Monsanto Protection Act Proves Corporations More Powerful Than US Government



Major Tự Đức Phang was exposed to dioxin-conta...

Major Tự Đức Phang was exposed to dioxin-contaminated Agent Orange (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


We’ve seen similar scenarios in the past, events in which the massive financial power of multi-national corporations is able to buy out legislators who were elected to ‘represent’ voters. But now, Monsanto has set the bar even higher. Instead of just getting a few kickbacks or avoiding USDA regulation, Monsanto lobbyists have gone as far as to generate legislative inclusions into a new bill that puts Monsanto above the federal government.


It’s called the Monsanto Protection Act among activists and concerned citizens who have been following the developments on the issue, and it consists of a legislative ‘rider’ inside (Farmer Assurance Provision, Sec. 735) a majority-wise unrelated Senate Continuing Resolution spending bill. You may already be aware of what this rider consists of, but in case not you will likely be blown away by the tenacity of Monsanto lobbyist goons.


If this rider passes with the bill, which could be as early as this week, Monsanto would have complete immunity from federal courts when it comes to their ability to act against any new Monsanto GMO crops that are suspected to be endangering the public or the environment (or considered to be planted illegally by the USDA). We’re talking about courts that literally can do nothing to Monsanto if it’s found that their newest creation may be promoting cancer, for example. Whether it’s a GMO banana or an apple, Monsanto could continue planting the food abomination all it wants under court review.


Food Democracy Now has launched a petition on the subject, explaining:


“The Monsanto Protection Act would strip judges of their constitutional mandate to protect consumer rights and the environment, while opening up the floodgates for the planting of new untested genetically engineered crops.”


What really enraged Monsanto was the incident back in 2010, when a federal judge actually revoked Monsanto’s approval to plant GMO sugar beets due to environmental concerns. This is exactly what Monsanto intends to stop, literally becoming more powerful than federal courts in their conquest to monopolize the entire food chain.

Monsanto Overcomes US Government


Monsanto has literally gotten away with murder ever since it was founded way back in 1901. Very few people actually realize the history of this company. Not many activists realize that this is the same company that was responsible, along with Dow Agrosciences, for creating Agent Orange. Created for the US military to be used during Vietnam as a ‘defoliant’ (really used for incognito chemical warfare operations which affected both allied and enemy troops), the concoction that was Agent Orange consisted of a medley of highly toxic ingredients including dioxin — a type of toxic substance considered to be one of the deadliest on the planet.


Agent Orange, from Monsanto, killed 400,000 people and led to 500,000 children born with troubling birth defects. And in addition to those stats 1 million were rendered disabled or at least suffer from health issues from Agent Orange exposure. This includes US soldiers.


So what happened to Monsanto after they designed a ‘defoliant’ that was actually a deadly chemical weapon that killed, maimed, and ruined lives of innocents and US soldiers? Monsanto issued a truly heart-felt statement that their Agent Orange wasn’t really that dangerous despite all of the evidence that is now accepted as fact:


Oh, and they settled for what amounts to chump change in order to silence the dying veterans, paying 45% of the 180 million dollar payout in order to make the veterans drop the charges. Then, of course, they eventually went on to make genetically modified crops and take over 90 plus percent of the GM seed market. A market that they have actually cornered by patenting their seeds, which India calls ‘biopiracy’. Before that, they mass produced plastics that we now know are morphing the hormones of consumers.


But let’s also not forget that Monsanto has so many ties inside the US government that it has managed to slip into a very comfortable position. Former Vice President for Public Policy at Monsanto, Michael Taylor ultimately became a major head the FDA. Before that, Taylor conveniently worked specifically on Monsanto’s “food and drug law” practices. Specifically in regards to Monsanto’s cloned rBGH. But remember, this was before Monsanto decided to go for a more ‘blatant’ route.


Now, instead of just operating in the shadows, Monsanto is pushing a much bolder move with the Monsanto Protection Act. It not only sets a troubling precedent for Monsanto, but also for other bloated multi-national corporations that want to obtain higher authority and immunity from US courts. –




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Hong Kong domestic workers lose residency case #Vaw #migrantworkers

Top court denies domestic workers from Philippines the same status that is available to other foreigners after seven years

Hong Kong's top court has denied residency to two maids from the Philippines

Hong Kong’s top court has denied permanent residency to two maids from the Philippines. Photograph: Alamy

Hong Kong‘s top court has denied permanent residency to two domestic helpers from the Philippines in the final decision of a legal case with implications for tens of thousands of other foreign maids in the southern Chinese financial hub.

The court of final appeal issued its unanimous 5-0 ruling on Monday. The two had argued that an immigration provision barring domestic workers from permanent residency was unconstitutional.

The ruling sided with the government’s position that domestic helpers are not the same as other foreign residents.

The decision means Evangeline Banao Vallejos and Daniel Domingo are not allowed to apply to settle permanently after living for at least seven years in Hong Kong.

The case has split the city, home to nearly 300,000 maids from mainly south-east Asian countries. Some argue that barring maids from applying for residency amounts to ethnic discrimination. But other groups have raised fears that the case would result in a massive influx of maids’ family members to Hong Kong, straining the densely populated city’s social services and health and education systems. Supporters of the maids say those fears are overblown.

Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China and permanent residency is the closest thing it has to citizenship.

Foreigners who work in other professions are eligible for permanent residency after living in Hong Kong for seven years. Those who have it can vote and work without needing a visa.

Government figures cited by a lower court in this case said an estimated 117,000 foreign maids had been in Hong Kong for that length of time as of 2010.


American lobbying company Apco Worldwide markets Narendra Modi to the world

Apco muscled out a raft of PR companies, including the now defunct Vaishnavi Communications of controversial lobbyist Niira Radia, to win the contract to promote Vibrant Gujarat

Apco muscled out a raft of PR companies, including the now defunct Vaishnavi Communications of controversial lobbyist Niira Radia, to win the contract to promote Vibrant Gujarat
Although the influence powerhouses that line Washington’s K Street are just a few miles from the US Capitol building, the most direct path between the two doesn’t necessarily involve public transportation. Instead, it’s through a door-a Revolving Door that shuffles former federal employees into jobs as lobbyists, consultants and strategists just as the door pulls former hired guns into government careers.

– The Center for Responsive Politics campaign-finance watchdog in the US

In 2006, an American lobby called Apco Worldwide, which doubles in public relations and boasts clients ranging from dictators to global investment banks, stepped into India. Uncharacteristically for one of the most muscular business lobby groups in Washington, it was a quiet entry. So it was not until three years later that Apco’s business in India really came into its own.

Apco muscled out a raft of PR companies, including the now defunct Vaishnavi Communications of controversial lobbyist Niira Radia, to win the contract to promote Vibrant Gujarat, the showpiece investment meeting of chief minister Narendra Modi that often sees dizzy pledges to do business and lavishes praise on Modi’s administration.

Vibrant Gujarat has evolved into the country’s premier investment meet – it is billed the “Indian Davos” – and as Gujarat goes to polls on December 13 and 17, Modi has frequently used the massive publicity around the event as a plank in his campaign.

How an American lobbying company Apco Worldwide markets Narendra Modi to the world

Until Apco appeared on the scene in 2009 to sell the event, Vibrant Gujarat was a modest show. At the first three events, investment promises were worth no more than $14 billion, $20 billion and $152 billion.

Enter Apco and in 2009 and 2011, the promises grew to $253 billion and $450 billion. The 2013 edition – from January 11-13 – is billed as the biggest yet. The United States-India Business Council (USIBC), along with counterparts from the UK and Australia, is sponsoring the event.


Those following Apco’s fortunes wouldn’t be surprised by the success of Vibrant Gujarat (the company has won a Global SABRE Award for its work). From its headquarters in Washington, Apco has long influenced many hot-button political and economic debates that roiled the US.

In 2010, Apco offered to start an image-improvement campaign for the US financial industry, which includes JPMorgan Chase & Co and Citigroup Inc, after more than a year of public flogging in Washington. When these companies solicited proposals from public relations firms, they said: “Past experience in successful reputation enhancement campaigns is valued.”

Apco was hired by Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev to extricate himself from a four-year-long dispute with his former son-in-law Rakhat Aliyev. The company was approached by Hewlett-Packard Co’s board after accusations of harassment against its chief executive officer. It also handled crises as diverse asMerckBSE 0.27 % & Co’s scandal involving Vioxx, the arthritis drug that killed thousands before it was withdrawn, and Ford Motor’s troubles with Firestone tires on its Explorer vehicles.

How an American lobbying company Apco Worldwide markets Narendra Modi to the world

#India- Torture to death by police & faulty post mortem examination procedure

18 March 2013



The Chairman

National Human Rights Commission

Faridkot House

Copernicus Marg

New Delhi-110001


Respected Sir,

I want to draw your kind attention regarding a gruesome killing of a person in front of his wife and other passengers by Government Railway Police personal. The deceased was on his way to a pilgrimage place and taking rest at Berhampore railway station. The erring GRP personal was in inebriated condition and came down heavily on the victim without any reasons. Later he was pushed to railway track by the said GRP personal and not provided with any urgent care either by other personnel presents at the adjoining Government Railway Police Station of the said railway station. He profusely bled at the railway track seething with pain, later admitted to hospital by his wife and other passengers.


As reported, the only fault of the couple was while inquired about the name of the woman by the said GRP personal, she used her paternal surname instead of her husband’s; the ‘moral police’ found it so offensive that he bashed him savagely and then pushed him to the railway track and whole personnel at GRP Station waited for his death by not extending minimum help to the victim.

Though, it has not come into fore but I have serious doubt that the woman was sexually assaulted by the said personal and while her husband tried to resist, he was meted with severe physical aggression.


I am providing you a photograph of the victim’s body, lying at the floor of the Bahrampur Morgue after post mortem examination was done over the body. Beside of the body, a hammer and chisel were lying. It is evident by the photograph that those two instruments were used to perform the examination and specifically to open the skull by the DOM.  The incident again proving our opinion that in all over the region post mortem examinations are routinely performed by illiterate doms instead of doctors. You can imagine the fate of an investigation when this major component of criminal jurisprudence is utterly neglected.


The procedure of autopsy maintained by the Home Department of government of West Bengal not only unscientific but also inhuman and derogatory for dead.


I am appending details of the incident for your reference and demand for:-


  • The incident must be investigated by an impartial agency; not by the Government Railway Police, as the current status is, the wife of the victim and other passengers who were present during the incident must be incorporated with the investigation
  • The involvement of all the personnel present at the said GRP Station at the time of incident must be investigated
  • As the deceased’s movement  was technically under custody/ control of the GRP personal; the NHRC guidelines on custodial death must be followed in this case
  • The widow and other witnesses must be provided with proper safety and security
  • The widow must be financially compensated from the coffers of the errant personnel
  • The age-old wrongs on part of post mortem examination must be stopped to ascertain actual cause of death, which is prerequisite for criminal investigations in such cases


Sincerely Yours




(Kirity Roy)

Secretary- MASUM

National Convener- PACTI



Name of the victim: – Mr. Dilip Ghosh(deceased), Son of- Mr. Khagendranath Ghosh, aged about-47 years, By faith- Hindu, By profession- Quack, residing at- Khairamari (Nakpara), Police Station- Bongaon, District-North 24 Parganas, West Bengal, India.


Name of the perpetrators: – Mr. Paritosh Sarkar, On-duty Constable of Government Railway Police, Berhampore Court Railway Station, Police Station- Berhampore, Murshidabad. 2) Officer-in-Charge of Berhampore Court Railway Station GRPS. 3) On-Duty Station Master of Berhampore Court Railway Station.


Date and time of the incident: – On 12.03.2013 at about 1-30 am.


Place of the occurrence: – In front of Government Waiting Room at Berhampore Court Railway Station, Murshidabad


Case details: –

It is revealed during our fact finding that Mr. Dilip Ghosh and Ms. Ruma Biswas were married for last 15 years, though his family had objections on his marital status and the couple was forced to live at Kakdweep and not staying with the family. On 11.03.2013 at evening, the childless couple started for Tarapeeth (a pilgrimage) to sought blessings from the deity to fulfill the wanting of child.


On 12.03.2013 at midnight, the victim and his wife Mrs. Ruma Biswas reached at the Berhampore court railway station after making a long journey by a train. After reaching at Berhampore; they decided to commence their journey towards Tarapeeth at early morning by a bus and they decided for taking rest at the Government waiting room of the Berhampore Court railway station.


At about 1 am on that night, the Government Railway Police personal; Mr. Paritosh Sarkar suddenly came to that waiting room in an inebriated condition and at that time he was in uniform and started to drag both of them (the victim and his wife) towards the railway track. The perpetrator GRP personal asked the victim’s wife about the actual relation between them. The victim’s wife tried to satisfy the GRP personal by saying that they are married and as spouses to each other. But the said GRP personal was not satisfied. After that the GRP personal asked the victim’s wife about her name and she answered by using her paternal surname instead of her husband’s. The said GRP personal suddenly started to verbally abuse the couple after hearing the different surnames of the couple. The victim tried to protest. The victim was brutally thrashed by the said GRP personal and was dragged towards Government Railway Police Station of Berhampore Court station. Meanwhile, the said GRP personal suddenly pushed the victim on the railway track from the platform number 1 of the station. The witnesses told that the wife of the victim requested the said GRP personal to leave his husband. But the GRP personal refused to leave the victim and not rescued him either. The victim was laid down on the railway track for a long time. No railway staff came. After that the wife of the victim took him to Murshidabad Medical College with the help of other passengers present at the railway station by one cycle rickshaw. The On-Duty-Doctor of the said medical college declared the victim as brought dead at around 2 am. The wife of the victim lodged a written complaint which was treated as First Information Report (F.I.R) and a case has been initiated vide Berhampore Government Railway Police Station case no-04/13 dated 12.03.2013 under section 302 of Indian Penal Code at 5.45 am by the the offending police station. The post-mortem examination over the body was conducted vide post-mortem serial no. 221 at Berhampore Morgue. Mr. S. S Bhattacharya; Sub Inspector of the Berhampore GRPS has been appointed as Investigating Officer.


On the same day, the GRP personal was produced before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, Berhampore and the court ordered for three days’ police custody (GRP). It is reported that Mr. Asis Roy; the then on duty officer of Berhampore GRPS has been suspended and closed at Dumdum for temporary effect.


On 14.03.2013, Mr. Khagendranath Ghosh; the father of the victim, lodged a written complaint on behalf of the victim to the Superintendent of Police, Barasat informing the death of the victim.

Inline images 1


    Body is lying at floor of Baharampur  Morgue and tools used by DOM to open the skull
 Inline images 2

Kirity Roy
Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha
National Convenor (PACTI)
Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity


#India- Nuclear radiation impact being ignored? #disability #healthcare

Date: 24 March 2013
Dilnaaz Boga, March 24, 2013 , DNA

On his recent visit to Mumbai, Nobel Laureate Dr John Byrne, Director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy, said that every society has to make a basic decision as far as use of nuclear power technology went.

“US has not ordered a nuclear plant in 35 years. There has been a record of incidents all over the world unanticipated by engineers and scientists and that is why so many countries have had to rethink the viability of nuclear technology.”

But some Indian scientists feel otherwise, despite the fact that the ‘Interim Report on Tarapur’ has found indicators which show radiation-related problem among employees of Tarapur Atomic Power Station (TAPS) and villages close to it. The World Nuclear Association expects India’s nuclear capacity to grow fourfold from its present capacity of 5,000 MW to 20,000 megawatts by 2020, making it the third-biggest market after China and Russia.

Health impact of radiation

Public health care centres’ doctors, locals, physicians in the vicinity and the medical supervisor were interviewed by scientist Dr V Pugazhenthi from Tamil Nadu, who is renowned for this credible studies on the health impact of radiation around the Kalpakkam nuclear site. He is also one of the members of people’s expert committee in the ongoing anti-nuclear movement in Koodankulam.

Cancer, goitre, infertility, mental retardation common

“I found 100 cases of cancer in 2010 among TAPS employees. Local physicians said that incidents of cancer have been on the rise in the area in the last few years, particularly hepatoma, ovarian cancer, bone cancer, breast cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. But there has been no intervention for the victims,” he added.

Cancer victims fear being ostracised so that they don’t tell anyone about it, he added.

“We are trying to decrease the exposure among workers at the plant,” said MoS Rajendra Gavit to DNA.

“Technologically, this system is out of sync, and it is economically less competitive if you switch to other energy sources,” Byrne explained.

Director Rajan Badwe of Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, where patients from Tarapur and its surrounding villages are directed told DNA, “Cancer cases are not on the rise. If at all if there is any rise, it’s a small one and it is similar to any other area.”

Goitre cases have also been found in the surrounding villages, local physicians corroborated in the report. “A casual walk through the villages helped me identify 15-20 Goitre cases. TAPS doctors had carried a survey on thyroid problems by the medical superintendent denied it,” said Dr VPugazhenthi, who had conducted a survey in Chinchani village, 8km from the plant.

Back then, 40 cases of infertility were reported by a local doctor in the survey. “Spontaneous abortions, still births, hormonal imbalances in women in the form of excessive bleeding, decreased birth weight and birth defects on the rise,” elaborated Dr V Pugazhenthi.

RK Gupta, who worked for BARC for over 30 years in the fuel reprocessing division in the plutonium plant has been exposed to radiation, said, “Exposures are a regular affair. Workers have died of skin diseases and cancer. Despite this, international rules for workers are not fully implemented. There is a silence about this as people compromise because of their economic condition. Even contaminated tools that are stolen and scarp metal slow poison people. Just like people get poisoned from fish exposed to radiation very far from the site.”

Cases of mental retardation, including Down’s Syndrome, autoimmune arthritis, particularly rheumatoid arthritis, were found in villagers along with high instances of cataract and myopia at a young age.

No new health study has been commissioned in the area.


Violation of law in land allotted to tribal people, claims study on Forest Rights Act

MEENA MENON, The Hindu,  mUMBAI mARCH 25,2013

 Sloppy implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) has resulted in large tracts of forests being cut down and claimed as cultivated land in Maharashtra, according to a study. Data shows that in Jalgaon district alone, more than 79 per cent claims over cultivated forest land were apparently on ineligible lands and about 25 per cent had forest cover. In Thane, adjacent to Mumbai with a high land value, about 12 per cent of the land allotted to tribal people was ineligible according to the eligibility criteria under FRA.

Maharashtra government had, a few years ago, relaxed the measurement for land claimed by tribal people and this has caused discrepancies in settling claims under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 (FRA). A study done by a private company in 2012, at the behest of the State Forest Department, used a database from the Tribal Research and Training Institute (TRTI), Pune, and the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Hyderabad. Satellite maps and GPS data were collated to examine changes after 2005 in tree cover, vegetation and land-use in forest land under forest rights (FR) claims and those which have recognized rights of cultivation.

TRTI has the data of 1,89,400 forest plots under Forest Rights (FR) claims, which are measured using GPS and uploaded on its website. Each land under claim has a unique 13 digit code comprising alpha numerical identification for district, tehsil, village and initials of the claimant.

Of the 3, 44,330 claims received in Maharashtra, 2, 34,242 claims were rejected, according to latest data from the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs website. Only 1, 05,930 claims have been approved, of which 99,368 titles were distributed for about 2, 50,000 hectares . Activists and tribal people have been contesting the delay in allotting rights and the high rejection of claims.

However, Thane district, with one of the highest number of claims in the State, did not provide details of the 13 digit-code for all claimants, and in fact, cleared cases without GPS measurement, the study says. The government blames the high rate of false claimants for the rejections. Gadchiroli, Chandrapur, Nasik, Raigad, Gondia and Bhandara districts also provided little data. Overall, data only for 40,428 approved cases was made available for the study from 19 districts covering 1705 villages.

In 2,433 cases, out of a total of 36,640 cases analysed, there was a road/ river/nallah within the plot. The highest number of such cases is in Dhule and Nandurbar districts. As seen on 2005-06 satellite images, about 15 per cent approved cases are on lands having forest or no agriculture. Data using Cartosat-1 satellite images of 2005-06 and 2007-08, shows that in 789 cases out of 35, 044 approved FR cases, land-use changed between the years 2005-06 to 2007-08. Large numbers of such cases with land-use change are in Jalgaon, Nandurbar, and Dhule. Out of 539 FR cases from Jalgaon district, 321 cases are from three villages of Chopda Taluka — Umarti (118), Satrasen (113) and Melane (90).

The data reveals that there was a huge trend of putting barren forest land to agriculture between 2005 and 2008 to stake claims. About 37 per cent of barren area was converted into agriculture and 33 per cent was converted from forest cover to agriculture. Jalgaon has the highest area so far of forested areas and barren forest land converted to agriculture. An analysis of 5,373 FR cases on satellite images of 2007-08 shows that in these 789 approved FR cases, land-use change occurred after 2005. The study says this implies that people first claimed rights of cultivation, irrespective of the fact whether it was under cultivation on December 13, 2005 (as mandated by FRA) or not and later that forest land was cleared for cultivation. Though the percentage of land-use change detected is less than one per cent in terms of total area, about 641 hectares forest land appears to have been converted from barren land to agriculture and about 580 hectares of forests to agriculture.

In a separate set of data, since satellite images of 2011-12 were available for six districts, only 26,807 finalized FR cases were analyzed, covering 45,034 hectares in Jalgaon, Dhule, Nandurbar, Nashik, Thane, and Gadchiroli districts. It was found that 39,996 (89 per cent) hectares is under cultivation within the approved plots in 2011-12 which is a four per cent increase from 2007-08, Forest/tree cover and barren land has reduced from 910 to 433 hectares and 5476 to 4605 hectares respectively between 2007-08 and 2011-12. This means that people have cleared forest cover and started cultivation after FRs have been recognized on these lands, the study points out.

In these six districts, at least 5037.88 hectares of ineligible forest land on which Forest Rights have been recognized is still not converted into cultivation as per 2011-12 satellite images. In FR cases’ analysis on Cartosat-1 satellite images of 2007-08 and 2011-12, it has been observed that in 827 cases out of 26, 807 finally recognized FR cases, land-use changed between 2007-08 to 2011-12.

The percentage of land-use changes in finally recognised FR cases shows an increase in 2011-12 (3.1 per cent) compared to 2007-08 (2.3 per cent). In an analysis of claims applied for but not recognised, it increased from 12.4 per cent to 18.3 per cent. Land use changes violate the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 and data from all districts needs to be revisited for verification of claims and ensuring forests are not cut down, said a forest official.


#India – Govt has no plans for National Health Bill #WTFnews

PIB RElease, March 22, 2013

The Government has no plans to introduce National Health Bill. In order to
provide relief to the common man in the area of healthcare, a countrywide
campaign in the name of “Jan Aushadhi Campaign” has been initiated by the
Department of Pharmaceuticals, in collaboration with the State Governments,
by way of opening up of Jan Aushadhi Generic Stores in the Government
Hosptials to supply of generic medicines through Central Pharma Public
Sector Undertakings, to make available quality generic medicines at
affordable prices to all. So far, 149 Jan Aushadhi Stores have been opened
in different States/UTs in the country as on 28.02.2013.

Further, under the provisions of the Drugs (Prices & Control) Order, 1995
(DPCO, 1995), the prices of 74 bulk drugs listed in its First Schedule and
the formulations containing any of these scheduled drugs are controlled.
National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) fixes or revises prices of
scheduled drugs/formulations as per the provisions of the DPCO, 1995. In
respect of drugs not covered under DPCO, 1995 i.e. non-scheduled drugs,
manufacturers fix the prices by themselves without seeking the approval of
the Government/NPPA. However, the trend in prices of non-scheduled drugs is
monitored and suitable action is taken by NPPA where price increase is more
than 10% in a period of one year on moving basis.

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Policy -2012 (NPPP-2012) notified on
07.12.2012 provides all the manufacturers/importers manufacturing /
importing the medicines as specified under National List of Essential
Medicines 2011(NLEM-2011) shall be under the purview of price control. The
objective of NPPP-2012 is to put in place a regulatory framework for
pricing of drugs so as to ensure availability of required medicines
essential medicines” at reasonable prices.

The Government is also providing support to the States under the NRHM for
providing free Generic Drugs in Public health facilities. States have been
encouraged to bring out essentials Drugs lists (EDL) facility wise and
Standard Treatment Guidelines to promote safe and efficacious drug use.

This information was given by Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare
Shri AbuHasem Khan Choudhuryin written reply to a question in the LokSabha


#India – Why Special Cell will continue to manufacture dreaded terrorists

Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association


Last year, JTSA compiled and released a report documenting 16 cases where the Delhi Police, especially its Special Cell, had framed innocents as terrorists. An overwhelming number of these unfortunate men were from Kashmir. Despite the fact that we cited court judgements which reprimanded the Cell for refusing to join independent witnesses, for willfully violating established procedures, for illegally detaining accused and showing their arrests on later dates; for fabricating evidence and failing to provide an iota of evidence in support of their charges – neither the leadership of the Delhi police nor the Home Ministry felt the need for any enquiry.


Many of these prize catches of the Special Cell happened to be either police or IB informers, surrendered militants, or men with whom one agency or the other had a score to settle. To that extent, Special Cell’s latest, sensational Holi gift – of having foiled a major terror attack in the capital city by Hizbul Mujahideen – follows the set narrative. What the Special Cell did not bargain for was the contestation of their great feat by the J and K police, who clearly said that Liaqat Shah was a former militant who was returning to Kashmir as part of the state government’s rehabilitation policy for surrendered militants.  So, to its utter surprise, the Special Cell was not greeted by instant glory, but by an unusual bad press.


But again, predictably, the MHA has rushed to the defence of the pampered Special Cell.  It is this continuing impunity which has emboldened agencies to pick, detain, arrest and charge people with terrorism. Three of the four officers of the Special Cell in the current ‘Hizb operation’ feature rather prominently in the JTSA report: DCP Sanjeev Yadav was key player in five of the 16 cases in Framed, Damned, Acquitted; Sanjay Dutt in six and Rahul Kumar in seven. It should be recalled also that DCP Sanjeev Yadav was indicted by the NHRC for masterminding the fake encounter at Sonia Vihar in 2006 (when he was an ACP).  We demand that the magisterial enquiry into the encounter conducted by the then Divisional Commissioner, Shri Vijay Dev, be made public immediately.  We fear that there is a concerted attempt to suppress the report of the magisterial enquiry.


Till this impunity ends, we shall continue to witness these press conferences, the display of seized arms and explosives, the conferring of medals and gallantry awards, and the manufacturing of fidayeens.


Released by jamia teachers solidarity association


‘States’ Rights’ Is Also Code for Keeping Women Down #Vaw #reproductiverights

By Doris Weatherford

Monday, March 25, 2013,

The term has served as a legal code for racism. Today, historian Doris Weatherford writes that state lawmakers have also long imposed legal restrictions on U.S. women. Now it’s the framework for the shrinkage of access to reproductive health care and medical privacy.

Little girl carrying protest sign


Credit: keithreed01 on Flickr, under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).


(WOMENSENEWS)–Throughout U.S. history, “states’ rights” was a convenient code for racism.

Conservative politicians railed that legal changes in favor of African Americans were a violation of “states’ rights.” Southerners especially contended that their state legislatures had a right to laws that discriminated against people born with the wrong skin color.

Yet rarely is the phrase states’ rights seen also as a code to legitimize the violation of women’s rights, even though every woman gains or loses the right to make decisions about her own body when she crosses state lines.

Just last week, North Dakota lawmakers banned the termination of pregnancies that are beyond six weeks–when a woman barely knows whether or not she has missed her period.

Because men cannot get pregnant, such laws do not apply to them, and the conflict between women’s rights and states’ rights continues.

The legal point should have been resolved by the 14th and 15th Amendments in the 1860s, but a century passed before the majority of Americans agreed that the federal government should overrule racially discriminatory state laws. A hundred years after the Civil War ended in 1865, nonwhites finally saw the promise of true liberty with the passage of the 1965 Civil Rights Act.

While almost everyone today sees states’ rights as an antiqued philosophy, astonishingly few see that it also is key to understanding women’s rights. Historians don’t teach it that way, and so this vast aspect of U.S. history goes unacknowledged.

From the nation’s beginning, though, statehood meant a step backwards for most women. In the colonial era of the 1600s, women freely went to court and argued their own cases. But under new state governments, many women lost their right to sue.

In most states, a married woman literally had no rights. She could not file for divorce; only her husband could do that–and he rarely had any incentive to do so, as her inherited property became his. Even her earned income legally was his.

States also gave automatic child custody to fathers, another huge disincentive for divorce. Fathers could name someone other than the mother in their wills as custodians for children, empowering an outsider with decision-making authority for a child’s education or even residence.

Nor did staying unmarried entitle a woman to full citizenship, even while she was compelled to pay full taxes.

Protesting Violations

For decades, women protested against this violation of the principle of “no taxation without representation.” Lucy Stone allowed a New Jersey sheriff to sell her personal goods rather than pay taxes to a government that did not represent her, and other women did likewise.

In Connecticut, sisters Julia and Abby Smith refused to pay taxes on their Gastonbury farm because they could not vote. The court sold their cattle to a male neighbor and newspapers treated “the Gastonbury Cows” as laughable cartoon material.

Women always assumed that they had the right to petition, however, and after feminists organized petition drives in the 1850s, Northern legislatures began to change property laws. Southern states lagged, and in 20th century Louisiana, even a woman’s clothes legally belonged to her husband; she was not free to sell them.

State law also refused to recognize a woman as a witness. A New Orleans orphanage lost the bequest that a donor intended because only women had signed the document testifying to her intentions. Had those women brought an illiterate male janitor into the room to make his mark, the will would have been upheld.

Far into the 20th century, states routinely excluded women from tax-supported colleges and universities, especially law and medical schools. A Michigan woman had to go to court for the right to tend a bar, as state law forbade female bartenders. As late as 1972, Idaho gave men automatic status as executors of family estates; in Reed v. Reed, a woman had to go to the Supreme Court to be allowed to substitute for her mentally incompetent brother. Inheritance law in many farm states gave sons more power than widows who built the farm.

Female Jurors Forbidden

Most states long excluded women from juries, meaning that a female defendant was not tried by her peers–and imposing a real discouragement on female witnesses and lawyers. In 1961, The U.S. Supreme Courtupheld state law in Hoyt v. Florida, ruling that automatic exemption of women from jury lists was constitutional. Eighteen other states had similar laws that allowed women to serve, but only if they took special steps to volunteer. At least three states at the time barred women completely.

Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) often is cited today as the bulwark of personal privacy–something that conservatives claim to value–but the case really was about women, and specifically their right to birth control. Connecticut, with its large Catholic population, banned the sale of contraceptives, but after the married Estelle Griswold had the courage to pursue the case, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the state law.

Massachusetts lawmakers tried to get around the ruling by restricting sales to individuals who could prove they were married, but in Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972), the Supreme Court allowed contraceptive purchase without regard to marital status.

Would state legislatures today approve laws that require nonwhites to give up the right to eat in public restaurants based on state borders? Would any man surrender any right because he moved from South toNorth Dakota?

That is the framework in which these important decisions should be made. And just as in the past, states’ rights is a code for fascism and legal terrorism, and for keeping the victim in her place.

Doris Weatherford is the author of a dozen books on American women. Her most recent work, “Women in American Politics: History and Milestones,” won a prize from the American Library Association as a 2013 Outstanding Reference Source.

#India- Question mark over issuing resident identity card plans #NPR #UID

ET, March 25, 2013


200 px

NEW DELHI: The government is having second thoughts about the wisdom of having a national identity card for all Indian residents — an idea that was first mooted by late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1986, was promised by Congress as part of its 2009 election manifesto, and has been approved by the cabinet on different occasions in the past. At the first meeting of the group of ministers set up under Defence Minister AK Antony to review the proposed expenditure on such cards, ministers raised basic questions about the purpose of issuing resident I-cards — queries that have been already settled or resolved by previous decisions. Over 150 countries issue such national I-cards to their residents, including Germany, Oman, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

“Will the resident identity cards serve any purpose? These cards must serve a larger social purpose which should be demonstrable,” said a senior minister who is part of the GoM, when asked about the dithering over the decision to issue I-cards based on the National Population Register (NPR) being created by the census office.

The worries seem to be political as Congress does not want to spark a debate over who is a resident or who is a citizen. It may be looking to delay the process of issuing I-cards, which would have coincided with the build-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and five major state elections over the next seven months.

“The resident I-cards could unleash a fresh form of politics over Indian citizens versus residents,” admitted a minister.

Any discussion on this subject will throw up the issue of illegal migrants from Bangladesh, an important vote bank in several states like Assam and West Bengal. The Congress brass is also apprehensive that a resident identity card based on biometric (finger print and iris) data collected for the NPR would be seen as a tool that could be used to target minorities.

Nearly Rs 4,000 crore has already been spent on the NPR exercise to collect biometric details of all residents, of the Rs 6,600-odd crore approved by the cabinet for the purpose. But on January 31, the cabinet did not clear the expenditure for issuing I-cards to 82 crore adult Indian residents at a cost ofRs 5,500 crore, feigning confusion between the NPR and Aadhaar numbers being issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

Home ministry officials had made a presentation to the GoM on March 13 about these I-cards’ utility in addressing security concerns as well as delivering the government’s welfare programmes to the poor — and the executive decisions over the past several years to issue them. But ministers aren’t convinced. “The security applications of NPR cards are not clear,” said the minister quoted earlier, requesting anonymity. “If someone runs away after triggering a blast, how will having an NPR card help? Police enquiries also result in tracing such people even without identity,” he pointed out.

Another minister who is part of the GoM said security concerns flagged by the Indian Navy after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks have already been addressed by the coastal NPR exercise that was conducted on a priority basis. But the exercise covered only 1.2 crore people in 3,331 coastal villages and small towns. Major cities like Chennai and Mumbai and larger towns that dot India’s coastline are yet to be covered, said a senior government official.

In June 2012, the committee on strengthening coastal security against threat from sea had directed the census office to complete the NPR, and issue I-cards to people in all the remaining coastal areas on a priority basis. The National Security Council Secretariat has made a similar request to the home ministry to provide identity cards to people living in the Siliguri corridor in the North-East.

Officials are baffled by the government’s growing reluctance over the issue of such cards despite explicit assurances to Parliament that this would be the logical conclusion of the NPR exercise. They point to Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s approval of the I-card costs following elaborate deliberations by the Expenditure Finance Committee, which over three meetings had settled all the concerns or doubts raised about NPR cards by the Planning Commission, UIDAI and ministries.

“Normally, once the finance ministry okays an expenditure, the cabinet simply ratifies the move as all the pros and cons have been thoroughly examined by the ministry. It’s very unusual for the government to send the issue to a GoM,” a secretary-rank official remarked at a meeting in the Prime Minister’s Office last week to discuss the UPA’s Aadhaar-led ‘game changer’ — direct benefit transfer.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia and UIDAI chief Nandan Nilekani are special invitees to the GoM that also includes Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Chidambaram.

The home ministry has requested the Cabinet Secretariat for the GoM to be reconvened soon and is preparing a fresh note on how NPR cards will address security threats in the areas of border management, immigration, counter-insurgency and terrorism.




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