Kalpakkam Data-Morbidity Survey

After being in denial for years, the department of atomic energy (DAE) has for the first time admitted that the deaths of its employees at the Kalpakkam nuclear site and their dependents were because of multiple myeloma, a rare form of bone marrow cancer linked to nuclear radiation.

In response to a Right to Information (RTI) query in October last year, the DAE said nine people, including three employees working at the Kalpakkam atomic reactor, about 70km from Chennai, died of multiple myeloma and bone cancer between 1995 and 2011. The department had earlier refused to divulge information despite an RTI query in 2010.

The risk to the lives of people working at the nuclear facilities at Kalpakkam came to the fore in 2003 when two of its employees — Mohandas and Ponniah — working at the reactor died of multiple myeloma after being exposed to nuclear radiation. DAE officials then denied that the deaths were because of overexposure to radiation.

While two people were detected with multiple myeloma when they were working at the reactor, another was found to have the rare form of bone marrow cancer after retirement. The RTI query revealed that 14 people, including 11 family members of employees at Kalpakkam nuclear facilities, have been detected with multiple myeloma and bone cancer between 1995 and 2011.

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) officials, however, claim that there have been no deaths due to exposure to radiation at Kalpakkam. They even said the figure of people affected by radiation at the nuclear facilities was lesser than the national average of 1-4 per 1 lakh people.

“The figure of three employees at Kalpakkam having multiple myeloma during 16-17 years is not higher than the normal prevalence of such form of cancer among others, in India or abroad,” BARC said in its response.

Experts, however, said it was a faulty comparison and that it was not possible to compare such sensitive data to the national average. As per international standards, cancer cases because of radiation are computed by comparing people living in proximate villages to those living in villages far away from the nuclear facilities, said Dr V Pugazhenthi, a physician who has been practising in Kalpakkam for 20 years.

Going by international standards, a DAE-funded study by Dr Manjula Datta shows that the number of people in proximity to Kalpakkam nuclear facilities suffering from cancer is a cause of concern. DNA is in possession of the report that was never made public.

The report states that cancer cases in villages close to Kalpakkam are seven times higher (210 per 1 lakh people) compared to just (30 per 1 lakh people) in distant villages. Morbidity levels in areas near the nuclear reactor are 2-3 times higher than normal. The study covered 22 proximate villages (within 8km radius) and three distant villages (50km from the reactor site).

“Several cases of cancer due to nuclear radiation have come up in the vicinity of the Kalpakkam nuclear reactor, but they were never reported. Even when they were reported, the government refused to acknowledge them,” said VT Padmanabhan a researcher in health effects of radiation and member of the European Commission on Radiation Risk.

“Dr Datta’s report is one of the best independent surveys carried out to date. Going by its data, it is clear that radiation causes cancer.”

Data sought from the DAE under a separate RTI reveals as many as 244 Kalpakkam employees and their dependents were detected with various types of cancer between 1999 and 2009. Most people affected were in the 41-60 age group and included men as well as women. During 2000-2010, 19 cases of thyroid diseases were detected. Experts said thyroid diseases are common among people living in and around nuclear reactor sites.

BARC officials, however, said the 244 cancer cases and mortality rates among Kalpakkam employees were not different from those seen among the general population.

Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd officials did not respond to questions mailed by DNA to their official ids despite several reminders

Kalpakkam Data-Morbidity Survey 

2 year old Kanishka's Blood Smear Report

2 year old Kanishka's Blood Smear Report

Roe At 39: Celebrate Roe by Taking Action to Ensure Abortion Is Both Legal and Accessible

January 22, 2012, marks the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the US Supreme Court decision that recognized a woman’s constitutional right to have an abortion, if she so chooses. Reflecting on the anniversary of this landmark case, I am reminded of an interview with a woman from Florida who struggled to pay out-of-pocket for her abortion. When asked what she thought about the fact that Medicaid would not cover her care she said, “I wish women had a right [to Medicaid coverage of abortion]…. I think women should have that option…. There’s a lot of things to having a right to choose.”

One obstacle standing in the way of women’s right to have an abortion is the Hyde Amendment. Passed in 1976, the Hyde Amendment prohibits the use of federal Medicaid funding for abortion except when a woman is pregnant as a result of rape or incest, or when her pregnancy endangers her life. States have the option of using their own funds to cover abortion in broader circumstances, but few do.

Ibis Reproductive Health has conducted several research studies that evaluate how restrictions on public funding for abortion affect women. Our researchshows that women consistently encounter problems enrolling in Medicaid, trying to use Medicaid to cover qualifying abortion care, and finding a local health care provider that accepts Medicaid. We have also found that women have difficulty accessing accurate information about Medicaid coverage of abortion and that Medicaid staff frequently discourage women from seeking abortion coverage. Because of these difficulties, women are forced to raise their own money for care. They borrow money from friends and family, take out payday loans, delay bill payments, pawn jewelry, and take other drastic measures. This scramble to obtain funding can lead to delays in obtaining timely care or prevent women from obtaining an abortion altogether.

The fight to restore public funding for abortion has been going on for over 35 years. In that time, women’s health advocates and abortion providers have endured an onslaught of policies aimed at restricting women’s abilities to access abortion. But they have also become adept at removing some of the obstacles in women’s paths. Our research shows that through a range of advocacy, policy, and practice-based strategies, women’s health advocates and abortion providers have developed a number of ways to ensure that eligible women secure timely access to Medicaid coverage of abortion.

We compiled these strategies in the Take Action series – a set of guides that outline actions thatadvocates and abortion providers can take to help expand women’s access to Medicaid coverage of abortion. The guides also highlight the real-life experiences of women and abortion providers trying to navigate the Medicaid system. In the coming months, Ibis will release two additional Take Action guides for women and policymakers.

It is our hope that documentation of the devastating impact of the Hyde Amendment, as well as evidenced-based strategies for improving the Medicaid system from the ground up, will help ensure that abortion is not only legal, but accessible to all women regardless of their income.

Despair can lead people to disastrous path: Dr Binayak Sen

BANGALORE – Speaking at the 6th Henry Volken Memorial lecture at Indian Social Institute in Bangalore Dr.Binayak Sen said that the weak has to develop internal strength to do politics otherwise the wide spread despair can lead people to disastrous path.

He said that democracy is about governance by consent and it cannot be reduced to series of election. He further said that for this very purpose social mobilization has to be constant and running theme of democracy.

Citing the recent hunger death of tea workers in Bengal Dr.Sen said that these starvation death and tragic death like these need to be contextualized and must not be seen in isolation.

Referring to Prime Minister’s latest remark on Malnutrition as National Shame he asked that if Child Malnutrition is shame then what to say about Adult Malnutrition which is equally rampant and about which we never talk.

Dr.Sen also argued in his lecture that Famine is not about shortage of grain, citing the case of Bengal Famine of 1943 he said that there was not shortage of food grains and all those boats carrying the grains were savaged by direct orders from British Raj

He said that Body mass index is very low in this country and 37 % has BMI less than 18.5 and if 40 % of population has low BMI then it is referred as state of famine and we are near to it.

‘National grain consumption has seen a fall of 110 kg in from 880 kg to 770 kg’, he added. ‘This famine is getting worse’. ‘The incident of hunger death of those tea workers at Dhekla pal is just the tip of iceberg’ He said.

Referring to various resistance movements in the country he said that ‘resistance is only way for these community’. ‘The struggle against POSCO in Odisha is an admirable one’ he added

He criticized the public policy practices in the country and urged that this must be directed towards well being of its citizen which is possible through equity.

Source- Newzfirst

Calling all doctors to research into vaccine safety

Dear Dr ___,

Namaskar. Yes I do write against vaccines in general and do not support any vaccination program. This is because of my 27 years of study on the subject, something which I doubt any pediatrician and/or other doctors have done. These doctors do not know anything other than that a few children can get local injection site inflammation, suffer high fevers, even seizures and the cases of anaphylaxis, for which they are requested to be ready with an emergency kit but for which they are rarely prepared against.

I would like you to do some research yourself because nothing less will convince you. There are no safety tests done on vaccines and such tests are avoided. We all know what happened to Dr Wakefield who merely did a case study and suggested more research. Instead of welcoming the much needed advice the medical establishment reacted with alacrity and used the most dubious means possible to disgrace this good doctor, cancel his licence and verily deport him from the UK. His case study was also pulled out by the Lancet, an unprecedented event in the history of medicine.

The FDA has very recently conceded that no toxicity tests are done on vaccines because they are perceived to be safe. The only so called safety tests carried out for usually 14 days by the vaccine manufacturers themselves. They test extremely healthy children against a control group that are given another vaccine. Such tests even do not report serious adverse events as they are perceived to be due to other underlying causes, just as you so assiduously point out. This is a universal excuse that should be condemned rather than being entertained as pregnant mothers, infants and children are the most vulnerable populations.

In my 27 years long campaign for justice I have found that people, medical or non medical, do not wake up unless they or their children are affected. After that they sulk for long periods being affected by guilt, depression and utter helplessness. Rarely do they take up the cudgel to fight as they soon realise what they are up against. Both doctors and other people are threatened to keep quiet. Even I too face threats and there has also been an attempt to bribe me into submission. If vaccines are so sacrosanct and safe, why these highly unethical practices?

Regarding your own research I suggest the following;

1. Study the latest developments in the field of immunology
2. Study if vaccines being manufactured follow the recent findings
3. Collect all available medical literature that point out the dangers of the vaccination process
4. Study the incidence of those dangers pointed out in the child population
5. Study ALL the ingredients of vaccines with the help of a qualified toxicologist
6. Study the incidence of those disorders that come up in point no 5 in the child population
7. Study the presently available attempts that compare vaccinated with non vaccinated populations
8. Go through my articles “Vaccines: The Risk Vs Benefit Argument” and “50 Reasons to Protect Infants from Vaccines”
9. Ask the IAP on what basis they recommend the vaccines they do
10. Ask the Govt of India how they recommended the Oral Polio Vaccine, the BCG Vaccine, the Hep-B vaccine, the most recent Pentavalent and why they still continue with the DPT despite all developed countries discontinuing it.
11. Ask them how Bill Gates, a person with no medical qualification, is allowed to dictate our new Draft Vaccine Policy
12. Study how vaccines work, and whether the effect is prophylactic or anaphylactic
13. Question why the Pentagon is currently undertaking vaccine research
14. Question why known eugenicists like Bill Gates are involved with the vaccination process

After doing all these sincerely and with an open mind, study the history and politics of vaccines, not the doctored history that is now available but the real history and politics.

Regarding the measles vaccine, the recent catch up drive that was undertaken on the basis of a report that talked of 7 deaths, and the drive, as reported by scared doctors, killed 6 healthy children. The matter was ignored till certain persons intervened. And then the vaccine was exonerated and the blame put on program errors. Tell me which parent can be consoled with this semantic foul play.

Regarding the article I sent please get in touch with the authors of this study (after doing the above research), gain their confidence with the new knowledge gained in the process, and know for yourself their views on the matter.

You will also be interested to know that I have sensitized the chief functionaries of the IAP, the people who are directly involved with vaccine schedules and policies, and they have no answers for my questions. In fact many members of the IAP covertly support me and supply me required literature. I am in constant touch with highly reputed doctors and medical scientists in India and abroad on this highly controversial issue.

If you so wish I am willing to humbly help you in your research.

With regards,

Regional Centre for Development Cooperation
A Not for Profit Institution
A/68, First Floor, Sahidnagar
Bhubaneswar – 751007
Orissa, India.
Phone: 0674-2545250

CPI(ML) Statement – Condemning Conspiracy to Implicate the Party in Jharkhand Blast, Demanding Intervention to Secure Release of Leaders Abducted by Maoists

CPI(ML) Condemns Conspiracy to Implicate the Party in Jharkhand Blast,

Demands Release of Arrested CPI(ML) Activists and

Intervention to Secure Release of CPI(ML) Leaders Abducted by Maoists

New Delhi, January 22, 2012

The CPI(ML) strongly condemns the conspiracy being woven by the Jharkhand police in Garhwa district to falsely implicate the party in a landmine blast, as a pretext to unleash repression on the party’s growing assertion among rural and adivasi poor.

The facts are as follows:

On 21 January 2012, an agitation by local villagers demanding the shifting of the proposed site of a health centre was being led by elected mukhiya and CPI(ML) activist Ramdas Minz, at Barga village in Bhandaria block in Garhwa district. The police arrested Comrade Ramdas Minz during the agitation, but the protest continued, blockading the road with the demand that the Bhandaria BDO meet them and address their grievance.

Comrade Sushma Mahto, elected Zila Parishad Chairperson and well-known local leader of the CPI(ML) was coming from Garhwa by car to the protest site, along with CPI(ML)’s Jharkhand State Committee member Comrade Akhtar Ansari, and another Zila Parishad member, an adivasi woman named Hirwanti Devi.

A land mine blast by Maoists in the same area claimed the lives of several policemen, though the BDO’s car, apparently on the way to meet the agitating villagers, passed safely. When Comrade Sushma’s vehicle approached the area, the Maoists stopped the car and snatched the gun from Comrade Sushma’s bodyguard. Comrade Sushma, her bodyguard Sunesh Ram, CPI(ML) State Committee member Comrade Akhtar Ansari, Hirwanti Devi and the driver of the car, Ahmed, had their hands tied behind their backs, and were abducted by the Maoists.

Alarmingly, instead of making efforts to rescue the abducted CPI(ML) leaders and others, the Jharkhand police are falsely implicating the CPI(ML) in the landmine blast, alleging that the roadblock and protest were being held by the party as a ploy to ‘lure’ the policemen into the Maoist blast. Several of our activists, including Comrade Ramdas Minz, elected mukhiya from the CPI(ML), are being tortured in police custody. The DGP of Jharkhand is refusing to acknowledge that Sushma Mahto and other CPI(ML) leaders have been abducted!

In Garhwa, the police and local administration have for some time now, launched an all-out drive to falsely implicate the CPI(ML) leaders and discredit the party, to crush the growing assertion of the party in the area. Not long ago, the police raided the home of one leader of the party, and later claimed to have found fake currency there (without bothering to produce any evidence by way of seizure documents, etc). The police then, in a deliberate attempt to tarnish the party’s credibility, alleged links of CPI(ML) leaders with ‘ISI’. Similarly this time, the police are making an outrageous and mischievous attempt to link a peaceful, democratic protest being led by the party with a landmine blast by Maoists.

It is highly unfortunate that the Maoists’ actions have provided fodder for the police to intensify their repression on people’s movements and democratic struggles. Moreover the Maoists’ actions of abducting/assassinating elected people’s representatives, CPI(ML) leaders and other social activists – as in the case of assassinations of CPI(ML) MLA Comrade Mahendra Singh, as well as social activist Niyamat Ansari – is extremely reprehensible. Such actions of targeting and eliminating those activists who resolutely stand up for the rights of the rural poor, do immense harm to the cause of people’s movements.

We condemn in the strongest terms the attempts to frame and falsely implicate the CPI(ML). We demand the immediate release of arrested CPI(ML) activists in Garhwa, and urgently seek the intervention of the Jharkhand State Government and the Central Government to secure the speedy and safe release of all those, including CPI(ML) leaders and elected representatives, abducted by the Maoists.

Prabhat Kumar,

For CPI(ML) Central Committee

Truth vs Hype: Who is afraid of Unique ID?


Nandan Nilekani

Image via Wikipedia

The Nandan Nilekani led- Unique ID project has enrolled more than 100 million Indians. They say this will give them not just an identity, but take India closer to a social revolution. And for a while, largely because of immense goodwill that Nandan Nilekani enjoyed, people ignored the voices of civil society groups that say UID violates privacy, or that it’s going to replace subsidies with cash. But now, those voices have grown louder. More worryingly for Nilekani, the home ministry says the UID data is flawed. And a standing committee of Parliament says it’s a project without direction. This week, on Truth vs Hype, an on the ground investigation: is Aadhaar a nuisance or an opportunity? And more to the point – does it have a future?



Protest brewing in Kovvada a la Kudankulam

HYDERABAD, January 21, 2012 Y. Mallikarjun

Land acquisition for nuclear plant in A.P. faces stiff resistance

It is the same old story of development versus displacement and the haplessness of the infirm against the might of the state.

With the Indo-U.S. civilian nuclear agreement paving the way for India to purchase uranium from the global market, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) has lined up a series of nuclear plants in different parts of the country, including one at Kovvada in the backward Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh.

Following the tsunami-triggered disaster at Fukushima-Daiichi plant in Japan last year, opposition to nuclear plants is growing in the country. While fierce and widespread protests were witnessed in Kudankulam (Tamil Nadu), where one of the two VVER-type reactors ( 2,000 MWe) is ready for operation, people in and around Kovvada are also resisting the proposed establishment of six reactors (1,594 MWe each) to generate 9,564 MWe with an investment of Rs. 1 lakh crore.

Authorities are gearing up to acquire around 2,000 acres at Pedda Kovvada, Chinna Kovvada, Tekkali and Ramachandrapuram. Despite promises of attractive compensation packages, land acquisition is facing stiff resistance from 3,000 families likely to be displaced and civil society groups.

Although Kovvada plant project director G.V. Ramesh claims that 90 per cent of the people are in favour of the project and had given their consent to the Joint Collector, the former Sarpanch, Mylapalli Polisu, rejects any package on the ground that a majority of the people were opposed to the project. “The problem will not end with announcement of the package,” he warns.

“Bleak future”

Another villager, M. Appanna, who was among the group of people taken on a guided tour to the Kalpakkam atomic power project in Tamil Nadu, says he is not convinced by the officials’ argument. “Our future will be bleak as land rates are skyrocketing and many restrictions have been imposed on fishing,” he adds. A local leader, A. Ramulu, says villagers are unable to raise loans or sell properties, leaving them with no choice but to accept the package.

Mr. Ramesh says 1,200 acres to be acquired belonged to the government and it is quite possible to negotiate and meet most of the demands. NPCIL will implement whatever is listed by the government’s policy laying down that land compensation should be four times the existing rates. “They will get a very good package,” he says.

Mr. Ramesh says the technology of the six reactors is the latest — generation III Plus. They are absolutely safe and automatically shut down in case of an earthquake of over 7.2 magnitude. Besides, all the systems are passive. “Once it gets shut down, the reactor’s cooling would take place on its own for a fortnight. Only then, human intervention would be required.”

The former Union Power Secretary, E.A.S. Sarma, a vocal critic of the Kovvada plant, accuses the Andhra Pradesh government of violating rules and ordering forcible acquisition of 2,252 acres. He terms it a ‘decide-and-announce’ approach.

According to him, however low be the probability of a Fukushima-like disaster at Kovvada, the outcome of an accident will not only be extensive but affect future generations too. People exposed to radioactivity can have genetic disorders and cancerous diseases. The low liability cap in the civil nuclear liability law also raise doubts about the safety of the imported reactors.

He says Kovvada is densely populated and within the “exclusion” zone up to 1.5 km from the project site, where no one is expected to live, there are five villages, mostly of fishermen, with 3,504 people, and 560 acres of agricultural land.

Within the “sterilised” zone up to 5 km, where no development will take place, there are 42 villages. In the “emergency planning zone,” up to 16 km, there are 66 villages, while a large number of people are residing in the “impact assessment” zone up to 30 km. The threat of evacuation in the event of an accident will constantly hang over them.

Dr. Sarma says it is premature to start land acquisition even before the Ministry of Environment and Forests has an opportunity to evaluate alternative sites, get an Environmental Impact Assessment study done, hold public consultations and get the project appraised as per the requirement in the Environment (Protection) Act. Those residing in the four zones are yet to be informed of the dangers.

The Department of Atomic Energy has failed to comply with the disclosure norms set out in Section 4 of the RTI Act. “Forcible land acquisition against this background amounts to gross violation of human rights,” he says.

(With contributions from M. Melly Maitreyi, K. Srinivasa Rao & Santosh Patnaik.)

Eminent citizens and groups write an open letter to the Honourable Chief Justice of India



Dear friends,
As you are aware, Soni Sori, an adivasi school teacher and warden from Chhattisgarh, is currently facing trial in Chhattisgarh. Accused as a Maoist supporter, despite evidence of her having being framed as one in several cases, she has been in custody in Chhattisgarh for about three and a half months.

What has been terribly shocking and perturbing is the fact that while in custody she has been subjected to gross sexual torture, evidence of which has come to light following a Supreme Court directive for medical examination in a government hospital in Kolkata. Compounding her crisis is the fact that despite this damning evidence, Soni Sori has remained in the custody of the Chhattisgarh police for all this while.

As the Supreme Court starts its hearing on her case on Monday 25th January, nearly 200 citizens including eminent citizens such as Professor (Retd) Uma Chakravarti, Ms Brinda Karat, Politburo Member CPI(M) and former MP Rajya Sabha, Ms Romila Thapar, Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, Ms Aruna Roy, MKSS, Rajasthan, Ms Madhu Bhaduri, former Ambassador of India, Prof. Veena Shatrugna, retired Deputy Director, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, Dr Imrana Qadeer, Retd Professor, Ms Farah Naqvi, Activist, Ms Vasanth Kannabiran, Hyderabad, Ms Lalita Ramdas, Ms Githa
Hariharan, Writer, Prof. Jayati Ghosh, Dr Amit Bhaduri, Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, Dr Anand Phadke, Prof (Retd) Anand Chakravarti, along with scores of other doctors,educationists, academicians, students and individuals.

Also joining the appeal are 69 civil society groups and organisations working on women’s issues, health issues, civil and democratic rights, and worker’s issues from across the country, such as Saheli, WSS, AIDWA, AIPWA, NFIW, NAPM, NTUI, PUCL, FAOW, SAFHR, SAHAJ, SAHAYOG-UP, Zubaan Books, JADS, Nari Nirjatan Pratirodh Mancha and RTF-Rajasthan.

Together they are urging the Supreme Court `to insulate this victim of custodial sexual assault from her oppressors, ensure her protection after she has spoken out about this torture despite threats to her person and family’, and send out a clear signal that `the rights of citizens will be protected, and that when the police abuses its powers, the judiciary will not stand by in silence’.
This appeal goes out with deep regard and faith that the Constitutional safeguards will be upheld and that justice will

 Open Letter To The Honourable Chief Justice Of India And Honourable Judges Of The Supreme Court Of India.

The Pereira and the Ferreira: A tale of two Bandra boys

G Sampath  | Saturday, January 21, 2012

One guy killed seven people and spent one month in jail. Another killed nobody and spent 56 months in jail. As they say, we are all equal before the law, aren’t we.

The double standards of the Indian state — mind-boggling benevolence in one case, calculated viciousness in another — are nowhere more apparent than in the case of two Bandra boys, one a Pereira, the other a Ferreira, both of whom were in the news earlier this month. The contrasting ways in which the two were treated by our law enforcement machinery is a parable that says much about the kind of society we’ve become.

Allister Pereira, 25, is the son of a rich businessman. On November 12, 2006, driving under the influence of alcohol, he ran over 15 labourers sleeping on the pavement on Carter Road, killing seven. By any yardstick, this was an open-and-shut case of a man killing seven people.

But in the five-and-a-half years from November 2006 to January 2012, Pereira spent exactly one month in jail. In April 2007, a sessions court convicted him, awarding him six months imprisonment and a fine of Rs5 lakh. It’s not clear what verdict Pereira was expecting, but he chose to challen ge this judgment in the Bombay High Court. The high court upheld the conviction, but extended his sentence to three years. It also lambasted the manner in which the Mumbai police went about investigating the crime, and criticised its tardiness in submitting the report. We can’t say for sure why the Mumbai police was lacklustre in its investigation; we can’t say why the cops were so slow in filing their report; and we can’t say why the sessions court handed out a sentence that was found to be too lenient by the higher court; but the reasons are not difficult to guess.

Pereira, who was out on bail, appealed to the Supreme Court. This January, the apex court upheld his sentence of three years, and cancelled his bail bond. Pereira surrendered, and finally, more than five years after his crime, it looks like he will serve out his punishment.

Cut to Arun Ferreira, a 40-year-old social worker. Ferreira was picked up by the police in Nagpur on May 8, 2007. He was charged with conspiracy to plant bombs, and over the years, slapped with nearly a dozen cases, ranging from murder, to attacking the police, to burning a railway engine. In September 2011, he was acquitted of all the charges.  But the moment he stepped out of the jail, he was illegally re-arrested by cops in plain clothes, and charged in two more cases. He again rotted in jail till January, when, after the police failed to produce a shred of evidence against him for any of the charges — he was acquitted on 10 of the 11 cases and given bail on one — he was allowed to go home. In all, from May 2007 to January 2012, Ferreira was made to spend four years and eight months in jail even though there was no evidence of him having committed a single crime.

The contrast with Pereira couldn’t be starker. Why would the state let a spoilt brat who killed seven people, live in freedom for five years, and in another case, imprison for almost five years, on false charges, a man who has been working for the welfare of the most marginalised of Indians — the poor, the working class, the Dalits?

So what exactly was Ferreira’s crime, which, in the eyes of the state, merited a far more stringent prosecution than Pereira’s? Well, the police believe him to be a Naxal sympathiser. Yet strangely enough, they cannot put him in jail for being a Naxal sympathiser. Why not? This may come as news to many people, but according to the Constitution of India, a citizen has the right to believe in any ideology, and believing in Naxalism or Maoism is no crime, so long as he or she does not indulge in violence or break any law.

Ferreira, as a matter of fact, is a self-proclaimed Naxal sympathiser, but there is no evidence linking him to any act of Naxal violence. Nevertheless, his work and his ideology — especially the idea of rights and entitlements that he was busy transmitting to the downtrodden — was not palatable to those who control the levers of power in this country. What if more and more of the poor and marginalised start fighting for their rights — as has been happening in Jaitapur, in Kudankulam, in Kalinga Nagar, in Manesar, and in the mineral belt stretching from Chhattisgarh to Bihar to Orissa?

Well, then Indian democracy might actually start functioning a little, and for the corporate-funded political class that plays musical chairs in New Delhi every five years, that’s a scary proposition. Hence the importance of keeping the Ferreiras in jail. According to media reports, the number of political prisoners in Maharashtra has gone up from 40 in October 2010, to 125 in December 2011. And as the global economy worsens, putting greater pressure on third world natural resources and entitlements of the poor, the crackdown on rights-oriented activists (as opposed to the welfare-oriented ‘CSR activists’ whom big business and the state love) is only set to get worse. As of today, it’s the Pereiras who call the shots in India, and they don’t want any Ferreiras running wild in the countryside.

Police implicates CPI(ML) in Maoist attack in Garhwa

Lives of our comrades – including an elected woman zila parishad leader Sushma Mahto, and State Com. member Akhtar Ansari – abducted by Maoists are in danger. And police is torturing other leaders including elected mukhiya Ramdas Minz in custody.

Police in Garhwa has falsely tried to implicate CPI(ML) in yesterday’s Maoist attack in the area. A Maoist landmine blast killed 13 policemen. Not far away from the spot, the CPI(ML) led by Zila Parishad Chairperson Sushma Mahto was holding a roadblock and protest on some local issues. The Maoists abducted Comrade Sushma, her bodyguard, State Committee member Comrade Akhtar Ansari and a driver. The police have falsely alleged that the roadblock and protest were being held to ‘lure’ the policemen into the Maoist blast. Several comrades including Comrade Ramdas Minz, elected mukhiya from the CPI(ML), have been arrested and are being tortured.

The police and local administration have for some time now, launched an all-out drive to falsely implicate the CPI(ML) leaders and discredit the party, to crush the growing assertion of the party in Garhwa. Planting false evidence, prominent leaders, especially from the minority community, have been accused of ‘ISI‘ links. In the latest instance, instead of making any attempts to rescue the abducted CPI(ML) leaders whose lives are in danger, the police is instead falsely implicating CPI(ML) in the land mine blast and is torturing the party’s activists.

The Maoists in Garhwa and Jharkhand are known for their attacks on democratic activists and leaders – prominent instances include the killing of Comrade Mahendra Singh and social activist Niyamat Ansari. In this instance too, they have not only abducted CPI(ML) leaders including an elected woman panchayat leader, their actions have also provided fodder for the police ploy to intensify repression on democratic movements in the region.

Do write  and email to Jharkhand CM at cm-jharkhand@nic.in  to demand urgent intervention.



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