PRESS RELEASE- PUDR on Rejection of Devinder Pal Bhullar’s plea by the Supreme Court


Peoples’ Union For Democratic Rights (PUDR)

Date: 12 Apr. 2013,

Press Statement

Re: Rejection of Devinder Pal Bhullar’s plea by the Supreme Court

 

PUDR strongly denounces the Supreme Court’s dismissal this morning of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar’s plea for commutation of the death sentence awarded to him to life. The issues at stake in this dismissal are multiple, that of clemency, death penalty, miscarriage of justice and precedence.

Bhullar was sentenced to death in 2003 for carrying out a bomb blast outside the Delhi Youth Congress office which killed nine people in 1993. He has been deemed mentally unstable. The High Court’s decision of upholding the death sentence was not a unanimous decision. After he was given the death sentence by the Supreme Court, he appealed to the then President of India for clemency in 2003. The President, after a lapse of over eight years, dismissed his mercy plea in 2011. Bhullar had sought commutation of his death penalty to life sentence by the Supreme Court on the ground that there was inordinate delay by the President over his plea for clemency.

The principle of jurisprudence lays down that a person cannot be punished twice for the same crime. Bhullar has already served 12 years in jail and now the consequent execution would strictly violate this principle of jurisprudence. Prolonged incarceration of a death row convict awaiting his execution qualifies as cruelty and violates Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

Ideally there should have been a norm governing the delay in judicial processes and the relief granted thereof. In some instances, convicts have received relief for delays of 2 years, two and a half years, etc.In  T.V.Vatheeswaran vs. State of Tamil Nadu (1983) 2 SCC 68 and Ediga Anamma vs. State of Andhra Pradesh (1974) 4 SCC 443 it has been held that a delay of two years was permissible beyond which the sentence ought to be converted to life.  In Bhagwan Bux Singh & Anr. vs. The State of U.P. (1978) 1 SCC 214 similar observations were made with respect to a delay of two and a half years and in Sadhu Singh vs. State of U.P. (1978) 4 SCC 428 to a delay of three and a half years. Whereas, in the present instance, even if the delay in handing over the penalty (rejection of clemency) is 12 years, the convict is not entitled for any relief.

It is appalling to note that Supreme Court in its rejection of mercy plea has disregarded the mental health of Bhullar. Awarding death penalty to a person mentally unstable is a crime against humanity. The Supreme Court order hence stands as a serious miscarriage of justice and also dangerously escalates the possibility of such unjust judicial trends becoming the norm. On 6 April 2013, the Supreme Court in a progressive move ordered a temporary stay on the execution of 8 convicts on death row. Not just the apprehension of the present order in case of Bhullar affecting the fate of other prisoners of death row is daunting; equally alarming is the ambiguous position of Supreme Court on death penalty vacillating between two positions, one of relief due to delay in the delivery process and the other of no relief for the same.

In a democracy that guarantees the right to life as a fundamental life, death penalty should find no rationale. In fact, the state should see the execution of someone in its custody abhorrent. Death penalty is an act of retribution and presents the state as an arbiter of retributive justice. The very notion of justice is lost in the act of taking away a life to avenge the loss of another life. PUDR sees death penalty as a form of state violence and an escalator of a culture of hate. It infuses a sense of vengeance in society and reinforces the cycle of violence.

PUDR, while condemning the dismissal of the SC order, reiterates the dangers of having death penalty as sanctioned form of punishment and puts forward a demand for total abolition of the death penalty.

 

 

D. Manjit, Asish Gupta

Secretaries, PUDR

 

Veteran Film Actor Pran conferred the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the year 2012


 


Shri Pran Krishan Sikand, popularly known as Pran, the veteran film actor, has been conferred the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the year 2012. He is the 44th Dada Saheb Phalke Award Winner. The award is conferred by the Government of India for outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian Cinema. The award consists of a Swarn Kamal, a cash prize of Rs.10 lakhs and a shawl. The award is given on the basis of recommendations of a Committee of eminent persons.
Shri Pran has given sterling performances in many films along with Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor in 1950s and 60s. Pran’s performanceshave received acclaim in films like Azaad, Madhumati, Devdas, Dil Diya Dard Liya, Ram Aur Shyam and Aadmi, Ziddi, Munimji, Amar Deep, Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai, Aah, Chori Chori, Jagte Raho, Chhalia, Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai. The list is long.
Born in the year 1920 in Delhi, Shri Pran started his career way back in 1940. He first ventured into photography but a chance meeting with a film producer got him his first role in a film called Yamla Jat. Shri Pran acted in several films, his base being Lahore in undivided India. His career experienced a brief pause due to partition in 1947. Subsequently he moved to Bombay. With the help of the famous writer Saadat Hasan Manto and actor Shyam, Pran got a break in the Bombay Talkies film Ziddi which had Dev Anand in the lead role. The film Ziddi brought him to limelight in the Bombay film industry and then there was no turning back.
His impressive performances have bestowed an entirely unique new dimension to the negative and character roles in Hindi cinema. His contribution to mainstream Hindi cinema is well recognized, assuring him the place of one of the most illustrious and celebrated actors of Indian film industry. His career spanned several decades. He has acted in over 400 films and in each one of them, he brought new mannerism and style, holding the audience spell bound by his acting.
Shri Pran is a recipient of a number of film awards including the Filmfare Award. He was also honoured with the Padma Bhushan.

 

Golibar Demolition Protests spread in Maharashtra- Andolan lays Seize to CM Residence in Mumbai


Andolan lays Seize to CM Residence in Mumbai

Protests in Different parts of Maharashtra

Dialogue with Secretary Housing Over, now Over to CM

April 12, Mumbai / New Delhi : Today is the ninth day of indefinite fast by Medha Patkar and 7th day of indefinite fast by Madhuri Shivkar in Golibar, Mumbai. Late in the evening yesterday Sanjay Nirupam, MP came to the dharna site and expressed his solidarity with the Andolan and said he will do his best to address the issues at hand. People from different Bastis had kept pouring in to the dharna site but also getting restless and so they decided to lay seize to Chief Minister‘s residence. Chief Minister, Shri Prithvi Raj Chavan spoke to Medha ji in the morning and agreed to meet a delegation.

Today morning nearly 1000 people from different Bastis parked themselves infront of CM’s house and refused to move unless and until he talked to them. Meanwhile, in morning we got a call from Principal Secretary Housing, Mr. Devashish Chakravarty to have a dialogue with the Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGB) representatives. A delegation went and met with them at 11 am. The meeting was joined by CEO, SRA Mr. Deshmukh and other officials. They agreed to most of the demands of the Andolan but bactracked on the demand of self redevelopment by Ganesh Krupa Housing Society, who paid for the land in 2003. As per the law they can claim self development but the authorities are not sure, even though CEO SRA on another meeting two days ago, see below, had agreed to this. As we write this update to you, the delegation is still there and waiting for the written order from them.

Once the written document is collected, a delegation will go and meet the Chief Minister. One the meeting is over Andolan will decide the next steps.

Since, morning, protests have been held by different organisations and supporters of the Andolan at different places in Maharashtra – Pune, Satara, Maangaon, Ahmadnagar and other places.

Prerna Gaikwad, Aba Tandel, Ajit Gavkhedkar, Alex, Atik, Sumit Wajale, Sandeep Yeole, Rajkumar, Seela Manaswinee

Contact : 09892727063 | 09212587159 |napmindia@gmail.com | www.khareastandolan.wordpress.com

 

Late in the evening yesterday on the 7th day of the Indefinite fast i.e. on 10th April, 2013, Sh. Nirmal Deshmukh, CEO, SRA called for a meeting with delegation from the fast site to discuss on the demands. Addl. Collector (Encroachment), Mr. Thackrey, Secretary, SRA, Mr. Milind Bohrikar, Sub-Registrar, SRA and other concerned officers from SRA (Slum Redevelopment Authority) were present during the discussion with the delegation by CEO, SRA.

1. Discussion started from Ganesh krupa Society Redevelopment Plan. The society has already paid amount of Rs. 5 lakh 4 Thousand towards the cost of land to the Collector in 2003. As per records the land belongs to the society. The Society now demands for self development. CEO, SRA agreed in principle on this and has agreed to talk to the Chief Minister and Principal Secretary, Housing on this.

2. CEO, SRA has agreed to the demand to stop demolition till the enquiry of the 6 societies are going on under the Principal Secretary, Housing.

3. He has even agreed to talk to the Chief Minister and Principal Secretary, Housing on the issue of Slum Declaration and Providing civic amenities to the bastis and implementation of Rajiv Awas Yojana for 21 bastis.

The delegation has demanded to take Mandala in Mumbai as the Pilot project for Rajiv Awas Yojana.

Corruption from the side of SRA can be clearly seen from the SRA side regarding the land transaction of GaneshKrupa Society of Golibar. In 2003, the Society paid the money to the govt. and the land now belongs to the residents of the society. This was clearly admitted by the SRA when they met the delegation yesterday. “When the land belongs to the residents of the Society, how the Shivalik ventures can demolish the houses built over it” said by the residents of the Society. In 1997, this matter has been published in the gazetteer of Maharashtra which supports the claim.

 

===============================================

National Alliance of People’s Movements
National Office : 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 26241167 / 24354737 Mobile : 09818905316
Web : www.napm-india.org

Twitter : @napmindia

 

#India – Suprme Court rejects Devinderpal Singh Bhullar’s appeal #deathpenalty


Supreme Court verdict could impact other death row prisoners

death-penalty
Reported by A Vaidyanathan, Ketki Angre, Edited by Surabhi Malik | Updated: April 12, 2013

New Delhi:  The Supreme Court has ruled that a death sentence cannot be commuted to life imprisonment because of a delay in execution.

The court has rejected an appeal by Devinderpal Singh Bhullar against his hanging, and could impact the cases of 16 other prisoners on death row who have pleaded against their punishment.

Bhullar had appealed against his execution on the grounds that his petition for mercy was kept pending by the President of the country for eight years. He was given the death sentence for killing nine people with a car bomb in Delhi in 1993.

Bhullar’s wife was in court when the verdict against him was announced. “The court didn’t consider our points,” she said.  Bhullar’s family and friends say that his time in prison has affected his mental health.

Activists and lawyers for Bhullar and other prisoners have said that inordinate delays in deciding requests for clemency amount to cruelty and violate the fundamental right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.

In Tamil Nadu, today’s verdict will be  carefully assessed to determine the potential fallout on the case of  three men who have spent 22 years in a jail in Tamil Nadu for their role in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Their appeal for clemency was rejected after 11 years in August 2011.  All parties in the state have passed a resolution stating that they should not hang.

Human rights groups have been critical of India for executing two prisoners in the last few months. Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab was hanged in November 2012 in Pune for his role in the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. In February, Afzal Guru was hanged in Delhi; he had been convicted of assisting in the attack on Parliament in 2001. His family was informed of his execution two days after he was buried at Tihar Jail.

 

PAKISTAN: The International Day for Street Children 12th April


 

April 11, 2013, http://www.humanrights.asia/

Amir Murtaza

The International Day for Street Children is celebrated every year on 12th April. The Street Children Day was launched in 2011 by the Consortium for Street Children (CSC) to create a broader awareness about the issue of street children all around the world. The Consortium for Street Children (CSC) is the leading international network dedicated to realizing the rights of street children worldwide. According to the CSC, “This year we are demanding that the United Nations recognizes the Day, so that street children and their champions have a louder voice.”

The phenomenon of street children have been growing rapidly and at present street children are quite visible in big cities of the developing world, such as Karachi, Mumbai, Manila, Sao Paulo, Mexico City and Durban.

A Research Paper, “The Problem of Street Children: Case Study of Sargodha City” jointly written by Sadia Rafi, Mumtaz Ali & Muhammad Amir Aslam stated that, “Street children are not limited to the developing world. Perhaps every industrialized country has its runaways and orphans. In nineteenth century Europe street children were written about in the famous novels Oliver Twist and Les Miserables (Agnelli, 1986, p 45.). In the mid-1800’s articles appeared in newspapers and about “street Arabs” (Williams, 1993, p. 831). In Nobody’s Child, Christina Noble (1994) describes how her life as a street child in mid-twentieth century Ireland led to her work with street children in Vietnam.” 

Due to their fluid nature, it is hard to quantify the number of street children; however, a number of researches and studies mentioned that around 100-140 million street children are present worldwide. It is important to mention that it is widely recognized that around 25 million children and youth are living on the streets of countries, located in Asia. International, national and local organizations, working on the issue of street children, believe that numbers of street children are increasing very rapidly.

The number of street children has grown in recent decades because of growing urbanization, increasing work opportunities in big cities, widespread recessions, unemployment in rural areas, poverty, conflict, civil unrest, family disintegration, large family size, and natural disasters. Violence against children, mistreatment and neglect are also some of the documented factors compelling the young children to leave their homes and seek shelter in big cities.

Either in Karachi or Mumbai or Mexico City, these children face similar problems. They are living and working in terrible conditions with no protection. Lack of adequate food, shelter and other basic needs are the major problems, they face regularly.

The ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has bound the state parties to follow the Convention in letter and spirit.

CRC Article 2: 
1. States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.

2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the child’s parents, legal guardians, or family members.

CRC Article 3: 

1. In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration. 

2. States Parties undertake to ensure the child such protection and care as is necessary for his or her well-being, taking into account the rights and duties of his or her parents, legal guardians, or other individuals legally responsible for him or her, and, to this end, shall take all appropriate legislative and administrative measures.

3. States Parties shall ensure that the institutions, services and facilities responsible for the care or protection of children shall conform with the standards established by competent authorities, particularly in the areas of safety, health, in 

All around the world, street children are subjected to physical, sexual and emotional violence by the criminals, police and even ordinary people. “Violence refers to acts of aggression and abuse, which causes or intends to cause criminal injury to a person. Violence essentially falls into two forms, Random violence, which includes unpremeditated or small-scale violence, and coordinated violence, which includes actions carried out by sanctioned or unsanctioned violent groups as in war and terrorism.”

Mostly street children are the victims of random violence. Basharat is only twelve years old and has been living on the streets for last four years. “I usually get my food from a charity hotel, located in a densely populated locality. Once, while taking extra care of my food I was mistakenly collided with a heavily built young man. The young man severely punished me that even the passer-by and hotel’s staff rescued me from his wrath,”Basharat informed and added that he also lost two teeth during the punishment.

Wajid is now fifteen and at the age of ten he adopted the streets as his new home. “My father was very cruel and without any reason, he shouted and slapped on me. I left the house due to his behaviour; however, I am in regular contact with my mother and elder sister,” Wajid told and added that once he was collecting the trash in a local market and some shopkeepers severely beaten him and handed over to police as they doubted that he had stolen something from their shop. Later, police also punished him though Wajid repeatedly told them that he is not a thief.

National governments, UN agencies, international and national organizations and members of civil society around the world have expressed their concern over the violence against street children. It is widely agreed that these children need care and protection. However, it is highly recommended that community-based alternative care is a good option and institutional care should be used as a last resort.

The Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children have also reaffirmed the responsibility of the State to ensure the provision of appropriate alternative care for children deprived of parental care. (UN General Assembly, Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children: resolution adopted by the General Assembly, 24 February 2010, (A/RES/64/142).)

Occasions such as 12th April, the International Day for Street Children gives us an opportunity to review the situation and take more plausible and practical steps to tackle the issues confronted by these children. Like other children, these children too have the right to survival; to develop to the fullest; to protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation; and to participate fully in family, cultural and social life. Due to their vulnerability, these children should be introduced to an environment that facilitates and fulfils their basic needs. Allocation of resources is essentially required to encourage and establish efficient childcare alternatives to protect vulnerable street children.

Amir Murtaza is a regular contributor on human rights issue for the AHRC, he can be reached at; amirmurtaza@hotmail.com

Narendra Modi- Main, Mera #Video


 Narandra Modi's Vibrant Gujarat Story: Propaganda vs Fact #mustread

We are greatly influenced by the philosophy of Mr. Narendra Modi. The Main Mera is a great hit amongst our generation. Here’s one of our tributes to this great man that produces the best tourists too.

#India – Work on Suktel irrigation project begins at gun point #oppression


Author(s):
Sudeep Kumar Guru
Issue Date:
2013-4-11

Balangir district authorities use police force to allow construction work as anti-dam stir continues

imagePhoto credit: Sudeep Kumar Guru Work on the Lower Suktel irrigation project in Odisha was started this week amid public protests and heavy security. Police arrested 70 members of the people’s front fighting the project as they forcibly entered the project site to try and stop the work at Pardhiapali, about 25 km from Balangir town, on Tuesday. The dam authorities had began work on the project on the Suktel river, a tributary of the Tel, on Monday. Apprehending more trouble, extra police force was deployed at the project site next day. The Odisha Construction Company officials continued with the lay out work of the spillway of the project.

At least 1,200 people of the Lower Suktel Budi Anchal Sangram Parishad (LSBASP), including women and school children, thronged the project site and protested construction of the dam spillway which they say is illegal. Those arrested included president and vice president of LSBASP, Ghunu Sahu and Udaya Singh Thakur. Superintendent of police (SP) of Balangir, R Prakash, said the arrests were made to ensure that the work of the project continues. “We neither applied any force nor did we arrest any women or children. We will see that work of the project goes on smoothly,” Prakash said.

The Rs 1,041 crore project had been hanging fire for the past 12 years due to the ongoing conflict between the pro-dam and anti-dam activists. The project, when completed, will irrigate 29,146 ha of land in Balangir and 2,684 ha in Sonepur district, covering 189 villages. Despite the arrests, people of the area said that they will continue their fight. “Let police arrest us. Still, we will come here everyday and will oppose the project work. Under no circumstances will we allow the project,” said Pabitra Gadtia, an anti-dam activist. General secretary of LSBASP, Satya Banchhor, said the government had not kept its promise. “It is unfortunate that despite assurance by the state chief secretary during the bilateral talk that LSBASP would be informed about the project status, the government had resorted to secrecy about date of commencement of the project. Moreover, the government decided to start the project at gun point,” he alleged.

LSBASP says there is no necessity of a dam. “Instead smaller traditional water harvesting structures can be made to address the irrigation problem of the farmers. The government never delivers when it comes to rehabilitation and compensation to the displaced villagers. The Rengali project and Hirakud dam projects in Sambalpur district are glaring  examples. We don’t need the dam”, said Thakur, vice president of LSBASP.

As per the project plan, the project includes an earthen dam 1,410 metre long and 36 metres high. The scheme contemplates two main canals, one taking off from right bank with a length of 25.2 km and another taking off from left bank having a length of 27 km. The net catchment area of the project is 1,130 sq km. The are that will be submerged by the project includes forestland (583 ha), private land (3,847 ha) and government land (786 ha). The reservoir will submerge 16 villages fully and 10 villages partly. The dam will be constructed at Magurbeda village about 25 km from Balangir town.

Call for fresh project evaluation, clearances
Convener of Water Initiative Odisha, Ranjan Panda, condemned the use of police force to undertake construction work. “The irrigation project’s design was approved almost a decade and half ago. In all these years, even though the government could not proceed with the project, it did not do anything either to solve the drinking water and irrigation problems of the area. The current anger and agitations are, therefore, creation of government’s apathy. The government should not delay further on this and talk to all the people, both the villagers who fear submergence and the people who are proposed beneficiaries,” he said. He added that that the long delay has rendered all approvals and clearances, including environmental clearance, invalid. The government, therefore, has got no right to continue with this project without looking at the designs and social and ecological impacts afresh, he said.

These studies should be tabled before the people, he said. The government should also work on alternative proposals and place it before the people. It is only after that any further decision on the Lower Suktel Irrigation project should be taken, said Panda.

 


Source URL: http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/work-suktel-irrigation-project-begins-gun-point

 

Five men have been killed in KKNPP in 3 months mostly due to electric shock


nuke-liar-logo-small-yellow

April 12, 2013
The Struggle Committee
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)
Idinthakarai & P. O. 627 104
The Regular and Contract Employees
The Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP)
Koodankulam
Dear friends:
Greetings! As you know, we conducted a siege protest on April 3, 2013 at the back of your Anu Vijay Township. That was an earnest attempt to point out the dangers you are exposing yourself and your families at the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP). As educated and informed people, you must be familiar with most of our arguments against the KKNPP. We would very much like to repeat a few more relevant points here for your serious analysis and careful consideration.
You do not have to go too far to check the veracity of our claims. Even a cursory look at your own homes in the Anu Vijay Township should reveal the pathetic quality of construction both in your Township and at the KKNPP site. The houses you dwell in are not even ten years old but most of the buildings are in a dilapidated condition already.
One of the erstwhile KKNPP subcontractors and the present big-time leader of the Koodankulam Panchayat told us once that he himself had mixed so many big pieces of wood when he poured concrete in a KKNPP reactor building in order to minimize the need for sand and cement and to maximize his profit. He also confessed that he and most other contractors used sea sand instead of river sand in their constructions to have a higher profit margin.
We all know how the cancer of corruption is eating into the heart and soul of our country. When the Honorable Minister V. Narayanasamy accused us of receiving foreign funds for our anti-KKNPP campaign, we countered that by expressing our struggle committee members’ willingness to reveal our assets and income details and demanding to know the assets and income details of the top leaders of the KKNPP, the NPCIL and the DAE etc. There were reports that the top KKNPP leadership that time was upset with the Minister as he was raking up the money issue. We challenge again now if the top nuclearocrats in India are willing and ready to reveal their assets and income details to the people of India.
Every single deal that India has signed with Russia has proved to be a disaster and big loss for India. The INS Vikramaditya/Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier has been delayed by five years with the final cost hovering in the $2.9 billion range. The time overrun and cost escalation also plagues another mega Indo-Russian defense deal of upgrading MiG-29 fighter planes. The KKNPP is yet another disaster. Instead of expressing his displeasure over the enormous cost overrun and time overrun in all these projects, our Prime Minister has recently offered the Russian president permission to build KKNPP 3 and 4. We all should ask ourselves why our Prime Minister tried to please the Russian president when the latter’s reactor has failed to function for more than a year now.
The Koodankulam delay is being blamed on the “corrosion and leakage since sea water was used as the coolant.” If these pipes and parts cannot withstand one year of sea water circulation, how on the Earth are they going to function for 40-60 years? If the pipes leak and corrode within such a short time, the government should order a probe into the quality of these pipes, the quality of the various equipment and spares that were sent by the Russians.
Already there are recurrent reports that the Russian companies Zio-Podolsk and Informteck have been supplying low quality products to the Russian nuclear power projects in Iran, China and India. These two discredited Russian companies have provided many substandard equipment and spares to the KKNPP but the NPCIL and the AERB do not answer our RTI queries squarely and fairly. The government and the DAE must tell the people the real truth about this issue. Some of us happened to meet a few of your officers a few months back. They confessed that they had never known the fact that there were belt-line welds in the RPV before we problematized it and they thanked us profusely for the information.
As you know, the Government of India and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) have not shared any basic information with us about the KKNPP. Even after the Central Information Commission (CIC) has instructed them, they have not shared the Site Evaluation Report (SER) and the Safety Analysis Report (SAR) with us. They have not heard our opinions or allayed our fears and concerns about the lack of fresh water resources in the KKNPP, the changes in the design of the Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV), the management of liquid and solid waste and so on.
Several scientists and technocrats such as Dr. Abdul Kalam and Dr. M. R. Srinivasan claimed more than a year ago that the KKNPP was the best in the whole wide world. If this is so, why are the KKNPP officials still trying “to ensure foolproof safety”? Dr. Srinivasan has claimed recently: “We sought an additional safety mechanism well before the Fukushima disaster. The safety mechanism consists of valves. The original reactor design had to be altered and I feel this is the basic cause for delay.” According to him, the valves were designed partially in India and Russia and compatibility with the reactor led to some hiccups.
No wonder why the Russians do not want to commit to any kind of liability arrangements for their “best” reactors in the whole world. The Government of India is not even willing to share the secretive Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) that they signed with the Russian government in 2008. It is our and your liability but our own government hides all of the details from us. Why?
Please think of work safety in your KKNPP. When Mr. S. K. Agrawal had died of “multiple organ failure” (an euphemism for cancer) at the Jaslok hospital in Mumbai a few years ago, the DAE or the NPCIL did not even acknowledge his death in public or condole his untimely demise. If this is the treatment meted out to one of the top leaders of the department, you can imagine how you would be treated. In fact, you must already know the scant regard that the DAE/KKNPP has for human beings. Some 5 men have been killed in the KKNPP in the past 3 months and most of them have died of electric shock. Nobody knows the exact number of people who have died in the KKNPP all together.
And finally, let us also point out to you the serious concerns and reservations expressed by Dr. A. Gopalakrishnan, the former head of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB): “Sub-standard materials have come to the Kudankulam plant and they are causing problems. Chinese have now started examining the components from Russia.”
Please understand that we are the citizens of the democratic Republic of India and we must assert our inalienable right to life and livelihood. We seek your kind cooperation in getting rid of nuclear energy from India. While we find safe and alternative employment for you all, let us make sure that all Indians, rich and poor, live with safety, security and dignity in our country.
Cordially,
S. P. Udayakumar       M. Pushparayan          Fr. F. Jayakumar         M. P. Jesuraj
Coordinator
R. S. Muhilan              Peter Milton                V. Rajalingam

Police Threaten to kill doctor practising among poor in Kalpakkam


From :

 

Dr. V.Pugazhenthi MBBS,

1/187, Mudhaliyar Street,

Sadras, Kanchipuram District,

Tamil Nadu, India

603 102

Ph: 8870578769

To: All the Democratically Concerned People of Tamil Nadu, India and the World

Respected Friend, Madem/Sir:

 

Sub: False Charges filed on me to curtail my professional and democratic duty to warn the people I am serving about the ill effects of the nuclear radiation around the Kalpakkam Nuclear Power Plant

 

I am a medical doctor practicing in Sadras village near the Kalpakkam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu, India, since 1989. I was a gold medalist during my undergraduate years at Madurai Medical College, but chose not to pursue higher education because I felt I should work among the poor masses in the villages. I chose Sadras as the place for my practice since I had many friends at Kalpakkam, who happened to work in the Kalpaakam Nuclear Power Plant.

 

From 1989 to 2000, my professional work was focused principally on serving the Dalit and the Fisher folks. My interests were in Primary Heath Care and I had devised many innovative cost efficient methods to treat the most prevalent diseases among the masses. I had written profusely about these methods in many journals and have published books highlighting these. My work was recognised by the local and national media and they had interviewed me many a times with regard to this. The noted magazine “Outlook” had published an exclusive article about me on 21 June 2004. I was even fondly nicknamed as “One Rupee Doctor” by many magazines that had interview me. I had started a small health awareness movement called Makkal Nala Vazhvu Pani Iyakkam (Forum for People’s Good Life) and had opened a clinic at Vayalur exclusively for this purpose among its Dalit populace. Impressed by my work, former Justice of the Supreme Court Shri.D.K.Basu came unannounced to grace this occasion. (1)

 

It was during these first 10 years of my professional work I have understood that the chances of the people living around this Nuclear Power Plant to succumb to genetic diseases and various types of cancers was far higher than other places where nuclear power plants are not present. I decided to study this systematically. I got the first opportunity when my colleague Dr.R.Ramesh of Coimbatore asked me whether I could help in conducting a survey on the incidence of Polydactyly ( people with more than 5 fingers/toes in each hand or foot) in this region. This was early 2001 and was related to the public hearing process for the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor scheduled to be held on 27 July 2001. (2)  The survey showed a very high incidence and this made me plunge into studying the effects of radiation among the local populace. I have not looked back ever since and have conducted many a health surveys since. I have remained a whistle blower who have ardently asked the Nuclear Power Plant authorities to follow nationally and internationally accepted safety codes. (3) Appreciating my work, I have been asked to become the technical and medical consultant to a group of concerned local citizens on the ill effects of radiation. This group called “ Anuk Kathirveechu Paathukaappukkaana Makkal Iyakkam” (Peoples Movement for Protection Against Nuclear Radiation)” is to conduct a protest on 12 November 2011 against the breech of nationally and internationally laid safety codes by the authorities of the Kalpakkam Nuclear Power Plant. Their contention has valid scientific proofs. People belonging to this movement are working for the past one month to make this protest a successful one.

 

It is in this background, I received a telephone call at 6 PM on 1 December 2011 from the Puthupattinam police station. The police inspector Mr.Siva Kumar, told me that the Puthupattinam Panchayat Chief had filed a petition against me and whether I could go to the Police Station for an enquiry in this regard. I was busy in my clinic and told him once my works were over I would meet him at the station. I went to the police station at 7.30 PM. I was asked to wait. The police inspector then telephoned the panchayat chief. He arrived at the station by 8..10 PM. The enquiry lasted for about 30 minutes. I left the place by 8.50 PM.

 

The police inspector narrated the charges filed against me by Mr.Kaliaperumal :

 

  1. Mr.Kaliyaperumal, the Panchayat Chief of Puthupattinam village has filed a petition against me and one Mr.Nehru. He is charging us both that we had threatened to murder him if he does not cooperate with out anti nuclear work.
  2. The alleged threat was sent to him in the form of an anonymous letter, which he said was penned by Mr.Nehru under my direction.
  3. An SMS to his mobile phone from an unknown mobile phone number had also threatened to murder him. This is also alleged to have been sent by someone close to me under my directions.
  4. Many SMS notes keep coming to his mobile phone from unknown numbers abusing him. He believes that all these SMS notes are sent to him under my directions.

    I gave the following replies to the police inspector with respect to the above charges:

1) I do not involve myself in any anti nuclear work. I am only discharging my professional service by telling everyone about the findings culled from my two decade long work and critical studies related to health and nuclear radiation in general and Kalpakkam Nuclear Power Plant in particular. I am not an organiser of any anti nuclear movement but am and will remain a technical and medical consultant of such movements. Recently I have been asked by People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy that spearheads people’s agitation against Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, to share my professional experiences as one of its panel of experts. Like this, I have shared my experiences and studies with people all around the country.

I have met the Panchayat Chief Mr.Kaliaperumal on various occasions. I have even congratulated him on the day he had won the local election. I have talked to him cordially always. I have explained to him as I explain to everyone I meet, about the issue of nuclear radiation around. As I work as a medical professional and not as a political organiser, where does the question of me threatening him to join my work? My work is to treat, study and share. Where does his charge fit in?

However, as you are asking me a particular question, I state here that I have not at any moment threatened Mr.Kaliaperumal to join an anti nuclear agitation.

 

  1. I have nothing to do with the anonymous letter that threatens Mr.Kaliaperumal with death. I know Mr.Nehru, but under no circumstance he is working with me. The charge that Mr.Nehru wrote this letter under my influence is a concocted lie.

 

  1. I have nothing to do with any of the SMS notes that are alleged to be received by Mr.Kaliaperumal.

 

 

As I finished with my reply, the police inspector said he has not filed the First Information Report. However, he asked me to give in writing that “I would be present at the police station whenever I am summoned by him for further enquiries. If I am not present for such enquiries, then I agree that the charges kept on me is true.” I told him what that would mean to my daily professional schedule. I explained to him how the poor patients who come to see me from miles afar would deeply suffer. However, he insisted that I should give this in writing. At last, as a good samaritan,I gave him in writing that whenever he summons me I would be present at the police station.

 

Once I gave him this written note, he told me in a very harsh warning voice: “ Doctor! Do you know that I can book you under national Security Act for whatever the works that you are doing? By the way…. Have you ever heard anything about “police encounter”? So, be careful.”

 

I remain baffled. However, there’s no way my professional and democratic work can be suspended by any force whatever.

 

I strongly suspect the hand of the authorities of the Kalpakkam Nuclear Power Plant behinnd all this. They are particularly disturbed by the facts I have recently published with respect to the safety codes being practiced by them. They are, I suspect, disturbed by a news that I am about to publish a book that is to question the various safety issues related with the power plant. I think, by intimidating me with such police threats, they believe that they will be able to make the Kalpakkam environment radiologically safe.

 

I have been open always for discussion with the authorities of the power plant. I have met them many a times and have always shared all the data available with me. However, they have, over the past 10 years have not tried to answer any of my questions in the earnest. Now, I suspect, that they have decided to opt other means to silence my work.

 

It is in this regard, I request all of you – my democratically minded brethren – to pray and voice for me and my family members.

 

Sincerely Yours

 

Dr.V.Pugazhenthi MBBS

Puthupattinam,

Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, India

 

Tihar’s sinister labyrinths– Torture, custodial deaths, negligence and rampant corruption


 — India’s high security prison has all this and much more reports G Vishnu

G Vishnu

G Vishnu , Tehelka

April 5, 20l  

Tihar jail. File Photo

After 35-year-old Ram Singh, one of the accused in the infamous 16 December Delhi gang-rape case, was found hanging in his cell in Jail No. 3 of Tihar, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde called it a major lapse in security. The minister would do well to read this story.

TEHELKA has found out through interviews and testimonies of former and under-trial inmates of Tihar that torture, sodomy, custodial deaths, negligence, and rampant corruption — India’s highest security prison has all this and much more. Even though questions have been raised on the circumstances around Ram Singh’s death, nobody is surprised that it was possible in Jail No.3, which houses close to 4,000 of Tihar’s 13,000 odd inmates.

TEHELKA went through the testimonies of inmates who detailed their ordeal inside Tihar for a public interest litigation (PIL). Sample this from Samrat*: “On 14 January 2012, I was cut across my face with a sharp weapon. It is the duty of the jail officials to take care of under-trials, protecting them from inmates who have such violent behaviors. But unfortunately the jail officials often turn a blind eye to such inmates in exchange for the greed of money,” he says.

“We both are educated and know our rights. He is being subjected to torture because we decided to complain to authorities about the things that happen within those walls,” said Samrat’s wife, speaking on the condition of anonymity. She further reveals that she was asked to pay a bribe of Rs 5,000 to get a relative’s name in the Mulakaat List (list of outsiders who are allowed to interact with the inmates). Another former inmate says he had to pay a bribe of Rs 50,000 to a high-ranking official to get a better place to sleep. “In a place where a pouch of tobacco that otherwise costs Rs 20 can be bought at about Rs 500, coercion becomes a skill to survive for convicts,” he says.

For 39-year-old Jacob Philip, an NRI from Dubai who had spent a decade in the USA, torture stared at him the day he entered Tihar. “I entered the designated ward on 20 September 2008. I had no place to sleep as the place was overcrowded. That night I saw 10-15 inmates beating a fellow inmate in front of everybody. I found later that he was being beaten because he had the audacity to say ‘bye’ to others after getting a bail that day,” says Jacob.

Absurdly, Jacob ended up in Tihar under the Extradition Act. Under the act, the enquiry on the accused cannot continue for more than 60 days. Yet, Jacob ended up spending three and a half years inside Tihar, until he was acquitted and finally released on February 25, 2012. “I used to help people write their bail applications and appeals. At the same time, I also knew the powerful people inside. During my time inside, I saw things I cannot even begin to describe. I can say without exaggeration that I saw at least a thousand cases of torture perpetrated on weaker inmates by stronger ones with tacit and sometimes open support from Jail authorities,” he adds. “In Tihar, nobody is accountable. Nobody is answerable. How can anybody expose anything?”

Jacob describes Tihar as a parallel world with its own set of rules. He was lodged in Jail No. 4 of Tihar. The ward behind his is 4B, a punishment cell (kisuri ward in Tihar parlance). Jacob spent countless nights hearing screams of inmates being tortured. Convicts running the ‘chakkar‘ (Control room, but also refers to torture), armed with sticks and blades, would beat up fellow inmates. Motives would range from extortion and punishment for non-conformism. Sometimes, even jail guards would join.

Mohammed Amir, who spent 10 years in Tihar as a terror accused before his acquittal in 2012, confirms all the above and more. Amir claims he was subjected to torture by fellow inmates, who attacked him at the behest of some jail officials. “You cannot expect Tihar to be a correctional facility. Everybody there has a very criminal mindset,” he said.

Three inmates also spoke about the economics of sodomy inside Tihar. “There’s forceful sex for extortion. And there’s sex that inmates often indulge in for money. Some pay in fear of forceful sex. Some indulge in sex in order to earn a little,” said a former inmate on the condition of anonymity.

Journalist Iftikhar Gilani, who documented the sinister world inside Tihar in his book My Days in Prison, agrees that Tihar is hardly a place to reform. “Here criminals are brutalised. Under-trials spend years inside and convicts run the place.India does not understand the point of having its prisons. The people who man these prisons know nothing about criminal psychology or social science — key elements for helping prisoners to reform,” he says.

Iftikhar was not merely a witness to torture. He had been wrongfully arrested, accused of being an ISI agent in June 2002 and spent close to nine months in Tihar. “I was beaten up inside the jail superintendent’s office the day I arrived there. In the subsequent days, I was put in solitary confinement. I was also made to clean the toilet with my shirt. On a particular night, when I was really sick, one of the wardens said “marne do usse” (let him die), when my fellow inmates called for help,” recalls Iftikhar.

The shocking negligence that Iftikhar recalls from his days in prison are still prevalent as is obvious from the case of Santosh Kumar, who died on 25 February last year. An inquiry report by district and sessions judge IS Mehtain has observed that Santosh died due to negligence on part of the jail authorities. Santosh had consumed acid some years ago, which damaged his oesophagus to an extent that he could never consume solid food again. He was completely dependent on a liquid diet, which was being administered using a feeding tube inserted into his stomach. Arrested in December 2010 and lodged in Tihar, Santosh was denied four liters of milk that was due to him as per court orders. By December 2011, his health had completely deteriorated. Despite the Patiala Sessions Court order, the jail authorities failed to provide him medical treatment, ignoring Santosh’s pleas. On 16 January, Santosh was taken to AIIMS where he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. His treatment however started only on 7 February. Within three weeks, Santosh was dead. He had spent his last days writing letters to authorities to provide him the required medical treatment.

While the National Human Rights Commission has received a multitude of complaints regarding human rights violations and custodial deaths inside Tihar over the last five years, some inmates are battling it out in the courts. A particularly determined inmate is 60-year-old Christopher Rozario, who in a petition to the Delhi High Court, has alleged that he has been repeatedly tortured by jail authorities. Christopher claims to be a PhD holder from Cambridge and a former employee of Kerala University.

However, Sunil Kumar Gupta, Chief PRO of Tihar rubbished Christopher’s allegations. Gupta also rejected all the other assertions. “There might have been isolated instances of torture. I can guarantee that things have changed over the last year. There’s no blade-baazi these days. We have reigned in on the ‘chakkars‘ and convicts do not enjoy the same powers as earlier. We have complete transparency in place,” he said responding to TEHELKA’s queries.

Former top cop Kiran Bedi, credited with bringing several reforms feels that bringing more technology would go a long way in making Tihar a less brutal place. “Add more transparency. Bring more cameras. You won’t find corruption. You will give convicts space to reform,” she says.

G Vishnu     

 

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