Revealed: US and Britain Launched 1,200 Drone Strikes in Recent Wars

Published on Tuesday, December 4, 2012 by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

by Chris Woods and Alice K Ross
An MQ-9 Reaper returns to Kandahar from an Afghan mission. (USAF/Tech Sgt Chad Chisholm)Recent conflicts in Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq have seen almost 1,200 drone strikes over the past five years, according to new data released to the Bureau.

The information, much of it classified until now, shows that US Air Force drones carried out most of the 1,168 attacks. However British crews are also responsible for a significant portion of the strikes in Afghanistan.

The Bureau has obtained data from the US armed forces, Nato and the UK’s Ministry of Defence. It reveals, for example, that more than a quarter of all armed Coalition air sorties in Afghanistan are now carried out by drones.

While only a fraction of those missions result in strikes, drone strikes in Afghanistan are now taking place on average five times each week.

NB: Libya figures are to September 2 2011; conflict ended on October 31. Yemen figures are confirmed drone strikes only; dozens of further strikes are reported but unconfirmed. Click the graph to see the data.

Afghanistan – the US’s most intense conflict
The US’s secret drone campaign in Pakistan and elsewhere is now in its eleventh year and is attracting increasing scrutiny, including academic studiescourt casesand, soon, a UN investigation. Ironically, less is known about the use of drones in conventional theatres of war.

The US military and its allies have carried out almost 1,200 drone strikes since 2008 in Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq. When the Bureau first approached the US military in August seeking drone data for recent conflicts, we were told the information was classified. Central Command (Centcom) later relented after the Bureau argued there was a strong public interest in releasing the information.

Centcom now says it is committed to publishing statistics on the number of missiles fired by drones in Afghanistan, as part of its monthly reports.

The newly declassified figures provided to the Bureau show armed drones flown by the Coalition have carried out 1,015 drone strikes in Afghanistan since 2008. This is three times more than the 338 attacks the CIA has carried out in neighbouring Pakistan over the same period.

Of more than 7,600 armed drone missions flown by Coalition forces between January and October 2012, ‘kinetic events’ – drone strikes – occurred 245 times, a ratio of about one strike for every 30 missions flown. In Iraq, however, only one in every 130 armed drone missions in 2008 resulted in a strike.

For context, there were an additional 1,145 attacks by conventional aircraft in Afghanistan during that period, official figures show. The proportion of airstrikes carried out by drones has risen steeply to 18%, up from 11% in 2009.

While no British drones went to Libya, the MoD has revealed British pilots had flown US drones in the campaign.While Coalition drones fly thousands of armed sorties in Afghanistan, drone strikes are ‘the exception, not the norm’, a Centcom spokeswoman told the Bureau.

The number of strikes has increased steadily year-on-year – but there is ambiguity over who is carrying them out. The majority are by the US Air Force, with the remainder by the British military and – possibly – US Special Forces. Here there is some confusion.

A senior US Army spokesman said: ‘Of the thousands of UAS [unmanned aerial systems] we have, only a very small number (well less than 100) are armed.’

But another senior US military official, speaking on background terms, said: ‘The Army doesn’t have UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] in service that carry munitions… Any UAVs that can carry munitions are/were under the charge of the Air Force in Afghanistan and Iraq.’

Military officials were unable to explain the discrepancy between the two statements. The Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) has its own classified fleet of Reaper drones, however, which may account for the apparently contradictory statements.

Britain’s small, active fleet
‘In Afghanistan drone strikes are ‘the exception, not the norm:’ US Central Command spokeswomanThe UK’s drone fleet in Afghanistan is small compared with that of the US – Britain will shortly double its number of Reapers from five to ten aircraft.

Yet British-piloted aircraft launched a high proportion of the total missiles fired from drones.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has released new data on the number of missiles fired in each of the past five years. In 2011, almost four missiles of every ten fired by drones in Afghanistan were the work of UK forces, the new figures indicate. In 2010 and 2012 the proportion was over a quarter. An MoD spokesman pointed out that the rate of missiles released in comparison to total hours flown had fallen significantly from its peak in 2008.

The MoD refused to reveal the number of strikes it had carried out, and indicated it would be inaccurate for the Bureau to infer a number of attacks by comparing British data with Centcom’s more complete numbers, ‘because of differing rules of engagement’.

Click the image to see an interactive and download the data

The missing numbers
‘Protecting civilians is the cornerstone of our mission. The use of all Afcent weapons and methods are tightly restricted, carefully supervised, and applied by only qualified and authorised personnel.’ US Air Force spokeswomanThe US has so far refused to release casualty data for its drone campaigns, although an Air Force spokeswoman insisted that ‘protecting civilians is the cornerstone of our mission’. She added: ‘The use of all Afcent weapons and methods are tightly restricted, carefully supervised, and applied by only qualified and authorised personnel.’

Only Britain has issued estimates of the non-combatants it has killed. According to officials at the Ministry of Defence, four civilians have died in UK-piloted drone strikes in Afghanistan – although campaigners such as Drone Wars UK have questioned this figure.

David Cameron visits troops in Afghanistan, December 2010 (Corporal Mark Webster/MoD)A ministry spokesman said: ‘Every effort, which includes in some circumstances deciding not to release weapons, is made to ensure the risk of collateral damage, including civilian casualties, is minimised.’

Although Britain has not officially estimated the number of militants killed, prime minister David Cameron told reporters in December 2010 that by that point UK drones ‘killed more than 124 insurgents’. More than 200 missiles have been fired by British drones since that date.

Libya: a short, bloody campaign
In contrast to the long-running Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, figures supplied by Nato and the Pentagon on last year’s Libyan air campaign give an insight into the brutal intensity of that short conflict.

Nato provided the Bureau with figures for the operation, first published in a letter to the head of the UN’s investigation into Libya in January 2012. Differences in how data is recorded makes it difficult to draw a comparison  between Libya and other recent campaigns. What is clear is that armed drones played a small yet significant role.

Prime minister David Cameron in December 2010 said UK drones ‘killed more than 124 insurgents’. Since then more than 200 missiles have been fired by British drones.In April 2011, the US announced it was sending Reaper and Predator drones to Libya as part of Operation Unified Protector. ‘They are uniquely suited for urban areas,’ Marine General James Cartwright, the vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a press conference at the time.

While no British drones went to Libya, the MoD later revealed British pilots had flown US drones in the campaign.

Nato aircraft – piloted by the US, France and UK – flew around 18,000 armed sorties during the brief campaign, firing 7,600 missiles.

A tiny proportion of these armed missions – 250 in total – were flown by drones. US Predators flew 145 strike sorties, according to a Department of Defense briefingpublished in October 2011. A Nato spokesman explained ‘strike sorties’ is the term used for ‘identifying and engaging targets’, while armed sorties could also be for surveillance, and carrying weapons for self-defence.

The Pentagon confirmed to the Bureau that US-piloted drones carried out 105 strikes between the start of April and September 2, 2011. This figure does not reflect the full campaign, which continued until October 31. However, it does indicate a very high ratio of strikes to armed sorties – more than one in three total armed missions led to a strike – reflecting the intensity of the Libyan conflict compared to the more drawn-out wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, where drones often fly armed missions without firing weapons.

Following the end of the campaign, in November 2011 Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen claimed: ‘We conducted our operations in Libya in a very careful manner, so we have no confirmed civilian casualties caused by Nato.’

But the following month, a New York Times investigation reported 40-70 civilians died in Nato bombings. The findings were supported by an Amnesty Internationalinvestigation published in March 2012, which named 55 civilians including 16 children and 14 women – all killed in strikes on urban areas, including in Tripoli, Zlitan, Majer and Sirte.

‘We conducted our operations in Libya in a very careful manner, so we have no confirmed civilian casualties caused by Nato.’ Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen But it is not clear how many – if any – of these deaths were caused by drones.

Iraq: a rapid wind-down
The Bureau has also obtained previously classified details of US drone strikes in Iraq for the final years of the conflict.

These demonstrate how swiftly the US Air Force scaled down its drone strikes as withdrawal approached.

The number of armed drone sorties dropped steadily between 2008 and December 2011, when US forces finally withdrew.

Actual drone strikes – or ‘kinetic events’ – collapsed by more than 90% between 2008 and 2009, Obama’s first year in office, from 43 strikes to four. In comparison, the CIA carried out 55 drone strikes in Pakistan in 2009.

There were no US Air Force drone strikes in Iraq in 2010, and just one in 2011. All US military drone sorties in the country have now ceased.


UN Resolution Calls for Israel to Disclose Nuclear Arsenal

Regional outlier asked to join NPT and back vision of a ‘Nuclear-Free Middle East

– Common Dreams staff

The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly on Monday to approve a resolution calling on Israel to open up its nuclear weapons program to international inspectors and to end its refusal to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treary, or NPT.

 A vote by the United Nations general assembly has called on Israel to open its nuclear programme to weapons inspectors. (Photograph: Chip East/Reuters) The resolution passed with a 174-6 vote, and included 6 abstentions. Israel, the U.S., Canada, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau were the “no” votes.

Also included in the UN measure was a call to reschedule a recently cancelled conference that would push for a ‘nuclear-free Middle East,’ something that all countries across the region, including Iran, have supported. A meeting on the issue was planned for this month in Helsinki, FInland, but was  cancelled, or at least postponed, by the U.S. at the end of November.

Though the Israeli nuclear weapons arsenal is widely known to exist, neither the nation’s government or its key ally, the U.S., will publicly acknowledge the program.

This refusal has long helped Israel avoid acknowledging the hypocrisy of its repeated threats against Iran for its nascent nuclear technology program.

As the Associated Press reports:

Resolutions adopted by the 193-member General Assembly are not legally binding but they do reflect world opinion and carry moral and political weight.

Israel refuses to confirm or deny it has nuclear bombs though it is widely believed to have a nuclear arsenal. It has refused to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, or NPT, along with three nuclear weapon states — India, Pakistan and North Korea.

And John Glaser, writing at Antiwar.comadds:

If Israel agreed to dismantling its vast stockpiles of nuclear weapons and to a deal enforcing a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East – a deal Iran and Israel’s Arab neighbors have repeatedly proposed – the supposed threats Israel faces in the region would virtually disappear.

But Israel refuses to give up its nuclear monopoly, insistent on maintaining its excuse to build up its military and distract from the Palestinian issue.

As former CIA Middle East analyst Paul Pillar has written, “the Iran issue” provides a “distraction” from international “attention to the Palestinians’ lack of popular sovereignty.”



Cash Prizes Fuel India’s Sterilization Overdrive #Vaw #Coercion #Reproductiverights

By Swapna Majumdar

WeNews correspondent

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Spurred by cash incentives, state workers in the state of Rajasthan offer prizes to women to undergo tubal ligation in mass sterilization drives. Critics call it a coercive process that restricts women’s right to know their contraceptive choices.


Women await their turn for sterilization at a primary health center in Rajasthan.
Women await their turn for sterilization at a primary health center in Rajasthan.


Credit: Swapna Majumdar



A few days after Rukma Devi underwent sterilization in the Rajsamand district of Rajasthan, she suffered intense pain in her abdomen. Fever and body aches followed.

Devi had registered at one of the state’s “sterilization camps,” part of the nation’s campaign to reduce the number of births. The effort is characterized by drives conducted in village primary health care clinics that aim to meet government targets of sterilizing as many women, through tube tying, as possible within a certain time span.

A few months later, when the abdominal pain still hadn’t gone away, the mother of four went to a local doctor and got some shocking news.

She was pregnant.

Rajasthan, in the north of India, has earned the dubious distinction as the state with the most failed sterilizations in 2012. Out of 2,609 failures reported so far this year, 772 were registered in Rajasthan, according to the national government’s statistics. The average number of children a woman bears in Rajasthan is 3.3, far higher than the national average of 2.6

These statistics provided the backdrop for legal and health activists to discuss ways to curb the sterilization push over a two-day meeting in New Delhi in late November.

Kerry McBroom is director of the reproductive rights unit of the Human Rights Law Network, a New Delhi-based group of lawyers that has already spurred the Supreme Court to rebuke the national and state governments for unhygienic sterilizations of poor, low-caste women in many parts of the country, including Rajasthan. She said women’s rights at sterilization camps are being violated by doctors and health facilities across the county who flout national and international ethical and procedural guidelines.

“The quality and nature of information that health workers provide women and their families to convince them to be sterilized is questionable, raising doubts about informed consent,” McBroom said.

She cited the Indian government‘s 2006 quality-assurance protocol for sterilization services as well as 2011 guidelines by the International Federation for Obstetricians and Gynecologists on female contraceptive sterilization.

Mandatory Information

Both standards say that before a woman undergoes sterilization she must be informed about other, reversible forms of family planning. She must also be counseled about possible complications and, if deciding on the sterilization option, be provided with hygienic conditions and adequate medical equipment.

Of the 225 million women aged 15 to 49 sterilized worldwide, 40 percent live in India.

Roughly 80 percent of all women in India use sterilization as their contraceptive method primarily because the government promotes sterilization as a means of family planning and population control.

But this sterilization overdrive leads to an inordinate degree of failure.

In the past three years Rajasthan has paid more than $10 million to compensate women for failed sterilizations, according to information obtained under the national Right to Information Act by Yedunath Dashanan, an activist based in Jaipur, the state capital.

The government’s reply to that application, released in September 2012, showed 4,200 failed sterilization cases in Rajasthan between 2009 and 2011. The response also showed 16 deaths due to sterilization complications. Tubal ligation is generally safe, but in parts of India such procedures are carried out in violation of prescribed safety standards, often with fatal consequences for marginalized women.

Still, the state government continues to promote female sterilization to stabilize its population and lower fertility rates. In keeping with its goal of achieving 698,604 sterilizations in 2012-13, the state medical and health department asked its health workers in July this year to sterilize 100,000 people within the fortnight coinciding with World Population Day (July 11).

To meet these targets, state health officials offer cars on a lottery basis and free cooking gas connections to promote sterilization. Each health worker who facilitates the operation also receives cash incentives, which are openly mentioned in family planning programs.

Coerced Sterilizations

Incentives such as these lead to coerced sterilization, mainly of women, said Dr. Abhijit Das, director of the Centre for Health and Social Justice, a New Delhi-based nongovernmental organization working on gender equity and health.

“India focuses on female sterilization as its main tool of family planning,” said Das. “There is a lack of choice as providers focus only on sterilization. Women accept it as the best option as no information is provided about other family planning methods.”

Das added that the lack of information violates the National Population Policy 2000, which stresses informed choice and target-free approaches in administering family planning services. State medical practitioners, he said, reveal a worrying degree of ignorance about national and international ethical guidelines on sterilizations.

About 1.7 million women in Rajasthan do not have access to contraceptives, Das said. “There is also a lack of understanding of potential adverse outcomes for sterilizations. The poor technical quality of the services provided is leading to increased deaths, increased failures and morbidities.”

In a 2010 study of 749 women who underwent these sterilizations in the Bundi district of Rajasthan, authors found 2.5 percent became pregnant, far above the international standard for pregnancy following failed sterilizations of 0.5 percent.

The study was conducted by Manjri, a nongovernmental organization based in Nainwa, Bundi district, in collaboration with the Centre for Health and Social Justice. It found that 88 percent of participants were not told about failures or complications and 27 percent received no advice about post-sterilization care.

Violations included conducting only three of the 11 mandatory physical examinations before the surgery.

Almost all the women were discharged within four hours of the operation, which involves cutting or blocking the fallopian tubes, although 7.6 percent of them were still unconscious. This too apparently violates the nation’s health standards that say a patient can be discharged four hours after the tubal ligation surgery only if her vital signs are stable, she is fully awake, has passed urine and can walk.

Swapna Majumdar is a journalist based in New Delhi and writes on gender, development and politics.


Vedanta’s Alumina Refinery Shuts Down In Odisha

Unable to secure bauxite despite concerted efforts, the Vedanta group said it has shut down its alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Odisha’s Kalahandi district
Vedanta's Alumina Refinery Shuts Down In Odisha

Picture by Reuters

Unable to secure bauxite despite concerted efforts, the Vedanta group on 5 December’ 2012 said it has shut down its one million tonne alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Odisha’s Kalahandi district.
“We are forced to close down the Lanjigarh refinery due to depletion of stock of bauxite. Despite efforts over the past three months, we were unable to ensure sustainable supplies,” CEO of Vedanta Aluminium Mukesh Kumar told PTI over phone.
“For the last few days, we ran the unit at around 20 per cent of capacity incurring heavy loss,” Kumar said.
The bauxite stock was ‘almost zero’, a senior Vedanta official said.
The mining conglomerate, which runs the refinery of Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL), had given a closure notice to the Odisha government on September 5 on shutting operations from December 5, citing severe shortage of bauxite as the main reason.
Stating that 10,000-11,000 tonne of bauxite was required per day for normal functioning of the refinery, Kumar said the company explored several sources outside Odisha, but failed to secure more than 3,000 tonne daily.
Though the company’s top management met Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and chief secretary several times for bauxite for the refinery, no solution could be found, he said.
Voicing doubt over immediate revival of the plant, another company official said that the 75 mw captive power plant set up in Lanjigarh would also have to be shut down in view of the uncertain scenario.
A company official had said earlier that the shutdown of the refinery was likely to affect about 3,000 workforce directly and around 4,500 indirectly, although “we are not contemplating any retrenchment at the moment”.
The company has invested about Rs 50,000 crore in the refinery along with an aluminium smelter of 1.5 mtpa and a captive power plant in Jharsuguda.



University of Lucknow- Stop Casteism! Stop Discrimination!

December 5, 2012

caste system 300x121 University of Lucknow  Stop Casteism! Stop Discrimination!The following article was written bySeema Chandra, a student activist of Lucknow University, over an incident of caste discrimination suffered by her younger sister and college mate – Garima Chandra. Instead of acting on it, the University has only ended up legitimizing it by not only doing nothing against the errant students, but actually practising it themselves.

After nearly a month of the incident, fed up over the inaction of the University, Seema and Garima with support from their college mates, activists and few faculty staff will be protesting on 7th December against the incident and the University’s failure to respond. To know more about the protest or to send solidarity messages to Garima and protest mails to the University, please contact Seema directly at (with copy Seema can also be reached at 8765829986. To generate more support for this campaign, please do consider signing this petition

New Socialist Alternative (CWI-India) is in complete solidarity with Garima Chandra and we demand that the University of Lucknow take immediate action and see to it that such incidents are not repeated in the future. Such incidents are not rare occurrences, but are practised daily in several colleges and Universities across the country.

Capitalism, instead of eliminating casteism, has ended up accentuating caste based practices and is linked to the social structure of Indian society which is controlled mainly by upper caste-class. As long as Capitalism and landlordism exist in India, casteism shall be an inherent part of its socio-economic structure and this system of divide and rule will only continue.


“Please do not make me pay the price…!!”

Now “understand what comes by birth and cannot be cast off by dying is caste”. Wiping off the tears and in the loudest of her voice she says “where is my fault..? Is it a crime to be a Scheduled Caste? I wish if god would have asked me once the choice to choose the caste!”

This is what exactly happened on 5th of November in Social Work department of Lucknow University, when Garima Chandra (a student of the same department) was harassed by her three female classmates on the grounds of her caste and had to endure the mental trauma.

When the matter was reported to the coordinator of the Social Work department, the coordinator in his least bothering tone said “…please whatever you people have to do, do it outside the department.” The members of the Proctorial board were informed in writing about the same incident, they laughed off and said “You people should make yourself flexible. All these things have been carried out from generations and Scheduled Caste people will have to tolerate with all this”. The same matter was reported once again on 7th November 2012 to the Proctor board.

The matter was further taken up to the Vice Chancellor of the Lucknow University. However the assurance was given that matter would be inquired and something would be done about it. It is almost a month, a committee was made to further look into the matter. When the committee was hearing into the matter, three of the female teachers made fun of the victim. They giggled over all this and said: people who are Daliths are in the habit of taking revenge over their caste. It is just a small issue do not make a hue and cry over it. If someone has said something, it is a daily routine, what is new in it? Be with it, do not oppose, compromise on it.

The victim was not even heard or made to put her opinion in front of the committee. Was it her caste that had made others laugh over it? Instead of understanding it is as a deep psychological wound, everyone else thinks it is can simply be patched up. God only knows what are the morals of these teachers. What is more shameful is that caste discrimination is being so openly practised in a secular institutions like a university.

Say no to Casteism!

The passing out batches in the Social Work department will be out in the field soon and practice the same. Even though we are living in a class based society, but caste is still a huge problem in India. Do these same people understand the mental wound one goes through in such cases? If University does not act soon, in the future we will only hear more such cases. Or maybe in the future it would become part of our lives to hear such incidents daily.

When such cases crop up, i wonder why constitutional protection against caste discrimination is totally ignored? Why do people forget that practising casteism is a prohibition under the Constitution and it’s a crime and offence as stated in Article 17? The need of hour is to raise and to reach out to more and more people irrespective of their backgrounds and support anti-casteism. Every institution should make sure that caste based practices are a thing of the past or else those institution or its faculty plus its students who practice casteism, should be held accountable and taken to task accordingly.

Seema Chandra


News Clipping on Garima Chandra’s ordeal in University of Lucknow:

NHRC notice to Railway for arresting deaf, mute man #disability #Rights

New Delhi, Dec 3, 2012, PTI:

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Monday issued a notice to the chairman of Railway Board seeking a report on the arrest of a speech-impaired and dementia-affected man and his subsequent jail for allegedly travelling in ladies compartment of a local train in West Bengal.

Taking cognizance of media reports forwarded to it by a human right activist, NHRC issued the notice to the chairman of Railway Board seeking a reply within four weeks.

The 38-year-old, Biswanath Dutta, who is suffering from mild dementia and impaired speech, was arrested by the Railway Police Force on the November 2 for traveling on RanaghatSealdah ladies’ special in violation of rules.

The RPF didn’t allow him to contact his family through them despite his request.

Custody for 11 days

He was produced before the magistrate who remanded him in judicial custody for 11 days after he failed to pay the fine of Rs 500.

“The Commission has observed that the contents of the press report, if true, raise a serious issue of violation of human rights of persons with disability. A notice has been issued to the chairman of Railway Board, New Delhi, calling a report in the matter within four weeks,” a statement from the NHRC said.

It is further alleged that the victim didn’t own a mobile phone. His family tried to find him and even contacted RPF but they allegedly failed to inform them about his arrest.


#SoniSori needs psychological counselling: NCW #Vaw #Torture

December 05, 2012 15:08 IST

A National Commission for Women member has stressed that Soni Sori, the tribal teacher arrested for alleged Maoist links, needs psychological counselling so that she gets over the mental trauma she had suffered in police custody.

NCW member Shamina Shafiq, who visited Raipur Central Jail on Tuesday where Sori has been lodged, said it would be difficult for her to survive if she was not provided proper counselling.

Sori, the 36-year-old teacher in a government school in India’s [ Images ] one of the worst naxal-hit district Dantewada, was arrested in Delhi [ Images ] in October last year on charges of receiving money on behalf of Maoists from a corporate entity.

She had later accused Chhattisgarh police of torturing her in police custody. “She (Sori) has been through so much whether outside or inside. We had a long discussion. She needs psychological help and a lot of counselling,” Shafiq told PTI.

“If she is not counselled then it would be very difficult for her to survive in such circumstances,” she said. Sori had also handed over a letter to her, Shamina said but refused to reveal its content.

Shafiq also met with other women prisoners, including two detained on charges of being Maoist conduits. She asked jail authorities to work on psychological counselling for inmates, particularly women.

“Women carry the emotional burden. When they are behind bars and family members are not visiting them, they go through a lot of mental trauma and need psychological help from time to time,” Shamina stressed.

She also pointed out lack of police personnel in the jail, leading to insecurity and the prisoners missing out on court hearings.

“The women prisoners cannot go for hearing sometimes owing to lack of police personnel to escort them to the courts,” she noted. The non-availability of adequate number of police personnel is one of the basic problems here, she mentioned.


Invite to Kudankulam to Celebrate the New Year 2013!



Dear friends/comrades,


We invite you join us in celebrating the arrival of the New Year 2013 at the coastal hamlets of Kudankulam, Tamilnadu.

The men, women and children fighting against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant have caught the attention of the entire nation. Even while the Central and State governments are using their concerted powers to squash all opposition, the people’s struggle, led by PMANE (People’s Movement against Nuclear Energy), remain resolute to protect the present and future generations from the negative impacts of radiation. And this, they are doing by staking their very lives! The fisher people, farmers, traders and others in Kudankulam continue to organise boat protests, blockades outside the plant, rallies, and public meetings.

Keeping aside the debate around nuclear power, the people’s resistance and their unrelenting spirit ought to be celebrated– for their collective capacity to continue their peaceful struggle. Let all of us who believe in the struggle of the Kudankulam people come together to assert our freedoms, reclaim democracy, and celebrate the spirit of resistance.

We invite you to three days of conversations, songs, dance, music, poetry, films and more at Idinthakarai, Kudankulam from 30 December 2012 to 1 January 2013. Please find beneath the invite/call for the programme!


We look forward to celebrating the arrival of the New Year with you @ Kudankulam.

For programme related queries, confirmations, etc please contact:


Bhargavi: 09999563950/ 011 26680914/26687724;


Nityanand Jayaraman: 09444082401;


T Peter: 09447429243; 

In solidarity,

Vijayan MJ

 Celebrating the New Year-2013 @ Kudankulam  

Three days of conversations, songs, dance, music, poetry, films

and more at Idinthakarai, Kudankulam 

30 December 2012 to 01 January 2013


“I want to go to Kudankulam on 01.01.2013 to be with the fisherfolk as well as the common people who are resisting the proposed nuclear power plant; a danger for the sea, the sand and the people… In fact the total environment will be threatened when nuclear power plant comes. The humanity, marine and animal life will be destroyed… I hope that Kudankulam, the very name, will set an example before Indian citizens and lead us towards the victory of humanity.”

– Mahashweta Devi


An alternative world is emerging from the grassroots- through social movements and people’s resistance, through the power of ideas and practice. This emergence is always there though the scale of social movements and people’s resistance varies. It expands and contracts, it fragments and converges, and it goes through defeats and reorganising. Yet over a historical time it grows silently, incrementally and unevenly in many streams, in many movements and organisations, and erupts decisively through their confluence in revolutions.

People get drawn in by various motivations, interests and persuasions. At the core of all social movements and people’s resistance are always communities of activists, who carry a simple truth: the human capacity to change. This shared belief is fundamental, to be retained and nurtured through a sense of belonging.

There is always a frontline from where the power of domination and the state is confronted and struggled with to make way for social and political change; where people inspire, make sacrifices, families suffer and individuals are tested for their commitment.

The resistance at Kudankulam is one such frontline. We have to stand with them from everywhere. We can also be with them as they face suffering, loss and pain. As communities of activists, we can gift them with the power of belonging and the strength of our solidarity. All of us carry traditions of cultural and political celebration – a moment when differences remain subdued and belongings become pronounced. In bringing together the New Year celebration with a people’s movement at the frontlines, we make the personal political, celebration a form of protest, and belonging deeper and broader.

We invite you to three days of conversations, song, dance, music, poetry, films and more to stand in solidarity with the people in Idinthakarai, Kudankulam from 30 December 2012 to 1 January 2013. We look forward to celebrating the arrival of the New Year with you.

With best wishes and solidarity

Organising Collective for New Year @ Kudankulam



For more details contact Organising Collective for New Year @ Kudankulam

Bhargavi: 09999563950/ 011 26680914/26687724;

Nityanand Jayaraman: 09444082401;

T Peter: 09447429243;
Vijayan MJ
General Secretary
Programme for Social Action (PSA)
Address: H-17/1 (Basement), Malviya Nagar,
New Delhi INDIA – 110017
Phones: + 91-11-26687725 (Direct), 26671556 / +91-9582862682 (Mobile)


#India-191 fake encounters in last five years, NHRC tells Supreme Court



By , TNN | Dec 5, 2012, 05.22 AM IST

SC has an explosive situation on its hands as the NHRC informed it that 191 fake encounter killings took place in the country in the last five years.
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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court, which relentlessly strove to bring to book perpetrators of the fake encounter killings of Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram Prajapati in Gujarat, has an explosive situation on its hands as the NationalHuman Rights Commission informed it that 191 fake encounter killings took place in the country in the last five years.

Appalled by the attitude of the Manipur government in responding to over 1,500 alleged fake encounter killings in the militancy affected state in the last three decades, a bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana P Desai had asked during the last hearing, “Is there a war going on within? Is this the attitude and orientation of a state to say that if they are killing my men, we will kill them?”

In response to Manipur’s alleged unaddressed extra-judicial killings, the NHRC in an affidavit said in the last five years, from 2007 to 2012, it had received 1,671 complaints/information regarding fake encounters.

“The commission in the last five years has awarded monetary compensation to the tune of Rs 10.51 crore in 191 cases,” it said in an affidavit. The commission awards compensation in the range of Rs 5-10 lakh to the kin of victims if it comes to the conclusion after inquiry that it was a fake encounter.

The bench headed by Justice Alam had in the past minutely scrutinized Gujarat government’s attempts to put a veil on facts in the Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram Prajapati encounter killings and had ordered CBI probe into them, resulting in filing of charge-sheet against former minister Amit Shah, in addition to former senior police officials.

The NHRC mirrored the experience of the apex court in dealing with the two Gujarat fake encounters. “The only handicap is that in all the cases, respective state governments invariably take more than reasonable time to submit magisterial enquiry report, post-mortem report, inquest report and the ballistic expert report,” it said.

“Due to this delay on the part of the state governments in complying with mandatory requirements, the delay occurs in all the matters, as for want of these reports even the commission cannot draw any conclusion and cannot take any view in the matter as to whether the death took place in a genuine encounter or it was a fake encounter,” the human rights body said in its affidavit.

NGOs ‘Extra-Judicial Execution Victims Families Association of Manipur’ through Neena N and ‘Human Rights Alert’ through Babloo Loitongbam had requested the court to set up a Special Investigation Team to inquire into the extra-judicial killings in the state. Another petition by Suresh Singh through advocate S Biswajeet Meitei alleged that continuance of AFSPA had led to a spurt in extra-judicial killings and sought its withdrawal from Manipur.

The NHRC gave its response to the 71 cases of alleged fake encounter complaints it had dealt with relating to Manipur of which only three have been closed. In one case – killing of Thanjam Manorama Chanu on July 12, 2004 – the commission had recently recommended payment of Rs 10 lakh to the kin of the victim but the defence ministry is yet to comply with it.

Though the commission’s guidelines require states to complete mandatory inquiry reports within three months, many cases of alleged extra-judicial killings reported from Manipur have been pending with the NHRC since 2007 as the state has not provided the key investigation reports. Of the 68 pending cases, five incidents dated back to 2007, 17 to 2008 and 19 to 2009, the NHRC said.

To enable it to deal with such cases expeditiously, NHRC said, “It would be appropriate if the Supreme Court directs all the states to strictly comply with the guidelines/recommendation issued by the commission without fail, both in letter and spirit.”


Dalit women pledge to snatch their rights from oppressive social structures #empowerment


NEW DELHI, December 5, 2012, The Hindu

Sunita Devi couldn’t take her Class IX final exams because the date clashed with the day of her marriage. Nine years on, she has not only completed her BA, but also teaches other Dalit women who couldn’t continue their studies after marriage. The resident of Baghpat in western Uttar Pradesh was recounting her story to a large number of Dalit women who had gathered here on Tuesday as part of the first national conference of Dalit women to debate and outline a National Dalit Development Agenda. The agenda is to focus on the access of Dalits to essential services like Integrated Child Development Schemes (ICDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme (MDM) and the Public Distribution Scheme (PDS).

“After marriage I told my husband that at any cost I would continue my studies. I challenged the social norms prevailing in Baghpat because somebody has to take the courage to break the social structures. If you won’t then nobody will,” Sunita told the cheering crowd.

Sunita was joined by Laxmi Bagri, a field worker on Dalit issues in Haryana. She narrated her story of fighting against a casteist and patriarchal society. “I raised my voice against sexual violence on fellow Dalit women and took the matter up with the police. The victims got justice because of the solidarity shown by the Dalit rights activists and groups,” she said.

“The bottom line is that it is high time we say no to all kinds of violence by any body and every body,” Laxmi , adding, “We need to take our every legitimate right from the self appointed guardians of the society.”

The occasion saw eminent feminist and women’s leader Kamla Bhasin singing empowering songs about not getting bogged down by patriarchal dictates and fulfilling one’s every wish and aspiration.

“Let’s take a pledge not to be defeated by patriarchal onslaught. All that it takes is courage on our part,” said Ms. Bhasin.

During the public hearing, the Dalit women talked about how they faced discrimination while accessing food programmes like PDS, ICDS and MDM and demanded that ICDS centres and PDS shops be opened in Dalit villages. They also demanded that the cooking staff should be appointed from among the SC/ST to “eliminate the notions of purity, pollution and untouchability.”

On this occasion, Ashok Bharti from the National Confederation of Dalit Organisation, a coalition of several Dalit rights groups, underscored that at present the PDS, ICDS, and the MDM were arguably the strongest available tools with which the poor and marginalised could actualise their Right to Food.

“But the biggest roadblock is the considerable disadvantage faced by Dalits while accessing these schemes which has finally resulted in poor nutritional indicators of the majority of the SC/ST communities,” he added.

A recent UNICEF study showed that 37 per cent of reported maternal deaths were from the Scheduled Castes, said Mr. Bharti, adding that children from SC/ST communities were more likely to be underweight and malnourished.

“It shows that there is some thing seriously wrong with our nutritional policies,” he said, demanding the National Nutrition Policy be redesigned and a National Nutrition Authority be established with substantial presence from the SC/ST communities. He also asked the Government to make the social audit of all food and nutritional schemes mandatory.


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December 2012
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