Handbook for Bloggers and cyber- dissidents #mustshare

via @ConQueso1

Bloggers cause anxiety. Governments are wary of these men and women, who are posting news, without being professional journalists. Worse, bloggers sometimes raise sensitive issues which the media, now known as “traditional”, do not dare cover. Blogs have in some countries become a source of news in their own right.

Nearly 120,000 blogs are created every day. Certainly the blogosphere is not just adorned by gems of courage and truth. It is also often the source of confusion and dis-information and not all bloggers have the souls of reporters. That is why this handbook contains advice on creating and updating a blog, with no other ambition than that of free expression. For others it will be a struggle to draw attention to a particular issue. The first concern therefore is to make a publication visible (see the Jotman article). This hand-book also suggests ploys to get your blog well referenced online (see the Olivier Andrieu article) as well as “editorial” recommendations (Get your blog to stand out, by Mark Glazer).

Let’s acknowledge that blogs are a fantastic tool for freedom of expression. They have unloosed the tongues of ordinary citizens. People who were until now only consumers of news have become players in a new form of journalism, a “grassroots” journalism, as expressed by Dan Gillmor (Grassroots journalism — see the chapter What ethics should bloggers have?), that is “by the people for the people”. Blogs are more or less controllable for those who want to keep them under surveillance. Governments that are most up to do date with new technology use the most sophisticated filtering or blocking techniques, preventing them from appearing on the Web at all. But bloggers don’t just sit back and let it happen. The essential question becomes how to blog in complete safety. With a normal IP address, a blogger can be tracked down and arrested. Anonymity allows them to keep their freedom (See “How to blog anonymously).

In countries where censorship holds sway, blogs are sometimes the only source of news. During the events in Burma in the autumn of 2007, pitting monks and the people against the military junta, bloggers were the main source of news for foreign journalists. Their video footage made it possible to gauge the scale of the protests and what demonstrators’ demands were. For more than two months, marches were held in the streets, then a massive crackdown was launched against opponents that only the Burmese were able to show, so hard did it become for the few foreign journalists who managed to enter the country to get back out with their footage. And bloggers could not get the footage out without getting round online censorship imposed by the government.

This handbook seeks to help every blogger to fill in the “black holes” In news. The second part is devoted to techniques which can thwart filtering technology (Choosey our method to get round censorship by Nart Villeneuve). With a little good sense and persistence and above all finding the technique best suited to the situation, every blogger should be capable of shaking off censorship.

Clothilde Le Coz
Head of the Internet Freedom desk

Note Anonymiss Express: contains


Read it on scribd and download


# India-Child threatened over homework dies after suicide attempt

A ten-year-old boy who immolated himself in Bijapur succumbed to his injuries on Saturday. The fourth standard student was reportedly depressed because his teacher had threatened to punish him if he did not do his homework.

The child was admitted to hospital with severe burns last week after his suicide attempt. No case has been registered against the teacher. The incident came to light after the boy was found missing at the school prayer meeting.

Ironically,  had just read yesterday, in times of india view and counter view on the issue

Study says homework doesn’t help students score better grades

Dec 1, 2012, 12.00AM IST


Still a key part of education

According to the study carried out by University of Virginia researchers – one in which they looked at the transcripts and grades of more than 18,000 Xth grade students – homework doesn’t necessarily help children get higher grades, although it may help them get better standardised test scores. On the face of it, the criticism is valid in India as well. Students in a large number of schools here – both public and private – are burdened with large amounts of homework from an early age. But to conclude from this that homework per se is unnecessary would be to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Does homework need to be rethought so that it is less of a burden and engages the child more effectively? Certainly. As the co-author said, homework should be used to integrate what is going on in the classroom, not simply make the student work for the sake of working. That being said, having homework in some form at least is essential in the Indian system where teacher quality, interest and student per teacher ratio are all often below acceptable norms. In such an environment where classroom learning can be painfully inadequate, homework’s supplementary effect can be crucial. The homework-free style can only work in an ideal education system, and India’s is very far from that.

Even more importantly, the study only measures a narrow, quantifiable aspect of homework’s effects. There are other intangibles that are crucial. Handling homework equips students with a whole set of work and life skills – from taking responsibility for one’s work to work discipline to learning how to research information – that are essential in work life and higher education. And isn’t learning those skills as much a part of a child’s education as learning how to score well in an exam?


Homework should be abolished

Meghna Roy

School is stressing out our youngsters, as evidenced in the high number of school students committing suicide. We should, therefore, be committed to removing stress from the school system. A primary contributor to stress is the oppressive burden of daily homework foisted on the student. Wrestling with piles of homework, whose load seems to increase every day, parent and kids alike are exhausted in equal measure. The truth is that much of the take-home assignments are simply an act of faith, without benefiting the overworked students.

After long-drawn school hours, kids return home and immediately get down to tackling the day’s homework. Where is the time to relax and do other extra-curricular activi-ties? Little wonder that kids, these days, appear highly-strung and reluctant to go to school. School-related stomachaches, headaches, sleep problems and depression are on the rise. The constant pressure of moving from one deadline to another leaves them perpetually harassed. Parents too have a hard time, often doing a major part of the homework to help out the child. Is homework necessary to get good grades? There’s no foundation for this belief. The fear and pressure of homework exhaust students, killing their curiosity and most importantly their keenness and desire to learn. In many countries like the US, Denmark and Japan, schools have cut down on or entirely eliminated homework, since it contributes nothing to learning or creativity.

At home the debate over homework is yet to have an impact. Even though there’s been discussion around inordinately heavy school bags which burden children, directly linked to the issue of homework. More than a decade ago the Yashpal committee report had proposed concrete suggestions to lessen the school bag load. Regrettably, they haven’t yet come to fruition. Junk the pointless system of homework, and don’t overburden our kids.


NDTV employee missing, please help with information #mustshare

NDTV.com | Updated: November 30, 2012 14:28 IST

NDTV employee missing, please help with information

New DelhiRavi Nibhanapudi, 26, who works with NDTV has been missing since Saturday. His family says he left Delhi on Friday, November 24, 2012 , for a trip to Dharamsala and McLeodganj in Himachal Pradesh.He was reportedly traveling alone.

His phone is switched off. Local officials have organised a search for him with assistance from the army and trekkers’ associations.

  • Please contact 9811158193, 9711939664 with any relevant information.

If you have any information about him, please contact Anasuya Mathur at 011-26446666.

#India-Torture upon a dalit woman suffering from PTSD in Govt hospital #WestBengal



The Chairman

National Human Rights Commission

Faridkot House

Copernicus Marg

New delhi-110 001


Respected Sir,


I want to draw your attention on an incident where a young woman from Schedule Caste community named; Ms. Sarathi Mondal is the victim of medical negligence, physical torture and mental harassment by the perpetrators Ms. Ashima Mistri (staff nurse), Ms. Samejan bibi and Ms. Rabeya Bibi (both midwives) and Dr. Sujoy Modak (attending doctor), all attached with Sadikhans Dearh Rural Hospital, Block- Jalangi under district Mursidabad.


While the victim family tried to lodge a complaint to the local police station; Jalangi, on 6.10.2012 the Officer in Charge refused to register the same. The father of the victim made similar complaint to the respective Block Medical Officer (Health). Later a meeting for settlement of the issue has been organized on 8.10.2012 where local Member of Assembly, Officer in Charge of the police station and BMOH were present, in first instance the said Officer in Charge of Jalangi police station bluntly denied the happening of the incident, though the MLA told the victim family that he will take up the issue in coming seven days but no recourse measures has been taken till date. Police of Jalangi police station refused to register the complaint as a cognizable offence.


I am attaching a brief account of the incident with medical documents for your easy reference and demanding for:-


  1. Immediate and impartial investigation of the incident
  2. The written complaint made by the father of the victim should be treated as an FIR
  3. The attending doctor, staff nurse and midwives should be booked with proper legal provisions regarding causing grievous bodily harm and intense psychological torment 
  4. The Officer in Charge of the Jalangi police station should be booked for delinquency in his official duty
  5. The victim should be duly compensated



Thanking you,

Yours truly,




Kirity Roy

Secretary, MASUM


National Convener, PACTI



Name of the victim: – Ms. Sarathi Mondal, wife of- Mr. Ratan Mondal, aged about- 22 years, residing at Village- Sabrampur, Post Office- Sabrampur, Police Station- Jalangi, District- Mursidabad.


Name of the perpetrators: –

  1. Doctor Sujoy Modak
  2. Ms. Ashima Mistri
  3. Ms. Samejan bibi and Ms. Rabeya Bibi
  4. Officer-in- Charge of Jalangi Police Station


Date and time of the incident: – On 01/10/2012 & 02/10/2012 from 8 pm to 4 am on respective dates


Place of the incident: – Sadikhans Dearh Rural Hospital


Case details: –


On 01/10/2012 the victim was on her labour and admitted to the said hospital by her father and mother in law. She was admitted by Dr. Sujoy Modak under his observation. But no bed was provided to her and in the early morning on 2.10.2012 she gave birth of a male child on the floor of the said health centre. After child birth she was provided a bed. After her admission on 1.10.2012 at 8 pm at the said hospital, while she was lamenting due to severe pain which was quite normal during the labour, Ms. Ashima Mistri (staff nurse) and her two midwives namely Ms. Samejan Bibi and Ms. Rabeya Bibi got furious and beaten her with fisticuffs and kicked her on her lower parts of the waist, at the presence of attending doctor; Dr. Sujoy Modak, he not even resisted the wrongdoers from their inhumane act. Irate Ms. Ashima Mistri yet attacked the victim with a pair of scissors after she gave birth of a child. Ms. Ashima Mistri caused severe cuts on her thighs and private parts with the scissor. Due to that she was unable to properly walk for a month. Physical bashing on her ears was caused a temporary deafness.    


On 02/10/2012, she was discharged from that health centre. The victim’s father and some villagers went to Jalangi Police Station on 6.10.2012 to make a complaint against Ms. Ashima Mistri and others but the said police station refused register the complaint.


After 6 days on 8.10.2012, a meeting was arranged in the said hospital where local MLA, Officer-in- Charge (Jalangi Police Station), BDO, BMOH with Ms. Ashima Mistri, Ms. Samejan Bibi and Ms. Rabeya Bibi were present but without any appropriate recourse for the victim.


In that meeting, the Officer-in- Charge told that the entire incident was false. MLA promised to go through the entire case within 7 days and told that the perpetrators would be punished. But he did not take any necessary steps against the said culprits.


While our psychological counselor observed the mental condition of the victim on 22.1.2012, he opined that she is still under severe fear and sense of panic over (PTSD) the incident and her physical condition is also worrying. She was examined in our medical camp, supported by UNVFVT (United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture). It is also to be noted that the victim was also treated by the on duty medical officer of Sadi Khan’s Dearh Rural Hospital on 6th October 2012 while the doctor registered that she was physically assaulted. 

Inline images 1

Ms. Sarathi Mondal

Inline images 2

Treatment sheet of Govt. hospital

Inline images 3


Kirity Roy
Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha
National Convenor (PACTI)
Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity
40A, Barabagan Lane (4th Floor)
Balaji Place
PIN- 712203
Tele-Fax – +91-33-26220843
Phone- +91-33-26220844 / 0845
e. mail : kirityroy@gmail.com
Web: www.masum.org.in

Online #censorship: How government should approach regulation of speech

2 Dec, 2012, 06.21AM IST,  ET

If the government’s answer to ‘bad’ online content is more censorship, more surveillance and more regulation, then they are doing it wrong.

If the government’s answer to ‘bad’ online content is more censorship, more surveillance and more regulation, then they are doing it wrong.
Why is there a constant brouhaha in India about online censorship? What must be done to address this?Of course, we must get the basics right — bad law has to be amended, read down by courts or repealed, and bad implementation of law should be addressed via reform and capacity building for the police. But most importantly those in power must understand how to approach the regulation of speech.To begin with, speech is regulated across the world. Even in the US — contrary to popular impression in India — speech is regulated both online and offline.

However, law is not the basis of most of this regulation. Speech is largely regulated by social norms. Different corners of our online and offline society have quite complex forms of self-regulation.

The harm caused by speech is often proportionate to the power of the person speaking — it maybe unacceptable for a politician or a filmstar to make an inflammatory remark but that very same utterance from an ordinary citizen may be totally fine.

To complicate matters, the very same speech by the very same person could be harmful or harmless based on context. A newspaper editor may share obscene jokes with friends in a bar, but may not take similar liberties in an editorial.

The legal scholar Alan Dershowitz tells us, “The best answer to bad speech is good speech.” More recently the quote has been amended, with “more speech” replacing “good speech”.

Censorship by the state has to be reserved for the rarest of rare circumstances. This is because censorship usually results in unintended consequences.

The “Streisand Effect”, named after the singer-actor Barbra Streisand, is one of these consequences wherein attempts to hide or censor information only result in wider circulation and greater publicity.

The Maharashtra police’s attempt to censor the voices of two women has resulted in their speech being broadcast across the nation on social and mainstream media. If the state had instead focused on producing good speech and more speech, nobody would have even heard of these women.

Circumventing Censorship

Peer-to-peer technologies on the internet mimic the topology of human networks and can also precipitate unintended consequences when subject to regulation. John Gilmore, a respected free software developer, puts it succinctly: “The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.”

Most of the internet censorship in the US is due to IPR-enforcement activities. This is why Christopher Soghoian, a leading privacy activist, attributes the massive adoption of privacy-enhancing technologies such as proxies and VPNs (virtual private networks) by American consumers to the crackdown on online piracy.

n India, and even when the government has had legitimate reasons to regulate speech, there have been unintended consequences.During the exodus of people from the North-east, the five SMS per day restriction imposed by the government resulted in another exodus from SMS to alternative messaging platforms such as BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), WhatsApp and Twitter.In both cases the circumvention of censorship by the users has resulted in a worsening situation for law-enforcement organisations — VPNs and applications like WhatsApp are much more difficult to monitor and regulate.

Mixed Memes

Regulation of speech also cannot be confused with cyber war or security. Speech can occasionally have security implications but that cannot be the basis for enlightened regulation.

A cyber war expert may be tempted to think of censored content as weapons, but unlike weapons that usually remain lethal, content that can cause harm today may become completely harmless tomorrow. This is unlike a computer virus or malware. For example, during the exodus, the online edition of ET featured the complete list of 309 URLs that were in the four block orders issued by the government to ISPs.

However, this did not result in fresh harm, demonstrating the fallacy of cyber war analogies. A cyber security expert, on the other hand, may be tempted to implement a 360° blanket surveillance to regulate speech, but as Gilmore again puts it, “If you’re watching everybody, you’re watching nobody.”

In short, if your answer to bad speech is more censorship, more surveillance and more regulation, then as the internet meme goes, “You’re Doing It Wrong”.

(The writer is executive director, Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore)


Jharkhand government digging up old cases against activists to silence them

Muzzled in Jharkhand

Unable to deal with rising protests against land acquisition, the Jharkhand government is digging up old cases against activists to silence them. Soumik Mukherjee reports

Gagged Xavier Dias was earlier honoured by the Jharkhand government for fighting for tribal rights

IN YET another case of witch-hunt against grassroots activists, the Jharkhand government on 24 November arrested anti-mining activist Xavier Dias and five of his colleagues. The State was acting on the basis of a 21-year-old case for their alleged role in leading a protest against Tata’s iron ore mine in Noamundi, in the West Singbhum district. This is the latest in a spate of arrests, which started with Dayamani Barla’s detention amid a crackdown on the land rights movement in Nagri village near Ranchi.

Though Dias and his colleagues were granted bail on 26 November, the arrest raises questions about the intentions of the current BJP-led government in the state. Jharkhand was formed in 2000, after a long movement for separation from Bihar, as a new state meant for the tribal-dominated population of the region.

Dias was a part of the movement for a separate Jharkhand when the Bihar Police filed the case against him in 1991. Ironically, when the state was formed, he was honoured by the state government for his role in the ‘freedom movement’, and assured that he and his colleagues would be acquitted of all the charges against them. “This is a State ploy. They never close the old cases and use them whenever they want to,” says Dias.

The arrest follows a long period of police harassment and intimidation. “The persons arrested with Dias are all mining labourers. They couldn’t stand the police harassment and surrendered before the court along with Dias,” says Gopinath Ghosh, Dias’ colleague.

Dias has dealt serious blows to the pro-mining policies in Jharkhand, infamous for its mining scams, and has vehemently opposed land acquisition for mining projects.

The current scenario of growing people’s movements in the state explains why the BJP-led government is raking up old cases against these activists. Dias’s arrest came when he was preparing for a protest against the expansion of a mine owned by Tata in Noamundi.

The villagers of Noamundi have written a letter to the Central Pollution Control Board alleging that the expansion doesn’t follow the norms set by the agency. “Even the public hearing for land acquisition was a fraud. It was held inside the Tata Iron and Steel Company (TISCO) facility, heavily guarded by the police. The villagers had no say in the entire process,” says a protestor on condition of anonymity.

Dias believes that efforts to silence dissenting voices will only increase in the future

Dias believes that these efforts to silence dissenting voices will only increase in the future. “People’s movements and dissent among the masses against land grabbing and other anti-Adivasi activities have reached their zenith in this state. The government fears a retaliation from the people, so they’ll keep detaining those who lead such movements,” says Dias.

Earlier last month, Barla, who was leading a protest against land acquisition in Nagri, was detained in connection with a six-year-old case. Since her arrest on 16 October, her bail plea has been rejected thrice by the Ranchi High Court. “Barla is a person who can mobilise the people and the state fears such people. Look at what happened to Sunilam in Madhya Pradesh,” says Dias.

The arrest of Barla and Dias are indications that a state meant for tribals has strayed far away from the original vision with which it was formed. Not only are leaders being detained, criminal cases are also being slapped on minors in Nagri for ‘destroying peace’. All this seems to suggest that it will take a long time for the ‘freedom fighters’ of Jharkhand to achieve what they fought for.

Soumik Mukherjee is a Correspondent with Tehelka.


Bhopal Gas Tragedy Victims file petition for reissuing notice to Dow Chemicals

clean up Bhopal now

clean up Bhopal now (Photo credit: Ascanio)


SATURDAY, 01 DECEMBER 2012 18:32


Bhopal gas tragedy victims have filed a petition for reissuing the notice to Dow Chemicals Limited, USA. A victim’s delegation also met Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Friday demanding compensation for the environmental loss due to the tragedy.
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan Convener Abdul Jabbar said a petition has been filed by the organisation for reissuing of a notice issued by CJM Bhopal in January 2005 in wake of lifting of the stay in October this year. In January 2005 CJM issued a showcause notice to Dow Chemicals to reply that since they are the new owner of Union Carbide now why they should not be liable for the gas tragedy.
The organisation has also demanded that report of present status of a case filed by CBI in Delhi Metropolitan court in which permanent warrant has been issued against Warren Anderson and the sensitive gas tragedy file which at present is with Kochar Commission should be submitted before the CJM so that the hearing may proceed. Jabbar further said that a delegation led by him met Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Chief Secretary R Parshuram on Friday put their demands before them.
The main demands include that the criminal case of the gas leak tragedy should be heard in a special court so that the case can be completed speedily. The other demand is that the Indian Government should ask for compensation from Dow Chemicals for the environmental loss occurred due to the gas leak. They also demanded that a review of rehabilitation work and also the compensation amount should be done earnestly.



Bhopal tragedy: India yet to bring Warren Anderson, Union Carbide to book

LEMUEL LALL BHOPAL, NOVEMBER 29, 2012 | UPDATED 15:14 IST, Indiatoday.in

TAGS: Bhopal | Bhopal gas tragedy | Union Carbide |Warren Anderson | Warren Anderson extradition | Bhopal gas tragedy anniversary
Archive photos of the Bhopal gas tragedy
Archive photos of the Bhopal gas tragedy.
Even 28 years after the world’s worst industrial disaster – Bhopal Gas Tragedy, India has failed to extradite and try the prime accused in the case Warren Anderson, former Chairman of Union Carbide Corporation USA.

Four days after toxic gas spewed from the now defunct Bhopal Union Carbide Factory on December 3, 1984, killing more than 15,000 persons and maiming a huge number of people, Anderson came to the Madhya Pradesh capital via Mumbai from US but after being arrested for a few hours managed to escape using a landline phone kept in his detention room.

India Today Cover Story on the Bhopal Gas Tragedy

Since then he has not returned to face trial and is a declared fugitive in India.

“Had we removed the land line phone from his room, Anderson, would not have escaped. He possibly made calls from the phone to contacts in US to help him leave India,” the then Bhopal collector Moti Singh told India Today. The US Embassy reportedly mounted pressure on India government which budged and released Anderson, a resident of 39 Old Ridgebury Road, Danbury, Connecticut, USA, on bail.

After the verdict of June 7, 2010, convicting seven executives of Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) to two years imprisonment, was described as too little-too late and drew public outcry across the world, especially against Anderson, the Indian government in a damage-control exercise sent a fresh request to the US for his extradition according to the provisions of extradition treaty, on April 28, 2011.

Raghu Rai

After a reminder, the US Department of Justice on January 11 this year informed the Embassy of India in Washington that the matter is still under examination and no decision has yet been taken by them on extradition of Anderson.

Before this, the Indian government, which has been too kind to Anderson in May 2003, had forwarded a request for extradition of Anderson. This request was declined by the US in June 2004 stating that it didn’t meet the relevant provision of the Indo-USA extradition treaty of 1999.

In 2004, 2005 and 2008, the India government had taken up the matter with the US but Washington had turned down Anderson’s extradition requests.

The prosecuting agency in the case – Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is soft-peddling Anderson’s trial and this can be gauged from the fact that the country’s premier investigation agency had in 2002 filed an application in the then Bhopal Chief Judicial Magistrate Rameshwarjee Kote’s court for the recall of an arrest warrant issued against Anderson under section 304 (II) (culpable homicide inviting 10 years imprisonment, or a fine, or both) and issuance of fresh warrant under section 304 (a) (criminal negligence inviting 2 years imprisonment, or a fine, or both.

Pictures of the Bhopal gas tragedy

Kote dismissed this application on August 28, 2002.

On February 1, 1992, the Bhopal CJM court declared Anderson an absconder and ordered that UCIL property be attached to the state.

The CJM, Bhopal, had been pulling the CBI from time to time over Anderson and on September 7, 2001 it had directed the agency to furnish details of measures taken by government to extradite Anderson, on a petition moved by the NGOs working for the survivors of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.

The courts in Bhopal have issued non-bailable warrants against Anderson twice. The Bhopal Chief Judicial Magistrate issued a warrant on March 27, 1992 and Judicial Magistrate First Class Mohan P Tiwari issued the arrest warrant on July 2, 2009.

A one-man judicial commission, headed by retired Justice S L Kochar, formed in 2010 to probe into the gas tragedy by the state government has recently served a notice on Anderson. The Commission is also looking into the then government’s role in the arrest, release and safe passage given to Anderson to fly from Bhopal to Delhi and finally to the US.

Pictures of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy

According to the NGOs working for survivors of the tragedy, the Congress government and BJP led-NDA regime have been pussy-peddling on Anderson’s extradition.

“Anderson escaped from the country after the Congress government at the Centre buckled under US pressure in 1984. Similarly, the CBI when NDA government was power in 2002 tried to dilute charges against Anderson so he become non extraditable under the provisions of Indo-US Extradition Treaty,” Abdul Jabbar of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan – an NGO, says.

“We have filed a petition in the court seeking action against Moti Singh and the then Bhopal Superintendent of Police Swaraj Puri in connection with escape of Anderson. He was given a VIP treatment during detention and was given bail in a wrong way,” Jabbar says.

“We have filed an application under Freedom of Information Act in US to obtain information regarding the status on Anderson’s extradition,” Rachna Dhingra of Bhopal Group for Information and Action, an NGO, says. “We are pursuing the case,” she says.

Read more at:http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/bhopal-set-to-mourn-28-years-of-infamy-when-india-couldnt-bring-anderson-union-carbide-to-book/1/235289.html


Bhopal Gas Tragedy: City still breathes Methyl Isocyanate

Tags: Bhopal Gas Tragedy , Bhopal , Methyl Isocyanate , UCIL

Published by: Vishal Srivastav , pardaphash.com
Published on: Sat, 01 Dec 2012 at 11:14 IST

Bhopal Gas Tragedy: City still breathes Methyl Isocyanate

Bhopal: India will not forget December 2 till its existence on the planet Earth. Reason? Term it ‘the day of the death’, and it won’t be erroneous in any which way. The havoc of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy was poured by the leak of Methyl Isocyanate which blended with the air and rested in the lungs of men, women, children and creatures leaving them breathless.

The Bhopal disaster, which is also referred to as the Bhopal gas tragedy, was a gas leak incident in India, considered to be one of the world’s worst industrial disasters. It occurred on the night of 2–3 December 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.

Over 500,000 people were exposed to methyl isocyanate gas and other chemicals. The toxic substance made its way in and around the shantytowns located near the plant. Estimates vary on the death toll. The official immediate death toll was 2,259.

The government of Madhya Pradesh confirmed a total of 3,787 deaths related to the gas release. Others estimate 8,000 died within two weeks and another 8,000 or more have since died from gas-related diseases.

A government affidavit in 2006 stated the leak caused 558,125 injuries including 38,478 temporary partial and approximately 3,900 severely and permanently disabling injuries.

UCIL was the Indian subsidiary of Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), with Indian Government controlled banks and the Indian public holding a 49.1 percent stake. In 1994, the Supreme Court of India allowed UCC to sell its 50.9 percent interest in UCIL to Eveready Industries India Limited.

The Bhopal plant was later sold to McLeod Russel (India) Ltd. Dow Chemical Company purchased UCC in 2001.
Civil and criminal cases are pending in the District Court of Bhopal, India, involving UCC and Warren Anderson, UCC CEO at the time of the disaster.

In June 2010, seven ex-employees, including the former UCIL chairman, were convicted in Bhopal of causing death by negligence and sentenced to two years imprisonment and a fine of about $2,000 each, the maximum punishment allowed by law. An eighth former employee was also convicted, but died before the judgment was passed.

Factors leading to the magnitude of the gas leak mainly included problems such as; storing MIC in large tanks and filling beyond recommended levels, poor maintenance after the plant ceased MIC production at the end of 1984, failure of several safety systems due to poor maintenance, and safety systems being switched off to save money— including the MIC tank refrigeration system which could have mitigated the disaster severity.

The situation was worsened by the mushrooming of slums in the vicinity of the plant, non-existent catastrophe plans, and shortcomings in health care and socio-economic rehabilitation.

Other factors identified by the inquiry included: use of a more dangerous pesticide manufacturing method, large-scale MIC storage, plant location close to a densely populated area, undersized safety devices, and the dependence on manual operations.

Plant management deficiencies were also identified – lack of skilled operators, reduction of safety management, insufficient maintenance, and inadequate emergency action plans.

Cyber police station files FIR under 66A against Sagar Karnik


On a counter-complaint by K.V. Jaganathrao and his AI colleague held in May after a plaint by Karnik

The cyber police station at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) on Friday registered a first information report (FIR) under Section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act against Sagar Karnik of the Air India Cabin Crew Association (AICCA). This was done on a counter complaint on July 3 by K.V. Jaganathrao, who, along with his Air India colleague, was arrested in May after a complaint filed by Mr. Karnik for posting provocative messages on social networking websites.

While Mr. Jaganathrao and Mayank Sharma were arrested on Mr. Karnik’s complaint in May and jailed for 12 days, no action was taken after the counter-complaint was filed in July with the cyber police station against Mr. Karnik. The FIR filed on Friday Mr. Karnik had posted derogatory comments on Facebook and Orkut, which were defamatory and insulting to the complainant.

Intra-union rivalry

Mr. Jaganatharao’s statement recorded at the cyber police station in connection with his complaint refers to intra-union rivalry between Kiran Pawaskar, former Shiv Sainik and present Nationalist Congress Party MLC, who wanted to control the AICCA, and himself and Mr. Sharma. The statement says that after differences over the elections to the AICCA, from March 2011 to June 2012, Mr. Karnik abused Mr. Jaganathrao many times on Facebook.

On November 1, 2011, Mr. Karnik said he had a gun and also said he would get Mr. Jaganathrao arrested by the cyber police station. There were other abusive words and comments on Facebook as well as an open threat to kill him, Mr. Jaganathrao said. However, Mr. Karnik, after issuing this threat, went and complained to the cyber police station in Bandra that he was being threatened by Mr. Jaganathrao, leading to the two arrests.

Mr. Jaganathrao told The Hindu that after they were released on bail, he submitted a complaint along with a dossier of web links to social networking sites, which show the abuse by Mr. Karnik, to the cyber police station in July. “The police took four months to register an FIR against Karnik, which means they have not investigated the matter properly and if there is an FIR against Karnik, why were we arrested in the first place,” he asked.

‘Lascivious and defamatory’

The first complaint against them was made by Mr. Pawaskar on July 1, 2011 to senior police officer Vishwas Nangre Patil. Later, Mr. Karnik filed an FIR on March 29, 2012 accusing Mr. Jaganathrao and Mr. Sharma of uploading lascivious and defamatory content on Facebook and Orkut against him and politicians and also threatening him with death, apart from insulting the national flag. They were charged under Section 506(2) of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 66 A and 67 of the Information Technology (IT) Act, apart from Section Two of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.

Meanwhile, Mr. Jaganathrao and Mr. Sharma had met Niket Kaushik, Additional Police Commissioner, in October to raise the issue of their arrest by the cyber police station. Mr. Jaganathrao and Mr. Sharma wrote to him demanding to know if any action was initiated against the police officers who allegedly did not seek the approval of their superiors to make an arrest under Section 66 A of the IT Act.

Mr. Kaushik did not respond to calls.


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December 2012
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