Mitt Romney’s Advice for Recent Female Grads: “Get married and start having kids ” #WTFnews


AlterNet / By Kristen Gwynne

Don’t expect wealth and power, Romney warned the women of the Southern Virginia University‘s graduating class. Just get married and make lots of babies!

May 3, 2013  |

This week, Mitt Romney delivered an interesting commencement speech to the (very Mormon populated) Southern Virginia University’s graduating class. Sharing his secrets for “abundant living,” Romney urged the new grads to go out, get married, and procreate like crazy.

‘Get married,’ he said, and “Have a quiver full of kids if you can.”

Also, hurry.  Staying single until your thirties could be a big mistake. A quiver full of kids aren’t born over night.

“Some people could marry but choose to take more time, they say, for themselves. Others plan to wait until they’re well into their 30s or 40s until they think about getting married,” he said, “They’re going to miss so much of living, I’m afraid.”

Girls, forget about establishing a career before you get married or have children. Why spend your body’s prime child-bearing years working, when you could be breast-feeding on a much smaller salary?

As Romney reminds the class of Southern Virginia University, wealth is not guaranteed. Not everybod knows how to cut corners, exploit workers, and watch the profits rise. Even fewer are born into the power necessary to accumulate wealth in America. Anybody biologically capable, however, can make a quiver full of babies.

“I don’t think God cares whether you get rich,” he warned the crowd. “I don’t think he hopes that your business will make a huge profit. I know a lot of religious people who think God will intervene to make their investments grow. Or he’ll get them a promotion. To make their business a success. But life on this earth is about learning to live in a place where God does not make everything work out for good people.”

BUT. If you find a mate and procreate, you’re all good! “Every one of you here today as a graduate can live an abundant life,” he told the students. “Every single one of you. You will not all be rich and famous and powerful, but each of you can live an eminently successful, rewarding, abundant life.”

Romney, on the other hand, will remain rich and famous and powerful. But not everybody can do that. So just shut up and get pregnant, already.

Watch and learn:

Arunachal Pradesh scraps power deal with Naveen Jindal Group


 

By M Rajshekhar, ET Bureau | 3 May, 2013
"The (Arunachal) cabinet has decided to ask the Jindal Group to return its shares," Arunachal Chief Secretary HK Paliwal told ET. “The (Arunachal) cabinet has decided to ask the Jindal Group to return its shares,” Arunachal Chief Secretary HK Paliwal told ET.

 

NEW DELHI/ITANAGAR: Arunachal Pradesh, the epicentre of hydel power in India, has decided to reverse its contentious decision in 2009 to give 49% equity in its hydro-power corporation to the Naveen Jindal Group. The decision, taken last month, came after a backlash from government departments and other companies having hydel projects in the state against the joint venture, which was a departure from precedent as it effectively gave the NaveenJindal Group a stake in every upcoming hydel project in Arunachal.

“The (Arunachal) cabinet has decided to ask the Jindal Group to return its shares,” Arunachal Chief Secretary HK Paliwal told ET. Sometime in 2009, the cabinet of the Congress government, led by Dorjee Khandu, had cleared the sale of 49% in the Hydro Power Development Corporation of Arunachal Pradesh Limited (HPDCAPL) to the Naveen Jindal Group.

The state, through HPDCAPL, had committed to 11-26% equity contribution in every hydel project coming up in Arunachal, including those of other private players, adding 38,600 mw by March 2009. And Jindal’s 49% ownership of HPDCAPL would have effectively given it ownership in every project.

“This (the arrangement) looked peculiar,” says AV Kameswara Rao, executive director, PricewaterhouseCoopers, a consultancy.

"The (Arunachal) cabinet has decided to ask the Jindal Group to return its shares," Arunachal Chief Secretary HK Paliwal told ET.

“There are models where a state-owned body gives out equity. But this creates a strange situation. A state company holding equity in other projects cannot have a third party holding equity in it,” says AV Kameswara Rao of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

As companies squirmed at the idea of an uninvited private player holding equity (indirectly) in their power projects and looking into their books, the state backed down and decided to subscribe to its equity share directly, and not via HPDCAPL. “The (state) government is signing direct agreements with companies instead of going through this route,”Sanjay Kumar Saxena, the state’s current power secretary, told ET in December 2012.

How the state decided to award equity in HPDCAPL to a private player in general and Jindal in particular, is not clear. “The decision was taken by the (then) cabinet,” says Paliwal. “I do not know why it was taken. I also do not know on what basis Jindal was chosen.”

Tumke Bagra, who was the state power secretary when the decision was made, declined comment. “I am no more the power secretary. Please contact the present secretary who has access to department records,” he said in an SMS.

 

The Struggle For Justice In Manipur #AFSPA


 

By Graham Peebles

03 May, 2013
Countercurrents.org

The primary colours of any civil democracy are we would agree, social justice, freedom of expression, freedom to protest and participation. India, with a population of 1.3 billion people is regularly hailed as the largest democracy in the world. At first glance the governments pretentions to democracy would appear to be justified, after all there is, on paper at least, an independent judiciary, a free press – freely owned from top to toe by corporations – a thriving civil society and, of course, the cornerstone of any democratic state: the haloed parliamentary elections, totally funded and (therefore) fully owned, top to toe, by the same corporations that count the national and regional newspapers, radio and television networks as their own, as well as growing portfolios of natural assets; rivers, forests, water supplies, mountains (full of bauxite), and other mineral resources.

Where elements of democratic necessity are lacking, democracy is absent, and if there is a single tenet upon which the democratic dream is built, it must surely be justice: legal justice, together with social justice, both of which are essential. With cries of inequality ringing out across the world, social justice – solidly founded upon principles of fairness, is universally missing.

In large parts of India not only is there little or no social justice, but the observation of judicial law is also lacking as government agencies and security forces trample on federal law, the Indian constitution, and a range of Internationally binding agreements. State violence, injustice and corruption, under the comforting cloak of impunity have long taken root in vast tracts of the country, most notably the Northeastern and Central States, where local people, herded together under the terrorist tainted banner of ‘Maoists’, or ‘rebels’ are waging a tribal uprising against government military and paramilitary forces.

State Criminality and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act

Manipur, like its neighbouring States in the Northeast is awash with government paramilitary, for over five decades it’s people have been petitioning and fighting for self-determination. They bear witness to the plague of state criminality, violent injustice and corruption surging through the country. Widespread rape, torture, false imprisonment and extra judicial killings, are all in use as methods of government oppression and control that are poisoning life in the region.

In March 2012i the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Christof Heynes, spoke of the “excessive use of force by police including fake encounters, custodial deaths and traditional practices affecting women such as honour killings, and dowry deaths”, he called for justice for victims and for the government to set up a “credible Commission of Inquiry” into extrajudicial killings. The panel should investigate “past violations, propose relevant measures to deal with these, and work out a plan of action to eradicate practices of extrajudicial executions.”

Justice is a jewel that unsurprisingly, eludes the disadvantaged and vulnerable throughout India; most at risk of abuse Heynes tells us, are “women and minorities — religious minorities, as well as Dalits [so called untouchables from the lowest caste]…. Adivasis [and] human rights defenders, including Right to Information activists…. and their protection deserves special measures.” Alas the only ‘special measures’ these marginalised people and advocates of justice are receiving in corporate India are to be found in the draconian articles of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1958. A law that is anathema to the democratic principles India proclaims to cherish. It grants immunity to security personnel committing wide-ranging offenses to innocent civilians. Human Rights Watch (HRW) 19/10/2011ii, state, that the law “grants the armed forces the power to shoot to kill in law enforcement situations, to arrest without warrant, and to detain people without time limits.” Soldiers acting with impunity are, HRW relay, “routinely engaging in torture and other ill-treatment during interrogation”.

Introduced in 1958 in Nagaland, the AFSPA descended onto the ‘disturbed’ districts of Manipur in 1980, creeping then into Jammu and Kashmir, until it permeated much of the Northeast of the country. The ‘emergency’ law, which Parliament and the people were promised was to be in operation for only six months, has lived on for 52 years and hundreds of deaths, rapes and false imprisonments later, is still being used to shield security personnel committing criminal acts. The AFSPA, as all unjust actions – far from easing tension has exacerbated the situation and fed insurgent groups, The Hindu 7/02/2013iii record, “In 1958 there was one “terrorist” group in the North East. Manipur had two groups when the State was brought under the Act. Today, Manipur has more than twenty such groups, Assam has not less than fifteen, Meghalaya has five of them and other States have more groups.“

Working for justice

The Government, perhaps keen to conceal the conflict taking place in Manipur, refused the UN Special Rapporteur permission to visit the State in 2012. Through the committed work of human rights groups and political activists in the region, the struggle for justice and the outrage against widespread human rights abuses, are kept persistently present. The figurehead is the heroic Irom Sharmilla Chanu. An “icon of public resistance”, the New York Times 8/02/2011iv called her, she bravely represents the people of Manipur, particularly the women of the state in their struggle for justice against the hated AFSPA, the excessive military presence and the violent abusive methods of security personnel.

The right to protest is another pre-requisite of democracy alongside justice. Peaceful or otherwise, protest is strongly discouraged in India, by a government eager to suppress dissent and present a sparkling-clean market-friendly image to the world. Within three days of Sharmilla’s peaceful protest, she was arrested, charged with attempted suicide – illegal in India, and imprisoned, without trial, for one year – the maximum sentence. This bizarre process has been repeated ever since, resulting in her being held in judicial custody for the last twelve years. She was last released on 12th March only to be re-arrested two days later.

Imprisoned, The Independent 4/03/2013v report, in “the secure wing of the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences hospital in the city of Imphal” she is force-fed by the police using nasogastric intubation – a tube inserted into her nostril. She pleads ‘not guilty’ to the charge of attempted suicide, and rightly calls for all criminal charges to be dropped. Amnesty International (AI) 20/03/2013vi demanding her immediate release from police custody, report her saying “I love life…. I do not want to commit suicide. Mine is only a non-violent protest. It is my demand to live as a human being.” A hunger strike the British Medical Association makes clear, “is not equivalent to suicide. Individuals who embark on hunger strikes aim to achieve goals important to them but generally hope and intend to survive.” (Ibid)

Her well-documented political protest against abuse and injustice in Manipur, and specifically against the internationally condemned AFSPA, was fuelled by the shooting of 10 civilians in the village of Malon, near Manipur’s capital, by the Assam Rifles. They are one of a number of Government forces present within the State that have been implicated in a barrage of cases (yet to be investigated) of murder, rape and torture, most notoriously perhaps, the rape and murder of Thangjam Manorama in July 2004. Human Rights Watchvii report Manorama’s “bullet-ridden body was found at around 5:30 a.m. on July 11, 2004 by villagers near Ngariyan Maring, about four kilometers from her house.” she had been arrested at home, beaten and HRW report, “tortured” by members of the Assam Rifles, who were responsible for her murder. The incident so outraged the community that a group of elderly women staged a naked demonstration in front of the Assam Rifles headquarters, while carrying a banner that read: “Indian Army, Rape Us.”viii

Sharmilla’s peaceful action is the loudest cry in an army of voices calling for the repeal of the AFSPA. The Womens International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)ix state that the AFSPA, “continues to increase militarisation in the North East, augment impunity and facilitate human rights abuses including rape and other forms of torture, forced disappearances, and killings of civilians.” There is broad recognition in India, HRW 19/10/2011x report, “that the AFSPA should be repealed because it has led to so many abuses. Prime Minister Singh should overrule the army and keep his promise [made in 2004] to abolish this abusive law”. Various Indian bodies have recommended repealing the law, including amongst others, the Jeevan Reddy Commission (back in 2005), which described the situation in Manipur as “grave” and the Prime-Ministers Working Group on Confidence-Building Measures. In January this year The Justice Verma Committee on Amendments to Criminal Law found “that the AFSPA legitimised impunity for sexual violence, and recommended an urgent review of the law”.

An unjust law worth fighting

Reviews, recommendations, proposed amendments all miss the unjust violent point, and fail to demand that the law, which is an abhorrence to any society, democratic or not, be scrapped totally, and thorough investigations of past state criminality initiated. This commonsense view, is one that not only the conscience of the UN holds but the Supreme Court of India, which acknowledges that the conflict in Manipur is a fight for “self-determination”, also shares. It is, it seems, the army generals who are devoutly attached to the AFSPA. The Hindu reports Mr P. Chidambaram, the former Union Home Minister and now Finance Minister saying the “Army Chiefs have taken a strong position that the Act should not [even] be amended”, but retained in “disturbed” areas – ignoring the fact that the army is causing the disturbance. Government subservience to the men with guns has caused The Hindu to asks “Who is it that rules India”? The rupee-rich multi-national corporations, albeit via ‘democratically’ elected representatives, is the majority response.

Christof Heynes during his visit in March, made an unequivocal demand for the law to be scrapped, saying “the repeal of this law will not only bring domestic law more in line with international standards, but also send out a powerful message that instead of a military approach the government is committed to respect for the right to life of all people of the country.” The application of the law denies “the right to life” he said. His statement emphasises a chorus of comments made by the UN since 1997. In 2007, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination urged the Government to repeal the Act, and in March 2009, Navanethem Pillay, the High Commissioner for Human Rights herself demanded it be repealed. Such common-sense calls, as so many issuing forth from the table of the UN, have been resolutely ignored. The inviolable sanctity of the ‘nation state’, together with the unrepresentative out-dated Security Council, is constraining the UN and overriding the human rights of the people, which the Assembly of Nations was founded to establish and safeguard.

In Manipur, the most basic of the 30 rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, (UDHR) – the right to life, liberty and security – also the right, “to be protected from arbitrary arrest, and to be free from torture and other ill-treatment”, are being trampled on by government security forces with, thanks to the AFSPA, impunity.

These unconditional rights are to be found not only in the pages of the UDHR, but within the hearts of just men and women throughout the world. They are everyone’s birth-right, beyond caste, class, income or position, and must be rightly observed.

Graham Peebles is Director of The Create Trust, www.thecreatetrust.org A UK registered charity (1115157). Running education and social development programmes, supporting fundamental Social change and the human rights of individuals in acute need. Contact , E:graham@thecreatetrust.org

 

You Say You Want A Revolution – Film Review


Sanjay Kak’s new documentary is a love song to people across the country fighting to save our soul. Saroj Giri takes a first look

SAROJ GIRI

11-05-2013, Issue 19 Volume 10

2 / 2
Director’s cut: Sanjay Kak

Gandhi taught us that while a political or public victory is possible in war, it however degrades you as a moral being. Think of, say, the Rwandan genocide or the Bosnian conflict. Going by this, the Adivasi Maoists involved in a war in Chhattisgarh, should come across as utterly degraded beings caught in a spiral of violence. With a scribe and a camera in front of them, they should’ve started wailing about their miseries, pleading for exit from the hellish war.

Indeed, what kind of a filmmaker is it who comes back with news that something beautiful and forward-looking is flowering precisely in the midst of all the war and conflict? For God’s sake, why is he not talking about ‘conflict resolution’ or making the Maoists surrender arms, or restoring the government’s writ in the ‘red corridor’ and initiating ‘development’, and so on?

Instead Red Ant Dream — filmmaker Sanjay Kak’s new documentary — starts with Bhagat Singh declaring that “the state of war does exist and shall exist”. The viewer is already pushed to think: what is this war, which goes back to Bhagat Singh and is not just the ongoing war between the armed guerrillas and the security forces?

Brecht once asked what is the robbing of a bank compared to the founding of a bank. Or as one old saying goes, the law catches the thief who steals the geese off the land, but lets off the bigger thief who captures the land off the geese. Banks and law, among other things, are part of a class war, but they are perceived as normal functioning, business as usual. There is no class war, we are told, only peace and democracy. There is no real structural inequality, only asymmetrical life chances or bad luck for some. There is no corporate land grab, only development and growth, without which India will be left out in the global arena.

Everything is nice, everything is fine, except for some exceptions here and there, some terrorists or violent guerrillas! What we have then is a social order constituted by war, but where the war never appears as war as such, appearing instead as peace and/or democracy, or simply ‘growth’. Because of this, revolutionaries who accept that this war exists and take sides are easily smeared as violent, or as terrorists, as immoral. This film challenges this narrative and establishes that revolutionaries open up real utopian possibilities through war, and renders the existing order less impenetrable, less unchallengeable than it appears. It intimately moves along the pregnant fissures and faultlines revolutionaries have patiently furrowed in the belly of the beast.

Red Ant Dream maps the ongoing dirty war over mineral resources. It opens with big dumper trucks ferrying goods, ores and minerals, with big dusty factories in the background. Next, it sets up the ‘two sides’: armed guerrillas in the forest and severe looking security forces. War over resources morphs into the war between these two sides: this is the purported, perhaps intended, frame within which the film signals its unfolding.

But as the film unfolds, it becomes clear that there are no two sides, since they simply do not mirror each other. The guerrillas come across not as warmongering soldiers but, to use Rasta-speak, as souljas, or, in Gandhi-speak, as moral beings. They are not just opposing the enemy. Real opposition is achieved only when you are no longer determined by the conditions set by the enemy you are fighting. The film brings us signs of a real freedom and emancipation, where the Maoists are pointing to a different social order, a different way of relating and approaching life.

Far from being merely one ‘side’ in a dirty war, the Adivasi and the jungle become a metaphor for a rupture and a utopian stirring. From deep within the jungle, a voice emerges: violence is a structural feature built into our hierarchical, oppressive and rotten society. It feels like an infinite judgement on the present order. It refuses to be an ‘opposition voice’, refuses to engage in the rhetoric of ‘democratic opposition’ or the ‘struggle for hegemony’, and instead heralds the dissolution of this order

And then it is the Bhumkal festival. Here the many red flags amidst Adivasi drumbeats and brightly costumed dancers and ‘Gandhians with a gun’ will leave the middle class red radical riveted to the screen. It feels like a dream where you go and touch that other world of freedom. The Adivasi leader Gundadhur is celebrated amidst calls for “death to imperialism” and “long live the new democratic revolution”. You forget that in the melee of the crowds are women People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) soldiers with guns dancing to the drums. Weren’t these soldiers supposed to be atop watchtowers?

There is then, in effect, no two sides, only one side — the side of revolution and life. The big companies live through loot and plunder, through exploitation and terror, trying to live off our land, lives and resources. They, as the Niyamgiri Adivasis explain, only have the pot with boiling water, but “the rice is with us”. And so if we don’t give them the rice and what we have in our mountains, “they are in trouble”. In other words, they need us, we don’t need them.

The philosopher Alain Badiou reminds us that there aren’t two worlds, one of the capitalists and another of the oppressed and marginalised. We must claim that there is only one world and it is all ours: “Ek baag nahi, ek khet nahi, hum saari duniya maangenge”. The same voice is heard from the Adivasis of Niyamgiri, Lakhpadar, Muniguda and beyond, to the activists in Punjab upholding the legacy of Bhagat Singh, and Pash, the poet of revolutionary dreams.

And yet, in the meantime, there are ‘two sides’, for there is a war. Hence the enemy enlists the poor in its ranks, in the army and, worse, you have the Salwa Judum, which has many ordinary Adivasis in its ranks. You see state propaganda videos in which Mahendra Karma (a founder of the vigilante militia) tells us that Salwa Judum is a spontaneous uprising of the Adivasis against Naxalites. And then goes on to boast about the support of the government and the police!

In Red Ant Dream, we see rare footage from the training camps of the Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College in Kanker. We hear about plans for the “creeping reoccupation of territory” from the Maoists and establishing the writ of the government. “Towards this aim,” we learn, “the entire spectrum of national power must be mobilised with the security forces at the forefront.” There’s also Maoist video footage that documents torture by security forces.

Overall, the film’s strength is that it wants to go beyond the spatial specificity of the Adivasi struggle as an indigenous movement (in this forest, against this particular mining company, and so on) and tease out a wider revolutionary left current. Hence its basic orientation is not one of romanticising the Adivasi way of life.

There is, however, one major tension in Red Ant Dream: in the way it presents industrialisation and modernity. The factories and plants are rightly presented as scary and oppressive. The long shot visuals of the industrial plants conjure up this image. But then these industries appear as an absolutely repressive deadweight thing and not as constituted by internal social relations (of capital exploiting labour), not as internally riven by class struggle. Hence the fact that there are potential allies of the Adivasis inside those factories — the workers — does not get taken seriously. Or, for example, that striking Maruti workers could be (potential) allies of displaced Adivasis. This would require an inside-out close-up of the industrial plant so that displaced Adivasis and workers can be seen together to form the proletariat — the properly communist perspective. The proletariat demands the whole world, and not just the protection of its own habitat (jal, jangal, jameen).

The film does come close to exploring this dimension. At one point, there is a conversation with two workers of the Vedanta mining company. They are in solidarity with the Adivasi villagers but still work for the hated company. They know that the company exploits them, that the real wealth is in the mountains and not in the city. But they have to work in the factory since they have no other way to feed their family. The jal, jangal, jameen option is not available to them. So what will be their terms of solidarity with those Adivasis who can revert to their jal, jangal, jameen and who want the company out? Only a wider movement can address these questions.

Another tension is with regards to the use of Bhagat Singh’s legacy. Here ‘anti-imperialism’ seems overloaded with nationalist or patriotic fervour. So the three men shouting “bagawat, bagawat, bagawat” to defend and “give our life for the nation” would surely run counter to the Adivasis in Niyamgiri who want to question the nation itself. Those upholding the legacy make tall promises about sacrifice and revolution. This contrasts with the fighting guerrillas who make no such claims.

At another level, the convergence of rebels and forests in the film is of wider provenance. The movie Pan’s Labyrinth has the little girl running away from the fascists only to find support from the rebels in the forests. Here again the fascists are parasitic and vampirish while the rebels stand for the rupture of the status quo, for life and a brighter future. The rebels seem a realisation of the freedom the girl always yearned for. Or think of Satyajit Ray’s Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne, when the dancing spirits of the forest offer boons to Goopy and Bagha. These boons set them on a fantasmatic high, give them a footing as it were to critique or reject existing society for its harshness and inequalities: the impossible becomes possible.

Unlike these movies, there is nothing oracular in the Red Ant Dream: here, the fantastic is snatched from the jaws of reality, of war and class struggle, through patient work among the masses. The imposed reality of war is turned around into the possibility of a better society: what else can be more fantastic!

Red Ant Dream will be screened at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, on 7 May

letters@tehelka.com

(Published in Tehelka Magazine, Volume 10 Issue 19, Dated 11 May 2013)

Saroj Giri     

24  2  0 Tumblr0   – See more at: http://tehelka.com/you-say-you-want-a-revolution/#sthash.12IqeVad.zT4oA5dV.dpuf

 

Don’t You Have A Sharmila Within You?


writetoirom

 

By Ravi Nitesh

03 May, 2013
Countercurrents.org

When you talk about her, you automatically relate yourself with her, with her pain and struggle, with all the sufferings of her and this association happens without force, it is because somewhere your soul is same as her or as any other human being. This association with someone’s pain and sufferings is based on the very nature of humanity because humanity is a virtue of being human and regardless of specific identity.

The continuous demand of Irom Sharmila through a non violent protest under which she adopted path of hunger protest and observing it since last 12 years, is itself a struggle that needs lot of power and self belief and self motivation. It is all towards your fight as an individual for the objective of welfare of a large group who are associated with you with the relation of humanity. When you write about her, when you hear about her and when you talk about her, its all about your contribution also in a larger struggle for the sake of justice. We all know about the cause for which she is on hunger protest. It is for the better administration, a rule of justice, a peaceful environment. The rule against which she is on protest is a draconian law in real terms. There were hundreds of examples where it can be proved that this rule named ‘armed forces special powers act’ violated the rights and attacked on humanity. She through her protest dedicated herself towards sacrifice as a protest. Her sacrifice is actually not about suicide (as claimed by rule of law of India), instead it is towards enriching the life of self and others with building a safe environment of living , of living with dignity as in true sense life without dignity and humanity is actually no life. We all must have to live our life for such causes in our own areas.

If you will see closely, you will understand that you too have same spirit the Sharmila has. When you will think, you will find that there is an automatic respect in your soul for her. You must had experience of your own struggle that you ever fought for a right cause at your home, school or work place and this fight of your life , though , you might suffered during your fight but it is sure that you had realized the need for this fight and the satisfaction after following your inner voice. If you would left the option to fight then you might feel guilty of not doing anything. It happens with everyone, our hearts sometime tell us to help someone, to fight something, to shout on , to raise our voice, to make our people and government more effective, and on the next instant, we again back to our life. Sharmila had the same feelings and emotions that you have, she is as like you as you are for yourself, she is a sister, daughter and fellow citizen. The only difference between you and Sharmila is that she fought and struggled for the cause for a long time and she did not come back to normal life. She became so motivated that she decided to live with dignity. Her soul became so pure for a specific purpose that she get diverted from all worldly affairs. It is the time for all of us, to identify a Sharmila within us and to think and to associate with the great cause of her. It is a fight that she is not fighting for herself instead for all of us who believe in justice.

It is a time to identifying our potential in our hearts and souls that make ourselves a follower of truth. It is a time to think about future generations and to contribute in building an atmosphere of fearless minds. Its not only fight of Manipur or other NE states or J&K, its not only fight of those who lost their persons in resulted this rule, instead it is a demand by the persons who believe in humanity and rights and justice for all. We all are living Sharmila in our heart because we are determined to support the Repeal AFSPA cause and moreover to the all and any cause that can enrich humanity and that can remove ill effects of present rules imposed by society or government at any place.

Ravi Nitesh is a Petroleum Engineer, Founder- Mission Bhartiyam, Core Member- Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign follow on twitter:www.twitter.com/ravinitesh Blog: www.ravinitesh.blogspot.com

 

UNHCR rapporteur calls for repeal of AFSPA in India


The much-criticized Armed Forces Special Powers Act known as the A-F-S-P-A used by India in Kashmir and troubled northeastern states has once again come under fire — this time by the UN.

The body has asked for an immediate repeal of the controversial law throughout the troubled zones.

Rashida Manjoo, the Special UN Rapporteur says the act, which has been blamed for arbitrary executions in Kashmir and seven northeastern Indian states, gives sweeping powers to troops to arrest, search and even shoot people with impunity from local laws. She believes the act violates international laws.

India introduced AFSPA in 1958 to put down separatist movements in the country’s northeast which extended to most parts of Indian-administered Kashmir soon after the outbreak of armed insurgency against New Delhi’s rule in 1989.

Hafiza is one of the many thousands of victims hit hard by the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. Her 15-year-old son was taken away by government forces in Kashmir and his whereabouts remain unknown to date.

Manjoo was in India to assess the situation of violence against women. The UN expert’s visit to India comes at a time when violence against women has increased exponentially in India’s capital as well as other cities.

According to the national crime records in India, rape cases more than doubled between 1990 and 2008. Statistics show 228,650 of the 256,329 victims of violent crimes recorded in the country last year were women. The conviction rate for rape cases in India is 26%. Investigations also reveal every 20 minutes one rape happens in the country. Despite the increase in sexual violence, the number of convictions is falling.

Human rights defenders have repeatedly requested the Indian government to revoke the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. But the administration still seems least interested in responding to the calls and this has created an atmosphere of impunity and lack of accountability for the crimes security forces have perpetrated… Shahana Butt, Press TV, New Delhi, India

 

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