The Hypocrisy and Farce in the name of ENVIORNMENT


 The truck with the tree… Spreading “greenery” in the city , WHAT ??? carbon emissions and saving enviornment WAH !!!
 by Rajdip  Ray

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The Green State

At the very outset, let me clarify that I’m not an environmentalist. Neither am I affiliated to any political party, though I’m likely to get branded as a Maoist after writing this article. I’m just an average twenty year old who has grown up in Calcutta and learnt to love the city and the state. And my curiosity propels me to question the numerous anomalies that I notice all around me. At this point of time, I think it is also of significance to mention that I’ve been working with a Non Governmental Organization of considerable repute, which strives to provide a better life to underprivileged kids belonging to the lower strata of society. This organization works hand in hand with the Kolkata Police, since many of these kids are rescued from situations where they are being beaten and tortured at home, or are being rehabilitated after committing minor crimes or resorting to substance abuse.
5th June. World Environment Day. A concept which has never been too popular in India. However, times are changing. Ever since Mamata Banerjee took oath as Chief Minister of West Bengal, she has promised to make Calcutta the equivalent of London, and Darjeeling the equivalent of Switzerland. Apart from the minor differences in weather, she has taken the rest all upon herself to ensure this happens. Which means, just like the West, it is now imperative for the state to celebrate World Environment Day. Fair enough. As long as it is benefitting the environment and the people, I see no reason to complain.
I was told to report to the Gariahat Police Station at 7.30 in the morning to help the NGO with a rally in support of the environment. When I asked how it is related to child rights which is supposed to be my only concern as an intern for the NGO, I was told that the police supports all our work, and hence it is our duty to support them when they ask for it, regardless of whether it is related to child rights or  not. So I arrived at 7.30 only to be greeted by a cop sitting languidly with a bunch of street kids. Gradually, however, the kids were brought in to fill up a bus, and by the time it started moving it was 8.45.
The rally was supposed to start at Harish Mukherji Park. However, due to the incompetency of one of the policemen who was guiding the driver, we managed to reach the Maidan. After waiting for a quarter of an hour, somebody had the bright realization that they had reached the wrong destination. So, everyone packed inside the bus again, and it left for Harish Mukherji Park. By the time we reached Harish Mukherji Park, the rally had already left. The same bright policeman was now struck with the idea of making the bus somehow catch up with the rally. So, once again, the bus turned and started moving towards Rabindra Sadan. By the time we reached Rabindra Sadan, the rally had come to an end and the people had already dispersed.
Everyone was handed an ID card of sorts in support of the environment and given free t-shirts, blue and white, like the rest of the city with the government’s name, and “World Environment Day: In Support of a Green Economy” printed in green. They also received caps with similar colours and designs. At this point of time, I’d like to point out that the recipients of these t-shirts are mostly illiterate and had no clue as to why they were there in the first place. They had been promised free food, and they had obliged by showing up. As people were told to put on their t-shirts, they haphazardly removed the plastic covers and threw them on the floor. The organizers of the event and the police stood watching, but no-one said a thing, as the entire area got strewn with plastic packets. So much for the environment!
Everyone was lined up, and made to enter the auditorium where a few hundred, maybe thousand, people, mostly people from the lower strata of society and party workers, were seated awaiting a special programme organized by the state government for World Environment Day. In the background, Tagore was playing, as nothing in this state is complete without flaunting a bit of our culture, is it? Interestingly, the previous day, when I had shown one of the kids a picture of Tagore and asked him if he knew who it was, he had no idea whatsoever. This kid, and several others like him, was now seated as part of this elite audience.
The dignitaries involved included the Commissioner of Police, the Minister of Commerce and Industries, Mr. Partha Chatterjee, the Minister of Transport, Mr. Madan Mitra, and the likes. Due to Mr. Chatterjee getting delayed, the audience were made to wait endlessly. Meanwhile, the master of ceremonies ranted on about the environment. She exclaimed how her son in Switzerland had told her about the steps taken by the Swiss government to cut out noise pollution, and how she felt the same must be implemented here. The mere mention of “Switzerland” excited more than half the audience, most of who are financially incapable of travelling beyond the borders of the city.
In the midst of such high end drama, I couldn’t help but notice the huge flex in the background with the government’s proclamation of aid to the environment taking up half of it, while Mamata Banerjee’s face covered the rest. Splendid use of resources to commemorate the occasion. Also, on stage, were a group of colour co-ordinated (white, blue and green) women who were present to sing and entertain the audience. As if the recorded Rabindrasangeet hadn’t already quenched my thirst for music on a day which almost hit 40 degree Celsius and the humidity was more than 80 percent.
Read more at Rajdip’s Blog

An Open Letter to Mamata Banerjee from the student she branded a ‘Maoist’


New Delhi: On Friday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called Presidency University student Taniya Bhardwaj a CPI(M) cadre and a Maoist for asking a question about the conduct of senior state ministers and officials over crimes against women.

The question was asked at an open house session with the Chief Minister, conducted by CNN-IBN to mark one year of the Trinamool Congress’s coming to power in West Bengal.

An angry Banerjee castigated the audience for asking ‘CPI(M) questions’ and ‘Maoist questions’ and stormed out, refusing to participate further. Taniya Bhardwaj writes an open letter to Mamata Banerjee.

Branded a Maoist by WB Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, college student Taniya Bharadwaj writes her an open letter.

An Open Letter to Mamata Banerjee from the student she branded a 'Maoist'

Dear ‘Simple Man’,

On being asked a simple question, you acquired a complicated avatar. We all went to the CNN-IBN question-answer session on Friday, May 18, at the Town Hall expecting to hear some heated exchanges, but it got too hot to handle.

You, the most important person in West Bengal, labelled me and the rest of the audience ‘Maoist and CPM cadres’. What exactly did we do to deserve this honour? We asked you questions. I asked you whether affiliates of your party, specifically minister Madan Mitra and MP Arabul Islam, who wield power, should act, or should have acted, more responsibly.

Like many others, I was also greatly disturbed when Madan Mitra pronounced his own judgement on a rape victim before the police were done investigating. This woman, whose character was assassinated, is an Anglo-Indian, a member of the minority community. Thus, if we were to even forget about sensitivity, the question of political correctness still hangs over his conduct.

A few months ago, this very same man had misbehaved with policemen who had stopped his car on the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass as part of its routine. As for the Arabul Islam case, it is still making headlines.

I asked you something that had been on the minds of most people around me, people who voted for ‘paribartan’ (change). Is this what we expect of our leaders? The ones who set examples and whom people follow. This is all that I wanted to know. What I got to know, instead, is that in West Bengal, asking a question can be the equivalent of being a Maoist.

‘Simple man’, you claimed with pride on stage that you’re not a feminist.

That proclamation did not surprise us, especially after the Katwa and Park Street cases. You also spoke of democracy. The answers you gave to the questions you took before mine were sprinkled with words like ‘people’, ‘democracy’, and ‘Bengal‘.

But one of the most important features of a true democracy, which I have learnt as a student of political science, is freedom of expression. This freedom is the one that allows an individual to express oneself, to not have to mince words out of fear of authority. It involves enjoying a chuckle or two at cartoon about important public figures.

Sadly, there seems to be a gradual failure in this aspect of the democratic machinery in the state. And just like I won’t become a Maoist simply because you called me one, the state too won’t epitomize democracy unless it is truly so in all spheres. All said and done, what you did was in haste and it made me the centre of attention. And as you stomped off in fury, you automatically assumed the role of the spoilsport.

It would have been so much more ‘simple’ had you just answered my question, or even said “No comments” and moved on. The question became so important because you chose to make it important.

You have spoken of ‘brain drain’ so many times. I hold offers from the University College, London and the School of Oriental and African Studies to study development and administration. I too will probably leave, and now you know the reason why. Had you stayed on, it would have been fun. And you would have honestly been ‘a Chief Minister with a difference’. The role of your office as Chief Minister is to aggregate interest – you should at the least have heard us all out.

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power”. So said Abraham Lincoln.

Love

A Simple Woman – Taniya Bhardwaj

Open letter to Mamta Bannerji- ‘ Fake- Rapes’


18-02-2012

Madam Chief Minister,

We, the members of Maitree, a women’s rights network in West Bengal, are writing to protest against the manner in which the complaint of rape of a woman in a car in Kolkata on Feb 5, 2012 been dealt with by the government, especially the police.

  • Despite being the Chief Minister and the Home Minister of the State, without giving time for investigation, you have stated that the incident is contrived and intended to malign your government. We are extremely apprehensive that your pronouncement will discourage a just and fair investigation. Supreme Court judgements on rape, say that for such cases oral testimony is enough to initiate the case, and sensitivity has to be shown to the assaulted women who come to seek justice.
  • The Minister of State for Transport and Sports, Mr. Madan Mitra, also made offensive public comments about the lifestyle of the complainant and alleged that the complaint was fabricated to extort money. He said: “She has two children and so far as I know she is separated from her husband. What was she doing at a night club so late in the night?”
  • A section of the police officials seemed more intent on finding “inconsistencies” in the complainant’s statements, instead of taking action against the police personnel who delayed in filing the FIR, failed to get the medical investigation done in time and misbehaved with the complainant

–          At the same time, we would like to point out that there are inconsistencies in the different police versions. Had the police taken a proper attitude from the beginning, the arrests would probably have come much before 18thFebruary and the woman would have had less of a trauma.

  • Despite the Supreme Court judgements that the name and details of the victim of a rape case must be kept anonymous, these details have been made public.
  • Not only was there a delay in getting the medical examination done but no woman police personnel accompanied the complainant to the hospital. The law is clear that that immediate forensic investigation is needed.

It takes immense courage for a woman to report rape and sexual assault.  It is shocking to see that the complainant is being treated as the wrongdoer in this case.

We demand

  1. An immediate apology from you, the Chief Minister and the Transport Minister for prejudging the issue and casting aspersion on the integrity of the complainant.
  2. Action against police personnel responsible for mishandling the case and misbehaving with the complainant
  3. Immediate security for the woman
  4. Fair and just investigation of the complaint

We hope that you will heed our concerns and ensure that justice is done in this matter.

Thanking you,

Yours sincerely,

Members of Matiree

____________________________________________________________________________________

Secretariat: Sappho for Equality, 11A Jogendra Garden, South, Kolkata 700078

Contacts: Swayam 98302 04322 & Jeevika Development Society 98317 40384

[Distributed in the street corner and rally held on 21-02-2012 at Hazra More]

PS- SHE HAS NOT REPLIED THE LETTER YET  

Mamta and Madan Mitra’s Medieval Moralising


Kolkata police find holes in rape case; Mamata says cooked up
By: IANS Date: 2012-02-17 Place: Kolkata

As the Kolkata police said there were “certain technical discrepancies” in the rape complaint filed by an Anglo-Indian woman, a state minister questioned the morality of the woman and alleged that the complaint was fabricated to extort money.

West Bengal Chief Miniter Mamata Banerjee has termed the incident as “cooked up”.

The woman, a mother of two and former call centre employee, has alleged she was raped on the night of Feb 5. The police complaint was filed Feb 9, when the victim underwent a medical examination. She has accused Lavi Gidwani and four others of raping her.

“It is an attempt to criticise the police and the government. The police are taking all action to find out the truth,” Commissioner of Police R.K. Pachnanda said briefing the media.

He also rubbished the claims of police inaction. “There was no police inaction. Immediately after the case was registered on Feb 9, the police acted and several persons named Sharafat Ali, the name given by the complainant, were identified by the police.”

Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Damayanti Sen said the accused including Gidwani were not present at the place of occurrence.

“Till now as per their (accused) statements and the evidence available it seems that the persons (accused) were not present at the place of occurrence ¦ But it is too early to say that until further investigations conclusively prove that,” said Sen.

“It is a serious allegation. We are probing it. But the entire thing is not yet clear to us,” she said.

A highly placed police officer said Gidwani is in Canada and his father has produced all documents to prove it.

Later a Bengali news channel showed Gidwani saying he was in Canada on the date of the alleged crime.

“I was preparing for my upcoming exams on the day. I am still in Canada,” Gidwani told the channel on phone. He also confirmed that the two persons detained by the police in this connection were his friends.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addressing the media at the state secretariat had claimed the entire matter was ‘cooked up with a view to malign the government’.

Trinamool Congress leader and Sports Minister Madan Mitra while talking to a TV channel questioned the morality of the woman and alleged that the complaint was fabricated to extort money.

“She has two children and so far as I know she is separated from her husband. What was she doing at a night club so late in the night?

“As far as I am concerned, based on the documentary proof that I have, I think it is a fabricated complaint made to extort money,” Mitra added.

The police have initiated a probe into allegations of the woman and one of her relatives that some policemen had misbehaved with them at the Park Street police station when she went to lodge a complaint.

The police also denied that they were trying to prove the victim wrong.

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