Dissident Trinamool MP Kabir says Maoists helped Mamata win Assembly polls


Express news service Posted online: Sat Jan 05 2013,
Kolkata : Fresh Row: CPM demands CM to explain ‘TMC-Maoist nexus’Dissident Trinamool Congress MP Kabir Suman on Friday told a news channel that Maoists were very much involved in the Nandigram movement and that Mamata Banerjee’s party would not have won a single seat in West Midnapore had there been no Kishenji or Maoists.

“What I have learnt from my political friends is that if there were no Maoists or Kishenji, Mamata would not have won a single seat in West Midnapore. This is what I feel even though I do not know much about politics. People on the streets have helped me understand this,” Suman said.

After trouble broke out in Lalgarh, the CPM had repeatedly claimed that the Trinamool had a nexus with the Maoists in West Midnapore —- a charge that was dismissed by Mamata.

Referring to the Nandigram movement, Suman told the news channel that neither Mamata nor the Trinamool was (initially) in the Nandigram mass upsurge.

“Naxalite leader Sumit Sinha and many others including Siddiqullah Chowdhury were there in the Nandigram movement. The Maoist outfit was not banned in the country (when the Nandigram movement took place). They were declared banned much later. They operated openly (in Nandigram). Among others, Maoists were also there (in Nandigram). Maoists were there (in Nandigram) like many other independent persons. This is not a confession. I am stating the truth,” Suman said.

“If you ask me whether I have seen any Maoist leader building organisation (in Nandigram), I will say that I have not seen anyone,” he added.

Although Trinamool has not reacted to Suman’s statement, sources said the party neither wants to give importance to the rebel MP, nor to his allegations of a nexus with Maoists. This was evident from party secretary general Partha Chatterjee’s statement. Asked to comment on Suman’s statement, Chatterjee said, “I have not heard anything. I am busy in office.”

CPM central committee leader Mohammed Selim demanded that Mamata explain how she had “used the Maoists”.

“Land was not the real issue in Nandigram. The extremists and fundamentalists from both Hindu and Muslim communities got united at that time only to oust the CPM. The Maoists too were co-partners and were used by the Trinamool. The Maoists have accepted this. Now Mamata must explain how she used the Maoists,” Selim said.

 

#India- Sonali Mukherjee Rises From The Ashes #Vaw #Acidattack


Rising from the ashes

Nov 24, 2012, Deccan Herald

SHEER GRIT

SonaLi Mukherjee, an acid attack victim who once wanted to end her life, is now awaiting facial reconstruction surgery. And with that a new life, says Kamayani Bali Mahabal

Sonali Mukherjee. Pic COURTESY WFS.

Pic- Kamayani Bali Mahabal

As I went to meet Dhanbad-based Sonali Mukherjee, who was visiting Mumbai to be in a special episode of ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’, various emotions raced through me. Then the door opened and a peppy voice broke through, “Didi aa jaye, aaj khana late ho gaya, aap bhi kha lo (I am having a late lunch, please join me).” I had heard about Sonali’s case. She had been subjected to an acid attack nine years ago when she was 17, but I had not expected this bright young woman who stood before me.

I smiled back and told her I will wait until she ate. As her father guided her into the room after lunch, I realised her eyesight loss was total. I hugged her before we began our conversation on the struggles of her life.

She started with an irony: It was her call for euthanasia that gave her a new lease of life. “Until July this year I was a victim. Now I am a survivor. My friends and family had abandoned me when I needed them most. But the media and people I didn’t even know came forward to help me live,” she said.

The Mumbai-based NGO, Beti, in association with a media group, has raised Rs 30 lakh as part of Project Hope, which aims to give Sonali a new identity with the help of facial reconstruction. The 22 surgeries will be carried out at the B L Kapur Super Specialty Hospital in Rajendra Place, New Delhi.

Clad in a white salwar kameez with a colourful collar — white is a favourite hue — she wore goggles before getting photographed. “I don’t want the world to see me this way because I hope to be like any other woman soon,” she said referring to her impending surgeries. She added, “Yeh aadhi adhorri zindagi aadhe chehre ke saath nahi jeeni hai mujhey (I don’t want to live half a life, with half a face).”

She grew up in Dhanbad, Jharkhand. History and Hindi had enthused her as a school student and the freedom movement and Indian scriptures inspired her. “I loved being a National Cadet Core (NCC) recruit,” she remarked. College followed. She opted for sociology and planned to pursue a PhD, and go into academics. She also enjoyed films and was a big fan of Aishwarya Rai and Shahrukh Khan. “I saw all their movies — loved dancing to Aishwarya’s numbers.”  She stopped here to poignantly remark that she hoped one day to re-gain her vision and watch films again.

Sonali, having experienced the horrific consequences of violence against women, had obviously thought deeply on the subject, “In India, women are advised to avoid sexual predators. But, think about it, society is directly responsible for the sexual harassment women face. Its patriarchal approach encourages men to ‘tease’ women, it’s seen as a ‘manly’ thing to do. In my case, we had complained to the parents about the behaviour of their children, but they did nothing.”

She also referred to the epics, “Take the Ramayana. You have Rama denouncing his pregnant wife and ordering her to spend her life in exile even though she had accompanied him to the jungle to share in his afflictions. Why did Ram ‘rescue’ Sita if he was going to subject her to an ‘agnipariksha’ (trial by fire)?”

Rewinding to the dreadful night on April 22, 2003, she revealed that the family was sleeping on the open terrace of their home, “Around 2.30 am I woke up with a sharp, burning sensation.” She felt her face, neck, right ear, the right part of her chest, and lower torso melt away. “Three men, who had been harassing me for weeks, had jumped over from the neighbour’s roof and doused me with acid. I suffered 70 per cent burns while my sister who lay nearby suffered 20 per cent burns,” she recalled.

The words she used were searing. “Us raat laga main maut ke aalingan main pighal gayi, zindagi mano thaher gayi, woh ek lamha zindagi aur maut ke beech atak gaya (that night I felt I was engulfed in the arms of death and life stood still; in that one moment I was stuck between life and death).”

It was a huge crisis for the family. Her father, Chandidas Mukherjee, employed with a private company, had to quit his job to be with her after the attack and the family shifted to their ancestral home in Kasmar, in Jharkhand’s Bokaro district. All the three youths involved in the attack were sentenced to nine years of imprisonment by the district court. They later managed to secure bail from the high court and began threatening the family.
A paltry sum of Rs 200 per month was made available to her from the government as a disability allowance. The entire sum went in medicines. The pain was overpowering. “For the first six months, I would scream in pain and sometimes fall unconscious. I would plead with God to kill me,” Sonali recalled.

She then decided to search for justice. “My father and I met the chief minister, all the legislators, NGOs. I even approached the National Commission for Women – after all, it was not just my case but that of hundreds of other women who face violence every day. The NCW gave me assurances, but apart from providing quotes to the media they did nothing. It was then that I decided to demand my right to die.”

Legally, there is no separate provision for acid attacks in the existing law. They are dealt with through Sections 320, 322, 325 and 326 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Of these only Section 326 refers to being attacked with a corrosive object but categorises it as ‘grievous hurt.’ Although this section allows punishment up to life imprisonment, most convicts get only a jail term of three to four years. Compensation, if ordered, is often paltry.

Says Sushma Varma of Campaign and Struggle Against Acid Attack on Women (CSAAAW), Bangalore, “CSAAW has documented around 75 cases from 1999 to 2012 in Karnataka. But there are many unreported cases. The National Crime Records Bureau cannot provide data because these attacks are not registered under a separate law or section. We want to stress that this is gendered sexual violence and needs to be recognised under a separate section of 326A.”

Shruti Pandey, a Delhi-based Human Rights lawyer, agrees that there is an urgent need to amend the IPC and Criminal Procedure Code to specifically recognise acid attacks as a crime. “But it must also be seen as a sexual offence. Most acid attacks are made on women and for sexual reasons. Equally importantly we need legal provisions for compensation and rehabilitation. There should be a dedicated fund set up for immediate and assured availability of monies for the survivor’s medical treatment as well as for their psycho-social support, reparation, and rehabilitation. Also, the trial needs to be fast-tracked keeping in view the severity of the crime,” states Pandey.

Sonali also believes that the sale, use and storage of acid should be strictly regulated. She wants women to step up their campaign against violence. “Campaigns like One Billion Rising (OBR) are important because they signal global solidarity on the issue. We need to come together beyond borders to battle such violence. Look what happened to Malala in Pakistan. But, apart from social campaigns, we also need justice delivery. Only then can we have a gender just society,” she said.

Two lines from a song penned by Kabir Suman, a Kolkata-based singer and political activist, expressed my thoughts as I emerged from my meeting with Sonali: ‘One day you will see the face, smiling in the mirror, Sonali/Till then this song remains, waiting in your favour…’

WFS

Debolina starts hunger strike in jail


KOLKATA, april 14, TNN : Arrested activist Debolina Chakraborty has started hunger strike in the CID custody on Friday to support the Nonadanga movement. Six other jailed activists will also start fasting from Saturday. Other political prisoners in different jails, too, have decided to start hunger strike to show their solidarity towards the Nonadanga evictees.

Meanwhile, a Left Front delegation met the fasting activists at Nonadanga, adding fuel to the movement. The CPI team, led by former mayor in council Farjana Chowdhury, extended support to the anti-eviction activists. “We will bring the matter to the notice of the proper authority and feel that none should be evicted without proper rehabilitation,” said Farjana Chowdhury.

Left Front’s involvement in the Nonadanga movement, however, led Trinamool Congress to show their political strength. Later in the day, KMC councillor Ratan De and party’s students leader Shanku Deb Ponda took out a rally and and campaigned in favour of the eviction. The Trinamool leaders asked other locals to drive away the outsiders who are camping at Nonadanga.

But the agitators refused to give up. “We will continue our fast till the government sends us a positive feeler,” said Amitava Bhattacharya, one of the fasting activists. Trinamool MP Kabir Suman is likely to meet the fasting activists at Nonadanga on Saturday.

Happy Birthday Irom Sharmila- My Poem for you


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

English Translation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listen to my recitation at CGNET SWARA

Kabir Suman recites the Bangla Translation of my poem

Faking Democracy- Free Irom Sharmila Now