“Guns don’t kill people,Americans kill people”-Michael Moore


Published on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 by Common Dreams

It’s the Guns – But We All Know, It’s Not Really the Guns

by Michael Moore

Since Cain went nuts and whacked Abel, there have always been those humans who, for one reason or another, go temporarily or permanently insane and commit unspeakable acts of violence.

There was the Roman Emperor Tiberius, who during the first century A.D. enjoyed throwing victims off a cliff on the Mediterranean island of Capri.

Gilles de Rais, a French knight and ally of Joan of Arc during the middle ages, went cuckoo-for-Cocoa Puffs one day and ended up murdering hundreds of children.

Just a few decades later Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Dracula, was killing people in Transylvania in numberless horrifying ways.

In modern times, nearly every nation has had a psychopath or two commit a mass murder, regardless of how strict their gun laws are –

the crazed white supremacist in Norway one year ago Sunday, the schoolyard butcher in Dunblane, Scotland, the École Polytechnique killer in Montreal, the mass murderer in Erfurt, Germany … the list seems endless.

And now the Aurora shooter last Friday. There have always been insane people, and there always will be.

But here’s the difference between the rest of the world and us:

We have TWO Auroras that take place every single day of every single year!

At least 24 Americans every day (8-9,000 a year) are killed by people with guns – and that doesn’t count the ones accidentally killed by guns or who commit suicide with a gun. Count them and you can triple that number to over 25,000.

That means the United States is responsible for over 80% of all the gun deaths in the 23 richest countries combined.

Considering that the people of those countries, as human beings, are no better or worse than any of us, well, then, why us?

Both conservatives and liberals in America operate with firmly held beliefs as to “the why” of this problem. And the reason neither can find their way out of the box toward a real solution is because, in fact, they’re both half right.

The right believes that the Founding Fathers, through some sort of divine decree, have guaranteed them the absolute right to own as many guns as they desire. And they will ceaselessly remind you that a gun cannot fire itself – that “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

Of course, they know they’re being intellectually dishonest (if I can use that word) when they say that about the Second Amendment because they know the men who wrote the constitution just wanted to make sure a militia could be quickly called up from amongst the farmers and merchants should the Brits decide to return and wreak some havoc.

But they are half right when they say “Guns don’t kill people.” I would just alter that slogan slightly to speak the real truth: “Guns don’t kill people, Americans kill people.”

Because we’re the only ones in the first world who do this en masse. And you’ll hear all stripes of Americans come up with a host of reasons so that they don’t have to deal with what’s really behind all this murder and mayhem.

They’ll say it’s the violent movies and video games that are responsible. Last time I checked, the movies and video games in Japan are more violent than ours – and yet usually fewer than 20 people a year are killed there with guns – and in 2006 the number was two!

Others will say it’s the number of broken homes that lead to all this killing. I hate to break this to you, but there are almost as many single-parent homes in the U.K. as there are here – and yet, in Great Britain, there are usually fewer than 40 gun murders a year.

People like me will say this is all the result of the U.S. having a history and a culture of men with guns, “cowboys and Indians,” “shoot first and ask questions later.” And while it is true that the mass genocide of the Native Americans set a pretty ugly model to found a country on, I think it’s safe to say we’re not the only ones with a violent past or a penchant for genocide.

Hello, Germany! That’s right I’m talking about you and your history, from the Huns to the Nazis, just loving a good slaughter (as did the Japanese, and the British who ruled the world for hundreds of years – and they didn’t achieve that through planting daisies). And yet in Germany, a nation of 80 million people, there are only around 200 gun murders a year.

So those countries (and many others) are just like us – except for the fact that more people here believe in God and go to church than any other Western nation.

My liberal compatriots will tell you if we just had less guns, there would be less gun deaths. And, mathematically, that would be true. If you have less arsenic in the water supply, it will kill less people. Less of anything bad – calories, smoking, reality TV – will kill far fewer people. And if we had strong gun laws that prohibited automatic and semi-automatic weapons and banned the sale of large magazines that can hold a gazillion bullets, well, then shooters like the man in Aurora would not be able to shoot so many people in just a few minutes.

But this, too, has a problem. There are plenty of guns in Canada (mostly hunting rifles) – and yet the annual gun murder count in Canada is around 200 deaths. In fact, because of its proximity, Canada’s culture is very similar to ours – the kids play the same violent video games, watch the same movies and TV shows, and yet they don’t grow up wanting to kill each other.

Switzerland has the third-highest number of guns per capita on earth, but still a low murder rate.

So – why us?

I posed this question a decade ago in my film ‘Bowling for Columbine,’ and this week, I have had little to say because I feel I said what I had to say ten years ago – and it doesn’t seem to have done a whole lot of good other than to now look like it was actually a crystal ball posing as a movie.

This is what I said then, and it is what I will say again today:

1. We Americans are incredibly good killers. We believe in killing as a way of accomplishing our goals. Three-quarters of our states execute criminals, even though the states with the lower murder rates are generally the states with no death penalty.

Our killing is not just historical (the slaughter of Indians and slaves and each other in a “civil” war).

It is our current way of resolving whatever it is we’re afraid of.

It’s invasion as foreign policy. Sure there’s Iraq and Afghanistan – but we’ve been invaders since we “conquered the wild west” and now we’re hooked so bad we don’t even know where to invade (bin Laden wasn’t hiding in Afghanistan, he was in Pakistan) or what to invade for (Saddam had zero weapons of mass destruction and nothing to do with 9/11). We send our lower classes off to do the killing, and the rest of us who don’t have a loved one over there don’t spend a single minute of any given day thinking about the carnage.

And now we send in remote pilotless planes to kill, planes that are being controlled by faceless men in a lush, air conditioned studio in suburban Las Vegas. It is madness.

2. We are an easily frightened people and it is easy to manipulate us with fear. What are we so afraid of that we need to have 300 million guns in our homes? Who do we think is going to hurt us? Why are most of these guns in white suburban and rural homes? Maybe we should fix our race problem and our poverty problem (again, #1 in the industrialized world) and then maybe there would be fewer frustrated, frightened, angry people reaching for the gun in the drawer. Maybe we would take better care of each other (here’s a good example of what I mean).

Those are my thoughts about Aurora and the violent country I am a citizen of. Like I said, I spelled it all out here if you’d like to watch it or share it for free with others. All we’re lacking here, my friends, is the courage and the resolve. I’m in if you are.

Michael Moore is an activist, author, and filmmaker.  See more of his work at his website MichaelMoore.com

Manesar Workers are the Villains’: Truth or Prejudice?


Vol – XLVII No. 31, August 04, 2012 | Rakhi Sehgal

The events of 18 July in the Manesar plant of Maruti Suzuki which ended with the murder of a manager were not a sudden conflagration. Anger at the plant had been building up for months over the management’s refusal to recognise an elected union; workers were increasingly frustrated over their inability to exercise their constitutional rights and the demand of equal pay for equal work was falling on deaf years. Rather than portray the workers as villains, managements in this industrial belt of Haryana have to ask themselves why they have not been able to develop a democratic industrial relations framework that can address the concerns of workers.

Rakhi Sehgal (rakhi.sehgal@gmail.com) is vice president of the Hero Honda Theka Mazdoor Sangathan, which is affiliated to the New Trade Union Initiative.

On Tuesday, 23 July, a Maruti Suzuki worker, VK from Sonepat said that though he had done nothing on 18 July – the day the Manesar plant witnessed large-scale violence ending in the death of an executive of the company – he was coming to surrender to the Gurgaon police because the police were threatening his family with arrest of his father if they could not find VK. He says he was working in the B-shift in the Manesar plant in the paint shop when violence broke out on 18 July but his first name matched the name of one of the 51 workers listed in the first information report (FIR) filed by Deepak Anand, general manager at Maruti Suzuki. Some of us tried to meet him and talk to him before he presented himself to the police, but he was picked up by the Gurgaon police and his family was told he would be taken to the Manesar police station where the FIR was registered. However, until the time of writing (24 July), VK could not be traced either at the Gurgaon police station of Sector 17-C which picked him up or at the Manesar police station where he was to be presented since the FIR was lodged at this station.

According to an unconfirmed report, Haryana police has detained the uncle of RV, an executive committee member of the Maruti Suzuki Workers’ Union (MSWU), because they are unable to locate RV himself. Another worker is afraid to seek medical help for fear of arrest and torture by the police. He is a B-shift worker who injured himself while fleeing the factory premises on the evening of 18 July and is afraid to meet or talk to anyone or seek medical help.

Workers’ colonies near the Manesar plant are deserted. Police swept through the area and went up to Jhajjar and Rohtak on the night of 18 July to pick up any worker wearing a Maruti Suzuki uniform or carrying a company identity card.[1] The Haryana police, administration and the Maruti Suzuki management have managed to terrorise Maruti Suzuki workers into silence and forced them underground. This strategy has worked well for Maruti Suzuki management as it has had all the freedom to present only its version of what is purported to have transpired on the evening of 18 July.

A handful of workers we managed to speak to were unanimous in the view that the death of the Maruti Suzuki executive Awanish Kumar Dev “should not have happened”. According to a worker, Awanish Dev had agreed to take back Jiya Lal, the suspended worker, who had protested caste abuse by a supervisor during A-shift on 18 July, but then Awanish Dev got a call from a senior, instructing him otherwise. Naresh Narwal, additional labour commissioner, and Gurgaon district administration officials told a joint trade union delegation that they too had received word that Maruti Suzuki management had agreed to take back the suspended worker the next day on 19 July and that the matter was almost resolved. Some B-shift workers we spoke to, report hearing the same.

What happened in the matter of a couple minutes that changed the course of events that evening? Was it the phone call from a senior manager, reversing the understanding and agreement with the union? Were the union leaders who protested the alleged reversal of the decision threatened inside that negotiating room? Did union members rush into the negotiating room to protect their leaders who they feared were being threatened or attacked? Or was it the case that some people dressed in workers uniforms carrying “weapons” entered the room and started thrashing managers, exhorting workers who were milling outside the room to follow their lead, and these instigators refused to listen to union leaders who pleaded with them to stop and drop their weapons? Was the fire deliberately started or was it an accident, a short-circuit? Was Awanish Kumar Dev’s death an accident or a brutal murder?

Perhaps We Will Never Know

Perhaps by the time workers and union leaders who were present in that negotiating room are able to present their story (if at all they are able to do so), no one would be willing to listen, because Maruti Suzuki management would have drowned out all reasonable voices and the relentless baying for the blood of workers would have reached such a crescendo that the guilt of all workers would be a foregone conclusion and no one would want to hear otherwise.

Build-up on 18 July

What we do know is that on 18 July the workers and their union were protesting the unilateral decision of Maruti Suzuki management to suspend Jiya Lal. The previous day, workers of both shifts had decided to skip their pre-shift meeting with supervisors to protest against management intransigence vis-à-vis their union in negotiations on the charter of demands submitted by MSWU. On 18 July morning, the supervisor, Ramkishore Majhi, stopped some workers, including Jiya Lal, when they were returning from their tea break and instructed them to stop boycotting the pre-shift meeting. In the exchange of heated words between the supervisor and group of workers, Ramkishore Majhi, reportedly hurled a caste abuse at Jiya Lal, who protested along with others in the group. Thereafter, Majhi reported this incident to his senior managers and Jiya Lal reported it to his union leaders. Without giving Jiya Lal an opportunity to present his version of the incident, or discussing the matter with the union leaders, or showing any intent to resolve the dispute, the Maruti Suzuki management took the unilateral decision of suspending Jiya Lal with immediate effect.

Union leaders and workers protested this high-handedness and called upon the Maruti Suzuki management to either discipline both Ramkishore Majhi and Jiya Lal, or revoke Jiya Lal’s suspension and talk to the union and both parties before taking any action. Disciplinary action against just the worker and not the supervisor when the supervisor was equally, if not more at fault, was not acceptable to the workers. Maruti Suzuki management refused and the situation escalated with every passing hour. Workers were angry with what they perceived to be yet another instance of a worker being punished in a jiffy without establishing his guilt and without talking to their democratically elected union, while supervisors and managers are presumed innocent and protected even when they are at fault. B-shift workers continued production while A-shift workers decided to stay back in the plant at the end of their shift until the dispute was satisfactorily resolved.

Workers had not reacted like that earlier in the month when Ram Mehar, president of the union had been suspended and then taken back a day later. Workers already had an enviable history of conducting a long non-violent struggle during the summer months of 2011. So what was different on 18 July? Had they had enough of management high-handedness and arrogance and decided that they must stand up against it? Were their actions fuelled by another alleged incident earlier in the week when supervisors and workers seem to have had a heated exchange and a supervisor allegedly told the workers they could do what they wanted, their story was going to end in the next two to three days (kar lo jo karna hai, agle do-deen din mein tum logon ka yahan se safaya ho jayega)?

Fighting for Recognition

What is clear is that workers and the union leaders had been increasingly frustrated by Maruti Suzuki management’s disrespect towards their elected union, to establish which they had sacrificed much and had also adhered to all pre-conditions laid down by the management so that it would “allow” the Haryana Labour Department to register the union!

Chairman of Maruti Suzuki India R C Bhargava claimed on 20 July in a press conference that it was the Government of Haryana which had reservations about the registration of a union and not the management. Does this claim have any credence in light of the fact that last year Maruti Suzuki withstood a five-month long agitation, massive production losses, loss of market share and gave a huge payout to the union leaders to abandon their struggle for the registration of their union? If Maruti Suzuki did not have reservations about the registration of a union, then how do we interpret Managing Executive Officer (Administration) S Y Siddiqui’s statement in June 2011 that Maruti Suzuki will neither permit the formation of a union nor “tolerate any external affiliation of the union”.

It has been repeatedly made clear to the workers that they were up against the collective might of a huge corporate like Maruti Suzuki with its clout, influence and money power, and a collusive labour department of the state government who were determined to thwart the exercise of the workers’ constitutional right to freedom of association.

Unfortunately, the formation and registration of a union does not automatically lead to its recognition by managements, many of which refuse to negotiate in good faith, if at all, with registered unions – a cause of much frustration among workers.

Workers of Maruti Suzuki were also pressurising their union not to give in to management demands to form a grievance committee and welfare committee, as agreed to by the previous union (the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union) in the October 2011 settlement. Workers feared that the management would use these committees to build a parallel system of governance and subvert the functioning of their democratically elected union and deny it legitimacy and recognition. Workers did not believe that the labour department of the state government could have issued challans to managers (for non-compliance with terms of the tripartite settlement of October 2011) independently, without the implicit “permission” of Maruti Suzuki management and they saw it as a pressure tactic to force the MSWU’s hand.

Managers and labour officers, who regularly visited the shop floor in Manesar, were fully aware of the mounting concerns, anger and frustration of the workers and yet did nothing to address and defuse the situation. Instead the Maruti Suzuki management escalated tensions by trying to intimidate the union leaders to agree to its terms – no collective bargaining and no serious discussion on the charter of demands until the union agreed to form the grievance and welfare committees! It refused to yield to the union’s conciliatory gesture that the formation of these committees could be a part of the negotiations and not a precondition. Maruti Suzuki management went so far as to lodge false cases against key union leaders at the Manesar police station last month when talks broke down on this issue. Union leaders were repeatedly harassed by the SHO of Manesar police station but they refused to yield to the threats and intimidation.

And yet R C Bhargava claims in the press conference that there were no issues between management and workers and “no one saw this coming”! If that is the case then the entire management team of Maruti Suzuki should be sacked and more competent managers should be hired.

Resisting Violations

The workers and the union leaders were also united in their demand – that the long-term settlement that was under negotiation should be implemented for all casual and contract workers employed at the Manesar plant, who worked alongside them on the shop floor. The management was adamant that it would not agree to do so. It used the same argument proffered time and again in this industrial belt by managements and labour department – that permanent workers do not have the legal right to espouse the cause of casual and contract workers! And that casual and contract workers do not have the legal right to raise an industrial dispute with the principal employer! That these so-called casual and contract workers are working in core production processes in violation of the Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970 is known to all and yet no company has been prosecuted for this violation in Haryana. And the Haryana government does not deem it necessary to comply with its statutory duty of constituting a State Contract Labour Advisory Board before which complaints can be raised, investigated and redressed. Maruti Suzuki management’s recent announcement, that by 2013 it will ensure no contract worker is employed in its core production processes, is an admission that this is the existing practice. Will the Haryana Government prosecute Maruti Suzuki (and all other companies) for violating the Contract Labour Act over several years?

The determination of the permanent workers of Maruti Suzuki to redress the injustice being meted out to their fellow workers in the name of business exigency and need for flexibility is evident from their stand taken during negotiations as reported by them. The MSWU offered to give up one year’s worth of arrears and economic benefits if the Maruti Suzuki management ensured implementation of the long-term agreement (LTA) on all casual and contract workers employed at the Manesar plant. The union had submitted that the LTA be made applicable from April 2011 and the management had countered that the Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union (MUKU) LTA was under implementation for the period 2009-11 and applied to the Manesar plant permanent workers as well. Therefore the MSWU settlement, when finalised, could not be implemented retrospectively from 2011. The MSWU countered that if the MUKU settlement was applicable to them from 2009 onwards when many of them were casual workers and trainees, then by the same logic, the MSWU settlement could be implemented for existing trainees, casual and contract workers. If the management agreed to do so, they would drop their demand for implementation of the settlement from April 2011 onwards, agree to its implementation from April 2012, and give up one year’s worth of economic benefits.

Failing Industrial Relations Systems

There is a danger that the events of 18 July will impede a thorough examination of the reasons for the simmering discontentment among workers of Maruti Suzuki (and it would not be stretching it to say of all workers in the industrial belt of Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera-Rewari).

We must recognise and find the collective will to address issues at the centre of the ongoing dispute between workers and management of Maruti Suzuki – the right to form a union (along with the right to affiliate with any central trade union if they choose to) and the right to equal wages and benefits for equal work and an end to discriminatory wage systems and wage theft. These workers have shown the courage to stand up to a powerful corporation and the might of the State. They are not willing to give up their right to form an autonomous union that the management cannot control or dictate to and they are unwilling to sell out their casual and contract workers by accepting a settlement that does not apply equally to all workers doing the same work. This is the biggest threat to the extant production system. And management wonders why the backlash is so severe.

There are many voices commenting on the lack of maturity among these workers, the expression of their demands and their discontentment, their youth, their lack of experience as many are first-generation industrial workers, their supposed hotheadeness and impatience, their aspiration to be upwardly mobile and to have the capacity to indulge in consumerism, and their demands for better wages (why not?). Getting caught up with these issues would be akin to missing the wood for the trees in the immediate circumstances. And yet with an eye towards the long term, one could ask of the Maruti Suzuki management and industrial relations and human resource management experts – if this is the profile of educated workers recruited from ITIs, working in some of the most sophisticated production processes in our country – then why have managements and experts not been able to evolve an appropriate and democratic industrial relations framework and a human resource management system that can address the concerns and aspirations of these workers?

To ignore the problems arising from a defunct industrial relations system and claim as S Y Siddiqui did that “the problem at Manesar, is not one of industrial relations. It is an issue of ‘crime and militancy’” is a gross dereliction on one’s responsibilities and blatant criminalisation of labour.

Trade unions must also introspect on how they are failing the new generation of workers and new formations of labour. We need to collectively reflect on the New Trade Union Initiative’s assessment of last October that “trade union movements have shown a lack of shared understanding and effective strategy to make the workers’ struggle at Maruti Suzuki a decisive trade union battle to change the orientation of the labour policies of companies and government. In order to move forward and build support for the Maruti Suzuki workers the trade union movement needs to build coordination in both the Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera belt and at the national level.”

The Maruti Suzuki management, the labour department of the state, the Gurgaon district administration and the Haryana government must introspect and take responsibility for turning a blind eye to the neon flashing signs and failing to act to defuse or contain the situation before it spiralled so horribly out of control and resulted in the tragic death of Awanish Kumar Dev.

Equally tragic was the brutal murder on 18 October 2009 of 26-year-old Ajit Yadav, a worker at Rico Auto Industries, Gurgaon who was allegedly tossed into the company’s furnace by company officials and company-hired goons during a struggle by the workers to form a union to demand a wage hike and redress of onerous working conditions. Three years later the family of Ajit Yadav and workers of the Gurgaon industrial belt are still awaiting justice!


[1]  On that evening, two buses taking workers of Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India. (HMSI) back home from Manesar after their shift ended were detained all night even though both the buses had been checked thoroughly twice already by Haryana police and no Maruti Suzuki workers were found in the buses.  Calls by the HMSI Employees Union on behalf of their members trapped all night in the buses, fell on deaf ears. The buses were allowed to proceed to their destination only at 8 am the next morning

Uterus surgery: NHRC notice to Chhattisgarh .


Uterus surgery: NHRC notice to Chhattisgarh
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, July 25, 2012
Taking note of media reports about unscrupulous doctors conducting unnecessary hysterectomies in Chhattisgarh to claim money under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY), the National Human Rights Commission on Wednesday sought an explanation from the state government.
The NHRC issued notice to the Chhattisgarh government and asked the state chief secretary to file a report in six weeks.”The allegations, if true, raise a serious issue of violation of human rights of women,” the commission said.On July 17, HT had reported on how unsuspecting women in rural Chhattisgarh were falling prey to greed of unscrupulous doctors, who were allegedly conducting unnecessary hysterectomies — uterus-removal surgeries — to claim money under the RSBY, a national health insurance scheme.The Chhattisgarh government has already ordered a probe into the matter. The state health department has already initiated action against 22 of the 34 nursing homes against which it found prima facie evidence of surgeries being done without legitimate medical reasons.

According to state health minister Amar Agrawal, over the last eight months, hospitals and nursing homes have claimed R2 crore under RSBY for removing the wombs of 1,800 women.

Odisha: Woman allegedly assaulted by Jawans from Anti-Maoist Force in Bargarh


Thursday July 26, 2012

CRPF, ASSAULT ON WOMEN, CONFLICT, ODISHA

Odisha’s Two blocks on the foot of gandhamardan hill range in Bargarh district, Khaprakhol and Paikmal, have become places of conflict because of frequent actions and counter actions by both Government and Private gun holders. However, in the conflict between the Maoists and the Armed Forces, the common man and forest dwellers are getting squeezed and are falling prey to it as well. There have been allegations of civilians with no connection with the Maoists being killed by the forces and termed Maoists.  Amitabh Patra  

A recent complaint about assault on local women by Jawans of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camped near Paikmal in Bargarh district of Odisha has once again raised the issue of assault by forces deployed to deal with the Maoist menace in various parts of Odisha.

As alleged by people of Vindhyabasini colony of Paikmal, a group of CRPF Jawans have assaulted a newly wed 18 years old woman of the colony which is at the foot of the Gandhamardan hills. The incident took place on 24 July 2012 at about 10.30 AM when the male members of almost all family were out for their works.

 

“The CRPF Jawans came to the village in the morning when my wife had gone to the tube well for water. The Jawans surrounded her there and tried to allure her with 1500 rupees and asked her to follow into the forests. When my wife denied to do what the Jawans said, she was assaulted and dragged by the jawans. Her bangles broke and pierced into her hands, the legs are swollen being hit by the boots of the jawans. Somehow, she escaped from there and came to village and narrated the whole story to the villagers”, said Lambodar, the husband of the assault victim.

The villagers held a meeting the next day and decided to lodge a complaint with the local police in this regard. “Even though an FIR has already been submitted with the local police, the copy of FIR has not yet been given by the police. Instead, the complainants are now being threatened by the CRPF Jawans to withdraw the case or they would be framed as Maoists and shot down”, said Lambodar.

“CRPF Jawans misbehaving women, throwing currency notes on them in a very lewd manner, staring at them when they bath in the nearby check dam have become a regular affair. Because of such acts by the Jawans, village girls and women are afraid of going to the check dam for bathing”, say the people of the colony. However, this is not the first case but many such allegations have come in the recent months in different villages of Paikmal and Khaprakhol Blocks.

Members of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have camped in the area since past few years to deal with growing Naxal (Maoist otherwise) activities in the Gandhamardan Hill Range. Two blocks on the foot of the hill range, Khaprakhol and Paikmal, have become places of conflict because of frequent actions and counter actions by both Government and Private gun holders. However, in the conflict between the Maoists and the Armed Forces, the common man and forest dwellers are getting squeezed and are falling prey to it as well. There have been allegations of civilians with no connection with the Maoists being killed by the forces and termed Maoists. As per people living in the hillside villages, “we haven’t seen the Maoists and have never faced any trouble from them. But the Jawans deployed to deal with the Maoist activities have become nightmare for us”.

[Amitabh Patra is an independent journalist and social activist based in Bargarh, Odisha]

 

Hang me if I am guilty, Narendra Modi tells Urdu weekly


Instead of being so melodramatic in an interview that is a clear pre election PR exercise, all Modi has to do is surrender himself before the Magistrates Court hearing the Zakia Jafri/CJP case and say he is willing to be prosecuted under sections 166 and 153 a and b of the Indian Penal Code as recommended by Amicus Curaie Shri Raju Ramachandran.

, TNN | Jul 26, 2012, 05.19AM IST
AHMEDABAD: “Hang me if I am guilty (Main gunehgaar hoon toh mujhe phaansi par latkaa do).” This is what chief minister Narendra Modihas said in his first ever interview to a leading Urdu weekly.The cover-page interview was conducted byShahid Siddiqui, a former Rajya Sabha MP from odd quarters – the Samajwadi Party. It runs into six pages and covers post-Godhra riots, the state of Muslims in Gujarat and other sensitive issues.In a sign of changing perception on Modi, Siddiqui writes candidly that his decision to interview Modi came after a lunch meeting in Mumbai with two Bollywood biggies filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, who is one of Modi’s most vocal critics, and celebrated script writer Salim Khan.

“We were discussing Gujarat at a common friend’s place when both Salim saab and Bhatt saab suggested that a dialogue is a must to resolve any issue. I never thought Modi would agree to an interview that focused on post-Godhra riots,” Siddiqui, editor of Nai Duniya, told TOI.

It is significant that Modi chose to talk about post-Godhra violence to an Urdu weekly after having walked out of television talkshows when prodded on the riots.

The interview has also led to talks about a possible softening of stance of SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav towards Modi. But, Siddiqui quickly rebuts the theory. “This has nothing to do with SP or Netaji. I am a journalist first then a member of a political party,” said Siddiqui, who has had stints with the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party in the past.

When contacted, Bhatt confirmed he had adiscussion with Siddiqui at the residence of Gujarati businessman Zafar Sareshwala. “Shahid did his job as a journalist. It will be unfortunate if the write up is used as a PR exercise ,” said Bhatt.

Kalpakkam Nuclear Reactors and the Submarine Volcano book – English Version #Mustread


 

Nuclear power plant symbol

Nuclear power plant symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Please find in the attachment the English Translation of our book (titled “Kalpakkam Nuclear Reactors and the Submarine Volcano“) written in Tamil and published in March 2012. This translation is by Indira Gandhi Center for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam. The translation was shared with us a few days ago by IGCAR officials themselves, as you can see in this forwarded mail. The translation is not very accurate, contains a few errors is some pages but anyway, it is useful and does reflect the original Tamil version.

 

 

Please note that the authors of this book are two medical doctors. Also note that since the translation has been made and shared with the authors by IGCAR, one of the authors (Dr.V.P) had shared the English Translation with the director of MAPS, Chair persons of AERB, NPCIL and DAE. Till date, no one has come out denying the contents of the book.

 

 

We share this English Translation for your reading and esteemed review.

 

 

Dr.V.Pugalenthi MBBS, Sadras, Kalpakkam, TN
Dr.R.Ramesh MBBS, Coimbatore, TN

 

 

 

Health versus wealth


Poornima Joshi, Hindu  Jul 26, 2012

Health issue:The packaged care model may not work as it deters an integrated health system.

Health issue:The packaged care model may not work as it deters an integrated health system.

Current deliberations in the Planning Commission about actualizing universal health care in the Twelfth Five Year Plan, have invited concerns. There has been a marked thrust on state-funded insurance as opposed to a genuine effort on the government’s part to rebuild public health systems, something that has been a globally time-tested system to ensure health for all.

The ongoing discussions are based on reports of the Planning Commission’s steering committee and High Level Expert Group (HLEG). The contentious theme in the definition of the Universal Health Care (UHC) coined by HLEG, excluding the promise of ensuring “affordable, accountable, appropriate health services of assured quality to all Indians”, states the role of government as a “guarantor and enabler” and not necessarily the “only provider” of health and related services.

The HLEG makes two critical recommendations that have raised objections from health experts and activists alike. A crucial recommendation that is being contested is the “purchase” of insurance schemes by the government. “Purchase of all health care services under the UHC system should be undertaken either directly by the central and state governments through their departments of health or by quasi-governmental autonomous agencies established for the purpose,” says the HLEG report. The other contentious suggestion is the proposed “contracting in” of the private sector. “Develop effective contracting-in guidelines with adequate checks and balances for the provision of health care by the formal private sector,” HLEG report adds.

At a seminar organized by the Council for Social Development in the Capital in July, health experts opposed this proposed roadmap towards UHC even when there was near unanimous approval of the proposal to raise health expenditure from the abysmally low, that is, 1.2 per cent of the GDP, to at least 2.5 per cent of the GDP by the end of the Twelfth Plan, and to at least 3 per cent of GDP by 2022.

According to Prof. Imrana Qadeer, formerly of the Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health (CSMCH) in JNU, improvement of health care has to be accompanied by enhancing the efficiency of public sector. “There is a need to go back to the Bhore committee and delve into economic and social structures in the country to if access to health care has to be universalised. We have to talk of equality not equity. The steering committee separates health from health services,” said Prof. Qadeer. “What do terms such as ‘contracting-in’ of the private sector mean when the corporate sector is actually leading reforms in the health sector?”

The HLEG envisages a “managed care” model with a thrust on an increase in government expenditure. By increasing public spending on drug procurement, availability of free essential medicines is to be ensured. General taxation, as per HLEG, is the principal source of health care financing – complemented by additional mandatory deductions for health care from salaried individuals and tax payers. It proposes introduction of specific purpose transfers to equalize the levels of per capita public spending on health across different states level of essential health care. Most importantly, the HLEG proposes universal and cashless access to an Essential Health Package (EHP) including essential medicines.

These ideas are further consolidated in the steering committee of the Planning Commission. “To begin with, core components of the EHP must include all the preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitatory services in routine and emergency settings available under RCH and national health programmes,” says the steering committee report.

There are problems with this “packaged care” model, pointed out Dr Amit Sengupta of the Delhi Science Forum (DSF). How do you spend the money—do you use it to build a system or use it to provide UHC as a package? Who provides health care is important because fragmented provisioning of services does not allow for development of integrated health systems.

“Advancing the logic of fragmentation, an attempt is made to promote segregation of health systems into primary care by the public sector and tertiary care by the private sector. As the private sector grows to fill the vacuum, a loud noise is made about ‘catastrophic payments’. The state then steps in and asserts that a ‘minimum package’ would be ensured. The argument for this is lopsided because private sector, despite being a ‘partner’ in providing tertiary care, is then financed through public funds, that is, through ‘minimum packages’ ensured by the state,” said Dr Sengupta.

There is enough evidence, said Dr Sengupta, to prove that the best performing systems are those that are publicly financed and provisioned. “Public provisioning needs to be located in a range of other social protection measures while public financing has to be located in a progressive taxation system that is premised on the notion of equity.” Clearly, it will take far more than insurance packages to ensure health for all. Time-tested global models in Cuba, Costa Rica and neighbouring Sri Lanka prove that the government has to necessarily be the “provider” and not just a “guarantor” to actualize universal health care.

The Planning Commission’s perspective on universal health care causes concern

Press Release-HIGH COURT DIRECTS D.G.P TO REPLY IN SUSPICIOUS DEATH OF ACTIVIST


 

PRESS NOTE
HIGH COURT DIRECTS D.G.P TO REPLY IN SUSPICIOUS DEATH OF ACTIVIST
Nagpur: July 23-   Visibly annoyed at the insensivity and inaction by the police at Akola in investigating the suspicious death of a social activist from Mumbai, Nitin More (32), who was allegedly electroculated at his flat at Akola on January 26th,2011. P. V. Hardas and M. L. Tahilyani JJ, of the Bombay High Court’s Nagpur Bench,  have directed the Director General of Police,(DGP) ,Superintendent of Police, Akola and Senior Police Inspector Khadane, P.S. Akola to file their  replies on affidavit  to  Writ Petition No: 263 of 2012lodged by Mrs. Alka  Aparadh (41),elder  sister of the deceased.
                   Nitin More was married to Ayeshsa (28) in Mumbai. But, because Nitin already had purchased Flat no. 201 at the Gurukul CHS, Matunga (Mumbai) under the S.R.A. in his and Ayesha’s names,  he could not purchase another flat in their names. So, he purchased a three bedroom flat at Rami Heritage, at Akola, ‘benami”, in the name of his sister-in law Abha Rathod ,(26) , where she is  working as a Nurse. According to Alka, there were lot of fictions and quarrels between Nitin and his wife as his flat at Akola , which he purchased fpr Rs.11 lakhs,  is now valued  at more thanRs. 30 lakhs ,and her sister ,Abha, wanted a large share of the proceeds when it was sold.
                   On January 22nd, 2011 Nitin,  Ayesha , and with their four years daughter, and Abha, came at Akola to sell the flat to a buyer they had  identified.  However, on January,26 last , at about 11.30 p.m. Ayesha  alleged that Nitin died  of electrocution ,  from  the water immersion heater. She said he  had touched the immersion rod heater that someone had kept on, in the bathroom. Accordingly to her ,she and her sister ,between them, brought Nitin to the Vidharbha Hospital ,where he was declared dead on arrival. They returned to the flat  at Rami Heritage , in an auto, and  carried the body up to the 4th floor ,with the help  from the  watchman, Surprisingly, none of the neighbors seem to be aware of this incident. Ayesha then made a call to someone at Nashik, who arranged for an ambulance to collect Nitin body, which was brought 580 k.m. to  the Sion Police Station ay Mumbai.There were neither Doctor’s report certifying the death nor police clearance obtained by Ayesha from Akola or Mumbai.  A police inspector from the Sion Police Station then handed Nitin’s body the Sion General Hospital on January, 28, 20011,  declaring that he had died in Flat No: 201, Gurukul CHA, Matunga in Mumbai ,for post mortem. After that ,Nitin body was handed over to his wife who immediately cremenated it.
                   Alka, a school teacher from Mumbai ,has alleged foul play in the suspicious manner in which her brother died. There are no papers at Vidharbha Hospital, even though it is a medico legal case, or any doctor’s certificate  certifying  her brother’s death .. With no action from the Akola police,  Nitin’s another sister, Shilpa, wrote to R.R. Patil , Minister for Home on February 3,2011  and only then  the Akola police finally registered the incident as F.I.R. no. 02/2011 on  February 11,2011 under section 174 of Cr.P.C.,when, according to Alka , they should have proceeded for charges of murder under section 302  and disappearance of evidence  under 201 of IPC  against Ayesha and her accomplices..
                   In the meanwhile ,Alka had alleged that Ayesha has “sold flat no. 201 at Gurukul CHS Matunga reportedly to one Basavras Koli , Chairman of the Society for a large sum, even though she has not yet  obtained the Succession Certificate,. It is to sell  flat secured under the SRA, or rent them out, for at least  10 years after  purchase. Therefore ,the transaction with Koli is  illegal and the SRA authorities should take back the flat , says Alka.
                   Alka has also lodged complaints with Arup Patnaik C.P. Mumbai on May 24,  for house breaking, criminal trespass and other offence committed by one Rajesh Sharma ,in connivance with Ayesha ,who forcibly tried to take possession of her mother=s  flat in the Gurukul CHS., It seems that Sharma, who is a goon from a political party ,was paid a contract / ‘supari’ of Rs. 5 lakhs by Ayesha , from the money she got from Koli, to take ‘Kabza ‘(forcible possession) of the flat, whose market value is over Rs. 35 lakhs. Neither the Mumbai nor the Akola police have taken  any  action on her complaints ,which speaks volumes   for  the influence Ayesha’s associates , who are allegedly powerful politicians ,  wield, Alka lamented .
                   The Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court vide order dated 23/07/2012 has given two weeks time ,up till  August 6 ,for the Director General of Police  to give his reply.
                    Advocates Amit Kumar Bowmik , along with  Harshal; P. Lingayat appeared for the  Petitioner, while A.G.P. represented the State and the other  Respondents ,including the Director General of Police.

Death and the Factory:The Casualties of Maruti Suzuki, Manesar.


 

eath and the Factory:The Casualties of Maruti Suzuki, Manesar.
JULY 26, 2012
tags: Class War, Death, Fire, Manesar, Maruti-Suzuki
by Shuddhabrata Sengupta

Factories kill people. Occasionally, those who die belong to the
management. Usually, they are workers.

On the first of May, (International Labour Day) 2009, several workers
at the Lakhani Shoe Factory in Faridabad, Haryana, were struck by a
ball of fire, which engulfed them before they could run to save their
lives. The fire, caused by willful neglect of elementary safety
procedures, did not result in criminal charges being framed against
the management or proprietors of the Lakhani Vardaan Group, which owns
the Lakhani Shoes Factory.

A report in the Gurgaon Workers News (No.9/18) has this account of the fire –

“On 1st of May 2009 the Lakhani Shoes factory, plot 122 in Faridabad
Sector 24 caught fire, the newspapers first wrote of six, then of ten,
then of fifteen dead workers. Lakhani is said to be the country’s
largest maker and exporter of canvas and vulcanised shoes, has two
dozen units in the district. A younger worker who is employed in a
neighbouring factory came to Faridabad Majdoor Library three days
later. He said that it is more than likely that 50 – 100 or more
workers have been killed. A boiler on the first floor exploded, the
floor collapsed and buried many workers who were waiting for their
over-time payment in the basement. He said that he saw at least 100
burnt bicycles outside the factory. He met a landlord in industrial
village Mujesar who said that his three tenants, employed at Lakhani
haven’t returned. He met an older woman whose son is still missing.
Most of these workers were not officially employed, their names were
not on the Lakhani pay-roll. Many of them were from Nepal and single,
meaning that they were not immediately reported missing by their
families. From the reported 38 workers who were brought to various
hospitals – in Faridabad there is no hospital for severe burn
treatment – only one worker had an official ESI health insurance
number. The rest is unknown.”

Bodies burnt to cinders are difficult to identify, unless they leave
behind distinct identifying objects, like gold teeth. DNA matches are
possible to do if there are records of relatives. None of the workers
at the Lakhani fire had gold teeth. Many of them were contract
workers, nobody knew who their relatives were. They were incinerated
without trace.

On the 20th of July 2012, a charred body found at the site of an
incident of alleged mob violence the evening before (19th July) by the
workers of Maruti Suzuki India Limited’s Manesar plant was identified
as that of Awanish Kumar Dev, a manager in the Human Resources
department of the Maruti Suzuki Manesar Plant. Mr. Dev had a gold
tooth. DNA samples were also taken and these proved his identity when
matched with DNA samples taken from his immediate family. His family’s
agony, while waiting for confirmation of the identity of the deceased,
can not be imagined. Imagine the agony of the relatives of some of the
evaporated workers of Lakhani shoes.

Several posts in Kafila have gone into the background of the tragic
incident of Mr. Dev’s death in Manesar in some detail. We have
guest-posts from the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union, and posts from
Aman Sethi, Aditya Nigam and Anumeha Yadav. Each of these has been
useful in thinking through this thorny and intractable issue. In the
interests of economy, I will try and not repeat what they have said
already. My concern is death, and the meaning of death, especially
when it happens in and around a factory.

Since the day of the confirmation of the unfortunate and condemnable
death of Awanish Kumar Dev, a sad casualty of the ongoing class
conflict in north Indian Industrial heartland of Haryana, we have
witnessed tsunami of rage from those who view the killing of a manager
in a factory as a calamity. Regrettably, sometimes the most terrible
of tragedies (and the death of Mr. Dev is no doubt a profound human
tragedy for his family and friends) becomes an instrument for larger
and more impersonal agendas.

When a fire engulfs a factory, the body of those trapped inside burns
in the same way, regardless of who they are. Suffocation due to smoke
does the same things to the lungs, regardless of whether the lungs
belong to a worker or a manager. When the results of an inferno are
the same, we need to think about why the consequences of two fires are
so different ? What makes the victim of an alleged act of arson more
worthy of mourning than the victims of an instance of willful neglect?
We have heard a lot about one fire in Manesar in the past few days.
Why have we heard so little about another fire in Faridabad over the
last three years?

As I write, ninety one workers of the Maruti-Suzuki factory in Manesar
have been sent into judicial custody and are currently in Bhondsi
Jail. The Haryana police are looking for five hundred unnamed others.

The magistrate, in an unusual departure from procedure, delivered her
decision to send the workers into judicial custody in a police
station. The accused in any case are supposed to be presented before
magistrates so that they can record their statements without fear or
coercion, thereby enabling the magistrate to take a clear preliminary
view of their culpability. Here, since it was a manager in a company
as important as Maruti Suzuki that had died, it seems that the
magistrate, police, and the Haryana government found it fit that
normal procedure be kept in abeyance. Ministers (of the government of
Haryana and the centre) made statements. Narendra Modi (as befits a
prime minister in waiting) went to Japan and invited Suzuki
Corporation to sup at his table. Editorial writers polished their
turns of phrase. Captains of industry called for ruthless measures.
Notwithstanding the Maoists’ well known contempt for the industrial
proletariat, The ministry of home affairs hinted at the involvement of
Maoists. Angry, righteous and right-wing bloggers and television
commentators found a made-to-order opportunity to ventilate their well
honed class-hatred against workers. Everyone who mattered, seemed to
want to scrap labour laws.

Meanwhile, a lawyer representing the accused in a communication to me
yesterday said that many of the young workers who are currently being
held in Bhondsi jail were not even in the factory at the time that the
unfortunate incidents of violence occurred, as their shift had not yet
started. The matter of timing and presence, so crucial as evidence in
an ordinary criminal trial is a minor and dispensable detail in this
extraordinary case. What matters is that ninety one young workers are
in jail, currently being persuaded by the Haryana Police to implicate
themselves in this tragedy, so that the angry bloggers, captains of
industry, editorial writers and the good and the great of this land
can have their moment of outrage. Perhaps a Maoist or two or three
will be discovered amongst them by the Ministry of Home Affairs, with
the same diligence with which it has recently found Maoist spirits
lurking within the bodies of dead children in Cchatisgarh.

The Haryana Police is combing the country side around Manesar, and
further afield. The Haryana Police is not known for its gentle
investigative procedures. It is going to the tenements that workers
(many of them migrant) live in, in the villages around Manesar, in
Rohtak and Jhajjhar. They are threatening anyone they can. Families
are being told that unless they give up their sons, they will be held
responsible, and that the police will not hold themselves responsible
for what they do to make them give up their sons.

This one sad, unnecessary and unfortunate death has set back the gains
of more than a year of a non-violent, disciplined intelligent and
militant workers struggle at Maruti-Suzuki by decades. It will take
time to know what exactly happened. Perhaps it will take an eternity.
Who lit the fire? What angry words were said? What provocations, if
any, were present that made the workers lose their careful and
disciplined resolve (that was so visible throughout last year) not to
give in to the temptation of violence? Were there, as has been alleged
by some workers, agent-provocateurs brought in by the management who
lit the first spark? Why is it being said that those who started the
fight did not recognize known leaders of the union? Did someone from
the management pull a gun? Or is this all idle rumor mongering?
Perhaps we will never know the exact truth. The truth is most likely
to be the first thing that will be buried under the mountain of
‘statements’ and ‘confessions’ that will now be harvested by the
‘brave-hearts’ of the Haryana Police in Bhondsi Jail.

But one thing can be said for certain. The exemplary solidarity
between permanent, contracted (thekedari) and casual workers at the
Maruti Plant at Manesar stands threatened today by the climate of fear
that the state and the management will use to divide the workers of
Manesar at every step from now onwards. In situations of class war,
as in chess, the fall of a piece need not mean victory for the
opposing side. A manager is dead, and workers are check-mated in
Manesar. Factories kill people, especially those who enter their gates
in search of a living. Sometimes they kill suddenly, sometimes, they
take their time.

As some one once said. “Capital is dead labour, that, vampire-like,
only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more
labour it sucks.“

A living wage is harder to come by than death on the cheap.

Three years ago, in October 2009, a twenty six year old worker called
Ajit Yadav was killed in cold blood by police and thugs hired by the
management at a picket outside the F.C.C Rico Factory, also in
Manesar.

There had been a dispute. When is there not a dispute? Workers were
picketing the factory, legally, in support of their demands, and had
won a judicial order that allowed them to set up their protest at a
distance of 50 metros from the factory gate. The management decided to
use force to lift the picket. Ajit Yadav died. At first the police
refused to file an FIR. Eventually, an FIR was filed, but the time of
its filing was changed, and another complaint was inserted at the
behest of the management that made it out that workers attacked the
management. The management’s complaint could be given priority.

One hundred thousand workers from the Gurgaon Manesar industrial belt
went on strike. Two people were arrested, but workers allege that not
a single person actually associated with the crime was detained. Some
workers were also held on general charges of rioting. But nothing
happened about Ajit Yadav’s killing. No one from the management was
even questioned. The case dragged on in court. Witnesses turned
hostile. Money changed hands. The management, which had heaped abuse
at Ajit Yadav only days before, offered ‘compensation’ and
‘condolences’ to his family. An agreement was reached, brokered by the
labour department. Peace returned to the Rico Factory, over the dead
body of Ajit Yadav. Reportedly, The HR manager and the police officers
associated with this case have all been promoted. There were no pious
editorials. No angry blog posts calling for hanging the culprits of
Ajit Yadav’s death. The captains of industry were on Diwali vacation.
No minister made a statement. It did not make breaking news. Ajit
Yadav was not Awanish Kumar Dev.

Ajit Yadav is not the only other casualty in the roster of workers and
those who have acted in workers interests who have fallen to
management’s moves. We could add the names of M. Murali Mohan, a
worker and labour organizer at Regency Ceramics, Yanam, (an enclave of
Puducherry in Andhra Pradesh) who was killed while being on a picket
outside his factory by police that acted at the behest of management.
Workers retaliated by rioting, which led to the death of a manager. A
key pawn was taken, and a knight sacrificed. Capital played its next
move.

We could add the name of Sunil Pal, labour activist, close to CPI (ML
– Liberation) in the mining industry who was shot dead by ‘ unknown
miscreants’ in Haripur, Burdwan, West Bengal, allegedly by CPI(M)
cadre. We could add the names of popular theatre artist and CPI(M)
activist Safdar Hashmi and CITU member Ram Bahadur, whose Congress
Party linked killers were convicted fourteen long years after the
death of Hashmi and Bahadur in Sahibabad, UP. Other well known ‘cold
cases’ include the assassinations of independent trade union leaders
Datta Samant and Shankar Guha Niyogi. In none of these cases was the
involvement of management interests ever probed in any great detail.
In the Shankar Guha Niyogi, case, despite overwhelming evidence, the
industrialists suspected of conspiring to kill him were acquitted,
only Paltan Mallah, the lone hired killer who pulled the trigger at
their bidding is doing time in jail. There have been police firings on
peaceful workers protests in Faridabad (the infamous Neelam Chowk
firing of 1979) and massacre of workers of the Swadeshi Cotton Mills
in Kanpur (1977), or more recent incidents like the harsh assaults
like the attack by police on striking Honda workers in 2005, but the
memory of these incidents never stains the commentariat’s angry
denunciation of working class behavior.

Even Maruti’s own history is marred by an earlier episode of violence
where the victims were clearly workers, not management. During the
strike in the Maruti factory in Gurgaon in 2000, two workers – water
pump operator, Chander Bhan, fifty six, and Rajesh Kumar, a twenty
year old apprentice died mysteriously on the same day, (October 18th)
while a third , thirty nine year old draftsman Anand Singh Bohra, was
committed to a psychiatric ward in a hospital the following day. All
three workers had been forcibly detaine (along with several others)
within the factory premises for several days in order to continue
production while the strike continued. Chander Bhan was declared dead
on arrival in the hospital and Rajesh’s dead body was found ten
kilometers away from the factory. The union was denied access to post
mortem reports and no member of the management was ever investigated
for these mysterious deaths.

Death does not come to the factory riding only bullets and the lethal
blows of police lathis. It comes casually, with the accident, or in
solitude, with suicide. Across the world, there is a growing incidence
of workplace deaths.

China leads the world in work place suicides. Closely followed by
Japan and South Korea. The US recorded 5,734 workplace deaths due to
traumatic injuries in 2005 while in the same year, there were 1097
workplace deaths in Canada. An average of 1,376 people die each year
in industrial or workplace accidents in Italy. In India, the
government figure of 668 total workplace fatalities (last recorded for
2009) seems to be a strong case of under-reporting, especially as the
majority of workers are not permanent and so do not show up on
records. ILO estimates suggest that the gross under-reporting of
Industrial accidents in India actually hides some of the highest
industrial accident fatality figures in the world. According to
“Decent Work – Safe Work, ILO Introductory Report to the XVIIth World
Congress on Safety and Health at Work”, released in September 2005,
India could have as many as 40,000 deaths per year due to industrial
accidents alone.

Devastating fires, like the one at the Lakhani factory in Faridabad,
which (officially )killed 15 workers on the 1st of May 2009 are far
more frequent than they need to be.

Let us look at one ‘accidental’ death. Mohammad Rabban, a garment
worker employed at the Medolama Factory, in Gurgaon died an utterly
unnecessary death on the 17th of January, 2011 . Here is an excerpt
from a report in the Gurgaon Workers News of January 2011. This death
was referred to in an earlier Kafila post – ‘The Republic of
Exploitation‘ uploaded by Sunalini Kumar on January 27, 2011.

“At around 3am on the morning of 16th January or, the 15th night’s
overtime, 17 and-a-half hours into continuous sewing and stitching for
the 21hour shift, sitting on his iron stool, Md. Rabban, died
instantly of electrocution through one of the live wires protruding
out of the production line in the garment factory, Modelama Exports in
Plot no.105-106, Phase 1, Udyog Vihar, Gurgaon.

Md. Rabban, who had been working, sampling, stitching, sewing,
washing, ironing and producing clothes for Modelama, for the past more
than 7 years and in the 105 unit since its production started three
and-half years back, hailed from Muzaffarpur, Bihar, and was paid the
measly minimum wage of Rs.4200 (after the cuts for ESI, PF, and the
‘breaks’, from Rs. 4800). As usual, on 15 January also, Rabban reached
in the morning 9.30 am shift to start his day on the production line
to work till 6.30am the next day, to resume work again at 9.30am.
There were two breaks of half-hour each at 1.30-2pm, and then again at
6.30-7 (which workers pay for themselves, and for which wage is
deducted from the workers themselves), a dinner break from 8.30-9.30pm
(tasteless stale food in the canteen, for which the company pays a
mere Rs.20), and then a next chai break at 2.30-3am. Ten minutes later
into resuming work, at around 3.10am, in the overtime and already 17
hours into work, one of the live wires protruding out in front of his
machine, electrocuted Rabban as his hand was caught in between the
line. A number of complaints were regularly made about the safety
conditions and specially about the leak in the current in the electric
machines in the production line, and nothing as would cost the company
was done about it. The usual thing that does get done in such
situations by the management is the ‘management’ of the body, i.e. to
wipe it out of sight, as workers recall earlier incidents of the
sweeper in the morning sweeping out litres of blood on occasions of
the death of workers due to over-work, clash with management etc.
However, before any such ‘cleansing’ attempt, the around 80 workers in
the production line who witnessed the incident, made an uproar, and
tried to help their saathi/work-mate. There was a cry for immediately
taking Rabban to the hospital, and because the company had neither
doctors nor an ambulance for such (frequently occuring) situation, and
was also unwilling to spare its own cars, the workers offered to take
him themselves to the hospital in a hired car in front of the company
and were pooling in the Rs.1500 required for the transport. Sensing
the workers reaction, the management (the supervisor and other staff)
shut production immediately, took possession of the body, and took him
to the hospital where he was declared brought dead, and then to the
morgue after post-mortem, and with an rapidity which only came later,
also took the body to the Nizamuddin cemetry and buried him. The
police was informed and an F.I.R registered under Sec.304-A which
declared it a freak ‘accident’.

Meanwhile the workers of the production line, were joined by those
coming in for the morning shift, and anger erupted outside the closed
gates of the factory, with over a thousand workers pelting stones and
breaking the sleek glass front of the company. The low pay, the single
overtime, the non-payment of back wages, the no-offs strictness, the
continued and regular harassment in the form of abuse and even slaps
and beatings, the strong surveillance in the from of
finger-print/biometric entry and the CCTV cameras at every nook and
line with the suspicion of workers-as-thieves while clearly it is the
other way round, all took form in this solidarity action. Workers of
other companies in the area going for their morning shifts also joined
in to express their solidarity and anger. Police was employed to
control the anger, and disperse the angry workers who demanded justice
for Rabban.

The company however came out much later, and made an oral statement
about the promised payment of Rs. 1lakh to the family of the deceased.
And by around 2pm on the 16th, the spontaneous wave of anger was
stifled with the threat of police, targetting-and-possible-suspension
and management-through-the-family. The next day’s newspapers reported
in an insignificant column, an accident in the Modelama company which
was resolved. Work remained suspended on the 16th. /on the 17th
morning, when workers got back to the company, after some initial
tension at the gates, work was resumed. however soon after, in many
departments, many workers again took up the previous day’s incident
and its sham resolution in a general uproar, which the management
stifled with selective representation of some workers, and a promised
50-50 joint-fund of workers and the company’s contribution which will
be paid to the family of Rabban. That it was a direct case of
negligence of the company was skirted and work was resumed again, not
after a fire broke out (it was unclear how, or by whom) in one of the
departments which took some time to be doused.

Read more here -http://kafila.org/2012/07/26/death-and-the-factorythe-casualties-of-maruti-suzuki-manesar/

 

सराडा तहसील के कोलर गाँव की बर्बर घटना तहकीकात करने आए राष्ट्रीय महिला आयोग के सदस्यों के असंवेदनशीलता का निषेध


by Pragnya Joshi on Wednesday, 25 July 2012 at 22:34 ·

 प्रिय साथियों,

यहाँ दो नोट्स दे रही हूँ.

  1. राष्ट्रीय महिला आयोग की अध्यक्ष ममता शर्मा तथा सदस्य निर्मला सामंत प्रवालाकर की सराडा प्रकरण में जो असंवेदनशील पडताल और रवैय्या रहा है उस पर उदयपुर के महिला संगठनों की टिप्पणी और निषेध.
  2. संगठनों के समूह की टीम २३ जुलाई को घटना के दूसरे दिन उत्पीडिता से मिली और सराडा पुलिस थाणे जाकर मामले को समझने की कोशीश की, उसकी रिपोर्ट/ज्ञापन|

दोनों  यहाँ जारी कर रही हूँ ताकि सभी साथी सुझाव व प्रतिक्रियाँ दर्ज कर सके और महिला आयोग के रवैय्ये पर क्या किया जा सकता है इस पर सार्थक मंथन हो सके.

 

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दिनांक: 25 जुलाई, 2012

 

घटनास्थल पर न जाते हुए पीड़ित युगल को उदयपुर के पास बुलाकर मिलने व तहकीकात की खानापूर्ति की गई। उत्पीड़ितो को किसी भी प्रकार की चिकित्सकीय सहायता उबलब्ध करवाने या इस संबन्ध में किसी भी प्रकार का आदेश देने की जरुरत आयोग को नहीं महसूस हुई। इसी तरह घटनास्थल पर गवाहो से अथवा अन्य समुदाय को खासकर लड़की के सभी परिजनों को न्याय का आश्वासन या उनके कंधे पर विश्वास का हाथ रखने की जहमत आयोग ने नहीं उठाई। महिला अत्याचार विरोधी मंच, उदयपुर के तहत विभिन्न महिला संगठन, मानवाधिकार संगठन तथा सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता इस असंवेदनशील रवैये का निषेध करते है।

सामंतो के दरबार मे पेशी:  24 जुलाई को सुबह 9 बजे से पहले उत्पीड़ितों को मिलने की खानापूर्ति आयोग कर चुका था। इसका अर्थ है कि अलसुबह उन्हें उनके गाँव या आश्रयस्थल से बुलवा लिया गया। डबोक हवाई अड्डे से सर्किट हाउस के बीच में किसी अज्ञात स्थान पर यह मुलाकात की गई। इससे जाहिर है कि जिस संवेदनापूर्ण माहौल में यह मुलाकात होनी चाहिए थी वह नहीं हुई। इस घटना के संदर्भ मे उत्पीड़ितों के मन में बसी दहशत को देखते हुए उनके लिए इस तरह अचानक उदयपुर के पास आना निश्चय ही भयावह रहा होगा। उन्हें फिर से दहशत के दौर से गुजरने पर मजबूर किया गया। यह रवैया बिल्कुल वैसा ही है जैसे सामंतो के दरबार मे पेशी लगती हो।

दहशत तथा उत्पीड़न की स्थिति में आयोग का पीड़ितों पर दबाव: अगर आयोग दहशत और उत्पीड़न की स्थिति में उन्हें अपने आश्रय स्थल से अन्य जगह पर आने के लिए मजबूर ना करता व खुद उनके कंधे पर विश्वास का हाथ रखते हुए उन्हें न्याय दिलाने की आस जगाता तो उत्पीड़ितों का सरकारी तंत्र पर विश्वास गहरा होता। यह ना केवल खेद जनक है बल्कि यह आक्रोश पैदा करता है कि अगर उत्पीड़न के दर्द को महसूस करने की क्षमता आयोग के सदस्य नहीं रखते तो उन्हें इस तरह के सरकारी खर्चों की यात्रा पर नहीं आना चाहिए।

चिकित्सकीय सहायता को किया नजरअंदाज:उत्पीड़ितों को लंबे समय तक बंधक बनाकर पेड़ से बांध दिया गया था। उनके साथ मारपीट हुई थी, उन्हें विद्रुप किया गया था। ऐसे में उन्हें चिकित्सकीय सहायता उपलब्ध कराई जानी चाहिए थी। इस संबन्ध में महिला आयोग ने किसी भी प्रकार की टिप्पणी करने की आवश्यकता नहीं समझी। ना ही संबधित अधिकारियों को इस संबन्ध में निर्देष दिए और ना ही मीडिया को इस संबन्ध में कोई जानकारी दी। यह उनका उत्पीड़ितो के प्रति नजरिया स्पष्ट करता है और उनकी नीयत पर प्रश्नचिन्ह लगता है।

उत्पीड़िता से मिलने आम नागरिक पहुँचा परंतु आयोग नहींज्ञात हो कि इसी मंच की तरफ से चार सदस्यीय तथ्यान्वेषण टीम बिना किसी सरकारी सुरक्षा के 23 जुलाई 2012 को शाम लगभग चार बजे उत्पीड़िता के पीहर पक्ष के गांव मे, चावंड पंचायत के अंबाला गांव  में कटार फला में पीड़िता के पीहर पहुंची तथा सराड़ा थाना जाकर उन्होने मामले को समझने तथा तथ्य जुटाने की कोशिश की थी। देर रात यह टीम जिसमें विभिन्नन संगठनों से तीन महिला सदस्य और एक पुरुष सदस्य था, अंबाला गांव के सरपंच श्री कालूलाल मीणा के घर पर उत्पीड़िता से मिली व उन्होने उसका पक्ष तथा बयान सुना। रात के लगभग 8.30 बजे तक यह टीम गांव में थी। परंतु राष्ट्रिय महिला आयोग ने कानून व्यवस्था को हवाला देते हुए उत्पीड़ितों को उनके आश्रय स्थल पर मिलना उचित नहीं समझा। अगर पूरे सरकारी सुरक्षा के बावजूद महिला आयोग दूरदराज के क्षेत्रों में उत्पीड़ितों तक पहुँचने में अगर परहेज करें तो फिर उत्पीड़ित उनसे न्याय मिलने की अपेक्षा भी कैसे करें?

महिलाओं तथा मानवाधिकार के मुद्दों पर आयोग की समझ पर प्रश्नचिन्ह:जब प्रैस वार्ता में रामआ की अध्यक्ष ममता शर्मा ने यह कहा कि सराड़ा के कोलर गांव जाने का इसलिए औचित्य नही है क्योकि घटना हो चुकी है और वहां जाकर क्या वे पेड़ो से बातें करती। ऐसे में जाहिर है कि गवाहों से बात करके उन्हें विश्वास दिलाना आयोग ने जरुरी नहीं समझा। साथ ही वहां पर गांवो में जाकर उत्पीड़ितों के परिजनों को मिलकर उन्हें दहशत से बाहर निकालने की जरुरत आयोग को नही महसूस हुई और ना ही वहां की आम महिलाओं को उनके आने से जो सुरक्षा का अहसास होता वह अहसास दिलाने की जरुरत भी उन्होनें नही समझी।

सुरक्षित पुनर्वास भूल गया आयोग: मीडियाकर्मियों के द्वारा ली गई फोटो, विडियों फुटेज तथा इस तथ्यान्वेषण समूह को उत्पीड़िता द्वार दी गई जानकारी के अनुसार वहाँ मौतबीर / पंच भी उपस्थित थे व लगभग 200 लोगों का जमावड़ा था। प्रशासन बार बार इसे केवल एक परिवार के साथ जोड़ रहा है। ऐसे में इस दहशत के माहौल से उत्पीड़ितों को सुरक्षित स्थल पर पुनर्वासित करने की आवश्यकता है और इस आवश्यकता को अधिकारियों के समक्ष रखना आयोग ने जरुरी नही समझा।  साथ ही परिजनों को सुरक्षा प्रदान करने के संबन्ध में आयोग ने कोई जिक्र नही किया।

महिला अत्याचार विरोधी मंच, उदयपुर के  हम सभी संगठन आयोग के असंवेदनापूर्ण रवैये का निषेध करते है व आयोग से अपेक्षा करते है कि वे  महिला व मानवाधिकार के मुद्दें पर अपनी समझ को अधिक गहराई से विकसित करेंगे।

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उषा चौधरी         प्रज्ञा जोशी          सुधा चौधरी         लोकेश गुर्ज़र

विकल्प संस्थान     पीयूसीएल        ऐपवा              एडवोकेट, उदयपुर          

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महिला अत्याचार विरोधी मंच, उदयपुर 

96 – बी, पुराना फतेहपुरा, उदयपुर 

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दिनाँक – 24  जुलाई 2012 

माननीय अध्यक्ष,                                          

राष्ट्रीय महिला आयोग,

नई दिल्ली

विषय – 22 जुलाई, 2012 को सराड़ा तहसील, उदयपुर के कोलर गांव में महिला को निर्वस्त्र कर उत्पीड़न करने के मामले में प्रतिवेदन व आवेदन।  

माननीय महोदया,

उपरोक्त विषय में नम्र निवेदन है कि उदयपुर (राजस्थान) जिले की सराड़ा तहसील के कोलर गांव में दिनांक 22 जुलाई 2012 को एक सामुदायिक फरमान के तहत एक युगल को मारपीट कर पेड़ से पेड़ से बांधकर उत्पीड़ित किया गया तथा उसमें से महिला को सार्वजनिक रुप से निर्वस्त्र कर यौनिक रुप से उत्पीड़ीत किया गया। इस मामले में चार सदस्यीय तथ्यान्वेषण टीम संबधित महिला के पीहर स्थल पहुँची, दिनांक 23 जुलाई 2012 को इस तथ्यान्वेषण टीम ने सराड़ा थाना तथा चावण्ड  पंचायत के अंबाला गांव में सरपंच श्री कालूराम मीणा तथा उत्पीडिता के पीहर पक्ष के परिवार से मिलकर मामले की जानकारी हासिल की। इस जानकारी के अनुसार निम्न तथ्य सामने आए –

  1. यह पूरी घटना पूर्व नियोजित थी व सामादायिक रुप से असंवैधानिक फरमान जारी करते हुए उत्पीड़न की घटना को अंजाम दिया गया। उत्पीडिता के अनुसार वहाँ चार पालों (आदिवासी समाज के सामुदायिक पंचायत के क्षेत्रवार विभाजन) के मौतबीर / मुखिया / पंच घटनास्थल पर मौजुद थे।  लगभग 200 लोगों का जमाव वहाँ मौजुद था। चूंकि ये एक पूर्वनियोजित अपराध है इस आधार पर आईपीसी की धारा 120 भी अपराधियों पर लगाई जाए।
  2. दुर्भाग्यपूर्ण बात है कि इतने बड़े जमाव में किसी ने भी उत्पीड़ित युगल के बचाव का कोई भी प्रयास नही किया। पुलिस ने यह भी जानकारी दी कि पुलिस को गुमराह कर अन्य स्थान पर भेजा गया। जिससे यह साफ जाहिर है कि पुलिस के कार्य में बाधा डाली गई। यह भी की पुलिस पर पथराव किया गया, लाठियां बरसाई गई व रास्ते अवरोधित किए गए।
  3. उत्पीड़ित का मेडिकल जांच कर रिपोर्ट तो दी गई परंतु चिकित्सकीय सहायता उपलब्ध नही कराई गई। लड़की के हाथों पर तथा कंधो, पीठ पर घाव व चोट के निशान थे।
  4. बाल छोटे-छोटे काटकर युगल को विद्रुप किया गया। जमाव ने दोनों पर इतना कहर बरसाया कि उत्पीडिता ने कहा कि पुलिस समय पर ना पहुँचती तो यह पूरा जमाव उसका बलात्कार कर देता व लड़के को मार देता। इसकी दहशत उत्पीडिता के मन पर इतनी गहरी है कि जब तक इसे चिकित्सकीय सहायता नहीं प्रदान होती। इस दहशत से उभरी नहीं सकती।
  5. उत्पीड़िता को पुलिस ने उसके परिजनों को सौप दिया परन्तु उस परिवार के संरक्षण की आवश्यकता है क्योंकि चढ़ोतरे के डर से वे दहशत और दबाव में है। ऐसे माहौल से उत्पीड़िता को निकाल कर उसकी सुरक्षित पुनर्वास की व्यवस्था की जानी चाहिए।
  6. यह मामला चूंकि युगल का है इसलिए उत्पीड़ित युगल को उनकी इच्छा अनुसार सुरक्षित पुनर्वास उपलब्ध कराया जाए और मुआवजा दिया जाए।
  7. सराड़ा क्षेत्र के संबधित समुदाय के मुखियाओं को पाबंद किया जाए ताकि वे समुदाय या किसी भी नागरिक पर असंवैधानिक, अमानवीय और कानूनी फरमान और कार्यवाही न करें। यह भी कि वे प्रत्यक्ष रुप से किसी उत्पीड़न या गैर कानूनी कार्य के लिए लोगों को प्रोत्साहित न करें। पुलिस यह पाबंदी तत्काल रुप से करे ताकि उस स्थान और समुदाय में पसरे दहशत से लोग मुक्त हो पाए और भविष्य में ऐसी घटना करने की कोई हिम्मत न कर सकें।
  8. सभी अपराधियों को तुरंत गैर-जमानती धाराओं के तहत गिरफ्तार किया जाए।
  9. तथ्यान्वेषण टीम जब सराड़ा थाने 23.07.2012 को देर शाम पहुँची तो उसने यह पाया कि जिस पुलिस थाने की परिसीमा में एक दिन पहले महिला पर इतना बर्बर जुर्म हुआ हो वहाँ एक भी महिला पुलिस कांस्टेबल तैनात नही थी। यह मामला शांत होने तक वहाँ महिला पुलिस कांस्टेबल तैनात की जाए।
  10. कोलर गांव और उसके आसपास के गांवों में समुदाय को इस बर्बर मानसिकता से उबरने के लिए कुछ सकारात्मक पहल की जाए ताकि आगे ऐसी किसी भी अमानवीय घटना का दोहराव न हो।

राजस्थान में प्रेमी युगलों पर बढ़ रही हिंसा के मद्देनजर कुछ ठोस कानून तथा निर्वाण व्यवस्था हो ताकि उन्हें सुरक्षा, चिकित्सा और पुर्नवास हो। इस तरह की व्यवस्था संपूर्ण देश में लागू हो।

महोदया हमें आपसे सहयोग की आशा है…

आपके भवदीय

प्रज्ञा जोशी         उषा चौधरी             डॉ. सुधा चौधरी         लोकेश गुर्जर

पीयूसीएल          विकल्प संस्थान         राज्य सचिव एपवा       एडवोकेट 

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