PressRelease- Joint Statement by Indians and Pakistanis on the Sad Demise of Sarabjit Singh


We the citizens of India and Pakistan are pained by the sad demise of Mr. Sarabjit Singh as a result of a dastardly attack on him in the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore, Pakistan by some inmates on 26th April 2013. We express our deep and heartfelt condolences for the family of the deceased.

Given the statements by most Indian prisoners in Pakistan jails of good and humane treatment, this unusual and inexplicable attack on Sarabjit Singh and the allegations of torture in the recent death of Chamel Singh in Pakistan jail indicate some conspiracy by vested interests to destabilize relations between India and Pakistan that were showing marked improvement in recent times. Hence we demand a thorough and complete investigation under the supervision of the UN or any independent international body.

Prisoners any where are the responsibility of the governments and the Government of Pakistan should immediately take strict and exemplary actions against all those responsible for the attack as well as the planners and conspirators. Pakistan and India should especially ensure that all steps are taken for complete protection and safeguarding all human rights of the prisoners of other country in their jails.

 

India               

  1. Mahesh Bhatt- Mumbai
  2. Mazher Hussain- Hyderabad
  3. Ram Punyani- Mumbai
  4. Jatin Desai- Mumbai
  5. John Dayal- Delhi
  6. Javed Anand- Mumbai
  7. Jamal kidwai- New Delhi
  8. Kamayani Bali Mahabal- Mumbai
  9. Varsha Rajan Berry- Mumbai
  10. Sandeep Panday- Lucknow
  11. Feroz Mithiborewala- Mumbai
  12. Hasan Mansoor- Bangalore
  13. Vijayan MJ- Delhi
  14. Haris Kidwai- Delhi
  15. Ramesh Jadav- Amritsar
  16. Mohammed Turab- Hyderabad

Pakistan

  1. Mohammad Tahseen – Lahore
  2. Abbas Ali Siddiqui- Lahore
  3. Dr. A. H. Nayyar, Pakistan Peace Coalition
  4. Dr. Tipu Sultan, Pakistan Medical Association
  5. Qazi Javed, Forum for Secular Pakistan
  6. Zulfiqar Halepoto, Pakistan Peace Coalition, Sindh
  7. Syed Zulfiqar Ali Shah,  PILER
  8. Miss Zeeenia Shoukat PILER
  9. B.M.Kutty, Pakistan Peace Coalition
  10. Dr. Haroon Ahmed, Forum for Secular Pakistan
  11. Ms. Sheema Kermani, Tehreek-e-Niswan
  12. Karamat Ali, PILER
  13. Muhammad Yaqoob, Takhleeq Foundation
  14. Syed Muhammad Ali Shah, Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum(PFF)
  15. Dr. Ali Ercelan, PFF
  16. Shamsuddin, PIPFPD and HRCP
  17. Mir Zulfiqar Ali, Joint Action Committe, Karachi
  18. Ms. Farhat Perveen, NOW Community, Karachi

Related articles

Sarabjit Singh dies, Pakistan to hand over his body to India


PTI | May 2, 2013,

Pak to return Sarabjit's body after postmortem

Pak to return Sarabjit’s body after postmortem

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thurday said the body of Indian death row convict Sarabjit Singh, who died in a Lahore hospital after a brutal assault in jail, will be handed over to Indian authorities after “the early completion of all formalities”.

The Pakistan government will continue to facilitate the “early completion of all formalities and hand over the mortal remains of the prisoner to the Indian High Commission at the earliest possible”, said a statement from the Pakistan Foreign Office.

The body of 49-year-old Sarabjit was moved to the mortuary of Jinnah Hospital in Lahore shortly after he died of cardiac arrest at around 1am. (1:30am IST)

He had been comatose since Friday, when he was attacked by six other prisoners within his barrack at Kot Lakhpat Jail.

The Foreign Office said the Pakistan government had been providing “all assistance to the family of Sarabjit Singh as well as to the Indian authorities since the occurrence of this unfortunate incident”.

The statement said Sarabjit had died of cardiac arrest despite being “provided the best treatment available” and the staff of Jinnah Hospital working round the clock to save his life.

Pakistan’s foreign secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani was quoted by the media as saying that the body would be “expeditiously” handed over to India after completing necessary formalities.

Official sources in Islamabad and Lahore said an autopsy and other formalities will have to be completed before handing over the body. A medical board will oversee the autopsy.

The Indian High Commission was in touch with both the federal and Punjab governments on the issue, the sources said.

Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal, who is in Lahore, is expected to meet Punjab caretaker chief minister Najam Sethi this afternoon.

Sarabjit sustained severe injuries when at least six prisoners attacked him in a barrack at Kot Lakhpat Jail on Friday, hitting him on the head with bricks.

In New Delhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed sadness over Sarabjit’s death, saying criminals responsible for the barbaric and murderous attack on the Indian national must be brought to justice.

Sarabjit was convicted of alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Punjab province that killed 14 people in 1990 and spent about 22 years in Pakistani prisons.

His family says he was the victim of mistaken identity and had inadvertently strayed across the border in an inebriated state.

Sarabjit’s mercy petitions were rejected by the courts and former President Pervez Musharraf.

The previous Pakistan People’s Party-led government put off Sarabjit’s execution for an indefinite period in 2008.

The official sources in Lahore had yesterday said Sarabjit had slipped into a “non-reversible” coma and this could lead to “brain death”.

His measurements on the Glasgow Coma Scale, which indicates the levels of consciousness and damage to a person’s central nervous system, had dropped to a “critical level”, the sources said.

Police have booked two death row prisoners, Amer Aftab and Mudassar, for the attack on Sarabjit. They reportedly told investigators that they had attacked Sarabjit because he had allegedly carried out bomb attacks in Lahore.

No action has been taken so far against officials of the jail for failing to provide adequate security to Sarabjit.

Following the rapid deterioration in Sarabjit’s condition, New Delhi had requested that he be immediately released so that he could be treated in India or a third country.

Sarabjit should be declared a martyr: Family

The family of Sarabjit Singh, Indian prisoner who succumbed to injuries after being brutally assaulted in a Lahore jail, has demanded that his body be handed over to them and he should be declared a “martyr”.

The family has set forth demand to the Union home ministry including that Sarabjit’s body be cremated with full state honours, Raj Kumar Verka, vice chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Castes, told PTI.

They have also demanded that the Centre take full responsibility of the family, Verka said.

The government will hold a meeting today to consider the demands of Sarabjit’s family, he added.

Verka said Sarabjit’s family members, who are with him at his New Delhi residence, are in a state of shock after receiving the news of his death.

He said he has forwarded the demands to the Union home ministry and is in touch with the Central leaders, including home minister Sushilkumar Shinde himself.

 

#India – Govt okays amendments to manual scavenging eradication bill


May 1, 2013New Delhi: The government today approved amendments to a bill that seeks to eradicate manual scavenging.

The Union cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, approved official amendments to The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Bill, 2012.

End to manual scavenging. AFP

End to manual scavenging. AFP

The amendments include provisions like mandatory inclusion of women in vigilance committees at district, state and national level and a survey to identify manual scavengers.

“The words insanitary latrines and manual scavengers define taking into account real situation on the ground,” Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters in New Delhi.

The bill was introduced on 3 September 2012 and it was referred to the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment.

The Standing Committee reported to the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in March 2013 and this bill will now be introduced in Parliament.

Chidambaram said the Bill was introduced in Parliament last year and now officials amendments will be included in it.

The bill also has the provision for setting up committees at various levels.

“The provision for constitution of vigilance committee in each district and sub-divisions and a state level monitoring committee and a central-level monitoring committee, it is mandatory to have representation of women in these committees,” he said.

PTI

 

 

#India – Aadhaar: Private ownership of UID data- Part I


 USHA RAMANATHAN | 29/04/2013 ,Moneylife.com

 

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As per the report of the TAG-UP Committee headed by Nandan Nilekani,government data and databases would be privatised through the creation of NIUs, which will then ‘own’ the data and the government would become a ‘customer’ to whoever controls the data!

It is no secret that data is the new property. The potential for evolving technologies to record, collate, converge, retrieve, mine, share, profile and otherwise conjure with data has given life to this form of property, and to spiralling ambitions around it. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) was set up with its push to enrol the entire Indian resident population, and with Nandan Nilekani as both its chairman and as chair of committees set up by Dr Manmohan Singh’s government. In this set-up, we are witnessing the emergence of an information infrastructure, which the government helps—by financing and facilitating the ‘start-up’, and by the use of coercion to get people on to the database—which it will then hand over to corporate interests when it reaches a ‘steady state’.

 

Since Mr Nilekani was appointed the chairperson of the UIDAI, in the rank of a Cabinet minister, he has chaired multiple committees, each of which pushes for the collection of data and the creation of databases, and steers the government to become a customer of whoever controls the database. Several reports on e-governance as part of the report of the National Knowledge Commission: Report to the Nation 2006-2009 as well as Report of the Committee for Unified Toll Collection Technology (June 2010), the National e-governance plan (November 2011, Background Papers), Interim Report of the Task Force on direct transfer of subsidies on kerosene (June 2011), LPG and fertiliser’ Report of the Task Force on IT Strategy and an implementable solution for the direct transfer of subsidy for food and kerosene (October 2011: Final report), Report of the Task Force on anAadhaar-enabled unified payment infrastructure (February 2012), and, of course, the TAG-UP report, are testimony to how Mr Nilekani has been used to promote a set ofdatabase-related ambitions.

 

It was in the January 2011 report of the Nilekani-chaired Technology Advisory Group on Unique Projects (TAG-UP) that the framework for the private ownership of databases was elaborated and explained. These were about databases constructed out of data that is given to the government to hold in a fiduciary capacity, and expected to be used for specified, and limited, purposes. The Nilekani Committee report directly dealt with five projects—Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN), Tax Information Network (TIN), Expenditure Information Network (EIN), National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) and the New Pension System (NPS). It recommended that the suggested framework “be more generally applicable to the complex IT-intensive systems, which are increasingly coming to prominence in the craft of Indian public administration”.

 

As the Nilekani Committee understood it, the government has two major tasks: policymaking and implementation. Implementation is fettered by absence of leadership and active ownership of projects, outdated recruitment processes and methodology, inability to pay market salaries for specialised skills, lack of avenues for continued enhancement of professional skills and career growth, non-conducive work environment, outdated performance evaluation and preference for seniority over merit, and untimely transfer of officers. Rather than expend time on finding correctives to the system, the Nilekani committee found in this an opportunity for private business interest. Without further ado, and without considering, for instance the capacities and deficiencies in privatising databases, and what this means for citizens and residents, the Nilekani committee found its answer in National Information Utilities (NIUs).

 

“NIUs would be private companies with a public purpose: profit-making, not-profit maximising”. The government would have “strategic control”, that is, it would be focussed on how it would achieve the objectives and outcomes, leaving the NIU ‘flexible’ in its functioning. Total private ownership should be at least 51%. The government should have at least 26% share. Once it reaches a steady state, the government would be a “paying customer” and, as a paying customer, “the government would be free to take its business to another NIU”. Except, of course, given the “large upfront sunk-cost, economies of scale, and network externalities from a surrounding ecosystem (and what this means is not explained any further), NIUs are … essentially set up as natural monopolies”.

 

The Nilekani Committee evinces a deep disinterest in the various rungs of government. It asks for the “total support and involvement of the top management within the government” — words reflecting the UIDAI’s experience, with the Prime Minister and Montek Singh Ahluwalia being its staunch supporters, and much of the rest of the administration seemingly unclear about what the project entails. To get a buy-in from the bureaucracy, “in-service officers” are to be deployed in the NIUs and are to be given an allowance of 30% of their remuneration.

 

“Once the rollout is completed,” the Nilekani committee says, “the government’s role shifts to that of a customer.”

 

On the question of open source, the Nilekani committee “recognises the intellectual property of the NIU”, but considers that it may be counterproductive to the business planning and profitability of the NIU to release all source as open source.

 

The report is littered with references to the UIDAI, and suggests that the way the UIDAI has been functioning is what an NIU should use as its model.

 

What emerges is this:

• Governmental data and databases are to be privatised through the creation of NIUs, which will then `own’ the data;

• NIUs will be natural monopolies;

• NIUs will use the data and the database to be profit-making and not profit-maximising, and the definition of these terms may, of course, vary;

• Government will support the NIUs through funding them till they reach a steady state, and by doing what is needed to gather the data and create the database using governmental authority;

• Once the NIU reaches steady state, the government will reappear as the customer of the NIU;

• Government officers will be deployed in NIUs and be paid 30% over their salaries, which, even if the report does not say it explicitly, is expected to forge loyalties and vested interests;

• The notion of holding citizens’ data in a fiduciary capacity cedes place to the vesting of ownership over citizens’ data in an entity which will then have the government as their customer.

 

This notion of private companies owning our data has not been discussed with state governments, nor with people from whom information is being collected. This might have been treated as another report without a future; except, in the budget presented by Pranab Mukherjee as finance minister in March 2012, he announced that the “GSTN (Goods and Sales Tax Network) will be set up as a National Information Utility”.

 

The NIU was not explained to Parliament, and no one seems to have raised any questions about what it is. This, then, is the story of how the ownership of governmental data by private entities is silently slipping into the system.

 

(Dr Usha Ramanathan is an independent law researcher on jurisprudence, poverty and rights.)

 

 

#India – People leave mother and daughter to’ bleed to death’ on Jaipur road for 40 minutes #Vaw #WTFnews


Tuesday, Apr 16 2013 

Traffic camera captures family’s anguish as mother and baby daughter ‘bleed to death on Indian road as callous motorists drive past for 40 minutes’

  • Family of four were on the same motorbike when they were hit by a lorry
  • Desperate pleas for passing drivers to help were ignored for 40 minutes
  • Shocking tragedy struck on section of road where bikes are banned

By Sudhanshu Mishra

PUBLISHED: 15:33 EST, 15 April 2013 |

A mother and baby daughter bled to death on the road while motorists sped past them, ignoring the desperate cries for help of the victim’s husband and their four-year-old son.

The family was travelling on a motorbike in Jaipur‘s newly constructed tunnel, Ghat-ki-Guni, where two-wheelers are banned, when a speeding truck hit them, killing Guddi Raigher, 26, and her eight-month-old daughter Arushi.

Her husband Kanhaiya and son Tanish, both of whom suffered minor injuries, spent the next 40 minutes desperately trying to flag down passing motorists for help.

Scroll down for video – WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT

Desperation: Kanhaiyalal Raigher and his young son try to flag down passing motorists as his wife and young daughter bleed to deathDesperation: Kanhaiyalal Raigher and his young son try to flag down passing motorists as his wife and young daughter bleed to death

Not a single motorist stopped to help Kanhaiya, who kept running to each and every vehicle passing the accident spot where his wife and daughter lay in a pool of blood.

He fainted near the bodies after running around for more than half-an-hour.

 Finally, some motorcyclists stopped to lift him and informed his relatives and the police.

This, too, was possible only after coming out of the tunnel as there is no mobile connectivity inside.

Horror: A CCTV camera captures Kanhaiya consoling his distraught son as vehicles pass by the scene of the accident without providing help for nearly 40 minutesHorror: A CCTV camera captures Kanhaiya consoling his distraught son as vehicles pass by the scene of the accident without providing help for nearly 40 minutes

Desperation: Kanhaiya Raigher and his young son attempt to flag down passing motorists after the motorbike they were travelling on was hit by a truck, killing two other members of their familyDesperation: Kanhaiya Raigher and his young son attempt to flag down passing motorists after the motorbike they were travelling on was hit by a truck, killing two other members of their family

Carnage: Motorists swerve around the fatally injured mother and daughter instead of stopping to helpCarnage: Motorists swerve around the fatally injured mother and daughter instead of stopping to help

But by then, 40 valuable minutes had passed without any assistance coming his way.

The ban on two-wheelers has not yet been enforced in the tunnel as a tug-of-war is going on between the traffic police and the private company responsible for its maintenance over who would deploy personnel to implement the rule.

The Ashok Gehlot government had shown unusual eagerness in getting the 2.8km tunnel inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on January 19, during the Congress party’s Chintan Shivir.

Devastating: The couple's son, pictured with relatives, sustained head injuriesDevastating: The couple’s son, pictured with relatives, sustained head injuries

The hurry was such that artificial trees and plants worth Rs 1.25 lakh were fixed with cement at the tunnel’s entrance to give it a green look.

The tunnel, on the outskirts of Jaipur, is on NH-11. Ever since the tunnel was thrown open to public, the Jaipur traffic police and Rohan Rajdeep Rajasthan Infrastructure Limited (RRRIL), the company entrusted with its maintenance, have been evading the responsibility of implementing the ban on two-wheelers.

Tragedy: Distraught father and grieving husband Kanhaiya pictured left, with a bandage around a hand wounded in the crash watched his wife and daughter bleed to deathTragedy: Distraught father and grieving husband Kanhaiya pictured left, with a bandage around a hand wounded in the crash watched his wife and daughter bleed to death

The traffic police maintain that it is the company’s responsibility, while the RRRIL claims that it had installed the warning boards restricting two-wheelers, but it does not have the authority to penalise the defaulters.

As a result of this dispute, two-wheeler riders have been flouting the ban, using the tunnel to reach their destinations. Kanhaiya’s ordeal was caught on the CCTV camera installed inside the tunnel.

Police rushed the family to hospital, where Guddi and Arushi were declared dead on arrival and Kanhaiya and Tanish were discharged after first aid.

Police tracked the truck’s registration number from the CCTV cameras installed in the tunnel and a hunt has been launched to catch the driver.

 

Passersby ignore accident victim in Jaipur street

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2309572/Familys-anguish-mother-baby-daughter-bleed-death-Jaipur-road-callous-motorists-drove-past.html#ixzz2QakaK9eM

 

Surrendering naxals to get a red carpet: Fast trials, legal aid and more money for weapons laid down by Maoists



12 Apr, 2013, 0551 hrs IST, Aman Sharma, ET Bureau


Surrendering naxals to get a red carpet

naxalarea
NEW DELHI: The home ministry has asked state governments to consider not prosecuting surrendering Naxalites and set up fast-track courts for speedy trials as part of a strategy to woo extremists to lay down their arms and join the mainstream.

The Centre has also asked states to consider providing free legal aid or the services of an advocate to surrendered Naxal cadre to help them with court trials. These measures are part of the ministry’s surrender guidelines for Naxals, which kicked in from April 1 and in which the monetary incentives for surrenders of cadres and weapons was sharply increased.

These guidelines seek to advise states on how to deal with pending court cases of surrendering Naxals. “Trial of heinous crimes committed by the surrendered Naxal may continue in the courts. The states may also consider withdrawal of prosecution on a case to case basis depending upon the antecedents and merits of the individual surrendered person. For minor offences, plea bargaining could be allowed at the discretion of the state authorities,” say the guidelines that have been sent to Naxal-affected states.

The ministry, which has been encouraged by a sharp rise in the numbers of Naxal surrenders in the last few years, also wants the states to consider providing free legal aid or an advocate to those who have surrendered “Fast track courts may be constituted by states for speedy trials against the surrendered Naxals,” the guidelines say.

This is part of the carrot and stick policy of the ministry, which has been spearheading the offensive against Naxals in various parts of the country.

Under it, it aims to provide gainful employment and entrepreneurial opportunities to the surrendered Naxals so that they are encouraged to join the mainstream and do not return to the Naxal fold.

“The objective is to wean away the hardcore cadres who have strayed into the fold of the Naxal movement and now find themselves trapped in that net,” the norms said.

Surrender cases involving Naxals hit 440 last year, up from 394 the year before and in line with a general trend that has seen a steady rise since 2009. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has in the past called the Naxalite threat one of the most serious internal security threats facing the country, with vast swathes of the hinterland in several states outside government control.

The ministry has said that along with making it easier for Naxals to lay down arms, it should also be ensured that those who surrender do not find it attractive to rejoin the movement. It has told the states that “tactical surrenders” should not be permitted at any cost. The guidelines therefore stipulate that surrendering Naxals must make a “clear confession” of all criminal acts committed by them, including the names of Naxal planners, financiers, harbourers, couriers and the details of organisations they are familiar with.

Experts also caution against adopting too lenient a strategy against the Naxals. “A naxalite must not be allowed to have the best of both worlds. I do not think we should become too liberal and the surrendering Naxal must face the music for his criminal acts. Giving legal aid is fine but prosecution should not be dropped,” said Prakash Singh, a former BSF chief and an expert on leftwing extremism. Enthused by the sharp increase in surrenders in the last few years, the home ministry has also sharply raised the monetary incentive for surrendering Naxals from April 1.

 

Manipur encounter deaths show pattern of carelessness, says Supreme Court #AFSPA


J. Venkatesan, The Hindu

Centre assures Bench that it will come out with dos and don’ts for security forces

The Centre on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would take a decision on the expert committee report holding that seven persons were killed in Manipur in fake encounters in six cases.

 

Additional Solicitor General Paras Kuhad submitted this before a Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ms. Ranjana Desai hearing a public interest writ petition highlighting how mass killings had taken place in the last decade. The committee comprised the former Supreme Court judge, Justice N. Santosh Hegde, the former Chief Election Commissioner, J.M. Lyngdoh, and the former DGP of Karnataka, Ajay Kumar Singh.

 

Justice Alam told counsel: “We can’t tell you how sorrowful we are. What is the use of sitting here? Everything appears meaningless.” The committee, in its report, said six cases of encounters resulting in the killing of seven persons were fake and the victims did not have any criminal background. The committee also reportedly recommended withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).

 

‘No respect for human lives’

 

The Centre also assured the court that it would come out with “dos and don’ts for the security forces” and sought four weeks for responding to the report. When senior counsel V. Giri, appearing for the Manipur government, wanted the court to lay down guidelines on this issue, the Bench observed: “How many times this court laid down guidelines. Tragedy is guidelines are not followed. We want to proceed further and these things should not happen in future. These deaths reveal a pattern of carelessness. No respect for human lives.”

 

The Bench said, “Security forces are also human beings, away from family. They also get brutalised. These people are also young and in the midst of violence. They also don’t lead a normal life.”

 

NHRC suggestion

 

In its response to the committee’s report, the NHRC said: “To ensure that all such incidents in the future are thoroughly investigated, irrespective of whether they involve the Army, the paramilitary or the police, or are joint operations of these forces, the Government of Manipur must follow the NHRC guidelines on the steps to be taken after encounters.”

 

Detailed enquiries

 

The steps are: reporting these incidents within 48 hours to the NHRC and holding magisterial inquiries within three months. These enquiries should not be perfunctory, as they presently are.

 

The magistrate must inter alia closely examine all reports, including of post mortem, inspect the site and take statements from the families of the victims; the CBCID should inquire into each incident within two months.

 

“In every instance where the nature of the incident warrants it, the Government of Manipur should appoint a Commission of Inquiry headed by a judge. It must accept the findings and act on the recommendations of these commissions, instead of burying them, which is its current practice. The constitution of such a Commission of Inquiry must immediately be reported to the NHRC, and the report sent to it as soon as it has been tabled in the Legislative Assembly.”

 

The Bench adjourned the hearing by four weeks.

 

Suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt moves HC in custodial torture case


Sanjiv Bhatt
TNN | Apr 5, 2013, 03.23 AM IST

AHMEDABAD: Suspended IPS officer SanjivBhatt has moved Gujarat high court seeking permission to place as evidence the case diary of a terrorism-related case to defend himself in a custodial torture case in Porbandar.

Bhatt, along with a constable, Vajubhai Chau, is being tried for the custodial torture of a known history-sheeter Naran Sudha, who was taken to Porbandar from Sabarmati Central Jail in 1998 in connection with investigations of a Tada case. Bhatt was posted as superintendent of police in Porbandar then.

Three accused persons in the Tada case were witnesses in this case. During the trial, Bhatt submitted before the trial court that the case diary of the investigating officer of the Tada offence should be placed and the IO should be made an independent witness in this case. The lower court rejected Bhatt’s request, stating that the case diary is for the perusal for the court and IO only; and an accused cannot access it.

Bhatt questioned this decision of the lower court through advocate I H Syed, who contended that the case diary belonged to another offence, in which the suspended IPS is not an accused. Since both offences were separate, the case diary could be placed so that Bhatt could highlight contradictions.

Bhatt was booked under sections 330 and 324 of the IPC, on allegations that he tortured the accused with electric shocks in order to extract a confession in the Tada case. His counsel Syed said that Jadav has been booked for 24 offences like murder, arms act violations, Tada, RDX landings and for waging war against the nation.

“He is a security suspect in the Union war book. Still, the state government is trying to persecute its own officer and defend the history-sheeter, although this is a private complaint,” the lawyer said.

This case will continue on Friday before Justice S R Brahmbhatt.

Bhatt also faces trial in an alleged police atrocity case in Jamnagar. One person had died in this case in 1990. The trial against Bhatt began after the state government withdrew its protection after the cop implicated chief minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots.

 

Steam being let out of Kudankulam is due to tests, says NPCIL…. Really ?


    

Chennai: India’s atomic power plant operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) said on Monday that only steam was being let out of the first unit of theKudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) as part of tests.

“As a part of commissioning tests of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, the steam relief valves on the steam lines are being tested. These tests are conducted only during the day and only steam, or water vapour, is released as part of the tests,” said RS Sundar, KNPP site director.

KudankulamNuclearPlant_APDisputing NPCIL’s stand, M Pushparayan of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) told IANS: “For the past three days we heard loud noises from the plant. Thick black and white smoke emanated from the plant and there was a strong stench.”

He said that in 2011, KNPP had carried out similar tests, but this time the noise and the stench was much more.

The PMANE will lay siege to the NPCIL employee’s residential colony near Kudankulam on 3 April, protesting the indifferent attitude of the government towards the people and their demands, Pushparayan added.

NPCIL, India’s atomic power plant operator, is setting up the project in Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, around 650 km from Chennai, with two Russian-made VVER 1,000-MW each reactors.

KNPP is an outcome of the inter-governmental agreement between India and erstwhile Soviet Union in 1988. However, construction only began in 2001.

Pushparayan said there were contradictions about the plant and its commissioning date.

“Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says the plant will be operational in April while NPCIL’s website mentions the date as May 2013,” he said.

http://www.firstpost.com/india/steam-being-let-out-of-kudankulam-is-due-to-tests-says-npcil-681243.html

 

#India – All in the Name of the Poor #UID #Aadhaar


 

Vol – XLVIII No. 13, March 30, 2013 , Editorial

Who will be the real beneficiaries of the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme?

Why is there little or practically no information in the 2013-14 budget on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s pet scheme to bring about direct cash transfer payments to eventually replace price subsidies for food, fuel and fertiliser products? Who are going to be the real beneficiaries of the direct cash transfers via Aadhaar-linked bank accounts using the unique identification (UID) platform?

Food will not immediately be replaced by direct cash transfers, but the ultimate objective is to do so, especially with the impending passage of the National Food Security Bill. The union cabinet has approved the draft legislation which is expected to be introduced in the current session of Parliament. An election promise of 2009, the bill has had few supporters in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. If it is now being pushed through it is surely on account of electoral considerations with an eye to the next Lok Sabha elections. But the food subsidy budgeted for 2013-14 is only Rs 90,000 crore (compared to the revised figure of Rs 85,000 crore in the current financial year), though the finance minister has said he will provide Rs 10,000 crore more. This will still be grossly inadequate for any food security programme. The fertiliser subsidy, on its part, has actually come down quite significantly, from the actual figure of Rs 70,013 crore in 2011-12 to the budgeted Rs 65,971 crore in 2013-14. The revised petroleum subsidy was Rs 96,880 crore in 2012-13 (revised estimates) and has been put at a mere Rs 65,000 crore next year. Should we not see all these figures in the light of what is on the anvil?

For political reasons, the government has been promoting the direct cash transfer scheme as an anti-corruption measure. But the real objective of the government is, of course, that it sees this as the way to reduce the “major subsidies” bill. On food, for example, given food inflation at more than 10% per annum, if the government keeps a check on the direct cash transfer payments, indeed, ensures that its real value per average household, i e, relative to consumer food price inflation rate, is not protected, then it will gradually reduce the major subsidies bill as a proportion of the gross domestic product (GDP).

Beginning this year, the government has initiated the Direct Benefit Transfer programme in 26 schemes (mainly for payment of scholarships of various kinds), confining it to persons who have a UID card and a bank account linked with the UID interface. But next month, the direct cash transfer scheme is to be introduced in the public distribution system (PDS) in six union territories. So the government will eventually presumably do away with the PDS in these union territories. But the direct cash transfer scheme is to be eventually scaled up to the national level. To understand the implications, keep in mind that the UID is not just for the poor or those eligible for cash transfers who have to procure UID cards. The UID involves the recording of photographs, fingerprints and iris scans of the whole population, and the entire information is then stored in a centralised, national security database. In 2013-14, some 600 million persons are expected to be photographed, fingerprinted and iris scanned. Most of the 6,00,000 villages in the country do not have a bank branch, but the government envisages the opening of some 200 million accounts, all interfaced with the UID. What is, in effect, being created is an information technology (IT) infrastructure that links all bank accounts to the UID, and, this, at the public expense.

The poor, in whose name all this is being done, have no savings worth the name and the banks do not give them loans because they lack the collateral security. We are not exaggerating; the pilot schemes that we just referred to are going to be “expanded nationwide to various transfer of all benefits” (“Statements…as required under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act”, Union Budget 2013-14). Of course, the poor will have to deal with the banks via their banking correspondents (BCs) who will no doubt get their cut from the banks via the government coffers, but who is to stop these BCs from charging their customers more than the banks’ approved rates?

Think of it, a whole centralised, national security database is being created that can potentially be used to monitor the people enrolled in the UID, all this with no democratic accountability. Besides, via the banks, the financial system, much of it private-profit oriented, will have in place access to this database and thousands of crores of rupees under direct cash payment transfers, in effect very large additional sums of money, routed through them. And, the increasing flow of such benefits will be accompanied by the gradual dismantling of the PDS.

What then about diesel, kerosene, LPG, fertiliser and electricity subsidies? Basically, the pricing policy for subsidised goods will change to make the total amount of the subsidy “affordable” to the government and the subsidies will be better targeted, once more via Aadhaar-linked bank accounts using the UID platform. Overall, the expenditure on “major subsidies” will be targeted to come down from 2% of GDP in 2013-14 to 1.8% in 2014-15 and 1.6% in 2015-16. After all, doesn’t the UPA government fully agree with Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s, and Fitch that its major subsidies bill is “unproductive expenditure”? And, isn’t the Bharatiya Janata Party also won over to this idea of direct cash transfer payments? The biggest two beneficiaries of the whole operation, especially of the UID platform and the integrated database it has created, will, of course, be so-called national security and the financial, especially the banking, system.

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