Times of India #ILeadIndia #CSR #PR campaign is actually #ImisleadIndia


kama3F

PICTURE COURTESY- FACEBOOK GROUP- I MISLEAD INDIA  https://www.facebook.com/IMisleadIndia 

Editor
Times of India
Subject- I lead India Campaign

Sir,

Times of India  launched the ‘ I lead India ‘ campaign, with great fan fare on May 22, 2013 and which you claim that at a time when Indians are filled with negativity and pessimism, this initiative presents an alternative that goes beyond armchair criticism. It goes Beyond demonstrations and appeals, it urges you to stop pointing fingers and blaming others. According to you, ‘I Lead India’ is a clarion call which seeks to drive change too, but at the grass-root level, in 26 cities of India .
I am sorry I can’t say congratulations !
What a noble intention but do you know ? you have actually started on a wrong foot, by having Maruti Suzuki as your partner , a perpetrator of human rights violations, against its own workers. The workers have been thrown into prison ,, families thrown into trauma, grim future: the sacked Maruti labourers are still harried.
How can a newspaper of national repute like Times of  India, let such a company, which is notorious for suppression of workers democratic right of protest, sponsor the I Lead India Campaign. How can a company which unfairly fires and harasses workers has become a harbinger of change?
The Maruti Suzuki Workers are facing the most brutal repression by the government , although workers have adopted democratic and peaceful means available to demand the release of arrested 147 workers, withdrawal of and reinstatement of terminated 546 permanent and 1800 contract workers, the government has only responded with force and malice and in collusion with the Maruti Suzuki company management.
The Background


Maruti workers had applied to register a new union, independent of the company’s management, on November 4, 2011. The union was registered on February 29, 2012.to  represent over 2500 Maruti workers who went on strike three times last year demanding a union and improvements in their conditions of work.

The struggle in Maruti Suzuki India Ltd , Manesar started with workers demanded their constituional rights for legitimate trade union , they raised their voices demanding abolition of the contract workers system, and have raised their voice for dignified employment against the exploitative Maruti Suzuki Management. For this, they have been targeted and attacked by the management. The government, instead of assuring the rights of workers, has only acted in favour of the anti-worker interests of the company. It is letting loose a reign of terror and police and administrative repression on workers and their supporters.

On 18th July 2012, a supervisor in factory abused and made casteist comment against a dalit worker of the permanent category, which was legitimately protested by the worker. The worker was suspended and no action was taken against the supervisor. This resulted in a protest by the factory workers. The management stooped to the level of arranging 100 bouncers to fight workers , and they were joined by 4000 police force men, the councers and cops were in hand in glove . Some of the factory workers were critically injured and taken to the hospital.
Now the workers are fighting a legal case (State of Haryana Vs. Jiyalal case), under which 149 workers were sent to prison l. Police lodged an FIR. 59 workers names were written and 500/600 workers under the unknown category. Under the charge sheet 13 charges were put on 211 workers. Just before the charge sheet 66 workers were arrested on a Non- Bailable warrant. Some of them were not even involved but were considered future trouble makers. 2300 workers were dismissed from the Maruti factory. The case is still going on. The 211 workers are still waiting for a court hearing. The 2300 workers still remain jobless and are fighting to get their jobs back.
The workers have taken to the most peaceful means of protest since the dharna started on 24th March 2013, which included an 8 day fast unto death, which they broke after the Haryana Chief Ministers assurance. They have shown during this phase and also during the entire phase of the strikes in 2011 that they are unitedly asking for their rights in an exemplary show of democratic spirit, but the company and the state government is determined to distort reality and portray them as criminals. It is not even allowing them their democratic right to protest, either in Gurgaon, Manesar or in Kaithal.

In the Video below Wife of an arrested Maruti Worker.speakes, listen

The true face of Maruti Suzuki Management, is exposed in this letter from prison by the Maruti Suzuki Workers –

I quote

We all are children of workers and peasants. Our parents, with huge effort and sacrifice, ensured our 10th standard, 12th standard or ITI education, helped us stand on our feet to do something worthy in our life and help our family in need. We all joined Maruti Suzuki company after passing the written and viva-voce tests conducted by the company and on the terms and conditions set by the company. Before our joining, the company carried out all kinds of investigations, like police verification of our residential proof or whether we had criminal records! Neither of us had any previous criminal record. When we joined the company, the Manesar plant of the company was under construction. At that stage we foreseeing our future with the progress of the plant invested huge energy and diligence to lift the Manesar plant of the company to a new height. When the entire world was struggling under the economic crisis, we worked extra two hours daily to materialize a production of 10.5 lakh cars in a year. We were the sole creators of the increasing profit of the company, and today we are implicated as criminals and murderers, and those who engage in ‘mindless arson’! Almost all of us are from poor worker or peasant families which has been dependent on our job. We were struggling to weave dreams for our and our family’s future, such as of our own homes, of the better education for our brothers-sisters and children so that they could have a bright future and ensure a comfortable life for their parents who took the pain to bring after them. But in return, we were being exploited inside the company in all possible ways, such as:

1. At work, if any worker was unwell, he was not allowed to go to the dispensary and was forced to continue with the work in that condition.

2. We were not allowed to go to the toilet, the permission was there only at tea or lunch time.

3. Management used to behave with the workers very rudely with abusive language, and used to even slap or make them murga in order to punish them.

4. If a worker was forced to take 3-4 days leave because of his ill health or some accident or other serious problem in his family or because of the death of a relative, then half of his salary which amounted to almost Rs. 9000 used to be deducted by the company.

You can Read the full lettter here

Recently, the International Commission for Labour Rights (ICLR). team constituting of lawyers and trade unionists from India, France, Japan, South Africa, the USA , were on a visit to investigate the incidents that led to the summary dismissal of over 500 permanent workers and over 1800 contract workers at the Manesar plant of Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) in August 2012. The team stated in their preliminary report that 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 , as 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. Maruti Suzuki is planning to set up a plant in South Africa, ICLR informed that the labour organisations there will oppose it , recognising human rights violations of the company in India .

The Preliminary Report can be read here

Although, Times of India is covering the protest I am amazed that you did not realise that your own public relation campaign could backlash, if you have maruti suzuki as a co sponsor ? It didn’t strike you , that there were workers striking and protesting against the oppression of maruti suzuki management ? Or wait a minute, Is it that Maruti Suzuki Management wanted to improve their image by involving in I lead india campaign and they are shit scared , because the movement by the Manser factory workers and the immense support it got from the entire country makes them in piss in their pants and also the fact that their sales figures had dropped immediately following the Manesar fiasco.

The Times of India, National newspaper claims to be India’s s most widely read English newspaper with readership over 7.6 million .It has some accountability towards its readers.

I demand Times of India to withdraw Maruti Suzuki’s ‘s sponsorship from I lead India Campaign and stop selling activism through this facade a campaign of corporate social responsibility of Maruti Suzuki.

Its like ‘ Nau sau chuhe kha ke billi ko haj ko chali ”
I lead campaign ka TIME KHATAM
Sincerely
An Ashamed , Times of India Reader

Kamayani Bali Mahabal

Mumbai
P.S- And if the I lead India campaign team, is still confused and unaware , what I have stated above, do check out http://marutisuzukiworkersunion.wordpress.com/

#India – Tribal affairs ministry `turning tables’ on SC order on Niyamgiri mining rights #WTFnews


English: An ethnic Wife of Dhaneshwaran from t...

 

 

, TNN | Jun 4, 2013,

 

NEW DELHI: Despite the Supreme Court‘s order, the village councils, or gram sabhas of the Dongria Kondh tribals may not be able to decide upon their traditional and religious rights against the mining interests of Vedanta. A narrow interpretation of the SC order by the tribal affairs ministry promises to turn the district administration into the final decision-making body and the village councils of the tribals as only a claimant of their rights.

The move could snatch away the village council’s rights to be final arbiters of their traditional and religious rights over the contentious Niyamgiri hills, and leave it in the hands of the state government to take the final call.

The apex court had ordered that the village councils to decide if mining of bauxite would impact the cultural and religious rights, besides impinging on the tribals’ livelihood. It had ordered the Centre and the Odisha government to facilitate a free and fair decision by the affected village councils.

The tribal affairs ministry moved quickly to ask the state government to ensure all village councils get a chance to vote and decide on the matter. The state government whittled down the list of villages involved to only 12, including five and seven in Kalahandi and Rayagada districts, respectively.

Now, the tribal affairs ministry itself has limited the village council’s powers by suggesting that they can only entertain claims from the locals and convey their views, which would then be decided upon by the sub-divisional and district level panels set up under the Forest Rights Act(FRA).

The sub-divisional committee in Odisha consists of sub-collector as chairman, sub-divisional forest officer, three members of panchayat samiti and tribal welfare department officer as member secretary. The district-level committee is headed by district magistrate with divisional forest officer, three zilla parishad members and tribal welfare department officer as member secretary.

The panels are meant to form the three layers that determine the livelihood and land rights of the tribals, but the recent SC order had stated that village councils would decide on their cultural and religious rights and take a call on whether the project would be an impediment towards their privileges.

The subtle alteration in the reading of the order through a ‘training module’, which the tribal affairs ministry has prepared especially for the tribals ahead of crucial village councils’ vote, has vested power in the hands of the Odisha government.

The apex court verdict had given another route for tribals to protect their lands after the Union government shied away from defending the existing norms that require a direct consent from village councils before forestlands can be used by industries. But the precedent-setting verdict of the court could stand substantially diluted in the test case itself.

 

 

 

Australia- Visa rorts leave foreign workers in debt bondage #Migrantrights


EXCLUSIVE

-Victim: Bhawna Verma with her partner Harvinder Mehta and their son Kiyan Mahta. Photo: David Thorpe

Hundreds of foreign workers and students are being forced into debt bondage after paying up to $40,000 for a skilled worker visa, with some signing contracts stating they’ll be sacked if they engage in “trade union activities”.

A Fairfax Media investigation can reveal the most extensive rorting of the 457 and 187 visa schemes ever to be exposed, with up to 200 cases across Australia including:

It was very upsetting. I thought how will my baby and I survive?

29 Filipino workers who have complained to their embassy after some had to direct part of their salary to repay loans organised by recruitment and migration agents that have interest rates of up to 50 per cent.

foreign workers promised long-term work or permanent residency if they paid between $5000 and $40,000 to middlemen across the nation only to be given temporary work or, in a small number of cases, little or no pay.

80 Indian workers duped into paying $4000 for a cleaning course in Melbourne worth only $1300 after being misled that it would enable them to get a work visa.

Some of those Indian workers were directed by their recruitment agent to work as unskilled labourers in abattoirs in an arrangement one of the abattoir owners, JBS Australia, said involved the agent misleading it and the workers.

The rorting of the visas schemes and exploitation of foreign workers has been labelled “a national shame” by ACTU secretary Dave Oliver and involved numerous companies operating across Australia and often under the noses of authorities.

“There needs to be further investigation to see what is happening with this system where workers are becoming bonded labour,” Mr Oliver said. “This is a racket involving migration agents, middlemen, exploitation of workers and loan sharks.”

One of the most blatant examples involves Clinica Internationale, a company owned by Melbourne man Radovan Laski, which has been able to continue operating, despite numerous complaints to the Immigration Department.

Mr Laski convinced up to 100 Indians to hand over up to $40,000 after promising to help them get a 187 visa, which allows a skilled worker to get permanent residency if they are sponsored by a regional employer.

But Mr Laski failed to find many of the workers the promised jobs and sponsorship, instead sending some of them to work as unskilled labourers in abattoirs. One of Mr Laski’s victims, temporary residential visa holder Bhawna Verma, 27, from India, was pregnant and desperate to stay in Australia when Mr Laski promised in writing in 2012 to find her employment and sponsorship if she paid an initial $5000 fee. After paying the money, Ms Verma was sent to work for an associate of Mr Laski in Ocean Grove, Victoria, where for two months she received no wage and did only odd jobs.

“It was very upsetting. I thought how will my baby and I survive?” Ms Verma said.

Fairfax Media has uncovered a separate network of companies based in Geelong, the Gold Coast and the Philippines that are targeting Filipino workers seeking 457 temporary skilled worker visas.

Twenty-nine workers recently complained to the Philippines embassy, detailing the ”excessive” fees they had to pay agents and demanding an investigation.

Documents obtained by Fairfax Media reveal that some of the Filipinos signed contracts that stated they could be fired for ”trade union activities” or falling sick.

The documents show Filipino workers paying up to $14,000 to agencies and some paying interest rates of more than 45 per cent.

Other documents show Filipino workers directing as much as a third of their $50,000 annual income to pay off high-interest loans.

While the schemes involving the Indian and Filipino workers are run by separate companies, they both involve excessive fees and workers often scared to speak out for fear of being deported.

Mr Laski – named in federal Parliament as conman – warned a worker in an email that “I will be down on you like a ton of bricks” if they complained to authorities.

Emails show that Mr Laski and his business associate, George Stamatakos, were charging dozens of Indian workers $3950 to do a $1300 cleaning course at Melbourne’s Complex Training Centre.

When Mr Stamatakos was asked why they charged the Indian workers three times the fee charged by the training centre, he said: “If I could charge $6000, I would do it.”

He said he charged “between 60 to 70″ Indian workers the $3950 fee but referred questions to Mr Laski, who did not respond to calls.

Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor told Fairfax Media the Gillard government would introduce sweeping reforms, enabling 300 Fair Work inspectors to investigate visa rorts.

”The government has had serious concerns about rorts of the 457 system for some time and the Department’s limited powers to monitor and enforce compliance of the scheme,” Mr O’Connor said.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/visa-rorts-leave-foreign-workers-in-debt-bondage-20130605-2nqnm.html#ixzz2VLPH6ZDd

 

ICLR- Workers in Maruti Suzuki Manesar plant – Justice Delayed is Justice Denied #ILO


Preliminary report of the findings of the INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION ON LABOUR RIGHTSreleased on 31 May 2013, New Delhi

The International Commission for Labor Rights (ICLR) constituted a team of lawyers and trade unionists from France, Japan, South Africa, the USA and India to investigate the incidents that led to the summary dismissal of over 500 permanent workers and over 1800 contract workers at the Manesar plant of Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) in August 2012. The team was constituted to bring international law and policy perspectives to bear on a situation that has festered for almost a year, with – at a minimum – 147 workers in jail over that period. The Commission reminds the Government of India that, under well-recognised international and domestic principles, “justice delayed is justice denied.”

The group also brings important comparative perspectives on the current or proposed role of this company in the global economy. MSIL has a parent company in Japan, substantial exports to Africa and Europe, a proposed assembly plant in South Africa, and an investor base in the United States – understanding the company’s practices in India is an imperative for those committed to corporate accountability and sustainable development jurisdictions outside India.

From May 25 to 31, the team has been in India studying the situation at the Manesar plant of Maruti Suzuki. The work of the Commission has included

– meetings with members of the Provisional Committee of the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (MSWU) and other terminated workers of the Manesar plant as well as their families

– visit with the individuals currently in jail in Kaithal

– discussions with the leadership of national trade union centres AITUC, CITU and HMS, and plant-level unions in Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera industrial areas, and with the representative of the global union federation, IndustriALL

– consultations with MSWU’s advocates and legal counsels

– interviews with the administration of the state of Haryana, including Director General of Police, the Commissioner of Police (Gurgaon) and the Joint Labour Commissioner

– meeting with the Haryana State Human Rights Commission

– attended court hearings

– meeting with representatives of the CII and ASSOCHAM, particularly since the management of Maruti-Suzuki India Limited refused to meet the delegation in spite of an extensive exchange of faxes and emails.

– perusal of documents, tripartite agreements, court records and police reports of the dispute between MSIL and the workers at its Manesar plant.

Maruti-Suzuki began operations in Manesar in 2006, employing trainees for up to three years and contract workers who performed the same tasks as permanent workers in core areas of manufacturing activity. Media reports that remain unchallenged by management and the testimonies we received from workers of the Manesar plant record an experience of extremely high work intensity, with unpaid forced overtime work, wage deductions even for planned leave and overbearing and abusive supervision and invasive surveillance.

The key findings of the team are:

1. The management of Maruti Suzuki India Limited at its Manesar plant:

1.1 Since sometime in 2011 but certainly from early June 2011, coerced workers to join the Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union, an organization that management had been instrumental in constituting in the Company’s Gurgaon plant, in violation of ILO Convention 87 which stipulates that employers refrain from interference in workers’ trade union activity. The management further violated this principle by interfering with workers’ right to forming and joining a union of their own choice, over the course of many months.

1.2 Following the registration of the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (MSWU) on 1 March 2012, and the submission of the Charter of Demands by the union on 18 April 2012, Maruti Suzuki management violated core principles of bargaining in good faith, as set forth in ILO Convention 98. Of particular concern is the allegation that Maruti Suzuki refused to negotiate on a core issue related to terms and conditions of work – the use and treatment of contract workers. This further vitiated industrial peace, and created an industrial dispute.

1.3 On 18 July 2011, it is alleged that a supervisor addressed a worker with a caste slur. Maruti Suzuki’s failure to address this promptly, through an impartial internal inquiry, is a violation of other Conventions of the ILO, particularly those relating to workplace discrimination. This has a bearing not only on the rights of individual workers, but on the possibility of enduring industrial peace.

1.4 If indeed the management was effectively managing the Manesar plant under the rules it had created for itself, including the Employment Standing Orders, it is difficult to understand how workers could have been responsible for the alleged acts of violence and arson of 18 July 2012, since workers were required to be thoroughly frisked every day before they entered the plant.

1.5 In August 2012, the management summarily and without following due process of law dismissed 546 permanent workers, and terminated the services of over 1800 contract workers. The termination of these workers, who were known to be leaders, members or sympathizers of the Maruti Suzuki Workers’ Union, constitutes impermissible retaliation against those exercising their right to form and join a union of their choice.

2. Role of Labour Department

2.1 The dispute at the Manesar plant arose since the Registrar of Trade Unions refused to register the trade union of the workers’ choice in June 2011, in violation of the principle, in ILO Convention 87, that the state may not require “previous authorization” of a union. Under the Convention, registration must remain a formality, with no role for the authorities to exercise inappropriate discretion.

2.2 Following the events of June 2011, the Labour Department failed to act to protect the workers’ right to association.

2.3 The Labour department failed to serve as an appropriate administrative and adjudicative body of labour matters, especially those connected to industrial relations, as required by ILO Conventions. In particular, on multiple occasions, it did not act on available information that a significant industrial dispute was underway, and to ensure effective conciliation proceedings. Most importantly, it utterly abdicated its responsibility to address the dispute regarding the summary dismissal of 547 permanent workmen in August 2012.

3. Role of the Police:

3.1 The involvement of police including the admitted use of police intelligence branch in maintenance of industrial peace amounted to inappropriate interference by the state with workers’ rights of assembly and association. ILO Convention 87 recognizes the centrality of civil liberties to the free exercise of trade union rights.

3.2 The police deployed a large detachment at the factory gate and inside the plant based on complaints and calls from the management of Maruti Suzuki without adequate cause of action or enquiry or investigation, thereby serving as coercive pressure on peaceful worker protest,

3.3 The police failed to act to protect citizens, including their right to life, and remained a silent observer to the events of 18 July, admittedly at the request of the Maruti Suzuki management, at the Manesar factory gate on 18 July,

3.4 Workers were arbitrarily arrested after the 18 July incident based on one FIR lodged by the Security Manager of the Company, again in violation of the guarantees of Convention 87. Families were harassed and illegally detained to coerce workers to surrender in gross violation of their human rights.

3.5 The workers were arrested and kept in police custody for several days and subjected to severe torture. Independent medical examination sought by the workers’ counsel and directed by court order was delayed by a month and even then it revealed deep injuries.

3.6 The police opposed bail of workers not even named in the Maruti Suzuki FIR of 18 July despite the inability of police investigation to produce proof of involvement.

3.7 The Government of Haryana constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate the incidence of violence at the Manesar plant. The entire Report of the SIT has not been made available to the workers’ counsel to protect the identity of unnamed witnesses in the Report. This is in violation of International Standards of witness protection and collaboration with justice.

3.8 Subsequently police have launched a consistent attack on the workers right to democratic dissent by refusing to allow peaceful protests both in Gurgaon and in Kaithal. The arbitrary arrest of one member of the Provisional committee not named in the FIR or by any eye witness before a press meet and the enforcement of IPC Section 144 in Kaithal and the arrest of 95 workers from their sit-in protest site the night before their planned protest on 19 May 2013 and the subsequent lathi charge on the peaceful sit in on 19 May and the arrests thereafter only creates an atmosphere of terror. Again, this has taken place in violation of the understanding promoted by ILO Convention 87 that the right of association and the right of peaceful assembly and protest are closely interlinked.

Based on these key findings the ICLR notes that (1) the management of Maruti Suzuki has engaged in significant violations of law with respect to the right to freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining and the right to equal pay for equal work, (2) the Labour Department has been ineffective in ensuring the rule of law and (3) the Police has transgressed its powers amounting to interference in industrial disputes and yet failed to act when it should have.

In view of foregoing the ICLR team recommends:

1. Grant of bail to the 147 workers of the Manesar plant of Maruti Suzuki in Bhondsi Jail since 19 July 2012 and for 11 workers at the Kaithal Jail arrested on 19 May 2013 and refrain from the threat of arbitrary arrests to terrorise workers and their families,

2. Immediate constitution of independent impartial inquiry to investigate the circumstances from 4 June 2011 that led up to the incident of 18 July 2012, including into the custodial torture of the workers.

3. The immediate reinstatement of all workers on the rolls of Maruti Suzuki as on 17 July 2012,

4. The Labour Department must ensure through the tripartite machinery that the management of Maruti Suzuki negotiates with the union of the workers choice in good faith,

Furthermore, the ICLR team urges Government to:

5. Create an industrial relations machinery that enables an adequate firewall between the state’s labour department and its police force

6. Seek technical assistance from the ILO to bring its labour administration and adjudication processes into compliance with international standards, in terms of a) the framework for union registration, recognition, and collective bargaining and b) protections for workers’ right to form and join a union of their choice that are in consonance with ILO conventions 87 and 98.

Contact:

Ashwini Sukthankar +91 94 82 79 05 87

N Vasudevan +91 98 21 53 66 76

The final ICLR report on Maruti Suzuki will be released on 13 June 2013.

 

The ICLR team members are:

1. Ashwini Sukthankar, International Commission for Labour Rights

2. Masuo Kato, National Confederation of Trade Unions – Zenroren, Japan

3. Yasuhisa Ota, National Confederation of Trade Unions – Zenroren, Japan

4. Suzanne Adely, United Autoworkers, USA

5. Immanuel Ness, City University, New York, USA

6. Franceline Lepany, Labour Lawyer, France

7. Cherie Monaisa, COSATU, South Africa

8. N Vasudevan, New Trade Union Initiative, India

The International Commission for Labour Rights is a global network of labour lawyers and labour experts, providing critical assistance to workers and trade unions around the world. We have conducted fact-findings in Mexico, Colombia, the United States, and many other countries where workers have complained about violations.

 

#India – Why the #deathpenalty must end


June 5, 2013

 

Kanimozhi, The Hindu

Lawmakers are eager to appear resolute in the fight against crime, but seem to forget that certainty of punishment, not severity, is the real deterrent

“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind,” said Mahatma Gandhi.

The death penalty is unjust and inhuman. Its continued use is a stain on a society built on humanitarian values, and it should be abolished immediately.

Many think that there could be nothing wrong with the death penalty as the Indian Constitution allows for capital punishment, which means that the founding fathers of this country must have also fully approved of it. In reality, several members of the Constituent Assembly were firmly opposed to the death penalty.

The architect of the Constitution, Babasaheb Ambedkar, admitted in the Constituent Assembly that people may not follow non-violence in practice but “they certainly adhere to the principle of non-violence as a moral mandate which they ought to observe as far as they possibly can.” With this in mind, he said, “the proper thing for this country to do is to abolish the death sentence altogether.”

On June 3, 1949, Professor Shibbanlal Saxena, a freedom fighter who had been on death row for his involvement in the Quit India Movement, spoke in the Constituent Assembly of how he had seen innocent people being hanged for murder during his days in prison. Proposing the abolition of the death penalty, he said that the avenue of appealing to the Supreme Court “will be open to people who are wealthy, who can move heaven and earth, but the common people who have no money and who are poor will not be able to avail themselves” of it.

Miscarriage of justice is, in fact, one of the biggest concerns about the death penalty. Is it possible that someone could be wrongly hanged in 21st century India? The answer, unfortunately, is yes. Studies conducted by Amnesty International and the People’s Union for Civil Liberties have shown that the process of deciding who should be on death row is arbitrary and biased. The Supreme Court has itself admitted on several occasions that there is confusion and contradiction in the application of the death penalty.

Instances of innocence

Last year, 14 eminent retired judges wrote to the President, pointing out that the Supreme Court had erroneously given the death penalty to 15 people since 1996, of whom two were hanged. The judges called this “the gravest known miscarriage of justice in the history of crime and punishment in independent India.”

Some argue that the death penalty is the only way to deter heinous crime, especially violence against women and children. But a comprehensive study done last year in the United States found that there is no credible evidence that the death penalty has any deterrent effect on crime.

The “Innocence Project” in the United States [a national litigation and public policy organisation dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system] has found, on the other hand, several cases where innocent people were given the death sentence. One such case is that of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed in 2004 for the deaths of his three young daughters. In 2009, reinvestigation of the case raised serious doubts in the appreciation of forensic evidence in the case and the judge concluded that Willingham was wrongfully convicted. Another case is that of Carlos DeLuna who was executed in 1989 for the murder of a young woman some years before. In 2004, a study by Columbia Law School students brought to light the wrongful conviction of Carlos DeLuna, which turned out to be a case of mistaken identity of the actual perpetrator of the murder. Lawmakers in India find it convenient to hold up the death penalty as a symbol of their resolve to tackle crime, and choose to ignore more difficult but more effective solutions like social education and police or judicial reform. The certainty of punishment, not severity, is the real deterrent.

Rajiv Gandhi case

The death penalty is little more than judicially sanctioned murder. Justice K.T. Thomas, who headed the three member bench in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, has said that executing Perarivalan, Murugan and Santhan, convicted and sentenced to death in the case, would amount to punishing them twice for the same offence, as they had already spent 22 years in jail, the equivalent of life imprisonment.

In recent months, the Government of India has shown an alarming tendency to implement the death penalty. It is a fallacy to think that one killing can be avenged with another. For, capital punishment is merely revenge masquerading as justice. When the government is trying to create a just society where there is less violence and murder, it cannot be allowed to commit the same crime against its citizens in the name of justice.

The DMK president, Kalaignar Karunanidhi, reiterated the party’s stand last month when he called upon the Government of India to commute the death sentences of the 16 men, including seven from Tamil Nadu, who are on death row. The DMK president had made similar pleas to the Centre in August 2011 and October 2006. This has been the party’s consistent position against this inhumane practice.

Rest of the world

The world is moving away from using the death penalty. The European Union has made “abolition of death penalty” a prerequisite for membership. The 65th United Nations General Assembly voted in December 2010, for the third time, in favour of abolishing the death penalty and called for a global moratorium on executions. Amnesty International reports that 140 countries — more than two-thirds of the world — do not use the death penalty any more. India needs to recognise this global trend, and act in step with it.

(Kanimozhi is a Member of Parliament.)

 

Paris – Secret meeting for Jaitapur Reactors continues despite protests in India #WTFnews


 

PARIS, June 5, 2013

Investors’ meet on for underwriting package for Jaitapur reactors even as protests continue

 Vaiju Naravane
 A crucial investors’ meeting to underwrite the financial package for two 1,650 megawatt Areva EPR reactors to be built in Jaitapur, Maharashtra, got under way here with a top four-man team from India, including officials from the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL). Senior executives from Areva, the French nuclear giant, several banks and government agencies are also attending the meeting.

The meeting coincides with large-scale protests in Maharashtra against plans to build the two giant nuclear reactors. Hundreds of local farmers have signed petitions saying they do not wish to have their lands requisitioned or the giant reactors to be located close to where they live. Non-governmental organisations fighting plans to build the reactors say the project is located on a seismic site.

The Indian team in Paris is made up of four officials. C.B.S. Venkataraman, Additional Secretary and Niranjan Kumar, Deputy Secretary are from the DAE, while Preman Dinaraj (Financial Director) and Sandeep Singhroy (Director Jaitapur project) are from the NPCIL.

Soaring costs a concern

There have been serious concerns in India over the soaring costs of these reactors. Initially, India is expected to finalise an agreement for the purchase of two EPRs. This is expected to go up to six such reactors. The main sticking points in the discussions so far have been the cost of energy to India per kW/hour coupled with security concerns following the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe in Japan. Areva had initially promised India that energy from the reactors would not cost more that Rs. 4 per kW/h. But since the cost of each reactor has gone up from 3.3 billion Euros to 8.5 billion Euros, it would be a miracle if Areva is able to keep the cost of energy within the original framework.

Anne Lauvergeon, former chief of Areva, had told The Hindu in an interview two years ago that the “four rupee target” would be “maintained at all cost”. But the French have been unable to manage costs within their own country. The only EPR currently under construction in France at Flamanville has had massive cost overruns and is five years behind schedule. However, the two EPRs being built at Taishan in China are said to be going ahead at a terrific pace, being built to cost and to schedule.

“Since the reactors will be built by the NPCIL, the cost factor will definitely be lower in India, perhaps even 30 per cent lower than it is in France. There is, however, cause for worry and the talks in Paris will focus on reducing costs to a minimum without sacrificing safety or quality,” a well placed source close to the talks told this correspondent in Paris.

Members of the Konkan Bachao Samiti said that according to their calculations, the unit cost per kilowatt/ hour will be Rs. 14 per unit. The exact cost of each EPR in India has not been disclosed.

“Three important factors”

“There are three important factors in determining the price of a kilowatt/hour of nuclear electricity. The first is the cost of building the plant. The second element is the cost of borrowing the money. What rate of interest will India have to pay? The third element is the capacity at which the plant runs. If it fails to run at 100 per cent capacity, the costs inevitably go up,” Steve Thomas, a specialist on nuclear energy at Greenwich University’s School of Business told The Hindu.

None of these issues have been properly outlined to the public and no figures have been have been released either by the DAE or the NPCIL, which has angered opponents of the project. The project will supposedly have a 70:30 debt equity ratio.

Members of the Konkan Bachao Samiti said the meeting under way in Paris was kept secret to prevent demonstrations in India. However, word of the meeting leaked out. In a letter to French bankers, the Konkan Bachao Samiti said: “NPCIL and government of India officials are making wrong representations, concealing the ground information, twisting and distorting the facts and are trying their level best to delude you [investors], in order to make you agreeable and secure loan finance for this mega disaster project.”

#India – Uranium mining posing danger to people, habitat


KADAPA, June 5, 2013

Special Correspondent, the Hindu

Memorandum submitted to in-charge Collector

Uranium mining at Thummalapalle in Pulivendula and Kadiri in Anantapur district is leading to radiation and causing water pollution, thus endangering the health of people, Rayalaseema Rashtra Samithi president K. Venkatasubba Reddy alleged on Tuesday.

People were perturbed at reports that uranium purification plant would be set up at P. Kothapalli in Nambulapoolakunta mandal in Anantapur district, he said in a press release here. The effects of radiation were evident in Somavandlapalle, Velagalabailu and other villages in Thalupula mandal in Anantapur district and RIMS doctors were collecting blood samples of the people and enquiring about their health as the radiation was said to have been causing cancer, he said.

Uranium Corporation of India Limited and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre officials have inspected lands in P. Kothapalle panchayat in accordance with the plans to set up the uranium purification plant. The UCIL plant at Thummalapalle has an installed capacity to produce 3,000 tonnes of uranium. A 140 km. tunnel was being dug for excavating uranium and it caused steep depletion of groundwater, he said. Drinking water was being contaminated and water was not available for irrigation, he alleged.

Meanwhile, United Forum Against Uranium Project, leaders L. Nagasubba Reddy, P. Siva Reddy, K. Jayasri, R. Shamir Basha, M. Bhaskar and K. Srinivasulu Reddy submitted a memorandum to in-charge District Collector K. Nirmala complaining against the UCIL Executive Director. The UCIL laid tailing pipeline through two acres of land belonging to L. Damodar Reddy in Mabbuchinthalapalle in Vemula mandal, they alleged.

The pipeline leakage on April 22 led to the death of goats due to internal chemical injuries and skin burns when they entered the sludge pond. The UCIL officials tried to hush up the matter by getting the sick livestock treated by veterinary doctors and issuing compensation cheques to farmers for the death of the livestock, they said.

#India – The Neglect of Health, Women and Justice #Vaw #Womenrights


A basket weaver at work with her baby at her side, in Tamil Nadu. The infant mortality rate is very high for working women, particularly those in the primary sector, a large proportion of whom are labourers.

A basket weaver at work with her baby at her side, in Tamil Nadu. The infant mortality rate is very high for working women, particularly those in the primary sector, a large proportion of whom are labourers.

Vol – XLVIII No. 23, June 08, 2013 | A K Shiva Kumar , EPW
A report on the 2013 deliberation of the Kolkata Group at its 10th workshop which focused on healthcare, the status of women and social justice in India.
A K Shiva Kumar (akshivakumar@gmail.com) is convener of the Kolkata Group workshops which are organised by Pratichi (India) Trust, the Harvard Global Equity Initiative and UNICEF India.
At the 10th annual Kolkata Group workshop in February this year, 40 policymakers, development practitioners, non-governmental organisation (NGO) representatives, scholars, activists, journalists, politicians and development experts convened to take stock of the state of women, health equity and social justice in India. The group focused on two major areas of concern. First is the abysmal state of healthcare in India driven by the lack of strong governmental policies, investments and direct operations, and the growing size and exploitive practices of commercial providers. And second is the limited progress in women’s rights, indeed sometimes retrogression, that is reflected by a host of inequities, insecurities and injustices.
The Kolkata Group is an annual forum that deliberates on ways of advancing social justice, human development and human security in India. The group examines available information, seeks positive solutions, and shares its recommendations with wide audiences – government, civil society, the media, and the public. The group believes that bringing together outstanding people from different walks of life to discuss “good practices” and “lessons learned” can blend values, knowledge and discourse as part of a process of public reasoning for social action. Every year the group discussions have a particular focus. Themes in the past have included equity, security and basic education, rights and resources, child rights and development, economic progress and social values, and eliminating injustices in India. The theme in 2013 was “Public Action and Its Future”. The main focus was on health and nutrition as well as the alarming status of women in Indian society.
Balancing Economic Growth
Amartya Sen opened the workshop by underscoring that economic growth in India is good and necessary, because average incomes must be raised to achieve reasonable living standards and extensive income redistribution alone would not be sufficient for shared well-being. Growth generates private income, and even more importantly, it generates public resources which can be spent on the provision of a host of essential goods and services that contribute to decent living standards. Having noted this, Sen argued that it would be a mistake to “sit back” and rely on economic growth alone to transform the living conditions of the unprivileged. While India has much to learn from growth-mediated development elsewhere in the world, it must avoid unaimed opulence – an undependable, wasteful way of improving the living standards of the poor. Even today, after 20 years of rapid growth, India is still one of the poorest countries in the world, something that is often lost sight of, especially by those who enjoy world-class living standards thanks to the inequalities in the income distribution.
On several health indicators, India has fallen behind many of its neighbours. Overall in 1990, India had the best social indicators in south Asia, next to Sri Lanka. But now India ranks second-worst, ahead of only Pakistan. This is despite the fact that during the last 20 years, India has grown richer much faster than its neighbours. Take for instance Bangladesh. India’s per capita income was estimated to be 60% higher than Bangladesh in 1990. By 2010, India’s was 98% higher (about double). However, during the same period, Bangladesh overtook India in terms of a wide range of basic social indicators: life expectancy, child survival, fertility rates, immunisation rates, and even some (not all) schooling indicators such as estimated “mean years of schooling”. Bangladesh’s relatively rapid transformation of social indicators seems to relate closely to the much greater participation and agency of women in the social services as well as in private economic activities, compared with India.
Equally intriguing is that Nepal is also catching up rapidly with India, even overtaking India in some respects. Around 1990, Nepal was way behind India in terms of almost every development indicator. Today, social indicators for both countries are much the same (sometimes a little better in India still, sometimes the reverse), in spite of per capita income in India being about three times higher than in Nepal. Looking at their south Asian neighbours, the Indian poor are entitled to wonder what they have gained – at least so far – from the acceleration of economic growth.
Even though India is still managing to achieve comparatively high growth rates, despite its very insufficient public provision of basic services, this is undoubtedly a source of future concern, and may already be playing a part in India’s contemporary slowdown. High growth in east Asia has been led by, and reinforced by, rapid formation of human capabilities, and this is the shared experience of Japan, China, South Korea and other fast moving economies and societies in Asia. The contrast with India cannot be sharper. Apart from the very limited reach of good quality healthcare and basic education, even today 48% of the population do not even have toilets in their homes. India suffers a chronic power shortage as the breakdown of the grid in north India last year highlighted, but it is also worth bearing in mind that a third of the population in the “black out” area did not ever have any electricity connection anyway. But Sen said you would not think that power supply was a problem in India if you visited government offices where the air-conditioning is kept at a bone-chilling 16 degrees celsius in the summer. This was quite unlike government offices in other Asian countries, which keep the temperature around 23 degrees, which is comfortable enough. It is hard to detect any sign of power supply being a problem if one visits over-chilled offices, restaurants, or hotels, patronised by the comparatively rich, and it would be hard to guess that a third of the Indian population is without electricity altogether. Is it also not ironical – or worse – that political parties support, rather than object to, subsidising electricity for the “middle class” in the name of the aam aadmi? This goes along with support for other middle-class consumptions, such as diesel, cooking gas, and other ingredients of a lifestyle from which the poor are excluded.
Health Inequities
Discussions drew attention to the Asian experience, beginning with Japan in 1860 after the Meiji Restoration, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and China, where economic progress was driven by rapid human capabilities formation. We, in India, are trying to target a high growth rate without investing adequately in basic health, nutrition and education. In this connection, several participants pointed to the appalling state of India’s health system. Public healthcare has been relegated to low priority by the government, given that public spending on health in India is around 1.2% of its gross domestic product (GDP) – and has remained so for the past five years – whereas it is 2.7% of GDP in China.
The Kolkata Group reiterated that the most urgent need in healthcare in India today is for an affirmative approach that advances universal health coverage through reversing the financial neglect of public healthcare and the removal of debilitating illusions about what private healthcare and commercial insurance can achieve without firm and active public policies. Influential policymakers in India seem to be attracted by the idea that private healthcare, properly subsidised, or private health insurance, subsidised by the state, can meet the challenge. However, there are good analytical reasons why this is unlikely to happen because of informational asymmetry (the patient can be easily fooled by profit-seeking providers on what exactly is being provided) and because of the “public goods” character of healthcare thanks to the interdependences involved. There are also major decisional problems that lead to the gross neglect of the interests of women and children in family decisions. Nearly every country in the world which has achieved anything like universal health coverage has done it through the public assurance of primary healthcare (whether in Europe, Canada, or much of east Asia).
India’s leaders ought to recognise the necessity for the state to ensure comprehensive quality primary healthcare for all. Related to the main focus of the recommendations, the Kolkata Group urged the government to increase public spending on healthcare to achieve its well-considered pledge of devoting at least 3% of GDP to healthcare. It is particularly important to recognise that there are good reasons for demanding universal entitlements to primary healthcare for all. Effective regulations and ethical professionalism are also essential. The steady increase in public revenues generated by economic growth can and should be fruitfully committed to this extremely important cause.
Child Nutrition
Related to health is India’s worrisome record in reducing child malnutrition. Noting the unusually high levels of under-nutrition in India, the Kolkata Group argued for a firm recognition of the Right to Food in general and legislation to guarantee the entitlements to food for all. Recent experience (including Supreme Court orders on the right to food as well as the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) shows the value of putting economic and social rights in relation to a legal framework. Legislation should recognise that food and nutritional security depends not just on food but on a set of related interventions that promote women’s health and nutrition, safe drinking water, proper sanitation and healthcare.
The Kolkata Group had earlier endorsed the proposal for creating durable legal entitlements that guarantee the right to food in India. A Right to Food Act covering justiciable food entitlements should be non-discriminatory and universal. Entitlements guaranteed by the Act should include foodgrains from the public distribution system (PDS), school meals, nutrition services for children below the age of six years, social security provision and allied programmes. Ensuring non-discriminatory access and universal entitlements requires special initiatives that focus on the discriminated, disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in society. Last but not least, design and implementation should include effective public participation, grievance redress provisions and independent oversight.
Women’s Rights
The Kolkata Group also drew attention to the limited progress in women’s rights that continues to be plagued by a host of inequities, insecurities and injustices. Discussions were grounded in the developments following the incident of gang rape on 16 December 2012. Nirbhaya’s statement, “I want to live”, provided a very strong emotional impetus to the protests by large numbers of women and men from different sections of society. The fact that many people went past without helping when Nirbhaya was lying there with her friend wounded reveals something awfully callous about us. Similarly, it is not to our glory that dalit women have been violated and raped again and again. And there has been relatively little noise or protest. Underlying causes for the neglect and abuse of women include patriarchy as well as deep cultural factors.
Increasing the enormity of punishment in cases involving crimes against women does not necessarily solve the issue of rising crime against women. Awarding the death penalty, for example, can serve the purpose of revenge but it does not help in social reform. Society needs to ensure that the police are serious about such crimes, there is a system that will punish those responsible for the crime, and that such matters are tried expeditiously in a court. Indian women experience much greater difficulties in getting help from the police, and consequently do not trust the police to work in a professional manner. Protocols should be adopted to protect female complainers and in moving the court swiftly enough to get a judgment quickly.
The Kolkata Group noted that the violations of women’s rights are related to the continuation of early child marriage, violence against women, discriminatory practices, the impunity and bias that permeate the functioning of the legal and police systems, malnutrition of women and children, increasing prevalence of sex selection at birth as well as inadequate women’s autonomy, health, education, and freedoms. The steps ahead must recognise the recommendations of the Justice J S Verma Committee report promoting women’s bodily integrity, dignity and sexual autonomy. Serious attention should be paid to health, education, nutrition as well as the lack of adequate recognition of women’s well-being and agency. The group also underscored the importance of public protests and the need to keep raising the demand for a police and legal system that protects the rights of women. Women’s needs have to be more centrally recognised as a political priority for their voices to be heard.
[Chaired by Amartya Sen, Kolkata Group attendees this year were Sabina Alkire, Louis-Georges Arsenault, Shabana Azmi, Abhay Bang, Countess Albina du Boisrouvray, Lori Calvo, Achin Chakraborty, Gregory Chen, Lincoln Chen, Abhijit Chowdhury, Asim Dasgupta, Keshav Desiraju, Antara Dev Sen, Jean Dreze, Shiban Ganju, Dilip Ghosh, Joaquin Gonzalez-Aleman, R Govinda, Shaibal Gupta, Pratik Kanjilal, Manabi Mazumdar, Surjya Kanta Misra, Nachiket Mor, Poonam Muttreja, Sridhar Rajagopalan, Kumar Rana, Sujatha Rao, Srinath Reddy, Nidhi Sabharwal, Abhijit Sen, Amartya Sen, Nandana Sen, A K Shiva Kumar, Amarjeet Sinha, Shantha Sinha, Sukhadeo Thorat and Sitaram Yechury.]

 

The unmasking of Narendra Modi #mustread


Sujata Anandan, Hindustan Times
June 05, 2013

Senior BJP leader LK Advani being garlanded by Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi during his Jan Chetna Yatra at Daman and Diu of Gujarat Border in Vapi.

I woke up on Monday morning to a mailbox flooded with messages from Gujarat. There were hundreds of clippings of Gujarati newspapers reporting BJP leader LK Advani’s latest comments against Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and the message from BJP members from Modi’s own state that said, “Advani sachu bolya ke Gujarat toh pahle thi j samrudh hatu–Modi a toh Gujarat ne lutyu! (Advani speaks the truth when he says Gujarat was always prosperous – on the contrary Modi has looted Gujarat)”

The second part of the statement was most certainly not Advani’s but those BJP members who sent me the messages had been crying from the rooftops for a long time about Modi’s propaganda and propensity to lie and exaggerate. For example, they went viral when in March this year, Modi, speaking to women entrepreneurs, laid claim to Lijjat Papad as a Gujarat state enterprise when in fact it was born in the bylanes of the very Maharashtrian locality of Girgaum in Bombay (That’s when he earned the ‘Feku’ tag.) He laid claim to Amul–the milk in your tea comes from Gujarat – when he, in fact, had nothing to do with the enterprise. Hemant Fitter, a former BJP member who quit the party to join Keshubhai Patel‘s Gujarat Parivartan Party, told me that Modi treated the Amul founder Dr Verghese Kurien very badly, forced him out of Anand in his last years and did not even accord this modern revolutionary, who transformed India, a state funeral.

Now my inbox is flooded with messages–supported by newspaper clippings–that even I, not a Modi fan, find appalling. One of these says that the Modi government has sold blood donated by people for Rs. 11 crore. Another speaks of how farmers are being criminalised and punished for drawing water from their own wells in the interest of multinational water companies. The Surat Municipal Corporation is allegedly not being allowed to draw water from the Tapi River for its residents when constitutionally every city on the edge of a river has the right to free water from that source. Another clipping speaks of government schools being closed down in Gujarat and education largely being handed over to private entrepreneurs. Yet another clipping speaks of 5,00,000 graduates being on a pay of just R2,500, 10,00,000 unemployed and 40,00,000 Gujarati families living below the poverty line. The message – Modi vikas na gappa mare (Modi is simply gassing about development).

But what tickled me pink was a widely-circulated morphed picture of Modi. It is made to look like a poster of Dabangg – Modi’s face on Salman Khan’s uniformed body asking – “Swagat nahi karoge hamara?’ (Will you not welcome me?)

Obviously, Modi as prime minister seems a less welcome proposition to even Gujaratis unlike what we have been led to believe and Advani seems to have brought some fresh hope to a large number of BJP workers who are now elated at the prospect of this old fox gradually and eventually exposing Modi for what he really is. I had never thought I would ever agree with Advani. But I have made the same comparisons that Advani is now making between Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat though my argument was for Nitish Kumar’s own ‘BIMARU’ Bihar coming up from scratch to a golden enterprise. And that, too, without having to endanger a single Muslim to return to power. In fact, I had always wondered why Modi should be seen as exceptional when even some BJP-ruled states had developed well – and the party had returned to power in those states, though they do not lack commitment to Hindutva as at least Madhya Pradesh, which has shielded many saffron terrorists, proves.

Now that Advani, the patriarch of the BJP, has come to recognise, however late, that Modi is really no exception, a good deal of hope is rising even among BJP members that the truth about Modi will prevail.

And the naked truth is that Modi’s bid to become PM, apart from a hyped up exercise in self-aggrandisement is actually more an attempt to run away from Gujarat before Gujarat catches up with him as all the viral uncharitable messages about him seem to suggest is clearly happening.
Looking at how Gujarat is electrified by Advani’s Modi-baiting, the PMO is going to be no cake walk for the self-proclaimed lion of Gujarat, I should think!

 

Mumbai- Houses Demolished, Thousands Left to Fend for Themselves


Brazen Violation of Existing Norms, Ongoing Investigations by Maharashtra Government in Mumbai

Houses Demolished just Before Start of Monsoon, Thousands Left to Fend for Themselves

Mumbai, June 4: With the onset of pre-monsoon, the slums in Mumbai have been witness tobulldozers and police brutality as today i.e 4th June saw bulldozers moving over the houses at Ganpat Patil Nagar, Sanjay Nagar, Indira Nagar, Adarsh Nagar – Mumbai. Around 250 houses were demolished at Ganpat Patil Nagar and more than 300 houses were broken down at Adarsh Nagar-Indira Nagar & Sanjay Nagar. As always, the police force was present in huge numbers and disrespectful to the protestors that included men, women, children and the aged, even the pregnant ladies were not excused of high handedness. With the onset of the monsoon, the vulnerability is increased as these families have no roof over their heads and their belongings either crushed or lying here and there.

The demolition drive at Ganpat Patil Nagar was done under the pretext of ‘protecting mangroves’ as per the orders of the Bombay High Court which not at all had said anything about demolishing slums. The over enthusiasm shown by the local MLA of Shiv Sena – Vinod Ghosalkar in demolishing this slum and evicting the families from the land exposes the nexus with the land mafia which wants to transform this locality into high rise buildings and towers. Even the Forest Department has informed that they do not want for demolition of slums but only protection of mangroves.

At Indira Nagar, Adarsh Nagar & Sanjay Nagar, the demolitions were done under the excuse of widening the nala (sewerage) but that remains an excuse only as last year also, during the same period a demolition drive was undertaken for the purpose of expanding the nala which never happened. Activist Siraj Ahmed was detained by the local police when he led the slum dwellers in protest to the demolition.

Most shocking and deplorable is the fact that in January this year, no less than the Chief Minister of Maharashtra & Chief Secretary had promised to under take a survey of the these settlement for the purpose of declaring them as slums and provisioning of basic amenities. Instead of water pipe lines and toilet blocks they have sent bulldozers and police force. It seems that the slogan of ‘slum free india’ is to be realised by bulldozing the existing slums and not be upgrading or resettling them.

It is apprehended that the demolition squad might again come tomorrow, though the slum dwellers are firm in their resolve to resist and fight against the bulldozers as well as the rules that make such deplorable acts possible.

Sumit Wajale Siraj Ahmed Sangeeta Kamble Jamil Bhai

Contact : 9892727063

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

Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/NAPMindia
Twitter : @napmindia

 

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