Kamal Haasan- If there is no secural state, I will leave the country #Vishwaroopam #FOE #Censorship


Kamal Haasan

Kamal Haasan

Twelve hours was enough for veteran actor Kamal Haasan to lose all hope (or whatever was left of it) in India’s political structures. Last night, the Madras High Court had lifted the ban by the Tamil Nadu government on Hassan’s film Vishwaroopam. However, in the morning, police halted screening across Chennai.

Frustrated and fed up, Haasan held a press conference in Chennai this morning where he said, “If there is no secular state in India, I would go overseas. I think Tamil Nadu wants me out.”

There was a depressing sense of déjà vu both for the citizens of this country and Kamal Haasan when he recalled M F Husain’s exit from the country after the painter’s freedom of experssion was trampled upon. Certain Hindu groups protested against Husain’s nude paintings of a certain Hindu goddess.

Hassan’s frustration was evident on his face when he said that he had pledged all his property on this film and had nothing more to lose, he would leave the country freely.

The 58-year-old Padma Shri awardee has starred in the largest number of films submitted by India in contest for the Academy Award, for Best Foreign Language Film.

Indian democracy started it’s descent towards intolerance when Prof Ashis Nandy’s comments were stifled under the garb of being divisive a few days ago, and reached the peak today when Haasan’s film is being used as a political tool.

What right does the government of Tamil Nadu have to stall a film when the Censor Board has given it a go ahead? What right do they have to stop the screening when the courts have given it a clean chit? What is the politics behind the fringe Muslim groups that have claimed that the movie is offensive? How long will artists have to suffer in the hands of politicians?

In 1989, the landmark Supreme Court judgment in the S. Rangarajan v/s P. Jagajivan Ram case held “freedom of expression cannot be suppressed on account of threat of demonstrations and processions and threat of violence”. The Tamil Nadu Government was not only being severely intolerant but also unconstitutional in deciding to impose a ban on the film.

Haasan said in the press conference that he thinks in Tamil, writes in Tamil and that his poems are in Tamil. If Kamal Hassan is forced to move out of the state in the quest for his uncompromising freedom of expression, the citizens of Tamil Nadu will face a loss they will never make up for.

 

 

IMMEDIATE RELEASE- Activists Urge for More Openness in Green Policy Drafting


PRESS NOTE

Activists Urge for More Openness in Green Policy Drafting

8 June 2012. CHENNAI – Thirty-eight environmental and social organisations from across Tamil Nadu have expressed their disappointment with the Department of Environment’s lack of seriousness and consultation in drafting the State Environmental Policy. The fact that a draft outline of the policy note was on the Department of Environment’s website for public comments came to light only on 5 June through a newspaper article, they said. The deadline for submission of comments is 9 June. Even this draft is in English, thereby denying the Tamil-speaking majority, including many of our elected representatives, an opportunity to influence the policy.

The activists said they welcome the Government’s initiative to draft an environmental policy. However, an environmental policy for a rapidly industrialising state needs to actively seek out the concerns of affected people, they said. Passive and elite consultation through the internet reflects poorly on the transparency ideals professed by the State Government.

The first meeting to develop the outline was held on 5 April in GRT Grand Hotel. The “Record of Discussions” uploaded to the website contains a list of “core group” members to “finalise the Tamilnadu State Environment Policy.” Activists have faulted the Department of Environment for including only industry representatives in the “core group” calling it a conflict of interest. No NGOs or social activists were involved in the drafting of the outline.

The activists have urged the Department of Environment to translate the policy outline in Tamil, extend the deadline for comments by at least two months, and conduct widespread consultations, at least at district level, among farmers, fisherfolk, workers and other public interest citizen groups. They have called for removal of industry representatives from the core committee, and inclusion of eminent leaders and people’s representatives with a proven track record of protecting the environment in their place.

For more information, contact: Nityanand Jayaraman — 9444082401

Statement by:

Chennai

South Indian Fishworkers Welfare Association (Then India Meenavar Nala Sangam)

Tamil Nadu Fisher People’s Association (Tamilnadu Meenava Makkal Sangam)

Tamil Nadu Fisherfolk Development Association (Tamilnadu Meenava Munnetra Sangam)

All India Fisherfolk Traditional Association (Akhila India Meenava Parampara Sangam)

Indian Fisherfolk Association (India Meenava Sangam)

Nochikuppam Fisherfolk Livelihood Organisation (Nocchikuppam Meenava Vazhvurimai Iyakkam)

Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation

People Union for Civil Liberties – Tamil Nadu & Pondicherry

Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives

SUSTAIN

Poovulgain Nanbargal

The Other Media

Save Chennai Beaches

Reclaim Our Beaches

Save Tamils Movement

Exnora

Coimbatore

Save Coimbatore Wetlands

Discover Wild Foundation

Nature Conservation Society

Arulagam

Environmental Conservation Group

Mattram

Oli

Cuddalore

CONFET

FEDCOT

SIPCOT Area Community Environmental Monitors

Dindigul

Tamizhaga Nadigal Padhukappu Koottamaippu

Tamil Nadu Environment Council

CEDA Trust

Kanchipuram

Tamil Nadu Fisherpeople’s Federation

Nagapattinam

Coastal Action Network

Nilgiris

Nilgiris Wildlife and Environmental Association

Salem

Speak Out Salem

Salem Citizens Forum

Tamil Nadu Green Movement

Tamil Nadu People’s Right Movement, Salem

Kanjamalai Padhukappu Iyakkam

Mettur Padhukappu Iyakkam

Thoothukudi

All India Fisherfolk Federation, Thoothukudi

Veeranganai Penngal Iyakkam

At Home with Violence: Ethnic LIfe in Colombo by Sharika Thiranagama


 

Colombo, where every anti-Tamil riot in Sri Lanka has begun, is, at the same time, a city of many Tamil-speaking (and other) minorities. This paper takes Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka and the urban heart of Sri Lanka to argue that Colombo has had to perform its Sinhala nationalist credentials constantly because it is “a city which is not one” (Tagg 1996). The paper examines the ways in which people make themselves at home in an ethnically divided city that has never fully been intelligible to its dwellers as one city. Here violence is taken as critical to Tamil phenemenologies of the city. Riots, bombs, and the checkpoints that crisscrossed Colombo made violence a constant feared spectacle of the urban, images of the possible bound by past violence. Yet Tamil spaces of relative safety also presented themselves, due to fear of the separatist LTTE and exploitation by other Tamils, as spaces of un-safety. This paper will takes these everyday practices of inhabiting Colombo as a minority to reflect further on the major dilemmas and political conflicts now facing Sri Lanka in its post-war future.

Speaker Bio: Sharika Thiranagama’s research has focused on various aspects of the Sri Lankan civil war. Primarily, she has conducted research with two different ethnic groups, Sri Lankan Tamils and Sri Lankan Muslims. Her research explores changing forms of ethnicisation, the effects of protracted civil war on ideas of home in the midst of profound displacement and the transformations in and relationships between the political and the familial in the midst of political repression and militarization.

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