Protest Against Uttar Pradesh Power Plant Enters 1000th Day


Several people’s movements have emerged in recent times against industrial projects. The reasons behind the protests vary from opposition on environmental grounds to lack of proper compensation for land acquisition. But without doubt, it has always got something to do with protecting livelihood, which the Indian state machinery is hell bent on snatching away from the people.

A protest against a nuclear plant has been brimming for 1000 days now in villages in Uttar Pradesh. Farmers, mostly from SC and OBC communities, in Kachari village had gathered for the 1000th day of the protest against the 1980 MW Karchhana power plant. It was under the Bahujan Samaj Party back in 2007 that the project was first conceived. As much as 2,500 bighas of land was acquired from 2,286 farmers in eight villages, namely Devari, Kachari, Katka-Medhra, Dehli, Dohlipur, Bagesar, Kachara and Bhitar. But once the project was handed over to Jaypee group in 2009, violent protests from the farmers erupted and it got stalled.

Protest Against Karchanna power plant

Photo Courtesy: Brijesh Jaiswal / The Hindu

While some of the farmers had accepted compensation, more than a hundred reportedly had refused it at the onset. Now, almost all the farmers are refusing to part with their land. Instead, they want compensation for the loss incurred due to damage to land. The impasse is compounded as the farmers are in no position (and mood) to return the money for compensation.

The police and local petty politicians have first tried to bribe them, but when it did not work, they started using goons and threatened the farmers with dire consequences. The farmers have maintained that the lands are fertile and they don’t want anything but the project scrapped. But living under constant threat has taken a toll on them, as they are often afraid of cultivating the fields fearing attacks.

Despite Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s promises that all the charges against the farmers will be withdrawn, no such action has been taken.

As a footnote, it must be pointed out that the patriarchal mindset of the people have come out, ironically through these protests. Check out this photo and you will know what is being meant:

Women in Karchanna Protest

Women in Karchanna Protest
Photo Courtesy: Brijesh Jaiswal / The Hindu

Not only that, one of the reasons the farmers did not want to give away land included their worries over not being able to give land as dowry!

This is indeed the dilemma in India, where the capitalist structure is in a comfortable co-existence with feudal values.

 

Uttar Pradesh IAS officer faces arrest in NRHM scam


, TNN | Mar 30, 2013, 01.23 AM IST

LUCKNOW: Senior IAS officer Pradeep Shukla faces arrest as a CBI court in Ghaziabad on Thursday dismissed his appeal against a non-bailable arrest warrant issued against him in connection with his alleged role in the Rs 5,700-crore National Rural Health Mission (NHRM) scam.

The politically influential bureaucrat, who would have to appear before the court on April 5, had moved an application before the court through his counsel seeking to quash the warrant issued on March 22 on medical grounds.

Special CBI additional district judge Shyam Lal had issued the warrant after Shukla failed to appear before the court till March 19. The Allahabad high court had set the deadline for him to appear before the CBI court a month earlier.

The high court directives came after it dismissed Shukla’s petition challenging a chargesheet filed against him before the special CBI court in Ghaziabad, saying it was filed on the basis of the statements of his co-accused. He had pleaded for the quashing of the chargesheet as statements of the co-accused were not admissible under the Evidence Act.

The CBI opposed the petition, insisting the statements of the co-accused could not be ignored as they were involved as agents. It sought the petition’s rejection, saying the statements of the agents “cannot be overlooked”, as they are admissible evidence.

The agency had arrested Shukla in May 2012 for his alleged role in the scam after the Allahabad high court admonished the agency “for not touching the big guns” named in the scam.

He was granted bail three months later after the CBI failed to submit a chargesheet against him.

A 1981 batch officer, Shukla was principal secretary, health and family welfare, and NRHM director between 2009 and 2011 when the scam took place. He is accused of bungling upgradation of 89 district hospitals, causing a loss of over Rs 18 crore to the exchequer.

Shukla was a powerful bureaucrat during previous CM Mayawati’s government.

Senior minister in CM Akhilesh Yadav‘s cabinet Shiv Pal Yadav had met Shukla in Jail in July 2012. Shukla’s wife, also an IAS officer, comes from a politically influential family.

The scam came to light after the murder of two chief medical officers in Lucknow.

The CBI had arrested former family welfare minister Babu Singh Kushwaha in the same case. He had accused Shukla of signing forged documents to make fictitious payments.

 

Spew venom and enjoy life: Who scripted Mr Varun Gandhi’s release?


MARCH 7, 2013

by , kafila.org

English: Mr. Feroze Varun Gandhi

“This is not a hand (Congress symbol), it is the power of the lotus (BJP symbol). It will cut the head of… Jai Shri Ram,” a PTI report quoted Varun Gandhi (29) as telling an election meeting in Pilibhit, his attack directed at the Muslims. At another meeting, the PTI report said, he said: “If anyone raises a finger towards Hindus or if someone thinks that Hindus are weak and leaderless, if someone thinks that these leaders lick our boots for votes, if anyone raises a finger towards Hindus, then I swear on Gita that I will cut that hand.”

(Varun Gandhi’s hate-Muslim speech makes his BJP squirm; Express News Service: Lucknow, Tue Mar 17 2009)

Mr Varun Gandhi, BJP M.P. was all smiles when he emerged from the courts which had acquitted him in the second hate speech case. Expressing confidence in the Indian Constitution and India’s Legal System he said ‘truth has prevailed’. Only a few days ago another court in UP had acquitted him of the first hate speech case. It may be added that when extracts of the speeches he had allegedly delivered during election campaign in 2009 had appeared in a section of the press, the then Mayawati government had promptly filed cases against him and ordered his arrest and had to spend some time behind bars before bail was ultimately granted to him then.

It is interesting to recall how BJP, had then reacted to his alleged hatespeeches. Officially it was stated then that the BJP party squirmed  when his controversial speeches had made headlines, with one of its spokesperson claiming that Varun’s outburst “did not reflect BJP’s traditional culture”. It it was a different matter that the then party president Mr Rajnath Singh had gone to visit him in jail supposedly to show solidarity.

Coming back to the case and looking at the legal proceedings, one finds that there are many gaps, which have allowed this acquittal to happen. In fact, the role of the Akhilesh Yadav led government in the whole case has also come under scanner. Few months back  newspapers carried out a report wherein it was mentioned that Akhilesh led government was contemplating withdrawal of cases against the young M.P.  As this report – which was never confirmed nor rejected – raised an uproar in the state, no formal withdrawal of cases was done. A fact which has been noted by activists is that once it was known that state government was not keen to follow the case witnesses started turning hostile..

Another point concerns the issue of voice sample.  The forensic report had stated that unless and until they get a voice sample they would not be able to confirm it whether the said speeches were made by Mr Varun or not. It is really surprising that despite repeated instructions by the honourable court Mr Gandhi had not agreed to submit his voice sample to the police which would have validated the prosecution’s charge against him. According to him his speeches had been edited by local channels to make it seem like he was promoting communal hatred. Interestingly the broadcasters were unable to furnish the original, unedited footage to the police. 51 witnesses produced by the prosecution did not indict him for delivering speeches to provoke communal hatred.The same witnesses were used for the second case. The courts also did not deem it necessary to call reporters of the TV channels as well as the print media, which had carried report about the controversial speeches.

A statement issued by ‘Rihai Manch’ – A forum for the release of innocent Muslims imprisoned in the name of Terrorism’ , Lucknow, (email-rihaimanchindia@gmail.com) has thrown light on the way the witnesses in the case turned hostile – en masse. According to them it cannot be called mere coincidence that  during hearings in the said cases held on 24 th November and 29 th November, total 18 witnesses turned hostile,  The press release further underlined that when Mr Gandhi refused to give voice samples to the public prosecutor, he neither apprised the courts of Mr Gandhi’s refusal nor deemed it necessary to  emphasise the point and ensure that it was done.According to them it rather vindicates the fact that the state government was keen to release Mr Varun Gandhi and not to punish him.

‘Rihai Manch’ also questioned the role of the judiciary in the whole case. It added when advocate Asad Hayat, associated with the Manch put forward a prayer before the CJM court in Pilibhit on 25 th February that since Mr Varun Gandhi’s said speeches had hurt his religious feelings therefore the channels who had shown his speeches be called as witnesses. The petition also requested to the honourable courts to ensure Mr Varun Gandhi’s voice sample be taken and if he does not comply then consider it adverse inference in his case and declare that it was his speech only. The court did not admit the petition and because of the insistence of public prosecutor rejected it on 27 th February.

Mr Asad Hayat then put a revision application in the highcourt and also petitioned the CJM’s court a second time that since an application is pending before the highcourt in connection with rejection of his case on 27 th February, it is requested that the CJM’s court does not decide on the matter till the highcourt gives its decision. Here also because of the resistance put forward by the public prosecutor, the CJM court rejected his application on 4 th March and finally gave its verdict on 5 th March.

One does not know what will happen next. With more than eleven communal riots in a period of less than a year, under a government which has received fullsome support from the minorities, Akhilesh Yadav led government has exhibited its ineptness in handling communal elements. If justice is to be done in the hatespeech case it is incumbent that the state government challenge this decision by moving a fresh application in the high courts. Looking at the fact that there is a world of difference between what the Samajwadi Party claims and does, the possibility seems really dim.

 

Torture in judicial custody: Terror accused seeks permission for suicide



By Abu Zafar 10/3/12,http://www.newzfirst.com

NEW DELHI – Accusing jail authorities of committing gross violation of human rights, a terror accused jailed in a Uttar Pradesh prison has written a letter to his counsel saying that he has no option other than committing suicide.

A Unani Doctor Tarique Qasmi, who has been jailed in Lucknow prison for his alleged involvement in court blasts at Lucknow and Faizabad, in a letter written to his counsel expounded that how terror accused are being subjected to torture and humiliations.

“There are much of humiliations, cruelty and biasness against us; and we don’t find any other option than committing suicide.” the letter reads.

“The inmates are suffering from various diseases like sightlessness, due to prolonged lock-up inside the cell.” he continues.

“Not a single magistrate or senior officer has visited us since last six months. They (jail officials) have fear that we would complain against them. Even our application not being transferred to senior officials.” he said.

“Many of us are extremely frustrated by officials’ non- adherence to jail manuals. Some of us are even asking permission to commit suicide as we are deprived of basic human rights.” Qasmi writes.

Petition filed:

Qasmi’s lawyer Mohamad Shoeb told Newzfirst that he has approached the political leadership and Muslim clerics over the issue; a petition also has been filed in the District Court of Lucknow on 28 September in this regard.

Abdul Hameed Nomani, secretary, Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind said that his organization is looking for more details on the issue. However he discouraged the idea of committing suicide as it goes against basic tenets of Islam.

“They can protest through democratic means like hunger strike; Islam doesn’t allow suicide at any cost.” Nomani told Newzfirst.

Controversial arrests:

Though the Special Task Force (STF) of Uttar Pradesh arrested Tarique Qasmi on 12 December 2007 from Azamgarh, his arrest was shown after 10 days from the Barabanki Railway Station.

Later the Police had claimed that it arrested the suspects -Tarique Qasmi and Khalid Mujahid – for their alleged involvement in the blasts at Faizabad and Lucknow courts on 23 November 2007 wherein several people had lost the lives. Police also alleged them of being members of a terror organization HUJI.

Inquiry Commission:

Following the massive protests by the people of Uttar Pradesh against the duo, the then Mayawati government had formed a Commission to probe the arrests.

Though the Commission has submitted its report to the Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on 3 September 2012, the Government has not yet made the findings public.

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