Korean Civil and Labour organisations condemn State violence on anti-POSCO villagers


 

 

Dear Friends:

Yesterday, February 07, 2013, 10 Korean NGOs held a press conference in front of the Indian Embassy in Korea.
The co-statement below in the conference was delivered to the Indian Embassy (toward the prime minister) urging them to stop the violence.

Souparna Lahiri

For AIFFM

T0: His Excellency Dr. Manmohan Singh Prime Minister of India
From: Korean Civil and Labor organizations
Date: 7th February, 2013

We strongly request the Indian government to halt forcible land acquisition immediately, which is for securing sites for project of POSCO.

Korean civil society has strongly argued that the Indian government should push ahead the project with consideration of human rights of the villagers and environment. Some of committees of the Indian government and National Green Tribunal clarified their position that the proposed project failed to obtain villagers’ consent and environment effects should be examined thoroughly.

Despite POSCO Project acquired legitimacy from the Indian government, it is clear that mobilization of police force should not be principal means of resolving deportation cases.

The Indian government must be aware that how much painful the Indian villagers, who are dismissed from their lifelong lands and houses and received unfair compensation, feel. Early in the morning of 3rd February 2013, Indian police attacked peaceful protesters. They attacked women and children, cut the trees and devastated facilities of the village. Furthermore, as from 5th February, police and Indian government employees have conducted forcible land acquisition procedures in the village opposing to the proposed project.

Also, Korean civil society doubt why the police force is involved in POSCO project, which attracts attention of international society, at this time even though the government refrained from putting troops.

As of 28th January 2013, when South Korean Minister of Knowledge Economy visited India, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma referred “We have been concerned about the delays and will be conducting a review. Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) himself has been monitoring this project”

Korean civil society is disappointed in the Indian government if the outcome of ‘review’ and ‘monitoring’ is resorting to violence and brings the armed forces.
Not only opponents of the project in the village, but international civil society including South Korea are skeptical whether POSCO launched the project with villagers’ full consent through ‘valid’ procedures. In addition, we doubt whether the Indian government clings to environment permitting guidance. For this reason, as of October 2012, civil society of India, South Korea, Norway and Netherlands petitioned NCPs of Korea, Netherlands and Norway, regarding POSCO project as an undertaking which has violated OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises. In this situation, enforcement of the project with armed forces would never be beneficial to POSCO as well as the Indian government.

Korean enterprises including POSCO have expanded investment in India. However, Korean civil society does not want disadvantaged people in India to go through human rights abuses and discrimination as investment of Korean companies escalates. The Indian government, as a state fully respecting human rights, has to pay attention to Korean civil society and those who are fearful of expropriation of land, instead of focusing on enterprises such as POSCO.

We therefore urge the Indian government to

– Withdraw the police force as soon as possible and prosecute those who are responsible for the assault.
– Provide treatment to the injured villagers and compensate those who lost their trees and other sources of livelihood.
– Reexamine POSCO project and ensure that villagers’ right to partake in decision making.
– Respect villagers’ human rights and protect them from brutality. 
1.  Advocates for Public Interests Law

2.  Corporate For All

3.  Energy & Climate Policy Institute

4.  GongGam, Human Rights Law Foundation

5.  Korean Confederation of Trade Unions

6.  Korean Federation for Environmental Movement

7.  Korean House for International Solidarity

8.  Korean Lawyers for Public Interest and Human Rights

9.  National Association of Professors for Democratic Society

10.    People’s Solidarity for Social Progress

 

#India -Afzal Guru, Parliament attack convict, hanged in Delhi’s Tihar Jail #deathpenalty, protest today at Jantar Mantar


JOIN SILENT PROTEST AT  JANTAR MANTAR TODAY at 1.00pm AGAINST THE HANGING OF AFZAL GURU

Edited by Surabhi Malik | Updated: February 09, 2013 08:46 IST

Afzal Guru, Parliament attack convict, hanged in Delhi's Tihar Jail

New DelhiAfzal Guru, convicted for his role in the attack on Parliament in 2001, has been executed at about 8 this morning at Delhi’s Tihar Jail.The Home Ministry had recommended the death sentence for Guru on January 23, sources said, and President Pranab Mukherjee rejected his mercy petition a few days ago, clearing the way for his hanging.

Nine years ago, in 2004, Afzal Guru was given the death sentence by the Supreme Court. The sentence was scheduled to be carried out on October 20, 2006, but was stayed after his wife filed the mercy petition, which had been pending with the President’s office since.

The main opposition party, the BJP, has for long questioned the delay in the execution of Guru. Senior Congress leaders like Digvijaya Singh too said that a decision must come soon. But activists and political groups in Kashmir have argued that Guru was not given a fair trial. There have been many requests that his death sentence be commuted.

Afzal Guru is from Sopore in Kashmir and curfew has been imposed there and in other major towns in the valley, including Srinagar, just 35 kms away.  The army is on high-alert.

Separatist groups in Kashmir have earlier warned against Guru’s execution and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has repeatedly stressed that it could have serious repercussions in his state. Mr Abdullah is in Delhi and is leaving for Srinagar immediately.

In December 2001, five heavily-armed terrorists drove into the Parliament complex and opened fire. Nine people were killed, most of them members of the security forces. All the terrorists were shot dead.

Both Houses of Parliament had just been adjourned and many MPs and ministers, including then Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani were still inside.

A few days later, Afzal Guru was arrested.

In November last year, Ajmal Kasab, the terrorist from Pakistan who was caught during the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, was executed in a Pune jail.

 

PPSS leader Abhay Sahu’s fast entered the fourth day: Call to Join the peaceful struggle at Govindpur, Jagatsinghpur, Odisha


 

Support for the anti-POSCO resistance:

* Korean Civil and Labour organisations condemn State violence on anti-POSCO villagers
<http://miningzone.org/archives/1924>

* Support Letter by French Civil Society to Anti-Posco Movement
<http://http//miningzone.org/archives/1838>

* An Open Letter from concerned citizens to the Chief Minister of Odisha
<http://miningzone.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Open-Letter-to-the-Odisha-CM-Feb-2013.pdf>

* Letter of Concern from Global Forest Coalition at the barbaric action of police proposed POSCO project area in Jagatsingpur district of Orissa
<http://miningzone.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/GFC-Letter-solidarity-India-POSCO.pdf>

PPSS leader Abhay Sahu’s fast entered the fourth day: Call to Join the peaceful struggle at Govindpur, Jagatsinghpur, Odisha

 

Dear Friends,

As you may be aware our leader Mr. Abhaya Sahoo had to take the extreme step of sitting on hunger strike till the time withdrawal of armed police force from our area is completed. His fast has been going on at Patna Hat village since the morning of 5th February 2013 though he is not in good health.

While thanking you all for the support and solidarity you have been extending to the movement which certainly keeps our hope alive even when forcible displacement and despair knocks at our door, we do also appeal you on behalf our agitating villagers to please come and join us physically at the site of the Dharana in Govindapur and Patana Hat. You may be a leader/activist of a political party or a social movement or a progressive intellectual, a media person, does [not] matter where you belong to – please come and join us in the peaceful demonstration at Govindpur against the government’s coercive action to forcibly dislodge us from our land and livelihoods.

We have already informed you about the happenings on 3rd February dawn when police force forcefully entered Govindapur village and blocked the area from all sides and started beating our villagers mercilessly. Our women are complaining about torture and sexual atrocities in the hands of the police. [The police] did also pull down trees and betel vines, the major sources of our livelihood.

On 6th of February 2013, the district administration of Odisha was forced to halt the operation at around noon when hundreds of women and children formed a human barricade and told the police : ‘Kill us first before you proceed further,”.

A large number of activists from CPI, CPM, CPI ML, Liberation, Forward Bloc, Samajwadi Party, RJD and members from different social movements also participated in the demonstration. The supporters and activists of opposition Congress and BJP also joined the gherao agitation lead by Com Raja. It seems that the government would resume land acquisition work today.

Social activist Swami Agnivesh was scheduled to visit Gobindpur village today to express solidarity with our villagers.

We don’t understand the Odisha government’s determination to go ahead with the forceful land acquisition process for the steel plant despite the fact that Posco does not have an environmental clearance for the project. The environmental clearance given by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on January 31, 2011 was suspended by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on March 30 of 2012.

Posco does not even have a memorandum of understanding with the state government now. The one it had signed on July 22, 2005 lapsed on July 21, 2010 and no fresh MoU has been signed so far. So what is the basis on which the state is acquiring land for the project?

Even the palli sabha meeting of Govindpur, and the gram sabha meeting of Dhinkia panchayat on 18 October, 2012, more than 2000 residents unanimously voted against diversion of land for Posco’s project under provisions of the Forest Rights Act 2006. The ongoing land acquisition is a blatant violation of the Forest Rights Act as the rights over forest lands in our area are not being recognized and vested and consent of the Palli Sabhas has not been obtained by the State government.

There is a clear indication that the government is acting at the behest of  and for the benefit of the private company and is in a hurry to begin work even when the new land acquisition bill is being considered by the Parliament, which mandates consent of nearly 70% people in a village before acquiring their land for any project. The project is also facing court cases relating to allotment of iron ore mines and water as well.

We have been questioning the project’s potential to generate jobs for the people and the net benefit the country will get after sacrificing land, water and doling out concessions to the foreign company. The government is completely silent on its part to discuss the issues involving the project.

At this juncture, once again, we earnestly appeal you to join us and express your solidarity with villagers of Govindpur.

Attaching herewith the photographs for your information.

Kindly circulate widely.

Hoping for solidarity,

Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail – prashantpaikary@gmail.com

#Jalandhar 14 year old #gangrape victim critical; family wants justice #Vaw


Even as the 14-year-old Jalandhar gangrape victim continues to battle for life in the intensive care unit (ICU) of the local Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, her family members have alleged that they are being pressed to strike a compromise.

The girl’s father, a labourer, told reporters that  one Puran, a resident of his village Mandhala Channa in Jalandhar district’s Shahkot sub-division, was resorting to pressure tactics. “My daughter is on her death bed. I want justice, not a compromise,” he said. 

Meanwhile, National Commission for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) vice-chairman Raj Kumar Verka, who met the girl’s family in the hospital, said, “I am going to Jalandhar and will seek an action-taken report from the police. I will also ask the police to ensure that the family is not put under pressure.”

Verka said all persons booked in the case must be arrested at the earliest and the Punjab government should ensure best treatment.

The girl had undergone a surgery here on Thursday. Doctors had removed her uterus and repaired her intestines. Doctors confirmed that she would never be able to bear children.

Dr Tejbir Singh, medical superintendent, said, “The girl’s condition is still very critical. A team of doctors is keeping a close watch.”

“There was a lot of blood loss. We are giving her blood and have made arrangements for more, if required,” he added.

When asked whether the girl’s condition had deteriorated due to rape, Dr Tejbir Singh said, “I can comment only after getting a report from the medical team.”

Brutalised on January 28 by three male relatives after she was allegedly abducted from her house at Mandhala Channa village, the girl had been admitted to the civil hospital in Jalandhar on Wednesday after her health deteriorated. A case was registered by the Jalandhar (rural) police the same day against Charanjit Singh, Balwinder Singh and Sher Singh, none of whom has been arrested so far.

The police have conducted raids at various places in search of the accused who have been on the run for the last almost ten days.

 

#Mumbai-Senior journalist and witness in #Gujarat riots related case threatened


 

By Newzfirst Correspondent2/8/13

 

Mumbai – A senior journalist and a witness in a case related to the 2002 Gujarat massacre Friday accused an editor of a prominent daily of starting a “vicious vilification campaign” against him by publishing concocted news relating to the case and threatening him with more dire consequences.

Ashish Khetan – a witness in the Naroda Gaam case – sent a mail to RK Raghavan, head of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the 2002 Gujarat carnage, accusing Avinash Jain – the resident editor of Dainik Bhaskar newspaper – of carrying out a “vicious vilification campaign” by publishing factually incorrect articles and also threatening him with more dire consequences.

Khetan said, “The Ahmedabad edition of Dainik Bhaskar newspaper dated February 5 published a factually incorrect and depraved account of my ongoing deposition in the Naroda Gram massacre case. On the same day the Delhi edition of the same group published a story claiming that I have retracted my testimony.”

These two articles triggered a vicious vilification campaign against my evidence on social media. Clearly it’s an attempt to not only demoralize me but also vitiate the public opinion against the credibility of my ongoing evidence, he further said.

On sending a mail to Ahmedabad edition’s resident editor demanding an apology and clarification instead of correcting the mistake, the editor  Avinash  Jain called me from his cell phone and threatened that more editions of Dainik Bhaskar Group could also now start reporting that I’d retracted my statement, Khetan alleged.

In the letter, Khetan also accused defense lawyers particularly Chetan Shah of being abusive and insulting while cross-examining him.

“Through out my deposition he kept taunting and humiliating me. Also many of his questions were aimed at insulting and annoying me. But this was not all. On more than one occasion he also tried to intimidate and threaten the presiding judge. He on multiple occasions screamed at her at the top of his voice and humiliated her in front of the packed court room.” he said.

Khetan is examined in connection with the sting operation he had conducted in 2007 while working with Tehelka magazine, wherein  Babu Bajrang, a leader of Bajarang Dal and a couple of other accused persons made extra-judicial confessions.

Eleven persons were killed in the Naroda Gam massacre on 28 February 2002. 84 accused are undergoing trial in the case.

 

South Africa outraged over brutal #gangrape #Vaw


Associated Press
 February 7, 2013

 

Johannesburg —

In a country where 1 in 4 women is raped and where months-old babies and 94-year-old grandmothers are sexually assaulted, citizens are demanding action after a teenager was gang-raped, had her stomach sliced open, and was left for dead on a construction site last week.

The 17-year-old lived long enough to identify one of her attackers, a 22-year-old. Police arrested him and said Thursday that they have arrested a second suspect, aged 21. They promised more arrests soon.

“Kill them!” was one of the demands voiced on talk radio stations Thursday.

Every few months, this nation with the highest rate of rapes of babies and young girls in the world yells its outrage at a particularly brutal attack.

Last year, South Africans were shocked when village boys gang-raped a mentally ill 17-year-old with a mental age of 4. She was attacked by six boys, the youngest of whom was 10, in a crime that only came to light because the boys made a cell phone video of the rape and posted it on the Internet. It went viral.

Professor Rachel Jewkes, a doctor heading the Women’s Research Unit of South Africa‘s Medical Research Council, said 37 percent of surveyed men in South Africa’s most populated province of Gauteng said they had raped a woman or child, according to a study. Seventy-five percent of them first raped a teenager, she said.

“It’s a social disaster,” she said. The number of “men who try to feel better about their past by trying to make out that what they did wasn’t serious or wasn’t rape is obviously huge and must be a huge obstacle to getting anything done – from police making arrests to decisions in the courtroom by magistrates and so forth.”

The outcry over Saturday’s rape in Bredasdorp, a Western Cape town known for its giant protea flowers, led President Jacob Zuma to pledge Thursday “that government would never rest until the perpetrators and all those who rape and abuse women and children are meted with the maximum justice that the law allows.”

The maximum sentence for rape in South Africa is life in prison. The death sentence has been abolished.

Zuma himself was accused of rape by the HIV-positive, lesbian daughter of a close friend in 2005. Zuma said the sex was consensual and he was acquitted, but is unlikely to live down his comment in court that he had a shower afterward to cut the risk of acquiring AIDS.

In a study conducted by Jewkes in 2009, 62 percent of surveyed boys over age 11 said they believed that forcing someone to have sex was not an act of violence. One-third said girls enjoy being raped.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/world/article/South-Africa-outraged-over-brutal-rape-4261987.php#ixzz2KN3VnPJV

 

#DeathPenalty Doesn’t Serve as Deterrent: Amartya Sen


.

Kolkata, Feb 7, 2013, Outlook
Amid the nationwide debate over giving rapists the death penalty, Nobel prize winning economist Amartya Sen is not in favour of capital punishment, saying it does not serve as a “deterrent” and “preventive function”.Sen at the same time said today he was not against “severe punishment” in critical cases.

In an oblique reference to the Delhi gangrape case, he said, “I am not for letting them (culprits) go.”

“Death sentences do not serve as a deterrent and its efficacy as a capital punishment is doubted based on empirical grounds and is not a preventive function,” Sen said addressing a seminar on ‘Realisation of Justice’ organised by the Calcutta High Court here.

Sen said, in India, awarding of death sentences was much lower than China where it was the highest in the world.

“In India, death sentences are awarded, but not executed except for recently in the case of Mumbai attacks,” he said.

“I am not against severe punishment in case of critical cases,” he added.

In the course of his lecture, he also referred to the Sanskrit play Mrichhakatika (The Little Clay Cart) where Charu Datta set the criminals free instead of punishing them.

“The play showed that tit-for-tat justice does not bring well to the world in the realms of prosperity, happiness and security for all,” Sen said.

 

An Open Letter to the Prime Minister of India for atatck on epaceful protesters in Odisha


English: A screenshot from a Video posted by w...

English: A screenshot from a Video posted by http://www.whitehouse.gov. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shri Manmohan Singh

 

Honourable Prime Minister of India

 

 

 

7 February 2013

 

 

 

Your Excellency,

 

 

 

We, the undersigned, are deeply anguished over the recent attacks on the people of Govindpur and Nuagaon villages of Jagatsinghpur District in Odisha who have been using the most democratic means to resist the forceful acquisition of their lands for the POSCO project.

 

 

 

We are shocked to learn of the manner in which Government of Odisha officials along with over 12 police platoons entered the villages around 4 am on Sunday 3 February 2013 and indiscriminately hit women and children with lathis (sticks), cut trees and destroyed several betel vines. Reports indicate that more than 50 persons have been injured, of them three women and one old man severely. The police also arbitrarily arrested and detained several men and women who tried to resist the action, including one of the leaders of the people’s movement.

 

 

 

The use of indiscriminate force against women, children, men, and older persons by the police is highly condemnable. The state government claims that people are willingly giving up their lands for the POSCO project. If this were the case, it would not be necessary to send in over 12 platoons of police in the middle of the night and resort to lathi charge and violence. To be attacked at this hour and be caught unawares despite countless organised attempts on part of the affected villagers and POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) to appeal to the government, shows the deep failure on the part of the state machinery to engage in democratic means with the people whose land it seeks to acquire.

 

 

 

This violent act by the state government appears to be a result of the announcement on 28 January 2013 of the Commerce Minister (Mr Anand Sharma) that the Government of India will review delays in POSCO’s USD 12 billion plant in Odisha, as it is committed to ensuring “smooth take off” of the project – the highest foreign direct investment (FDI) in India. The Commerce Minister also reportedly announced that this project is being reviewed by you and your office.

 

 

 

This act of aggression by the government violates a range of national laws and policies, including the Constitution of India, the Forest Rights Act 2006, the March 2012 order of the National Green Tribunal suspending environmental clearance of the project, the National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy 2007 as well as recommendations of several independent and government committees. In its attempt to lure foreign investment into the state, the Government of Odisha and the Government of India has circumvented all democratic norms, including the Palli (Gram) Sabhas, and violated the human rights of its own people.

 

 

 

The actions by the Government of Odisha, with the support of the police and POSCO, also clearly violate several international human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rightsthe Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, all of which India has ratified. This recent attack on the people of the area also infringes international standards and guidelines, including the UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development-based Evictions and Displacement – which lay down obligations of both state and non-state actors.

 

 

 

The recent actions of the government are also illegal because the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between POSCO and the Government of India expired in June 2010.

 

 

 

Since 2006, the people of the area have been peacefully resisting the project because of its extensive destructive impacts on their lives and livelihoods. The non-violent resistance of local villagers to the project, however, has been met with violence, implication of false charges, and arbitrary arrests and detention of men and women. All attempts for dialogue with the government have failed, as the government has repeatedly used force with the support of the Centre in pushing for the POSCO project in Odisha.

 

 

 

We strongly condemn this violent and undemocratic attack on people and the violation of their human rights, including the rights to adequate housing, land, food, work/livelihood, health, and security of the person and the home.

 

 

 

Respected Prime Minister, since this project is being reviewed directly by you and your office, we prevail upon you to ensure:

 

 

 

  • Immediate withdrawal of police from the area;
  • Immediate release of people who have been illegally arrested and detained;
  • Immediate investigation and prosecution of officials responsible for perpetuating violence  against men, women and children in Gobindpur Village;
    • Halting of all forms of land acquisition;
    • Provision of adequate medical care to all the injured in the area;
    • Restitution, including compensation for injury and the destruction of property, trees and betel-vines; and,
    • An objective ‘social impact/eviction impact assessment’ of the project, as per the requirements of the National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy 2007, and the UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development-based Evictions and Displacement.

 

 

 

 

 

We look forward to an adequate response from your government, and hope that you will act in accordance with India’s legal obligations and protect the rights of your people.

 

 

 

 

 

Signed by:

 

Miloon Kothari, former Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, UN Human Rights Council

 

 

Shivani Chaudhry, Associate Director, Housing and Land Rights Network, Delhi

 

 

 

Asit das- posco pratirodh solidarity delhi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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