Call for Action ! Send #SoniSori a Postcard #actnow #mustshare


 

 

Soni Sori’s struggle for justice gets solidarity from various parts of the country

Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) has launched a solidarity campaign for Soni Sori incarcerated in Raipur jail for the past one year under false charges of being a Maoist engaged in extortion and violence.

In two of the eight cases fabricated against her by the Dantewada police, Soni Sori has already been acquitted. In a third significant case in which she, her husband and her nephew Lingaram Kodopi are all charged and imprisoned,  the key eye witness, Avadhesh Gautam, has given vital testimony on  27th September 2012, confirming that none of these three were present at the incident site.  This corroborates what Soni Sori has been saying all this while, that the Chhattisgarh police have been foisting all these false cases against her and her family, merely in order to harass and punish them for refusing to obey the illegal diktats of the Chhattisgarh police.

Soni Sori is an ordinary school teacher in Chhattisgarh, who chose to think and act independently and refused to go with either the Maoists or the state security forces.  However, her cries of being only an ordinary school teacher, albeit with an independent mind, have fallen on deaf ears. She was arrested in Delhi on 4th October 2011 and remanded to police custody of Chhattisgarh police on 7th October 2011 for three days. It was during those three days that she was subjected to heinous violence and sexual torture under the orders of the Superintendent of Police Ankit Garg. Ironically, instead of being suspended, SP Ankit Garg was decorated with the President’s Police Medal of Gallantry on the occasion of the Republic Day earlier this year.

While her tormentor was thus feted, Soni Sori was left to deal with the physical and mental trauma of the torture on her own and even visitors from reputed womens’ groups through out the country, who only wanted to offer her solidarity, were refused permission to meet her in jail. But instead of breaking her spirit, the state only managed to break her silence and Soni Sori wrote at length about the degrading treatment she was subjected to. An appeal before the Supreme Court gave her a partial respite and she was sent to Kolkata for a physical examination, where stones were discovered from her private parts proving the terrible torture that she was subjected to. Chhattisgarh government has not relented and did not even provide her the recommended medical treatment.

Soni Sori is a spirited woman and has been on extended hunger strikes in the jail to push for humane treatment of prisoners. On the occasion of the birth Centenary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh a post card campaign has been launched where people from across the country will send her post cards to express their solidarity with her struggle for justice.

It should be recalled that Bhagat Singh also used his incarceration to further his political message and nothing could break his spirit.

WSS calls upon everyone to join in this campaign. Post cards were signed in Delhi, Bhopal and Indore today to launch the campaign and were sent to Soni Sori, Central Jail Raipur, Chhattisgarh 492001

PLEASE SIGN ONLINE PETITION FOR HER RELEASE !!

Inline image 1

 

Change the terminology- Survivors, not victims #VAW # Justice #mustread


 

This we know: On September 9, a 16-year-old Dalit schoolgirl in Dabra village, Hisar was kidnapped, raped and photographed allegedly by a group of upper caste Jat boys. This we know: The girl complains to her father. The photographs are circulated in the village. The father tries to  lodge a complaint, fails, and kills himself nine days after his daughter was raped.

This we know: It takes media outrage, street processions and the threat of job suspensions by the National Commission for the Scheduled Castes before the Haryana police arrest nine of the 12 accused (one is the nephew of the INLD district chief and three are said to have links to the Congress). But even before interrogation can begin, comes news of a copycat rape: another Dalit woman, also gangraped, also filmed, also in Haryana, only this time in Jind district.

The silence in Hisar has an echo in Jind. At the time of writing, the National Commission for Women is yet to rouse itself. Leave alone a visit to Hisar, it has not even bothered with a statement laced with the mandatory clichés of outrage, shock etc.

But more than predictable statements, perhaps the time has come to change the rhetoric of rape. Rape, like murder, is a terrible, heinous crime. But that is just what it is, a crime. Take away the attendant accessories of ‘honour’, ‘humiliation’ and ‘fate worse than death’ and you take away the sting; the motivation behind the continuing rape of vulnerable women.

When Dalit women are targeted for rape by upper caste men, the message is clear: Terrorise an entire community. When the rape of a woman is tied in with a man’s honour (because she is his property), then the motive is not sexual desire — in rape it almost never is — but a desire to subdue those who you believe are beneath you. “There is a lot of tension in villages where Dalits are moving ahead in terms of education and employment,” says Asha Kowtal of the All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch. “You have to see the rape of this girl in the context of caste tensions in the state.”

In a culture where a woman’s honour is tied to notions of her sexual ‘purity’, rape as a weapon will continue to be used to punish her or her brothers, her father, her husband, her community. It is this culture that leads to women agreeing to marrying their rapists or committing suicide after being cast out by their families. It is this culture that led the father of the 16-year-old in Hisar to kill himself. It is this culture that leads young men with a sense of entitlement to believe they can rape and they can photograph but they will not be caught because the women they rape will be too ‘ashamed’ to complain.
These are attitudes that find resonance in the police. A sting operation by Tehelka earlier this year interviewed one officer who said no self-respecting woman would report a rape out of a sense of shame. Those who did were extortionists, he said.

The media’s subtext in reporting sexual assault is not above reproach. Even the most well-intentioned reports swing between voyeurism and syrupy sentimentality. There is an inordinate focus on urban rapes, while those in the hinterland get a cursory paragraph — if at all. Guidelines that rape survivors should not be named subscribe to the notion of stigma. A woman raped is a woman shamed, hence her identity must be protected. Photographs of course are out of the question. But accompanying visuals of helpless women huddled in fear perpetuate the stereotype of how we as a society believe survivors of rape should behave. Even the nomenclature is misplaced: a person who is raped is not a victim. She is a survivor.

Women who have been raped want justice more than sympathy. They want their rapists to be shamed, not have to bear the burden of stigma on themselves. They want rape to be treated as it is: an awful crime. A crime minus the added sting of honour.

– Namita Bhandare is a Delhi-based writer. The views expressed by the author are personal.

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Kelkar Committee Report Uploaded – inviting comments from People #mustshare


PIB- PRESS RELEASE

Kelkar Committee has recommended sharp reduction in subsidies on petroleum, food and fertiliser, which the government said was contrary to its policy of protecting the poor.

Kelkar Committee Report Uploaded on Finance Ministry Website to Invite Comments from all Sections of the People

On August 6, 2012, the Union Finance MinisterShri P.Chidambaram  had made a statement on the economic situation and on the policy measures that were under consideration of the Government. Referring to the fiscal situation, the Finance Minister had said:

“We intend to unveil, shortly, a path of fiscal consolidation. I would like to make it clear         that the burden of fiscal correction must be shared, fairly and equitably, by different    classes of stakeholders. The poor must be protected and others must bear their fair share         of the burden. Obviously, adjustments must be made both on the revenue side and on the   expenditure side. We have asked Dr. Vijay Kelkar, Dr. IndiraRajaraman and Dr. Sanjiv         Misra to assist the Government in formulating the path of fiscal consolidation and we             expect that the work will be completed in a few weeks.”

The aforesaid Kelkar Committee submitted its report on September 3, 2012.

The Committee has reached certain conclusions and has made a number of recommendations.

The main conclusion of the report is that “We cannot over-emphasize the need and the urgency of fiscal consolidation.”

The report is under consideration of the Government and the Government has not yet taken a view on the report or on any of the recommendations.

 

                   The Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, ShriArvind Mayaram said that some recommendations appear contrary to the declared objective of the Government of ‘sustained and inclusive growth’. He said that the Government is of the view that in a developing country where a significant proportion of the population is poor, a certain level of subsidies is necessary and unavoidable, and measures must be taken to protect the poor and vulnerable sections of the society. It is in this view that the Government has reiterated its intention to implement the promise of food security for all, he added. The Secretary Shri Mayaram further said while taking a final view on the various recommendations of the report, the Government will bear in mind that the goal is to achieve high growth, inclusive development, and economic and social justice for all.

                             The Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, ShriArvind  Mayaram said that the Government welcomes an informed debate on the report submitted by the Kelkar Committee. Hence, this report is being uploaded on the website of the Ministry of Finance atwww.finmin.nic.in, he informed. Shri Mayaramsaid that the Government invites all sections of the people to send their comments to the email address: feedbackonkelkar-mof@nic.in.

 

 MEANWHILE LATEST NEWS REPORTS SAYS

29 SEP, 2012, , ET BUREAU– The government appears to have developed cold feet over implementing Kelkar panel’s recommendations to slash subsidies drastically at a time when it is facing backlash for raising diesel prices and capping subsidised cooking cylinders.
The report, which has been put out for public comments, warns that India is on the edge of a fiscal precipice. A senior finance ministry official has said that the report has not been accepted so far and that some of the panel’s recommendations run contrary to the government’s larger objectives.

“Some recommendations appear contrary to the declared objective of the government of ‘sustained and inclusive’ growth,” Arvind Mayaram, secretary in thedepartment of economic affairs said, adding, “The government is of the view that in a developing country, where a significant proportion of population is poor, a certain level of subsidies is necessary and unavoidable, and measures must be taken to protect the poor and vulnerable section of the society.”

Mayaram said the government is yet to take a call on the report which calls for abolition of subsidy on diesel by next year and on cooking gas by 2014-15, suggestions that the government has indicated will be difficult to accept. “While taking a final view on the various recommendations of the report, the government will bear in mind that the goal is to achieve high growth, inclusive development, and economic and social justice for all,” Mayaram added.

Kelkar Panel has issued a grim warning on India's fiscal deficitKelkar Panel has issued a grim warning on India's fiscal deficit

The committee had submitted its report on September 3, before the government unleashed the recent reforms that sparked a stock market rally and led to appreciation of the rupee. “The Indian economy is presently poised on the edge of a fiscal precipice, making corrective measures aimed at speedy fiscal consolidation an imperative necessity if serious adverse consequences stemming from this situation are to be averted in an efficient and timely manner,” the committee has said.

If no corrective measures are taken, India can face a crisis worse than the one in 1991, the committee has said. It has also cautioned that the deficit for the current fiscal can widen to 6.1% of the GDP against the budgeted 5.1%, but the government does not seem to agree with the grim prognosis.

Mayaram said the government is committed to keeping itsfiscal deficit target as close to its target even as the fiscal deficit in the first five months of 2012-13 has touched 65.7% of that budgeted for the entire fiscal. The panel has suggested that the government should eliminate half of the per unit diesel subsidy by the end of this fiscal and the rest over 2013-14. The subsidy on cooking gas should be reduced by 25% this year and completely eliminated over the next two years, it has said. In the case of kerosene, it has said that the objective should be to reduce the subsidy by one-thirds by 2014-15.

Jury Recommendations: PEOPLE’S HEARING ON FABRICATED CASES #mustread


 

PEOPLE’S HEARING ON FABRICATED CASES
September 28-29, Constitution Club of India, New Delhi

JURY RECOMMENDATIONS

DSC04362 300x168 Jury Recommendations: PEOPLES HEARING ON FABRICATED CASES

The role of the Indian state in fabricating cases of sedition and terrorism to implicate tens of thousands of innocent citizens across India has been thoroughly exposed in testimony after testimony presented at the People’s Hearing on Fabricated Cases.

It has been established beyond doubt that the Indian police and investigative agencies have for years run a systematic campaign to brutalize citizens by way of punishing them for defending their homeland, farms and communities, or for simply belonging to a certain community that is labeled as a whole as being involved in terrorism.

That the Indian judiciary has for the large part been complicit in giving the police a free pass in this evil endeavor has only extended the ambit of misery that has incarcerated innocents for years, devastating lives and families.

It is clear that the nefarious activities of the police and the state in general need to be checked and held accountable for their illegal fabrication of cases.

It is now recommended by the jury of the People’s Hearing that the civil society groups, activists, and solidarity groups that work with the victims of fabricated cases and their families begin documenting in detail each such case around the country so that a single resource base is created to aid concerted action as well as to spread awareness.

It is recommended that the various civil action groups that are engaged in the human rights campaigns take a lead in preparing such exhaustive documentation.

jury 1 300x225 Jury Recommendations: PEOPLES HEARING ON FABRICATED CASESIt is recommended that the campaigns explore the establishment of a legal support mechanism for the victims of fabricated cases so that they are supported throughout the life of their cases in pursuing a legal defense. Also, the campaigns need to explore the possibility of bringing class actions suits and criminal law suits before the higher courts to plug the loopholes in the criminal jurisprudence system that lead to the fabrications.

It is requested that the National Human Rights Commission and the state human rights commissions be pressured to create special cells devoted exclusively to dealing with fabricated cases on sedition and terrorism.

It is recommended that the government be pressured to bring action against police officers who are established to have forged evidences and fabricated such cases of terrorism and sedition against innocent citizens.

It is also recommended that the campaigns work towards taking the issue of fabricated cases of sedition and terrorism to international civil rights forums, and evaluate the application of the various international protocols that relate to the practice of war.

It is recommended that campaigns be launched to seek the repeal of the dubious seditious and terror laws that are grossly misused and abused by security agencies to implicate innocent people in fabricated cases.

It is recommended that the civil action groups for human rights establish a framework for healthcare related protocols that allow for a role of the ICRC and the Indian Red Cross as well as evolve a code of medical neutrality in armed conflict.

It is recommended that a campaign be launched into holding the state to account for the disappearances of individuals as well as the extrajudicial killings in fake encounters. Campaigns also need to build a strong action against custodial deaths.

Justice Rajinder Sachar
Saba Naqui
Dr. Ram Puniyani
Dr. Binayak Sen
Ajit Shahi

 

‘Mass Movements with Conviction Seldom Die’- SP Udayakumar #protest


Tehelka Magazine, Vol 9, Issue 40, Dated 06 Oct 2012

AS WORK at the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project kickstarts with the loading of fuel, SP Udayakumar, Coordinator of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) and the brain behind the anti-nuke struggle, finds himself on the run. Following a warrant for his arrest, the 53-year-old Udayakumar has been forced to shift base from the St Lourdes Matha Church in Idinthakarai to Koothankuli, where more than 200 volunteers guard him day and night. In a candid interview, the antinuke activist tells Jeemon Jacob why PMANE will continue its struggle and why he cannot rule out the possibility of entering politics.

SP Udayakumar
SP Udayakumar

EXCERPTS FROM AN INTERVIEW

Loading of fuel is in progress at the Koodankulam plant. Do you feel that you are on the verge of a losing battle?
Our struggle will not end tomorrow, it will go on forever. We have been protesting against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) since 1989 and have intensified the protest in the last 406 days. It’s true that KKNPP has started loading fuel at its plants violating all safety norms, but now, the Supreme Court has also raised the question of safety. When we started our struggle, we knew that our path would not be easy. Today, there are more than 10,000 people in Idinthakarai sitting in protest. Another 8,000 are protesting in Koothankuli. There are other villages protesting too. It has become a mass movement and mass movements with conviction seldom die.

But, what’s the point in protesting after the nuclear plant becomes operational?
We have reached a point of no return. Over the last 10 days, police has unleashed terror in our villages. They raided our homes, arresting women and children and registering sedition cases against thousands of people. They did not even spare the old and the handicapped. Around 350 cases have been registered against two lakh people in the coastal areas. “With SP Udayakumar, Pushparayan Victoria and 400 others,” they can even register cases against the unborn. People within a 7 km radius have been accused in at least half a dozen criminal cases. What crimes have we done? Is it a crime to sit and fast when you have grievances? We are fighting for a larger cause.

There are rumours that you are going to fight Lok Sabha election on a DMK ticket.
That’s a joke. For me, People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) is not a shortcut to politics. I did not join PMANE to become a leader. I live in Nagercoil, 35 km from Koodankulam with my family. I joined the Koodankulam struggle, as I believe that nuclear power endangers the lives of people. We have collectively taken a decision and stuck to it. As of now, I’ve no intentions of contesting elections. A section of our people wanted the anti-nuke movement to take a political turn, as we were ditched by all political parties. But I’ve strong reservations against it. We have no political colour and are driven by a cause. I wanted PMANE to remain like that. But it’s not my decision that will decide the course of our struggle.

Do you miss Idinthakarai?
I do. It was my second home for more than a year. I know everyone in that village. When I told them about my decision to surrender to the police, the women wept and the men lifted me, put me in a boat and brought me to Koothankuli. Their love and affection touched me. When I first came to Idinthakarai in 2004, I never thought the place was going to make my destiny.

How’s your life in Koothankuli?
I’ve put on weight. I’m sleeping and eating better. They take care of me well. This village is one of the toughest and most daring villages on the coast. I’m safe here.

Jeemon Jacob is Bureau Chief, South with Tehelka. 
jeemonj@gmail.com

IMMEDIATE RELEASE-Brutality of the state exposed on Fabricated Cases


MEDIA RELEASE: 29 September, New Delhi

BRUTALITY OF THE STATE EXPOSED ON FABRICATED CASES: JURY CALLS FOR SPECIAL LEGAL SUPPORT MECHANISM FOR VICTIMS

DSC04362 300x168 BRUTALITY OF THE STATE EXPOSED ON FABRICATED CASES: JURY CALLS FOR SPECIAL LEGAL SUPPORT MECHANISM FOR VICTIMSNew Delhi: ‘It has been established beyond doubt that the Indian police and investigative agencies have for years run a systematic campaign to brutalize citizens by way of punishing them for defending their homeland, farms and communities, or for simply belonging to a certain community that is labeled as being involved in terrorism’ said the interim jury recommendations at a two day peoples hearing on fabricated cases at the Constitution Club. Jury members included Justice Rajinder Sachar Dr. Ram Puniyani, Dr. Binayak Sen and journalists Saba Naqvi and Ajit Shahi.

The depositions from across the country thoroughly exposed the role of the Indian state in fabricating cases of sedition and terrorism to implicate tens of thousands of innocent citizens across India.

The Jury also noted that ‘the Indian judiciary has for the large part been complicit in giving the police a free pass in this evil endeavor. This has only extended the ambit of misery that has incarcerated innocents for years, devastating lives and families’.

Saba Naqvi emphasized that the civil society groups, activists, and solidarity groups that work with the victims of fabricated cases and their families begin documenting in detail each such case around the country so that a single resource base is created to aid concerted action as well as to spread awareness.

jury 1 300x225 BRUTALITY OF THE STATE EXPOSED ON FABRICATED CASES: JURY CALLS FOR SPECIAL LEGAL SUPPORT MECHANISM FOR VICTIMSDr. Binayak Sen recommended that the campaigns explore the establishment of a legal support mechanism for the victims of fabricated cases so that they are supported throughout the life of their cases in pursuing a legal defense. He also added that the campaigns need to explore the possibility of bringing class actions suits and criminal law suits before the higher courts to plug the loopholes in the criminal jurisprudence system that lead to the fabrications.

Civil society groups at the meeting will ensure that National Human Rights Commission and the state human rights commissions be pressured to create special cells devoted exclusively to dealing with fabricated cases on sedition and terrorism.

The public hearing also recommended that the government be pressured to bring action against police officers who are established to have forged evidences and fabricated such cases of terrorism and sedition against innocent citizens.

It is also recommended that the campaigns work towards taking the issue of fabricated cases of sedition and terrorism to international civil rights forums, and evaluate the application of the various international protocols that relate to the practice of war.

On the second day of the peoples hearing depositions were made on behalf of Kerala politician Abdul Nasser Maudany by former MP Sebastian Paul and Omar Mukhtar, the eldest son of Maudany. Suresh Velamanoor from the Dalit Human Rights Movement (DHRM) spoke about how the Kerala police branded his organization as a terrorist outfit.

Anjum Habib from the Muslim Khwateen Markaz ( Muslim Womens Organisation) in Kashmir spoke about how she was falsely implicated under POTA and spent five years in Tihar Jail. Neena Ningombam and Babloo Loitongbam from Manipur spoke about tragic cases of more than 1500 young people who were killed in extra judicial encounters. Ningombam spoke about the loss of her husband in a fake encounter and her continuing struggle for justice not just for herself but hundreds of young widows in Manipur.

The final jury recommendations and report of the meeting will soon be released by the organizers.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
For more information contact:

Wilfred D Costa- 011-26517814. Email: willyindia@gmail.com
P T George – 011-26560133. Email: ihpindia@gmail.com
Sajeed K. –08891163485 Email: sajeedacl@gmail.com

Nuking peaceful protests: democracy is at stake in Koodankulam


 

Praful Bidwai at http://www.dianuke.org/

Even zealous supporters of nuclear power should logically concede three things to their opponents. First, after Fukushima, it’s natural for people everywhere to be deeply sceptical of the claimed safety of nuclear power, and for governments to phase out atomic programmes, as is happening in countries like Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and now Japan.

Second, nuclear power, like all technologies, should be promoted democratically, with the consent of the people living in the vicinity, and with scrupulous regard for civil liberties. And third, safety must be paramount in reactor construction and operation, with strict adherence to norms and full compliance with the rules laid down by an independent safety authority.

The way the Indian government has dealt with the opponents of the Koodankulam nuclear reactors being built in Tamil Nadu violates all three red lines. Rather than treat such opposition as natural, logical and an indication of citizens’ engagement with the world, the Department of Atomic Energy and its subsidiary Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd see it as a pathological condition to be cured by psychiatrists from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore.

The government has all along demonised Koodankulam’s opponents. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, no less, vilified them as inspired by “foreign-funded” NGOs without citing an iota of evidence. The government even deported a German tourist living in a Rs200-a-day room, alleging he was “masterminding” and financing the agitation. This week, it summarily deported three Japanese activists who were planning to visit Koodankulam. All this shows official disconnect with reality. Globally, nuclear power was in retreat even before Fukushima. The number of operating reactors peaked 10 years ago, and their installed capacity has been falling since 2010. Nuclear’s share of global power generation has declined from its peak (17 percent) to about 11 percent.

Post-Fukushima, the global nuclear industry faces its worst-ever credibility crisis. With increasingly adverse public opinion, and rising reactor costs (which have tripled over a decade), it’ll probably go into terminal decline. Jeff Immelt of General Electric, one of the world’s largest suppliers of atomic equipment says, nuclear power is “really hard to justify”. However, India continues its Nuclear March of Folly and has unleashed savage repression against anti-nuclear protesters. Hundreds of FIRs have been lodged against several thousands of people in Koodankulam (according to one estimate, an incredible 55,000 people), and many are charged with sedition and waging war against the state – for organising protests without a single violent incident.

It’s hard to think of another occasion, including the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, or the 1992 Babri demolition, where the state has charged so many people with such grave offences. On September 10, the police launched a vicious lathi and tear-gas attack on peaceful protesters although they were obstructing nobody’s movement. The police literally drove many agitators into the sea, molested women, arrested scores and looted their houses. Police firing killed a fisherman.

A fact-finding team led by Justice BG Kolse-Patil and senior journalist Kalpana Sharma describes the Koodankulam situation as a “reign of terror”, marked by “extreme and totally unjustified” use of force, physical abuse, vindictive detention of 56 people, including juveniles, and targeting of women. Such thug-like police behaviour, it says, “has no place in a country that calls itself democratic”. Yet, repression of movements against destructive projects is becoming part of a deplorable pattern in India. No socially desirable project can be built on the ashes of citizens. This in and of itself is a strong reason to oppose the Koodankulam reactors.

Manmohan Singh last year suspended work at Koodankulam and promised to allay people’s apprehensions regarding safety. But he had no intention of doing so. The sarkari experts he appointed didn’t even bother to meet the people’s representatives or answer their queries about the site’s vulnerability to tsunamis, volcanic activity and earthquakes. People’s fears grew as NPCIL refused to share relevant information with them, including the Site Evaluation and the Safety Analysis Reports. Despite a Right to Information request, a legal petition and a parliament question, NPCIL failed to disclose the text of an Indo-Russian intergovernmental agreement, which reportedly absolves the reactors’ supplier of any liability for an accident.

This puts a disturbing question-mark over the official claim that the reactors are safe, and accidents are all but impossible. If so, why is the supplier evading liability? That brings us to the third factor mentioned above: NPCIL’s non-compliance with safety protocols, and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board’s approval for fuel-loading in breach of the own norms. This is a grim story. Last year, following Fukushima, the AERB set up under state orders a task force to suggest improvements in reactor safety. This made 17 recommendations, pertaining to freshwater and power backup, improved sensors and instrumentation, etc.

The Koodankulam plant is not compliant with as many as 11 of the 17. The AERB first told the Madras High Court that it wouldn’t permit fuel-loading unless full compliance was established. But within four days, it made an about-turn – probably under pressure from the government. As the comptroller and accountant general has established in a recent report, the AERB lacks independence and is totally subservient to the government. On August 10, it permitted NPCIL to start fuel loading. NPCIL has since been loading live nuclear fuel into the first reactor. This is wrong and dangerous, and shows reckless disregard for safety procedures.

The AERB is guilty of yet more safety violations. Its own rules say there must be absolutely no population in the “exclusion zone” covering a 1.6km radius from the plant, and that the population in the 5km area must be under 20,000. Now, as anyone who has been to Koodankulam will testify, a a tsunami rehabilitation colony, with 450 tenements, stands less than 1km from the plant. At least 40,000 people live within a 5km radius. The AERB, supposedly the public’s nuclear watchdog, has turned a blind eye to this. Equally disgraceful is its failure to enforce another rule which stipulates that no fuel-loading be permitted until an off-site emergency preparedness drill is completed within a 16km radius under the joint supervision of NPCIL, the district administration, the state government and the National Disaster Management Authority.

This involves full evacuation procedures, with prior warning, identification of routes, commandeering of vehicles, and clear instructions to the public. No such drill was ever conducted. And yet, the AERB cleared initial fuel-loading. This amounts to playing with the public’s life.

India is loath to move away from nuclear power although the world is abandoning it rapidly. The transition is fastest in the OECD countries, which account for 70 percent of the world’s 429 reactors. There are just two reactors under construction in the West. Both are mired in safety problems, long delays and 130 percent-plus cost overruns. Even France, which gets 80 percent of its electricity from atomic reactors – a fact the global nuclear industry repeats as if that were clinching proof of its own safety and reliability – will reduce its nuclear dependence to 50 percent by 2025.

As nuclear declines, global investment in clean, flexible renewable sources like wind and solar has grossed $1 trillion since 2004. Their costs are falling dramatically. Renewables are the future.

The writer, a former newspaper editor, is a researcher and peace and human-rights activist based in Delhi. Email: prafulbidwai1 @yahoo.co.in

 

Activist ‘surrenders’ before court to highlight pollution of lake #mustread #ganapati


SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, The Hindu, Sept 25, Salem

Says immersion of Vinayaka idols has polluted the Mookeneri Lake

Moral responsibility:V. Piyush Sethia (right), an environmentalist, came to Salem court to surrender on Monday.- Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan

Moral responsibility:V. Piyush Sethia (right), an environmentalist, came to Salem court to surrender on Monday.- Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan

Taking moral responsibility that he was not able to save the picturesque Mookeneri Lake, here, from a bunch of polluters, who immersed idols of Lord Vinayaka, made of plaster of Paris and toxic dyes in it, a Salem-based environmentalist V. Piyush Sethia, Convener, Salem Citizens’ Forum, which resurrected the lake into a throbbing water spread that was once a PWD’s cesspool, ‘surrendered’ before a Salem judicial court here on Monday.

The activist’s ‘surrender,’ with no case pending against him in any police station in this particular issue, had caught the Judicial Magistrate No. 4 N. Vijayalakshmi and a host of lawyers and litigant public, unawares. After going through his petition, which claimed that he ‘surrendered,’ since, as a responsible member of Salem Citizens’ Forum, he had failed to keep his promise given to stakeholders at the time of rejuvenation that the lake would not be ‘abused’ for purpose other than water holding and ayacut use.

Perplexed, the Magistrate after seeking his explanation told the petitioner’s lawyer P. Mayan that she had to consult legal experts and senior colleagues before deciding the fate of his ‘surrender petition.’ “But later in the evening the Magistrate had dismissed the petition itself pointing out that it had enclosed no supportive documents such as FIR or any specific complaint filed against the petitioner in this regard,” Mr. Mayan said.

Talking to The Hindu, Sethia said despite knowing well in advance that chemical-coated idols would be immersed in the lake, he failed in his duty as a responsible citizen to stop it.

“As the Forum’s convener I could not also stop the massive pollution that the immersion caused to the lake, illegal under the provisions of Air and Water Act of Environment Protection Act 1986 and Tamil Nadu Public Property Damages Act. I construed it as negligence on my part, which is an abetment to crime. Hence I surrendered,” he said.

He further said the City Police had permitted the immersion of idols – all made of plaster of Paris and toxic dyes in the lake. “We gave the Police Commissioner a petition against the immersion of such toxic coated idols. He assured us of ‘rule of law.’ Believing him, we did not take the matter to Collector, PWD and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to stop it,” he said. He and others were not against the immersion of idols that are made of clay and natural dyes.

Painful sight

It was a painful sight to see the water spread of Mookeneri Lake, now home to rare water birds, fish and exotic plants, and a much sought-after tourist spot, turning poisonous. “We in the Forum are developing many lakes under private-public partnership. But all our concerted efforts go waste when such environmental vandalism goes on unchecked,” he said.

He has decided to approach City Police to register a case against him – again for abetment to a crime.

 

 


  • Piyush Sethia was involved in the restoration of Mookaneri Lake
  • Vinayaka Idols made of plaster of Paris and toxic dyes were immersed in the lake recently

     

The one and only Fimfare Award winner for #Sholay, dies in penury #RIP


 

Sholay

.

PTI

MUMBAI: Film editor M S Shinde (83), who edited over 100 hit films, including Sholay, died in penury here on Friday, at the PMGP Colony in a tiny 160 square feet room where he stayed with his youngest daughter Achala.. “It was old age and lack of enough finances to take care of my father in his old age.” said Achla

Shinde’s daughter Achla, who has been taking care of her father for nearly a decade, said, “It is sad the film industry forgets people once they retire. Even after the media wrote about my father’s financial and health condition nobody from the film industry came forward to help.”

Until six months ago, they were living in Parel, in central Mumbai. But the building collapsed and they were forced to shift to the slums after the building’s owner reportedly refused to help them.

“We had to shift here because the building had collapsed and there was no help as such,” Prerna , his elder daughter said.

He was keeping unwell for quite some time and was unable to pay his medical bills. The cine wing of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) had offered to help him financially.

Back in his younger days, Mr Shinde used to work on a monthly payroll of Rs 2,000 with Ramesh Sippy. He has edited most of Ramesh Sippy’s movies like Seeta Aur GeetaSholay and Shaanamong others.

The veteran also worked with producers like I S Johar and Sanjay Khan, F C Mehra and others. Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Zamanna Deewana was his last film in 1995. He had bagged the Filmfare award for best editing for Sholay in 1975.

 Sholay was nominated for nine film fare awards but it was only M S Shinde  film’s editor, and the only person to win a Filmfare award for  Sholay. He has edited over 100 movies over the years, including ‘films like SagarSeeta Aur GeetaBrahmachari and Ram Jaane. Shinde had fallen on hard times and had been living in PMGP Colony in Dharavi for the last two years. He was forced to shift there after the building he lived in Parel collapsed and the owner refused to help. Achla said, “There are so many producers who have not paid my father but he had too much self-respect to go and ask for his dues.”

Shinde did not like to talk about his condition. It was the late Dadasaheb Phalke‘s great grand daughter-in-law Mrudula who found about his condition and approached the cine wing of the MNS which has now offered to help.Veteran actor AK Hangal, who passed away last month, too had needed financial help. Bollywood came to Hangal’s rescue but Shinde and his family were left to fend for themselves.

Shinde lost his wife Prafula to cancer in 2006 and is survived by three daughters — Prerna, Achala and Renuka.

His last rites were performed in the evening at around 7.30 pm at Shivaji Park.

 

Couples who share the housework are more likely to divorce, #wtfstudy #wtfnews


 

 

Divorce rates are far higher among “modern” couples who share the housework than in those where the woman does the lion’s share of the chores, a Norwegian study has found.

The report found the divorce rate among couples who shared housework equally was around 50 per cent higher than among those where the woman did most of the work.  Photo: ALAMY
Henry Samuel

By , Paris, The Telegraph

27 Sep 2012

In what appears to be a slap in the face for gender equality, the report found the divorce rate among couples who shared housework equally was around 50 per cent higher than among those where the woman did most of the work.

“What we’ve seen is that sharing equal responsibility for work in the home doesn’t necessarily contribute to contentment,” said Thomas Hansen, co-author of the study entitled “Equality in the Home”.

The lack of correlation between equality at home and quality of life was surprising, the researcher said.

“One would think that break-ups would occur more often in families with less equality at home, but our statistics show the opposite,” he said.

The figures clearly show that “the more a man does in the home, the higher the divorce rate,” he went on.

“Maybe it’s sometimes seen as a good thing to have very clear roles with lots of clarity … where one person is not stepping on the other’s toes,” he suggested.

“There could be less quarrels, since you can easily get into squabbles if both have the same roles and one has the feeling that the other is not pulling his or her own weight.”

But the deeper reasons for the higher divorce rate, he suggested, came from the values of “modern” couples rather than the chores they shared.

“Modern couples are just that, both in the way they divide up the chores and in their perception of marriage” as being less sacred, Mr Hansen said. “In these modern couples, women also have a high level of education and a well-paid job, which makes them less dependent on their spouse financially.

They can manage much easier if they divorce,” he said. Norway has a long tradition of gender equality and childrearing is shared equally between mothers and fathers in 70 per cent of cases.

But when it comes to housework, women in Norway still account for most of it in seven out of 10 couples. The study emphasised women who did most of the chores did so of their own volition and were found to be as “happy” those in “modern” couples.

Dr Frank Furedi, Sociology professor at the University of Canterbury, said the study made sense as chore sharing took place more among couples from middle class professional backgrounds, where divorce rates are known to be high.

“These people are extremely sensitive to making sure everything is formal, laid out and contractual. That does make for a fairly fraught relationship,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

“The more you organise your relationship, the more you work out diaries and schedules, the more it becomes a business relationship than an intimate, loving spontaneous one.

“That tends to encourage a conflict of interest rather than finding harmonious resolutions.” He said while the survey applied to Norway, he was confident the results would be the same in the UK.

“In a good relationship people simply don’t know who does what and don’t particularly care. “Unless marriage is a relationship above anything else, then whenever there are tensions or contradictions things come to a head. You have less capacity to forgive and absorb the bad stuff.”

The survey appeared to contradict another recent one across seven countries including Britain that found that men who shouldered a bigger share of domestic responsibilities had a better sense of wellbeing and enjoyed a better work-life balance.

The researchers expected to find that where men shouldered more of the burden, women’s happiness levels were higher. In fact they found that it was the men who were happier while their wives and girlfriends appeared to be largely unmoved.

Those men who did more housework generally reported less work-life conflict and were scored slightly higher for wellbeing overall.

Experts suggested that, while this may be partly because they felt less guilty, the main reason could be that they had simply learnt the secret of a quiet life.

 

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