Lakshmipet Dalits wait for land distribution after one year


STAFF REPORTER

SRIKAKULAM, May 31, 2013

Officials not able to buy land due to skyrocketing prices in Vangara mandal

The State government could not resolve the land distribution issue even after one year in Lakshmipet village of Vangara mandal, Srikakulam where five Dalits were massacred during the clashes between BCs and SCs on June 12, 2012. Both the sections still wanted control over 160 acres of land under Madduvalasa reservoir though it was originally alienated to the government for the construction of the project.

It is useful for agriculture activity but cannot be officially distributed as it is likely to inundate during time of floods. The officials are not able to buy suitable land for the distribution with the skyrocketing of prices in and around Vangara mandal.

The government does not have its own lands for the distribution among the 80 Dalit families.

They feared that poor people among the backward section would also insist for sanction of lands if pattas are given to Dalit people.

Interestingly, the government had spent more than Rs.1 crore on various welfare activities but those did not satisfy Dalit families as they wanted permanent income source through agriculture activity.

According to sources, around Rs. 35.20 lakh worth cattle were distributed among the victim families. A total of Rs.5.31 lakh has been paid as compensation for not providing employment under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act. Drinking water schemes, community hall have been sanctioned.

A total of Rs.22.8 lakh has been sanctioned as compensation to the families of victims. “The government planned to construct houses and individual sanitary latrines also. But Dalits insist on land distribution. We are helpless since the decision over sanction of land should be taken at Secretariat-level,” said a senior official.

Mala Mahanadu State president Palteti Penta Rao expressed serious concern over the delay in sanctioning pattas to Lakshmipet Dalits even after one year.

“The real justice is done only through distribution of lands among the SC families. Then only, they can lead a respectable life,” said Mr.Pentarao.

Mala Mahanadu youth leader Majji Ganapati has expressed displeasure over the inordinate delay in establishment of special court in the village though the government claimed that the building was ready for the prosecution of accused persons in sensational Lakshmipet case.

 

Dalits live in fear in Tuticorin village


The Dalits of K. Velayudhapuram village near Kazhugumalai in Tuticorin district are living in fear of violence as they resisted the efforts of a dominant caste to marginalise them, according to A.Marx, writer and convenor of People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR).

Mr.Marx said here on Thursday that after the removal of an “untouchability fence” that separated the residences of Arunthathiyars and Reddiars, a team of human rights activists visited the village to assess the situation. The murder of a Dalit and a statement by Pattali Makkal Katchi founder S.Ramadoss that 40 Dalits were issuing serious threats to the lives of 400 Reddiar families in the village forced them to visit the place, he noted.

What the team members found was just the opposite of what Dr.Ramadoss claimed, he said.

A 2-km-long barbed wire fence was erected in 2006 following a decision taken at a kangaroo court. The two shops run by the caste Hindus in the village refused to sell any thing to Dalits, he said.

Sometime after the removal of the fence, a 51-year-old Dalit, Karuppasamy, son of Muthuveeran of the village, was murdered, creating fear among Dalits. Dalits demanded the team members that they should be given adequate police protection to prevent any further attacks, the PUDR convenor said.

The team recommended a probe by the CBCID into the murder of Muthusamy as Dalits in the village had no confidence in the local police who, the said, acted in a biased manner in the past. The team also demanded a police outpost in the village.

Untouchability was practised in the village, and it had been widely reported in media, Mr.Marx said, and added that the village should be announced as “atrocity-prone” under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989.

He also suggested that a monitoring committee should be formed by the district administration to prevent atrocities being committed against Dalits.

The team included Rajni, advocate, Konangi, prominent Tamil writer, and A.Mohammed Shafi of National Confederation Human Rights Organisations, Madurai.

 

#India – Env Ministry recognises religious rights, pushes ecological concerns behind


Author(s):
Kumar Sambhav S…
Anupam Chakravartty
Issue Date:
2013-6-15

Environment ministry recognises religious rights, pushes ecological concerns behind

image

IN FEBRUARY, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) took many by surprise when it opposed a mining project in Odisha’s Niyamgiri hills in the Supreme Court solely on the ground of violation of tribals’ religious rights. Extracting bauxite from the region would violate the fundamental right of a particularly vulnerable tribe, Dongria Kondh, who consider the Niyamgiri as the abode of their deity Niyam Raja, MoEF said. Till then MoEF had maintained violation of environmental laws as the reason for cancelling clearance of the project by Vedanta in 2010.

Three months later, MoEF served another shocker. On May 6, it told the apex court the ancient Dhari Devi temple in Uttarakhand, which was at risk of being submerged by a hydroelectric power project along the Alaknanda river, should not be relocated because it would affect people’s right to worship. In an affidavit to the court, MoEF drew parallel to the Niyamgiri case and said the present position and the right to worship at the Dhari Devi temple cannot be compromised. It also named leaders of political parties, including opposition BJP’s L K Advani, Uma Bharati, Arun Jaitley and then BJP president Nitin Gadkari, who have been opposing the temple’s relocation citing religious sentiments.

In the Vedanta case, the court left it to the gram sabhas (village councils) of the villages likely to be affected in Rayagada and Kalahandi districts to decide whether mining will affect religious rights of the tribals. It asked MoEF to take a final call based on the decision of the gram sabhas. In the Dhari Devi temple case the court expressed displeasure over difference in opinion of MoEF and its own committee that had said the temple could be raised to a higher level to avoid submergence. The court has reserved its decision on the case.

Though MoEF now has little say in the two projects, the eagerness with which it has argued for religious rights has stunned many. “Religious issues have been the bone of contention in many projects, but for the first time MoEF has argued its cases on religious grounds,” says a former member of the Forest Advisory Committee who does not wish to be named.

Religious rights v ecological issues

Many have hailed the Vedanta court judgement because it reaffirms the gram sabha’s authority in deciding matters related to tribal rights. The court said the gram sabha has a role to play in safeguarding religious rights of forest dwellers under the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act and the Forest Rights Act (FRA).

image[1]FRA recognises traditional rights of forest dwellers over forest resources, including their way to worship. Analysts believe the judgement will come in handy for communities fighting for their sacred groves from development projects (see map [1]).

The way MoEF argued the case, however, has not gone down well with tribal rights activists. They say the ministry has reduced the larger issue of compliance with FRA to violation of religious rights. Ecological issues were also not properly argued for, add analysts.

In February MoEF was in a tricky situation. It had to defend its decision of rejecting the Vedanta project for violating FRA in the court. At the same time, there was pressure from industry and the Prime Minister’s Office to dilute powers of the gram sabha to veto a project using FRA. A 2009 MoEF order had made it mandatory for projects that require forestland diversion to obtain consent of the affected gram sabhas—something Vedanta failed to do. It was then that MoEF argued for religious rights.

The ministry told the court that people’s consent is required only in cases where a “large number of people are displaced” and “which affect their quality of life”. But in case of Vedanta, said MoEF, the project should not be allowed solely because it will affect the fundamental right of the 8,000-odd Dongria Kondhs to worship. “In a way, MoEF restricted the scope of FRA to religious rights.

What about areas where a project will affect other rights of forest dwellers?” asks environment lawyer Ritwick Dutta, adding, “besides, MoEF did not define the large number of people and quality of life.” R Sreedhar, a litigant in the case, complains MoEF did not argue strongly on the violations of the Environment Protection Act and the Forest Conservation Act. “The ministry’s own committees had pointed that several conditions of in-principle forest and environment clearances were not met by the developer,” he says. Even in its judgement the court said it did not intend to pronounce on any issue except those on violation of FRA. It explicitly said that right to worship will have to be protected—and made no mention of how mining will affect other rights.

Perhaps excited by the success of its argument in the Vedanta case, MoEF issued a stop work notice to Alaknanda Hydro Power Co Ltd, which was trying to relocate the Dhari Devi temple despite the court reserving its judgement on the matter. Six days later on May 16, the ministry had to revoke the notice after the court’s intervention.

Analysts say the arguments of MoEF may lead to a situation where religious rights take precedence over ecological concerns in governance. “MoEF might be looking for an easy way out; religious arguments do evoke strong sentiments both in court and in public domain,” says Ashish Kothari of NGO Kalpvriksh, adding, “the government might be trying to gain political mileage with elections round the corner.”

amita
MoEF has deliberately entered into a minefield. It seems the ministry did not have any option but to become a part of the exclusive and communal politics
— AMITA BAVISKAR, FORMER MEMBER OF FOREST ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Cultural claims can be dangerous, warns Amita Baviskar, sociologist at the Institute of Economic Growth in Delhi and former member of the Forest Advisory Committee. “It seems MoEF did not have any option but to become a part of the exclusive and communal politics.

Documentation of the environmental impact assessment was tailored to suit Vedanta’s case, while the impacts on local hydrology were ignored,” she says. At MoEF, there is no system to study the forest quality or understand geomorphology, claims Baviskar.

“In the Vedanta case, MoEF should have done a comprehensive mapping of the ecological landscape. The ministry should commission more studies on the ecological impacts of mining.”

Everybody’s deity

The trend of religious rights pushing ecological concerns behind is reflecting on the ground as well. Barely a month after MoEF came out in support of sacred rights, a faith-based turf war erupted in the forests of central India.

RELIGION IN LAW BOOK

1949

Constitution: Article 25, 26 guarantee people the right to practise and propagate matters of faith

1994

Environmental Impact Assessment Notification: Impact on religious places and structures is one of the parameters on which a project will be assessed before it is granted environmental clearance under the Environment Protection Act

1996

Panchayat Extention to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act: The law to extend the Panchayati Raj system to Scheduled Areas recognises communities’ customary laws, religious practices and management practices of community resources

2006

Forest Rights Act (FRA): Religious rights are not explicitly mentioned. They are recognised as part of the traditional rights customarily enjoyed by forest dwellers and Scheduled Tribes, along with an individual’s right to cultivate forestland or community’s right to manage and protect community forests

On March 22, Amelia village in Madhya Pradesh’s Singrauli district performed a pooja to Dih Baba, deity and protector of Mahan forests. The residents worship Dih Baba every year before collecting forest produce. This March there was another reason for the pooja: people were claiming their land and religious rights over forests which were at risk because of a mining project, jointly proposed by Essar and Hindalco, in the Mahan Forest Range. Amelia has 200 families which rely on the forest for livelihood. The project falls in a dense forest which former environment minister Jairam Ramesh had declared a no-go area for mining because of its biodiversity. Yet, the project was given in-principle forest clearance last year.

To campaign against the project, the people at risk of being displaced formed the Mahan Sangharsh Samiti (MSS). They filed claims for community forest rights under FRA but they were rejected by the gram sabha. MSS alleges the sarpanch (village head) and patwari who control the gram sabha are in collusion with the developers and secretly passed the gram sabha resolution to allow the project. When nothing worked, people resorted to religious rights. “The only way now left for us to assert our rights is through Dih Baba,” says MSS member Bechau Lal. Religious sentiments can be a powerful tool to protect environment but they might not always guarantee security from development projects, cautions Shankar Gopalakrishnan of NGO Campaign for Survival and Dignity. “The religious argument is a double-edged sword. If the gram sabha is the deciding forum it is likely that people’s concerns will be addressed, but if the state gets to decide there is going to be scope for manipulation,” he explains.

The Vedanta judgement addresses Gopalakrishnan’s fear. The court maintained the gram sabha has the power to decide matters in Scheduled Areas and in areas where FRA is applicable. Outside such areas, religious or political groups can manipulate ecological concerns for vested interests. One such case is that of the Sethusamudram Shipping Channel Project in Tamil Nadu. The project, which aims to ease goods movement around the Indian peninsula, proposes to link the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar through the sea Setu Samudram and a chain of limestone shoals known as Ram Setu, a religious site. In March, AIADMK-led Tamil Nadu government, which is against the project, filed an affidavit in the apex court pushing the case for making Ram Setu a national monument. Aligning with the Centre’s position, AIADMK’s arch rival, DMK, said there was no archaeological basis of the formation of Ram Setu. The case is pending in the court.

A  
NASA image of Ram Setu or Adam’s Bridge, a chain of limestone shoalsA NASA image of Ram Setu or Adam’s Bridge, a chain of limestone shoals (source: NASA)

Some 1,500,000 fisherfolk around the project site, who are at risk of being displaced, say the religious card is being used for political opportunism, while ecological concerns are being ignored. “If the Centre goes ahead with the project, the fisherfolk will be displaced, and if Ram Setu is declared a national monument, fisherfolk will not be allowed to fish in the area. Who will address their concerns?” asks T Peter, secretary, National Fishworkers’ Forum.

RITWICK DUTTa
Every religious structure cannot be a case to oppose clearances. If a religious structure is connected to natural resources, the faith attached to it stands a chance of being argued for
— RITWICK DUTTA, ENVIRONMENT LAWYER

An apex court-appointed committee had concluded that even if an alternative route is constructed to avoid using Ram Setu it would damage the Gulf of Munnar Biosphere Reserve, home to endangered marine flora and fauna.

While religious rights are being politicised, the channel through which they should be addressed is being ignnored. “Impact on religious aspects of the lives of affected people is part of the cultural impact assessment.

This is an important part of environment impact assessment under the Environment Protection Act. Unfortunately, this is hardly done,” says lawyer Dutta.

Environmental economist Aseem Shrivastava puts the debate in the context of a larger issue of development versus environment.

“Given the current model of globalised development, every project needs to be assessed on stronger parameters for socio-economic and ecological implications. The religious sentiments being evoked in this debate are in a narrow sense,” he says. Dongria Kondhs’ relationship with the Niyamgiri has a strong ecological and livelihood link.

The hill is made of bauxite which holds water. “One should ask MoEF and BJP to explain the ecological and economic worth of sinking the Dhari Devi temple. One wonders why BJP failed to oppose the Narmada project in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat which drowned many temples.”


Source URL: http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/gods-must-be-dazed

 

#India – The Bloodstained Karmic Cycle #Peru #Guatemala


PTI
Target of reprisal The late Mahendra Karma, with guards
OPINION
The Bloodstained Karmic Cycle
To end the Maoist conflict, look to Peru and Guatemala
NANDINI SUNDAR in Outlook

Any keen observer of Chhattisgarh could have foreseen Saturday’s deadly Maoist attack at Jeeram Ghat in Bastar, though not perhaps its magnitude. Mahendra Karma’s death was long expected, though politicians like him who flirt with the dark side usually have enough security to keep them safe. With a string of killings of Maoist leaders under its belt, the security establishment thought the Maoists could be written off. However, like insurgents elsewhere, the Maoists scaled back only to strike hard.

Calls for more concerted military action ignore what has actually been happening. In fact, in recent months, the security forces have ratcheted up operations, densely carpeting Maoist strongholds with CRPF camps. On the 46 km stretch between Dornapal and Chintalnar, there are now seven camps, with the latest two, Burkapal and Minpa, having come up in the last fortnight. Overnight, large stretches of forest were cleared in Burkapal, for a helipad on one side and a CRPF camp on the other, and the question of forest clearances for this, or any other security installation, is never even seen as an issue. The biodiverse forests of Bastar—which are national treasures—have been one of the biggest casualties of this war, which rages across trees, roads, transformers, schools and the bodies of men, women and little children.

Sceptical villagers argue that rather than reducing hostilities, the presence of the camps will mean constant skirmishes between the forces and the Maoists, following which the forces will take it out on them. They report that security forces steal chickens from their homes when they are out in the fields; and indeed, with camps close by, even going out to defecate, cultivate or collect fuel wood becomes a hazard, especially for women. In Chintagufa, where several buses are parked to ferry security personnel back and forth, the forces have taken over the primary healthcare centre and the school. The Supreme Court’s orders on keeping off schools mean nothing to them.

We are on a slippery path if we dismiss any citizen, whether a Congress leader or a Gond child, as expendable. The very raison d’etre of a democracy is lost if it thinks that way.

Simplistic morality plays may be good for the trps, but will not address the real issues. The Maoist ambush came bar­ely a week after an equally terrible attack by the security forces, again during an area domination exercise, on the villagers of Edesmetta in Bijapur, who were celebrating Beeja Pandum, the seed sowing festival. Eight villagers, including four children, were killed, while severely injured villagers were given medical aid only a day later after local media coverage. The Beeja Pandum is one of the most important festivals of the adivasi calendar. The only glimpse that non-adivasis get is when they are stopped at roadside blocks placed by women and children, and they assume it is just for some easy money. But the ritual significance is that anyone crossing the village during Beeja Pandum must be fined for taking the seed away with them. The equivalent of what happened there would be the police opening fire on a garba dance during Navratri in Ahmedabad, saying the presence of so many people at one place was suspicious. Yet, there has been little national outrage around Edesmetta. For once, the government has promised compensation, but as one CRPF jawan said about the 2010 killing of 76 CRPF personnel, “Nothing can recompense the loss of a loved one.” The adivasis have loved ones too. Unlike the CRPF, they did not even sign up to fight. If what happened in Edesmetta can be dismissed as “collateral damage”, then why not apply the same logic to Saturday’s ambush, where Mahendra Karma was the main target? This is, after all, a war. But once we dismiss any citizen, whether a Congress pradesh president or a Gond child, as expendable, we are on a slippery path. In particular, a democracy that holds this stand loses its raison d’etre.

As in Tadmetla March 2011 (where security forces burnt 300 homes, raped and killed), Sarkeguda June 2012 (where they shot dead 17 villagers during their Beeja Pandum last year) and Edesmetta 2013, the Chhattisgarh government has ordered a judicial inquiry into the Jeeram Ghat ambush. But since the Congress knows well what this means, they have preferred to enlist the NIA. Given a list of 537 killings by Salwa Judum and security forces, the state government has ordered magisterial inquiries into eight cases since 2008, of which seven are still pending!

The Chhattisgarh police claims it need SPOs for intelligence gathering, refusing to disband them as the Supreme Court ordered. But what kind of intelligence are they getting if they claim Edesmetta was a Maoist gathering, and could not predict the Jeeram ambush? Instead, the fortification of SPOs with better guns and more money as the renamed ‘Armed Auxiliary Forces’ only increases alienation.

Even if they support massive human rights violations, politicians are not combatants. The same is true for unarmed villagers who may support the Maoists ideologically. An attack on party leaders engaged in electoral rallies must be strongly condemned, and the Maoist’s expanding hit list is truly reprehensible. However, it is only partially true to say that what happened is an attack on democracy. In a democracy, someone like Karma would have been jailed long ago. Even when confronted with evidence of his personal involvement in the Salwa Judum atrocities, quite apart from a CBI FIR for his role in a major tree-felling scam, the Congress chose to retain Karma in the party. And despite declaring Naxalism the country’s gravest security threat, never once has the prime minister felt the need to visit the area himself to find out why people support them, or console grieving adivasis.

Under the Constitution of India, chief minister Raman Singh and the Union home ministry, who are as responsible for the Salwa Judum as Karma, should also be held accountable. At least 644 villages were affected, over a thousand people killed, hundreds raped, and some 1,50,000 displaced. Small children were bashed to death or thrown into ponds; old people who could not run away were burnt alive. Yet there has been no prosecution or compensation, despite the Supreme Court’s repea­ted orders. Indeed, there is a danger that, with Karma gone, the uncomfortable questions regarding official culpability for Salwa Judum will be closed. The Constitution and democracy are not terms of expedie­ncy, as the Congress and BJP seem to think—they embody difficult moral principles which must guide our collective behavior.

To respond with even more force now would be a grave mistake, for insurgencies thrive on government excesses. The combing operations under way must take great care to see that ordinary villagers are not harassed. It is unlikely that anyone will countenance calls for peace talks now, as the war has become a prestige issue on both sides. But eventually, there is no alternative to negotiations. If a country like the US with its military might could get bogged down in Vietnam and Afghanistan, what makes us think we can succeed militarily? A far better model would be the Latin American countries, like Peru and Guatemala, with similar histories of guerrilla war and exploitation of indigenous people which resolved their conflicts through Truth and Reconciliation Commissions. If FARC and the Colombian government can come to an agreement on land reforms after 30 years, what prevents a democracy like India?


(The writer, a professor of sociology at Delhi University, was a co-petitioner in a case that resulted in the Supreme Court’s 2011 ban on the Salwa Judum.)

 

Andhra Pradesh –Tribals displaced by Indirasagar should be rehabilitated by June 15


RAMPACHODAVARAM, June 1, 2013

Staff Reporter

Importance should be given to traditions, language, security and the employment of tribals who were displaced due to Indirasagar project, said T.K. Sridevi, Commissioner, Rehabilitation and Resettlement. She directed the implementation officials to provide effective rehabilitation package with a humane touch. She addressed a review meeting on the progress of rehabilitation programmes like land for land, rehabilitation and other packages to the displaced tribals under Indira Sagar project in Rampachodavaram on Friday.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms. Sridevi said that special packages were being implemented for the comprehensive development of tribals, and 44 habitations have been submerged under Indirasagar in the district. She maintained that the Supreme Court has appointed a project monitoring committee to inspect the project execution, and suggested officials to shift the displaced to colonies after giving prior notice and take the assistance of Sub-Collector and ITDA Project Officer to vacate the displaced if they were not willing to do so. She made it clear that all the displaced should be shifted to the colonies by June 15 and submit the report.

The R and R Commissioner explained that the displaced should be vacated on priority basis and the rehabilitation package should be implemented according to guidelines. In the implementation of package, she made it clear that possession should be taken after issuing notices. She said that settlement should be made after estimating the value of the lands of non-tribals. It should be a one-time settlement with the approval of the district Collector. She made it clear that the temples should be reinstated in the same colony if the temples had to be removed. She suggested that the agricultural land should be provided within a radius of three kilometres radius from the colony in land to land package. She mentioned that the packages should be implemented through banking transactions and added that onus was on the officials to monitor whether the beneficiary utilising the funds was doing so in a proper manner.

Ms. Sridevi said that the fertile land, suitable for agriculture, will be given to the displaced people to compensate for their land submerged due to the project, according to government policy. She said that a house site along with financial assistance and rehabilitation will be provided to every displaced beneficiary.

She directed the officials of roads and buildings to estimate the value of submerged buildings and pay compensation according to the value. Rampa Chodavaram Sub-Collector Gandham Chandrudu, Special Collector B. Sudarshan and SE Irrigation B. Vijayabhaskara Rao were present on the occasion.


  • 44 habitations have been submerged under Indira Sagar in East Godavari district: official
  • ‘Settlement should be made after estimating the value of the lands of non-tribals’

     

 

Odisha- Gram sabha ball set to roll for Vedanta bid to mine at Niyamgiri Hills


Kondh Lady

Gram sabha ball set to roll

Satyanarayan Pattnaik & Sandeep Mishra, TNN | Jun 1, 2013, 01.20 AM IST

BHUBANESWAR/ KORAPUT: Adhering to the Supreme Court‘s order to conduct gram sabhas to decide the fate of Vedanta bid to mine bauxite at Niyamgiri hills, the state government would on Saturday serve notices to hold such meetings in 12 villages of Rayagada and Kalahandi districts, official sources said.The decision to issue notification seeking receipt of objections from tribals residing at the 12 villages followed the Orissa high court appointing the district judges of Rayagada and Kalahandi to act as observers to oversee proceedings of the gram sabhas in their respective villages, which are located on the Niyamgiri hill slope.

“The high court has communicated to us its decision to nominate the district judges of Rayagada and Kalahandi to oversee the proceedings in their respective districts,” secretary, ST and SC welfare, Sontosh Sarangi told TOI on Friday.

The Supreme Court, in its April 18 ruling, said a judicial officer of the rank of a district judge should serve as an observer during the gram sabhas. The apex court had directed that gram sabhas be held within three months to examine the community, individual as well as cultural and religious claims of the Dongria Kondh.

The state government has selected five villages (Tadijhola, Palberi, Phuldumer, Ijurpa and Kunakado) in Kalahandi and seven villages (Jarapa, Khambesi, Kesarpadi, Batudi, Serakapadi, Lakhapadar and Lamba) in Rayagada to conduct palli sabhas. Rejecting certain activists’ allegations that the government chose the villages at random, a senior officer said these villages lie on the hill slope and the government had informed the SC about it on December 6, 2012, through an affidavit. “Nobody had raised any objection about them then and it was in the context of that affidavit that the final judgment came,” the officer said.

“This is the first phase of conducting palli sabha (gram sabha). On Saturday, notices in both Odia and Kui languages will be served to the tribals residing at the seven villages in our district. They will be given six weeks to submit their objections, if any, before the palli sabha is held,” said collector (Rayagada) Sashi Bhusan Padhi.

“The required forms to be distributed among tribals have been printed in Odia and Kui and the officers will read out the notice before each household. The officials will also use loud speakers to announce the purpose of the palli sabha at the respective villages. Hoardings of the notice will also be put on at the villages. The entire process will be video recorded. Besides, the notice will also be published in local dailies for wider publicity,” Padhi added.

Official sources said a similar process would be followed in Kalahandi. The tribals after filling up the forms will submit them at the respective forest right committee, which will be present at the palli sabha. After six weeks, starting June 1, in consultation with the concerned district judge, dates for the palli sabha will be announced, officials added.

Vedanta’s one MTPA alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi has been closed since December 5 following acute shortage of bauxite.

 

Women Health Activist Madhuri Ben released, joins anti-dam stir


Gwalior, June 1, 2013

Pheroze L. Vincent, The Hindu

Human rights activist Madhuri Krishnaswamy, better known as Madhuri Ben, was released from Khargone Women’s Sub Jail on Thursday after she agreed to get bail in a 2008 case of rioting and assaulting a public servant.

In 2008, Madhuri Ben — who heads the Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sanghatan (JADS) — alerted the health and police officials in Barwani district after a tribal woman gave birth to a child on the road after being evicted from a primary health centre. Pharmacist of the PHC Vijay Chouhan filed the case against her. The case was closed by the police, only to be reopened by the court, which sent her to a fortnight of judicial custody on May 16 after she refused to seek bail.

The JADS is involved in an agitation of Barela tribals in Khargone district against the Kharak Reservoir Project. On May 25, police arrested 27 tribal people for rioting, trespassing and obstructing the government officials from performing their duty.

Ms. Ben filed a review petition with the Barwani district judge on grounds that a long time had lapsed after the complaint. She said she had refused bail as a form of satyagraha.

“After I saw innocent Adivasis being sent to jail, I realised it is important for me to be available to participate in their struggle. Choukhand village [centre of the agitation] is one of the few tribal villages that are better off economically. This project threatens to take away their prosperity in one stroke,” she told The Hindu .

After her release she headed straight to Choukhand to join the dharna. She said she would continue to “shame the State government” by protests in Khargone and Bhopal.

 

ILO, UNHRC to take up labour issues at Maruti Suzuki


By Harpreet Bajwa – CHANDIGARH

New Indian Express online, 31st May 2013 

The alleged violence and human rights violation of workers at the Manesar plant of Maruti Suzuki will be taken up at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva next week by the International Commission for Labour Rights (ICLR).

The special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association,  an independent expert appointed by the [UN] Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country a specific human rights theme, will also look into the matter.

A seven-member ICLR team met the Haryana DGP and other state government officials on Thursday. However, it could not meet Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Maruti-Suzuki management with the latter refusing to meet them.

International human rights lawyer and team member Suzanne Adely said: “We will take this issue of repressing rights of Maruti workers and the state police booking them in different cases with the special rapporteur next week. We will also take up this case with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).” “This company is also planning to set up a plant in South Africa. The labour organisations there will oppose it as our team there was a member from the labour organisations of that country. If Maruti interfered with the workers’ rights to form union of their choice and terminated union members, there are serious violations of international labour norms,”  said Ashwini Sukthankar, an international labour lawyer and ICLR member.

Another team member Kato, a retired International Secretary of the National Confederation of Trade Union of Japan, said: “ We shall build awareness on this incident at the Manesar plant among Japanese workers so we can build solidarity for the Indian workers in Japan and develop a sustained campaign for protection of dignity and labour rights of Indian workers.”

“We will take up the issue of Maruti workers with senators in the US and also advise the industry there not to invest in Haryana,” said Immanuel Ness, professor of political science at City University, New York.

New Trade Union Initiative national secretary N Vasudevan said that the basic issue in the dispute is not allowing the formation of an independent workers’ union.

Look who has Aadhaar Cards- Trees, Chairs and even Dogs #UID #WTFnews


Dogs, trees and chairs have Aadhaar cards

Sunitha Rao R, TNN May 31, 2013,
(Acknowledging slip-ups…)

 

BANGALORE: In hilarious slip-ups in the Aadhaar card enrolment process, some cards have ended up with pictures of an empty chair, a tree or a dog instead of the actual applicants.

Asked about the cases, where data collected from applicants were not reflected on the cards, Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) deputy director general Ashok Dalwai said no system was foolproof. “There have been some errors,” he said.

“We had even come across an empty chair printed as the applicant‘s photo on an Aadhaar card. This could have happened due to the operator’s mistake. We look for accuracy in the fingerprints and photograph. The operator might have copied a wrong photo, but it may have matched only because of a lack of clarity. To avoid such errors, we have in place another team to go through the printed Aadhaar cards, to check for manual duplication.”

Acknowledging slip-ups in the Aadhaar enrolment process, UIDAI deputy director general Ashok Dalwai told TOI there have been cases where an operator’s fingerprints had been registered instead of the applicant’s. “This could have happened while the operator was guiding the applicant on where and how to put his finger during data enrolment,” he said.

“We have four attempts in which the right data has to be fed into the system. In some cases, the operators have registered their own fingerprints by mistake,” he added.

In such cases, Aadhaar enrolment is rejected and the applicant informed about the rejection. Such applicants have to undergo fresh enrolment.

Dalwai said no one should apply more than once for an Aadhaar card unless he/she receives a rejection letter from the UIDAI. “Please don’t reapply for the card,” he said. “The applicant can reapply only in the case of rejection of the accuracy of data and only on getting a rejection letter. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time for us and the applicant.”

 

 

 

Woman without dupatta denied Aadhaar photo #UID #WTFnews


200 px

 

 

, TNN | May 31, 2013, 05.48 AM IST

 

  • CHENNAI: Is there a dress code to get an Aadhaar card? An incident on Thursday at an enrolment centre in Chennai shows that there indeed may be one, and that it smacks of moral policing.
Lavanya Mohan tweeted that she was sent back by officials who refused to photograph her since she was not wearing a dupatta. “Waited for about an hour to get an Aadhaar card photo done and was sent back in line…because I wasn’t wearing a dupatta,” she tweeted. “Local officers sometimes have their own bizarre rules. It’s nothing to particularly be angry about :),” read another of her tweets. Minutes later, #Dupatta and #Aadhaarcard were the trending topics on Twitter.

MRV Krishna Rao, joint director of census operations, said there was no curb on dress for the Aadhaar photograph.

“Earlier the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) had said that shirtless people and those in collarless shirts should not be photographed. But we had requested the UIDAI to withdraw these restrictions as it would affect the customs and traditions of some communities. Now, there is no dress code.”

He admitted that there were some complaints about the dress codes while taking photographs. “Representatives of the brahman community from Kancheepuram recently approached us that they want to be photographed without shirts. So I informed the contractors who were tasked with the drive that no dress code should be insisted upon,” said Krishna Rao.

Lavanya Mohan found support online. Some comments dripped of sarcasm. “Dear Nandan, I want my Aadhaar card but I don’t have a dupatta. Can I use a towel? Yours Sincerely, Sreesanth,” said Ramesh Srivats. “Dupatta for Aadhaar card! Is this the beginning of talibanization of India & Indian democracy?” wondered another

 

 

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