#India – Farmers boycott land acquisition hearings for Chhindwara SEZ, Madhya Pradesh


Date:Jun 14, 2013
Villagers refuse to part with land; object to individual hearings, land acquisition by dubious means

Farmers and landowners protesting against land aquisition at the PWD guest house in Saunsar (Photo: Mukesh Badge)Farmers and landowners protesting against land aquisition at the PWD guest house in Saunsar (Photo: Mukesh Badge)

Around 150 farmers from eight villages in the Saunsar tehsil of Chhindwara district in Madhya Pradesh gathered at the guest house of the public works department (PWD) on Thursday and staged a protest. They were aggrieved by the individual hearing process adopted for land acquisition for a proposed special economic zone (SEZ) in the area. June 13 marked the first of the many individual hearings scheduled with the district collector to hear objections of farmers to the SEZ, which the farmers boycotted.

The process of acquisition of land for a multi-purpose SEZ developed by Nagpur-based Chhindwara Plus Developers Limited has been going on in the Saunsar tehsil of Chhindwara district since 2007, say farmers. Ramesh Kumre, land acquisition officer and sub-divisional magistrate, Pandurna,  says around 1,800 hectare (ha) of land has already been acquired in the area by following procedures under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.

Around 269 farmers and other land owners in the eight villages have refused to part with 430 ha of land which is still required for the SEZ, says farmer Bhaskar Tekade of Satnoor village. In April this year, a land acquisition notice was issued to the panchayats, following which representatives from the various villages went to district collector Mahesh Chowdhari to submit their objections. Chowdhari refused to accept it, says Shyamla Sanyal, owner of a small gun-powder factory in Satnoor. “On April 30, which was the last day for submitting objections, we had to take a bus-load of people from the villages and staged a demonstration before the objection was finally accepted,” she says.

Notices were issued to the villages, asking farmers to register their objections at individual hearings scheduled on different dates between June 19 and June 22. As late as the night of June 11, farmers from three villages were issued fresh notices, asking them to attend hearings on June 13 and 14. This last move, says Sanyal, “is totally unacceptable. When we asked the land acquisition officer the reason behind the change in dates, he said that he had other appointments on the previous dates. This is no way to hold hearings on such crucial issues.”

Legal procedures sidelined

At the protest, farmers protested against individual hearings, accusing the administration of trying to divide the community. “It is illegal to call people for hearings on different days,” says advocate Aradhana Bhargava of the people’s organisation Kisan Sangharsh Samiti who is providing legal support to the agitation, “The administration should have held a public hearing under the proper sections of the law.” She also says that land acquisition by government agencies is legal only in case of lands acquired for a public purpose. “Why is government aiding a private project proponent?” she asks. The notices also said that if farmers failed to turn up on the given date, the administration would take a suo-moto decision, which again is totally illegal, she says.

Farmers at the meeting submitted a memorandum to the land acquisition officer stating that they do not wish to part with their land and that the administration should not issue further land acquisition notices to the people. It was signed by 150 farmers and other land-owners, says Sanyal.

Land acquisition officer Ramesh Kumre confirmed that the hearing had been cancelled because farmers turned up in a group instead of individually.

Deceit and coercion

Farmers complain that no legal procedures were observed in the land acquisition process. “The land acquired earlier has been obtained through dubious means,” Tekade told Down To Earth. “Mostly poor and marginal farmers were targeted through touts, and were relieved of their land for as little as Rs 40,000 to Rs 3 lakh per ha. More than 50 per cent of the farmers whose lands were taken want their land to be restored to them.”

Dubious means were used to get the consent of panchayats, says Satnoor sarpanch Reemaji Dethe. “In February this year, the gram panchayat secretary got my signature on what he said was a routine document. Since I had joined just a month earlier, I did not know the procedures and signed where he asked me to sign. Later I found out that it was a document saying that the gram panchayat consented to the land acquisition,” says Dethe.

“Farmers and small industry owners have been issued threats by the project proponents. Goons are being used to quell protests,” says Sanyal.

 

Press Release : NAPM Demands a Political Resolution on Telangana


NAPM Demands a Political Resolution on Telangana

Condemns Undemocratic Extraordinary Steps against the Telangana Agitators

June 14, New Delhi / Hyderabad : Andhra Pradesh is in turmoil once again over the demand of a separate Telangana. The struggle for a separate Telangana has been ongoing for a long time now. The central and state governments as well as the major political parties in the state have played opportunistic and partisan political games with people’s sentiments. Exploiting people’s emotions for vote bank politics, parties have supported formation of unholy alliances and politics of divide and rule. The uncertainty over the demand for a Telangana state must end now so that people can carry on their occupations and work without anger, ill-will and anxiety.

The formation of smaller states in the Indian Union is, in general, a significant step towards bringing the locus of political power closer to the people. Small states in India, given the population size of the country, will still be big by international standards. With a population of about 3 crores, Telangana, if and when created, will be viable as a state of the Indian Union. Demands for making governments responsive and accountable, need for redressing administrative inefficiency, and popular aspiration for a better life have set the stage for a new phase of states’ reorganization.

The people’s movement for Telangana has reached new heights in recent years. People’s struggles and sacrifices have made it clear that the demand for a separate state of Telangana now represents the aspirations of an overwhelming majority of the people in this region.

The Andhra Pradesh Assembly convened on 10th of June has remained paralysed on the issue of Telangana. It’s unfortunate to see the extraordinary measures that have been taken up by the government to suppress the ‘Chalo Assembly‘ call, given by the Telangana Joint Action Committee, an umbrella organisation of several pro-Telangana groups

National Alliance of People’s Movements believes that while it is necessary to maintain the law and order situation, suppression of democratic people’s protest by maas illegal arrests of activists, threatening the people of Telangana, and cancellation of monthly pensions and essential commodities through fair price shops to people participating in Telangana agitation, is totally unacceptable.

NAPM, no doubt, has always supported the demand for smaller states, whether in Jharkhand or Uttarakhand but has  also warned that without change in the paradigm of development and system of governance, there can be no fundamental change in the politics or relations of power in favour of the toiling masses. We repeat this warning in the case of Telangana, having witnessed the continued injustice and exploitation in the newly formed states. NAPM, however, supports the popular demand for Telangana which will benefit not only the agitating people from the Region but all in the present State of Andhra Pradesh whose lives and livelihood are continuously affected due to keeping the issue burning with struggle as well as oppression becoming an unending politics to be faced by common people.

Hence, NAPM calls for an immediate political resolution on the issue of Telangana. In spite of widespread support in Andhra Pradesh for the Telangana cause, there seems to be an impasse over statehood for the region. The Telangana movement offers credible hope of changing the iniquitous structures of power and control in the state and its failure could see the forces of lawlessness acquiring new strength, with disastrous consequences for the common people.

Medha Patkar, Ramakrishnam Raju, Prafulla Samantara, Dr. Sunilam, Gabriele Dietrich, Arundhati Dhuru, Saraswati Kavula, P S Ajay, Anand Mazgaonkar, Krishnakant, Vimal Bhai, Madhuresh Kumar, Sashank Rajwadi

 

 

Police say Pinki Pramanik is male, doctors contest claim


Subhendu Maiti, Hindustan Times
Kolkata, November 13, 2012
Pinki charged with rape after test confirms she is male

Sharp differences emerged between the police and members of the medical board after the former submitted a chargesheet declaring decorated athlete Pinki Pramanik as being a male and proceeding to accuse the person of raping a woman while the doctors told HT Pramanik was not a male but a “male pseudo hermaphrodite”.

On June 14, a 32 year-old woman lodged a complaint with the Baguihati police here against Pramanik, saying ‘he’ had raped her with the promise of marriage.

Pramanik had also grabbed her properties, the woman alleged in the complaint, on the basis of which Pramanik was arrested and produced before a court the same day.

A gender determination test followed.http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/11/13-11-mumbai1.jpg

Pramanik told HT, “The chargesheet is incorrect. The medical report is different.”

Defending the police version Shantomay Basu, additional public prosecutor said, “The medical board that examined Pinki Pramanik declared Pramanik as being a male having the ability to rape. The police have filed the chargesheet in this regard.”

Members of the medical board told HT they differed with the police.

“Pinki is neither a male nor a female. Pramanik is a male pseudo hermaphrodite. It is genetic disorder. That’s the medical opinion. It’s now for the court to deliberate,” Dr BN Kahali, board chairman, said.

Charged with rape, Pinki says police want her to commit suicide

KOLKATA Citing a medical report that claimed that gold medallist athlete Pinki Pramanik was a “male”, police Monday filed a chargesheet in a West Bengal court accusing the sportsperson of rape.The police chargesheet was based on the opinion of a sevenmember medical board constituted to confirm the athlete’s gender in June following allegations by her live-in partner that she was “actually a male” who had raped her repeatedly.
The formal set of charges was filed inthecourtofchiefjudicialmagistrate at Barasat town in North 24 Parganas district. Pinki is now out on bail.
Alleging a “huge conspiracy” after police filed a chargesheet Pramanik saidtheinvestigatingauthoritieswere trying to force her to commit suicide.
Pinki said that contrary to the police claim, the medical report had concluded that she was incapable of committing rape. However, she said despite requests, she had not been givenacopyofthemedicalreport.“Police have plotted a huge conspiracy againstme.Theyaretryingtoforceme into committing suicide,” said Pinki. The chargesheet said Pinki was a male and accused the athlete of raping her live-in partner.
PINKI MALE: MEDICAL REPORT
The chargesheet was based on the opinion of the seven-member medical board which had been constituted at the state-run SSK Hospital to confirm the athlete’s gender in June following allegations from her live-in partner that she was “actually a male” who had raped her repeatedly.
“Medical tests have confirmed thatPinkiisnotafemale,”B.N.Kahali, chairman of the board, told AFP. “Pinki is a male pseudo-hermaphrodite. Wehavesubmittedthemedicalreport to the district sessions court.”
Male pseudo-hermaphrodites are genetic males who develop some female physical characteristics and identities. Additional Public Prosecutor Santomoy Bose said after the hearing: “I have seen the report…from the doctors’ opinion it can be concluded that Pinki is a male.” The chargesheet alsoaccusedPinkioftorture,cheating, co-habiting with the promise of marriage and threat to the complainant not to disclose their relationship.
“As per my knowledge, the board had said I had symptoms of excess male hormones as after-effect of some of the drugs I had taken during my sports career,” Pinki said.
The athlete was arrested June 14 and remanded to judicial custody the nextdayaftertheathlete’slive-inpartner,adivorceeandamotherofone,filed the police complaint.
Pinki was later taken to a private nursing home for a medical check-up where the test reports claimed that the athlete was indeed a male. The athlete was taken to the Barasat district hospital and finally to the state-run SSKM Hospital here for the tests.
As SSKM Hospital did not have facilities for chromosome pattern test, the samples were sent to Hyderabad where the examination was done.
Pinki later alleged that she was treated like an animal during gender tests which were done by tying her hands and feet.
The treatment meted out to the athlete had then attracted severe criticism from all quarters, including the sporting fraternity. Pinki, who retired from athletics three years ago, won gold in the 4×400 metres relay at the 2006 Asian Games in Qatar’s capital Doha. Pinki was a silver medallist at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games the same year.

AGENCIES

 

 

 

Chhattisgarh Killings What If They Were/Were Not Maoists?


 EPW-Vol – XLVII No. 33, August 18, 2012

The discourse on deaths in “encounters” with Maoists as in Chhattisgarh in June is usually framed in terms of whether or not the victims were Maoists. This is a wrong way of positing the issue. If the confl ict is dealt with as a law and order concern, then police fi ring is permissible only in self-defence. If it is seen as an armed confl ict, then under international conventions different rules apply, but the Government of India has refused to recognise the actions against the Maoists as part of an (non-international) armed confl ict.

Srinivas Burra (srinivasb@sau.ac.in) teaches at the Faculty of Legal Studies, South Asian University, New Delhi.

Read full article here

About 14,000 families depend on manual scavenging in Kerala #indiashining


, TNN | Aug 9, 2012,

KOCHI: The enumerators for the Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 seem to have come up with some curious data.According to them, there are 13,687 families who depend on manual scavenging to eke out a living in Kerala which has won global acclaim for its high levels of social development.Another perplexing finding is that there are 14,947 freed bonded labour families in the state.

Interestingly, even as per the census data of 1982 there were only 51 families who belong to the category of freed bonded labour in the state and all of them are known to have expired, the officials of the Rural Development Department (RDD) told TOI here. The data collection launched in April 11 was over in June. The SECC data also shows that 17,564 families belong to the primitive tribal group in the state and has accorded the status to five tribes, namely Kaadar, Cholanaikkar, Kattunaikkar, Koraka and Kurumba.

According to RDD officials, there could be a maximum of 5,000 families in the state in the group, mainly in Wayanad, Idukki and Kannur.

However, the data collected as part of the SECC indicates that there are about 1,500 families belonging to the group even in Thiruvananthapuram. The RDD officials clarified that some of the enumerators might have committed errors without knowing the criteria to be used for entering into different categories in the census data.

For instance the enumerators may have included the workers engaged in the city cleaning activities in the city areas as manual scavengers, he said.

The entire data collection exercise was paperless, done on hand-held electronic devices. This was expected to reduce data entry errors and enumerator discretion. Also officers at various levels were expected to make sure that there was no misreporting. But RRD officials are surprised that despite all these precautions such errors have crept in.

“We are trying to conduct another round of sample survey to trace how and where the errors have crept in,” the rural development commissioner Nandakumar said.

Tribal language teachers go without salary for 8 months #Indiashining


, TNN | Aug 3, 2012,
KEONJHAR: Tribal language teachers inKeonjhar district have not received their salary for the last eight months. They have brought the matter to the notice of the district collector on a number of occasions, but no action has been taken so far, the teachers said.

Brundaban Juang, a teacher, said, “We got salary from June to October 2011. After that, we have not got any payment for eight months. We belong to poor tribal families. We are living in extreme distress.”

According to sources, the government appointed tribal language teachers in schools run bySC/ST department with a view to developing the languages and bringing down the number of school drop outs among tribals.

According to a state government decision, the district administration had published advertisements for the post of language teachers in different tribal languages like Juang, Oram,Santhal and Munda. On the basis of that, 16 teachers were appointed.

U K Naik of the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) of Keonjhar said, “Salaries of the language teachers have not been paid because the government has not sanctioned money.”

“The government is spending huge amount of money for the development of tribals, mostly their education. But it is astonishing that tribal language teachers are not getting salary. The government should take immediate corrective measures,” said Girija Mishra, the secretary of Keonjhar bar association.