Activists allege illegal detention of workers by Noida Police


 

By Newzfirst Correspondent2/28/13

New Delhi – Activists of labour organizations Thursday accused Noida police of illegally detaining seven persons and harassing them on the directions of factory-owners.

Police picked Naveen Prakash and his employee Raju Wednesday evening without stating any reason. Four persons who went to enquire the reasons were also locked up by the Police, said Satyam Verma, a leader of Bigul Mazdoor Dasta.

Naveen Prakash, who runs a DTP centre at Ghaziabad, was active in workers’ union.

After detaining them, Police made Naveen to call his friend Tapish Maindola, an activist of the Bigul Mazdoor Dasta and locked-up him too, he said.

Police took all the three without informing anybody and where they are being taken to, he said.

According to latest updates, four persons- Gyanedar, Pramod, Gajendra and Sunny- who approached police station to know the whereabouts and the reason for the detention were also detained by the Police.

The police has so far neither lodged an FIR nor charged them of any offence. Activists alleged that Police is contemplating to charge them under NSA for allegedly instigating the workers for violence.

According to the Police, they are taken into custody for suspicious activities and are being interrogated.

Bigul Mazdoor Dasta has been holding street corner meetings in different parts of Noida and distributing a leaflet since February 23.

The leaflet says that the incidents of sporadic violence during the two-day strike were only a reflection of the deep set anger and frustration in the millions of workers in Noida who were being denied even basic rights. It points out that such anarchic explosions of anger are no solutions to the problem and workers must organise themselves in revolutionary unions and political organisations to wage an organised struggle against capitalist exploitation and the state machinery hand-in-glove with the exploiters.

“It is obvious that the police, as always, are working like henchmen of the factory-owners of Noida. Bigul Mazdoor Dasta has been targeted several times before by the Noida police at the behest of the factory owners who trample even basic labour laws under their feet and rush to smother every voice of protest. It should be recalled that the factory-owners’ associations have been clamouring to book the workers under NSA for the incidents of 21-22 February.” the statement released by the activists reads.

 

Conflict of Interest- Nuclear Law Association (NLA) Annual Conference


Conflict of Interest

By Nityanand Jayaraman, Asian age, march 2, 2013 

The author is a Chennai-based writer and a volunteer with the Chennai Solidarity Group for Koodankulam Struggle.

 

If all goes well for the Nuclear Law Association (NLA), on March 2, 2013, a sitting judge of the Bombay High Court and the Chairperson of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board will grace the international group’s second annual conference in India. The agenda for the conference titled “India’s nuclear energy sector: Business opportunities and legal challenges” lists Justice Abhay Mahadeo Thipsay as the chair for a session on “Regulatory and stakeholder engagement in nuclear energy projects.” AERB chairperson S.S. Bajaj will deliver the keynote for the session. The original agenda had the Chief Justice of Bombay High Court delivering the Presidential address. But that name has since been dropped. 

As part of the program, speakers will talk about lessons for public engagement post-Koodankulam, “tools for [increasing] public acceptance” of nuclear projects, and of course, the controversial Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages Act. The AERB chief and Justice Thipsay’s participation at this meeting, if that is indeed confirmed, raises important questions. Would a sitting judge or AERB chief participate or even be allowed to participate in a seminar organised by, say, the Konkan Bachao Samiti to discuss ways of preventing Areva from setting up a nuclear park in Jaitapur? I presume not.

 

The organiser’s stance on the controversial issue of nuclear energy is evident. Its objective is to smooth out the legal challenges to access the business opportunities presented by India’s promise to ramp up nuclear power from the present 4780 MW to more than 275,000 by 2050. The speakers’ line-up includes officials from the Department of Atomic Energy, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, The Energy Research Institute (formerly Tata Energy Research Institute), Alstom, Areva, NPCIL and L&T. All of them see India’s liability regime for nuclear accidents as overly restrictive and an impediment to investments by nuclear equipment suppliers that are not too confident about the quality of their products.

In all fairness to the Prime Minister, it must be said that he did all he could in his power to respond to the concerns of the nuclear industry. As Suvrat Raju, a physicist and commentator on India’s nuclear programobserves: “Credible governments are those that do not allow domestic political compulsions to prevent them from adhering to American interests.” Indeed, after a heated debate in parliament over the Liability Act resulted in the retention of a clause tenuously holding equipment suppliers liable, the government tried to assert its “credibility” by inserting loopholes in the Rules to the Act. These loopholes are currently being challenged as unconstitutional in the Supreme Court.

The participation of a sitting judge and the chief of AERB in a conference aimed at undoing the India’s nuclear liability regime does not inspire faith in the independence and neutrality of the judiciary and the regulator.Also, while judges and AERB chiefs are entitled to their points of view on these topics, an international conference organised by nuclear lobbyists is not an appropriate forum to air them.

The nuclear debate is an important one, and must be had. But a fair debate cannot be conducted in a vitiated atmosphere. Fisherfolk and farmers critical of nuclear power sitting on hunger strikes are branded anti-national, foreign-funded, maoist-instigated and seen as waging war against the Government of India. Scientists, writers and advocates of peace have been denied visas to enter India, and even summarily deported, merely because they advised caution in the pursuit of the nuclear option.

Professor Roger Bilham, an eminent geologist from the University of Colorado, was deported from New Delhi airport in May 2012. Bilham said he had been black-listed by the Indian government because he co-authored a scientific paper highlighting the highly active seismic nature of the Jaitapur region. In September 2012, three Japanese peace activists – Masahiro Watarida, Shinsuke Nakai and Yoko Unoda — were deported from the Chennai airport. Unoda asked the security personnel why they were being deported. According to her, one officer said: “You signed the international petition on Koodankulam, didn’t you? Your name was on the list. It means you are anti-nuclear.”

The peaceful agitation In Koogidankulam against NPCIL’s nuclear plant is in its second year. More than 300 cases have been registered against more than 200,000 people, mostly unnamed, from just one police station — Koodankulam P.S. Of these, more than 10,000 people, again mostly unnamed, are charged with sedition and/or waging war against the State. The village of Idinthakarai is a virtual prison for prominent persons who are seen to be leading the agitation. Entry to the village is closely monitored, and at times even blocked by the police.

Meanwhile, the Government of India not only allows, but also participates in a conference organised in a 5-star hotel in Mumbai by an international NGO for nuclear advocates.

Expecting the Indian Government to expose itself to a fair debate on the nuclear issue is a pipedream. But surely, one can expect judges and regulators to avoid being seen as partisan.

 

 

WHO downplays the health impacts of Fukushima nuclear disaster, a ‘PR Spin’


Published on Thursday, February 28, 2013 by Common Dreams

Greenpeace says report ‘shockingly downplays’ increased cancer risk for thousands of Japanese

– Jon Queally, staff writer

A new study released by the World Health Organization says that women, and especially female infants, exposed to radiation released following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan are at a significant risk of developing cancer later in life.

 A child is screened for radiation contamination before entering an evacuation center in Fukushima, Japan, Friday 1 April 2011. (Photograph: Wally Santana/AP) Despite those announcements by the WHO, critics of the new report say that overall the organization has done a great disservice by downplaying the overall dangers posed by the leaked radiation and accused the report of hiding “crucial information” about the ongoing dangers faced by those living in and beyond the Fukushima Prefecture.

“The WHO report shamelessly downplays the impact of early radioactive releases from the Fukushima disaster on people inside the 20 km evacuation zone who were not able to leave the area quickly,” said Dr. Rianne Teule, Greenpeace International nuclear radiation expert.

“The WHO should have estimated the radiation exposure of these people to give a more accurate picture of the potential long-term impacts of Fukushima. The WHO report is clearly a political statement to protect the nuclear industry and not a scientific one with people’s health in mind.”

Specifically focused on the threat to girls and women, Reuters reports on the WHO findings by explaining:

In the most contaminated area, the WHO estimated that there was a 70% higher risk of females exposed as infants developing thyroid cancer over their lifetime. The thyroid is the most exposed organ as radioactive iodine concentrates there and children are deemed especially vulnerable.

Overall, however, it was the WHO’s conclusion that “predicted risks” of cancer for Japanese generally “are low and no observable increases in cancer rates above baseline rates are anticipated,” that Greenpeace aggressively pushed back against.

Pointing out that the WHO only releases its radiation assessments only with the approval of the International Atomic Energy Agency—often criticized as an advocate for, not a regulator of, the global nuclear industry—Greenpeace says the entire report should be looked on suspiciously as more “public relations spin” than good science.

According to Greenpeace scientists, the WHO “shockingly downplays” the cancer impacts on the population by emphasizing small percentages increases in cancers, but fails to adequately describe how those seemingly small numbers translate into the risks posed ot many thousands of people.

“The WHO’s flawed report leaves its job half done,” said Teule. “The WHO and other organizations must stop downplaying and hiding the impact of the Fukushima disaster and call for more emphasis on protecting the millions of people still living in contaminated areas.”

#India- No time limit for amending #AFSPA #WTFnews


SANDEEP JOSHI, The Hindu

We’ve to consider security aspects, says Minister

The government on Wednesday said there was no time frame for amending the controversial the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, and a decision would be taken after considering the ground reality

“The matter is under the government’s consideration… On such security-related issues, all factors including the ground reality are taken into consideration before taking a decision and hence no time limit can be specified,” Union Minister of State for Home Mullappally Ramachandran said in the Rajya Sabha.

Pointing out that the Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee and the Administrative Reforms Commission had also made certain suggestions on the subject, the Minister said: “Now the Group of Ministers has to take a final decision on the ARC recommendation. On the direction of the GoM, comments of the State governments concerned have been called for on the ARC recommendation.”

Several human rights groups and political parties in Jammu and Kashmir and the north-east have been demanding removal of the AFSPA, which has been in force in some of the “disturbed regions.” Even the Justice Verma Committee has recommended that “sexual violence against women by members of the armed forces or uniformed personnel be brought within the purview of the ordinary criminal law” to ensure speedy justice to victims.

Significantly, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram recently highlighted the need for making the AFSPA more “humanitarian,” and regretted that the Centre failed to move forward on the issue due to a lack of consensus between the government and the Army.

 

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