A topper’s murder throws light on caste in Haryana classroom


Deepu Sebastian Edmond   , Financial Express

Hisar:When they planned the murder of a classmate in broad daylight, Kalyan Singh and Raj Kumar were probably counting on the Omerta their brazen act would induce among their college mates. They were not far off the mark. But they discounted the presence of the victim’s father, the only eyewitness who has turned up so far.

On Monday morning, Kalyan, 19, reportedly approached his classmate Pradeep Kumar, 24, who had just alighted from a bus on his way to college. Without a word, Kalyan allegedly drew out a revolver and shot Pradeep in his chest. The impact of the bullet made Pradeep spin around; he fell on his knees, facing away from his killer.

He fell facing his father, Ram Pal.

“He did not want to go to college that morning. They had told him on Saturday that a pistol would be waiting for him. Finally, I said I would go with him to resolve the issue with those two. We took the bus. He got down first, I was about ten paces behind him,” recounted Ram Pal, sitting amidst mourners outside his Shyamlal Bagh residence.

Unaware of Ram Pal’s presence, Kalyan allegedly shot Pradeep at least twice more — this time in the back — before firing about two more shots in the air. He then ran across the road, where Raj Kumar, 18, was reportedly waiting on a motorcycle. The two fled.

The Hisar Police arrested both Kalyan and Raj Kumar yesterday. They also recovered the gun used for the murder, along with seven shells of cartridges and the getaway motorcycle.

Kalyan had signed off a three-month-old grouse in blood. “It began about three months back, with Pradeep complaining that two of his classmates were threatening him. He refused to go to college,” said Mahendra Singh, Pradeep’s uncle.

Pradeep was in his fourth semester of a six-semester Diploma in Mechanical Engineering at the Kalpana Chawla Institute of Engineering and Technology at Chikanwas, about 15 km from Hisar town, on the Sirsa road.

According to Mahendra, the accused were angry that Pradeep would not cooperate in their “mass bunks”. “There was a group of four or five students who were really interested in studies. The others — led by Kalyan and Raj Kumar — wanted everybody to remain absent from classes so that the classes would be cancelled. Pradeep would not oblige,” he said.

Ram Pal agreed that the anger against his son may have had its origins in caste, probably explaining why the accused picked on Pradeep more than the others. “Here, in Haryana, caste plays an important part in our lives. My son used to tell me that they used to taunt him using my name,” he said. That is an oblique reference to Ram Pal’s occupation, handed down to him through generations, thanks to his caste.

Ram Pal is a Jangra Brahmin, a Backward Class in Haryana whose members are carpenters. His son’s alleged killers are Jats, higher in the caste hierarchy.

Concerned about the threats, Mahendra had attempted a truce once. “I went to the college in December, sat down with Pradeep and the two boys in their canteen and talked about the issue. Both Kalyan and Raj Kumar were polite; they said that it would not happen again,” he said.

The announcement of the third semester results last week seems to have acted as a catalyst. “Pradeep came back from college on Saturday, happy but scared. He had scored 79 per cent, and his classmates had threatened to kill him. They told him they had obtained a gun,” claimed Ram Pal.

It is not hard to see why tempers would have frayed. The third semester results, as available with the college authorities, indicate that Pradeep was among the eight to clear all six papers in a class of 57.

“Pradeep stood second in his class,” said Pankaj Chaudhary, Training & Placement Officer at the college. Both Kalyan and Raj Kumar failed in five of the six papers. They both scored 59 per cent in the remaining paper.

Pradeep, probably the oldest in his class, had not failed in any paper during his course. “He lost almost three years after his Class 12, because I could not afford to send him to college. He did odd jobs, helped me in my work to save money,” said Ram Pal. Yogita, Pradeep’s sister, is doing her B.Sc. from a government college in Hisar.

Both Pradeep and Yogita used to give tuitions to children in their locality. Ram Pal could not secure an education loan for his children, so he relied on moneylenders.

“Pradeep was always studying. When not studying, he was working. I remember he once went to Gurgaon to work as a labourer so that he could save money for his semester fees,” said Mohan Bhardwaj, a neighbour.

The SHO of Agroha Police Station, Lal Chand, who is also the investigating officer in the case, said three bullets were recovered from Pradeep’s body. Ram Lal claimed Kalyan fired four times at his son. Both agree on one thing — that Kalyan fired seven times, and that at least one bullet is unaccounted for. This is because the revolver recovered from the accused at the time of his arrest had only one bullet inside — it can hold eight.

“We don’t have a TV, we don’t have a bike, we don’t have a washing machine. But none of us complained. I just wanted him to study. He wanted to (take lateral entry and) join BTech, and then do MTech,” said Ram Pal.

“On Saturday, when Pradeep told me about his good results, he hinted that he wanted something. A gift, but he didn’t say what,” said the father.

Now, he will never know.

Rajasthan Mining – The Moving Earthquake


After Haryana ban, illegal mining shifts to Sikar’s hills – By Panini Anand in Outlook

 

 

Who’s The Quarry?
More than 400 active leases in the Sikar belt
1,200 trucks move out of Rajasthan Aravallis daily
In Dabla alone, 50 ha of land mined
Area has five small rivers, three clogged with sludge.

The ceiling of her house has some long cracks, the roof has become unstable, the floor in some parts has caved in. When Reshmi built her house in the Dabla village of Sikar district in Rajasthan last year, the 65-year-old Dalit woman had thought it would be her refuge in her old age. Instead, she lives a nightmare every day. There are blasts, the earth keeps shaking. It’s like living in a war zone that is simultaneously having an earthquake.

Reshmi is one of the unfortunate residents of a cluster of villages in the Neem Ka Thana belt in Sikar, where the mining mafia is operating in complete violation of court orders. Having been pushed out of Haryana after the Supreme Court stopped mining there, the mining firms have moved into the Aravallis of Rajasthan. Advocate Pallavi Mehta explains what’s going on. Although the 2002 SC order restricted mining in the entire Aravalli range, existing companies were given permission in 2005 to mine in some areas. But, Mehta says, “we found many new companies whose addresses can’t be verified.” The Rajasthan government, meanwhile, passed an order that hills below an elevation of 100 metres are not part of the Aravallis!

Given this inch of concessions, the miners have extracted a mile. They’re blasting holes into the range to wrench stones and gravel for building material and to make cement. Nary a thought is spared for the villagers whose homes and lives are being systematically destroyed. They are terrified of the deep-hole blasts of ammonium nitrate. In violation of every safety norm, mines and crushers are operating very close to homes, schools and public spaces. Dullaram, an old man from Biharipur village, has tears in his eyes: “Hundreds of trucks pass every day through our villages, loaded with stones and crushed gravel. They’re damaging our houses and roads. We’re scared, the air is polluted. Our life has become hell. Please do something for us.”

Read the Outlook artilce here

 

 

Anti-Kudankulam struggle enters 200th day


Newzfirst, Mar 3, 2012

CHENNAI – The people’s struggle against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu entered its 200th day Friday with villagers raising Rs.100,000 for the chief minister’s relief fund for the victims of Cyclone Thane that struck Dec 30 last year, an activist said.

The struggle against the two 1,000 MW reactors being built by India‘s nuclear power plant operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) in Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from here, began Aug 16 at Idinthakarai village.

The struggle is spearheaded by People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE).

“Today (Friday) is the 200th day of our struggle. The fast by people from nearby villagers is going on. We have raised Rs.100,000 from villagers as their contribution towards the Thane cyclone relief fund. The demand draft will be handed over to the district collector Saturday,” M. Pushparayan, convenor of the Coastal People’s Federation and a PMANE leader, told IANS

Read more here

French nuclear giant Areva reports $3.2-bn loss


Areva

Areva (Photo credit: ceronne)

PARIS — France‘s state-controlled nuclear giant Areva lost euro2.4 billion ($3.2 billion) in 2011, much of that on the back of a troubled uranium mining venture that has been the subject of investigation.

Thursday’s dismal figures reflect a difficult year for the nuclear plant operator, which is also facing a global rethink of the future of atomic energy in the wake of Japan‘s Fukushima disaster. For instance, Germany has decided to shut down all of its plants by 2022, forcing Areva to lay off staff in that country. It has also instituted a partial hiring freeze in France and suspended projects.

Last year also saw the departure of charismatic chief executive Anne Lauvergeon, known as “Atomic Anne,” after she lost the support of the French government. Her tenure has come under scrutiny because the mining subsidiary, UraMin, was acquired in 2007, while she was in charge.

The company’s internal review of the acquisition found no evidence of fraud, but recommended more oversight for future purchases.

Areva, which reports its annual sales and profit figures separately, had previously said that its revenue fell 2.6 percent to euro8.87 billion last year.

The company’s loss of euro2.42 for last year billion compares with a small profit in 2010 of euro883 million.

The figures were even worse than the company’s own guidance, issued just a few weeks ago. When it announced its revenue numbers, CEO Luc Oursel had said he was anticipating an operating loss of between euro1.4 billion and euro1.6 billion.

The largest hit was seen in the mining group, where it booked a charge of euro1.46 billion for UraMin. But most business groups saw operating losses.

Oursel contended, however, that the worst was behind Areva and that his turnaround plan was already yielding results.

“In a difficult context, the slight decline in revenue in 2011 demonstrates the robustness of Areva’s integrated model,” he said.

Source- CBS NEWS

DNA investigations: Marathwada region beats Vidarbha in farmer deaths


Mar 3, 2012, By Sandeep Pai & Sudhir Suryavanshi | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

In 2011, the highest number of farmers’ suicides in Maharashtra was not in Vidarbha, but unexpectedly, in Marathwada.

This region and Khandesh, where farmers suffered crop failure and massive debt, have emerged as the new epicentres for suicides in the state.

The numbers: Marathwada had 435 farmers’ suicides, Vidarbha 276 and Khandesh 133. Overall, 860 farmers killed themselves in 2011, the highest figure in the last four years, according to Maharashtra’s law and order department. (In 2008, there were 771 farmers’ suicides, in 2009 535 and just 363 in 2010). Within Marathwada, Beed district (represented by a BJP stalwart) had the highest number of farmer suicide deaths.

The reason for this desperation was the failure of the BT cotton crop due to lack of irrigation, scanty rainfall, and massive debt. (These will be detailed in subsequent stories in this series.)“These are the reasons for the suicides but the government remains ignorant,” says Dr RP Kurulkar, retired economics professor and chairman of the Marathwada Statuary Development Board (MSDB) in Aurangabad.

Marathwada comprises Aurangabad, Nanded, Latur, Jalna, Beed, Parbhani, Osmanabad and Hingoli. Khandesh comprises Jalgaon, Dhule, and Nandurbar. DNA visited several districts in both Marathwada and Khandesh and heard several poignant stories.

Read more here

 

Inequality is the Issue – P.Sainath on World Economic Forum


The comforting thing about the sham wrestling ‘championships’ on television is that everybody knows they are a farce. Steroid-stuffed Cro-Magnons stomp the living daylights out of painkiller-primed Neanderthals. Good, unclean fun. The results are safely predictable. You should expect the 600-pound gorilla to overwhelm the 900-pound one in a staggering twist of fortune (after the bets have been laid). But the audience, the organisers, and the fighters all know the fighting is rigged and everyone’s happy.

There were many, pre-television Indian symbols of this honourable tradition. As school kids, we cheered wildly as Black Spider brutally crushed Red Spider’s brother in an open-air bout. The roaring crowd dispersed only after Red Spider jumped into the ring to promise us he would throttle Black Spider in a revenge match the next week, so buy your tickets in advance. (He then toddled off to dinner with Black Spider). At age 8, it was magical.

Decades later, television has given sham ‘wrestling’ giant audiences, made it more spectacular, but perhaps less convincing. (The close-ups are a dead giveaway). But almost everybody still knows what to take seriously and what not to. That, and the fact that they entertain more people, are what demarcate the world wrestling extravaganzas from the World Economic Forum. (Both, otherwise, fully corporate enterprises). The wrestling corporations take the money seriously. The World Economic Forum takes itself seriously, besides the money.

The WEF‘s first ever summit in Mumbai ended on the 14th Nov . Its main organiser was the Confederation of Indian Industry. But both the Centre and the Maharashtra government came out in “support.” The Chief Ministers of Maharashtra and Kerala (both States reporting rising farm suicides) hosted ‘cultural evenings’ and/or expensive dinners for this billionaires club, besides providing other forms of ‘support.’ The WEF’s May 31 press release announcing Mumbai as the venue had this mysterious line: “The Summit will return to New Delhi in 2012 and 2014 in time for India’s next national election.” Wow, is the WEF running for office? And why shift from Delhi to Mumbai? Was it embarrassing for a government drowning in corporate corruption and scams to “host” the corporate world’s Croesus Club in the capital?

And so, the governments that cannot add a few hundred rupees per quintal to desperate paddy or cotton growers find the means to subsidise the global billionaire fraternity. Union Ministers and Chief Ministers came down to the Grand Hyatt in Mumbai to reaffirm support.

But why? What exactly does the WEF deliver to India? Or anybody? Has it brought you staggering investments? Unlike the sham wrestling world, the WEF can predict nothing safely. (And they’re hardly entertaining). When did this crowd ever get anything right? Did it warn you of the 2008 meltdown or the Euroquake? ( It did grimly observe in Mumbai that Europe is in trouble. Gee. The rest of us would never have suspected that).

Dean Baker puts it so well: “Economic forecasters are not workers like dishwashers and cab drivers who are held accountable for the quality of their work. They can be wrong every day about everything and face little risk to their career prospects.” ( CounterPunch , August 25, 2011).

However, by WEF standards, the Mumbai show was a bit subdued. The U.S. and Europe are reeling in crisis driven by the very economics the WEF stands for. India was still rising but not shining. Even the Planning Commission-driven India Human Development Report admits: “the average percentage of undernourished children under five years for 26 Sub-Saharan African countries was 25 per cent, about half the Indian average of 46 per cent. Weight and height of Indians on average have not shown significant improvement over the last 25 years.”

India’s rank in the 2011 Global Hunger Index, at 67 out of 81, places us seven notches below Rwanda which apparently handles food security better. We’re also below Sri Lanka (rank 36), Nepal (54) and Pakistan (59). The GHI 2011 states flatly that its data “does not reflect the impacts of the 2010-11 food price crisis.”

And the country gracing the top five when it comes to dollar billionaires now ranks 134th in the 2011 U.N. Human Development Report. Our over 55 billionaires grew their wealth at an astonishing rate in the post-1991 era. And there’s the India story: the consciously constructed, ruthlessly engineered inequality of it. Just see our HDI Value in the UNHDR. It reads 0.548. Adjusted for inequality, this value falls by close to 30 per cent. India’s ‘multi-dimensionally poor’ now exceed 612 million, as the report shows us.

But debates over India’s dismal performance in giving its people the basic minimums always evade the policy framework of the past 20 years that has driven such levels of inequality. You can blame ‘tardy implementation,’ ‘poor delivery,’ anything — except the policies that have devastated hundreds of millions of poor Indians. And, of course, there is not even censure for the top guns and whizz kids.

As Baker points out, for this kind of group, there are no bad consequences. If you think that disastrous failures would hurt their record “then you don’t understand economic forecasting. There is no reason to believe that forecasters are any more knowledgeable about the economy today than they were four or five years ago.”

Need a good Indian illustration of this? Take Planning Commission deputy chief Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Finance Ministry Chief Economic Adviser Kaushik Basu and their multiple predictions on the economy, particularly on inflation. (Which, says CRISIL, forced Indians to spend close to Rs. 6 lakh crores extra in 36 months). With inflation close to double digits and food inflation at 10.63 per cent, they now admit, sort of, that we were, ahem, not quite as right as we are normally known to be. But we will, umm … probably will return to being right in the near future.

Dr. Ahluwalia even admits to credibility issues popping up. “It is true that we were hoping that this [moderation in inflation] will happen earlier, to that extent our credibility becomes a question.” ( The Times of India , Nov. 21, 2011). And straightaway makes another prediction — “inflationary pressure would ease from the beginning of next year.”

Dr. Basu believes it will start declining in December itself. If in February, says Dr. Ahluwalia, the data show that “inflation is not coming down by then, then we really don’t know what we are doing.” India’s human development indicators suggest they haven’t a clue about what they were doing for 20 years. That, however, is not so. They knew what they were doing. Constructing a world based on a trickle-down, greed-is-good, inequality-helps philosophy. It made things much worse, though not for the authors of the mess.

The WEF has gone. This time, it did not get the kind of publicity to which it is accustomed. Which brings us to the media. Who has been paying for, or heavily subsidising, the large contingents of Indian media that do the Davos Drool each year? Answer: Indian industry, which likes to have its cheerleading team along. Some of the rent-a-report crowd is from media outlets which will not spend a few thousand rupees to send a journalist to cover huge issues of hunger within the country. Switzerland is an expensive place. And Davos is at its costliest in the WEF season. Yet several Indian journalists seem to afford it.

Quite a few have had their costs, including air travel and more, covered by industry lobbies, many of whose members are major advertisers and a big source of media revenue. There are newspapers that have given Davos summits far more coverage than they have the most vital bills before Parliament. There are channels that have had “partnerships” with the CII and the WEF to cover Davos (always euphorically). Strong and rigid rules are issued to journalists on how to report. One such instruction: “Please note we cannot say “WEF”… it is the World Economic Forum and one is not allowed to call it otherwise.” Wonder why? Does the acronym WEF sound too much like one of the sham wrestling outfits? Another fatwa from a television group: “the following programming from CII has to be incorporated in the programming of all channels.”

Surely, the audiences watching the completely uncritical coverage of the WEF have a right to be told that the content was sponsored? When the funding is not clearly stated, when the content heavily favours the sponsor, when criticism is unknown, when correspondents are told how to fulfil their duties to their “partners’ — this is what is called Paid News. But there is a pact of silence about this. A fine example of the kind of ‘self-regulation’ that media bosses have in mind?

The organisers, lobbies, funders, the media — all know what’s happening. But not, in this case, the audiences, readers or viewers. Where are you, Black Spider and Red Spider? All is forgiven, come home.

The audience, organisers, and fighters know that sham wrestling is not to be taken seriously. But the World Economic Forum takes itself seriously. (Appeared in Hindu novemebr 2011)

Russia : Don’t Go There. We Will Not Be Silenced


Lawmakers in Russia just passed a draconian censorship law that would impose stiff fines for anything construed as “the promotion of homosexuality” in Saint Petersburg, Russia‘s second largest city. Reading, writing, speaking or reporting on anything related to gay, lesbian bi or trans (LGBT) people would become a criminal act. This ban on “promotion” would also target Pride parades, literature, theater, or NGOs that openly serve LGBT people.

All Out, a community of almost a million people around the world fighting for full equality, made a little video to send the Governor a message. Pass this law – We Won’t Go There.

Happiness Quotient Vedanta’s corporate campaign sparks off a controversy


English: Piyush Pandey

Image via Wikipedia

Buisnessworld , 03 Mar 2012, Prasad Sangameshwaran

The hunter becomes the hunted. Adman Piyush Pandey, known for his anti-smoking campaign and a film on the Bhopal gas tragedy, finds himself at the receiving end of a controversy. At the epicentre is a corporate film, ‘Creating Happiness’, that his agency, Ogilvy, made for Vedanta, the natural resources major that stands accused of human rights violations in tribal areas.

The ad, which features a young girl from Rajasthan who has benefited from Vedanta’s community initiatives, is believed to be the brainchild of Vedanta chief Anil Agarwal’s daughter Priya Agarwal, who works at Ogilvy. The ad would have escaped activists’ radar, but for a competition that Vedanta ran alongside the 90-second ad, inviting young film makers to make films on the company’s social initiatives. Two of the three jury members of the competition — actor-activist Gul Panag and veteran film maker Shyam Benegal — have resigned, claiming that they were unaware of Vedanta’s association with the campaign. And Pandey, the third jury member, has become the target of online activists, who posted ‘spoof’ ads on Facebook, showing Pandey with the caption “I’m faking happiness, are you?” Online activists sent appeals to I&B minister Ambika Soni to prevent the ad from being aired. And a counter competition inviting young film makers to create ‘faking happiness’ ads has been launched. “We are mixing issues that neither me nor the activists are qualified to make a judgement on,” is what Pandey, executive chairman, Ogilvy has to say on the debate.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 12-03-2012)

Read original Article here

I was asked to reply Piyush Pandey’s comment  and I did but was not  carried in the story , so here is my reply

Which issues are being mixed and where ? A clear case of playing with peoples emotions by projecting the messages in a stratigized campaign to fool people into believing what it shows,a documentraish  branding, patronising our history and poverty.It is an aggressive attempt at classical conditioning from a company whose brand recognition has been closely connected to its questionable practices in precisely the kind of tribal areas where this ad claims it is ‘creating happiness’ and just look at the selected jury, Gul Panag and Shyam Benegal, the socially conscious celebrities in the world of cinema, who were actually kept in dark, that its a VEDANTA PR EXCERCISE There is something called professional ethics, I hope Mr Pandey knows that very well, so act of keeping jury in dark was totally unethical . The Films in creating happiness are produced by Vedanta , funded by vedanta, and telling people what great work they are doing, Its like judging own production , and using the filmakers to say what vedanta officials wanted to say, but could not as no onE would have then believd them obviously .

How is Manmohan Singh different from nuclear waste?


English: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the ...

Image via Wikipedia

March3, 2012- Sampath in DNA

In one of her talks in Mumbai that I attended some years ago, Arundhati Roy posed this question to the audience, or maybe she was quoting from a Hindi poem. She asked, ‘Kya kar raha hai Manmohan Singh aaj kal?’ As the audience tittered, she answered, ‘Vish kya karta hai khoon mein utarne ke baad?’ (What is Manmohan Singh doing these days? What does poison do after it enters the blood stream?)

I don’t remember the context in which she made these comments, but it is an apt description of Singh’s doings over the last couple of weeks. A man who is, according to popular perception, ‘weak’, ‘a puppet’, ‘silent’, and ‘timid’, roars into life just when it matters most. Matters most to whom is the billion dollar question (pun intended).

The last time Singh displayed signs of possessing a vertebral column was in 2008, when he actually threatened to resign if the IndiaUS nuclear deal did not happen. He eventually pushed it through despite the majority in Parliament (the much-vaunted ‘mandate’ of the Indian people) being against it. And we all know about the cash-for-votes scandal that accompanied the trust vote over the nuclear deal.

This time, once again, it is for the nuclear lobby that Singh has rediscovered his tongue and spinal cord. In an interview with the American journal Science, he has made uncharacteristically malicious allegations about the people’s movement against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, suggesting NGOs funded by US and Scandinavian donors are backing the protests.

If the NGOs connected with the anti-nuclear agitation have diverted foreign funds, sure, they need to be dealt with as per the provisions of the Foreign Currency (Regulation) Act. But is that the issue here? What I find rather pathetic is the reptilian manner in which Singh has successfully shifted the Kudankulam debate away from the real issues (like cost, safety, and the absence of an independent nuclear regulatory regime) to a non-issue (foreign-funding of NGOs).

One might well ask: Is it the protests against the Kudankulam nuclear plant that is funded by foreign money, or the plant’s advocates, namely, Singh and his government? Who exactly are the foreigners here? The guys building the plant are Russians. The nuclear fuel for the reactors will also be supplied by foreigners, maybe Americans, who are now eligible to do so, thanks to Singh’s nuclear deal. As for the man maligning the opposition to the project, well, Singh is undoubtedly the most foreign money-friendly PM in India’s history.

And who is the PM accusing of taking money from foreign hands? The protesters opposing the Kudankulam nuclear project. And who are they? Fisher folk, farmers, shopkeepers, Dalit workers, beedi-rolling women, and residents of Kudankulam and Idinthakarai villages. These fishermen and workers have been forking out small donations in cash and kind to sustain their simple, nonviolent struggle. They don’t need big money to keep their protests going simply because it’s a matter of life and death for them.

But even assuming, for the sake of argument, that foreign money has gone into sustaining these protests, does that make the protests illegitimate? The government has the entire resources of the state at its disposal, not to mention a compliant media ready to offer crores worth of media space for pro-nuclear, pro-state propaganda. Setting aside the legality of it, don’t the poor villagers of Kudankulam — the David fighting the Goliath of the corporate state — have a moral right to access whatever financial support comes their way, be it from within India or abroad?

Having said that, Singh has not produced a shred of evidence to back his insinuation that the Kudankulam protests are aided by foreign NGOs. And now, following his lead, the Maharashtra State Congress has begun to allege that the protests against the Jaitapur nuclear project are also backed by foreign NGOs.

Basically, the idea is that the state will have a monopoly over virtue, just as it has a monopoly over the use of force. And the lever that will enable the state to retain this monopoly is the notion of ‘national interest’, which assumes centrality in the emotionally charged discourse of patriotism. Violent protests will be dismissed as Maoism or terrorism or separatism, all crimes against the Indian state. And non-violent protests that threaten to upset the corporate applecart can be dismissed as foreign-funded and hence anti-Indian. And, of course, who can dare argue with patriotism?

But what a strange and schizophrenic patriotism this is, which believes India cannot grow without foreign money or FDI, and welcomes foreign capital in the form of a Monsanto but launches a witch hunt against NGOs that may campaign against Monsanto using foreign money.

Much has been made of how Singh is supposedly ‘clean’. In reality he’s no different from a Raja or a Koda — only, his corruption doesn’t take the form of graft. Singh’s corruption is the corruption of a functionary, of someone who can stoop to any level to please his political masters, or mistress, as the case may be, and this somehow strikes me as far more ignoble than the corruption of someone who is merely greedy or power-hungry.

In a matter of just 20 years since liberalisation, unleashed, incidentally, by Singh in his avatar as finance minister, the world’s biggest democracy has devolved into a banana republic where a bunch of thugs can easily murder freedom of expression and get away with it while it’s almost impossible to express dissent or protest in a meaningful manner. The Indian state, and foreign capital, whose domestic help Singh is, have it all worked out. The poison is doing its job well.

sampath@dnaindia.net

 

Anti POSCO activist shot and arrested in Odisha


DHINKIA – Umakant Biswal a young anti POSCO activist and a farmer from Dhinkia was shot and arrested yesterday when he was working on the farm near the village. Police came on motor cycle in civil dress to arrest him, after recognizing them Umakant tried to run away but was shot in leg and later arrested.

According to the villagers he was tortured in custody after being arrested as well. He was taken to Police Station in Paradip.

Dhinkia is the most ardent center of resistance; Dhinkia movement has given tough fight to State Govt and POSCO. Since few months state govt is trying hard to enter and arrest of opponents are quite common. PPSS leader Abhay Sahoo is also behind bar along with other villagers.

Meanwhile the dharna is continuing in the villages opposing the POSCO project.Earlier yesterday POSCO India has issued statement asking Odisha to lift the restriction on entering the site of its proposed steel plant in the state to carry out project work.

Pleasecall up jagatsinghpur sp , dsp paradip and police staion paradip for immidiate hospitalisation of umakant the nunbers are
sp jagatsinghpur off 06724-220115
res- 06724-220015
DSP Jagatsinghpur, Off: +91-9437026173, 06724-220530

SDPO, Paradeep, Off: 06722-222451, Res: 06722-222007

Police Station, Paradeep: Off: 06722-222027, Res: 06722-222057

Collector & D.M., Jagatsinghpur: Off: 0724-220379, Res: 0724-220199, 220299

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