ATTN DELHI-Invitation- People’s Hearing on Nuclear Energy, August 22

English: Internationally recognized symbol. De...

English: Internationally recognized symbol. Deutsch: Gefahrensymbol für Radioaktivität. Image:Radioactive.svg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People’s Hearing on Nuclear Energy


Date and Time:

August 22, 2012

11 am – 6pm



Gandhi Peace Foundation,

221-223, Deendayal Upadhyay Marg

New Delhi-110002

Dear Friends,

A people’s hearing will be held on August 22nd in New Delhi on nuclear power in India to discuss grassroots concerns and people’s experiences, and to take note of violations of their human rights.

People from all the sites will make presentations with a special emphasis on Koodankulam and Gorakhpur. Also, experts will present their testimonies to a panel of judges consisting of eminent citizens, who will examine this evidence and give their verdict.


The Government of India is pushing through a massive expansion of nuclear energy in the most undemocratic manner, overlooking its dangerous impacts on the health, safety and livelihoods of local communities, the larger perspective of energy security for India, the economic and environmental costs of nuclear energy, and the global decline in the salience of nuclear energy after the Fukushima catastrophe.

There has been an upsurge of strong grassroots struggles against nuclear power projects and other installations in the recent past. At Koodankulam, for instance, a mass agitation involving tens of thousands of people has been sustained for a year since August 16, 2011. At Gorakhpur, in Haryana’s Fatehabad district, farmers have sat on a dharna every day for 2 years in protest against the planned nuclear power station. They are particularly agitated over a fraudulent public hearing which was held on 17th July without giving copies of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report to the people, as is mandatory.

Strong agitations have been launched in Jaitapur in Maharashtra, where the world’s biggest nuclear power park has been planned. Similar protests have broken out at other planned sites all over India.

The government has vilified these movements as “misguided” instigated by “outsiders”, has criminalized them and has filed hundreds of police cases against them. It has studiedly ignored their concerns about nuclear safety heightened after Fukushima and refused to part with basic documents such as Environmental Impact Assessment and  Safety Evaluation Reports (SERs) and the inter-governmental contracts etc.

The repression has led to blatant violations of basic rights at different sites – for instance, nearly 7000 people in Koodankulam who have led consistently peaceful protest face charges of sedition and war against the Indian state. Similar repression and undermining of democratic norms is under way at the other nuclear sites such as Jaitapur, Chutka in Madhya Pradesh, Mithi Virdi in Gujarat, Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh, Kota in Rajasthan, etc. More recently, a fresh protest broke out at Rawatbhata in Rajasthan where a nuclear fuel complex has been planned. The recent tritium leak in the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station exposing 38 casual workers to dangerous radiation has also put a question mark over the safety of existing nuclear facilities.


People’s testimonies: Koodankulam, Jaitapur, Gorakhpur, Chutka, Mithivirdi, Rawatbhata

Independent Experts: Praful Bidwai, Soumya Dutta, Surendra Gadekar, M G Devasahayam and others

Jury: Justice A P Shah, Admiral L. Ramdas, Aruna Roy, K S Subramanian

We cordially invite you to this public hearing. Please also circulate this invitation to your friends.

With best regards,

Sundaram, NEW DELHI (91-9810556134,

Bhargavi NEW DELHI: (91-9582452343,

Neeraj Jain PUNE:  (91- 9422220311,

Lalita Ramdas ALIBAGH (91-9422495315,

Abey George, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM (91-9497800971, )

Vaishali Patil, MAHARASHTRA, (

Santanu Chacraverti, KOLKATA: (91-9831034089,

Nityanand Jayaraman CHENNAI (91-9444082401,

Kamayani Bali Mahabal, MUMBAI (91-9820749204,

Kavita Shrivastava JAIPUR (

Press Release-Sexual Assault by CRPF Personnel on a Woman in Odisha



Press Statement

12th  August 2012

Subject: Sexual Assault by CRPF Personnel on a Woman in Odisha

PUDR condemns growing incidents of sexual assault by CRPF personnel on young women in Paikmal block of Bargarh district in Odisha. On July 24, a few CRPF personnel placed in the same block assaulted a 20-year-old woman of the Vindhyabasini colony of Paikmal. The jawans of CRPF accosted her as she was collecting water from the tube-well, and asked her to go with them to the forest nearby for which they offered her money. When she refused, she was dragged. On resisting, she was kicked, marks of which are still on her body. She somehow managed to outwit them, and return to the village where she narrated the incident to villagers present. In the evening the villagers decided in a meeting to lodge a complaint with the local police. Initially the thana-in–charge and the SDPO of Padampur refused to lodge a FIR against CRPF on the pretext that it required the permission of SP Barhah. It was only after when 100-150 villagers gathered and put pressure that the local police was forced to register the complaint again the CRPF personnel.  The local police was even reluctant to give a copy of the FIR to the complainant.


The next day, the CRPF Commandant from Nuapada, visited the victim at her house on the pretext of conducting a departmental enquiry into the incident. He was accompanied by 50-60 jawans of CRPF and the  thana-in-charge. The jawans had cordoned the victim’s house.  There were no women police officers when he spoke to the victim. He explicitly asked her to withdraw the police complaint as she would be unable to pursue a long-drawn legal battle herself. Such intimidation of the woman by the CRPF commandant is condemnable. Instead of giving justice to the woman, the efforts are geared at protecting the accused. A complaint has been lodged by the woman at the State Womens’ Commission on August 1.


According to a local journalist the incidence of misbehaving with local women by CRPF jawans is quite rampant. These jawans lure women by throwing currency notes on them in a lewd manner and also lecherously stare at them when these women bathe in the nearby check dam. As a consequence, girls and women of this village are scared of going to the check dam for bathing. Importantly, this is not the first case; many such allegations have come in the recent months from  other villages of Paikmal and Khaprakhol Blocks. Such incidents draw attention to the intimidation and vulnerability that people, especially women face in areas where security forces have been posted to ostensibly tackle Maoism.


Paikmal in Bargarh district of Odisha, is in the foothills of the Gandhamardan mountain range of western Odisha. Paikmal has been part of the anti-BALCO movement of the late 1980s. Again in the last few years NALCO, setting its eyes on the Gandhamardan hills again for bauxite mining, has agitated the people of this region. To suppress the agitation and resistance to mining by the people, the government has unleashed the paramilitary forces on the people. Murder of two activists in fake encounters in December 2010, is an instance of that. In the apparent bid to fight Maoists, the CRPF has helped the state suppress the people’s resistance to the mining of Gandhamardan hills for bauxite. The result is routine harassment and interruption of  all activities of the local people and the total lack of safety for women in their daily tasks.


While condemning the sexual assault by the CRPF personnel on the young woman, PUDR demands the following:

·      The local police should immediately initiate legal action against the erring jawans and render all possible help to the woman in the legal fight. The local police should protect the innocent and not the culprits; the local police should not allow itself to be partisan, whatever the difficulty.

·      Justice should be secured immediately to the woman.

·      The State Women’s Commission should be serious about the assurances it has given to the woman and follow up on the case in the interest of the woman.

·      The government should withdraw all para-military and security forces forthwith to ensure that such acts are not repeated.


Preeti Chauhan and Paramjeet Singh



Corporate Boards in India Blocked by Caste? – #mustread


The latest EPW (August 11, 2012) reports a first-of-its-kind study at the University of Northern British Columbia, Canada, on the caste composition of the boards of the top 1,000 Indian companies (“Corporate Boards in India:Blocked By Caste?”, by D.Ajit, H.Donker, R. Saxena).

Analyzed are the largest 1000 Indian companies in terms of size (total assets in 2010) that account for four-fifths of the market capitalisation of companies listed in National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Bombay StockExchange (BSE).

The study finds that “nearly 93% of board members [of the 1000 top Indian companies] were forward caste members — 46% vaishya and 44% brahmin. OBCs and SCs/STs were a meagre 3.8% and 3.5% respectively.”

The study shows that “caste diversity is non-existent in the Indian corporate sector.” Nearly 65% of the Indian corporate boards, individually,are composed of just one single caste group among the forward caste groups indicating that it is a small and closed world.

The study concludes that “In the (Indian) corporate world, social networking plays an important role.Indian corporate boards belong to the ³old boys¹ club² based on caste affiliation rather than on other considerations (like merit or experience).”

The study says, “Caste is an important factor in networking. The small world of corporate India has interaction only within their caste kinship.This raises important questions about the possibility of interlocking of directors within the same caste among Indian companies. Is this small world of corporate directorships reflected in the selection of auditors as well?These are some of the important questions which are in the ambit of our future investigation.”
The article concludes, the “Indian corporate board consists of a small world dominated by forward castes and lacks diversity.”


Read the full study here

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