Mumbai – Delhi Sangharsh Yatre flagged off on Women’s Day from Azad Maidan


A struggle for lie and livelihood against destruction

 

Azad Maidan, Mumbai, March 8th: The Mumbai – Delhi Sangarsh Yatra against the mammoth Delhi – Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) was flagged off on the occasion of international women’s day from the iconic Azad Maidan in Mumbai by women activists from Lavasa, Wang Marathwad, Narmada, Kanjhawala, Delhi, Aurangabad, Pune, Golibar and many bastis of Mumbai in the presence of noted Marathi writer Hirabai Daya Pawar. Women gift life but are repaid with violence and destruction.  Even though the state, political classes and capitalistic forces have joined hands to wreck havoc on us, women will fiercely challenge them in bastis, river valleys, villages, everywhere! This was witnessed today as more than 1000 women from different bastis came together to pledge to carry forward the struggle. Yesterday they bravely stood against bulldozers and the police who with the support of goons of the Shivalik builders, broke down their homes. Yesterday also saw the Maharashtra government showing it true face, beating up women on the eve of women’s day arresting Neha, Johara, Prerna Gaekwad along with Medha Patkar for resisting the demolition at Golibar and Andheri. Dr. Sunilam of Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Madhya Pradesh condemned the violence against women and said that women in Chindwara, Madhya Pradesh are facing goons of Adani group.

 

Our struggle is the same everywhere. Today Capitalist forces want to take away even whatever is left with the poorest of the poor. A small piece of land on which our houses stand whether in cities or farms, is gold. They want it all and that is what is at stake in the DMIC, a 1483 kms highway with an influence area equal to 14% of total land in India and affecting 17% of the population. 70% of the project influence area is agricultural land therefore seriously impacting the food security of the country.

 

Women from every field – academics, literature, media, development etc. were present for the event. Women representatives from various movements, places and organisations like India Against Corruption, the Yusuf Mehrally Centre etc. were also active participants of the events passionately expressing their concerns, complaints and opinions. The children from the Balanandwan Alisarg Kendra, Dahanu road closed the event with a play on evils done against women. 

 

The Mumbai – Delhi Sangharsh Yatra is joined by activists from ten states of the country and will pass through Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh . They will finally reach Delhi on 18th March for the Kisan – Mazdoor Mahapanchayat. The Yatra is an organised effort to bring together various struggles going across the corridor as it violates all rights of democratically elected Gram Sabhasa and Panchayats  and threatens fundamental rights and environmental balance.

Medha Patkar, Dr. Sunilam, Suniti SR, Gyaneshwar Shedge, Lingraj Azad, Rajsingh, Vedvati, Kamla Yadav, Prema bhai, Atik Ahmed, Suhas kolhekar, Suniti S.R>, Sumit Wajale, Prerna Gaekwad, Jameelbhai, Prasad Bagwe, Seela M., Madhuresh  and many others will travel from Mumbai to Delhi.

The schedule or the Yatra is as follows:-

8th March – Mumbai

9th March – Raigad/Karla (Pune)

10th March – Dhule/Nandurbar

11th March – Aurangabad/Sinnar

12th March – Umargam(Nargol)

13th March – Surat

14th March – Ahmadebad/Mehsana

15th March – Ujjain

16th March – Udaipur/ Pithampur Industrial area Village Kali Billod

17th March – Jaipur/Rewari

18th  March – “Kisan-Khetmazdoor Mahapanchayat” @Jantar Mantar

19th March  – Convention on “Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor: Myths and Facts” @ Indian Social Institute, Lodhi Road, New Delhi

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Phone : 011 26241167 / 24354737 Mobile : 09818905316
Web : www.napm-india.org

Twitter : @napmindia

#India- Tweets against Chidambaram’s son land man in jail #censorship #law


PRISCILLA JEBARAJ  , The Hindu

A file photo of Karti Chidambaram. Photo: K. Ananthan

The HinduA file photo of Karti Chidambaram. Photo: K. Ananthan

Ravi Srinivasan faces up to three years in jail if found guilty

Does a tweet on reports of corruption, sent out to 16 followers, deserve a possible penalty of three years of imprisonment? The answer seems to be yes, at least according to Congress leader and Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s son Karti, who filed a complaint against small-time Puducherry businessman Ravi Srinivasan, and the Puducherry police which charged Mr. Srinivasan under Section 66-A of the Information Technology Act, 2008.

Section 66-A deals with messages sent via computer or communication devices which may be “grossly offensive,” have “menacing character,” or even cause “annoyance or inconvenience.” For offences under the section, a person can be fined and jailed up to three years.

Mr. Srinivasan, a 45-year-old supplier of plastic parts to telecom companies and a volunteer with India Against Corruption, had on October 20 tweeted from his Twitter account @ravi_the_indian : “got reports that karthick chidambaram has amassed more wealth than vadra.” Other such tweets reportedly made references to Mr. P. Chidambaram.

Mr. Srinivasan is however appalled by the reaction his tweet has provoked. “At 5 a.m. on Tuesday [October 30] morning, I was woken up and pulled out of my house by CBCID men and told I was under arrest because of my tweets,” he told The Hindu. “My wife and two daughters were in shock. What wrong have I done?”

The police told him he was being charged because of an e-mail complaint sent by Mr. Karti Chidambaram to the Inspector General of Police, in which he accused him of malicious intent to defame a good man. He was produced before a judicial magistrate and released on bail that evening.

Mr. Chidambaram was out of the country on Wednesday, and remained unavailable for comment. But he did post a short statement on his own Twitter account @KartiPC. “Free speech is subject to reasonable restrictions. I have a right to seek constitutional/legal remedies over defamatory/scurrilous tweets,” he said to his 3,655 followers. He did not respond to queries on Twitter.

Mr. Srinivasan — whose Twitter tagline reads: Jai- hind guy, want to see India as no 1 in every sphere, believer that india can do it — has only posted 110 tweets in his one and a half years on the microblogging site. He has a grand total of 16 followers, as of Wednesday evening.

“My tweet refers to reports I read about Karti Chidambaram and Robert Vadra in the newspapers. It is not even my own opinion. I don’t know what is defamatory about it,” he said. “When I read the kind of tweets other people have written on corruption, I do not know why I am being targeted.” He wondered if his involvement with the IAC, and participation in their activities in Puducherry, has brought this upon him. In his latest tweet, he asked the IAC for “moral support.”

Interestingly, on October 22, Mr. Chidambaram had tweeted about a story in The Hindu on the arrest of two people who had allegedly harassed singer Chinmayi Sripada on Twitter, and were charged under Section 66-A of the IT Act. Linking to The Hindu’s article, Mr. Chidambaram’s tweet added: “food for thought for you know who! :)”

Activists campaigning for online freedom of speech say this kind of charge under the IT Act was inevitable, given the ambiguous nature of Section 66-A. Pranesh Prakash, policy director of the Bangalore-based Centre for Internet and Society, says the clause is “overbroad,” “unconstitutional,” and does not satisfy Article 19 (2) of the Constitution which allows for restrictions on freedom of speech and expression.

He points out that there is no equivalent law for any offline communication, whether in verbal or printed format. “If you write a book that annoys or inconveniences me, even deliberately, I have no civil or criminal recourse. But if you send an e-mail message, or post a tweet, you could face three years in jail,” says Mr. Prakash. “That’s higher than the two-year imprisonment for causing death by negligence.”

#India-That Seditious Mango Man #draconianlaws #mustread


 

 | 19 OCTOBER 2012  | , By Gautam Patel at http://www.prisonerofagenda.com/

The sedition law in India is outdated, ineffective and abused; it needs to go, and citing the ‘Maoist/Naxalite problem’ is no answer.

FDI in Retail :: Wal-Mart this

Government, government about to fall

Who’s the most seditious of us all?

A few weeks ago, a young cartoonist, Aseem Trivedi, was arrested on grounds of ‘sedition’. He was later granted bail by the Bombay High Court and, in short order, became the focal point of protests against the sedition law. Section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code, it was said, is a relic of the British Raj, ‘outdated’ and has no place in modern society. Some pointed out that few countries today have such a law, and no comparable democracy does. It was abolished in England some years ago, and in the USA has been much diluted by courts.

The Curious Case of Binayak Sen by Dilip D'Souza

Trivedi isn’t the only one to have faced this law. Dr Binayak Sen was actually convicted under it, and as my friend Dilip D’Souza points out in his new book, The Curious Case of Binayak Sen, that judgement is wholly incorrect. The book isn’t a biography of Dr Sen, or even a legal polemic about the decision — it doesn’t claim to be either. What it does, and does with brilliant concision and accuracy, is demonstrate how hollow the case against Sen was.

The charge of sedition was central to Dr Sen’s case. He was accused of being a Maoist, and the evidence for this was, chiefly, that he carried three letters from a person in jail to persons outside — a charge of sedition based on, as D’Souza says, “being a glorified postman”.1 The case against Trivedi is that his cartoons — which are scathing but not terribly funny, and, despite the government’s silly attempt to block and ban are still available on the Internet — criticise, mock and deride the government. In both cases, the accusations are of having acted against the government and this is equated with the “state”. In neither case was there any evidence of incitement to violence. Were Anna Hazare and the India Against Corruption movement not “exciting disaffection” towards “the government”? D’Souza asks. Alarmingly, he then emphasizes his point by quoting from one of my articles of July 2011, and then says this:

“This writer certainly sounds contemptuous of his lawfully established government: it is in fact how he wants to sound. He wants to ‘excite disaffection towards the government’. So has this writer committed sedition? Can he be charged with it?”

I certainly hope not.

And this is the heart of the problem. The ‘government’ is not the ‘state’; the government is the party that is presently voted into power and which runs the administration. The state is the nation, and the concepts of statehood, nationality and national identity cannot be conflated with the government. Governments come and go, though some stick on like limpets when they ought to have gone a long time ago. The state remains, and endures; and the state endures not because of any particular government, but despite it. The preamble to our Constitution opens with the words, “We, the people of India”, not “We, the people presently governed by [insert name of political party]”. And sedition is in the section of the Penal Code that deals with offences against the State; it is no offence to criticize a political party or an administration.

Section 124-A does not make this distinction explicitly. It says:

“Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law in India …”

The crucial parts here, of course, are the phrase “the government by law established” and the words hatredcontempt, and disaffection. Does the phrase refer to the party in administration, or does it refer to the nation and the state? Do the words include mere criticism as well? If it refers to a particular party or this or that government, and every form of criticism, then we have a very real problem, because most of us would then be in jail for a very long time. The most critical problem is that read literally the section runs into a head-on collision with Articles 19(1)(a) and 19(2) of the Constitution which deal with freedom of speech. Article 19(2) places limits on the right of free speech; but it does not use the word sedition. If the right to free speech cannot be curtailed on the ground that it is seditious, then making it an offence violates the right to free speech.

The conflict between the section and the constitutional guarantee of free speech was resolved by a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court in 1962 in Kedar Nath Singh v State of Bihar, in which the constitutionality of S.124-A was challenged.2 Written with exceptional clarity, the Supreme Court judgement traces the long and convoluted history of the law, and the constitutional provisions in relation to free speech. There are many previous cases of relevance to both aspects: the trial of Tilak for instance, and the cases involving free speech. The Court saw that if mere criticism of administration constituted an offence, then the section was clearly unconstitutional. It analysed the three ‘explanations’ that appear below the section, and held that to resolve the conflict, the sedition law must be read to mean that mere criticism, however strongly worded, of administrative or other actions of the Government do not constitute sedition unless they incite violence against the state; and that a “Government established by law” is not the same as the administration. Therefore, to constitute an offence, the words must go beyond mere criticism of a particular party in power; they must attack the state and they must also incite or advocate violence. That, the court said, is the only way to balance both the section and the constitutional guarantee of free speech.

This is not the arcane stuff of law courts. This is a very real and material distinction, one that is vital to the protection of one of our fundamental freedoms. It is also one overlooked by the trial court’s judgement in Binayak Sen’s case and the authorities who arrested Trivedi. Their literal readings mean that everyone, from Arvind Kejriwal to the leader of the Opposition in Parliament and, indeed, the gentleman on television every night, Mr Arnab Goswami, are potentially guilty of ‘sedition’. Many of us are outraged by the antics of our political masters. Yet, we continue to believe in our state, and we do so despite its current administration, not because of it.

Five decades after the Supreme Court decision in Kedar Nath, it is time for Section 124-A to go? In 2010, when England abolished its law on sedition, the Justice Minister said that:

“Sedition and seditious and defamatory libel are arcane offences from a bygone era when freedom of expression wasn’t seen as the right it is today. Freedom of speech is now seen as the touchstone of democracy, and the ability of individuals to criticise the state is crucial to maintaining freedom. The existence of these obsolete offences in this country had been used by other countries as justification for the retention of similar laws which have been actively used to suppress political dissent and restrict press freedom.”

That is as true of India today as it was in England then. Even our own politicians,from Nehru in 1951 to Veerappa Moily in 2011, have said it has no place in our legal polity. You may or may not agree with Arundhati Roy’s views on Kashmir, but to respond by charging her with sedition is worse than an act of cowardice; unfortunately, stupidity is not a punishable offence.

But India also has this peculiar problem of armed insurgencies in vast areas within its borders, what we call the “Naxalite problem”. Whatever its causes and roots, it is an armed insurrection, and it is not directed at a particular administration, but every administration that functions in the name of India. It is undoubtedly subversive of an established order and incites rebellion. But the problem is far too complex, and the retention of the sedition law has not in any way solved it. It has only been misused in the very manner that England’s justice minister spoke of.

Take out the sedition law; is there not still sufficient strength in the law to punish those guilty of murder and armed attacks, whatever the colour of their political beliefs? Why should we continue to risk these assaults on our constitutional freedoms, risks that are not hypothetical, but are very, very real?

The Kedar Nath judgement quotes from Near v Minnesota, a 1931 US case widely regarded as the first great free press case.3 In the context of free speech and sedition, Near v Minnesota in turn quotes James Madison, the propounder of the First Amendment to the US Constitution, and its Bill of Rights advocating the constitutional guarantees of free speech.

“In every State, probable in the Union, the press has exerted a freedom in canvassing the merits and measures of public men of every description which has not been confined to the strict limits of the common law. On this footing the freedom of the press has stood; on this footing it yet stands. … It has accordingly been decided by the practice of the States, that it is better to leave a few of its noxious branches to their luxuriant growth, than, by pruning them away, to injure the vigour of those yielding the proper fruits. …Had ‘Sedition Acts,’ forbidding every publication that might bring the constituted agents into contempt or disrepute, or that might excite the hatred of the people against the authors of unjust or pernicious measures, been uniformly enforced against the press, might not the United States have been languishing at this day under the infirmities of a sickly Confederation? Might they not, possibly, be miserable colonies, groaning under a foreign yoke?

We so easily forget what we must most remember: Our nation’s Independence too was fought for and won by acts that all constituted sedition.

  1. D’Souza, Dilip; The Curious Case of Binayak Senpg 147 
  2. Kedar Nath Singh v State of Bihar, AIR 1962 SC 955 
  3. Near v Minnesota, 283 US 597 

 

The agenda behind the #anti-corruption agenda #kejriwal #anna #IAC


Date: 20 October 2012
DNA – G sampath

Earlier this week at a public meeting in Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal urged his supporters to celebrate Dussehra by burning the effigies not of the mythical demons, but of today’s demons – corrupt politicians. “I leave it to you to select which corrupt politician will be your Ravana, and which ones your Kumbhakarna and your Meghnad,” he told a cheering audience.

This facile personification of an abstraction (corruption) and its emotive linkage to a religious symbol (burning the effigies of the righteousRama’s enemies) encapsulates the essential character of the anti-corruption movement that now aspires to be a “political alternative.”

Arvind Kejriwal and his band of activists are going to launch a political party. But is anti-corruption enough of a platform to launch a whole new political party? What constituency do they really represent? How does one understand Team Kejriwal’s leap into parliamentary politics? While I do not question their individual good intentions, their singular obsession with corruption and their reluctance to engage with the structural issues that make corruption widespread, if not necessary, are worth pondering.

Who does Team Kejriwal represent?
The past 20 years of liberalisation have put more money into the hands of India’s middle classes. Their economic empowerment has given them a new sense of political entitlement, but not political empowerment.

Unlike the economy, Indian politics has continued on its pre-liberalisation track. A small dynastic coterie calls the shots in all the mainstream parties. The pre-modern institutions of caste, religion and family still count for more than capability or integrity or leadership. As a result, the onward (and upward) economic march of the middle classes has been held to ransom by the regressive feudal politics of a tiny elite that has basically gamed the system.

From a Marxist perspective, the rise of the anti-corruption brigade can be read as a manifestation of the power struggle between two different factions of the ruling class – the bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie. The former are in command now, their financial power having secured them political control over the state machinery and party functionaries, from the PMO downward. Vedanta’s grip over the state administration in Orissa is a telling example.

The petty bourgeoisie, or the educated urban middle classes, possess social and cultural capital but not enough of financial capital for deployment to produce surplus value – not in the prevailing political system. The present system is ‘corrupt’ and needs an overhaul precisely because it does not accord enough value to their social and cultural capital – encapsulated in the word ‘merit’.

Slaying the Corruption Dragon
Enter Team Anna/Kejriwal. Never before in independent India has the urban, literate middle class — cutting across the traditional divides of caste, religion or ethnicity — coalesced into an electorate by itself. But twenty years of consumerist prosperity has made this imminent.

This grouping of urbanised middle class Indians has tasted the fruits of western modernity. They are disgusted by the feudalism of the political class. They are even more disgusted by the impunity with which a tiny cabal of businessmen and politicians are sucking the country dry. But they are most disgusted at being left out of the banquet.

Clearly, the ‘system’ isn’t working. Not for them. Their sense of political entitlement is violently at odds with their political impotence. The BJP, which was supposed to look out for the entrepreneurial, meritorious, middle class Hindus, has long since betrayed its core constituency. It is less an opposition in Parliament than an envious but sporting rival. It is the political vacuum created by the BJP’sabnegation of its oppositional role that the anti-corruption brigade led by Team Anna/Kejriwal has exploited, and hopes to fill.

Hence the constant confusion about their relationship with the BJP: Are these guys with the BJP or not? They seem to be, with their borderline Hindutva symbolisms and rhetoric, but they are also anxious to distance themselves from the BJP, tainted as it is by the rot in the prevailing system. They want the BJP’s constituency but not its burdensome political legacy. So they walk the tightrope, leaning now on the side of jingoism and Hindutva, now tilting the other way to fire a few quick salvos against the ‘corrupt’ BJP.

For all its dangerous ideology, the BJP still has a political vision – of a Hindu rashtra. But the newly empowered middle classes, despite their recent political awakening, have no political vision as such. They may take pride in their Hindu identity, but they don’t care one way or the other about a Hindu rashtra, which explains the BJP’s ongoing existential crisis. Nor are they animated by a sense of social responsibility towards those less fortunate than themselves. Rather than calling them the middle class, it would be more accurate to refer to them as the ‘consumer class’.

Their very idea of citizenship is mixed up with that of the consumer. Their overarching political anxiety is: How do I secure the goods and services for which I’m paying by way of taxes? They cannot entertain the idea that the state may have responsibilities even to those who cannot pay taxes because they don’t earn or consume enough to do so. Their idea of a functioning political system is one that can quietly lay out a smooth expressway to consumerist paradise: Good infrastructure, parking, no slums, and law and order so they can walk around in branded clothes without getting mugged. And, oh yes, affordable education, hospitals, etc.

What’s preventing this consumerist paradise from materialising? Corruption, of course! The Solution? Kill this dragon of corruption. The knights of the Anna round table will hunt down the Corruption Dragon and slay it. Then all Indians can live happily ever after. This is the fairy tale that the anti-corruption brigade is peddling. But that is all it is: A fairy tale.

The uses of corruption
To make sense of the Kejriwal phenomenon, and to understand why the corporate media (itself hardly a paragon of probity), which has little time for issues of deprivation and social justice, is so invested in this campaign against corruption, we need to ask some basic questions: What is corruption exactly? And what purpose is served by the high decibel discourse of corruption?

The most obvious rhetorical use of ‘corruption’ is as a diagnosis of what is ailing modern India. It presents us with an easy, identifiable, enemy: The corrupt. Where there is corruption, there are bound to be corrupt people, the Ravanas. Identify the corrupt, punish them, and cleanse the state of the corrupt, and India will be pristine once again, all set to fulfill her destiny of 10 per cent growth year after year for eternity.

Really? In fact, the syphoning of public funds into private pockets, or demanding bribes for doing a job (or not doing it) are symptoms of a malaise that runs deeper: a fundamental power inequality that comes into play soon as you erect an apparatus known as the state.

Power, as we all know, corrupts. Corruption is born at the same instant a bureaucrat is born – there is no existential gap that separates an ‘honest’ bureaucrat from a corrupt one, for the simple reason that every bureaucracy is nothing but an ejaculate of democracy getting shagged by power.

A politician holding an executive post is but another cog in the bureaucratic apparatus of the state, though a prestigious one. He is different from the bureaucrat in only one respect: he is elected by the ‘people’, while the bureaucrat is selected through an exam or nominated by an elite. But his job is essentially one with that of the state: To serve the power elite.

Indeed, there is nothing about the quality of power wielded by a Lokpal that would make this bureaucrat immune to the fundamental logic of power.

The discourse of corruption serves four key purposes. Firstly, it crowds inequality and social justice off the mainstream agenda. The two issues are linked: Social justice will not be a major concern (as it isn’t for the anti-corruption brigade; their primary concern is ‘governance’) unless there is an uncompromising respect for political equality. But nobody would argue that India’s middle classes believe in egalitarianism. Apparently, ‘merit’ somehow confers on them a distinction that exempts them from the logic of political and social equality.

Secondly, corruption, like ‘human rights’ or ‘terrorism’, is a term emptied of context and history. The exclusive focus on corruption as the prime failing of the state obfuscates the fact that a nation-state’s primary job has always been to organise the protection of ruling class interests. The history of independent India is an abiding testament to this simple political truth. But the bogey of corruption deflects attention from the repressive nature of the state’s relationship with the overwhelming majority of its subjects, and the exploitative economic structures it enforces. Ever wondered why the benevolent Indian state still needs the colonial IPC? And POTA? And MCOCA? And AFSPA? And UAPA? And the sedition law? They’re not for meant for corrupt politicians, by the way.

Thirdly, the hyper-focus on corruption serves to blunt the sharpening political consciousness of the ‘under-class’ by offering them a simplistic discourse containing good guys and bad guys. The corrupt politician is Ravana, while the honest ones, like Kejriwal or AshokKhemka, are like Rama. And if you know your Ramayana, you’d vote for Rama and the allies of Rama.

The ‘us-pure’ versus ‘them-corrupt’
Lastly, an exclusive focus on state corruption furthers the neo-liberal agenda of a leaner but meaner state. This has been pointed out by many commentators, including, most expansively, by the eminent economist Prabhat Patnaik.

This is how it works: By repeatedly associating state initiatives and programmes with corruption, you make a strong case for privatisation, for the handing over of public assets held in trust by the state (such as PSUs) into private hands. Simultaneously, because governmental corruption (and consequent inefficiency) is anyway sucking up all tax revenues, you make another strong case — for lower taxation.

But when you lower taxes, government revenues will go down, which means government expenditure has to go down too – so the government has to shrink. But since the defence budget (no matter how obscenely large for a poor country) cannot be cut, it is the social welfare schemes that have to go – so, Down with Subsidies! Down with NREGA! Down with PDS!

Since the state cannot tax its richest citizens, ie the corporations (it could spoil the investment climate), it will never have enough in its coffers to invest in public projects. So to raise the money, it has to call in foreign investors, who won’t come unless they can take out from the country far more than what they put in (that’s just capitalism, nothing personal). So you woo them with more tax sops. Thus presiding over the draining of public assets into private hands, the state cannot but abdicate its responsibility towards the vast majority. This abdication, then, is presented to the aam admi in the form of a simplistic, depoliticised narrative – the narrative of political corruption. And the cycle begins all over again .

This, in a nutshell, is the agenda behind the anti-corruption agenda. This is not to say that all IAC activists are going about their job with a cynical awareness of what they’re really up to. But many of them are fairly sophisticated intellectuals who ought to know which side of the class bread their one-dimensional crusade will butter.

If it weren’t for the comforting binary of ‘us-pure’ versus ‘them-corrupt’, the working classes and the peasantry — whose very real and legitimate anger against the political class the anti-corruption movement is tapping into — might well pose a serious threat to the prevailing order. The land of a million mutinies might even cobble together a revolution, if not splinter into a dozen fragments.

By turning into a political party, Team Kejriwal will only serve the ruling class agenda of funneling the growing anger of the mango people into the same old democratic channels that are hard-wired to betray them. Thanks to the mythical beast known as Corruption, the nation under siege has a common enemy that millions can unite against in hateful rage. So let’s go burn those effigies. HappyDussehra!

G Sampath is an independent writer based in Delhi. He is reachable at sampath4office@gmail.com.

Sedition law threat to democracy: Binayak Sen


 

By IANS,

Kovalam: Rights activist Binayak Sen Saturday slammed the blanket use of the sedition law by the government on cartoonist Aseem Trivedi and the anti-Kudankulam protesters, warning this tendency was becoming a threat to free speech.

“The government is not applying its mind while applying the sedition law,” Sen, who himself is battling the same charge, told IANS on the sidelines of the 5th Kovalam Literary Fest, which started here Saturday.

“Dissent is necessary. Without dissent there can be no democracy,” he added.

In April 2011, the Supreme Court granted bail to civil rights activist Binayak Sen, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of sedition and for having links with Naxalites.

According to lawyer and rights activist Vrinda Grover, who was presiding as Sen delivered the 5th K.C. John Memorial Lecture at the event, cases of sedition have been filed against thousands of villagers at a single police station at Kudankulam. According to Grover, this was a record in independent India.

In his lecture, Sen warned on the danger of famine looming over most of India’s most vulnerable sections including Dalits, tribals and minorities. He urged a return to the practices of sustainable agriculture.

Trivedi, an activist of India Against Corruption (IAC) and a Kanpur-based cartoonist, was charged with sedition for drawing cartoons insulting Indian emblems, including the Constitution, during Anna Hazare‘ anti-corruption rally in Mumbai in December 2011. He was arrested Sep 8.

The Bombay High Court had rapped Mumbai police for arresting Trivedi on “frivolous” grounds and added that the action breached his freedom of speech and expression.

In September, Andhra Pradesh police cracked down and arrested hundreds of people protesting against the nuclear power plant being set up by atomic power plant operator NPCIL at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu.

Villagers have opposed the project for the past one year, fearing for their safety, especially since the nuclear disaster at Fukushima in Japan March 2011.

 

Political Cartoonist doesn’t feel need to defend self #FOE #FOS #sedition


PTI PHOTO/SANTOSH HIRLEKAR

Vijay V Singh, Rebecca Samervel & Swati Deshpande, TNN | Sep 10, 2012, 06.07AM IST

KANPUR-based cartoonist Aseem Trivedi ( 25 ) reached Mumbai on Saturday morning and went to the BKC police stationto surrender and also inquire about the case against him.Last month, a BKC police team had gone to Kanpurto look for him. Its members questioned his father for a few hours on August 30 at a local police station, causing him mental harassment, according to Trivedi’s friends. When the cartoonist learned about this, he tried to contact the team, but its members did not respond to his calls, the friends said.After Trivedi surrendered, he was put in lockup for the night. His friends and India Against Corruption members were not allowed to meet him, a friend alleged. Trivedi was produced in court on Sunday afternoon.

When the magistrate asked him about his advocate, he said he was not engaging one. The prosecutor informed the court that Trivedi had insulted the national emblem in a cartoon and displayed it during an Anna Hazare rally at the MMRDA ground and on his website. The court then gave the police Trivedi’s custody. The next hearing is on September 16.

Former judges, lawyers and civil rights activists have criticized the police for arresting the cartoonist. In particular, they have condemned the duration of his custody.

“This is a very rare instance of such a thing happening,” said activist and advocate Mihir Desai. Observing that the case was not maintainable, high court Justice (retd) H Suresh said, “The charge of sedition is patently misused. In this case, what is sedition? Moreover, custody of seven days is fundamentally wrong (in this case). What further investigations will be conducted while keeping him in custody ? The cartoons, which speak for themselves, are investigation enough.”

Former IPS officer and now lawyer Y P Singh said that as per a Supreme Court ruling, arrests need not be made in cases of a technical nature. “The action of the police, which may not be legally incorrect, has certainly been undesirable. The police have acted in an excessive manner by applying sedition charges. At best, a weak case could have been made under the Prevention of Insults to Nation Honour Act.

“Further, to arrest a person on a weekend and produce him in court on a Sunday is regarded as mischievous . That is because if a matter is regarded as serious, it needs to be deliberated on in a regular court and not a holiday court.”

Shyama Kulkarni, trustee, Agni, said, “In a democracy, how can somebody be gagged like this? Are we heading towards a dictatorial state or towards a state of emergency? Trivedi is an artist and has a right to express himself.”

Kulkarni drew a comparison to the recent arrest of a professor in West Bengal for forwarding a cartoon on the state’s chief minister Mamata Banerjee. “Will anyone among us be arrested if we criticize those in power? Instead of charging an innocent cartoonist, arrest those who are selling our country. The right people are not being arrested.”

The cartoonist

Aseem Trivedi was born in 1987 in Kanpur Is a political cartoonist and activist Is 2012 recipient of ‘Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award’ of Virginia-based Cartoonists Rights Network International Started ‘Save Your Voice’ movement against internet censorship along with long-time friend Alok Dixit As freelance cartoonist, drew for newspapers and magazines Drew cartoons in support of Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement and put them up in own website, which was blocked by police. Cartoons were discussed in Rajya Sabha

Aseem Trivedi’s crime

Sedition by insulting national symbols through cartoons Works in question are themed Cartoons Against Corruption. One depicts national emblem as comprising wolves in place of lions and the slogan Bhrashtameva Jayate in place of Satyameva Jayate

The complainant

Amit Katarnayea, legal advisor for a Mumbai-based non-governmental organization Wrote in police complaint in December 2011 that Trivedi put up banners mocking Indian constitution during Anna Hazare’s rally at Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) and uploaded obscene content on his website

Three charges, one draws life term

Section 124, Indian Penal Code |

Sedition. Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the government, shall be punished with imprisonment for life

Section 66A, Information Technology Act |

Punishment for sending false or offensive messages through communication services for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will. Punishable with imprisonment for a term that may extend to three years

Section 2, Prevention of Insults to Nation Honour Act |

Whoever in any public place or in any other place within public view burns, mutilates, defaces, defiles, disfigures, destroys, tramples upon or otherwise shows disrespect to or brings into contempt (whether by words, either spoken or written, or by acts) the national flag or the constitution of India or any part thereof, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term that may extend to three years

Kanpur-based , why did he surrender in mum?

Complaint against Aseem Trivedi was filed at BKC police station In August, BKC police team went to Kanpur to look for him and questioned his father on the 30th of the month Trivedi later tried to contact team, but failed He arrived in Mumbai on Saturday and went to BKC police station to inquire about the case. There he surrendered

Black armbands and cartoon stickers to protest Aseem’s arrest #sedition #FOE #saveyourvoice


 


Pockets of disgruntled citizens plan series of demonstrations after the cartoonist, who has been charged with sedition, was sent to police custody till September 16
Yogesh Sadhwani and Pooja Naik mirrorfeedback@indiatimes.com
The arrest of 25-year-old cartoonist Aseem Trivedi on charges of sedition is likely to spark a wave of protests, with organisers hoping the outpouring of anger will be similar to the large-scale demonstrations seen when Anna Hazare first launched his campaign for the Jan Lokpal bill 18 months ago.
Mumbai-based Trivedi was arrested by the BKC Police Station on Saturday evening following complaints about a series of anti-corruption cartoons that he had displayed at Anna Hazare’s rally a the MMRDA grounds in December. These cartoons were judged to have, among other things, insulted the constitution and several complaints were registered with the BKC cops.
On Sunday, a day after his arrest, the Bandra court remanded him to police custody till September 16. He refused to hire a lawyer and, according to eye-witnesses, did not defend himself.
As news of his arrest spread, the city’s blow-hot-blow-cold response to the battle against corruption seemed to get second wind, fuelled as it was by a restriction on a cartoonist’s freedom of expression.
Several groups of people Mumbai Mirror spoke to, including but not restricted to India Against Corruption which backed Hazare’s campaign, had hit the drawing board to plan a series of protests against Trivedi’s arrest.
IAC volunteers have already sent the offending cartoons to be printed as stickers and plan to have these distributed on Tuesday. On Monday, they will distribute black armbands to citizens across the city asking them to join the protest.
“The government is doing everything possible to muffle voices raised against them — from reducing number of SMSes, to blocking twitter accounts and now arresting Trivedi,” IAC’s Mayank Gandhi said.
Joining in the black band protest will be the Oshiwara Lokhandwala Citizens Association and the Gulmohar Residents Association in Juhu, both of which Ashoke Pandit is associated with. “The government has sent out a clear signal with his arrest that if you do or say anything anything against us, you will be gagged. It is a shame,” Pandit said.
Shyama Kulkarni of AGNI too announced that they would take part in the protest. “In India, freedom of expression is provided in our constitution. A cartoonist has some more liberty on that front,” she said.
One of Trivedi’s controversial cartoons shows a dog, resembling Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Qasab, peeing on the Indian constitution. Another one has the national emblem, but with wolves’ heads instead of lions. A third shows the Indian parliament shaped like a toilet, and another is a depiction of Mother India being molested by politicians.
Trivedi has been charged with sedition under Section 124 A of the Indian Penal Code, a non-bailable offence, and also under the IT Act and the 1971 National Emblem Act.
Senior Advocate Amit Desai said he didn’t think the case merited application of charges of sedition.
“While being a cartoonist gives him some license to make a comment, the cartoon for which he has been apparently arrested certainly seems to be offensive. Yet, I don’t think this case merits application of sedition charges and it could have been dealt with other sections in the IPC, apart from the IT Act. Sedition is a very serious charge, something which is not levied on a daily basis,” he said.
Alok Tripathi, a friend and fellow activist, told Mumbai Mirror that the cops had not only blocked Trivedi’s website a few months ago, but also visited his ancestral home in Kanpur and took his father to the local police station for questioning.
“After his website was blocked, Aseem has been fighting for his right of freedom of speech on the net through the Save your Voice campaign which is against censorship of freedom on the internet,” Tripathi said.
“On August 30, a Mumbai police team reached at Aseem’s Kanpur home and took his father for questioning, and told him a non-bailable warrant had been issued for his son. As soon as Aseem heard about this, he decided to head back to Mumbai and head to the police station,” he added.
“In court, Aseem did not say a word to defend himself. It’s probably his way of protesting against the system,” one of the India Against Corruption (IAC) volunteers who was present during the hearing said.
ABOUT ASEEM TRIVEDI
Born and raised in Kanpur, Aseem Trivedi turned to political cartooning after completing a BA from Kanpur University. He joined Anna Hazare’s movement in 2011. He shared the Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI)’s Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award (2012) with Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat, who is on the Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people.
SHOWS GOVT’S INSECURITIES
We have always stood for fights for freedom of expression. Anyone saying anything against corruption is being tagged as a anti-national here. It is unfair.
PREETI SHARMA MENON IAC volunteer
His cartoons seem to be more like an expression of anger. However, arresting a cartoonist under charges of sedition for his work shows the high-handedness of the government and its insecurities.
HEMANT MORPARIA cartoonist
Mocking some ministers by creating funny cartoons does not amount to sedition. It is too serious an allegation. If he has disrespected the national flag, there is a seperate law he can be tried under.
PRADEEP PASBOLA senior counsel
Aseem Trivedi outside Bandra court on Sunday

 

Republican Party of India, Amit Katarnayea, had filed a complaint against Trivedi #FOE #Sedition


 

Cartoonist Trivedi remanded to police custody

PTI

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Kanpur-based cartoonist Aseem Trivedi arrested on charges of posting seditious contents on his website being produced at court in Mumbai on Sunday.
PTIKanpur-based cartoonist Aseem Trivedi arrested on charges of posting seditious contents on his website being produced at court in Mumbai on Sunday.

Kanpur based cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, arrested for allegedly posting seditious content on his website, was today remanded to police custody till September 16 by a local court.

Trivedi, who was arrested on Saturday on the basis of a complaint filed in December, was produced before a court in Bandra which remanded him to police custody till September 16.

Police had sought his custody to question him on the contents on his website and other charges. The court had issued a non-bailable warrant against him last month.

A member of Republican Party of India, Amit Katarnayea, had filed a complaint against Trivedi that the latter had put up banners mocking the Indian constitution during the Anna Hazare rally held last year at the Bandra Kurla Complex. It was also alleged that he had put the obscene content on his website.

Outside the court, a defiant Trivedi said, “If telling the truth makes me traitor then I am one. Even Mahatma Gandi was called traitor and if I am booked under sedition for doing service to the nation then I will continue to do so.”

While police officers said that he had shown disrespect to the National flag and he was arrested under 124A of the Indian Penal Code for sedition besides various sections of the Information Technology Act.

Trivedi was due to fly to Syria on Wednesday to receive a cartooning award.

“If anyone is talking against corruption, proclaiming it as anti-national and slamming charges of sedition, one needs to understand that this is against the government and not against the country,” said Mayank Gandhi, a member of IAC.

He said further said that Trivedi was not a member of the IAC “but is fighting corruption and we are here to give him moral support”.

 

Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi held on sedition charge for ‘mocking the constitution’


NDTV, MUMBAI

The police insist that the arrest is a procedural formality, saying they have acted on a complaint. The First Information Report states that the accused had put ‘ugly and obscene content’ on his website.

“He has shown disrespect to the National flag and therefore he has been arrested under section 124 A,” said Chandrakant Bhosale, Senior Inspector, Mumbai Police.
The arrest comes at a time when Mr Trivedi was scheduled to visit Syria to collect the 2012 Courage in Editorial cartooning award. He was scheduled to fly on September 12.

“If telling the truth makes one a traitor, then I am happy. Likewise even Gandhi, Bhagat Singh are traitors. If while doing service to the nation I am booked under sedition, I will continue to do so and get arrested,” Mr Trivedi said today.

AK Khan, a friend of Mr Trivedi, alleged that the cartoonist is being repeatedly manhandled since his arrest. India Against Corruption or IAC, which has been attacking the government over a series of alleged scams, has lent support to Mr Trivedi, saying the arrest is politically-motivated.

“If anyone is talking against corruption, proclaiming it as anti-national and slamming charges of sedition, one needs to understand that this (drawing cartoons) is against the government and not against the country,” said Mayank Gandhi, a member of IAC.

“He is not a member of IAC but is fighting against corruption and we are here to lend him moral support,” Mr Gandhi added.

“Whoever raises their voice against corruption is termed as a seditionist, anti-nationalist and a Naxalite,” said Preeti Menon, member IAC.

Political cartoonist arrested on sedition charges gets a week in police custody


 

Shivam Vij, Rediff.com, Sept 9, 2012

A holiday court in MumbaiImages ] on Sunday remanded anti-corruption cartoonist and free speech campaigner Aseem Trivedi to policy custody till September 16 for allegedly making cartoons that insult India‘s [ Images ] flag, Parliament and the national emblem. The order was given by the Bandra holiday court in Mumbai on Sunday morning. Trivedi was arrested when he surrendered on Saturday night at the Bandra Kurla Complexpolice station in Mumbai. He faces charges of sedition (under IPC section 124A), violation of section 66A of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008, and the Prevention of Insults of National Honour Act, 1971.A team of Mumbai Police had earlier reached Trivedi’s home in Kanpur with a non-bailable warrant but returned to Mumbai as Trivedi is now based in Delhi [ Images ]. Trivedi himself contacted the BKC police station which asked him to reach Mumbai.

Several FIRs and court cases have been filed against Trivedi in Maharashtra [ Images ] for cartoons that he had displayed at the Jan Lokpal agitation in Mumbai in December 2011. The cartoons were also available on his website, www.cartoonsagainstcorruption, whose registration was suspended by web company Big Rock after a notice from Mumbai police, in December 2011.

Speaking on the phone from Mumbai just before his arrest on Saturday night, Trivedi explained that the cartoons intended to display the insult to the nation that is being done by politicians, and do not seek to insult national symbols in any way.

The controversial cartoons are still available at www.cartoonsagainstcorruption.blogspot.com. One cartoon titled, ‘Gang rape of Mother India’ shows a ‘Mother India’ dressed in a tri-colour sari, with politicians and bureaucrats about to assault her, with a gleeful beast standing by described as ‘Corruption’. One cartoon shows India’s national emblem, the Ashoka Lions, with foxes rather than lions. In the inscription on the emblem, the words ‘Satyamev Jayate‘ are replaced with ‘Brashtamev Jayate’ (meaning corruption alone triumphs) and a danger sign.

A cartoon calling for the “right to recall” elected representatives in mid-term shows Parliament as a sewage collection centre into which flows waste from several toilets — or, polling booths. Another cartoon simply shows Parliament as a ‘national toilet’. Another cartoon shows 26/11 gunman Ajmal Kasab [ Images ] as a dog peeing on the Constitution of India. Some cartoons target Congress leader Digvijaya Singh for his statements against the Jan Lokpal movement.

Trivedi has for the moment refused to hire a lawyer and does not intend to apply for bail. “I want to first see how a British-era law like sedition is going to be applied against a cartoonist in free India,” he said.

One of the main complainants, Amit Katarnawre, 27, said on the phone from Mumbai that he had filed an FIR at the BKC police station in Mumbai and had just last week met senior police officials to press charges against Trivedi.

Katarnawre said he was offended by the cartoons as they, in his view, intentionally desecrated India’s national symbols. He was particularly disturbed by the cartoon that shows Kasab as a dog peeing on the Constitution. “As a Buddhist my religious sentiments were hurt by the cartoon that uses the Ashokan lion pillar, as Emperor Ashoka was a Buddhist,” he added.

Katarnawre is an employee of Central Railway and a Dalit. He says he is not a member of any political party but is ideologically an Ambedkarite who could not stand the Constitution being desecrated. He said Trivedi should be interrogated to ascertain the role of all members of Team Anna in the display of the cartoons at the MMRDA grounds.

Apart from sedition, Katarnawre has also charged Trivedi with Section 66A of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008, which punishes persons for “sending messages” online that are “grossly offensive” or have a “menacing character”.

A third law used against Trivedi is the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act,1971, which provides for punishment up to three years in jail and a fine for insulting or defacing the Indian flag and the Indian Constitution. It adds, however, ‘Comments expressing disapprobation or criticism of the Constitution or of the Indian National Flag or of any measures of the government with a view to obtain an amendment of the Constitution of India or an alteration of the Indian National Flag by lawful means do not constitute an offence under this section.’

Trivedi, 25, says he is within his rights as an artist to use national symbols to show how they are being insulted by politicians. He was a freelance cartoonist working with local dailies in Kanpur before he got involved with the Anna Hazare movement.

After his website was shut down in December 2011, Trivedi became associated with the Anna Hazare-led India Against Corruption movement and also started an independent initiative to campaign against internet censorship. Called ‘Save Your Voice’, he travelled across India to raise awareness against the IT Rules 2011.

Trivedi also sat on a seven-day hunger strike in Delhi’s Jantar Mantar to protest the IT Rules in May this year, and displayed anti-corruption cartoons at the Anna Hazare protest in Jantar Mantar in August 2012.

The Virginia, US-based Cartoonists Rights Network International have named him the 2012 recipient of their ‘Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award’. He is sharing the award with Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat who was abducted and badly beaten by the Syrian regime in August last year. However, Trivedi will not be able to travel to receive the award as the United States has denied him a visa, although he is scheduled to travel to Vienna [ Images ] toparticipate in an art event later this month.

Images: (Top) Aseem Trivedi being escorted by the Mumbai police at the holiday court on Sunday; and (above), an activist addressed the media outside the court after Trivedi was remanded to police custody for a week