Press Release – Delhi protests against the arrests of peaceful protesters in Kolkata


Protest outside West Bengal govt’s bhawan, Rajiv Bhawan, New Delhi
Photo courtesy: Bijayalaxmi Nanda

June 14th

To,

The Resident Commissioner

West Bengal Bhavan

NEW DELHI

We, members of the Citizen’s Collective against Sexual Assault, women’s groups, progressive groups and concerned citizens from across the country are outraged at the unwarranted arrest of a peaceful gathering of feminist and human rights activists on June 13, 2013. We strongly condemn these arrests. We strongly uphold people’s democratic right to peaceful and non-violent dissent and protest.

The activists were trying to seek an appointment with the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, in order to hand over a letter of protest against the incidents of gang rape and murder of two young girls in Barasat and Nadia. The CM had earlier refused to meet civil society activists at Writers Buildings. Therefore, on June 13, 2013, members of MAITREE Network (a network of women rights groups in West Bengal) decided to gather outside her residence to seek an appointment. They were not even allowed to enter the street leading to the CM’s residence.

When they wanted to hand over a protest letter to the CM, they were told to hand over the letter to the police instead. They rejected this on the ground that it was the CM who was the elected representative and the head of the government. Without any prior warning to disperse, the totally peaceful gathering, modest in size, was suddenly dragged by the police and bundled into police vans. Thirteen activists were arrested and taken to the Lal Bazar Central lock-up. Surely, activists of women’s organisations are not perceived by the WB State Government as a security risk? Especially when they were there to express their concern about the gang rapes of women and girls in the state.Is that an act that threatens the CM or the Government of WB?

The attitude of the West Bengal government with respect to cases of sexual assault and sexual violence against women has, at best, been dismissive. This is evident in the Chief Minister’s response to the statistics released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). It recorded 30,942 incidents of crime against women in West Bengal in 2012 as against 29,133 the year before. The government’s disclaimer was, “The situation in the state has improved and rape incidents have come down considerably”. Even as the state battles the shame of the Barasat and Nadia rape and murders, Bengal has again topped the country in crimes against women, accounting for 12.67% of such cases across India. Further, as the statistics reveal the state also recorded the third highest number of rapes (escaping the second slot by a whisker) while Kolkata registered the highest number of assaults on the ‘modesty’ of women among all the metro cities in the country.

We, the undersigned, condemn the increasing incidents of sexual assault and atrocities on women and girls in West Bengal. We deplore the rapidly deteriorating law and order situation in the state and how that is severely affecting the safety and mobility of women, especially high school and college-going girls in suburban and rural areas.

Some zones have become particularly unsafe, like the Barasat belt in North 24 Parganas where an undergraduate student–daughter of a day-labourer–was gangraped and killed on 7 June on her way back from college. Women are being regularly harassed, molested and raped in that area and several such incidents have been reported in the local media in the last two years. But the administration refuses to act. As the panchayat elections are drawing near, activists fear an escalation of violence against women in the state.

We also condemn the way in which women rights and human rights defenders have been treated by the Government, in complete opposition to the democratic principles of the country.

We demand:

  1. Immediate action initiated against the police personnel responsible for their arrests.
  2. That the West Bengal government accept the right of all, regardless of political leanings, to protest peacefully and democratically on important issues.
  3. That the Government, judiciary and law enforcing agencies initiate speedy action and arrest the culprits responsible for cases of atrocities against women, including the latest two cases of rape and murder against the young girls in Barasat and Nadia.
  4. That proper investigation and a fair and unbiased trial be fast tracked that would enable victims and their families to access justice and lead culprits towards due punishment.
  5. Further, steps should be taken to end instances of violence against women in the state, in consultation with the women rights’ and human rights’ groups.

——

Citizens’ Collective against Sexual Assault (CCSA), New Delhi, is a group of individuals and organisations that has come together to protest against the extreme culture of sexual violence against women and girls in Delhi, Noida and Gurgaon. We raise these issues with the public, as well as the administration and the police of Delhi-NCR and work in different ways to stop and prevent sexual harassment against vulnerable groups. CCSA can be contacted at ccsaindia@gmail.com and ccsaindia@ymail.com.

 

Kolkata – ‘Lock-up for protest songs!’ #Vaw


14 Jun 13

A group of women wanting to meet chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday to tell her how unsafe they feel in Bengal was herded into prison vans and put in the Lalbazar lock-up for several hours.

Police commissioner Surajit Kar Purkayastha justified the move, saying the force could not have taken chances with the chief minister’s Z+ security. Some of those arrested for trying to meet Mamata at her Kalighat residence — they were released on bail around 3.30pm — called the police’s concern over Mamata’s security “misplaced”.

Sarmistha Dutta Gupta, who was in the group, tells Sreecheta Das of Metro what had taken her to Harish Chatterjee Street and how disappointed she felt when the police cracked down on a “peaceful rally”.

Being associated with the feminist movement for over 30 years and taking part in innumerable protests and processions, I used to think I was prepared for every kind of resistance. I was mistaken. I had no idea that participating in a peaceful rally, where the only thing that people do is sing protest songs, could land me in a police lock-up.

I reached the Hazra Road-Harish Chatterjee Street crossing around 8am to submit a memorandum to the chief minister regarding the gruesome gang rape and murder at Barasat and the general safety of women in our state. I joined the group because my conscience told me to. While our protest was against what happened in Barasat on June 7, the scope of our demands went beyond that.

Crimes against women have increased in the past one-and-a-half years. What I find more alarming is that more and more girl students are being targeted. Barasat has earned notoriety for different kinds of crimes against women — from men making lewd remarks and gestures at schoolgirls to Friday’s incident, that area has witnessed everything in the past year.

But the administration doesn’t seem to be perturbed. All that we see are a few arrests following every shocking incident. But there is hardly any follow-up, there is barely any effort to make women feel secure.

The administration doesn’t seem interested in reflecting on why such incidents are repeatedly taking place in a particular area. There are several schools, colleges and a university in Barasat, where many students are first-generation learners. We have interacted with students and teachers and found that there is no electricity in many places, let alone street lamps. Local toughs have been employed as watchmen in large plots of land meant for future commercial purposes.

Local girls say they are petrified of returning home after evening tuitions.

I am also deeply disturbed by the fact that people in the administration did not think it necessary to express their concern or anguish regarding any of the incidents.

Whenever we have sought an appointment with the chief minister, we have been turned down. On Monday, my friends from Maitree (an NGO) had gone to Writers’ Buildings to submit a memorandum to Mamata Banerjee. She did not meet them.

On Thursday morning, there were 30 of us, far fewer than the cops already stationed there when we arrived.

Six of our friends were arrested first, but I started walking towards Hazra with the rest. As we marched, we could see the police following us, some on foot and others on bikes. They blocked our way, pointed at the vans and told us to get inside.

When we said it was our right to stand wherever we wanted to, an officer replied: “Oto kotha jani na…cholun (we don’t know all that…get inside).”

They dragged us into the vans. They did not lathicharge us, but they did display brute force. My friend Swapna’s hand swelled up because of the manner in which she was pulled.

We still don’t know what the charges against us are and we can’t understand how singing songs could be construed as disruption of peace.

The trauma that we underwent would make some sense only when the administration realises that they have to come forward and do their bit to make Calcutta — and Bengal — safe for women.

AS TOLD TO SREECHETA DAS

 

#India – Farmers boycott land acquisition hearings for Chhindwara SEZ, Madhya Pradesh


Author(s): Aparna Pallavi , Down to Earth
Date:Jun 14, 2013
Villagers refuse to part with land; object to individual hearings, land acquisition by dubious means

Farmers and landowners protesting against land aquisition at the PWD guest house in Saunsar (Photo: Mukesh Badge)Farmers and landowners protesting against land aquisition at the PWD guest house in Saunsar (Photo: Mukesh Badge)

Around 150 farmers from eight villages in the Saunsar tehsil of Chhindwara district in Madhya Pradesh gathered at the guest house of the public works department (PWD) on Thursday and staged a protest. They were aggrieved by the individual hearing process adopted for land acquisition for a proposed special economic zone (SEZ) in the area. June 13 marked the first of the many individual hearings scheduled with the district collector to hear objections of farmers to the SEZ, which the farmers boycotted.

The process of acquisition of land for a multi-purpose SEZ developed by Nagpur-based Chhindwara Plus Developers Limited has been going on in the Saunsar tehsil of Chhindwara district since 2007, say farmers. Ramesh Kumre, land acquisition officer and sub-divisional magistrate, Pandurna,  says around 1,800 hectare (ha) of land has already been acquired in the area by following procedures under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.

Around 269 farmers and other land owners in the eight villages have refused to part with 430 ha of land which is still required for the SEZ, says farmer Bhaskar Tekade of Satnoor village. In April this year, a land acquisition notice was issued to the panchayats, following which representatives from the various villages went to district collector Mahesh Chowdhari to submit their objections. Chowdhari refused to accept it, says Shyamla Sanyal, owner of a small gun-powder factory in Satnoor. “On April 30, which was the last day for submitting objections, we had to take a bus-load of people from the villages and staged a demonstration before the objection was finally accepted,” she says.

Notices were issued to the villages, asking farmers to register their objections at individual hearings scheduled on different dates between June 19 and June 22. As late as the night of June 11, farmers from three villages were issued fresh notices, asking them to attend hearings on June 13 and 14. This last move, says Sanyal, “is totally unacceptable. When we asked the land acquisition officer the reason behind the change in dates, he said that he had other appointments on the previous dates. This is no way to hold hearings on such crucial issues.”

Legal procedures sidelined

At the protest, farmers protested against individual hearings, accusing the administration of trying to divide the community. “It is illegal to call people for hearings on different days,” says advocate Aradhana Bhargava of the people’s organisation Kisan Sangharsh Samiti who is providing legal support to the agitation, “The administration should have held a public hearing under the proper sections of the law.” She also says that land acquisition by government agencies is legal only in case of lands acquired for a public purpose. “Why is government aiding a private project proponent?” she asks. The notices also said that if farmers failed to turn up on the given date, the administration would take a suo-moto decision, which again is totally illegal, she says.

Farmers at the meeting submitted a memorandum to the land acquisition officer stating that they do not wish to part with their land and that the administration should not issue further land acquisition notices to the people. It was signed by 150 farmers and other land-owners, says Sanyal.

Land acquisition officer Ramesh Kumre confirmed that the hearing had been cancelled because farmers turned up in a group instead of individually.

Deceit and coercion

Farmers complain that no legal procedures were observed in the land acquisition process. “The land acquired earlier has been obtained through dubious means,” Tekade told Down To Earth. “Mostly poor and marginal farmers were targeted through touts, and were relieved of their land for as little as Rs 40,000 to Rs 3 lakh per ha. More than 50 per cent of the farmers whose lands were taken want their land to be restored to them.”

Dubious means were used to get the consent of panchayats, says Satnoor sarpanch Reemaji Dethe. “In February this year, the gram panchayat secretary got my signature on what he said was a routine document. Since I had joined just a month earlier, I did not know the procedures and signed where he asked me to sign. Later I found out that it was a document saying that the gram panchayat consented to the land acquisition,” says Dethe.

“Farmers and small industry owners have been issued threats by the project proponents. Goons are being used to quell protests,” says Sanyal.

 

United Nations to discuss abolition of #deathpenalty by June end: Ban Ki-moon


Press Trust of India | Updated: June 14, 2013 08:21 IST

United Nations to discuss abolition of death penalty by June end: Ban Ki-moon

United NationsUnited Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has hailed the growing momentum against capital punishment, while voicing concern that a some countries continue to impose the death penalty, often in violation of international standards.In a message to the Fifth World Congress against the Death Penalty, held in Madrid, Mr. Ban said that the full abolition of the death penalty has support in every region and across legal systems, traditions, customs and religious backgrounds.

Currently, more than 150 countries have either abolished the death penalty or do not practise it. Last year, 174 United Nations Member States were “execution-free”, he said.

“Despite these positive trends, I am deeply concerned that a small number of States continue to impose the death penalty, and thousands of individuals are executed each year, often in violation of international standards,” said the Secretary-General.”Some countries with a longstanding de facto moratorium have recently resumed executions,” he noted.

He said that death penalty is at times used for offences that do not meet the threshold of “most serious crimes” such as drug crimes, and a few States impose capital punishment against juvenile offenders, in violation of international human rights law.

Ban also pointed out that information concerning the application of the death penalty is often cloaked in secrecy, and that the lack of data on the number of executions or the number of individuals on death row “seriously impedes” any informed national debate that may lead to abolition.

“The taking of life is too absolute and irreversible for one human being to inflict on another, even when backed by a legal process. Too often, multiple layers of judicial oversight still fail to reverse wrongful death penalty convictions for years and even decades,” he said.

This problem, he added, will be discussed at a UN panel in New York at the end of this month.

The UN General Assembly first voted on a moratorium in 2007, and again in December 2012, when it adopted a resolution calling for a progressive restriction on the use of capital punishment and eliminating it entirely for felons below the age of 18 and pregnant

 

Press Release-Bhoomi Adhikar Yatra (Land Right March) in Madhya Pradesh


Bhopal is the capital of India’s centrally located state Madhya Pradesh, housing 15.6 percent of Dalits and 21.1 percent of Adivasis totaling 26.6 million. Every fifth of the Adivasi and every 7th of the Dalit in the county live in Madhya Pradesh.

On 9th June, thousands of Dalit-Adivasi men, women from all over Madhya Pradesh converged in city’s Shahajani Park, about 1km from Bhopal Railway station. Adivasis marching under the banner of Adivasi Adhikar Andolan led by Dadulal Kole and Dalit under the banner of Rashtriya Dalit Mahasabha led by its General Secretary Sanjay Kumar Bharti joined together demanding from the Government to implement Land Reform in Madhya Pradesh enabling every land less – Dalit, Adivasi or of any caste and creed – gets 5 acre land.

Bhoomi Adhikar Yatra Converge in Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh in India!

Thousands of Landless Dalits and Advasis Demand Land for Livelihood and Dignity!!

The Bhoomi Adhikar Yatra leaders had no media machinery, no laptop carrying middle or elite class activists supporting them. Leaders of this Yatra could neither read or write English – the main language of discourse, communication or propagation of thoughts of Indian Civil Society. But the Yatra evoke good response and thousands of the Dalits and Adivasis and other landless people reached Bhopal demanding five acre land for all the landless people in Madhya Pradesh.

It was interesting that most of the men and women who joined this Bhoomi Adhikar Yatra from its starting point at Hanumana in district Rewa or those who reached Bhopal on 9th June fall short of speaking, reading or writing fluent Hindi, the state language of Madhya Pradesh. But this lack of command over Hindi or English was a non-issue for them. They knew only one thing that they were land less and they declare their need and demanded land. Unlike underground and so called radicals, these Dalit, Adivasis and Landless and their representatives were clear about their expectation from the Government and they believed that it was the duty of the state to fulfill their demands of 5 acre land.

Bhoomi Adhikar Yatra, which Dalit-Adivasi launched and dared to walk by foot for the cause of land indicated their courage and determination. The Bhoomi Adhikar Yatra that began on 1st January 2013, had been to more than 646 villages spread from Rewa on UP-MP border, covering whole MP part of Bundelkhand and then to Vidisha, Raisen and then to state capital Bhopal and hence covering more than 2200 kms.

Organisers – the Adivasi Adhikar Andolan and the Rashtriya Dalit Mahasabha – a unique combination, seems to be aware of political fall out of this joint struggle. In Madhya Pradesh, where Bahujan Samaj Party, which has made it presence felt among the Dalits, has failed to make inroad among the Adivasis. Similarly Gandwana Gantantra Party, which has presence among the Adivasis, has failed to enroll Dalits as its mass base. With lost base among the Dalits, Congress is trying hard to gain foot hold among the Dalits. BJP is has already made clear to increase its vote share among them, it will be interesting to see how this collective journey will unfold in Madhya Pradesh, which goes to the poll at the end of this year. If Shivraj Chauhan Government offer what Bhoomi Adhikar Yatra is demanding, he could be sure of getting in power 3rd time. Women after women who addressed the Rally at Bhopal declared that they will vote to the one who gave them land. Let us see how this unity and the challenge by the Dalits and Adivasis unfurl?

Ashok Bharti

 

#India -‘Tribals turn extremists because states are too busy making money from land’


 Down to Earth
Author(s): Sonum Gayatri M…
Date:Jun 13, 2013

The world’s largest democracy is facing a surge in tribal uprisings. The recent killings of Mahendra Karma and other Congress leaders in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh  has prompted the government to address issues of land dispossession and socioeconomic deprivations of tribals. These are the key issues that have been precipitating recurring violence across various parts of the country. Union Minister of Tribal Affairs Kishore Chandra Deo speaks to Sonum Gayatri Malhotra about the obstacles hindering effective governance of tribal communities in Schedule Five areas and how to overcome them. Edited excerpts from the interview

Kishore Chandra DeoKishore Chandra DeoTribals of Bastar are protesting against the provisions of the Fifth Schedule. With elections nearing, they are demanding tribal autonomy in the district as provided under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. Do you think the Sixth Schedule is working better in protecting tribal rights?

The Fifth Schedule of the Constitution has no dearth of laws in protecting the tribal rights. Bastar’s demand to introduce Sixth Schedule provisions in a Fifth Schedule area is not pragmatic and is definitely not well thought through.

Hypothetically, introduction of Sixth Schedule in Fifth Schedule areas would need a statutory amendment to the Constitution. This is an interminable process. Moreover, amending the composition of the Constitution is a process that first needs to be addressed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. The Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs is relatively a new ministry, which came into existence 12 years ago. Before that, scheduled tribes came under the purview of the home ministry. Unfortunately, not all powers have been transferred to the tribal affairs ministry yet. This is a problem. I have limitations as a Union minister. I can only guide the governors of Schedule Five states to evoke their discretionary powers and inform the President of the situation.

But there is confusion over the role of governors in Schedule Five areas. In 2009, then President Pratibha Patil said that the Fifth Schedule devolves special responsibility on the governors in administering scheduled areas and ensuring peace and good governance among tribal communities. But recently, Assistant Solicitor General (ASG) Fouzia Mirza in her submission to the Bilaspur High Court said that a governor under the Fifth Schedule has no discretionary power. Based on her submission, the court dismissed a petition challenging constitutionality of the Tribes Advisory Council and powers of the governor under this schedule. Tribal rights activists have now approached the Centre seeking Presidential reference to the Supreme Court on interpretation of the Fifth Schedule.

The case was recently brought to my notice in response to letters I had sent out to all governors holding posts in Fifth Scheduled states.

The powers exercised by the governor especially under the Fifth Schedule are discretionary powers. The governor is not only the administrative and executive head of the state but also represents the Centre at the state. Fouzia Mirza has got it wrong. I am sad that an ASG, a top government official, erred on such a critical matter.

Most scholars and opposition parties also think that governors are of partisan nature, considering they have never evoked their powers given under the Fifth Schedule. Former governor of Odisha M C Bhandare had said “governors’ role constitutionally exists on paper but actually there is no existing support on ground”.

It is time governors started taking responsibility and invoked the powers which have been conferred on them under the provisions of Article 244 under the Fifth Schedule. It is time for a wake-up call. We are talking about the most marginalised sections. If the government of a state is not directing laws to benefit scheduled tribes, it is the role of the governor to intervene and set things right. When the Constitution was being framed, it was decided that a representative would ensure equality for indigenous communities that would protect them from the burgeoning globalising expansions and secure their fundamental rights. That’s why the governor is not bound by the aid and advice of the Tribes Advisory Council but can direct executive orders in his own discretion.

M C Bhandare has done wrong by not doing anything for the tribal communities of Odisha, where mining has been a critical issue. Constitutionally, the governor is to administer, legislate and execute directives for Fifth Schedule areas. Implementation of development programmes are channelled through the state department, however, the governors can direct laws for areas inhabited by scheduled tribes.

I am ready to take charge of the Fifth Schedule states that have seen governors neglecting their duties. The nodal ministry can empower to assign themselves the powers that have been conferred under the Fifth Schedule for the peace and good governance in tribal regions.

Don’t you think the contentious conflicts between ministries have only imploded to create mistrust among the tribals towards the government? In the latest such instance, the Union environment ministry headed by Jayanthi Natarajan has sought dilution of power of the gram sabha

Today, the growing mining sector is the main threat in Schedule Five areas. This has shaken the confidence and faith of the people in these regions in our democratic system. In many cases, powerful lobbies are trying to encourage mining in a flagrant violation of Constitutional provisions. The variant ideologies of ministries seem to have stemmed from market incitement. Ministries are working at cross-purposes. This is a turf war, lamentably in a social sector which is the most unfortunate.

Fifth Schedule areas in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand are governed by the Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act. Such areas are meant to be lightly policed. But the government’s emphasis on policing and militarism is evident. Your comment

Deployment of forces in areas inhabited by tribal communities is sending out a message that can only provoke disorder other than what is desired. Sending military or paramilitary forces to these areas will not help contain the uprisings as these are not merely law and order problems. Having said that, one should address the core issue of these uprisings; these areas do not have adequate development. Basic human amenities like food, drinking water and healthcare are lacking. It is the duty of the state government to develop the regions responsibly in accordance with the communities’ requirement.

Most people from the tribal communities end up joining extremists’ movement because the state is too busy concentrating on how to use land in the most profitable way. Lashkar-e-Toiba is funding the Naxalite Movement. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has alleged that the biggest internal threats to the country are its tribal communities. Inevitable alien militant forces triggering hostility in Fifth Schedule Areas, especially bordering states, is bound to undermine the very national integrity.

Sonum Gayatri Malhotra works with Centre for Policy Research, Delhi

 

Interviewee:
Kishore Chandra Deo

 

Mangalore : Govt drops all charges against journalist Soorinje #goodnews


 

journalist-Soorinje

 

 

Mangalore: June 14; The State Government has dropped all charges against journalist Naveen Soorinje in connection with the Morning Mist home stay attack Recently The Visual Media Journalists Association of Dakshina Kannada district had submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah urging him to drop all charges against journalist Naveen Soorinje and TV cameraman Sharan in connection with the Morning Mist home stay attack.

 

 
As per the Cabinet meet on Thursday June 13 it was decided to withdraw cases registered against journalist Naveen Soorinje in the Morning Mist Home Stay attack .
Advocate M P Amruthesh had filed public interest litigation in the state high court on February 6, challenging the state cabinet’s January 31 decision to withdraw case standing against Soorinje.
But the state High Court had, based on an affidavit that Soorinje was not involved with illegal activities at the venue, granted bail to him thereafter on March 23.

 

Criticised, Odisha weighs expanding scope of locals in deciding Vedanta fate #goodnews


 BS Reporter  |  Bhubaneswar  June 14, 201

Faced with flak from the ministry of tribal affairs (MoTA) and activists from Niyamgiri for its decision to limit gram sabhas to just 12 villages,Odisha is mulling legal opinion over the possibility of expanding the scope of such meetings.

“We are exploring legal angles to suggestions by MoTA on expanding scope of gram sabhas. If required, views of the law department will be taken,” said Santosh Sarangi, secretary, SC&ST development.

Defending the state’s stand to conduct gram sabhas in 12 villages on Niyamgiri hill slopes, he said, “A close scrutiny of the Supreme Court order dated April 18 would suggest it was referring to the 12 hill slope villages where the meetings were held earlier for settlement of claims under the Forest Right Act (FRA). It would not be feasible to hold gram sabhas in all villages of Rayagada and Kalahandi districts. Besides, the process would also be very time-consuming.”

Earlier, the SC&ST department had consulted the law department to interpret the order on holding of gram sabhas, citing lack of clarity.

In line with the views filed by the law department, the state decided to hold gram sabhas to decide the fate of bauxite extraction from Niyamgiri hills in 12 villages. These included seven villages in Rayagada district and five in Kalahandi district.

In his letter to MoTA, Odisha Chief Secretary B K Patnaik said: “At the time of filing of claims, neither the ministry of environment and forests nor MoTA had raised an issue before the court regarding coverage of villages over and above the 12 hill slope villages.” He added a reading of the court’s observation would make clear the reference was to the 12 hill slope villages for which affidavit was filed by Odisha. However, refusing to agree to the state’s contention, MoTA held limiting gram sabha proceedings was not in line with the order and the directions by the ministry under section 12 of FRA.

“The list of villages where rights of forest dwellers are guaranteed under FRA or where cultural and religious rights are likely to be affected, cannot be arbitrarily decided by the state government. It is to be decided by the people (palli sabha) where claims would be filed through a transparent manner so that no genuine gram sabha that has a legitimate claim is left out of the process. This is in line with para 59 of the apex court judgement,” Vibha Puri Das, secretary, MoTA, wrote to Odisha chief secretary Patnaik recently.

 

Ishrat Jahan case: HC raps CBI, tells it to focus on encounter angle


The court also came down heavily on the state government for trying to put the CD on record (of alleged conservations between those killed in the encounter and their Pakistani handlers) and told them to submit the evidence before CBI

Ahmedabad, Jun 14 (PTI):  High Court today rapped the  for delay in filing its charge sheet in the alleged fake encounter case, asking it to ascertain the genuineness of the encounter instead of focusing on  inputs and trying to figure out whether those killed were terrorists or not.

“Prime facie, we find that instead of investigating the genuineness of the encounter, the CBI has focused more on the genuineness of the inputs provided by the IB,” a division bench of Justices Jayant Patel and Abhilasha Kumari observed.

“It seems that in past one month you were more interested in figuring out whether the killed persons were terrorists or not but the court is not concerned whether they were terrorists or normal human beings. In any case they should not have been liquidated,” the court observed.

“You have been assigned responsibility to ascertain whether they were killed in a genuine encounter or a fake one and whether they were in prior custody of Gujarat police or not,” the court said.

Court asked CBI to explain why it failed to file the charge sheet within 90 days of the arrest of accused, to which CBI responded that it is very large case of conspiracy and investigation has led us from one point to another which has caused the delay.

The delay in filing the charge sheet has resulted in five accused police officers including IPS G L Singhal securing bail.

The CBI told the court that it will file the charge sheet in the case by first week of July.

But that could not satisfy the court which said that they have doubts that the probe agency would file the charge sheet even by second week of July.

The CBI, on the instruction of the High Court, had taken over the probe of the alleged fake encounter in which 19-year-old Ishrat, Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed on the outskirts of the city on June 15, 2004 allegedly by a Crime Branch team led by DIG D G Vanzara.

The court also came down heavily on the state government for trying to put the CD on record (of alleged conservations between those killed in the encounter and their Pakistani handlers) and told them to submit the evidence before CBI.

On behalf of Gujarat Government, Additional Advocate (AAG) General Tushar Mehta, while requesting the court to take the CD on record, claimed that it was a ‘clinching’ evidence showing the persons who were killed were terrorists and that the encounter was genuine.

“This CD, duly endorsed by the highest officer of IB, contains clinching evidence which shows that those who were killed were terrorists and they were killed in genuine encounter,” Mehta claimed.

However, the bench flatly refused to take the request from the state government and observed that, “this is not the right stage and right court to produce any kind of evidence in this case. If you consider it as important piece of evidence submit it to CBI or you can later produce it before the trial court. We are not entertaining it.”

Meanwhile, taking note of some media reports that CBI director has decided to discontinue the services of Gujarat IPS officer Satish Verma who is assisting it in the case investigation on court orders, the bench asked CBI to clarify whether they need further services of Verma or not.

On this, CBI lawyer Ejaz Khan made it clear that agency needs the services of Verma till the investigation concludes.

After getting instructions from CBI he re-submitted that, “at least till the filing of charge sheet we will need his full time services and then his services may be availed whenever its needed.”

This was supported by counsels representing Ishrat’s mother Shamima Kausar and Javed’s father Gopinath Pillai.

They urged the court to continue Verma’s services on the grounds that investigation was at a crucial stage and Verma should be permitted to perform the responsibility he has been assigned to.

Next hearing of the case is scheduled on June 18.

During past one month, CBI arrested suspended IPS officer D G Vanzara, (prime accused in Sohrabuddin fake encounter case) who is now lodged in Sabarmati jail under judicial custody, following his five days custodial interrogation by the central agency.

CBI had also summoned and grilled Special Director of Intelligence Bureau Rajendra Kumar in the Ishrat case with regard to the inputs generated about four ‘terrorists’ entering Gujarat to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Since the last hearing in High Court, five Gujarat policemen, accused in this case, were granted bail as the central agency failed to file its charge sheet against them within 90 days of their arrest.

Suspended IPS officer G L Singhal, Tarun Barot, J G Parmar, Bharat Patel and Anaju Chaudhary got the benefit of bail because of delay on the part of CBI in filing the charge sheet in the case.

Apart from grilling Rajendra Kumar, the agency had also summoned and examined former DGP of the state K R Kaushik, who was Police Commissioner of the city when the 2004 encounter took place.

As per the FIR registered by Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) in 2004, on receiving intelligence inputs from Kaushik, which were passed on to then Joint Commissioner of Police (DCB), Ahmedabad P P Pandey, they had cordoned off the city and upon arrival of the four, had intercepted them at the outskirts of the city where the encounter took place.

CBI had also examined Special Public Prosecutor at City civil and sessions court Sudhir Brahmabhatt, who was then a public prosecutor.

 

Press Release : NAPM Demands a Political Resolution on Telangana


NAPM Demands a Political Resolution on Telangana

Condemns Undemocratic Extraordinary Steps against the Telangana Agitators

June 14, New Delhi / Hyderabad : Andhra Pradesh is in turmoil once again over the demand of a separate Telangana. The struggle for a separate Telangana has been ongoing for a long time now. The central and state governments as well as the major political parties in the state have played opportunistic and partisan political games with people’s sentiments. Exploiting people’s emotions for vote bank politics, parties have supported formation of unholy alliances and politics of divide and rule. The uncertainty over the demand for a Telangana state must end now so that people can carry on their occupations and work without anger, ill-will and anxiety.

The formation of smaller states in the Indian Union is, in general, a significant step towards bringing the locus of political power closer to the people. Small states in India, given the population size of the country, will still be big by international standards. With a population of about 3 crores, Telangana, if and when created, will be viable as a state of the Indian Union. Demands for making governments responsive and accountable, need for redressing administrative inefficiency, and popular aspiration for a better life have set the stage for a new phase of states’ reorganization.

The people’s movement for Telangana has reached new heights in recent years. People’s struggles and sacrifices have made it clear that the demand for a separate state of Telangana now represents the aspirations of an overwhelming majority of the people in this region.

The Andhra Pradesh Assembly convened on 10th of June has remained paralysed on the issue of Telangana. It’s unfortunate to see the extraordinary measures that have been taken up by the government to suppress the ‘Chalo Assembly‘ call, given by the Telangana Joint Action Committee, an umbrella organisation of several pro-Telangana groups

National Alliance of People’s Movements believes that while it is necessary to maintain the law and order situation, suppression of democratic people’s protest by maas illegal arrests of activists, threatening the people of Telangana, and cancellation of monthly pensions and essential commodities through fair price shops to people participating in Telangana agitation, is totally unacceptable.

NAPM, no doubt, has always supported the demand for smaller states, whether in Jharkhand or Uttarakhand but has  also warned that without change in the paradigm of development and system of governance, there can be no fundamental change in the politics or relations of power in favour of the toiling masses. We repeat this warning in the case of Telangana, having witnessed the continued injustice and exploitation in the newly formed states. NAPM, however, supports the popular demand for Telangana which will benefit not only the agitating people from the Region but all in the present State of Andhra Pradesh whose lives and livelihood are continuously affected due to keeping the issue burning with struggle as well as oppression becoming an unending politics to be faced by common people.

Hence, NAPM calls for an immediate political resolution on the issue of Telangana. In spite of widespread support in Andhra Pradesh for the Telangana cause, there seems to be an impasse over statehood for the region. The Telangana movement offers credible hope of changing the iniquitous structures of power and control in the state and its failure could see the forces of lawlessness acquiring new strength, with disastrous consequences for the common people.

Medha Patkar, Ramakrishnam Raju, Prafulla Samantara, Dr. Sunilam, Gabriele Dietrich, Arundhati Dhuru, Saraswati Kavula, P S Ajay, Anand Mazgaonkar, Krishnakant, Vimal Bhai, Madhuresh Kumar, Sashank Rajwadi

 

 

Previous Older Entries

Archives

Kractivism-Gonaimate Videos

Protest to Arrest

Faking Democracy- Free Irom Sharmila Now

Faking Democracy- Repression Anti- Nuke activists

JAPA- MUSICAL ACTIVISM

Kamayaninumerouno – Youtube Channel

UID-UNIQUE ?

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6,236 other followers

Top Rated

Blog Stats

  • 1,747,892 hits

Archives

June 2013
M T W T F S S
« May   Jul »
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
%d bloggers like this: