Mumbai- Houses Demolished, Thousands Left to Fend for Themselves


Brazen Violation of Existing Norms, Ongoing Investigations by Maharashtra Government in Mumbai

Houses Demolished just Before Start of Monsoon, Thousands Left to Fend for Themselves

Mumbai, June 4: With the onset of pre-monsoon, the slums in Mumbai have been witness tobulldozers and police brutality as today i.e 4th June saw bulldozers moving over the houses at Ganpat Patil Nagar, Sanjay Nagar, Indira Nagar, Adarsh Nagar – Mumbai. Around 250 houses were demolished at Ganpat Patil Nagar and more than 300 houses were broken down at Adarsh Nagar-Indira Nagar & Sanjay Nagar. As always, the police force was present in huge numbers and disrespectful to the protestors that included men, women, children and the aged, even the pregnant ladies were not excused of high handedness. With the onset of the monsoon, the vulnerability is increased as these families have no roof over their heads and their belongings either crushed or lying here and there.

The demolition drive at Ganpat Patil Nagar was done under the pretext of ‘protecting mangroves’ as per the orders of the Bombay High Court which not at all had said anything about demolishing slums. The over enthusiasm shown by the local MLA of Shiv Sena – Vinod Ghosalkar in demolishing this slum and evicting the families from the land exposes the nexus with the land mafia which wants to transform this locality into high rise buildings and towers. Even the Forest Department has informed that they do not want for demolition of slums but only protection of mangroves.

At Indira Nagar, Adarsh Nagar & Sanjay Nagar, the demolitions were done under the excuse of widening the nala (sewerage) but that remains an excuse only as last year also, during the same period a demolition drive was undertaken for the purpose of expanding the nala which never happened. Activist Siraj Ahmed was detained by the local police when he led the slum dwellers in protest to the demolition.

Most shocking and deplorable is the fact that in January this year, no less than the Chief Minister of Maharashtra & Chief Secretary had promised to under take a survey of the these settlement for the purpose of declaring them as slums and provisioning of basic amenities. Instead of water pipe lines and toilet blocks they have sent bulldozers and police force. It seems that the slogan of ‘slum free india’ is to be realised by bulldozing the existing slums and not be upgrading or resettling them.

It is apprehended that the demolition squad might again come tomorrow, though the slum dwellers are firm in their resolve to resist and fight against the bulldozers as well as the rules that make such deplorable acts possible.

Sumit Wajale Siraj Ahmed Sangeeta Kamble Jamil Bhai

Contact : 9892727063

National Alliance of People’s Movements
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#India – “Tribal autonomy answer to Naxalism’’ #Maoists


May 29, 2013 12:30:50 AM | By Pramod Chunchuwar

Mumbai : Killing Naxals is not the solution, says the Congress MLA from Gadchiroli, Dr Namdev Usendi, a medical practitioner.

On Monday, home minister R R Patil and Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray had demanded stringent laws and harsh action to crush the Maoists.

Strongly opposing the suggestion to kill Naxals by using armed forces, Dr Usendi said, “This will not end Naxalism. Till poverty and violation of fundamental rights of tribals continue, Naxals will manage to recruit villagers.’’

He also lamented that some decisions of his own government made tribals wonder whether the government was with them or with the capitalist forces. A case in point was the government’s decision about granting lease of forest land for mineral exploration.

‘’Autonomy in administration to Naxal affected area can ensure development and this will help curb Naxalism,’’ Dr Usendi said in an interview with the FPJ.

“Since 1978, twenty-two irrigation projects could not be completed due to the Forest Conservation Act. For these projects, a maximum of 1,500 hectares would have been used. But 6, 545 hectares were allotted to various corporate houses for iron ore exploration. Why does the Forest Conservation Act create hurdles in developmental projects and how this Act is not a problem for corporate houses? This has created a doubt in the minds of tribals in our district and they wonder whether the government is with us or with the corporates or capitalists?’’ Dr Usendi said.

“According to the constitution, Gadchiroli’s tribal dominated area falls under the Fifth schedule. According to article 244(1), the Governor has the authority to announce that any law will not be implemented or implemented with some modification or relaxation. We are demanding that the government should announce the relaxation of Forest Conservation Act which will help complete various developmental projects. This demand was made by us to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan in the Tribal Advisory committee but nothing has happened,’’ the MLA said.

“The Tribal Advisory committee headed by CM and having more than 20 tribal MLAs as members should meet once in six months. But in the last one year, there was no meeting. In the last four years, the committee has met only twice,’’ Dr Usendi said.

“In North Eastern states, tribal dominated area have been accorded autonomy in administration. Like this, there should be two Zilla Parishads in Gadchiroli district. The main ZP will be elected by all voters and election for another will be only in tribal dominated area and only tribals will vote for their representative. These tribal representatives will suggest or design the developmental schemes or projects and the main ZP will implement it,’’ Dr Usendi stressed.

“Currently, there are 23 tribal members in the 51-member ZP of Gadchiroli. Non tribal members are influential and therefore all money originally meant for tribals development can not be spent. Unless tribals get autonomy in development administration, development can’s take place and till the development takes place, Naxalism can not be curbed,’’ Dr Usendi stressed.

Pramod Chunchuwar

 

Gujarat – Different riot, same story #antisikhriots


MIDDAY

17APR2013

 

Ranjona Banerji, Mid Day 

Just as anyone who lived in Delhi through the anti-Sikh pogrom of 1984 or the Mumbai riots of 1992 and 1993 knows what happened, that is true of Gujarat 2002 as well. Trying to get to office on February 2008 – a day after the attack on the Sabarmati Express — was a harrowing experience, dodging mobs out on the roads in Ahmedabad, looting and burning.

The policemen who I saw that day stood quietly in corners, away from the mayhem. They looked away when they were exhorted to help.

What the investigation, broadcast by a news channel this week, into the police wireless reports from February 27 onwards shows is that there were some police officers who were well aware of what was happening and were asking for help even as the situation got out of control. Also evident from the innumerable messages from the State Intelligence Bureau is that there was awareness about the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal gathering forces and fear over the outcome. The riots were not spontaneous or sudden, as claimed by the state and Central governments.

All this was evident on the streets on Ahmedabad. While a restaurant near my residence in that city was being vandalised, people in cars called for hand carts on their cell phones to carry away the discarded furniture. The restaurant only served vegetarian food but its name was ambivalent and could well have been Muslim. The anti-Muslim rhetoric and cries of “revenge” for the Godhra attack were everywhere.

College professors visited the newspaper office where I worked, initially shame- faced and then slipping in lines like “ but maybe they deserved it”, harking back to the raids on the Somnath temple by Mahmud of Ghazni.

The government took too long to respond, the police commissioner never left his office — even though there was mayhem on the streets outside and victims arriving in hundreds in camps a stone’s throw away. The army also came too late. Riots are always shameful and shocking and rarely if even spontaneous. But usually even the most cynically manipulative of governments makes an attempt to control proceedings. In Gujarat in 2002 however it seemed as the riots were allowed to continue — with incidences of violence stretching into months.

There is some anger and resentment — perhaps understandable — that is there is too much focus on Gujarat when rioters elsewhere have escaped. This is definitely true.

Jagdish Tytler appears defiantly free, defending himself on TV when victim after victim named him for the attacks on Sikhs after Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984. The worst example is perhaps Mumbai. The hand of the Shiv Sena in the riots is well known.

The Srikrishna Commission indicted the party from its late chief Bal Thackeray downwards. Nothing happened to the Sena and nothing happened to the investigations into the riots. The case into the1993 bomb blasts which followed the riots has seen closure, with much public attention.

So far, the public discourse about riots has been disquieting, even toxic.

If religious minorities — like Muslims in Gujarat 2002 or in Bombay 1992- 1993 — are the targets then we fall into a lose- lose spiral of accusations of false secularism, demands of ubernationalism, complaints of appeasement and what is nothing short of majoritarian bullying. We seem unable to accept that religion per se — whether it is used by Muslims or Hindus or anyone else — cannot and must not be a justification for violence. Governments do not like to probe riots too deeply because they feel that given the amount mass level anger or hatred exposed, such wounds are best left untouched and ignored.

Gujarat then is the first opportunity to India to clean up its act. It is thanks to the Supreme Court alone — as far as a Constitutional authority goes — that the Gujarat riots have seen any move towards justice.

Unfortunately, the apex court had to step in because of the reluctance of the state government to move on the cases against rioters. Therefore, while there may be inherent unfairness about riots in the past, this is one opportunity to provide a template for justice in the future.

 

Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist.

You can follow her on Twitter @ranjona

 

Bhandara rape-murder case handed over to CBI #Vaw


Last Updated: Monday, April 01, 2013, 1
 TNN
Mumbai: Facing flak for “failure” of police to make headway in the probe of alleged rape and murder of three minor sisters at Murmadi in Bhandara district, Maharashtra government on Monday announced that case would be handed over to CBI.

Home Minister R R Patil made the announcement in the state Assembly.

Three girls — aged 11, 8 and 6 years — went missing from their house on February 14 and their bodies were found in a well two days later. Initially there were allegations of rape and the case has not been solved by police so far.

Leader of Opposition Eknath Khadse, Devendra Phadanvis, Nana Patole (all BJP), Ashish Jaiswal (Shiv Sena) and others asked as to why the post-mortem was conducted 17 hours after the bodies were fished out.

“The bodies were kept in the morgue and left to rot,” Phadanvis said.

Patil said the delay was because family members were not allowed by villagers to go to Bhandara civil hospital for the inquest. “The family came to the hospital only after police persuaded them,” the Home Minister said.

Inquiry will be conducted as to why they were stopped from going to hospital, he said.

“If the family tells the government it is unhappy with the investigation, I would hand over the case to CBI,” he said.

To this, Khadse said he had a letter of the victims’ mother to Chief Minister, dated March 2, which said that as police had failed to crack the case, it be handed over to CBI. He further alleged that Police were pressurising their mother to withdraw the letter, which is why she was demanding protection.

On this, Patil announced that the case would be handed over to CBI.

Patil refuted the allegation that viscera were sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory so that the post-mortem report, which had said the girls had been raped, could be contradicted.

The procedure was regular, he said.

Forensic reports later said there was no indication of rape.

Patil said forensic reports were also sent to experts at two hospitals in Mumbai (KEM and JJ), and another in Delhi.

“Two reports (from Mumbai) were similar to the first one, saying that there was no sexual assault. We are awaiting report from Delhi,” he said.

 

Aurangabad Cop suspended in sexual harassment case #goodnews #Vaw #justice


, TNN | Mar 30, 2013,

AURANGABAD: The state home department has suspended Sandeep Bhajibhakare, one of three senior police officials accused of sexual harassing a woman police constable from the Aurangabad police commissionerate. Bhajibhakare, who was assistant commissioner of police (ACP) (Aurangabad cantonment) when the woman constable levelled charges against him, was recently transferred to Chiplun in Ratnagiri district as deputy superintendent of police (Dy SP).Confirming the suspension, Aurangabad police commissioner Sanjay Kumar said, “The state government suspendedBhajibhakare more than two weeks ago. He has approached the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal against his supension.”

In August 2012, the woman constable had complained to the Maharashtra State Women’s Commission (MSWC) that she had been sexually assaulted by Bhajibhakare and two other ACPs, K S Bahure and Naresh Meghrajani.

Highly-placed police officials said the suspension was based on the findings of the high-level committee that investigated the woman constable’s complaints. The committee was formed after the MSWC directed the Aurangabad police commissionerate to conduct a high-level probe into the matter and submit the findings within a stipulated time. After the inquiry, the findings along with the statements of the complainant and the three accused, and the alleged evidence submitted by the complainant, were sent to the MSWC and the director general of police’s (DGP) office in November.

The woman constable had also approached senior Shiv Sena leader Neelam Gorhe, who took a delegation to the city police commissionerate and demanded immediate action against the three ACPs.

Bhajibhakare was transferred to Chiplun in December last year. Around the same time, on orders issued by the DGP office, Bhajibhakare was also booked under section 509 of the IPC at the Satara police station.

In a reprieve to Bhajibhakare in mid-February this year, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court quashed a judicial magistrate order to issue process against him under section 376(B) (rape by a public servant with woman in his custody).

 

Narendra Modi’s supporters should stop using #FOS argument because they don’t understand it


It’s the Great Wharton Dustup

 

English: Image of Narendra Modi at the World E...

 

Dilip D’Souza, HT. March  7, 2013

 

A few themes emerge, if confused, from recent happenings at Wharton: freedom of expression, a possible insult to the nation, horrible regimes that the US is friends with. All worth addressing.

 

The insult, first. I accept that Narendra Modi feels injured by Wharton’s action. After all, how many of us get the chance to address some of the brightest business students in the world? Modi must have been looking forward to that. No doubt it came as a slap in his face that Wharton was persuaded to take back its invitation.

 

But let’s understand: it’s no slap in my face. The world over, institutions issue invitations, withdraw some, confer awards, annul some, and so on. They have their reasons, some of which I may agree with and some I may not, most of which I am not even aware of. (Why, for example, did Saginaw State University award BS Yeddyurappa an honorary doctorate in 2008?). I feel no particular emotion about any of these events: they just happen, that’s all. Just because a fellow-Indian, even a fellow-Indian named Narendra Modi, feels insulted by one of them hardly means that I feel or should feel the same.

 

Though I realise Modi has long learned the value of labelling criticism of him as insults to Gujarat’s “asmita”. For a decade we’ve seen him do it to any questions about the massacres of 2002, reaping the electoral rewards such rhetoric is designed for. Now that he nurses wider political dreams, the labelling gets correspondingly wider too: it’s not just Gujarat, but, as the Shiv Sena’s Suresh Prabhu announced, “Wharton has insulted India.” Look, Mr Prabhu, I’m Indian and I’m not insulted. Please don’t presume to speak for me.

 

Regimes close to the US, next. Chetan Bhagat summed this up with this comment: “Dear Wharton, the country you belong to routinely makes friends with dictators and military govts who used guns to be in power. Remember that.”

 

This is so shaky an argument that it’s a wonder someone as erudite as Bhagat even tries to make it. For one thing, Wharton is a thoroughly private, independent institution that has nothing to do with its country’s government. For another, that country also makes friends with democracies. So?

 

But above all, let’s understand what this argument amounts to: “So you say Modi did these horrible things? What about your pals in country X, Y and Z? They did equally bad, maybe worse things!”

 

Note that there isn’t, as you might expect, an emphatic claim here that Modi did not do horrible things. There is merely fingerpointing in different directions. Thus what this argument boils down to is an implicit acceptance (“equally bad”) of exactly the criticism of Modi that got his invitation withdrawn. Point made: by Bhagat, no less, and no doubt plenty more Modi supporters.

 

And finally, freedom of expression. The extent to which this straightforward concept is misunderstood always mystifies me. What it means is, I’m free to express myself, just as you are and just as Modi is.

 

But let’s understand: so are those who don’t want to hear Modi. Here’s the absolute essence of free expression: views we find annoying or offensive enjoy just the same freedoms our own views do. Presumably there were people who wanted to hear Modi, and they asked the Wharton organisers to invite him. In just the same way, there were people who didn’t want to hear him, and they asked the Wharton organisers to withdraw the invitation. Freedom of expression applies equally to both those groups.

 

Of course it left Wharton with a dilemma, but that’s what freedoms can and must do, when strictly upheld. They are never easy to enforce, because they will invariably displease someone. That Wharton chooses to come down on one side of the dilemma is, by itself, no indictment of free expression. After all, Modi gave a talk at Delhi’s Shri Ram College of Commerce not long ago. That time too, those who did not want to hear him protested. Did Modi’s supporters mourn any trampling of free expression then? No, because their man actually spoke. But SRCC’s choice of the other side of the same dilemma is also, by itself, no indictment of free expression.

 

If Modi’s supporters want to persuade the country that he should be PM, that’s fine with me. But let’s see them use reason and some logic, not handwaving about insults and freedoms they don’t understand.

 

Dilip D’Souza is a Mumbai-based writer

 

 

 

FAQs-Who needs moral policing, how much and why? #mustread #Vaw #1billionrising #Valentinesday


Love in the time of moral policing

The moral police are everywhere. Crawling out of the woodwork into our public spaces. In our legislative assemblies, in our board rooms, in court rooms, on the streets, in colleges, in cinemas and cyber cafes, gardens and pubs, even in police stations. Alas, and perhaps in our heads too. The rabid Sri Ram Sena or the Shiv Sena or the Bajrang Dal foot soldiers who demonstrate their love for ‘Indian culture’ by molesting girls wearing jeans and vandalising Valentine’s Day celebrations are unfortunately only the tip of the iceberg. They are supported openly and tacitly, by many ‘honourable’ others, ranging from chief ministers and health ministers to members of the National Commission for Women.

So many people in our country are in a state of moral panic over ‘western’ culture, pub culture, cyber culture and the many other ‘degenerate’ cultures that are polluting the sacred body of our Mother India and her pristine, fragile ‘Indian culture’, all of which call for more and more policing. Here are some Frequently Unasked Questions (FUQs, no pun intended) about moral policing in India.

Question 1: Who needs policing?

The list is long, maybe endless. At the top are impressionable young women and girls, who need to be protected from the corrupting effects of the afore-mentioned ‘evil’ cultures. Women are progenitors and homemakers — their sexuality needs to be strictly monitored, controlled and harnessed. If they have lost moral values, how can they become part of the eugenic project for a healthy and a morally sound generation next? What would happen to the sacred institution of the family if women got out of hand? Remember the Shiv Sena violence against a film like Deepa Mehta’s Fire? Love between two women leaves out the boys as arbitrators of women’s sexuality. Boys after all will be boys, they will settle down after marriage; but girls must be neither seen nor heard. Their ability to withstand the effects of ‘debauchery’ is far inferior to the male of the species. They cannot even handle cigarettes and alcohol. In other words, the moral police have to zealously shield all ‘less powerful others’ who are morally weak and can easily be perversely affected by stimuli of every kind: films, websites, beer, jeans, western music, birds and bees, in fact the list of provocative objects is infinite and ever growing.

This invention of a less powerful other is rampant and not confined just to the moral police, but informs the way in which ‘media impact’ is commonly framed. Our chattering classes are constantly exercised about the impact of the media on children, women, illiterates, poor people, villagers, slum dwellers — all subsumed under the category of the gullible and easily swayed ‘masses’ who have to be protected. This calls for a morally superior, intellectually more discerning ‘filter’ (in other words, people like ‘us’) who will decide what is fit for their impressionable eyes and ears. The censorship of the state is regarded as essential to uphold moral and aesthetic standards which popular cinema and television are prone to constantly violate.

This censorious mentality is widespread in our society and is perhaps uncomfortably close to the fine art of street censorship practiced by the Thackerays and Muthaliks.

Question 2: What needs policing?

Everything, but particularly all sites and signs of ‘modern’ ‘western’ culture, from greeting cards to cell phones, from pubs to cyber cafes: moral panic always hovers over frontier technologies. Our parents thought that films, or even radio, corrupted us. We worry about our children on the Internet; television has already become passé.

When printing was invented, our forefathers would have worried about its corrupting effects on young impressionable minds. In fact, in the medieval scriptoriums in European monasteries, access to certain texts was denied to younger writers. Today, sadly, no one grieves over the corrupting influence of books.

We forget that each generation has its own relationship with the cultural products of its own times. Personally, we have always thought of television as a ‘movie in a box’. When we took our daughter to her first movie, she asked us incredulously, when the first image appeared — “Is that a huge TV on the wall?” As someone who was born into a TV era, the relationship she has with the medium is qualitatively different from ours. Our collective inability to understand new technologies and our suspicion of what young people might be up to behind our backs makes us struggle to assert control — an essentially futile endeavour. Moral panic breeds behind the doors of the unknown.

Question 3: Why do we need policing?

The answer is simple: because ‘Indian Culture’ is fragile, because many Indians have delicate sentiments that are very easily hurt. And when these sentiments are hurt, maybe a few hundred people get massacred or raped, or maybe a shrine is pulled down or several thousand bar girls lose their jobs.

The state is assiduous in protecting the hurt sentiments of these sentinels of virtue. It usually turns a blind eye and sometimes even defends these actions — after all, how long can one hold back hurt sentiments? Our moral police know that they can strike with impunity; the chances are that the victims will get blamed for ‘provoking’ them.

Question 4: What is ‘Indian culture’?

The moral police are blissfully unaware of the contested nature of both the terms. Many years ago, a second generation ‘Indian’ child in London hesitantly admitted to us that she did not speak any ‘Indian’. Indian culture is as elusive as Indian food. In fact, one strong marker of it is the chilly. How many among the moral police, who lament about the fragility of ‘Indian culture’ know that the chilly first came to India with the Portuguese from South America not so long ago?

There are grids of exclusion at work, relations of power that begin to define the boundaries of Indian culture. A painting by Hussain done in the 1960s is suddenly a threat to our pristine traditions. Many of our 330 million Hindu Gods have spent the prime of their lives unclothed; the time has come to design moral robes for them. Khajuraho and Konarak now badly need saffron fashion designers.

Question 5: Why do the moral police indulge in policing?

Unfortunate tautology. How else would they grab the eyeballs of the nation? With very little work and no long-term investments, they can become famous overnight and reap rich political dividends. There are few risks involved, given the state’s sensitivity to their hurt sentiments.

Valentine’s Day provides rich opportunities. Dubbed as a threat to Indian culture, it throws up immense possibilities for great photo ops. The media has coined an endearing acronym to discuss certain goings on between young adults — PDA, roughly translated, it reads public display of affection. These acts are firmly handled by the moral police, who reiterate their faith in our great traditions by molesting the women publicly in front of television crews, who promptly arrive at the scene of the spectacle, forewarned and forearmed.

Question 6: Who gives the moral police the right to police?

Too many of us, through our sins of omission and commission. When the captains of industry cosy up to a champion of ethnic cleansing, when a leading television news channel gives an award to a staunch defender of the politics of hate, one begins to understand how deep and pervasive the rot is.

The normalisation of hate politics, the selective amnesia of the middle class — all these add up to strengthening the power of the moral police.

Question 7: What of love in the time of moral policing?

The moral police hate love and love hate. While the militant ones are easy to spot, the ‘soft’ ones are insidious.

They begin to define the realm of the ‘normal’. They censor our films, define dress codes, and make laws to control the Internet, all in the name of decency and order, of protecting the vulnerable and preventing social chaos.

While we must protest, firmly and loudly, against gross violations like Mangalore and Meerut, can we begin to speak fearlessly against the little everyday violations, the covert ways in which our spaces for love and freedom are encroached upon? And above all, we must never forget: Ayodhya and Mangalore are both manifestations of the same politics of hate and intolerance that we must resist till our last Valentine’s Day.

(The authors are professors at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai)

 

Police drop activist from programme after Sena threat


ALOK DESHPANDE, The Hindu, Jan 7, Mumbai

The police authorities in Maharashtra continue to surrender to the diktat of Shiv Sena, despite facing flak from all quarters over the arrest of two girls in Palghar a month ago.

This time, the police authorities have dropped a speaker from their programme, after the Sena warned her against entering Chiplun, a town in Ratnagiri district, where the event is scheduled to be held.

In the backdrop of the gang rape in Delhi, the Chiplun police authorities have arranged a special programme for girls and women in the city on January 8. The authorities had invited Pushpa Bhave, a senior social worker, author and prominent activist working on gender issues and women’s rights in Maharashtra.

Chiplun will also host the annual Marathi literary meet from January 11 and the podium has been named after Sena chief Bal Thackeray. On Saturday, Ms. Bhave criticised the organisers of the festival for naming the podium after Thackeray, who, she said had ‘insulted’ many Marathi authors in the past and was not a writer.

“My point was very simple. I opposed the podium being named after him. He has insulted many great Marathi authors in extremely low level language. The podium is always named after someone who has done great service to literature, which he hasn’t done. Hence I opposed it,” Ms. Bhave told The Hindu.

Irked by her opposition, the local unit of Sena declared that the party would not allow her inside Chiplun city. The local leaders took a mob of around 200 activists to the police station and pressured them to cancel her part in the programme.

“Instead of letting the issue heat up, we cancelled her part,” Uttam Jagdale, police inspector at the Chiplun station told The Hindu over telephone. “We try to maintain good relations with all political parties. We did what we thought was best,” he said.

The Sena leaders praised the authorities for removing her from the programme. “Even they knew that if she had come here, the situation could have worsened,” said Bala Kadam, the Chiplun city unit chief of the Sena. “Nobody should speak against Balasaheb. That lady [Ms. Bhave] was doing this for publicity, but we won’t let her do it at the expense of our late leader,” said Mr. Kadam.

Ms. Bhave expressed no surprise at the police action. “This is what we have been seeing all these years… Sena does not believe in discussion and criticism in democracy,” she said.

 

Villagers court arrest against Jaitapur nuclear plant


ALOK DESHPANDE, The Hindu,
MUMBAI, January 3, 2013

Thousands of villagers from around the proposed Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant (JNPP) site in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district on Wednesday launched a ‘jail bharo’ agitation demanding scrapping of the 9,900 MW plant.

The agitators attempted to take out a peaceful protest march to the project site. But they were stopped three kilometres away, arrested and later released. The protesters had planned to surround the site to convey the symbolic ‘stop-the-work’ notice to the administration.

“This was the first big agitation held after the firing incident in Sakhri Nate village. The government was deliberately spreading the rumour that villagers have softened their stand and are now ready to accept the project,” said Amjad Borkar of the Machhimar Kruti Samiti in Sakhri Nate. Mr. Borkar said the march was to tell the government that we did not change our stand. “We are confident of throwing the power plant out of Jaitapur,” he said.

“The government should respect people’s sentiments. It should cancel all the agreements connected with JNPP,” said Mr. Borkar.

The Shiv Sena and the Left parties also took part in the march. Rajan Salvi, local Sena MLA made it clear that the party would not allow contractors to work on the site. “They have built the compound wall by repressing our voices. We will not let contractors work on the site in future,” he said.

“The project does not stand on technical as well as on democratic grounds. The technology is nowhere tested and all gram panchayats surrounding the site have said no to the project. The government instead of unleashing the police on the villagers, should respect the people’s sentiments,” said Prakash Reddy, of the Communist Party of India.

 

#Mumbai-Women cops were molested, admits R R Patil #Vaw


By , TNN | Dec 12, 2012, 02.22 AM IST

NAGPUR: Maharashtra home minister RR Patil has for the first time admitted that womenconstables were molested during the violence that broke out at Azad Maidan on August 11.

Patil rubbished claims that some of the women constables committed suicide while some others left service. He told the legislative council that no action would be initiated against senior officers who had allegedly tried to hush up the matter.

“There arises no question of their (women constables) morale being affected as a result of the actions of their seniors because no such thing (hushing up of the matter) ever happened. Even though molestation did take place, nobody has committed suicide or left the service as a result of the incident,” he said in a written reply to the legislative council during the Question Hour on Tuesday.

Patil’s statement is significant as no senior government authority had at the time presented a clear picture of what actually transpired during the rioting in which two persons died and 63 people were injured. Even though the molestation incident was officially denied at the onset, the incident did eventually find a mention in the charge sheet.

The police found it difficult to convince the traumatized victims to come forward, register complaints and identify the accused. The nine women constables had also identified four accused during an identification parade at Taloja jail in Thane. Taking note of the incident, the women’s commission, too, had conducted an inquiry and submitted its report to the government. So far, the report has not being made public by the home department.

Patil was replying to a question posed by Shiv Sena‘s Neelam Gorhe and Vinayak Raut, among several other members of the council. When was Patil asked what steps the government took to ensure proper care for the constables, he merely said that their senior staff had provided them counselling.