Madhu Mausi, Namo Mamu and the Ghost of Uncle Pepper


JUNE 18, 2013
t
by , kafila.org

I’ve been thinking a lot about magic lately. The kind of magic that gets pulled at fairgrounds and birthday parties, or on stage, where the impossible is made to appear possible, where material objects dematerialize and specters appear, tantalizing us into suspending our disbelief. Some magicians, including those I would like to think of as friends, do what they can with consummate skill, so that we attain a state of wonder while they effect transformations using ordinary things for extraordinary purposes. They make us inhabit parallel universes on a table top. There is a kind of poetry and grace in that kind of magic. That is the kind of magic that makes men out of god-men, and re-affirms even a non-patriot’s faith in the ‘waters of India’.

There is another kind of magic, a bag of tricks that relies on the cheapening of our impulses, on our addictions to false premises, on our giving in to our basest instincts. And because sometimes old cliches are useful, we could call this kind black magic. The greatest practitioner of this art, at this moment, seems to me to  be none other than the man who is setting himself up as the caudillo of the future, the chief minister of Gujarat, our prime-minister in waiting, Narendrabhai Damodardas Modi. We,a stunned would be electorate, are the rabbit he is aiming to pull out of his hat.

Magic works on simple principles, sleight of hand and sleight of mind, mainly to do with the magician doing the obvious under your nose, while you are distracted by his banter. Then, your expectations are played along, your fears, anxieties and desires are manipulated so that you see what the magician wants you to see, cleverly disguising what you overlooked while he did his thing.

One of the cleverest magic tricks is called Pepper’s Ghost – a nineteenth century technique for ‘materializing’ specters and apparitions on stage. Crucially, it requires the presence of chamber hidden in darkness, where an illusion can be staged and then reflected on to a revealed chamber – the stage –  adjoining it through cleverly angled twin mirrors. Sometimes, this effect is aided by generous amounts of smoke  – thereby giving us the expression – ‘smoke and mirrors’ -as shorthand for any elaborate con job.

What I am suggesting is simply this, NaMo Mamu, together with his extensive PR machinery, of which Madhu Mausi is now an important adjunct, is conducting a large scale Pepper’s Ghost-style Psy-Ops on the Indian electorate. I like to thinks of this as the Ghost of Uncle Pepper (If Madhu Mausi and NaMo Mamu, why not Uncle Pepper?)

This is not just a matter of NaMo being spectrally present and distributed (as he likes to be, through holographic projection in many places at once) but also a matter of the deliberate sleights of hand that produce the ‘lists’ of awards, distinctions and glowing testimonies to his regime.

What it conceals is a state that under-performs on many social indicators. (This has been highlighted in Kafila earlier, so I will not detail it here) What it concerns is the fact that the Modi government spends less than Goa or Karnataks on primary education, and administers some of the lowest minimum wages for agricultural and informal labour. All this while it claims to be generating huge amounts of revenue, through increased investment. If the investment is indeed as large as the Gujarat government claims it is, then the fact that the indicators of inequality are stable or rising means that in Gujarat, increased investment has not lead to a decrease in social inequalities. Is this the model of governance that Madhu Mausi wants for the rest of the country? That the rich grow richer, at the expense of everyone else?

The truth is, NaMo at the helm of the NDA is unlikely to come close to winning an absolute majority in the elections that will be held next year. If anything the mandate will be fractured giving neither the malgoverning UPA, nor the ambitious NDA, nor anyone else anything close to a shot at power by themselves. It is then that the jockeying for the minor players and parties will begin. A large faction of Corporate India, with its suitcases full of cash, emboldened by the kind of crony capitalism (the Adani-Ambani model of Public Private Partnership) that Modi presides over in Gujarat, will then make its bid. And if Namo Mamu wins, it will be because he, will have the backers with the fatter suitcase.

In that event, we will need many justifications to rationalize the sleight of hand that will bring NaMo into power. The Pepper’s Ghost spectacle that we are witnessing today, which seek to distract our attention from the darkness in Gujarat and direct it towards the bright lights that produce NaMo’s mirrored spectre is part of that game. Madhu Mausi, the magician’s faithful aide, is playing it, to the best of her ability.

Madhu Kishwar re-iterated her case for Narendra Modi and the ‘Gujarat Model of Development’ in a lengthy rejoinder to Zahir Janmohammed, which was published in Kafila (along with a response to the rejoinder by Janmohammed) last month.

In that text, Madhu Mausi (I am calling her Mausi, because she has tweeted about being more comfortable these days with people who, following ‘Bharatiya’ tradition, apply familial suffixes to women’s names, as a mark of their respect, rather than to those she considers to be ‘inauthentic’, deracinated feminists) has offered many reasons for why she thinks that Muslims in Gujarat have now decided to root for NaMo Mamu (if Madhu is Mausi, then, in the spirit of bhaichara, NaMo – Narendra Modi – must be Mamu, must he not? ). Part of her argument rests on what she did or did not see and hear in her walks and conversations in Ahmedabad, particularly in the Muslim neighborhood of Juhapura.

Kafila has carried responses to Madhu Mausi’s defense of NaMo Mamu by Aditya Nigam and Zahir Janmohammed and Dilip D’Souza.

My purpose is not to repeat the points that have been made in these other contributions, which have all been cogently argued. I intend to focus on the fact that in her defense of NaMo Mamu and the Gujarat Model of Development in Kafila, Madhu Mausi (other than her cheerful anecdotes about young women and men having cold drinks at night on the streets of Ahmedabad, and her observations born out of her ‘unguided’ tour of Juhapura) has basically one set of facts on offer. These are a long list of 21 awards, honors and distinctions that Gujarat has been lauded with in the past few years. I became curious about this long list of awards and laurels, and decided to try and find out what makes them so persuasive as evidence for the distinctions that Madhu Mausi claims for Gujarat.

United Nations Sasakawa Award in 2003 for outstanding work in the field of disaster management and risk reduction.

Best Investment Environment and Most Economic Freedom Award by India Today in 2005.

Best Bio State Award, 2007.

Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Conservation Award 2006, by Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India.

E-governance award for the e-dhara project (aimed at computerization of land records).

CAPAM Gold Award from Commonwealth Associations for Innovation in Governance.

Asian Innovation Award in 2006 at Singapore from Wall Street Journal and the Financial Express for Chiranjeevi Yojana (initiative for reducing maternal and infant mortality rate)

India Tech Excellence Award in 2009 by India Tech Foundation for Power sector reforms and initiatives.

Nirmal Gram Award in 2010 to a village in Rajkot district in Gujarat by Government of India for sanitation facilities.

ELITEX 2007- Best E-government State Award from Government of India

Gujarat tops among 35 states of the country in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan

Gujarat ranks 1st in the country in “Implementation of the 20 Point Programme” in 2010.

UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Award in 2005 for reconstruction of a Gurudwara damaged during the earthquake.

Modi was voted No. 1 Chief Minister by the people, thrice consecutively in five years in the India Today-ORG MARG Survey (a unique recognition ever achieved by any CM in the country)

Gujarat ranks No. 1 in The Economic Freedom Index instituted by Rajiv Gandhi Foundation in 2005. However, the then Director, Bibek Debroy was forced to resign from his post because the Congress High Command got enraged at an institution presided over by the Nehru Dynasty finding anything praiseworthy in Modi’s Gujarat.

United Nation Public Service Award in 2010 for its role in transforming the delivery of public services and attention to grievances by application of technology.

Innovation for India Award in 2010 in the public services category for “Jyotigram Yojana” for power and irrigation reform. The award was instituted by the Marico Innovation Foundation.

Gujarat Power Corporation Ltd bagged an award in the category of “Best Renewable Energy Project in India and the World for 2012” for its 214 MW solar park, the largest solar farm in Asia.

Award in “Top Investment and Infrastructure Excellent State in Energy and Power” category for 5 consecutive times since 2008 when the category was first introduced.

Scope Award by Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Government of India 2008

National Award for Excellence in Cost Management in 2007 by the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India.

National Award to Power Utilities of Gujarat in 2011 by Ministry of Power, Government of India.

Award for Excellence in 2007 by Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India.

This list of 21 honors is long and impressive. Until one begins looking at them closely. And then you realize that they are the kind of awards that state government bodies get from Central Government ministries and bodies and various national and international foundations and organizations. I looked at eight of these twenty one awards and realized the following.

The United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Management and Preparedness which was won by the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority in 2003 (the GSDMA was set up by Modi’s bete-noire Keshubhai Patel during his tenure as Gujarat CM in the wake of the Bhuj earthquake) was also won, for instance, by the Bhubaneshwar Municipal Corporation in 2011. And yet, no one is plugging Naveen Patnaik for the post of prime minister.

The Nirmal Gram Puraskar (awarded to villages and settlements which eradicate open defecation by the Ministry of Sanitation of the Government of India) was awarded not as Madhu Mausi says to a village in Rajkot district in Gujarat, but  to 2808 village panchayats all over india in 2010. Of these Gujarat accounted for 189, while Maharashtra accounted for 694, Madhya Pradesh accounted for 344, Tamil Nadu accounted for 237. If one looks at a break up of Nirmal Gram Puraskars across states from 2005 – 2011, then we get 9523 NGP awards for villages in Maharashtra, 2385 awards for villages in Tamil Nadu and 2281 awards for villages in Gujarat. As of 2011, Sikkim became the first state to be free of open defecation. Himachal Pradesh and Kerala are set to follow suit in 2012-13. No one is talking about the chief ministers of Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra or Tamil Nadu as potential prime ministerial candidates.

Madhu Mausi tells us that Gujarat ranks No. 1 in the The Economic Freedom Index instituted by the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation. This index is a measure of a state government’s willingness to go down the road of neo-liberal economic policies. It is not, and cannot be considered to be an index of choice or liberty for the general population, rather, it is often a measure of how clearly allied the policies of a state are to big corporations. However, even in this instance, the distinction is not Gujarat’s alone. Tamil Nadu, for instance has been ranked as No.1, not once, but twice in the same time period, in the same index, by the same organization. And yet, Madhu Mausi thinks that it is the chief minister of Gujarat and not of Tamil Nadu who should merit our attention.

The United Nations Public Service Award has been awarded not just to the Government of Gujarat, but also to the Government of Kerala and Delhi on different occasions in recent years. But Oommen Chandy or Shiela Dikshit do not quite cut it for Madhu Mausi in the same way as NaMo Mamu does.

The Innovation for India award instituted by the Marico Foundation was given to the Government of Gujarat for its Jyoti Gram Yojana, but it had already been given earlier to the Government of Kerala for its Kudumbashree Programme, begun while the LDF under E.K. Nayanar was in power in Kerala.

Madhu Mausi tells us that Gujarat Power Corporation Ltd bagged an award in the category of “Best Renewable Energy Project in India and the World for 2012” for its 214 MW solar park, the largest solar farm in Asia. What she does not tell us is who gave the award, and perhaps why. The award is actually the ENERTIA award, given by ENERTIA a trade journal in the power sector. The journal and the award are both backed by Patel Engineering Ltd. a Mumbai based Engineering firm. In 2007-08, Patel Engineering acquired 96% stakes in Patel Energy, which then entered into an MOU with the Gujarat Power Corporation, Government of Gujarat for establishing a 1,200 MW imported coal-power based power project in Ghogha, Bhavnagar. The ENERTIA award looks more like a quid-pro-quo, by way of recognition for services rendered (apparently) in renewable energy in exchange of a generous contract in fossil fuel based non-renewable energy.

Madhu Mausi informs us that the Government of Gujarat won an Award of Excellence presented by the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India. That is true, so did many other state governments and bodies over the years. For instance, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation won it in one year. But no one now thinks of the now disgraced Yedurappa, or any other recent Karnataka Chief Minister as a potential Prime Ministerial Candidate.

I have taken just eight of the 21 ‘honors’ that Madhu Mausi lists, to demonstrate how hollow her claims are, and the information that I have found on them is readily available in the Public Domain, barely a few google-clicks away. If they are so inclined, insomniac Kafila readers can go through the remaining 13 honors to see what they are worth. Some may want to go a step further and Google some more and find out that every state wins many such awards every year. Perhaps that would give us a better indication of the distance that remains between illusion and reality when it comes to Madhu Mausi, Namo Mamu and Gujarat.

 

Narendra Modi- Can’t get away with murder #ishratjahan


June 18, 2013

Manoj Joshi, The Hindu

MISSING LINKS:Officers of forensic and intelligence agencies reconstructing the Ishrat Jahan encounter case on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. —PHOTO: PTI

MISSING LINKS:Officers of forensic and intelligence agencies reconstructing the Ishrat Jahan encounter case on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. —PHOTO: PTI

The Ishrat Jahan encounter case is like the proverbial can of worms whose contents have already spilled out. Not only has it shone the spotlight on the ruthless and, possibly, illegal manner in which the police and intelligence agencies fight terrorism, it has also exposed the Narendra Modi government’s poor record of managing the Gujarat police. And now, it has created schisms within the State police force, and between the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

At the outset, some plain facts: first, fake “encounter killings” — the term used for extrajudicial execution of criminals and alleged terrorists by the police — are not unique to Gujarat. Hundreds of them take place across the country and the policemen involved are often feted as “encounter specialists” whereas, in fact, what they specialise in is the cold-blooded and completely illegal executions of unarmed persons.

Second, there is no exemption for anyone in India’s security set-up to carry out extra-judicial executions. In other words, there is no Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) which indemnifies the State police, politicians or Central intelligence officials from killing alleged terrorists without judicial due process.

To harm Modi

Writing on his website earlier this month, the BJP leader, Arun Jaitley, reiterated the Gujarat police account that the Ishrat group was out to assassinate Mr. Modi and, based on information provided by the IB, it was intercepted and its four members killed in the encounter; after backing the State police version, the Union government changed tack and was now trying to use the case to attack the BJP.

A few “disgruntled police officials” formed the core of the CBI’s case and an effort was being made to target BJP ministers like Amit Shah and Gulab Chand Kataria of Rajasthan with the eventual aim of hitting at Mr. Modi. Now, the Union government had taken it a step further by undermining the IB in its pernicious campaign to harm Mr. Modi and the BJP.

Mr. Jaitley, also the former Union Law Minister during National Democratic Alliance rule, has not said much about the other extra-judicial killings in Gujarat. A Supreme Court mandated Special Task Force headed by a retired Justice H.S. Bedi is investigating 16 encounters that took place between 2003-2006 in Gujarat. In most of the encounters, those killed were alleged to be targeting Mr. Modi and other top BJP ministers in the State. This was the accusation against Sameer Khan Pathan, Sadiq Jamal, Mahendra Jadav, Ganesh Khunte, Sohrabuddin Sheikh, Tulsi Prajapati, Ishrat Jahan, Javed Sheikh (aka Pranesh Pillai), Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana. It is another story that most were petty criminals and there is no real evidence that they were out to kill Mr. Modi.

As for Ishrat and her companions, there is considerable mystery about their antecedents and how they came together. As Mr. Jaitley points out, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) journal, Ghazwa Times , acknowledged her as a cadre, and later withdrew its claim. News leaks claim that the LeT operative, David Coleman Headley (Daood Gilani), had told the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that Ishrat had been recruited by the LeT and that this fact had been communicated to the Indian intelligence, or the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). But there is no reference to Ishrat in the NIA’s report of Headley which was made available to the media and which did have some references to other LeT plots that Headley was aware of. There is something to the issue though since G.K. Pillai, the Union Home Secretary in 2009, acknowledged an affidavit of his ministry to the Gujarat High Court that said there was intelligence information that Ishrat and her companions were terror suspects. More recently, in 2011, Mr. Pillai had reiterated that he stood by the IB tip that linked Ishrat Jahan to an LeT module.

But whether or not Ishrat and her group were terrorists is not the issue. What the Gujarat police officials are being charged with is extra-judicial killing. There are no exemptions in the law for carrying out fake encounters even if the targets are terrorists. The IB is not exempt from the operation of the law of the land either. Mr. Jaitley, of all people, should know that only the judiciary has the right to order an execution, and, after due process.

The ugly truth is that the Gujarat government cynically used the instrument of extra-judicial executions to burnish their own anti-Muslim credentials. In the process, their police officials and, possibly, their ministers, have broken the law. The behaviour of Gujarat police officers such as D.G. Vanzara among others was perhaps most brazen because of the protection they felt that they had from the then Home minister Amit Shah, and, possibly, Mr. Modi. Murder is a very grave charge, and it is far more serious when those accused of it are officials or ministers of the government sworn to uphold the law of the land. Whether or not the police officials who have given the CBI evidence of the wrongdoings of the Gujarat police officers are disgruntled doesn’t really matter. What matters is the truth, and the legal consequences thereafter.

Then there is the issue of the IB. Whether or not Rajendra Kumar, the IB Joint Director in Gujarat, crossed a legal threshold can only be determined through further investigation, and may eventually have to be dealt with by the courts. But there has been something deeply disturbing about the manner in which India’s internal intelligence agency has worked on some terrorism cases in the past. There are several incidents — the Ansal Plaza “encounter” of 2002, or the 2006 attack on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) headquarters, to name just two — which appear to have been staged for domestic political effect, rather than any other purpose. Incidentally, one of the incidents was during the rule of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), and the other, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

Independent body

There are no independent means of verifying whether the IB stays within the red lines of the law when it gathers intelligence information or processes and forwards it to State police forces because there is no oversight mechanism to ensure that. Alone among the democracies, India keeps its intelligence agencies away from parliamentary oversight and, indeed, there is little or no internal oversight either. Likewise, short of recourse to the courts, there are no means available to the citizen to take up the issue of police excesses. The result is the persistence of a culture of impunity among the police and intelligence authorities.

Hopefully, on the issue of the Gujarat extra-judicial killings, the courts will weigh the evidence that the SIT and CBI have gathered. Those accused will have the opportunity to respond, and the courts will weigh the evidence and pronounce their verdict. But given the gravity of the charges, there must be some greater takeaway for our security set-up. First, there is the need for a mechanism to ensure that charges of police excesses are quickly investigated and dealt with. Second, terrorism or no terrorism, the intelligence agencies of the country need to function within the law, and this is not something that can be done on the basis of self-certification, but a fact established through an independent, internal inspectorate, as well as a larger parliamentary oversight system.

(Manoj Joshi is Distinguished Fellow, Observer Research Foundation and a member of the National Security Task Force 2011-2012, whose recommendations are before the Cabinet Committee on Security.)

The new twists in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case highlight the need for parliamentary oversight of intelligence agencies

 

Press Release- Around 10,000 farmers from 44 affected villages march against the Mandal-Becharaji Special Investment Region(SIR) #Gujarat


Jameen Adhikar Andolan – Gujarat (JAAG)

A-302, Sharan Residency-1, Near Lohana Chhatralaya, Vasna, Ahmedabad

Contact: Lalji Desai 9727589344 Sagar Rabari 9409307693

 

 

Date: 18th June 2013

 

PRESS NOTE

 

An organised, disciplined protest against the Mandal-Bechraji SIR

 

More than 10,000 men and women in 500 tractors, 50-60 motor cycles, 10 mini-trucks and 50 four-wheeled vehicles descend into Gandhinagar to express their anger

 

Government efforts to break the movement fail

 

The government projects on the one hand that the people are happy with the Mandal-Bechraji SIR announcement. On the other hand, the government and its representatives Ms. Anandiben Patel, Mr. Nitin Patel and Mr. Saurabh Patel, Mr. Bhupendrasinh Chudasma and the Secretary to the CM Mr. A.K. Sharma were compelled to invite representatives of the anti-SIR movement to the Circuit House in Gandhinagar on the morning of 17th June 2013. The government’s enthusiasm to meet with the representatives of the people shows that the movement is succeeding. However, the pronouncements of the government representatives signifying nothing have left the people disappointed.

 

The government also tried unsuccessfully to stall the people’s plan for a peaceful Tractor Rally to Gandhinagar on the 18th of June. Unprecedented police arrangements were made, since the night of 17th, on the entire rally route. The people were made to go from one office to another, one block to another to secure permission for the rally route. Despite all of this, the people assembled by 8 a.m. on 18th and the rally commenced from village Vithlapur at 8.30 a.m. There were 500 tractors, 50-60 motorcycles, 10 mini-trucks and 50 4-wheelers in the entire rally. On the entire rally route one could hear slogans like “Tell SIR, no Sir”, “Remove SIR, save agriculture”, “The village land belongs to the village, not to the government” and “We will give up our lives, not our land”. The government also tried to enforce a change in the rally route but seeing the turnout of the people and their anger, they let the rally pass on the pre-determined route.

 

Several state and national-level movements and organisations have lent their support and solidarity to this movement. Those in support include Gujarat Lok Samiti, Gujarat Sarvodaya Mandal, PUCL, Bhavnagar District Gram Bachao Samiti, National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM), Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, AWAG, Gujarat Khet Vikas Parishad, Paryavaran Mitra, Paryavaran Santri, Bandhara Bachao Andolan – Mahuva, Kinara Bachao Andolan – Umargaon, Lok Andolan Gujarat, Jyoti Karmachari Mandal, Vadodara Kamdar Union, Documentation and Study Centre for Action, SUCI, Radical Socialist – Gujarat, Gram Vikas Trust – Dwarka, New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI), Lok Sangharsh Samiti, Gujarat Anumukti Andolan, apart from many individuals.

 

The Revenue Minister Ms. Anandiben Patel invited the representatives of 44 villages in the agitation to meet her this evening. At the time of writing this, the representatives were in talks with the Minister.

 

This project, being anti-farmers and unconstitutional, it poses an intellectual, organisational, legal and constitutional challenge to the GoG. The organisational strength has forced the government to concede, rather unwillingly, that this is an organisation and not a mob.

 

The rally finally converged in the Andolan Chhavni in Gandhinagar. The meeting was being managed by a well-known activist of Gujarat Mr. Raju Purohit, and was addressed by, among others, Dr. Kanubhai Kalsariya, former Finance Minister of Gujarat Mr. Sanat Mehta, Mr. Y. K. Alagh, Jayesh Patel of Olpad anti-SIR movement, Lalji Desai, Mr. Rajni Dave of Bhumiputra, and the letters of support and solidarity from noted Gandhians Shri Narayan Desai and Shri Chunibhai Vaidya were also read out.

 

This meeting has demonstrated its resolution and firmness to oppose such anti-people projects of the government. This rally is the first public statement of the movement, where people, in one voice, made their anger and protest clear. The meeting ended with people taking a pledge to not part with even an inch of their land. It is hoped that the government heeds the warning of the people else this movement will gather strength and become more widespread.

 

Jameen Adhikar Andolan – Gujarat

Village

Representative

Village

Representative

Hansalpur Ajmalbhai thakor Vanpardi Bharatbhai laxman bhai patel
Sitapur Kanubhai Bharwad Dalod Dhanshyam bhai patel
zanzarwa Mayankbhai Vinjhvada Manubhai/nattubhai
Nayakpur Nayanbhai patel Varmor Pawra sahvdevbhai
Vinchand Prabotbhai bhawanbhai patel Dekawada Kadubha
Jhanlisada Thakor ranchodjee kamajee Ratanpura Nattubha
Dhadana Kathuba Nana karanpura Nattubhai
ooghroj Saman sinh Kanjh Amaratbhai
Vasna (kunnpur) Amarat bhai Rampura Kunwarsinh bhai
Oogrojpura Sarpanch shri Shihor Hasmukhbhai ambalal patel
Kunnpur Prahladbhai govindbhai patel Navyani Bhawojee thakor
Alampura Ashwinbhai Manawada Kadubhai thakor
Susiya Merajee thakor Gosanda Pratapbhai thakor
Valevada Prabhujee thakor Chatrot Jeevanbhai
Vanod Narangbhai/ashokbhai Panwa Rashikhbhai
Aerwada Ghanshyambhai Bunbwana Motibhai
Aeswada Sukhdevbhai Vandgam Kaushik

 

For more information

Lalji Desai                                                                                                       Sagar Rabari

 

 

Stop Press:- Revenue Minister Anandiben Patel, accepted the memorandum of the representatives of the movement, but had nothing to say on behalf of Gujarat Government.


PRESS NOTE

 

તારીખ – ૧૮/૬/૨૦૧૩

 

  • આખા ગુજરાતને ઔધોગિક વસાહત  GIDC બનાવવા નીકળેલી સરકાર લોકોના આંદોલનને દબાવવાના તમામ નિષ્ફળ પ્રયાસો કરવા બે દિવસથી કામે લાગી છે.
  • માંડલ – બેચરાજી સર સામે લોકોનો વિરોધ નથી તેમ દર્શાવવા નિષ્ફળ પ્રયાસો ગુજરાત સરકાર કરી રહી છે.
  • સર નો વિરોધ કરતાં લોકો ટોળામાં નહીંપણ ૫૦૦ જેટલા ટ્રેક્ટરો, ૫૦-૬૦ મોટર સાઈકલો, ૧૦ મીનીટ્રક, અને આશરે ૫૦ ફોર વ્હીલ વાહનોમાં ૧૦૦૦૦ થી વધુ ખેડૂતો બહેનો-ભાઈઓ એક સંગઠન તરીકે ઉમટી પડ્યા હતા

 

 

એક તરફ લોકો માંડલ – બેચરાજીના ‘સર’થી ખુશ હોય અને તેમણે કોઈ વાંધો ના હોય તેવો ભ્રમ પેદા કરવાની કોશિશ અને બીજી તરફ લોકોના વાંધા અને આક્રોશને કારણે ગુજરાત સરકારના મુખ્યમંત્રી પછીની હરોળના મંત્રીઓ આનંદીબેન પટેલ, નિતિનભાઈ પટેલ, સૌરભભાઈ પટેલ, ભૂપેન્દ્રસિંહ ચુડાસમા અને મુખ્યમંત્રીના સચિવ એ.કે.શર્માએ ૪૪ ગામના કેટલાક વ્યક્તિઓ સાથે સામેથી ગામના લોકોને આમંત્રણ આપી ગાંધીનગર સર્કિટ હાઉસમાં મીટિંગ કરવાની તા. ૧૭/૮/૨૦૧૩ને સોમવારના રોજ ફરજ પડી હતી. લોકોને મળવાની સરકારમાં ઊભી થયેલી આ તાલાવેલી દર્શાવે છે કે લોકોનો વિરોધ, આક્રોશ અને જનઆંદોલન અસરકારક બની રહ્યા છે. ૨ કલાક ચાલેલી મિટિંગમાં ભાગ લીધેલ વ્યક્તિઓને સરકારની ગોળ-ગોળ વાતોથી નિરાશા થઈ હતી.

 

ગુજરાત સરકારે એક તરફ લોકો સાથે વાત કરવાનું નાટક અને બીજી તરફ લોકો દ્વારા લોકશાહી ઢબે પોતાનો વિરોધ દર્શાવવા તા. ૧૮/૬/૨૦૧૩ના રોજ આયોજીત ટ્રેક્ટર રેલી જે વિઠલાપુર, સચાણા, સાણંદ, થઈ સરખેજ, પ્રહલાદનગર, માણેકબગ, મીઠાખળી, આશ્રમ રોડ, ગાંધી આશ્રમ  થઈ  ગાંધીનગર ગઈ હતી તેને રોકવાના એનકેન પ્રકારે નિષ્ફળ પ્રયાસો કર્યા હતા.

 

ગુજરાતને ઔધ્યોગિક વસાહત GIDC બનાવવા નીકળેલી ગુજરાત સરકારે ૨૦૦૯માં ‘The Special Investment Region (SIR) Act, 2009’ કાયદો પસાર કર્યો છે. આ કાયદો ભારતના બંધારણની વિરુદ્ધનો અને ઉદ્યોગો માટે ખેતીની જમીનો કોઈ પણ રીતે સંપાદિત કરી શકાય તે માટેનો કાયદો છે. આ કાયદો પોતે એ વાતનો સ્વીકાર કરે છે કે, ખેતી લાયક, ગૌચર અને અન્ય જમીનો કોઈ પણ રીતે ઉદ્યોગો માટે, “વિકાસ”ના નામે સંપાદિત કરી શકાય તે માટેનો કાયદો છે.

 

ગુજરાતમાં અંજાર, સાંથલપુર, વિરમગામ, માંડલ-બેચરાજી, ઓખા, નવલખી, ચાંગોદર, સિમર, ધોલેરા, હાલોલ-સાવલી, પીપાવાવ, દહેજ અને આલિયાબેટમાં ‘સર’વિસ્તાર જાહેર કરેલ છે.

માંડલ-બેચરાજી સર વિસ્તારમાં અમદાવાદ, સુરેન્દ્રનગર, અને મહેસાણા જિલ્લાના કુલ ૪૪ ગામોની (A. અમદાવાદ જિલ્લો, મંડળ તાલુકો – ૧. હાંસલપૂર  (બેચરાજી)– ૮૬૩.૯૬૮૦ હેક્ટર, ૨. સીતાપુર – ૩૬૭૨.૭૨૬૭ હેક્ટર, ૩. ઝાંજરવા – ૮૧૪.૬૫૭૧ હેક્ટર, ૪. આનંદપુરા – ૨૮૯.૩૫૨૨ હેક્ટર, ૫. નાયકપુર – ૧૦૫૦.૭૭૧૯ હેક્ટર,વીંછણ – ૫૩૬.૬૨૭૦, ૭. જાલીસણા – ૧૬૯૯.૦૦૧૬ હેક્ટર, ડઢાણા – ૧૮૯૯.૬૯૯૫ હેક્ટર, ૯. વિઠલાપુર – ૨૨૪૧.૧૦૧૮ હેક્ટર, ૧૦. ઉંઘરોજ – ૧૪૨૪.૮૩૫૧ હેક્ટર,૧૧. વાસણા-કુણપુર – ૫૬૩.૯૨૨૫ હેક્ટર, ૧૨. ઉંઘરોજપુરા – ૬૩૭.૯૦૮૯ હેક્ટર, ૧૩. ઉકરડી – ૮૫૬.૬૮૩૫ હેક્ટર, ૧૪. કુણપુર – ૧૧૮૦.૬૬૧૭ હેક્ટર, ૧૫. વનપરડી– ૮૩૧.૭૦૪૫ હેક્ટર, ૧૬. દાલોદ – ૧૯૧૫.૪૩૮૪ હેક્ટર, ૧૭. વિંઝુવાડા – ૧૬૫૭.૦૯૬૭ હેક્ટર, ૧૮. વરમોર – ૨૧૯૯.૨૭૭૦ હેક્ટર, ૧૯. માનપુરા – ૫૪૦.૧૦૬૦ હેક્ટર, B. જિલ્લો અમદાવાદ, તાલુકો દેત્રોજ – ૨૦. દેકાવાડા – ૧૩૮૩.૭૦૯૧ હેક્ટર, ૨૧. ઉમેદપુરા – ૨૦૭.૮૨૭૫ હેક્ટર, ૨૨. સદાતપુરા – ૧૦૩૧.૨૪૭૮ હેક્ટર, ૨૩. રતનપુરા – ૧૧૯.૪૮૯ હેક્ટર, ૨૪. ભગાપુરા – ૧૨૪૩.૧૬૯૭ હેક્ટર, ૨૫. નાના કરણપુરા – ૧૯૪.૨૦૯૭ હેક્ટર, ૨૬. મોટા કરણપુરા – ૧૩૨.૦૬૯૭ હેક્ટર, ૨૭. કાંઝ –૧૬૨૩.૬૩૮૭ હેક્ટર, ૨૮. છનીયાર – ૧૨૭૯.૪૮૧૯ હેક્ટર, ૨૯. રામપુરા – ૮૪૫.૭૩૦૬ હેક્ટર, ૩૦. ઘટીસણા – ૩૮૧.૨૫૬૬ હેક્ટર, ૩૧. સિહોર – ૯૫૩.૯૧૦૨ હેક્ટર,C. જિલ્લો સુરેન્દ્રનગર, તાલુકો – દસાડા-પાટડી – ૩૨. નાવીયાણી – ૧૫૦૭.૮૧૫૦ હેક્ટર, ૩૩. માનાવાડા – ૫૮૬.૯૦૮૨ હેક્ટર, ૩૪. ગોસાણા – ૬૩૭.૬૮૬૩ હેક્ટર,૩૫. સુસિયા – ૧૭૬૫.૫૭૦૬ હેક્ટર, ૩૬. વાલેવડા – ૧૧૨૩.૦૩૮૨ હેક્ટર, ૩૭. વણોદ – ૩૯૨૫.૫૪૯૭ હેક્ટર, ૩૮. આલમપુરા – ૭૩૪.૦૫૨૫ હેક્ટર, ૩૯. એરવાડા –૫૬૦.૦૪૭૦ હેક્ટર, ૪૦. એછવાડા – ૧૧૯૬.૪૫૮૬ હેક્ટર, ૪૧. છત્રોટ – ૭૬૧.૧૪૬૪ હેક્ટર, ૪૨. પાનવા – ૨૨૦૪.૦૬૯૮ હેક્ટર, ૪૩. બબૂવાણા – ૧૦૮૭.૪૩૫૮ હેક્ટર,D. જિલ્લો મહેસાણા, તાલુકો બેચરાજી – ૪૪. ચાંદણકી – ૫૨૪.૨૧૭૬ હેક્ટર – આ ગામોના તમામ સર્વે નંબર ની કુલ જમીન – ૫૦૮૮૪.૮૩૬૨ હેક્ટર)[1]  ૫૦,૮૮૪ હેક્ટર જમીન ઉદ્યોગો માટે આંચકી લેવા ગુજરાત સરકાર કામે લાગી છે. આ વિસ્તારની ફરતે ૩ કી.મી.ના ‘બફર ઝોન’ વિસ્તારને ઉમેરીએ તો ગામોની સંખ્યા લગભગ ૭૦ સુધી પહોંચે અને ૭૦,૦૦૦ હેક્ટર કરતાં વધારે જમીન અસરગ્રસ્ત થશે. આ સરમાં આટોમોબાઇલ ઉદ્યોગ, ટ્રાન્સપોર્ટ, આઇ.ટી. ઝોન, રીક્રિએશન ઝોન વગેરે નું આયોજન છે.

 

તા. ૧૭/૬/૨૦૧૩ સોમવાર રાતથી રેલીના આખા રૂટપર જાણે મુખ્યમંત્રી નીકળવાના હોય અને સુરક્ષાની વ્યવસ્થા ગોઠવવામાં આવી હોય તેમ પોલીસ ખડકી દેવામાં આવી છે. પોલીસ પરમીશન માટે પણ કાર્યકર્તાઓને એક પોલીસ સ્ટેશનમાંથી બીજા પોલીસ સ્ટેશનમાં અને એક જિલ્લામાંથી બીજા જીલ્લામાં ધક્કા ખવડાવવામાં આવ્યા હતા. આ તમામ પ્રયાસો છતાં ગામના લોકો મક્કમપણે સવારે ૬ વાગ્યાથી ૫૦૦ જેટલા ટ્રેક્ટરો, ૫૦-૬૦ મોટર સાઈકલો, ૧૦ મીનીટ્રક, અને આશરે ૫૦ ફોર વ્હીલ વાહનોમાં ૮૦૦૦ થી વધુ ખેડૂતો બહેનો-ભાઈઓ ઉમટી પડ્યા હતા. રેલી સવારે ૮-૩૦ ના વિઠલાપુરથી રવાના થઈ હતી. રેલી નો આખો રસ્તો  – ‘સર’ને કહો ‘નો સર’ , માંડલ – બેચરાજી સર હટાઓ ખેતી બચાવો, ગામની જમીન ગામની સરકારની નહીં, જાન દેગે, જમીન નહીં ના પોકારો સાથે ગુંજી ઉઠ્યો હતો.

 

જમીન અધિકાર આંદોલન ગુજરાતનાં ટેકામાં રાજ્ય અને દેશના જનસંગઠનો – ગુજરાત લોક સમિતિ, ગુજરાત સર્વોદય મંડળ, PUCL, ભાવનગર જિલ્લા ગ્રામ બચાવ સમિતિ, નેશનલ એલાયન્સ ઓફ પીપલ્સ મુવમેંટ (NAPM), પર્યાવરણ સુરક્ષા સમિતિ, અવાજ, ખેત વિકાસ પરિષદ, પર્યાવરણ મિત્ર, પર્યાવરણ સંત્રી, બંધારા બચાવ આંદોલન – મહુવા, કિનારા બચાવ આંદોલન – ઉમરગામ, લોક આંદોલન ગુજરાત, જ્યોતિ કર્મચારી મંડળ, વડોદરા કામદાર યુનિયન, ડોક્યુમેંટેશન એન્ડ સ્ટડિ સેંટર ફોર એક્શન, SUCI, રેડિકલ સોશિયાલિસ્ટ – ગુજરાત, ગ્રામ વિકાસ ટ્રસ્ટ – દ્વારકા, NTUI, લોક સંઘર્ષ સમિતિ, ગુજરાત અણુમુક્તિ આંદોલનના અને અન્ય અનેક કાર્યકરો પણ આંદોલનના ટેકામાં જોડાયા હતા.

 

તા. ૧૭/૬/૨૦૧૩ સોમવાર ના રોજ લોકોના પ્રશ્નો સાંભળવાનું નાટક કરનાર મંત્રીઓએ આજ રોજ રેલી સ્વરૂપે અગાઉથી જણાવીને માંડલ-બેચરાજી સર વિસ્તારના ૪૪ ગામના ૧૦,૦૦૦ લોકોના પ્રતિનિધિ મંડળને આનંદીબેને મળવા બોલાવ્યા હતા. આ પ્રેસ નોટ લખતા સમયે મંત્રીશ્રી પ્રતિનિધિ મંડળ સાથે વાટાઘાટો કરી રહ્યા છે.

 

આ આખો પ્રોજેકટ ખેતી વિરોધી, ભારતના બંધારણનો છેદ ઉડાડનારું હોવાથી તેની સામે વૈચારિક, સંગઠનાત્મક, કાયદાકીય, બંધારણીય સંઘર્ષનો સામનો કરવા ગુજરાત સરકારને પડકાર છે.

 

સરકારની ઈચ્છા અમદાવાદ ખાતેની સાણંદ ચોકડી થી ખેડૂત રેલી નો રૂટ બદલવાની હતી, પરંતુ સરકારને ખેડૂત સંગઠન અને તેની સંગઠન શક્તિનો ખ્યાલ આવતા રેલીનો રૂટ બદલવાનું માંડવાળ કરવું પડ્યું હતું.

 

 

 

રેલી તેના જાહેર કરેલ રૂટ પ્રમાણેજ શાંતિ અને શિસ્તપૂર્વક આગળ ધપી હતી.

 

આ રેલી તેના સૂત્રો અને સંગઠનાત્મક શક્તિનો પરચો બતાવતી હોવાથી, ગુજરાત સરકારે કમને એક વાતનો સ્વીકાર કરવો પડ્યો હતો કે, “ આ લોકોનું ટોળું નથી, પણ લોકોનું સંગઠન છે”.

 

રેલી અંતે ગાંધીનગર સેક્ટર ૬ ખાતે ઉપવાસી છાવણીના મેદાન માં સભામાં પરિવર્તિત થઈ હતી. લોકોએ આ સભાને, ‘જાન દેગે જમીન નહીં’, જેવા નારા થી ગાજવી મૂકી હતી. આ સભાનું સંચાલન ગુજરાતનાં જાણીતા કર્મશીલ, રાજુભાઈ પુરોહિતએ કર્યું હતું. આ સભાને માંડલ-બેચરાજી સર થી અસરગ્રસ્ત ૪૪ ગામના પ્રતિનિધિઓએ તથા નિરમા આંદોલનના ડો. કનુભાઈ કલસરિયા, ગુજરાતનાં માજી નાણાંમંત્રી સનતભાઈ મેહતા, વાય.કે. અલગ, ઓલપાડ સર સામેના આંદોલનના જયેશભાઈ પટેલ, લાલજીભાઈ દેસાઇ, ભૂમિપુત્રના સંપાદક રજનીભાઇ દવે, અને જાણીતા ગાંધીવાદી વિચારક નારાયણભાઈ દેસાઈ અને સર્વોદય અગ્રણી ચુનીભાઈ વૈદ્ય નો લેખિત શુભેચ્છા સંદેશ વાંચવામાં આવ્યો હતો.

 

આ સભાએ સરકારને પોતાનો સ્પષ્ટ, મક્કમ, વિગતો, મુદાઓ અને નીતિ વિષયક વાંધાઓ સાથેનો પોતાનો વિરોધ રજૂ કર્યો હતો. આ મુદ્દે જાહેરમાં તથ્યો અને વિગતો સાથે સમાજ અને પત્રકારોની હાજરીમાં ચર્ચા કરવા આવાહન આપેલ. આ રેલી અને દેખાવ આંદોલનની શરૂવાત નું પ્રથમ પગલું હતું. લોકોએ એકી અવાજે પોતાની એક ઇંચ પણ જમીન નહીં આપવાનો જાહેર સંકલ્પ કર્યો હતો.

 

છેલ્લે “અભિ તો યે અંગડાઇ હૈ આગે ઔર લડાઈ હૈ” ના મક્કમ નિર્ધાર સાથે સભા પૂરી થઈ હતી. સરકાર સાનમાં વિગતો સાથેની રાજુવત અને વિકાસની સાચી દિશા સમજે તો સારું, નહીં તો આ આંદોલન વધુ ઉગ્ર અને વ્યાપક બનશે.

 

જમીન અધિકાર આંદોલન ગુજરાત


[1] Gujarat Government Gazette – Ex.6-10-2012, [PART-IX]- notification under The Gujarat Special Investment Region Act, 2009, dated-24 September, 2012

 

#India – ‘Who Killed my daughter Ishrat Jehan ? #Vaw


Statement by Shamima Kauser mother of deceased Ishrat

June 18, 2013

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18th June, 2013

My daughter Ishrat Jehan was abducted, illegally confined and killed in cold blood by officers and men of the Gujarat police, in June 2004. She was killed as part of a larger conspiracy which had a political agenda. Ishrat’s murder was projected as an ‘encounter’ and justified by branding her a terrorist who had come with 3 other men to attack the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. This was not the first fake encounter in Gujarat, other Muslims too had been executed in similar staged encounters, committed in the name of protecting the Chief Minster of Gujarat. Some of these other fake encounters, which are nothing but pre meditated extra judicial killings, are already under investigation and prosecution.

My young college going daughter, Ishrat, was studying and working to earn and support her brothers and sisters, after the death of her father. Since the day of her murder, I have been stating hat my daughter was innocent and had no links whatsoever with any terrorist or criminal activity. The same was categorically asserted by me in the Writ Petition field by me in August 2004, before the Gujarat High Court, seeking a CBI enquiry to establish the innocence of my daughter and justice through punishment of her killers.

For 9 long years the Gujarat state, has abused its power, to obstruct, delay and derail the investigation, so that the hands and masterminds behind this heinous crime are shielded from legal accountability. The State of Gujarat and its senior IPS officers have filed frivolous and vexatious petitions in the Supreme Court, coerced witnesses, and deployed many other unlawful tactics. My lawyers have resolutely met each challenge and worked to uncover the truth.

The report of the judicial enquiry by the Magistrate Shri S.P. Tamang, in September 2009, concluded that my daughter was innocent and had been murdered by Gujarat police officers and men. The SIT appointed by the Gujarat High Court, under the Chairmanship of Shri R.R. Verma, too concluded in 2011, that the encounter was fake and not genuine and that Ishrat Jehan had been killed in prior custody. Under directions of the Gujarat High Court the investigation was transferred to the CBI and a FIR for murder and other grave crimes lodged in 2011.

The CBI is investigating the murder of my daughter and 3 others. This investigation is being monitored by the Gujarat High Court and a status report of the investigation is regularly filed before the High Court. I have always placed my faith in the Court and pray that the Hon’ble High Court will ensure that my struggle for justice is not in vain. The CBI investigation has already led to the arrest of many senior Gujarat police officers and men. The CBI investigation has revealed that complicit in the staged fake encounter of Ishrat and 3 others in 2004, were not only police officers of Gujarat, but others as well.

The evidence collected by the CBI, as expressed to the High Court on the last date of hearing i.e. 14th June 2013, points to a larger conspiracy. The conspiracy appears to include Mr. Rajendra Kumar a senior officer of the Intelligence Bureau. The CBI counsel stated before the High Court on 14thJune, 2013, that their investigation shows that IB Officer Mr. Rajendra Kumar not only knew about the illegal detention of my daughter Ishrat but was directing the operations.  I am astonished and distressed to hear that attempts are being made to protect Mr. Rajendra Kumar from arrest and custodial interrogation by the CBI.

I am also surprised that the media is projecting the CBI investigation as an attack on the institution of IB. To my mind, what is worrying, if not dangerous, for the security of India, is if high ranking officers in institutions such as the IB, abuse their position and fabricate information, to advance a communal and politically motivated agenda. It is in the interest of the country if such people are weeded out of the IB and the security of all the people of India protected.

Clearly, the investigation of the CBI is moving in the right direction and to thwart it a very crude and motivated move was orchestrated, by planting some audio-tapes with a private media channel viz. Headlines Today. There is not a whisper of allegation against my daughter Ishrat Jehan in these socalled IB audio recordings. Significantly the timing of the broadcast of these tapes, on 13th June 2013, by a compliant private TV channel, the night before the hearing by the High Court, not only makes them highly suspect, but in fact betrays that they are desperate to shield the guilty. I would like to state here that my lawyers will be sending a legal notice and will initiate appropriate legal action against Headlines Today TV channel for the false, scandalous and defamatory statements made against my deceased daughter Ishrat Jehan.

When the next day the Additional Advocate General of Gujarat, brandished these planted and concocted CDs before the High Court, on 14th June, 2013 and made specious arguments for them to be taken on record, the nefarious design and purpose was clear to all. The Gujarat High Court not only rejected this fallacious plea of the State of Gujarat, but also sternly reminded it of its constitutional duty to protect its citizens and admonished it for continually obstructing the investigation into the staged encounter.

I strongly reject and denounce each and every allegation and statement that refers to my deceased daughter Ishrat Jehan as being a terrorist or having any links with any terrorist activity or group. In the past too attempts have been made to taint the name of deceased Ishrat by planting false, concocted and baseless news reports. What is significant is that the judicial enquiry and impartial and professional investigation have always upheld the innocence of Ishrat.

The State of Gujarat has on each hearing before the High Court argued strenuously to disrupt and disturb the CBI team that is investigating the killing of Ishrat and others. As I observe the progress of this investigation, I ask the following questions. Why is the State of Gujarat so keen, almost desperate to remove Mr. Satish Verma, IPS, from this investigation? What does the State of Gujarat fear this diligent and honest investigation will reveal? Who are the persons the State of Gujarat is trying to protect?

I have a right to know the complete truth – who killed my daughter Ishrat Jehan, who masterminded her murder, who stood to gain from the cold blooded killing of a young Muslim girl. I have a right to complete justice, and for that it is necessary that the entire conspiracy is unearthed and all those responsible for eliminating my innocent daughter are indicted, charged prosecuted and punished.

Caste curses Dalit, tribal children to life of slavery beyond borders


By Gokul Vannan – CHENNAI

Caste discrimination and exploitation of Dalit children are not confined to villages alone as some members of the dominant communities force them into bonded labour in savory and confectionary units run by them in many parts of north India.

Recently, Vadugapatti village near Usilampatti was in the news when a Class VI Dalit boy was forced to carry footwear on his head through a caste Hindu street. But the same village has another story of a 17-year-old Dalit, who has become mentally ill due to physical and psychological torture he had faced at a savory factory in Gujarat, owned by a local businessman settled there.

Confined within a room for the last two years, the victim, T Vairamani, was rescued by his father, Thevamani, from a village in Gujarat. Owner Rohan, a caste Hindu of Usilampatti, had paid `2,000 as advance to Thevamani, a tender coconut vendor, while taking the boy for work at his savory unit.

“Vairmani was forced to work for nearly 20 hours a day. If he asks for rest, Rohan would abuse him in filthy language denoting his caste,” says S Muthu, a social worker attached to Madurai-based NGO Evidence. These days, Muthu takes the boy for regular medical check up at the Government Rajaji Hospital.

Rohan gave spoilt or poor quality food and that too only twice a day, and forced Vairmani to sleep in the kitchen. He also prevented his father from communicating with his son for two years. A restless Thevamani went in search of his son and spent more than a fortnight in Gujarat. Only after he filed a complaint with the Keraloor police, Ravikumar, a relative of Rohan, informed that the boy was safe at his house. “But when Thevamani spotted his son, he had injuries all over the body and was lying unconscious. With the help of then Madurai district collector Sagayam, we treated him for two months in the hospital,” says Muthu.

While Thevamani got back his son, albeit with mental illness, Parvathy of Uthampalyam in Theni district lost her son Surlimuthu within a few months after he was rescued from a confectionary unit in Uttar Pradesh. Incidentally Surlimuthu, a Dalit, had lost his dad Periyasuruli, as an eight-year-old.

On seeing Parvathy struggling to run the family, Sonaikalai, a caste Hindu of nearby Meikilarpatti convinced her to send her son to the factory promising good returns.

“The boy was working for 17 years at the savory unit of one Mahendran, who treated him like a slave,” says Ilayaraja, a social worker with Evidence.

While forcing him to work for 20 hours a day, Mahendran at times scalded him by pouring hot oil on his skin and branded him with a hot iron. When Surlimuthu returned home in 2008, his body was full of injuries. “Though we provided medical treatment, he died within a few months,” says A Kathir, executive director of Evidence.

A study of 111 bonded labourers in Madurai, Theni, Dindigul and Virudhunagar districts, revealed that most of the children were Dalits. In northern Tamil Nadu, particularly in Villupuram, Cuddalore, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Tiruvannamalai districts, tribal children were forced to work in brick kilns as bonded labourers, the study showed.

“It is distressing that the relief and rehabilitation promised in the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 doesn’t reach the rescued children,” says former south-zone convener, Campaign Against Child Labour, B S Vanarajan.

“If the rescued boy/girl is a Dalit, he/she is eligible for addition relief amount of `60,000 under the SC/ST prevention of atrocities Act, 1989 (section 3 (1) (6), but the government is not taking steps to provide relief invoking this Act,” he says.

http://newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/Caste-curses-Dalit-tribal-children-to-life-of-slavery-beyond-borders/2013/06/17/article1638429.ece

 

 

#Gujarat- NHRC irked over denial of scholarships to dalit students


TNN Jun 14, 2013

AHMEDABAD: The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of the TOI report alleging denial of scholarships to 3,125 dalit students in Ahmedabad district. Out of this, applications of 1,613 students for scholarship are pending, whereas, 1,512 have been denied due to lack of funds. Allegedly, the state government had no answer for the Rs 3 crore that was to be spent on scholarships for dalit students.

The commission, shot off notices on Thursday to state chief secretary, Varesh Sinha and has sought a reply within four weeks. The commission also observed that, “the contents of the newspaper report, if true, paints a worrisome picture and constitute a gross violation of human rights of the dalit students. In view of their socio-economic backwardness, they deserve to be given special care and that is why such special provisions for scholarships to them have been made. Any failure in their implementation would defeat the whole purpose.”

The data was procured from the department of social justice after an RTI application was filed by dalit rights activist of Navsarjan Trust Kirit Rathod. It took Rathod three years before he could land on this basic information from the department.TNN “This is the level of transparency that the Gujarat government shows when it comes to the rights of the common man and the downtrodden classes. It took me three years to access information which should ideally should have been on the government website.”

The data in the RTI comprises only of ITI, science, arts, engineering and medical colleges. The information commission failed to provide the information for the dalit kids studying in schools

 

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.

 

Narendra Modi On Sardar Patel: Putting Goebbels To Shame


MODI1

By Shamsul Islam

13 June, 2013
Countercurrents.org

Gujarat Chief Minister and Hindutva icon Narendra Modi, while inaugurating an all-India conference on livestock and dairy development on June 11, 2013 in Gandhinagar, announced a nation-wide campaign to collect small pieces of iron from farmers and use them to build a ‘Statue of Unity’ in memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the first interior minister of independent India in Nehru’s cabinet.

He announced, “On the day of Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary on October 31, 2013, we will launch a nation-wide campaign, covering more than five lakh villages throughout the country, to collect small pieces of iron of any tool used by farmers from each village, that will be used in the building of the statue.” This ‘Statue of Unity’ is to be the tallest statue on Earth: the 182 metres (392 feet) tall statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel — the Iron Man — will be built opposite the Sardar Sarovar Dam over the Narmada river in south Gujarat.

Modi lamented the fact that architect of modern India, “Sardar Patel brought the nation together. But gradually his memories are fading away” and went on to declare that “to reinvigorate his memory and as a fitting tribute to the Iron Man of India, we are building this statue, which will be double in height than the Statue of Liberty in New York.” He also reminded the audience that “Sardar Patel was also a farmer who was instrumental in bringing farmers into the freedom struggle.”

This grandiose project of Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, who is an RSS whole-timer, raises a few pertinent issues. He was inaugurating a national conference on livestock and dairying, both of which are passing through a very critical phase due to famine, corporatization of agricultural land and high costs. The well-being of livestock and dairying is essentially connected with the well-being of farmers. According to official data, in the last one decade, on an average, one Indian farmer committed suicide every 40 minutes due to debt, sub-standard seeds/manure, high costs and scarcity of water, to name only few of the endless problems. In the same decade millions of head of cattle have perished due to famine, shrinking pasture lands and handing over fertile lands to business houses and builder mafias. Dairy products have become luxury items beyond the reach of common Indians. India leads the world in having the largest number of under-nourished children and women. Shockingly, Modi had no comments on this worsening scenario.

Modi’s love for Sardar Patel is intriguing for many reasons. Patel was a Congress leader who, inspired by Gandhi’s principle of non-violence, led a great and very powerful movement of farmers at Bardoli taluka in 1928. This is known as the Bardoli Satyagraha and the then pro-British English Press described it as “Bolshevism in Bardoli” and Patel as its “Lenin.”

Patel was awarded the title ‘Sardar’ after this heroic struggle. This peasants’ movement started against the extortionate lagan imposed by the British rulers and landlords and selling of large tracts of agricultural land to moneybags of Bombay. Sardar Patel led the movement but he had devoted Congressmen/women workers, both Hindus & Muslims, like Imam Saheb Abdul Kadir, Uttamchand Deepchand Shah, Mohanlal Kameshwar Pandya, Bhaktiba Desai, Darbar Gopaldas Desai, Meethubehn Petit, Jugatrambhai Dave, Surajbehn Mehta, Umar Sobani and Phoolchand Kavi, who challenged the colonial masters and their henchmen at the ground level.

One important fact to be noted is that the Hindu Mahasabha and the RSS, which existed during this period, kept aloof from this historical struggle. Modi’s co-option of Patel, who was a prominent Congress leader of the anti-British freedom struggle, is part of a ploy of the Hindutva camp to be seen as part of the freedom movement despite having betrayed it. This kind of co-option game is likely to succeed, as the Congress as a party has become indifferent to its anti-colonial legacy.

Dead persons do not speak, and Sardar Patel cannot appear to put across the truth. However, contemporary documents show that Modi’s and the Hindutva camp’s love for Sardar Patel is based on lies. Sardar Patel hated Hindutva politics and was the person who imposed the first ban on the RSS. The February 4, 1948 communique issued by the Home Ministry headed by Sardar Patel banning the RSS was self-explanatory:

“In their resolution of February 2, 1948 the Government of India declared their determination to root out the forces of hate and violence that are at work in our country and imperil the freedom of the Nation and darken her fair name. In pursuance of this policy the Government of India have decided to declare unlawful the RSS.”

The communique went on to say that the ban on the RSS was imposed because

“Undesirable and even dangerous activities have been carried on by members of the Sangh. It has been found that in several parts of the country individual members of the RSS have indulged in acts of violence involving arson, robbery, dacoity, and murder and have collected illicit arms and ammunition. They have been found circulating leaflets exhorting people to resort to terrorist methods, to collect firearms, to create disaffection against the government and suborn the police and the military.”

It was Sardar Patel who, as Home Minister, did not hesitate in telling the then supremo of the RSS, Guru Golwalkar, that his organization was responsible for killing Gandhi and instigating violence. In a letter written to Golwalkar, dated 11 September 1948, Sardar Patel stated:

“Organizing the Hindus and helping them is one thing but going in for revenge for its sufferings on innocent and helpless men, women and children is quite another thing… Apart from this, their opposition to the Congress, that too of such virulence, disregarding all considerations of personality, decency or decorum, created a kind of unrest among the people. All their speeches were full of communal poison. It was not necessary to spread poison in order to enthuse the Hindus and organize for their protection. As a final result of the poison, the country had to suffer the sacrifice of the invaluable life of Gandhiji. Even an iota of the sympathy of the Government, or of the people, no more remained for the RSS. In fact opposition grew. Opposition turned more severe, when the RSS men expressed joy and distributed sweets after Gandhiji’s death. Under these conditions it became inevitable for the Government to take action against the RSS… Since then, over six months have elapsed. We had hoped that after this lapse of time, with full and proper consideration the RSS persons would come to the right path. But from the reports that come to me, it is evident that attempts to put fresh life into their same old activities are afoot.”

Sardar Patel continued hammering the fact that the Hindutva brigade collectively was responsible for the murder of Gandhi. In a letter to Nehru dated February 27, 1948, he wrote, “It was a fanatical wing of the Hindu Mahasabha directly under Savarkar that hatched the conspiracy and saw it through. It also appears that conspiracy was limited to some ten men… Of course, his [Gandhiji’s] assassination was welcomed by those of the RSS and Hindu Mahasabha who were strongly opposed to his way of thinking and to his policy.”

Sardar Patel stressed the same fact in his letter to a prominent leader of the Hindu Mahasabha, Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, on July 18, 1948: “As regards the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha, the case relating to Gandhiji’s murder is sub-judice and I should not like to say anything about the participation of the two organizations, but our reports do confirm that, as a result of the activities of these two bodies, particularly the former, an atmosphere was created in the country in which such a ghastly tragedy became possible. There is no doubt in my mind that the extreme section of the Hindu Mahasabha was involved in the conspiracy. The activities of the RSS constituted a clear threat to the existence of Government and the State. Our reports show that those activities, despite the ban, have not died down. Indeed, as time has marched on, the RSS circles are becoming more defiant and are indulging in their subversive activities in an increasing measure.”

Despite all these facts, Narendra Modi claims to love Sardar Patel. It only shows that Modi has no qualms about resorting to deceits for selfish gains. Sardar Patel is a ready-made heroic figure. Modi does not have to manufacture him. He and the RSS have only to hide the fact that the man was opposed to their organization and had acted against it, and then, by what can only be called theft, proceed to make him one of their own. This defiance of historical fact is characteristic of the strategy of the Hindutva camp. Goebbels is dead, long live Modi.

[I am thankful to Mr. Mukul Dube for inputs]

Shamsul Islam is Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Satyawati College, University of Delhi.notoinjustice@gmail.com

 

“ Narendra Modi’s claims are full of untruths”


SUJAY MEHDUDIA, The Hindu, June 12, 2013

Anand Sharma. File photo

The HinduAnand Sharma. File photo

The Gujarat Chief Minister was not a leader who would unite the Indian polity, but a divisive leader and a fountainhead of communalism, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma says.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is an arrogant man who has mastered the art of using untruths and half truths to his advantage and making sensational claims, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said on Tuesday. Mr. Modi was not a leader who would unite the Indian polity, but a divisive leader and a fountainhead of communalism, he told The Hindu here.

Mr. Sharma said the recent developments in the BJP were its internal problem. If anyone believed the Congress was worried, it was totally misplaced. “I think those who actually need to worry are the senior leaders within his party and the constituents of the NDA. He has been given a position by a divided party which is in disarray and rudderless.’’

Mr. Modi was a leader who beat his own trumpet. His sycophants too were busy beating drums, unmindful of the reality around them. “It is shocking that Mr. Modi could resort to such lies and mislead the people with claims that fall flat on their face when put to scrutiny. His claims on developments in Gujarat are full of untruths. What I am giving are official figures and not something manufactured as Mr. Modi does all the time.”

Gujarat was way behind Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh or even West Bengal in access to safe drinking water. Gujarat led the national average with a 25.66 per cent school drop out rate, well above States like West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tripura and Sikkim. In literacy, Gujarat was way behind States like Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Manipur. The percentage of people living below the poverty line stood at 31.8 per cent in Gujarat as compared to 29.9 per cent in Andhra Pradesh, 24.1 per cent in Haryana and 19.7 per cent in Kerala. Infant morality rate was 44 per cent in Gujarat compared to 30 per cent in Delhi, 13 per cent in Kerala, 28 per cent in Maharashtra, 14 per cent in Manipur and 24 per cent in Tamil Nadu. What kind of development model was this, he asked.

Mr. Sharma said he was astonished when Mr. Modi talked about the State attracting the highest foreign direct investment (FDI). He gave out highly inflated figures every time. The Reserve Bank of India statistics from March 2000 to March 2013 painted a very different picture.

From May 1999 to April 2004, when NDA was in power, the country attracted $25 billion in FDI. During May 2004 to April 2013 of UPA rule, the country attracted $265 billion. According to figures given by RBI regional offices for the period April 2000 to March 2013, Mumbai emerged on top with $63 billion. Delhi got $36 billion plus, Chennai $11.08 billion and Bangalore around $10 billion. Gujarat got $8.6 billion in 13 years, he said.

 

Three questions for Madhu Kishwar


JUNE 13, 2013
Guest post by DILIP D’SOUZA

Dear Madhu,

20+ years ago, I picked you up at the airport in Austin and you stayed at my home there for a few days. You had come there to deliver a lecture, as I’m sure you remember. We developed a friendship based on a degree of mutual respect and liking. I think you’ll agree? Several years after that I remember a stimulating afternoon sitting with you in Panchgani, catching up on many things and discussing various issues threadbare.

We haven’t met in some years now, but I’m going to call on the privilege of our 20+ years of friendship as I write these lines.

I have no problem at all with your desire to learn about Gujarat and Narendra Modi for yourself. Nor with your desire to see beyond what you’ve called the “targeting” of Modi. Nor with your speaking in support of Modi: if there are people who criticize Modi, I understand and accept that there are those who support him — it’s a democracy we live in after all. Nor with your speaking your mind: you have always done so and it’s the least I expect from you. (In turn, it’s the least you should expect from me).

No Madhu, I have no problem with any of that. And I’m not going to get into debates about Gujarat’s development (as with most things, there are multiple ways of looking at it). Not even into debates about what Modi did or did not do in 2002 to stop the massacres. I travelled there in that time and I have my own opinions, but I realize others see things differently.

There are probably three things I do have problems with.

One is in your reply to Zahir Janmohammed. Your third sentence there says his letter “annoyed me no end.” Your sixth sentence says “my annoyance kept increasing at your jaundiced viewpoint.” It seemed to me this set the tone for the whole reply. So I’d like to ask: Zahir’s viewpoint is clearly and dramatically different from yours; does that necessarily mean it is “jaundiced”?

These are wrenching, divisive issues you and he and all of us are grappling with. I can’t deny they get people on all sides annoyed. But you actually end your letter to Zahir by saying we need to “know how to bridge divides rather than widen them”. How do we bridge divides if we start out by calling the other guy “jaundiced”? What happened to respecting the other guy’s views and engaging with them? Is it not conceivable that some might see your views as jaundiced? And if so, what if they began a note to you by saying “I’m annoyed by your jaundiced views”? Would you feel like continuing a dialogue with such a person?

After all, I didn’t agree with some of what you said that afternoon in Panchgani (among other things, we discussed the RSS). Yet I think you will agree, if you remember that conversation, that I didn’t call your opinions jaundiced, and that it was indeed a stimulating afternoon.

I don’t know if you think this is a trivial thing. But I don’t. I think this is fundamental to any attempt at understanding and dialogue. And given the divisions and polarization I see around me, we need dialogue more than ever. Or the anger and hatred, I fear, will one day consume us all.

The second is your criticism of Teesta Setalvad (for example, in your interview with News Livehere) — among other things, for all that’s happened with the SIT. Npw I will support fully your right to disagree with Teesta. But surely you know — to pick just one thing to wonder about — of the discrepancies between the preliminary and final SIT reports? For example look at a couple of side-by-side excerpts here. What happened to “The explanation given by Shri Modi is unconvincing and it definitely hinted at the growing minority population” in the preliminary report?

This is the kind of thing that has people, and not just Teesta, asking serious questions about the SIT report.

The third is one Kodnani. For me, one thing about 2002 stands out and so many years later, I cannot see any way to suppress its implications. In 2007, after he won the Gujarat Assembly elections, Modi actually appointed Maya Kodnani as his Minister of Women’s Development and Child Welfare. He did this despite knowing what she had done in 2002 (for which she is now in prison). We know so because Modi’s own government, in which Kodnani was a Minister, actually filed an affidavit in the High Court in 2009 saying Kodnani “was the leader of mob … she was instigating the mob to commit crime and therefore she was playing the main role.” What’s more, “she is a minister in the present government, so there are ample chances of tampering with prosecution witnesses by way of giving threat.” (See this article for some details).

Overseeing the welfare of Gujarat’s children and its women’s development for a period a few years ago was a lady doctor who, a few years before that, had orchestrated the murder in Naroda-Patiya of 90+ Gujaratis, including 34 children and 32 women. Knowing that history, Modi appointed her to that position.

It’s simple, then: A man who knowingly appoints a murderer as Minister of Women’s Development and Child Welfare is not a man I want to see as PM of this country. It astonishes me that anyone would.

Good luck, Madhu. As always, I wish you only the best.

Yours,
Dilip

 

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