#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.)

 

Anti-Areva Protest: Letter to French and European Bankers from Fishermen and Farmers of Jaitapur


02 June 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To,

The Presidents / Chief Executive Officers,

The French and European Bankers,

 

SUBJECT:- FINANCING OF PROPOSED JAITAPUR NUCLEAR POWER PROJECT.

 

Dear Sir / Madam,

 

We the people of Jaitapur, Madban, Sakhari Nate, Mithgavane, Niveli, Karel and all the surrounding villages situated near proposed JAITAPUR Nuclear Power Project, are writing to you with a deep sense of anguish and disgust about the scheduled development taking place in the city of Paris on 5 th and 6 th June between Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) acting through Government of India, French Company AREVA and various French as well as European Bankers.

 

We, the thousands of Fishermen, Farmers as well as common inhabitants of Jaitapur and surrounding areas, are given to know that NPCIL and Government of India officials are going to negotiate with French as well as European Bankers the loan terms for financing the proposed JAITAPUR NUCLEAR POWER PROJECT.

 

We further understand that, to allay and assuage the serious concerns of Bankers as well as French Company AREVA about our staunch and fierce opposition to the proposed JAITAPUR NUCLEAR POWER PROJECT, Nuclear Power Corporation of India (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, in order to make you agreeable and secure loan finance for this mega disaster project.

 

To put the ground realities and facts in clear perspective, we, the fishermen and farmers of Jaitapur and adjoining areas, want to make it very very clear that our die hard opposition to Proposed JAITAPUR NUCLEAR POWER PROJECT is total, fierce and will not be subdued by any means or ways possible. In fact it is gaining momentum every passing day and is extending to larger and wider areas of Coastal Maharashtra, famously known as KOKAN.

 

In view of all above, we urge upon you not to buckle to the cheap tactics of NPCIL as well as Government of India and extend any loan to this ill fated Nuclear Project, which is sure to be scrapped sooner or later and you will end up not only loosing your money but your face too.

 

We will never ever allow anybody to contaminate our ancestral land, seas, marine as well as land environment of this konkan coast with NUCLEAR ENERGY and it’s dangerous fallout of ionizing RADIOACTIVITY at any cost and to achieve this objective, we are prepared to embrace even death if the situation so warrants.

 

Hope propriety prevails in your decision making and you desist from making money over our deaths.

 

                              

Yours Truly

                  Fishermen, Farmers and inhabitants of Jaitapur and vicinity

 

 

 

P J Kurien , rape accused a speaker in Women Deliver Conference, Feminists Protest #Vaw #WD2013


By- Rukmini Sen, at http://hillele.org/

In a letter to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi, Feminists and women activists accross India have expressed their shock that PJ Kurien has been invited as a lead speaker to the third Global Women Deliver Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from May 28- May 30th 2013. Rajya Sabha Deputy Speaker P J Kurien is an accused in the Suryanelli Rape Case and GWD Conference is one of the largest global event of the decade to focus on the health and empowerment of girls and women.

In this letter written and signed by some senior feminists of the country it is stated that “In 1996, in the state of Kerala, a 16-year-old girl was abducted and brutally gang-raped by 42 men over a 40 day period. She was tied up, and transported place to place throughout the state, and raped by various men at various points. When she was finally dumped by the rapists and taken to the hospital the doctors said her groin and private areas were so savaged, and she had bled so much that a few more days and she would be dead!”. The victim, however, found courage and named and identified her rapists. One of them was P J Kurien, who she recognized and identified from a photograph. On September 06, 2000, a special court had found 35 of the men involved guilty and sentenced them to rigorous imprisonment for varying terms.

The Kerala High Court, however overturned this ruling. It acquitted all 35 convicted rapists and found only one of them guilty of crimes related to the sex trade and sentenced him to a 5- year jail term and a fine of Rs 50,000. “The reason for the acquittal was political pull, especially that of P.J. Kurien, who was a Union Minister and a member of the ruling Congress party”.

In fact, even the witness on whose statement Kurien was later acquitted, has recently admitted that he had actually testified to seeing Kurien in the guest house, around the time the victim was raped there. According to him, the police officer in charge had changed his statement to protect Kurien, with bribes having been given to buy his silence! Furthermore, the only man convicted in the case has also testified that Kurien was in the
guest house at the time of the rape. The testimony comes in spite of pressure being applied by the investigating officer on people not to testify against Kurien! Despite this, the government has refused to remove Kurien from office and re-try his case with the new evidence emerging against him.

Meanwhile, the rape survivor and her family have had to move houses constantly, and continue to be ostracized by society, while facing harassment from various quarters. The harassment increased because the survivor refused to retract Kurien’s name from the list of men who had raped her!

The video top is to understand how the rape survivor and her family have been further victimized over the years

The Feminist groups across the country have condemned the Government of India’s decision to permit PJ Kurien who is a rape accused to leave the country when there is a case against him in order to represent the Indian government at an international conference which is focused on women and girls health issues.

Feminist groups across the country have demanded that Women Deliver should not allow P J Kurien to speak or participate in any of the meetings or platform in the conference. Some of the leading feminists of the country have expressed surprise that “they do not check the credentials of dignitaries invited on a such a prestigious International Forum on the issues of Womens Health”. Women activists of the country have insisted that for future the conference organisers should check if delegates have a background in the subject matter of the conference, in the course of which they would also discover their misdeeds.

Feminists across the country have demanded that Kurien immediately vacates his position of Chairman of Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and development

They have further demanded UNFPA which has sessions wherein ministers, parliamentarians and senior government officials will be speaking on women’s reproductive health and how they can be

LINK TO PETITION HERE- https://kractivist.wordpress.com/petition-stop-p-j-kurien-rape-accused-in-women-deliver-conference-wd2013-wdlive/

Pakistan releases 45 Indian fishermen as a goodwill gesture #goodnews


Press Trust of India | Posted on May 25, 2013

Islamabad: Pakistan on Saturday released 45 Indian prisoners as a gesture of goodwill though confusion surrounded the move as Indian authorities in Islamabad were not informed about it.

“We have freed 45 Indian prisoners and they will be repatriated via Wagah tomorrow,” Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani told a news briefing at the Foreign Office.

The prisoners, most of them fishermen, were freed from a jail in Karachi and put on a bus to take them to the eastern city of Lahore.

Pakistan releases 45 Indian fishermenThere are currently 482 Indian prisoners in Pakistani jails while 496 Pakistanis are in Indian jails.

However, official sources said Pakistani authorities had not formally informed the Indian High Commission about their release till this afternoon.

The verification of the identity of several of the fishermen had not been completed while others had not completed their jail terms, the sources told PTI. Several formalities have to be completed before the fishermen can be allowed to cross over to India via the Wagah land border crossing tomorrow, the sources said.

Footage on television showed the fishermen coming out of Malir Jail in Karachi and boarding the bus. On May 7, caretaker Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso announced that Pakistan would release 51 Indian fishermen who had completed their jail terms.

The figure was subsequently revised to 49 and later, 45 prisoners were freed. India and Pakistan frequently arrest fishermen for illegally crossing the maritime boundary.

There are currently 482 Indian prisoners in Pakistani jails while 496 Pakistanis are in Indian jails. When Khoso announced the release of the Indian fishermen, he expressed the hope that the Indian government would reciprocate by freeing Pakistani prisoners.

The move to release the prisoners came after Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh died in Lahore on May 2 following a brutal assault within Kot Lakhpat Jail.

Following his death, Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah Ranjay was assaulted in a jail in Jammu and died later in a hospital in Chandigarh.

PRESS RELEASE -#Aadhaar number not compulsory for online application of scholarship for minority students #GOODNEWS


200 px

 Aadhaar number was compulsory for online application of scholarships to minority students.
 Hon Minister of minority affairs K. Rehman Khan in resposne to the representation by Jan Adhikar manch to the   Hon Ministry of minority affairs, The ministry of minority affairs was pleased to accept the representation and informed that Aadhar card is not compulsory for online application of merit cum means based and post metric scholarships given by the central government to the children of minority communities.
This is a glorious victory of the Jan Adhikar Manch, beneficial to the students off minority communities all over India.
Mujahid nafees
Coordinator
Jan Adhikar Manch
09328416230
The official letter

PRESS RELEASE- Denial of Bail of Madhuri JADS #Vaw #Tribalrights


माधुरी बहन द्वारा जमानत न लेने का असाधरण निर्णय।पुलिस की त्रुटिपूर्ण खात्मा रिपोर्ट का गांधीवादी प्रतिकार

बडवानी 16 मई

आदिवासी बहुल बडवानी जिले में स्वास्थ कार्यकर्ताओं पर दमन का सिलसिला बदस्तूर जारी है। आज एक नाटकीय घटना क्रम में जागृत आदिवासी दलित संगठन की प्रमुख कार्यकर्ता माधुरी बहन ने, सन 2008 में दर्ज एक मामलें में जमानत लेने से इनकार कर दिया।उन्होंने बडवानी के मुख्य न्यायिक मजिस्ट्रेट की अदालत में महात्मा गाँधी के चित्र को नमन करते हुए मजिस्ट्रेट से कहा कि “महात्मा गाँधी ने कहा था कि गुलाम देश के स्वतंत्र नागरिक की जगह जेल ही है, अतः वे भी उनके इस वाक्य का पालन करते हुए, बजाय जमानत लेने के, जेल जाने का चुनाव कर रही हैं।इस पर उन्हें ३ मई तक खरगोन जेल भेज दिया गया।ज्ञातव्य है की बडवानी में महिला जेल नहीं है

गौर तलब है कि आज नवम्बर 2008 में जिले के मेनिमाई प्राथमिक स्वास्थ केंद्र में ग्राम सुखपुरी की बानिया बाई पति इडिया से सम्बंधित मामले की सुनवाई थी। .इसमें आंदलन के कार्यकर्ताओं पर शासकीय कार्य में बाधा डालने का आरोप लगाया गया था।इस मामले में बानिया बाई अपने सास-ससुर के साथ प्रसव हेतु बैलगाड़ी से मेनिमाई आई थी। वहाँ पर डॉक्टर उपलब्ध नहीं था।पर कम्पाउनडर ने बजाय उन्हें बडवानी या अन्यत्र पहुंचाने के बजाय स्वास्थ केंद्र से बाहर निकाल दिया। महिला घुटने के बल चलती हुई चौराहे तक आई और वहाँ उनके ससुर ने अपनी धोती उतार कर आड़ कर के उसका प्रसव कराया था।इस दौरान महिला का पति साथ में नहीं था। माधुरी बहन और उनके साथी वहाँ से गुजर रहे थें।उन्होंने एम्बुलेन्स बुलाई एवं महिला को अस्पताल भिजवाया। लेकिन कम्पाउनडर ने शासकीय कार्य में बाधा डालने की पुलिस रिपोर्ट कर दी।

आज पुलिस ने न्यायालय में उक्त प्रकरण में खात्मा रिपोर्ट प्रस्तुत की थी। लेकिन मजिस्ट्रेट ने इसे त्रुटिपूर्ण माना एवं जिला पुलिस अधीछक के खिलाफ कड़ी टिप्पणी भी की। .यह भी महत्वपूर्ण है कि कल ही मध्य प्रदेश ऊँच न्यायालय के इंदौर खंड पीठ ने माधुरी बहन और एवं संगठन द्वारा जिले की स्वास्थ स्थिति का वर्णन करने के बाद माननीय न्यायमूर्ति ने भी शाषन के खिलाफ तल्ख़ टिप्पणियाँ की थी

बडवानी जिले में प्रति माह २ से ३ महिलाओं की मृत्यु जिला अस्पताल में हो जाती है। साथ ही जिले की स्वास्थ स्थिति ने राष्ट्रीय ग्रामीण स्वास्थ मिशन की पोल खोल दी है।बडवानी के अनेक संगठनों ने पुलिस व प्रशाशन के इस इस मिली भगत की आलोचना की है तथा खात्मा रिपोर्ट की त्रुटियाँ समाप्त कर उसे तुरंत न्यायालय में प्रस्तुत करने को कहा है।

हरसिंह जमरे

जागृत आदिवासी दलित संगठन बडवानी

press note regarding Madhuri Behan's denial for bail

 

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Madhuri from Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sanghathan Arrested #Stateoppression #Vaw #Tribalrights


– Anubha Rastogi

Madhuri from Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sanghatan has been arrested today afternoon in a case that was filed against her and others as a result of protests for forcing a pregnant woman i.e. Baniya Bai who was in a critical condition and was in labour to deliver in full public view just outside the Menimata PHC.
The case was filed against Madhuri, Baniya Bai’s Husband, Basant and others by the compounder and was registered as FIR No 93 of 2008. Madhuri and others had received a court notice to appear in the Court of Shri D.P. Singh Sewach, JMFC on 16th May. Madhuri appeared and was informed that the police had filed a closure report (khatma) but had not stated clear reasons for the closure and therefore the report was refused. Madhuri was arrested from the court complex. She has been remanded in JC till 30th May 2013 and will be placed in Khargone women’s Jail.
This case of baniya Bai is also part of the writ petition filed in the High Court Of MP, Indore Bench in which the status of maternal health services was raised in light of 29 maternal deaths recorded in a span of 9 months in barwani DH.
Details of the case are as follows:
 
A ST resident of of village Sukhpuri, Barwani. Baniya Bai was taken to the Menimata PHC for delivery by her father-in-law, Dalsingh, on the night of 11 November 2008.  They made the 15 km journey on a bullock cart because no other transport was available.  After admitting and taking a cursory look at her, the compounder, V.K. Chauhan, and nurse, Nirmala, left the PHC and went home.  
 
The next morning, Baniya was forced by the compounder and the nurse to leave the hospital.  Her family was asked for Rs. 100, which they did not have and so Dalsing immediately went to get money from their village.  Despite attempts to re-admit Baniya Bai to the PHC, the compounder flatly refused saying that they could not manage the delivery so she would have to go to Barwani DH or Silawad Hospital. 
 
Baniya’s relatives tried to get the Menimata hospital compounder, nurse and staff to call for the Janani Express, but were unsuccessful. The family was told to make its own arrangements to refer to a higher hospital.  When forced to leave the PHC Baniya Bai crawled out of the labour room, on to the road outside the PHC, where she lay down in severe pain.  
 
Eventually, Baniya’s mother-in-law, Suvali Bai, went looking for a Dai in the marketplace and found Jambai Nana, who had come to market collect her wages. After hearing about Baniya Bai’s situation, Jambai agreed to assist her, and at around 12PM, conducted a normal delivery on the road outside the hospital. The father-in-law gave his dhoti (loin cloth) to provide cover for Baniya Bai during delivery. Following this incident, a crowd gathered outside the health centre. 
 
Madhuri was passing by, inquired about what was happening. She then called up the Silawad CHC, the Silawad Police Station as well as health officials from Barwani. Upon being informed, senior officials from the health department ordered for a vehicle to be sent immediately to the Menimata PHC. After being denied emergency obstetric care and being forced to deliver in public view, Baniya Bai’s and her child were taken to the Silawad Hospital for admission. The compounder was suspended after repeated demands for action from JADS, but was soon reinstated.

 

PRESS RELEASE – Fact Finding Report- Scrap Posco Project


We are surprised to see the Supreme Court judgment on mining lease allotment to controversial POSCO Company which has made our lives miserable. At least after the welcome judgment on Niyamgiri where the Gram Sabhas have been given the authority to decide what constitutes their rights, the natives of Khadadhar area should have asked also to decide in Gram Sabha whether such a mining was needed or not. Now asking the central government to take crucial decisions will inevitably harm the interests of Tribals protected under FRA 2006 as the central government is more than favourably disposed towards POSCO. We too strongly feel that our Gram Sabhas views so clearly and so categorically resolved on October 18, 2012 must also be considered while deciding the fate of mining involving POSCO.

The peaceful demonstration is continuing at Govindpur Village against the trench cutting work for boundary wall construction for POSCO. Today more than eight hundred villagers have assembled at the site to peacefully oppose the construction work.

On 9th May 2013, with the help of eight platoons of police forces, the Jagatsinghpur administration along with IDCO and POSCO officials started the trench cutting work for boundary wall construction for POSCO. The district administration indiscriminately axed fruit bearing trees. This shows how the police and the District Collector and the Superintendent of Police in Jagatsinghpur district, Odisha, are colluding with each other to supress our opinion and to serve the interest of POSCO Company with utter disregard for the verdict of National Green Tribunal (NGT).

Our villagers held demonstrations and raised slogans against the illegal constriction of boundary wall. This is a violation of the direction passed by National green Tribunal on 31sr 2013. As a result, the police went back.

Meanwhile a seven-member-team comprising representatives of two human rights organisations made a visit to our area and released a report. The group demanded scraping of the Posco project as it was being set up in violation of guidelines laid down in the industrial policy document of the Union government.
Report is below-
DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS FORUM (DRF)

ORGANISATION FOR PROTECTION OF DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS (OPDR)

Posco Issue – A Preliminary Report by DRF & OPDR Team

A 7 member team of two human rights organisations – Orgainisation for Protection of Democratic Rights (Andhra Pradesh) and Democratic Rights Forum is in Odisha on 4,5,6 May 2013 to look into “POSCO problem”. The immediate context of the team’s visit is opening an armed Police Camp at Village Gobindapur and the subsequent reported repression.

The Team met representatives of PPSS, CPI(ML), CPI, SUCI(C) at Bhubaneswar on May 4. The team visited the villages Dhinkia, Gobindapur, Patana, Nuagaon and Gada Kujanga on 5th. The team intereacted with scores of people in those villages, especially in Dhinkia and Gobindapur. The Team had a long talk with Mr Abhoya Sahu, the President and Sisir Mahapatra, the General Secretary of “Posco Prathirodh Samgram Samithi” (PPSS) at Dhinkia village.

We have gone through various documents like i) MOUs between POSCO and Govt. of Odisha in the year 2005, ii) Forest Rights Act, 2005, iii) Judgement of Supreme Court of India CLIA 2134 OF 2007, IV) N.C.Saxena Committee Report, v) Meena Gupta Committee Report and vi) Ray Paul Committee report.

The team members observed the area is rich with Betel vine orchids, Casuarina Plantations, live paddy fields, big and small fish ponds and many water resources, domestic backyard vegetable plots, mango trees, coconut trees, etc. We rarely found poverty stricken people in the area. It is like Nandigram of West Bengal and Kakinara coast belt of A.P.

We are informed the daily wages of agriculture labour varies between Rs.200/- and 350/- per day depending upon the nature of work and the season. It is heartening to learn that the area provides work to thousands of migrant labour from far away districts like Mayurbhanj, Keojhar $ Ganjam of Odisha in paddy fields. So the economic position of the villages in which POSCO Project is proposed to be established is bountiful and all sections of people were leading a peaceful and happy life until the Salvo of POSCO is fired upon them jointly by the Government of India and Govt. of Odisha in 2005.

For the last eight years the people are restless and passing through many sleepless nights and faced severe repression and four persons paid with their dear lives. Our team visited the house of Manas Jena, a martyr of 2 March 2013 bomb blast. This family is the worst affected in 8 years long anti-posco movement Kalandi Jana, father of Manas loosing his right leg in a bomb attack by goons of POSCO, the wife of the later committing suicide and sister of martyr Manas Jana, Kuni going through severe mental depression. According to Prashant Paikray, the spokesperson of PPSS at Bhubaneswar, around 200 cases are filed against 2000 people of the anti POSCO movement.

Issues Involved :

i) The biggest issue involved, we consider, is the life and living of the pople which given top most priority in the two most crucial chapters of Constitution of India, Directive principles and Fundamental Rights.

The argument that the Directive Principles are not maintainable in a Court of Law may be anything but spacious and many a judgements of the highest Court of India testified it. But it is painful to know that none of the Committees appointed by Government of India to study POSCO related problems have not properly investigated and reported keeping in view the Directive Principles.

ii) To whom the land belongs? Much hair-split is being done by various wings of the State including higher courts. The issue is whether the land belongs to the people or Government (s). We heard from Abhay Sahu, Leader of PPSS, the Govt of Odisha did lot of hair-split and now arguing that because the land under dispute is not a forest land between 1962-65(sic) and is saying the Forest Rights Act, 2008 does not apply. We consider this is ridiculous. It is against the reports of various committees appointed by the Central Govt. also. Who existed first on earth? People or Governemnt (s)? Every sane person agree it is People.

iii) Norms of Industrialisation : The paper of Government of India on Industrialisation unambiguously states that the land under cultivation should not be diverted to industrialisation. Everyone including the entire machinery of the state knew that 99% of the land under the three Gram Panchayats is under intensive cultivation. So the law maker has become the law breaker and hence Govt. has no locus-standi to govern. People are totally justified of their revolt from ethical, judicial as well as from Bharatiya ethos stand point of view.

Present situation :

i) In the villages the team toured, we do not come across a single person who is a votary of POSCO. In Govindapur village, the people who were pro-posco and neutral joined anti posco movement very recently and the whole village unitedly demonstrated against posco and police camp on 3 March 2013. They say the experience of the people displaced by the neighbouring oil refinery shows that if POSCO become a reality, they either become beggars in various towns of the State or go away to unknown places as migrant labour in search of work. The people say neither of the two options is acceptable.

ii) State Government established an armed Police Camp of about 10 battalions in Gobindpur Village. The police regularly patrol all the villages and threatening the people not to even sit together. The people, rightfully content, the very presence of the camp is an intereference in their otherwise peaceful way of life. They rightfully demand the immediate withdrawal of Police Camp.

Perceptions of the people about the rulers :

The perception of the whole people of the area about the Governments at the State and Centre is mirrored in the words of Chandan Mohanty, one of the evictee from his land and living in the POSCO transit camp at Badagabapur village for the last six years – “POSCO is like East India Company. There is neither a State Government nor a Central Government. POSCO is the real ruler. The Indian and Odisha Governments are mere agents of POSCO.”

Appeal of the POSCO affected villages :

Now, the trio of Government of India, Govt. of Odisha and POSCO are held bent upon establishing the project at the declared place and hence once again unleashing terror against US. A very strong statewide solidarity movement is the need of the hour. Please save us and thus save the whole people of Odisha wherein the Governments are resorting to destructive industrialisation including wreck-less mining of various minerals and diverting of huge amount of water for those purposes.

DEMANDS OF THE FACT FINDING TEAM :

We demand the State Government :

i) Immediately withdraw the police camp from the village Gobindapur which is disturbing the very peaceful way of life of the people of the 8 villages.

ii) Unconditionally withdraw all the cases filed against the people and leaders who resisted the forceful act of State in favour of POSCO. Identify the agent provocateurs of the POSCO Company, arrest and prosecute. Identify the erring officials and prosecute.

iii) Pay proper compensation to the bereaved families of those people killed in bomb blasts.

iv) Constitute a comprehensive enquiry commission, consisting eminent persons from different walks of life like eminent personalities from socio-cultural field, human rights campaigners and Bar & Bench to investigate into all aspects of the issue.

v) Withdraw the suspension of the Post Master of Dhinkia Post Office, Mr Babaji Samantaray immediately and restore postal communication to Dhinkia, Govindapur, Patana etc which is an established legal and constitutional right.

vi) Repair the road to Dhinkia via Trilochanapur and via Balitutha immediately which has become unnavigable.

vii) Scrap POSCO project because it is the violation of guidelines laid down in the industrial policy document of Government of India on against established well meaning interest of the people.

An Another Human Tragedy Crying For Solution :-

52 families of village Patana under Dhinkia Panchayat were allegedly attacked by the people of other villages immediately after Panchayat elections, 2007. The victims had approached the District Administration for protection and resolution of the dispute. Instead, the administration shifted them to a place adjacent to the village Badagabapur. These people hoped that the administration would send them back safe to their natural habitat, after few days. To their utter shock and agony, the district as well as the State Administration, in spite of repeated appeals, turned a blind eye, they complained to the visiting team. In one hour non-stop narration to the team, these people detailed their distress and difficulties at the transit camp. They stated in a single voice that they oppose POSCO in to-to. They want to go back to their own houses in Patana to live with honour and dignity. They appeal to all the democratic forces of the State to help them in this regard.

The fact finding team fully appreciate their position and a just demand and appeal to all the pro people political forces of the State to intervene in the matter and to hammer out an amicable and honourable solution.

The members of the Team are :

1. C Bhaskar Rao, General Secretary, OPDR, AP, Mob: 08121743800

2. Ch Sudhakar Rao, President, OPDR, AP

3. Ravi Palur, DRF, WB, Mob: 09433031311

4. Sunil Pal, DRF, WB

5. Sankar Das, TUCI

6. Adv Bibek Ranjan, DRF, Odisha, Mob: 9437215625

7. Pramila, AIRWO

 

Posco project: Odisha to complete acquisition of 700 acres in a week


Business Standard
Jayajit Dash  |  Bhubaneswar 
 May 9, 2013 Last Updated at 17:53 IST

The state government has already acquired 2,000 acres of land for the Posco project

posco1

Moving ahead in its land acquisition spree for the Posco project, the Jagatsinghpur district administration aims to complete acquisition of 700 acres of land for the mega steel project in a week.

The state government has already acquired 2,000 acres of land for the Posco project. In the current phase of land procurement, an additional 700 acres were to be acquired.

This is necessary since Posco India had sought at least 2,700 acres of land to commence construction activity on an eight million tonne per annum (mtpa) steel mill in the first phase.

The proponent would later ramp up output to full scale 12 mtpa on receipt of its full land requirement of 4,004 acres.

“We expect to complete acquisition of 700 acres of land for the Posco project in a week. Close to 600 acres have already been acquired. Trenching work for boundary wall construction is also going on at Gobindpur”, sad Jagatsinghpur collector Satya Kumar Mallick.

Asked if protests at the project site would impede land acquisition, “The protests would not impact land acquisition activity since we hope to resolve all issues amicably through discussions.”’

Recently, the land acquisition drive for the Posco project had suffered a setback when villagers opposed the process, alleging massive irregularities in measurement of vines.

The affected people also objected to starting trench cutting necessary for commencement of boundary wall construction for the steel project.

The pro-Posco villagers alleged that the company authorities and officials of Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Idco) have started trench cutting process for erection of boundary wall for the project without finalizing compensation, fixation of land rate, job opportunities, identification of betel vine labourers and other issues.

In a recent status note prepared on the Posco project, the state government said it has already handed over 546 acres to Posco India. An additional 1554 acres were ready to be handed over to the company.

Posco India needed 4004 acres of land in all. The land was to be acquired in eight villages- Nuagaon, Dhinkia, Noliasahi, Gobindpur, Polang, Bayanalkandha, Bhuyanpal and Jatadhar.

The state government admitted that law and order problems at the project site and delay in obtaining approval of forest diversion from the Union ministry of environment & forest (MoEF) impeded progress in project implementation.

While according approval of forest diversion for 2959 acres of forest land, MoEF did not appreciate the swapping clause of the original MoU (memorandum of understanding) signed with the steel major that expired in June 2010.

 

India Child Soldiers: Thousands recruited, Government defends the records of the terror groups


Asian Centre for Human Rights
(ACHR has Special Consultative Status with the UN ECOSOC)
C-3/441-C, Janakpuri, New Delhi-110058, India
Phone: +91-11-25620583, 25503624
Email: suhaschakma@achrweb.org; Website: www.achrweb.org;  Twitter: www.twitter.com/ACHRIndia

09 May 2013

PRESS RELEASE

 

Thousands recruited as child soldiers, India defends the records of the terror groups before the UN Child Rights Committee

New Delhi:  Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) today released its report, “India’s Child Soldiers” (http://achrweb.org/reports/india/JJ-IndiasChildSoldiers2013.pdf), the first ever comprehensive study on the subject in India, and accused the Government of India of defending the records of the armed opposition groups, officially designated as terrorist groups, on the recruitment of child soldiers before the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. India in its first report on the implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict to the UN Committee in 2011 stated that there is no recruitment of child soldiers including by the armed groups in India. The first periodic report of India (http://wcd.nic.in/crc3n4/crc3n4_2r.pdf) will come for preliminary examination by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child during its 66th pre-sessional working group to be held in Geneva from 7-11 October 2013 while NGOs are required to submit their reports by 1 July 2013 (http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/crcwg66.htm). ACHR submitted its report today to the UN CRC Committee.

 

“The recruitment of child soldiers by the armed groups including the Naxalites is rampant and at least 3,000 children i.e. 500 in the North East and Jammu and Kashmir and about 2,500 in the Naxal affected States currently remain involved in armed conflicts. This estimate of child soldiers is conservative considering that the Maoists follow the policy of forcibly recruiting at least one cadre from each Adivasi family. ”- stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.

 

In addition to providing 11 cases of forcible recruitment of child soldiers by the armed groups, Asian Centre for Human Rights presented a number of photographs of child soldiers surrendering with their arms before then Home Minister P Chidambaram and Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi in 2011 and 2012.

 

“Regrettably,  the State Governments of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have been recruiting children below 18 years as “boy-orderlies”  under Section 60 of the Madhya Pradesh Police Regulation and deploying them for combat purposes. While hundreds of children below 18 years have been recruited as “boy orderlies” in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh over the years, the State government of Chhattisgarh on a complaint filed by Asian Centre for Human Rights before the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights admitted in June 2011 that there are approximately 300 “boy-orderlies” employed in the state police force at present and seven of them were posted with 4th Battalion of Chhattisgarh Police at Mana in Raipur. These children are not only denied the right to education but deployed with the forces who are engaged in counter insurgency.” –asserted Asian Centre for Human Rights.

 

Article 4 of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict states that armed opposition groups should not, under any circumstance, recruit or use in hostilities persons under the age of 18 years and the government shall take all feasible measures to prevent such recruitment and use, including the adoption of legal measures necessary to prohibit and criminalize such practices.

 

The Government of India, however, in its first report of 2011 stated that there is no recruitment of child soldiers by the armed groups as “India does not face either international or non-international armed conflict situations”.

 

“This position of the Government of India is not only bizarre but also a case where the Government is actually defending the records of the armed groups on recruitment of child soldiers before the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. India effectively protected the officially designated terror groups from condemnation of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child for the recruitment of child soldiers, a war crime under the international law.”- further stated Mr Chakma.

 

Asian Centre for Human Rights urged the Government of India to inquire as to why the recruitment of child soldiers by the officially designated terror groups was concealed from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and take appropriate actions against the officials who are effectively ended up whitewashing the records of the armed groups on the recruitment of child soldiers

 

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