Press Release- Around 10,000 farmers from 44 affected villages march against the Mandal-Becharaji Special Investment Region(SIR) #Gujarat


Jameen Adhikar Andolan – Gujarat (JAAG)

A-302, Sharan Residency-1, Near Lohana Chhatralaya, Vasna, Ahmedabad

Contact: Lalji Desai 9727589344 Sagar Rabari 9409307693

 

 

Date: 18th June 2013

 

PRESS NOTE

 

An organised, disciplined protest against the Mandal-Bechraji SIR

 

More than 10,000 men and women in 500 tractors, 50-60 motor cycles, 10 mini-trucks and 50 four-wheeled vehicles descend into Gandhinagar to express their anger

 

Government efforts to break the movement fail

 

The government projects on the one hand that the people are happy with the Mandal-Bechraji SIR announcement. On the other hand, the government and its representatives Ms. Anandiben Patel, Mr. Nitin Patel and Mr. Saurabh Patel, Mr. Bhupendrasinh Chudasma and the Secretary to the CM Mr. A.K. Sharma were compelled to invite representatives of the anti-SIR movement to the Circuit House in Gandhinagar on the morning of 17th June 2013. The government’s enthusiasm to meet with the representatives of the people shows that the movement is succeeding. However, the pronouncements of the government representatives signifying nothing have left the people disappointed.

 

The government also tried unsuccessfully to stall the people’s plan for a peaceful Tractor Rally to Gandhinagar on the 18th of June. Unprecedented police arrangements were made, since the night of 17th, on the entire rally route. The people were made to go from one office to another, one block to another to secure permission for the rally route. Despite all of this, the people assembled by 8 a.m. on 18th and the rally commenced from village Vithlapur at 8.30 a.m. There were 500 tractors, 50-60 motorcycles, 10 mini-trucks and 50 4-wheelers in the entire rally. On the entire rally route one could hear slogans like “Tell SIR, no Sir”, “Remove SIR, save agriculture”, “The village land belongs to the village, not to the government” and “We will give up our lives, not our land”. The government also tried to enforce a change in the rally route but seeing the turnout of the people and their anger, they let the rally pass on the pre-determined route.

 

Several state and national-level movements and organisations have lent their support and solidarity to this movement. Those in support include Gujarat Lok Samiti, Gujarat Sarvodaya Mandal, PUCL, Bhavnagar District Gram Bachao Samiti, National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM), Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, AWAG, Gujarat Khet Vikas Parishad, Paryavaran Mitra, Paryavaran Santri, Bandhara Bachao Andolan – Mahuva, Kinara Bachao Andolan – Umargaon, Lok Andolan Gujarat, Jyoti Karmachari Mandal, Vadodara Kamdar Union, Documentation and Study Centre for Action, SUCI, Radical Socialist – Gujarat, Gram Vikas Trust – Dwarka, New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI), Lok Sangharsh Samiti, Gujarat Anumukti Andolan, apart from many individuals.

 

The Revenue Minister Ms. Anandiben Patel invited the representatives of 44 villages in the agitation to meet her this evening. At the time of writing this, the representatives were in talks with the Minister.

 

This project, being anti-farmers and unconstitutional, it poses an intellectual, organisational, legal and constitutional challenge to the GoG. The organisational strength has forced the government to concede, rather unwillingly, that this is an organisation and not a mob.

 

The rally finally converged in the Andolan Chhavni in Gandhinagar. The meeting was being managed by a well-known activist of Gujarat Mr. Raju Purohit, and was addressed by, among others, Dr. Kanubhai Kalsariya, former Finance Minister of Gujarat Mr. Sanat Mehta, Mr. Y. K. Alagh, Jayesh Patel of Olpad anti-SIR movement, Lalji Desai, Mr. Rajni Dave of Bhumiputra, and the letters of support and solidarity from noted Gandhians Shri Narayan Desai and Shri Chunibhai Vaidya were also read out.

 

This meeting has demonstrated its resolution and firmness to oppose such anti-people projects of the government. This rally is the first public statement of the movement, where people, in one voice, made their anger and protest clear. The meeting ended with people taking a pledge to not part with even an inch of their land. It is hoped that the government heeds the warning of the people else this movement will gather strength and become more widespread.

 

Jameen Adhikar Andolan – Gujarat

Village

Representative

Village

Representative

Hansalpur Ajmalbhai thakor Vanpardi Bharatbhai laxman bhai patel
Sitapur Kanubhai Bharwad Dalod Dhanshyam bhai patel
zanzarwa Mayankbhai Vinjhvada Manubhai/nattubhai
Nayakpur Nayanbhai patel Varmor Pawra sahvdevbhai
Vinchand Prabotbhai bhawanbhai patel Dekawada Kadubha
Jhanlisada Thakor ranchodjee kamajee Ratanpura Nattubha
Dhadana Kathuba Nana karanpura Nattubhai
ooghroj Saman sinh Kanjh Amaratbhai
Vasna (kunnpur) Amarat bhai Rampura Kunwarsinh bhai
Oogrojpura Sarpanch shri Shihor Hasmukhbhai ambalal patel
Kunnpur Prahladbhai govindbhai patel Navyani Bhawojee thakor
Alampura Ashwinbhai Manawada Kadubhai thakor
Susiya Merajee thakor Gosanda Pratapbhai thakor
Valevada Prabhujee thakor Chatrot Jeevanbhai
Vanod Narangbhai/ashokbhai Panwa Rashikhbhai
Aerwada Ghanshyambhai Bunbwana Motibhai
Aeswada Sukhdevbhai Vandgam Kaushik

 

For more information

Lalji Desai                                                                                                       Sagar Rabari

 

 

Stop Press:- Revenue Minister Anandiben Patel, accepted the memorandum of the representatives of the movement, but had nothing to say on behalf of Gujarat Government.


PRESS NOTE

 

તારીખ – ૧૮/૬/૨૦૧૩

 

  • આખા ગુજરાતને ઔધોગિક વસાહત  GIDC બનાવવા નીકળેલી સરકાર લોકોના આંદોલનને દબાવવાના તમામ નિષ્ફળ પ્રયાસો કરવા બે દિવસથી કામે લાગી છે.
  • માંડલ બેચરાજી સર સામે લોકોનો વિરોધ નથી તેમ દર્શાવવા નિષ્ફળ પ્રયાસો ગુજરાત સરકાર કરી રહી છે.
  • સર નો વિરોધ કરતાં લોકો ટોળામાં નહીંપણ ૫૦૦ જેટલા ટ્રેક્ટરો, ૫૦-૬૦ મોટર સાઈકલો, ૧૦ મીનીટ્રક, અને આશરે ૫૦ ફોર વ્હીલ વાહનોમાં ૧૦૦૦૦ થી વધુ ખેડૂતો બહેનો-ભાઈઓ એક સંગઠન તરીકે ઉમટી પડ્યા હતા

 

 

એક તરફ લોકો માંડલ – બેચરાજીના ‘સર’થી ખુશ હોય અને તેમણે કોઈ વાંધો ના હોય તેવો ભ્રમ પેદા કરવાની કોશિશ અને બીજી તરફ લોકોના વાંધા અને આક્રોશને કારણે ગુજરાત સરકારના મુખ્યમંત્રી પછીની હરોળના મંત્રીઓ આનંદીબેન પટેલ, નિતિનભાઈ પટેલ, સૌરભભાઈ પટેલ, ભૂપેન્દ્રસિંહ ચુડાસમા અને મુખ્યમંત્રીના સચિવ એ.કે.શર્માએ ૪૪ ગામના કેટલાક વ્યક્તિઓ સાથે સામેથી ગામના લોકોને આમંત્રણ આપી ગાંધીનગર સર્કિટ હાઉસમાં મીટિંગ કરવાની તા. ૧૭/૮/૨૦૧૩ને સોમવારના રોજ ફરજ પડી હતી. લોકોને મળવાની સરકારમાં ઊભી થયેલી આ તાલાવેલી દર્શાવે છે કે લોકોનો વિરોધ, આક્રોશ અને જનઆંદોલન અસરકારક બની રહ્યા છે. ૨ કલાક ચાલેલી મિટિંગમાં ભાગ લીધેલ વ્યક્તિઓને સરકારની ગોળ-ગોળ વાતોથી નિરાશા થઈ હતી.

 

ગુજરાત સરકારે એક તરફ લોકો સાથે વાત કરવાનું નાટક અને બીજી તરફ લોકો દ્વારા લોકશાહી ઢબે પોતાનો વિરોધ દર્શાવવા તા. ૧૮/૬/૨૦૧૩ના રોજ આયોજીત ટ્રેક્ટર રેલી જે વિઠલાપુર, સચાણા, સાણંદ, થઈ સરખેજ, પ્રહલાદનગર, માણેકબગ, મીઠાખળી, આશ્રમ રોડ, ગાંધી આશ્રમ  થઈ  ગાંધીનગર ગઈ હતી તેને રોકવાના એનકેન પ્રકારે નિષ્ફળ પ્રયાસો કર્યા હતા.

 

ગુજરાતને ઔધ્યોગિક વસાહત GIDC બનાવવા નીકળેલી ગુજરાત સરકારે ૨૦૦૯માં ‘The Special Investment Region (SIR) Act, 2009’ કાયદો પસાર કર્યો છે. આ કાયદો ભારતના બંધારણની વિરુદ્ધનો અને ઉદ્યોગો માટે ખેતીની જમીનો કોઈ પણ રીતે સંપાદિત કરી શકાય તે માટેનો કાયદો છે. આ કાયદો પોતે એ વાતનો સ્વીકાર કરે છે કે, ખેતી લાયક, ગૌચર અને અન્ય જમીનો કોઈ પણ રીતે ઉદ્યોગો માટે, “વિકાસ”ના નામે સંપાદિત કરી શકાય તે માટેનો કાયદો છે.

 

ગુજરાતમાં અંજાર, સાંથલપુર, વિરમગામ, માંડલ-બેચરાજી, ઓખા, નવલખી, ચાંગોદર, સિમર, ધોલેરા, હાલોલ-સાવલી, પીપાવાવ, દહેજ અને આલિયાબેટમાં ‘સર’વિસ્તાર જાહેર કરેલ છે.

માંડલ-બેચરાજી સર વિસ્તારમાં અમદાવાદ, સુરેન્દ્રનગર, અને મહેસાણા જિલ્લાના કુલ ૪૪ ગામોની (A. અમદાવાદ જિલ્લો, મંડળ તાલુકો – ૧. હાંસલપૂર  (બેચરાજી)– ૮૬૩.૯૬૮૦ હેક્ટર, ૨. સીતાપુર – ૩૬૭૨.૭૨૬૭ હેક્ટર, ૩. ઝાંજરવા – ૮૧૪.૬૫૭૧ હેક્ટર, ૪. આનંદપુરા – ૨૮૯.૩૫૨૨ હેક્ટર, ૫. નાયકપુર – ૧૦૫૦.૭૭૧૯ હેક્ટર,વીંછણ – ૫૩૬.૬૨૭૦, ૭. જાલીસણા – ૧૬૯૯.૦૦૧૬ હેક્ટર, ડઢાણા – ૧૮૯૯.૬૯૯૫ હેક્ટર, ૯. વિઠલાપુર – ૨૨૪૧.૧૦૧૮ હેક્ટર, ૧૦. ઉંઘરોજ – ૧૪૨૪.૮૩૫૧ હેક્ટર,૧૧. વાસણા-કુણપુર – ૫૬૩.૯૨૨૫ હેક્ટર, ૧૨. ઉંઘરોજપુરા – ૬૩૭.૯૦૮૯ હેક્ટર, ૧૩. ઉકરડી – ૮૫૬.૬૮૩૫ હેક્ટર, ૧૪. કુણપુર – ૧૧૮૦.૬૬૧૭ હેક્ટર, ૧૫. વનપરડી– ૮૩૧.૭૦૪૫ હેક્ટર, ૧૬. દાલોદ – ૧૯૧૫.૪૩૮૪ હેક્ટર, ૧૭. વિંઝુવાડા – ૧૬૫૭.૦૯૬૭ હેક્ટર, ૧૮. વરમોર – ૨૧૯૯.૨૭૭૦ હેક્ટર, ૧૯. માનપુરા – ૫૪૦.૧૦૬૦ હેક્ટર, B. જિલ્લો અમદાવાદ, તાલુકો દેત્રોજ – ૨૦. દેકાવાડા – ૧૩૮૩.૭૦૯૧ હેક્ટર, ૨૧. ઉમેદપુરા – ૨૦૭.૮૨૭૫ હેક્ટર, ૨૨. સદાતપુરા – ૧૦૩૧.૨૪૭૮ હેક્ટર, ૨૩. રતનપુરા – ૧૧૯.૪૮૯ હેક્ટર, ૨૪. ભગાપુરા – ૧૨૪૩.૧૬૯૭ હેક્ટર, ૨૫. નાના કરણપુરા – ૧૯૪.૨૦૯૭ હેક્ટર, ૨૬. મોટા કરણપુરા – ૧૩૨.૦૬૯૭ હેક્ટર, ૨૭. કાંઝ –૧૬૨૩.૬૩૮૭ હેક્ટર, ૨૮. છનીયાર – ૧૨૭૯.૪૮૧૯ હેક્ટર, ૨૯. રામપુરા – ૮૪૫.૭૩૦૬ હેક્ટર, ૩૦. ઘટીસણા – ૩૮૧.૨૫૬૬ હેક્ટર, ૩૧. સિહોર – ૯૫૩.૯૧૦૨ હેક્ટર,C. જિલ્લો સુરેન્દ્રનગર, તાલુકો – દસાડા-પાટડી – ૩૨. નાવીયાણી – ૧૫૦૭.૮૧૫૦ હેક્ટર, ૩૩. માનાવાડા – ૫૮૬.૯૦૮૨ હેક્ટર, ૩૪. ગોસાણા – ૬૩૭.૬૮૬૩ હેક્ટર,૩૫. સુસિયા – ૧૭૬૫.૫૭૦૬ હેક્ટર, ૩૬. વાલેવડા – ૧૧૨૩.૦૩૮૨ હેક્ટર, ૩૭. વણોદ – ૩૯૨૫.૫૪૯૭ હેક્ટર, ૩૮. આલમપુરા – ૭૩૪.૦૫૨૫ હેક્ટર, ૩૯. એરવાડા –૫૬૦.૦૪૭૦ હેક્ટર, ૪૦. એછવાડા – ૧૧૯૬.૪૫૮૬ હેક્ટર, ૪૧. છત્રોટ – ૭૬૧.૧૪૬૪ હેક્ટર, ૪૨. પાનવા – ૨૨૦૪.૦૬૯૮ હેક્ટર, ૪૩. બબૂવાણા – ૧૦૮૭.૪૩૫૮ હેક્ટર,D. જિલ્લો મહેસાણા, તાલુકો બેચરાજી – ૪૪. ચાંદણકી – ૫૨૪.૨૧૭૬ હેક્ટર – આ ગામોના તમામ સર્વે નંબર ની કુલ જમીન – ૫૦૮૮૪.૮૩૬૨ હેક્ટર)[1]  ૫૦,૮૮૪ હેક્ટર જમીન ઉદ્યોગો માટે આંચકી લેવા ગુજરાત સરકાર કામે લાગી છે. આ વિસ્તારની ફરતે ૩ કી.મી.ના ‘બફર ઝોન’ વિસ્તારને ઉમેરીએ તો ગામોની સંખ્યા લગભગ ૭૦ સુધી પહોંચે અને ૭૦,૦૦૦ હેક્ટર કરતાં વધારે જમીન અસરગ્રસ્ત થશે. આ સરમાં આટોમોબાઇલ ઉદ્યોગ, ટ્રાન્સપોર્ટ, આઇ.ટી. ઝોન, રીક્રિએશન ઝોન વગેરે નું આયોજન છે.

 

તા. ૧૭/૬/૨૦૧૩ સોમવાર રાતથી રેલીના આખા રૂટપર જાણે મુખ્યમંત્રી નીકળવાના હોય અને સુરક્ષાની વ્યવસ્થા ગોઠવવામાં આવી હોય તેમ પોલીસ ખડકી દેવામાં આવી છે. પોલીસ પરમીશન માટે પણ કાર્યકર્તાઓને એક પોલીસ સ્ટેશનમાંથી બીજા પોલીસ સ્ટેશનમાં અને એક જિલ્લામાંથી બીજા જીલ્લામાં ધક્કા ખવડાવવામાં આવ્યા હતા. આ તમામ પ્રયાસો છતાં ગામના લોકો મક્કમપણે સવારે ૬ વાગ્યાથી ૫૦૦ જેટલા ટ્રેક્ટરો, ૫૦-૬૦ મોટર સાઈકલો, ૧૦ મીનીટ્રક, અને આશરે ૫૦ ફોર વ્હીલ વાહનોમાં ૮૦૦૦ થી વધુ ખેડૂતો બહેનો-ભાઈઓ ઉમટી પડ્યા હતા. રેલી સવારે ૮-૩૦ ના વિઠલાપુરથી રવાના થઈ હતી. રેલી નો આખો રસ્તો  – ‘સર’ને કહો ‘નો સર’ , માંડલ – બેચરાજી સર હટાઓ ખેતી બચાવો, ગામની જમીન ગામની સરકારની નહીં, જાન દેગે, જમીન નહીં ના પોકારો સાથે ગુંજી ઉઠ્યો હતો.

 

જમીન અધિકાર આંદોલન ગુજરાતનાં ટેકામાં રાજ્ય અને દેશના જનસંગઠનો – ગુજરાત લોક સમિતિ, ગુજરાત સર્વોદય મંડળ, PUCL, ભાવનગર જિલ્લા ગ્રામ બચાવ સમિતિ, નેશનલ એલાયન્સ ઓફ પીપલ્સ મુવમેંટ (NAPM), પર્યાવરણ સુરક્ષા સમિતિ, અવાજ, ખેત વિકાસ પરિષદ, પર્યાવરણ મિત્ર, પર્યાવરણ સંત્રી, બંધારા બચાવ આંદોલન – મહુવા, કિનારા બચાવ આંદોલન – ઉમરગામ, લોક આંદોલન ગુજરાત, જ્યોતિ કર્મચારી મંડળ, વડોદરા કામદાર યુનિયન, ડોક્યુમેંટેશન એન્ડ સ્ટડિ સેંટર ફોર એક્શન, SUCI, રેડિકલ સોશિયાલિસ્ટ – ગુજરાત, ગ્રામ વિકાસ ટ્રસ્ટ – દ્વારકા, NTUI, લોક સંઘર્ષ સમિતિ, ગુજરાત અણુમુક્તિ આંદોલનના અને અન્ય અનેક કાર્યકરો પણ આંદોલનના ટેકામાં જોડાયા હતા.

 

તા. ૧૭/૬/૨૦૧૩ સોમવાર ના રોજ લોકોના પ્રશ્નો સાંભળવાનું નાટક કરનાર મંત્રીઓએ આજ રોજ રેલી સ્વરૂપે અગાઉથી જણાવીને માંડલ-બેચરાજી સર વિસ્તારના ૪૪ ગામના ૧૦,૦૦૦ લોકોના પ્રતિનિધિ મંડળને આનંદીબેને મળવા બોલાવ્યા હતા. આ પ્રેસ નોટ લખતા સમયે મંત્રીશ્રી પ્રતિનિધિ મંડળ સાથે વાટાઘાટો કરી રહ્યા છે.

 

આ આખો પ્રોજેકટ ખેતી વિરોધી, ભારતના બંધારણનો છેદ ઉડાડનારું હોવાથી તેની સામે વૈચારિક, સંગઠનાત્મક, કાયદાકીય, બંધારણીય સંઘર્ષનો સામનો કરવા ગુજરાત સરકારને પડકાર છે.

 

સરકારની ઈચ્છા અમદાવાદ ખાતેની સાણંદ ચોકડી થી ખેડૂત રેલી નો રૂટ બદલવાની હતી, પરંતુ સરકારને ખેડૂત સંગઠન અને તેની સંગઠન શક્તિનો ખ્યાલ આવતા રેલીનો રૂટ બદલવાનું માંડવાળ કરવું પડ્યું હતું.

 

 

 

રેલી તેના જાહેર કરેલ રૂટ પ્રમાણેજ શાંતિ અને શિસ્તપૂર્વક આગળ ધપી હતી.

 

આ રેલી તેના સૂત્રો અને સંગઠનાત્મક શક્તિનો પરચો બતાવતી હોવાથી, ગુજરાત સરકારે કમને એક વાતનો સ્વીકાર કરવો પડ્યો હતો કે, “ આ લોકોનું ટોળું નથી, પણ લોકોનું સંગઠન છે”.

 

રેલી અંતે ગાંધીનગર સેક્ટર ૬ ખાતે ઉપવાસી છાવણીના મેદાન માં સભામાં પરિવર્તિત થઈ હતી. લોકોએ આ સભાને, ‘જાન દેગે જમીન નહીં’, જેવા નારા થી ગાજવી મૂકી હતી. આ સભાનું સંચાલન ગુજરાતનાં જાણીતા કર્મશીલ, રાજુભાઈ પુરોહિતએ કર્યું હતું. આ સભાને માંડલ-બેચરાજી સર થી અસરગ્રસ્ત ૪૪ ગામના પ્રતિનિધિઓએ તથા નિરમા આંદોલનના ડો. કનુભાઈ કલસરિયા, ગુજરાતનાં માજી નાણાંમંત્રી સનતભાઈ મેહતા, વાય.કે. અલગ, ઓલપાડ સર સામેના આંદોલનના જયેશભાઈ પટેલ, લાલજીભાઈ દેસાઇ, ભૂમિપુત્રના સંપાદક રજનીભાઇ દવે, અને જાણીતા ગાંધીવાદી વિચારક નારાયણભાઈ દેસાઈ અને સર્વોદય અગ્રણી ચુનીભાઈ વૈદ્ય નો લેખિત શુભેચ્છા સંદેશ વાંચવામાં આવ્યો હતો.

 

આ સભાએ સરકારને પોતાનો સ્પષ્ટ, મક્કમ, વિગતો, મુદાઓ અને નીતિ વિષયક વાંધાઓ સાથેનો પોતાનો વિરોધ રજૂ કર્યો હતો. આ મુદ્દે જાહેરમાં તથ્યો અને વિગતો સાથે સમાજ અને પત્રકારોની હાજરીમાં ચર્ચા કરવા આવાહન આપેલ. આ રેલી અને દેખાવ આંદોલનની શરૂવાત નું પ્રથમ પગલું હતું. લોકોએ એકી અવાજે પોતાની એક ઇંચ પણ જમીન નહીં આપવાનો જાહેર સંકલ્પ કર્યો હતો.

 

છેલ્લે “અભિ તો યે અંગડાઇ હૈ આગે ઔર લડાઈ હૈ” ના મક્કમ નિર્ધાર સાથે સભા પૂરી થઈ હતી. સરકાર સાનમાં વિગતો સાથેની રાજુવત અને વિકાસની સાચી દિશા સમજે તો સારું, નહીં તો આ આંદોલન વધુ ઉગ્ર અને વ્યાપક બનશે.

 

જમીન અધિકાર આંદોલન ગુજરાત


[1] Gujarat Government Gazette – Ex.6-10-2012, [PART-IX]- notification under The Gujarat Special Investment Region Act, 2009, dated-24 September, 2012

 

Statement condemning the Targeting and Vilification of Harsh Mander by Narendra Modi


Statement condemning the Targeting and Vilification of

Harsh Mander by Narendra Modi

N Delhi,

12th, June, 2013

 

With great pride we would like to put on record that the work of our colleague and friend Harsh Mander, for the last several years, both inside the Government as a civil servant, as well as outside the Government as a policy maker, researcher and activist has been, that of promoting in the most ethical way, non-violent ways of ensuring justice to survivors of violence due to their gender, class, caste, religious group, ethnicity or nationality. The most prominent violence which Harsh’s work has highlighted has been the one committed on the vulnerable by both the State and Society due to their invisibility, whether they be the homeless, the destitute, the old or street people.

It is shocking that the “aspirant PM” Narendra Modi has been targetting Harsh for the last week calling him a Maoist. Thus trying to belittle his work, raising doubts about him and villifying his name in public. This targetting of individuals and organisations and vilifying them is not new, earlier too he had spewed venom against Syeda Hammed, Teesta Setalvad and Shabnam Hashni amongst the several and now the new whipping boys are Harsh Mander and Dr. Binayak Sen.

The hiring of Padma, a single poor woman, estranged from her husband, as a care giver in one of the 45 Institutions for street and abandoned children run by Aman Biradari, is being twisted and used by Modi to prove that Harsh is a Maoist sympathiser. The latest spin that Harsh Mander is in any way involved with the Maoists and that he may have had anything to do at all with the abduction of Vineel Krishna, the then District Collector of Malkangiri is patently false, concocted and the figment of a very perverted imagination.

This absolutely absurd claim and false connection being made by Modi only exposes his brand of politics which is seeped, in his parent organisation the RSS from where Mr. Modi has learnt to distort facts and spread hate. His anger against Harsh also clearly goes back to the latter’s work in Gujarat struggling over ten years to ensure justice to those affected by the 2002 communal genocide. It maybe recalled that Harsh had left the prestigious civil services in 2002 and plunged himself in Gujarat and other parts of India in order to quell communal fire from spreading and working towards justice and rehabilitation of the survivors.

It goes without saying that this vilification of Harsh for partisan electoral politics be stopped. It is vital for all to understand that the perils of allowing such politics to take centre stage where democratic rights of people are attacked, impacting their right to work as they choose, amounts to an attack on the very basis of our country’s plural existence. We hope that such politics will not be promoted by political parties and the media so that people can continue to work freely for public good.

We are,

All names are in Alphabetical order

 

( IF YOU AGREE YOU CAN ENDORSE STATEMENT IN COMMENTS SECTION)

  1. Abhay Kumar, Right to Food Campaign Karnataka
  2. Akhila Sivadas, Centre for Advocacy and Research, N Delhi
  3. Ankita Agarwal, Researcher, N Delhi
  4. Annie Raja, National Federation for Indian Women, N Delhi
  5. Anuradha Talwar, New Trade Union Initiative, N Delhi
  6. Anjali Bharadwaj, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information, NDelhi
  7. Apoorvanand, Prof. University of Delhi
  8. Arun Gupta and Radha Holla, Breast Feeding Promotion Network of India),
  9. Arundhati Dhuru and Ulka Mahajan, National Alliance of People’s Movements,
  10. Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shanker Singh,  Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, Rajasthan
  11. Asha Mishra, Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti, N.Delhi
  12. Ashok Bharti, National Conference of Dalit Organizations, N Delhi
  13. Ashok Khandelwal, Rozi Roti Sandharbh Kendra, Rajasthan
  14. Balram, Gurjeet Singh and James Herenj (Jharkhand)
  15. Bhanwar Singh, Astha, Udaipur
  16. Bidyut Mohanty, SPREAD, Orissa
  17. Bindu Singh, Right to food Campaign, Uttar Pradesh, 
  18. Biraj Patnaik, Centre Equity Studies, NDelhi
  19. Chingmak Chang, ECS, Nagaland
  20. Clifton, Alternative law forum, Bangalore
  21. Colin Gonsalves, Human Rights Law Network, Delhi
  22. Dheeraj, Coordinator Right to Food Campaign, N Delhi
  23. Dipa Sinha, Ph.D Scholar, JNU
  24. Fr. Jothi SJ and Mr. Saradindu Biswas, Right to Food and work campaign, West Bengal
  25. Gangabhai, Social Activist, Chhattisgarh
  26. G V Ramanjaneyulu, Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture,
  27. Himanshu, Associate Professor,  JNU
  28. Jean Dreze, Economist, Allahabad University
  29. Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Human rights activist, Mumbai
  30. Kavitha Kurughanti, Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture
  31. Kavita Srivastava, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Rajasthan
  32. M Kodandram,  Academic, Central University, Hyderabad
  33. Madhuresh, NAPM
  34. Madhuri Krishnaswamy, Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan
  35. Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan, Badwani
  36. Mira Shiva, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, N Delhi
  37. Mukta Srivastava, Anna Adhikar Abhiyan, Maharashtra
  38. Nishat Hussein, National Muslim Women’s Welfare Society, Jaipur
  39. Paul Divakar and Asha Kowtal, National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights,
  40. 40. Pushpa, Dharmender, Ramendra, Yogesh, Vimla and Sarita (Delhi),
  41. Prof. Mohammed Hasan, Independent Scholar, Jaipur
  42. Prem Krishan Sharma, PUCL, Rajasthan
  43. Radha Kant Saxena, PUCL, Rajasthan
  44. 44. Raj Kishore Mishra, Rupantar, Orissa
  45. Rama Melkote, Prof. Central University, Hyderabad
  46. 46. Reetika Khera, Economist, N Delhi
  47. Rupesh, Koshish, Bihar,
  48. 48. Sachin Jain, Vikas Smawad, Madhya Pradesh,
  49. 49. Sameer Garg, Chaupal, Chhattisgarh
  50. Saito Basumaatary, People’s Rights Forum, Guwahati
  51. Sejal Dand and Sumitra Thakkar, Anna Adhikar Suraksha Abhiyan, Gujarat
  52. Shabnam Hashmi, Anhad
  53. Swapan Ganguly, Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samiti, WB
  54. Subhash Bhatnagar, National Campaign Committee for Unorganized Sector workers
  55. Sunil Kaul, The Ant, Assam,
  56. Suresh Sawant, Rationing Kruti Samiti, Maharashtra,
  57. Tarun Bharatiya, Film Maker, Meghalaya,
  58. V Suresh, PUCL, Tamil Nadu,
  59. Veena Shatrugna, Nutritionist expert, Hyderabad
  60. 60. Vidhya Das, Agragamee, Orissa
  61. Vijay Lakshmi, RTI Manch, Rajasthan, Jaipur
  62. Vinod Raina, Educationist, NDelhi
  63. Vipul Mudgal, Senior Fellow, CSDS

Press Release – Statement on the unprecedented detention of CDRO team by police


Sanhati

May 29, 2013

We strongly condemn the absolutely arbitrary and unprecedented action of the Jharkhand police administration in detaining eight members of a CDRO (Coordination of Democratic Rights Organizations) fact-finding team while they were addressing a press conference in Ranchi. The team had just returned from a fact-finding mission to Chatra, where ten members of the CPI(Maoist) had been supposedly killed in a long gun battle with the TPC, a splinter group actively supported by the state government, in March 2013. However, at that time, there were local media reports that the CPI(Maoist) members had been poisoned and then shot to death in a false encounter. The fact-finding team, consisting of members from PUCL Jharkhand, APDR West Bengal and PUDR Delhi, had gone to investigate the veracity of these reports and the circumstances behind the incident. They were in the process of addressing the press and releasing their report while officials of the Jharkhand police, accompanied by a large number of policemen came and picked them up without providing any explanation.

The audaciousness of the act, committed in presence of the assembled press, clearly shows the scant respect for democracy and democratic procedures which the Jharkhand police has. The members of the team, including a woman, were detained in the Kotwali police station for a long time till they were released late in the evening. The police maintained that they had just been picked up for finding information, although it is unclear what information the former were seeking which could only be obtained by picking them up from the venue of a press conference using a posse of armed policemen. This is clearly a tactic of intimidation by the Jharkhand government to dissuade future fact-finding teams from visiting sites of incidents where the state government, or groups supported by the state government, are complicit in criminal activities. However, it is incredible that such a thing can happen in broad daylight and in open view of the public and press. We unequivocally condemn this blatant attack on the activities of democratic rights organizations and the attempt to muzzle them in order to hide the criminal complicity of the state government in encounter killings and other illegal activities.

 

PRESS RELEASE- Fact Finding Report ‘ Guilty Until Proven Innocent’ on Unlawful Police Activities in North Bastar


CHHATTISGARH LOK SWATANTRYA SANGATHAN

(PEOPLES UNION FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES, CHHATTISGARH)

___________________________________________________________________________

                                                                                                                                                                Date 20th May 2013

To: The Editor/ Chief Reporter

PRESS RELEASE: FOR FAVOUR OF PUBLICATION

A team consisting of eminent activists and lawyers went for a fact finding mission organized by PUCL-Chhattisgarh to the Edanar and Malmeta Villages of the Edanar Panchayat, Kanker District and the Anjrel Village of Khadkagaon Panchayat, Narayanpur District of North Bastar, on 18th and 19th April 2013.  The purpose of the mission was to investigate and document the unlawful police activities that were exposed by Edanar villagers during a statewide camp by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) conducted on 12th April, 2013 in Raipur.   The representation by Edanar village focuses mainly on a police rampage that happened in Edanar and Malmeta Villages in which six villagers were assaulted, two families were robbed, and one innocent man was arrested, and remains in jail till date, after being accused of aiding Naxalites.

However, the 23rd January incident is only a small part of a longer history of militarization and unlawful police activities in this region.  In the Edanar Panchayat (P.S. Tadoki), security forces consisting of CRPF and BSF, accompanied by local police and Special Police Officers (SPOs), conduct combing operations twice a month in which homes are looted and villagers are assaulted, threatened, labeled as “Naxalites”, arrested, charged with very serious offences and some of them even killed. In the Khadkagaon Panchayat (P.S. Narayanpur), villagers are routinely terrorized and even evicted from their homes by local SPOs, despite the Supreme Court order declaring SPOs unconstitutional.

The team documented over 20 such incidents of unlawful activities in both panchayats.  The report also examines the legal issues associated with and the overall context in which these violent attacks have occurred.  It gives special importance to the broader impact of the ongoing militarization of the region including the six BSF camps which are already stationed in Kanker, and the pending construction of 22 paramilitary barracks by the Bhilai Steel Plant to protect the functioning of its Raoghat iron ore mine.

The team releases the attached report,  Guilty Until Proven Innocent :  A Fact Finding Report on Unlawful Police Activities in Two Panchayats of North Bastar, Chhattisgarh with the hope that the media would highlight the situation of the people living in these areas, understand the larger political and economic context of the ongoing violence, and strike a well-educated public discourse around the issue.   We strongly urge correspondents to visit the area and write firsthand accounts of the issues faced by the local villagers.

Team members include: Shishir Dikshit (Lawyer, Janhit Legal Center), Lakhan Singh (People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Chhattisgarh), Somdutt Upadhayay (Lawyer, Bilaspur Social Forum), Tathagata Sengupta (People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Chhattisgarh), Samantha Agarwal (Sanhati), Pinki Verma (Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha-Mazdoor Karyakarta Samiti), and Keshav Sori (Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan). The following report has been jointly prepared by the members of the fact finding team.

For further information contact: Adv. Sudha Bharadwaj (9926603877)

Sincerely,

Sudha Bharadwaj

General Secretary, PUCL-Chhattisgarh

Chhatisgarh PUCL condemns the abduction and killings of Congress men in Bastar


CHHATTISGARH LOK SWATANTRYA SANGATHAN

(PEOPLES UNON FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES, CHHATTISGARH)

___________________________________________________________________________

Chhatisgarh PUCL condemns the abduction and killings of Congress Party men in Darbha Ghati in Bastar area of the State

Calls for urgent intervention by democratic forces

to end the spiral of violence in the Region

Raipur,

25th May, 2013

The Chhattisgarh PUCL strongly condemns the attack by suspected Maoists on the convoy of Congress Party leaders in the course of their election campaign in the forested Darbha Ghati in Sukma area in which, according to news reports till the present time, Congress leader Mahendra Karma and Uday Mudaliar have been killed and the President of the Congress Party Nand Lal Patel is suspected to have been abducted. More than 20 people have been reportedly killed with several seriously injured and the numbers of missing, injured and fatalities are on the increase.

The PUCL has always had a principled stand opposed to violence and the politics of killings and abduction. The spiraling violence in the Bastar region in which the present killings and abduction have occurred, and only a week ago on 17th May, 8 villagers including 3 children and a jawan were killed in an operation of security forces in Village Edesmeta, district Bijapur. For the first time, the police actually admitted that those who were attacked were innocent and instituted an enquiry. This situation requires the urgent intervention of all democratic forces in the country as also expressed in the recent strong and anguished letter issued by the Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Shri K Chandra Deo to the Governors regarding the situation in the Scheduled Areas.

Sudha Bharadwaj

General Secretary

(Chhattisgarh PUCL)

 

#India – The Draconian #ITAct


Draconian act

free1.jpg

May 20, 2013 : dECCAN hERALD

The arrest of Jaya Vindhyala, president of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties(PUCL) in Andhra Pradesh, is the latest case of arbitrary and highhanded police action to restrict freedom of expression.

The case specifically involved online freedom of expression because the alleged offences related to a posting on a Facebook page. Vidhyala had made a posting critical of Tamil Nadu governor K Rosaiah and an AP legislator Amanchi  Krishna Mohan. While the same information published by the local print media had invited only a notice of  legal action, its online publication  has invited arrest and prosecution. It is difficult to understand how there can be different standards of response to the same information in two forms of media. Online media postings  are made by individuals and they are more vulnerable. Freedom of expression is basically the individual’s freedom to express opinions and it should be guaranteed and protected, whatever the medium of expression.

While dealing with the case, the Supreme Court has directed state governments to not arrest anybody  for a post on a networking site unless the action is cleared by senior police officials. But this is no relief because senior police officials are also vulnerable to pressure from political authorities who are offended by postings in online media, as in this case. Vindhyala’s postings contained only matters revealed under the RTI Act and other information in the public realm. And yet she is being prosecuted. This is because Section 66 A of the Information Technology Act, under which the action was taken,  is  very restrictive and draconian.

The section in effect differentiates between an ordinary citizen and a person who uses social media for comment. While the citizen has a defence under Section 19(1)(a)  of the Constitution and other relevant provisions of the law, the netizen can be proceeded against under Section 66 A. This is anomalous because social media is actually gaining more popularity and importance than conventional media and they provide an empowering forum for individuals.

This section should be removed from the IT Act because it is discriminatory and liable to be misused, whatever the guidelines that are given to the police. A number of cases of highhanded actions under the provision  have come to light, including  the arrest of two girls in Maharashtra who questioned the shutting down of Mumbai in the wake of Bal Thackeray’s death. Union Law minister Kapil Sibal’s recent assurances on the bill in parliament were not convincing.

 

Jaipur: 5 deaf, mute orphan girls raped and beaten by school staff #Vaw #WTFnews


PTI  Jaipur, May 18, 2013

Advertisement

Five deaf and mute orphan girls were allegedly raped and beaten by staff at a residential school run by an NGO in Kanota area in Jaipur.

Four persons, including the director of the NGO ‘Awaaz Foundation’ have been arrested after the incident was reported to police on Saturday, DCP (East) Shweta Dhankar said on Sunday.

“The girls, aged between 15-17 years, were staying at the hostel run by Awaaz Foundation where two employees Ashok and Suresh had been sexually exploiting them for some time. The girls were raped and beaten, and when they approached the NGO officials, their complaints were ignored,” she said.

The girls were from a juvenile shelter home in Gandhi Nagar and had been sent to the residential school, which runs with the support from the Social Justice department, to undergo a training, police said.

The case came to light when the girls returned to their shelter home, run by the state government, in Gandhi Nagar after completing the course.

“We have arrested Alpana Sharma, who runs the NGO, and employees Geeta, Suresh and Ashok. A few more arrests are likely to happen soon,” the DCP added.

Police said that 109 students were staying at the hostel, which has been functioning for the last six years.

Meanwhile, People’s Union for Civil Liberties activists today protested in front of the girls’ home in Gandhi Nagar and demanded action against the culprits involved in the case.

 

Press Release – People’s Convention Against Onslaught on #FOE and Association


Need to change the judicial and political system, resolves people’s convention

 

New Delhi, May 18, 2013: A people’s convention on the State’s Onslaught On Right to Freedom of Expression and Association organized here in the backdrop of suspension of INSAF’s FCRA and freezing of its bank account resolved to fight against the demonizing and draconian laws of Indian state in favor of dispossessed people and their basic rights.

 

Speaking on the occasion in the Constitution Club of India, NCP spokesperson Devi Prasad Tripathi informed the packed house that he has recently written a letter to the Home Minister of India Sushil Kumar Shinde to revoke its FCRA orders against INSAF unconditionally as this step may cause embarrassment to the government. The letter states, “…I apprehend that you actions against INSAF may appear to be motivated and may cause embarrassment to the government…INSAF and its allies are engaged in defending democratic rights of deprived communities and in strengthening secular spirit of the nation”. Tripathi said that the judicial and political system of this country needs to be transformed completely.

 

The convention started with paying homage to Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer, the founder President of INSAF who passed away two days back. Delhi University Professor Achin Vinaik elaborated on the life and works of Dr. Engineer. After this, senior journalist Anand Swaroop Verma gave a detailed backgrounder of the corporate-security establishment nexus in India that started with a report of FICCI and ASSOCHAM and including the “wise” suggestion of the Prime Minister to “co-opt” the media in a meeting with home ministers of states way back in 2006. Manisha Sethi of Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association updated the same issue with new facts regarding defence deals and media-corporate nexus where Reliance group has a shareholding in  25 news channels.

 

Forward Block General Secretary Devbrat Biswas emphasized on continuing the struggles and people’s movements with people’s resources and leadership whether FCRA is continued or not. Educationist Anil Chowdhary categorically said that if the government vows not to take any foreign funding for development, then INSAF will be the first to surrender its FCRA and continue struggles without foreign funding. He said that since the government does not have the courage to do so, hence it may categorically state on its website whether which struggles are not applicable for foreign funding. Chowdhary satirically said that the government has a last and very easy resort to add a footnote in the constitution that all the rights apply to just 15 percent population of this country.

 

Other speakers including Kalyani Menon Sen, Ramesh Dixit, Anil Singh, Ashok Chowdhary, Ranjana Padhi and John Dayal expressed solidarity with the struggling pro-people forces and  condemned the state’s onslaught on people’s basic rights. The convention concluded by passing a five point resolution condemning the recent arrests of anti-POSCO leader Abhay Sahoo, social activists Madhuri and PUCL activist Jaya Vindhyala.

 

SC – No arrest for posts on social sites without permission #ITact #Censorship


PTI

In view of public outrage over people being arrested for making comments or liking posts on Facebook, Centre had issued advisory not to arrest a person in such cases without prior approval of a senior official.
In view of public outrage over people being arrested for making comments or liking posts on Facebook, Centre had issued advisory not to arrest a person in such cases without prior approval of a senior official.

The Supreme Court on Thursday said that no person should be arrested for posting objectionable comments on social networking sites without taking prior permission from senior police officials.

The apex court, which refused to pass an order for a blanket ban on the arrest of a person for making objectionable comments on websites, said state governments should ensure strict compliance of the Centre’s January 9 advisory which said that a person should not be arrested without taking permission from senior police officials.

“We direct the state governments to ensure compliance with the guidelines (issued by Centre) before making any arrest,” a bench of justices B.S.Chauhan and Dipak Misra said.

It said the court cannot pass an order for banning all arrest in such cases as operation of section 66A (pertaining to objectionable comments) of the Information Technology Act has not been stayed by the apex court which is examining its constitutional validity.

In view of public outrage over people being arrested for making comments or liking posts on Facebook, Centre had on January 9 issued advisory to all states and UTs asking them not to arrest a person in such cases without prior approval of a senior police officer.

The advisory issued by the Centre says that, “State governments are advised that as regard to arrest of any person in complaint registered under section 66A of the Information Technology Act, the concerned police officer of a police station may not arrest any person until she/he has obtained prior approval of such arrest from an officer, not below the rank of Inspector General of Police (IGP) in metropolitan cities or of an officer not below the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) or Superintendent of Police (SP) at district level, as the case may be.”

The apex court was hearing an application seeking its direction to the authorities not to take action for posting objectionable comments during the pendency of a case before it pertaining to constitutional validity of section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act.

The section states that any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or communication device, any information that was grossly offensive or has a menacing character could be punished with imprisonment for a maximum term of three years, besides imposition of appropriate fine.

The petition was also filed regarding the arrest of a Hyderabad-based woman activist, who was sent to jail over her Facebook post in which certain “objectionable” comments were made against Tamil Nadu Governor K.Rosaiah and Congress MLA Amanchi Krishna Mohan. After filing of the petition, she was released by a district court at Hyderabad.

Jaya Vindhayal, the state general secretary of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), was arrested on May 12 under section 66A of the IT Act for the “objectionable” post.

According to the police, she had also allegedly distributed pamphlets making objectionable allegations against Rosaiah and Mohan before posting the comments online.

The matter was mentioned before the bench by law student Shreya Singhal, seeking an urgent hearing in the case, saying the police is taking action in such matters even though a PIL challenging validity of section 66A is pending before the apex court.

She had filed the PIL after two girls–Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Shrinivasan–were arrested in Palghar in Thane district under section 66A of IT Act after one of them posted a comment against the shutdown in Mumbai following Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray’s death and the other ‘liked’ it.

On November 30, 2012, the apex court had sought response from the Centre on the amendment and misuse of section 66A of IT Act and had also directed the Maharashtra government to explain the circumstances under which the 21-year-old girls were arrested.

Pursuant to the notice issued by the apex court, the Centre had informed it that the controversial provision in the cyber law under which two girls were arrested for Facebook comments did not curb freedom of speech and alleged “high handedness” of certain authorities did not mean that it was bad in law.

The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology in its affidavit had said that an advisory had been issued to all the state governments, saying that due diligence and care may be exercised while dealing with cases arising out of the alleged misuse of cyberspace.

The Maharashtra Government in its reply had said the arrests of girls in Thane district were “unwarranted” and “hasty”, which “cannot be justified“.

The state government had also submitted an affidavit stating that the Thane police SP (Rural) had been suspended for arresting the two girls despite the instruction by the IGP not to take such action.

The court had earlier issued notices and sought responses from governments of Delhi, West Bengal and Puducherry where a professor and a businessman were arrested under section 66A of the Act for a political cartoon and tweeting against a politician respectively.

 

SC order regarding impleading Jaya’s #ITAct case


Message from kavita srivastava
The Supreme Court vacation bench of Justice BS Chauhan and Justice Deepak Mishra today heard the matter of Shreya Singhal VS UOI, where an  application was moved by the petitioner for the impleadment and stay on the  proceedings against  Jaya Vindhyala, President PUCL AP, who had been booked and arrested under Section 66A of the IT Act by the Chirala Police Station in Prakasham district, AP.
The bench was pleased to issue notice to the State Government of AP and further directed compliance of the central advisory dated 27/01/2013 by which an arrest u/s 66 A cannot be made made without sanction of the police officer not less than a rank of a DCP (SP) of . This direction was also issued to all the State Government to ensure compliance.
The court heard the case for about 6 to 7 minutes. The counsels present were : Soli J Sorabjee, for the petitioner, Siddhartha Luthra, ASJ and lawyers Apar Gupta and Karuna Nandy.
This order means that the Central Advisory has now been made law. Where no inspector can make arrests unless the SP level officer sanctions.
We donot know whether in  Jays’s case the central advisory was complied with.