Odisha -Protests Against Posco Steel Plant Mount In India


by Freny Manecksha, CorpWatch Blog
April 14th, 2013

Odisha villagers conduct sit-in to protest POSCO. Photo: PPSS

For over a month, villagers in the eastern Indian state of Odisha have been conducting a sit-in to demand the withdrawal of armed police officers at the site of a proposed $12 billion steel complex at Jagatsinghpur, the latest protest in nine years of confrontations to halt the project.

The villagers are opposed to the plans of Pohang Iron and Steel Company (POSCO) of South Korea – one of the world’s top five steel producers – to build a plant with a 12 million ton annual capacity at Jagatsinghpur as well as an iron ore mine and a port. The project will be India’s largest foreign direct investment to date.

The land that POSCO wants is currently used by the villagers to grow leaves for paan, a mild stimulant that is chewed by billions of people in India. This together with fish farming and other mixed crop farming provides the basis of the sustainable local economy.

The protestors have hit the national headlines twice in the last few weeks. First when a bomb blast claimed the lives of three villagers in the area on March 2 and five days later on the eve of international women’s day, when some of the women staged an unusual protest. They began to take off their clothes in front of policemen.

Why have you come here? What do you want to see?” the women shouted at the police officers as they started to take off their upper garments. The police promptly slapped charges of obscenity against three women.

“When everything else failed, the women preferred to bare their bodies so that the government and the public wakes up from their slumber and understand what is happening,” says Abhay Sahoo, the head of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS which translates as Committee Opposed to POSCO Set-up.)

The villagers are incensed because the Indian government seized their betelnut vineyards and razed their crops shortly after the bomb blast claimed the lives of three villagers in Patana in early March.

Almost immediately the police announced to the local and national media that the men were attempting to make a crude bomb. But, according to the villagers and Laxman Parmanik who was injured in the blast, the bomb was hurled at them by someone else.

fact-finding team of human right activists who visited the site after the incident condemned the manner in which the Jagatsinghpur superintendent of police made an announcement to the media even before police had visited the village to conduct investigations. They pointed out that the police took 15 hours to come to the village after the deaths had occurred.

The team quoted family members of the victims who allege that the police came to their houses at midnight and asked them to sign a written statement to the effect that the victims died in the process of making the bomb which they refused to do.

After last rites were performed for the bomb victims in Patana village, thousands gathered for a major rally and a meeting conducted by various opposition political parties on March 6.  The speakers condemned the district and state administration for attempting to stifle the democratic protests of the villagers by using force and private militias.

High among the grievances of the villagers is the fact that the local police filed 230 cases against 2,000 villagers between 2006 and 2012 on charges ranging from arson to rape. “Captive Democracy,” a report on these charges by D Raja and lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan, notes that most of the complaints do not name specific individuals allowing the police to implicate any person in any case. In some cases entire villages comprising of thousands of people have been implicated. As a result many villagers are now afraid of venturing out of the village for fear of being arrested.

These concerns have caused a number of groups including the Congress party (which is part of the ruling coalition government in India) to write a letter to the governor of Odisha voicing concern over the “continued police atrocities and prolonged repression on the villagers in Jagatsinghpur district.

In the meantime the Odisha government has been slowly acquiring land for the project. They obtained rights to 2,000 acres in 2011 but POSCO wants another 700 acres near Gobindpur village where the villagers are protesting.

Villagers say these lands are protected under the Forest Rights Act which empowers them as forest dwellers to deny outside acquisition of the land. This law together with the required environmental clearances have been the focus of a number of government inquiry committees which have issued contradictory opinions.

First the N C Saxena committee, appointed by the Ministry of Environment and Forestsupheld the villagers’ complaint that there were gross violations under the Forest Rights Act in July 2010. Then another committee chaired by Meena Gupta, appointed by the same ministry, gave the green light for land acquisition to resume in October 2010 (although several members of the committee dissented). Then land acquisition was halted in March 2012 by the National Green Tribunal, another (permanent) body established by the Ministry of Environments and Forests).

Last week, yet another central government agency – the Comptroller Auditor General which is in charge of auditing government authorities – charged the Odisha government with giving “undue benefit” to POSCO by violating zoning laws and under pricing land that was given to the company.

“The lack of transparency, accountability and due process in acquiring land for POSCO and moving ahead with the project is alarming,” says Miloon Kothari, executive director of the Housing and Land Rights Network. “It is clear that the recent action in Gobindpur village is a result of the government’s insistence on promoting foreign direct investment even though it violates the constitution of India, international law and the human rights of the villagers.”

 

#India Aadhaar card: Many worried about #privacy #UID


200 px

 

 

, TNN | Apr 15, 2013, 03.53 AM IST

 

MUMBAI: Unmindful of the chief minister himself telling the legislature that it is the Centre’s directive that unless a district has 80% registration, providing subsidies through Aadhaar cannot be undertaken, citizens are being coerced into getting a UID number.

“When we informed the school principal that Parliament is yet to pass the Bill, she categorically told us that there was no harm in obtaining the card. The deadline is July-end,” said Maya Nair (name changed). Nair’s child studies in an ICSE school in the suburbs. J S Saharia, additional chief secretary in charge of school education, said while no child will be denied admission for not having an Aadhaar card, the department has informed all government and aided schools that teacher’s salaries will not be paid if every child does not have an Aadhaar card by May-end. “Since we are providing funds we want to know exactly how many children are there in school,” he said.

Sources in the oil marketing companies said they are being compelled by the ministry of petroleum and natural gas to fast-track the implementation of Aadhaar. “We have sought clarification from the ministry as we have received objections from consumers,” said sources.

Several Mumbaikars are miffed with the government forcing them to get an Aadhaar card. “I have serious objections to the Aadhaar card as I believe it will infringe on my privacy, providing access to every piece of information about me. Since I do not want government subsidies why should I be coerced into getting an Aadhaar card? It is akin to creating a police state,” said Snehal Shah, a stock investor.

Janhit Manch, which has complained to the Centre on the forceful implementation of Aadhaar, said the Unique Identification Authority of IndiaUIDAI), with its vast implications, is not controlled by any legislation. “There is no statute to control how this information can be used or by whom and under what conditions. There is no law, and no parliamentary or judicial supervision. What is the remedy to a citizen who finds his info has been misused? The scheme, though said to be ‘voluntary’, is becoming compulsory due to such directives,” said Utsal Karani, secretary, Janhit Manch.

Times View: Stop this harassment

It’s unfortunate-and perhaps also inevitable-that a government scheme aimed at giving recognition to the citizen and streamlining administration has ended up in adding to the citizen’s harassment. The government should crack the whip on recalcitrant service providers, who have made having this card a prerequisite despite knowing that only an insignificant percentage of the population has got this card. It should also stop giving confusing and self-contradictory directives before ensuring every citizen has got an Aadhaar card.

 

 

 

#India -Free lawyer’ service helps tribals branded Maoists in Jharkhand #goodnews


naxalites

, TNN | Apr 15, 2013,

RANCHI: A group of young lawyers in Ranchi has decided to take up, gratis, cases of thousands of tribals branded as Maoists and shoved into jails across Jharkhand every year.
The lawyers, who have named their organizationJharkhand Organization for Human Rights(JOHAR), have initiated a survey to pick out such cases and offer them free legal consultation. And just so that the tribals are aware that they need not pay for seeking judicial assistance, the lawyers have named their endeavour “muft mein wakil”.

“Despite options of free legal aid offered by the government and agencies like district legal services authority, tribals often don’t get these facilities because they are afraid to approach them. Also, they are not much aware of the law,” says Gopi Nath Ghosh, who is associated with the endeavour.

Human rights violation is a mounting problem in Jharkhand’s tribal areas which sees many innocent people being labelled as Maoists and subsequently prosecuted. NGOs working in the area say that the number of such cases increases whenever there is a security operation in the region.

For instance, 13 people were framed as Maoists in the 2001 Topchanchi massacre in which 13 Jharkhand armed police officers were killed. After they had spent many years in jail, they were finally acquitted by the Dhanbad district court in May last year.

Curiously, nobody is really sure about the exact number of such cases where tribals are unfairly branded as rebels. A Christian missionary, Father Stain Swami, who works for the rights of tribals, had filed an RTI application with the state government in 2011 to seek accurate figures. He says that the total number of such cases could be around 6000 or even more.

With most tribals not even fully literate — let alone being aware of complex legal formalities — help from the lawyers is being hailed as a welcome step for them. Although till now, the lawyers have identified only about a dozen cases, the momentum, says advocate Anup Agarwal, convener of JOHAR, would pick up once their survey is complete.

Incidentally, one of the cases in which the lawyer group has already started providing free assistance is the high-profile Jeetan Marandi case. Jeetan Marandi was accused of masterminding the Chilkhari massacre in 2007 in which former chief minister Babu Lal Marandi’s son Anup was killed. The subordinate court had pronounced capital punishment but the Jharkhand high court not only reversed the judgment but also acquitted him of the charges.

However, his wife Aparna Marandi is now in Dumka Jail on allegations of being a Maoist. No lawyer was ready to assist her until JOHAR lawyers Ahmed Raja and Anup Agarwal stepped in to take up her case.

 

Indian Army –Magic Formula to have beautiful and successful daughters ? #WTFad #AFSPA #Kashmir #Manipur


Dear Indians

Do you want a daughter ? No of course not, why will you want a girl child , she is such a burden and a son will only carry on the family name etc etc… blah blah.

Oh No  !  you dont want to have a  girl child !!!

Well  in shillong specifically and allover india generally, the  Indian army  is giving the incentive, to have a girl child. Wow, this advertisement will go a long way in balancing child sex ratio ?  and it might also give impetus to the ‘ Laadli Campaign, which is in deep shit for now, 42% girls dropped from Laadli scheme over 2 years

army

So above in the advertisement you see—  PRIYANKA  Chopra, Gul Panag, Preity zinta,  Anushka  Sharma , Celina Jaitley , Simmi Garewal,  Amrita singh, Chitrangadha , Sakshi Tanwar, and it says -‘If you want to have beautiful and successful daughters  join INDIAN ARMY”,.

Now , Indians this  is your  chance dont let ti go away.. RUSSSSHHH TO INDIAN ARMY,  if you want to have BEAUTIFUL daughters who will become a hit  Bollywood  or television actresses, and will make you PROUD and will  add to the great  HONOR  of your family, ie   if they save themselves from honor killing.!

Also all women in the ad are BEAUTIFUL as per what is  ingrained in our brains. The super-skinny, super-tall, and amazingly gorgueous figure; The Super-Models and Actresses.The  certain typecast images fed on physical appearances and . If you don’t fit into those notions, you feel terrible – that’s why people are unhappy about their bodies. This advertisement further promotes, the fact  that to succeeed you need to have a hour glass figure ?. How do you define beauty ? Who said “big” isn’t beautiful? Who said curves aren’t sexy?
Who told you to change who you are, loosing the weight that you’ve gained so far. For me Tuntun, Manorama  all were beautiful also. beauty has nothing to do with your body but your innerself , your personality as a whole. For me Sheetal Sathe, Soni Sori, Aparna Marandi, Irom Sharmila are all BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE, and SUCCESSFUL as well.

 The Fact that  whether you will  have a daughter or son THE MANS SPERM WILL DECIDE, if  you have a daughter, she has to decide her life and what’s success for her ?

This  sexist  advertisement further strengthens  the stereotypes feminist have been fighting.  Women are human being and not relationships , think about them outisde their roles as  daughters mothers and sisters. Valourising women as  daughters, sisters, , mothers, bhabhi, dadi and Nani.  Today women are screaming at top of their voice-– ” I am not your  Mother, Wife, Sister or daughter . I am a PERSON.  So this ad, adds to all the sexists ads which are defining every woman by her relationship to another person rather than as a person in her own right; and that relationship (by implication if not stated overtly) is usually with a man. The self-sacrificing mother who bravely sends her son to war; the devoted sister who pampers her brother, the obedient daughter who makes her  PARENTS  proud, as stated in the ad . Women are  fed up being boxed into traditional roles. They are angry at being told what to wear, how to behave and lead their lives.  Respect women”, we tell our sons, “for they are all someone’s mother, sister or daughter.” Aha,,,,, yes…..  But the childless woman;  and a  woman whose husband is no more or whose  father has died and has no brother to ‘protect her honour’ — well, she’s fair game, isn’t she?  This is the kind of logic we perpetuate when we glorify a woman by her relationship rather than as a person.

I wonder if all these ‘ SUCCESSFUL DAUGHTERS’  have given their permission to be on the Advertisement and if they agree

and gulpanag tweets says so,

About the join army ‘ad’.Whether in jest or not,I have no problem with it.I owe 100% of what I am to my AF upbringing. Proud of it. @rwac48

— Gul Panag (@GulPanag) April 14, 2013

I wonder,   if all of them are  proud of  The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act . which is to-date the single most direct instrument violating the democratic rights of the people of the North East and of Jammu and Kashmir. The Act is implemented when an area is declared ‘disturbed’ by either the central or the state government. Since 2 November 2000, she has been on hunger strike to demand that the Indian government repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA), which she blames for violence in Manipur and other parts of northeast India. Having refused food and water for more than 500 weeks, she has been called “the world’s longest hunger striker”.

What is  rationale for  keeping AFSPA ,  thinking that security persons who rape innocent women should enjoy impunity in the name of national security? For whose security was the law enacted, for that of the country or of the criminals in uniform? Whenever some change is suggested in the Act the army seems to oppose it and the civilian government buckles under its pressure. For Eg , when the Jeevan Commission appointed to inquire into the alleged rape and murder of 30-year old Manorama Devi of Imphal in Manipur arrested by the Assam Rifles suggested  AFSPA should be repealed ,the  Government did not even publish the report.

Do you all know of woman called Manorma ?  In 2004, the women of Manipur held a protest after the brutal murder of Thangjam Manorama who was taken into custody from her home by the Assam Rifles under suspicion of having links with rebels. Her bullet ridden body was found a few kilometres away from her home, bearing signs of torture. Twelve Manipuri women came out naked, holding a banner saying ‘Indian Army Rape Us’ to protest against the paramilitary forces of the Assam Rifles demanding justice and taking a stand against the many rapes of other girls. Despite the curfew imposed, the protests by the women continued as they wanted the men responsible to be punished

One of the major rape cases in the history of Kashmir and indeed whole of India is the Kunan Poshpora mass rape incident. A village in northern Kashmir’s Kupwara district, Kunan Poshpora, on February 23, 1991 witnessed incidents of alleged mass rape of 20 women by the Army troops in one night. The incident drew the attention of national and international media. However this was soon forgotten and the womenfolk of the village landed in unending troubles. Women who deserved the respect and honor of the society, were not secure anymore form the cruel face of the armed forces and since that incident, numerous other cases of rape and enforced disappearances have come to fore in the last three decades. Another case which shook the region was the 2009 Shopian rape and murder case which resulted in protests rocking the whole Valley and several families lost their loved ones in the agitation.

Some  more cases of rape and sexual assault against personnel of the Army and central forces in Kashmir:

Case against Harbhajan Singh and Gurtej Singh

May 15, 1994: Rashtriya Rifles men entered the house of a couple and took the husband to Qazigund Hospital. When he returned the next morning, his wife told him she had been gangraped. A case of rape an other charges was filed at Qazigund police station. Responding to an RTI application, the home department said it sought sanction on January 23, 2006, to prosecute the Army men and have not yet got it. In a 2009 affidavit in the high court, the defence ministry said the state was informed that both accused, Nk Harbajan Singh and Rfn Gurtej Singh, had been tried by a summary general court-martial for rape, sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for 10 years and dismissed from service. “A retrial for the same offence will be in contravention to Article 20 (2) of the Constitution,” it argued.

Case Against Major Arora

January 3, 1997: A family comprising a 60-year-old, his two daughters and a grandson were preparing to go to bed at Manzgam, Kokernag, when some soldiers allegedly broke in. They were allegedly led by Major Arora of 5 Rashtriya Rifles. “He slapped me and dragged my younger sister (then 16) into a room and raped her,” the elder daughter told The Indian Express recently. The elder daughter’s husband had joined the Hizbul Mujahideen and the local army unit would often raid her father’s house. The day of the alleged rape, the Army allegedly picked up the father, who remains untraced 15 years on. The younger sister is now married with children, the elder one said, while her own husband surrendered  to the army, divorced her and remarried.

The police registered a case of rape at Anantnag and the government sought the defence ministry’s sanction to prosecute the officer. In an affidavit in the J&K High Court on June 5, 2009, then defence secretary Ajay Tirkey said the ministry received the request in December 2006 and it is “under consideration in army headquarters/Ministry of Defence”. On January 10, 2012, the ministry, responding to an RTI query, said permission was denied on April 21, 2007. “There were a number of inconsistencies in the statements of witnesses… The lady was forced to lodge a false allegation by anti-national elements,” the MoD said.

Case against Major Aman Yadav

December 5, 1999: Army men led by Major Aman Yadav of 28 Rashtriya Rifles, along with a few counter-insurgents, raided a house at Norpora, Kitter Dhaji, in Rafiabad. The officer allegedly raped a housewife, whose husband wasn’t home, while his men allegedly robbed the house. The family later left the village.

On January 4, 2000, based on a complaint by the victim’s husband, Panzala police lodged an FIR, one of the charges being rape. In an affidavit to the high court on June 5, 2009, then defence secretary Tirkey said the ministry received the request for sanction in January 2009 and “the case is under consideration in Army headquarters/Ministry of Defence”. In response to a separate RTI query, the MoD said sanction was denied on September 23, 2010. It has argued the allegations are “baseless and framed with mala fide intentions to put army on the defensive” Intriguingly, the ministry has cited it as a case of torture leading to death. Calling the allegations “mala fide” was effectively an indictment of J&K police, for it was on the basis of the police probe’s outcome that sanction was denied. There was, however, no follow-up government action. In response to an RTI application, police said they closed the case on August 19, 2011, having declared the accused “untraced”.

Case against Captain Ravinder Singh Tewatia

February 14, 2000: Captain Ravinder Singh Tewatia and three special police officials allegedly entered a house at night in Nowgam, Banihal. Captain Tewatia and one of the SPOs allegedly raped a mother and her daughter in separate rooms. A case of rape was filed in the Banihal police station. Two chargesheets were prepared for house trespass, assault, wrongful restraint and rape, and submitted to the Banihal chief judicial magistrate’s court on April 1, 2000.According to information gathered by rights group International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice through RTI applications, the case was split between a court-martial and criminal courts (in Banihal, Ramban and Jammu). The court-martial found Tewatia guilty of rape, sentenced him to seven years of imprisonment and dismissed him from service. He challenged the findings on October 1, 2000. On December, 31, 2002, the high court set aside the court-martial’s ruling. In 2003, the defence ministry filed a letter patent appeal in the high court, where it is pending. The state government didn’t challenge the high court order.

Rape case against  BSF Personnel

April 18, 2002: Personnel of the BSF’s 58 Battalion allegedly gangraped a 17-year-old in front of her mother, relatives and neighbours, all held hostage at gunpoint in Kullar, Pahalgam. Some 15 or 16 men in a BSF patrol party, passing through their village, had been beating up the girl’s uncle and she had tried to rescue him. A medical examination confirmed rape, while then BSF inspector general (Kashmir Frontiers) G S Gill, too, conceded that BSF personnel had committed rape. The girl identified three men at a parade. The same day, a case of rape was registered at Pahalgam police station. The police say that they submitted a chargesheet before the chief judicial magistrate in Anantnag. There hasn’t been any progress since.

Case against Major Rehman Hussain

November 6, 2004: Troops of 30 RR raided the home of a horsecart driver at Badhra Payeen village in Handwara at night. The man’s younger brother said, “The officer went into my brother’s room and pushed him out.” “He dragged my daughter (then 10) into the kitchen,” the wife of the targeted man this correspondent, adding the officer left and returned after an hour. This time, the woman alleged, she was raped in the kitchen.

The police registered a rape case and the district administration ordered a magisterial inquiry. The Army invoked the AFSPA . The accused officer, Major Rehman Hussain, was tried by a general court martial, which absolved him of rape. He was, however, found “guilty of using criminal force with the intent of outraging the modesty” of the 10-year-old girl and dismissed from service. But he challenged the decision in court and returned to service.

Even the  comments by apex court few days back while hearing PILs filed by families of victims of alleged fake encounters in Manipur, are a stinging rebuke of the lack of political will on revoking laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). In this instance, the government’s response to the damning report of the SC-appointed committee set up to probe six such cases in Manipur was that it agreed that such fake encounters should not take place. But mere “taking note” will not do any more. The government must speedily act to revoke this black law from wherever it is in effect, be it the north-east or Jammu and Kashmir. Blanket immunity for security forces has led to murder, rape and other crimes. And when the legal framework vests such crimes with impunity, it vitiates the basic principles of democracy and the rule of law that are necessary for the citizens of these areas to feel part of the national mainstream.

The  Court  also sharply brought attention to another vital fact: keeping these laws, and thereby maintaining an unnatural state where the armed forces are seen as the primary representatives of government, mutates the whole political, democratic system itself.

Now after  getting a glimpse of AFSPA, what the supreme court of india says of Indian army ?

I wonder  if you  all are still proud of Indian Army

This sexist  advertisement should be immediately removed,

It will be great if  women part of the advertisement ask to do so.

best

Kamayani Bali Mahabal

Not proud of Indian Army

Not a Proud Indian

A Person  , A  Feminist and a  Human Rights Activist

April 15th, 2013

 

Delhi gangrape repeated, Bus driver rapes minor in chartered bus #Vaw #WTFnews


 

Dailybhaskar.com | Apr 14, 2013, 20:26PM IST
EmailPrintComment

New Delhi: In a shocking incident that brought disgusting memories of the Delhi gangrape incident, an eleven year old girl was raped in a chartered bus in Sultanpur area of the national capital. Police has arrested the bus driver. Further details are awaited.

 

In December 2012, a 23-year-old female physiotherapy intern was beaten and gang raped in a bus in which she was travelling with her male companion. There were only six others in the bus, including the driver, all of whom raped the woman. The woman died from her injuries thirteen days later while undergoing emergency treatment in Singapore.

 

After the rape,  public protests against the Government of India and the Government of Delhi for not providing adequate security for women took place in New Delhi, where thousands of protesters clashed with security forces. Similar protests took place in major cities throughout the country.

 

The incident has once again revealed the vulnerablity of women.

 

 

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