DOUBLE STANDARDS OF INDIAN POLICE & JUDGES
S.O.S - e - Clarion Of Dalit - Weekly Newspaper On Web
Working For The Rights & Survival Of The Oppressed
Editor: NAGARAJ.M.R VOL.3 issue. 35 02 / 09 / 2009
Editorial : DOUBLE STANDARDS OF INDIAN JUDICIARY & POLICE In india , Law is one & same for all , however in it's implementation & enforcement , the public servants are practicing double standards. Poor Innocents are harassed , tortured all in the name of law , rules , technicalities . Whereas , Rich Criminals are manipulating the evidences , records & are going scot free. The Public Servants treat Rich Criminals Favourably with kid gloves ofcourse for a price. Now , take for instance , public servants of the rank of supreme court chief justice & President of india are hiding information relating to crime , covering-up crimes , violating commoner's human rights , fundamental rights , obstructing citizen from performing their Constitutionally prescribed Fundamental Duties as Citizens of India , no action by police , they are not even registering the complaint. Whereas , if a commoner cover-ups a crime or evidence , he also becomes a criminal , if a commoner violates the fundamental / human right of a rich person , if a commoner obstructs a public servant from performing his public duties , all those become crimes & he is legally booked for each counts.
Karanataka Police are not even registering my complaint , thereby by they are aiding criminals in hushing up old crimes , as well as giving them a free hand to committ more crimes which they are already committing. Do visit our websites to read the police complaint in detail & to know which are the “QUESTIONS OUR PUBLIC SERVANTS ARE AFRAID TO ANSWER” ,
Why not police registering complaint against the above stated public servants for above crimes. IS IT NOT DOUBLE STANDARD. Jai Hind , Vande Mataram. Your's sincerely, Nagaraj.M.R.
NUCLEAR DISASTER IN MYSORE ?
Last week in Mysore , a massive , booming sound with tremors were felt in mysore , mandya , chamarajanagar districts of karnataka state . M/S RARE EARTH MATERIALS PLANT which processes uranium ore is located near mysore , on the banks of kaveri river behind KRS DAM. Has anything gone wrong in the nuclear site , which affects the public ? Even in developed countries like USA & UK mal - handling of radio active materials takes place now & then, which in itself constitute nuclear disasters on small scale. Refer the Deccan Herald ( 12/10/03 to 18/10/03) for details.
Few years back, there were media reports about certain containers with radio active materials dumped in the open in Mysore city Railway Station. In Kaiga nuclear power project a doom collapsed. In India how many cases of mal-handling of radio active materials have taken place ? No public knowledge . In the back drop of corrupt ,negligent hush-hush, buck passing work culture in most of the government service, I do want to know from the union Health Minister & the Karnataka State Health Minister,
1. how safe are we from the processing & storage of radio active materials at M/s REMP, Mysore M/s REMP Kerala, & M/s UCIL Jadaguda Jharkhand ?
2. How the spent fuel is disposed off in nuclear power plants in India ? few months back there were media reports about ill effects of radiation on the employees & peoples of adjacent villages near the operations site of M/s Uranium Corporation of India Ltd. Jadaguda Jharkhand & Near the Operations site of M/s REMP in Kerala.
3. In tsunami waves onslaught of december 2004 , the vital facilities of kundakulam nuclear reserch station in tamilnadu were damaged . Few years ago , tremors of earth quake were felt in kaiga nuclear power plant in kaiga , karnataka . if anything untoward happens as a result of natural calamities or human failure , etc , what sort of contigency plans the government has got ready for the safety of public ?
Even some of the insurance companies like M/s Met Life India Insurance Co. don't cover the risk of physical / mental disabilities or death caused due to nuclear hazards . In such an event who will bear the cost of compensation ? How the quantum of compensation is calculated ? will you take into consideration the insurance policies brought by individuals ? Give the public information about the safety measures taken by M/s REMP, M/s UCIL & other related agencies at all it's operation sites / nuclear sites.
Children crippled by India's uranium waste The Guardian - Asia Pacific - 23Aug
An Observer investigation has discovered a link between Indian electricity stations and physical and mental abnormalities Hundreds of children in the Punjab have been contaminated with uranium in a pollution scandal with implications that could extend far beyond the borders of India. Scientists and health workers have sounded the alarm after being confronted with a dramatic rise in birth defects, physical and mental abnormalities, and cancers in the Indian state. A subsequent Observer investigation has uncovered evidence linking the contamination to ash from the region's coal-fired power stations. Tests on children born in areas around the power stations have revealed that many have high levels of uranium in their bodies. The metal is concentrated in the fly ash produced when coal is burned. Tests on ground water around the plants show levels of uranium up to 15 times the World Health Organisation's maximum safe limits. The revelations coincide with the publication of a report by the Russian Academy of Sciences' Thermal Engineering journal that warns of an increased radiation hazard to people living near coal-fired thermal power stations. Staff at two clinics around the Punjabi city of Bathinda â€" where there are two coal-fired thermal plants â€" have reported alarming numbers of admissions of severely handicapped children. Children were born with enlarged or small heads, short arms and legs, cerebral palsy, Down's syndrome and other complications. A German laboratory that tested samples taken from the children found massive levels of uranium in their bodies â€" in one case more than 60 times the maximum safe limit. Studies of ground water suggest that while the uranium contamination is heaviest around the power plants, it extends across large parts of the state, which is home to 24 million people. The Indian government is committed to an expansion of thermal plants in Punjab and other states. Around the world, many other countries are planning to build new coal-fired power plants, including China, Russia, India, Germany and the United States. In the UK, there are plans for a coal-fired station at the Kingsnorth facility in Kent. The children are being treated at the Baba Farid centres for special children in Bathinda and nearby Faridkot. Dr Pritpal Singh, who is in charge of the Faridkot clinic, said the number of children affected had risen dramatically in the past six or seven years and claimed the authorities were determined to bury the scandal. "They can't just detoxify these kids, they have to detoxify the whole Punjab. That is the reason for their reluctance," he said. "They threatened us and said if we didn't stop commenting on what's happening they would close our clinic. But I decided that if I kept silent it would go on for years and no one would do anything about it. If I keep silent then the next day it will be my child. The children are dying in front of me." Dr Carin Smit, a South African clinical metal toxicologist who arranged for the tests to be carried out, said the situation could not be ignored. "There is evidence of harm for these children in my care and â€¦ it is an imperative that their bodies be cleaned up and their metabolism be supported to deal with such a devastating presence of radioactive material," she said. "If the contamination is as widespread as it would appear to be â€" as far west as Muktsar on Pakistan's border, and as far east as spreading into the foothills of Himachal Pradesh â€" then millions are at high risk and every new baby born to a contaminated mother is at risk." A team of scientists from India's Department of Atomic Energy visited the area and reported that while the concentration of uranium in drinking water was "slightly high", there was "nothing to worry about", although some of their tests recorded levels of uranium as high as 224micrograms per litre (mcg/l) â€" 15 times higher than the safe level of 15mcg/l recommended by the World Health Organisation. The US Environmental Protection Agency sets a maximum safe level of 20mcg/l. Scientists in Punjab who have studied the presence of uranium in the state have dismissed the government's denials as a whitewash. Dr Chander Parkash and Dr Surinder Singh, both from Amritsar's Guru Nanak Dev University, said it was clear that uranium was present in large quantities in the ground water and should be investigated further. In the Faridkot centre last week, 15-year-old Harmanbir Kaur's test results came back and showed she had 10 times the safe limit in her body. Her brother, Naunihal Singh, six, had double the safe levels. Harmanbir was born in Muktsar, 40km from Faridkot. Her mother, Kulbir Kaur, 37, has watched her child slowly degenerate from a healthy baby into the very ill girl she is today â€" dribbling constantly, unable to feed herself and lost in a world of her own. "God knows what sin I have committed. When we go to our village people say there is a curse of God on you, but I don't believe so," she said. "Every part of this area is affected. We never imagined that there would be uranium in our kids." A few miles down the road in Bathinda, Sukhminder Singh, a 48-year-old farmer, watched his son Kulwinder, 13, staring into space while curling his hands under his chin. The tests showed that Kulwinder had 19 times the maximum safe level of uranium in his body. He has cerebral palsy and has already had seven operations to unbend his arms and legs. He is furious that the government has ignored the evidence of a serious health risk to children in the Punjab. "The government should investigate it because if our child is affected it will also affect future generations," he said. "What are they waiting for? How many children do they want to be affected? Another generation?" Doni Choudhary, aged 15 months, is waiting to be tested, although staff say he shows similar symptoms to children whose results have revealed dangerous levels of uranium, and he is already being treated for suspected uranium poisoning. His mother, Neelum, 22, from the state capital, Chandigarh, says he was born with hydrocephaly â€" water on the brain. His legs are useless. "He is dependent on others. After me, who can care for him?" Neelum says. "He tries to speak but he can't express himself and my heart cries. When will he understand that his legs don't work? What will he feel?" Some scientists have also proposed that ground water may have been contaminated by contact with granite lying deep below the thick alluvial deposits that form the Punjab plains, although the parents of most of the children affected say they take their water from the mains supply, which comes from other sources. Meanwhile, smoke continues to pour from Faridkot's power station chimneys and lorries shuttle backwards and forwards, taking away the fly ash to be mixed into cement at the Ambuja factory next to the Bathinda power plant. Inside the plant last week, there was ash everywhere, forming drifts, clinging to the skin, getting into the throat. In the main hall, the LED display showed the four generators are churning out 107 megawatts of electricity. Ravindra Singh, the plant's security officer, said that most of the ash went to the cement works, while the rest was dumped in ash ponds. The first coal-fired power station in Punjab was commissioned in Bathinda in 1974. It was followed by another in nearby Lehra Mohabbat in 1998. There is a third to the east, at Ropar. Tests on ground water in villages in Bathinda district found the highest average concentration of uranium â€" 57mcg/l, three times the EPA's safe limit â€" in the town of Bhucho Mandi, a short distance from the Lehra Mohabbat ash pond. This level of uranium means the lifetime cancer risk in the village is more than 150 times that of the normal population
India Adds Insult To Endosulfan Injury By B F Firos
12 August, 2009 Earthwitness.net
The Anti-Endosulfan Committee in Kerala's Kasargod district is all set to take on the Indian government over its stand at the Stockholm Convention and Rotterdam Convention, which seek to regulate the use of hazardous chemicals and pesticides.
The committee is planning national-level agitations in addition to moving the Supreme Court in protest against what they call is an 'affront' to hundreds of victims who are languishing as a result of 20 years of aerial spraying of endosulfan on cashew nut plantations in Kasargod.
The spraying caused unusually high incidence of central nervous system disorders like cerebral palsy, congenital neurological disorders, cancers, body deformations, reproductive disorders and miscarriages in seven villages in Kasargod district.
Years of protests and sufferings of the people in Kasargod hogged international attention about this deadly pesticide and prompted the state government to ban endosulfan in Kerala in 2002. But it is another matter that even after the ban, it continues to be smuggled from neighbouring state Tamil Nadu to be used in Palakkad and Idukki districts.
Now the Anti-Endosulfan Committee has been taken aback by India's efforts to prevent inclusion of endosulfan to the Rotterdam Convention despite the gripping example of Kasargod.
"Even an MNC like Bayer has decided to stop producing endosulfan by 2010; but the Indian government continues to manufacture this, in utter disregard for the victims of this pesticide. Worse, the government tried to block the international conventions in Rome that sought to ban endosulfan. It was also highly unbecoming of the Indian delegate, Dr Pandey, at the Rotterdam Convention to declare that no one has suffered from endosulfan in India," said B C Kumaran, a committee member.
It should be noted here that Bayer's decision follows an innovative action in 16 countries, led by a coalition of partners including Pesticide Action Network and Fairtrade Alliance Kerala.
"Our effort will be to senstise New Delhi into seeing the ground realities. We are planning agitations at the national level seeking more compensations and humanly treatment of the victims," said M A Rahman, an anti-endosulfan activist who has taken a film on the adverse effects of this pesticide.
In March this year, India tried to block progress at the Stockholm Convention's POPS Review Committee with a very shameful exhibition that caused the Chair of the POPS Review Committee to threaten to report the delegate to the Indian government. However a vote was taken and India's efforts were in vain.
According to Dr Meriel Watts, co-ordinator, Pesticide Action Network Aotearoa New Zealand, voting is permitted at the Committee stages but not at the `Conference of the Parties' stage where consensus must be achieved. So endosulfan is still going through the Stockholm Convention assessment process, now at stage two, with the next meeting of the POPS Review Committee scheduled for October this year in Geneva.
Watts told Earthwitness that the international community is continuing to work with the Conventions using good science and trying to persuade India to see reason to halt the production of this pesticide in the larger interest of humanity, the environment and other nations who get affected by India's use, and the integrity of international conventions.
"We can only hope that by then the Indian government will have come to realise the enormous embarrassment to it, that is being caused by its delegate, and by its conflict of Interest: the Indian government owns Hindustan Industries, one of the manufacturers of endosulfan. This type of conflict of interest is unheard of in international conventions, and India's behaviour is threatening to wreck both the conventions," said Watts.
In 2008 too, India blocked the Rotterdam Convention `Conference of the Parties', but endosulfan has been nominated again by nine West African countries, victims of this poisonous pesticide.
"India is again trying to block this at the committee stages, but I think other delegates are not prepared to let India wreck it again," said Watts.
The deadly pesticide
Endosulfan belongs to the group of highly toxic chemicals called persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and has already been banned in 55 countries including in Sri Lanka. Various agencies have documented its deadly effects. In 2008 November, 43 students of a state-run school in Jharkhand were hospitalised after drinking milk that had Endosulfan residues. Five of them died.
Male school children exposed to the pesticide endosulfan showed delayed sexual maturity, according to a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP).
India is by far the largest manufacturer of endosulfan, with the state-owned Hindustan Insecticides Ltd (HIL) and two private companies producting the pesticide. China manufactures small amounts, and Israel also manufacturers an unknown amount. In fact an Israeli company, Makhteshim Agan, has just started manufacturing pesticides in Andra Pradesh; it is not yet known whether they produce endosulfan or not.
Though China supported India at the last POPs Review Committee meeting, its support may not last as the communist country has a better record of banning highly toxic pesticides. The US is not a signatory to either Convention and Endosulfan's use is restricted in there.
Aren't there any other alternatives for endosulfan or is the love for this pesticide driven by profits? The fact is that there are plenty of effective alternatives, it is simply that the companies are making very nice profits and they care more about that than anything else.
Indian Police: Broken System
By S.R Darapuri
18 August, 2009 Countercurrents.org
"This week, I was told to do an encounter," a police officer told Human Rights Watch (HRW). He was referring to the practice of taking into custody and extra judicially executing an individual, then claiming that the victim died after initiating a shoot- out with police. "I am looking for my target," he said. "I will eliminate him . .. I fear being put in jail, but if I don't do it, I'll lose my position." This is the confession of an Officer from Uttar Pradesh but it is applicable to any officer in any state of India . This is how Human Rights Watch report titled "Broken System: Dysfunctional, Abuse and Impunity in the Indian Police" starts its narrative. This report was released by HRW in Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) on 7 th August, 2009 . The Repot was earlier released at Banglore on 4 th August, 2009 . (Full report available at www. hrw.com)
This 118-page report documents a range of human rights violations committed by police, including arbitrary arrest and detention, torture and extrajudicial killings. The report is based on interviews with more than 80 police officers of varying ranks, 60 victims of police abuses, and numerous discussions with experts and civil society activists. It documents the failings of state police forces that operate outside the law, lack sufficient ethical and professional standards, are overstretched and outmatched by criminal elements, and unable to cope with increasing demands and public expectations. Field research was conducted in 19 police stations in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, and the capital, Delhi .
" India is modernizing rapidly, but the police continue to use their old methods: abuse and threats," said Naureen Shah of Asia Division of HRW. "It's time for the government to stop talking about reform and fix the system."
The repot describes the story of a fruit vendor in Varanasi who narrates how police tortured him to extract confessions to multiple, unrelated false charges:
"[M]y hands and legs were tied; a wooden stick was passed through my legs. They started beating me badly on the legs with lathis (batons) and kicking me. They were saying, `you must name all the members of the 13-person gang.' They beat me until I was crying and shouting for help. When I was almost fainting, they stopped the beating. A constable said, `With this kind of a beating, a ghost would run away. Why don't you tell me what I want to know?' Then they turned me upside down... They poured water from a plastic jug into my mouth and nose, and I fainted."
Almost every police officer interviewed by HRW was aware of the boundaries of the law, but many believed that unlawful methods, including illegal detention and torture, were necessary tactics of crime investigation and law enforcement.
Human Rights Watch also said that while not excusing abuses, abysmal conditions for police officers contribute to violations. Low-ranking officers often work in difficult conditions. They are required to be on-call 24 hours a day, every day. Instead of shifts, many work long hours, sometimes living in tents or filthy barracks at the police station. Many are separated from their families for long stretches of time. They often lack necessary equipment, including vehicles, mobile phones, investigative tools and even paper on which to record complaints and make notes.
Police officers told HRW that they used "short-cuts" to cope with overwhelming workloads and insufficient resources. For instance, they described how they or others cut caseloads by refusing to register crime complaints. Many officers described facing unrealistic pressure from their superiors to solve cases quickly. Receiving little or no encouragement to collect forensic evidence and witness statements, tactics considered time-consuming, they instead held suspects illegally and coerced them to confess, frequently using torture and ill-treatment.
"Conditions and incentives for police officers need to change," said Meenakshi Ganguly, Senior Researcher,HRW. "Officers should not be put into a position where they think they have to turn to abuse to meet superiors' demands, or obey orders to abuse. Instead they should be given the resources, training, equipment, and encouragement to act professionally and ethically."
"Broken System" also documents the particular vulnerability to police abuse of traditionally marginalized groups in India . They include the poor, women, Dalits (so-called "untouchables"), and religious and sexual minorities. Police often fail to investigate crimes against them because of discrimination, the victims' inability to pay bribes, or their lack of social status or political connections. Members of these groups are also more vulnerable to arbitrary arrest and torture, especially meted out by police as punishment for alleged crimes.
Colonial-era police laws enable state and local politicians to interfere routinely in police operations, sometimes directing police officers to drop investigations against people with political connections, including known criminals, and to harass or file false charges against political opponents. These practices corrode public confidence.
In 2006, a landmark Supreme Court judgment mandated reform of police laws. But the central government and most state governments have either significantly or completely failed to implement the court's order, suggesting that officials have yet to accept the urgency of comprehensive police reform, including the need to hold police accountable for human rights violations.
" India 's status as the world's largest democracy is undermined by a police force that thinks it is above the law," Naureen said. "It's a vicious cycle. Indians avoid contact with the police out of fear. So crimes go unreported and unpunished, and the police can't get the cooperation they need from the public to prevent and solve crimes."
"Broken System" sets out detailed recommendations for police reform drawn from studies by government commissions, former Indian police, and Indian groups. Among the major recommendations are:
- Require the police to read suspects their rights upon arrest or any detention, which will increase institutional acceptance of these safeguards;
- Exclude from court any evidence police obtain by using torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment in suspect interrogations;
- Bolster independent investigations into complaints of police abuse and misconduct through national and state human rights commissions and police complaints authorities; and
- Improve training and equipment, including strengthening the crime-investigation curriculum at police academies, training low-ranking officers to assist in crime investigations, and providing basic forensic equipment to every police office
The report also gives selected accounts of persons who wee tortured and kept in police custody. Some of the narratives are the following:
"She was kept in the police station all night. In the morning, when we went to meet her, they said she had killed herself. They showed us her body, where she was hanging from a tree inside the police station. The branch was so low, it is impossible that she hanged herself from it. Her feet were clean, although there was wet mud all around and she would have walked through it to reach the tree. It is obvious that the police killed her and then pretended she had committed suicide." –
- Brother-in-law of Gita Pasi, describing her death in police custody in Uttar Pradesh in August 2006.
The police officers have their own tale of woes as narrated below:
"We have no time to think, no time to sleep. I tell my men that a victim will only come to the police station because we can give him justice, so we should not beat him with a stick. But often the men are tired and irritable and mistakes take place."
- Gangaram Azad, a sub-inspector who heads a rural police station in Uttar Pradesh state
"They say, `investigate within 24 hours,' but they never care about how I will do [that]; what are the resources. ... There is use of force in sensational cases because we are not equipped with scientific methods. What remains with us? A sense of panic surrounds our mind that if we don't come to a conclusion we will be suspended or face punishment. We are bound to fulfill the case; we must cover the facts in any way."
- Sub inspector working near Varanasi , Uttar Pradesh
"Often, it is our superiors who ask us to do wrong things. It is hard for us to resist. I remember, one time, my officer had asked me to beat up someone. I said that the man would be refused bail and would rot in jail and that was enough punishment. But that made my officer angry."
- Constable in Uttar Pradesh
"With all the mental stress, the 24-hour law-and-order duty, the political pressure, a person may turn to violence. How much can a person take? ... We have to keep watch on an accused person, their human rights, but what about us? We live like this for 24 hours. We are not claiming that our power makes us born to work all the times. Sometimes we beat or detain illegally, because our working conditions, our facilities are bad. So we are contributing to creating criminals and militants."
• Inspector in charge of a police station in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh
On the above occasion giving the details of fake encounter cases, SR Darapuri, a retired IPS Officer and Vice President Of U.P. PUCL who contested the general election-2009 from Lucknow said, "Only countable genuine encounters like that of Ghanshyam Kewat which took place on June 17, 2009 made U.P. Police cops to taste a real encounter, rest 99 percent are fake." Darapuri said, "I had been a police officer for 32 years and I know how encounters are planned." "A common man does not feel safe in the state," said Darapuri.
Lenin Raghuvanshi, Director People's Vigilance Committee for Human Rights, while presenting the report said, "We studied 125 cases. In majority of cases justice was either delayed or denied to poor people for they had no approach to get the FIR lodged or to pursue the case fro proper investigation. There have been instances when cops violated even the basic policing norms. They a voided post mortem and even effused to hand over the body of victims of fake encounter to their families."
It is the high time that the Indian government should take major steps to overhaul a policing system that facilitates and even encourages human rights violations, said the report. For decades, successive governments have failed to deliver on promises to hold the police accountable for abuses and to build professional, rights-respecting police forces. If the states refuse to undertake the police reforms, the civil society, human rights organizations and all right thinking persons should bring pressure on the states and political parties to force them to do it. We should not forget that democratic nations need democratic police.
S.R.Darapuri I.P.S. (Retd)
Should Indian Leaders Who Spend Billions On Submarines While Others Starve Go Unpunished? By Jay Janson 12 August, 2009 Countercurrents.org
Indian Prime Minister Mammohan Singh launched a 3 billion dollar nuclear submarine. A sub that can carry Russian built missiles equipped to deliver India's Atomic bombs.
A submarine made at the cost of taking bread from the mouths and life from the chests of Prime Minister Singh's fellow citizens.
Both the cost of building nuclear submarines, and the purchasing of others, are paid for with funds drawn on the treasury of a `democracy' that does not feed its children.
Singh's India is a gigantic torture chamber for the 47% of its children under five who suffer malnutrition. [47% is a World Bank estimate]
Malnutrition makes children prone to illness and stunts their physical and intellectual growth for a lifetime, with dire consequences for mobility and mortality.
Its also torture for the parents who watch in agony as 2.1 million of their kids die before their fifth birthday from malnutrition and preventable illnesses. [UN estimate from Malnutrition in India, Wikipedia]
As Indian Growth Soars, Child Hunger Persists By Somini Sengupta, New York Times, 3/12/2009
"NEW DELHI Small, sick, listless children have long been India's scourge "a national shame," in the words of its prime minister, Manmohan Singh. after a decade of galloping economic growth, child malnutrition rates are worse ..."
Seems by the Prime Minister's own admission, his wife breaking the bottle of champagne on the bow of this incredible investment last week becomes a hideous spectacle of death over life."
Akshay Mangla in Delhi complains that the pathetic state of child health and education in India should be seen as no less than a total failure of its democracy, public institutions and civil society.
Malnutrition getting worse in India By Damian Grammaticas, BBC News, Madhya Pradesh
"About 60% children in Madhya Pradesh state are malnourished
Lying on a bed is a tiny malnourished child. Her limbs wasted, her stomach bloated, her hair thinning and falling out. She stares, wide-eyed, blankly at the ceiling. Roshni is six months old. She should weigh 4.5kg. But when she is placed on a set of scales they settle at just 2.9kg.
Roshni is suffering from severe acute malnutrition, defined by the World Health Organization as weighing less than 60% of the ideal median weight for her height.
There are 40 beds in this center. On every one is a similar child. All are acutely malnourished. Wailing, painful, plaintive cries fill the air. This is the Nutrition Rehabilitation Center in the town of Shivpuri. ... This is the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh - modern India, a land of booming growth. "The situation in our village is very bad," says Roshni's mother, `Sometimes we get work, sometimes we don't. Together with our children we are dying from hunger. What can we poor people do? Nothing.'
... Another mother is cradling her daughter, Kahal, trying to feed her. The girl is two-and-a-half years old and so weak she can hardly eat.
Her mother tries to spoon some milk into her mouth. It dribbles down her chin. Kajal barely even opens her eyes. Kajal's skin is pale. Her breath comes sharp, shallow and fast. She too is suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Her weight is 6.7kg. Children wait for a meal outside an Anganwadi centre in Chitori Khurda The nutrition centre here was set up by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
Doctor Vandana Agarwal, UNICEF's nutrition specialist for Madhya Pradesh state, points to Kajal's swollen little feet. 'There is edema on both the feet, scaly skin on her legs, even her respiration rate is high,' Dr Agarwal says.
'The child is in a lethargic condition, her hairis thin, sparse, lustreless, easily-pluckable. These are the typical symptoms of protein energy malnutrition.' India has some of the highest rates of child malnutrition and mortality in under-fives in the world and Madhya Pradesh state has the highest levels in India. There are around 10 million children in the state. A decade ago 55% were malnourished. Two years ago the government's own National Family Health Survey put the figure for Madhya Pradesh at around 60%."
By the way, your author notes that the work of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEFf) enables leaders of India's capitalist system to to save money on feeding its children, and focus more on building and buying submarines.
India launches nuclear submarine. BBC News, 7/26/09
"... a second one is due to be constructed shortly.
Mr. Singh said 'we do not seek to threaten anyone'
...The BBC's Sanjoy Majumder in Delhi says until now India has been able to launch ballistic missiles only from the air and from land. Nuclear submarines will add a third dimension to its defense capability."
On July 31, another BBC article told us that India is emerging as the world center of hunger and malnutrition according to a report by Indian campaign group, the Navdanya Trust.
That the trust says that there are more than 200 million people - or one-in-four Indians - going without enough to eat, and that there were now more hungry people in India than in sub-Saharan Africa."
And the news gets worse. MORE submarines:
India launches first nuclear submarine 26 July 2009, World Press "Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the launch of the 6,000-tonne INS Arihant (Destroyer of Enemies) a `historic milestone in the country's defense preparedness.'
India plans to build four more Arihant submarines, which will be armed with torpedoes and ballistic missiles...
`We don't have any aggressive designs nor do we seek to threaten anyone,' the Press Trust of India quoted Singh as saying.
'We seek an external environment in our region and beyond that is conducive to our peaceful development and protection of our value systems,' he added."
Can Singh mean submarine missiles will protect the dying hungry children that are part of India's value system?
India places two-billion-dollar order for Russian missiles, Pravda, Russia 20.08.2008
"The missiles will be made for submarines of the Indian Navy. The nearest order is seven submarines."
India launches nuclear submarine By Manasi Kakatkar, ForeignPolicyBlogs.com July 29, 2009 "Apart from the Arihant, India will also modernize its naval capabilities by getting two Akula class nuclear powered attack submarines from Russia, and six Scorpene submarines from France. The first delivery of the Scorpene submarines scheduled for 2012 has been delayed due to problems in "absorption of technology." The deal with France was signed in 2005 and will cost India $3 billion. The Russian submarines are expected to be delivered by the end of this year. According to GlobalSecurity.org "the cost to India of acquiring two Akula submarines and their support infrastructure along with training of the crews had been estimated at $2 billion."
Build four more nuclear submarines, buy seven submarines from France and two Russian attack submarines and $2 billion worth of Russian missiles.
If this is really going to happen, how many dead and malnourished children does that equal if two million children under five continue to die each year? - each year of submarine building, buying and arming.
If there was a danger for those arranging this bizarre, frightening and criminally inhumane misuse of India's resources being brought to court, tried and perhaps hung for mega mass-manslaughter and infanticide, would these war plans be altered in favor of keeping precious children of India's poor well fed and healthy?
Write, call, e-mail, fax Prime Minister Mammohan Singh via India's Permanent Mission to the United Nations, 235 East 43rd Street, New York, NY, 10017, telephone: 212-490-9660, fax: 212-940-9665, e-mail: india@... & indiaun@...t. Ask that India feed its children, that they may live, and not die for submarines. (And we are not even mentioning education and quality of life, for these suffering children and their parents.)
Adivasis' Atruggle Against Displacement In Jharkhand By Gladson Dungdung
04 August, 2009 Countercurrents.org
Jharkhand is known as the abode of Adivasis (the indigenous people, constitutionally they are called as scheduled tribe), the land of struggle and mineral rich state in India. "Jharkhand" literally means `the land of forests' came into existence as 28th state of the Indian union on 15th of November, 2000 after a long mass struggle, which took place in the 20th century for the realization of a beautiful dream of the Adivasi heroes – Tilka Manjhi, Sidhu-Kanhu and Birsa Munda. The dream was to form exploitation free, humane and just Jharkhand, where the Adivasis can practice their ownership rights over the natural resources, enjoy autonomy and rule themselves as earlier they used to. The outsiders perceive Jharkhand as the abode of uncivilized, uneducated and the most backward people i.e. Adivasis therefore the region was mostly neglected in terms of the development but its natural resources were highly exploited. The Adivasis were alienated from their resources, exploited and injustices were done to them in the name of development, civilization and nationalism.
Jharkhand is an important state from the viewpoint of Adivasi population. As per the Census 2001, their total population in the state is 70,87,068 including 35,65,960 male and 35,21,108 female, which consists 26.3% of the total population (26,945,829) of the state though they were more than 50 percent before the independence of India. The growth of the Adivasi population is steadily declining. It was 17.3 per cent in 2001, which is lower by 6 per cent if compared with the growth (23.3 per cent) in 1991. The state has a total of thirty two (32) sub-communities of the Adivasis. Among them Santal, Oraon, Munda, Ho and Kharia are the major Adivasi groups in the state. The major Adivasi populations (91.7 percent) reside in villages and merely 8.3 percent have shifted to the urban areas. The rapid industrialization is one of the major reasons for population declination of the Adivasis.
Jharkhand is witness of unending struggle for mineral resources as the state contains 40 percent of India's precious minerals like Uranium, Mica, Bauxite, Granite, Gold, Silver, Graphite, Magnetite, Dolomite, Fireclay, Quartz, Fieldspar, Coal, Iron and Copper. Forests and woodlands occupy more than 29% of the state which is amongst the highest in India. But unfortunately, the exploitation and injustice are prevalent in the state. Irony is the political leaders of Adivasis do not realize it even today. They have signed 102 MoUs (memorandum of understanding) for establishing steel factories, power plants and mining industries with the estimated investment of Rs 4,67,240 crore, which require approximately 200,000 acres of land, which directly means the displacement of approximately 1 million people.
The government, the Industrialists and the Media are putting hard efforts to convince the people by propagating the messages that the industrialization is only way to develop the young Jharkhand therefore the villagers must surrender their land for the development projects, which would provide them jobs, infrastructure and boost the economy of the state. But the Adivasis are not convinced with the ideas as 91.7 percent of them still rely on agriculture, forest produces and livestock for their survival. They are resisting against displacement, attacking the company's officials and not allowing them to enter into the villages. Consequently, the government is unable to execute the MoUs at the grassroots.
There has been turmoil against displacement in the state. On 1st of October 2008, the villagers attacked on the Kohinoor steel plant near Jamshedpur, seized 70 trucks and stopped the work. They alleged that after acquiring their agricultural land, the company neither compensated nor gave them jobs as promised and the company is also causing huge environmental affect in agriculture, water sources and public health therefore they would not allow the company to destroy their livelihoods. In another case, the villagers attacked 3 surveyors of Bhushan steel Yusuf Ahmad, Sheetal Kumar and Sahdev Singh when they were conducting land survey near Sarmanda River at Potka of East Singbhum district. The villagers caught them, painted on their faces with cow dung, asked them to eat straw and cow dung, garlanded with shoes and paraded in the villagers on 11 September 08. Somari Hembrom of Roladih village (Potka) justified it by saying, "We had already declared for not giving our precious land to the Bhushan Company but despite of this, these people were measuring our land without informing us therefore they were taught a lesson".
Similarly, the villagers attacked Jupiter Cement factory, beaten the workers and stopped the factory on 11 September 2008 at Kharsawan alleging for violating the land related laws. The Indian CEO, Project head and other officials of the steel giant Arcelor Mittal Company were not allowed to enter into the villages in Torpa- Kamdara region near Ranchi several times. The people of Tontopasi in Saraikela-Kharsawan district are not allowing the Tata Steel to acquire land for its Greenfield Project. In another case, the Adivasis of Dumka district have imposed "Janta Curfew" (public curfew) in Kathikund and Sikaripada blocks with the slogan "We shall give up our lives but not land." against the proposed power plant of CESC Limited, where police firing took place on 6 of December, 2008 caused the killing of two activists – Lakhiram Tuddu and Saigat Marandi and another 7 activists were severely injured. The people resistances have forced the Tata Steel, Arcellor Mittal Company, Jindal Steel, Esser Steel and CESE Limited to leave the proposed areas.
Interestingly, the corporate houses have not given up their hopes and attempting to enter into the region through the back doors. They are playing many tricks and also luring people with the huge monetary packages for acquiring land. The global steel giant Arcelor Mittal Company is a crucial example to understand how the companies attempt to trick the Adivasis. The Arcelor Mittal Company signed a MoU with the Jharkhand government on October 8, 2005 for setting up a steel plant with the capacity of 12 million tones per annum at an estimated investment of Rs 40,000 crore. The company requires 25,000 acre of land and 20,000 unit water per hour for the steel plant and a township in Torpa-Kamdara region of Khunti and Gumla district. Since, the company needs huge water, a mega Dam will be constructed at Koel-Karo River for ensuring the water supply to the steel plant. According to the plan, the steel plant will be set up by the end of 2009 and the production will begin from 2012. Consequently, there will be a mass displacement of Adivasis as 256 villages would be affected completely by the project.
The people of Jharkhand especially the Adivasis have been undergoing through the adverse affect of the unjust modern development processes for more than a century therefore another mass movement against the Arcelor Mittal Company began in 2005 in the region under the banner of "Adivasi-Moolvasi Astitava Raksha Manch". The people are resisting against industrialization in the region and not ready to give even one inch of their remaining lands. They have declared that "they need grains not iron for feeding their stomach". Consequently, the Mittal Company was unable to enter into the region. Therefore it began playing tricks with the people. Eight months after the MoU was signed, Laxmi Mittal the owner of the company visited India in July 2006 to explore more investment prospects, but he was quite upset with the progress of the project in Jharkhand and warned the state government that mega project could be shifted to the neighbouring Orissa if the project continued at a snail's pace. But by then, Arjun Munda then the Chief Minister of Jharkhand had already made history signing MoUs with 43 companies. He could very well afford to tell Mittal he was free to choose between the two states.
This is when the idea of flaunting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) struck Mittal. Soon, Arcellor-Mittal Foundation was launched in 2007 with the objective of investing in social programmes, and promoting Arcelor-Mittal's commitment to society and sustainable development, focusing in particular on the communities where it operates. It is also said that the Foundation will seek to develop partnerships with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to drive the programme forward. But the hidden agenda of the foundation seems to be to use the local NGOs to find a foothold in the project areas. It was obvious from the start the foundation was going to pour large funds to enhance its public relations.
Arcelor-Mittal's activities gathered momentum with the appointment of Sanak Mishra as the CEO of the Indian project. The announcement of CSR programmes started, which was in the form of election campaigns. The first move was to launch an ITI (Industrial Training Institute) in Khunti, slated to open from 2009. 50 percent of the total candidates were selected by the state government and the rest by the company. Half of the seats were reserved for Adivasi students and 50 scholarships were to be awarded on merit to deserving local students of the region. The ITI was projected as a catalyst of change for the Adivasi community. Meanwhile, the Mittal was told about the Adivasis' love for hockey. Soon, the company was sponsoring hockey tournament for girls and boys of Khunti and Gumla districts. The training for boys and girls started with the support of the district and the state hockey federations. The next step was to lure NGOs with huge funds. Finally, the company declared $300 million CSR programme, which would be spent for Rehabilitation & Resettlement package for the state. But it also didn't work.
The company made a new holy business strategy to join hands with the church based social services institutions as the region is highly dominated by the Christians Adivasis. Earlier, the vice president of the Arcelor Mittal Company, Remi Boyer, who has more faith in the holy business for overcoming on the mass movement, had said that the church is ready to co-operate the company in land acquisition. Consequently, the Arcelor Mittal Company and Don Bosco Society made a secret agreement for holy business, under which the company would bear the cost of ITI training for Adivasi youth of the proposed project area and the Don Bosco Society would provide training in its ITI centre based at Kokar, Ranchi. But when it came into the notice of a forum of Adivasi called "Jharkhand Indigenous People's Forum", it intervened on the matter immediately.
The forum wrote letters to the Superior of the Don Bosco Society and the Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo asking them to make their stance clear on the issue of supporting Arcelor Mittal Company. The forum members also asked the Church leaders whether they are committed to the cause of Adivasis or they have joined hands with corporate for economic gain through the holy business. They also threatened for mass resistance including rally, protest and locking up the ITI Centre of Don Bosco. The forum released its plan and strategy of mass resistance through the media, which created an upheaval in the church arenas. Consequently, the Church leaders and the Superior of Don Bosco were in a huge pressure. Finally, the Don Bosco Society made it clear that it operates in Jharkhand only for the upliftment of Adivasis, Dalits and poor therefore it will not tie up with any corporate house, which takes away the rights of the Adivasis. The tricks of the Arcelor Mittal Company failed.
The Adivasis' struggle against displacement has spread across the state. "Loha Nahi Anaj Chahiye" (We want grains not iron), "Jal, Jungle aur Jamin Hamara Hai" (Land, forest and water belong to us) and "Jan denge, Jamin Nahi Denge" (We will surrender our lives but not land) are a few overwhelming slogans being raised from villages to the state capital. A series of mass meetings, Road blocks and Rallies are being organized in these areas, where thousands of Adivasis and local people participate, shout slogans and echo their voices. The message they want to convey to the government, the industrialists and the middle class is that `they won't give up agriculture land for the development projects.
There are some prominent organizations of the Adivasis like Bisthapan Virodhi Ekta Manch, Adivasi Moolvasi Astitva Raksha Manch, Jharkhand Ulgulan Manch, Creaj Jan Mukti Andolan, Jharkhand Mines Area Coordination Committee and Jharkhand Indigenous People's Forum, who play crucial role in the displacement movement in Jharkhand, have cautioned the state government against increasing intrusions of representatives from several industries in villages, registering false cases against anti-displacement activists and threatening the villagers. "Our message is loud and clear that we do not want to give our land for industries", says K.C. Mardi the convener of Bisthapan Virodhi Ekta Manch. "Such attempts should be stopped immediately because the conspiracy to snatch our land would cause social unrest in the villages" he adds.
Dayamani Barla the convener of Adivasi Moolvasi Astitva Raksha Manch, the organization fighting against the Arcelor Mittal at Torpa-Kamdara says, "We will not allow the Arcelor Mittal Company to enter into the villages because one can not be rehabilitated if once displaced. The lands, which we cultivate belong to our ancestors therefore we will not leave it". According to the General Secretary of Crej Jan Mukti Andolan, Jerom Jerold Kujur, the development of agriculture is a need of the hour. He says, "It is more important to boost up agriculture than setting up industries in Jharkhand, as agriculture production in Jharkhand is marginal". "If the government provides irrigation and other facilities to the local farmers, they could reap three crops in a year" he adds.
The corporate houses are in anxiety, worried and uncertain about their future in Jharkhand therefore they are putting pressure on the government for taking action against the displacement activists. As a result, 3 criminal cases were registered against 1025 anti-displacement activists under the sections 307, 147, 148, 149, 323, 341, 342, 427, 506 of IPC and 9 of them were arrested but some of them were released after a huge people's protest. But the leader of Jharkhand Ulgulan Manch, Munni Hansada was kept in Jail for six months.
The fundamental question is why Adivasis do not want to give their land for the development projects, which can provide them jobs? The instant answer can be found in the history of pains and sufferings of the displaced people, which suggests that after the independence, 17,10,787 people were displaced while acquiring 24,15,698 acres of their lands for setting up the Power Plants, Irrigation Projects, Mining Companies, Steel Industries and other development projects in Jharkhand. In every project approximately 80 to 90 percent Adivasis and local people were displaced but merely 25 percent of them were halfway rehabilitated and no one has any idea about the rest 75 percent displaced people. The benefits of these development projects were highly enjoyed by the Landlords, Project Officers, Engineers, Contractors, Bureaucrats, Politicians and outsiders, and those who sacrificed everything for the sake of the "development" are struggling for their survival.
Secondly, the people were betrayed in the name of rehabilitation, compensation and jobs. The promises were not fulfilled and the jobs were given to the outsiders. In the present era, the technologies are mostly used in the companies therefore job opportunities and job security have declined the corporate. For example, when the Tata steel was producing 1 Mt steel, the work force was 70,000 in 1995. The growth of the Tata steel went up to 7 Mt in 2008 but the workforce declined to 20,000. Similarly, in the Heavy Engineering Corporation, Ranchi there were 23,000 employees at the beginning but it declined to 3000 in 2009.
The Job insecurity can be learnt from the Mittal company, which is said to provide 1 lakh, jobs to the people. Presently, the company operates in 60 countries and it has plants in 20 countries but the company has been suffering from the economic crisis since 2008. The demand of company's steel went down to10 percent. Consequently, the company cut the production in Canada by 45 percent and axed 9,000 employees. It also cut the job of 1000 employees in lowest cost plant in Poland and shut one out of its two blast furnaces in west Belgium. The company had total workforces of 3,26,000 which was cut down to 3,15,867 as a result 10,133 people lost their jobs. The present status shows that the company is totally failure in protection of its employees' rights therefore 2000 employees had attacked the company's headquarter at Lubzumburge. In these circumstances, how can people believe on the propaganda of providing job to the affected people?
Thirdly, In fact the Adivasis had the ownership rights to the natural resources and they judiciously used these resources for their survival. But soon after the East India Company entered into the territory, the Britishers realized the enormous commercial potential of India's natural resources and systematically went about acquiring control over it. In 1793 the "Permanent Settlement Act" was passed, which affected the socio-economic and cultural life of the Adivasis, and their lands slipped into the hands of the Zamindars (landlords). In 1855, the government declared the forests as the government property and the individuals have not right and claim over it. In 1865 the first Forest Act came into force, an avalanche of regulations followed this act. Wherever a loophole was detected in the existing laws a new law would be passed. After the independence, when Indians took over the driving sit they also followed the Britishers' foot steps. The rights over natural resources of the Adivasi were snatched away through the various legislations. The government of India accepts through the Forest Rights Act 2006 that the historical injustice was done on the Adivasi community.
Fourthly, there are numerous laws made for protection of the Adivasis' rights but these laws were never enacted honestly. The Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act 1908 and Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act 1949 prohibit the sale and transfer of Adivasi land to non-Adivasi but the land were illegally snatched away from them. In 1969, the Bihar Scheduled Areas Regulation Act was enforced for prevention and legalization of illegal land transfer and of Adivasis. A special Area Regulation Court was established and the Deputy Commissioner was given special right regarding the sell and transfer of Adivasis land. When the special court started function, a huge number of cases were registered. According to the government's report, 60,464 cases regarding 85,777.22 acres of illegal transfer of land were registered till 2001-2002. Out of these 34,608 cases of 46,797.36 acres of land were considered for hearing and rest 25,856 cases related to 38,979.86 acres of land were dismissed.
But after the hearing merely 21,445 cases regarding 29,829.7 acres of lands were given possession to the original holders and rest remains with the non-Adivasis. Further more 2608 cases of illegal land transfer were registered in 2003-2004, 2657 cases in 2004-2005, 3230 cases in 2005-2006, 3789 cases in 2006-2007 and 5382 cases in 2007-2008, which clearly indicates that the cases of illegal land alienation is increasing rapidly. According to the Annual Report 2004-2005 of the Ministry of Rural Development of the Government of India, Jharkhand topped the list of Adivasi land alienation in India with 86,291 cases involving 10,48,93 acres of land. Similarly, the constitutional rights, provisions for the sixth scheduled Areas and the Extension of Panchayat Act 1996 were never been implemented with the true spirit in the state. The ruling elites always misused these laws for their benefits.
Fifthly, the government of India was unable to bring a law for the rehabilitation of the affected people even after the 62 years of independence but legislation for the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) was passed immediately. Similarly, when the Jharkhand state was created the first chief minister, Babula Marandi brought the Industrial Policy but at the same time, the same government was unable to make a rehabilitation policy. This is why the intention of the state was always questioned and the people are resisting against displacement everywhere. The people were displaced from one place to another in the name of development but they were not rehabilitated. Hence they feel that they were betrayed in the welfare state in the name of "development" and "national interest". Therefore now Adivasis believe that they can protect their land only through the mass struggle.
Finally, one should understand that the displacement is not just shifting people from one place to another but it is destruction of their livelihood resources, culture and identity which they develop by nourishing for the ages. The life cycle of the Adivasis is based on the natural resources therefore their co-existence with the nature can not be questioned. Hence, it is need of the hour to rethink on the present development model. The unjust development process can not be carried on as the Adivasis also have similar rights to life with dignity, freedom and equality guaranteed by the constitution of India. The Adivasis have lost their faith in the state machinery, constitutional authorities and judiciary therefore they have firmly decided not to allow laying down the foundation of corporate development model over their graves.
Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist and Writer based at Ranchi, Jharkhand. He can be reached at gladsonhractivist@... or gladson@...
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