A Statement of Two National Seminars on #AFSPA in Bangalore and Delhi


The Indian Parliament enacted the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in 1958 as an interim measure with the hope of suppressing the Naga Nationalist Struggle, the only such movement in the North East at that time. It was gradually extended to other North Eastern States and then in 1990 to Jammu and Kashmir.

The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act is to-date the single most direct instrument violating the democratic rights of the people of the North East and of Jammu and Kashmir. The Act is implemented when an area is declared ‘disturbed’ by either the Central or the State Government.

The Act is under much debate today on several grounds, not only in Jammu and Kashmir and the North East, but also in the rest of India. One, it enables the security forces to “fire upon or otherwise use force even to the causing of death”. Two, according to Section 6, no criminal prosecution can be initiated against the security personnel who take action under this Act. Three, till now, but for a few exceptional cases of public fury or when the security forces were caught in the act by the public, no paramilitary officer or soldier has been prosecuted for destruction of property or murder or rape. Finally, five official commissions and committees have recommended either repeal or drastic review of the Act.

We the participants of these two seminars and other individuals consider this and other such acts a gross abuse of the Constitution. AFSPA has led to atrocities in the North East and Kashmir. Currently, a case concerning 1,528 deaths in alleged fake-encounters in Manipur alone is before the Supreme Court.  Over and above these, one can mention the Thangjam Manorama Devi case in Manipur in July 2004. She was arrested by the security forces and was allegedly raped and killed. Amongst other cases is the attempted molestation near Kokrajhar in Assam, on 23rd December, 2005, of some university students who entered by mistake a compartment carrying Haryana Armed Police personnel. Four students died when the police opened fire on other students who blocked the train after hearing the screams of the students. No action has been taken till today against the perpetrators of these and other crimes. Also many other cases of massacres, mass rapes and torture like the destruction of Oinam village in Manipur in 1987, the killing of some innocent persons in the Pathribal case, the Sophian sexual violence case and the discovery of mass graves in different places in Jammu and Kashmir raise similar concerns.

Many commissions and committees, such as the Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee (2005), the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (2007), the Prime Minister’s Working Group on Confidence Building Measures in Jammu and Kashmir (2007) headed by Shri Hamid Ansari, the Interlocutors’ Report on Jammu and Kashmir (2012) and Justice J S Verma Committee (2013) have recommended that the Act be repealed or amended. Even the Planning Commission in the 12th Five-year Plan document passed by the National Development Council has for the first time ever asked for not only a gendered review of the Act, but also of gendered violence in the ‘Disturbed Areas’, as women and children are the most vulnerable in conflict regions. These voices should be heard because AFSPA is symptomatic of a larger militarization. The negative impacts on human development such as health and education have been extensive so also the scars left by these acts and the negative effects on the psyche of people who live in a situation of low intensity warfare and are treated as unequal citizens

At the international level, India has been repeatedly flagged on the issue of AFSPA in the Human Rights bodies of the UN, including the Universal Periodic Review of the Council, in almost all the major human rights treaty bodies and Special Procedures. It is clear that the Act has not served its purpose. But the Government of India has not even amended the Act for more than 50 years. A reason given by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in a speech in New Delhi on February 6, 2013 is that there is no consensus because both the retired and present army generals oppose even the idea of making it more humane.

Why does the army oppose the repeal or even amendment of this inhuman Act? Is it because they want to protect their personnel who abuse power? Surely, as the Verma Committee (2013) has remarked, the armed forces cannot expect impunity for actions such as rape, which are not in the line of duty. Can a democratic country tolerate such an anti-democratic Act? The situation in Jammu & Kashmir and the North East is complex and can be resolved only through a political process and dialogue. Those decisions cannot be taken by the army. The elected representatives have to take decisions that should include Confidence Building Measures (CBM). That is impossible when such abuses under a draconian Act continue. The rights of the people must be protected by judicial and official / administrative processes such as grievance cells that protect the right to information of relatives of detainees.

The security situation in most areas where the Act is in place has improved enormously in the last decade because of ongoing peace processes and civil society initiatives. So the stated purpose of the Act no longer exists. The security forces cannot presume that they have an unfettered right to continue using the Act in perpetuity. There has to be sunset date in these legislative measures. Continuing such Acts indefinitely would be undemocratic and violative of human rights. As a result of such violations a trust deficit has developed between the people of the North East and Jammu and Kashmir on the one hand and the rest of India on the other.

In addition, major state legislative measures exist in Jammu and Kashmir and Nagaland such as the Jammu and Kashmir Public Security Act and the Nagaland Security Regulations Act which are no less arbitrary. They provide the police with impunity. Such laws no longer have a place in our democratic polity, especially after the extensive peace processes in these states. We, therefore, call on States like Jammu and Kashmir and Nagaland that have been demanding the repeal of AFSPA to take a lead in changing the undemocratic tenor of the legal regime. We call upon all political parties and political candidates, including the major regional parties, to take a position on the repeal of AFSPA in the run-up to the general elections.

It is critical that a civil society alliance takes up a robust programme of advocacy and dissemination especially through the media. As a step towards it, we the 90 participants of the Seminar on AFSPA held at Indian Social Institute, New Delhi on 6th April 2013, and sponsored by ICSSR (NCR) and 160 persons present of the seminar held at Indian Social Institute, Bangalore on 13th April, 2013 demand the immediate repeal of AFSPA. We also demand that, that the armed forces be brought under the purview of the civilian government with no impunity.

Dr Joseph Xavier                                                                       Dr George Mutholil

Executive Director                                                                    Director

Indian Social Institute, New Delhi                                           Indian Social Institute, Bangalore

With Partner organisations and individuals

Human Rights Alert, Imphal, Centre for Policy Analysis, New Delhi, North Eastern Social Research Centre, Guwahati, Altternative Law Forum, Bangalore, Mithra Foundation, Bangalore, NAPM, PUCL Karnataka, National Council of Churches in India, Nagpur, SCM, Bangalore, St Joseph’s College, Bangalore, Openspace, Bangalore, Vistaar, Bangalore, The Other Media, New Delhi, NAPM-Karnataka, Women’s Department, UTC, Bangalore.

Individuals

Ms Patricia Mukhim, Shillong, Mr Bashir Manzar, Srinagar, Ms Nandita Haksar, Goa, Mr Sanjoy Hazarika, New Delhi, Prof. Anuradha Chenoy, New Delhi, Prof. Ritu Dewan, Mumbai, Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Mumbai.

 

Invitation for Two Days National Workshop on “Occupational Safety and Health in India” @March24-25


PRASAR is working since last fourteen years on the issue of occupational and environmental health hazards. There are many challenges and institutional gaps impeding effective prevention of occupational hazards and diseases in India. Among these are the lack of adequate resources devoted to occupational safety and health, including the provision of services and awareness building.

Against this backdrop, PRASAR is going to organize a Two Days National Workshop on “Occupational Safety and Health in India” in collaboration with (Silicosis Control Cell) Directorate of Health Services, Government of Delhi. This Workshop is supported by Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA), Center for Worker Management (CWM) and Action Aid, New Delhi. We are glad to invite you to participate in the workshop

The workshop would be held on March 24-25, 2013, from 9:30 am- 5:00 pm, at Indian Social Institute (ISI), Lodi Road, New Delhi-110003.

The main objectives of the workshop would be to- a) discuss a range of issues relating to occupational and environmental health hazards; b) review the role of laws and regulations in controlling such health hazards; and to c) discuss the role played by different stakeholders and institutions in occupational and environmental health.

As we have limited resources at our end, therefore, if possible, to bear the travelling expenses to attend the workshop then kindly give us a line of confirmation, otherwise, we will get reimbursed a sleeper class ticket expenses only.

Further, whosoever need accommodation kindly inform us before 12th March, 2013?

If you are interested/want to make the presentation during the workshop then kindly send us a presentation before 20th March, 2013. The respective presentation will help us to develop the post workshop booklet, which would be disbursed as a Reference Book on- Occupational Safety and Health in India.

We look forward to your participation in the workshop.

With best regards,

S. A. Azad
Mob: – 09811914329
prasar21@gmail.com

www.prasar.org

Press Release- Invisible World of Domestic Workers Exposed at the Public Hearing #Vaw


Domestic Workers Demand Their Due Share and Labour Rights

New Delhi, February 11 : The hand that feeds, cares for children, keeps the house clean and shining is often left unattended, uncared for and at times bruised and beaten. That’s the world of domestic workers working in lakhs of Delhi homes, striving to earn a dignified living and raising a family in 21st century rising India. Domestic work, an increasing necessity in this era of globalisation, expanding horizons for women, opening up opportunities but also creating a class of working slaves in mills, offices and homes. The emerging reality is contradictory like capitalism itself where a certain class of women have gained prominence, access to diversified jobs and equality in jobs and pay but on the other hand, the women in domestic work and in the unorganised and unprotected sector have to strive for basic facilities, from minimum wages, fixed hours of work, holidays, to bonus and most importantly value of their work, respect and recognition, something which workers of the world struggled to achieve in the 20th century. These issues were raised by nearly 30 women who deposed before a panel comprising of Kalyani Menon Sen, Kalpana Mehta, Subhash Lomte, Bilas Bhongade, Tarun Kanti Bose, Aneema and Neelima in a public hearing on the theme ‘Women in the Unorganised (Unprotected) Sector in the Era of Globalization’ organised by Shahri Mahila Kaamgar Union, an affiliate of National Alliance of People’s Movements at Indian Social Institute.

 

The hearing was attended by nearly 250 domestic workers from Gautampuri, Rohini, Faridabad,and other colonies of Delhi and some others from Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.

“I have been working for 28 years and only get Rs. 1200. When I fell sick, my employers did not give me leave to go to a doctor. I am close to 50 years and find it difficult to continue doing this work. I do not get any medical benefits nor pension. What will happen to me I wonder? How will I survive?” asks a disillusioned Asha, one of the deposer’s in the gathering.

 

Anita who is now part of the Shahri Mahila Kaamgaar Union narrated how she was brought to the city by a placement agent. “I come from a poor family. In 2011, a placement agent convinced my parents to send me to Delhi for a better life. I was only 14 years and had to leave school. I did not want to do this work but had no option. Many times I wanted to leave but the agent forced me to continue working. Finally, I was rescued by the Union”

From the panelists, Subhash Lomte throwing light on how young girls are brought from villages to city with the promise of a better life and education said that “we must continue to fight for equal wages and pension”. The minimum wage should be adjusted to inflation and the pension amount should be atleast Rs. 2000. The age for women pensioners should be 50 years and for men it should be 55 years. The pension amount for women should get directly transferred to her bank account so that it is not misused by her husband. He urged the domestic workers from Delhi to all gather at Jantar Mantar on 6th March and raise the issue of a ‘minimum wage’ with the government.

We all have to sell our labour but we cannot sell our labour without your labour “said Kalpana Mehta, a panelist from Indore as she addressed the gathering. “Always remember that the work you do is extremely important without which other homes will not function” she was quoted saying while stressing the need to give value and respect to domestic work.

The gathering passed the following resolutions at the end of the hearing:

A uniform law needs to be made for the welfare of domestic workers. Untill then Minimum Wages Act and other Labour laws must be applied to this category of workers too.

A body comprising of representatives from the government and domestic workers needs to be set up to monitor their real situation.

The minimum wages, working hours and time of remuneration should be fixed for Domestic Workers. Strict measures should be taken against those who flaunt it.

Complete profiles of all urban workers, their employers and all organizations linked to them should be done. A government agency should be set up for this purpose.

Other than weekly, monthly, yearly and sick leave, provisions should be made for emergency leave also for domestic workers. Pregnant workers should be given special leave of three months. All these leaves should be paid.

Strict punishment should be given to all those employers, placement agents and police personnel who subject domestic workers to physical, sexual and other kinds of abuse.

Other than financial aid, the government should provide other kinds of human support to those domestic workers who are crisis-struck.

All kind of middlemen and contractors should be removed between domestic workers and their employers.

To ensure security of livelihood, domestic workers and their families should be given insurance by the government

Along with an annual bonus and future investment options, annual wage increase adjusted with inflation should be given to these workers.

Shahri Mahila Kaamgaar Union also resolved to continue their struggle for decent work and ensure rights of the working women and take forward the recommendations of the public hearing to the authorities concerned.

Anita Kapoor, Poonam, Madeena Begum, Mudra, Lakshmi, Asha, Seela Manswanee

on Behalf of Shahri Mahila Kaamgaar Union

Mob. 09810787686

 

 

A doctor walks into the heart of darkness


Oct 14, 2012 – Javed Anand, in Asian Age
First, if you’ve not seen it already, go find the recent issue of a national weekly which has “The Silent Killers of Chhattisgarh” as its cover story. It’s not the story that I’m talking about but the picture on the cover for it has many stories to tell.
Stay with the picture for a bit. A young mother, an adivasi woman with a child in her lap, faces the camera. As for the child, except for the bloated belly, you see more bones than flesh. You can easily count the ribs. The child in apparent anguish is bawling. But you get the feeling you may not hear any sound even if this was a video shoot.
If a single picture of a victim of acute undernourishment could be disturbing enough, what are we to do with facts no less disturbing? According to the National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau, we learn from Dilip D’Souza’s The Curious Case of Binayak Sen, more than 60 per cent of scheduled tribes in India have a body mass index (BMI) of less than 18.5. The World Health Organisation (WHO) puts this statistic in perspective: if more than 40 per cent of the population of a community has a BMI of less than 18.5, the community can be considered to be in a condition of famine. In other words, famine and starvation are an everyday reality for the scheduled tribes of our “socialist republic”.
Let’s go back to the picture, give it another look and consider if it’s telling us something about ourselves. Then ask ourselves the question: Should we be proud of India the “Emerging Superpower”, or should we be ashamed of being Indians?
Perhaps years ago Dr Binayak Sen — product of one of the highly prestigious Christian Medical College, Vellore — asked himself some such question and found an answer: Those who are not a part of the solution are a part of the problem. The answer took him and his colleague, Dr Saibal Jana, in 1983 to the Dalli Rajhara mining belt in Madhya Pradesh, now Chhattisgarh, to offer their services to a medical centre set up by workers for workers, Shaheed Hospital.
From the perspective of today’s Mr and Ms Middle Class especially, Dr Sen is an obvious “loser”. As it happens, the ’60s generation of which he is a part produced many losers such as him. Something called “social concern” took the good doctor away from the glitter of the metropolis to the heart of darkness. He was lucky having acquired a professional expertise which was badly needed where he went.
Once there, he should have stuck to the trodden path: prescribing pills and injections, recommending tests after tests, hospitalisation… But his alma mater had taught him to reach out to the person(s) behind the patient, to think of preventive healthcare.
Thus Dr Sen and his colleagues discovered that at the root of the ailments of the patients who came to him was chronic hunger. What pills, what injections can you prescribe for treating “stable famine” malady? Healthcare, he realised, was a human rights issue. Experience was driving Dr Sen towards “dangerous territory”. He began entertaining dangerous thoughts such as “structural violence” against the poor and the hungry, even suggesting that, “this situation fits the definition of genocide: not by guns or machetes or gas chambers, but by creating conditions for communities” (Dilip D’Souza’s words), “in which the survival of (these communities) is at risk” (Dr Sen’s words).
To compound matters, Dr Sen gravitated towards the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and ended up being elected general secretary of its Chhattisgarh unit. On request, Dr Sen in his dual capacity as a doctor and as PUCL general secretary visits an ailing Maoist leader, Narayan Sanyal, in the Raipur Central Jail, with written permission from the jail authorities.
Ah ha! So this up-to-no-good doctor with dangerous thoughts is mixed up with Maoists? Not just Maoists, the ISI as well! Proof: An email from his impounded computer shows a message addressed to the ISI. The well-known Indian Social Institute (ISI) Delhi! So the dangerous doctor is arrested and charged with sedition: waging war against the Indian state.
Read D’Souza’s book with an open mind and you cannot but conclude that in place of hard evidence all that you find in the voluminous chargesheet against Dr Sen are insinuations and innuendos, apart from falsehoods and mindlessness. Many years ago the Supreme Court was constrained to remark that policemen are like “criminals in uniform”. The remark is most apt for the Chhattisgarh police in the context of Dr Sen’s case. What’s more scandalous, however, is the December 2010 verdict of the trial court that held Dr Sen and two co-accused guilty of sedition (among other charges) and sentenced to life imprisonment. Allow D’Souza to take you through parts of the judgment, hold your breath and decide for yourself.
A January 2011 appeal against the conviction is currently pending before the Chhattisgarh high court. Over-ruling a nay from the high court, the Supreme Court has granted bail to Dr Sen. It’s difficult to see how the trial court’s verdict can stand the scrutiny of the high court and the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, it is hopefully a matter of some consolation to Dr Sen, his colleagues and family — and us — that their trials and tribulations have charged the demand for the expulsion of the long-outdated sedition charge embedded into the Indian Penal Code by our colonial masters.

 

Unsuccessful rehabilitation of manual scavengers and their children in India


Manual scavengers and their children from various states express their feelings regarding rehabilitation Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan organized a one day “National Public Hearing on Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers and their Children in India” at Indian Social Institute, New Delhi on 28th March 2012 with the especial emphasis of rehabilitation and scholarship schemes like Scheme for Self Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS), Pre-Matric Scholarships to the Children of those Engaged in ‘Unclean’ Occupations, etc with the following objectives:
1. To present an overall scenario of the rehabilitation of manual scavengers and their children in the nation.
2. To provide a public platform to the women who left this practice and also to those who are still involved in the practice to voice their concerns and problems related to rehabilitation they are facing.
3. To bring forth the cases of the corruption in rehabilitation, exploitation and abuse of those who are involved or left manual scavenging and share with government and non government bodies.
4. To increase the political will to address the issues and to associate and sensitize other sections of the society and involve them rehabilitation and to build a common and larger consensus and movement for liberation and rehabilitation of liberated manual scavengers.
Corruption was done on large scale in the rehabilitation scheme, which is Rs. 735.6 crores rehabilitation scheme implemented by Government of India. About 76% people got benefits;those are not in eligible criteria. This fact came out in the public hearing of Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan (National Campaign for Dignity and Eradication of Manual Scavenging) at New Delhi on
28th March 2012. Liberated manual scavenger women, engaged manual scavengers and representatives of community and social organizations from 10 states participated in this public hearing. 32 women and children from the manual scavenger community shared their cases related to manual scavenging practice, rehabilitation, education, atrocities, untouchability and
discrimination in this public hearing.

An 8 years old girl from Mandsore district told that untouchability is very prevalent during the Mid Day Meal in her school. Children of dalit community received breads from some distance.They can’t touch the basket of breads. Scholarships of children of liberated manual scavenging families also stopped by the government.

A 14 years boy Ravi from Tikamgrah and a girl Pinki from Neemachch district said that our scholarships stopped by schools because our parents stopped the manual scavenging work. Both of them dropped out from the school due to poverty
and their scholarship were stopped. Mrs. Husnabai from Jhalabad district of Rajasthan also told the same story. Her granddaughter was getting scholarship but after they left manual scavenging work by her parents her scholarship stopped by school. Major thing come out that untouchability and various type of discrimination is going in the schools with the children of dalit community and stopped their scholarships by schools. This is very clear that violation has been done of human rights has been done of these children due to this inhuman practice.
Government of India prohibited manual scavenging practice in 1993 through the act.
Government of India implemented a scheme “Self Employment Scheme for rehabilitation of
manual scavengers” SRMS in the 2007 but people of dalit community don’t have any benefits
from the rehabilitation scheme.

Read the full report below

Brief Report on National Public Hearing on Rehabilitation Manual Scavengers and their Children

Despair can lead people to disastrous path: Dr Binayak Sen


BANGALORE – Speaking at the 6th Henry Volken Memorial lecture at Indian Social Institute in Bangalore Dr.Binayak Sen said that the weak has to develop internal strength to do politics otherwise the wide spread despair can lead people to disastrous path.

He said that democracy is about governance by consent and it cannot be reduced to series of election. He further said that for this very purpose social mobilization has to be constant and running theme of democracy.

Citing the recent hunger death of tea workers in Bengal Dr.Sen said that these starvation death and tragic death like these need to be contextualized and must not be seen in isolation.

Referring to Prime Minister’s latest remark on Malnutrition as National Shame he asked that if Child Malnutrition is shame then what to say about Adult Malnutrition which is equally rampant and about which we never talk.

Dr.Sen also argued in his lecture that Famine is not about shortage of grain, citing the case of Bengal Famine of 1943 he said that there was not shortage of food grains and all those boats carrying the grains were savaged by direct orders from British Raj

He said that Body mass index is very low in this country and 37 % has BMI less than 18.5 and if 40 % of population has low BMI then it is referred as state of famine and we are near to it.

‘National grain consumption has seen a fall of 110 kg in from 880 kg to 770 kg’, he added. ‘This famine is getting worse’. ‘The incident of hunger death of those tea workers at Dhekla pal is just the tip of iceberg’ He said.

Referring to various resistance movements in the country he said that ‘resistance is only way for these community’. ‘The struggle against POSCO in Odisha is an admirable one’ he added

He criticized the public policy practices in the country and urged that this must be directed towards well being of its citizen which is possible through equity.

Source- Newzfirst

Archives

Kractivism-Gonaimate Videos

Protest to Arrest

Faking Democracy- Free Irom Sharmila Now

Faking Democracy- Repression Anti- Nuke activists

JAPA- MUSICAL ACTIVISM

Kamayaninumerouno – Youtube Channel

UID-UNIQUE ?

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

Join 6,231 other followers

Top Rated

Blog Stats

  • 1,784,197 hits

Archives

May 2020
M T W T F S S
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
%d bloggers like this: