reproduced below from Google’s cache of the original TOI piece. This was carried on TOI, ET, HT and other places.
Now if you Google for “Five reasons why India can’t censor the internet”, you’ll see the top links are still to the TOI and ET stories, but click the links, and the stories are gone!
Interesting, isn’t it, given the subject?
There’s a second piece I wrote, critical of Kapil Sibal, which has been removed months after publication by TOI, ET and HT.
PKR

Five reasons why India can’t censor the Internet

In just 24 hours, in the Facebook alumni group of St Stephen’s College, Communications Minister Kapil Sibal’s ratings crashed faster than that of US President Barack Obama or what former telecom minister A. Raja, now in judicial custody over second generation (2G) spectrum case, ever had.

Five reasons why India can't censor the Internet

In a survey to pick star alumni for a big debating clash with counterparts from the rival college across the road, Sibal was on the top five a week ago — among other stellar Stephanians like Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, former federal minister Mani Shankar Aiyar or former UN diplomat Shashi Tharoor. No longer!

As the #Idiot hash-tag topped Twitter trends, some withdrew their votes for Sibal, and there were posts like “Chuck him across the road” — a scathing insult, equivalent to the Parsis’ excommunication.

Just a preview of the global firestorm over the next two days!

The fire wasn’t from anonymous teens. Seasoned analysts blasted Sibal. Investor Mahesh Murthy posted: “Censor this! :) ! Five of the top 10 Twitter trends in India right now are: #IdiotKapilsibal, #KapilSibal, #Censorship, #FreeSpeech and #FreedomOfSpeech.”

All this, for just one statement from a politician not unknown for his foot-in-mouth disease? Not quite. For, he has the power to misuse and try to make it happen.

During the Anna Hazare movement, Sibal summoned representatives of the social networks. In a king-and-subjects interaction, he kept them waiting, then kept them standing in his room; gave them a pre-emptive dressing down; and snapped: ‘I don’t want any anti-government stuff on your networks. Fix it.’ There was no room for discussion.

So here’s a five-point Internet 101 for the illustrious Mr. Sibal.

1. The Internet cannot be edited: Duh! In an early Dilbert strip, the pointy-haired boss demanded that Dilbert ‘download’ the Internet and fax it to him. A decade down, it’s not so funny any more.

The Internet is not traditional media. India’s 1975 emergency and the media clampdown was possible because of the linear, broadcast nature of the old media. New media is distributed. No copy desk or censor board can ‘fix’ it. There is no editor to arrest. And, most content is hosted outside India’s jurisdiction.

2. User-generated content cannot be filtered: That would slow down the global Internet to a crawl, with posts appearing after days — even assuming so many ‘editors’ could be hired by, say, a Facebook or a Twitter.

Are phone operators responsible for ‘content’ carried on their networks — or their CEOs arrested if someone made a terror threat over a phone call? No, the telco is simply asked to help with the investigation — into who made the call.

Yes, Internet content has the permanence and public-impact potential that a phone call does not, but equally, it lends itself brilliantly to self-regulation.

3. Peer review works: Wikipedia is the best example. Who could have imagined that a user-created encyclopedia could be so objective, and comprehensive? Yes, anyone can go in and edit anything (barring entries like ‘Kapil Sibal’, which have been locked due to vandalism!).

If you make an inappropriate change, someone will come in and correct it. And so it is on Facebook or Twitter. Abusive posts will be reported, blocked, and the individuals knocked out of the site.

4. Draconian controls are not necessary: In this age of global cooperation on terror, companies cooperate. A rational request from India to Google or Facebook to bring down offensive content will be heard — regardless of jurisdiction.

5. Yes, there are precedents for Internet control, but…: Such censorship is in countries India doesn’t want to be — China, Pakistan, Myanmar or Saudi Arabia. Pakistan became a laughing stock when it issued a list of banned words for SMS messages. (That list is now standard reading for anyone wanting a quick lesson in present and future abuses that aren’t in any dictionary.)

The big daddy of ‘regulation’ is China, where everything is filtered, and if you break those filters, you are charged with treason. What a role model.

But wait.

Kapil Sibal knows all this, right? So why is this bright star from Harvard Law School and St. Stephen’s college now sounding so anachronistic in the Internet age? Is it the old ‘thou shalt display higher loyalty to the royal family than the prince himself’ mantra?

If Kapil Sibal is to defend himself against the charge of sycophancy, he is on a weak footing. There were many prior potential triggers for tackling social media, including fanatic religious posts, derogatory comments by Pakistan sympathisers, Anna Hazare, and more. That he finally picked a post that targeted Sonia Gandhi suggests that this was not out of serious, objective concern about India’s stability, security or secular fabric.

(The author is chief editor at technology publishers CyberMedia)

Source:  http://news.in.msn.com/

Habeaus Corpus Application Filed in Jabalpur High Court Against Illegal Arrest of Medha Patkar and Others


 

 Medha Continues her Indefinite Fast in Jail

Suniti S R and Prasad Bagwe Start Indefinite Fast in Yeravada Jail, Pune Against Illegal Detention. Refuse to Apply for Bail.

Around 250 Solidarity workers protested outside Madhya Pradesh Bhavan, Delhi. Support pours in from across country. Protests planned in Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Elsewhere

Anna Hazare (IAC), Rajindar Sachar (PUCL), Swami Agnivesh, Manju Mohan (Socialist Janata Party), Bhupendra Rawat(DSG), Vinod Singh(Kisan Manch), Piyush (AISA) stand in solidarity with Dr. Sunilam, Medha Patkar, Advocate Aradhana Bhargava & others

New Delhi, November 6 : Medha Patkar’s and others bail application could not be filed since District Collector kept misleading the advocates and others. Initially they booked them under Section 151 (s noted in jail diary), the bail plea for which was not even admitted in the court by City Judicial Magistrate yesterday citing pressure from administration. Today, realising the mistake and trying to cover for his junior’s action they added charges under Section 188, which requires bail from judiciary. Challenging this, Anurag Modi of Jan Sangharsh Morcha has moved a habeaus corpus in Jabalpur Bench of the High Court, which will be heard tomorrow. Meanwhile, in Chaurai Tehsil Court, bail plea for Advocate Aradhana Bhargava was rejected, even though the charges of her arrest are not serious, Section 151. NAPM condemns this draconian act of the Chindwada administration and will challenge it in the Court and ensure that action is taken against the SP and DC responsible for continued arrest.

Medha Patkar continued her fast in jail on third day of her detention. In the afternoon, her blood pressure was reported high, though there is no immediate danger to her health but given her recent back injuries it will have adverse impact on her overall health. She also received a notice from the Jail Superintendent that she will be force bed and action against her will taken if she continues her indefinite fast, which is a crime under prisons act. She has refused and vehemently protested any action and challenged to take them to Court for all illegality.

Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chauhan meanwhile postponed his visit to the district citing official reasons but we believe it is due to increasing pressure and the shame it has brought to MP government from all over the country.

Delhi Solidarity Group along with other organizations organised a protest demonstration at Madhya Pradesh Bhawan today demanding the Madhya Pradesh Government to release Dr. Sunilam, Suryavanshi Parmandal and Prahlad Agarwal who have been sentenced for life on charges of murder, arson and others.

The protest was attended by 250 activists, students, organizations & solidarity workers belonging to the “Delhi Solidarity Group”. The demonstration was also attended by Anna Hazare, Arvind Gaur & few others from the Anna Team who expressed their solidarity & support to Dr. Sunilam & the farmers of Madhya Pradesh. Anna Hazare said “The Government should withdraw the false cases on Dr. Sunilam & others and listen to the voices of the farmers. If these demands are not fulfilled I will sit with the people of Chindwara in their struggle.” Anna along with Bhupendra Singh Rawat from Delhi Solidarity Group & Arvind Gaur met with the Resident Commissioner of Madhya Pradesh Bhawan & submitted the memorandum.

Delhi Solidarity Group condemned vindictive move by the Madhya Pradesh Government and its siding with corrupt political forces and using its administrative machinery to facilitate pecuniary benefits to private corporations. Activists demanded that Madhya Pradesh Government :

  • immediately release Dr. Sunilam, Medha Patkar & others and withdraw cases, against them and others of Kisan Sangharshn Samiti.
  • action against police officers who are behind the Farmers’ massacre in Multai on January 12th 1998
  • stop ongoing forced land acquisitions in Chhindwara district for the Pench Water Diversion Project.

NAPM also stands behind its colleagues, 90 people, who are in Yeravada Jail, Pune for no fault. They had a demonstration and a very good meeting with the District Commissioner, Pune yesterday but even then they were arrested and sent to jail on Section 151 for two days. Activists refuse to seek bail or sign bonds for their release. We will challenge their illegal detention in Court and continue to fight for the rights of the Waang Marathwadi Dam, Tata Dam and Lavasa Hill city affected people.

Sandeep Pandey, Ulka Mahajan, Prafulla Samantara, Akhil Gogoi, Arundhati Dhuru, Maj. Gen. Sudhir Vombatkere, Sister Celia, Gabriele Dietrich, Roma, Geetha Ramakrishnan, Bhupinder Singh Rawat, Vimal Bhai, Rajendra Ravi, Ramakrishna Raju, Saraswati Kavula, Gautam Bandopahdyay, Shrikanth, Madhuresh Kumar

 

for details call : 9818905316

 

A habeaus corpus writ petition has been filed at jablpur High Court by Anurag Modi, Jan Sangharsh Morcha through advocate Raghvendra Kumar, the petition is listed to be heard tomorrow. The brief not of the petition is below, the copy of the petition and notice issued under section 144 of CrPC issued by Chhindwara colletor is attched.

 

That in order to deny a constitutional right of peaceful protest against illegal activity of the contractor of   Pench Diversion Project by   Adani Group of Companies, on 04-11-2012, the authorities of District Chhindwara first of all kept Ms. Medha Patkar, leader of Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM), illegally detained in the house of Advocate Anuradha Bhargav at Chhindwara and in the late night   on the same day along with 19 other villagers illegally lodged her at Chhindwara jail.

 

That Ms. Medha Patkar arrived in Chhindwara town on 4th November 2012 early morning by Indore Chhindwara Penchveli Express.   At Chhindwara Railway Station she was informed by certain authorities that section 144 of Cr.P.C. has been enforced in Chhindwara district and entry of any person other than local resident has been prohibited in Chhindwara, Chourai and Amarwada Tahsil of the district, though no such written notice of expressing the reasons and intention was served on her. She was not allowed to proceed for her scheduled participation in ongoing agitation near Machagora village.

 

That on 04-11-2012 itself in the morning, she went to the house of Advocate Aradhana Bhargav to pay condolence as her mother had recently expired. She was house arrested for the entire day at Advocate Aradhana Bhargav’s Residence at Chhindwara and despite her written submission and humble request to the District Magistrate, Chhindwara for permission to proceed for her scheduled program of participating in peaceful demonstration at Machagora village with minimum number of people as permitted, she was not allowed to leave the house. Around 10.30 P. M. in the night when she was having meeting with a few dam affected people inside the house where she was house arrested, she was   forcefully picked up from inside the house by the police and along with her colleague Mukesh, she was lodged at Chhindwara jail.

That she was not informed of reasons and charges when she was being arrested nor was she produced before any magistrate, judicial or executive, at the time of arrest or after the arrest. She along with other persons was not sent under any judicial order. That other 19 farmers were also arrested and first taken at different locations and later on were lodged at Chhindwara jail. None of her family members or colleagues of the organization were informed of her detention, subsequent arrest and her being sent to Chhindwara jail.

That she was not provided with nor was allowed to consult any lawyer. That on the basis of hearsay and the newspaper reports one Local Advocate Mr. D. K. Prajapati got to know that Ms. Medha Patkar and 19 other persons were arrested under Sections 151, 107 and 116 of Cr. P. C. He approached the court of Sub Divisional Magistrate (City Magistrate) for seeking bail for Ms. Medha Patkar and 19 others but the magistrate refused to take any cognizance of the application for bail and take it on record and left his office and seat in a jiffy

 

#Irom Sharmila completes 12 years of Fasting , Anna Hazare’s fast……


आज मेरा रोम रोम चीख रहा है 
एरोम तुम्हारे लिए
चीख पुकार तो कब से दबी थी
गुस्सा भी चीख चीख के निकला था
vt स्टेशन पे तुम्हारी रिहाई की गुहार लगाकर
मानों तन और मनं ऐसा थरका था
लोगों को तुम्हारे बारे में बताना
लोगों को अफ्प्सा काले कानून के बारे में बता कर
मानो मनं कुछ तो हल्का हुआ था

लेकिन कुछ दिन से इस देश की गुहार देखकर 
अन्ना हजारे पर प्यार देख कर
देश के कोने कोने से भर्ष्टाचार के यह एक आवाज़ सुनकर
खुश तो हूँ,
पर मेरा दिल चीख चीख के रो रहा है
मेरा दिमाग, मेरा तन…. इस क्रांति पे खुश है
पर मेरा दिल मेरा साथ नहीं है
मेरा दिल तम्हारे पास है इरोम
वोह तुम्हारे लिए रो रहा है
वोह इस देश को समझ नहीं पा रहा है
आखिर एक दिल है……

तुम दस सालसे भी ज्यादा से भूख हड़ताल पे हो
तुम्हारे साथ एक भी भारतवासी नहीं आया
तुम AFSPA के काले कानून के खिलाफ हो
तुम्हें किसी ने नहीं अपनाया

किसी को मत बताना इरोम
यह एक ऐसी पहेली है
जिसका जवाब इंसानों के साथ बदलता हैं
हम अन्ना हजारे के साथ है
यह हमारी देश भक्ति है
हम अन्ना हजरे के साथ है
हम आम जनता के साथ है

जब हम तुम्हारे साथ है 
हम देशद्रोही है
जब तुम्हारे साथ हैं
हम फ़ौज और जवानों के खिलाफ है
हम इस देश की सुरक्षा के खिलाफ है

भ्रष्टाचार तो बचपन से हमें
हमारी किताबों में भी एक गलत चीज़ है बताया गया है
पर इरोम, देश भक्ति हमें
केवल अपने देश को बचाना ही सिखाएगी

देश, फ़ौज , पोलिस—देश भक्ति का अटूट अंग बन गए हैं
वह मेरी तुम्हरी लड़ाई में हमारे दुश्मन बन गए हैं
भ्रष्टाचार में लाखों करोड़ों के घपले हैं
पर अफ्प्सा , जैसे काले कानून के कारण
इस देश भक्ति के कारण
लाखों करोड़ों देशवासी मौत की नीद सो गए गए है
उनके मरने से उनके परिवार भी मर गए हैं
और हम सब उनको आतंकवादी के नाम देकर….
देशभक्ति का प्रमाण देकर कहीं सो गए

इरोम, हम सरकार की इस बर्बरता को
देशभक्ति के परदे में देख नहीं पाते
कब हमारे देश वासी जागेंगे
और हम देश वासी बाद में , पहले इंसान है
इस एहसास को जान पायेंगे

कब इरोम कब 
कब हजारों लाखों तुम्हारे साथ भी
भूख हड़ताल पे जायेंगे
कब इरोम कब
हमारे देशवासी
इस देशभक्ति का
मुखोटा हटाएँगे

अन्ना हजारे तुम्हारी जीत हो गयी है
तुम्हारे ८५ घंटों के अनशन से
लोकपाल बिल आएगा…….
इरोम शर्मीला के दशक के अनशन पे
AFPSA हटा नहीं है
अन्ना क्या आप इरोम के साथ बैठोगे ?
क्या आप कानून के नाम पर जो लहू बह रहा है ?
उसको रोक पाओगे ?

( This poem I wrote last year in april after the Anna illusion began )

English Translation

Today every pore of my body is screaming 
For you Irom
The screams were suppressed since when…
Anger was coming out in my screams and protests
As I was screaming and shouting for your release at VT station
My being had shaken within
To tell people about you, what you stand for
To tell people about draconian law AFPSA
I felt lighter

For the past few days the country has been screaming
I am happy to see
All the love being doled out to Anna Hazare
To hear voice against corruption
From nook and corner of each city
I am happy to see
But my heart is crying
My brain is happy thinking about this Anna revolution
But my heart is not with me
My heart is with you Irom
It is crying for you
And it is unable to understand the sentiments of this country

After all it’s a HEART
You have been on hunger strike for more than a decade
But not a single Indian came with you
You were against the black law of AFPSA
But no one owned you

Do not tell anyone Irom
This is a riddle
Whose answer changes with people?
If we are with Anna Hazare
We are true patriots
If we are with Anna Hazare
We are with the common people

When we are with you
We are traitors
When we are with you
We are against our army, our soldiers
We are against the national security
Corruption has been embedded as a bad trait
Since our childhood in our text books

But Irom, patriotism
Only teaches us to defend our country
Nation, army, police are inherent features of patriotism
They have become enemies in our fight for freedom

There have been many scams of crores under the banner of corruption
Because of AFSPA, BECAUSE OF THS PATRIOTISM
Lakhs and crores of Indians have been killed
Their families have also died eventually
And we have given them the certificate of terrorists
Very conveniently and gone to sleep in the bed of patriotism

Irom, we are unable to see the human rights violation of government
Under the garb of patriotism
When will my countrymen awaken, to the fact that
We are humans first, and Indians later

When Irom, when
Lakhs of people will join you in your hunger strike?
When Irom, when
Will our people remove the
Mask of patriotism?

Anna Hazare, you have won
After 85 hours of your FAST
The Lokpal Bill will be implemented
After a decade of your fast
Still the AFSPA has not been repealed
Anna will you sit with Irom?
Will you be able to stop the bloodshed
In the name of law?

Listen to my recitation at CGNET SWARA

Kabir Suman recites the Bangla Translation of my poem

Faking Democracy- Free Irom Sharmila Now

 

#India- Long Live The Iron Lady Of Manipur- #Irom Sharmila


 

By Asis Mishra

27 October, 2012
Countercurrents.org

Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign is observing 12 Article series to reflect 12 years of suppression of Irom Sharmila’s fast. Irom Sharmila is completing her 12 years of fast on 5th November. This is the third in the series

“It (non-violence) is the only thing that atomic bomb cannot destroy”Irom Sharmila

All of us must have come across her name-Irom Sharmila, in newspapers, magazines and electronic media. Only a few of us actually know: Who is she? why is she doing protest in such a manner? What are the circumstances that forced her to take such a harsh step?

Well, Imagine a situation where you see bloodshed, murder, violence on a daily basis. People in uniform (Indian Army) would visit your locality and kill innocent people. What impact would it have on your mind? How would we react to it? Most of us would react to this situation by remaining silent .Some would even stay indoors. None of us would dare to stand against the mighty Indian Army. Under such horrible circumstances, Irom Sharmila Chanu, the 28-year-old daughter of a Grade IV veterinary worker , decided to fight against the powerful army and its draconian law – the armed force special power act. Even though she belongs to a poor and humble background, her continued fight against AFSPA speaks volumes of her courage and integrity.

It all started on 2 November 2000, in Malom, a town in the Imphal Valley where ten civilians were allegedly shot and killed by the Assam rifles, one of the India’s paramilitary forces, operating in the state, while waiting at a bus stop. The incident later came to be known to activists as the “Malom Massacre”. The next day’s local newspapers published graphic pictures of the dead bodies, including one of a 62-year old woman, Leisangbam Ibetomi, and 18-year old Sinam Chandramani, a 1988 National Child Bravery Award winner. It was this incident that made the then 28 year aged Irom Sharmila Chanu start her indefinite fast as a mark of protest against the atrocities done by army. Since then, she has been regularly arrested by police on charges of “attempt to suicide”.By 2004, she had become “an icon of public resistance” .In October 2,2006 , she visited Rajghat and paid floral tributes to Mahatma Gandhi. At the same time, she met and won the support of Nobel-laureate Shirin Ebidi , the Nobel Laureate and human rights activist, who promised to take up Sharmila’s cause at United Nations Human Rights Council. In 2011, she invited anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare to visit Manipur, and Hazare sent two representatives to meet with her. In October 2011, she received support from Manipur Pradesh All India Trinmool congress and they urged the party chief Mamata Banerjee to support the cause of Irom .

Apart from being a political activist, she is also a poet. Her poem “”Fragrance of Peace” is quite popular among the youths of Manipur. She has also received awards in India and abroad. She was awarded the 2007 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights, which is given to “an outstanding person or group, active in the promotion and advocacy of Peace, Democracy and Human Rights“. In 2010, she won a lifetime achievement award from the Asian Human Rights Commission.

In spite of all this, the government of India has not repealed the AFSPA and had not taken any action against army jawans and officers indulging in atrocities. So a question arises: Is this acceptable? Being a citizen of India, is it not our duty to express solidarity with her? Manipur is as integral a part of India as the rest of the states are. For how long, will we tolerate the injustices done to innocent Manipuris by the devils in the army? Is it not high time to repeal AFSPA at least for a temporary period of time? Much more, the episode of Irom Sharmila also brings about serious questions about our democracy and how it operates at ground level. It is no doubt to say that it is a blot on the face of India. Well, these are the questions whose solutions are to be found out by the Government of India and the people. Merely writing articles or giving condolences won’t work, much more needs to be done. We need to be united. We need to tell the Government that we all want it to be repealed. We all want her voice to be heard.

Asis Mishra is an engineering student from Bhubaneshwar. He is a volunteer of Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign. He can be reached at asisoec@gmail.com