IMMEDIATE RELEASE- Protest Minister Vayalar Ravi ‘s sexist remarks to a woman journalist #Matrubhumi #Vaw


Kochi: The Union Cabinet Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Mr. Vayalar Ravi’s deplorable behavior
and reaction to a young woman journalist of Mathrubhumi TV Chanel is condoned by Network of Women
in Media, India (NWMI) Kerala Chapter members who met at Press Club in Kochi on Tuesday

The Minister’s insinuations and words show that he thinks the whole incident is a joke. When asked his
reactions of the developments in the Suryanelli rape case in which P J Kurien’s name has resurfaced, the
minister questions her intention and also makes a remark on her morals and integrity.

It was not an expected conduct of a senior Minister and shows the lack of sensitivity that is needed in a
leader of his stature. The posture, body language and his statements were unbecoming of a man of his
experience in public life as people’s representative.

We believe that if journalists who have to ask questions and get reactions to happenings 24*7 in current
affairs are treated thus, then the common woman has no chance at all.

About 25 women media members were present and the meeting planned to mail a petition to President
of India, Prime minister, Congress President Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and Kerala Chief Minister.

Thanks and regards


For NWMKERALAM

Sandhya Bala Suma                                          Rekha Bitta
State Co ordinator                                                Mail & Web Co ordinator
+91 9895711680                                                  +91 9895132640

 

Maharashtra Displaced families stage state-wide Dharna against Koyna Dam


Mumbai, Feb 10, 2013, DHNS:

Thousands of dam evictees and project-affected people (PAP) continued their round-the-clock picketing, called Tiyya Andolan, in the interiors of seven districts of Maharashtra demanding the implementation of their long-pending demands.

The protests have been going on since last Monday, in Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur, Solapur, Aurangabad, Raigad and Pune.

Speaking to Deccan Herald from Satara where dharna is going on against the Koyna dam, Jagannath Vibhute of Shramik Mukti Dal (SMD) which is spearheading the state-wide Tiyya Andolan, said: “The state government has sent a message after six days that they will take up the issue of displaced families, people and PAP in the Cabinet meeting to be held this week.

Take for example in Satara where nearly 27,000 families have gathered in Koyna Nagar, around the Koyna Dam, the first major man-made reservoir in post-independence Mahrashtra. Thousands of families were displaced in 1960 and several thousands continue to remain in rootless condition.

They have no place to go. They have become homeless in their own homeland.”
Giving details of other places where the picketing is going on simultaneously, Vibhute said on the border of Sangli and Kolhapur districts, around 500 representatives of dam evictees are carrying out Tiyya Andolan near the base of the Warna Dam.

Similar protests are also being carried out near the Gad Nadi Dam in Ratnagiri district, Teen Vira Dam in Raigad district, Tembhapuri Dam in Aurangabad district and Dhamani Dam in Kolhapur district. Affected people in Azra Tehsil (Kolhapur) and at Pandharpur in Solapur district.

The basic demands of the agitators are: Giving equal rights to the daughters in ancestral property of PAP families, independent status to Gram Panchayat (with 500 or more population), free vocational training, below poverty-line ration cards; disbursing of funds to women self-help groups; grazing land (gairan) for PAP rehabilitation and absorption of Tiger Project PAP families in forest development programmes.

Interestingly, these policy-level demands have been twice sanctioned in the meetings held by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan in 2011 and 2012; but the government for some strange reason has failed to implement it.

According to Vibhute: “Eight months ago the committee appointed by government to look into the issue submitted its recommendations…but the response of the state is just unfathomable. It just refuses to look at the anguish of the people.”

 

#India -Dalit’s #gangrape: Police add stringent sections #Vaw


 #India- Chastity, Virginity, Marriageability, and Rape Sentencing #Vaw  #Justice #mustread

ByI P Singh, TNN | Feb 11, 2013, 0

JALANDHAR: Even as a medical board set up to probe the alleged gang rape of a minor dalit girl is yet to finalize its report, police on Sunday added stringent sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, pertaining to ‘aggravated penetrative sexual assault‘, to the FIR.

Sections 5 and 6 of this Act have been invoked even as police officials till Saturday had been looking into “some grey areas” in the statement of the victim’s father. The Act also provides speedy trial by a special designated court.

Meanwhile, three accused arrested in the case after they surrendered before the police on Saturday were remanded in police custody till February 13 by a Nakodar court on Sunday. The three are distantly related to the girl and had pleaded innocence. However, the victim’s family has been holding on to the allegations it levelled on January 6, the day when the girl was first rushed to Lohian Hospital and then to Jalandhar Civil Hospital with life-threatening septicemia.

It was only after being shifted to the hospital that the family had alleged that the girl was raped on the night of January 28 in Mandhala Chhanna village. The girl was finally operated upon in Amritsar where her badly infected and ruptured uterus was removed by doctors to save her life and her intestine was repaired.

The victim’s family also alleged that on Saturday some “anganwari worker” visited their home and rebuked the girl’s mother, who fainted after that. She was rushed to the Civil Hospital in Lohian with the help of police personnel posted in the village on Saturda

 

#India -Manipur policeman found guilty in fake encounter got medal on Republic Day #WTFnews


Esha Roy : Imphal, Tue Feb 12 2013, IE

A Manipuri policeman implicated in a fake encounter in Imphal was among nine police personnel from the state awarded the President’s police medal for gallantry on the occasion of Republic Day last month.

The havildar rank policeman, N Nungshibabu Singh, and three others were found guilty by a judicial inquiry in 2010. But they are yet to be punished.

Two cousins, Mutum Rajen Singh and Mutum Herojit Singh, were killed in the alleged encounter in October 2008. Rajen ran a ‘rice hotel’ in Imphal West district with the help of his wife Ibecha Devi, and the couple had a four-year-old son.

According to Ibecha Devi’s testimony in court, in the afternoon of October 14, 2008, Herojit took Rajen with him on his scooter to supervise the editing of a video of his son’s Nahutpa (ritual performance of wearing earrings) ceremony at a studio in Chingmeirong colony. They are said to have stayed at the studio until 5 pm.

Later that night, Devi was told by relatives that a local TV news channel was reporting that her husband and his cousin had been killed in Lambui Lambi in Imphal East district by a team of Manipuri commandos. Attempts by Herojit’s father to file a police complaint the next day were unsuccessful, and his letter to the DGP also did not elicit an immediate response.

Authorities said that according to a report filed by sub-inspector of the Manipur commandos, P Achouba Meitei, about half a dozen unidentified armed youth opened fire at the commandos while they were patrolling along the Lambui Lambi road. The youths allegedly escaped on their two-wheelers. The commandos pursued them and retaliated, leading to a gunfight.

Two men riding a scooter were shot dead, while the others fled under the cover of darkness. In the inquiry report, the state government said that Meitei and rifleman Nungshibabu shot one of the men, two other commandos pursued the other man who was fleeing and shot him down as well.

The police claimed they had recovered papers of the banned insurgent group KCP-MC, signed by its commander-in-chief L Khuman, a 9 mm pistol loaded with three rounds and an M 20 pistol from the duo.

But Herojit’s father M Kumar Singh claimed in court that the two were actually picked up from outside LMS Law college and then taken to Lambui road where they were later killed.

A witness, Gurumayum Premjit Singh, told the court that he saw the two cousins speaking to the commandos on Lambui road. He stopped to see what was happening but was waved on by the commandos. A few minutes later, he heard gunshots from the direction of the commandos, he said.

The judicial inquiry said the Manipuri commandos “are contradictory in explaining the circumstances in killing of Mutum Rajen Singh on 14-10-2008. The respondents have failed to establish that there was an exchange of firing”.

“Therefore, I have decided that the husband of the petitioner, namely Mutum Rajen Singh, was killed by the personnel of Manipur Police commandos, Imphal East Unit on 14-10-08 at about 6.30 pm after having (him) in their custody, in a fake encounter at Lambui Lambi Porompat, Imphal East District. I have also decided that there was no exchange of firing or encounter with the Manipur police commandos,” district judge M Manojkumar Singh said.

In the past, human rights activists have alleged that gallantry awards may be one of the reasons for the high number of encounters in Manipur, saying such awards ensure promotions and more pay.

DGP Y Joykumar Singh told The Indian Express that he was not privy to the judicial inquiry report. “It must have been a preliminary inquiry and I am not aware of this case. Of course there is a panel and possible recepients are verified at two levels before the list is sent to the Home Ministry. I cannot comment on this particular case,” he said.

 

SC notice to Centre on PIL to bring IB, RAW under statute


Express news service : New Delhi, Tue Feb 12 2013, 03:00 hrs

The Supreme Court on Monday sought a response from the Centre on a PIL demanding regulatory mechanism and accountability of Intelligence Bureau (IB), Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) and National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) under a statutory regime.

Also issuing notices to the three intelligence agencies, a Bench led by Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir asked them to file replies within six weeks.

The Bench requested Attorney General G E Vahanvati to assist the court on the next date of hearing.

Earlier, senior advocates Anil Divan and Prashant Bhushan brought to the notice of the court that petitioner NGO ‘CPIL’ has amended the prayers of the writ and instead of a directive to the Centre, they now sought a declaration that RAW, IB and NTRO, “which are functioning without any appropriate legislative oversight are a threat to the rule of law and fundamental rights”.

Questioning the very basis of policing powers being exercised by the agencies in absence of any statutory provision, Divan said that phone tapping and audio-video recording were examples of powers that these agencies exercised without being authorised under any law.

Citing excerpts from the books written by a few former intelligence agencies’ officers, the lawyer said their writings highlighted several instances of illegalities and corrupt practices.

The court however refused to entertain this argument. “Somebody says something in his book will be a matter of personal opinion. Conversation between a former Prime Minister and an officer cannot be a subject matter of this petition,” it said.

Divan then said the Bench should, in the larger interest of public, admit this petition since the actions of the agencies pertained to violation of the right to privacy.

“The court needs to look at the issue. All we want is a mechanism where these agencies are made accountable. Let the Supreme Court issue some guidelines. The court should also take into account a possibility of every state having one such agency of its own by way of an executive order,” argued Divan.

The Bench then allowed amendments in the prayers and issued notice.

The petition has sought regulation of the intelligence agencies in line with the supervisory mechanisms available in the USA and the UK.

Seeking to bring the agencies under an Act to be passed by Parliament and to ensure they are not misused by the government, CPIL claimed that the agencies were acting “without any sanction of the law” and hence violated the rule of law as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution.

It has also asked for audit of these agencies by the Comptroller and Auditor General since they were funded by public money.

 

Film fete provides platform for Koodankulam protesters


STAFF REPORTER, The Hindu

100 short films, documentaries to be screened

Xavior Amma, leader of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, addressing the 8th edition of Vibgyor International Film Festival heldin Thrissur on Saturday.

Xavior Amma, leader of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, addressing the 8th edition of Vibgyor International Film Festival heldin Thrissur on Saturday.

Nothing can dampen the spirit of the protesters against Koodankulam Nuclear Plant, said Xavior Amma, leader for People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, a group which is fighting against the nuke project.

She was addressing a discussion session at the 8th edition of Vibgyor International Film Festival held here on Saturday.

“We will fight till the end even if we are branded as traitors by the State,” she said. Xavior Amma has been the leader of the agitation ever since it began in 1988. People came to know about the sufferings of the Koodankulam protesters through the narrative of her struggles.

In September, 2012 she was arrested as part of effort to suppress the agitation. The police had booked several cases against S.P. Udayakumar, the leader of the movement, during the last lap of the agitation.

“They booked false cases against many of us to dampen the spirit of the agitation. But the people knew that the protesters were right and hence they never withdrew their support,” said Xavior Amma.

She alleged that the nuclear power plant will affect the biodiversity in the vicinity.

“Our struggle is for protection of human rights and conservation of environment. But the protest is being branded as the one taken out by ‘ignorant’ fisher folk who have come under the influence of the U.S. government. We are being branded as traitors and American spies,” she said.

The Vibgyor Film Collective donated books to the library set up at Kudankulam for the children there.

More than 100 short films, documentaries and animation films are being screened at the five-day festival. The theme of the festival is “Stolen Democracies.”

Addressing the inaugural function at the K.T. Mohammed Memorial Regional Theatre, Marcia Gomez Oliviera, academic from Brazil, said that youth apparently did not want to fight for democracy.

“They want to struggle only to earn money. Money means everything to them. As an academic, when I teach about democracy in class, I face a question from students: is democracy worth fighting for? Democracy, in this sense, is not stolen. It does not exist at many places,” she said.

 

PMANE warns of siege to Kudankulam nuke plant


SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, The Hindu

Centre turns down protesters’ plea for White Paper

The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) has warned that its anti-nuke protestors would lay siege to the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project site if the Centre commissions the first two reactors in “haste and secrecy”.

Statement

A statement from PMANE said the official machinery, which had imposed artificial power cuts in the area with the ulterior motive of commissioning KKNPP early, had also filed hundreds of cases against people who were resorting to non-violent agitation against the upcoming nuclear complex.

PMANE’s warning has come in the backdrop of a senior official attached to the Union Government informing that the KKNPP would attain criticality “within a few days”.

Secrecy

“The Centre, which hanged Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru in secrecy, is trying to commission the KKNPP in a similar fashion.

Thousands of protestors including women and children will lay siege to the nuclear complex in a non-violent fashion if the Centre commissions the first reactor in haste and secrecy,” the statement said.

Unrelenting

The people’s movement has been unrelenting despite a good number of experts from former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to Central Expert Committee chairman A.E. Muthunayagam certifying the KKNPP reactors as the safest in the world with futuristic safety features.

 

Plea turned down

Meanwhile, the Centre has also turned down the protestors’ plea for a White Paper by the Centre on the KKNPP and its reactors.

 


  • It comes in the backdrop of official informing KKNPP will attain criticality “within a few days”
  • People’s movement unrelenting despite a good number of experts’ assurances

 

#India- An abomination called AFSPA #mustread


February 12, 2013, The Hindu 

SANJOY HAZARIKA

Mr. Chidambaram has sought to blame the Army for the failure to repeal the draconian Act but the government is equally guilty as it has abdicated responsibility in the matter

At an institute that is virtually owned, funded and run by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram did the unthinkable the other day. He virtually attacked the Army for refusing to review and amend the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), if not repeal it altogether.

Like a clever politician, he tossed the issue squarely into the lap of the Army and the MoD, saying they were unambiguously opposed to any change and that “you should ask the question to the armed forces and ask why are they so opposed to even some amendment to AFSPA which will make [it] more humanitarian. We have [the] Jeevan Reddy Committee report but yet if the Army takes a very strong stand against any dilution or any amendment to AFSPA, it is difficult for a civil government to move forward.”

This raises a startling issue about democracy, the rule of law and of civilian control over the military. Now that the most powerful figure in the Cabinet after the Prime Minister has spoken, perhaps someone will take notice. But the problem is far more complex than it appears to be.

After all, the Minister did not say why the Government of India has refused to publish the Reddy Committee’s report or even table it in Parliament eight years after it was submitted. It remains accessible on The Hindu’s website, the place where the report was first leaked and published verbatim in 2005.

It is not that the question is simple, stark and frightening: who runs the north-east or Jammu & Kashmir or any area that is affected by insurgency? AFSPA is put in place after the area has been declared “disturbed” under the Disturbed Areas Act, the enabling provision of law, which facilitates the summoning of the Army to the aid of civil authorities who are unable to control armed insurrection. This is the call of the State government or the Centre.

No prosecution in over 50 years

Passed in 1958 when the Naga movement for independence had just taken off, AFSPA is a bare law with just six sections. The most damning are those in the fourth and sixth sections: the former enables security forces to “fire upon or otherwise use force, even to the causing of death” where laws are being violated. The latter says no criminal prosecution will lie against any person who has taken action under this act. In 54 years, not a single army, or paramilitary officer or soldier has been prosecuted for murder, rape, destruction of property (including the burning of villages in the 1960s in Nagaland and Mizoram). In the discussions over the past days, no one has even mentioned the regrouping of villages in both places: villagers were forced to leave their homes at gunpoint, throw their belongings onto the back of a truck and move to a common site where they were herded together with strangers and formed new villages. It is a shameful and horrific history, which India knows little about and has cared even less for.

Impact of Verma report

A year ago, two judges of the Supreme Court, intervening in a case where the Central Bureau of Investigation was seeking to prosecute army officers accused of murdering five villagers in Jammu & Kashmir, in what is known as the Pathribal incident, declared clearly that AFSPA’s protection was limited to acts conducted in the line of duty.

“You go to a place in exercise of AFSPA, you commit rape, you commit murder, then where is the question of sanction? It is a normal crime which needs to be prosecuted, and that is our stand,” declared the bench of Justices Swatanter Kumar and B.S. Chauhan.

It’s simple: you don’t rape or murder “in the line of duty.” These are aberrations to the law of military conduct with civilians. And the Army is upset that the Justice J.S. Verma Committee even suggested that military men accused of sexual assault should be tried under normal law and not be protected by the law that guarantees absolute protection: Immunity.

A retired general came on a TV programme the other day and fumed that reviewing AFSPA was not the mandate of the Verma Committee. Sorry sir, you’ve got it completely wrong. The question of life and death in a “disturbed” area where, according to a case now before the Supreme Court 15,000 people (men, women and children) have disappeared from the killing fields of Manipur is everyone’s concern.

Army circles are worried that soldiers and officers will be dragged to civilian courts and that frivolous cases will be filed against them. This is a real matter of concern but it cannot be the rationale for blocking efforts to repeal or amend AFSPA. Come up with an alternative instead. But the MoD has not or is perhaps unable to do so. A former general even said publicly that 97 per cent of all cases against army men were found to be false. The question I will put is simple: how far back are you going? Do you forget those murdered, raped and tortured, their homes and granaries burned and their places of worship desecrated? Should these crimes go unpunished? Remember too that the Indian Air Force, in March 1966, bombed Aizawl and civilian targets in the Lushai Hills (now Mizoram) to repulse an insurgent attack that had almost overrun the district headquarters.

Many in Mizoram do not even talk about those days. They are simply spoken of as “the troubles” and no discussion takes place, such is the trauma that has been inflicted on people. And are we merely supposed to forget all this, to sweep it under the carpet and “move on”? Why should the victims continue to pay the price? Why not those who inflicted the devastation, who gave the orders and who carried them out?

Nagaland is peaceful now

We need to remember two points here about AFSPA and the place where it all began — Nagaland, in 1958. Nagaland today is peaceful. It is not free of intimidation, extortion or factional killings, but not a single Indian solider has fallen in combat here for the past five years. The State government has been asking, since 2005, for the removal of the Disturbed Areas Act. The Government of India refuses to listen.

What is the greater abomination then? Is it that the Army, which is easy to blame and always in the line of fire, is stuck in a thankless task? Or is it that the civilian government which first sent them there is unable to take the political decision that will bring the boys home? Fifty-four years is a long time to have a law as revoltingly brutal and obscure as AFSPA. Now, both sides are stuck. The army says it is like its “Bible” and that if the Act is removed it will face the prospect of fighting “with one hand tied.” The central government says that it can’t persuade the Army to back down.

What will it take to close this sad, ignominious and bloody chapter in our nation’s history? We will need to go beyond Mr. Chidambaram’s remarks — for what he was doing is to lay the blame at the door of the Army. That is not right for the civilian government is equally complicit in this. He is seeking to show that the “civilian” government is opposed to a doctrinaire securitised approach and that the MoD and the Army are isolated. But this approach doesn’t work. Instead, it shows that the two, even when isolated, are more powerful than the rest of the government put together. They have, after all, successfully stalled any effort to dilute or amend the Act. Why did the “civilian” government not have the courage to act in 2005 when the Reddy Committee gave its report, which not only recommended AFSPA’s repeal but also proposed a legal mechanism by which the Army could be used in extraordinary situations involving national security? Our essential recommendation was that no one could be above the law; everyone must be equal before and under it.

Display statesmanship

The Centre has lost more than seven years in coming to no decision on the recommendations. Yes, internal wrangling is difficult to resolve but how long should anyone have to wait for a resolution? Today, the situation has become much more complex because the window of opportunity provided by the Reddy Committee has virtually closed. The Army has bolted it because it does not want to be seen as the villain of the piece. It did not ask to go anywhere. It was sent to Nagaland and Manipur. But now it must, in its own interests and that of the country, get out of places where threats to national security simply do not exist, and when the central government thinks it should leave. After all, if required, the security forces can always be summoned again.

The situation calls for statesmanship of a very high order. Atal Bihari Vajpayee showed this in 2003 on his maiden visit to Kohima when he reflected, as Prime Minister, on the suffering that both sides had faced and sought to reach out and seek reconciliation: “Let us leave behind all the unfortunate things that happened in the past. For too long this fair land has been scarred and seared by violence. It has been bled by the orgy of the killings of human beings by human beings… Each death diminishes us … The past cannot be rewritten. But we can write our common future with our collective, cooperative efforts.”

The present situation demands measures no less significant from the current Prime Minister, who decided that AFSPA must be reviewed. But he did not follow this up because the opposition from the Defence Ministry was just too strong.

So, we must ask, as we rest and wrestle with this tortuous story: how many more deaths, how many more naked protests, how many more hunger strikes, how many more committees, how many more editorials and articles and broadcasts before AFSPA goes?

(Sanjoy Hazarika is Director of the Centre for North East Studies at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, and founder of the Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research in the north-east. He was a member of the Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee to Review AFSPA.)

Afzal Guru Hanged, Whose Conscience Satisfied? #deathpenalty


By N. Jayaram

09 February, 2013
Countercurrents.org

It was bad enough that Ajmal Kasab, the only Pakistani captured after the 2008 attacks in Bombay, was stealthily hanged without a public debate last November. It is far worse that the Kashmiri Afzal Guru was hanged on the morning of 9 February 2013 following his highly questionable conviction over the 2001 attack on the Indian parliament.
Many eminent lawyers, scholars and journalists have written extensively, pointing out gaping holes in the entire trial and appeal process as well as the rejection of petitions to the president of India on Afzal Guru’s behalf. They include senior lawyers Nandita Haksar and Indira Jaisingh, writers Arundhati Roy, Praful Bidwai and Nirmalangshu Mukherji and the late K.G. Kannabiran, a former president of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties.

Journals such as the Economic and Political Weekly and this website have periodically shed light on the case and established that the way Afzal Guru has been treated is a complete travesty of justice. Not only articles in journals and newspapers but books too have been written on the subject, including December 13: Terror Over Democracy by Nirmalangshu Mukherji (2005) and 13 December, a Reader: The Strange Case of the Attack on the Indian Parliament by Arundhati Roy (2006) detailing the role played by Delhi police officer Rajbir Singh in putting together the case, the acquittals that followed in the Delhi High Court (including that of S.A.R. Geelani, lecturer in Arabic at a Delhi college), the challenges in the Supreme Court and its confirmation of the death sentence for Afzal Guru despite the questionable nature of the evidence produced in the case. A website dedicated to the case has collected some of the pertinent writings:http://www.justiceforafzalguru.org/

The Supreme Court said: “The collective conscience of the society will be satisfied only if the death penalty is awarded to Afzal Guru.” It was, to say the least, unfortunate that a court of law decided to pander to its assumed notion of “collective conscience” rather than abide by points of law.

The ignominious role played by the national media in the wake of the 13 December 2001 parliament attack has also been well documented by Nirmalangshu Mukherji and others. The media seems to have eaten out of police officials’ hands instead of asking tough questions. As Sukumar Muralidharan of the International Federation of Journalists has pointed out, members of the profession failed to do what they ought to have at least after the High Court verdict – investigate the claims of the police and revisit the case they had not yet examined.

Afzal Guru’s execution is the second time after Ajmal Kasab’s on 21 November 2012 that the government has carried it out stealthily, ignoring the need to share the appeal process with the public, the lawyers for those convicted and their families. The execution of Dhananjoy Chatterjee on 14 August, 2004 following his conviction over the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl in 1990 followed a public discussion.

In many of the now steadily shrinking number of countries that retain the death penalty, long delays such as in the cases of Afzal Guru and Chatterjee would automatically have led to commutations. Nearly 150 countries are abolitionist in law or in practice, meaning that they have not carried out execution for many years or observe a moratorium.

Rather than moving in that direction, the Indian government has been riding roughshod over people’s aspirations. Following the massive nation-wide upsurge in the aftermath of a gang-rape (and eventually murder) in New Delhi on 16 December 2012, the government set up a committee headed by former Chief Justice of India, J.S. Verma, with Justice Leila Seth and former Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam assisting. But when the committee offered a detailed set of recommendations within a record time of a few weeks, recommendations which were widely praised by women’s organisations and lawyers’ collectives, the government stealthily put out an ordinance, circumventing the need to face parliament and draft a detailed bill.

Then when Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi came calling at the Sri Ram College of Commerce on 6 February 2006, Delhi Police sided with Hindutva elements and rough-handled those protesting against his visit. And hours after Afzal Guru’s execution, the same police again sided with the Saffron elements, arresting several peaceful protestors.

Meanwhile, the same day as the execution, in another part of India, namely Bangalore, hundreds of peaceful demonstrators against the evictions of 1,500 families from a shantytown were met by a few hundred policemen, who proceeded to make arrests. The police are siding with a company owned by the son of a former senior-most police official of Karnataka.

A respected reporter in Mangalore, Naveen Soorinje, who exposed a Hindutva attack on young people enjoying a birthday party last year, continues to be in prison even after the state cabinet withdrew the charges framed against him. There again, there are persisting allegations of police collusion with Hindutva elements.
Indian politicians have to realise that if they ride roughshod over democratic norms and ignore the rule of law today it can backfire on them when their opponents come to power and imitate their cynical actions.

Moreover if they think hanging Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru is easy, they need to figure out how to respond to those who ask why not Balwant Singh Rajoana (for the 1995 assassination of Punjab chief minister Beant Singh) and Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan (for the 1991 assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi). The Akali Dal, an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party, has appealed against any move to hang Rajoana. The fury of Sikhs worldwide would certainly be too great for the Indian state to bear. The Tamil Nadu state assembly has gone on record in demanding that the three Tamils be spared.

With obvious electoral gains in mind, the Congress government has gone after soft Muslim targets. And the BJP is happy to make vociferous demands for the hanging of Muslims accused of terrorist acts while calibrating its stance in other instances.

How long will the people of India turn a blind eye to such cynicism? Instead of whipping up and pandering to mob demands, the Indian state ought to be pursuing peaceful development by fostering coexistence. But that would need a modicum of wisdom currently sadly lacking in the rulers in New Delhi.

N. Jayaram is a journalist now based in Bangalore after more than 23 years in East Asia (mainly Hong Kong and Beijing) and 11 years in New Delhi. He was with the Press Trust of India news agency for 15 years and Agence France-Presse for 11 years and is currently engaged in editing and translating for NGOs and academic institutions. He writes a blog: http://walkerjay.wordpress.com/

 

Old #Aadhaar applicants may have to reapply #UID #WTFnews


 

 

 

By Ambika Pandit, TNN | Feb 12, 2013,

200 px

200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NEW DELHI: Applied for an Aadhaar card before April 1, 2012, but haven’t got it yet? You may have to apply all over again. A lot of data related to applicants who enrolled for the Aadhaar unique identification number in the first phase has apparently been either lost or rendered unusable due to “encrypting errors”.
UID Authority of India on Monday told the Delhi government that applicants whose status on the e-aadhaar website reads “can’t be processed due to technical reasons” will need to re-enroll – unless they have given their biometrics for the National Population Registry card.
Delhi government data shows 1.36 crore citizens, out of a population of 1.67 crore, have enrolled for Aadhaar. Delhi has made Aadhaar card mandatory for more than 20 services, including property and marriage registrations.
Many enrolled in 2011 but no Aadhaar card yet
The government now says it has no readily available data on how many people had enrolled for the card before April 1, 2012.
UIDAI has clarified that applicants will have to re-enroll under three conditions. One, if their status on the e-aadhaar website says ‘rejected’. Two, if it shows ‘not found’ and, three, if enrolments were done prior to April 1, 2012 and the status shows ‘cannot be processed due to technical reasons’,” Dharampal, Delhi’s revenue secretary & divisional commissioner, told TOI. The revenue department is the coordinator for Aadhaar regis8trations in the city.
Dharampal had sought UIDAI’s clarification on the status of Aadhaar enrolments done six or more months ago. Sources said the Aadhaar website may also show an applicant’s status as ‘rejected’ if the person had made multiple registrations. The government is seeking a clarification on this.
As the state government prepares to put up helpdesks at the offices of the deputy commissioners in 11 districts now that the surge of crowds has overwhelmed the counters, TOI found many hassled Delhiites who had enrolled as early as 2011 but are yet to get their Aadhaar cards.
One such couple, Hemchand Jain and his wife Santosh, were seen doing the rounds of the east district deputy commissioner’s office. Jain, a resident of Kailash Nagar in East Delhi, said he had enrolled for the UID number way back in October 2011 but is yet to get the number.
Jain was frustrated and anxious because he would now have to apply for the card afresh. “I am 66 years old. They should have a system to give us information at the counters itself. Everyone does not have access to internet,” he said.
Similarly, Pooja Verma, a mother of two, had applied for the card in August 2011. While her husband has received his Aadhaar number, she still awaits it. She had come to an Aadhaar enrolment camp to inquire about her status but could get no information there.
Dilip Kumar Vaidya, a music teacher from Laxmi Nagar in east Delhi, said the entire Aadhaar enrolment process was marked by chaos. “I enrolled in 2011 and got my Aadhar card in early 2012. Suddenly, there was a buzz in our colony that all cards have been cancelled and everyone would have to enroll afresh. I enrolled a second time in June last year but am still awaiting my number. I don’t know if the old number stands,” he said.
Overwhelmed by the sheer number of the people landing up at Aadhar counters, the personnel there often have little information about the peoples’ queries.
The queues at Aadhaar counters have grown by the day, ever since the city government decided to make the UID number mandatory for 20 critical services from January 1 this year. These include property and marriage registrations and all certificates such as domicile, income and caste.
The revenue department has taken the lead in making Aadhaar necessary for availing 20 services rendered by it. Other departments will follow gradually. The state’s cash transfer schemes and cash for food scheme under Anshree Yojna have also been linked to Aadhaar ID.
Those enrolled under the ongoing National Population Register by the Union home ministry need not apply separately for Aadhaar.

 

 

 

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