Nandini Sundar on – Media’s Need for Whipping Boys


Saturday, June 1, 2013

On the Media‘s Need for Whipping Boys

I am sick to death of TV panel discussions which ask whether human rights activists are soft on the Maoists, romanticise the Maoists and so on. Why doesn’t someone ask if our honourable politicians and security experts are soft on police torture and extra judicial killings?
Television is not interested in a serious discussion – all they want are whipping boys. The sight of Arnab Goswami mocking Prof. Haragopal for giving an “academic analysis” was especially nauseating, compounded by his showing off about “Emily Durkheim” (sic!). Why bother to have a panel at all, if only hysterical calls for the army to be sent in to wipe out the Maoists count as ‘analysis’, and every other viewpoint is seen as biased?
The media’s vocabulary is also very limited. I remember a particular excruciating interview with Binayak Sen where he said he “decried” violence and the anchor repeatedly asked him if he “condemned” it. As far as I know, the two words mean roughly the same thing. Nowadays, even before the media asks me, I start shouting “I condemn, I condemn.” I wake up in my sleep shouting “I condemn.” I am scared to use other words to describe complex emotions, because the media is unable to understand anything else.
The only reason why I agree to participate in any television discussions at all or give interviews to the media, is because I have such limited space to express my views. Most of the time the media is completely unconcerned about what happens in places like Bastar, and when there are large scale deaths of civilians, no-one runs non-stop news or panel discussions. Perforce “human rights activists” have to speak in unfavourable circumstances, because that’s the only time when the media is interested in our views; and that too, not because they want to hear us, but because they need a “big fight” to raise their ratings. That’s what is called ‘balance’. One can almost see visible disappointment on the anchor’s part when panelists who should disagree actually agree on many issues.
Since May 25th I have been inundated with calls from journalists asking for my views. But when I want to write, there is little space. A leading national newspaper refused to publish me on the killing of Mahendra Karma, till they had enough pieces which promoted a paramilitary approach. Even when I do get published it is under strict word constraints. I wrote the first opinion piece ever written in the national media on the Salwa Judum in 2006, but was given 800 words, under the fold. In the first year of Salwa Judum, I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of articles on Salwa Judum. I personally met several editors and showed them photographic evidence; and begged TV editors for panel discussions, but no-one was interested. If they had been interested then, perhaps things would not have come to such a pass.
I am unable to write my own book on Salwa Judum because of the court case and all that it takes. I have been wanting to write on it since 2005 because I am, above all, an anthropologist. In any case, my mental space is so clogged by the media noise and the strain of being confined to “opinion pieces” that keep saying the same things because no one is listening, that I can’t write. I am almost glad the IPL has taken over again, and we can all forget about Bastar and the Maoists till the next major attack.
I reproduce below an extract from my article, Emotional Wars, on the public reactions to the death of the 76 CRPF men in April 2010. This was published in Third World Quarterly, Vol. 33, No. 4, 2012, pp 1-17:
“Government anger was directed not just at the Maoists but at their alleged ‘sympathizers in civil society’, whose verbal and written criticism of government for violations of the Constitution and fundamental rights, was morally equated with the Maoist act of killing in retaliation for those policies.[i] Within minutes then, given the government’s role as the primary definer of news,[ii] whether the alleged sympathizers had adequately condemned and expiated for the attack, became as critical to the framing of the news as the attack itself.
The largely one-sided government and media outrage – the targeted killings or rapes of ordinary adivasis rarely, if ever, invite direct calls upon the Home Minister to condemn each such incident – easily summon to mind Herman and Chomsky’s distinction between “worthy and unworthy victims” as part of what they call the media ‘propaganda model’.[iii] While news coverage of the worthy is replete with detail, evokes indignation and shock, and invites a follow-up; unworthy victims get limited news space, are referred to in generic terms, and there is little attempt to fix responsibility or trace culpability to the top echelons of the establishment.[iv]…..
…………..In times of civil war, the emotions performed by the state range from the inculcation of fear to a calculated display of indifference to the exhibition of injured feelings, as if it was citizens and not the state who were violating the social contract, and that the social contract consisted of the state’s right to impunity.

1. For example, after a Maoist attack in which 4 men of the Central Industrial Security Force were killed, the Home Ministry put out a statement asking “What is the message that the CPI (Maoist) intends to convey? These are questions that we would like to put not only to the CPI (Maoist) but also to those who speak on their behalf and chastise the government…We think that it is time for all right-thinking citizens who believe in democracy and development to condemn the acts of violence perpetrated by the CPI (Maoist).” Chidambaram slams Maoist sympathizers, Times Now, October 26, 2009, http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2009-10-26/india/28067149_1_maoist-sympathisers-cisf-jawans-chhattisgarh, accessed 12 November 2011
[ii] Hall, S. et al., Policing the Crises: Mugging, the State and Law and Order, London: Macmillan Education Ltd, 1978; Gans, HJ. Deciding What’s News, Northwestern University Press, 2004 (1979).
[iii] Herman, E. S. and Chomsky, N. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of Mass Media, Pantheon Books, 2002, pp 37-86)
[iv] An enquiry was immediately ordered into the Tadmetla attack headed by a former Director General of the Border Security Force, EN Rammohan. He found several lapses in the leadership and functioning of the CRPF, including their failure to adhere to standard operating procedures. However, the commander responsible for this debacle, DIG Nalin Prabhat, while initially transferred, was given a gallantry medal a year later in 2011. Further, the government itself takes no responsibility for orchestrating this mindless war on its own people.

 

Chain Fencing work by NPCIL begins at proposed Nuclear plant in Fatehabad, Haryana


Work on fencing starts at region’s first N-plant

Awaiting final environment impact assessment by the expert appraisal committee (EAC) of the Centre, the ambitious Fathebad nuclear plant in Gorakhpur is set to roll.

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) — nodal agency for the project — has already started work on chain fencing the property that spans 1,313 acre where the plant will be situated and 187 acres where the residential colony will come up. The EAC, which has already taken stock of the ground level situation at the site, has forwarded certain queries on land compensation award and flooding of the area to the plant officials.

Over 10 senior officials of the plant have shifted their base to the site in Fatehabad. The plant will have two residential colonies — one for its employees and another for Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel.

Once the Ministry of Environment and Forest gives green signal to the project, the project will go to the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board for final approval.

T R Arora, Project Director of the plant, said: “We are ready with details to answer the queries. All formalities are now complete. The land is in our possession and is currently being chain-fenced. Once the MoEF clears the project in another two months or so, we will move for final clearance by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. Most probably, will be able to start construction by year end.”

According to the policy, the home state is eligible to get 50 per cent share from the plant. This will majorly help the Haryana government, which is struggling to meet power demand of its consumers. The state that lacks enough own resources of power generation, has to buy power from private players during peak season.

Haryana is also vying to get its share in the plant on the basis of development indicators. If the NPCIL agreed to the demand, then the government will get another 5.6 per cent of power share from the plant. However, the NPCIL authorities are non-committal over the state’s claim on extra share.

Meanwhile, the state has given compensation to farmers whose land has been acquired for the project at the collector rate of Rs 20 lakh per acre besides a solatium at 30 per cent and interest at 12 per cent per annum under section-4 of the Land Acquisition Act-1894. The landowners have also received non-litigation incentive at 20 per cent in addition to the floor rate. The NPCIL had deposited the requisite amount of Rs 460 crore in June 2012 to the state for distribution of compensation.

The first phase (2X700 MW) of the project is expected to be commissioned during 2020. Under the first phase, 2×700 MW units (1,400 MW) are proposed to be set up at an estimated cost of Rs 14,500 crore.

 

Delhi govt cover for 29 facing criminal cases #wakeup #WTFnews


By, TNN | Mar 14, 2013,

Delhi govt cover for 29 facing criminal cases
Over 4,300 personnel drawn from Delhi Police (2,546), CRPF (686), Rajasthan Armed Constabulary (558), Meghalaya Police (171), ITBP (132), Nagaland Armed Police (98), Sikkim Police (86) and CISF (27) have been deployed to protect 436 individuals, none of them a constitutional functionary.
NEW DELHI: Every month, the Delhi government spends Rs 20 crore of taxpayers’ money to provide security to 436 persons, who do not hold any constitutional post and 29 of whom face criminal case, the Supreme Court was informed on Wednesday. The annual tab comes to Rs 240 crore.

As against this, the government spends just a little over Rs 3 crore a month to protect the President and Rashtrapati BhawanThe bill for providing security to holders of constitutional posts, including the President, Vice-President, PM, Lok Sabha Speaker and Chief Justice of India, comes to Rs 341 crore a year or over Rs 28 crore a month.

An affidavit filed by the Delhi government revealed that 44 personnel have been deployed to provide security to “children and other family members/relatives of public functionaries”.

Additional solicitor general Siddharth Luthra might find it a tad difficult, when he appears for the Delhi government, to explain to the court why “Delhi Police has provided security to 29 individuals (23 central protectees and 6 local protectees) who are facing criminal charges at state expenses”.

Over 4,300 personnel drawn from Delhi Police (2,546), Central Reserve Police Force (686), Rajasthan Armed Constabulary (558), Meghalaya Police (171), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (132), NagalandArmed Police (98), Sikkim Police (86) and Central Industrial Security Force (27) have been deployed to protect 436 individuals, none of them a constitutional functionary.

Though the Delhi government said it had not provided security to any private individuals in lieu of payments made by them, it added: “89 individuals, including those holding public office and who have demitted office, have been provided security at the cost of public exchequer.”

It also provided in sealed cover the security arrangements for the protection of home minister, former prime ministers, Sonia Gandhi and her immediate family members who have been provided Special Protection Group (SPG) cover as also former deputy Prime Minister L K Advani.

 

#India -7-year-old school girl raped in a toilet in Goa , headmistress detained for negligence


PTI  PANAJI, JANUARY 15, 2013 | UPDATED 10:44 IST

Representational graphic
Police said that they had still not been able to nab the accused.

A seven-year-old girl wasraped at her school in the port town of Vasco, resulting in huge protests here on Monday night.

Police have detained the headmistress of the school on charges of negligence.

The second grade student was sexually abused in the school toilet next to the office of the headmistress during recess on Monday, by an unidentified person, police saidon Tuesday.

The incident came to light after the minor complained of pain and was referred for medical examination.

Several parents and locals protested outside the school on Monday night questioning the negligence on the part of the school management. As the situation turned tense, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar visited the spot late last night assuring stern action against the accused.

“We will not spare the accused and anyone involved in this crime,” Parrikar said, following which police detained the headmistress.

Police said the culprit is yet to be arrested. A sketch has been prepared based on the description provided by the victim, they said.

Incidentally, the school has been one of the well guarded institute with Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel posted at the gate.

Goa Crime Branch to probe seven-year-old’s rape

The Crime Branch has been directed to probe the rape of a seven-year-old girl in the school premises in Vasco, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said Tuesday.

While the rapist is still at large, Crime Branch officials have arrested the headmistress of the school for inordinately delaying the registration of a first information report (FIR).

“The Crime Branch will probe the complaint of rape and negligence by the headmistress separately,” the chief minister said.

The chief minister, along with top administration and police officials, had to rush to the school Monday night after irate residents and friends of the victim’s parents laid siege and did not allow the staff to step out.

According to the police, the girl was found Monday in a state of shock in the school toilet, after being raped by an unknown person who had slipped into the school premises in Vasco, 40 km from here.

The education ministry, which is headed by Parrikar, has ordered the school shut for two days in view of public ire.

With IANS inputs.

 

 

#India- Deconstructing elite ‘concern’ and ‘action’ on rape #Vaw


rape

Published: Monday, Dec 24, 2012, 5:21 IST | Updated: Monday, Dec 24, 2012, 23:02 IST
By Garga Chatterjee

On December 22, Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde tried his best to appear statesmanlike at the press-conference. Flanked by a couple of other ministers and a smattering of bureaucrats, he announced that the government had heard the rape-protesters of New Delhi. The poor should learn something – it is not enough to be displaced, raped, maimed, killed, brutalised for years. It is also important to know how to chant slogans in English and write them in chart paper. The star-studded press conference was not so much about firefighting – after all, youths holding placards written in English are not a major electoral constituency.It was more about appearing sensitive to a larger populace. Shinde even tried the ‘common man’ approach.
He said he understood the outrage — for, he too was a father. Lesser mortals are lesser in more ways than one. Rare are the moments when people in power include themselves in ‘everyone of us’, as if we are one community. When the ‘common bond of humanity’ ploy is used, those in the charmed circle of Lutyen’s Delhi and its South Delhi spill-over nod liberally in agreement. One would almost want to believe that Shinde’s daughter would buy a Rs 10 ticket on a green Delhi Transport Corporation bus and travel from Daryaganj to Kapashera border after a hard day’s work like many, many others. No such luck. Shinde has Z plus security. One of his daughters, Praniti, is an MLA. With more police force out to protect his powerful daughter than what would be deployed to protect an average neighbourhood, it is hard to imagine an anxious father of a commoner here.
After all, in the last five years, Maharashtra, Shinde’s home state, has had the largest number of candidates with declared cases of crimes against women, including rape. At least 26 Congress candidates to different legislatures had such cases against them (source: Association for Democratic Reforms). Shinde may say these cases are politically motivated or ‘law will take its own course’, but surely, as a father, would he take chances? If not, what have the people done to deserve these candidates from his party? That the BJP, the Samajwadi Party and the BSP also have numerous such candidates does not help matters? What do Smriti Irani and Sushma Swaraj think about the ‘jewels’ that their party has been nominating? Why is the tirade against the bad guy always directed towards an inchoate other or society at large, when there are more tangible alleged-rascals inside the party? There have been calls to ‘fast-track’ legal procedures for such cases. Ostensibly, this fast tracking should also apply to the alleged crime committed against women by Tricolour and saffron ‘social workers’. Shouldn’t it?

In a statement after meeting prime minister Manmohan Singh, Shinde said, “The government will take immediate steps for the amendment of the Criminal Law for enhanced and more effective punishment in the rarest of the rare cases of sexual assault such as this.” This is something that has a resonance with a significant section of the protesters where public hanging and castration have been demanded. But there is rape and there is rape. The state has hinted that it might toy with the idea of death penalty or something more severe than the present punishment for ‘rarest of the rare cases’. Is the alleged rape of a 56-year-old woman in Gujarat by a Central Industrial Security Force personnel a ‘rarest of rare case’? Does the alleged repeated sexual brutalization of Soni Soriin the custody of Chhattisgarh police qualify as a ‘rarest of rare case’? Was the alleged gang-rape of a 12-year-old mentally challenged deaf and mute girl by three CRPF personnel near their Warangal area camp a ‘ rarest of rare case’? Is the alleged rape of a Congolese child by an Indian Army jawan posted as ‘peace-keeper’ a ‘rarest of rare case’?Did the forensic evidence of DNA match matter in that case? Did anything matter? Did anything get fast-tracked, or was a clean-chit thrown back on the face of the victim?

What about the Kunan Poshpora tragedy of 1991 – the alleged gang rape of more than 50 Kashmiri women by army jawans? It has been 22 years. Does ‘morale’ come before justice or does ‘honour’ look different when viewed through Tricolour blinders? Or are these ‘rarest of rare cases’ not ‘rarest of rare’ precisely because they are not rare? I sincerely hope the Delhi youngsters who besieged the Raisina Hills only to be lathi-charged back have all this in mind, when they chant ‘We-want-justice’.

The author a postdoctoral scholarat Massachusetts Institute of Technology @gargac on Twitter, inbox@dnaindia.net

At Kudankulam’s core is fear, and anger


MEERA SRINIVASAN, The Hindu, Dec 2 . 2012

UNSETTLED NEIGHBOURS: Residents of Kudankulam say they have not been involved in any security drill, and students in the region are doing badly in examinations due to high levels of stress. Photo: A. Shaikmohideen
The HinduUNSETTLED NEIGHBOURS: Residents of Kudankulam say they have not been involved in any security drill, and students in the region are doing badly in examinations due to high levels of stress. Photo: A. Shaikmohideen

To many in Idinthakarai, the village that sits cheek by jowl with the nuclear plant, the entire idea is a betrayal. Others see brighter prospects. As the reactor prepares to go critical, Meera Srinivasan assesses the mood in the project area.

Seated at the entrance to her tiny home, R. Pramasakthi is busy rolling beedis. “What? Interview? We don’t need the nuclear plant,” she barked.

Asked why, the 35-year-old mother of four replied: “We saw a video at the church showing children with deformities caused by accidents at nuclear reactors. Ask anyone here, they will tell you that we don’t want the plant.”

To prove her point, Pramasakthi flagged down a young girl. “Tell her, do you need the plant,” she commanded the girl. “No, we don’t need the plant. It will cause diseases,” the girl replied flatly. What diseases? “Dengue,” the girl, a student of class IX, replied. “Our teacher told us.”

The girl went her way, and Pramasakthi, who was seated on the steps to get some breeze (Kudankulam, like most of Tamil Nadu, goes without power for 14-17 hours daily), got back to rolling beedis — something that most other women in the village do to supplement their family income. She rolls 44 bundles of 25 beedis each to make Rs. 100 a day. “I don’t go for the protests of late because the Rs.100 I make is crucial to support the family, but there is no change in my opinion. I am totally against it,” declared Pramasakthi.

She is among the hundreds of villagers who seem to be caught in a web of fear, anger and, in some cases, ignorance of the potential benefits and risks associated with the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP), which is likely to be commissioned next month and is expected to produce 1,000 MW to begin with.

Officials of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), which is executing the project, said that though there has been no communication internally on a specific date when unit one will be commissioned, there are clear signs of the pace of work accelerating during this final leg of construction.

Risk vs. Benefit

The plant, coming up at a cost of Rs. 14,000 crore, is expected to produce 2,000 MW through its two reactors, and seeks to help address the ongoing power crisis in the country. Tamil Nadu alone has fallen short of 4,000 MW.

While many sections of people have pinned their hopes on the plant and the promise of power, it is nothing more than an unfair deal to Balammal, a long-time resident of Kudankulam. “The benefit will go to everyone, but the risk will be borne by us alone. Only because we are poor,” the 73-year-old said.

The anxiety has begun creeping into classrooms as well, school teachers in the area said. “Their parents are summoned for the protests and sometimes, their fathers are picked up by the police. The children have very strong and opposing views on the issue, and they often argue among themselves in class,” said a teacher at the government school at Kudankulam. In a few cases, the stress manifests through a drop in performance in examinations, teachers said.

In addition to health hazards and the potential risk, a section of locals is worried about the lack of preparedness to face an emergency. This concern, perhaps, points to a possible meeting point for the government and the locals because even while emphatically voicing her objection to the plant, L. Rosalene Rajam said frequent safety drills ought to be organised. “Not once have I been called to participate in the drill. Since we don’t know what to do in case of an emergency, we panic every time there is a noise from that direction,” she said, pointing at the plant.

NPCIL campaign

The NPCIL has prepared a presentation, highlighting the need for nuclear power and the safety mechanisms put in place. Around 13,000 people have seen it so far, according to NPCIL officials, who said that making the highly technical presentation accessible was challenging. “We explain the concepts in Tamil and try our best to avoid jargon. It is a very safe plant and we want people to know that,” said S. Venkatesh, senior technical engineer.

Kudankulam, a small village in Tirunelveli district, is barely 20 km away from Kanyakumari, the southern most tip of the Indian peninsula. The roads connecting the villages around this coastal stretch are flanked by huge windmills making a tangential attempt at generating power, even as the plant itself readies for the ambitious target of 2,000 MW.

Closer to the date of commissioning, the plant resembles a fortress. Men and women attired in bright blue uniform, attached to the Rapid Action Force, sit at the first entry point. Further down the road, numerous Central Industrial Security Force personnel are posted at the giant gates at two subsequent points on the path to the site, guarding what has now become a storehouse of hope for many.

At the plant located just a few km away from where Rosalene resides, a very different mood prevails. The twin reactors with domes stand tall on the enclosed KKNPP premises that span 1,050 hectares by the Bay of Bengal. “Our technicians are working overtime, and all of us have been asked to focus our energies on completing work immediately,” said a senior official of the Human Resources Department at the site, where nearly 1,000 permanent staffers are currently employed.

Apart from the Russian experts, this contingent includes locals such as C. Vinayaga Perumal, a resident of the nearby Chettikulam village, who works as a technician in the project management system wing of the plant. After obtaining a diploma from an Industrial Training Institute, he was trained for two years and then gave a series of examinations before being made a permanent employee.

Having put in 10 years, he gets paid Rs. 45,000 a month now. “About 50 people from my village work as technicians here. There are about 55 from Kudankulam and one colleague is from Idinthakarai,” he said, clicking pictures of us near the plant with a DSLR. “This is just for our record.”

For youngsters like him, the plant bears much more than the promise of power. It has meant a job opportunity that he values. But ask villagers at the adjoining Idinthakarai— the fishing hamlet that has been the heart of the protests led by S.P. Udayakumar — and they call it betrayal.

“I would rather die. The sea has been our source of livelihood for years and I cannot do anything else,” said Rayappan a fisherman. Squatting by the shore and tweaking his net, he added: “We will continue protesting. Let’s see how they commission the plant.”

 

#India- A better deal for differently abled flyers in the air


Ramya Kannan, 
 
27-Nov-2012, The Hindu
 
CHENNAI: The Asok Kumar Committee, which examined ways to make air travel hassle-free for persons with disabilities and reduced mobility, has assessed the situation in airports across the country and made recommendations to ease their travel travails.
 
The committee was constituted by the Ministry of Civil Aviation to review the existing Civil Aviation Requirements on Carriage by Air of Persons with Disability and/or Persons with Reduced Mobility (CAR), examine best practices in the world and present a detailed set of guidelines to improve the experience.
 
The report, which was ready in October, highlights the need to bring in amendments to the existing CAR and covers other important areas hitherto not covered.
 
“What we have tried to do is to make air travel comfortable for all and with dignity,” says Mr. Asok Kumar, chairperson of the committee. “With every step there are numerous difficulties if you put yourself in the shoes of persons with disabilities, and different agencies are constantly shifting responsibilities. We have addressed all that.”
 
It has been recommended to clearly allocate responsibility between airports and airlines to avoid delays and inconvenience and standardise equipment and facilities in consultation with government departments overseeing implementation of the Persons with Disabilities Act. Internal audits should be introduced to ensure that assistive devices are available in good condition and persons handling these are well trained.
 
The draft, which is being circulated for comments, insists that responsibilities be fixed on each stakeholder — not just airport and airlines, but agents, ticketing websites, airport operator and CISF.
 
A complaints resolution officer to deal with these issues relating to persons with disabilities must be appointed at each airport. An ombudsman should be appointed to settle complaints between different service providers and passengers.
 
A comprehensive disabled — friendly airport design has also been drawn up, according to committee member Rahul Cherian Jacob of the Inclusive Planet, Centre for Disability, Law and Policy.
 
The committee has urged the Ministry to ensure compliance of recommendations within three years at major airports, and then at others in a phased manner.
 
Significantly, it has built into the recommendations penal provisions for all violators, including private airlines

 

#India #Nuclear – The ‘Koodankulam Conflict’ Map #mustread


Us

Them

Actors

Fisherfolk, farmers, workers, Dalits, Muslims, women, children etc.

Supporters in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and rest of India.

Supporting political parties,

Social movements, Human rights groups etc.

Some sections of Media

Some international friends

Government of India

Government of Tamil Nadu

 Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, CISF, Tamil Nadu Police, Central and State intelligence agencies etc.

 Atomic Energy Commission, DAE, NPCIL, AERB etc.

Political parties such as Congress, BJP, DMK, AIADMK etc.

Indian Bureaucracy

Much of Indian Media

US, Russia, France governments

MNCs of these countries

Spy agencies of these counties

IAEA etc.

Positions

Nuclear power is bad, ugly and expensive.

Nuclear power plant is dangerous and unwanted.

Let us think like a creative leader and look beyond thermal and nuclear energy.

Let’s consider ‘New Energies’.

Let’s put Indian citizens’ interests first.

Nuclear power is good, clean and cheap.

Nuclear power plant is safe and badly needed.

Let us continue our colonized thinking and persist with thermal and nuclear energy.

Let’s consider nuclear energy.

Let’s put foreign countries’ and their MNCs’  interests first.

Interests Safeguarding India’s natural resources such as sea, seafood, land, ground water, air etc.

Protecting ordinary people’s livelihood and sustainable development.

 

Ensuring everyone’s food security, nutrition security, water security etc.

 

Avoiding health problems of ordinary people; and protecting the progeny.

 

Protecting Nature, Life, Future

Producing more electricity and ensuring energy security and national security.

Promoting the development agenda of the rich and famous and powerful.

 

Ensuring the power brokers’ profits, commissions and kickbacks.

 

Ignoring such hidden costs and persisting with short-term gains.

 

 

Money, Money, Money

Gain A few menial jobs

 

Low income from shops, services

Lots of good jobs

 

Lots of contracts, sub-contracts

 

Money, Power, Prominence

 

Electricity

 

Good life

Loss 350+ serious cases and legal hassles

 

Police action and harassment

 

Loss of income and wealth

 

Natural resources

 

Livelihood

 

Health

 

Wellbeing of children and grandchildren

 

Future

 
Attacks

Faced

Dangerous false cases such as sedition, waging war on the State etc.

 

Arrests, imprisonment, torture.

 

Imprisoning women, juveniles, and children.

 

Legal hassles, refusing bail.

 

Police searches, attacks and harassment.

 

Having anti-social elements vandalize private properties and homes with police connivance.

 

Attack on negotiating team.

 

Intelligence departments’ psychological warfare.

 

Tear gas attack, lathi charge, firing.

 

Murder by police.

 

Aerial harassment of Coast Guard planes.

 

Death threats.

Nonviolent and peaceful siege, processions and agitations (for a few hours).
Slanders

Faced

Instigated by opposition parties.

 

Small group’s protest.

 

Fishermen struggle.

 

Christian struggle.

 

Foreign countries’ and agencies’ plot.

 

NGO-funded struggle.

 

Missionaries’ and priests’ protest.

 

Struggle promotes smuggling in the sea and coasts.

 

Undertaken to harass governments.

 

Struggle promoted by incentives such as Rs. 500, biriyani and alcohol.

 

Misguiding innocent people.

 

Stubborn and unwilling to listen.

 

Receiving foreign money.

 

Using human shield.

 

Character assassination of leaders, casting aspersions on leaders’ integrity etc.

 

Accusing of using violence.

 

Publishing leaders’ addresses, contact numbers, emails in a newspaper.

 

Doubting people’s sanity and sending psychiatrists.

 

Arresting foreigners and connecting with struggle.

 

Linking us with Naxalites, terrorists, ISI spies etc.

 

Insulting women and questioning their morality.

 
Machinations  

 

 

Telling half-truths and non-truths to people.

 

Dividing people with the help of immoral media persons.

 

Setting up corrupt media persons against the struggle.

 

Spreading rumors and  harassing people.

 

Dividing people along caste and religious lines.

 

Trying to instigate violence in the protest programs.

 

Trying to ‘buy’ weak protestors.

 

Splitting people by creating gangs and planting goons.

 

‘Buying’ media and media persons.

 

Instigating businessmen and industrialists against people.

 

Using scientists and experts to confuse people.

 

Setting up proxy protesters against the struggle.

 

Setting up religious leaders to influence people’s opinion.

 

Distributing freebies.

 

Canvassing students and youth in colleges with government influence.

 

Doing campaigns with government influence.

 

Creating artificial power cuts.

 

Sending in spies and agents to endanger peace.

 

Promising houses, roads and other “development” projects.

 

Promising crores of rupees and wooing panchayat leaders and local leaders to the government side.

Favored

Solutions

Abandon all NPPs

 

Focus on ‘New Energies’

Start more NPPs

 

Produce nuclear energy

The Way Out ·         Announce a moratorium on all nuclear activities all over the country.

·         Present a Cost-Benefit-Procedural Impact analysis of NPPs.

·         Do financial, energy, environmental, social audit of the existing NPPs.

·         Set up an “empowered and independent” regulatory authority.

·         Ensure transparency, accountability, and popular participation in nuclear installations.

·         Facilitate a national debate on nuclear deals, Uranium mines, reactors, waste dumps, and nuclear bombs.

·         Let people decide what they need!

 

By S. P. Udayakumar <spudayakumar@gmail.com>, R. S. Muhilan and M. Pushparayan.

Kudankulam row: Thousands of villagers protest near plant


 

Reported by Sneha Mary Koshy, Edited by Mala Das | Updated: October 08, 2012 13:57 IST

PLAYClick to Expand & Play

Kudankulam: Thousands of fishermen from 40 villages around the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu have surrounded the area from about 500 metres in the sea and are shouting slogans to protest against the plant. This is a token seige of the plant, since they will not be allowed by policemen to get any closer. Activist SP Udhayakumar, who is spearheading the anti-plant protests, today said in their next action, protestors would lay siege to the Tamil Nadu Assemblyin Chennai on October 29.Mr Udhayakumar’s organisation, the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), has said apart from the fishermen in Tirunelveli and the adjoining Kanyakumari and Thoothukudi districts, volunteers from various political parties are expected to participate in separate protests planned across the state. “We are laying siege against fuel loading. It will be a peaceful, non-violent protest as we have been doing for some time now. We have asked authorities to treat our protesters with respect, to respect their democratic rights. We have appealed to the government against fuel loading at the plant. When the entire world is shunning nuclear power, why shouldn’t we?…we will not cross our boundaries…the protesters have been clearly told there will be no vandalism, they will not attack security officials,” Mr Udhayakumar said.

The protesters have floated fibre boats and bouys in the sea and intend to stay there for the whole day today. More than 5,000 security personnel have been deployed and the Coast Guard has positioned five vessels in the area to prevent any untoward incident. Meanwhile, there is heavy security on all roads leading to the plant, Personnel from the Additional Coast Guard, Rapid Action Force, Central Reserve Police Force and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) have been deployed at all key junctions, the plant site and in the neighbouring villages.

The protesters are demanding the closure of the plant, citing safety concerns. The locals say they are worried about ecological damage by radioactivity which could affect the livelihood of thousands of fishermen around the plant. Activists have also cited the Fukushima disaster in Japan, triggered by a tsunami last year, to draw parallels about the dangers of a nuclear plant.

The villagers are also demanding the release of those arrested in an earlier protest, and taking back what they term as false cases against activists. They also want the police to be withdrawn from their villages.

Last month, a protest that lasted several days ended in police action on villages around the nuclear plant, where several people were arrested. The cops were indicted by an independent commission of using excess force at that time. Police had used tear gas and lathicharge to control the protesters, who had threatened to storm the plant from the sea.

Though protests have been continuing against the nuclear plant, the Supreme Court has cleared its operationalization under the condition that all safety mechanisms are in place. The government has assured the court that the plant is safe and is “fully equipped to withstand” Fukushima-type incidents.

(With PTI inputs)

 

Grave concerns over security laws in Kashmir


Two days into 2012, a student was killed and two more were injured in a village in North Kashmir when the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) guarding a hydroelectric plant opened fire on protesters, shattering a tenuous peace. In the recent past, (and most noticeably in 2010), students who have come out on to the streets chanting pro-freedom slogans – as part of a struggle for self determination whose roots go back further than Indian independence – have been fired upon and killed. This time, the protesters were merely demanding more electricity on an icy winter day during an acute power shortage. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was quick to declare that the CISF did not come under the ambit of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) – an extraordinary and draconian piece of security legislation – and sought to raise the pitch for partial revocation of the law.

AFSPA was enacted in 1990, ostensibly to fight the insurgency and armed militancy that surfaced in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and in some parts of northeast India. Although the government admits that militancy has significantly reduced in Kashmir, the law has not been revoked. In October last year Abdullah began issuing statements to the effect that AFSPA must be partially revoked.

Trampling human rights

Activists say there are two disturbing aspects of the law that can grossly trample upon fundamental human rights. One is the de jure abrogation of constitutional guarantees – such as the right to life – because of the extraordinary and unbridled powers it bestows on security troops to arrest, detain, destroy property and even kill on the basis of ‘reasonable suspicion’.

The other is the shield of immunity whereby it is not possible to prosecute armed forces, even for the most heinous crimes, without the sanction of the Central Defence Ministry and the Home Ministry. The state of Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian government claim there are provisions within the law for punitive action. In practice, impunity is deeply rooted.

Under the guise of defending the nation’s sovereignty at any cost, the police and armed forces have perpetrated huge crimes  .
Khurram Parvez, a rights activist working with Jammu Kashmir Civil Society (JKCS), says that the complete lack of culpability has been so pervasive that it has permeated down even to the police, who do not come under AFSPA. He says that under the guise of defending the nation’s sovereignty at any cost, the police and armed forces have perpetrated huge crimes such as custodial killings, mass rapes and enforced disappearances. ‘But who in the past 22 years has been punished, even when indicted?’ he asks.

Which way now for Kashmir? 

On the contrary, he charges, the state’s policy of handing out incentives in the form of payments for encounter killings has exacerbated the scale of rights violations. A recent example is the Macchil case, when three youths from poor families were recruited by an army unit to work as high-altitude porters. They were cold-bloodedly killed on 30 April 2010 after being falsely labelled as militants. A member of the state’s human rights commission charged the offending army personnel of murdering them to gain ‘undue promotions, awards and rewards’.

Parvez says any talk of revocation of the law from parts of Kashmir is meaningless if the political will to end this culture of immunity is lacking. ‘The crux of the issue is not whether such security laws are good or bad, but that they have engendered complete lawlessness. Armed personnel have violated every standard operating procedure, even within this draconian law. For example, any person who has been picked up for interrogation must be presented before the magistrate within a day or two. This is never done. That is why you have at least 8,000 cases of enforced disappearances, a figure that has been arrived at by Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP),’ he adds.

The state has long denied these figures. It maintains that the missing youths crossed the border to Pakistan to train as militants. The state has also declared that many of the anonymous and unidentified graves that lie scattered all over Kashmir contain bodies of militants, mainly foreign fighters from Pakistan or Afghanistan who had infiltrated the state.
Cover up exposed

Significantly, in September 2011 this cover up was blown away. What had been an open secret well documented by rights groups was eventually acknowledged by the state’s human rights commission (SHRC). A team comprising 11 members and led by senior police officer Bashir Itoo admitted, to the state’s acute discomfiture, that graves in North Kashmir contained the remains of locals. There was every possibility they contained bodies of those who had suffered ‘enforced disappearances’.

The state team began in 2008 its investigation of anonymous graves in 38 sites in North Kashmir. Their report states that out of 2,730 unidentified bodies that were buried, 574 were later identified as locals. The report also notes that some of the bodies, besides bearing bullet injuries, were also defaced. At least 20 were charred and five comprised only of skulls. At least 18 graves contained more than one unidentified body.

A local Kashmiri daily recently reported that one of the mass graves in Bimiyar, Baramulla district, contained the bullet-riddled body of a six-month-old infant. Atta Mohammed Wali Khan, a local gravedigger who testified before the state’s inquiry team, confirms burying the baby. All the bodies had been brought in by the police.

It is not possible to prosecute armed forces, even for the most heinous crimes, without the sanction of the Central Defence Ministry and the Home Ministry

It is the norm for security troops to hand over to the police for burial the bodies of those killed in encounters with militants, or civilians caught in crossfire. It is mandatory for the police, in turn, to maintain proper identification profiles, taking photos of those killed and placing them in the public domain. Suspicious deaths, such as those with slit throats, strangulation marks or signs of visible torture, must be investigated. But, as the state report indicates, none of this had been adhered to.

Itoo, who led the investigations despite the challenges of ‘insufficient logistical support’, confirms that the local police did not keep any such identification profiles, and in ‘some cases police claims were falsified’.

Demands have now grown for the investigation into anonymous graves to be extended to the whole of Kashmir. There is scarcely a district that does not contain such graves. Many of them spring up in open spaces adjoining police stations or security forces’ camps. Human rights groups such as the JKCS and the state human rights commission have sought accountability by demanding that all the graves be examined and a comprehensive DNA data base established for crosschecking with DNA samples of the next of kin of people who have disappeared.

What reconciliation?

At least 14,123 families have agreed to such DNA testing in a bid to bring about closure and end the agonizing search for loved ones. ‘But how serious [about it] is the state?’ wonders Parvez. The APDP has expressed concern that although three months have passed since the SHRC’s findings and recommendations, the government has done nothing. The Chief Minister’s only response has been to call for a truth and reconciliation committee.

‘There is no talk about finding the perpetrators of the crimes: the army, paramilitary troops, officers and civil administrators who aided and abetted them. There is no talk of trying them and giving them appropriate, even exemplary punishment’

This leads Kashmiri writer, researcher and legal activist Arif Ayaz Parray to declare that what the state is doing in a ‘legalistic’ sense is replacing ‘justice’ with ‘acknowledgment’. He explains: ‘There is no talk about finding the perpetrators of the crimes: the army, paramilitary troops, officers and civil administrators who aided and abetted them. There is no talk of trying them and giving them appropriate, even exemplary punishment, not only for “disappearing” people, killing them in fake gun battles and dumping them in mass graves, but also for failing to maintain DNA profiles and pictures of those killed and sharing the records with the administration of Jammu and Kashmir, New Delhi and Islamabad.

‘The state is absolving itself by pleading the impossibility of such justice – conveniently choosing to gloss over the fact that it is the state itself which has made it impossible in the first place, as a matter of policy – and therefore offering “reconciliation” in its place. What reconciliation?’

He likens this latest example of acknowledgment to a case of ‘double disappearance’. ‘Figuratively, the state took children from their mothers’ laps, killed them and buried them anonymously, creating a void which has hardened over many years. Now it wants to return the skeletons back to the mothers’ laps, force the void shut and claim that restorative justice has been delivered.’

Freny Manecksha is a freelance journalist.

Source- New Internationalist