#Immediate Release- Indefinite fast in support of demands of farmers-labourer


Lucknow, December 26 : The indefinite fast and demonstration in support of demands of farmers-labourers organized by Socialist Party jointly with National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), Lok Rajniti Manch, Hind Mazdoor Sabha, Rihai Manch, Special Teachers and Guardians Association, entered its fourth day today. Two social activists are on an indefinite fast: Dr Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Awardee and Vice President of Socialist Party; and Anil Mishra, social activist.

The gap between the rich and the poor has widened even more, with salary scales of service sector increasing manifold and rising prices over the past years. We believe in the standard recommended by Dr Ram Manohar Lohia that the gap between the income of the rich and the poor should not be more than ten times. Also in a democracy everyone should be getting the same income. We demand that Wage Board should amend the minimum wage of labourers of unorganized sector to Rs 440 so that these labourers don’t receive wage less than the minimum income given by the government. As we know trade union is demanding a minimum income of Rs 11,000 per month for contract workers.

Even the election manifesto of Samajwadi Party had a promise that Farmers’ Commission will be formed to decide the minimum support price for farmers that should be no less than 1.5 times their investment. But the biggest question related to minimum support price is that how will it be implemented? Who will put a clamp on middlemen? The government should demonstrate political will and ban middlemen in matters related to farmers and extortion from the poor people. Be informed that illegal extortion done by three different segments from poor traditional artisans who take part in ‘Kartik Poornima Mela’ in Daliganj was brought to an end last week.

Yesterday former MP Iliyas Azmi said while addressing the indefinite fast and demonstration that Tariq Kazmi and Khalid Muzahid were arrested from Jaunpur and Azamgarh; and Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) is lying by falsely stating that they were arrested from Barabanki. We demand that RD Nimesh Inquiry Report should be made public so that there can be clarity on this matter.

Representatives of Special Teachers and Guardians Association are participating every day in this indefinite fast and demonstration. Their President and social activist, Munnalal Shukla, ended his three days fast yesterday as his health was deteriorating.

This indefinite fast will continue till the time government doesn’t respond regarding the demands raised by this movement. Although we have informed Rajendra Chaudhari, Spokesperson of Samajwadi Party, about our demands and this indefinite fast and demonstration, so far there is no proposition from the government to hold a dialogue.

DEMANDS

1. Unorganized sector should get minimum wage of Rs 11,000 per month or Rs 440 per day. Minimum wages should be linked to Consumer Price Index.

2. It is a matter of grave concern that during the last wheat purchase very few farmers could get the minimum support price of Rs 1285 per Quintal because of dominance of middlemen. The same situation is now occurring in the paddy purchase. We demand a CBI probe in this Wheat-Paddy purchase scam.

3. Under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, the clause of 25% reservation for underprivileged children in all schools should be strictly implemented without delay.

4. Illegal extortion and bribes taken for appointments should be stopped.

5. Anti-farmer Maitreya Project in Kushinagar should be cancelled.

6. Innocent Muslim youth who are jailed in the name of terrorism should be released. We demand to make RD Nimesh Investigation Report’ public.

7. Special teachers should be appointed for differently-abled children (handicapped children).

8. Doctors including Dental Surgeons should be appointed in all primary and community health centres.

9. There should be a complete ban on tobacco and alcohol.

Apart from these, effective measures should be taken to curb and control inflation and corruption.

Kindly lend your support to the cause of protecting the rights of farmers, labourers, underprivileged children, by participating in this fast.

 

#India-Who said what in FDI debate


IANS India Private LimitedBy Indo Asian News Service | IANS India Private Limited – 2 hours 57 minutes ago

New Delhi, Dec 4 (IANS) Seven speakers from different parties spoke Tuesday on the FDI issue in the Lok Sabha, kicking off a two-day debate with voting.

The debate will end Wednesday with a vote. If it loses in the voting, the UPA government need not resign but it will certainly be a huge embarrassment.

Here are some quotes :

Sushma Swaraj (BJP, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha) : “Small shops, retailers have been wiped out in countries which allowed FDI in retail. About 12 crore people will go out of jobs in India due to the UPA government’s decision to allow FDI in retail. PM makes bold statements like if we must go down, we’ll go down fighting. You must Mr PM, but fight for the poor, not the rich, fight for country, not multi-nationals, fight for small, not big.”

Kapil Sibal (Communications Minister) : “It was decided that retail will only be in cities with over 10 lakh population. There are 53 such cities. After that we felt some states have opposition government. If we separate the states that don’t want it, there are 18 cities left…So if FDI in retail will be implemented in only 18 cities, why is the debate happening? This debate is not needed at all, it is a totally political debate.”

Mulayam Singh Yadav (Samajwadi Party chief) : “As far as FDI is concerned, how much so ever you explain, it is not in favour of the country. We are speaking for the people, it is not in favour of the country. Thirty crore people will be unemployed. If this was good and beneficial, why is America in trouble? Why are people unemployed there?”

Dara Singh Chauhan (Bahujan Samaj Party): “Poor people are anxious over the impact this policy can have on their lives. They fear the multi-national companies will take away their livelihoods. The government should not rush with it.”

T.K.S. Elangovan (DMK) : “I am not telling this as an opponent, but telling this as your brother. I don’t want to put you (government) for a whole-body scan as opposition, but it (FDI in retail) is definitely not in interest of the trading community. “We were the first party to oppose FDI, but we don’t want to oppose you. We have done many good things for the country together, something may not be in favour of the country, but we don’t want to oppose you.”

Basudeb Acharia (Communist Party of India-Marxist): “The government is giving dreams of employment (from FDI).. There is 0.8 percent growth in employment in the country and unemployment is rising, there is an economic slowdown… If Wal-Mart gives one employment, it will snatch 17 employments.”

 

#India- Bolstering right to remain private


 

Immediate Release- Deep concern expressed against Strategic lawsuit against Dr. Sunilam & Dayamani Barla


 

 

 

Press Release

Citizen groups express deep concern against Strategic lawsuit against public participation against Dr. Sunilam & Dayamani Barla

Oct. 22, 2012, New Delhi: Imprisonment of Dr Sunilam, a socialist politician from Madhya Pradesh has been received with a sense of deep concern and dismay as part of a trend to silence voices of public interest by misleading the judiciary to save vested interests. Dr Sunilam has been part of Indian People’s Movement against WTO and anti-corruption movement in the country.

At a meeting convened by Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF) over 20 citizen groups and peoples movements, the facts and circumstances related to the conviction and life imprisonment of Dr Sunilam were examined and future action in this regard was planned.

A meeting of eminent citizens and peoples’ movements is planned on October 28, 2012. In a related development, a solidarity meeting is planned in Hyderabad on October 26 at the office of National Alliance Alliance of Peoples’ Movements.

Former legislator and President of Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Dr Sunilam led Kisan Andolans. On 12 January, 1998 which was a black day for the farmers’ movement of our country, the State Government under the leadership of Digvijay Singh brutally crushed the non-violent farmers’ movement using the state police. Under a big conspiracy, Digvijay Singh misused the State Police that fired bullets and 24 farmers were martyred. In this incident, 150 farmers were injured due to bullet fire.

The farmers of the district Betul had given a memorandum to circle office on 12 December, 1997. In this memorandum they demanded compensation for their damaged crops. But their effort remained unheeded. Again on 18 December 1997 they submitted another memorandum with a short notice, otherwise they would start a big movement for their agricultural losses. Due to inactive conduct of Government officials, the farmers were bound to form “Kisan Sangharsh Samity”. With the formation of this outfit, thousand farmers started indefinite protest (Dharna) against the oppressive Congress regime, in Tehsil Compound.

The state police continued its oppressive attitude towards farmers but on January 9, 1998 around 75000 farmers marched in Betul protested peacefully. The District Magistrate of Betul came forward and proposed compensation of only Rs. 400 per acre. This little amount was too insufficient to hurt the farmers’ sentiments. Again agitated farmers were on the crossroad and on 11th January, 1998 they siege the Multai Tehsil and all 450 villages of this tehsil. It was a historical Bandh, while police administration tried hard to maintain normal traffic. Farmers opposed the intervention of police authorities. In a response police and Congress hooligans fired few buses and in conspiracy police charged some farmer leaders for this arson. On 12th January 1998, farmer’s leader Dr. Sunilam decided to enter in Tehsil but the state police had already ordered to shoot farmers Dr. Sunilam reached Tehsil office and requested again and again to stop such firing but police authority did not heed his request. They were acting on the order of their Chief Minister Digvijay Singh. The whole drama was to annihilate Dr. Sunilam. He was arrested, beaten brutally by police and faced all kind of police torture.

Madhya Pradesh Government had lodged 66 cases on 250 farmers along with their leader Dr. Sunilam. Additional Session Court of Multai will give the verdict in three cases on 18th October, 2012. Today, 14 years have been passed.

Dr. Sunilam is a socialist brave heart farmer leader and a courageous friend of the toiling masses. His struggle for the Madhya Pradesh farmers is a significant struggle after independence. Both, the Congress and the BJP (prominent national parties) came into power and showed their negligence about this Multai incident.

Despite an adversarial State government, in 1998, Dr Sunilam won the legislative assembly seat of Multai, by a margin of 50% votes. He contested this seat as an independent candidate from farmers’ community. He won the Multai assembly seat in 2003, with 60% of polled votes as a candidate of Samajwadi Party. He was made the leader of the Samajwadi Party in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly. Formerly he was the National Secretary of Samajwadi Party.

Taking note of Dr Sunilam’s background, the appeal for supporting him merits endorsement of all the concerned citizens who love democracy and cherish citizen’s liberty.

The meeting also discussed the case of Dayamani Barla who is a journalist turned anti-displacement, tribal, woman activist from Jharkhand as part of a similar trend to harass public interest persons. She was granted bail by a local court of Ranchi on October 18, 2012. But she was arrested again when friends and colleagues of Dayamani reached jail to receive her, they were told that she is been arrested in the Nagari case and can’t be let off. She was sent to Jail on October 16, 2012 in fourteen days judicial custody, after she surrendered before the court in a matter of April 25, 2006. Six year ago, she was charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code including Section 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), for participating in a protest demonstration, which blocked the road, demanding job cards for rural laborers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. She availed bail in to the matter at that time from the concerned police station and the matter was almost closed one. This not the first time when she is intimidated or harassed but the government is leaving no chance to target her. The recent intimidation and arrest is due to her leading a restless, successful and mostly peaceful (except once when police opened fire on villagers) struggle against the acquisition of fertile land at Nagari, a village situated at few kilometers from the state capital and where government wants to build IIM, IIT and National Law School. The government is desperately trying to crush the movement, by hook or crook.

It is not a matter of Dr Sunlam and Dayamani Barla alone. Harassment of activists on fake pretexts and conviction in fabricated cases has become a trend that merits the response of the sane legal, social and political minds to defang the bite of the strategic lawsuit against public participation.  

For Details: Ramesh Kr. Sharma, INSAF-Indian Social Action Forum, New Delhi-110016, Ph: 011-26517814, 65663958,9818111562. Gopal Krishna, Mb: 9818089660.

 

Private Organisations can now adopt BMC schools- FIRST STEP towards privatisation of Education in Mumbai


STORY HIGHLIGHTS
By Jai Maharashtra News | 26 Jul Thu, 2012

Mumbai: In a move that could be  MOST DISADVANTAGEOUS  ( orginal post says advantageous) to students of municipal schools as well as to the government, the ruling parties Shiv Sena and BJP in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has taken the decision to let civic schools be run by private educational institutions.

The proposal for this decision was first put forward 2 weeks ago, on the 11th of July, and the final nod came from the standing committee of the BMC on Wednesday 25th July. This was seen as a welcome move to improve the quality of education in state run government schools.

According to the decision, a private Non Governmental Organization (NGO) can select one civic school, and after approval, it will be responsible for recruitment of teaching and non teaching staff, as well as the overall functioning of the school. However, all other matters of the administration, as well as student enrollment will still be handled by the BMC.

Although some members from the Opposition were against this move, stating that the BMC was attempting to shirk its responsibility, it was pointed out that by Vitthal Kharatmol, BJP councillor and education committee chief chairman, that the move would help the students from civic schools to come up on par with better educational institutions, and would remove the inferiority complex that is associated with civic schools. Additionally, since there was no more open land for building more schools, it was hoped that this move would help make most of the existing educational land.

Many members of the opposition reacted strongly to this proposed decision while it was still under discussion, including Congressman Asif Zakaria, who sarcastically inquired whether the next move by the BMC would be to outsource its roads too. Samajwadi Party group leader Rais Sheikh said that managing civis scolls was the sole responsibility of the BMC under the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act (MMC).

The additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani also promised that the civic schools would still be under the control of the BMC, and that despite the provision of better facilities by the NGO, the students would still be enrolled free of charge and not be asked to pay fees for their education. “Students will not be denied educational facilities,” he said. The ruling party asserted that far from trying to get out of their responsibility to provide free primary education to the poorer sections of society, the move would elevate the quality of teaching as well as the morale of students from civic schools.

There are currently more than 1,139 civic run schools in the state, and the attendance rates are not as good as the government would have wanted it to be.

Dalit politics must embrace less powerful caste groups


On the margins of the margin

Badri Narayan, The Hindu, June 210, 2102

COUNT THEM IN: Lesser Dalit groups need to counter their disembodiment by developing their own politics. A February 2012 picture of supporters of the Bahujan Samaj Party at an election rally at Sitapur, near Lucknow. Photo: AP
COUNT THEM IN: Lesser Dalit groups need to counter their disembodiment by developing their own politics. A February 2012 picture of supporters of the Bahujan Samaj Party at an election rally at Sitapur, near Lucknow. Photo: AP

Dalit politics must embrace less powerful caste groups

When Kanshi Ram emerged on the political scene, he developed himself as a leader of all Dalits as a whole and tried to create a homogeneous identity for the diverse Dalit castes who comprise the lower castes of the social system. He ensured that each and every Dalit caste had respect by providing representation to them in democratic power. Through his efforts, a large section of Dalits, who were earlier excluded from the democratic processes of the country, have succeeded in obtaining political empowerment in Uttar Pradesh through the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). However out of the 66 Dalit castes, only four including shoemaker (cobbler) caste — called Ravidasi or Harijan in some parts of India — Pasi (watchman of feudal lords/toddy tappers/some of them tame pigs), Dhobi (washerman) and Kori (weaver) have become visible in democratic politics. The rest are invisible. Even among the more visible Dalit castes, the cobblers and Pasis have grabbed most of the space.

Disempowerment

But in the ever-evolving politics of U.P., the invisible and unseen communities are unable to demonstrate their presence. While democracy has helped in empowering many erstwhile marginalised communities, it has also led to the disempowerment of many other smaller communities because marginalised communities which have gained power do not want to share it with their less fortunate brethren. Thus are dominant communities born.

The cobbler caste, the largest Dalit community in U.P., constitutes 56.20 per cent of the total Scheduled Caste population, which is 21.1 per cent of the State’s total population (2001 census). It has emerged as one of the dominant castes among Dalits.

The caste took to education in a big way in pre-Independence years. That helped its members find jobs in cities, in turn helping in their rise as a political caste after Independence. When Kanshi Ram emerged on the scene, the caste already had a middle class, community leaders and the makings of an intelligentsia. They were a ready-made cadre for the party in its initial phase. The cobbler caste thus made up a chunk of the BSP, and succeeded in cornering the benefits of Dalit political empowerment. However many other Dalit castes like Jogi, Nat (wanderer), Musahar (who make items out of leaves), Kanjar (mat weaver), Dom, Domar, Hela (sweeper), Basor (basket weaver), and Bansphor (bamboo basket maker) are so insignificant despite their numerical strength that they cannot make their presence felt in U.P’s vote bank politics and continue to face exclusion.

Aside from these castes, there are others found in lesser numbers like Bahelia (bird hunter), Khairha (woodcutter), Kalabaaz (songster), Balai (farm labourer), Majhwar (musician), Hari (basket maker) and Sansiya (musical instrument repairer). They are not visible in any political or governance strategies, and lack a presence in the political sphere. While conducting research, it was observed that communities which are not educated, and which do not have leaders, caste histories and heroes are unable to create their own identities which can make their communities assertive in democratic politics.

Vocabulary of exclusion

Within Dalits, the term ati-Dalit (lowest of the low) has become a part of the vocabulary of the Dalit intelligentsia as a result of this exclusion. In its election manifesto for the U.P. Assembly elections, the Congress party had promised to give respect, representation and status to these castes. More recently, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar created a new category, Mahadalits, to offset the exclusion of certain Dalit communities. Commentators saw this move as a step by Mr. Kumar to line his own vote-bank, but it served to establish that exclusion among Dalits exists. Not much was mentioned about these margins in the election manifesto of the Samajwadi Party (SP), nor is it apparent in their policies.

As the Congress did not win the elections in U.P. and Kanshi Ram is not alive to fight for the rights of the marginalised Dalit castes, the most marginalised communities would benefit by adopting the road map provided by the major and dominant Dalit castes. They need to acquire visibility, possible only by building capacity to desire change through the same means that empowered the other Dalit castes. These lesser Dalit groups need to counter their disembodiment. To do that, they need to develop their own politics. The dominant Dalit groups who now have control over scarce resources should act as agencies to help distribute these resources more evenly. In fact, for Dalit politics to become sharp and dynamic it is necessary that all smaller and lesser Dalit groups who are now invisible and unseen, are included within its socio-political matrix.

(Badri Narayan teaches at the Govind Ballabh Pant Social Science Institute in Jhusi, Allahabad, and is an analyst of Dalit issues. His latest book published is The Making of the Dalit Public in North India: Uttar Pradesh 1950–Present, from Oxford University Press.)

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