The unfinished story of Bhopal 1984 #musicalactivism #rap


Dec. 2nd. 1984 was the tragic day when the negligence of Union Carbide led to the Bhopal gas tragedy, an industrial disaster that killed over 25,000 people and cursed generations to a host of diseases and genetic afflictions.

This is a day we cannot dare forget.

So with the vocal talents of rapper Anmol Gawand and the vocals and production of Jackson John joined by yours truly, we bring to you “Bhopal M.I.C”, our song to commemorate this day and honour the memories of those affected by this tragedy.

Incidentally, the “M.I.C” in Bhopal M.I.C doesn’t stand for microphone. It stands for Methyl Iso-Cyanate, the lethal gas that was released into the city of Bhopal on 2nd Dec., 1984. 25,000 dead and still counting.

http://soundcloud.com/alistrap/bhopal-m-i-c-feat-a-gee

 

The Invincible Flame of Narayanpatna: An Interview with Dandapani Mohanty


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The Invincible Flame of Narayanpatna: An Interview with Dandapani Mohanty November 18, 2012

[Amitabha Kar interviews Dandapani Mohanty about the genesis of Chashi Mulia Adivasi Sangh (CMAS), the oppressive conditions that the adivasis and CMAS members have had to face,what the movement has achieved so far and its agenda, CMAS’ differences with CPI (ML) – Kanu Sanyal, and CMAS’ decision to participate in panchayat elections.
– Editors, http://laalnishan2012.blogspot.in
]
[Shree Danda Pani Mohanty one of the interlocutors played a crucial role to solve the recent hostage crises arisen from the abduction of two Italians and one MLA from Laxmipur – Mr. Jhina Hikaka. Here is the excerpt from the conversation held on 3rd June’2012 between Shree Mohanty (DPM) and Shree Amitabha Kar (AK).]
AK: The abduction of two Italians and one MLA in two separate incidents had brought Narayanpatna’s adivasi movement led by Chashi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS ) to the fore in the national arena. Would you please explain first the salient features of this movement?
DPM: Recently a fact finding team of DSU (Democratic Student Union) comprising from the students of Delhi University, Jawahar Lal University and IGNOU published a report in a booklet “The Flames of Narayanpatna” after visiting the area from 11th April 2011 to 16th April 2011. Please allow me to quote the following passage for your query.

“This movement has been variously described as an anti-liquor movement, a struggle for land, a tribal movement and so on…. Though the movement includes all the above mentioned aspects, its aims are no less than a revolutionary transformation of the social relations and establishment of peoples’ political power”. (1)

This struggle started against the liquor manufacturers and traders and then it continued to reclaim what was lost by the tribal people over the years. So basically the land question and landlessness thus came to the fore. So again in the course of this struggle, the people of Narayanpatna and surrounding region of Koraput have to oppose the incursion of big mining corporations. Thus the struggle of the people of Narayanpatna and its adjacent areas is ushering a new era of anti-feudal, anti-imperialist struggle to fulfill the long cherished dream of Indian revolutionary people – the task of a democratic revolution. Against the brutal repression of state machinery and its local agents, this struggle has been forced to take the shape of armed agrarian revolution. In the specificities of India’s soil that “not only reclaim what is already lost or to defend what is in danger of being lost but seek to establish what is aspired for.”(1)
AK: Now please briefly narrate the genesis and growth of the struggle of the people of Narayanpatna and its adjacent areas under the leadership of CMAS.
DPM: In 1968, when armed struggle started in Srikakulam District of Andhra Pradesh, the scared non-tribal landlords and businessmen had migrated to undivided Koraput District. After settling down here, they began to exploit the local toiling masses – mainly the adivasis and dalits at will. The non-tribal and coastal people of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha also joined hands with them. They were united to encroach upon the lands belonging to the tribal people and acquired those in various types of fraudulent manners. They engaged the tribal people on their own land as bonded labourers. In the process of exploitation they gained political supremacy over the poor. According to the “Regulation 2 of 1956” also known as “The Orissa Scheduled Areas Transfer of Immovable Property Regulation”, non-tribals cannot acquire tribal lands. But this law has not been strictly implemented. In this context the CMAS was formed and primarily associated with the CPI(ML)- Kanu Sanyal group. It has been working among the tribal toiling masses since last 15/16 years. After the temporary setback of armed struggle in Andhra Pradesh in the 70’s, some youths and students had shifted their base from Srikakulam to undivided Koraput District and its adjacent areas to start their political activities among the local tribal masses.
In 1999, when the tribal people launched agitation for implementing “Regulation 2 of 1956” to get back their lost land under the leadership of CMAS in Gajapati and PSP in Kashipur, the Government forces shot dead eighteen people in Mandrabaju of Gajapati District and three people in Kashipur.
The exploitation of the tribal people has been compounded by several manifolds with the consumption of liquor. Traditionally the adivasis widely use the home made liquor and toddy collected from palm trees. It is an indispensable ingredient in all tribal festivals and ceremonies. It is an ingredient to be sacrificed to their ancestral spirit and supernatural power on holy occasions. But the need for regular excise liquor consumption led to the fast depletion of the earning of adivasi families. Continued consumption of liquor on credit as well as loans for other purposes coupled with a cumulative rate of high interest make it almost impossible to repay the debt or loan – thus transforming them into bonded labourers. So you can consider the excise liquor as one of the main weapons of the landlords-shahukars- moneylenders-traders’ nexus. The government is also hand in glove with this nexus and liberally issued licenses to legally promote this business. As a result, a network of liquor shops and distilleries were operating in every panchayat area.
So in this concrete situation prevailing in Koraput area, the CMAS naturally adopted its first programme against this liquor trade and demanded the government should cancel all the licenses of the liquor producers and traders. The peasants of Narayanpatna and Bandhugaon first resisted this trade under the banner of CMAS. There was a general boycott of liquor and its vendors. The people not only drove away them from their villages, but mobilised themselves also in thousands to pursue those traders in their stronghold – the town. In January 2009 four thousand people went to Narayanpatna town and destroyed liquor factories and shops selling country liquor as well as foreign liquor shops. Also in January 2009, more than three thousand members of CMAS destroyed the shops at Bandhugaon town.
It is this Narayanpatna struggle against the liquor consumption and trade that not only rejuvenated the consciousness of collectivity among the adivasi masses who were weakened and disintegrated by external pressures, but also bolstered the need to unite other oppressed groups such as dalits on class basis.
The CMAS, after its initial success, had intensified and broadened the scope and transformed the anti-liquor struggle into a full-fledged anti-feudal revolutionary struggle. Because the struggle against liquor is inseparable from the question of land alienation and landlessness among the adivasis. This is the another crucial factor that has contributed to the phenomenal success and popularity of CMAS.
The Narayanpatna CMAS initiated and led the struggle for reclamation of agricultural land that was tricked out from the adivasis by the nexus of sundi-sahukar-money lenders-liquor trades. Till date the peasant masses of Narayanpatna under the leadership of CMAS reclaimed about 5000 (five thousand) acre of land. The struggle intensified due to the violent opposition put up by the landlords with the help of the state machinery. They constituted an armed vigilant group ‘Shanti Committee’ (Peace Committee) that held demonstrations demanding the ban of CMAS and the arrest of its leaders including its President Nachika Linga. They also demanded the land retrieved from them by the adivasis. This ‘Shanti Committee’ with the help of government forces has been going on rampage, destroying houses, damaging, destroying and looting the belongings and crops of the adivasis and leaders of CMAS. The CMAS with the help of the masses has been retaliating and repulsing those attacks. On 20th November 2009, while leading the adivasis to protest against police atrocities in front of Narayanpatna police station, comrade Andru and comrade Singhana were murdered by the police.
The Odisha Government being worried that the movement might spread to the other region of the district, clandestinely help the local reactionaries With arms to form “Nagaric Suraksha Committee” (NSS) that took over the same task perpetrated by the “Shanti Committee” in Narayanpatna. The Government intensified the attack by deploying paramilitary force. Combing operations, arrests, destruction of homes, properties, live stocks, grains, tortures, beatings, intimidation have been regular events. One of the most common excuses of doing so is the allegiance and association of adivasis to the CPI (Maoists).
Till date 270 activists of CMAS have been arrested by the administration, 200 have been acquitted or have gotten bail from the court, 70 others are still languishing in jail. Nearly 1000 people including myself have been implicated on various charges. Nachika Linga, an exploited Kui Adivasi and the President of CMAS had been put behind bars in 2006. He was acquitted by the court from all the charges slapped against him and released after one and half years. Now he is absconding for fear of being rearrested for 50 new cases charged against him.
AK: What are the CMAS’s main agenda items now?
DPM: 
(i) Ban on alcohol trade.
(ii) Abolition of bonded labour practice.
(iii) Right of adivashi people on their native land: 95% land that has been occupied by non-adivasi outsiders must be returned to the tribal people. In this respect CMAS demands the proper implementation of 1956 Regulation (II) Land Reform Act. It also demands the repeal of the right of non-tribal people to own the land in the 5th Schedule Areas (i.e. in tribal areas). It also demands to introduce a new law on the basis of Andhra Pradesh 1/70 Land reform Act that was introduced after the Srikakulam armed struggle and Madhya Pradesh Land Reform Act where land in Scheduled Areas cannot be alienated to the non tribal people. The CMAS wants to highlight a landmark judgment issued by Supreme Court in 1997 that is called “Samta Judgement”. In this judgement the SC had banned transfer of land and mining lease and license to the non tribal people in the 5th Scheduled Areas.
(iv) Stop state repression and arrest of common villagers implicating them as Maoists.
(v) Judicial enquiries of police firing near Narayanpatna Police Station in 20th November’2009 where two young protesters were killed. (Com Singan & Andru)
(vi) Withdrawal of all police camps from Narayanpatna Block.
(vii) Those 70 activists who are still being languished in jails must be unconditionally freed.
(viii) Withdraw all the false charges against 1000 people.
AK: Now tell me something about the process of utilization of land that have been acquired by the adivasis under the leadership of CMAS.
DPM: So far in Narayanpatna area 5000 acres of land have been seized from the landlords. These lands have been distributed to the villagers through village committees who are encouraging to organize themselves for collective cultivation on those seized lands.
The gains achieved in the land struggle by the poor and landless people – both adivasis and dalits, under the leadership CMAS are significant. Apart from organizing themselves for collective farming, the people have collectively undertaken development works with their own initiatives. In spite of severe state repression , the villagers has completed seven big irrigation projects in the last two years and three are under construction.
In the process of land acquisition and land distribution movement, an embryonic shape of peoples’ power is gradually emerging by replacing the repressive state power in the form of “revolutionary Peoples Committee” (RPC) that cover some areas in Narayanpatna.
For the first time these oppressed but proud villagers utter with extreme confidence, “We no longer go to the government and beg for aids or its schemes, instead we will depend on our own strength to struggle and survive. We will carry out our own development works in a self sufficient manner through our own collective efforts.”

Apart from digging several canals with their own effort and initiative, the villagers with the help of RPC are trying to create their own educational and health care system. One school is being run by the RPC for seven villages. As there is scarcity of literate person in the area, efforts are on to get the teachers from outside. Young boys and girls are being trained in basic health care to work as barefoot doctors.
AK: Women are said to hold up half the sky. Will you tell something about the roll and contribution of the womenfolk in this movement?
DPM: Like Singur-Nandigram-Jangalmahal, here also women have set an example by keeping themselves in the forefront of the struggle. By using traditional weapons and homemade chili powder they have courageously fought and withstood the onslaught of the state force to save their male comrades. They were also in the forefront in the anti-liquor movement. When all the male members , the CMAS leaders are forced to go in hiding, the remaining children, women are taking up agricultural activities.
AK: Tell me something about the leadership roll of CMAS in Narayanpatna.
DPM: The peoples struggle creates its own leadership, again this leadership pushes forward the struggle – thus elevating it on a higher level. This is a dialectical relationship. The tribal people of Narayanpatna area were attracted towards the activities of the CMAS formed in 1996 in their area under the leadership of CPI(ML) Kanu Sanyal group.
But with the sharpening of struggle since 2009, the ideological and political struggle became intensified between CMAS- Narayanpatna group and rest of the leadership of CPI(ML)-Kanu Sanyal group who was trying to confine itself within the limit of peaceful legal forms and appeals to the governmental administration. Moreover they decided to take part in the 2009 Assembly election that was strongly opposed by CMAS-Narayanpatna group. They called for “Boycott Election” in some panchayats of Narayanpatna and adjacent Lakshmipur and Bandhugaon Blocks. The boycott call is very much successful in this block, and in some villages the boycott was total.
AK: CMAS had participated in the last Panchayat election in 2011. What compulsion did it force to change the decision from “Boycott Election” stand in 2009 to direct participation in Panchayat Election?
DPM: CMAS in Narayanpatna Block had participated in the Panchayat election against the backdrop of some specific conditions prevailing in the rural area. To expose the states so-called development and its repressions, the CMAS-Narayanpatna block had decided to participate in the Panchyat election. It had placed its candidates in 9 Panchayat seats where 6 candidates won uncontested and remaining 3 won after contest. One Zilla Parishad (ZP) candidate – a tribal lady named Juva Mauka was languished in jail for two years and won uncontested after her release.
In the Zilla Parishad both Navin Pattanayak’s BJD and Congress won 14 seats each. The remaining one seat went to CMAS. So both of them approached the CMAS to seek its loan candidate’s support to form the ZP. The CMAS had placed its 10 points ‘Charter of Demand’ to be fulfilled as a quid pro quo for the support. The congress backtracked. But all the 14 ZP members, three MLAs and one MP of BJD from Koraput District accepted this ‘Charter of Demands’ and it had been placed in writing before the CM Mr. Navin Pattanayak. Based on this signed agreement, the CMAS supported the BJD to form Zilla Parishad.
AK: What is the view of CMAS on Assembly or Parliamentary elections now? Will they take part in those elections?
DPM: No, till now its stand is not to take part in Assembly or Parliamentary election, fight against the anti-people policies of Congress-BJP-BJD nexus.
AK: Does BJD government show any initiative to fulfill the agreement?
DPM: No, nearly seven months have elapsed, there is no sign of any desire to abide by its pledge. The intimidation, repression by the government force is unabated. Sometime back I have had a phone call informing me that security forces had entered a village in Narayanpatna Block. The CMAS will wait for some more time and then it will decide whether to withdraw its support from the ZP.
AK: By participating in Panchyat Election how does the CMAS-Narayanpatna Group differentiate itself from the CPI(ML) Kanu Sanyal Group?
DPM: The difference is the attitude towards the class struggle against the feudal and comprador- bureaucrat- bourgeois classes. Till date what the tribal and other oppressed masses has gained is because of their uncompromising attitude of being on the path of militant class struggle under the leadership of CMAS. Their firm resolution of not to deviate from this path despite participating in the Panchayat Election makes all the difference. Till date its leadership and cadres are facing various false cases and charges. Its President Nachika Linga apprehending re-arrest had gone into hiding. Gananath Patra, an ailing veteran septuagenarian leader has been languishing in jail for more than two years. The attack on the people and leadership of CMAS-Narayanptna by the Government forces and Shanti Committees are unabated. Why? Because this leadership is leading the oppressed people of this area to crush the chain of oppression and to establish real peoples political power. Participating in the election is not the only but one of the various forms of struggle including armed struggle to achieve this goal. On the other hand the CPI(ML)-Kanu Sanyal Group considers the Parliamentary path as the only form of struggle. From the very beginning they have been advocating for peaceful solution like demonstrations, appeals to the administration etc. In this process they have been degenerated to become the stooge of the reactionary ruling landlord classes. Take the example of the Rythu Coolie Sangham (RCS) of Andhra Pradesh which is affiliated to the CPI(ML)-Kanu Sanyal Group. The members of RCS in collusion of the Andhra Pradesh police used to enter illegally in the bordering villages of Narayanpatna Block, burned the houses and indiscriminately arrest people. Their leaders are hobnobbing with the corrupt Government officials and landlords. They used to take money from landlords and promise them that they would not allow peasants with CMAS to acquire land.
The people under the leadership of CMAS-Narayanpatna Block will never give up whatever they have achieved through protracted struggle – the land, the political power, the honour. If someone thinks that by participating in Panchayat Election the CMAS-Narayanpatna Block will give up the path of revolutionary struggle that is the main form of struggle to achieve their goal, he is living in fool’s paradise.
AK: you were selected by the CPI(Maoist) as an interlocutor in the recent hostage crises. Do you think that it is justified for a peoples’ party like CPI(Maoist) to kidnap some bureaucrats, politicians, even common people like foreigners to fulfill its demands? Then how does it differentiate itself from a terrorist organization in this particular issue? Does it not undermine the very cause which they are fighting for?
DPM: One politburo member of the CPI(Maoist) issued a statement after the arrest (kidnap) of Mr. Vinil Krishna, District Collector in 2011 stating that when all other avenues to protect the rights of the people, to express their views against state repression had been choked, the arrest of bureaucrats, political leaders is one of the few options left to highlight the demands of the people. It should not be called as abduction or kidnapping as done by the terrorist groups for ransom or release of their members. It should be viewed as “Arrest”. On the contrary it is the state that has been indiscriminately abducting and killing the people violating its own constitution and laws. In this sense this state machinery is actually practising terrorism.
You should notice that after those arrests, the CPI(Maoist) has raised some political and economical issues including the demand of releasing the people abducted by the state. Most of the people whose release is being sought are common adivasis having no link with Maoists and are being languished in jail year after year without any trial.
On the issue of undermining the cause which the CPI(Maoist) is fighting for, your very first question is the best answer of it. You have admitted that the ‘abductions’ of the Italians and the MLA Jhina Hikaka has brought the Narayanpatna movement to the fore in national level. Without these ‘arrests’, would you have been interested about the heroic struggle of Narayanpatna’s adivasi people? After the arrest of the MLA Jhina Hikaka, there were six big rallies in Narayanpatna in one month. The police remained in their camps and thousands of people with their demands participated in those rallies, meetings to expose the state repression and the state’s so called development. In this sense these arrests should viewed as propaganda work. After the release of Hikaka, the police and force have again started the operation against the people and conducting of any further meeting or rally become most difficult. (2)
AK: In their article “The Glorious People’s Struggle of Narayanpatna” the DSU fact finding team after visiting the area from 11th to 16th April’ 2011 elaborately described how the people had actively boycotted the Parliamentary election in 2009. But when updating the movement as on late February 2012 in the chapter “The Unceasing Wave of Narayanpatna Struggle – An Update”, they did not mention anything about the CMAS-Narayanpatna group’s decision to participate in Panchayat Election or to support the BJD in Zilla Parisad. How do you interpret this conspicuous silence? Can it be interpreted as their difference on the issue of CMAS- Narayanpatna group’s decision of participating in the Panchayet Election? Your comment please.
DPM: The DSU fact finding team had been visiting the area before Panchayat Poll. To expose the state’s repression and so called development the CMAS participated in Panchayat Election and after a long debate and for the sake of people’s cause they supported the BJP candidate in ZP election and the CMAS took a strategic decision to break the illusion of people on Panchayat system by participating in Panchayat Election.
AK: The Government and main stream media is from the very beginning trying to depict the CMAS as the peasant front of CPI(Maoist). Your comment please.
DPM: The CMAS is not a peasant front of CPI(Maoist). The CMAS has been working and functioning openly in a democratic way. Whereas the CPI(Maoist) is supporting the causes and spirit of the CMAS, with an understanding that real democracy is possible only through the revolution.
SHORT BIOGRAPHY OF SHREE DANDAPANI MOHANTY:
Date of Birth: 7th March, 1951. He had been actively participating in the politics form the school life. In 1967 he joined the Communist Party of India (CPI). But within a year influenced by Nagbhushan Pattanayak and Ramesh Shahoo (who was martyr in 1969) he joined the CPI(ML) in 1968. For his active participation with the CPI(ML) he was several times arrested , released and again arrested during 1971 to 1972. He joined CPI(M) in 1972 for the setback of the revolutionary armed struggle led by CPI(ML) and for the communication gap. He actively took part in nationwide Railway strike in 1974, again arrested and released after the end of the strike. He was arrested again in MISA and released after the formation of Janata Government in 1977. He left CPI(M) in 1990 in protest against the charge levelled on him for spreading the CPI(ML) ideology and politics inside CPI(M). Then he joined the CPI(ML)- Liberation in 1991 and elected as IPF state President in1991. He left CPI(ML)- Liberation in2000 on the question of the path of Indian revolution. The CPI-ML (Liberation) participated in election politics like other official left parties.
In 2002 he started work as Convener of Daman Protirodh Mancha that was banned in 2006 in the pretext of being of a frontal organization of CPI(Maoist). A case is pending in the Supreme Court challenging this ban. From 1978 to till date he is the General Secretary of Odisha Forest Majdur Union (Bamboo Culture). He is a friend and Co-advisor of CMAS and tackling its all legal works, now working as Convenor of Jana Adhikar Mancha, odisha.]
Notes:
(1) “THE FLAMES OF NARAYANPATNA” – Charvaka Publications. Govindanagar, Chandigarh – 160 014. Page-38, 39
(2) After his “arrest” by CPI (Maoist), Jhina Hikaka served a written undertaking to the people of his Assembly area that he would tender his resignation to the CM from the Assembly seat to protest against the atrocities unleashed by the Government forces. But after his release he backtracked and was shifted to the capital Bhubaneswar with his family. They are being provided with a Z-Plus category security cover. Then the force resumed its usual reign of terror. The people of more than 50 villages were implicated in false and fabricated cases and more than 70 people were detained in Koraput Jail. The CMAS President Nachika Linga’s 80 years old mother had been mercilessly beaten by BSF Jawans. Two adivasi girls were also gang raped.

In the jail the common prisoners supported the “10-Points Charter of Demand” and maintained 48 hours hunger strike from 21 – 23 September’ 2012.
10-POINTS CHARTER OF DEMAND
TO
SHRI NAVEEN PATTANAIK JI THE HON’BLE CHIEF MINISTER OF ODISHA, BHUBANESWAR.
Esteemed Sir,
We the elected representatives of Koraput District bring the following points for your kind notice which needs necessary and swift action at your end.
That, we the elected representatives of Koraput District request for an independent judicial enquiry for the Narayanpatna firing of 20-11-09 and punishment meted out to the culprits of the shenanigans if any.
The general public of Koraput District are facing numerous socio-economic hardships due to liquor trade and also dying premature due to consumption of liquor. So there should be total prohibition in this Schaduled District for the improvement and all round development of the masses as well as locality.
That your responsible Government has already taken step for strict implementation of amendments made to Regulation 2 of 1956. We further request you to implement the same in true spirit of law earnestly.
We request you to move a motion in the State Assembly for inclusion of Nokadora and Kondadora as members of Scheduled Tribe and request the Government of India to insert the aforesaid two creeds in the S. T. list.
Mali and Deomali peaks are our prestigious tourist place bearing our cultural heritage hence request your good self to preserve these and declare the same as tourist places to conserve the ecology as well as flora and fauna.
Your august office has already established many Vigilance Courts in different localities of the state and taken steps to eradicate corruptions. We further request you to undertake steps to curtail P. C. (percentage) to Government Officials in contract works.
It is reported that bonded labourer and Dadan system is still prevailing in certain parts of the State. So necessary steps may kindly be taken for its elimination.
We request you to appoint an independent judicial enquiry on the alleged rape case of Dokapadu. (Tola Dokapadu)
A number of criminal cases are pending against the members of Chasi Mulia Sangha who were acquitted by the Hon’ble Courts and cases against absconding accused persons are pending in different courts. We humbly inform your good self that there is no meaning in proceeding with the cases where co-accused persons were acquitted. Hence request you to initiate steps for withdrawal of the said cases pending in different courts.
We further request you to look into the cases pending against 3 (three) accused persons who were detained in Berhampur Jail for the unfortunate incident of 21-02-2012.
There is allegation of police excess in Narayanpatna and Bandhugaon areas in the name of combing operation. Necessary steps may kindly be taken to safeguard the interest of innocent adivasi villagers.
With fervent hope we remain sir.
With regards,
Sd/- Jayaram Pangi, MP Koraput; Ravi Narayan Nanda, MLA Jaypur; Jhina Hikaka, MLA Laxmipur; Raghu Ram Padal, MLA Koraput and 14 Zilla Parishad Members of Koraput Districts, dated 13th March,2012.
FURTHER APPEAL TO THE CHIEF MINISTER ON 28.08.12
To,
Shreejukta Navin Pattanaik,
The Honourable Chief Minister,
Bhubnaswar, Odisha.
Through Collector.
Dear Sir,
We, all the elected members of Block of Narayan Patna and Bhandhugaon want to draw your kind information on the following facts:
After the last Zilla Parishad election, there was an 10 point agreement between Juva mauka and Korapur Sansad Jayram Pangi, Jaypur MLA Ravi Narayan Nanda, Laxmipur MLA Jhina hakaka, Koraput MLA Raghguram Padal, along with 14 Zilla Parishad Members belonging to your party and it was submitted to you.
Even after the elapse of six months, we don’t find no sign from your end to fulfill any of the demands mentioned in the 10 point charter.
The Government’s proposal for the growth and development in our area is only lying in the paper. It is clear that the government is talking a step motherly attitude towards the Adivasi people in this area. Without any reason, the adivasis being implicated in various cases have been languishing in the jails. Keeping the paramilitary force in Bandhugaon and Narayanpatna area it is trying to create a fear psychosis. The Government’s sole aim is to isolate the CMAS from the masses whom it has been mobilising to fight for the democratic rights. The members of CMAS are being labelled as Maoists, terrorists, traitors. In the midnight the force has been looting the pets like goats, cocks. In both the blocks, the government employees are not present regularly. So the development work has been totally stopped. 66 years after Independence, our local people have no freedom. Due to the police repression, the people are scared to come out from their houses. During daytime they are hiding in the forest.
When this fear psychosis will be stopped?
When the adivasis will become at par with the other people of the society?
When the adivasis will get their Legitimate Rights?
To nominate an educated adivasi for the President Post will not solve these issues. Every adivasi should know the meaning of the term President. To put the common adivasis in the jail in the name of sedition will not solve the problems. It is the duty of the state and responsibility of the Government to make the adivasis as conscious citizens.
We expect the answer of all the above mentioned questions put forward to the Honourable C.M. and we demand the following actions to solve the problems:
I. Deomali and Mali hills, the pride of Odisha must not be handed over to any company to extract the bauxite, on the contrary these should be developed as tourist spots.
II. To prohibit the alcohol trade and consumption in this adivasis area, the Government should enact the Law based on Central Government Excise Law, 1974.
III. The Government should free the occupied land from the clutches of non adivasis and hand it over to the adivasis to solve the land problem.
IV. Withdraw the paramilitary force from Narayanpatna and Bandhugaon area. Stop the state violence and state repression in the name combing operation.
V. To provide drinking water in every village, arrange bore well.
VI. Recruit the local or interested teachers instead of unwilling and irregular teachers in the schools of Narayanpatna and Bandhugaon area.
VII. In Badipeta, Tentulipadara, Kaberibadi as well as in all Panchayats there should be boarding facilities to improve the quality of education.
VIII. Identify the needy person for Indira Abas Yojna.
IX. In Khumbhari Panchayet, canal should be dug for irrigation to facilitate the cultivation. For this a dam should be constructed in Chintaguda. In this way thousand of peasants will be benefited.
X. Complete the trial of the agitating people languished in the jail. Withdraw the false cases against innocent people.
XI. Investigate all the killings in the name police encounters from 2009 as well as the murder of Telika Darka in 19th August, 2012.
XII. To rehabilitate the persons evicted from their lands acquired for NALCO, HALKOLAD, and MACHAKUNDA Projects, the government should enact a law.
In this respect, until the above mentioned 12 demands are not fulfilled, we the elected representatives will start hunger strike in front of Koraput Collector Office from Tuesday, 11th September, 2012. (1)
We expect that the government will consider these demands with due importance and take the necessary steps within fifteen days.
Hopefully awaiting your action.
Sd/- All 14 ZP members of BJD and Juva Mouka dated 28th August, 2012
(1) The hunger strike has been deferred to November’ 2012 due to encircling and severe repression unleashed by the Government forces to the villages of the ZP members so that they cannot come out from their respective villages and assemble in front of the Koraput Collector Office to carry out the programme.

 

At Kudankulam’s core is fear, and anger


MEERA SRINIVASAN, The Hindu, Dec 2 . 2012

UNSETTLED NEIGHBOURS: Residents of Kudankulam say they have not been involved in any security drill, and students in the region are doing badly in examinations due to high levels of stress. Photo: A. Shaikmohideen
The HinduUNSETTLED NEIGHBOURS: Residents of Kudankulam say they have not been involved in any security drill, and students in the region are doing badly in examinations due to high levels of stress. Photo: A. Shaikmohideen

To many in Idinthakarai, the village that sits cheek by jowl with the nuclear plant, the entire idea is a betrayal. Others see brighter prospects. As the reactor prepares to go critical, Meera Srinivasan assesses the mood in the project area.

Seated at the entrance to her tiny home, R. Pramasakthi is busy rolling beedis. “What? Interview? We don’t need the nuclear plant,” she barked.

Asked why, the 35-year-old mother of four replied: “We saw a video at the church showing children with deformities caused by accidents at nuclear reactors. Ask anyone here, they will tell you that we don’t want the plant.”

To prove her point, Pramasakthi flagged down a young girl. “Tell her, do you need the plant,” she commanded the girl. “No, we don’t need the plant. It will cause diseases,” the girl replied flatly. What diseases? “Dengue,” the girl, a student of class IX, replied. “Our teacher told us.”

The girl went her way, and Pramasakthi, who was seated on the steps to get some breeze (Kudankulam, like most of Tamil Nadu, goes without power for 14-17 hours daily), got back to rolling beedis — something that most other women in the village do to supplement their family income. She rolls 44 bundles of 25 beedis each to make Rs. 100 a day. “I don’t go for the protests of late because the Rs.100 I make is crucial to support the family, but there is no change in my opinion. I am totally against it,” declared Pramasakthi.

She is among the hundreds of villagers who seem to be caught in a web of fear, anger and, in some cases, ignorance of the potential benefits and risks associated with the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP), which is likely to be commissioned next month and is expected to produce 1,000 MW to begin with.

Officials of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), which is executing the project, said that though there has been no communication internally on a specific date when unit one will be commissioned, there are clear signs of the pace of work accelerating during this final leg of construction.

Risk vs. Benefit

The plant, coming up at a cost of Rs. 14,000 crore, is expected to produce 2,000 MW through its two reactors, and seeks to help address the ongoing power crisis in the country. Tamil Nadu alone has fallen short of 4,000 MW.

While many sections of people have pinned their hopes on the plant and the promise of power, it is nothing more than an unfair deal to Balammal, a long-time resident of Kudankulam. “The benefit will go to everyone, but the risk will be borne by us alone. Only because we are poor,” the 73-year-old said.

The anxiety has begun creeping into classrooms as well, school teachers in the area said. “Their parents are summoned for the protests and sometimes, their fathers are picked up by the police. The children have very strong and opposing views on the issue, and they often argue among themselves in class,” said a teacher at the government school at Kudankulam. In a few cases, the stress manifests through a drop in performance in examinations, teachers said.

In addition to health hazards and the potential risk, a section of locals is worried about the lack of preparedness to face an emergency. This concern, perhaps, points to a possible meeting point for the government and the locals because even while emphatically voicing her objection to the plant, L. Rosalene Rajam said frequent safety drills ought to be organised. “Not once have I been called to participate in the drill. Since we don’t know what to do in case of an emergency, we panic every time there is a noise from that direction,” she said, pointing at the plant.

NPCIL campaign

The NPCIL has prepared a presentation, highlighting the need for nuclear power and the safety mechanisms put in place. Around 13,000 people have seen it so far, according to NPCIL officials, who said that making the highly technical presentation accessible was challenging. “We explain the concepts in Tamil and try our best to avoid jargon. It is a very safe plant and we want people to know that,” said S. Venkatesh, senior technical engineer.

Kudankulam, a small village in Tirunelveli district, is barely 20 km away from Kanyakumari, the southern most tip of the Indian peninsula. The roads connecting the villages around this coastal stretch are flanked by huge windmills making a tangential attempt at generating power, even as the plant itself readies for the ambitious target of 2,000 MW.

Closer to the date of commissioning, the plant resembles a fortress. Men and women attired in bright blue uniform, attached to the Rapid Action Force, sit at the first entry point. Further down the road, numerous Central Industrial Security Force personnel are posted at the giant gates at two subsequent points on the path to the site, guarding what has now become a storehouse of hope for many.

At the plant located just a few km away from where Rosalene resides, a very different mood prevails. The twin reactors with domes stand tall on the enclosed KKNPP premises that span 1,050 hectares by the Bay of Bengal. “Our technicians are working overtime, and all of us have been asked to focus our energies on completing work immediately,” said a senior official of the Human Resources Department at the site, where nearly 1,000 permanent staffers are currently employed.

Apart from the Russian experts, this contingent includes locals such as C. Vinayaga Perumal, a resident of the nearby Chettikulam village, who works as a technician in the project management system wing of the plant. After obtaining a diploma from an Industrial Training Institute, he was trained for two years and then gave a series of examinations before being made a permanent employee.

Having put in 10 years, he gets paid Rs. 45,000 a month now. “About 50 people from my village work as technicians here. There are about 55 from Kudankulam and one colleague is from Idinthakarai,” he said, clicking pictures of us near the plant with a DSLR. “This is just for our record.”

For youngsters like him, the plant bears much more than the promise of power. It has meant a job opportunity that he values. But ask villagers at the adjoining Idinthakarai— the fishing hamlet that has been the heart of the protests led by S.P. Udayakumar — and they call it betrayal.

“I would rather die. The sea has been our source of livelihood for years and I cannot do anything else,” said Rayappan a fisherman. Squatting by the shore and tweaking his net, he added: “We will continue protesting. Let’s see how they commission the plant.”

 

Death Penalty -Brings out basal instincts of a society


 

Irfan Engineer, Dec 1, 2012:Deccan Herald

 

 

No death penalty

No death penalty (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The march of history has been from more brutal and violent societies to more humane, inclusive and less violent societies; and from authoritarian to democratic states.

The objective of punishment awarded by the society to the delinquents and non-conformists too evolved from that of retribution to deterrence and reformation of the delinquent.

 

According to “Rational Choice Theory”, objective of any punishment should be deterrence rather than retribution.

 

Punishments inflicted by the state during ancient times and medieval period included boiling to death, feeding to hungry lions, flaying, slow slicing, truncating (cutting the body below the ribs and leaving the delinquent to bleed to death), disembowelment, crucifixion, inquisitions, crushing by an elephant, stoning, blowing from the gun, burning at stakes, sawing, decapitation, guillotining, public hanging and firing squad. These are by no means an exhaustive list but only indicative.

 

These punishments were administered on those who rebelled against the state, practised a different religion or were dissidents and non-conformists. Galileo, who defended heliocentrism and questioned earth as centre of universe was also tried and inquisitioned for his belief. He, however, retracted from his discovery and submitted himself to the doctrines of the Church.

 

By 1820 in Britain, there were about 160 crimes (down from 220 crimes during its peak) that were punished by death, including the crimes like shoplifting, petty theft, being in the company of gypsies for one month and strong evidence of malice in a child aged 7–14 years of age. Many crimes punishable by death in fact protected the property of wealth. Henry VIII is reputed to have executed as many as 72,000 people.

 

In the 19th century, Roman Republic, Venezuela, San Marino and Portugal abolished capital punishment in the years 1849, 1854, 1865 and 1867 respectively.

 

Attitudes changed by World War II, class barriers came down and people felt sickened by the holocaust of Nazi Germany. In 1948, the United Nations issued the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and this was adopted by Britain in 1950. The last execution by UK was in 1964.

 

The Labour Party Government of Harold Wilson suspended death penalty for five years through an enactment in 1965. House of Commons reaffirmed its decision to abolish capital punishment for murder in 1969. On December 10, 1999, International Human Rights Day, UK ratified Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, thus, totally abolishing capital punishment in Britain.

 

Sanctity of life

 

With the strengthening of democracies, there was increasing culture of tolerating dissent and differences. Sanctity of life is increasingly accepted and believed that society did not have the right to take away anyone’s life. Eye for an eye will make the whole world blind said Gandhiji. Collective conscience of a society should not be blood thirsty. There is increasing realisation of a possibility that person condemned to gallows could be under some mistake. Once executed the mistake cannot be corrected.

 

In 20th century, Australia abolished capital punishment in 1973, Canada in 1976, France in 1981. In 1977, UN General Assembly affirmed in a formal resolution that it is desirable to “progressively restrict the number of offences for which the death penalty might be imposed, with a view to the desirability of abolishing this punishment.”

 

On November 20, 2012, UN General Assembly’s Third Committee voted in support of its fourth resolution for a moratorium on the use of death penalty with a view to abolishing it. Nine-one member states sponsored the resolution, and was approved with 110 votes in favour, 39 votes against and 36 abstentions. India voted against the resolution.

 

The world is slowly moving towards abolition of death penalty or moratorium on its use. Two-thirds of the countries have abolished death penalty or have ceased to apply it. In most Latin American countries, in Argentina, Brazil,  Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru  and Uruguay, Venezuela. In Europe – Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, Iceland, and many of the States in the United States of America, have abolished death sentence. Death penalty is considered to violate human dignity.

 

However, 60 per cent of world’s population lives in states where capital punishment is on their statutes, including China, India, US and Indonesia – the four most populous states. Fifty-eight countries actively practise, 97 countries have abolished it and the rest have not used it for 10 years, or used it in exceptional circumstances like wartime. Article 2 of the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights prohibits use of capital punishment.

 

Abolition and after

 

There is no evidence of any increase in crimes after abolition of death penalty. In Greece banditry decreased after it ceased to be punishable by death and in Canada instances of rape decreased after abolition of death penalty for the offence. In England, there was no increase in crimes which ceased to be capital murders under the Homicide Act of 1957.

 

In the year 2011, 21 countries recorded executions, as compared to 31 countries 10 years ago. China executed maximum number of people, though China recently eliminated death penalty for certain economic crimes and reintroduced mandatory review of all death penalty cases by the Supreme People’s Court. Drugs, homosexuality and terrorism are issues on which some countries are expanding the scope of death penalty.

 

Abolitionists and retentionists for capital punishment argue for and against death penalty on many grounds. Generally, the right wing nationalists who are ideologically oriented to building an authoritarian state and retaining hierarchical order tend to be retentionists. Investigators and Prosecutors in criminal justice system too tend to be retentionists hoping that capital punishment would act as a deterrent.

 

Whereas those ideologically oriented towards building a more humanitarian society with emphasis on equality, equity and social justice tend to be abolitionists. They argue that as inequities and injustices increase, so do crime, irrespective of retributive punishment.

 

Cruelty in punishment

 

The person perceived as cruel criminal by a section could be fighting for justice and become a hero for others and any cruelty in punishment makes such a person a bigger martyr to be emulated by others.

 

Therefore, cruelty of punishment alone could not be burdened with deterring crime. It is a just and equitable society where compassion for a wrong doer is a value and reformation is an objective that reforms the criminal. Reformed criminal is a louder and clearer message to deter crime.

 

Disproportionate number of people from marginalised sections of the society – poor, ethnic and religious minorities and lower castes are handed down death penalty. For example, 41 per cent of death row inmates and 34 per cent of those executed in US are African Americans though they constitute 12 per cent of US population.

 

To conclude, death penalty and legal execution of any human being brings out worst retributionist sentiments and violent animal instincts of a society evident from the interviews of ordinary people on TV after execution of Kasab. The sooner the world is free from such basal instincts, the better.

(The writer is Director, Institute for Peace Studies, and member of All India Secular Forum.)

 

 

#India-Voices rise against death row


Harsh Mander, Deccan Herald , Dec 2, 2012

As the world moves towards abolition of capital punishment or a moratorium on its use, India remains unmoved

Under the shroud of extraordinary secrecy, on the morning of November 21, 2012, a young man called Ajmal Kasab was hung in Yerwada Jail, shortly after his mercy petition was rejected by the President of India.

Kasab was the only surviving gunman from among those who killed 166 people in Mumbai in an audacious and bloody terrorist shootout four years earlier.

His trial was fair, his conviction just, his crime merciless and horrendous, therefore many celebrated his hanging as fitting closure to a people traumatised by his offence.

But I was among those who believed that his hasty execution was an exercise in collective revenge unworthy of a humane people, and would have greatly preferred instead the application of public compassion. As lawyer and campaigner Yug Mohit Chaudhary observed, “If we have to become a more humane and compassionate society, and leave a better… world behind for our children, we have to curb our instinct for bloody retribution.”

He adds: “Mercy tempers justice, makes it less exacting, more humane.”
Kasab’s judicial killing and the imminent possibility of several other hangings have revived with urgency the debates around the death penalty in India. This discussion involves many vital questions of public ethics and judicial fairness.

Amnesty International reports that in 1945, when the United Nations was constituted, only eight member-states had abolished the death penalty for all crimes. Today the number of countries which no longer award the death penalty to people convicted of even the gravest crimes has risen to 141.

India now stands in a minority of nation states in which the death penalty still survives in its statute books, although the Supreme Court of India mandates that it must be applied in only ‘the rarest of the rare’ cases.

Proponents of the death penalty often suggest that it is essential as a deterrent to heinous crime: if potential killers, hate criminals, child abusers, drug peddlers and serial rapists are assured that even if caught and convicted, they may be jailed for life but never executed, they will be emboldened to commit these dark crimes with greater impunity.

Fallibility of justice

However, the overwhelming evidence globally from all countries which abolished the death penalty is that ending death penalty has nowhere resulted in increased crime.

Even in India, the numbers of persons executed has come down substantially from around one almost every second day around Independence to one after several years today. Again, there is little evidence of enhanced crime in India resulting from this steeply declining application of the death penalty.

On the other hand, the arguments against the death penalty are both judicial and ethical. Foremost among judicial arguments is the recognition of the fallibility of public justice. Laws and evidence are interpreted by human beings – judges and senior executive functionaries such as heads of state – and they are subject like anyone else to human failings of error and prejudice.

Law scholar Usha Ramanathan documents globally many ‘narratives of fallibility’, of people convicted of grave crimes who are later proved to be innocent. She finds that even people who confess to crimes may turn out ultimately to be innocent, because confessions may be made under duress, after physical torture, in exhaustion or without adequate knowledge of the law.

These dangers are further greatly magnified for persons tried under extraordinary laws such as anti-terror statutes, which compromise the standards of proof required for conviction.

She concludes that “the Indian experience is replete with these problems – eyewitness misidentification, flawed forensics, police and prosecutorial pursuing of conviction and not justice, false witnesses, dearth of defence lawyers for the indigent, false confessions and miscarriage of justice. The breakdown of the criminal justice system is common knowledge, yet wrongful convictions have not deterred us” from pressing ahead with capital punishment.

The core issue is that if no judicial system in the world has been able to eliminate the chances of wrongful conviction, how can we morally justify taking away the life of a person who may actually turn out eventually to be innocent?  It is unconscionably reckless to risk executing a person who may indeed not be guilty of the crime with which he is charged.

The inherent subjectivity and ad-hocism of judicial interpretation renders the fate of a person convicted of grave transgressions to what Chaudhary aptly describes as a ‘lottery’.

The principle that the death penalty should apply only to the rarest of the rare cases applies equally to all judges, and all judges are informed that these highly exceptional cases are only those in which the convicted person is found to represent an exceptional threat to society, and is considered beyond repair and redemption. But what actually determines the difference between life and death for a convict is not so much his crime as the chance of which bench his case happens to be allotted to.

There are some judges who are known to be ‘convicting judges’, others who are far more restrained. Chaudhary finds that there were four times greater chances of being awarded the death penalty if the convict appeared before one bench of the Supreme Court instead of another. This subjects convicted persons to a roulette of life and death, which is entirely untenable morally.

What is even more worrying about judicial subjectivity is that it is not random or chance, but deeply embedded in class, gender, caste, racial and communal prejudices.

As far back as 1979, Justice Krishna Iyer observed that ‘capital sentence perhaps has a class bias and colour bar’, as the death penalty was ‘reserved’ for crimes committed by the poor. Justice Bhagvati concurred in 1982, that the death penalty is discriminatory and “has a certain class bias inasmuch as it is largely the poor and downtrodden who are victims of this extreme penalty”. Chaudhary concludes that “poverty is as significant a factor in the death sentence as the nature of the crime or the quality of evidence”.

I feel even more worried when the Supreme Court declares in a particular matter of a political crime of terror that the death sentence must be applied to ‘satisfy the collective conscience’ of the nation; or the clearly political motivations in the haste with which Kasab was executed.

And finally, even beyond the vagaries of the criminal justice system and the politics of hanging political criminals, I am compelled most by fundamental ethical claims against the death penalty. We must morally grapple with what Justice Krishna Iyer describes as the sacredness of life, the ever-present possibility of redemption of the worst type of criminal, and the barbarity of the death penalty. I feel convinced that every human being must be given a chance to redeem himself. And every human being, even the most unrepentant criminal who wrongs us most grievously, still is worthy of our compassion.

(The author is a writer and human rights worker.)


The death penalty is an ineffective, cruel, and simplistic response to the serious and complex problem of violent crime. It institutionalises discrimination against the poor and oppressed, diverts attention and financial resources from preventive measures that would actually increase public safety, risks the execution of innocent people, and does not deter crime. 

Capital account

Auto SHANKAR
Serial killer

Hanged at Salem
Central Prison on April 27, 1995

Dhananjoy
CHATTERJEE
Murderer
Hanged at Alipore
Central Jail, Kolkata on August 14, 2004

Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab
Terrorist
Hanged at Yerwada Jail, Pune on
November 21, 2012

 

Rajasthan- In Kotkasim, sarpanches want ‘ DIRECT CASH TRANSFERS “scheme scrapped


Cong hopes to fill poll bank with cash schemeParty to focus on big-ticket states, including Rajasthan

Diptosh Majumdar New Delhi, Dec2,2012, DNA

 

There is a game-plan within a game-plan. As meetings are held daily in the suddenly hyperactive Prime Minister’s Office in South Block, and finishing touches given to the “direct cash transfer” scheme, it is apparent that the government is leaving nothing to chance. And there is a realisation that the Congress fortunes will change dramatically if the government and the party together concentrate on the four politically significant states of Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
Yes, the government will make a definite effort to impress upon the electorate in all states that it is the real “aam admi” party, and that is why this cash transfer scheme to be launched at the beginning of 2013, has been conceived. But the party believes that if they concentrate their energies on four specific target states, they would have accomplished a great deal. After all, the number of seats up for grabs in these states adds up to 143. Maharashtra alone accounts for 48 followed by Andhra Pradesh with 42.
These states have been identified because, in each of these provinces, the Congress has a primary organisational architecture. For example, the Congress is capable of doing well in Rajasthan with its 25 parliamentary seats under
chief minister Ashok Gehlot, but there is a prevailing sense of helplessness among party workers because the party has lost ground due to anti-incumbency sentiments. A focussed political campaign along with a flawless implementation of the cash transfer scheme can renew contact with the voters. To begin with, the Rajasthan districts to benefit from the programme are Ajmer, Udaipur and Alwar.
Similarly, Karnataka politics is in a mess with former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa leaving the BJP.
In Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena would rely on a sympathy wave following the death of Balasaheb Thackeray, but the Congress believes its impact will be restricted to a few pockets, and the MNS will still be a key neutralising factor.
Finally, in Andhra Pradesh, the Congress is launching the scheme in the five districts of Hyderabad, Anantpur, Chittoor, East Godavari and Rangareddy.

Sowmya Sivakumar Jaipur
The gung-ho optimism about ‘direct cash transfers,” the UPA’s chief springboard for the next polls, may have a darker side. Sarpanches of Kotkasim block, Alwar district – where the country’s pilot project for direct cash transfers (DCT) of kerosene subsidies has run since the last 9 months – want the project to be scrapped, if it continues to be shoddily implemented.
“We have collectively written to the collector stating that we are receiving numerous complaints from people. The system will work only if advance subsidies are deposited on time. Three months’ advance subsidies were supposed to be deposited in December itself when the scheme started. But it came late, only once for 2-3 months.
Some have bought kerosene at market price, but haven’t received any subsidy amount yet,” chorus sarpanches from Kotkasim. “There are 1000 ration cards in the panchayat, but only about 200-300 have opened accounts. There are at least 100 families in the panchayat who actually need kerosene but have stopped consuming it as they have not been able to afford buying at the market price without the subsidy in hand in advance,” said Kaphtan Singh Chowdhry, sarpanchpati of Ghikaka panchayat in the block.
The much touted reduction in offtake – from 84,000 litres in Kotkasim block before the scheme was launched, to 12,000 litres now – is in fact a combination of plugging diversions and sharp drop in consumption, but the latter not all out of choice.
Bank accounts have been opened in the name of the mukhiya (household head) who, in many cases, are too old to go the bank a few kilometers away and stand in the queue for Rs33-36 (the subsidy amount per litre). In such cases, someone in the family has to accompany him. In interior villages, where there are no banks even in a 5km radius, this will mean wasting a whole day’s time and wage for availing the subsidy,” said Pooja Yadav, sarpanch of Teovas panchayat.
This has been reiterated in a recent study done by freelance researchers Bharat Bhatti and Madhulika Khanna in Kotkasim, under the guidance of right to food economists Jean Dreze and Reetika Khera. “The poorest households seem to be the worst hit under the new system. For them, going to the bank to collect the subsidy means losing a day’s wages and also transport costs. For some, these costs exceed the subsidy…many households are yet to receive any subsidy, despite shelling out Rs 500 to open a (supposedly “zero-balance”) bank account,” it noted, concluding all this has led to curtailment of consumption.
Ramcharan Meena, district supplies officer (DSO) of Alwar said, “we have conveyed these practical difficulties to the government. They are now talking of introducing mobile ATMs in rural areas which will facilitate easier cash withdrawal. This is only a pilot and we will improve based on its learnings,” he said.

 

 

Pleases e ethe video by Reetiak Khera

 

Glitches in cash transfer pilot project worry govt


By , TNN | Dec 3, 2012, 03.28 AM IST

Glitches in cash transfer pilot project worry govt
Jairam Ramesh, who is is a key person for the implementation of this programme which is being viewed by the political class as UPA-2’s “game changer”, has conceded that there would be operational issues in implementing the direct cash transfer scheme.

NEW DELHI: The government is alarmed by the fact that the year-long cash transfer pilot project in Alwar district‘s Kotkasim block has virtually been a non-starter as money has rarely, if ever, come into the bank accounts of intended beneficiaries.

Reacting to a report that TOI front-paged on December 2, rural development minister Jairam Ramesh said, “The Kotkasim thing is a very serious issue. There will be operational issues. That’s why this is being rolled out in the 51 districts. We will learn all these issues and then we’ll take a call.”

Ramesh is a key person for the implementation of this programme which is being viewed by the political class as UPA-2’s “game changer”. If it gets stymied by lazy implementation, the political dividends for UPA may be minimal. Possibly mindful of that, Ramesh said, “That’s why I have proposed that we must admit a system of concurrent evaluation. It should not be only officials giving you feedback that everything is very rosy and working on the ground.”

Asked whether cash transfers were being made into an electoral issue, the minister said, “What we’re saying is what’s yours should be yours. Today pensions are paid once in five months and you have to pay a bribe to get what is yours. This is also a huge anti-corruption step. I’ve seen with my own eyes how people have to pay bribes to get their measly Rs 200 pension.”

‘Cash scheme can tackle graft better than Lokpal

Ramesh felt direct cash transfers to intended beneficiaries was “far more efficient in dealing with corruption than the Lokpal model”. “The Lokpal model is needed but to think that the Lokpal is a panacea as some fellows seem to think is ridiculous,” he said.

Asked if ‘cash transfers’ is the right term, given that schemes proposed by the government entail some element of cash, but don’t replace subsidies like food, Ramesh said: ” It is not cash transfers. I have never used the word. It’s the media that’s going gung-ho and unfortunately even the Prime Minister‘s committee is called PM‘s Committee on Direct Cash Transfers.”

What would he call it then? “I would say it is direct benefits transfer. Direct entitlements transfer would be another. It is not direct cash transfer. If we were replacing the food or fertilizer subsidy with cash, that would be direct cash transfer. I react very negatively to the words ‘direct cash transfer’.”

#India-Online campaign to save George Orwell’s birth home #ancientmonument


IANS

Fed up with assurances that have made little difference, residents of Motihari town in Bihar, birthplace of legendary British author George Orwell, have gone online seeking support for the conservation of the house the author was born in.

“In a bid to mobilise support for the conservation of the birthplace of George Orwell, we have launched a new initiative online to inform people and offer those interested a platform to know more about the ground reality,” Debapriya Mukherjee, a senior Rotarian in Motihari, told IANS on Sunday.

Mukherjee said that Rotary Motihari Lake Town has launched a website on the birthplace of George Orwell called www.birthplaceofgeorgeorwell.org.

“It is the first of its kind to help conserve George Orwell’s birthplace,” he said.

After being neglected for decades, the website may aid efforts to conserve George Orwell’s birthplace, Mr. Mukherjee said.

According to him, the ancestral house of George Orwell now lies dilapidated, and stray cattle graze in its premises.

Another local resident, Somnath Singh said that it was unfortunate that despite the Bihar Government’s declaration of the house as a protected site a few years ago, nothing had changed.

“The house is in poor shape. It may collapse if not renovated,” Mr. Singh said.

Earlier this year, the state government announced that it would prepare a blueprint to turn the crumbling single—storey house in East Champaran’s Motihari town, about 300 km from here, into a museum.

Orwell is the cult author of classics such as “Animal Farm” and “1984”, which painted a grim ‘Orwellian’ picture of a future totalitarian society where ‘big brother’ was always watching.

Successive governments have done little to capitalise on the tourism potential of house in which the author was born.

Two years ago, the state government had issued a notification declaring the building a protected site. The notification for its protection had been issued under the provisions of the Ancient Monuments (Protection) Act, 1976.

According to district officials, Orwell’s birthplace was mainly targeted by encroachers, who have been damaging it.

Orwell was born Eric Arthur Blair in 1903 at Motihari near India’s border with Nepal. His father, Richard Blair, worked as an agent of the opium department of the Indian Civil Service during British rule. The house has been lying neglected for decades, and now serves as a shelter for stray animals and vagabonds. A small portion was taken over by the State Government and a schoolteacher now lives there.

It has been reported time and again that the roof line has caved in, and a large grapefruit tree has undermined the southern wall.

Only the stone floor looks solid, though it cracked during an earthquake that almost levelled Motihari in 1934.

At present, there is nothing to tell visitors that this modest two-room house was where Orwell spent the first few months of his life, tended to by his mother, Ida, and an Indian maid.

Orwell and his mother left for Britain soon afterwards. – IANS

Bangalore police do a Dhoble, replace hockey stick with handycam #moralpolicing


Outrage after policemen begin filming couples in city’s famous Cubbon Park

Hemanth.Kashyap mirrorfeedback@indiatimes.com
BANGALORE , DEc 3, 2012

Taking a leaf out of Mumbai’s hockey stick-wielding cop Vasant Dhoble, who had hit the headlines for his crackdown against pubs and restaurants, the Bangalore police have armed its force with cameras to curb ‘immorality’ in the city.
For the past two weeks, ‘armed’ policemen have been tailing lovers at the famous Cubbon Park, known for its dense green foliage and ample private space, sparking an outrage. “This ridiculous and another example of Bangalore police’s direct encroachment into the lives of citizens,” K S Vimala, vice-president, Akhila Bharata Janawadi Mahila Sanghatan,said.“Thisisafreecountry and we all have our right to a moment… right to express.”
The police say they had to resort to the measure following several complaints of misbehaviour and indecent acts in public places.
“You have to see the park to understand why we have taken this measure,” a senior police officer said. “Policemen have been told not to disturb couples who are not misbehaving.Ifacouplecrossestheline, they will first be told politely. If they continue, cops will aim the camera at the couple, pretending to shoot. In extreme cases, however, they will take shots and use it as evidence, if need be. With this good intention, we have taken this step,” he said.
Though police claim that ‘immoral’ acts have come down, not manyareimpressedbytheintrusion into their private lives.
“Indecent or immoral are debatable terms; nobody can be a judge of that,” Vimala said.
“This type of moral policing is not acceptable at all,” she added.
Slamming the police action, Advocate Chandrika Pateel said, “It is unlawful to capture someone’s image without permission, especially in his/her private moments. No rule states that a couple can’t hold hands in public, but if the police think so, let them catch those who smoke in public rather than those who breathe fresh air in parks,” Chandrika Pateel, advocate, said.
Inspector Badrinath of Cubbon parkpolicestationinsistedthatthey were not harassing anyone. “It is an effort to control illegal and immoralactivitiesinthepark.Bangaloreans are proud to have such a big and beautiful park in the city. We should maintain its values and beauty. There is no intention to harass people. Also, the law allows us to book a nuisance case against thoseengagingindecentactsatsuch places.”

Armed with a camera, a policeman approaches a couple in Cubbon Park, Bangalore. Right: Terrified, the lovers flee the spot

 

Mumbai-35-yr-old dies in police custody #Torture


Family, lawyer allege he was tortured

Rafiq Shaikh was arrested on Thursday in a fake currency case, died on Sunday afternoon; police deny allegations of torture, say he could’ve died of cardiac arrest

Divyesh Singh and Jyoti Shelar mirrorfeedback@indiatimes.com , Dec 3, 2012

A35-year-old man, arrested on Thursday in a fake currency case, died in police custody on Sundayafternoon.Whilepolice officers suggested he died of a heart attack, and a post-mortem was yet to be conducted, the deceased’s brother and his lawyer have alleged that he was tortured.
Police have denied the allegations, but said they would wait for the postmortem report before investigating further.TheCrimeBranchhasbeenaskedto look into the case.
Rafiq Shaikh was among two people arrested by the Dharavi police on ThursdayafterfakecurrencyworthRs1,20,000 was found on them in denominations of Rs500andRs1000.Shaikhwasproduced in court on Friday and was sent to police custody till December 4.
Shaikh was taken to Sion Hospital on Sunday afternoon, where he was declared dead at around 3.45 pm. His familymembers,andhislegalcounselAbhay Bhoir,allegetheyweregivennoinformationaboutShaikh’sdeath,andthatitwas only when they went to the police station in the evening to check on him that they were told he had died in custody.
“Wekeptaskingcopsatthepolicestation about my brother but no one was ready to tell us what happened to him,” Shaikh’s brother Majid told Mumbai Mirror.“ItwasonlywhenadvocateBhoir asked them, at around 7 pm, that they said he had died in custody.”
Bhoir added, “I had met him on Friday evening at the police station and he toldmethatthatthepolicehadassaulted him while trying to get information about the source of the fake notes.”
Bhoir also said that when he and Majid saw the body on Sunday evening at Sion Hospital, there were injury marks on his jaw, hands and legs that suggested assault. However, there was no confirmation from the hospital about the injury marks.
According to Majid, Shaikh worked for a private cosmetics company and stayed alone in Mumbai. His wife and five kids are in West Bengal, and he was sole bread winner of the family.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Dhananjay Kulkarni, said, “The accused Shaikh died while in custody at the Dharavi police station but the cause of death will only be known once the post mortem is completed”.
The body will be sent to JJ Hospital and the post-mortem will be conducted on Monday. Depending on the cause of death, further inquiries will be initiated, apolice officer said.

Rafiq Shaikh’s (L) family members allege they were given no information about his death, and that it was only when they went to the police station that they were told he had died

 

 

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